by Darryl, 09/30/2010, 10:33 PM

Rasmussen released a new poll today in the race between Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and real estate opportunist Dino Rossi. The poll of 750 likely voters, taken on 28 Sept 2010, has Rossi (R) up by 1% (48% to 47%). If we consider this the only poll of relevance, a Monte Carlo analysis can suggest the probability of each candidate winning in a hypothetical election held today. From a million simulated elections of 750 people voting for each candidate probabilistically at the observed frequencies, we find that Murray wins 416,583 times and Rossi wins 573,402 times. That is, the best evidence from this poll suggests that, in an election held today, Murray would win with a 42.1% probability and Rossi would win with a 57.9% probability. Here is the distribution of outcomes from those million simulated elections:


Kind-of scary stuff, huh?

An interesting thing about the Rasmussen poll is that the actual polling work is done by a company called Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. As it happens, this is the same firm that did a FOX News poll just three days earlier. That poll of 1,000 likely voters taken on 25th of September had Murray leading Rossi 48% to 47%. There may some be differences in the likely voter model preferred by Rasmussen and Fox, but such an explanation isn’t really necessary to explain the differences. There is nothing at all inconsistent between the polls. Given the sample sizes, the polls do not really differ. Rather, they suggest that the race is close. We can pool the two polls to get a better idea of the race according to the methods used by Pulse Opinion Research. A Monte Carlo analysis using a sample size of 1,750 “voters” and pooled candidate preference percentages gives Murray 513,406 wins to Rossi’s 479,748 wins. In other words, the two polls taken by Pulse some three days apart suggests that, in an election held over the past week or so, Murray would win with a 51.7% probability.

But why restrict ourselves to a single pollster? In the past two weeks, there were four polls taken. The earlier two polls were by Survey USA giving Murray a 50% to 48% lead over Rossi in a sample of 609 likely voters taken from 19-21 Sept, and an earlier Rasmussen poll (750 likely voters) taken on 14th Sept, showing Murray leading Rossi 51% to 46%. When we pool these four polls, we get a respectable sample size of 3,109 individuals of which 2,987 went for either Murray or Rossi. Of these, 1,520 ( 48.9%) were for Murray and 1,467 ( 47.2%) were for Rossi. After a million simulated elections, Murray won 743,815 times and Rossi won 251,927 times. In other words, the combined evidence from four polls taken by two polling firms over the past two weeks suggests that Murray has a 74.7% probability of beating Rossi.


Does this reflect a decline in Murray’s support? I think it does a little. As this graph shows, the four most recent polls all fall within each other’s margin of error:


But the next two earlier polls, by CNN/Time/Opinion Research and Elway showed a significantly better lead for Murray than this most recent poll does, suggesting that there has been a real decline for Murray from a month ago. Alternatively, it could be just bad luck of the draw in Rasmussen’s most recent poll, since other than the most recent poll, all of the previous five polls fall within each others margins of error. So which is it? Hey…I report, you decide.

by Goldy, 09/30/2010, 9:17 PM

From: David Goldstein

Subject: Rep. Reichert’s medical records

Date: September 30, 2010 9:27:31 PM PDT

To: Darren LIttell, Dave Reichert for Congress


While my recent Slog post, “What’s Wrong With Reichert’s Brain?” was generally well received, some readers wondered if it was fair to Rep. Reichert to speculate about his health, based on such limited information. And so in an effort to maintain the highest level of journalistic integrity, I am writing to formally request that Rep. Reichert release the medical records regarding his recent brain trauma.

Please rest assured that I fully understand the confidential nature of these documents, and as an advocate for the disabled, will treat their content with the utmost respect.


David Goldstein
“Politics as unusual.”

by Goldy, 09/30/2010, 9:50 AM

by Goldy, 09/30/2010, 6:55 AM

I remember once in elementary school being absolutely mortified to quickly lose a game of chess to an opponent who… well… let’s just say he wasn’t one of the brightest kids in the school. And that’s how I imagine the League of Conservation Voters should feel after endorsing Rep. Dave Reichert:

The League was aware of the comments Reichert made this summer — revealed on political blog, in which Reichert can be heard referring to environmental votes as “chess pieces” for re-election — but Palamuso said those comments didn’t stop the group from endorsing him.

And neither apparently did Reichert’s own voting record, forcing the LCV to establish a new low for endorsements, at least in regards to its own widely promoted National Environmental Scorecard. For example, in 2009, Reichert earned a 64% score from the the LCV for his environmental votes (two points up from his lifetime average), the lowest of any of the 42 House and Senate candidates they’ve endorsed this cycle thus far.

To put that in perspective, at 64%, there are actually 351 members of Congress with a higher LCV score than Reichert… 310 of whom did not earn an LCV endorsement.

That’s some curve they’re grading on, at least when it comes to Reichert. And that’s some awfully bad chess those duffers at the LCV must be playing, to get outsmarted by a guy with a fist-sized blood clot in his head.

by Goldy, 09/29/2010, 10:02 PM

I get a ton of press releases, and I tend to ignore most of ‘em, but one subject header that’s been catching my eye lately is “Death of inmate in custody.” In fact, William Hayes at the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention has sent me five such press releases since August 16, including another one today.

That kinda strikes me as a lot.

Checking my email archive, I usually receive only two to four such emails from King County a year. So five dead inmates in a six week span, that’s weird. And more than a little disturbing.

by Goldy, 09/29/2010, 11:41 AM

Dave Reichert says he won’t debate Suzan DelBene because his schedule has “already filled up,” but, he adds, “We’re not ruling out debates.”

Nope… doesn’t sound brain-damaged to me.

by Goldy, 09/29/2010, 8:31 AM


Yet another reason to pass Initiative 1098. If the billionaires and multimillionaires funding the No campaign have enough money to waste on stupid ads like this, they definitely have too much money.

by Darryl, 09/29/2010, 12:42 AM

A new FOX News poll released on Tuesday shows Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) leading real estate speculator and perennial candidate Dino Rossi (who prefers the GOP Party) by 48% to 47%.

You read it right…Murray leads Rossi in a FOX News poll. The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters in Washington state on 25th of September.

This is the fifth consecutive poll that has Murray ahead of Rossi, and she has now led in seven of the last nine polls taken over the past two months. Elsewhere I take a closer look at the polls and its implications.

by Darryl, 09/28/2010, 5:51 PM


Another Tuesday, another evening of insightful political conversation, confabulation, consultation, and colloquy…under the influence. Please join us at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. beginning at about 8:00 pm. Stop by early for dinner.

Not in Seattle? There is a good chance you live near one of the 247 other chapters of Drinking Liberally.

by Goldy, 09/28/2010, 4:37 PM

I’d originally intended for this post to go to HA, but I’ve written on this subject so many times before, I decided wonkify the readers at Slog:

Indeed, by nearly any meaningful measure, Washington’s state and local governments have been steadily shrinking over most of the past two decades, through both boom times and bust. You wouldn’t know it from reading the papers, but state tax revenue as a percentage of the total economy has fallen from 6.6% in 1995 to about 5.5% today, while per capita state spending in IPD-adjusted dollars fell by 10% over the same period.

And those aren’t numbers you can easily dismiss as mere liberal claptrap. Eventhe conservative Tax Foundation — the same think tank frequently cited by Tim Eyman — reports that our state and local tax burden plunged from 10.4% in 1994 to 8.9% in 2008, dropping Washington from 17th to 35th place nationally in only fifteen short years.

You know… Dems gone wild.

But just so you don’t feel cheated, I saved the recycled graphic above for HA. As always, read the whole thing.

by Lee, 09/28/2010, 2:55 PM

Matt Taibbi has written the most insightful take on the Tea Party movement that I’ve ever seen:

Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about — and nowhere do we see that dynamic as clearly as here in Kentucky, where Rand Paul is barreling toward the Senate with the aid of conservative icons like Palin.

The individuals in the Tea Party may come from very different walks of life, but most of them have a few things in common. After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. (“Not me — I was protesting!” is a common exclamation.) Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with “people who do not cherish America the way we do” is that “they did not read the Federalist Papers.”) Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill “cracker babies,” support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called “White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo,” checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.

To hammer home these points, Taibbi follows the campaign of Rand Paul, and notes that the Kentucky Senate hopefuls candidacy – and his standing among most Tea Partiers – hasn’t diminished since he began disavowing all the limited government views that initially made him the “Tea Party” candidate.

by Goldy, 09/28/2010, 12:16 PM

Given the circumstances it’s hard to imagine they could have done otherwise, but the Tacoma News Tribune endorsed incumbent Democratic state Rep. Dawn Morrell today in her 25th Legislative District race, citing her influence and independence. But they also spent a couple paragraphs taking a whack at Republican nominee Hans Zeiger and his “wacko commentary.”

Zeiger, 25 and working on a graduate degree, doesn’t have enough seasoning or life experience for the Legislature. He also hasn’t put enough years and mileage between him and some wacko Internet commentary he authored all too recently as a college student.

Zeiger’s comments – which included attacks on the Girl Scouts and a suggestion that Baptists worship a dubious deity – should be a cautionary tale for young people accustomed to spouting off on the Web. Diamonds are forever; so are embarrassing rants cached on Google.

Exactly. Old men like me have the right to dismiss far past embarrassments as “youthful indiscretions,” 25-year-old kids like Zeiger, do not.

Try again in a decade, Hans. In the meanwhile, you need to get about to proving you really have moved into the mainstream, instead of just saying it.

by Goldy, 09/28/2010, 11:12 AM

Kinda a crappy, generic ad that could pretty much run in any state, with little modification, but does anybody else find it ironic that Dino Rossi is running as political outsider intent on fixing the other Washington, while being almost totally dependent on “independent” expenditures from consummate insiders like Karl Rove?

When the NRSC first started talking up Rossi last spring, I thought part of his appeal was supposed to be his reputation for raising huge gobs of cash. And yet he’s becoming as much of a welfare case as Dave Reichert. Go figure.

by Goldy, 09/27/2010, 12:23 PM

The Hillsdale College Collegian, the school newspaper of Hans Zeiger’s alma mater, calls their “favorite son” to task for his long record of bigoted commentary:

If Hans Zeiger’s recent skirmish with liberal blogs can teach us anything, it’s basic common sense: Don’t call the Girl Scouts a feminist training corps and expect to get away with it.

Learning common sense from the liberal blogs. That’s not a bad start.

But too bad the editorial doesn’t stop there, for in attempting to elaborate on the lesson, the author provides an unflattering window into Hillsdale College culture that probably explains an awful lot about Zeiger and his abhorrent views:

Your friends at the table in Saga might think it is okay to make jokes about women needing to know their place. Your professor might jokingly refer to Catholics with a derogatory phrase. And your frat buddies might even crack the occasional racially-charged joke.

At Hillsdale, most students overlook offensive comments like these. But in the future, your coworkers, neighbors and pew-mates may not.

That’s because Hillsdale College –– despite the school’s history of gender equality and racial inclusion –– consists primarily of white Christian conservatives.

Um… so let me get this straight: your professor might “jokingly refer to Catholics with a derogatory phrase,” because Hillsdale College “consists primarily of white Christian conservatives.” So that means… uh… Catholics aren’t Christian?

Coming from an alma mater that was home to the infamous “water buffalo” incident, I can’t imagine students just shrugging off a professor’s anti-Catholic remark, but I guess white Christian conservatives say the darnedest things. Which I also guess is why Zeiger chose Hillsdale College, and why he felt so comfortable routinely disparaging woman, gays, Muslims, Catholics, Unitarians, mainstream Baptists and whoever, during his four years there. He felt right at home.

Of course, a lot of us regret some of the things we did (or didn’t do) in college. For example, I regret not having taken more philosophy courses, while Christine O’Donnell regrets having dabbled in Satanism. But both Christine and I have had a couple decades to maturely muse over our regrets, and reshape ourselves into more philosophical, less Satanic people.

Zeiger on the other hand is only 25, just a few years out of college — and sexist, racist, anti-Papist Hillsdale College at that — and only weeks removed from regretfully pulling down from the Internet huge swaths of his hate speech. So forgive me for not taking his sudden mea culpa at face value.

by Goldy, 09/27/2010, 8:14 AM

The piece I taped last week for FOX News is being broadcast today, first at 8:45 AM Pacific on The Strategy Room, airing live at, and then at 9:20 AM Pacific on the real TV. Best of all, I’m told the clips they used are from me and my good friend, 710-KIRO sports talker Dori Monson. Just like the old days.

Just saw the clip on The Strategy Room, and out of a 20 minute interview, they showed maybe five or six seconds. But at least that’s better than Dori, who got a second or two, max. But, you know, that’s TV.

Not sure what they’ll show on the TV, but I’m not sure I ever will, as I don’t have cable.

by Goldy, 09/26/2010, 10:04 PM


by Lee, 09/26/2010, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by milwhcky. It was West Hill, OH, along the PA-OH border.

This is the fourth Sunday of the month, so this location is related to something from the news in September. Good luck!

by Goldy, 09/26/2010, 6:00 AM

Genesis 4:13-18

Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,  east of Eden.

Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.


by Carl, 09/25/2010, 7:10 AM

I’m pretty sure that I have the exact same right to sign off on things on behalf of the city as Richard Conlin does. Neither of us are members of the city’s executive branch of government. Unlike Conlin, I don’t want a tunnel. Although nobody has asked for my signature on anything, I’m certainly willing to provide it:

So, on behalf of the city, I’ll sign onto any bike path anybody is proposing. Finally complete the Burke Gillman? Don’t mind if I do! A road diet on all roads over 4 lanes? Provide bike lanes and you’ve got me — on behalf of the city — on board.

Hell anybody can do it! Got a project you’d like completed, just sign off on behalf of the city. Feel your neighborhood is being deprived of sidewalks, parks, or other amenities? Just sign off on behalf of the city, and presto!

by Goldy, 09/24/2010, 2:54 PM


I’m kinda busy today on a side project, but over on Slog I’ve posted a rather massive piece I’ve been working over the last few days, in which I ask, is Rep. Dave Reichert brain-damaged?

And I’m not asking it in a snarky, mean-spirited, metaphorical sense. I’m asking it literally, based on medical literature and recent events that suggest that Reichert’s brain may actually be damaged.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Reichert’s hand-sized cerebral blood clot is necessarily an indication of prior brain atrophy or wasting, or that such a severe head injury, untreated as it was for two months, would have certainly caused permanent impairment.

[...] But extended or even permanent impairment is far from out of the question … thus it is not unreasonable to expect that a brain trauma as severe as that described by Reichert, in a man of his age, and untreated for so long, could very well have resulted in some degree of permanent neurological impairment.

You’ll need to read the whole thing for the background, but I ask you, if President Obama had suffered a similar injury, and then gave an interview like the one in the clip above, don’t you think this would be the number one story on talk radio and cable news?

I’m just sayin’.