Friday assorted links


6. The article on allegedly "shy voters" not actually being the reason Trump outperformed the polls seems to boil down to the following. It wasn't just the crude and boorish Trump whose support was not captured accurately by polls. As the writer says:

"mainstream Republican Senate candidates such as Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey — hardly examples of bomb-throwers like Trump — all did better than the polls indicated they would. They weren’t alone. A look across Senate races reveals that most Republican Senate candidates bested their polls."

But what if all Republicans have been demonized and called names and the like for months, if not years, on end? What if the other party relies for a large degree of its (at least public) support on people who have no qualms about considering all Republicans "Hitler-lite"? Then the shy voter theory comes back into play.

The other candidate was investigated and castigated for years on end over an issue that was a non-issue when it occurred among those in similar or worse positions in the other party.(Colin Powell used a similar email setup, and Bush also had a nonsecure server with realms of data on it - not a problem; lots more embassies were bombed under previous people in simliar positions - but in those cases the attackers were blamed and not the SOS)

But you think there is more mud going in the other direction? That the guys who are winning more elections are the ones who are truly hard up?

"an issue that was a non-issue"

Quite a large number of people disagreed with you. It drove down her trust numbers to below Trump.

You are trying to argue that the media went easy on Bush and Powell but attacked Clinton. I would like to have some of those drugs.

Whether it ultimately is determined to be an issue or non-issue Comey's premature October surprise was unwarranted and affected the results. But your side won , so yes, the end justifies the means.

Easy way to avoid having elections swung by revelations related to ongoing FBI investigations: don't nominate someone who is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.

"But your side won"

I did not have a "side". Wanted both to lose. Though I am enjoying the on going freak out.

She should not have tried to evade FOIA by having the server. When it was found out, she should not have have purged all those yoga e-mails.

Your gal made her bed.

Theory: Clinton's trust numbers are related to the # of millions of clips and blurbs on the same 1 or 2 subjects over the course of several years.

I don't expect her to go out of her way to self-incriminate or portray things in a negative light.

But it really wasn't that dodgy, especially compared to the guy who can be seen on video saying one thing on Monday and then on Tuesday again on video denying that he ever said it.

There's a difference between being evasive when you know something's not going to look good and being a bald faced liar. The bald faced liar won.

And he can buy his way out .

Yeah I understand why some might prefer Trump to Clinton, but if the reason is because she's untrustworthy then that person is just not very smart.

The New Yorker a month or so ago had an article with pictures of various young people (age 19-24) giving reasons why they were going to vote and for whom. And one of the people said she did not like Hillary because she was a liar. So she was voting for Trump. Gimme a break.

This election was the absolute worst.

Weren't you the one who said they were voting for Trump in the primaries in order to blow up the Republicans? How's that working out for you?

"The bald faced liar won."

Either outcome.

Hadn't even thought about the Trump voters in the primaries who wanted the Democrat to win. Yeah, they must be feeling great right now.

I wonder if the years of media barrage about the matter from certain quarters could have had any relation to what people thought about it.

Too tribal.

Also, about Bush and Powell, I was speaking specifically of the matter of their IT arrangements and similarities to Clinton's IT arrangements, not about the overall coverage from the media. Because that's the specific issue that received endless attention from a number of outlets.

If you want to compare negative media coverage of Clinton to negative media coverage of Bush, for example, we could look at the substance of the criticisms.

Bush: statistically speaking, 1 million dead Iraqi children as a result of a war authorized by him, in an invasion of a foreign country which turned out to be on false pretexts or, generously, maybe a colossal intelligence error leading to an entire war that should never have happened.

Clinton: something about IT security she really should not have done. Also, failed to achieve a Hollywood rescue ending against the most unlikely of odds in an embassy attack during a civil war. Also, was evasive in answering questions relating to each of these.

So, if they both got negative media coverage, I'll leave it to you to explain how the one could be equally warranted as the other.

#6 - Trump shy voters. Shorter reason why Trump won: AmeriKKKa is racist. I even got stares in Virginny when as a white I was dating an Asian from California (when we visited VA). Even in NoCal, 20% Asian or so it seems, some white teens shouted out racial epithets. To be expected. In Greece, blacks are novelties so they are respected more, and in my Athens, GR neighborhood there's a couple of white-black couples with kids and from what I can tell the kids are popular. Steve Sailor is the expert on this topic. Steve?

Without looking, who do you think won AmeriKKKa's Presidential elections in 2008 and 2012?

Good point .

Racism+Sexism > Racism ?

You got stares because you were making out with a 14 year old.


maybe in NOVA, that's par for the course in red VA

The polls did not miss the "strength" on Trump's support. Trump underperformed Romney 2012, and lost the popular vote by a remarkable margin.
The polls overestimated likely turnout for Hillary, specifically the turnout of men who voted for Obama in 2012. That's where the polls went wrong.

Relative to 2012, Trump's vote count in Wayne County (Detroit) increased from 213K to 228K. Clinton's vote count plummeted from 595K to 517K.

For every vote that Trump gained, Clinton lost five.

Her losing margin in Michigan was quite small, less than 20K votes. Low support in Wayne County killed her chances in that state.

Now look at Milwaukee county, the largest county in the state and one with a population that is 40% Black/Latino. Obama got 328K votes in Milwaukee County in 2012. Clinton got 288K.

That drop alone exceeds Trump's margin of victory in the state of Wisconsin.

Why did Clinton lose? The Obama loyalists didn't show up.

Thats a perceptive way of looking at it , but remember, history is written by the winners.

Voters still live in Wayne county?

Look at the Macomb County numbers.

Why did Clinton lose?

Trump promised to absolutely eliminate their poverty by giving them Great upper middle class (non-union) jobs to get them back to the economy of But America mandates and union labor getting the government contracts era of the 50s and 60s.

Trump and Republicans have 6 months, well maybe 2 years, to deliver.

8 years ago, 485,000 jobs were lost as of the latest jobs report. This month, the economy sucks because the jobs gained last month was only 142,000. Obama was unpopular 4 years ago because the economy sucked with only 164,000 jobs added. Democrats lost big six years ago because the economy really sucked with only 207,000 jobs created.

So, success requires Trumponomics deliver 400,000 jobs October 2018, or at least 300,000.

If not, real whitelash will wipe the smiles from conservatives.

#2 is highly interesting. But havent city size distributions been pretty Similiar throughout time? Ala Zipf.

#3...This poem by Donald Justice seems to have a small cult following, but I think it should be better known..


The classic landscapes of dreams are not
More pathless, though footprints leading nowhere
Would seem to prove that a people once
Survived for a little even here.

Fragments of a pathetic culture
Remain, the lost mittens of children,
And a single, bright, detasseled snow cap,
Evidence of some frantic migration.

The landmarks are gone. Nevertheless,
There is something familiar about this country.
Slowly now we begin to recall

The terrible whispers of our elders
Falling softly about our ears
In childhood, never believed till now.

Donald Justice's poetry should in general be better known -- in my opinion, he's easily the best contemporary poet (although he's dead now). I don't think he's underrated, since those who know him all seem to rate him highly. He's just not widely known.

2. Isn't the danger here more political than economic?

Countries with massive, dominant alpha cities often have a concentration of power in the hands of relatively few people who jealously guard their privilege. It becomes impossible to break into these power centers because housing is unaffordable.

If you don't live in London or Paris, you're a nobody.

Over time, the countryfolk will come to resent the Alpha City and you'll see a larger backlash.

As long as there are not significant barriers, such as unequal access to education across localities or prejudices which prevent some types of individuals from accessing opportunities, then I don't see this being a huge political problem. Maybe a little jealousy and frustration, which to be sure is not nice, but I don't see it being a "danger" outside of some special sorts of scenarios.

This might help explain why solid Democrats seem more fired up and well-aligned than solid Republicans. Because their support is so geographically narrow, it's easier to have a party more aligned with the interests of its members. It may also explain why, outside the Democratic party, so many of the things they believe seem so weird.

Democrats are diverse is one sense, but in another sense they are not diverse at all. It's always struck me that the Republican party appears to have a great deal more internal conflict than the Democratic party.

It might be interesting to compare nation-states where one alpha city has no peer competition (UK, France, Australia) to those where alpha-ness is widely distributed (US, China, Switzerland). Is the anti-elite backlash larger in the first group of countries? I'm skeptical- for all the concern about Brexit, the Brits seem to think that their domestic politicians are doing okay.

In Canada, for example, their is resentment towards the financial and logistics centre, Toronto. Throughout many rural areas, and especially in the West of the country, many people hold a negative attitude towards Toronto beyond what you'd normally expect rural people to think about "the city" (rat race, curt/cold people, etc.).

But could that ever extend to the point that rural Canada would invade Toronto out of extreme resentment after additional aggregation of financial, electoral and other power in one city led to making really bad policy for rural areas? Canada's maybe not the best example if trying to think of worst case scenarios, because there are so many ways across so many levels of government to balance out such a situation.

I would think that the greater risk, generally speaking, is not that a concentration of financial, human and technical resources in an urban centre would eventually lead to such a concentration of political power that policies were too unfair for rural areas, but that within that urban political entity itself, that some certain class of elites would come to dominate. And I don't think that situation or concern differs particularly much as a function of the variables of interest here.

Texas has several large cities of roughly equal importance. Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Illinois has Chicago and then...?

Arguably competition between large cities within Texas has improved its governance relative to Illinois. It's hard for one political family or organization to monopolize power in Texas. Even the oil companies aren't a coherent monopoly anymore.

Elite Texans aren't jockeying for position in Austin alone. They have a few different spots to compete for and they are forced to compete with each other.

Elite Illinoisans have only one playground.

I haven't studied this in depth but I think there's some validity to the theory. Madison certainly thought so, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition"

I think we can all agree that the most underrated American poem was the 4559th haiku on the topic of Spam(tm):

Perfection uncanned
Like a beautiful redhead
Fresh from her trailer

Here I sit, broken hearted

Tried to shit, only farted
our very own anon wrote that!

2) The paper starts with a completely false premise. Economics is the field that OPPOSES the logic that expanded cities are a bad thing, referring to things like network effects, the Silicon Valley example, and various economies/efficiencies of scale, etc.

In a lot of developing countries, difficulties adjusting to rapid urban population growth have led many to observe that the rate of urbanization is "too fast" from many perspectives, which may also include some desire to retain traditional communities, etc., or some variety of other loosely related reasons.

It's an interesting logical extension of all the basic concepts that economists who would study such a thing might focus on.

Since the rise of voodoo economics, economists never consistently apply ALL economic theories or axioms to any situation or policy advocacy.

It is like a physicist using only one of Newton's laws in any analysis, picking a different law each time to justify their argument, or combining them in strange ways. Like saying by the second law, if I give the car a shove, it will accelerate, and by the first law, it will tend to keep accelerating when I stop shoving.

For example, they will use the Laffer curve to argue a tax cut will generate more tax revenue. Then argue that cutting the tax rates to zero will generate the highest tax revenue. But further, cutting tax further with refundable tax credits will further increase tax revenues. Thus giving tax credits to Walmart to build in your city will pay for building the roads, water and sewer, and pollution cleanup Walmart requires before accepting the tax credits to build.

Thus, analyzing a city becomes kinda bizarre by arguing that scarcity of land will create wealth and thus is a great thing. Then arguing that property rights are excessive government regulation that make land cost too much which is wealth destroying because growth is impossible due workers priced out, etc.

In many states, the largest city would barely rate as a city if it were on either coast. Maybe we have too many states. If some of the less dense states were merged, maybe they could support a megacity.

Are barriers to trade between states that significant?

In many of these low density states, the biggest city is the state capital, and the biggest employer is the state government. If, say, Iowa, Nebraska, both Dakotas, Idaho, and Wyoming were to merge, they could consolidate their governments in a megacapital, which in turn would attract private industry. Right now, none of these states has a city on the scale of Salt Lake City, Kansas City or Minneapolis-St. Paul. If you're a software guy, you won't want to relocate to Boise or Des Moines, but you might consider Trump City, the large and affluent capital of Megawest.

Omaha is doing fine without being the capitol of anything.

More to the point, half the states listed have a largest city that is not the capitol.

Only 17 states have a capital which is also its largest city.

"If you’re a software guy, you won’t want to relocate to Boise or Des Moines,"

On the contrary, software guys, and all variety of engineers, being more interested in solving technical problems than mixing it up in an increasing variety of interpersonal competitions, usually thrive in pleasant, smaller sized cities.

Now, for ambitious salespeople, financiers, and businesspeople, it is a different story. But there's a reason Des Moines is so pleasant.

The low density states in which the largest city is also the state capital are as follows: Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee. The capital of Utah is...Salt Lake City. Nashville and Oklahoma City are peers of Salt Lake City. Denver and Phoenix are considerably larger.

That the state government is 'the largest employer' is of scant interest. Nationally, state government payrolls amount to 5.8% of employee compensation and about 3.5% of personal income. Also, most state employees are field employees, not headquarters employees. (In New York, for example, about 21% of the state's workforce works in the state capital).

I don't know if he's underrated among poets, but I recently heard about Frederick Seidel for the first time and count myself a fan. I was never exposed to his stuff in English classes, probably because he doesn't go in for the "beautiful black bodies"/"strong vagina" stuff (much, anyway; there was a poem about Ferguson, but that was after I graduated) and supposedly doesn't do readings or hobnob much with other poets. Instead we get stuff like this:

Much more my sort of thing.

An interesting new paper on assortative mating:

Assortative mating on educational attainment leads to genetic spousal resemblance for polygenic scores

Educational attainment (EA) shows high levels of assortative mating

Polygenic scores for EA significantly predict own EA and the EA of the spouse

Polygenic scores for EA significantly correlate between spouses, indicating that assortment for EA is reflected in the genome

#5 - "5. Japanese museum of rocks that look like faeces." - I thought I had read that wrong. To slight the over-developed US finance industry, If BlackRock is beautiful, I just shat a masterpiece...

No mention of Casey at the Bat. :(


You beat me to it.

Vogon poetry is greatly underestimated too.

The Impeachment files open in about 31 years.

That should be some fun reading for one of the sides. Hard to say which side now.

7. Boy, talk about conservative history revisionism: "but it was also true Democrats didn’t coalesce around a plan until Scott Brown was elected,"

The only difference of substance between the House and Senate bills was the Senate bill was more conservative in order to get Republican support, which it did, puncturing yet another bit of conservative history revisiinism: lifelong Republican Congressman Arlen Specter who never got a Democratic nomination, only Republican nominations, and won elections only as a Republican.

Arlen Specter's crime was representing the interests and needs of the working class in Appalachia especially, contrary to the conservative elites wishes that the working class be made worse off.

"Better Way does have a safety net for people like this: It would invest $25 billion in a high-risk pool to cover those with preexisting conditions who are unable to afford coverage on the marketplace."

That is $2.5 billion per year compared to $5 billion for Obamacare transition which was very restrictive and covered only a fraction of those denied due to preX, 100,000 over three years.

Basically, the Ryan preferred replacement cancels health insurance for by his advisor's projection 4 million people by making insurance premiums completely unaffordable.

And then, the Ryan plan calls for taxing employer health benefits far more steeply than the Obamacare Cadillac tax, clearly designed to convince employers to drop health benefits. You tax things you want less of is what conservatives always argue.

The alternative to the Ryan backed plan is similar, except it's a total government takeover of the entire health insurance industry. If you fail to buy health insurance, the IRS will buy it for you using your tax credit. To make it work, the IRS would need to know when you gain and lose health insurance so it can buy or cancel insurance for you.

I started caring a lot about access to and cost of health care in the 80s when my 30 something brother had a genetic problem that cost probably $100,000 then, more now, that resulted in his employer's health insurance being cancelled for all employees while the insurer fought to deny payment requiring the Kansas insurance commission to intervene. Then the State of Kansas ended up financing the part of the medical bills that followed that were not donated with a means tested repayment plan of decades.

So, for three decades I've watched conservatives get stuck in their health care exploding-cost declining-access cul-de-sac as they deny reality and the truth: TANSTAAFL.

And here they are yet again. Clearly they need to add creative destruction to their health reform: euthanasia of the poor and disabled to pay for them with sale of body parts to the rich. Alex should love this market solution to the organ scarcity and health care costs.

So your solution is to require everyone to give unlimited funds to the same company that denied payment before.

Insurance costs about 10k/employee year, so had your brother just been paid that amount in addition to his regular salary and invested it he could have paid his bills as they were due.

We need to end all insurance and employer plans now.

"Insurance costs about 10k/employee year"

No way. I have paid COBRA premiums on fairly good employer-provided health insurance and the more expensive one was still less than $3,000 per year.

1. Blacks in the top one percent.

After decades of looking for a single school in which blacks outscored whites on tests, I recently discovered that public elementary school not too far from me (although in a nicer neighborhood at the base of the Hollywood Hills) is that long sought utopia.

Most of the black children at the school have parents in the entertainment industry. My impression is that blacks in behind the scenes jobs in the entertainment industry tend to be from the upper reaches of black society.

#3 includes a DWONNA NAOMI GOLDSTONE: poem with these first two lines (from a black to whites who want to be friends):

“The first thing you do is to forget that I’m black./ Second, you must never forget that I’m black.”

I think this is the perfect explanation for most identity politics problems.
Each group wants a contradiction. Try it with any group:
“The first thing you do is to forget that I’m a woman./ Second, you must never forget that I’m a woman.”

“The first thing you do is to forget that I’m an Asian./ Second, you must never forget that I’m an Asian.”

“The first thing you do is to forget that I’m gay./ Second, you must never forget that I’m gay.”

“The first thing you do is to forget that I’m American./ Second, you must never forget that I’m American.” << funny, it's this last one that doesn't fit so well, because there are so many ways to be American.

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