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12Mar/130

Cache Clearance: Post-Bill Filing Deadline Edition

A simple and straightforward clearing of the cache. Happy reading if you're into that sort of thing. There are redistricting maps out for the session, but I think most folks are hoping there are no fireworks that accompany them. But just out of curiosity, I'll probably find a little time to convert them to a Google map and roll out some data.

» NY Times: How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America’s Cross Hairs

» Reason: The Supreme Court Considers Biotech Seed Patents

» Nate Silver: In Supreme Court Debate on Voting Rights Act, a Dubious Use of Statistics

» Wonkblog: Revenge of the sources

» New Republic: Facing the Facts Doesn't Always Change Minds

» Washington Post: School ‘resegregation’ cited in study

» Bruce Bartlett: Wealth, Spending and the Economy

» Columbia Journalism Review: Fair share

21Jan/130

Inaugural Aggreblogging

Another four years, another inauguration. Here's a random break from whatever it is that I do when I don't blog.

» Chron: Again, Hall says he will challenge Parker
In case anyone wasn't aware ... Ben Hall really, really wants to be mayor. This story follows a Chronicle blog posting, where Hall had previously announced his intentions. And that follows the KTRK story from a month ago, where Hall had also previously announced his intentions. And that followed the KHOU story from November, where Hall had ... well, you get the point by now. And it's worth pointing out that this is still far from official since Ben Hall has yet to publicly announce and to officially file as a candidate. I'm sure that'll be worth two new pitches to the local media that he really plans to run this time. Can't wait to hear if he has anything to say about his candidacy outside of "Hey, I'm running!" But based on his initial foray into civic thinking, I doubt he has anything to offer that moves me off of my default choice.

» SSRC: Evangelicals who have left the right (Marcia Pally)
This follows up somewhat from Pally's 2011 book, with a little added context from the 2012 election. Responses by Pastor Joel Hunter and Professor David Gushee are also worth a read.

» Nate Silver: What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?
Good wonky reading from Nate Silver. Nice to see him turn his analytical skills toward public finances. Of some interest:

Another surprise is how little we are paying in interest on the federal debt, even though the debt is growing larger and larger. Right now, interest payments make up only about 6 percent of the federal budget. In addition, they have been decreasing as a share of the gross domestic product: the federal government spent about 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in paying interest on its debt on 2011, down from a peak of 3.3 percent in 1991.

I distinctly remember a few conversations - both online and in-person - where many of my Republican friends rationalized the renewal of deficit spending under Bush-43 by stating how low the GDP percentage was in historical terms. Now, considering the spikes in deficits that began in Bush's last years in office but are now associated with Obama ... the argument is nowhere to be found.

» AZ Republic: Bruce Arians wants QB with ‘grit,’ leadership
Kevin Kolb gets his third head coach as an NFL QB. And the early read is uncertain as to what it means for his future as a starter in Arizona. Of course, even if he does start next season, it's an open question as to whether he can endure it without the kind of injuries that have ended his previous three seasons.

» NY Times: Dartmouth Stops Credits for Excelling on A.P. Test
» NY Times: Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Among the issues I get to track in the Lege is education. Both of these are good backgrounders on some issues in secondary ed.

» Chron: Political novices look to gain stature working for legislator (Patricia Kilday Hart)
» Texas Tribune: For Dean of Senate, Public and Private Blur (Jay Root)
Two good reads on matters pertaining to state government. On a somewhat related note, I also attended my first Trib Talk event with Michael Williams being in the hot seat next to Evan Smith. First impression is that the event is a bit too clubby for my taste, but watching Evan interview someone in person is pretty fun to watch.

4Dec/120

Post-Election Aggreblogging, Round 1

A few items here that I wouldn't want to let fall into the ether without a comment or two. This is just me doing a poor job of keeping up with interesting news items as I come across them, so if there's anything particularly out of date among the items I ultimately post this week ... now ya know why that might be.

» TPM: Nate Silver: Politico Covers Politics Like Sports But ‘Not In An Intelligent Way At All’
The Bill Simmons podcast that Silver's quote is from is worth listening to in full. There are plenty of other useful insights from it ... just be sure to not make a drinking game out of the number of times Silver uses the word "Right?" to end his points with. You'll be drunk in 5 minutes regardless of your Body Mass Index. Depending on how productive the holiday trek to DFW is this season, I've got Silver's book on my list of things I'd like to read during that time.

» Dem. Strategist: States with Election Day Registration Led Turnout in '12
It remains to be seen whether this is a causal issue or merely coincidental. But I think getting same-day voter registration enacted in Texas would certainly help determine whether high turnout is a more of a function of midwestern historical voting habits or laws that enable more people to vote.

» NY Times: Beyond Black and White in the Mississippi Delta
There's a lot for me to like in an article such as this: political coverage of town I lived in (Indianola) and the intersection of demographics and elections. But one flaw remains: you can't adequately cover demographics and elections by comparing total population counts to who wins elections. There's nothing in the story that adequately proves blacks in the towns mentioned supported the white mayors (though I'd suspect that they might have) and there's no mention of the fact that just because a demographic group makes up 65% of the town's population doesn't mean they make up a similar amount of the electorate. Ignoring that difference is what tends to send me looking for a 2x4 to smack against my skull.

4Mar/110

“None Of Us Is Just One Thing” (cont’d.)

» NY Times: Huntington’s Clash Revisited (David Brooks)

I guess it's one of those few times in a given year that I agree whole-heartedly with something David Brooks says ...

In retrospect, I’d say that Huntington committed the Fundamental Attribution Error. That is, he ascribed to traits qualities that are actually determined by context.

He argued that people in Arab lands are intrinsically not nationalistic. He argued that they do not hunger for pluralism and democracy in the way these things are understood in the West. But it now appears as though they were simply living in circumstances that did not allow that patriotism or those spiritual hungers to come to the surface.

It now appears that people in these nations, like people in all nations, have multiple authentic selves. In some circumstances, one set of identities manifests itself, but when those circumstances change, other equally authentic identities and desires get activated.

This is essentially a globalized restatement of Nate Silver's point about what demographics tell us about American voting patterns: none of us is just one thing. And I think it puts Sam Huntington's thesis in a pretty fair context of current events.

2Mar/110

“None Of Us Is Just One Thing”

» 538: In Politics, Demographics Are Not Destiny

In the followup to Nate Silver's analysis of how much union membership has on someone's likelihood of voting Democratic, he turns to the point that reducing that down to a take-away point is probably not wise. Along the way, he makes a point that I wish was more intrinsically understood among the political pundit class ...

On Saturday, for instance, we noted that membership in a labor union increased the likelihood that a person voted for Barack Obama by about 12 percentage points. Is that meaningful? Sure: elections take place on the margins.

Viewed another way, though, it doesn’t really tell you all that much. If you think that being in a union determines 12 percent of someone’s vote, that means that other factors determine 88 percent of it.

The truth is that none of us is just one thing. We are all members of any number of different demographic categories — and the voting tendencies associated with those categories often point in different, or even conflicting, directions.

As an evangelical, white southerner who votes for more candidates with a D next to their names than an R, I can't help but agree.

   

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