New Year's Eve Open Thread

It's already 2012 in Auckland, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Dubai and celebrations are underway. From Sydney:

Sydney's harbour erupted in a blaze of colour and light on the stroke of midnight on Saturday with a 12-minute pyrotechnic display drawing more than 1.5 million people to crowded foreshores and city landmarks.

Times Square is expecting a million people -- many of whom have already arrived.

What's on your agenda for this evening? I'm cooking lasagne. Whether you are out celebrating or avoiding the noise and crowds, we wish you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, freedom-filled New Year.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    A bottle of (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Zorba on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 05:37:08 PM EST
    Prosecco is chilling.  A variety of nice cheeses, sausages, pates, prosciutto, olives, good crackers and crusty bread is laid out (we like to graze on New Year's Eve).  I wish you all a Happy New Year.
    And Auld Lang Syne by Sissel.

    The Des Moines Register (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 05:52:00 PM EST
    final poll is released at 7:00 CT. The final pre-caucus GOP poll they put out four years ago had the 1 thru 9 finishers almost perfect, flipping only 3rd and 4th.

    How important were the results of the 2008 GOP caucus? Maybe not at all. The top three finishers in the caucus vote totals were 1) Huckabee; 2) Romney; 3) Thompson.

    Final Des Moines Register Poll (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CoralGables on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 07:06:16 PM EST
    1 - Romney 24%
    2 - Paul 22%
    3 - Santorum 15%
    4 - Gingrich 12%
    5 - Perry 11%
    6 - Bachman 7%
    **  Huntsman (not participating)

    Not confident it makes a bit of difference (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 07:31:26 PM EST
    . . .unless Romney comes in a distant third.

    What is the sign., if any of Bachmann's (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 07:52:26 PM EST
    wearing a shorter skirt in the latest photo I've seen w/her and the other Iowa GOP contenders?  

    Who? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:24:51 PM EST
    That (none / 0) (#17)
    by CoralGables on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:03:57 PM EST
    she's no Ron Paul?

    Santorum surging (none / 0) (#28)
    by MKS on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 11:36:39 PM EST
    The last two days of the this three day poll had Santorum in 2nd in the 20s nipping at the heels of Romney.

    Why does it matter?  Santorum is the best at bashing Romney over Romneycare.....

    A prolonged period of publicity for Santorum will hurt Romney on healthcare, and will pull Romney further to the Right.


    Happy New Year Everyone! (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by chrisvee on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 06:45:39 PM EST
    We've already broken open the Asti Spumante even though we have a few hours to go before midnight...

    Pax... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 06:53:39 PM EST
    Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

    We went to a great party with friends (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 07:43:28 PM EST
    last night. Staying home tonight.  The spouse and I cooked a gourmet meal (stir-fried venison with pumpkin risotto) for ourselves, our youngest daughter and her partner.  Last night, I mixed up a gallon of home-made eggnog - a dozen eggs (separated, uncooked), almost a pound of confectioner's sugar, two cups each of bourbon and rum, a quart each of cream and milk.  Plenty is left over for tonight, to enjoy with a couple of movies.  Kind of thing you can't consume more than once a year, though.

    I went to Times Square for New Year's Eve ... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:24:03 PM EST
    once.  Many years ago.  I remember my friend dropping an almost full bottle of scotch on the subway platform on our way there.  I remember buying a second bottle of scotch at a liquor store near Times Square.  After that everything is a blur.

    Always wondered why people go there (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:40:40 PM EST
    for New Year's Eve.  

    I was also ... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 08:17:40 AM EST
    in Trafalgar Square once on New Year's Eve. That was more of an accident. I went with my family to a play in the West End, and on the way to the tube the crowds were so dense we were forced into the Square. It was quite a serious scene.  We learned the next morning that people were trampled to death. But we managed to escape via a side street and catch the last train home.

    My parents were a bit freaked by it all. But I was young and found it all very exciting.

    I have no interesting in doing these things now.  But I'm glad I did. Because these are unique experiences. And I think that's why people do them. To say they did it. The Times Square New Year's Eve event is the Mount Everest of outdoor parties. And it's nice to be able to say that once you "climbed" it.


    From today's "Writer's Almanac": (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:43:52 PM EST
    Today is New Year's Eve, in which the old year is ushered out, and the new one welcomed in, with parties, socializing, and alcohol -- often champagne. In the United States, we have a tradition of dropping, or raising, a large object exactly at midnight. The custom of dropping a ball arose out of the time signals given to ships at harbor starting in 1859. A large ball was dropped exactly at one p.m. every day (noon in the United States), so sailors could check their ship chronometers.
    The Times Square celebration dates back to 1904, when The New York Times opened its headquarters on Longacre Square. The newspaper convinced the city to rename the area "Times Square," and they hosted a big party, complete with fireworks, on New Year's Eve. Two hundred thousand people attended, but the paper's owner, Adolph Ochs, wanted the next celebration to be even splashier. In 1907, the paper's head electrician constructed a giant lighted ball that was lowered from the building's flagpole. The first Times Square Ball was made of wood and iron, weighed 700 pounds, and was lit by a hundred 25-watt bulbs. Now, it's made of Waterford crystal, weighs almost six tons, and is lit by more than 32,000 LED lights. The party in Times Square is attended by up to a million people every year.
    Other cities have developed their own ball-dropping traditions. Atlanta, Georgia, drops a giant peach. Eastport, Maine, drops a sardine. Ocean City, Maryland, drops a beach ball, and Mobile, Alabama, drops a 600-pound electric Moon Pie. In Tempe, Arizona, a giant tortilla chip descends into a massive bowl of salsa. Brasstown, North Carolina, drops a Plexiglas pyramid containing a live possum; and Key West, Florida, drops an enormous ruby slipper with a drag queen inside it.
    In Scotland, New Year's Eve marks the first day of Hogmanay, a name derived from an Old French word for a gift given at the New Year. There's a tradition at Hogmanay known as "first-footing": If the first person to cross your threshold after midnight is a dark-haired man, you will have good luck in the coming year. Other customs vary by region within Scotland, but most involve singing and whiskey. Craig Ferguson said Hogmanay "is a time when people who can inspire awe in the Irish for the amount of alcohol that they drink decide to ramp it up a notch."

    My TL donation came back in the mail (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by shoephone on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 09:02:00 PM EST

    If you happen to look in on this thread, I sent a donation to address on 17th St. and it came back as "attempted, unable to deliver." Can you set me straight on the correct address? I really want to get this to you.

    sure, the address is now (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:18:45 AM EST
    I'll email it to you. If your e-mail has changed and you don't get it, go here, the new address is right at the top. (We moved a few blocks away in 2010. )

    Thanks very much, I really appreciate it. (And I just noticed my paypal link is dead, I better fix that too!)


    Really? (none / 0) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 06:27:52 PM EST
    Caught a headline on The Daily News at a newsstand on my home tonight:  New poll  "Romney Over Obama by 6 Points.

    Anybody here know about this?

    Rasmussen (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 06:33:05 PM EST
    Remember to always throw out the high, the low, and Rasmussen.

    It was (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 06:39:33 PM EST
    a Rasmussen poll.  Take it with a grain of salt.
    Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight on Rasmussen polling in the 2010 election:
    Silver concluded that Rasmussen's polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010, having an average error of 5.8 points and a pro-Republican bias of 3.9 points according to Silver's model. He singled out as an example the Hawaii Senate Race, in which Rasmussen showed the incumbent 13 points ahead, although in actuality Inouye won by 53- a difference of 40 points, or "the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight's database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998"

    O.K. Makes sense (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 06:51:03 PM EST
    What doesn't make sense, however, is that Obama, with the worst collection of Anti-American, Anti-Humanity, and Anti-Intellect dregs ever collected....today's Republican Party, that he isn't enjoying a 20 point lead here.

    Such a waste of a wonderful opportunity the American public longed for, and delivered, to this President!


    Yes, well, Rasmussen (none / 0) (#12)
    by Zorba on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 07:12:10 PM EST
    has a history of "wording" their questions to get the results that are more pleasing to them.  Not that they're the only ones.  I take a very jaundiced view of polling companies since the summer I spent working for a sub-contractor of numerous polling organizations in 1968.  (Yes, that Presidential Election year.)  We worked for a number of polling companies (Rasmussen didn't exist back then- well, Scott Rasmussen did, but he was just a kid).  Political polls were the main part of the business, and in those days, we actually went door to door.  You would be surprised at the answers that can be elicited depending upon the wording of the questions on the poll.  Not all companies try to skew the answers, but some do.

    True or False? (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:25:16 PM EST

    Rasmussen has been the most accurate pollster in the last 3 presidential elections


    Anybody got a link that shows the actual results of the pollsters??


    Thanks, I'll give it a look later (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 10:27:31 PM EST
    But I'm not too interested in the "art" or how, my curiousity is limited to results, believeing that past results are a fair indicator of future performance, but I readily note that the polling world is changing rapidly.

    Anyway, I found this from Fordham re 2008:

    The following list ranks the 23 organizations by the accuracy of their final, national preelection
    polls (as reported on pollster.com).
    1. Rasmussen (11/1-3)**
    2. Pew (10/29-11/1)



    Rasmussen still (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 11:32:13 PM EST
    underestimated Obama in 2008

    ....and it pays to take a look at the final tally.....Many of those evluating how close the pollsters were look only at the election night vote tallys.

    Democrats do better as the votes are counted, especially the absentees here in California.

    Moreover, the Rasmussen game is to show Republicans up early, and then he closes to resemble the rest of the pollsters....


    As I noted, my interest is in results (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 11:43:32 PM EST
    Rasmussen predicted that Obama would win. I understand he also got 2004 right.

    That carries weight with me over his 2012 forecasts.

    The margins aren't really important beyond whatever "coattail" effect the lead candidate may or may not have, and even that can evaporate at the next mid term.

    BTW - Happy New Year to one and all. I'm celebrating by reading "Jobs."


    Here's (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 06:07:35 AM EST
    the thing. Rasmussen "adjusts" his polls to be near what the other polls are saying when it gets close to the election but will have wildly wrong numbers the other 362 days of the year. If you notice, those ratings on accuracy are based on just a few days before the election. Right? So Rasmussen is a credible poll a day or two before the voting starts but they are pretty worthless otherwise. Rasmussen even had another polling company that was saying that George W. Bush was going to win the election in 2000 by something like 10 pts and it was so inaccurate that he had to close down that polling company.

    Oh please, GA (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM EST
    If he was doing that no organization would hire him.

    Elections typically get closer as the actual voting day gets closer.

    But, if you have some links proving your point I will take a look.


    You're (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 10:19:32 AM EST
    kidding right? You really should go back and look at his polling history and the crazy numbers he has come up with. Do you really think people like Fox won't hire a bad pollster? Of course, they will and they have.

    Here's an article that talks about Rasmussen's polling problems link

    Just because someone is telling you what you want to hear doesn't make it the truth. Conservatives are stuck in such an echo chamber that they don't know the facts of any given situation unless it hits them in the face and even then they don't sometimes.


    You just don't get it (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 10:29:38 AM EST
    I don't care what his methods are, or what his politics are....

    I just look at his results....

    BTW - In my link I think Fox was 13th.... for whatever that's worth and means...

    And it would help if you wouldn't keep thinking that everyone to the right of Lenin is a conservative.



    That's (none / 0) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 10:41:29 AM EST
    what the article tells you---he's largely NOT A CREDIBLE pollster.

    The article is biased. (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:17:35 AM EST
    But, one more time.

    I don't care about his politics.

    I care about his results. He's been right two times in a row. Will he be right next time??

    I don't know. But what should I do? Believe polls that have been wrong two times in a row?


    "Biased" = anything that Jim ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:56:15 AM EST
    ... disagrees with.

    A question (none / 0) (#60)
    by lentinel on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:10:21 AM EST
    on a different subject....

    About the dough cycle on the bread machine....

    Do you use the same measurements for the ingredients as you would if you were allowing the machine to bake?

    I noticed that the amount of yeast - whether to use warm or cold water - these are different if you are making bread by hand.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Excuse the change of subject. I'm taking advantage of the open thread....


    Yes (none / 0) (#61)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 06:55:55 AM EST
    I use whatever the amount the recipe booklet that comes with the machine calls for and then I use the "dough" cycle. I hope that helps you.

    Yes (none / 0) (#62)
    by lentinel on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 07:14:08 AM EST
    It helps - and I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Thank you.

    And I wish you a very Happy 2012.


    Another alternative (none / 0) (#63)
    by Yman on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 08:08:27 AM EST
    Not sure what kind of bread you were originally, discussing, but I really like the NYT "No-Knead" Bread, or (better yet) Breadtopia's "Almost No-Knead" bread that you bake in a dutch oven.  I'm not much of a baker, but it comes out with a really nice crust and crumb - almost like a professional bakery oven.  The dough rises overnight and can be a little sticky to work with, but you can reduce the liquid by a couple Tablespoons or use a little extra flour when shaping the loaf for the second rise.

    There are also a lot of variations on the web - sort of a cult following.


    Jim, there are results (none / 0) (#39)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:19:53 AM EST
    in November every four years, and then there are results throughout the many months of the year before a presidential election.

    Now, which results are the only ones that matter to you?  If you mean only the final polling data just prior to an election, then you ought to say that you are narrowing your assessment to only one result from Rasmussen every four years, not the firm's results, plural.  

    Of course, with the history of that polling firm that has been explained to you -- and that you can verify in many sources, as I have seen as well -- that would be quite silly to do.  Why?  Obviously, it is not November; it is very far from November.  So you need to look at results from polling firms not in November every four years but almost a year away from presidential elections.  You can see that, surely.


    The only ones that I am interested in is (none / 0) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:34:58 AM EST
    The Presidential and the mid terms.

    He's been right....no pun intended ;-) ...two times on the Prez side and, I think, also on the mid terms two times in a row.

    For all I know he may be looking at chicken entrails....

    BTW - If you ask me why I think he's been right is that he polls only people who say they are going to vote. Note the "I think..."


    ALL of the polling firms were ... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:18:19 PM EST
    ... right in the last two elections.  Of course, in the much tighter 2000 race, Rassmussen was the least accurate pollster.  

    He's been right....no pun intended ;-) ...two times on the Prez side and, I think, also on the mid terms two times in a row.

    That "i think ..." always sends up a red flag.  Rasmussen was also among the least accurate and most biased polling firms in the 2010 election.  He even set a record for the highest error rate ever recorded (the Hawaii Senate election - 40 points!) in a general election poll since 1998.


    Go away, Yman (none / 0) (#44)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:23:27 PM EST
    My New Year Res...

    Ignore you.



    You've said that before (none / 0) (#54)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 03:38:59 PM EST
    My brother-in-law has vowed to exercise/drop 30 pounds every year for @ 15 years now, but hasn't done it.

    Still, I'd give him higher odds.


    Jim, yes, all the polling firms (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:40:47 PM EST
    were right in 2008.  No one had McCain winning.....

    So, that is some low threshhold to support the GOP's own pollster.....


    Wasn't McCain ahead (none / 0) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 01:18:38 PM EST
    pre the bank meltdown??

    You changed the subject (none / 0) (#51)
    by MKS on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 01:34:51 PM EST
    The issue was the accuracy of the pollsters.

    You said you are interested in results on election day.  Now, you go to pre-election day polling.

    Applying your own standard, just looking at election day results, tells us very little about 2008  because all the pollsters had Obama winning.  So, you argue Rasmussen is accuarate because he called the winner of 2008.  Really a meaningless measure.....

    So, now it was about how the race looked in mid September?

    Which is it, just the results on election day or polling throughout the year?


    Gee, I thought I had said all I could say (none / 0) (#52)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 02:16:46 PM EST
    about election day results....

    My question remains, wasn't McCain ahead just before the melt down??

    Anybody got a link to the results after both candidates were nominated on through 11/3??


    The question then, Jim, is (none / 0) (#53)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 02:31:39 PM EST
    why you are engaging in this conversation now, if you are not going to use valid data for comparison now, so far from November?

    You have nothing to say now, since you will not look at comparates useful now.  So you have made your choice to not look at useful data, and you have chosen to not be useful but only take up bandwidth now.

    We'll see you on November 5, when you will have the polling result that you want to discuss.  Until then, by your own choice: Stop clogging threads and STFU.


    Hey Lookie Lookie everybody (2.00 / 0) (#55)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:07:25 PM EST
    we have another nasty person trying to play table captain!

    Isn't your issue that Rasmussen is supposedly pro Repub??

    I asked a reasonable question. Anybody got any historical data????

    BTW - It's an open thread. So why don't you just just cool off... wait.. you rather show us what you  are..and courtesy prevents me from describing it.

    Have a super nice day.


    Jim (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by sj on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 06:01:08 PM EST
    You got your answer.  And you got your data.  You just don't like the answer or the data. And you don't like it that when you keep asking the same question you get the same answers.  That's pretty much clogging up the thread, alright.

    No (none / 0) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 07:05:47 PM EST
    I asked if anyone had any historical data after the candidates had been named.

    Apparently no one has.

    You know, I'm easy going but I don't take personal insults very well. Especially when I think they are based on someone angry over not being able to answer a question that just might prove them wrong.

    I'll tell you something else. I have never used the STFU or called someone an idiot. I don't think I have called anyone a liar. I understand that, as an Independent Social Liberal type that I don't fit into the echo chamber mold, but I also remember when we had some great discussions.

    No so much anymore.


    "Liar" isn't an insult ... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 08:06:41 PM EST
    ... when it's accurate.

    Jim (none / 0) (#64)
    by sj on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 08:53:31 AM EST
    While we pretty much agree only on those social issues and not much else, I don't have any particular "anti-Jim" propensities.  I really don't.  So when I say that those great discussions had open minds on both sides, take it for what it's worth.  Maybe something, maybe nothing.

    In any case, I wish you a Happy New Year.  Even if this is the 2nd of Jan.


    I wonder why it's a new question (none / 0) (#59)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 08:36:17 PM EST
    That being said, you'll need to be more specific: 1)  What's the point you're trying to insinuate with zero evidence, after asking others to provide it for you?, and 2) what time period are you talking about?  You'll need to define the period more carefully, other than "just before the meltdown", as you have a habit of being "creative" with dates, and you'll likely just try to move the goalposts once again.

    If you tell me what period you mean, I'll provide the link, although it only took @ 30 seconds on Google to find a chronological list of the polls.


    Still early here (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 11:49:13 PM EST
    2004 was what made Rasmussen's name.....but that was a year of unusually large Republican turnout.....because of the anti-gay measures in some states....

    I can't anything seriously yet (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:06:38 PM EST
    As far as who the GOP nominee will be against Obama.  They have to debate.  That's when it starts shaking out.  In my book Romney vs. Obama, Obama wins, Gingrich vs. Obama and Obama wins HUGE, and Paul vs. Obama I would think would go Obama.

    Debate results are (none / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:25:00 PM EST
    not as important when the candidate has a record....to try and defend.

    I think you are very wrong (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:27:48 PM EST
    He/she who wins the debating usually wins.  Everybody I mentioned as a possibility though has a record.  They all have a record on the Iraq War too as well as chiming in with George Bush that Osama wasn't that important.  None of them have a hope in hell that I can see if you want to have to defend records.

    You are generating unpleasant thoughts (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:32:12 PM EST
    in me re debates in Dem. contest in 2008.  But that is so over.  

    Romney will be Bush III (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:44:37 PM EST
    Same ideas.  Same economics.

    To the extent that becomes apparent, it will be harder for Romney.

    And Romney will have a hard time duplicating the fake genuineness that George W had.


    Well, we were going to Bud's Louisiana (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 07:54:42 PM EST
    Cafe, but ending up walking around in Old Town.  Doubt there will be another outing tonight.  Which is fine w/me.  

    kdog: this reminded me of you, somehow: (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 31, 2011 at 08:41:38 PM EST