Make public records public

I totally agree with the Seattle Times editorial board in arguing that government should “use technology to provide public records cheaply,” but I can’t sign on to their actual arguments.

In fact, our public records statutes can create an incredible burden on public agencies, requiring untold hours at taxpayer expense to fulfill requests that often amount to little more than vindictive fishing expeditions.  (I’ve often been tempted to file a public records request asking for the cumulative cost to taxpayers of Stefan’s many public records requests… but I didn’t want to waste taxpayer money on a lark.)  So when the Times complains about proposed legislation that would raise the maximum copying charge to $0.25/page, or deny requests to people who refuse to pay their outstanding balance, they make it sound like fulfilling a request requires little more effort than feeding some documents into a copier.

Hardly seems right that public agencies would be making such a profit off documents to which citizens are entitled. Though municipal lobbyists suggest the higher fee would offset costs of staff time in fulfilling the request, that is expressly prohibited by the state’s Open Records Act.

Um… so… if the Times recognizes that there are actual “costs of staff time in fulfilling the request,” why would they suggest that public agencies are making a profit?

Of course, they’re not.  The Times is just being the Times.  But at least they attempt to be constructive.

A better idea? Require cities, counties, ports and school districts to better manage their records. Why not make documents available by e-mail or copying them on to a disc — pennies a serving — even less if the requester provides the disc.

Yeah, that would address the cost to the requester of making copies, but it does nothing to address the real cost:  the many staff hours spent gathering documents and fulfilling the request in the first place.  In fact, it takes just as much effort, if not more so, to scan a document to disk as it does to feed it into a copier.

So how about an even better “better idea”?  Since most records are produced on computers, why not just take every electronic document or file that would be open to a public records request, and just automatically place them in a searchable online database?  Every email.  Every Word document.  Every spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation.  Everything.

Because the vast majority of public records requests would probably be unnecessary if the records were actually, um, public.

UPDATE:
Erica takes umbrage:

Goldy argues that the “many hours of staff time” it takes to fill records requests should be compensated, and argues that every single public record maintained by government agencies should be put in computer files for the public to sift through themselves. The logic is tortured: Government agencies provide a valuable service we should pay them for (sifting through records to fill requests), therefore we should get rid of that service entirely and make people who file records requests find the records they want themselves. Not to mention the fact that most agencies don’t have a surplus of public-disclosure staff; in my experience, most government agencies only employ one public-disclosure officer. Is Goldy really arguing that we should eliminate that position from every government agency?

Um… no.  I’ve reread the post, and I don’t find myself making that argument anywhere.  I didn’t present an either/or.  Rather, I suggested that merely delivering records requests electronically doesn’t save all that much money, and that the real savings would come from putting as much of the public record as we can online, where much of the snooping could be done in a self-service manner.  But I don’t see how one infers from this post that I favor eliminating public-disclosure staff.

Comments

  1. 1

    notaboomer spews:

    Since most records are produced on computers, why not just take every electronic document or file that would be open to a public records request, and just automatically place them in a searchable online database? Every email. Every Word document. Every spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation. Everything.

    excellent idea. but redacting names would still be required on many records.

  2. 2

    Armstrong spews:

    Try explaining to these anti-government luddites that the government needs to hire an IT department.

    Maybe if we told them it was just “work, not a real job” they’s understand.

  3. 3

    Matty spews:

    Good theory, but the reality is that the various municipal system are a combination of a bunch of different systems. If I used the search on the word “Democrat” at the top would it find absolutely every time the word was used across the WHOLE enterprise? Would it also include whatever e-mails administrators sent back and forth? Would it also capture whatever Adsense word might have been up that day or every feed that appeared for all time?

    And take that a step further that municipalities use a variety of software that aren’t all tied together. It would be akin to expecting you to also search and have data on the dozens of other NW blogs you link to.

    And yes, public agencies should strive for transparency, but until they run one program that’s enterprise-wide and covers everything including e-mail, websites, cop dispatching, building permits, and everything…it will require records managers and lots of time to pull things together.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In fact, our public records statutes can create an incredible burden on public agencies, requiring untold hours at taxpayer expense to fulfill requests that often amount to little more than vindictive fishing expeditions.

    I was a public records officer for a state agency, and spent a large amount of my work time dealing with vindictive pricks who exploited the public records laws to harass the agency in retaliation for fines, enforcement actions, or simply because they hated government.

    A lot of the stuff they requested wasn’t even “public records” as defined by the law. They wanted me to print out thousands of pages of federal and state statutes. Sorry, those are laws, not public records, and we don’t do legal research for private individuals on the taxpayers’ dime.

    They wanted the personnel records of agency employees they had a hard on for, including home addresses and phone numbers. Sorry, those records are exempt, and that information is confidential.

    They wanted records with other people’s names and addresses in them. If the records are otherwise nonexempt, you have to go through them page by page, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, redacting the protected information so an innocent person isn’t at risk of getting hurt by a potentially crazy person.

    They also play a game they learned from hucksters who charge them a lot of money for bogus information about how to evade taxes or get money from public agencies. These techniques are illegal and don’t work but that doesn’t stop gullible dummies with a strong sense of grievance against society in general and the government in particular from trying them out.

    It works like this. They request a trainload of public records. They’re not interested in the information and wouldn’t look at it if they had it; the idea is to make a request that’s so burdensome the agency can’t fulfill it, then demand penalties under the Public Records Act. Or, even better, there’s a permutation of this tactic under which the anti-government types act as judge-and-jury and impose their own home-brewed “fines” on the agency and then write bogus checks to local businesses drawn on an “account” with the agency based on these “fines.” Never mind that’s fraud and they can go to jail for that; these people have never been stopped by laws before, and laws won’t stop them now, either.

    Our friend Stefan is one of these slimeballs. King County Records and Elections gave him 600,000 documents, use of a room in a public building for several weeks, and the assistance of a staff member — all at no charge. That wasn’t good enough for Stefan; he sued KCRE under the PRA for noncompliance penalties, claiming they didn’t give him all the records he asked for. In the legal trade, we refer to such lawsuits as “abusive” and frankly I’m surprised he found a lawyer to represent him. Maybe he didn’t; maybe the lawsuit was never filed; I don’t know. I’ve asked Stefan a couple hundred times what the status of his claim against KCRE is, and he refuses to answer. Judge for yourself what that means.

    Despite all this, I think the public records law is a good thing, and generally serves our citizens very well. But this access to government records comes at a price; it costs money to pay staff to research, redact, and copy records, and respond to correspondence and requests. And it’s not cheap; this is labor-intensive, time-consuming work that can’t be done by low-paid clerks because legal judgments have to be made about what information can be released and what can’t. Mistakes could be costly in terms of compromising investigations or exposing businesses or third-party private citizens to potential harm. In my office, all of this work was done by the senior staff attorney — me — to make sure it was done right. And I didn’t work for free. The taxpayers had to pay me a salary, health benefits, and the pension I now enjoy to get me to do it. Don’t like that? Think it should be volunteer work? Fine, I have a list of agencies and public records officers who could use your help, if you’re willing to commute to a job, purchase office-appropriate business attire, and work 50 to 60 hours a week — for free. If you’re not willing to do that, well, just fucking shut up.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    There’s a problem with giving the public direct access to electronic records — redaction. Information that must be protected (such as names and addresses) is commingled with disclosable information in many, many, public records. No public agency’s computer system is programmed for electronic redaction that I know of; in fact, I don’t know of any software which does that. Computer files are public records subject to the PRA, but they have to be printed out by hand, redacted, and copied by hand just like paper records. There’s no shortcut I know of, and I don’t see how you can give the public direct access to agency records without intermediate review and redaction by agency employees without putting the vast majority of the records off limits.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m going to repost #5 because Goldy’s edit function isn’t working this morning. (7 failed attempts)

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    There’s a problem with giving the public direct access to electronic records — redaction. Information that must be protected (such as names and addresses) is commingled with disclosable information in many, many, public records. No public agency’s computer system is programmed for electronic redaction that I know of; in fact, I don’t know of any software which does that. Computer files are public records subject to the PRA, but they have to be printed out by hand, redacted, and copied by hand just like paper records. There’s no shortcut I know of, and I don’t see how you can give the public direct access to agency computer files without intermediate review and redaction by agency employees without putting the vast majority of the records — in the agencies I worked for, essentially all of them — off limits.

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stefan had the cheek to solicit public donations for his “legal action fund” in order to sue the taxpayers. That’s right, he wanted the loyal followers of his sucky little blog to pay twice — first by paying for his lawsuit, then as taxpayers by paying the county’s legal defense costs and the penalties Stefan hoped to win from the county — and maybe put in his own pocket.

    I asked him about that dozens of times. I asked, “Stefan, are you going to share the proceeds of the lawsuit with the generous donors to your ‘legal action fund’ or keep all the money for yourself?” He refused to answer. As far as I’m concerned, you can draw whatever conclusions you want to from that.

    Here’s a guy who lives in an $850,000 house* and is married to a lawyer who could do the work for free who’s hitting up the readers of his blog for money to sue themselves. Sheesh. Add to that, the fact he got a single-mother waitress fired for shushing his rowdy kid in a restaurant, and you know everything you’ll ever need to know about Stefan’s values and character.

    * Former value; it’s probably now worth the $356,000 the flipper paid for it before reselling it to Stefan 6 months later for $857,000.**

    ** HAR HAR HAR HA … — hunh, I probably shouldn’t laugh, it might be in bad taste.

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I have an idea. In these tough times, we need to be resourceful in making limited public resources stretch. Instead of raising the copying fee or making citizens pay for staff time, just repeal the 5-day time limit for responding and let agencies deal with staff reductions by prioritizing public records requests along with the rest of their work. It doesn’t cost much to send a letter that says,

    “Thank you for your public records request. We will respond when our staff funding is restored to a level that allows us to employ public records officers. Until then, your request has been backlogged for future action.”

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stock Market Drops 400+ Points

    Anticipating more Republican obstructionism of President Obama’s plan to save the economy, the stock market is down over 400 points (Dow average) this morning.

  11. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    10. Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stock Market Drops 400+ Points

    Wrong Rog–
    This is now on Obama’s watch.
    The market is reacting to the Pork-laden SPENDING Bill misnamed a STIMULUS Bill.
    Glad I’m sitting comfortably on the sidelines with no debt, lots of cash and low overhead.

  12. 12

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Records Requests are very tricky.
    Many local officials & staff conduct PUBLIC business on their personal computers.
    When a Records Request is made, you want to be very clear that it is ALL records, including but not limited to records & e-mails on personal computers INCLUDING DELETED E-MAILS.

    Cheating, lying Bureaucrats & Electeds will lie about this and say nothing.
    HOWEVER, if you get an e-mail from another source that shows they received that e-mail….they have big trouble for not responding in accordance with the law.

  13. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 ” … INCLUDING DELETED E-MAILS.”

    Got any particular e-mails in mind? Such as incriminating e-mails deleted from the Bush White House computers? :)

  14. 14

    ArtFart spews:

    10/11 Probably a modicum of panic that the new edition of TARP will include some constraints on what the Wall Street shysters can do with the next few hundred billion they get from Uncle Sam. Since our new SecTreas was cagy enough to let it be known that there’s a new sheriff in town, but didn’t reveal exactly what he’s going to do, the Armani-suit gang can’t go running to their pet Republican Congress-critters yet and beg them to make him stop. Not that they could anyway.

  15. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    AF–
    You think so??
    I don’t.
    I think the market believes that Obama’s massive spending plan with all the non-Stimulus Pork…will fail.

  16. 16

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 15

    Well, gosh, anyone who’s willing to play so fast and loose with Economic concepts as to define “stimulus” such that it includes tax cuts but excludes nearly any form of spending is likely to be disappointed, but very few people are truly that stupid.

    You’re also positing the existence of people who are smart enough to have accumulated substantial wealth in the stock market (at least substantial enough as to be able to collectively influence market prices) yet too stupid to have seen the writing on the wall regarding passage of the stimulus package.

    Theories built on the assumption that people are simultaneously brilliant and completely idiotic tend to be incoherent theories.

  17. 18

    steve spews:

    @15 Market goes down = bad President. Market goes up = great President. The simplistic Mr. Cynical must believe that Clinton was our greatest President and that his hero George Bush was the worst ever.

  18. 19

    steve spews:

    @11 “low overhead”

    Homeless now, are you? I told you that it was stupid to buy bank stocks during a financial meltdown. Did you listen? Noooooo.

  19. 20

    Puddybud spews:

    Pelletizer: The Dow dropped after Geithner delivered a blank piece of paper for consumption for the other $350 Billion.

    Enjoy…

  20. 23

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    #20 continued Pelletizer

    Lack of Clarity

    ““There’s still a lack of clarity,” Dan McMahon, director of equity trading at Raymond James Financial Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, said of Geithner’s proposal. “These are smart people and they’re supposed to have it figured out. We’ve been waiting all week and then he said nothing.””

    Fair Use.

  21. 26

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    25. Puddybud, Hey it’s the new year… spews:
    Only 38 percent of Americans support the bill in right now

     
    I wonder how many of those 38% are acorn employees voting multiple times.

  22. 27

    Don Joe spews:

    Cherry-picking Dipshit @ 22

    See if you can figure out why these numbers and these numbers are so different from the ones you cite.

    Hint: It’s not the fact that the Rasmussen numbers are from today. If you scroll down the page, you’ll see a chart that shows today’s Rasmussen rating is up from yesterday’s.

  23. 28

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Nutcase@27:

    I’ve always used Rasmussen. BTW The only polling site approved by TPM Muckraker as being correct. BTW Gallup was rated the lowest by TPM Muckraker.

    I haven’t seen the idiot CNN poll so I have no comment.

    If you don’t like it shove it up yer ass!

  24. 29

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Nutcase@27: let me help you since you don’t pay attention to detail…

    BTW Nutcase@27: I’ll steal the ylb (HAs clueless idiot) comment, I don’t take orders from Democratic. I don’t need to figger it out. Rasmussen has been the most accurate for a long time.

  25. 30

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    27. Don Joe spews:
    Cherry-picking Dipshit @ 22
    See if you can figure out why these numbers and these numbers are so different from the ones you cite.

     
    One of those links was from cnn. ‘Nuff said.

  26. 31

    blyie spews:

    Actually, I think DJ’s market theories @16 are absolutely intriguing. DJ, do you ever make it to DL? If not, how about lunch in the near future?

  27. 32

    me spews:

    Free speech can be abused also doesn’t mean we should limit it.
    NO WAY should public disclosures requests cost more. Are there costs involved? Sure but it is a small price to pay for more transparency in gov’t. Home much $ has been saved by the requests? I am sure a lot. Also how much money was not wasted because people knew that their improper dealings could be exposed?

    Goldy you are really thinking penny smart pound foolish here.

  28. 33

    Don Joe spews:

    Blyie @ 17 & 31

    By profession, I’m a software developer. My official title is “Principal Software Development Engineer”.

    However, I do have a BA in Economics, and I’ve kept up on some of the research in the field.

    And, no, I don’t make it to drinking liberally. Sorry. Between work and family obligations, even getting over to Montlake is a bit out of the question for e.

  29. 34

    Don Joe spews:

    Emulator of Cluless Idiots @ 28 & 29

    Let me get this straight. I ask you a completely legitimate question, and your response is to behave exactly the same way as someone you have labelled a “Clueless Idiot.” At this point, I could simply declare victory, yet again, and be done with you, but let’s drive the point home.

    First of all, TPM Muckraker doesn’t deal with opinion polls. TPM Election Central does.

    Secondly, TPM Election Central has not endorsed any single poll as being the most accurate for all opinion questions. Indeed, no one would make such a broad endorsement. You can’t measure the accuracy of broad opinion polls, because there’s nothing against which one might evaluate that accuracy. If you believe that either TPMEC or TPMMR have endorsed Rasmussen for general opinion polling, then please post a link.

    Now, it’s entirely possible that you saw something on either TPM Election Central, or even TPM Muckraker, that said that Rasmussen was the most accurate at predicting the outcome of the past election. Indeed, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that you have. In that case, Rasmussen would, in fact, be the wrong poll for the general question at hand, which is the broad approval ratings of the American public in general.

    Rasmussen limits his polling population to likely voters, not the general public, which is why Rasmussen’s numbers are so different from the two other polls I linked. The other polls I referenced take their samples from a broader population, their results are more pertinent to the statement that BBG made @ 21.

    That doesn’t make you a liar, but it does mean that I have, yet again, kicked your ass around the HA block. Wanna come back for more?

  30. 35

    K spews:

    Here’s another side of disclosure requests. I have had the pleasure of having a citizen make a fairly broad request. We gathered the documents at some cost of staff time. We reserved a room for this individual so that they could review the documents. And the individual did not show. This person did it twice, bringing a project to a halt while the PM gathered and then refiled documents.

    Disclosure requests are sometimes used as harassment.

  31. 36

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Nutcase@34:

    If you paid attention you’d know who HAs clueless idiot is. And you can declare victory like you can declare your brain can fit on a pinprick for all I care.

    From TPM “The first prize goes to Rasmussen for nailing the 52%-46% figure exactly.” I posted the link nutcase.

    And that’s why I use Rasmussen, he uses likely voters, those who actually care. That’s why he’s always more correct. But to you nutcase@34, you continue to use the bottom feeders.

    Rasmussen is the best. Too bad that sucks for you. Anyone can ask a man/woman on the street what do they know. That’s why Hannity’s man of the street questions are always so funny demonstrating how stupid the general NYC public are each week. That’s why you can only trust 62.3% of their answers as that was the actual voting population for the 2008 preznit election.

    If you don’t like it shove it up yer ass!

  32. 37

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Puddy–
    Rasmussen is consistently #1.
    These KLOWNS never want the truth….it spoils their wetdream!

  33. 38

    Don Joe spews:

    Shitferbrains @ 36

    This is funny. Without even looking, I called two things right. First of all, it was, in fact, TPM Election Central that reported the news, not TPM Muckraker (as the dipshit claimed, which is probably why he didn’t post a link), and that the news was based on predicting the outcome of an election.

    Now, the disphit tries to weasel his way out of this one by claiming that likely voters are “people who care,” but, if that’s really the basis for choosing a pollster, rather than, say choosing the pollster based on whether or not the poll answers the question we’re asking, then the person you most want to look to is Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight.com, who, by the way, has a pretty good analysis of the impact of the stimulus debate on Obama’s approval ratings.

    As for shoving things up my ass, at least I can shove something up my ass. My head’s not in the way, which can’t be said about Dipshit and the rest of our resident trolls.

  34. 39

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Nutcase@38: Rasmussen published his poll scorecard in 2006. No one else did. Why? They were way off fool.

    That’s why I use Rasmussen. They poll people who care. Gallup and others call anyone for a response.

    TPMMuckracker, TPMElectionCentral are all from TPM the Democratic Moonbat! wing. Who cares except you. And if nutcase@38 actually read post#29, like most humans who can read exceptions are bentoversmellinghisfarts and rerun, he would have seen the link cuz I included it. But as always BDS has blinded him.

    Nutcase, they are all the same people with TPM.

    Rasmussen is the best. Too bad that sucks for you. Anyone can ask a man/woman on the street what do they know. That’s why Hannity’s man of the street questions are always so funny demonstrating how stupid the general NYC public are each week. That’s why you can only trust 62.3% of their answers as that was the actual voting population for the 2008 preznit election.

  35. 40

    JohnA spews:

    @38

    Any idea how well fivethirtyeight.com did calling the November election compared to other methods?

  36. 41

    correctnotright spews:

    @40: 538 was close to right on, for the electoral vote, the state by state and the percentages.

    Puddy uses only Puddy approved sources:

    Puddy’s Out Crowd: the NYT, Washington Post, Any reporter who ever said anything liberal, any reporters who honestly reports the news, any liberal source (must be wrong by definition).

    Puddy’s In crowd: Faux News (wrong so often it isn’t even funny), Rush Limbaugh (gasbags are the only legitimate source of news – especially on global warming)

    Rasmussen: Ha!

    Here is Rasmussen on the governors race – they screwed it up as usual.

    September 10 poll by Rasmussen Reports showed Rossi pulling ahead by a 52% to 46% margin [4]. The race was expected to be extremely close, but Gregoire was reelected by a wider than expected margin of 7.44%.[8]

    Rasmussen was off by over 13% less than two months before the election. No wonder Puddy loves them.

    Rasmussen is a right wing pollster. Just look how they ask the questions and how they survey – they estimate more republican voters than most of the other pollsters – that is why they screw up.

  37. 42

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 40

    I’ve tried finding Nate’s actual numbers on fivethirtyeight.com, but none of the graphics show up in the relevant posts. One of the comments in the TPM Election Central post says that Nate predicted 52.3% to 46.2%. According to WikiPedia, the actual result was 52.9% vs 45.7%. Nate also nailed each of the Senate races (provided Franken’s victory holds up after Coleman’s challenge, which appears to be the case).

    What our resident troll seems to not grok is that, if the question is predicting the outcome of an election, no one with half a brain sticks with a single pollster. The smart people do some form of weighted average of poll results, and Nate tends to get the edge (as would any other politically motivated sabermetrician).

  38. 43

    Don Joe spews:

    Gasbag @ 39

    You can blow all the hot air you want to, but just about everyone here knows that you’re picking Rasmussen not because his polls actually answer the question we’d like to ask, but because he’s giving the results you want.

    Your method of choosing a pollster is like going to your math teacher to get some help on a history question because the math teacher gave better answers to math questions than the history teacher gave.

  39. 44

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    What a coincidence now that bush is out of office that lefties think public records shouldn’t be available to we the people.
      
    But it’s okay for obama supporters to use government computers to look up info on joe the plumber.

  40. 45

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Correctnotright anally blew:

    Puddy’s Out Crowd: the NYT, Washington Post, Any reporter who ever said anything liberal, any reporters who honestly reports the news, any liberal source (must be wrong by definition).

    Unnnnnnnnnnt: Wrong again Dr of longwindedness.

    I use any source, even Daily Kooks when they get something right. How would I know Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd are morons unless I read them? Unlike you, I actually heard Randi Four Gunshots And Later I Was Fake Mugged Rhodes do her spiel on the air. How did I know TPM had Rasmussen as #1, unless, of course, I visited them? What a moron.

    See how stupid your comment is? Wait a minute you created it so it must be genius… Well in your small mind…

  41. 46

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Nutcase@43:

    First you accused me of not delivering the link. DISPROVED because you nutcase can’t read.

    Next you accuse me of ignoring Gallup for an usual stupid reason. DISPROVED because they aren’t accurate.

    Now you accuse me of using Rasmussen because they give me the answer I want. DISPROVED because even TPM called them the most accurate.

    Nutcase, you need a stronger argument. You fool, even CBS is 1% point away from Rasmussen. Gallup is at 64% not 68% from bentoversmellinghisfart said…

    I wonder why Democracy Corps (D) hasn’t performed another poll (55% Obama approval)

    You may be a great programmer but you have such BDS, PDS, LDS, xDS your mind can’t see facts.

  42. 47

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Wow Correctnotright, what was Rasmussen’s final tally before the election? Why didn’t you include the link? Was that another visit to known leftist Wikipedia?

  43. 48

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    With Obama at the helm and the Democratic in control, the country is supposed to be headed right per the leadless douchys and his 24 sockpuppets… Well?

    Hmmm… Rasmussen isn’t there, butt daily kooks is…

  44. 49

    correctnotright spews:

    @45:Puddy you make me laugh.

    I use any source, even Daily Kooks when they get something right.

    And how do you determine if they got it right? Through your own personal lense of truth?

    Essentially, your argument is that if they agree with me they are right and if not then I can ignore the source.

    Logically that is totally inconsistent, of course. But the fact that you even try to make that argument speaks very loudly about your own biases and ego.

  45. 50

    Don Joe spews:

    Dipshit @ 46

    You spend all this time on a parenthetical thought, and manage to miss the overall point: I had to correct your error, and this even after you’d gone and looked up the original post.

    Now, why did I have to correct your error? Because you don’t think. Anyone with half a brain would have known that TPM Muckraker was the wrong site for anything election poll related, but that thought never managed to squeeze its way into your dysfunctional brain.

    We’ve seen this kind of thing from you over and over again, the most famous of which being the Sam Zell vs Nouriel Roubini thing. Funny how Sam Zell hasn’t been much of a talking head as of late.

    So, let’s tally up the Puddy errors and the Don Joe errors:

    Puddy Error #1: Failed to notice that different pollsters are asking different questions of different populations.

    Puddy Error #2: Claims Rasmussen is the “most accurate,” but provides only one data point in support of that claim.

    Puddy Error #3: Fails to notice that actual results vs poll results were all within the margin of error for the one election cycle he does cite, which renders any claims about “accuracy” invalid. Based on the evidence Puddy has provided so far, the best we can say is that Rasmussen simply got lucky. (By the way, Pew Research got just as lucky, but, apparently, they’re not the most accurate.)

    Puddy Error #4: Chooses an arbitrary distinction between “likely voters” and the “general public,” for no other rhetorical reason than the fact that doing so makes it easier to reach the conclusion he wants to reach.

    Now, for Don Joe’s errors, of which there is only one: I failed to notice a link behind a single four-letter word in a comment that was largely simply ducking the questions I’d asked. (And, by the way, links here can be difficult to notice in Safari on a MacBook Pro while riding on a bus–not that this should matter, but I just thought I’d point it out.)

    So, Puddy has four substantive errors to his credit, while I have one error that has no bearing on the arguments that anyone here is making. This is why Don Joe kicks Puddy’s ass all around the HA block.

    Oh, by the way, the only thing I’ve said about which pollster I prefer is that I prefer none of them. In fact, I prefer the folks who do a statistical analysis of the various poll results, e.g. Nate Silver, because their result has a far better predictive value than any one pollster is ever going to have. Did Puddy bother to notice this? Nope. That would make Puddy error #5, but it’s not a substantive error, which is why I didn’t include it in the list above.

  46. 51

    correctnotright spews:

    @50 and 43 DJ:

    You won and you made your points – but don’t expect Puddy to recognize that.

    In Puddy’s world view, Puddy is always right, so there will be some tangential argument that will insist you are an idiot and Puddy is really right.

    There will be name calling and insults….and then you will just let it go an move on. Puddy will remind you later that he has won every argument (in his own mind, he is a legend taking on the liberal elite).

  47. 52

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 49

    And how do you determine if they got it right?

    That one’s easy to answer: Puddy determines if someone “got it right” based on the extent to which what they say leads to a conclusion he wants to reach.

    Well, actually, that’s not quite right. Puddy chooses his facts and sources based on what Puddy thinks will support a conclusion he wants to reach, but, because Puddy never actually manages to cobble together a coherent argument, no matter what sources he actually chooses, he always ends up somewhere in the lower atmosphere.

    This has led to the now famous Puddy Parade of Partial Punditry. Not only is Puddy rather selective in the facts he decides to emphasize, he never quite figures out how to actually reach a conclusion through sound logical and inductive reasoning. Incomplete facts + incomplete thought == the Puddy Parade of Partial Punditry.

  48. 53

    JohnA spews:

    @42 Any idea how this compares to some of Darryl’s results for the election? I know he had his own set of results.

  49. 54

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Delusional Dingleberry@50

    Puddy Error #1: Failed to notice that different pollsters are asking different questions of different populations.

    ANSWER – I never commented on who chooses what. Why? Because right on Real Clear Politics it tells you this. Why did I need to regurgitate what is readily known? Only in your KLOWN mind.

    Puddy Error #2: Claims Rasmussen is the “most accurate,” but provides only one data point in support of that claim.

    ANSWER – All I need is one point. I follow the same argumentative styles of the leftist loons here. Remember Merry Fitzmas fool? They see something on Kooks so it’s gospel. If you have a problem with me copying the HA leftist post style, bring it up to your leftist pinhead buds.

    Puddy Error #3: Fails to notice that actual results vs poll results were all within the margin of error for the one election cycle he does cite, which renders any claims about “accuracy” invalid. Based on the evidence Puddy has provided so far, the best we can say is that Rasmussen simply got lucky. (By the way, Pew Research got just as lucky, but, apparently, they’re not the most accurate.)

    ANSWER – Rasmussen simply got lucky? Wow you are really stretching since I even posted the Real Clear Politics site which shows even the vile CBS pollsters are closer to Rasmussen than Gallup.

    Puddy Error #4: Chooses an arbitrary distinction between “likely voters” and the “general public,” for no other rhetorical reason than the fact that doing so makes it easier to reach the conclusion he wants to reach.

    ANSWER – Play some of the YouTube man on the street interviews done by people. Most general public polls get their opinions from libtard MSM and are more biased when you look at the sampling methods. This was already proven last year when the Hillary/Obama polling cycle was done and posted here by a leftist Hillary supporter. Search HA archives and do your own damned due diligence fool.

    YEAH, YEah yeah, Puddy was bested. Only in your C-Sharp mind!

  50. 55

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Correctnotright: What was your single point source for September polling results?

    Oh the foo shits and you can’t deal…

  51. 56

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    BTW Don Joe: Lower atmosphere…

    Where life forms live and breathe. You are the “rocketman” of HA loons. Unfortunately your aim is similar to a Iraqi SCUD missile…

  52. 57

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 54

    I never commented on who chooses what.

    This, despite the fact that I’d asked you about it, at which point you played the “clueless idiot” card. You didn’t know the difference, and now you’re trying wiggle your way out of it. Nice try, but it won’t fly.

    All I need is one point.

    If all you want to do is convince yourself, you don’t need any data points at all.

    As for you “clueless idiot” redux (albeit couched in slightly different terms), your point would carry much more weight if you had ever actually constructed a cogent argument. The fact is, you haven’t. Saying that you don’t have to do something that you’ve never done is a smokescreen for hiding the fact that you can’t do it.

    Rasmussen simply got lucky?

    Yup, RCP notwithstanding. You want to rip a pollster, do it when the result comes in outside their margin of error.

    Or do you simply not understand the meaning of the phrase “margin of error”?

    Play some of the YouTube man on the street interviews done by people.

    You’re assuming that there’s a correlation between stupidity and the likelihood that someone will vote, which is amusing given the extent to which you are living evidence to the contrary.

    Once again, Don Joe points out Puddy’s errors, Puddy tries to answer, and Puddy’s answers are found to be horribly wanting.

  53. 58

    Puddybud, Hey it's the new year... spews:

    Wow Don Joe: Unfortunately for you, you think you’ve pointed out errors. I’ve met a genius (in his own mind) and been bested. HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR!

    gag

    hack

    cough

    spfft

    Now that the wad is gone…

    Yeah right. Whatever you say DJ. Stay tuned you’ll see clueless idiot appear in his “regal” glory…

  54. 59

    sMack spews:

    @33 I’m a software development engineer

    Don Joe, I’m curious what kind of software products you create. I’m also in software, Bellevue.

  55. 60

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 58

    Stay tuned you’ll see clueless idiot appear in his “regal” glory…

    I think we already have.

    @ 59

    I’m curious what kind of software products you create.

    I have four Macs in my office, and one PC, but I work in Redmond. That should tell you all you need to know.