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The Second Biggest Story Of Our Lives

Wherein HBO boxing announcer and Huffington Post newbie blogger, Jim Lampley, explains how they fixed Saturday's Kentucky Derby right under your noses.

At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Derby Day (Saturday), I checked the sportsbook odds in Las Vegas and via the offshore bookmakers to see the odds as of that moment on the the Kentucky Derby, 45 minutes before post time. Bellamy Road was a five-to-two favorite. You can look it up.

People who have lived in the sports world as I have, bettors in particular, have a feel for what I am about to say about this: these people are extremely scientific in their assessments. These people understand which information to trust and which indicators to consult in determining where to place a dividing line to influence bets, and they are not in the business of being completely wrong. Oddsmakers consulted racing form data and thoroughly examined the prior times of every horse in this years Kentucky Derby. Bellamy Road was the choice of oddmakers across the board, especially in light of his 30 length victory margin in the last race before the run at Churchill Downs. Oddsmakers acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that Bellamy Road would win the Kentucky Derby.

And he most certainly would have, at least if the race had been fairly and legally run. What happened instead was the biggest crime in the history of the horseracing, and the collective media silence which has followed is the greatest fourth-estate failure ever on our soil.

Many of the participants in this blog have graduate school educations. It is damned near impossible to go to graduate school in any but the most artistic disciplines without having to learn about the basics of social research and its uncanny accuracy and validity. We know that triple crown events simply do not produce 50-1 longshot winners "out of nowhere," without some elaborate Rovian conspiracy to cheat and defraud the betting public. Because Giacomo was the biggest longshot to win the Derby since 1913 and the runner-up, Closing Argument (72-1), was even longer odds the trifecta payouts was $133,134.80 for a $2 bet. That kind of payout attracts those who like their games of chance with big payouts and low risk. Of course today we learn that Bellamy Road has dropped out of the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, due to an alleged foot injury. Coincidence? Of course not.

George Steinbrenner isn't capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it. The silence of traditional media on this subject is enough to establish their newfound bankruptcy. The revolution will have to start here. I challenge every other thinker at the Huffington Post: is there any greater imperative than to reverse this crime and reestablish the opportunity for a legitimate contender for the Triple Crown? Why the mass silence? Let's go to work with the circumstantial evidence, begin to narrow from the outside in, and find some witnesses who will turn. That's why Affirmed beat Alydar. This is bigger, and I never dreamed I would say that in my baby boomer lifetime.

It helps to have read Lampley blogging debut, The Biggest Story Of Our Lives - [THP], first.

Update: Check the "Filled Under" tag below...

Update 2: Unbeknownst to me, Byron York writes a similar piece on THP, to which the new king of the tinfoil brigade responds. York then makes the shocking leap into the world of facts to beat Mr. Tinfoil After Dark senseless.

Expect to hear more about Blackbox nutjob Bev Harris and gadfly programmer Clint Curtis from Lampley in upcoming columns. In regards to reporting ability, Lampley makes his old buddy Keith Olbermann look positively "fair and balanced" in comparison. Given Olbermann's breathless coverage of the Conyer investigation in Ohio, that's no mean feet to pull off...


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Second Biggest Story Of Our Lives:

» Vagabondia linked with Huffington Plays Her Role

» Joust The Facts linked with Unintentionally Funny

» The LLama Butchers linked with Of course, Karl Rove and Diebold are to blame

» Wave Maker linked with Another Fatuous Mouthpiece

» Horse Blog linked with The Second Biggest Story Of Our Lives

Comments (39)

"Gentlemen, Chicolini here ... (Below threshold)

"Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot
and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you.
He really is an idiot."

I had always thought that h... (Below threshold)

I had always thought that he was fairly level headed. Apparently not, in a big way.

I honestly thought this was... (Below threshold)

I honestly thought this was a joke when I first came upon it here on your blog but to my amazement not only is Lampley being serious, the full article is even worse......it is bad enough that this moron goes on about how the big fix is on for the Kentucky Derby but manages to also cast his idiocy and delusions about how Rove fixed the election for Bush!!

How is it possible that people can be so demented?? How can people be so is taught and educated and not be able to discern and apply critical thinking properly????

This is simply beyond me......and now we have another looney in the media, albeit sports media, to add to that ever increasing list of vermin who are part and parcel of the establishment media!

Our Civilization truly is in grave grave trouble when it produces so much rotten fruit continually.....

Don't you remember the days long ago when someone would say something like this and the masses would collectively roll their eyes and chuckle to themselves.....a silly rube we would say and not take much notice........Now this kind of thinking has gone mainstream with the help of Higher Academia and the Media amongst others......

This is so disturbing on so many levels....

Mayby Jim will come out and say this was a belated April Fool's column???

I like how you replace this... (Below threshold)

I like how you replace this:

We know that margins for error are valid, and that results have fallen within the error range for every Presidential election for the past fifty years prior to last fall. NEVER have exit polls varied by beyond-error margins in a single state, not since 1948 when this kind of polling began. In this past election it happened in ten states, all of them swing states, all of them in Bush's favor.

with talk about about betting odds as if social science research has ever been useful in predicting horseraces. Of course during election season they keep refering to it as a horserace on TV, so I guess they must be the same thing, right?

In the spirit of Groucho qu... (Below threshold)

In the spirit of Groucho quotes..."You have the brain of a four year old child, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it."

Given I have always had a d... (Below threshold)
Keith Jacobs:

Given I have always had a degree of respect for Jim Lampley, at least I have never heard him say something causing me concern, I am confused. Jim really needs to explain (some proof would be nice) exactly how was the race was run illegally and unfairly.

It would seem his entire premise is based on the fact the odds makers were wrong. If that is the case nearly every Derby is fixed. The favorite rarely wins. Every year we we listen to the press and "esteemed analysts" drone on and on about how a horse can't lose and they are wrong. The only thing the pre-race analysis is worth is giving us a statistical advantage on who not to bet. It is really rather comical.

Odds of 50-1 do not mean a horse has no chance, if it did the odds would be much higher. Long odds do hit on occasion. Let's say about 1 time in 50. I am certain Jim must understand odds making better than is column suggests.

Help us Jim. Please clarify your postion with some facts, or at least something that makes sense, so I won't have to qualify everything you say from now on. Please don't be the guy everyone says "He was the one that thought the Derby was fixed because the odds makers were wrong".

With the Kentucky Derby alm... (Below threshold)

With the Kentucky Derby almost always run as a 20 hourse race, I am not surprised when an occasional high odds horse comes in as a winner. Depending upon the position out of the gate, it is possible for even the best horse to get boxed in and have to expend a lot of energy maneuvering its way out of the pack. With all of the bumping going on in such a large group it is no surprise either when horses come up with bruises that effect their being able to race at top form. Afleet Alex and his jockey ran the best race of the twenty horses and they came in third. When the fields are cut back in number for the Preakness and the Belmont we will likely see a better quality horse than Giacomo win those races. Twenty horses for a race of this caliber is the real crime and the general public which only tunes in to horse racing for the triple crown doesn't even realize it. The fairest race for such a large field would be a mile and a quarter straight away. The strategy of racing in the oval is best done in smaller numbers.

'I challenge every other th... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

'I challenge every other thinker at the Huffington Post: '

There were no takers?

It very simple this idiot w... (Below threshold)

It very simple this idiot went to UNC-CH that commie nest in Chapel Hill, NC

Actually Lampley wrote an a... (Below threshold)
El Parce:

Actually Lampley wrote an article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/2005/05/biggest-story-of-our-live.html) that "proved" there was fraud in last year's election because at 5 PM on election day Vegas oddsmakers had Kerry as a 2-1 favorite.
This premise is so ridiculous that NRO's Byron York wrote a parody (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/2005/05/with-apologies-to-jim-lam.html) proving the Kentucky Derby was fixed becasue the winning horse was a 50-1 underdog.

Lampley then responded to Byron York (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/2005/05/with-apologies-to-byron-y.html) and admitted that neither his article nor York's proved anything, but that he was probably a bit warmer (i.e. closer to the truth). Lampley should stick to calling boxing matches.

El Parce

Yet another reason why spor... (Below threshold)

Yet another reason why sports reporters should never be allowed near the REAL news stories unless they've been paper-trained.

Lampley's response to York ... (Below threshold)

Lampley's response to York included this:

York compares the handicapping of the Kentucky Derby to oddsmakers' responses to the exit polls which demonstrated John Kerry was the actual winner on November 4. This is typical neocon disingenuity, a shunt designed to ignore the real question.

Sound familiar? Exit polls are within the margin of error (read correct) for fifty years. Do Derby oddsmakers have that kind of, er, track record? Of course not, because they're not even remotely the same thing. The comparison is stupid when York makes it, and it's stupid when Kevin steals it without attribution.

Seriously, after having rea... (Below threshold)

Seriously, after having read both of Lampley's blogs, I wonder if he actually believes the tripe he's writing. If I were a betting man (sorry), I'd bet no. My bet would be that he thinks he's in the big time now, so he has to prove he belongs. And being the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstien does have its perks.

Of course, I come from a long line of handicappers who wore suits with frayed cuffs, shiny seats and patched elbows, so don't bet the mortgage.

Mantis --- parody is SUPPOS... (Below threshold)

Mantis --- parody is SUPPOSED to be ridiculous. Lampley actually takes himself seriously, which is unintentionally stupid. His arrogant dismissal of York's obvious parody with "not with lightweight stuff like that" is dopey.

For the record I had neithe... (Below threshold)

For the record I had neither seen, nor heard of Byron York's post or Lampley's response to it when I wrote this.

I figured that since the Yo... (Below threshold)

I figured that since the York piece was posted 8 hours or so before Kevin's that he had some inspiriation, but if that is not the case, than I apologize for writing that he stole it.

Wavemaker, first off parody does not necessarily have to be ridiculous, and even if it did, satire, like all writing, is subject to scrutiny. If it entirely misses the point of what it is satirizing, well then I think criticism is legitimate. Do you think Swift and Voltaire had no critics? And they actually used apt metaphors.

Or maybe -- just maybe -- h... (Below threshold)

Or maybe -- just maybe -- he's right.

Given that the manufacturer of the voting machines -- tens of thousands of which were used for the first time in 2004 in swing states -- is a Republican, pro-Bush firm, it's not so
hard to imagine, is it? Anyone with minimal expertise could set the machines, at the factory, to, for instance, record every fourth Kerry vote as a Bush vote.

This may not have happened. Or it may have. We'll never know because neither the press nor the government will ever pursue it. But to dismiss these theories out of hand is to express ignorance as to what the GOP machine is capable of.

Markyd,You haven't... (Below threshold)


You haven't just expressed ignorance, you've defined it. Maybe aliens did it, who knows?

Milwaukee? Where there was obvious and rediculous voter fraud. Oooh, can't talk about that.

Anyway, I was thrilled to see Lampley's second post as it completely discredited his first post as being written by a complete nutjob. When Lampley sticks to boxing he doesn't seem so crazy -- he just outed himself.

Mantis: Parody:A lit... (Below threshold)

Parody:A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule

Ridicule is the foundation of the definition of parody.

And I hardly think it "entirely missed the point." If your best critique of his parody is that the mathematics of exit polling and odds-making are dissimilar, then you've admitted the ridiculousness of Lampley's opening salvo.

Markyd:Most of the... (Below threshold)
El Parce:


Most of the voting in OH (I live in that state) is done with old fashioned punch cards. So the electronic voting machine tampering issue does not apply. There were partial manual recounts in all counties which showed no discrepancy with official results.

In NH, Nader very publicly requested manual recounts of suspicious precincts which the state granted. Once the results came back showing no discrepancies with the tabulated results, Nader quietly dropped the issue.

Regardless of all the available evidence, there will always be parties on both sides that will never be convinced and will rely on more complicated conspiracy theories to support their points of view.

I've always been a strong believer in the Occam's Razor theory. What explanation to the election results/exit poll results is simpler : a faulty exit poll where Kerry supporters are more willing to participate thus skewing results, or a massive conspiracy across dozens of states, thousands of precincts, thousands of poll workers, encompassing disparate voting machines, etc?

El Parce

Funny the two brothers that... (Below threshold)

Funny the two brothers that own 80 percent of the voting machines in the country also owned the company that promoted Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Voting machines were intentionally kept away from large Democratic areas in Ohio. If there is no truth to this then why not support an investigation? Why not tell your representatives to let Conyers supeona Blackwell before an investigative body? Why not be entirely sure of election results and stop this election day madness before it gets any worse or makes the tin foil hats any crazier?
Why is this Congress so agraid to investigate anything?
Our Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted he was LIED to, that is treason. CIA agents are outed to make political hay, the government is throwing billions of dollars into thin air in Iraq that noone can account for and it is awarding bonuses to companies that have been cited for committing fraud. Men that were fired from the Reagan administration for leaking state secrets (including missile plans)are now in top power spots of our government.
Yet YOU the patriot are drinking the Kool-Aide and left holding the sign that says, "nothing to see here, move along".

Be an American patriot, question your government and hold your leaders accountable. This is not an us or them, our team wins, rah rah thing. This is about all of us. It is high time we had leaders that work in the best interests of America and not their political party.

Start thinking like an American and not just a Republican.

When y'all are done ridicul... (Below threshold)

When y'all are done ridiculing the idea that the November 2004 election could have been corrupted by criminal tampering, are you going to think seriously about the problem of what it will mean if a substantial faction of the electorate loses confidence in the integrity of the voting systems we are using?

Just asking...

Lampley has at least improv... (Below threshold)

Lampley has at least improved his idiocy. He was a golden boy of sports announcing until he uttered "looks like he shot his wad" during a televised track meet.

An questioning the government means you're a patriot? OK, here's my question. Where's MY portion of the government teat? Damn, I feel patriotic as hell now.

aasleka and s-9 -- it seems... (Below threshold)

aasleka and s-9 -- it seems pretty fundamental to me -- those who sympathize with your position and who are in the highest positions of power (including --ahem, John Kerry), would have both the motivation and the political muscle to generate any "investigation" that they may think is warranted -- and they haven't. "Investigations" that are undertaken to try to FIND a smoking gun achieve what s-9 fears -- people losing faith in the process based not on real fraud, but the mere allegations of fraud, fanned enthusiastically by the partisan enemy, without regard for either truth or the damage it does to the fabric of the system. Go read Clint Curtis' affidavit, and ask yourself if you REALLY believe that republicans are that evil, that criminal, that diabolical, that they would (a) do what he alleges, and (b) let it be covered up. If the answer is yes, you are thinking irrationally. Or, you have an open invitation from Jim Lampley to join him in uncovering the greatest crime in history.

OK, lemme get this straight... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

OK, lemme get this straight. Republicans are morons who blindly follow the lead of a megamaniacal evil President who is either also a moron or he is a genius or they are brilliant and cooked up an elaborate scheme to steal the election and, somehow, all the morons involved ahve managed to avoid even letting one small detail slip out in public.

I think I understand now.

Senator Boxer and others st... (Below threshold)

Senator Boxer and others stood up during the electoral process and spoke their piece, also a non commissioned investigation was held attended by not one Republican. During that question and answer period Conyers and others invited Blackwell to come and answer some questions. Blackwell responded by having a former Senator arrested for trespassing as he waited to deliver a letter to Blackwell. What is so scary about a letter that you are going to arrest someone (even a former senator) for even attempting to deliver it.
I don't know what the truth is but like a lot of things going on today it has the look of impropiety or worse, ineptitude.

Steve L dismisses me and did not understand my comments that came not as an opponent but as a fellow American. He defends his politics but refuses to acknowledge that someone lied to our Secretary of State, that our government and its processes are eroding.
Lets get to the heart of it, let us put our demons to bed so that we can be sure for the future that elections will be counted correctly and leave a paper trail.
Hackers have just hacked into NASA and NORAD among other US government installations and you don't think we are vulnerable? That laptop connected to the phone is good enough for you? It isn't for me.

Currently 70 Senators have signed a letter to Bush wanting answers to questions provoked by the London Times article that was printed detailing a declassified paper outlining an agreement by the US and UK to attack Iraq and "create" a reason to invade. All prior to an appearance before Congress. If this is true then we are certainly dealing with people who do not care about the checks and balances of a government by the people for the people and held accountable to the people.

wavemaker writes: <i... (Below threshold)

wavemaker writes: "Investigations" that are undertaken to try to FIND a smoking gun achieve what s-9 fears...

Well, then by all means... let's never have another investigation into possible election tampering ever again. That should keep anyone from ever suspecting that the voting machines can't be trusted to count the votes accurately. </snark>

I call bullshit. The only way to prevent election fraud is to make the vote counting as open and transparent as possible. You don't prevent it by pretending that the party in power is so morally superior that none of its players would ever stoop to fraud in order to maintain their privileges of majority.

TKO for the new champion, B... (Below threshold)

TKO for the new champion, Byron York.

I read Lampley's original post by accident, and the only reason I've returned to that bizarre blog is to see the back and forth. Lampley has lost his mind if, indeed, he ever had one.


Somebody needs a lesson in ... (Below threshold)

Somebody needs a lesson in how paramutual odds are established at a race track.

I wonder how many times in the past year this author has been to track and placed anything aside from a simple 'win' bet. I would venture that they have never wager on trifecta or any multiple horse, multiple race bet. So few people do.

Check your bias at the door... (Below threshold)

Check your bias at the door....look at the statistical analysis...the discrepancies....the inconsistencies...the deviations...

if you do that, you will conclude that something went awry in Nov, 2004...

...and you can't tell me that minority and student vote were not suppressed in OH...no American should have to wait 3 hours and in some places up to 9 hours to vote....how many walked away and opted out??

- The amusing thing about t... (Below threshold)

- The amusing thing about the losing side's perpetual cries of "We was robbed" is that whenever someone actually does an in depth investigation and comes back with the inevitable truth that some mis-que's happen in every election, but they even out on both sides, the protesters are never satisfied with that real world explanation. When your side losses you cling to any straw of possible redemption, no matter how silly or unrealistic. For those of you reading this, caught in this very human reaction to a loss of this nature, take a deep breath and look at things like the "great Florida" voter fraud dustup in the dixiecrat counties. In the end Bush actually gained some 350,000 votes, which terminated THAT investigation in a hurry. As too this Kentucky Derby tripe, take another deep breath and repeat several times to yourself... "That is why they call them horse races"......

They may call them horserac... (Below threshold)

They may call them horseraces, sure, but they're not. In every election for over 50 years exit polls have been taken, and every year they have been correct, within their margin of error, until last year. Last year in 10 swing states the exit polls were outside their margin of error, and all for one candidate. I've yet to see a plausible explanation for this. I don't necessarily believe there was a fix in, but what happened? Why were the exit polls so wrong this time and only this time? Is an explanation not worth pursuing?

mantis writes: La... (Below threshold)

mantis writes: Last year in 10 swing states the exit polls were outside their margin of error, and all for one candidate. I've yet to see a plausible explanation for this.

Anywhere else but America, the explanation would be obvious.

In America, however, we've lost the knack for democracy, so we don't remember why we take exit polls in the first place.

Mantis said:"...ev... (Below threshold)
Marty H:

Mantis said:

"...every year they have been correct, within their margin of error, until last year."

That's just wrong. In 1992, the exit polls overstated Dem support by 5%. Clinton was running away with the election, so it didn't garner any attention.

In 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2004 the exit polls showed a Dem bias of +1.8% to +6.5%-but always in favor of the Dems.

And then there is New Hamsphire, the state with the second largest exit poll discrepancy. A Nader funded hand recount of about 7% of the votes confirmed the accuracy of the count, thus proving that the exit poll was in error.

The best reference site for info on the exit poll controversy is Mark Blumenthal's "Mystery Pollster" site. Mark is a Democratic pollster, so you don't have to send his comments through a wingnut filter.


Ok, you're right, I should ... (Below threshold)

Ok, you're right, I should have researched past elections more. So it seems that exit polls have been becoming more inaccurate, in the past few elections, are were extremely so this election. This certainly makes Lampley's piece dumber than I thought. But it all still makes me wonder why these polls aren't as accurate as they used to be. Seems the only explanation anyone has come up with is differences in participation rates among voters between parties, but the data doesn't always support that. It seems there's some variable being missed, but I doubt it's fraud (ok, maybe in small amounts, from both sides).

Except that the polling was... (Below threshold)

Except that the polling was correct for everything but the big ticket. No proof but it did not have to a big conspiracy, in fact one person could control all the information very quickly if they only knew what they were doing.

All I'm saying is, lets be sure and do away with electronic voting.

Marty H writes: T... (Below threshold)

Marty H writes: The best reference site for info on the exit poll controversy is Mark Blumenthal's "Mystery Pollster" site. Mark is a Democratic pollster, so you don't have to send his comments through a wingnut filter.

Yes, you do. Since when did we all decide that there are no stupid Democrats?

Mark Blumenthal wants us to believe that the exit poll discrepancies are the result of "shy" Republican voters having an unexpectedly low participation rate. The nice people at U.S. Count Votes have demolished this argument.

The Edison/Mitofsky Report, which Blumenthal likes, says "“While we cannot measure the response rate by Kerry and Bush voters, hypothetical response rates of 56% among Kerry voters and 50% among Bush voters overall would account for the entire Within Precinct Error that we observed in 2004.”

Unfortunately, there isn't any data in the Edison/Mitofsky report to show it. In fact, the data in the report suggest the opposite is true, and Blumenthal is too biased to recognize it.

Looks like Blumenthal shoul... (Below threshold)

Looks like Blumenthal should be the first one that Lampley tries to flip, since he's obviously part of the conspiracy.

First, does anyone disagree... (Below threshold)
Marty H:

First, does anyone disagree that the exit polls were wrong in New Hamsphire? New Hampshire had the largest exit poll/official vote tally of any battleground state, but a partial handcount confirmed the official tally to Ralph Nader's satisfaction.

Second, why should we trust any other state's exit poll? It's like a butcher with a bad scale-it doesn't matter if he weighs T-Bones, or hamburger or chicken, or pork-if the scale's off, the scale's off.

Regarding USCV-A daily kos diarist named Febble takes exception to the USCV conclusion, and explains why she does. Her arguments are very convincing. Furthermore, she started out beleiving that the election was stolen-and may still subscribe to that theory. She participated in the USCV discussion, but did not sign on to the conclusions. Mark links to her paper from his site.

The point is that the USCV paper is far from holy writ, even among the left.

Finally, I never said that Blumenthal was unbiased, only that he wasn't a wingnut. Although I will say that Mark, Febble, and many others discussing this exit poll fiasco are being very intellectually honest-too rare a thing in political discussions these days.







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