Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Not "Opinion" If You Can't Be Reasoned With, It's a "Belief"

I used to do a fair amount of work with experts in various fields that we as lawyers would call upon to testify at trial on issues germane to the case. With my work, most of the experts I used were people like chemists, toxicologists, engineers, and simliar highly-educated professionals. I also had to prepare for the testimony of the experts on the other side (which experts usually testified exactly the opposite of my experts, but that's how the game is played), and my goal was to test their opinions in court through cross-examination. As you might be able to tell if you are a regular reader here, that kind of stuff is what I find to be a ton of fun.

In any event, a more senior lawyer once told me that the way to test an expert's opinion is to ask him or her what it is, find out what facts that opinion is based on, and then use a hypotetical to change some assumptions. You then ask the expert if he or she would change or modify the opinion based on the changed circumstances or facts.

If the expert refuses to change the opinion, even though in your hypotetical you have changed the facts, it's no longer an "opinion," it's a "belief." Beliefs are fine in church or the religious institution of your choice. But, they are no good in a court of law where you are trying to convince a judge or jury that your side is scientifically correct. "Beliefs" can't be scientifically tested, and you don't really have to waste much time attacking the belief itself, because the point is to simply show the judge or jury that it's no use arguing with a crazy person who will never change their mind. Such people are not persuasive, either in court or in real life.

Our friend Ellen Beth Gill over at the 'other blog,' as some people have named it, is just getting warmed up for the general election to unload on Congressman Mark Kirk, now that she cut her teeth on poor Jay Footlik. I go over there every once in a while to see what lies and sedition are being spread, and one thing that caught my eye early this morning was a little rant she posted in comments, as follows:

"Kirk, like his fellow banana-republicans in Congress and in the Bush Administration, does nothing not part of his political agenda. There's no governing, no custodianship of our Constitution, no respect for the American people or everything that's made us Americans for all these years. Just whatever he can do to warmonger and fearmonger for dollars and political power. He's done nothing to make it clear he stands for our country, so he should be retired. Even worse is his friend McCain who has proven he'll do anything to become president including torture, even though his former stand against torture was supposed to be his big stand for morality. Isn't it about time someone governs for the people of the United States and not just baiting hate and fear for votes?"

Take a good read through the above excerpt, and you get the strong impression that her hatred of Mark Kirk is not opinion, it is "belief." EBG will never be convinced that Mark Kirk is anything but the devil incarnate, no matter what he does. She cannot admit to herself or anyone that Mark Kirk has done ANYTHING to benefit the Tenth District, when we all know so much better. Her "opinion" of Kirk cannot be changed no matter what the facts are, so in my book, that makes it "belief," not "opinion. If you cannot have a rational argument about an issue because no matter what you say, it must be wrong if you support Mark Kirk, there is no point in having the discussion. (for example, see an opposing view on the events that EBG is ranting about here).

Candidates like Dan Seals, however, are happy to have EBG & Friends as base supporters, because they are so low-maintenance. Seals is already a god to them, so he doesn't really need to do anything to engage his zealots for his cause, and he can do no wrong, so he has no fear of doing anything that would alienate his base.

Some more rational commentors over at Ellen's still try to engage her on the issues and have a meaningful conversation, but I think it's a waste of time. She and her flock simply want to hear their own beliefs repeated back to them, assumedly strengthened by lots of lemmings saying "me too!"

Come here if you want to have a fair, intelligent discussion about the issues without being insulted or deleted (which is what often happens if EBG senses she is losing the debate). Mark Kirk is not perfect, as none of us are, but we will not delete you for pointing out things he could do better.


Anonymous said...

She sits at home, blogging with a cat. I would investigate local escort agencies for her name use -- fits the profile.

Team America said...

I have a cat, too. He is a cancer survivor and has only three legs. But he gets around just fine. He can't jump up to the computer any more, though, so he is not on the Team America blogging team.

Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Gill, Gash and those who follow along will never say anything positive about Mark Kirk. It's not bordering on hate, it IS hate, it's irrational, it's so over the top, it's so biased and untruthful that she lacks any credibility. But she has a few folllowers. Most Blog surfers are now over here because you represent normalcy. She's just a woman with a cat who has a vengence for Mark Kirk that loses credibility because she can't recognize or ever acknowledge any of the things he has done for our district, our nation and our world. TA, we do best to ignore her. When someone rants and raves she lets everyone know that she's out of control.

Nobody is perfect, that's a fact. What's also a fact is that she and her followers can't ever find a decent thing to say about Mark Kirk. How sad. And it speaks to Mr. Seals for having this sick-minded woman with a cat as one of his strongest backers. You can't dialogue with her because it's HER BELIEFS that rule.

Let's ignore this woman who has proven how truly mindless and hopeless she is with each new post. I have this visual of her sitting in her Deerfield condo with her cat by her side sipping her "witches brew" and writing her viciously out of control attacks on Mark Kirk. The best way to silence her forever is Mark Kirk's resounding WIN in November. Perhaps then she, Gash and the other malcontents will fold their tents and finally get over it.

Anonymous said...

WOW. This latest post from the dark side is hate-filled to an extent that is scary. Ms. Shrill needs some help. she also needs to understand that when she spews this kind of continuing venom she loses not only control of herself but all reason and common sense.

Mark Kirk never said he was perfect. To never say a kind or complimentary word about someone merely shows the obvious about her: she's a very emotionally out of control woman with a cat. If I was that cat I'd run for my life.

Anonymous said...

I saw a picture of Kirk at the Lantos funeral. He was next to Bob King, Lantos's Chief of Staff.

Kirk and King have worked together for 25 years. No walkout -- the funeral was a real tribute to Tom -- Dole, Kirk, Shays and Rice joined Biden, Pelosi and the family.

Kirk also voted that day -- no walkout.

Anonymous said...

When describing the EBG blog, "over the top" lately has been an understatement.

There is a certain frantic state of panic over there over the reelection of Mark Kirk.

Louis G. Atsaves

professor peabody said...

I hope the left wing loonies over at the other blog keep right on going.

There are many purposes that blogs serve. The political purpose of a blog during election season is to inform potential voters of issues and stimulate discussion from both sides of the aisle.

I believe that when average Joe 10th District voters goes to the lefty loony blog run by the Catwoman and reads the venom, it's one and done. They don't come back on a regular basis becasue it's over the top and does not allow for opposing viewpoints. The usefulness of that blog to attrack voters for Seals is essentially zero. The vast, vast majority of people in the 10th don't like hateful rants, from the left or the right.

The funny thing is that the Catwoman's blog probably helps Kirk at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

She does help Kirk.

Publia said...

She needs help? The verbiage of the Netizen of the West is now passing for "mainstream Democrat."

Anonymous said...

Professor Peabody, you are correct. In this district, like most in the country, the insane ranting of lunatics, either far left or far right, turns off potential voters and for good reason. The catwoman is increasingly vicious, can't engage in reasonable discourse. She never could, but over the past few months she's increasingly bitter and vitriolic.

Anon 7:34 is right - let's ignore her and her nuttiness since she's beyond help. This Blog is the place for real dialogue and reasoned discussions.

Anonymous said...

I hope Seals follows her advice - did last time and sounded like a crazy person

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Salem village here...a "crazy" woman, a cat...have you noticed the owl sitting on the lamppost outside her house? When you talk with her, she maintains eye contact all the time. Pretty scary.

When does the dunking start?

biggus dickus said...


Mark Kirk continues to shine:,2933,330851,00.html.


Anonymous said...

No offense to your blog, but it would be nice if there were an actually independent blog for the tenth.

No crazy from the left and no crazy from the right. Just some crazy in the middle.

Anonymous said...

So Kirk is trying to make sure a Clinton executive order is enforced? Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Look at the comments for this post and tell me how you guys are any different from EBG. I've never heard anything nice said about Dan Seals here, either.

Take a look in the mirror: you guys are just the right-wing mirror image of your hated "catlady."

Anonymous said...

I agree, let’s stick to the issues. My favorite is when EBG's people try to link Mark Kirk to the far right. Anyone who knows Congressman Kirk's policies knows he is a moderate. Calling him a winger is an obvious ploy to try and get rid of him. Who would I prefer, a true independent or a pawn to the national party? That's easy.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:15 - I think you should READ what the catwoman and her followers actually accuse Mark Kirk of saying and doing and then, and only then, should you ask yourself why posters on this blog feel compelled to answer. IF that woman would deal with reality and facts then a true dialogue could take place. So far that hasn't happened. She kicked TA off of her blog because he tried to set the record straight. Get it? The posters on this blog are asking some simple questions that deserve some straight answers from either Dan Seals or his team. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. Ellen Beth Gill is a woman on a mission: get rid of Mark Kirk at any cost. That's all she has ever advocated. She has that right under the's called the first amendment...freedom of speech. She does, however, talk about, but does not practice, TRUTH, ACCURACY and FAIRNESS. On this blog you aren't going to find posts that mirror what she and her followers think is fair game. If that's what you like to read, head back over there.....NOW.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:15 -

If you would have posted the message you left above (but in reverse) on Catwoman's site, it would have been immediately removed and you would have been banned.

On this blog, you can post your views, right, left or middle. They may be corrected and debated by others on this site to reflect the truth and the facts, but post away you can.

Over there, it's left, left, left, all Seals, all the time. Blind to reality, nothing but bitterness towards anything or anyone who doesn't worship at the Pup alter. Say the slightest thing against the Pup, and you're gone.

You should be thankful for this site. You can come here, and as long as you don't personally attack someone or use vulgarity, you can voice your opinions freely.

Read what Prof Peabody said above. She is not a real help to any Dem cause, at least not in the 10th Distict. In a strange way, I think a lot of Kirk supporters are glad she's off the deep end. It truely shows where the Pup is coming from.

Anonymous said...

Ellen Beth Gill = No Free Speech. Just post an item on her blog she disagrees with and watch it deleted.

TA = Free speech. Just look at the IP addresses of the DCCC and Seals to see whose comments are posted.

No wonder 10 times the people read TA over EBG

WestOfMilwaukeeAve said...

I'm a Democrat who hasn't decided who to vote for come November, although I was rooting for Footlik this whole time. I appreciate this blog more than Ellen's 10th District Flog because, despite a right-leaning tendency of discussion topics, there is an overall sense of objectivity among contributions here. I understand my political opinions here are in the minority, but it sure beats the personal responses 2 minutes after posting that any of my comments receive over at Ellen's Flog.

Besides, what fun is it to argue with people you agree with on most issues? That's when people start stretching the facts, and that's no good. Keep up the good work...

Anonymous said...

Again, look at yourselves in the mirror.

Witches brew.

Not at all hateful and unhinged like EBG.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:30 -

You can't see the forest through the trees, much like the Pup. See, here, BOTH sides can speak up and say those words. No one takes it personal, open debate is alive and well here. Over there, its one way (her way) or the highway.

If you want to put blinders on and drink left wing kool aid all day, the Catwoman's blog is for you.

If you want to debate, agree, disagree, left, right, center, this is place to be!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:00..Proof of how vitriolic, how mean spirited, how totally and completely misguided is your favorite blogger, that Shrill woman, read her present Blog. Out of control doesn't even begin to describe her tone. She rails at Congressman Kirk for presiding at an event over the week-end where he honored 10th district constituents for doing some pretty great things world-wide. He never said that HE did these things. All he did was show respect and honor to those who have gone above and beyond to do some great things. So why does she attack Mark Kirk? Because she can. Now you tell me what's wrong with her. Why couldn't she just say that it was a decent event, that those who do important things for others be recognized. Because she can't. Her blind hatred, her venemous attacks on Mark Kirk have no basis is reason or fact. You want to follow her sick path. Go right ahead. TA's Blog is for those who want to intelligently, honestly, discuss issues. She is totally incapable of anything close to reason and temperate thought. You almost have to feel sorry for anyone who thinks, feels and lives the way she does. Good that she has no kids........but I do fear for that cat.