Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Defending Conduit's Legislative Scorecard

Conduit for Commerce had a legislative scorecard that I was very complimentary of. No sooner had I complimented it than Dan Greenberg of Advance Arkansas put out a piece highly critical of their scorecard. Advance Arkansas and Conduit have very similar mission goals. They could either be allies or competitors for the "market" of economic freedom people. Greenberg decided to treat them like competitors and launched on them. I shared my views about it in some audio files which were played on the Paul Harrell Program. In addition to playing them on the show, they also put up the clips by themselves. You can listen to my critique of Greenberg's critique here. This is an example of a contrived and unnecessary fight among people who would be better off making peace and working together IMHO.

23 Comments:

Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

Mark, I have listened to the first third of your commentary about the article I coauthored and published last week. You don't seem to understand the nature of the criticisms the article we wrote made. Of course all political ratings that measure votes assign points that are based on whether the scorer agrees or disagrees with the vote. It's a little startling that you don't understand that (a) that is obvious and (b) we actually said that it looks like that is the case in the article. So your explanation of how a rating system generally works is pointless, because all rating systems throughout the entire history of time have done that. That is what a rating system is. It's as if your brother said "I don't understand how a Xerox copier works" and you replied "It's obvious. It produces copies of the paper you put in it. This is simple. Why are you pretending not to understand this?" You may find this surprising, but such a response on your part might suggest that you have failed to understand the question your brother was asking.

Here is the criticism that we actually made (as opposed to your imaginary version of the criticism we made, which is obviously an easier target): we don't know the value of the ratings. We don't know what they measure -- on either a relative or absolute basis. Perhaps you do. But you seem very eager to attack my integrity and ramble on and on about how I am paid not to understand the ratings and paid to criticize Conduit for Commerce because I compete with them (which is nonsensical, but let's leave that alone for the moment). You are eager to flourish Upton Sinclair and suggest that my integrity is at issue. To me, this is not very interesting, because you do not seem to understand the central point that the article made and that I have re-emphasized above. Let us, instead, test how truthful you are, because -- as you have explained ad nauseum -- you understand the rating system that Conduit has used.

Tell us, o judge of truth and integrity, o understander of Conduit's ratings system -- what is the point value Conduit used when measuring how HB 1126 and HJR 1016 affected legislators' scores? Kindly answer that question and tell us how you learned that information. Or, alternatively, don't answer the question -- although that will invite an inference on my part that your claim to understand how the rating system works was, demonstrably, a lie.

Cordially, Dan G

6:39 PM, June 21, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Dan, human beings are a mess and I don't exempt myself from that. That is what I believe and it seems Sinclair believed the same. No I don't think you were lying about not understanding, except maybe to yourself. You are just made of the same clay as the rest of us, as all those folks Sinclair spoke of. Your level of integrity is about the same as that of the rest of us- even when present far from perfect.

We often speak of a Judeo-Christian world view as if they were one and the same but they are not the same on every question. Christians should have a more relaxed view of their own righteousness (which is to say that in ourselves we have none) where as when we believe righteousness comes from following the law we are compelled to have a high view of our own righteousness. We dare not consider that we are far from the mark even in our best intentions (or as the prophet Isaiah put it "our righteousness is as filthy rags"). All that to say that though I spoke frankly, it was not my intent to ascribe to you any less integrity than is common to the human condition, but nor will I pretend that you are somehow above our common foibles. People who have a works-based view of things will form a club and declare each other righteous. It is not just Muslims and Jews who will do this, Christian churches who lose sight of the gospel will do it too because facing who we really are every day is hard. Those of us who have a grace-based view of things will remind each other of what we really are and find a way to go on loving just as we have been loved. This difference in viewpoint often leads to offense.

8:48 AM, June 23, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Now as to your question and challenge, I may not have the blueprints to the copier memorized and I don't have my repair tech certification, but I think I am familiar enough with how it operates to figure out how to change the paper and clear a jam, and really that is all most of us really need to use it with confidence.

So I am going to put my answer to your questions here and only afterward will I go to anyone from Conduit and ask them if I have got it or if I am off track.

I think that people who voted for HB 1126 got from 7-9 points added to their score and those who voted against it got the same amount subtracted. I think that those who voted for HJR 1016 got from 8-10 points added to their score and those who voted against got a like amount subtracted.

On what basis do I say that? Well I seem to remember that Brenda told us that Bryan King voted against them something like seven times, and was not scored when he did not vote five times. So he got his 196 points from 28 votes, seven of which would be a negative score. So 21 for 7 against. That is 14 net divided by the 196 points. If that is right then the "average" vote on the senate side for King was worth 14 points.

Now compare that to what they said they were scoring......three areas of limiting government plus transparency. So a bill that spent a lot money expanding government in a way that took our freedom via secret police would get the highest negative score possible. A bill that helped or hurt in only one of these areas would get a lower score for or against. Each of the measures you reference only impact one area- transparency (we will know if the voters are who they say they are) for one and reduce size of government (since they can no longer meddle in employer-employee relationships in that capacity). So that indicates each of these gets rated in only one category and therefore a maximum of ten points (the 14 point average King got was because some measures impacted more than one of the four areas they were graded on).

If it was a great bill in one area, then +10. If a terrible bill, then -10. If it was a decent bill, then + less, maybe just a plus 7. Since the one bill had a more limited impact than the resolution, I figure it was scored a bit lower. For example a bill that raised taxes by a huge amount would be a bigger minus than one which raised them a small amount. They would both get dinged in the same category, just one would get dinged more because it was the worst bill in its category.

8:48 AM, June 23, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

OK well after talking to one of them I did not understand the values as well as I thought, though I was close on the process. Actually, on those two bills I was close on the values too.

I started off not listening well to Brenda talking about what Senator King did, and I did not care enough about this to go back and listen again. So when I calculated what an average score looked like I went too high on the number based on my mis-remembering how many votes King made that were against them or missed or what have you. That would affect absolute value but not relative value. So instead of the average score of all bills being a 14 it might really be a 6 or 7, but when I said one bill was worth more than the other it was.

It is not good that I made that mistake, but it is like thinking measurements are in inches instead of centimeters. Relative to one another the data is still good as an indication of value. It in no way invalidates the scorecard. Those numbers can still be compared to one another.

Besides what I would call the "scale" of measurement, there was one process thing that I did not fully understand. I thought that the category ratings combined how bad a violation was in that area with how large-scale the violation was. Turns out they separated those things out. For example, a bill which started a new program to micromanage the lives of left-handed pygmies would get a maximum negative score in the "reducing the size of government" category because it is a very large intrusion into the lives of left-handed pygmies in our state. But since there are so few of them around the impact weighting of the bill would be low. The bill would do very bad things to very few people. I thought they averaged those two factors out in the three categories + transparency section. It turns out they scored the size of the impact factor separately with an additional rating.

Now that I think about it she said as much in the radio show. I had just forgotten about it between when I listened to the show last week and last night when I answered your question.

1:01 PM, June 23, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

I have listened to your podcast, and I have read your three responses above. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn. It’s settled: you are simply wrong in what you argue.

During your podcast, you explained at great length that you understood how Conduit’s scoring system works. You explained at great length that I was morally at fault when I published an article that noted the uncertainties of Conduit’s system. Indeed, you claimed to provide an explanation of how the scoring system works in your June 23 post. You then (so you say) “talked to one of them” (meaning Conduit personnel, presumably) and got more information and changed your story. So, on June 23, you were wrong when you described how the ratings worked, and indeed you conceded that you were wrong.

In short, Mark, now that you’ve changed your story, you’ve proved that your evaluation of my conduct was groundless: as you’ve demonstrated, there are plenty of other explanations for a lack of knowledge of the Conduit scoring system besides (as you incorrectly argued in your podcast) if somebody “wanted to understand it bad enough, he could.” In fact, any honest person would have to admit that there are many reasons to believe that we don’t know how Conduit’s scoring works. You just demonstrated one of them and proved that you, in fact, were wrong. This isn’t hard.

But I want to make it clear: this is far from the only respect in which you’re wrong. In your podcast, you also provided an argument in favor of weighted rankings, arguing that we should weight two bills differently (let’s call them a small bill and a big bill), given that the big bill is a hundred times worse than the small one. Your argument is that “the most accurate score would be the way that Conduit did it,” because the big bill must appropriately be given more weight. This is a groundless assertion. The only way your claim about accuracy makes the slightest sense is if we know that the weight assigned to the big bill is 100 times as large as the small bill. (This is because, as most people know but as you seem to have forgotten, a claim about “accuracy” is a claim that something resembles something else.) Indeed, there is no reason to believe that Conduit produced “the most accurate score” unless and until all of Conduit’s weighting is assigned proportionally for each vote – so that each weighting is proportionally correct when compared to any other weighting – but because of Conduit’s opaqueness, we have no idea how they do the weighting. Your criticism that Conduit’s methods are more accurate is utterly groundless unless and until we know the weighting methods that Conduit uses. Your assumption that they weight the bills correctly is nothing but idolatry. You have completely missed the point of our critique of Conduit’s rating system, because our objection is that the lack of transparency hides the possibility of arbitrary weighting. That is why the numbers that Conduit provides are essentially useless; they do not measure anything of interest, because nobody knows what weights they use! (I am not sure if you appreciate this, but you have conceded this implicitly when you explain that we have to talk to Conduit personnel in order to get inside information in order to produce a theory about how they calculate their numbers.) If you had bothered to read what I had written and then think about it for a moment, rather than spending so much time personally and groundlessly attacking me and my wife, you would see that the problem of arbitrary weighting that we criticized is that Conduit’s opaqueness hides the possibility of bias. But as observers of Mark Moore know, he finds it easier to attack propositions that nobody ever asserted rather than discuss anything that is actually at issue.

5:33 AM, June 27, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

But I don’t want to give your complete disconnection from reality short shrift, Mark; there are so many more ways in which you are wrong. You also explained in your podcast that Conduit’s methodology -- which measures committee votes for some members but not for others -- is “more accurately and more thoroughly” reporting on legislative performance. That is innumerate, because Conduit assigns one score to every legislator and compares each member’s score with the others. If we told some legislators to run a hundred-yard dash and other legislators to run a marathon, and we gave them all one score that was based on how long it took for each one to cross the finish line, even a child could see that just judging them all on this one statistic would be unfair. Everybody has to be judged by the same yardstick – if we’re going to give everyone one meaningful rating.

Of course we all agree that committee votes are important in a variety of ways. That is uncontroversial, and nobody disagrees with that, so your two-minute jeremiad on that question is hilariously irrelevant. The relevant question that you strenuously avoid is how you can fairly have a global rating for everyone that includes committee votes for some people but not for others. If you want to be fair, and if you want to judge everyone by the same yardstick, the answer is: you can’t include committee votes if you’re only including them for some people. That is why including committee votes in a system that produces only one rating for each legislator creates a bunch of garbage numbers – because the ratings, on a relative basis, are gibberish. That will be true as long as you’re using different yardsticks for different legislators. Again, a reasonably intelligent child can understand this; it isn’t hard. The fact that you disagree with us on this doesn’t demonstrate that you and I have political differences – it demonstrates that you misunderstand simple math.

Your podcast then made the point (wonderful in its nonsensicality) that I never complained when Talk Business or the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette released its list of the Ten Best Legislators (or whatever it is they called them). Well, your charge is correct – but it is also pointless, because these lists didn’t use numbers. It really shouldn’t be that hard to understand that a non-numerical list of ten best legislators is an admission that the list constitutes an entirely subjective enterprise. Regrettably, your equation of TB’s and ADG’s completely subjective system to Conduit’s numerical one suggests that you do not understand this. Numbers are based on things that are unambiguous and measurable, Mark: subjective lists aren’t. But there is no way to tell whether the numbers that Conduit uses mean anything: there is a substantial danger that they are subjective judgments concealed in the raiment of objectivity.

5:36 AM, June 27, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

Mark, let me (in contrast with you) be clear: I really don’t care whether you’re going to have to go back and get more inside information a second or third time to understand Conduit’s rating system. Conduit’s rating system isn’t like Moby Dick or Finnegan’s Wake. It shouldn’t require mathematical analysis, decoding, or the assistance of a comparative literature professor. I couldn’t care less about your speculative theories about how it – maybe – works. (To clarify: I’d be interested if you actually knew how it works: as you have demonstrated, you don’t.) When Conduit first announced their scores, I texted Brenda Vassaur Taylor to ask her a few questions about how their system worked. She answered one of the four questions I asked her, and then texted me back to say that she didn’t want to speak on the record and that she didn’t want me to use what she had said on the record. That’s OK: If Conduit doesn’t want to tell people in the real world what Conduit is doing, that is fine by me. If they want to give each legislator a rating that is derived by multiplying their inseam by their seniority number, it’s their business. All that means, though, is that there is no reason to take something which purports to provide actual measurement seriously so long as it is based on a process that is shrouded in mystery. If Conduit wants to produce a list that is entitled “Here Are The Legislators We Like,” it’s a free country. But when Conduit claims to measure legislators for their commitment to (among other things) transparency but shows no understanding that there are reasons we might want to know what they’re measuring and how they are measuring it, I am impressed neither by their secrecy nor by your idolatrous defense of it.

I do want to make one more point about the importance of transparency, and perhaps I can best illuminate it by discussing the legislative ratings that the Advance Arkansas Institute has published in the past. Some years ago, some observers noticed that we at AAI made a math error in our rating calculations that necessitated that we retract what we published, and recalculate, and put out a new set of ratings. This was irritating. Transparency is a pain in the rear, because other people will then sometimes catch errors that should never have been made. But opaqueness is worse than transparency, because an opaque system can contain errors that are made but never caught. I do not think that Conduit appreciates this basic fact of life. They are welcome to play hide-the-ball all they want; it’s just not a very interesting pastime. Except, of course, to the idolators.

(P.S. Don’t make up nonsense about me and my wife in the future, please. It isn’t appreciated, and it is of course irrelevant and extremely rude to speculate about my psychology rather than discuss what is at issue. Also, it gives me an incentive to demonstrate that – in this, as in so many things – you’re utterly wrong.)

5:37 AM, June 27, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I get the impression that you DO care. But what lawyers do, and you are a lawyer, is find some ambiguity and blow it up all out of proportion so as to make it seem that it invalidates the arguments of the other side. That is what you are doing here. I did not understand the scoring system perfectly, maybe not even well. But I understood it well enough to use it accurately in terms of what bill is worth more than another or why. You asked me about two bills and I gave my answer about which was scored more and I was right about that. I just did have the scale right, I had the relative values right.

I figured you would use my honesty as to what I got right and what I got wrong to claim that it proves I was out of line to answer your slings and arrows. That is what lawyers do. It doesn't matter. A lack of perfect understanding is not the same as lacking a useful understanding. I demonstrated a useful understanding of the scoring. The scale is the only thing I tried any great extrapolations on, and it is the thing I got wrong. The rest of it was more straight forward.

9:14 AM, June 28, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Regarding the rest of your rebuttal on the podcasts, I would just invite everyone to listen to the podcast linked above. I don't think you even landed a blow. You are just doing more of that lawyer stuff of talking trivial differences or ambiguities and blowing them out of proportion to either make a case from next to nothing or invalidate my arguments on next to nothing. So what if Talk Business didn't use numbers? They had a "Top Ten" didn't they? And they put two of those at the top of the top didn't they? Those are numbers- and you didn't hammer them on THEIR lack of "transparency" or "subjectivity". Conduit tried to get LESS subjective than Talk Business by applying a methodology to their rankings. And yet you went 180 degrees out from the truth and hammered them for being too subjective while leaving TB alone.

It was not just a list of Conduit's favorite legislators- they applied a methodology. It is a false insinuation to suggest that is all they did. I don't know the persnickity details of the methodology, but I can describe it- now much better than when I originally did the podcast. So long as they were consistent in applying the methodology it really does not matter whether they gave a certain bill 4 or five points in a given category. They were surprised for example that Sullivan scored #1 in the house. He was not one of their favorites and he was not on their radar- but they scored them all with a consistent method and that is how the numbers came out. This refutes the idea that this was just their favorites list. You should quit while you are behind Dan. Because you can get more behind.

9:16 AM, June 28, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

"If we told some legislators to run a hundred-yard dash and other legislators to run a marathon, and we gave them all one score that was based on how long it took for each one to cross the finish line, even a child could see that just judging them all on this one statistic would be unfair. Everybody has to be judged by the same yardstick – if we’re going to give everyone one meaningful rating. "

Exactly what I was talking about when I described how lawyers take ahold of some side issue and blow it all out of proportion- they got ranked on 30 floor votes and three committee votes in the senate. Not all of them had a chance to vote on the committee votes good or bad but that hardly amounts to the difference between a 100 yard dash and a marathon. Those who were on the right committee had more measurements, more chances to help or hurt themselves than those who were not. As I explained on the podcast, counting some committee votes is just an indirect way to score "ability to get things done" as an extra category. It starts with being able to get on the key committees where the tough votes are held. Others used that as a category in the bast when they did their rankings. Somehow it only merits a salvo from Dan Greenberg when Conduit does it.

9:28 AM, June 28, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

And that brings me to your PS- maybe if you disclosed your family conflicts of interest to your readers other people would be less compelled to point them out. That is a much bigger transparency issue than trying to badger Conduit into revealing what they may consider proprietary details of their methodology.

Now as to my "rudeness". I figure you are talking about my comments here because I did not go there on the radio. I went there here, on my blog, in response to your comments. Now I would not use the word "psychology" to describe what I was describing here on my blog in response to your comments. More like "cultural outlook" or even "spiritual condition". It may well be offensive, because my cultural bias is that all men are sinners and need to repent and accept the grace available to them only through the blood of Yahshua the Messiah. It is an extremely offensive message that we are sinners in need- and still in need because we don't quit sinning and screwing up after we face the truth about ourselves once. We have to keep facing it every day.

It is not that you are the sinner and the Conduit folks and I are the righteous. We are all the sinners, and we are all a little wrong in this issue, and on the next one. The best we can hope for it to be mostly right in principle and kinda right in our motives. Because anyone we decide to find fault in, we are gonna find it. If you don't find it in your allies or yourself, it is because you are selectively nitpicking, not because they or you are righteous.

I know you don't see the world like that, and I see how that can be offensive. It is offensive but that does not make it untrue. So what I do is, I don't go to your house and try to tell you these things, because its your house and you should make the rules as to what goes or not. But this blog is like my house. I make the rules here just as you do on your web site. And I say that the offensive topic of our own sinful nature is open for discussion. Its necessity and importance in the human condition makes it so important that it must be available for discussion even if it is considered rude or offensive. That is my call, and here it is my call to make.

9:51 AM, June 28, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

Mark,

1. After you repeatedly ridiculed me because I noted that we don’t know the details of Conduit’s methodology, I appreciate that you have finally conceded that we don’t know the details of Conduit’s methodology. Hilariously, your newest defense of Conduit’s secrecy is that their methods may be “proprietary.” Claiming that something is “proprietary” is no justification — there is no good reason to keep the method for a legislative scoring system secret. Although there are several bad reasons.
2. You spent a paragraph refuting the idea that Conduit’s ratings were “just a list of Conduit’s favorite legislators.” Because I never argued, and I don’t believe, that their ratings were just a list of Conduit’s favorite legislators, this is yet another instance of Mark Moore arguing against a proposition that nobody ever defended.
3. Your latest defense of Conduit’s decision to count committee votes is that it’s a way of measuring influence and getting things done, since legislators use influence to get on important committees. This latest argument is just wrong: legislators get on committees based almost exclusively on seniority (and, to some extent in the House, geographical location). The fictions you made up about how committee membership operates are unconnected to the real world.
4. Similarly, the fictions you made up about how my salary depends on competing with Conduit are completely groundless. My salary didn’t drop when I complimented Conduit in the past; my salary didn’t increase when I criticized Conduit more recently. You simply made this up. Your accusations about how I have a conflict of interest that gives me an incentive to criticize Conduit are groundless; the only thing they demonstrate that you don’t understand what a conflict of interest is.
5. Similarly, you should keep your imagination in check when you lecture me about how I should have disclosed my Mark-Moore-imagined family conflicts of interest. Sure, Mark, I’ll get right on that — right after the lawyers who oppose tort reform disclose that they’re lawyers, and right after the people who complain about high taxes disclose that they’re taxpayers. I wonder what the nature of the disclosure these people are required to make is, in Mark Moore’s rich fantasy life? I’m guessing it’s just the same as the imaginary disclosure duties you seem to think I have.
6. Finally, your discussion of my religious views is faulty in many respects. You don’t know what my religious views are, you describe them incorrectly, your assumption that they illuminate anything about my opinion about Conduit’s methods is wrong, and your bringing them in is rude and irrelevant. (Perhaps not so rude as making up things about my or my wife’s economic interests is, but rude nonetheless.)

2:40 PM, July 03, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

I appreciate that you think that there is no relevant difference between Talk Business’s set of completely qualitative evaluations and Conduit’s set of scores which purport to provide quantitative evaluations. But you’ve already demonstrated that you are invulnerable to any understanding of this distinction, so there’s no need to go over that again (see my previous comments if you’re curious).

Similarly, when you explain that the legislators “on the right committee had more measurements, more chances to help or hurt themselves than those who were not” and you show no understanding how this invalidates any scheme of internally comparable rankings, you’ve demonstrated not only that you do not understand this simple point, but also that there is probably no way it can successfully be explained to you.

I appreciate that, as you have explained, you believe that your views are completely untouched by any arguments I’ve made. (You’ve definitely demonstrated this, Mark, but it does not reflect nearly so well on you as seem to think.) For anyone else reading this, I will just echo Mark’s invitation to go back and look at what Mark and I have said — I will leave it to third parties to determine who has the better of the exchange. And Mark, I invite you to have the last word; no doubt it will contain more bizarre falsehoods, irrelevant accusations that I’m a lawyer, bluster about how you’re winning the argument, groundless and offensive speculation about my religious beliefs, imaginary evidence that me and my family have conflicts of interest, and last-ditch defenses that whatever you don’t want to discuss is probably “proprietary.” Go to it, Mark: my work here is done.

2:43 PM, July 03, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

1. I don't know that I 'ridiculed' you on it. I think I CALLED you on it. I called you on it because you chose to launch an attach on Conduit and their ratings when if anything they were giving more details than other groups who you did not attack. You have given your reasons, which I see as mostly hair-splitting self-justification for attacking a group which are basically a competitor to your AA scorecard. Both of you are focusing on spending and economic freedom issues. So you have the same target group so naturally your scorecard has to be better than their scorecard.

I freely admitted I did not understand it as well as I thought I did earlier, in particular in terms of scale. But you are ignoring what I got right. I got the system in terms of relative values on the bills. That is plenty enough to make it useful, your over-the-top claims to the contrary not-withstanding. What I understand about it is not invalidated by the details I did not understand. A small amount of uncertainty in a measurement process (all of which in scorecards have some subjectivity) does not make the process meaningless as you imply.

I figured my honesty on that would be seized upon by you and leveraged into an attempt to dismiss the value of what I got right on the methodology. Again, that is what lawyers do. I did not originate that claim, an oil and gas attorney explained that to me. You may not see the reason they don't want to let you scrutinize and nitpick their scoring, but I think that people who saw your article and read your comments on this thread would understand why. You are not so interested in a search for the truth as you are finding more ammo to attack them with. That much is obvious. Why give that info to a competitor so you can twist it? That is what I meant by "proprietary" and it fits.

12:20 PM, July 04, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

2. "You spent a paragraph refuting the idea that Conduit’s ratings were “just a list of Conduit’s favorite legislators.” Because I never argued, and I don’t believe, that their ratings were just a list of Conduit’s favorite legislators, this is yet another instance of Mark Moore arguing against a proposition that nobody ever defended."

Dan on your June 27th 5:37 AM (good grief!) post you wrote " If Conduit wants to produce a list that is entitled “Here Are The Legislators We Like,” it’s a free country."

So yes, you were trying to say that there methodology was so poor that it would be more straightforward to call it a "list of legislators We Like". I was responding to what you wrote, what you stated and implied about Conduit's list. I guess you can lawyer it and say that you never "argued" that their ratings were only a like-list, but you sure implied that it was no better than that.

12:27 PM, July 04, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

3. " legislators get on committees based almost exclusively on seniority (and, to some extent in the House, geographical location)."

Not quite. Actually they get to PICK committee membership based almost exclusively on seniority. What they pick is a CHOICE they make that puts them in position to either march toward the "sound of gunfire" or away from it. Giving them credit for making the right choices and showing some starch when they are in that position deserves some credit. Secondly, just getting on the committee does not get you any points in Conduit's system, one must also make the right votes. Sometimes making those tough votes comes at a cost, sometimes it may tick off the Governor.

12:33 PM, July 04, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

4. "Similarly, the fictions you made up about how my salary depends on competing with Conduit are completely groundless. My salary didn’t drop when I complimented Conduit in the past; my salary didn’t increase when I criticized Conduit more recently. You simply made this up. Your accusations about how I have a conflict of interest that gives me an incentive to criticize Conduit are groundless; the only thing they demonstrate that you don’t understand what a conflict of interest is. "

No Dan, your salary, or at least the earnings of AA, went UP when you "complimented" Conduit in the past by working on their voter guides. Now that revenue is lost to you, and they are issuing a scorecard which is a direct competitor to yours- measuring fiscal and economic freedom along with transparency. Now that they are competitors rather than paying you the slings and arrows fly. It is not directly related to your salary but if AA does well, you do well. Conduit is after the same eyeballs as you are. Yes, you have both motive and opportunity. Oh wait, I as sure you DISCLOSED in your attack that previously Conduit had paid you a SERIOUS amount of money to do a scorecard with them and now they are not. You did disclose that, didn't you Dan? Oops.

12:41 PM, July 04, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

5. If you are going to browbeat other people for lack of transparency, yes the right thing to do is to disclose any potential conflicts of interest you have yourself, you or your spouse. You may not think you have a duty to do that but the rest of us just don't know that you are too pure to be influenced by stuff like that. We suspect you may be susceptible like the rest of us. So you keep on believing that it is righteous of you to pound on others for a lack of transparency while refusing to disclose relevant factors which could motivate your criticism. The rest of us will know what to do with that even if you don't.

12:46 PM, July 04, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

6. Based on how I have shown your other answers here to be in error I am sure you can understand that I have no reason to believe your assertions here, though I admit I have no way to prove or disprove what is in your heart. Yes, it was offensive to point out that you are a sinner- you stink as bad as I do. I already said that the gospel is offensive. Christ described Himself as "a Rock of Offense". Again, this is where I can be rude. Its my blog. You are pretty rude yourself, in a snarky sort of way but rather than whine about how hard you hit, I will just address your arguments and move on. Frank discussions are often going to have some offensive content. I don't seek to be rude but politeness is only a high priority with me, not the highest priority. It has to take second place to speaking the painful truth about the condition of all men as it applies to these matters.

12:52 PM, July 04, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

“And Mark, I invite you to have the last word; no doubt it will contain more bizarre falsehoods, irrelevant accusations that I’m a lawyer, bluster about how you’re winning the argument, groundless and offensive speculation about my religious beliefs, imaginary evidence that me and my family have conflicts of interest, and last-ditch defenses that whatever you don’t want to discuss is probably “proprietary.” Go to it, Mark: my work here is done.”

Wow!

You know, I had no idea that what I wrote before would turn out to be so … incredibly … prescient. Six for six!

I admit it: I hadn’t planned on responding, but when I see your remarkable display of self-immolation, I really can’t resist.

Here is a tip, Mark: when I listed all your little tics before and predicted that you would repeat them again, it wasn’t actually meant to be an invitation. Instead (pay close attention here), it was meant to suggest what is apparently beyond you: that it’s really impolite to lie. It’s bad manners to avoid substance by resorting to professional insults or bluster about what a forensic genius you are. It is, of course, grotesquely and unforgivably rudeafter you lecture me incorrectly about what my religious views are — for you to explain that there’s no reason for you to give my account of my religious views any weight.

To do any of this stuff once is bad enough. To repeat it after being specifically called out on it is a serious departure from the norms of civilized conduct. (But, please, keep on putting up posts about other people’s lack of “self-objectivity.” They are wonderful comic relief.)

I do want to thank you for letting me know that, in your opinion, it’s “obvious” that I should not be treated as a person who is seeking the truth, but as a malevolent force motivated only to attack others. This perspective of yours tells us something important about you. Thank you for laying bare your raw animus and bigotry for all of us to see.

8:04 AM, July 08, 2017  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

You gave no account of your religious views. I described what I believe is the true condition of all men, and its just the classic Christian view for the last 2,000 years. If the shoe fits wear it. Every sincere believer of every faith thinks theirs is the best, that is why they choose it. I guess we are all "bigots" for believing what the Bible says, including the Old Testament, about the human condition. Whatever.

Yes, I am coming to the conclusion that you are a "toxic person". I suspect that the rest of the people involved in this story, the Conduit folks and PH, have already figured that out. I should ask them. You have displayed a lot of the traits in this thread and the other, including failure to take responsibility, manipulation, and projection/blame shifting.

The way we normally deal with a toxic person is that you just get them out of your life. You ignore them, get away from them, quit contending with them, don't respond, and let them find someone else to suck life out of. Seems to be what they are doing, and they are some pretty smart folks. Maybe I should take a cue.

3:40 PM, July 09, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

You're right that I gave no account of my religious views. But this didn't prevent you from instructing me about my religious views -- and then when I pointed out that you were incorrect, you explained that there was no reason for you to give my own account of my views any weight!

Mark, anybody who reads this blog can see that you are a bigot. It's not a word I throw around lightly, and it's absurd and awful for you to suggest that anyone who believes in the Bible is a bigot. That is just hateful.

I think any fair-minded person who reads this exchange will come to the conclusion that you've supplied the toxicity in it. Have a great day!

4:10 PM, July 09, 2017  
Blogger Daniel Greenberg said...

P.S. "Cet animal est très méchant, quand on l'attaque il se défend." Think about it, Mark!

4:21 PM, July 09, 2017  

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