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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: My Attempt to Make Fair Districts on: Today at 08:11:15 pm
Muon, what are your current predictions for reapportionment in 2020?

It's in the thread I stickied on this board.
2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: My Attempt to Make Fair Districts on: Today at 08:01:56 pm
The rant is appreciated, and I would hope that the per curiam opinion in Tennant v Jefferson County Commission would provide some comfort. SCOTUS took some pains there to relax some of the stricter interpretations of Karcher and Wesberry.

Quote
Karcher set out a two-prong test to determine whether a State’s congressional redistricting plan meets this standard. First, the parties challenging the plan bear the burden of proving the existence of population differences that “could practicably be avoided.” 462 U. S., at 734. If they do so, the burden shifts to the State to “show with some specificity” that the population differences “were necessary to achieve some legitimate state objective.” Id., at 741, 740. This burden is a “flexible” one, which “depends on the size of the deviations, the importance of the State’s interests, the consistency with which the plan as a whole reflects those interests, and the availability of alternatives that might substantially vindicate those interests yet approximate population equality more closely.” Id., at 741.

Quote
As an initial matter, the District Court erred in concluding that improved technology has converted a “minor” variation in Karcher into a “major” variation today. Nothing about technological advances in redistricting and mapping software has, for example, decreased population variations between a State’s counties. See id., at 733, n. 5. Thus, if a State wishes to maintain whole counties, it will inevitably have population variations between districts reflecting the fact that its districts are composed of unevenly populated counties. Despite technological advances, a variance of 0.79% results in no more (or less) vote dilution today than in 1983, when this Court said that such a minor harm could be justified by legitimate state objectives.

Variance here is what I called the range, that is the difference between the maximum and minimum district.

I also appreciate your observation about the 3% difference posed by the average difference from state to state, but I've never seen that used successfully in court. It seems that the court looks at worst case more readily (hence range not average deviation). They can do nothing about the differences between states due to constitutional requirements, so those differences seems not to be a factor.
3  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: My Attempt to Make Fair Districts on: Today at 02:00:59 pm
I always try to get deviation under 1%. And muon, there are no county splits between district 2 and district 3 afaik?

Kevin, I know the Maine deviation was under 1,000 people.

Jackson county (Grand Island) spans both sides of the Platte so to follow the Platte as you did caused it to be chopped. I still don't know why you chopped Douglas.

Deviations as large as yours have generally not been upheld when challenged. A range of almost 1% has been upheld, however. A range of 1% is what results from a maximum deviation of 0.5%, though it is possible to exceed that deviation slightly if other districts are suitably closer to the quota.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Do Torie types moving into rural counties cause the locals to move to the right? on: Today at 01:21:37 pm
In the 70's I was in parades in Pepin, so I know what it was once like. I also saw the start of the movement out of the Cities to quaint rural communities like the article describes. What I think is that the media is finally catching up to the fact that the New Deal divide between labor and management is long gone - replaced by a partisan split based on population density with educational attainment factored in. It's worth reposting this piece from right after the election.

I think this map from the Chicago Tribune (non-Atlas colors) illustrates the change within IL over the last 20 years. In 2000 it was the city vs the suburbs with downstate appearing as a wash. The 2016 map starkly puts the suburbs more in line with the city compared to the bulk of downstate. The Trump message worked well with old-economy workers downstate, but not so much with information economy workers in suburban Chicago.




5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scientists in the US are running for office to combat science-denial on: Today at 12:35:45 pm
It's unfortunate that the PAC thinks electing scientists can only help if they are Dems. Party leaders will listen more to those active in their party than those outside it. That's doubly true within a legislative caucus. If the goal is to combat science denial in public policy, the best course is to elect scientists who are Pubs.

Agreed. They should expand their horizons

A similar organization, Scientists and Engineers for America (also involving Trippi), 10 years ago was bipartisan in its support for politician scientists. In their videos they had talks with elected scientists from both parties. It's unfortunate that some of the same people are taking a more limited view now.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scientists in the US are running for office to combat science-denial on: Today at 08:42:42 am
It's unfortunate that the PAC thinks electing scientists can only help if they are Dems. Party leaders will listen more to those active in their party than those outside it. That's doubly true within a legislative caucus. If the goal is to combat science denial in public policy, the best course is to elect scientists who are Pubs.
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever met an Atlas user in real life? on: January 21, 2017, 05:49:02 pm
I'm always willing to meet others if our paths cross. Off the top of my head this is my list of meetings in person: StatesRights, WMS, Nym90, ill ind, Torie, dead0man, Grumps, Mr. Moderate, BRTD, Fuzzybigfoot, and ilikeverin last month.
8  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: My Attempt to Make Fair Districts on: January 21, 2017, 03:02:20 pm
NEBRASKA

The plan: One district for Greater Omaha, one for suburbs of Omaha and Lincoln, and one for the rest of the state.

The map:

District 1: This district contains all of Omaha proper. It's very similar to the current district, though it includes fewer suburbs. Rating: Likely R
District 2: This district contains Lincoln, southern Omaha suburbs, and Southeast Nebraska. The border between districts 2 and 3 west of Omaha is the Platte River, which happens to also be a major county boundary.Rating: Safe R
District 3: This district is mainly rural, although it is 9% Hispanic. Rating: Safe R[/color][/font]

Improvements: Follows logical boundaries (Omaha city, Platte River), creates slightly more geometric districts, consolidates Omaha into one district.

Could you put in your deviations from the quota on these maps. When I look at this one it looks like NE-3 is +4368 over quota (0.72%). That's not likely to stand up in court, especially since three counties are chopped in your plan. By comparison the actual plan has a deviation of +912 for NE-3 (0.15%) with only one county chop. You should keep all deviations within 0.5% unless there is a very compelling reason. Also, Omaha is only in Douglas, so why chop it?

9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What congressional districts/equivalents have you been in in 2017? on: January 20, 2017, 11:47:23 pm
A couple of trips into Chicago and vacation out west.


AZ 4
CA 8,14
IL 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,12,13,14,15,16,18
MO 1,3
NV 1,3,4
UT 2

Total: 10 23

10  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Post maps of where you've been on: January 20, 2017, 11:33:09 pm
After a week out west my state map has changed, my counties are up to 1603.



Red for residences. Dark blue for overnight stay. Light blue for intentional destinations. Green for drive through (including meal stops).


Here's the state level view.



90% (resided): IL, IA, MA, MN, NE, NY, TX
80% (6 or more visits): CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IN, KS, KY, ME, MD, MI, MO, NH, NJ, OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, WI, WV
70% (5 visits): CA, NC, SD, UT
60% (4 visits): AL, AZ, OK, VT, WY
50% (3 visits): ID, MS, MT, ND, NV, WA
40% (2 visits): AR, NM, SC
30% (1 visit): LA, OR
not yet visited: AK, HI
11  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Likely next US districts after 2020 on: January 20, 2017, 06:13:02 pm
I'm probably being overly optimistic, but it seems like the Republicans are going to have to lose a seat in Ohio. All the incumbent Democrats seem safe, and if we get lucky, we'll finally get a Democratic seat in Hamilton County. It's going to split it up and not look monstrous.

Though shame hasn't stopped gerrymanders before.

Also Ohio has a bipartisan commission that draws the districts now.  Although it's really a half-assed redistricting reform, it is something.   

If they draw OH-9 "normal" and draw Hamilton county's district "normal" then I think there's at least some chance of a 5th Dem seat.
Ohio has a bipartisan commission for state legislature districts, not for congressional districts.

I believe it does for congressional districts also, starting in 2020. As I recall, for whatever reason, the bill that put the commission in place applied only to the state legislature for 2010 and deferred its application to congressional districts until 2020.
It doesn't. Need a second referendum for all that.

I thought the legislature could assign Congressional maps to the commission by statute if they wanted.
12  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: My Attempt to Make Fair Districts on: January 20, 2017, 11:06:36 am
"Culturally the northern panhandle shares little in common with the Mormon eastern ID. The landscapes are pretty different, too."

Hey, Muon2, just why did you open this Pandora's Box?  The Muon2 rules don't take cognizance of such perceived cultural divides.  One man's cultural divide, is another man's band of brothers (with the differing opinions seemingly are almost always tied coincidentally enough to what happens to be the partisan preferences of the two chaps) Shame on you! Sin no more! Tongue

Just stick to you little roadie thing, and don't gild the lily this way is my best advice. Less is more.

All true, and I stick to the rules with my example. I only brought up the other issue since ID has a fairly neutral process, and I wanted to put their reasons on the record. It's a case of not all rural being the same to the folks in ID.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: My Attempt to Make Fair Districts on: January 19, 2017, 10:53:15 pm
Great idea.

Basically, I'm trying to make fair districts - not paying attention to partisan composition, keeping metro areas together, following real boundaries, etc. I'll explain why I think these districts are fair, and compare them to the current maps.


IDAHO

The plan: One district for the Boise-Nampa area. Another for the remainder. This is a logical metro area to keep together, and it'll connect most of the rural areas. it also gives a divide that looks somewhat like the state border.

The map:

District 1 is the home of Boise, Nampa, and Twin Falls. The only county plit is in southern Valley County. The district is more or less rectangular. Rating: Safe R

District 2 contains Coeur d'Alene and Pocatello, as well as most of the National Parks and the more mountainous parts. Rating: Safe R

Improvements: I combined Boise and Nampa, which is one metro area. In addition, I followed county boundaries to a greater extent, opted for a northwest-southeast divide rather than the awkward-looking east-west one that exists now. The disparity between population densities in the current district 1 is lowered considerably as well.


Here's my thoughts on your plan for ID. It would be nice to keep the Boise UCC (Urban County Cluster) together, but your result has two big problems. Culturally the northern panhandle shares little in common with the Mormon eastern ID. The landscapes are pretty different, too. But not only are they culturally different, but you can't get from the northern to the eastern part as you have drawn it.

Here is my version posted in 2012, that at least provides for road connections between the northern and eastern portions while keeping the UCC intact. Note that no counties are chopped and the population deviation is less than 0.5% from the quota, which is a reasonable limit given SCOTUS rulings.



I'm happy to give you more analysis of your other states if you like. Much of what I say will reference the UCC definitions and muon rules which are stickied on the board.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever seen a president in person? on: January 19, 2017, 04:53:01 am
I shook hands with GWB at a bill signing in 2005 after listening to his speech. Reuters happened to shoot a picture of it and it ran in a few locations. The pic was odd since as I'm shaking the Pres' hand, a kid jumps in between us to get an autograph. That's probably why they liked the image.

I spoke with Obama for a few minutes when he was a state senator in 2003. In early 2016 I was in the 5th row for one of his speeches, but that was too far back to shake his hand.

I was in Cleveland this summer for the first two days of the RNC. Trump made an impromptu appearance on stage then, but I was way back in the arena.
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should Minneapolis' Museum of Russian Art be closed? on: January 17, 2017, 11:05:38 pm
There's a certain irony in this. Better Red Than Dead is a play on Better Dead Than Red which was an anti-communist tag line from the Cold War. By reversing it one would presume that BRTD was intended to sympathize with communists, particularly Soviet communism. Putin is very much from the old Soviet era thinking, so he would very much fit as a "Red" to a Cold Warrior. Thus the initials BRTD should signal sympathy for Putin and his country.

Pretending that Russia is the same country today that it was 30 years ago is disingenuous.

But that doesn't change the irony of a name created in 2003 during Putin's first term as president. 30 years is not the comparison, 14 years is.
16  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Controversial position: There's nothing wrong with corruption in politics on: January 17, 2017, 04:57:07 am
One thing I am seeing here is an extension of the meaning of political corruption beyond that found in the dictionary. Here is what the Oxford Dictionary writes:

Quote
corruption: dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery

Other dictionaries may include illegal behavior as well in the definition.

Note that the meaning of corruption does not include unequal access to power by the rich, if that unequal access is neither dishonest nor frauduent. Unequal access is an issue separate from corruption. Trying to eliminate corruption when conflating it with unequal access confuses the two issues and makes dealing with either of them harder.

This is abject nonsense. Maybe if you're an Illinois legislator this sort of equivocating makes sense but the average American recognizes that there's something venal/disgusting about what you have termed, in a very neutral way, to be "unequal access". Politicians claim to represent the public and to uphold the public interest; when unequal access is given by politicians to rent-seeking interests, that's dishonest, a violating of norms of decency. This is why politicians are despised.

Dishonesty is when someone like Cory Booker claims that he's voting against drug importations from Canada because of safety concerns. That doesn't convince anyone; we all know why he made that vote. If politicians were honest about the fact that they were rewarding rent-seeking interests, they'd be punished for it; their obfuscation is effective but, simultaneously, is why it is considered to be corrupt.

The definition I cited includes dishonesty as a form of corruption. But not all acceptance of money by those in power gives rise to dishonesty. I thought my case 2 illustrated unequal access that did not involve dishonest behavior.

My point is that these are different problems and they have different solutions. Throwing them both into one bucket does little to address either.
17  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Likely next US districts after 2020 on: January 17, 2017, 01:25:54 am
Proportionality doesn't come into play often, and when it does it is usually used as a factor in evaluating whether a section 2 violation may have occurred. If a map comes under strict scrutiny due to a section 2 claim, then adherence to neutral criteria would presumably weigh in favor of the state's map showing a compelling state interest.

What has changed in this decade is the relaxation of the 50% BVAP standard. 50% BVAP is indicative of the need to provide a minority district. The district itself need not have 50% BVAP if it can be shown to be likely to elect the preferred representative of the black minority.

But if the map otherwise adheres to good line drawing metrics, is it legal to blow off a minority district that is short of 50% BVAP? Sure it is legal to draw such a district (at least where the minority population is contiguous, and probably even if not, as long as there is not another way to have one more minority CD, as opposed to an alternative way that does use the contiguous minority population), and probably more often than not would be good policy to draw such a district. SCOTUS has not so ruled, and is it clear that any lower court has so ruled?

I would normally think so. At a conference last summer, it was clear that the national Dem strategy is to use the courts to try to force the formation of sub-50% BVAP districts to maximize their overall delegation. The Pubs haven't realized that their only defense may be using strict neutral standards. As is generally the case with the majority party, they don't want to recognize change and simply hope to preserve a successful status quo.
18  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Likely next US districts after 2020 on: January 16, 2017, 11:29:49 am
Proportionality doesn't come into play often, and when it does it is usually used as a factor in evaluating whether a section 2 violation may have occurred. If a map comes under strict scrutiny due to a section 2 claim, then adherence to neutral criteria would presumably weigh in favor of the state's map showing a compelling state interest.

What has changed in this decade is the relaxation of the 50% BVAP standard. 50% BVAP is indicative of the need to provide a minority district. The district itself need not have 50% BVAP if it can be shown to be likely to elect the preferred representative of the black minority.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should Minneapolis' Museum of Russian Art be closed? on: January 15, 2017, 01:50:26 pm
There's a certain irony in this. Better Red Than Dead is a play on Better Dead Than Red which was an anti-communist tag line from the Cold War. By reversing it one would presume that BRTD was intended to sympathize with communists, particularly Soviet communism. Putin is very much from the old Soviet era thinking, so he would very much fit as a "Red" to a Cold Warrior. Thus the initials BRTD should signal sympathy for Putin and his country.
20  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Controversial position: There's nothing wrong with corruption in politics on: January 15, 2017, 07:04:54 am
I still stand by the distinction I made. I think there is a significant difference between a quid pro quo bribe or extortion and a donation to support candidates with ideas that match one's own. Here are two cases involving a large donation that I will assume fall within the legal limits for the particular state.

Case 1: A governor demands a $50K campaign donation from a hospital before signing a bill that would provide a $5M grant to the hospital. It's a dishonest use of the political office unrelated to the policies held out to the voters who elected the governor. To me that's corruption and should be prosecuted as an illegal act.

Case 2: A legislator runs on a pro-labor platform and receives a $50K campaign donation from a large union. In the term after the election a lobbyist from the union walks the legislator through a controversial bill that will help the union secure $5M in labor contracts from the state, and the legislator agrees to vote for the bill. Based on the positions espoused by the legislator during the campaign, it was pretty clear that the legislator would vote for a bill like that, and there was no dishonesty to the voters. There was certainly influential access by the union but I don't see that as corruption.

One can debate the merits of large donations to campaigns, and how to fund campaigns when donations are limited. But case 1 could have been about $50K in personal gifts and case 2 could have been about professional lobbyists when no donation was made, and campaign finance laws wouldn't come into play. Even so case 1 would still be about corruption and case 2 about the influence of wealthy interests.
21  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Controversial position: There's nothing wrong with corruption in politics on: January 15, 2017, 01:19:54 am
One thing I am seeing here is an extension of the meaning of political corruption beyond that found in the dictionary. Here is what the Oxford Dictionary writes:

Quote
corruption: dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery

Other dictionaries may include illegal behavior as well in the definition.

Note that the meaning of corruption does not include unequal access to power by the rich, if that unequal access is neither dishonest nor frauduent. Unequal access is an issue separate from corruption. Trying to eliminate corruption when conflating it with unequal access confuses the two issues and makes dealing with either of them harder.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you been in a county that voted for Trump this year? on: January 15, 2017, 12:54:19 am
I have not been to a Trump county in 2017.

Will follow up on how long it lasts. Considering that I don't have a planned venture out of Chicagoland in the near future, I see it continuing for awhile.

So you are done in Champaign?
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What congressional districts/equivalents have you been in in 2017? on: January 14, 2017, 03:55:57 pm
Drove to Provincetown, MA from my home base in NY-19, so off to a rousing start for 2017 by driving through MA 1, 2, 4, 8 and 9, and just missed by a mile or so, MA 5.

I bet the Torie man now jumps into the lead. Dan and I traveled to the heart of the Main Line in Ardmore, PA to pick up a new car, taking one route there, and another one route back. Given the erosity of the CD's in eastern PA, we hit a mother load of them. In order they are upon departing NY-19: NY 18, PA-10, 17, 15, 6, 7, 2, 13, and 8, NJ 12, 7, 11 and 5, and NY-17, before entering back into NY-18.

That's 20 by my count (MA-5, NY-3, PA-8, NJ-4). Just think of what you can do with a trip to NYC. Smiley I've added at least 5 from trips to Chicago since my last update. My next update should come next weekend when I return from NV with side trips to UT and CA.
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you want to become a professional hermit ? on: January 13, 2017, 08:37:26 pm
If it's unpaid, can it be called a professional hermit??
25  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: In an academic context, which is a "higher" title: "Professor" or "Dr."? on: January 13, 2017, 02:19:28 pm
Perhaps it depends on which academic context one is looking at at US institutions.

From the point of view of the student, anyone teaching who isn't a grad student will generally be called a professor, regardless of the degree held. Some grad students can even get that distinction as well, but some don't depending on the nature of the class and the knowledge of the student. Dr. would be reserved for those with that degree. so Dr. might be seen as higher.

A frequent case is when a class may have multiple sections under a single faculty member, and that's the name the student sees - that's the professor. An instructor in the section is then usually not referred to as the professor, but still could be Dr. suchandsuch if appropriate. That would make professor more important than Dr.

From the point of view of the faculty there is a hierarchy of academic ranks. Teaching assistant, instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor. Some of the full professors may also have endowed positions, but usually all full professors count as the same rank. Dr. is usually held by most of the permanent faculty, so saying someone holds the rank of professor is clearly superior to just Dr.

Then there's the point of view of the support staff. They usually don't want to keep track of academic ranks, so they only use professor when directing students about who they should speak with, as in "Go talk to your professor." When the staff addresses the faculty they use Dr. whenever appropriate. Dr. is the most substantive title in this case.

It is different in Europe. I recall going to a conference in Switzerland and at my hotel they seemed very impressed that I was both a PhD and professor (even at a rank below full) and took to calling me Herr Doktor Professor. So context is everything with titles.
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