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Nate Silver’s forecasting model: partisan hack-job or garbage

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Nate Silvers forecasting model partisan hack-job or garbage

Nate Silver is the founder of FiveThirtyEight, a widely known data analysis website. And while the website has a widely reputable reputation for quality infographics, it may be time to question the credibility of its founder and data analysis. America’s top political research (gambling) website PredictIt sent this message to its members.

You all know Nate Silver, the famous prognosticator and founder of fivethirtyeight.com. Great guy. Except that he just called you “dumb”.

Okay, not exactly, he said prices on PredictIt are dumb. And it’s true there are some markets where your expectations and his are a bit out of whack.

For example, you’ve got the GOP at 58% to win Arizona’s Senate race. Nate is at only 38%. You’re pricing Claire McCaskill at only 39% to keep her Missouri Senate seat. Nate is much more confident at 57%. And, the Democrats to win the House? He thinks it’s nearly a foregone conclusion at 88%. You’re hedging your bets at 72%.

So who’s right? We’ll know that later today. In the meantime, are you comfortable being called “dumb”? If not, get back on the site and vote with your money. Or maybe you want to take the advice of an expert and hedge your bets.

This was great motivation to check out the current prices the day of the election. If you are unaware, PredictIt operates a stock market model. The price of a pick is what the last person paid for it. It’s putting your money where your mouth is. Digging deeper, FiveThirtyEight has a unique algorithm applied to polls and even non-polling factors for its more premium models. In contrast, a free market betting system is the aggregate of how likely people think this event will take place. So here’s the question: is the free market of election betting more reliable than the data analysis of Nate Silver and his infrastructure?

The answer is unequivocally yes. Nate Silver’s predictions were aggressive and extremely bearish on Republican candidates. The midterm results were anything but the historic Blue Wave we’ve been hearing about for two years. In the two Senate examples from the email, we saw Josh Hawley unseat Claire McCaskill with greater ease compared to the far tighter expectations of the Senate race in Missouri. We also saw Martha McSally ahead in a tight Arizona race.

Here Nate Silver explains that his model gave the Democrats an 18% chance at gaining control of the Senate. In my previous analysis Mapping the Senate in the midst of midterms elections I explain what the Democrats would have to do in order to achieve majority.

At a glance, the GOP already secures 49 seats, two fewer seats than what they currently hold. A Democratic majority would require the Democrats to win all 9 toss up races along with securing the competitive races that aren’t tossup. The Democrats max out at 51, maybe 52 if they drum up some rape allegations on Ted Cruz; it’s approaching that time in the race if they are going to do that. In contrast the Republicans max out at 59, all of the tossups and a W in both New Jersey and Michigan.

Giving these events an 1% chance is preposterous. If you had parlayed those odds, you would have become rich. A $100 parlay on the Democrats winning the Senate races in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and Nevada would yield $2036.35 according to odds found on Newsweek. Throw in Beto and the Blue Wave would have paid off over $10000. These odds come with an implied probability of 4.68%. This isn’t even all that the Democrats would need to win. Somehow, FiveThirtyEight had 18%, which was within 1 standard deviation of his model’s prediction. My Bookie had either -700 or -800 line on the GOP maintaining the Senate, in the 88-89% probability that the GOP retains the Senate, placing the Democratic control outside of one standard deviation away from their average.

And while boasting his mediocre system, Silver then proceeds to make woeful partisan hot takes.

(Uses popular vote)

(Neglects fact that Beto had $60 million dollars that could have gone to more viable campaigns, major celebrity endorsements, media attention. Such high cost for such a low reward.)

And then Silver reposts his shameless defense of polling. There a two specific fallacies. the first being that national polling has weight on Congressional or Presidential elections. In fact his defense uses national polling, and the results from such to average out the more volatile state results, when the state results in 2016 were the second most deviant results in his data set, the first being the disastrously polled 1980 presidential election. Secondly, Nate Silver defends polling by saying that polls predict the outcomes of races overwhelming majority of time. This is true, however, most political races aren’t competitive. Incumbents generally get reelected. So getting it right majority of the time is an easy accomplishment. It was fairly obvious Corey Stewart was not going to win in Virginia. Saying that polls got this right is unproductive. The thrill in predicting elections is in the competitive races.

In Silver’s Classic and Deluxe forecasts, he employs non-polling method, which of course include generic ballot polling… But his ratings here were flawed. In Florida, he gave a 1.6 fundraising advantage to Bill Nelson in one of few races where the GOP senate candidate had a bigger warchest, data if evaluated properly would have accounted for outside spending as well. The generic Ballot entitle Nelson to a +7.2 advantage. The overall advantage for these non-polling factors was 7.2 in Nelson’s favor. The Deluxe Model also employs experts who were more aggressive in their Nelson picks. This model gave Nelson a 73% chance of victory. My Bookie had this race even (50%). PredictIt was more bullish towards Scott. No fancy algorithm, just a collective intuition and a fiduciary desire.

The Classic model showed Mike Braun with a 28.2% chance of winning, Joe Donnelly’s performance outside of a reasonable margin of error. The same classic model gave the greatest edge Claire McCaskill (56.9%) in a race most had much tighter. For people financially invested, Josh Hawley was likely to win, a more aggressive prediction than could be derived from only polls. My Bookie had Josh Hawley’s moneyline at -160, an implied probability of nearly 62%. This race was easier to predict than Florida, Nevada, or Arizona, and Nate Silver still got in wrong, though his Deluxe Model which factored outside experts had Hawley winning. Out of all the tossup Senate races, Silver got Nevada correct, Arizona still pending. Nevada, as I pointed out was the second easiest seat for Democrats to flip, though this was before Kyrsten Sinema’s comments surfaced. Admittedly, I had Dean Heller winning. Jackie Rosen’s victory is hardly a bracket buster in an election where I foresaw GOP Senate gains. In the DeSantis race, Gillum was projected to win more aggressively than warranted, given his overtly corrupt nature as a candidate, but to mitigate the damage towards Silver’s credibility, My Bookie had DeSantis at +150 (40%). Upsets happen. Sometimes the 40% happens, but My Bookie foresaw the upset happening at nearly double the rate that Silver.

It’s time to admit, as a society, that Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and his forecasting model is either partisan hackery or well animated garbage. Or perhaps, it is both because why assume the two options presented are mutually exclusive. If Silver really believed PredictIt’s prices were dumb, then the Arizona and Missouri races were bargains and he should have bought. Perhaps if Nate Silver put his wallet where his mouth was, he would have created a better model. But without such incentive, due shaky ethical grounds, he can continue operating his below average model, being celebrated as an expert to a partisan leftist media because he aggressively and incorrectly forecasts their favorite candidates to win.

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Culture and Religion

Houston library had Alberto Garza, a registered child sex offender, read stories to children for Drag Queen Storytime

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Houston library had Alberto Garza a registered child sex offender read stories to children for Drag

Conservatives know the LGBTQ community has their say in most aspects of life in America today. Their political and cultural influence is unquestionable and public organizations jump through hoops to appease the various groups. Many libraries have even embrace “Drag Queen Storytime” as a way to teach tolerance to children by allowing transvestites to read stories to children.

Houston Public Library is one such progressive public organization that has embraced the practice. Unfortunately, they didn’t do anything to protect the children that visit the library by allowing “Tatiana Mala Nina” to read for the children. The problem arose because”Tatiana” is actually Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old child sex offender.

My Take

Houston Public Library has apologized. Is that really enough? Mistakes happen, but there are certain situations and jobs in which extra special care must be taken. Our public libraries, which are often considered to be truly safe places and popular venues for children to learn, should be able to give a reasonable expectation to parents that registered child sex offenders are not given explicit access to children.

This is gross negligence. I may be in the minority on this one, but this is a terminable offense in my books. Someone’s head should roll.

Keep in mind I rarely call for anyone to be fired for a single offense, but this is literally the worst case scenario for a library administrator. When you give someone access to the children that come to the library, they cannot be convicted child sex offenders. That’s sort of a no-brainer.

Nothing will likely happen beyond the apology, but here’s hoping.

So many exceptions are made for “alternative lifestyles” for the sake of tolerance. But when this tolerance allows a convicted child sex offender to have access to small children, the exceptions have gone way to far. This is absolutely unacceptable.

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Opinions

Gregory Wrightstone debunks Bill Nye on Ingraham Angle

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Gregory Wrightstone debunks Bill Nye on Ingraham Angle

Heartland Institute Policy Advisor Gregory Wrightstone was a guest with Laura Ingraham on the Ingraham Angle last week on Fox News. On the show, he took on claims by Bill Nye “the science guy” regarding droughts, famines, and how we’re going to have to move up north just to be able to survive as a species.

Wrightstone, who is known for debunking such heavy hitters as Al Gore, who was certain we’d all be burned alive by 2015. On the show, Wrightstone also took on NASA.

Science isn’t all that hard, folks. Where it gets complicated is when “science” is driven by political agendas and money behind the scenes. Both sides of nearly every debate have politics and money manipulating the science, but the lion’s share definitely goes to the leftists who are more “enlightened” and they’re willing to pay for any result they want from the scientific community that they weren’t able to bully into before.

There is no doubt that strange things are happening with the weather. Is it man-made? Is it reversible? Is it going to kill us all in a decade. The true scientific answer to all these questions is, “probably not.”

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Was Christchurch a lone gunman or a conspiracy?

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Was Christchurch a lone gunman or a conspiracy

Yesterday in “Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud, needs to step back and look at Christchurch objectively“, we indicated that we were dealing with a snapshot of a developing story regarding the slaughter of Muslims in their mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was evident that the investigation into this act of terror and hate crime would continue to unfold.

There has been a 180° turn in what New Zealand authorities are saying about how many people were involved in this attack. In the hours after the unimaginable occurred, Radio New Zealand was citing the law enforcement authorities as having multiple people in custody and hastening to determine if more were involved.

Though an Australian citizen is still being held and believed to be the perpetrator, his alleged motive of white supremacy is having further aspersions cast upon it. As we mentioned yesterday, he had travelled to Pakistan and praised the people whom he met there.

“In the post, the accused said he was visiting Pakistan for the first time. He called it an incredible place filled with the most earnest, kind hearted and hospitable people in the world.”

Now it turns out that Turkish intelligence is investigating the time that he spent in that country and believes that others may likely be involved. Today RNZ posted an article entitled “Turkish intelligence investigating Christchurch accused ~ report“.

Among the troubling concerns documented are:

“Tarrant’s interest in the Ottoman Empire, which controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries and its downfall, have raised suspicions.”

“Turkish intelligence thinks there is a well-resourced organisation behind this.”

“That kind of ordinary profile, that is not very well educated, and not rich … this person cannot commit such a violent action on his own….”

Without further details, it could be either that he was fascinated by the Ottoman Empire and/or that he sought retribution against the acts of the Ottoman Empire. If the RNZ article is accurate ~ and because it is very much at variance with most of the articles which have been posted showing empathy for the Muslim victims, and painting the perpetrator as a white supremacist ~ it’s unlikely that RNZ would invent the story about Turkish intelligence.

The article further states:

“Senior politicians from Turkey have been meeting with New Zealand government representatives and are expected to spend the next few days in Christchurch.”

Therefore it is rather surprising that today, New Zealand Police has tweeted out that:

“This is now an international investigation which includes staff from the FBI and @AusFedPolice on the ground in New Zealand, as well as investigators assisting in Australian states.”

No mention of Turkish authorities.

NZP also tweets:

“There is no indication at this stage that anyone else was directly involved in the attack – we believe this horrific act was committed by one person.”

Just as FBI quickly concluded that the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was strictly an act of domestic terrorism. But there is adequate information even in the public domain that Terry Nichols had traveled at least twice to his wife’s home country of the Philippines and had opportunity to potentially meet with 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to learn the art of bomb-making.

So, NZP appears intent upon disavowing or simply ignoring earlier indications of co-conspirators for Christchurch. They acknowledge the FBI and Australian Federal Police but they do not allude to the presence of Turkish officials in New Zealand at this time.

When we add to this the warning for the New Zealand Jewish Community to stay away from their synagogues the day after the attack on Muslims in their mosques in Christchurch, it is readily apparent that a wider threat was perceived even though the gunman was in custody. So, if the shooter acted alone, all this was just an over-reaction by New Zealand authorities. An alternative explanation could be that there are others still at large that they don’t want to discuss.

But the most important consideration goes even deeper into what is starting to look like a possible cover-up. Was white supremacy really the motivation?

“It’s more than just irony that the mosque attack occurred in a city named Christchurch. It’s probably deliberate. An alleged white supremacist chose such a locale. So could a Muslim offended by the city name. In this, they’d have common cause. Both wonder why Muslims chose to live there.”

If Christchurch was intended to strike a blow in the name of white supremacy to end unmitigated immigration by Muslims, it has accomplished the exact antithesis of that objective. Overnight, the prevailing narrative of Islamic terrorism against non-Muslims in a worldwide Jihad ~ though accurate and well-documented ~ has been replaced by politicians everywhere jumping on the bandwagon to express solidarity with Muslims as victims of religious bigotry.

We will continue monitoring the aftermath of Christchurch. Our purpose is to provide counterpoint to those who start with a preconceived notion and then strive to confirm it. Rather, we look at the facts and draw conclusions objectively.

If it was white supremacy, we will plainly so state. But, the alternative is not necessarily a false flag operation. The perpetrator could have been manipulated by those with motives different from his own. That’s why this report about the suspicions of Turkish intelligence are so significant.

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