Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie speaks about Lebanon....

Here's someone I've always respected speaking about the situation in Lebanon:

Retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

64% say Israel is completely or somewhat justified...

Just one day after the National Post declared that "Half of Canadians think Harper too pro-Israel" (despite the fact that the actual poll indicated that only 44% believed this, while 45% believed that his position is balanced and 11% think he's not pro-Israel enough...) a new poll indicates that 64% of Canadians think the Israelis are completely or somewhat justified in their actions.

So, for those keeping track, 56% of Canadians believe Harper's position is either balanced, or too anti-Israel, and 64% believe Israel is either completely, or somewhat justified in their attacks.

Also, 63% believe it is the kidnappers (Hezbollah), not the Israelis who need to compromise to solve the current crisis. Quebec is apparently the only province where a majority (53%) believe that it is the Israelis who need to compromise. Belief that the kidnappers should be the ones compromising is highest at 78% in B.C., 74% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 67% in Alberta and 65% in Ontario.

Keep all of these numbers in mind, and ignore headlines.

Headlines will remind you that 64% is only "almost" two thirds (because it's 2.666% off, and we need to be accurate...) but at the same time will tell you that 44% is "Half of Canadians" (because 44% is "close enough" to half, even if MORE THAN HALF (56%) of Canadians disagree).

It's a fascinating trade the newspaper biz!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Half think Harper too "pro-Israel"... NOT...

Here's an interesting poll. It's interesting not only because it says Canadians approve much more of Harper's stance than I would have thought, but also because the poll says almost the opposite of what the headline suggests it does.

When I read "Half think Harper too pro-Israel" I assumed that close to half of those polled felt that Harper's position in the latest crisis is too close to Israel. Or AT LEAST that a plurality thinks so.

Here's what the poll found in reality.

Harper's position is:

"decidedly too pro-Israel and is not appropriate" - 44%

"fair and balanced and completely appropriate" - 45%

Now, so far, you could argue that the headline "half think Harper too pro-Israel" isn't so bad, since there's only a 1 point difference between the two options, and one would assume that the missing 11% are the classic "undecideds". So there's some spin there, but not too much. Right?


The problem is, the other 11% weren't undecided.

The other 11% responded that Harper's position "doesn't support Israel strongly enough".

So there are three camps in this poll. 44% think Harper's position tilts too far towards Israel. 45% think Harper's position is balanced. 11% think Harper isn't being pro-Israel enough.

So, while the headline makes it seem that half of Canadians want Harper to have a more "anti-Israel" stance, this ignores the 45% of Canadians who think his stance is fine (more than those who think it's too pro-Israel), and the 11% of Canadians who want us to support Israel MORE. So 56% of Canadians think Harper's stance is either fine, or should move more towards Israel's side, and yet "Half" of Canadians think Harper's stand is "too pro-Israel".

An interesting example of headlines and statistics clashing.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Please, for the love of God, don't call him "Mister"....

OK, all this "Steve" talk has a lot of people making suggestions about what we should call the Prime Minister, including the Globe and Mail's current online poll, which has among its suggestions (as many others have suggested) "Mr. Prime Minister".

Oh, for the love of God no!

You can't just stick "Mr." in front of "Prime Minister" the way one does with "President", it just doesn't work. "Prime Minister" is the proper form of address should you not wish to use the Prime Minister's name.

"Good morning, Prime Minister."

"How are you today Prime Minister?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

...but NEVER "Mr. Prime Minister".

You would never call a cabinet minister "Mr. Minister" (tell me you wouldn't!) and one should no more refer to the PM as "Mr." Prime Minister than you would call the Minister at your church "Mr. Minister". It's not that I don't like the "Americanization" of stealing the "Mr. President" meme, it's just that for a Prime Minister, it's wrong. As in "incorrect". Or, as I prefer, wrong, wrong, wrong.

OK end of rant. Sorry about that, but the whole "Mr. Prime Minister" thing that people who don't know any better use really gets under my skin, and I've seen it 20 times since the whole "Steve" thing came up.

Knock it off people.


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