Thursday, July 11, 2013

Midweek Notes and Notions -OR- On the Triplet Prime, American Calendar-Style

Updated at 11:08PM 7/11/2013: See below.

Yellow tiger lilies (at least I think these are tiger lilies) in the small yard of 1730 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 6:53PM July 6, 2013.


A midweek late night update on this Triplet Prime date (7/11/13), at least in the American way of writing the date.

I'm quite exhausted tonight although I made it to the gym and had a decent workout -- a 5.5 mile (kinda slow and struggling) jog and (slow-ish) swimming for a half hour, but no weight-lifting. My sleep schedule is totally out-of-whack and I'm about to go to bed.

I had to work editing on a large proposal for nearly 12 hours and through last night to morning -- finally sort of dying around 10AM and still not reducing the 51 pages to the required 40 pages (or rather, 42/43 pages).

I stayed up through The Golden Girls, Cheers, really late re-airing of Frasier, and all the way to I Love Lucy and dawn.

The really bad part is that I was not able to edit it down to the required length precisely because this is such a high-priority project that represents [omitted]. The issue is that I was deeply reluctant to take out anything for fear that I would remove something critical -- and given how the redundancies appeared, specifically, as concepts related to projects and programs, it was extra hard to remove them. I thought my top boss was going to be really upset with me -- and when I checked my e-mail at 4PM (WHEN I GOT UP!) and there were no messages at all. I got read -- showered/shaved and dressed -- and made it INTO work by 540PM (truly a "reverse commute").

I stayed at the office until about 715PM (before going to the gym), and I spoke to her on the phone and it seems like this was more a bump than a major disaster for me. As it is, there are a couple more of these proposals in the offing that I may have to edit (and it would be bad for me if I were NOT asked to help).

I then went to the YMCA even as a thunderstorm came up and deluged the immediate D.C. area under dark and stormy skies. KDCA got the storm, too, with 0.53" of precipitation while KBWI, KIAD, and KDMH had at most a trace. (This summer year has featured the unusual situation of KDCA getting more rainfall / thunderstorms than the other regional climate stations.) It reached 90F at KDCA (there have been a happy paucity of such days this year).

The storm hit while I was on the treadmill and it knocked out the satellite TV at the gym for a while -- thus mercifully interrupting the wall-to-wall Zimmerman trial coverage and media-ginned up hysteria. (There is no volume -- just closed captioning.)

The house at 1270 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., July 7, 2013.


When I left the gym, I stopped at the 17th Street Safeway and bumped into Chris H., with whom I ended up having a nice conversation, though I think he was slightly buzzed. He told me about his new puppy -- a little puggle that still needs to be puppy potty trained. I've always had a complicated relationship with Chris H., who although nominally part of the 17th Street JR's / Cobalt D.C. Gay Mafia, really only is by virtue of his job.

Pearls Before Swine, July 8, 2013. (I changed the vertical to horizontal ratio somewhat for a larger version of this cartoon.)


Before I sign off, I want to note this piece by Ruy Teixeira and Alan Abramowitz that New York Times columnist Prof. Paul Krugman referenced in this blog entry that takes apart Sean Trende's analysis -- suddenly very popular with the GOP VRWC / Teabagger crowd -- that the solution for at least the next 20 years for today's hard-right Republican party to its long-term demographic death spiral is for it to become MORE white Christianist and "libertarian" corporate fascistic in order to establish that long-desired Handmaid's Tale dystopia of theirs.

Specifically, Trende urges the GOP to amp up the fraction of the white working class vote in the Midwest (OHIO!) to the levels it gets in Mississippi and Alabama. He cites the supposed "missing white voter" phenomenon of the 2012 election. Teixeira and Abramowitz take apart that argument by showing both why the increased number of white voters between 2008 and 2012 due to population growth is overestimated by about a factor of two, and more importantly, why the analysis is bogus.

The key rebuttal paragraphs:

So what starts out looking like a mysterious epidemic of "missing" white voters becomes mostly a reflection of the simple fact that 2012 was a low turnout election. This unremarkable outcome is then hyped by Trende as the big demographic development of 2012 by doing something that is really quite misleading. He adds back in all the missing white voters to the 2012 electorate while leaving out all the missing minority voters. That is where he gets his claim that "[i]f these white voters had decided to vote, the racial breakdown of the electorate would have been 73.6 percent white, 12.5 percent black, 9.5 percent Hispanic and 2.4 percent Asian -- almost identical to the 2008 numbers.

This really can't be done. If you're going to add one type of missing voter back in you should add them all back in; you can't -- or shouldn't -- assume a higher turnout election that would somehow only affect whites. And what happens if you play with the net up and add all the "missing" voters back in? You get 72.4 percent white, 12.8 percent black, 9.6 percent Hispanic, 2.4 percent Asian and 2.8 percent other race -- in other words, 72 percent white and 28 percent minority, identical to the actual 2012 exit poll results.

Prof. Krugman has another entry on "Race, Income, and Voting" that further explores Trende hypothesis by looking at the issues of different racial, economic, and regional groups vote.

This chart shows (as blue dots) the percentage of 2012 Democratic votes among whites, blacks, (non-white?) Hispanics, and Asians and (as the orange-red line) the income-voting relationship from NYT exit polling data.


He concludes:

Contrary to what some people keep saying, people with higher incomes, other things equal, tend to vote Republican. Cut through the noise and fog, and it is true that Democrats broadly want to redistribute income down, and Republicans want to redistribute income up - and on average, voters get that (which is why "libertarian populism" is hot air). But race and ethnicity also matter, a lot. What you can see right away is that there are three groups that are fairly anomalous.

1. African-Americans "should" lean Democratic, given their low incomes, but they are much more Democratic than this alone would predict.

Ha ha (it never gets old)

2. Southern whites are just as much of an anomaly; they have close to the national median income, and "should" be pretty evenly split between parties, but instead are almost entirely Republican.

3. Asian-Americans are relatively high-income, but also strongly Democratic. Although I don't have the data, Jews would surely look similar.


Updated 11:08PM 7/11/2013: I guess I never got around to the main point: Leaving aside the issues above, the reason the Trende / GOP analysis makes no conceptual sense is that so many working poor Northern and Midwestern whites (forget the Southern ones) depend on Medicare / Medicaid / food stamps / other forms of government assistance, and the idea that they will embrace a philosophy of savage cuts to those programs is problematic at best.


As for our would-be first "post-partisan / post-racial" president, No-Drama-Obama, he's still busy helping to expand the ever-metastasizing military/industrial/surveillance state. He likes to lose on all things domestic political progressive -- as if he is so helpless -- but on anything part of the War / Police / Spying complex, domestic or foreign, then he is perfect, He Got Game.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will either be Thursday or Friday night.


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