Posts Tagged ‘mccain’

The Brilliance of Twain

October 30, 2008

Imagine if the NBA advertised tonight’s matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets this way:  “Cleveland to beat Charlotte by four points tonight”.

How many people do you think would show up at Cleveland’s Fast Cash Payday Loans Arena to see Lebron and company beat the Bobkitties, featuring the miraculous stache of Gonzaga?  Probably not a lot.

But in another contest, our US presidential election, the media feels quite comfortable telling us “this thing is over, Barack Obama has already won”.

Millions of Americans, who look at Yahoo’s home page every day, are presented with this graphic:

A casual observer (also known as a “voter”) looks at this graphic and says “I guess this thing is over.  I’d be wasting my time to go and vote for McCain, plus, it would make me a LOSER.  I guess I’ll stay home and watch According to Jim. ”  (Note:  This will also make you a loser.)

You may remember, back in 2000, George W. Bush’s disputed win in Florida, was originally called by TV networks as a Gore win, which presumably tipped the presidential election to the tree-hugging Tennessee robot.  The problem was, voting booths in parts of Florida HADN’T EVEN CLOSED YET, meaning the networks were not just wrong (literally), they were wrong (morally).  Again, the message to Republicans was “you might as well stay home, your guy lost.” 

Mark Twain was fond of Disraeli’s quote “‘there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'”  If we’ve learned anything in presidential politics, it’s that for all the effort put into polling, it’s a snapshot, and nothing more

Back in my college days, I thought I’d coast past the math requirement, by taking Statistics.  How hard could it be?  Recently, I came across the following statistics story problem:

“You take a simple random sample of 1000 balls from an urn containing 120,000,000 red and blue balls, and your sample shows 450 red balls and 550 blue balls. Construct a 95% confidence interval for the true proportion of blue balls in the urn.”

“the correct formula is: 95% confidence interval for P = p +/- 1.96 * sqrt( p*(1-p) / n) * FPC”

Seeing this problem brought back the SHEER TERROR I felt in that class…in other tough courses like Philosophy or Biology, at least I felt like I had a chance.  But Statistics 125?  My main reaction was “what in the hell are they talking about?”  I’d flip the pages in the book over and over again, for hours, and get absolutely nothing out of it.  I was helpless. 

So I respect anyone who understands this stuff.  But the numbers don’t mean a thing, if the underlying data is unreliable.

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McCain Pollsters in Dead Heat with Obama Pollsters

October 24, 2008

Recent polling shows Americans who believe the pollsters that show Obama is leading, lead the pollsters who show McCain in a dead heat, by just two percentage points, within the +/- 3% margin of error.

These contradictory polls confuse us, because without reliable information about who is ahead, how are we supposed to know whom to vote for?   We’re already befuddled; tens of thousands of Americans are still sitting in stunned silence, wondering why the Boston Red Sox aren’t playing baseball on their televisions. 

And without accurate information about who’s leading in these races, and by how much, how are elections officials supposed to know exactly how much fraud to commit?  Felons AND dead people, or just felons?  And should they limit the vote to illegal aliens currently IN the country, or should they also include those who mail in absentee ballots from Oaxaca?   It’s all very confusing.

Of course absentee ballots make the fraud much easier…as you know baby boomers can’t be bothered to leave their ridiculous overbuilt homes to vote (further cementing their legacy as “The Lamest Generation“.)  And you may have seen the Drudge Link last week that shows Californians are now voting at DRIVE THRUs.  There is little doubt in my mind, that some politicos see absentee ballot voting as a “gateway” to internet voting. 

Of course, the media can’t be bothered with any of these minor matters, they’re concerned with more important thingsThey aren’t interested in reporting that Obama and his party are responsible for the housing crisis, and are not interested in reporting that McCain fought to reign in the abuses at Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac that led to it.

All of this has me in a funk.  This seems the most reasonable choice, at this point.  (Hic.)

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

October 22, 2008

Every 4 years, our great nation, diverse in race, religion, and aliveness, comes together to vote for the person, usually a caucasian man, who we can stand to look at occasionally, as we surf past the news on our way to Flavor Flav.   

One of the more entertaining subplots to this pointless exercise, is the nearly mandatory BOMBSHELL revelation, a la the Bush drunk driving fiasco (before the 2000 election), and the John Kerry is a department store dummy with a head carved from a tree stump scandal of 2004.  I’m guessing in the coming weeks the talking heads on the TV news channels will be jabbering mindlessly about one or more “October Surprises“, in between boner advertisements.

October surprise possibilities:

1.  Barack Obama is a Zoroastrian.

2.  John McCain once killed a man…with his smile.

3.  Cindy McCain has a vibrator she calls “Barry Goldwater“.

4.  Barack Obama once admitted that his favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla.

5.  Joe Biden makes love on a regular basis.

6.  Barack Obama hates Sanford and Son.

7.  John McCain refused to leave a North Vietnamese prison until Carly Simon admitted that “You’re So Vain” was about Warren Beatty.

8.  Sarah Palin once choked a bear to death with her thighs.

9.  Barack Obama is 1/16th Armenian, (but 100% dreamy)!

10. Joe Biden once challenged a blind man to a staring contest.

11. John McCain says he will solve the financial crisis by starting the early-bird special at 10:30 in the morning.

I’m voting for this guy.