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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OTP November 2012 - Moneypoll! The Pundits vs. The Election-Data Nerds

Come next Tuesday night, we’ll get a resolution (let’s hope) to a great ongoing battle of 2012: not just the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the one between the pundits trying to analyze that race with their guts and a new breed of statistics gurus trying to forecast it with data.

In Election 2012 as seen by the pundits–political journalists on the trail, commentators in cable-news studios–the campaign is a jump ball. There’s a slight lead for Mitt Romney in national polls and slight leads for Barack Obama in swing-state polls, and no good way of predicting next Tuesday’s outcome beyond flipping a coin. ...

Bonus link: Esquire - The Enemies of Nate Silver

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 11298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mr president, off-topic, politics, sabermetrics, usa

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   2401. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4293920)
As people are noting, Nate is making two different predictions:

(1) that Obama will get (using Larry's updated numbers from 2378) 50.9% PV and 314.4 EV
(2) that Obama has a 91.4% chance of winning

#1 can be validated. #2 cannot be.

#2 cannot be validated now, and it certainly can't be validated for a random day during the campaign.


True, but my sense of the number is that:

Mathematically / historically, he's looking at past elections that showed similar conditions (not identical, because that's impossible), and running sims to see what happened. Obviously there's a potential GIGO problem, but so far his track record's been pretty good.

(One side note to this would be that in the long run, 15% of his 85-15 projections at any given point should turn out "incorrect," because if that's not the case, he should have projected those races at closer to 100-0.)

And from a marketing POV, he's using that number to give a quick glance of the likelihood of the outcome. At this point you're right that the outcome of any one election doesn't really prove anything (though if he gets his other projections right**, that would add to his rep), but if he sticks around for awhile and projects enough other races at similar outcome percentages, at some point we'll have a sample size that'll start to give us more to go on.

**PV percentage and EV total, plus the state-by-state calls and percentages
   2402. tshipman Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4293921)
I think all the whining about Silver in the MSM actually builds his brand. That's part of the reason why he's encouraging it.

***

Can we take a moment to talk about what a bad choice Paul Ryan was for VP? Not that he necessarily cost Romney votes, but rather than he wasn't Marco Rubio. Romney needed two things from his VP pick: he needed to pick up a couple points in the state of his choice, and he needed to shore up crucial demographics. If Romney was two points ahead in Florida, it would look a lot like North Carolina right now. Romney cannot lose Florida. Cannot. And picking Ryan over Rubio means that Florida is in play rather than likely Romney.

Colossal error from a strategy perspective.
   2403. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4293922)
When does the pundit version of Moneyball get published and who plays Nate Silver in the Oscar Bait adaptation?
   2404. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4293923)
The fact that he was the noble, good guy doesn't change the fact that one mistake and Ned Stark loses his head. This ain't Yahtzee!


Did you mean Nerd Stark?
   2405. DA Baracus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4293924)
Well, I'm randomly in New Jersey again this week, and my flight home tomorrow lands about 6:00ish. I never got over to early voting, so there's a reasonable chance I don't get to the polls before 7:00 tomorrow night. So GA may have one less voter despite the fact that I'm obviously engaged politically.


I'll commit voter fraud for you just for the fun of it.
   2406. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4293925)
Oh man, regardless of electoral prescience Nate is going to go down as one of the all time great trolls in history. The crying from the pundictocracy is reaching Sandy-esque levels.


Well, I will say that Silver certainly has shown a knack for bringing out the stupid in people.
   2407. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4293927)
the governor ran a solid campaign.
Whoa. What? That's the first time I've heard this. Romney's sluggish start allowed Obama to define him as an out-of-touch, screw-the-workers businesscreep; Ryan has turned out to be a weak enough pick that he's not allowed to do interviews; Romney ran away from his record as Governor of Massachusetts, even after winning the nomination. It's hard to argue that has worked well when his volte-face in the debate towards his moderate past was the only real swing in his favor.

I'll grant that his sudden pretense of being a moderate caught Obama flat-footed in the first debate, but once the novelty of that head fake faded Romney had nothing more to offer. Nothing. He was unable to keep the campaign focused on the economy, and in what most people believe is a weak economy (in the context of 2008 it really isn't) he hasn't made a legitimate case for why he voters should vote for him. The lack of specificity of his campaign, even in the context of Presidential campaigns, is breathtaking. I mean, we know that's in part because his policies will simply lead to an ever greater siphoning of wealth to the richest Americans, and we know that pretending ever increasing tax cuts will eventually result in magical revenue increases is nonsense--in short, he has no workable economic platform to run on. Even Romney doesn't believe his 'plan' will reduce the deficit. Still, politicians have been selling soap bubbles for centuries, and Romney hasn't been at all effective in that regard.

When 17 of your 24 foreign policy guys are Bush II retreads, I guess the safest course in the third debate really was, 'me too!'

But, maybe you're right. Maybe, given that he had almost nothing to work with, and so little to offer, he ran a stellar campaign. After all, he's close.

Nate's model is unfalsifiable. People's religious-level belief in Nate's model is what's deserving of the "creationist" label.
Karl Rove would be proud.

Rasmussen has Wisconsin as a tossup state. Desperate times.
   2408. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4293928)
The crying from the pundictocracy is reaching Sandy-esque levels.
Read two takedowns of that Gerson piece while out walking - what a tool. Starts with Nate than rips on political science:
The current mania for measurement is a pale reflection of modern political science. Crack open most political science journals and you’ll find a profusion of numbers and formulas more suited to the study of physics.
   2409. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4293929)
Brandon McCarthy ?@BMcCarthy32
Usually I heat up a hot pocket and pick my belly button at halftime but I guess tonight I'll make my choice for leader of the free world?
   2410. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4293930)
The fact that he was the noble, good guy doesn't change the fact that one mistake and Ned Stark loses his head. This ain't Yahtzee!

Did you mean Nerd Stark?

He could mean Ned Sparks?
   2411. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 05, 2012 at 10:58 PM (#4293931)
If Romney was two points ahead in Florida, it would look a lot like North Carolina right now.


But if Romney was two points ahead in Florida, he'd still be losing, because NC + FL doesn't get him to 270. I think what he might have been hoping for with Ryan was that a boost in Wisconsin might spread to other similar Midwestern states - Iowa, Ohio, and, in a Romney's wildest-dream-world, Minnesota and Michigan. If the polling is right, Ohio is going to end up being Romney's Waterloo, in which case maybe Portman might have made more sense, but I can see the logic of making a play for the Midwest in general. I also think the thinking with Ryan was to lock up the notion that "we're the serious guys on the budget and the economy". I'm not sure that was such a bad strategy - it's obviously Obama's biggest vulnerability, and even if Romney-Ryan ends up losing, I don't think that automatically means Romney ran a bad campaign filled with bad decisions. Incumbent Presidents have a pretty big starting edge; just ask John Kerry.

In retrospect, I'm not arguing Ryan was a GOOD choice for VP (unless Ryan ends up winning WI, IA, and OH, and, with it, the election), but I don't know that he was an especially bad one, and I'm much less sure than you that there was a better option out there, be it Rubio or anybody else.
   2412. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4293933)
My sentiments exactly, though it's multiplied a thousandfold when it's a Floridian who voted for Nader in 2000.

Right. Because voting for the guy that best represents your views is exactly like not voting at all.

If Al wanted those votes, he should have convinced the voters he was better than Nader. Shouldn't have been hard to do.


Or maybe those Nader voters should have used about 2% of their God-given brain and realized that little things like Supreme Court and regulatory commission appointments (just to name a few) might have more long range effect on our country's future than the pride that comes with preserving one's political / ideological purity.

---------------------------------------

Although sympathetic to Jolly Old's umbrage, I agree with this substantially. Vote your mind and heart. And both the candidate who coveted the vote and the voter who didn't get his first or second choice should take the consequent regret as a learning experience. I voted for Nader, but Gore had no chance in my state, and if he had, I would have definitely voted for him.

Look, if it's a non-swing state, then sure, vote for anyone you want without any sense of guilt. My trainload of scorn was directed solely at those Florida voters who professed to despise Bush, voted for Nader, and then started pis#ing and moaning about Bush's court appointments or any of his other actions that a sentient five year old could have foreseen during the campaign. If I saw one of those people hitchhiking on the Alaska Highway in January, I'd toss them a Nader sticker and tell them to use it as a blanket. I'd feel more sense of solidarity with a Buchanan voter.
   2413. Lassus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:06 PM (#4293937)
I've stopped rooting for Obama and started rooting for Nate.
   2414. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4293938)
James Buchanan?

   2415. spycake Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4293939)
Joe K and David: did you guys show up on ZIPS threads and crap on Dan for giving those ODDIBE percentages too? How do we know Corey Patterson ever had a 1% chance at 40 HR?

As long as there have been elections, or any contests, there have been people predicting the outcomes. Nate is doing that in politics by a slightly different method (and by giving percentage odds for potential outcomes, he's presenting his predictions in a bit different way too). I really don't understand what you're objecting to about the whole thing.
   2416. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4293940)
Maybe I expressed myself a little too elliptically.

Many people who vote for third party candidates don't care which of the two major contenders wins. If that is so, then they are almost morally obligagted to vote their number one choice, I think. This applies whether it's Nader or Eugene Debs or George Wallace.
   2417. zonk Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4293941)

Can we take a moment to talk about what a bad choice Paul Ryan was for VP? Not that he necessarily cost Romney votes, but rather than he wasn't Marco Rubio. Romney needed two things from his VP pick: he needed to pick up a couple points in the state of his choice, and he needed to shore up crucial demographics. If Romney was two points ahead in Florida, it would look a lot like North Carolina right now. Romney cannot lose Florida. Cannot. And picking Ryan over Rubio means that Florida is in play rather than likely Romney.


The base wanted Paul Ryan.

Plus - I don't think Ryan was all that bad of a choice, but I think he does have the profile to help in places like PA and OH... midwestern guy, Catholic, etc. Maybe Rubio gets him Florida, maybe not.

If it were me, yeah - I'd have taken Rubio (but much, much to chip away -- even if a point or two -- at the chasm in the Latino numbers)... but I think Ryan was a perfectly cromulent #2.

The base liked him and I think to the extent he can help in states of a certain profile, he does.

Now... frankly, I think Paul Ryan is a bit overrated as this 'wonk' who can explain the GOP budget and how it would work... but that's probably the partisan me speaking.
   2418. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4293942)
I've stopped rooting for Obama and started rooting for Nate.


I also. And if he and his method are vindicated, I hope he leads with the heading: Suck It.
   2419. spycake Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4293943)
Also, this thread has made me realize the good fortune Dan had to root for the Orioles, as he could establish his projection system's lack of bias by (correctly) predicting them to be crap every year.
   2420. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4293944)
Great work on that guide, zonk.
   2421. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4293945)
James Buchanan?

Nah, Pat. And that's only because I met him a few times in my shop and he struck me as being a fairly jovial sort of Papist troglodyte. The morning after Clinton's second election he showed up at opening time and the first thing he said was "Well, they can't blame that one on me!" I can't come down too hard on someone like that, in spite of everything he stands for.
   2422. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4293946)
ya'know, guys might have been approached about vp and taken a pass. it isn't a given that someone accepts

   2423. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4293947)
The morning after Clinton's second election he showed up at opening time and the first thing he said was "Well, they can't blame that one on me!" I can't come down too hard on someone like that, in spite of everything he stands for.

He could have quoted Mo Udall: "The voters have spoken...the bastards."
   2424. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4293949)
Fearless Poll Predictions:

Obama 303 Romney 235
Romney pips Obama in Florida. Hooray for vote suppression!

Senate D 53 include those who caucus with them
House D+6

I really don't understand what you're objecting to about the whole thing.
Yes you do. We all do.

I'm getting more ads for Obama in NY in the last three days than the last three months. I guess if you've saturated the swing states it makes sense to try to boost turnout and make sure you hit the 50% mark. It's a nice, warm, fuzzy ad. No mention of whatshisname at all.

Top 3 Reasons Republicans Will Say They Lost:

1. Sandy
2. Insufficiently conservative nominee
3. Christie, that traitorous bastard
   2425. DKDC Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM (#4293950)
I've met a few people with strongly partisan views who actually don't bother to vote because their individual vote is so unlikely to affect the outcome. Free riders, you might say. Most non-voters are more politically disengaged, at least according to conventional wisdom. You can make a case that it's actually a good thing that a fair number of people don't think their lives will be affected much if the "wrong" party takes power.


These all sort of describe me. I have very strong political views but I don't like politicians and I have a hard time throwing my support behind any one egomaniacal windbag. I don't think that who gets elected tomorrow will have much impact on the overall direction of the country - presidents and congress and even the supreme court will all probably get blown in the direction of popular opinion like they always do.

Mathematically, I know my vote is just a waste of time. The chances that my vote will decide any race is minuscule, and although the sacrifice is small, I have plenty of other things I'd rather do with that half hour. With a tireless toddler in the home, I'll use that extra time to sleep in and ask the wife to snag me an "I voted" sticker to cover my late arrival at work.

Im not philosophically opposed to voting. This will be the first presidential election I haven't voted in since I turned 18. But the cost benefit just didn't add up this year.
   2426. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4293951)
I think Paul Ryan is a bit overrated as this 'wonk' who can explain the GOP budget and how it would work


Wasn't the big thing a month ago all about how he couldn't give any examples of tax changes and that it was "too complicated" to talk about?

   2427. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4293952)
dkdc

disappointing to hear
   2428. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:24 PM (#4293953)
Maybe I expressed myself a little too elliptically.

Many people who vote for third party candidates don't care which of the two major contenders wins. If that is so, then they are almost morally obligagted to vote their number one choice, I think. This applies whether it's Nader or Eugene Debs or George Wallace.


In Debs' five campaigns, both of the major party candidates were always full blown capitalists who were energetic supporters of the status quo. With Wallace, both major party candidates supported the civil rights laws and school integration. With Nader, the major party candidates had vast differences on the whole concept of government's role, and if Nader hadn't been such a ####### prima donna, he would have been the first one to acknowledge it. He's gone from being a serious gadfly and reformer to being little more than the Harold Stassen of the Left, whose tombstone should read: Ralph Nader. Florida 2000. RIP.
   2429. Tilden Katz Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:24 PM (#4293955)
Top 3 Reasons Republicans Will Say They Lost:


One of the right wing journos postulated that America would feel too guilty to vote out a black man. Think it was Will, but I'm not sure.
   2430. zonk Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4293958)
I love voting.

The only time I've done absentee was 2004 - because I trekked to Iowa for the day - ordinarily, I always like to vote day of. In fact, while attending college in Illinois in 1994 - I actually drove to Indiana (where I was still registered) to vote... fat lot of good that did, but still.

I love to print out the sample ballots, go in with the ABA's qualified/not qualified list for judges, and hunt around for various voting guides.

I have no grand illusions that I'm punching chads for the most awesomest slate of leaders ever up and down the ballot, and I likewise know I'm making some 'lesser of two evils' choices. I understand the math. I likewise know, however much I might wish for different outcomes - the alternatives winning aren't signaling end times.

But I still think it matters, I still think it's important, and I still feel like a patriot when I do.
   2431. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4293959)
This applies whether it's Nader or Eugene Debs or George Wallace.
Wallace giving his VP slot to Curtis LeMay remains inexplicable.
   2432. robinred Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4293960)
Think it was Will, but I'm not sure.


Sounds like him.
   2433. Johnny Temporary Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4293961)
It's simply not possible to prove that Romney or Obama had X percent chance of winning as of May 12, 2012, or September 10, 2012, or even November 4, 2012. You can trust that the model was right, but you can't prove it.


Well then, when Nate has forecasted enough election (Pres/Primaries/Governors/Senators etc)
someone can look back at all his September forecasts- take very race he forecast someone to win 60 to 70% of the time -

If the guys that Nate forecasts to win between 60-70% of the time actually went on to win 60-70% of the time- that's evidence that his model is good

if Nate's leader ends up winning 80% or more, or 50% or less, that's evidence his model doesn't work very well.

Nate's model is theoretically falsifiable, but you all are gonna have to wait for a larger sample size.

Another thing- would those people tied up in knots over a 83.7 to 16.3% forecast (false precision!!) be happy if Nate instead of saying 83.7% said, "between 75 and 90%?"






   2434. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4293962)
With Nader, the major party candidates had vast differences on the whole concept of government's role,
No, they had trivial differences. There was/is a vast difference between Ron Paul's conception of government's role and Al Gore's. There was a tiny difference between Bush's and Gore's.
   2435. Howie Menckel Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4293964)
"I had three separate book shops in the DC area between 1984 and 2006, and Barone used to come in a lot to the one I had in Georgetown, mostly to fill out his collection of 1930's state guides. I don't remember much of anything about his political opinions then, but in terms of political knowledge it was like talking baseball with a combination of Bill James and Fred Lieb."

Jolly Old St. Nick, and I assume you have other better-known names here, I really respect this observation. Even moreso iirc coming from a different political viewpoint than Barone.

A couple of snipers already dinged the "people are complicated" observation, which is interesting.

I noted earlier that my mind doesn't really keep track of who says what (I got ripped on a different board a month ago for not using 'reply with quote.' To me, a point is a point, and it doesn't matter who makes it. Some of the pushback felt like, 'well, how I can I know to agree or disagree if I don't know who said it' - which strikes me as bizarre).

Anyway, I'll likely forget who authored the anecdote above in less than a week, so I at least ought to tip my cap before I lose track.

   2436. villageidiom Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4293966)
The base wanted Paul Ryan.
Four years ago I had the notion that McCain wanted Lieberman, but the party threatened to start a convention fight to take the nomination away from him if he did; and McCain, not wanting to see his best chance at the Presidency stopped, caved in to their demands and quickly sought out someone to appeal to the base. I know I'm not alone in that assessment.

This year I didn't get that sense with Romney. Maybe it's because he had a VP picked earlier; maybe it's because Ryan wasn't completely unanticipated as a VP candidate. But I suppose one could argue something similar: that Romney was convinced to take a VP candidate who would appeal to the base, else risk losing the nomination. I don't think that was the case.

But if Romney was two points ahead in Florida, he'd still be losing, because NC + FL doesn't get him to 270.
If Rubio got him FL, then he could have diverted resources from Florida to Ohio and elsewhere. Might still not get him to 270, but it seems more optimal.
   2437. Morty Causa Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4293967)
2428:

Not to flog this to death, but Nader's claim that both parties are in the thralldom of big corporations/big money seems alive and well here on the net. And that many if not most people treat political contests like football contest (my team--yah/your team--booourns) substantiates that their isn't much thought given to issues.
   2438. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4293968)
vast differences on the whole concept of government's role


Which guy gave us a Medicare prescription drug benefit? Even with the benefit of hindsight I still don't see borrow-and-spend Bush being that different than tax-and-spend Gore.
   2439. zenbitz Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:46 PM (#4293969)
Im calling it now


.
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.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
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Giants in 4
/man from two weeks ago
   2440. tshipman Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:47 PM (#4293970)
There was/is a vast difference between Ron Paul's conception of government's role and Al Gore's. There was a tiny difference between Bush's and Gore's.


Tell that to all the Iraqis who died.
   2441. Johnny Temporary Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4293971)
oh this is rich- Christie is rather famously a Bruce Springsteen fan- one who has been repeatedly snubbed by Springsteen- and Obama got Springsteen to finally talk (on the phone) with Christie (and apparently he had to trick Bruce into doing it)- maybe Obama does deserve that Nobel peace prize afterall...

Between his recent buddying up with Obama and his earlier taped comments that people who are anti-muslims are bigots, the wingnuts are gonna be out for his head- I have not been a fan of Christie- but someone in the GOP is gonna have to really openly and aggressively stand up to the Teaper Nuts sooner or later and he may just be the man to do it- and as one of the last Rockefeller Republicans still breathing I'd have to get behind him if he did
   2442. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4293972)
I love voting.
Me too! I like chatting with people there, I like feeling like I've done my bit, I like seeing the process in action.

Another thing- would those people tied up in knots over a 83.7 to 16.3% forecast (false precision!!) be happy if Nate instead of saying 83.7% said, "between 75 and 90%?"
The response would be, 'why is he so vague? Polls are hundreds and thousands of data points. It's addition and subtraction and multiplication and division of real numbers. He should be getting fractions.'

If Rubio got him FL, then he could have diverted resources from Florida to Ohio and elsewhere. Might still not get him to 270, but it seems more optimal.
I suspect it was essential to appease the base more than it was to gamble on the very iffy proposition that Rubio would push the Republicans over in Florida. The thinking could well have been that if Romney couldn't take Florida without a boost he had no real shot at the Presidency. That certainly seems to be the case. (Imagine Romney -2 on his own hook in Florida tonight rather than running even. We'd be looking at a rerun of Obama-McCain in the EC.) I guess if you're going for a guy that will give you the two point boost veeps tend to give in their home states, Portman would have been that guy, since it was predictable enough that Ohio would be tougher for Romney than Florida. Since Christie was the campaigns first or second choice, they just didn't seem to be going the route of picking the veep most likely to swing a state.

In any case, it seems certain that both campaigns have been able to saturate the swing states, so diverting resources wouldn't have helped.
   2443. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4293973)
oh this is rich- Christie is rather famously a Bruce Springsteen fan- one who has been repeatedly snubbed by Springsteen- and Obama got Springsteen to finally talk (on the phone) with Christie (and apparently he had to trick Bruce into doing it)- maybe Obama does deserve that Nobel peace prize afterall...
Actually, Christie said he'd met Bruce on Friday at the Hurricane Telethon, and they hugged.
   2444. DKDC Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4293974)
But I still think it matters, I still think it's important, and I still feel like a patriot when I do.


I guess I'm wired differently because I never had that feeling.

The first few times it felt good because it was something I'd never done before, and it was all so mysterious and new. I loved the aesthetics - the secrecy and the heavy curtains and the rush of pulling the lever and the groan of the machine. (TWSS)

But I guess the hyper-rational side of me never allowed me to feel like I was doing anything worthwhile. It was a symbolic act. A massive, coordinated show that I was doing my duty as a citizen. A knowing nod at the neighbors who I ran into at the polling station. A new name to add to the collection of winners and losers I'd voted for over the years.

But never a vote that mattered, or came within a million of swinging an electoral vote one way or another.
   2445. DA Baracus Posted: November 05, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4293976)
My ballot has 13 people running unopposed. I think I want to run for County Commissioner or something like that next time just to see how many votes I get.
   2446. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:06 AM (#4293979)
but someone in the GOP is gonna have to really openly and aggressively stand up to the Teaper Nuts sooner or later

The whole Tea Party narrative is funny. First the Tea Party was inconsequential (2009), then the Tea Party was a bunch of overrated wingnuts (2010), then the Tea Party was dead (2011 and into 2012), and now the Tea Party is so big and dangerous that it will take someone special, like one Christopher J. Christie of New Jersey, to take it on and slay the proverbial dragon.
   2447. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4293980)
Update: according to Silver, Obama’s chances of re-election are up to 92.2 percent, with 315.3 electoral votes.

Wait. How can that be? States don't divide their electoral votes, at least not fractionally. Silver must be wrong.
   2448. McCoy Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4293981)
My ballot has 13 people running unopposed. I think I want to run for County Commissioner or something like that next time just to see how many votes I get.

5%
   2449. McCoy Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4293982)
Update: according to Silver, Obama’s chances of re-election are up to 92.2 percent, with 315.3 electoral votes.

And getting closer and closer to my predicted 3%.
   2450. Lassus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4293983)
A couple of snipers already dinged the "people are complicated" observation, which is interesting.

I was one of these, and I'm sorry, but it really sounded like you were speaking from a great height about simpler peons, bemoaning their simpleness. That may not have been your intention, I realize, but it still was irritating to read. Er, other people's MMV.
   2451. GregD Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4293984)
Four years ago I had the notion that McCain wanted Lieberman, but the party threatened to start a convention fight to take the nomination away from him if he did; and McCain, not wanting to see his best chance at the Presidency stopped, caved in to their demands and quickly sought out someone to appeal to the base. I know I'm not alone in that assessment.
I think this is documented, though I don't know that the threat was to deny him the nomination so much as to just pull out of the campaign altogether. And it wasn't the party; it was social conservatives. (When Kerry floated McCain in 2004, his pushback was from pro-choicers but the terms were different--he had to say he was pro-choice, and they'd accept him.)

In Debs' five campaigns, both of the major party candidates were always full blown capitalists who were energetic supporters of the status quo.

Beyond this in some of those campaigns the differences between Republican and Democratic platforms weren't even obvious to the people in the parties; it had become basically a clash of hardened ethnocultural blocks--Catholics and white Southerners were Dems, everyone else was a Republican. I do think making a choice is a moral act, as is not making a choice, but I wouldn't want to say every election is the most important ever. Sometimes there aren't big dividing issues. Tom Dewey vs Harry Truman probably wasn't the biggest deal in the world, though Truman did try for health coverage which Dewey wouldn't have. I'm not sure Kennedy v Nixon was substantively a big deal. Ford/Carter? I mean I know who I would have voted for, but I could have understood someone who voted 3rd party then with a real unconcern about which major candidate won. That's not really possible now because there are a few issues that are baked into the DNA, abortion for sure.

Anyone who can't see a difference between Bush and Gore had a different experience of the last two decades than I did. It's so easy to start a list...Supreme Court composition, likely--though this involves dealing with Congress--different levels of debt, environmental legislation, probable different levels of taxation, possible different interaction with Iraq. But oh yeah that's right they are both friends with rich people so none of that matters?

   2452. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4293986)
Meanwhile, Intrade for Obama remains stubbornly stuck in the 60s.
   2453. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:12 AM (#4293987)
My ballot has 13 people running unopposed. I think I want to run for County Commissioner or something like that next time just to see how many votes I get.

Well, there's me. And I pretty sure my wife and sister in law would vote for me. Plus some friends, that make 6 or 7 right there.
   2454. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4293988)
I notice that the two people who claimed that there was no real difference between Gore and Bush were both speaking from the POV that spending per se was the issue. As tshipman says, tell that to the Iraqis and to our Iraq war vets.

Granted, from a libertarian or fiscal hawk POV there wasn't a whole lot of difference between Gore and Bush, if all you're concerned with is the size of the budget. But I doubt if keeping the government small was the main worry of the Florida Naderites, and those are the people I've been talking about.
   2455. Sonic Youk Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4293989)
Four years ago I had the notion that McCain wanted Lieberman, but the party threatened to start a convention fight to take the nomination away from him if he did; and McCain, not wanting to see his best chance at the Presidency stopped, caved in to their demands and quickly sought out someone to appeal to the base. I know I'm not alone in that assessment.
For the record, this really is true. The situation was described in detail in Game Change
   2456. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4293990)
Obama: 50.5%
Romney: 49.3%

Obama wins with 303 Electoral Votes to Romney's 235. Romney takes Florida and North Carolina but doesn't win any other swing state.
   2457. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:18 AM (#4293991)
I love voting.

Cornball me, so do I, even if I've never lived in a swing state.

And if ever I should feel ambivalent about it, I'd remember this, from a time not that long ago when the right to vote was something that we couldn't take for granted.
   2458. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:18 AM (#4293992)
I love voting. And I guess I'll stick with my previous predictions.

And I too would like to know if Nate's model spits out 77.5% what exactly is the approved amount of precision he is allowed before the scorn begins? Which way should he round? Does he have to put in confidence intervals?
   2459. DA Baracus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4293993)
5%


In 2008 there were just over 22,000 votes cast in the my State Representative race, and that was a 2 horse race. So 5% would be about 1100. If 1100 people voted for me with no campaigning, that would be fantastic.

EDIT: 2010 is a better barometer since it was a midterm election, there were 16,000 votes cast. So 804 votes.
   2460. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4293995)
So 804 votes.
"You like me! You really like me!"
   2461. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4293996)
In 2008 there were just over 22,000 votes cast in the my State Representative race, and that was a 2 horse race. So 5% would be about 1100. If 1100 people voted for me with no campaigning, that would be fantastic.

Don't sell yourself short ...

Keith Judd, Inmate, Gets 40% of Vote Against Obama in West Virginia Primary
   2462. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4293998)
. . . I'll use that extra time to sleep in and ask the wife to snag me an "I voted" sticker to cover my late arrival at work.

Inner Circle or just Regular Hell? The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act, otherwise it could have been expanded to cover fraudulently wearing an "I Voted" sticker.
   2463. DA Baracus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4294000)
Well, there's me. And I pretty sure my wife and sister in law would vote for me. Plus some friends, that make 6 or 7 right there.


With social media I think I could run good enough campaign without actually doing anything to get at least a third of the vote. A twitter account and a facebook page are free and a web domain would cost next to nothing. The entry fee is $400, that and lawn signs would be my only notable expenses. I know lawn signs are a waste of money but damnit I want my own lawn sign.
   2464. DA Baracus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4294001)
"You like me! You really like me!"


5% of 800 is 40. I can easily get 5% of my 5% without trying just by friends and coworkers voting for me. (Yes, I have more than 40 friends and coworkers. But many of them wouldn't live in my district.)
   2465. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:30 AM (#4294002)
Meanwhile, Intrade for Obama remains stubbornly stuck in the 60s.
This is one of those increasingly rare opportunities for the alert bettor to snag some big bucks.


Popular vote: 50.0 - 48.5

Obama: 50.5%
Romney: 49.3%
Do the two parties ever get 99.8% of the vote?

Even in 2008, with no effective 3rd party candidates, Obama won 52.9 to 45.7 = 98.6%
   2466. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:32 AM (#4294003)
In Debs' five campaigns, both of the major party candidates were always full blown capitalists who were energetic supporters of the status quo.

Beyond this in some of those campaigns the differences between Republican and Democratic platforms weren't even obvious to the people in the parties; it had become basically a clash of hardened ethnocultural blocks--Catholics and white Southerners were Dems, everyone else was a Republican.


AFAIC until FDR came along, pretty much every Democrat was just about as bad as his Republican opponent, and sometimes (Woodrow Wilson) even worse.** I would've voted for Debs every time I had a chance, and for Norman Thomas in 1928.

**John W. Davis, the 103rd ballot nominee in 1924, capped his career by defending South Carolina's racial caste system in one of the 1954 school segregation cases. Even Calvin Coolidge never descended to that level.
   2467. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:32 AM (#4294004)
If an election were ever decided by one vote, it would be a catastrophe on a level that would make 2000 look like an orderly handover of power between allied interests.

I vote because it seems interesting, but I have no illusions about it being anything more than a symbolic act. Democracy doesn't really work that way above the level of maybe a small town. There have times when I haven't been able to do it, and I haven't felt guilty about it. But I'm looking forward to doing it, because for years I voted by mail in Oregon, and I'm not sure I've actually ever gone to a voting booth and pulled a lever or punched a button or whatever it is the cool kids are doing these days.

It's not unlike going to a football game wearing a U of O shirt. There's no particular reason why that matters -- the crowd would be no quieter without me in it, the green-and-gold wave in the stands no less bright, but it makes me feel good to join in. I can tell my grandkids that I voted for the first black man ever to be President. I can tell them I voted for a guy with a hook for a hand for Senate one time. This isn't how I'm making the decision, but it is part of why it's worthwhile to execute the decision.
   2468. Shredder Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4294006)
Even in 2008, with no effective 3rd party candidates, Obama won 52.9 to 45.7 = 98.6%
That seems pretty normal.
   2469. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4294007)
Inner Circle or just Regular Hell? The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act, otherwise it could have been expanded to cover fraudulently wearing an "I Voted" sticker.

Our 10 year old goddaughter is going to sport an "I voted" sticker in her sixth grade classes tomorrow. I fully expect to hear that some stray Republican has called for her arrest.
   2470. DA Baracus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4294009)
Okay last one. In two years I'm going to live in a different part of town, of the possible State Representative districts I would live in the highest polling one in 2010 was 13,000 votes. This keeps getting easier.
   2471. DA Baracus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:38 AM (#4294011)
It's not unlike going to a football game wearing a U of O shirt. There's no particular reason why that matters -- the crowd would be no quieter without me in it, the green-and-gold wave in the stands no less bright, but it makes me feel good to join in. I can tell my grandkids that I voted for the first black man ever to be President. I can tell them I voted for a guy with a hook for a hand for Senate one time. This isn't how I'm making the decision, but it is part of why it's worthwhile to execute the decision.


If you don't vote you don't get to complain. Simple as that.
   2472. McCoy Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM (#4294012)
Of course you get to complain.
   2473. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:40 AM (#4294013)
If the guys that Nate forecasts to win between 60-70% of the time actually went on to win 60-70% of the time- that's evidence that his model is good


ASmall sample size is going to make him hard to evaluate.
   2474. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:41 AM (#4294015)
BTW Nate's more or less just baiting his detractors at this point, since he went back at 10:05 PM just to raise his probability forecast for Obama from 91.4% to 92.2%. To me that's kind of a nice little touch of drollery, and I only hope it doesn't blow up in his face.
   2475. Howie Menckel Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4294018)
"I was one of these, and I'm sorry, but it really sounded like you were speaking from a great height about simpler peons, bemoaning their simpleness. That may not have been your intention, I realize, but it still was irritating to read. Er, other people's MMV."

fair enough

I'll give you and others another chance to be irritated.

Anyone who thinks that Bernie Sanders or Tom Coburn are complete morons who bring nothing to the political debate, because their principles are so unaligned with the observer, is not really paying attention.

I realize that principled people in D.C. seems like an oxymoron, but Coburn on government waste and Sanders on failure to care about the regular Joe are not crazy ideas to any sane people. And if you can't separate out other stances they have from that, I have to ask why.

People are complicated.

   2476. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4294019)
Of course you get to complain.


Anyone that doesn't vote and is proud of not voting...they can complain, but it carries no weight with me.
   2477. DA Baracus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4294020)
Of course you get to complain.


My previous statement was not intended to be a factual statement. Of course you can complain. You just look really dumb doing it. Of course that's never stopped anyone before.
   2478. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:45 AM (#4294022)
Our 10 year old goddaughter is going to sport an "I voted" sticker in her sixth grade classes tomorrow.

As long as she doesn't wear two!
   2479. base ball chick Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:46 AM (#4294023)
hello boyz

just out of curiousity - after all these kazillion thousand posts, has even ONE guy changed his mind on any political issue or brought up anything that hadn't already been said by like june?

any converts from obama to romney or romney to obama?
   2480. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:47 AM (#4294024)
But I guess the hyper-rational side of me never allowed me to feel like I was doing anything worthwhile. It was a symbolic act. A massive, coordinated show that I was doing my duty as a citizen. A knowing nod at the neighbors who I ran into at the polling station. A new name to add to the collection of winners and losers I'd voted for over the years.

But never a vote that mattered, or came within a million of swinging an electoral vote one way or another.


Where do you live that there are no local offices or issues on your ballot? In my state a governor was recently elected with a margin of 127 votes. Some years earlier, public funding for a new baseball stadium was voted down by a margin of less than a thousand votes. My presidential vote doesn't count for much because of the electoral college, I realize, but my gubernatorial vote and my opinions on various referendums matter a good deal.
   2481. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4294026)
Tell that to all the Iraqis who died.
Okay. Are you under some delusion that Al Gore was a dove?
   2482. Morty Causa Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:49 AM (#4294028)
I loathe football, and never watch it. Does that mean I can't say anything about why I think football and watching football are degraded activities? Maybe it's stupid to talk about plays and strategies and stuff, but the philosophical meta? I think the same applies to politics and government.
   2483. Lassus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:50 AM (#4294029)
You know, sometimes you think the internet is infinite, and everything is there, but that's just not true. There was no video/audio recording anywhere online of "Heart Not so Heavy as Mine" by Elliott Carter that I could place on Facebook in a last RIP elegy/post.

You have failed me, internet.
   2484. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:53 AM (#4294030)
Off the AZ SOS site:
Election
2012 GENERAL ELECTION
11/06/2012
Ballot
Sent: No information available
Returned: 10/31/2012
Status: ACCEPTED
Reason: BALLOT WAS RECEIVED AND WILL COUNT
Awesomeness.
   2485. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM (#4294031)
In what scenario does Al Gore invade Iraq?
   2486. tshipman Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM (#4294032)
Okay. Are you under some delusion that Al Gore was a dove?


Are you under some delusion that Gore would have gone into Iraq?
   2487. Lassus Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4294033)
just out of curiousity - after all these kazillion thousand posts, has even ONE guy changed his mind on any political issue or brought up anything that hadn't already been said by like june?

No offense, BBC, but I cannot stand posts like this. It's worse than Howie's. If you think us and our discussion is worthless and your main purpose was to stop by to tell us so, thank you for nothing.
   2488. GregD Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4294034)
Okay. Are you under some delusion that Al Gore was a dove?
No just that he was part of the hawkish majority that forms the heart of American politics not the insanely uber-hawkish clique that got control of Bush for the early part of his term...marginal differences can be huge differences
   2489. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4294035)
after all these kazillion thousand posts, has even ONE guy changed his mind on any political issue or brought up anything that hadn't already been said by like june?


I no longer think Romney is a baby-eating lizardman. Does that count?
   2490. Guapo Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4294036)
So if I'm understanding correctly, based on Silver's current map, he actually projects Obama to get 332 votes.
   2491. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4294037)
If you don't vote you don't get to complain. Simple as that.


This is bullshit, by the way. I have never cast a vote that matters, though I have voted in pretty much every election I've been eligible to vote in. I never will cast a vote that matters. But I pay my taxes and I have opinions. If you treat it like a team sport -- then you don't get to complain, because you're not investing any thought.
   2492. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4294038)
If you don't vote you don't get to complain. Simple as that.
The reverse would make more sense: if you do vote you don't get to complain.

it's sort of hard to morally justify voting, participating in the process.
   2493. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4294039)
Obama: 50.5%
Romney: 49.3%

Do the two parties ever get 99.8% of the vote?


Oops, meant 48.3% for Romney. Time to edit if I can...
   2494. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4294040)
after all these kazillion thousand posts, has even ONE guy changed his mind on any political issue or brought up anything that hadn't already been said by like june?
No, but in fairness, this was a remarkably static race.
   2495. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:59 AM (#4294041)
So if I'm understanding correctly, based on Silver's current map, he actually projects Obama to get 332 votes.


That's been his most likely projected outcome for some time now.
   2496. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 06, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4294042)
If they could find one, what percentage of the popular vote would the white equivalent of Obama bring the Dems?

The reason I ask is that while it seems like the white party is far from dead, some of their decline is surely masked by the fact that Obama is African-American. Would generic pleasant white Dem be up 55-44?

Not to flog this to death, but Nader's claim that both parties are in the thralldom of big corporations/big money seems alive and well here on the net.
Well, he's right about that. Fortunately that's not where the story ends.
   2497. base ball chick Posted: November 06, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4294043)
2489

YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

lassus

sorry you feel that way. however, it would be nice to discover that people i know actually listen to what other people think and sometimes even re-evaluate their position and sometimes, even change their mind.

i always go on and on and on about how the 2 parties really need to do something called LISTEN and COMPROMISE, but i don't really see it in real life. and i wish it would happen. even once. even though i have pretty much given up hope
   2498. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 06, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4294044)
So if I'm understanding correctly, based on Silver's current map, he actually projects Obama to get 332 votes.


The graph under it shows that the result that came up most often in his simulations was 332 for Obama.
Next was probably 303 (Obama doesn't win Florida), and then 347 (Obama steals NC).
   2499. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 06, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4294045)
You just look really dumb doing it.


I say this as a person who votes, but:

Voting is a dumb thing to do, at least for the reasons most people do it. It is a waste of time if you think you're actually influencing anything. So arguing that people who don't vote for sound logical reasons but still have political opinions "look dumb" is pretty much a non-starter with me. It's an oppressive attempt to silent dissent from people you don't agree with.
   2500. tshipman Posted: November 06, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4294046)
sorry you feel that way. however, it would be nice to discover that people i know actually listen to what other people think and sometimes even re-evaluate their position and sometimes, even change their mind.


David convinced me that the McDonalds Coffee case was decided incorrectly.

i always go on and on and on about how the 2 parties really need to do something called LISTEN and COMPROMISE, but i don't really see it in real life. and i wish it would happen. even once. even though i have pretty much given up hope


What exactly do you think the parties need to listen and compromise on? Saying that people need to listen and compromise, even if you say so in all caps, doesn't mean anything unless you explain the policy that you want people to compromise on. If you just want people to randomly listen and compromise, then who gives a ####?
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