Quick hits 5/23/14

QuickHitsIt’s been a really, really busy week. A few things that have caught my eye in between everything:

Finally, it seems that marriage equality is moving forward, with the latest Gallup poll showing 55% in support. Just this week, Oregon and Pennsylvania became the 18th and 19th states in which marriage equality is the law. A map of the status of marriage equality can be found here. Marriage bans have been challenged in all but one state. I eagerly await the 4th Circuit’s decision.

Enjoy your weekend!


6 thoughts on “Quick hits 5/23/14

  1. I would do the HOD districts if it wasn’t for the lines including so much water. I don’t know what criteria the Washington Post used to account for that, but I don’t see any listed so it makes me wonder if they even bothered to correct for that. If you just use the shapefiles the Census provides your numbers are going to be way off. And if you try and trace coastlines your numbers will probably be off too depending on what kind of coastline edge from the Census you use.

    1. I guess I should have scrolled down instead of zooming in. It says they just used the census files, which means numbers for a large number of those districts are so far off that they are irrelevant. VA-2 covers half the Chesapeake Bay and everything West of the Bay Bridge Tunnel to Hampton. Just look at this map, which is identical to the file you will get from the Census TIGER Line database.


  2. The wealthy have always been better able to afford college. That is less so now than it was a century ago. Then, a wealthy family could pay to send a child of even below-average intellect to college. Now, that child would not be accepted. By the same token, the above-average child of moderate means (“John-boy” Walton) rarely went to college because it was too expensive.

    The result is even greater stratification of society by intellectual capacity. The intelligent go to college, marry their college sweethearts, and work with other college graduates. The less intelligent marry their high-school sweethearts, get blue-collar jobs, and hand out with their buddies from high school.

    Since intelligence is highly heritable, the college people marrying college people have college-intellect children (for the most part), and non-college people marrying non-college people have non-college-intellect children.

    This, BTW, ties into reparations, too. In the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, of youth with median-for-college-grads IQs (taken about age seven), the Black children in the study were MORE likely to get a college degree than the White children were. For high-IQ professions, Blacks with the median-for-high-IQ-professions were MUCH more likely than Whites with the same IQ to be in such professions. I’m not sure what there is to “repair”.

  3. Gerrymandering is a huge problem for democracy, but that article really doesn’t take the right tack, unless you believe that the ideal district is a perfect square (or circle). It doesn’t take into account things like natural geography, demographics, transportation connections, or county/city lines. My district (NY-13) is pretty logically drawn – basically all of Upper Manhattan and a small chunk of the Bronx. But it gets a 70% on that scale because Manhattan happens to be a long, narrow island. Same goes for Colorado’s 1st district – it looks weird absent context, but in reality it follows the lines of Denver’s city limits and takes in a bit of its suburbs. And yet it gets a 90%.

    1. Better, of course, would be no congressional districts at all — just have at-large elections, and each voter gets as many votes as there seats to be filled. Cast those votes any way you please.

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