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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OTP November 2012 - Moneypoll! The Pundits vs. The Election-Data Nerds

Come next Tuesday night, we’ll get a resolution (let’s hope) to a great ongoing battle of 2012: not just the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the one between the pundits trying to analyze that race with their guts and a new breed of statistics gurus trying to forecast it with data.

In Election 2012 as seen by the pundits–political journalists on the trail, commentators in cable-news studios–the campaign is a jump ball. There’s a slight lead for Mitt Romney in national polls and slight leads for Barack Obama in swing-state polls, and no good way of predicting next Tuesday’s outcome beyond flipping a coin. ...

Bonus link: Esquire - The Enemies of Nate Silver

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 11298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mr president, off-topic, politics, sabermetrics, usa

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   101. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4289951)
Silver's model has a little bit more variation than that, but he also doesn't have very many swing states to deal with. Lets figure five states, where the challenger has to pick off three to win. If he's 50% in every state, he has a 22% chance of winning. If that changes to 70%, his odds are still only 27%. But if the states all move in unison, he's 70% likely to pick up all the states and win handily. So the same numbers can make him 70% likely to win or 70% likely to lose, depending on how you treat correlation between states.
But neither of these is correct. States are not hermetically sealed off from each other, but neither are they uniform. Silver adjusts cross-correlation between states based on demographic factors - as he said, South Carolina and North Carolina tend to swing together more, as do Ohio and Michigan, less so Massachusetts and Kentucky. I think this better than the alternatives, but it's still quite rough and introduces a lot of complex variables. This is not a math problem. It's a quantitative social science problem, and the best model is the one that is based on the best understanding of the underlying nature of the electorate and the state of public opinion research.

I agree that modeling the interrelation of the states is complex.

However, you were earlier talking about the divergence between the state polling and the national polling, and this is mostly not a question of modelling swing and error. It's about aggregation. The state polls and the national polls disagree by a couple points. We don't know which is a correct measurement.
   102. AROM Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4289952)
If Scarborough really believes it's 50/50, he should have no problem with that bet.
(Assuming he doesn't mind the gambling part.)


Would you accept a bet if someone offered it to you based on a coin flip? From a financial perspective, Joe should have no problem with the bet if he believes Romney better than 50/50 to win. If he thinks it's 50/50, and Nate thinks it's 75/25, then Nate should be offering odds here.

I don't get this from Silver's perspective. What could this prove? All it does is make him look like an ass.


Makes him look like MGL. For some people here the three letters might be equivalent, though I have no problem with MGL. Nate is definitely borrowing his schtick here though.
   103. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4289954)
Yes, but if the vote is close enough that faithless electors can play a role, it is virtually a tie.

If enough faithless electors exist in an election that clearly isn't a tie, then there is probably a good reason. Say Obama wins and in the next month we discover a) he actually is a Muslim plant* and b) he is personally responsbile for Benghazi and has been funnelling weapons and cash to Muslim extremists**. In that case, I would be glad for the electors to switch their vote.
This is basically assuming away the problem. I argued "A is possible," you responded, "I assume not-A."

My argument is precisely that we shouldn't count on norms constraining electors for all time, when so much power is at stake. My argument is precisely that there could quite possibly be a bad reason for faithless electors - seeking to change the arrangement of power in the country to serve their personal or political interests. And we don't have laws in place to deal with this possible breaking of norms.
   104. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4289957)
Thanks, Mike.
Also, I'm enjoying this thread - thanks guys.
   105. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4289960)
In 2004, John Edwards actually got an EC vote by a 'faithless elector'... it's just one more reason why I'd prefer to just get rid of the whole thing, but the wasteland states -- who already get tons of over-representation as it is -- would never give up any power.


I never understood why the overrepresentation of the flyover states is an argument against the EC. To me, it's no different than leveraging the 14th amendment to create special protections for "protected classes". Rural states are a significant minority, in terms of political power, and it's easy for the rich/populated urban areas to use their power at the expense of the rural area (there are examples of this in pretty much every country without a US style system; see, e.g, the provinces in many of the European countries, in the third world, etc.) I guess there are arguments that concentrating resources in the urban power centers is a feature, not a bug, but you can generate a provincial underclass without disproportionate representation.
   106. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4289964)
I wasn't talking about an electoral vote tie. Obviously in the case of a true tie, there's no "fair" tie-breaker. The "House votes by delegation" thing isn't the tie-breaker I'd choose (I'd choose "House votes by majority", on thirty seconds of reflection), but it's probably close enough for government work.


I agree and would add that by tie what I mean is if the popular vote is within the margin or error for an election. In recent MN recounts it was pretty obvious that the difference in the vote totals was lower than the number of votes that were screwed up and recouting was fine and all but there really was no way to "know" what the "will of the people" really was.

The legacy crap that over represents small states (Senate, Electoral College, picking a president in case of Electoral College tie) just annoys me. The case of tie is the worst, because the electoral college already over represents small states, and then we again over represent them in the tie breaker. Oh well.
   107. tshipman Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4289966)
I agree with several of 'Zop's criticisms of Silver. I would also add that there is a growing lack of transparency in his model. In 2010, all the pollster inputs were clearly given. In 2012, that is no longer the case. It's all been "black boxed." At a certain level, that is understandable, since the model is Nate's livelihood, but it does reduce my confidence in the work.
   108. GregD Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4289968)
The faithless electors is fascinating since obviously the Constitution was set up on the premise that electors would be faithless, in the sense of guided by their own views.

Beyond the problem of faithless electors, the issue it illuminates is a missing part of the Constitution that would determine when an election is undecided. The faithless electors or disputed votes scenarios all come from this issue. The Senate counts the votes. The House decides undecided elections. Fine. Maybe not always fair but transparent. But who decides when an election is undecided? That's entirely unaddressed, and any time there's a close 2-way election there's always the chance a la winter 1876 for the Senate to call an election decided and the House to call it undecided. Then what?
   109. Zach Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4289969)
However, you were earlier talking about the divergence between the state polling and the national polling, and this is mostly not a question of modelling swing and error. It's about aggregation. The state polls and the national polls disagree by a couple points. We don't know which is a correct measurement.

I apologize if I was unclear. My interest is in how best to calculate the likelihood of either side winning. The issue of weighting state results vs national results is mainly interesting to me in the sense that focusing on the states too closely can lock you into an unrealistically static view of the race.
   110. Danny Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4289970)
Silver: @JoeNBC: Every bookmaker from Las Vegas to London stands with our assessment of the odds.

Silver: @JoeNBC: If you think it's a toss-up, let's bet. If Obama wins, you donate $1,000 to the American Red Cross. If Romney wins, I do. Deal?

Back before fivethirtyeight.com, I used to discuss polls a lot with "Poblano" on Daily Kos. One point of contention we had was over the usefulness of trends and momentum in polling data. I was arguing that though Clinton's support in South Carolina had eroded some, the totality of the polls still had her well ahead. Silver was arguing that the trends were clearly in Obama's favor, and that he was poised to pass her. This was back in November 2007.

After I accused him of cherry picking endpoints to make his "momentum" argument, he challenged me to a bet: If the next public poll of South Carolina had Obama within single digits of Clinton, I would have to put a link to Obama's fundraising page in my signature for the next 72 hours. If Clinton was 10 points or more ahead of Obama, Silver would have to put a link to Clinton's web site in his signature for 3 days.

The next poll of South Carolina had Clinton up 24 points, and Silver graciously honored the bet. Of course, Obama went on to crush Clinton in South Carolina after winning Iowa...but I was pretty happy at Poblano's coming out party to learn I had won a bet against Nate Silver.
   111. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4289971)
My argument is precisely that we shouldn't count on norms constraining electors for all time, when so much power is at stake. My argument is precisely that there could quite possibly be a bad reason for faithless electors - seeking to change the arrangement of power in the country to serve their personal or political interests. And we don't have laws in place to deal with this possible breaking of norms.


Fortunately, though -- the EC math does work against it... it would take an awfully whacky result for a single faithless elector to be able to do anything except ensure s/he never gets anywhere near a ballot again.

Even in 2000 - you'd have needed three schemers on the same page to swing things.

I don't suppose anyone has a link to the list of state permutations where 268-268-1 might matter... Just glancing - and taking into account that ME and NE allocate by district - the 2000 alignment actually looks to be the best shot, but we'd have needed either the single relatively swingy NE district or one of the ME districts to have voted against norms.
   112. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4289973)
Fortunately, though -- the EC math does work against it... it would take an awfully whacky result for a single faithless elector to be able to do anything except ensure s/he never gets anywhere near a ballot again.

Even in 2000 - you'd have needed three schemers on the same page to swing things.
Yes, obviously I'm talking about organized faithless electors.
   113. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4289974)
Would you accept a bet if someone offered it to you based on a coin flip? From a financial perspective, Joe should have no problem with the bet if he believes Romney better than 50/50 to win. If he thinks it's 50/50, and Nate thinks it's 75/25, then Nate should be offering odds here.


If someone says to me "There is almost NO chance that the Miami Heat will win the NBA title this year. I say there is a 10% chance of it happening.", and I say "Really? I think you are wrong. I'll bet $10 and you bet $90, and we'll see what happens."

If my friend turns to me and says "Oh, that's not fair. You have to give me better odds than that!", then I've proven my point that I don't think he really believes it's only a 10% chance of the Heat winning.

The requested odds of the bet is a refutation of the original person's belief.

That's what Nate has done. He's called out Scarborough's "It's a coin flip." description of the race, and says "If you really think that, then bet that way." If Scarborough were to have asked for better odds on the bet, then he's basically saying that his "coin flip" description wasn't true.
   114. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4289975)
Yup, it's an internet game. I play it a lot.

I'm just some jackass on the internet. Nate Silver is now a public figure. Different norms should constrain us.
   115. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4289976)
Would you accept a bet if someone offered it to you based on a coin flip?


Is that someone Anton Chiguhr?
   116. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4289978)
I never understood why the overrepresentation of the flyover states is an argument against the EC.


Strictly speaking it is small versus large, not flyover but whatever. For me a couple things. First it is undemocratic. Sure I can sort of see the argument for the Senate since in theory it is counterbalancing the more democratic House. But what is the EC counterbalancing? It just seems to be a legacy of a bygone era when the nation was still trying to figure out hoe to make a nation out of disperate colonies and was a fig leaf for the small states.

I think urban vesus rural is a different and more interesting discussion to have.

NOTE: and I really am not trying to rag on 'zop. It just seems that way. Feel free to put out some mouse traps to show me the what for.
   117. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4289979)
I really am not trying to rag on 'zop. It just seems that way. Feel free to put out some mouse traps to show me the what for.


I don't mind the ragging; that's the point of having a discussion, to poke holes in each other's ####. IMO, much better than either the screaming-past-each-other-GOTCHA crap or the circle-jerk, each of which is awful in its own special way.
   118. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4289980)
This is crazy. you win a case against a lender but you still lose the house.

Legal win means little after foreclosure
   119. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4289983)
But what is the EC counterbalancing? It just seems to be a legacy of a bygone era when the nation was still trying to figure out hoe to make a nation out of disperate colonies and was a fig leaf for the small states.


Well, it requires Presidents to disproportionately look out for the interests of small (primarily rural) states. Given that wealth and political power traditionally concentrate in the most populous states, I'm not sure that is a bad thing. Compare Wyoming, for example, to the Auvergne. Despite being much larger and more geographically heterogenenous than other developed nations, the US generally has much more "regional" mobility, IMO, than its peers and less social stigma associated with being from the sticks.
   120. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4289985)
I never understood why the overrepresentation of the flyover states is an argument against the EC. To me, it's no different than leveraging the 14th amendment to create special protections for "protected classes". Rural states are a significant minority, in terms of political power, and it's easy for the rich/populated urban areas to use their power at the expense of the rural area (there are examples of this in pretty much every country without a US style system; see, e.g, the provinces in many of the European countries, in the third world, etc.) I guess there are arguments that concentrating resources in the urban power centers is a feature, not a bug, but you can generate a provincial underclass without disproportionate representation.


Well, I suppose it's not -- at least so far as the EC goes. The best case I guess I would make is that it least it gives us a 'tiebreaker' of sorts where for once, actual population mass means the most...

However, I wholeheartedly disagree that rural states/rural areas have a 'minority' of political power - in fact, I think it tends towards the opposite.

Both at the state and federal level, the income/outlays to federal and state kitties don't reflect this. There might very well be exceptions - but the annual federal dollars in vs. federal dollars out regularly tilts, and tilts pretty noticeably towards rural states... California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, etc generally get about $0.75 or so back in federal spending for every $1 of revenue from those states that go in -- while Alaska, Wyoming, Mississippi, etc generally get $1+ back (Alaska generally more like $2-3 back).

Even at the state level -- roughly 2/3 of Illinois revenue comes from the Chicago area (OK, technically I'm cheating a bit by including 'suburban Cook County' in with Chicago... but let's face - those burbs only exist because Chicago exists) but state allocations are only about 1/3 towards the same.

In essence, rural infrastructure and services are heavily subsidized by urban areas, while urban tax rates are higher because those urban areas have to fund more of their of their own infrastructure and services at the local level.

Of course - yes - I can move... and I choose to live in a urban area, even with the higher COL because I prefer it... but it just doesn't sit right with me, especially given most of the rhetoric that gets heaped on the Chicagos, the Los Angeles, the NYCs, and the San Frans of the country.

There was a downstate Illinois State Rep who tried to introduce a bill splitting Illinois into two states this past session - essentially separating Chicago from the rest of the state - and frankly, my response was "Great. Fine already... just give me an address to send the bill for past payments rendered so we can settle accounts first."
   121. McCoy Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4289987)
The suit didn't make them lose the house and the suit wasn't about keeping the house. They can still keep the house if they go out and get a loan to buy the house. They didn't pay their mortgage for something like 3 years. That should be one hell of a nut amassed for a new down payment.
   122. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4289994)
I am OK with the urban helping out the rural. it is a legacy of days gone by when the farm and in general "the land" really was the straw that stirred the drink, but whatever farm folk should have electricity and the internet too, as well as educated kids, healthcare and so on.

The economy is not nearly as land based as it once was and the engines of growth really are urban, but still the transfer of payments does not bother me all that much. What makes me crazy is the vilification of the city and the glorification of the farm. What a load of horse-pucky that is and it is so freaking annoying.
   123. AROM Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4289995)
The requested odds of the bet is a refutation of the original person's belief.

That's what Nate has done. He's called out Scarborough's "It's a coin flip." description of the race, and says "If you really think that, then bet that way." If Scarborough were to have asked for better odds on the bet, then he's basically saying that his "coin flip" description wasn't true.


Nope. Joe has no expected gain from Nate's offer. Now if Nate offered odds that were consistent with a 60/40 chance, then both parties would have incentive if they held to their beliefs.

Let's turn this around. Say Joe offers a bet, saying he'll donate $250 if Nate's right, and Nate donates $750 if he's wrong. If Nate turned that down does that mean he's refuting his model? I don't think so.
   124. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4290005)
I am OK with the urban helping out the rural. it is a legacy of days gone by when the farm and in general "the land" really was the straw that stirred the drink, but whatever farm folk should have electricity and the internet too, as well as educated kids, healthcare and so on.

The economy is not nearly as land based as it once was and the engines of growth really are urban, but still the transfer of payments does not bother me all that much. What makes me crazy is the vilification of the city and the glorification of the farm. What a load of horse-pucky that is and it is so freaking annoying.


I'd be less cranky about it, too, except for two things...

1) The rural areas tend to then stymie urban preferences on social issues - even though by and large, an end to such opposition wouldn't really have much impact on those rural areas (it's not like the Boystown area or Planned Parenthood is suddenly going to move to downstate to Vandalia or somesuch).

2) It does rub me very much the wrong way the way certain cities tend to become political slurs...

I've actually spent almost exactly half my life in an rural, one stoplight Indiana farm town -- and the other half in Chicago. I can appreciate both lifestyles and absolutely, am more than willing to 'help' provide rural infrastructure, services, etc.
   125. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4290009)
What makes me crazy is the vilification of the city and the glorification of the farm. What a load of horse-pucky that is and it is so freaking annoying.

True, that is annoying when it is done in either direction.

I would point out that when the EC was created and the House/Senate compromise developed it was not imagined how powerful the presidency would become nor how much money the federal government would both take in and shell out. IOW, the level of political power at the federal level and, thus, the imbalances we see, weren't imagined or desired.

Being from a small state, I completely agree that small states have more power than they should in the current system. However, moving everything to a straight democratic vote would create an imbalance in the other direction. I wouldn't argue against tweaks and compromise. I would argue against a complete scrapping of the system - especially given the cost of doing so.
   126. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4290011)
1) The rural areas tend to then stymie urban preferences on social issues - even though by and large, an end to such opposition wouldn't really have much impact on those rural areas (it's not like the Boystown area or Planned Parenthood is suddenly going to move to downstate to Vandalia or somesuch).

The idea that city-folk don't hope to enforce their views on social issues on rural areas is absurd. I mostly agree with the urban views on these matters. But changing the social fabrics to suit urban voters would, and does, have a huge effect on rural folks.

2) It does rub me very much the wrong way the way certain cities tend to become political slurs...

"The sticks" "flyover country" "white trash" "what's wrong with Kansas"

No, no urbanite ever insulted rural America.

People don't like the "other". It isn't attractive. But it also isn't unique to one demographic.

This entire discussion highlights why I am for very limited federal government. Who holds power at the federal level is of vital importance to everyone in a way it wouldn't be if power were pushed further to states and cities. Yes, that might mean there are some towns and counties with policies that offend you. But the result of the current system is that you can't afford to lose out at the federal level.
   127. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4290013)
124/zonk: it cuts the other way for environmental issues; many environmental protections are supported by urban dwellers who are not directly affected by the results one way or the other, and that stymies rural preferences for looser environmental protection that favors resource-exploiting economic activity; urban opposition to logging and fracking are both examples of this.
   128. GregD Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4290016)
The problems I have with the EC overrepresentation are:

1) The issue of rural representation is already taken care of in the Senate which ensures rural states get more than their per capita share
2) governments represent people not acreage so fairness among people is more important than fairness among geographic entities since people can and do move
3) in many areas we are constrained by the terms of the country's founding with pre-existing states but the particular configuration we have is purely a result of partisan maneuvering in the late 19th century when Republicans carved the west into a bunch of states and admitted them before they came close to crossing then accepted thresholds of size in order to hold their Electoral College majority as the success of white disfranchisement (first informal then formal) made the South "solid" for Democrats, and eastern states threatened to flip as urban, working-class populations grew (and continued to vote Democratic.) The territorial borders are confusing and changed all the time, but let's say you had a State of Dakota on 1861 borders (both Dakotas plus much of Montana and part of Wyoming) and a State of Idaho of say 2 million (with Idaho's 1.5 plus slivers of Montana and Wyoming), you'd have one state that is about 30th in population and another that is about 36th or 37th, so still on the small size.

Currently Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana have 10 US Senators and 11 House members (Idaho has two) for 21 Electoral Votes.

In the system that seemed plausible in 1861, these two states would have 4 Senators and maybe 8 House reps for 12 Electoral Votes.

Not the biggest deal in the world, but it shows how manmade the issue is. They are overrepresented not because the Constitution foreordained it but because Republican congresses (which did a lot of other good things!) started rushing states in during the latter part of the 19th century in a way that never happened before or since (Montana, both Dakotas--split off from each other purely for partisan purposes (though it turned out not to be so clearcut in practice), Wyoming, Washington, and Idaho were rushed in within 9 months, not coincidentally after the Republicans won the 1888 election without winning a majority of the popular vote.) Add in the slide of Colorado in time for the 1876 election and Nevada in time for 1864 (though both are now biggish states and Colorado did not behave as expected), and you get fully 8 states in that period brought in purely to stack the EC.

We're stuck with this, I guess, but not because it fulfilled any constitutional or theoretical vision but because it was an outcome of one party's congressional power.
   129. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4290017)
I believe in Democracy. Urban areas have more people and should have more influence. They are also where the economic growth comes from and where a huge percentage of progress (esp. Technological) comes from.

"The sticks" "flyover country" "white trash" "what's wrong with Kansas"

No, no urbanite ever insulted rural America.


Sure there are insults both ways. In volume and significance if you think they are even remotely equal then you must not be a San Francisco Liberal, you must come from the heartland with values gained from growing up on the family farm (and drive a pickup, like Scott Brown).
   130. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4290019)
Re 127: Not to mention oil drilling. No offshore or in the arctic. No windmills within sight of my beach house. But we can put a well every 10 feet in flyover country. Who cares about those folks?

And I don't mean any of my posts to be read as highly critical of urban dwellers. Conditions vary considerably place to place and time to time. Which is why there shouldn't be any over-arching power that dictates how people live beyond whatever broader principles unite us.
   131. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4290021)

Sure there are insults both ways. In volume and significance if you think they are even remotely equal then you must not be a San Francisco Liberal, you must come from the heartland with values gained from growing up on the family farm (and drive a pickup, like Scott Brown).


Of course they aren't equal. More urbanites = more insults aimed at the "heartland". You don't see a whole lot of modern media celebrating the sticks. Hell, if you don't live in the right zip code in an urban area you don't really matter.

I hate the term "heartland", by the way. The US doesn't work without all its parts. No one is indispensible. What I learned growing up in Oklahoma is that there a whole lot of sons of ####### in Oklahoma. That has held true for everywhere I've been. But the idea that any one of our parts doesn't matter, or doesn't have anything to contribute is a disturbing one.
   132. SoSH U at work Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4290022)
In volume and significance if you think they are even remotely equal then you must not be a San Francisco Liberal, you must come from the heartland with values gained from growing up on the family farm (and drive a pickup, like Scott Brown).


Give me a break. Rural folks insult city dwellers. City folks look down upon rural folks (if they acknowledge them at all). And you all make fun of us suburban types. The idea that any one is more a victim of such insidiousness is patently absurd.

   133. Tilden Katz Posted: November 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4290023)
Has any major urban candidate ever asserted that cities were the only places that were "real America" and the "pro America parts of this great nation"?
   134. spike Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4290027)
You don't see a whole lot of modern media celebrating the sticks.

Not to get into who insults whom more frequently, but the media routinely celebrates the virtues of the "heartland" (I hate that expression too, almost as much as homeland and for the same reasons).
   135. SoSH U at work Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4290028)
Has any major urban candidate ever asserted that cities were the only places that were "real America" and the "pro America parts of this great nation"?


Probably.

So what? I'm sure I can find dozens of examples of insults directed at rural folk that were never heaved at city denizens.

The idea that there's a monopoly, or even some kind of imbalance one way or the other, is ridiculous.
   136. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4290029)

Let's turn this around. Say Joe offers a bet, saying he'll donate $250 if Nate's right, and Nate donates $750 if he's wrong. If Nate turned that down does that mean he's refuting his model? I don't think so.


I do. If Nate thinks it's 75/25 Obama, and gets a bet like that, what's the harm in backing up his predictive model?
If anything, it shows that he has confidence in his model.

If I establish odds (50/50) for an event (coin flip), and the amount of money is trivial ($5), and someone wants to challenge me on that, then I don't mind making that bet.

I wouldn't do it for a LOT of money (only bet what you can afford!) and I wouldn't make the same bet (and taking the same side) with a lot of people (essentially splitting a huge bet among lots of people).

   137. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4290030)
You don't see a whole lot of modern media celebrating the sticks. Hell, if you don't live in the right zip code in an urban area you don't really matter.


Most of the truck ads I've seen are celebrating the hard working folks on farms and mines. They show the dirt covered truck hauling wood/rocks across dusty roads and through the mountain passes.

   138. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4290031)
Not to get all "media bias" on it, but in my opinion politicians in their talking points are much more pro rural than pro urban. If we are talking general populace than I don't have an opinion (and it probably tracks with total population), but politically I don't think it is even close.

EDIT: But whatever, I guess I am sorry we went down this path I guess.
   139. GregD Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4290032)
So what? I'm sure I can find dozens of examples of insults directed at rural folk that were never heaved at city denizens.
In terms of politics, not hurt feelings, we have an imbalance. One party and not-infrequently parts of the other party, explicitly state that cities are less American than the heartland. That arises not from personal failings but from the fact that the political calculus rewards it because of the legacy costs of the way we've constructed our system. Those legacy costs also build gorgeous highways through less-inhabited regions while train lines in the megalopolis crumble.
   140. McCoy Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4290033)
If rural land cost as much as urban land then they wouldn't have drills in their backyard but that point is a moot point anyway since most of these rural areas outside of Vermont want the drills.
   141. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4290034)
This entire discussion highlights why I am for very limited federal government. Who holds power at the federal level is of vital importance to everyone in a way it wouldn't be if power were pushed further to states and cities. Yes, that might mean there are some towns and counties with policies that offend you. But the result of the current system is that you can't afford to lose out at the federal level.


But this was the basic argument for Jim Crow. Why should those northerners come down and tell us Southerners how to live?
   142. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4290035)
The other part of the EC equation is that because every state is guaranteed one representative and the size of the House of Representatives is capped at 435, the small states are overrepresented on a per capita basis in both the House and Senate.

I would address that by computing electoral votes as if there were no cap on the size of the House of Representatives with DC being considered as part of Maryland for electoral purposes, and Puerto Rico, Guam, et. al. being considered as the "51st state" for electoral purposes.

-- MWE
   143. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4290039)
Most of the truck ads I've seen are celebrating the hard working folks on farms and mines. They show the dirt covered truck hauling wood/rocks across dusty roads and through the mountain passes.

So you'd like to sell trucks by showing them taking up space and having trouble fitting into crowded parking lots?


In terms of politics, not hurt feelings, we have an imbalance. One party and not-infrequently parts of the other party, explicitly state that cities are less American than the heartland. That arises not from personal failings but from the fact that the political calculus rewards it because of the legacy costs of the way we've constructed our system. Those legacy costs also build gorgeous highways through less-inhabited regions while train lines in the megalopolis crumble.

All true.

I think a lot of it also comes down to the feelings of those regions. City-dwellers know they're an increasingly important and vital part of the economy. Rural folks know their power is waning. Rural folks, in my experience, have a bit of inferiority complex. Thus, the national politician doesn't need to convince urban folks that he thinks they're important; they obviously are. But he does need to convince rural folks he still values what they bring.


The political stuff - where money flows and who votes for what is imbalanced. If city-folks were as powerful and smart as they think they are, they'd figure something out in this regard.


   144. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4290042)
Mike in 142 has a good idea.


But this was the basic argument for Jim Crow. Why should those northerners come down and tell us Southerners how to live?

Sure. So you have broad principles outlined in the constitution and the feds enforce it. I'm not saying states should be able to do anything they want.
   145. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4290049)
Nate's model missed the House by a bunch of seats in 2010 - though I believe he beat RCP and Pollster - but he predicted a large Republican wave in the House, just not quite as large as the wave that happened. He was pretty much spot-on in the Senate. "Didn't pick it up" is not a good description.

Nate didn't "predict" the GOP wave in 2010 until every other pollster had done so first. As late as Oct. 2010, Nate was giving higher odds to the Dems holding the House than he's currently giving Romney to win the White House.

***
It reminds voters that Romney wanted to drastically scale back federal responsibility for disaster relief, and that the last time his party held the presidency we had Katrina and Brownie and got a preview of this policy in action.
The beauty is that this particularly loopy part of Romney's agenda was almost certainly forced on him by the Tea Party crazies. It's hard to believe that anyone with Romney's undoubted overall intelligence would ever come to such a position independently, but this is what you get when the most vocal part of your party's base is absolutely deranged.

FEMA declarations during Reagan ...... 28 per year
FEMA declarations during Bush 41 ..... 44 per year
FEMA declarations during Clinton ...... 90 per year
FEMA declarations during Bush 43 .... 130 per year
FEMA declarations during Obama ...... 153 per year

source

FEMA has become way overused. It's become a way for the states to get other people to pay for their own problems. There's simply no reason that taxpayers in Kansas should have to pay every time a hurricane hits Florida, or taxpayers in New Mexico should have to pay every time a major blizzard hits Connecticut.

***
[Obama isn't] up in North Carolina by much, if at all; the recent polls have been showing the race as a statistical tie, more or less.

RCP has Romney +3.8 in North Carolina in polls taken over the past five days. This becomes Romney +5.0 if the absurd PPP poll, which shows a tie if the electorate is D+9, is removed from the average.
   146. Tilden Katz Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4290052)
There's simply no reason that taxpayers in Kansas should have to pay every time a hurricane hits Florida, or taxpayers in New Mexico should have to pay every time a major blizzard hits Connecticut.


Would you be in favor of a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting states from collecting more money from the federal government then they send?
   147. SoSH U at work Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4290054)
Most of the truck ads I've seen are celebrating the hard working folks on farms and mines. They show the dirt covered truck hauling wood/rocks across dusty roads and through the mountain passes.


Most people who live in cities don't need trucks (there are exceptions, obviously, but it's a pretty decent rule of thumb).

In terms of politics, not hurt feelings, we have an imbalance.



And in other areas of life, there is a pro-urban slant (for example, in entertainment vehicles, the depiction of rural folks vs. urban types is decidedly not positive toward the hicks. Which shouldn't be surprising, since virtually all of it is written and produced by people living in urban areas, either by birth or by choice). Of course, some city folks might not notice this imbalance because they'd see the negative depictions as "accurate," and thus not insulting.*

* Which obviously is equally true in the other direction. I suspect it's the main reason why whatever group you belong to seems to be the most victimized.


There's simply no reason that taxpayers in Kansas should have to pay every time a hurricane hits Florida, or taxpayers in New Mexico should have to pay every time a major blizzard hits Connecticut.


What about tornadoes and wildfires, which hit Kansas and the Moutain States far more often than they're devouring Florida or Connecticut?

Is there any area of the country that's truly immune from these types of disasters?


   148. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4290055)
There's simply no reason that taxpayers in Kansas should have to pay every time a hurricane hits Florida, or taxpayers in New Mexico should have to pay every time a major blizzard hits Connecticut.


Well we are one nation. We have a federal government and the world wide trend is for stronger central governments doing more. And from your numbers it looks like the trend, for FEMA anyway, is a real trend and not a GOP vs. Dem construct.
   149. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4290057)
(a) The political stuff - where money flows and who votes for what is imbalanced. (b) If city-folks were as powerful and smart as they think they are, they'd figure something out in this regard.
(b) is a really silly point-scoring response to (a).

The original question at hand was about whether we need institutional correctors in place to protect the interests of rural dwellers against the interests of city dwellers. I would argue, based on (a), that we certainly don't need more institutional protections for rural folks, and we could probably do with fewer.

EDIT: To add, I think the "hurt feelings" urban/suburban/rural discussion is dumb and should stop. We all have feelings, we have our feelings hurt when people like us are depicted in negative ways. I officially validate everyone's feelings. The "who suffered more" game has no winners, only losers. Stop playing.
   150. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4290058)
Would you be in favor of a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting states from collecting more money from the federal government then they send?


This is right up there with the whole Libertarian argument about how some tax payers pay in more than they recieve (the unfairness of it all!) - very reductionist and wrongheaded. Not that I am accusing you of that at all, I am poking at the idea. I don't think the tax/spend dynamic is zero sum when value from the money spent comes into play and I don't think it should be restricted to some sort of bizarre zero sum construct. We are a nation after all and not just a collection of autonomous people/states.
   151. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4290061)
I would argue, based on (a), that we certainly don't need more institutional protections for rural folks, and we could probably do with fewer.


I think this is reasonable; my point when I started this tangent was that the reflexive, "EC is antidemocratic and is therefore BAD" argument is not.
   152. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4290063)
I think the "hurt feelings" urban/suburban/rural discussion is dumb and should stop


A while back there was a movement in MN to stop calling the rural areas (everything not in the twin cities basically) "Greater Minnesota" instead of "Outstate". The whole thing was silly. As a state MN is very segmented with one major population center and a whole pile of farmland so the issue is very present here.

But yeah I agree with the no winners statement.
   153. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4290065)
The suit didn't make them lose the house and the suit wasn't about keeping the house. They can still keep the house if they go out and get a loan to buy the house. They didn't pay their mortgage for something like 3 years. That should be one hell of a nut amassed for a new down payment.


The reason they lost the house is that they followed the advice of the company that they were trying to get the loan modification from. My family had a recent experience with the same problem in that if you make the payments you do not qualify as per the loan modification guide lines. You basically have to stop making payments to show that you need help, but then you run the risk of getting foreclosed on. And with the amount of confusion and corruption going on with home loans, there are plenty of these stories out there right now. I am surprised there are not more law suits to be honest.
   154. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4290066)
Sure. So you have broad principles outlined in the constitution and the feds enforce it. I'm not saying states should be able to do anything they want.


My retort is that those broad principles are what the basic political disagreements in our country are all about. I'm all for resolving local problems at a local level. The problem is that the big issues - those that people really care about, are national issues affecting most everyone.
   155. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4290067)
my point when I started this tangent was that the reflexive, "EC is antidemocratic and is therefore BAD" argument is not.
Obviously there are a lot of anti-democratic things that are good. The Constitution, protection of minority and individual rights being the big one. The idiocy of Constitution-by-plebiscite that we've seen overrule minority rights in many states fits here.

Anti-democratic measure, though, require significant argumentation to defend. I would say, to go to an old internet classic, that the burden of proof(~!) rests on those who would support anti-democratic measures. One would need to demonstrate existing discriminatory effects hurting the capacity of rural folks to have their interests represented in order to defend extended institutional protections.
   156. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4290068)

EDIT: But whatever, I guess I am sorry we went down this path I guess.


Yeah, I'm sorry to have engaged in it, too, especially as I don't think any of us currently posting here are very far apart in our assessment.


(a) The political stuff - where money flows and who votes for what is imbalanced. (b) If city-folks were as powerful and smart as they think they are, they'd figure something out in this regard.

(b) is a really silly point-scoring response to (a).


I'm sorry if it came off that way. I meant it literally. I would think it something urban dwellers would want to address and think they could, if they weren't so involved in other in-fighting.

I also agree with zop in 151.
   157. Tilden Katz Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4290082)
The unskewed guy has made his final prediction
   158. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4290084)
So what? I'm sure I can find dozens of examples of insults directed at rural folk that were never heaved at city denizens.

On an individual level, city folks do most of the insulting, although unlike the insults aimed in the opposite direction, it's more dismissive than resentful. In fact, there's a parallel between certain types of "humor" directed against blacks and the type of "humor" that's often directed against rural people.

On a political level, the code wording is aimed much more against urban culture. Conservative rural and small town politicians use cities as easy targets, whereas you almost never hear urban liberal politicians slamming non-urban dwellers.

And with advertising, it's equal opportunity suckup, with all those marble-mouthed country accents selling trucks and that moronic "Mickey D"™ name that's supposed to make ####### McDonald's into some sort of a hip urban hangout. Advertisers never consciously try to insult any definable group other than clueless parents.
   159. spike Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4290089)
There's simply no reason that taxpayers in Kansas should have to pay every time a hurricane hits Florida, or taxpayers in New Mexico should have to pay every time a major blizzard hits Connecticut.

I assume I didn't see this because of the wonderful, wonderful, ignore feature, but holy cow. Atlas Shrugged indeed. Does not the port of NY handle goods from the rest of the country? Is there not a benefit for everyone in our republic by helping the individual states recover from disasters? "(P)rovide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" would seem to specifically say that taxes are explicitly collected for just this kind of purpose.
   160. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4290092)
The unskewed guy has made his final prediction

That link doesn't work, but their current prediction is Romney 321, Obama 217, with the popular vote at 51-47-2. I love the way their website has Romney's official website right there in the upper left corner of the home page, and the most prominent link reading "Elect Mitt Reagan!"
   161. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4290095)
1) The rural areas tend to then stymie urban preferences on social issues - even though by and large, an end to such opposition wouldn't really have much impact on those rural areas (it's not like the Boystown area or Planned Parenthood is suddenly going to move to downstate to Vandalia or somesuch).

The idea that city-folk don't hope to enforce their views on social issues on rural areas is absurd. I mostly agree with the urban views on these matters. But changing the social fabrics to suit urban voters would, and does, have a huge effect on rural folks.

2) It does rub me very much the wrong way the way certain cities tend to become political slurs...

"The sticks" "flyover country" "white trash" "what's wrong with Kansas"

No, no urbanite ever insulted rural America.

People don't like the "other". It isn't attractive. But it also isn't unique to one demographic.

This entire discussion highlights why I am for very limited federal government. Who holds power at the federal level is of vital importance to everyone in a way it wouldn't be if power were pushed further to states and cities. Yes, that might mean there are some towns and counties with policies that offend you. But the result of the current system is that you can't afford to lose out at the federal level.


I guess in response to 1 -- sure -- but what would 'enforce those social fabrics' actually mean? Again - if we had federal or even state level legalization of gay marriage, I'm just not sure that I see a gay pride parade being a regular institution in Small Town USA. Sure, sure - I suppose you might see the occasional flashpoint with someone out to prove a point, but again - having lived in a small town, and having gay classmates and family that also grew up in same small town... it's not like they stayed there - they moved. However, the fact that they moved still meant they couldn't say... get married... they just no longer had to 'pretend' to be anything.

As far as number 2, there's a difference...

'Chicago style politics', 'San Francisco values', etc -- these are common phrases we hear from plenty of national politicians.... "Sticks", "Flyover Country" - or anything worse - I cannot recall a national candidate, or even something on the order of a Senator ever using those terms.

To wit - there's a double-standard... I would accept that the denizens of both can sling slurs at each other with the best of 'em -- but it's a one way street when it comes to candidates.

And again... even accepting the 'Zop point about NIMBY environmental issues --

We're (the urbanites) still the ones paying the bills.
   162. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4290096)
FEMA declarations during Reagan ...... 28 per year
FEMA declarations during Bush 41 ..... 44 per year
FEMA declarations during Clinton ...... 90 per year
FEMA declarations during Bush 43 .... 130 per year
FEMA declarations during Obama ...... 153 per year


Sounds like natural disasters are happening more often. I wonder if there is something about the climate that causes this...

;)
   163. Tilden Katz Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4290098)
That link doesn't work, but their current prediction is Romney 321, Obama 217, with the popular vote at 51-47-2. I love the way their website has Romney's official website right there in the upper left corner of the home page, and the most prominent link reading "Elect Mitt Reagan!"


Sorry for the bad link, let me try again:

http://www.unskewedpolls.com/unskewed_projection_2012 president_02.cfm

Romney's momentum has carried him to 359 EV's.
   164. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4290103)
UnSkewedPolls.com was created as a public service to the voters to debunk the media bias and shatter the false illusion being created by the mainstream media and their skewed polls. If you support this and believe this site is important, please consider making a donation. Thanks.


Perhaps some of the most surprising states to some will be the following:


Michigan: 51-48 Romney -- the surprise of the night, Romney's home state ties are more key than Obama's claims to have "saved" the domestic auto industry

Nevada: 52-47 Romney -- this will surprise many

Minnesota: 51-47 Romney -- this will surprise many

New Mexico: 53-46 Romney -- most don't expect Romney to win New Mexico

Oregon: 52-46 Romney -- major surprise

Pennsylvania: 53-47 Romney -- big time upset

Washington: 51-49 Obama -- closer than expected


This is insane. He's made Dick Morris look reasonable.
   165. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4290105)

FEMA declarations during Reagan ...... 28 per year
FEMA declarations during Bush 41 ..... 44 per year
FEMA declarations during Clinton ...... 90 per year
FEMA declarations during Bush 43 .... 130 per year
FEMA declarations during Obama ...... 153 per year

— source

FEMA has become way overused. It's become a way for the states to get other people to pay for their own problems. There's simply no reason that taxpayers in Kansas should have to pay every time a hurricane hits Florida, or taxpayers in New Mexico should have to pay every time a major blizzard hits Connecticut.


Or, you know, it could be more evidence that we are experiencing climate change and as a result, seeing increasing numbers of severe weather events that necessitate disaster declarations.

And frankly, looking at the federal income/outlays on a state basis -- neither Kansas nor New Mexico are in any position to 'complain' about what they pay for... because at a state level, they're both teat-suckers when it comes to the federal inlay/outlays.

EDIT: Coke to RTG
   166. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4290119)
Or, you know, it could be more evidence that we are experiencing climate change and as a result, seeing increasing numbers of severe weather events that necessitate disaster declarations.



For the eleventy thousandth time, there is NO scientific consensus that climate warming leads to more extreme weather. It's not even in the same ballpark as the consensus that greenhouse gas emission will lead to a warmer climate.

There are lots of reasons why you may see more severe weather events, only some of which couple to a warmer climate. And there are aspects of a warmer climate that point in the opposite direction, or change the distribution of severe weather events (e.g., el nino is predicted (not consensus, but leaning that way) to be more frequent in a warmer climate regime, and el nino greatly reduces Atlantic hurricane activity).
   167. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4290123)
The idea that city-folk don't hope to enforce their views on social issues on rural areas is absurd. I mostly agree with the urban views on these matters. But changing the social fabrics to suit urban voters would, and does, have a huge effect on rural folks.

The main way I can see that city-folk try to "enforce their views" on rural areas is when they try to prevent rural majorities from forcing their mores on rural minorities and everyone else. No city dweller has ever tried to force a farmer's wife to get an abortion, but plenty of rural folk are more than willing to restrict the choice of that farmer's wife. This whole glorification of "state's rights" is little more than a crock of #### unless it also includes ironclad protections against minority rights and choices being restricted by statewide majorities.

EDIT: coke to zonk

----------------------------------------------------------

124/zonk: it cuts the other way for environmental issues; many environmental protections are supported by urban dwellers who are not directly affected by the results one way or the other, and that stymies rural preferences for looser environmental protection that favors resource-exploiting economic activity; urban opposition to logging and fracking are both examples of this.

That's sort of a half-truth, since whether rural "preferences" acknowledge it or not, in the long run the impact of environmental damage affects all of us, urban dwellers included. IMO decisions like this should be made with all factors taken into consideration, with compensation given to people whose economic choices are restricted by necessary environmental rules.

To that I should add that there's a big difference between temporary environmental damage (e.g. tree cutting in areas that can be re-forested) and the sort of damage that comes from (e.g.) strip mining. Not all environmental damages are equal.
   168. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4290124)
Or, you know, it could be more evidence that we are experiencing climate change and as a result, seeing increasing numbers of severe weather events that necessitate disaster declarations.

For the eleventy thousandth time, there is NO scientific consensus that climate warming leads to more extreme weather. It's not even in the same ballpark as the consensus that greenhouse gas emission will lead to a warmer climate.
We are, though, experiencing more extreme weather. (In relation to the FEMA timeline, that has to be taken into account.) The continued coincidence of extreme weather with warming is suggestive - agreed, not definitive - evidence for some degree of causal relationship.
   169. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4290125)
I assume I didn't see this because of the wonderful, wonderful, ignore feature, but holy cow. Atlas Shrugged indeed. Does not the port of NY handle goods from the rest of the country? Is there not a benefit for everyone in our republic by helping the individual states recover from disasters? "(P)rovide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" would seem to specifically say that taxes are explicitly collected for just this kind of purpose.

Nowhere did I say that FEMA should be disbanded, or that Hurricane Sandy didn't rise to the level of FEMA involvement. The point is that there weren't 1,040 occurrences in the Bush 43 years that truly rose to the level of "federal disasters."

If a tornado knocks down 10 homes and a pizza shop in Kansas, that's very unfortunate at the local level, but it's not a "federal disaster." Likewise, it's absurd for Florida to have no state income tax but then put its hand out every time a hurricane hits, with the expectation that people in Iowa and Michigan and Nevada will pay for the damage. (And I've been a Miami resident since 2004, at least for U.S. government purposes.)

***
Or, you know, it could be more evidence that we are experiencing climate change and as a result, seeing increasing numbers of severe weather events that necessitate disaster declarations.

You seriously expect us to believe that climate change is the reason that FEMA declarations have increased by over 400 percent since Reagan left office just 23 years ago?
   170. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4290126)
Or, you know, it could be more evidence that we are experiencing climate change and as a result, seeing increasing numbers of severe weather events that necessitate disaster declarations.




For the eleventy thousandth time, there is NO scientific consensus that climate warming leads to more extreme weather. It's not even in the same ballpark as the consensus that greenhouse gas emission will lead to a warmer climate.


That's fine - I'm not trying to use Joe's list as evidence of climate change... just refuting with an equally plausible alternative to the point it supposedly 'proved'.
   171. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4290130)
This is insane. He's made Dick Morris look reasonable.

Not to mention making Bill Clinton's choice of advisers look less savory by the minute.
   172. Guapo Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4290132)
I'll say this about the unskewedpoll.com predictions... Those are some of the most masculine predictions I've ever seen. It's like they came straight out of the Marlboro Man's spreadsheet.
   173. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4290135)
It's like they came straight out of the Marlboro Man's spreadsheet.
Emphasis on straight.

De-emphasis on came ... out.
   174. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4290136)
I'll say this about the unskewedpoll.com predictions... Those are some of the most masculine predictions I've ever seen. It's like they came straight out of the Marlboro Man's spreadsheet.

Oh, really? Looks pretty androgynous to me.
   175. DA Baracus Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4290137)
   176. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4290139)
168 - correlation does not equal causation. The increase In global temperature over the last decade is tiny. Even if global warming, over decades (when aggregate effects are significant ) ends up increasing "severe" weather (defining that is itself an interesting problem, for reasons not worth discussing here), there's no way the effect would be pronounced over annual timescales; warming is just too gradual. It's theoretically possible that there are some climate tipping points relating to sevre weather and we just hit one, but that is wildly speculative and not supported by evidence.
   177. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4290140)
That's fine - I'm not trying to use Joe's list as evidence of climate change... just refuting with an equally plausible alternative to the point it supposedly 'proved'.

Ha ha. "Equally plausible"?
   178. JL Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4290141)
On an individual level, city folks do most of the insulting, although unlike the insults aimed in the opposite direction, it's more dismissive than resentful. In fact, there's a parallel between certain types of "humor" directed against blacks and the type of "humor" that's often directed against rural people.

Only because it there are more city folks. As a percentage, it is pretty even. I have heard lots of dismissive comments about the lack of common sense or morals in the city folks.
   179. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4290142)
Gotta get ahead of that voter fraud.

Seriously, those Romney "poll watchers" should be arrested on the spot if they ever try any BS like asking for "voter ID", when there's no such requirement by state law. If this isn't a sign of desperation on the part of the Romney camp, I'd like to see a better example.
   180. zonk Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4290146)

Seriously, those Romney "poll watchers" should be arrested on the spot if they ever try any BS like asking for "voter ID", when there's no such requirement by state law. If this isn't a sign of desperation on the part of the Romney camp, I'd like to see a better example.


Well, a friend did send me a Drudge siren alert the other day -- Monday, I think -- where Matty was trumpeting a story about Ohio early voting machines registering votes for Obama even when the voter had pushed the button for Romney. I believe the source was "Joe from Toledo who heard it from a guy that heard it on Rush's show".

Plausible explainability ground must be laid!
   181. GregD Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4290147)
I can't conceive of any way of thinking where hurt feelings in shout-outs from comedians is equivalent to structural political imbalances. But if rural people really want to trade, I will accept all movies mocking urbanites relentlessly in exchange for cities getting an imbalanced share of the federal budget and an disproportionate share of the Electoral Vote and House of Reps.
   182. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4290149)
On an individual level, city folks do most of the insulting, although unlike the insults aimed in the opposite direction, it's more dismissive than resentful. In fact, there's a parallel between certain types of "humor" directed against blacks and the type of "humor" that's often directed against rural people.

Only because it there are more city folks. As a percentage, it is pretty even. I have heard lots of dismissive comments about the lack of common sense or morals in the city folks.


I won't argue about percentages, but that sort of observation still doesn't carry quite the same sort of bite than the utterly dismissive tone that city people use against people from "the boonies". You have to go to code wording red area politicians to hear the same sort of casual contempt for "the other" that you can hear in casual conversation on a daily basis in our bigger and more cosmopolitan cities.
   183. AROM Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4290152)
That's fine - I'm not trying to use Joe's list as evidence of climate change... just refuting with an equally plausible alternative to the point it supposedly 'proved'.


Sergio Romo is on the mound in the bottom of the 9th, one runner on, and protecting a one run lead. Who's on the on deck circle? Miguel Cabrera or Avisail Garcia? Yeah, it's hard to tell them apart before they swing the bat. Both are capable of hitting a homer to end the game. But I would call the odds of that happening equally plausible.
   184. SoSH U at work Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4290153)
I can't conceive of any way of thinking where hurt feelings in shout-outs from comedians is equivalent to structural political imbalances.


That's a much different subject than the one zonk/BM/bunyon and I were discussing.
   185. Danny Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4290154)
The other part of the EC equation is that because every state is guaranteed one representative and the size of the House of Representatives is capped at 435, the small states are overrepresented on a per capita basis in both the House and Senate.

Not really. Here are the populations (in thousands) of states with one at-large congressional district:

Wyoming: 568
Wash. DC: 618
Vermont: 626
North Dakota: 684
Alaska: 723
South Dakota: 824
Delaware: 907
Montana: 998
Average: 743.5

The average congressional district has ~715,000 people. While some of these single-district states are smaller than the average district, they aren't the smallest districts. Rhode Island, for example, has two districts and only 1.05 million people. It seems like each of these states (and DC) would have one representative even without the guarantee.
   186. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4290157)
How does a state with an even number of Congressional districts decide to vote in the event of a tie in the EC?

If, say, the House is called upon to vote, and a state has 4 representatives, if those representatives vote 2-2, do they just not record a vote?


The more I think about this potential scenario, the more I think our national debt will double should it occur.
   187. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4290159)
This is crazy. you win a case against a lender but you still lose the house.

Legal win means little after foreclosure

I feel badly for people who got hurt by the real estate implosion, but this article is a prime example of liberal media bias. The family in that article presumably stopped paying their mortgage — on a home that was worth less than the mortgage balance — for six months or a year, which culminated in the home being foreclosed. Thereupon, they filed a lawsuit which allowed them to remain in the home for another 30 months without paying anything, for a total of 36 to 42 months of mortgage- and rent-free living. But now, the San Francisco Chronicle apparently wants us to be outraged because the family received only $13,000 after suing over some procedural error.
   188. GregD Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4290161)
How does a state with an even number of Congressional districts decide to vote in the event of a tie in the EC?

If, say, the House is called upon to vote, and a state has 4 representatives, if those representatives vote 2-2, do they just not record a vote?


The more I think about this potential scenario, the more I think our national debt will double should it occur.
That's a non-vote. That's why the Burr-Jefferson tie went forever, in part. You have to have a majority of all states, but states can and do end up non-voting. A state with a single House member can by himself non-vote.

But Romney should have enough of a state cushion to make that impossible.

That's a much different subject than the one zonk/BM/bunyon and I were discussing.
However you want to define cultural insensitivity, then, would you make the trade? Reverse the cultural insensitivity and reverse the political imbalances? I would in a second because I'm pretty confident which one is more meaningful.

   189. SoSH U at work Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4290165)
However you want to define cultural insensitivity, then, would you make the trade? Reverse the cultural insensitivity and reverse the political imbalances? I would in a second because I'm pretty confident which one is more meaningful.


No, but I'm not sure how that's relevant to the argument we were having. Zonk and BM complained about the slurs directed at city folk from rural types. We said those kind of insults go both ways. The balance of per capita spending (which, I suspect, is somewhat overstated in its effect, though I couldn't tell just how much) isn't germane to that particular argument.
   190. DL from MN Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4290171)
I thought the "bet" from Silver was a reference to Romney in the primary debates.
   191. spycake Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4290175)
Well, a friend did send me a Drudge siren alert the other day -- Monday, I think -- where Matty was trumpeting a story about Ohio early voting machines registering votes for Obama even when the voter had pushed the button for Romney.

I believe the source was the Simpsons Halloween episode from 2008.
   192. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4290177)
Zonk and BM complained about the slurs directed at city folk from rural types.


I keep trying to get out of this argument but ...

I complained about the political slurs, which are part and parcel with the political imbalance. I don't care about the personal back and forth and hurt feelings. I was not super clear in the beginning, but I think I was fairly clear eventually.
   193. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4290183)
If, say, the House is called upon to vote, and a state has 4 representatives, if those representatives vote 2-2, do they just not record a vote?


That is exactly correct. This exact scenario happened in 1801, when the delegations from Vermont and Maryland were evenly divided between Jefferson and Burr and cast blank ballots, leading to an 8-6-2 margin for Jefferson (with nine states being needed to elect). Eventually, what happened was that one Burr vote in each of those two states, along with the Burr votes in Delaware and South Carolina, were switched from Burr to an abstention, which moved Vermont and Maryland to Jefferson and Delaware and SC from Burr to blank, making the final tally 10-4-2.

-- MWE

edit: Coke to GregD
   194. bunyon Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4290186)
Thanks for the info Mike and Greg.
   195. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4290190)
If a tornado knocks down 10 homes and a pizza shop in Kansas, that's very unfortunate at the local level, but it's not a "federal disaster."


Pizza in Kansas doesn't sound disastrous, but it certainly isn't very appealing.
   196. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4290196)
If a tornado knocks down 10 homes and a pizza shop in Kansas, that's very unfortunate at the local level, but it's not a "federal disaster."


Yes, but if it were to knock down Arthur Bryant's instead, that WOULD be a federal disaster.

-- MWE
   197. Ron J2 Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4290203)
Even in 2000 - you'd have needed three schemers on the same page to swing things.


There have been reports of three electors at least thinking of voting Paul instead of Romney. One of them has actually asked to be replaced -- couldn't vote for Romney.

There's the potential for a giant ###########. Though I have a real tough time believing a Paulite would actually take an action that would result in Obama getting the presidency via a plurality.
   198. JL Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4290205)
I won't argue about percentages, but that sort of observation still doesn't carry quite the same sort of bite than the utterly dismissive tone that city people use against people from "the boonies". You have to go to code wording red area politicians to hear the same sort of casual contempt for "the other" that you can hear in casual conversation on a daily basis in our bigger and more cosmopolitan cities.

I disagree. I have spent a lot of time with my extended family in the rural great plains. There is plenty of bite in their dismissal of my "big city" opinions. Urban problems are self made because city folk lack common sense, are too lazy to do hard work, and rely on the government too much (as they take in their crop support payments and get FEMA assistance when the local river floods). Urban people don't haev a monopoly on bad manners.
   199. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4290206)
Yes, but if it were to knock down Arthur Bryant's instead, that WOULD be a federal disaster.


Why, don't those yokels have another second-rate rib joint out there?
   200. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4290207)
Flip?
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