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Another reason to police comments

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

* A recent study of 1,183 Americans looked at what happened to their viewpoints when they were exposed to rude online comments

Participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology (which is already all around us and supports a $91 billion US industry). The text of the post was the same for all participants, but the tone of the comments varied. Sometimes, they were “civil”—e.g., no name calling or flaming. But sometimes they were more like this: “If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these products, you’re an idiot.”

The researchers were trying to find out what effect exposure to such rudeness had on public perceptions of nanotech risks. They found that it wasn’t a good one. Rather, it polarized the audience: Those who already thought nanorisks were low tended to become more sure of themselves when exposed to name-calling, while those who thought nanorisks are high were more likely to move in their own favored direction. In other words, it appeared that pushing people’s emotional buttons, through derogatory comments, made them double down on their preexisting beliefs.

* Why this happens

Based on pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works, the theory notes that people feel first, and think second. The emotions come faster than the “rational” thoughts—and also shape the retrieval of those thoughts from memory. Therefore, if reading insults activates one’s emotions, the “thinking” process may be more likely to be defensive in nature, and focused on preserving one’s identity and preexisting beliefs.

* The consequences

In the golden oldie days of media, newspaper articles were consumed in the context of…other newspaper articles. But now, adds Scheufele, it’s like “reading the news article in the middle of the town square, with people screaming in my ear what I should believe about it.”

And some newspaper owners wonder why they should spend the time to police their online comment sections. Sheesh.

By the way, I think the same sort of thing applies to cable TV screamers. But unlike random reader comments, the cable TV people do this in a calculated way to reinforce the mindsets of their targeted audiences by getting people to stop thinking. Cable TV “news” rots your brain. And so, apparently, do rude blog comments.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

* Eric Zorn has a “Meet the commenters” feature on his blog, which got me to thinking.

How about y’all each tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know?

- Posted by Rich Miller   164 Comments      


Rauner denies Schock ad ties

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

* Bruce Rauner is denying a not-so-oblique allegation by Aaron Schock’s chief of staff Steve Shearer that he’s behind a TV ad which blasts Schock for voting for the fiscal cliff bill

Shearer says he has “no regrets” about the Facebook post and isn’t backing off his implication at all.

Only, there’s no proof of that. And, in a somewhat cryptic email, the Chicago financier says he’s innocent.

“I didn’t do ad and never heard of group,” Mr. Rauner wrote. “(I’m) surprised he implied I did, but perhaps rogue staffer (?) . . . I like Aaron and have supported him in the past, even though (I) have disagreed with some of his tax votes.” Added Mr. Rauner, “Seems somebody wants us fighting now.”

Mr. Rauner didn’t respond to other questions, such as how many millions or tens of millions he’s going to drop into his own campaign, and how he would have voted on the tax-cliff matter. Nor is he saying who that “somebody” might be.

* Red State’s Erick Erickson has posted the ad

Erickson also had this to say on his blog

Aaron Schock voted for the debt ceiling increase the last time.

He also voted for the McConnell tax hike. Aaron Schock, all along, has been fine with raising taxes as long as he could look like he wasn’t.

A group in Illinois decided to call him out on it. What did Aaron Schock do? He ran to his lawyer crying and the lawyer wrote a letter to television stations demanding they pull the ad.

Well, we won’t pull the ad. The ad is accurate. Aarson Schock voted to raise the debt ceiling and he voted to raise taxes.

“We” won’t pull the ad? Interesting.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


Bill Daley roundup

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

* Possible gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley spoke at yet another high-profile event yesterday and said pretty much exactly what he’s been saying for weeks

Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley says he still hasn’t made up his mind about a potential run for the governor’s office.

“I’m no further than what I’ve said publicly,” he said Tuesday at the Misercordia Home breakfast.

“I’m doing a lot of things that go into making a decision,” said the son and brother of two former Chicago mayors. “I’m talking to a lot of friends and elected officials and people that involved in community activities and getting their sense of what they think is needed and whether or not, in the end, I think I can add something to the debate. As I’ve said repeatedly, Pat Quinn is a very decent and honest guy who came in at a time time but has been there for 12 years as the number one or number two elected official in the state and one has to look and say, ‘What’s happened in those 12 years?’”

Daley said he’s got a lot to consider before he makes a decision on the 2014 race but said he hasn’t traveled to other key cities in Illinois and hasn’t done any fundraising.

* But Daley did add one new twist, possibly to ensure media coverage

“I think there ought to be serious thought to basically a nonpartisan election,” Daley told reporters after he appeared on a panel at a fundraiser for the Catholic charitable organization Misericordia, which assists the developmentally disabled.

“The American people and the people in Illinois and Chicago, everyone is desirous of effectiveness and efficiency in government,” said Daley, who served as chief of staff to President Barack Obama and commerce secretary for President Bill Clinton. “If it takes basic changes, whether it’s term limits or others to kind of shake this system up, we’ve got to do that because I think most people would say, ‘Right now, it may not be working anymore.’”

Daley said he still is pondering a challenge to Quinn. His only criticism Tuesday was to say the incumbent has been either governor or lieutenant governor since 2002, “and one has to look and say, ‘What’s happened?’”

Quinn, speaking later Tuesday at a diversity event at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, said he thought the California “top two” law was worth looking at, though he has favored an “open primary” system in which voters would not have to declare a political party to obtain a primary ballot.

“Some of our more political people have opposed that in both parties, and I think it’s time to maybe open up the door at least to (an) open primary,” Quinn said.

* Also

[Daley] said it’s easy to throw stones if you are on the outside. He talked about a lack of civility in politics.

“Our society has gotten much less civil,” he said. “What’s popular on TV? Reality TV shows, where people act like total fools.

“But maybe our politics, which should always be better, is becoming reflective of our society.

“Maybe we need to think about that first before we just blame politicians for acting kinda goofy at times.”

* Steinberg doesn’t think he’ll jump into the race

But later, in discussing the multitude of woes facing the state beyond owing Misericordia, he added something perhaps telling.

“This is not an easy job,” Daley said, referring to politics. “Legislators, aldermen, the mayor. These people sacrifice beyond anything in the private sector. I’ve spent my life around politics. It’s a brutal job, a brutal existence.”

Telling, though I’m not sure what it tells. Does that mean he’ll skip the baby-bussing nightmare of campaigning, preferring the far more private, more lucrative corporate world where he excels? Or is Daley laying the groundwork for his selfless sacrifice of actually running? My guess? He won’t run.

* Quinn’s 2010 primary opponent Dan Hynes also weighed in

“There’s certainly a referendum that can be had about whether we are better off than we were four years ago or three years ago,” said Dan Hinz, (D) 2010 candidate for governor.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Another poll shows tight race for second place

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

* Democratic 2nd Congressional District hopeful Robin Kelly shared her own poll today

Unlike state Sen. Toi Hutchinson’s poll, Kelly’s pollster only asked about the top seven candidates. Actually, they asked about eight candidates, but then David Miller dropped out and they used voters’ “second choice” responses to reallocate his support elsewhere.

The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted by GBA Strategies January 3-7 with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

Hutchinson’s poll had Halvorson at 16, Hutchinson at 12 and Kelly at 8. Kelly’s poll has the race for second place much closer. Hutchinson’s attempts to push Kelly out or dismiss her to contributors and influencers as an also-ran probably aren’t gonna work, at least for now.

* From the pollster

• Halvorson begins in the lead, but the race is wide open. Congresswoman Halvorson begins the campaign with 25 percent of the electorate in her corner, but her lead is soft. Senator Hutchinson (16 percent) and Kelly (15 percent) follow, with no other candidate getting more than 10 percent. Fifteen percent are purely undecided, but a full 65 percent of voters are either undecided or only softly supporting a candidate.

• Hutchinson and Halvorson share the same base. Both Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson start with their base of support coming from the same demographic and regional base, especially white voters and voters in the southern portion of the district.

• Kelly starts with a base of support in the suburbs. Robin Kelly currently leads all other candidates among several key groups, including African American women, African Americans in the suburbs and African Americans with a college degree. And Kelly’s support from these pivotal blocs grows during the survey.

• The NRA is extremely unpopular with this electorate. Just 17 percent of likely voters have a favorable impression of the NRA, with 63 percent saying they feel unfavorably towards the pro-gun organization. Kelly’s record of standing up to the NRA and her pledge to reduce gun violence resonates as one of the most powerful reasons to support her.

• Kelly has significant room to grow. Despite having lower name ID than Halvorson or Hutchinson, Kelly starts the race off statistically tied in second place. Once voters—especially voters in the city—hear more about Kelly and the leading candidates’ positions on preventing gun violence, the vote moves dramatically in her favor, pulling her ahead of both Halvorson and Hutchinson.

• Hutchinson/Halvorson’s growth limited by NRA ties. Both other leading candidates find their growth opportunities severely limited by their proud associations with the NRA and the ISRA. Nearly 7-in-10 voters (69 percent) oppose allowing concealed carry in this race. Voters have very serious concerns about Hutchinson’s and Halvorson’s positions on this critical issue.

There’s no doubt that Kelly believes the gun issue is her best path to victory here. She’s also raised more money than any other candidate so far (although not a huge amount more than Hutchinson is claiming).

Discuss.

*** UPDATE *** Speaking of guns…

Kelly Supports Obama Gun Control Initiatives, Calls Out Opponents
Only major candidate with a record of standing up to the NRA

RICHTON PARK, IL— Today, Robin Kelly, Democratic candidate for the Second Congressional District of Illinois, announced her support for the gun violence prevention proposals that President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden announced this morning.

“I stand with President Obama’s plan to get the dangerous weapons that are killing our neighbors off of the streets,” Robin Kelly said. “The NRA has engaged in desperate smear campaign to stop him, including attacking President Obama’s daughters. We need more voices in Washington willing to stand up to NRA, instead of taking support from them.

“Unlike my opponents Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson, who both received support from the NRA, I got an F rating and frankly, I could not be more proud. I have the record and resolve to stand with President Obama, Mayor Emanuel, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to get dangerous weapons out of our neighborhoods.”

Robin Kelly is the only candidate to have issued a five-point pledge to get assault weapons and high capacity magazines off the streets of Chicago and the Southland, as well as making sure that Illinois’ conceal and carry ban stays in effect. You can read her full pledge at RobinKellyPledge.com.

Robin Kelly is a former state representative, Chief of Staff to the Illinois State Treasurer and Chief Administrative Officer for Cook County under Toni Preckwinkle. But, most importantly, she’s a mother and a community activist who has dedicated her career to fighting for economic opportunity, domestic violence prevention and reasonable common sense gun control laws.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


No Illinoisans on initial GOP target list

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

* Notice the absence of any Illinois Democrats on this list. From The Hill

Promising to “stay on offense” in 2014, National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Liesl Hickey is out with a memo arguing it’s in a strong position heading into this election cycle, and outlining seven early targets for the committee.

The targets all hail from GOP-leaning districts that the GOP has carried in the past three presidential elections: Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).

The memo points out that Mitt Romney carried 227 districts while President Obama won 208, a statistic that illustrates how difficult it will be for Democrats to capture enough House seats to retake control of the upper chamber. Much of that advantage came from successful Republican redistricting efforts after the 2010 election.

“As a result of redistricting, which favored Republicans, and this well-executed [offensive] strategy — the House is well-aligned and firmly in GOP control,” Hickey writes. “The national map of competitive House races looks very different headed into 2014. Namely, it’s smaller and Republicans have the upper-hand.”

Democratic congressional candidates won about a million more votes than Republicans, but still lost the House. Redistricting went the other way for the GOP here in Illinois, however, and that early list is a sign that the national GOP accepts the reality.

* This is not to say that there won’t be any targeted races here. I assume that the Republicans will be going after Brad Schneider in the 10th CD, who beat freshman Republican Bob Dold by just a handful of votes. Congressman Bobby Schilling may run again after losing to Cheri Bustos by six and a half points. And Bill Enyart obviously needs to watch his voting record because his district is so conservative.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

*** UPDATE *** From Tom Kasich’s column

“I like guns and I didn’t take any special interest money and it’s a good way to raise money and show my support for the Second Amendment,” explained Harms. “(Candidates) usually don’t do raffles because it’s a lot easier to get a thousand bucks out of a lobbyist than it is to sell a $5 raffle ticket.” […]

Raffles by political candidates in Illinois are legal, said Rupert Borgsmiller, executive director of the State Board of Elections, as long as candidates get an application in advance and file a report after the raffle.

And Harms, who had a similar raffle last year, has done both, Borgsmiller said. […]

Harms’ last raffle yielded $983. He sold $2,865 of tickets minus $1,881 spent to purchase the guns, according to his raffle report.

This time, Harms’ father, Jeff Harms, purchased the guns and two gift certificates to a Big R store and donated them to his son’s campaign fund.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* From freshman state Rep. Josh Harms’ campaign website

WE ARE RAFFLING A

Ruger Mini-14 stainless steel with a synthetic stock as GRAND PRIZErugermini14

JOSH HARMS

ILLINOIS STATE REPRESENTATIVE

DRAWING TO BE HELD ON MARCH 2, 2013

MUST BE 21 YEARS OF AGE • MUST BE ELIGIBLE TO OWN A GUN

First Prize – Ruger LCR hammerless 357mag revolverRuger

Second Prize - Mossberg 535 pump 3 1/2 inch combo 28” & 24” barrels mossberg535

Third prize - $100.00 Big R gift certificate Fourth Prize - $50.00 Big R gift certificate

WINNERS WILL BE CALLED AND YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN.

To obtain tickets send payment to:

Josh Harms for Illinois, 555 South Fifth St., Watseka IL 60970

For more in formation call: 815-432-3121

$5.00 PER TICKET OR $20.00 FOR 5 TICKETS

A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website (http:// www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois. Paid for by Josh Harms for Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


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Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

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