• comment on a post The Dirty Secret About Presidential Elections over 5 years ago

    ...that the Democratic party is corporate-funded, doesn't make it true.

    Corporations cannot give money to political candidates.  They can, however, form PACs to do so.  Barack Obama and the DNC do not take one red cent from corporate PACs.  John McCain and the RNC are utterly dependent on them.

    John McCain:  Has taken untold millions from corporations.

    Barack Obama:  Has taken exactly zero dollars and zero cents from corporations.

    This insidious lie that the Democrats are no better than Republicans, which is what you're feeding into, must stop.  It is that lie which lost Al Gore the election.  It is that lie which has given us eight years of George Bush, seven years of war, thousands of American soldiers dead, our economy ruined, our international reputation in shambles, and edged our species this much closer to destruction due to unchecked global climate change.

    But sure, enjoy your sanctimonious "don't blame me, I voted Nader" paranoia.  Keep telling yourself that you've struck a blow to the evil corporatist Democrats who are no better than the evil corporatist Republicans.  When we elect Barack Obama, it'll just make it all the sweeter to prove you wrong.

    And for the record?  A debate with five participants would be a circus.  Nobody would be able to get to any substantive information.  Just look at the early primary debates.  I'm quite glad that McKinney, Nader, and Barr are excluded, because I'd like the debates to actually be meaningful rather than just another clusterfuck sideshow.

    Step 1: push for instant run-off voting.  Until you've succeeded at that first step, your advocacy for the least of three evils is doing nothing but helping the worst of them.

  • comment on a post Obama failure is not currently assured... over 5 years ago

    Bill Clinton cut taxes on all but the upper 2% of Americans.  Much like Obama has pledged to do.  Obama has spoken very highly of Bill Clinton's economic policies in Audacity of Hope, and has pledged to return to PAYGO.

    But please, continue starting from the preconceived notion that Obama is disrespecting and ignoring Bill and shaping your worldview around that.


    Stand up.   Cast Biden aside.  Embrace Hillary as VP and pledge to Channel SuperBill for 4 years.

    ...may be the most sexist and disrespectful comment I've seen towards Senator Clinton in months.  She is not defined by her husband, they are not a package deal.

  • comment on a post The Independents over 5 years ago

    Rasmussen weights their poll based on party ID so that they can get a representative sample.

    And yet they also make conclusions about party ID from the pre-weighted sample, which they've already decided is not representative.

    That's pretty odd.  Pollster.com has an exact tie at the moment, we'll see where it goes.

  • comment on a post Today's Other Polls: It's Tied over 5 years ago

    But at some point, the negativity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as thousands of people decide "well it's over, we can't win, so I might as well stop working, stop donating, not even turn out to vote."

    People.  It was one poll.

    One fucking poll.

    Here's a reminder of basic statistics:

    When a poll says that McCain has 54% support and Obama has 44% support with a 3% margin of error, just as an example...  This means:

    With a 95% probability, McCain's support is between 51% and 57%, and Obama's support is between 41% and 47%.

    With a 5% probability, the true numbers are outside of those ranges.

    It just happens--the way we calculate statistics and margins of error, we accept that an average of one out of every twenty polls is absolutely and totally wrong.  The only way to determine which polls are right or wrong is to synthesize many polls looking at the same data and examine smoothed-out trends over time.

  • comment on a post Obama Backing Away From Repealing Bush Tax Cuts? over 5 years ago

    ...says that you cut taxes in a recession and raise taxes in an expansion.

    Obama is a neo-Keynesian.  That means demand-side economics used to even out the natural rises and falls of the business cycle.

    Reagan, Bush, et al., are closer to (ironically) the Chicago school of economics which says that you cut taxes in a recession and you also cut them in an expansion, and you cut them any other time you can, too.  This causes long-term financial instability (like the housing bubble) that, after a strong period of expansion, collapses into a severe recession.  Rather than smoothing the business cycle, it exaggerates it.

    Unfortunately, Bush has left us in a very precarious position.  We have a huge debt and huge deficits, and we also have a tanking economy.  Obama is faced with a conundrum--try to save the tanking economy by keeping taxes low, or try to save the deficit by letting the economy tank?

  • "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley--or, more famously, "Rickroll."  Search Youtube.

  • on a comment on The Race is Already Over over 5 years ago

    Oh, and I should further add, when Lichtman says this:

    a robust system that has endured through momentous changes in the electorate, the economy, the society, and the technology of elections

    ...I have a feeling the "momentous changes in the electorate, the economy, the society, and the technology of elections" he's referring to are not what have occurred since 1980.  He's referring to what's occurred since 1860, which is the earliest data point he examined when making his model.

    That's some clever sleight of hand, because it isn't true.  In order to say that your model has endured since 1860, you have to show that the model you would have created if you only had 1860's data would survive the test of time until today.

    As a matter of fact, it's likely that if he looked only at 1860 to 1920, say, then there would have been some deficiency located between 1920 and 1980 that broke his model, but that he was able to smooth out by looking at the full 1860 to 1980 range.

    He's saying it's "endured" those 120 years because it verifies the exact same 31 elections that he used to build the model.  That's simply not how science is done.

    In computer science, for example, when you want to test out the effectiveness of a pattern recognizer, you take a set of known data, and split it up into a training set and a verification set; then you train the model on the training set, and test on the verification set.  You never, ever, ever test on the training set, because that tells you nothing about predictive value towards unknown data points.

    My professors wouldn't accept that in an undergrad term paper, nevermind a published work.  Again, not science.

  • on a comment on The Race is Already Over over 5 years ago

    Quoting from that paper:

    In the statistical test of our conclusions we reject the simplest competing hypothesis--that the outcome of an election is independent of our dignosis of the situation.  We neither claim that other parameters cannot be used for the same purpose nor suggest methods for predicting future elections.

    Their paper shows that they've created a model that can account for the 31 elections between 1860 and 1980 more accurately than random chance, but which has no predictive value and may or may not be better or worse than any other similar political model.  Bravo.  That's a very low bar to have set for themselves.

    I'll concede: it's very lazy science, but it's science.

    Quoting from an article by Lichtman in 2007 (emphasis mine):

    The election for president is more than a year away. Neither major party has as yet chosen a nominee. Yet the results of the 2008 election are already in: the Democrats will recapture the White House next fall


    This good news for Democrats and grim news for Republicans comes from the "Keys to the White House," a historically based prediction system that I developed in 1981, in collaboration with Volodia Keilis-Borok, an authority on the mathematics of prediction models.


    The keys, however, are a robust system that has endured through momentous changes in the electorate, the economy, the society, and the technology of elections. It is unlikely that any contingency will alter the negative verdict on the party in power.

    That is not science.  That is overselling the conclusions of your paper.  And in fact, it's suggesting that their predictions are foolproof, which is beyond the realm of science to prove.  Science can only say "this model fits the data we know of now."  Science cannot say "it is unlikely that there will ever be new data that disproves this model."  Any "scientist" who tells you that is trying to sell you something.

  • comment on a post The Race is Already Over over 5 years ago

    Not science.  The basic concept is sound, certainly--find a system that fits existing data and then test it against new observations to see if it can correctly predict.

    However, we have had so very few Presidential elections that anything based on them is not statistically significant.  That's why political pollsters ask hundreds or thousands of people for their opinions, not just a few dozen.

    And the elections since 1984 is an even smaller sampling--there have only been 6 elections in that timeframe.

    Look at it this way--if I just grabbed a coin and flipped it, I could correctly predict all the elections since 1984 with a 1 in 64 chance.  In other words, if I got myself and 63 of my closest friends together, and we all flipped coins and compared our results to the elections since 1984, odds are at least one of us will match the data.

    It doesn't mean that person has a magic coin that can predict elections.

    Nate over at fivethirtyeight has a pretty good explanation why political superstitions are useless.

  • on a comment on McCain won the convention bounce over 5 years ago

    Rational dissent is perfectly acceptable.  Discussion of what difficulties we face and how to overcome them, certainly.

    But this entire diary is doing nothing but grading McCain on a curve.  Admittedly.  The DNC convention was perfect; the RNC convention sucked, but it could have sucked worse.  Therefore McCain won.


    Here's what pollster.com has to say about the trends:

    Somehow, I'm not too worried.  Yes, the daily tracking polls are showing a slight nudge in McCain's direction after the convention, but Obama is still ahead and still trending up.

    In order for the Republican convention to have been a success, it needed to put McCain ahead and/or start trending Obama down.  It has done neither.  It was, therefore, an abject failure.

  • on a comment on not so sure about mccain anymore over 5 years ago

    That does not removes from Barack the job of winning her supporters.  He's our candidate and he's obligated to do his very best to win, and however he may feel personally about HIllary and Bill it's time for him to admit Bill's no racist and to remind voters of the gains we made when Bill was president, and it's time for him to admire Hillary's intelligence and acumen and consult with her on how to win her supporters and how to debate John.

    Anna, that is exactly what Obama did, several times, during the course of the convention.  From his acceptance speech:

    Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it ...

    We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

    And if getting them both to speak at the convention isn't consulting their acumen, I'm not sure what is.

    As for the last bit, neither Barack Obama nor his campaign ever accused Bill or Hillary Clinton of being racists.  Donna Brazille and Jesse Jackson, Jr., did on a couple occasions accuse them of playing the race card--not being racists, but appealing to racists.  But Bill Clinton himself accused Obama of the same thing in those exact words.

    Tempers get hot in close campaigns, but Obama and the Clintons have moved on.  It's time for all of us to do the same.

  • Because OH has bad demographs for BO.  It is a state he didnt do very well in in the primary ...

    Primary and general election are not the same thing.

    Obama lost New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California--some of them quite badly--but do you expect him not to do well there in the general election?  Hillary Clinton won Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas, would she have won there?  Obama won Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho by large margins, is he performing favorably there?

    Hillary Clinton won Hispanics by a huge margin over Obama, but Obama's getting Hispanic support by a 2:1 margin over McCain.

    Primary performance has absolutely nothing to do with general election performance.

    ... and Kerry lost OH by something like 130,000 votes.  And OH was a mess in 2004.

    And 2008 is not 2004.  Our economy is doing much, much worse, and Bush's popularity as well as the Republican party's as a whole is in the tank.

    And I think it unlikely he will win NV.  It is more conservative than CO and is really into Guns and BO is very much on the wrong side of that issue.

    So in Ohio it's about demographics not issues, but in Nevada it's about issues not demographics? :P  McCain is winning the white demographic slightly.  Obama is winning the Hispanic demographic overwhelmingly.

    And McCain plans to construct 45 new nuclear plants, which will greatly increase the pressure to open Yucca Mountain.  That's a losing issue in Nevada.

  • on a comment on John McCain's Path to Victory over 5 years ago

    Nope.  They're committed now.

    If they play Indian-giver with the VP spot, they'll lose the Evangelicals who suddenly got excited that Palin was selected.  Without the social conservatives and religious right, McCain cannot win this election.  As has been pointed out in other diaries, undecideds are rapidly collapsing, and we're now in a battle of turn-out, not of swing voters.

  • Why, exactly, do you think we won't carry OH and NV?

    Ohio is dominated by economic issues.  Foreign policy, terrorism, Iraq, social issues, they all take a back seat to the economy.  And economics is where we have our strongest support.

    And Nevada, demographically, is full to the brim with Hispanics who are consistently favoring Obama 2:1 over McCain.

  • I want Barack Obama's first SOTU to say: "Ladies and gentlemen, Senators and Representatives, Mr. Vice President, my fellow Americans: The state of the Union is completely in the shitter.  We've got work to do."

    I'm sick and tired of hearing how the state of the Union is good every damn year when we know it isn't.


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