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Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. Nate Silver says he probably won't win. Emphasis on the "probably."
In recent weeks, everyone — even casual political observers — has scrutinized the numbers at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times. Silver, if you've been living under a rock with no media for the past few years, is a 34-year-old rising star in the world of data journalism. He made a name for himself in baseball statistics and neatly transferred that fame over to politics. He basically called the 2008 election. When the New York Times absorbed his once-anonymous blog, he was a made man. (Watch him in uber-nerdy action on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" in the video below.)
The political right isn't happy about Nate Silver because, as of Tuesday morning, FiveThirtyEight indicates that Mitt Romney has a less than 10 percent possibility of winning the election. Indirectly, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan tried to discredit Silver in the Wall Street Journal on Monday with heartfelt rhetoric and a hodgepodge of theories, the most ridiculed of which was the idea that Romney is surging toward victory because across America he's winning the war of the yard signs.
It may have been the most crazy, crazy, crazy year in business and economics since...well, since the Financial Crisis in 2008. In fact, it may have topped that surreal episode. We began the year with some economists expecting better than 3 percent GDP growth in the U.S. and ended it with anti-Wall Street protests from coast to coast, the eurozone on the ropes, and unemployment still hovering above 8 percent.
Click through the slide show to get the blow-by-blow, from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to the ongoing foreclosure crisis. May you live in interesting times? For everyone's sake, let's hope 2012 is rather less interesting.
Oh, wait...it's an election year!
Methinks we're going to need helmets in 2012.