Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Opinion

Voice of the People 09/23/18

Pollsters often miss the mark

As I’ve said many times over the years in this newspaper, my best definition of “fake news” is political polling. Unfortunately the editors seem to worship at the altar of the two least credible polling organizations: the AP polls and the Marquette Law School polls.

The most consistently accurate national poll is the Rassmussen. Of the eleven largest pollsters in 2016, they were found to be the most accurate in predicting the Electoral College outcome and second best in predicting the popular vote outcome. I have tried and failed to convince our local editors to publish their polls.

The most accurate national poll during the entire 2016 campaign and election cycle was the Los Angeles Times/​USC Poll, which consistently showed a pending Trump victory. I have tried and failed to convince our local editors to publish their polls.

RealClearPolitics averages seriously flawed polls. They also declared Hillary Clinton the projected winner in 2016.

The Marquette pollsters boast that they are “the most extensive polling project in Wisconsin history.” That may be, but they make no boast of being the most accurate. In fact, they are consistently wrong.

If you do a deep-dive into the footnotes and data, they acknowledge always polling more Democrats than Republicans in their total of 47 published polls by a factor of four percent.

So here’s my advice to the readers of this newspaper.

If the much-adored state pollsters show Tony Evers leading Scott Walker by five points, it’s essentially a tie. If Brad Schimel is leading Josh Kaul by seven points, he’s actually up 12. If Tammy Baldwin is leading Leah Vukmir by 11, she’s actually up about six.

More advice: Totally ignore the polling responses from so-called “independents.” If I claimed to be an independent, would you believe me?

DAVID HANVELT

Eau Claire

A call to add to sculpture

Kudos to recent letter-writers on their idea of honoring Charlie Grossklaus, Zach Halmstad and Nick Meyer at Haymarket square.

I do believe Mount Rushmore has four faces and that the addition of Mike Schatz would round out that “sculpture” quite nicely.

JENNIFER MCDONOUGH

Chippewa Falls

A thank-you for warm treatment

This black Vietnam 74-year-old veteran would like to thank Sared Heart and St Joseph’s hospitals for the fine professional treatment that I received after suffering strokes caused by Agent Orange.

The doctors, RNs and student nurses, from the technical school, all treated me like I was one of them.

I was in Sacred Heart for three weeks. We are lucky to have them in this area.

Thank you.

ALVIN THOMAS

Cornell

Trump version of America awry

For two years, we have endured an American president assigning anger, hatred and chaos to an entire nation — without a dissenting word from a Congress that will be forever enshrined as enabling and complicit in his erratic, dangerous behavior.

Trump labels every immigrant a potential killer or rapist, every peaceful protest an angry left-wing mob, and every fact and demonstrable reality as fake. But he goes further: Every American who is not a Trump supporter — be it Democrat, Republican or independent — is un-American. And worse: Every American refusing to vote “his way” will bring violence to the streets of America. This Trump proclaimed to a group of Christian leaders, who appeared to meekly accept his anti-democratic rant.

Those who claim Trump is amoral, that he has no core beliefs, Christian or otherwise, cite his self-evident, guiding principles: deny, never back down, never apologize, never admit you’re wrong, never compromise. Moreover, he lies relentlessly, always to further his own ends or to discredit others. He shows no empathy for those in pain or need, only a claim of “victim” for himself or his followers whenever anyone dares to confront their alternative universe.

Tony Schwartz, the true author of “The Art of the Deal,” has noted more than once that Trump is “a seriously damaged human being,” whose childhood was fostered by a hypercritical, bullying father and a disengaged mother. This, believes Schwartz, is a culture of fear still permeating the adult Trump.

Trump’s America doesn’t exist, other than in his head and in those whom he has convinced to believe him. His followers obediently assign hate and anger to the rest of us, to anyone who disagrees with their extreme nationalism. Make no mistake: “Make America Great Again” translates into “Make America White Again; Make Women Subservient Again” at our national peril.

MARY MEISER

Eleva

Mother, unborn separate beings

When it comes to the abortion debate, we constantly hear the mantra (from media, politicians and advocates) of “my body, my choice.”

Is this even scientifically accurate? When a pregnant woman visits her doctor, does he say, “Both your hearts are beating fine” or “Your second body is growing and developing well.” How absurd, not to mention anti-science, such statements would be.

To be consistent with science, those favoring child-killing through abortion should say, “Our bodies, my choice.” This acknowledges the scientific fact that two separate human beings (each with a body, soul and spirit) are involved during pregnancy. It also acknowledges that only one of the two is involved in making the life-and-death decision for the other.

This is why people describe the “choice” as difficult, even agonizing, because everyone knows that it takes the life of an innocent child. The bigger, stronger body gets to dictate what happens to the smaller, weaker body.

This, by the way, is why slavery flourished. Two “bodies” were involved, but the politically “bigger, stronger” body was able to dictate the outcome of the other body. So why not amend this simple motto? First, it breaks the ironclad rule of never referencing the humanity of the child being killed. If abortion was viewed even the way animal cruelty is viewed, it would end tomorrow.

Second, it reveals the “bullying” side of this debate; the strong dictating what happens to the weak and vulnerable. The sad irony is that so many supporters of abortion see themselves as social justice warriors who defend the helpless (including animals from cruelty), yet can’t (or won’t) connect the dots that 3,000 innocent babies are being murdered each day.

America needs to wake up, stand up and stop this holocaust.

SAM FAUST

Merrillan

Science critical as elections near

As the midterm elections approach, one of the important issues facing the country is how our elected leaders understand and respect science.

Scientific inquiry has led to technologies and processes that improve health, national defense and comfort. But some leaders of business, religion and government either don’t understand what science is or purposely distort the facts to obtain a political objective.

A common example is the word “theory.” Since daily usage of theory by nonscientists suggests a personal belief unsupported by facts, people who are anti-science find it convenient to cast doubt on science in general by saying that a scientific theory is just a guess unless it is a law, such as the law of gravitation. But when talking about words like “theory” and “law” in the context of science, it’s important to know how science defines and uses these words. A law is a summary of the relationship between observed variables. Laws are limited in their scope, and it’s presumed they may be false if they are extrapolated to different situations.

A theory is a tested explanation of observations, supported by proven facts. Global climate change, air and water pollution, and lack of access to drinkable water are killing thousands each year. Knowledge of the theory of evolution helps scientists find vaccinations to prevent deaths by influenza. Application of the theories of general and special relativity are incorporated into our smartphones.

The scientific method helps both local law enforcement and the U.S. military keep us all safe. It’s important not only that our government officials understand and respect science, but that schools teach it honestly and accurately to children so that they can seize the baton and continue the marathon of protecting our country and our planet.

W.D. SHERMAN OLSON

Eau Claire

More important than baseball

I remember watching Brewers games with my grandpa ever since I had memories.

My parents took me to my first Brewers game when I was a baby. Our city, Eau Claire, has played an important role in the desegregation of baseball by accepting a young Hank Aaron as a resident for three months, despite the racist attitudes of many white people across the nation.

So please tell me why on Earth Josh Hader received a standing ovation upon returning to pitch after his racist tweets surfaced? Especially when Colin Kaepernick has been black-balled by the NFL and criticized by everyone from politicians to entertainers to fans? What did Hader do to warrant a standing ovation?

We as a society need to take a stand, and not in the way that white fans in Milwaukee brought shame and anger from more socially conscious, tactful Americans across the nation. What is most important in life isn’t baseball and the fate of the Brewers, but what’s most important is the love and acceptance that we are able to show others that need it, just like Eau Claire did for Aaron not so long ago, because it might turn out that we need the lessons that are brought more than we need the baseball.

DAVID MELL

Eau Claire


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