*The* candidate litmus test

People talk about litmus tests for candidates. Do they vote the right way on abortion? The right way on the LGBTQ rights? The right way on immigration?

An example of a litmus test showing both blue and red reactions In chemistry, a litmus test is a chemical reaction on a strip of paper that turns red in an acid and and blue in a alkali.

I guess the use of litmus tests is unexpectedly appropriate to American politics. States are marked as red and blue, just like the litmus test.

The litmus tests that ask questions about abortion, LBGTQ rights, and immigration are emotionally charged. People get passionate about them. They can violently disagree and not be willing to listen to the other side. Heaven help us if you bring them up at Thanksgiving dinner.

I have a much simpler litmus test. It’s not complicated. It isn’t based on emotion and passion. It’s something you can discuss at the dinner table without getting indigestion.

Test to ask a candidate: Would I hire you as a crossing guard in my neighborhood?

Very simple, very to the point and something that gets right to the heart of life… what is best for our kids? The kids are the ones who have no say in the matter and are the most affected by who we vote for in November.

Can you trust a candidate with your kids when you’re not around? Choose well!

Original image: Kitchen Science 27. By Lenore Edman [Image license]
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Survey chimpanzee

Chimpanzee thinking

Thinking


Saturday I got to play survey chimpanzee.

I got a call about 11:30 for a survey about health related questions from “clearwater res”. It said that it was partly due to a WHO or NIH study. It was pretty long. I gave permission for them to contact me later if they needed to.

Toward the end it had questions about how much of different foods that you had eaten. That part of the survey was very poorly designed because it asked you to estimate frequency on a day, week or month basis (your choice). That was confusing and hard to decide how to answer. I don’t see how you could combine those different counts in a valid way.

About 12 I got another call from “convergys corpo”. This was on food shopping habits. It asked me to compare the two different grocery stores that I spent the most money on. I was supposed to rate WalMart and Kroger about my experiences. This one wasn’t out of blue because I’ve done that survey multiple times. At the end they ask me “Would you be willing to participate again in no less than 3 months from now?” which I always answer yes. I’ve done it maybe 5 times now.

This survey’s weakness was that I tend to compress my ratings toward the top: “1 for terrible” and “10 for outstanding”. I never give a rating < 6 and very rarely 10.

A little after 1pm I got a call from "SSRS" which was surveying for, I believe they said, The Washington Post and another sponsor. Only the first question was open-ended. They asked what issue was most important. I said education and the problem of the high-stakes testing. Most of the questions seemed to be trying to gauge the conservative support for the hot-button issues and candidates.

The rest was annoying. Many questions were presented as Yes/No and no other answers possible. I had to say the liberal position on a bunch of them because I couldn't pick a middle ground option that was more accurate. I wasn't sure what to answer for religious preference since I'm completely inactive in my declared religion and haven't found a replacement yet. In the end, I just said the most recent one–the surveyor had to go searching to find it in their software.

I wonder how I got called cold for two surveys on the same day. "SSRS" also called last Friday but I was away. My only guess is they the two companies were using the same software to make the randomized choices and the got the same result: namely me.

It was funny when I got a second survey about 10 minutes after I was done with the first, but when I got the third, it was just bizarre.

[[Original Image]] [[By Photo by Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers (Nature Picture Library / Rex Features.)]] [[Image license: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]]