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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Can you create an Obama sweep in your state? on: Today at 09:46:27 pm
Here's my entry for IN. No munis/townships are split, and in Indianapolis the old townships are preserved. All deviations are under 300, and all CDs were won by Obama in 2008. The districts are between R+2 and R+4, and given the swing in IN they were all likely lost by Obama in 2012.



CD 1: 50.2-49.0
CD 2: 49.8-49.2
CD 3: 49.6-49.4
CD 4: 50.0-48.9
CD 5: 49.6-49.2
CD 6: 50.2-48.7
CD 7: 49.7-49.3
CD 8: 50.9-48.0
CD 9: 49.7-49.1
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Illinois Executive Mega-Thread on: Today at 06:40:01 am
We Ask America has a calculator to forecast statewide results. They start with their most recent polling data and the 2010 turnout numbers. You can change any of the parameters to get your own forecast.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 29, 2014, 09:21:19 pm
Since the purpose of this proposal is to create a state that would be in the best position to deal with global warming, rising sea levels and hurricanes, I think this would be the best way to divide the state:



I think we are in agreement as to what the resolution calls for in content, though not in map. My preceding post gives an idea of the political breakdown of the area you suggest.


Given all that, I can only find justification in the resolution for a much reduced version of South Florida. That would include only 11 counties including Lee, Glades, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and those to the south. That amounts to only 38% of the current population of FL, compared to 67% in the resolution.

nb, if a mod wants to move this thread to Political Geography, I have no objections.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 29, 2014, 04:21:14 pm
I decided to test FL to see how much the geography skews the opportunity for a fair map. To test this I drew a 40 seat Senate map starting with the UCCs for FL and putting no more than the minimum number of SDs in each UCC (ie no UCC chops). I avoided county chops except within UCCs, and tried to minimize the number of excess chops. Within chopped counties muni chops were avoided.

All the districts are within 5% of the quota, and they were drawn with an eye towards minimizing erosity, though no specific measure was used. In Miami-Dade there is one BVAP majority SD and 5 HVAP majority SDs (2R, 3D), and two additional BVAP opportunity SDs (37-38%).



I use 5 categories for assessing the political tendency of a district. Uppercase (R, D) are uncompetitive PVI 6 or greater. Lower case (r, d) are competitive PVI 2 to 5. Even (e) is PVI 0 or 1. This map rates as 16R, 7r, 1e, 3d, 13D. That puts 11 of 40 SDs in the competitive range.

The state overall is R+2 so there should be a structural advantage of 3 seats. The seven SD R-D advantage means a skew number of 4 for the map. Presumably some concentrated effort could reduce that at the cost of some chops.

My curiosity centered on the split proposal, and the political ramifications are pretty clear. NF would have all or most of 13 of the SDs, with a split of 8R, 3r, 1d, 1D. That leaves SF with 8R, 4r, 1e, 2d, 12D or a D-R advantage of 2. My proposed version that only involves the water resources in the resolution is 4R, 1r, 1d, 9D. I still wonder why they didn't just go that direction?
5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Can you create an Obama sweep in your state? on: October 29, 2014, 03:41:44 pm
The more interesting challenge is to find states or significant areas that could be divided so that Obama sweeps in 2008 and loses them all in 2012. I did that for IL without Chicagoland as part of Antonio's alternate states.

Here's a cute gerrymander of your lopped-off IllinoiS. I divided it into 6 CDs using whole counties and keeping all 6 CDs within 1500 (0.2%) of the quota. I assumed that the Pubs had control after 2010, but they were willing to take some risks to make a play for all 6 seats. So all 6 CDs here voted for Obama over McCain, but Obama never gets over 52% (53% of the two-party vote) and all have a R PVI.

When I calculated the 2012 results, the gamble worked. In 2012 the favorite son effect wears off, so in the first election with this map Romney wins all 6 CDs with at least 52% of the two-party vote. The PVIs are calculated with the 2008-12 numbers.



IS-01:R+3 (Blue, Rockford-LaSalle)
IS-02:R+3 (Green, Rock Island-Bloomington)
IS-03:R+3 (Purple, Peoria-Quincy)
IS-04:R+6 (Red, Champaign-Decatur)
IS-05:R+5 (Yellow, Springfield-Edwardsville)
IS-06:R+5 (Teal, Belleville-Carbondale)

An equivalent goal could be a complete flip of all districts between 2004 and 2008 in any of the swing states that flipped R to D.
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What are you listening to right now? II on: October 27, 2014, 10:16:00 pm
Valse Triste - Jean Sibelius (Von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker)
7  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Is Cheerleading a Sport? on: October 27, 2014, 09:54:04 pm
Not sure if anyone has said something like this yet (and I'm not reading through what is likely a cringe-inducing thread), but to be a sport, there needs to be at least two of the three following things:

1) A ball
2) A timer
3) A score

Skiing?

Not a sport; an activity.

That may be your sense, but it is not the common meaning. Here are three definitions from major dictionaries:

Oxford(American and British English)
Quote
An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment:

Cambridge (American English)
Quote
a game, competition, or similar activity, done for enjoyment or as a job, that takes physical effort and skill and is played or done by following particular rules:
(British English)
Quote
a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job: Football, basketball, and hockey are all team sports. I enjoy winter sports like skiing and skating.

all types of physical activity that people do to keep healthy or for enjoyment:

Merriam-Webster
Quote
: a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other

: sports in general

: a physical activity (such as hunting, fishing, running, swimming, etc.) that is done for enjoyment
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 27, 2014, 09:26:09 pm

Does no one appreciate swing states with competitive statewide elections or should all be locked into one party or the other?

Clearly not the Florida GOP, considering their use of gerrymandering to lock up their hold on the legislature.

As did the IL Dems, but I don't support the resolution that would split Cook from the rest of IL. Anyway, my comment was about the statewide elections, not control of the legislature. Tongue I recognize that internal demographics can skew a legislative body compared to statewide results, and sometimes even neutral redistricting will not create a legislature that reflects the overall state vote.

I would argue that a redistricting process that spits out a legislature whose composition is unreflective of the overall state vote cannot truly be called "neutral".  

I do agree that this proposal seems to be taking partisan advantage into account when drawing the lines; I don't know that it's much worse than 6 Californias on that front, but 6 Californias was pretty bad so that's not much of a compliment.

I was thinking of the 6 CAs myself, which is also a blatant political move under the guise of better representation. As laudable as a fair legislature is in redistricting, the demographics really can prevent it. If a minority population is uniformly spread in every precinct, they will hold a majority in no district.

Consider MA. It voted 61% in 2012 for Obama or 62% of the two-party vote. Mathematical analysis of districts predicts that the Dems should hold 74% of the seats based on their 2012 results (2% advantage for every 1% above 50%). The legislative boundaries largely follow town lines, yet the legislature is divided 36-4 in the Senate and 128-32 in the House. That is 82% Dem. Likewise all 9 CDs went to Dems, and there is some gerrymandering, but generally the best a Pub map can do is one CD that merely leans Dem, with hope in strong GOP years. That is not consistent with their voting share in the state. The demographic problem for the Pubs is that they are too dispersed in MA to form a majority in a CD, and then in only a fraction of the smaller legislative seats.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: IL-Gov, Chamber of Commerce: Rauner in the lead on: October 27, 2014, 02:04:02 pm
Why has there been only one real poll (CBS News/NYT) of this race in the last two months?

I believe that even that was the YouGov poll for that cycle, and it left off the Lib Grimm, which makes it hard to read much into the undecided vote.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: YouGov fourth wave polls on: October 27, 2014, 02:02:18 pm
I'm skeptical Cutler is only at 7%, as I'd expected Michaud to be up more if so.

If other YouGov polls are anything like the one I took for New York, then they only list the two main candidates and then have an other you can check, where you're prompted to write in what "other" candidate you'll vote for. So the third party vote in these things is depressed considerably because of that.

That is true in IL. YouGov did not include Grimm, so it is hard to read the undecided as a true undecided vote.
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Massachusetts Question 1 on: October 27, 2014, 09:08:19 am
I'd vote yes. I really don't see why inflation is an appropriate measure for the gas tax. This just seems like a way to continually increase taxes without having to vote on it, and it means people have to spend more on gas at the same time as they have to spend more on other goods.

No, inflation adjustment is sensible.
Why? Gas tax revenues only pay for infrastructure and it's not like the CPI reflects how much the government needs to pay to construct roads and bridges.

Most tax revenue increases without voter approval. That happens because the taxes are most often based on a percent of the value of the item taxed. That's true for income, property and sales taxes. Since the value/cost of those items tends to rise with inflation, the tax revenue is automatically indexed.

Motor fuels are usually taxed on the volume of fuel, not the value. So if there were no change in vehicle efficiency, one would expect growth in revenue at about the same level as population growth, which is less than inflation. The cost of road building increases with inflation (primarily energy and labor costs) and where as CPI is not necessarily a good index, most people wouldn't want to tie it to a direct sales tax which would better match the changing cost of road construction.

The bigger problem in the future for transportation infrastructure is the changing efficiency of the vehicles. Taxing gasoline provided a reasonable connection to the miles driven and hence the need for road maintenance, so the tax went to the user. As alternative fuel vehicles become more widespread that connection is severed, and new methods will be needed to establish a tax that is commensurate with the amount of use of the transportation system.
12  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do you believe in TIME TRAVEL? on: October 27, 2014, 08:43:57 am
Forward time travel is covered in topics like the twins paradox, and it takes nothing other than very fast transportation to accomplish. So the simple answer is yes, based on the most basic forms of Einstein's special relativity.

Backwards time travel is more complicated. There are theoretical models that predict time reversal under general relativity. That doesn't mean that a macroscopic object, like a human, can utilize it.
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How did you/will you actually vote this year? on: October 26, 2014, 07:11:28 pm
I voted straight Democratic, with the exception of my local U.S. representative, state senator, and state assembly member. I voted against them as revenge for their offices not hiring me when i applied/interviewed.

Democracy is a dish best served cold.

If any of those offices hired you in IL to forestall your political revenge they would be guilty of a federal offense.

Well in addition to not hiring me, my state assembly member I've met in person multiple times when I did campaign work, and I've had a few conversations with him. He's... not that bright. He's only a 29 year old surfer and he's the son of the previous officeholder. His uncle (a State Senator) got arrested a few months ago.

With all the family connections among officeholders in your district you could be living in IL. Tongue
14  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Is Cheerleading a Sport? on: October 26, 2014, 07:02:25 pm
The noun "sport" has two relatively distinct meanings in English and the answer to the question depends on which definition is used. One definition is that a sport is a contest or game involving physical activity according to a set of rules and compete against others. The other definition is that a sport is a physical activity done for enjoyment (eg hiking). Cheerleading certainly fits the second definition, and depending on whether you consider that the rules are sufficiently clear and that there is real competition it can meet the first definition as well.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How did you/will you actually vote this year? on: October 26, 2014, 06:54:10 pm
I voted straight Democratic, with the exception of my local U.S. representative, state senator, and state assembly member. I voted against them as revenge for their offices not hiring me when i applied/interviewed.

Democracy is a dish best served cold.

If any of those offices hired you in IL to forestall your political revenge they would be guilty of a federal offense.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Soouth Florida to become its own state? on: October 26, 2014, 05:52:15 pm

Does no one appreciate swing states with competitive statewide elections or should all be locked into one party or the other?

Clearly not the Florida GOP, considering their use of gerrymandering to lock up their hold on the legislature.

As did the IL Dems, but I don't support the resolution that would split Cook from the rest of IL. Anyway, my comment was about the statewide elections, not control of the legislature. Tongue I recognize that internal demographics can skew a legislative body compared to statewide results, and sometimes even neutral redistricting will not create a legislature that reflects the overall state vote.
17  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 26, 2014, 05:32:02 pm
The majority of serious accidents at signalized intersections are due to people trying to shoot through an intersection at the end of a yellow. If there is a left-turner in the intersection also waiting for the yellow, a collision can occur. The likelihood of this type of accident is greatest at intersections with significant traffic in both directions with a history of collisions. A ticketing camera and clearly visible notification sign can act to reduce these accidents.

In practice the vast majority of tickets issued are for right turns on red, primarily due to rolling stops and failure to stop at the line. Enforcement with a camera on this activity doesn't reduce the accident total, but makes up most of the revenue collected. It also generates much of the driver frustration, along with complaints about reduced yellows that get more drivers entering the intersection during the red.

IL originally passed the law in 2006 for the Chicagoland and Metro East counties and munis. Attempts to expand the law into other counties were defeated, in large part due to the complaints generated in the initial counties. Lobbying by the benefiting communities kept a full repeal from happening, but complaints about the variations in enforcement led to notable changes to the act a couple of years ago. Requirements for human review were increased, statistical analyses of accidents were required, and the right turn stop requirements were relaxed. There is currently a suit before the IL Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Soouth Florida to become its own state? on: October 26, 2014, 04:42:38 pm
South Florida presidential voting
2012: Obama 54.1%, Romney 44.9%
2008: Obama 54.7%, Romney 44.4%
2004: Kerry 50.3%, Bush 48.9%
2000: Gore 51.8%, Bush 45.9%
1996: Clinton 50.6%, Dole 40.2%
1992: Clinton 40.3%, Bush 39.9%
1988: Bush 59.8%, Dukakis 39.6%
1984: Reagan 64.9%, Mondale 35.1%
1980: Reagan 56.3%, Carter 36.9%
1976: Carter 50.9%, Ford 47.7%
1972: Nixon 70.6%, McGovern 29.1%
1968: Nixon 45.7%, Humphrey 32.7%, Wallace 21.7%
1964: Johnson 53.0%, Goldwater 47.0%

North Florida presidential voting
2012: Romney 57.1%, Obama 41.6%
2008: McCain 55.2%, Obama 43.7%
2004: Bush 58.4%, Kerry 40.7%
2000: Bush 54.9%, Gore 42.6%
1996: Dole 46.7%, Clinton 42.7%
1992: Bush 43.0%, Clinton 36.2%
1988: Bush 63.3%, Dukakis 36.0%
1984: Reagan 66.3%, Mondale 33.7%
1980: Reagan 53.6%, Carter 42.2%
1976: Carter 54.5%, Ford 44.1%
1972: Nixon 75.0%, McGovern 24.7%
1968: Wallace 43.8%, Nixon 29.1%, Humphrey 27.1%
1964: Goldwater 52.8%, Johnson 47.2%

That tends to confirm that the split described in the resolution has little to do with water resources or taxes or common interests and is primarily drafted to maximize the Dem share with the largest possible population without bizarre boundaries. Hence an E-W line that just includes Orange and Hillsborough, but nothing to the north which become more Pub. The resolution should be honest about its real intent.

Does no one appreciate swing states with competitive statewide elections or should all be locked into one party or the other?
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How did you/will you actually vote this year? on: October 26, 2014, 03:20:23 pm
We haven't actually gotten a sample ballot yet in the mail.  I don't think Simcha Felder is up this year, so it'll be straight Dem except for Howie Hawkins for governor.

NY Gov: Howie Hawkins
NY AG: Eric Schneiderman
NY Comptroller: Robert Antonacci

NY-21 Rep: Paul Tonko

Proposal 1 - i.e. "bipartisan" redistricting: No
Proposal 3 - i.e. stop wasting paper: Yes
Proposal 3 - i.e. $2b for politically savvy tech firms: No

NY Senate - WI: abolish the State Senate
NY Assembly - WI: me

Why Antonacci?

Antonacci is running on a surprisingly bold anti-corruption platform, and he's not especially close with the state's Republican establishment. I might reconsider my vote if Antonacci had any chance of winning, because DiNapoli is relatively clean. But given the chance to vote for an honest outsider running a reformist platform, I'll take it.

I could have sworn you had a longer post earlier where you explained why you were writing yourself in for Assembly, using some logic that, well, surprised me.  Am I imagining things?

Did I mention the incumbent's support for traffic light cameras in Albany?

Yes, that was it.  Traffic light cameras are fantastic and I was surprised that you considered them to be mutually exclusive with other streets cape improvements.

I did until a few months ago, actually, but the debate that took place here changed my mind. The public safety benefits just aren't clear. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say on the subject, but the evidence that opponents of the proposal brought forward impressed me a lot more than the case that its supporters made.

This would probably be a good subject for a Political Debate thread. I've had about 8 years experience with the pros and cons.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread (US Domestic) on: October 26, 2014, 07:11:16 am

Quinn just signed a similar order for IL.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 25, 2014, 07:06:07 am
With a little searching I found that this was an issue in May, 2008 as well. The city of North Lauderdale had a resolution advocating a state of South FL with an accompanying press release. South FL legislators in session in Tallahassee referenced that resolution at the same time. A page on causes.com was set up for the purpose. However, unlike the current discussion, the North Lauderdale resolution only included the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, Dade, and Monroe.

Here are my questions for the Floridian posters. Has there ever been an effort to separate Central FL (esp. Tampa and Orlando) with South FL before this? Is there any clamor in CF for separation like there has been in SF?
22  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Arbitrary Easter. on: October 24, 2014, 09:35:39 pm
There's more than the two most common options.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_controversy

I'm partial to Quartodecimanism myself, but the Sunday after the first astronomical new moon of Spring makes sense if one insists Easter be a Sunday.

Since Christmas was initially associated with the winter solstice (an astronomical solar event), and can appear on any day of the week, I can see some rationale in setting Easter to an astronomical lunar event and letting the day of the week float as well.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 24, 2014, 08:27:03 pm
The whereas clauses in the South Miami resolution consider tax implications and water management as the main drivers for their support of a split. The tax implication seem like a wash since 67% of the population and 69% of the sales and documentary tax is from the advocated South Florida. The water issues include reference to the South Florida Water Management District, a number of national parks and preserves, Lake Okeechobee, and the relative elevation of the north and south parts of FL.

Here's a map of the FL Water Management districts.


If you look at it none of the Tampa Bay counties are in the SFWMD, yet the major portion of the Tampa metro is in the SF resolution. Similarly the Space Coast counties of Brevard and Indian River aren't in the SFWMD either. Other than the upper reaches of the Kissimmee river there's not much of Polk and Orange is evenly split in the SFWMD. Furthermore, all of the specific natural features are in the SFWMD, so I can find no rationale in the resolution for the inclusion of counties largely outside the SFWMD in South Florida.

States don't usually get built solely on water, and that includes less than perfect control of the water resources going into and out of a state. That puts Orange and, if one considers economic connections, Osceola out as well. Highlands is a borderline call since it looks like most of the population is outside the SFWMD. Charlotte has only some small amount of swamp in the east, and is otherwise economically tied to Sarasota to the north.

Given all that, I can only find justification in the resolution for a much reduced version of South Florida. That would include only 11 counties including Lee, Glades, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and those to the south. That amounts to only 38% of the current population of FL, compared to 67% in the resolution.

nb, if a mod wants to move this thread to Political Geography, I have no objections.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: FiveThirtyEight releases more detailed state-by-state model on: October 23, 2014, 10:56:26 pm
After falling for quite a while, Democrats had a mini rebound today. Up to 36% on 538 and 37% on the Upshot.

Given the number and variability of the inputs, any changes of less than 10% are probably within the margin of error.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Politico: If Dems lose, blame Harkin, Johnson, Baucus, Levin, and Rockefeller on: October 23, 2014, 10:53:57 pm
To me the argument makes no sense in a representative democracy. Essentially it says that a politicians job is primarily to protect their party's majority. That's the same argument that leads to gerrymandered districts. How about considering that a politician should serve the public interest and if they feel that age, health, family or any other factor leads them to believe that the public is better served with a new representative then retirement is an appropriate decision.
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