"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Friday, October 27, 2006

Saskatchewan NDP cuts regressive sales tax

Right on the heals of yesterday's good news announcement that Saskatchewan is getting a new Stat Holiday in February, today the government announced that there will be a 2 point reduction in the Provincial Sales tax.

The tax will be reduced from 7% to 5% effective midnight tonight.

The government good news train keeps on rolling along.

Who says we are out of the next election?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saskatchewan gets a new Stat Holiday

The Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor gave the Speech from the Throne this afternoon in Saskatchewan. The focus was on making life better for Saskatchewan Families and building a better future in Saskatchewan for young people.

There were some key areas that the government focused on, but the big one was…. Saskatchewan has a new Holiday!

Starting February 19th, 2007, (Note: I had a wrong date here earlier) Saskatchewan will have a new statutory holiday on that day. Like Alberta, we are calling it Family Day. I don’t know if that’s the best name in the world, but it doesn’t really matter – what matters is, we all get another day off!

This is pretty unusual for a throne speech, usually they are just platitudes and promises, and the NDP have been no exception to this – except for today.

Given that the theme of the speech was “making life better for Saskatchewan Families” this is a pretty decent way to emphasize that theme. I think everyone will be a little bit better off in Saskatchewan in February.

And lord knows, we need all the help we can get, in Saskatchewan, in February, brrrrr

Update: The Sask Party opposes the creation of the holiday - what are they thinking?

Opposition Sask Party leader Brad Wall says we don’t need another one [stat holiday]: You know we just finished a by-election in Weyburn Big Muddy .. and I knocked a lot of doors myself and I heard nothing from the people of the province about a demand for another stat holiday.

-(CJME, 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct 26, 2006)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stay the course? No?.........Yes.

Turns out the Bush team has told so many lies even THEY can't keep them straight anymore

Bush claims that he never said "Stay the Course" and he is right.

Except for all the times he said it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On the CPC's use of Women

So by now all of you will have heard about Peter Mackay's slam against Belinda. I'm not going to add anything to that story.

However, what I found interesting was watching the Conservative representative on Question Period on Sunday morning.

Geez. It must have hurt them to put Helena Guergis on the show. It turns out if you do a search on her on Google News then you only find her in 2 stories. Both of which are about the tokenism of women in the Conservative caucus.

But she lept to MacKay's defence on the show so I guess she is OK with being the token women apologist for the CPC

I guess we will start to see her in a lot more news stories

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Federal Agricutural Minister Won't Obey the Law

Federal Agricultural Minister Chuck Strahl says:

"I haven't ruled out a plebiscite," said the minister. "We'll see if there's a need for one."

He said there are a number of changes that could be made in the board's mandate by a new executive, by cabinet decree and by government regulation.

Here is what the Canadian Wheat Board Act says:

47.1 The Minister shall not cause to be introduced in Parliament a bill that would exclude any kind, type, class or grade of wheat or barley, or wheat or barley produced in any area in Canada, from the provisions of Part IV, either in whole or in part, or generally, or for any period, or that would extend the application of Part III or Part IV or both Parts III and IV to any other grain, unless

(a) the Minister has consulted with the board about the exclusion or extension; and

(b) the producers of the grain have voted in favour of the exclusion or extension, the voting process having been determined by the Minister.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

you think YOU have a scandal

Quick pop quiz:

Which do you think is worse:

A) Being previously removed from office by a judge for conflict of interest
B) Being accused by Revenue Canada of tax fraud
C) Being charged with assault
D) Being charged with breach of probation
E) Being charged with breaking a peace bond
F) All of the above

If your answer was F then you might not want to run to be the Mayor of Petersborough

unless you are this guy

Conservatives and Handcuffs = Bad Association

I took this screen cap off of the Conservative Party of Canada web site. Here in Saskatchewan there is an entirely different connotation when it comes to Conservatives and handcuffs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Hard to Get Answers from a Bush

watch and laugh

Top 10 Dumbest Congressmen

Radar Online has a "Top Ten Dumbest Congressmen" feature here that is worth checking out

Some of the highlights:

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Bunning is a Hall of Fame pitcher who, during his eight years in office, has shown "little interest in legislation that doesn't concern baseball"

  • Told a group of GOP fundraisers that his Italian-American opponent, Daniel Mongiardo, physically resembled Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay
  • Gave a stump speech about the tragic terror attacks of November 11, 2001
Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)

Burns, Jack Abramoff"s favorite Senate bag man, raked in a cool $137,000 in tribal casino money for his political action committee, a congressional record.

  • made reference, in an immigration speech, to the "nice little Guatemalan man" who does yardwork around his estate
  • Gave a speech where he told people to be wary of "faceless" Arabs who "drive taxicabs by day and kill at night."
  • Had a 1999 outburst blaming "ragheads" for rising gas prices and additional episodes in 1994 in which he delivered a casual joke from the podium about "niggers" and told another audience that living in Washington with so many blacks "is quite a challenge."
Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)

First there was her notorious encounter with a Capitol Hill police officer who dared to ask her for ID. After brazenly ignoring several polite requests, the caterwauling congresswoman responded by walloping the officer in the chest. During the ensuing fracas she complained that she was persecuted for "being in Congress while black."
  • Made a frivolous threat to sue the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for defamation over an editorial
  • one of her own aides was forced to resign after calling congress an "Israel-occupied territory."

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Quote: "Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, 'Thank God I'm still alive.' But of course those who died, their lives will never be the same again."

Quote: "
Josh found himself mesmerized by her perfectly shaped, silken legs with kneecaps that reminded him of golden apples—he couldn't remember having been captivated by kneecaps before—and her lustrous thighs."

Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)

He distributed leaflets on the House floor accusing Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer of promoting "sex training for federal employees," planning to indoctrinate them into drug use, and pushing New Age cult worship, all because of a proposal to extend health coverage for abortions under dire circumstances. And the amendment Hayworth was protesting so absurdly wasn't Hoyer's at all—it was actually the work of Hayworth's fellow Republican, Rep. Ron Packard of California

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • claimed that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"—a rhetorical flourish he recently refined by likening climate change theories to Nazi propaganda.
  • As far back as 1972, he called for Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern to be "hanged with Jane Fonda"
  • Claimed that both Bill and Hillary Clinton were out to assassinate him.
  • Quote "My wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or a homosexual relationship."
Representative Donald Young (R-AK)

"Buttfucking," replies the great scourge of obscenity and instructor of youth. The scene: Fairbanks, Alaska, 1994. Congressman Don Young, already in office for 20 years, is on the stump preaching the virtues of Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution to a group of high school students. Just look at all the wasteful things the federal government does with taxpayers' money, he tells them. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, funds art involving "people doing offensive things ... things that are absolutely ridiculous." One student asks, "Like what?" "Buttfucking," replies the great scourge of obscenity and instructor of youth.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Saskatchewan Launches New Equalization Campaign

Because of the whole "Harper and the CPC screwing Saskatchwan" deal, the Province of Saskatchewan will be launching a new campaign.

I'm not sure how well the "Imagine" theme will play, but I haven't seen the ads or cards yet so maybe it will work.

Hopefully this will put the pressure on the federal conservatives to keep thier promises.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Liberal Leadership Race for 5th Place

From the Rick Mercer Report


Is George Bush an Idiot? Round III

It turns out that there very well may be another explination for GWB. he's not actually stupid, he is just sick. Very very sick.

One doctor thinks he shows signs of "presenile dementia," or an early onset of Alzheimer's disease.

In a letter to be published in The Atlantic's October issue, Joseph Price, a self-described "country doctor" in Carsonville, Mich., calls presenile dementia "a fairly typical Alzheimer's situation that develops significantly earlier in life. . . . President Bush's `mangled' words are a demonstration of what physicians call `confabulation' and are almost specific to the diagnosis of a true dementia." He adds that Bush should be "started on drugs that offer the possibility of retarding the slow but inexorable course of the disease."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fox News Does It Again - Come on, you only have to keep track of 2 parties

For those of you who thought the whole "Fox News Labels Foley as a Democrat" was merly an honest mistake.

I call Bullshit. (Hat-Tip Daily Kos)

In case you were wondering, they switched the two so that it now looks like the Republican is winning (Which he is not)

Isn't it funny that whenver they make this "mistake" it makes the republicans look good and the democrats look bad?

Perhaps that is why Fox News sued for the right to tell a lie

the station was initially very excited about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions to the FCC, they were both fired.
Fox had a very simple point to make:

FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to do so.
I guess it is thier right. It's everyone else's responsibility to fight back.

And while we are at it, CNN does deserve some Kudos on this Front. Here is a portion of a transcript from Wolf Blitzer's Show:

BLITZER: So what you're suggesting -- and correct me if I'm wrong, because you've been doing this for the last few days -- that Democrats are behind the timing of the release of this information? Is that your accusation?

MCHENRY: Well, look, all the fact points lead to one question: Did Rahm Emanuel or Nancy Pelosi have any involvement on the strategic or tactical level? This morning on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the question was asked of Rahm Emanuel. His reaction was he did not see the instant messages or e-mails. He repeatedly said, he did not see. I've asked him to testify under oath to assure the American people that he was not involved in this issue in any way, shape or form.

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence at all that Democrats or others might have been behind the timing of this scandal?

MCHENRY: Look, let's be honest...

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence to back that charge up?

MCHENRY: No, no, actually, if the Democrats had any issue with saying this, putting all the facts out on the table, they would say, certainly, I'll testify under oath that I had no involvement in it. They've said no.

BLITZER: Well, you don't have any evidence, though, right?

MCHENRY: Well, look at the fact points.

BLITZER: Yes or no, do you have any evidence, Congressman?

Blitzer keeps the pressure on. It is a pretty simple question. Do they actualy have any evidence? Can they meet the basic standard of "burden of proof"?

BLITZER: Yes or no, do you have any evidence, Congressman?

MCHENRY: Do you have any evidence that they weren't involved?



Bush funded the North Korea WMD program

Hat tip: Canadian Cynic

So it seems that the US under George W. Bush, decided to give North Korea the funding to carry out thier nuclear program:

The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.

But don't worry, I'm sure safeguards were in place:

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

Or, you know, not.

Stephen Colbert's Best Interview Ever!

This is a shining example of the mental prowess of the US congress.

I know this is an old interview, but I watched it on a re-run the other day and even though I knew how the interview went I was still still laughing my ass off.

I was sick over the weekend and this is best I can do, OK?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Foley Story meets the Torture Story


Bush's Thought Police

I don't toss the word "fascist" around very often because, like communist, it applies to a very specific type of political/cultural agenda and programme.

The people who do toss those types of terms around lose a lot of respect from reasonable people like myself.

However, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine if the shoe fits, in this case, as it were.

First we have to examine the issue of the thought police. You know, the idea that ideas are the problem.

Well take a look at this article from the New York Times. It seems that the though police are moving one step closer.

A consortium of major universities, using Homeland Security Department money, is developing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications
Not that they need the software because, as it turns out, we find that there is a bit of a problem with the Secret Service. They are in fact, literally acting as the thought police

On June 16, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people....Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible," or words to that effect, then walked on.... Ten minutes later they were approached by the Secret Service... placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.
It turns out that this is standard operating procedure for the Secret Service under Bush.

"When President Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up "free speech zones" or "protest zones," where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event."
And so are the arrests:

"At a Bush rally at Legends Field in 2001, three demonstrators -- two of whom were grandmothers -- were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs"

"last year, seven protesters were arrested when Bush came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned off into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome."

The Justice Department is now prosecuting Brett Bursey, who was arrested for holding a "No War for Oil" sign at a Bush visit to Columbia
And it gets even worse, as the article goes on to point out.

Attempts to suppress protesters become more disturbing in light of the Homeland Security Department's recommendation that local police departments view critics of the war on terrorism as potential terrorists. In a May terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who "expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government." If police vigorously followed this advice, millions of Americans could be added to the official lists of suspected terrorists.
That's right, if you disagree with the war or the government then you must be a terrorist.

And for the record, the above quotes come from an article published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Conservative. Which is not exactly some liberal rag.


where were we?

Oh yes, if you disagree with the war or the government then you must be a terrorist.

And what does the Bush Administration want to do to terrorists?

Oh, that's right.

Torture them.

In secret prisons

As Crooks and Liers points out, Bush won't even deny this stuff

Matt Lauer: And yet you admitted that there were these CIA secret facilities. OK?

President Bush: So what? Why is that not within the law?

Matt Lauer: The head of Amnesty International says secret sites are against international law.

President Bush: Well, we just disagree with him.

The interview goes on to discusee the legal niecities of "strap[ing] someone to a board and you make them feel as if they’re going to drown by putting them underwater" They didn't quite get to the fact that the new law might even allow the government to torture the family members of suspected terrorist. It turns out that Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects’ families.

Not only is the terrorist torture bill that was just passed by the Republicans obsence ont he face of it, but add this into the mix:

Buried amongst the untold affronts to the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the very spirit of America, the torture bill contains a definition of "wrongfully aiding the enemy" which labels all American citizens who breach their "allegiance" to President Bush and the actions of his government as terrorists subject to possible arrest, torture and conviction in front of a military tribunal.
The only possible way that this could come into affect would be to deal with US citizens. Why would a foreign terrorist have any allegiance to the United States to breach in the first place? Why would this clause be needed if they were truly using it to fight terrorism?

Continuing on...

The New York Times draws our attention to the Roman Empire where

By the oldest trick in the political book — the whipping up of a panic, in which any dissenting voice could be dismissed as “soft” or even “traitorous” — powers had been ceded by the people that would never be returned.
They are talking about the Roman response to a terrorist attack and the redefining of a hundered-year-old consitution. The parallels with the current situation are stunning

Those of us who are not Americans can only look on in wonder at the similar ease with which the ancient rights and liberties of the individual are being surrendered in the United States in the wake of 9/11. The vote by the Senate on Thursday to suspend the right of habeas corpus for terrorism detainees, denying them their right to challenge their detention in court; the careful wording about torture, which forbids only the inducement of “serious” physical and mental suffering to obtain information; the admissibility of evidence obtained in the United States without a search warrant; the licensing of the president to declare a legal resident of the United States an enemy combatant — all this represents an historic shift in the balance of power between the citizen and the executive.
So...... Facism? Let's look at the list, shall we?

Thought police? check
Secret prisons? check
Torture? check
Spying on all citizens? check
Denial and restriction of habeas corpus? check

Sounds a little too close to comfort for my liking.

So we have the situation where anyone who expresses dissent with the government (as defined by some computer program and massive NSA wiretapping) can be consisered a terrorist, and can be arrested for that by the secret service or the police. (Keeping in mind the Homeland Security Department's recommendation that local police departments view critics of the war on terrorism as potential terrorists) Then, the government can do pretty much whatever they want to these 'terrorists' once they get them in thier secret prisons. Including torture of themselves and familiy members. And again, all you need to be "eligable" for torture according to the torture bill is to "who breach their "allegiance" to President Bush and the actions of his government"

A bit much... eh?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mark Foley needed this Monopoly Card

hee hee hee...

This is crazy - even by Fox News Standards

I assume most of you have been following the whole Foley-Underage-Male-Page incident down in the States.

I was predicting the usual spin from the Republicans, but a couple of things have just gone too far

For example, Matt Drudge has this to say: (hat tip: Jane Hamsher)

And if anything, these kids are less innocent -- these 16 and 17 year-old beasts...and I've seen what they're doing on YouTube and I've seen what they're doing all over the internet -- oh yeah -- you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth?
The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.

Yep, he's BLAMING THE KIDS (Listen to the audio here)

but wait, it gets even worse: It turns out that we had it all wrong, Foley is a Democrat, not a Republican. At least according to Fox News (We lie through our teeth, you decide)

(hat tip: Brad Blog) - go whath the video

And if you want the full level of outrage - read how Fox News is covering the story. It's all about how e-mail is bad - no mention of sex or pediphelia.

Fucking Fox News.

At least the so-called moral majority is reacting the way they would if ANY member of congress did this sort of thing.




But wait, I mean, this is the only time that the Republicans have done this sort of thing, right?

Nope (Hat tip: Galloping Beaver)

Turns out there are over 60 different incidents involving Republicans and child molestation.

And, finaly, to bring it all home, what did Small Dead Animals have to say:

Update: as pointed out in the comments section this was actually Steve Janke (The other pillar of the right-wing wankosphere) and not Kate that posted this as my original post suggested.

If you can't read that closely enough, on October 1st (the Sunday two days after the whole Foley thing broke on US and Canadian News Networks)

What did Janke have to say: "If it's children exposed to penises, it must be Belgium"

Yeah, or, you know, THE US CONGRESS.

It took until today for the site to even cover the topic and here are some of the choice quotes:

"Bet the msm treats this a lot differently than the Clinton scandals. All of a sudden they care about a politicians sex life."
"To defend themselves the Republicans only have to repeat what all the democrats and msm said when Clinton was doing his intern. Its only sex, and is no reason to make a big deal out of it."

They honestly can't tell the difference between Clinton, who engaged in Aldultery with a consenting, of age woman, and this guy who abused children.

To Fox News, Matt Drudge, and Small Dead Animals.

Get off your moral high horse and crawl out from the filth and muck, you sick partisan bastards.

A Mathematical Model for Predicting the Liberal Leadership

Problem: Can we create a mathematical model for predicting the outcome of the Liberal Leadership race in December?

Answer: Yes (with some important caveats)

Since the Liberal Leadership numbers have been preying on my mind lately I decided to go back and re-read some sections of Do Conventions Matter : Choosing National Party Leaders in Canada by a professor of Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan named John Courtney. (Full disclosure: I took a class from Mr. Courtney and was not overly impressed with him, but I think his work in this field is stellar) He looks at the 19 leadership races (of all Federal parties) between 1919 and 1993 and draws some statistical interferences.

There are a couple of statistical trends that he examines in his book that will help us shed some light on the Liberal’s December convention.

Note: I am NOT a liberal and am not part of one leadership camp or another. I am doing this as an exercise in political prognostication and for fun, not to promote one candidate ahead of the others. Also note, we are dealing with STATISTICS and PROBABILITY here people, not crystal balls and tarot decks. If you want certainty, go read a blogging tory blog, I deal with reality :-)

Point 1: Number of Ballots

Assuming that there are 8 people on the 1st ballot then according to table 10-2 in the book (page 353) there is a 19% chance of there only being 2-3 ballots and an 81% chance of their being more than 3 ballots. Assuming that Volpe drops out because he can’t pay his 20,000 fine and/or some of the other “can’t wins” decide they are going to throw their support behind somebody while it still makes a difference (i.e. before convention starts) then we could have a few as 6 people on the ballot at convention. If that is the case there is 51% chance of a 2-3 ballot affair and a 49% chance of a 4-5 ballot affair.

Conclusion: It is safe to say that there will be between 3 to 5 ballots

Point 2: Initial Support of Eventual Winner

Since we can conclude above that there will be between 3 to 5 ballots, let’s look at what support is need on the first ballot to win. Courtney breaks conventions up into categories based on the number of ballots. We will look at his analysis from table 10-1 (page 352) for the cases of 3 ballots, 4 ballots and 5 ballots.

In the case of a 3 ballot convention, the eventual winners had had an average of 43.7% support on the first ballot and ended up with 54% of the final support.

In the case of a 4 or 5 ballot convention, the eventual winners had an average of 27.9% on the first ballot and ended up with 55.3% of the final support

Conclusion 1: The winner will only need approximately 55% of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice support to win.

Conclusion 2: Only candidates who have close to 27.9% on the first ballot can win.

Point 3: Initial Ranking and Final Ranking

If you look at table 10-6 on page 356 you will find a very interesting statistic. Of all the leadership conventions that were discussed in the book; 85% of eventual winners were in first place on the first ballot and only 15% of winners were not first on the first ballot. However, the one factor that remains constant is that “the candidate who gains the largest share of votes from the first ballot to the second ballot is the eventual winner” (page 231)

Conclusion: There is an 85% change the person who is first place going in will win and if he does not then it will be due to another candidate getting a huge bump in-between the 1st and 2nd ballots.

Final Conclusion

The race will take between 3-5 ballots and thus the eventual winner needs approximately 27% of the vote on the first ballot to win. There is an 85% chance that the person in first place will win and the only way that that will not happen is if one of the candidates with a significant amount of support drops out and throws his support behind another candidate to create the largest increase in support between ballots.

So, after all that, we come across Paul Wells who just throws it all down without doing any sort of statistical analysis:

So Ignatieff doesn't need anyone's endorsement; he just needs support to bleed to him at the rate of one delegate in four. And he's been getting that all through this piece: when Hedy Fry and Carolyn Bennett went to Bob Rae, they failed to bring all their support with them. In the normal course of events, Ignatieff can expect to lure one previously unsympathetic delegate in four. Which means he can expect to win this.

The only way to stop him is to interrupt the normal course of events.

One of the second-tier candidates (Rae Kennedy Dion) would have to turn this race into a referendum on whether it is acceptable for Michael Ignatieff to become the Liberals' next leader. And the only way to demonstrate that the whole campaign should turn on that single question would be to pull out of the race immediately and throw to another second-tier candidate.


Kennedy's going to throw to him? Rae's going to throw to him? Nope. The near-perfect three-way Mexican standoff among Rae, Kennedy and Dion gives each man reason to hope, and therefore to stay in. And therefore to ensure Ignatieff's momentum isn't braked.

For each of the Second Three, and I am sad to say for Dion especially, the only question now is: Is it acceptable for Michael Ignatieff to become the next Liberal leader? If it is acceptable -- not ideal, not one's fondest wish, but simply a result that falls short of catastrophe -- Dion, Rae and Kennedy should stay in the race and try their chances. By staying in, they will probably ensure his eventual victory.

But if any of the Second Three believes Ignatieff must be stopped, they need to get out to make it happen.

I guess that’s why he writes for Macleans and I’m just a blogger , eh?

Vote for this post on progressive bloggers

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ranking the Blogs' Liberal Leadership Prediction Abilities

I have all my predictions and analysis of the Liberal Leadership Race here for you to review

As I said in one of my earlier posts I believe in the wisdom of crowds. So my technique for predicting the Liberal Leadership Delegate Numbers was to take all of the analysis of the others that I could find and then average them together. This would act as a "stock market" or averaging of all of the sources of Data.

For interest's sake, as both an analysis of this method of predicting political outcomes, and as a bit of a hat tip to the people who gave me the data, I present:

The Prognosticator Award - Liberal Leadership Delegate Selection Division

So I will list each of the people/organizations who's work I used. I will list their estimate, followed by the actual results, then the average deviation from the results and then my analysis of their prognostication abilities :-)

Entry 1: Cerberus

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 24.00% 5.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 19.00% -2.20%
Rae 19.80% 19.00% 0.80%
Dion 16.60% 14.00% 2.60%
Dryden 4.60% 8.00% -3.40%
Brison 3.90% 7.00% -3.10%
Volpe 4.60% 6.00% -1.40%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.00% -2.00%

Average deviation: 2.7%
Worst Estimate: 5.8% underestimate for Ignatieff

Cerberus had pretty good numbers but (like most) he underestimated Iggy (Which is odd, given that he is an Ignatieff supporter). Nothing to be ashamed of, but not quite our winner

Entry 2: Jason Cherniak (note that he gave ranges and I took the average of the range)

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 27.50% 2.30%
Kennedy 16.80% 22.50% -5.70%
Rae 19.80% 15.00% 4.80%
Dion 16.60% 13.50% 3.10%
Dryden 4.60% 8.00% -3.40%
Brison 3.90% 9.00% -5.10%
Volpe 4.60% 6.00% -1.40%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.00% -2.00%

Average deviation: 3.5%
Worst Estimate: 5.7% overestimate for Kennedy (even if you allow Jason his "range" Kennedy was still outside it)

Given that Jason was using ranges it is a bit unfair to him to use his average deviation against him, but......oh well :-) Still, as you will see, he did better than some

Entry 3: democraticSPACE

Update: (I was using earlier numbers from this site and somehow, due to my own stupidity, didn't use the most up-to-date numbers, Greg was quick to point out, and rightly so, that his final numbers were far more accurate than I was giving him credit for - I leave my initial numbers up becasue that is what is used for my calculations at the bottom, however, Greg's numbers that he included in the comments section are the ones you should use for him - he had the most accurate numbers and should have been awarded the winner - all I can say is...Whoops!
No slight was intended for Greg and I was foolish to think that my numerical ability was anything close to him , or many of the others making predictions )

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 24.20% 5.60%
Kennedy 16.80% 16.90% -0.10%
Rae 19.80% 14.30% 5.50%
Dion 16.60% 13.50% 3.10%
Dryden 4.60% 9.20% -4.60%
Brison 3.90% 9.90% -6.00%
Volpe 4.60% 6.60% -2.00%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.60% -2.60%

Average deviation: 3.6%
Worst Estimate: 6.0% oversupport for Brison

[section deleted due to my own stupidity as explained above]


Greg pointed out that he had more up-to-date numbers than the ones that I was using. I inlcude those here for you (from his comments):

IGGY 29.8 / 26.8 / 3.0
RAE 19.8 / 18.2 / 1.6
KENNEDY 16.8 / 15.1 / 1.7
DION / 16.6 / 16.4 / 0.2
DRYDEN / 4.6 / 9.1 / +4.5
BRISON / 3.9 / 5.8 / +1.9
VOLPE / 4.6 / 4.7 / +0.1
HALL FINDLAY / 1.0 / 2.5 / +1.5
Average deviation: 1.8
Worst Deviation: 4.5% over-support for Dryden

Much better showing for him then many of the others. In fact, if I had been paying attention then I would have had even better numbers in my avergaing anaysis.

mea culpa!

Entry 4: delegate.count

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 33.11% -3.31%

Kennedy 16.80% 17.95% -1.15%

Rae 19.80% 14.38% 5.42%

Dion 16.60% 18.37% -1.77%

Dryden 4.60% 7.45% -2.85%

Brison 3.90% 4.96% -1.06%

Volpe 4.60% 2.33% 2.27%

Hall-Findlay 1.00% 1.45% -0.45%

Average deviation: 2.3%
Worst Estimate: 5.4% underestimation of Rae

More of a tracking site than a prediction site, but he did do some "regional adjsutments" and other stuff to predict the outcome. Actually did quite good. The only site to come close to predicting Iggy's suport. Best of all the blogger that we have seen so far (one is better, but you will have to wait)

Entry 5: The Strategic Counsel/CTV/Globe&Mail poll

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 19.00% 10.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 9.00% 7.80%
Rae 19.80% 17.00% 2.80%
Dion 16.60% 13.00% 3.60%
Dryden 4.60% 9.00% -4.40%
Brison 3.90% 3.00% 0.90%
Volpe 4.60% 3.00% 1.60%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 3.00% -2.00%

Average deviation: 4.2%
Worst Estimate: 10% underestimation of Ignatieff

One of two entries from the MSM and, as usual, they got it totaly wrong. Every blogger in the race beat them both on average and in almost every specific. Moral = blogs rule, polls suck.

Entry 6: The Gandalf Group (i.e. David Herle, the Liberal's Pollster/Campaign Manager)

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 13.00% 16.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 7.00% 9.80%
Rae 19.80% 19.00% 0.80%
Dion 16.60% 8.00% 8.60%
Dryden 4.60% 19.00% -14.40%
Brison 3.90% 4.00% -0.10%
Volpe 4.60% 1.00% 3.60%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 1.00% 0.00%

Average deviation: 6.73%
Worst Estimate: 16% underestimation of Ignatieff

This was just sad. Very, very sad. The Liberals should hire any of the blogger above (or our winner below) to be thier pollster for the next election.

Entry 7: Our Winner - Calgary Grit

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 26.70% 3.10%
Kennedy 16.80% 17.70% -0.90%
Rae 19.80% 17.90% 1.90%
Dion 16.60% 14.60% 2.00%
Dryden 4.60% 7.20% -2.60%
Brison 3.90% 6.30% -2.40%
Volpe 4.60% 7.80% -3.20%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 1.90% -0.90%

Average deviation: 2.2%
Worst Estimate: 3% underestimation of Ignatieff

Calgary Grit has the lowest deviation and a pretty low worst-guess. He was closer on Iggy than most as well (good, given that he is a Kennedy supporter) . He absolutly kicked the ass of the MSM abuot six ways from Sunday and edged out the rest of the bloggers.

Results of Averaging

So I took the average for each delegate percentage (see my work in the link at the top of the post) and the results confirm my methodology:

Actual Prediction Diff

Ignatieff 29.80% 25% 4.80%
Kennedy 16.80% 17% -0.20%
Rae 19.80% 19% 0.80%
Dion 16.60% 15% 1.60%
Dryden 4.60% 9% -4.40%
Brison 3.90% 6% -2.10%
Volpe 4.60% 5% -0.40%
Hall-Findlay 1.00% 2% -1.00%

Average deviation: 1.9%
Worst Estimate: 5% underestimation of Ignatieff

The wisdom of crowds resulted in the lowest deviation from the actual results and the only points that were out worse than any others were the Dryden/Iggy numbers.

Yes, this was the most accurate, but it was only due to the hard work and dilligance of the other bloggers. Hat tip to all those who put work into the process and gave us the numbers to play with that they did.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Liberal Leadership Analysis - Province by Province

I will be back tomorrow with an analysis of my estimates along with the other sites that I gathered data from and I will crown someone the best predictor so stay tuned.

For now, let's look at the data from each province:


Winner: Rae (30%)

Good Showing: Dryden (14%), Iggy (30%)

Disappointed: Kennedy (10%), Dion (6%), Brison (0%)

Well, if you listen to Kinsella then "there's a reason why Bob Rae is strongest in Newfoundland and BC. It's because they are the furthest points from Ontario. " Funny, but I doubt it is the truth. I have to think that is is somewhat due to Allan MacEachen's support. You would have thought that some of Brison's "Atlantic Appeal" would have bled over, but nope.

Nova Scotia

Winner: Brison (40%)

Good Showing: Iggy (37%)

This was Brison's only source of support across the country and even then, Iggy came within 5 delegates of beating him. The rumours were that Brison had this one all sewn up and that he would get more than 3% of the total number of delegates from his strength in Nova Scotia alone according to the Halifax newspaper but that was not the case. Iggy must have a pretty good team in place here to compete with Brison.

New Brunswick

Winner: Iggy (34%)

Good Showing: Rae (14%)

Disappointed: Dion (14%), Brison (9.5%)

Rae gets a "good showing" while Dion gets a "disappointed" for the same percentage because of the Francaphonie factor. Dion should have done better in NB. And again, Brison can't get traction outside his home province.


Winner: Rae (41%)

Good Showing: Kennedy (21%) Iggy (20%)

Disappointed: Brison (1.5%)

First province with Kennedy support (to bad it's the smallest one) and again, Brison with no cross-border support. You will note that Iggy has shown well in all the Atlantic provinces - the only candidate to do so.


Winner: Iggy (38%)

Good Showing: Dion (29%) Rae (23%)

Disappointed: Kennedy (1.7%), Dryden (1.3%)

This should be more of a story than it seems to be. Iggy won Quebec. Everyone seems to be focusing on Kennedy's abysmal showing. Kinsella calls it "Kennedy’s astonishing crash-and-burn in Quebec" and Chantal Hebert says, "Gerard Kennedy's dismal absence from the Quebec radar"
means that he is out of it.

But no one points out that Iggy won the damn province - placing almost 10 points ahead of Dion. For a Liberal Party that want's to rebuild in QB, this is the sign they have been waiting for. This stat alone will result in a TON of ex officio support from MP's and assorted hangers on at convention and they have like 800 some votes so it is an important block of votes. I don't see how Iggy doesn't win at this opint base on this fact alone.


Winner: Iggy (28%)

Good Showing: Kennedy (27%)

DiDisappointedRae (17%), Dion (10%)

Kennedy is a former cabinet minister who had a lot of provincial and federal MP's and MLA's elected and he had a provincial leadership organization at one point. In other words, on the ground, in the trenchs, he should have been impossible to beat.

Iggy beat him. Not by much, but be enough. This means that Iggy placed first in both Ontario and Quebec. He will get 600-700 of the 800 ex officios for this. You might as well shut 'er down, cause Iggy has won.

Rae proves that he cannot win Ontario (amongst Liberals) where he should have the best name recognition and ground support. This is a damming indictment of Rae and will cause people to look twice at supporting him on future ballots.


Winner: Rae (31.5%)

Good Showing: Iggy (23.5%) Dryden (14.8%)

Disappointed: Kennedy (14%), Dion (6%)

This was Kennedy's home province (he is from The Pas) and he placed 4th! Behind Dryden for crying out loud! This and Ontario, and Quebec spells the death knell for Kennedy.

Rae had a good on-the-ground team (I'm told) with some good endorsements to win, and Iggy stayed int he game. Dryden's wierd numbers make this less of a predictor then it otherwise would be - any thoughts on that one?


Winner: Iggy (33%)

Good Showing: Rae (21%) Kennedy (18%)

DisappointedDion (15%)

Dion get a disappointed because of the the David Orchard Factor. If he can't deliver here then what the hell good is he? This is my home province and everyone that I talked to said that Rae had it sewn up. Iggy for the win was a surprise to me. The guy has strength everywhere.


Winner: Kennedy(28%)

Good Showing: Iggy (25%) Dion (18%)

Disappointed:Rae (9%)

Rae got spanked by Dion in Alberta? Kennedy actually won a province? The only non-surprising thing here is that Iggy is right in the mix of things. The guy has support everywhere.


Winner: Rae (29%)

Good Showing: Kennedy (20%) Dion (18%)

Disappointed: Iggy (17%)

Here is the capper. Iggy should be disappointed with a fourth place finish where he gets over 15% of the delegates. This is a BAD showing for him? It's better than some of the above "good showings" for the others. Face it - Iggy wins.


So after all of that exhaustive analysis, what have I come up with? Iggy winning? Big deal. That's what everyone is saying:

As Cerberus points out:

"He is the only candidate to show solid even leading strength in every province and territory."
"For those who repeat and repeat the cant that "Ignatieff has no room to grow", two things: (1) with such a huge lead, he doesn't have to have the "most" room to grow"

Kinsella says:

"Dion and Ignatieff will be the names on the final ballot. Going way, way out on a limb? Iggy has got a big, big lead."
Chantal Hebert pipes in:

"Ignatieff will need to get a second wind to prevail but he has the advantage both quantitatively and qualitatively going into the two-month stretch to the Montreal convention."
Jeffry Simpson says the race is Iggy's to lose:

"Better still for Mr. Ignatieff, the weekend score underestimates his strength. Many ex officio delegates -- including MPs and former candidates, senators and party officials who will automatically be given voting privileges at the convention -- disproportionately favour him.His first-ballot delegate score is likely closer to 35 per cent than 30."
John Ivison of the National Post agrees:

"The other obvious storyline is that Ignatieff has out-performed expectations, securing about 30% of delegates. When ex-officio members (current and former MPs and senators) and Aboriginal delegates are added, it is likely that this number will rise above 35%,"
Don Martin trys to throw some cold water on it:

"While Ignatieff can emerge confident after pulling ahead of the pack yesterday with an 11-point lead in elected delegates at this writing, there's no room for cockiness with potent Anyone-But-Iggy forces conspiring against him."
But even he admits that the question is "who will end up becoming Ignatieff's kingmaker"

So that's all folks. Unless something changes, My predication is Iggy is the next leader of the Liberal Party