Battlepanda: October 2008


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When did the conventional wisdom change?

It used to be the conventional wisdom that "Republicans are better for the economy." Now the pendulum have swung the other way, big time:

In Illinois' 13th district, an exurban Chicago seat where veteran Rep. Judy
Biggert (R) is running for re-election, Belcher found that voters trust
Democrats to fix the economy more than Republicans by a 19-point margin. They
gave Democrats a 15-point edge on energy issues and an 11-point advantage on the
broad question of which party "shares your values." And that's all in a district
where President Bush won by 10 points in 2004 and 13 points in 2000.

The story is similar in the neighboring 6th district of freshman Rep. Peter Roskam
(R). The seat has long leaned Republican -- Bush won it by 6 points in 2004 --
but now, Belcher found, Democrats have a 14-point edge on the economy and a
15-point lead on energy.

What I'm curious about is, when did the conventional wisdom change? Of course, the fact that Bush presided over the enormous economic crisis probably had a big impact, but the swing is so dramatic that the Republicans must have been eroding credibility on that front for quite a while. When did the Republicans last have an edge on the Democrats in the eyes of the electorate when it comes to the economy?

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Scientology group takes local media for ride

Many don't expect much of the media here in Taiwan. Certainly not the locals. Still, I was pained to read this story and other like it in the local press. The link I'm giving is to an article in Chinese while my partial translation is below:
Campus screening for depression results in parental protest petition
The Republic of China Citizen's Commission for Human Rights (RoC CCHR) started a petition along with hundreds of parents Sunday. The commission charges that the John Tung Foundation has been using charitable works as a pretext for screening students for depression and helping drug companies promote their anti-depressants. The RoC CCHR questions whether the foundation is guilty of working to benefit drug companies and violating the benefits students by enticing the Ministry of Education to screen students for depression. The group has appealed to the president, Ma Ying-jeou not to let the students get labeled as depressived.
The article goes on in this vein. The John Tung Foundation, by the way, is a painfully earnest public health group that works on things like the impact of smoking on health and, yes, depression awareness.

There are other articles like this in other media outlets. Nowhere is it mentioned that the "Citizen's Commission for Human Rights" is a front for the Church of Scientology and that the group espouse the batty view straight from L. Ron Hubbard that all psychiatrists are criminals.

This group is wacky enough elsewhere. But in Taiwan, where many individuals with mental issues still suffer painful discrimination and issues like depression have only recently made it to the mainstream, the group could be undoing years of hard and important work.

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