February 26, 2009

Bobby Jindal: Out of the mouth of Booby.

LooseScrew Louisiana Governor Bobby 'Booby' Jindal made so many stupid statements in his "rebuttal" of President Obama's state of the union address, it's hard to know where to begin. But since he's a rabid radical idjit Republican, we'll start with tax cuts.
... Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for home-buyers. These plans would cost less and create more jobs.
Wow, this is stupid on several levels:
  1. "Lowering income taxes" does nothing to "create more jobs." Creating more jobs creates more jobs.
  2. If you are unemployed, you are not paying income tax because you have no income to tax. So lowering the income tax does nothing for those on unemployment.
  3. Simply lowering taxes on business does not insure that the business will hire new workers or that it will re-invest in new equipment, especially if no one is buying products.
  4. Creating a new tax credit for home-buyers won't help people afford homes if they have no jobs to finance the homes. All it does is increase the size of our national debt by decreasing revenue.
  5. Creating a new tax credit for home-buyers also doesn't create more jobs. At the very best, it may help some realtors stay in business - IF they can find people who suddenly can pay for homes while unemployed.
And of course, immediately on the parrot-cries of "cut taxes!" he follows up with a familiar whine:
Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money...
Well, thanks to Bush et. al, a lot of us DID make decisions with our own money; we invested it. And we've all of lost buckets of money. Millions of Americans suddenly face bankruptcy and foreclosure. And those are the lucky ones. The ones who haven't lost their jobs.

And then Jindal starts chewing on his own foot:
$300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.
Let's break this down, shall we?

$300 million to buy new cars for the government

Why would the government spend 300 million dollars to buy new cars? Could it be because, I dunno, our automotive industry is about to collapse?
"Shares of General Motors are trading at prices last seen in the 1950s, their value cut in half in just eight weeks. Ford and Chrysler are in even worse shape, analysts say." - CS Monitor, July 2, 2008
Who else can buy enough cars to make a difference, Booby? Or maybe you think that putting millions of Americans out of work really is a good thing? I guess there are no automobile dealerships in Lousiana.

The government buys $300 million worth of cars, and they sell off the exisiting fleet to Americans for a good price: everyone benefits. But I guess that's just logical. The government should drive cars into the ground, so that we spend that $300 million on towing and repairs, and then toss in the costs of workers unable to perform their tasks because they are either stranded in their broken-down vehicles, or can't accomplish the task because the vehicle is in the shop.

I guess we could rent them a car until their old decrepit car is fixed.

And we might have to; remember, we're letting the Big Three collapse: no dealership to repair anything, and when the automakers went down, they took their parts suppliers with them.

$8 billion for high-speed rail projects

And why is this a bad idea, exactly? High Speed rail is something that every other reasonably advanced country in the world has. That the US lacks this basic mode of transportation is beyond pathetic; it makes us a laughing stock. We need high-speed rails. This exactly the kind of project the government should be doing to stimulate the economy; building it creates jobs, running it creates jobs, and its existence spawns new business opportunities, and no one else can afford to do it.

Every tried flying from Fort Lauderdale to Tallahassee on business? It's about $900 for a direct flight, but you can knock it down to $600 if you make connections - through Pittsburgh!!! So we drive it; it's only about six hours each way. Gas, plus mileage (it's a business trip, remember!) and the hotel room (maybe you can commute 12 hours and get a day's work in there too, but most of us are only human.)

And remember 9-11, and how all the airplanes were grounded? No one is taking a train off-course, Booby. It will always be on the tracks.

$140 million for something called "volcano monitoring."

They call it that because they monitor these potential hazards to life and limb we call volcanoes. Now you don't have any in the mucky cesspool that you are responsible for, but we have over 150 volcanoes in the United States, and many of them are near major population centers. I remember when Mount Saint Helens blew off one third of its mass and killed 57 people; we were lucky that it was the side facing away from the major population centers. Alaska alone has over 80 volcanic sites; and many of those could affect millions of people living around the Pacific by creating a tsunami if they erupt.

But Booby has more foot to chew:
Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt.

Unlike the Bush Adminstration, which grew the goverment, increased our taxes, and saddled future generations with debt. Or the Reagan Adminstration, which grew the government, increased our taxes, and saddled future generations with debt. Oh, and that's both Bush administrations, by the way, although the most recent Bush saddled us with more debt than his father and Reagan combined. The Republican congress of the Bush 42 era spent money like drunken sailors on a stolen Amex Platinum card, unimpeded by InCurious George.

Republicans shrink government and cut taxes? Not since Nixon!

On to health care. I used to work in the Health Care industry. I know quite a lot about it, as a result. So what's the GOP Boy Blunder's take?
To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in healthcare. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage -- period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage. What we oppose is universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by government bureaucrats.
You know who else shouldn't be making health car decisions? Accountants and stockholders, that's who. Our health care is overpriced for only one reason: we gave it to middle-men; the insurance industry. Any health care transaction should consist of exactly two parties: the patient, and the health-care provider. You want to reduce health care costs? Eliminate everything but catastrophic care coverage.

Funny, that doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere in his speech.

Ooh, next up is education; let's see what he has to say:
To strengthen our economy, we also need to make sure every child in America gets the best possible education. After Katrina, we reinvented the New Orleans school system, opening dozens of new charter schools, and creating a new scholarship program that is giving parents the chance to send their children to private or parochial schools of their choice.
[sniff sniff] Smells like vouchers to me.

Louisiana is still at the bottom of education rankings.

All voucher systems are inherently and fatally flawed; first, they pull money out of already cash-strapped public schools. Second, private schools, as privately-owned businesses, are under no legal obligation to accept students using vouchers to pay for all or part of the tuition. Third, schools do not have to keep under-acheiving children. Fourth, because they are private, they are not bound to the same systems of measurements as public schools; in other words, there is no evidence whatsoever that private schools actually do a better job of teaching; their success is more likely due to the fact that they only accept students who are already academic acheivers. All a voucher system really does is insure that those students who can't get into private schools will be stuck in schools that have been stripped of any chance at excellence.

Oh, but Booby is far from finished parading his idiocy!
To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana was said to be half under water, and the other half is under indictment. No one says that anymore.
Not since Katrina actually put half the state underwater, destroyed a lot of homes and left thousands dead, anyway.
Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation and today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past.
The corruption of...last year. This is supposed to impress anyone? "We've been honest for six months?" You are boasting about this?

Sheesh. I wonder if he was put up as the result of a bet? "Bet you don't have the guts to put the idiot in front of the cameras!" "oh yeah? How much?"
....dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years, or make deep cuts in funding for our troops.
Deep cuts? Who's calling for deep cuts? Wasn't it...Bobby Jindal? He was just calling for lower taxes and reduction in spending...so, if we're cutting taxes, but still spending billions on national defense that we don't actually have, we're passing on debt to our descendants...which Jindal was just slapping Democrats for doing. Hypocritical much, Booby?
Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say this: Our party is determined to regain your trust. We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share, the principles you elected us to fight for,
Actually, Booby, you guys lost the national election. We elected them. We chose their principles, not yours.

All that said, I do have to say that I'm not happy about the Stimulus bill. I'm frankly appalled that it was passed without anyone having had the opportunity to review the damned thing. If we're distributing so much money, I want rock-solid, understandable, and fair rules dictating how that money is going to be used. We should have created policy, not project lists.

But the fact remains that cutting taxes does not create jobs, nor does it reduce the debt that is the legacy of the Bush 42 Republican congress. It's the mantra of a party in the throes of senility, spewing forth from addled brains, punctuated with spittle and rife with dementia.

If Jindal is really the best the GOP can do, it's time they wiped the drool from their chins and admitted that the party of Lincoln is lost to us.

February 18, 2009

Dictionary Fun: Anonymity

The alignment of the stars juxtaposed against the limbo that occurs between the end of Football season and the start of Baseball season leads many otherwise sensible people to start tossing around the word "anonymity" as if they knew what they were talking about.

Basically, a bunch of people seem to think that bloggers who don't post under their actual name are posting anonymously, and thus are cowards or cretins (or worse) who should be ignored, if not actually run out of town on a rail.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Carlos Miller // Feb 16, 2009 at 8:51 PM

I believe a blogger who uses their real name has more credibility than those who blog anonymously because they stand more to lose by what they write.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that if you are writing a blog, you are not, by definition, anonymous. In fact, you can't be.

As always, we should start with that book that too few of us ever bother to open (because we arrogantly think we have already mastered our own language just because we grew up with it); The Dictionary.
anon·y·mous

Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Late Latin anonymus, from Greek anōnymos, from a- + onyma name — more at name
Date:
1631

1: not named or identified 2: of unknown origin 3: lacking individuality, distinction, or recognizability
If you author a blog, you may not be named, but you are identifiable: you are the person writing the blog. Eye on Miami, for example, is written by two distinct individuals. We do not know their names - we don't even know their gender! - but we know that every article was written either by Gimleteye or Genius Of Despair, and we even know which party wrote which article. The articles do not appear out of thin air; they were authored, and those authors are distinctive and recognizable.

It's our sloppy approach to language that causes us to miss this subtle distinction, but it's important, and it makes all the difference. If any piece of writing, or series of writings, can be attributed to a common individual, and a source of origin can be determined, its author is not anonymous.

So while many bloggers do not post under their given name (the one that appears on their identification), they do post under a name. And there is a word for that, and it's not "anonymous."
pseu·don·y·mous

Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Greek pseudōnymos
Date:
circa 1706

: bearing or using a fictitious name

And when you write pseudonymously, you write under a nom de plume, which translates to "pen name." Wikipedia does a fine job summing it up:
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his works, to protect the author from retribution for his writings, or for any of a number of reasons related to the marketing of the work. The author's name may be known only to the publisher, or may come to be common knowledge.
So using a pseudonym is in fact an old and respected tradition. Hardly lacking in integrity, someone posting pseudonymously is as worthy of respect as anyone.

CASE IN POINT

Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, was a respected scientist, journalist and publisher. He was widely know and respected for his writings. And yet, his first articles were published under another name:
Benjamin was very interested in his brother's newspaper and desperately wanted to help him write it. Unfortunately, he knew that James would not allow a fifteen year old boy to write articles. Benjamin thought of a plan. He would write under an anonymous pen-name and slip the articles under the door at night. He chose the name Silence Dogood. Articles written by Silence Dogood became very popular. People throughout Boston wanted to know who she was. She spoke out about issues abroad and the poor treatment of women.
- MrNussbaum.com
Years later, he again wrote under an assumed name; 'Richard Saunders,' a persona created by Franklin to be the author of Poor Richard's Almanac.

CASE IN POINT

Up until very recently, female writers did not get the same respect as men; while we now praise the Brontë sisters, they published as brothers under the names Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Out of Africa was written by Karen Blixen, but couldn't get a publisher interested until she attached the name Isak Dinesen to it.

And even in the last few years we find women hiding their gender: S. E. Hinton, D. C. Fontana, and even J. K. Rowling!

In a reverse twist, Charles Leslie McFarlane wrote the the earliest Nancy Drew mysteries, and even several of the Bobbsey Twins stories! Yet those books are still accredited to Carolyn Keene and Laura Lee Hope, respectively.


CASE IN POINT

Some authors choose to disguise collaborative efforts. Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay & Manfred B. Lee) is an example of that, as is Robert Randall (Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett).

CASE IN POINT

Many authors use different names when they write for different genres:
  • Nora Roberts writes romance novels, but wrote thrillers under JD Robb
  • Samuel Clemens is best know for his stories as Mark Twain, but he also authored under Sieur Louis de Conte.
  • Rev. Charles Dogsdon was a noted mathmetician, but is known to us as Lewis Carroll.

Some authors feel their names don't suit the material they produce: would you read a rugged western by Pearl Gray? Pearl didn't think so, and so we know him as Zane Grey.

CONCLUSION

If you are going to pound your chest in righteous indignation, you really ought to do the least amount of research to make sure that what you think you're saying is the same as what you actually are saying. A large number of theoretically literate people have been parading their ignorance as fact. Shame on them!

As we can clearly see, if you stake out a corner of the internet, create an identity for yourself, and post your beliefs, musings and rants and raves, you do so not 'anonymously,' but 'pseudonymously.' And writing under a pseudonym is an old and respectable tradition, practiced by some of the greatest journalists in history.

Are there examples of true anonymity in the blogosphere? Of course there are; all those twits and half-wits who leave unsigned comments appended to various blogs. Coconut Grove Grapevine has a bumper crop of those; mindless drivel, for the most part, contradictory missives all indistinctly appended "anonymous," making any sort of meaningful discussion impossible. The auhors are unknown, and un-knowable. We can't identify one "anonymous" from any other.

But - and this is the thing - they are not bloggers. Bloggers write blogs; readers merely read the blogs, and they are the ones that leave comments. You are not a blogger if all you do is leave comments on somene's blog. If you read a novel and write a comment in the margin, no one starts calling you a "novelist," do they?

February 13, 2009

Happy Hunting!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v465/pweifenbach/cupidshot.jpg







Remember when FPL asked for a rate increase?

Me, too.





Funny how that works, isn't it?  FPL says it needs more money to cover rising fuel costs, and they are posting a notable profit.  Just like after Katrina and Wilma, when a huge portion of their customer base wasn't getting any electricity at all and FPL had to spend tens of millions to repair the grid, and FPL still managed to turn a profit.  I wonder how they managed to do that?

In Defense of the Constitution of the United States

What's this about? Read THIS and THIS.

Val Prieto is one of a gang of online thugs who purport to be against Fidel Castro and his regime. Now that sounds all well and good, until you actually read their blog. Some of their theories are off the wall, and they lash out viciously at anyone who questions their theories, or offer up conflicting facts.

In fact, much of the South Florida blogging community believe that Val Prieto's behavior on the blog 'babalu' mimics that of Fidel Castro in many ways, and when you point this out to him his first response is a stream of invective, and his next response is to threaten a lawsuit.

I stand with Random Pixels, I stand for the First Amendment of the US Constitution, and I believe that dissent is necessary fora healthy democracy. Prieto doesn't care for the dissent that is a keystone of true democracy; so I don't care for Val Prieto. My instincts tell me that if Val Prieto supports it, it's probably not good for the US of A.

February 11, 2009

US Postal Service; Penny Foolish

http://www.adrianjournal.com/ajfiles/v1/newstamp.jpgThe United States Postal Service has announced that the cost of a first class stamp will be rising to 44 cents.

44 freaking cents. That's up from the equally mind-boggling stupid price of 43 cents. WTF?

Why didn't the simply make it 45 cents? It won't cost us that much more per year to mail in our tax refund checks, and it should mean that the USPS can go that much longer before they raise the rate again. Or maybe they could even return to 6 day delivery.

So why don't they do it? Because some turd-for-brains congress critters are protecting the penny. And it's costing us a lot of pennies.

Pennies, in case you didn't know, cost us taxpayers more than their face value to manufacture. And the only things you can spend them on are stamps and taxes.

http://www.coinlink.com/News/images/penny_nickel.jpg
It's not much, this extra cost, but every four pennies cost five cents to make. And because you can't buy anything for a penny, you end up with wads of them in your pockets, received as change for every single purchase you make. You try to spend them, but every other entity on the planet rounds their costs up to the nearest nickel. So 3 pennies becomes 9 pennies becomes 27 pennies, and so on.

Eventually, it's like a jingling copper-plated tumor on your thigh. You can't pay tolls with it, you can't put it in the vending machine or the parking meter (itself a crime against the taxpayer; your elected officials are charging you for parking in a space that your tax dollars bought and paid for, but that's another diatribe.).

You can't even buy a gumball for a penny anymore.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v666/JuliaErin/one%20time%20stuff%20for%20posting/coins2.jpgSo what do you do? You dump them out somewhere; a cup or a jar, and you shove it into a corner. Maybe you use a coffee can of pennies to prop open a door. Or it just sits in the garage, next to all the other crap you can't bear to throw away, but won't bring into the house.

What happens? The cashier runs out of pennies. Businesses complain that they are taking a loss, and the US Mint makes MORE pennies.

The US One Cent Piece: a Monument to Taxes and Government Excess.

February 8, 2009

Senator Stephen Wise? Senator IDIOT, really.

From the Jacksonville News:
Wise to introduce bill on intelligent design

Here's the thing: there is only one scientific theory on how we ended up with all the different kinds of animals on the planet. That's it, only one. Not one person in the last 140 years has come up with a scientific theory that has passed all the tests required of a scientific theory.

You've got the theory of evolution, and that's it for science. Every other explanation offered on the subject is based on articles of faith, and not the rigors of scientific study. And that includes "Intelligent Design," a bald-faced blatant re-tread of "creationism," which is basically a statement that the Christian Bible's Book of Genesis is the only place we need to look for evidence.

The Theory of Evolution is tested - and proven - every single day; it is the foundation of genetics research; it is a keystone of pharmaceutical development. It explains the failure of anti-biotics, and predicts how the flu virus changes every year. It guides research into birth defects, and our understanding of the human immune system.

And yet, we still have superstitious dingbat like Senator Stephen Wise, who is introducing a bill that will force teachers to hold a discussion of religious convictions if they are teaching actual science.

Wise explains his twisted logic thus:
"If you're going to teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking."
The problem is that there isn't "another side." It's like demanding that teachers discuss the alternatives to "2 plus 2 equals 4." There isn't one. Just as there isn't an "alternative" theory to the Theory of Evolution. There's only the one valid scientific theory, and a lot of religious beliefs.
“Someplace along the line you’ve got to be able to make a value judgment of what it is you think is the appropriate thing.”
Religious beliefs are fine; a lot of people have them. Native Americans, for instance, know that the world was created on the back of a giant turtle, floating in the ocean. The Great Spirit need a place to build The World, and the great turtle volunteered to carry it.

They also have a Creation story, one that explains how Man came to exist: and explains a lot more than Genesis ever did. It seems that when the Great Spirit created Man out of clay, He was too impatient to see how Man would turn out, and took the figure out of the kiln too soon. The first Man was arrogant and hateful and ran away to settle in Europe. The Great Spirit tried again, and this time He left Man in the kiln too long, and he burned. The black Man didn't like the land the Great Spirit provided, so he ran away to Africa. Finally, the Great Spirit tried again, and this time He got it just right, and the result was the perfectly bronze-red skin of the Native American.

So if the Sioux are correct, Senator Wise is only half-baked, and that's why he thinks it's a good idea to shove Sunday-school into our serious discussions of Science.

But Senator Wise isn't an idiot because he wants to force public schools to teach Christian doctrine; that only demonstrates that he's very poorly educated. He's an idiot because a Federal Court has already ruled that a law requiring inclusion of "Intelligent Design" is a violation of the Constitution.

Senator Wise is introducing a practice that has already been tested in the courts, and lost. It lost in a big way. And if Senator Wise somehow manages to bring this very bad proposition into law, it will be challenged, and taken to court, and the State will lose.

And you and I get to pay for it. On top of all the financial stimulus packages that will cost us billions but at least have the potential to do some good, Senator Wise is introducing a stupid law that will cost us millions of dollars to pay for a defense and we already know that the law is in violation of the US Constitution!

Florida Citizens for Science made this observation, and it's a good one:
You’re wrong again, Sen. Wise. It’s not about making value judgments. It’s about teaching science, and the Pennsylvania case determined without a doubt that intelligent design is devoid of any real science.
Contact your representatives and senators. Remind them that Intelligent Design isn't science, and make them aware that this kind of law has already been ruled un-Constitutional in Federal Court. We can't afford a bone-headed law like the one Senator Wise has proposed.

February 6, 2009

Caylee's Defense Team Offers Lame Defense

Apparently, Casey Anthony's attorneys went to the Perry Mason school of law; they watch too much television. That's the only way I can explain their completely ludicrous comparison of Casey Williams to a fictional TV character.

That's right, her lawyers claim that Casey Anthony is a real-life Richard Kimble, the lead character in the 1960's TV show The Fugitive. Harrison Ford reprised the role in the film of the same name.

First, let's look at the fictional case of Dr. Richard Kimble:

Kimble and his wife have an argument, and he leaves to cool down, almost running down a one-armed man. Hours later, he comes home to find his house wide open and his wife murdered. The police show up and find him holding his dead wife, and he's arrested for the murder. They find no evidence of the One-Armed Man, and it's doubtful they even looked very hard, given the witnesses who saw Kimble and his wife argue on several occasions.

He's convicted of her murder, but an accident sets him free. Does he run off and start a new life, free of the ol' ball and chain? No, he spends all his time trying to find his wife's true killer.

So now let's look at what we know of Casey Anthony's case:

Her daughter, Caylee, seems to have dropped out of sight around June 10, 2008. Casey's parents asked their daughter about it, and she replied that Caylee was with a friend. It was several weeks later, in July, before she finally claimed that a baby sitter had absconded with Caylee back in June, and only then were the police were informed.

Casey claims she was doing her own investigation during that time. But not one person she was with ever heard her claim the child was missing. Not her new boyfriend, with whom she stayed for several weeks after Caylee seems to have disappeared. Not her best friend, with whom she was going to move in with, and from whom she stole several hundred dollars.

Over a month after her daugher disappeared, she led the police to an apartment she claimed had belonged to her daughter's nanny: not only did no one by that name live at that apartment, no one had lived in that apartment at all for 4 months. She stated that she had tried to call the babysitter, but there was no answer. When asked, she couldn't supply the phone number to the police; she didn't know it. She did point out a building that she said her 20-something nanny had lived in before: it turned out to be a "seniors only" facility.

She told police that she had met the nanny at work; Universal Studios. The nanny also sat for a co-worker, Jeff Hopkins. Her other co-worker Juliette Lewis would remember. But the police discovered that Casey had been fired two years previously, and that the other two had never worked there, if they even existed.

Fictional Kimball supplied information to the police before his trial, the police weren't able to go anywhere with it.

Real-life Casey supplied information to the police, and it's all been revealed to be flat-out lies.

No, Casey Anthony's case is nothing like The Fugitive's.

February 5, 2009

Unclear On the Concept: The G.A.O.

Miami Herald: Broadcasts to Cuba Questioned.

Generally, I approve of the GAO (General Accounting Office). Their mission is laudable: to keep track of our government's expenditures and make sure that our money is being spent in a manner beneficial to the taxpayer. They find and eliminate waste.

Currently, they're reviewing Radio and TV Martí, the government funded news source being directed at Cuba. Why? In theory, we're using facts to undermine Castro's propaganda machine, but in practice we end up simply countering their lies and distortions with our own lies and distortions
Although the GAO report states that programming has improved and praised its management, it said broadcasts are often biased and fail to adhere to journalistic standards.
And if this was an article about journalistic integrity, I wouldn't need to write this.

No, it's the other part of the GAO report that I find questionable:
Last year, less than 1 percent of people surveyed said they had listened to Radio Martí in the past week, said the study by the Government Accountability Office, the investigating arm of Congress.
And how, you might wonder, was this survey conducted? After all, Cuba is a strict dictatorship, run by a tyrant who doesn't approve of the United States. The GAO can't hardly send over a team of pollsters to knock on doors in Havana. Nielsen has a zero presence over there.

So how did the GAO determine if anyone listens to Radio Martí? They called up 1200 people who were approved by the government of Cuba to receive telephone service, and asked these government approved people over the government-monitored telephone lines if these select Cuban citizens broke Cuban law by listening to propganda issued by Cuba's declared Enemy Number One.

Of course, you could also ask the Cubans who've just left, and yes, the GAO did that, too:
But the same report said nearly half of new Cuban arrivals to the United States said they had listened to the broadcasts in the past six months.
So just to be clear: half the people who got out from under Castro's oppression report that they had listened to Radio Martí, versus 1% of the 1200 state-approved Cuban citizens. (I suspect that the 1% were members of the Secret Police, hoping to setup some kind of sting operation).

That's not to say that Radio and TV Martí isn't wasting millions of dollars; it absolutely is. After all, there really aren't that many TVs in Cuba, and TV signals are much easier to disrupt. And while even a thirty year old transistor radio has an earplug, anyone peeking in your window can see what's playing on your TV. Stupid to be caught watching US propaganda.

And even if you decide that broadcasting TV is worth it, compare the costs to operations at WLRN, which also runs both a radio and a TV station.

But that's the subject for another post at another time; I'm just pointing out that doing a phone survey over a heavily wire-tapped line that serves only citizens approved by the state is unlikely to reveal much about Radio and TV Martí patronage.