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1  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Is Social Democracy dead? on: Today at 09:33:06 am
Wow, I'm really surprised my comments didn't spark myriad of condescending / outraged / annoyed replies...

So far this thread has been a discussion among people who are either green, democratic socialists, social democrats or - in my case -  Christian Democrat with leftist tendencies on socio-economic and environmental issues. I think that's rather pleasant, its not a topic where comments from people who are totally alien to the Social Democratic tradition and/or its history will add anything of value.

There is no need to actively try to entice right wingers to come and say you are a naive dreamer etc. That will just clutter up the thread.   


Well for better or worse your long post wasn't tl;dr for me. And it raises some questions on which I'd be curious to get the European view.


Social Democrats should have implemented economic democracy when they had the chance in several countries in the post-war era, but chickened out of this.

What caused the SDs to back away from this direction? Was it satisfaction with the status quo? Did the reliance on nationalized industries prevent movement towards worker ownership?

Quote
One option is for reformist Socialists to readdress the problem of ownership since workers owning their company is the best way to secure that production isn't moved out of the country. Workers cooperatives owning a large share of the economy would also reduce the wage level thereby making the economy more competitive and state owned investment banks would allow more resources to be put into job creation rather than speculation. But we all know the problems resulting from limiting the free market. Any experiment with ownership, such as government loans for worker coops, nationalization or dropping inheritance and capital taxes for owners who sell to their employees, will be met with widespread resistance.

There are some particularly intriguing thoughts here. I would think that creating incentives for business to have cooperative ownership might create some new and unusual coalitions. Wouldn't reductions in regulation or targeted tax incentives move some small and mid-sized businesses to support that type of platform? Would it pull in a mix of workers and native business much like one sees in traditional policy debates on tariffs on foreign goods?

Quote
Social Democratic policies also require growth and in a world where limited resources will increasingly make it harder to grow the economy this will be a challenge.  Converting to a steady state economy with shorter work days, but more family and community responsibility for the welfare sector with volunteer work replacing public employees, is one way to go. But there will be major transitional problems and any break with the current consumer culture will be unpopular.

The push towards more family and community responsibility for welfare has generally been a conservative position in the US. If the SDs moved in that direction would that gain them votes in Europe?
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: IL: WAA: Quinn (only) down 3 on: Today at 08:04:32 am
Frustrated Illinoisans Chicagoans throw their support behind a Republican to throw out the incumbent and then realize that they just threw their support behind a Republican, so they voted independent instead.

Have we seen this before?

If you take the polling and turnout estimates from 2010 and compare them to the returns, second thoughts about electing a Pub were primarily confined to Chicagoland. Downstate did not shift much at all, and the movement in Cook and the collar counties was towards Cohen - not to Quinn.

Consider the parallel races for US Sen and Gov in Cook:
US Senator
Giannoulias 899K, 64.3%
Kirk 442K, 31.6%
Jones (Green), 35K, 2.5%
Labno (Lib), 22K, 1.5%

Governor
Quinn, 901K, 64.4%
Brady, 400K, 28.6%
Whitney (Green), 35K, 2.5%
Green (Lib), 11K, 0.8%
Cohen (Ind), 52K, 3.8%

It's pretty clear that there is almost no difference between Quinn and Giannoulias in Cook. The Green Party candidates votes were also almost identical in the two races. However, when Cohen appears in the Gov race, his vote is consistent with voters moving mostly from Brady and a little from the Libertarian. Except for Kirk's home county of Lake, the collars were similar with Quinn generally gaining less than a percent compared to Giannoulias, but Brady losing 3% to Cohen.

In the 2010 Senate race, 4% of the voters cast ballots for third party candidates. As I noted before, what Quinn needs is to do is move more voters into that category from Rauner and then turn out his base in Cook to keep the 500K vote difference he will need to offset the rest of the state. The 2010 data shows that it was easier for voters to move to a candidate that spent 3M$ on positive advertising than to an unknown Libertarian.
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Would you consider naming a child after a political/historical figure? on: September 22, 2014, 11:11:01 pm
Both of my children have names that are the same as English monarchs, and are in the current royal family. Then again, they both have relatively common names that also appear in our own ancestry.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do You Live in an Urban, Suburban, Exurban, or Rural Area? on: September 22, 2014, 11:07:05 pm
Small towns also have the urban and suburban divisions. Common features in a small town downtown area include a town square, a county courthouse or municipal offices, a post office, an (often unused) old single screen movie theater, the remains of an old shopping district that has long since been replaced by a suburban WalMart. And then on the fringes of the town, you have single family homes, often with large yards, and, in many cases, trailer parks.

There's no question that a small town can areas of high-enough density to meet a technical urban definition. However, I doubt many people who live in the center of a small town like the one you describe would describe their neighborhood as urban. I know realtors would not use that term when marketing a house. The best description would be a small town in a rural area, but without that choice most residents would pick rural.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do You Live in an Urban, Suburban, Exurban, or Rural Area? on: September 22, 2014, 10:40:19 pm
Are small towns "rural" or "suburban"?

Rural, I would think -- though personally I'd argue that they should be a category of their own.

The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas:

Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people
Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people.

“Rural” encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.

So urban clusters (=small towns) are not rural, since they are a form of urban areas.

In Europe small towns are urban, I would think that was also the case in the US. It makes little sense to call them suburban.


In the US urban has the sense of being a part of a larger metropolitan area. The Census definition of UC recognizes that there are pockets in rural areas that otherwise meet the technical definitions of urban. As I noted in my post earlier in the thread UC's that are close enough to provide significant commuters to a larger urban center could be exurbs if there's a lot of growth happening around them, but otherwise fit as rural in the urban/suburban/rural divide.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: IL: WAA: Quinn (only) down 3 on: September 22, 2014, 09:54:10 pm
Quinn's problem remains that 41% figure for support. Except for the Trib poll, he hasn't been above 43%, even in Dem polls. That means he needs a strong break of the undecided towards him in the last 6 six weeks, probably at least a two to one break, to overcome the deficit.

His other problem is the 6% showing for the Libertarian Grimm. Grimm isn't advertising, so there's a good chance that much of the support is a protest vote. Historically the third party candidates overpoll compared to their results in the election. Since Grimm isn't advertising, it's hard to see him holding that full 6%. Also third party polling is usually anti-incumbent, and that was true in the Gov's race four years ago, so if that vote slips off of Grimm, it would tend to add to Rauner more than Quinn.

Third parties got 8% in 2010, so I don't see why they couldn't get 6% in 2014. As for Quinn not being able to crack 41%, that was pretty much the same logic people used to write him off in 2010. In fact, in the final pre-election average in November he was only at 39%. And since there's still over a month left, there's plenty of time for the support of both candidates to increase.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/governor/il/illinois_governor_brady_vs_quinn-1361.html

Cohen spent a few million of his personal wealth on advertising his independent run for Gov in 2010, and that gave a number of voters a choice they had heard of when the negatives went up on Brady. That isn't happening this year for Grimm. It's possible that the negative ads by Quinn against Rauner drive voters to an unknown 3rd party candidate, but if that doesn't happen Quinn has a tougher hill to climb than last time out.
7  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Were there any big cities in the South pre-1860? on: September 22, 2014, 04:49:57 pm
I'm surprised that Kaskaskia, IL didn't show up on the list. It's the oldest city in the state and the site of the territorial government and the first state capital. It was a significant river town in the 1700's and at the time of statehood they claimed a population of about 7K.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: IL: WAA: Quinn (only) down 3 on: September 22, 2014, 12:43:16 pm
Quinn's problem remains that 41% figure for support. Except for the Trib poll, he hasn't been above 43%, even in Dem polls. That means he needs a strong break of the undecided towards him in the last 6 six weeks, probably at least a two to one break, to overcome the deficit.

His other problem is the 6% showing for the Libertarian Grimm. Grimm isn't advertising, so there's a good chance that much of the support is a protest vote. Historically the third party candidates overpoll compared to their results in the election. Since Grimm isn't advertising, it's hard to see him holding that full 6%. Also third party polling is usually anti-incumbent, and that was true in the Gov's race four years ago, so if that vote slips off of Grimm, it would tend to add to Rauner more than Quinn.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do You Live in an Urban, Suburban, Exurban, or Rural Area? on: September 21, 2014, 08:34:03 pm
Suburban although my city existed way before the suburbs but has been overtaken by them. If you go west of where I live you enter the country but with some exurban subdivisions.

That's the situation for my city as well. Since I live in the old center I get a walkscore of 75 - very walkable, most errands can be accomplished on foot. That seems accurate since I'm within a half mile of the train station, library, banks, restaurants, grocers, Ace Hardware, and Walgreens. Even so, it's definitely a suburban area.
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do You Live in an Urban, Suburban, Exurban, or Rural Area? on: September 21, 2014, 04:55:40 pm
There are lots of definitions of urban, etc. which make it hard to sort communities into categories. I would start with the Census definition of an urbanized area (total population > 50 K) which has a core population density of at least 1000 persons per sq mi (ppsm) in a 3 sq mi area and contiguous tracts and blocks of at least 500 ppsm. Within that area I would count communities with densities in excess of 4-5K as urban and those under that number as suburban. In large municipalities one can have both urban and suburban areas, particularly when an older city became engulfed by suburbs. Outside of that are small to mid-sized towns (often represented by urban clusters in the Census) and rural areas.

Exurbs are areas that overlap between suburban and rural. I think that the Brookings Institution had a reasonably good definition in their 2006 report.

Quote
It defines exurbs as communities located on the urban fringe that have at least 20 percent of their workers commuting to jobs in an urbanized area, exhibit low housing density, and have relatively high population growth.

The operative phrases for me are "urban fringe" and "population growth".  By this definition suburbs on the edge can be exurbs, but are prone to lose that designation after a couple of decades once development moves further out. It's why we see posts debating whether 1980's housing still qualifies. This definition also picks up urban clusters just outside the urbanized area that have developed into growing commuter towns, but differentiates it from a rural community that historically provided some commuting workforce but is relatively stable in population.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: would you make a capable engineer? on: September 21, 2014, 06:40:29 am
I teach more engineering students than any other type and both my children are pursuing engineering degrees. I have worked closely with engineers on many aspects of experimental research. Many times my own work on experiments has bordered closely on electrical, computer and software engineering. I suspect that I could have succeeded with a career in engineering, had my interests gone that way.

Like angus, I'm curious to see what motivated Walter to post this question.
12  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: How Would Your State Vote on Secession? on: September 20, 2014, 10:42:27 pm

If the state were to vote on the separation of Chicagoland, it would be a fascinating map. In this proposal, the counties of Lake, Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, and Will would become their own state. This is much more feasible than simply Cook becoming its own state. In this vote, you would have strong support in the southern part of the state and moderate support in Cook County. Strong opposition would come in the collar counties and liberal counties downstate and out west.



It would be quite interesting if the entire state of Illinois was allowed to vote on whether or not to essentially give Chicagoland the boot - haha!

If only the Chicagoland counties were allowed to vote on such a proposal, do you think the numbers in Cook County would be enough to overcome the high margins in the well-to-do suburbs?

In 2012 Cook cast 2.01M votes while the other Chicagoland counties on the map cast 1.37M votes. So if Cook was 60% yes, the rest of the counties would have to vote 65% no to defeat it. If Cook was 65%, it would take 72% no from the rest.

FTR Kankakee is as much a part of Chicagoland as DeKalb. Grundy is usually in the same category as DeKalb and Kankakee, too. All three are part of the exurban "ring around the collar".
13  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Kris Kobach on: September 20, 2014, 03:49:38 pm
HP, obviously. The problem is that so many states have a partisan elected official in charge of elections. That should be ended in every state ASAP. Elections should NOT be subject to partisan politics in any way.

IL took that function away from the SoS in the 1970 constitution.

Quote
ARTICLE III SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS
SECTION  5. BOARD OF ELECTIONS
    A State Board of Elections shall have general supervision
over the administration of the registration and election laws
throughout the State. The General Assembly by law shall
determine the size, manner of selection and compensation of
the Board. No political party shall have a majority of
members of the Board.

The current State BoE has 4 Dems and 4 Pubs. IL state law also provides a mechanism for counties and cities to establish boards of election to replace that function of the elected clerk.
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Your actual party affiliations on: September 19, 2014, 01:41:38 pm
Democrat, till about 1999
Unaffiliated, 1999 till about 2003
Republican, 2003 - 2004
Unaffiliated 2004 - 2008
Republican, a few months in 2008
Unaffiliated 2008 - 2012
Republican, a few months in 2012
Unaffiliated, 2012 - 2014
Democrat, April 2014 to present (I haven't gotten around to changing it back to unaffiliated with the county registrar, but when I do I'll be Unafilliated till an interesting primary comes along)

I'd be interested in the reasoning behind all these...

It looks like someone who wants to have an impact at the primary. For states that have partisan registration, one must be registered with the party in advance of the primary. Most people won't bother to change it until the next primary comes along and they want to vote in a party primary other than the one they most recently did. Parties use those registration lists to reach out to possible supporters, so unregistering can cut down on that type of call.

IL has open party registration which means that a voter can declare their party intent when they walk up to the primary voting place. The upside is that the voter need not declare an affilation until the day of the vote. The downside is that there is no process to unregister, so for the next two years the party will contact the voter from the primary voting lists. If someone doesn't vote in a primary then IL maintains the last known affiliation on the marked partisan voter lists.
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Your actual party affiliations on: September 19, 2014, 01:14:54 pm
Democratic | 2010-

Haven't registered to vote in Illinois yet, but will be unaffiliated when I do get around to it.

You don't have a choice. Smiley Party registration is not involved in the registration process here.

That said, make sure you register before early October when the deadlines are. And also make sure to at least vote for a couple Democrats such as Mike Frerichs for Treasurer, even if you don't like Quinn.

I can't vote for any Democrats in good conscience, given that I don't have much of anything  in common with them from an ideological standpoint.

The foundations are the same, but whatever. You might as well not vote, as the deadline for getting on the ballot was the other day and I am pretty sure the only one's who got on were the Dems, Pubs, and Libertarians.

What do you mean? The Democratic Party is a liberal party and I am not a liberal, so it doesn't really make much sense for me to vote for them in any context. There's not a single Democrat I can think of that I would support for any office at this point.

Assuming I get registered to vote in time, I plan on making extensive use of write-ins, and, barring that, just submitting a spoilt ballot.

Nonpartisan voter registration is available in IL through Oct 7, both in person at various government offices and online. From Oct 8 through election day Nov 4 you can register and vote through the grace period process at certain election offices in your county and at your polling place on election day. Depending on your county and whether you vote early you may not have a paper ballot to work with, though there is a process for write-ins on electronic ballots.
16  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: How Would Your State Vote on Secession? on: September 19, 2014, 06:39:41 am
On the question of secession from he US, IL would be firmly no. However if the question was separation from Cook, the vote would be quite different in many counties.
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish independence referendum results thread (Sept 18, 2014) on: September 18, 2014, 10:03:45 pm
Dundee may be YES, but it is the first council to have under 80% turnout. That can't be good for the YES.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish independence referendum results thread (Sept 18, 2014) on: September 18, 2014, 07:46:57 pm
54-46 for no in Clackmannanshire.
No seems to be on track for a big win.

Not a big one. Clackmannanshire was a likely toss-up, so if that result is anything to go by it could be 54-46.

Really? The first page had this has the highest Yes rating on the time release chart. That could be inaccurate, but if you are knowledgeable I'll trust you. It seemed lean Yes at minimum to me.

538 gave Clackmannanshire a lean of SNP+3. That's not big, but added to the result it would forecast a NO at 57% if this vote tracked the 2011 results.

Edit - I see Eric beat me to it while I was typing.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish independence referendum results thread (Sept 18, 2014) on: September 18, 2014, 07:05:12 pm


You forgot Maine from Massachusetts in 1820...


Indeed, I did.  As for those others, I can't say I forgot.  Even more embarrassing, I must admit that I didn't even know about them.

Okay, so it maybe happens much more often that I expected.  How was my estimate that there probably aren't more than a dozen countries in the world born of a modern peaceful secession, O wise one?

By the way, neat the Monkey Shoulder isn't bad either.  The meatier flavors and nutmeg come out a bit more, and the finish is just as smooth.  That said, I had to break from it and opt for Malbec for the time being.  I can't keep going on Scotch from now till midnight.  And that's assuming that this is decided by then.  As close as it is in the pre-election polls, it may go like the US presidential election of 2000, and not be decided till six weeks from now.  Actually, that'd be boss.  Give us lots to talk about anyway.  


I'm at my laptop for the evening now as I finish writing a test. My drink will be Dalwhinnie 15 years old. I don't have much left so I'll rely on some Sam Adams Octoberfest as well.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you wish Pat Quinn were your state's governor? on: September 16, 2014, 11:08:04 pm
Perhaps I am spoiled (looking at all the Pub-staters wanting Quinn), but I wish we had a more progressive Governor. This is Illinois, we shouldn't have a Governor that is moderate on pensions.

That said, I'm obviously voting for him.

We're talking about the pensions the state can't afford still, right?

Actually the state can afford the pensions with only minor adjustments to stabilize the system. IL passed a sweeping law in 2010 for new employees hired after 1/1/11. Each year about 5% of the workforce covered by state pensions is replaced by new employees with such reduced benefits they may actually drop below the federal minimum in the coming years. As such the part of the payment into the system for currently acquired liabilities has been dropping the last few years.

What is crippling the budget is repaying the pension systems for the extensive borrowing from their funds to pay for programs. That accounts for over 3/4 of the pension payment and though it has been an ongoing problem for decades the current debt load can largely be traced to borrowing during the period from 2003 to 2011. Even this aspect can be dealt with through modest restructuring of the payment schedule.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: NH-Magellan Strategies (R): IT'S HAPPENING??? on: September 15, 2014, 10:32:17 pm
The problem in the linked article is an inconsistent use of decimals. They cite the difference between the candidates with one decimal point, but the margin of error with no decimal points. That's just poor reporting. The source at Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire gives a more consistent picture.

Headline: CSNH's Latest Poll: Scott Brown leads Senator Jeanne Shaheen by almost 2 points: 45.9% to 44.3%
Quote
The automated survey of 2,214 likely voters has a margin of error of +/- 2.0%.

Here they are consistent. This is a large sample and the standard error of the sample is 1.063% and since the sample size (2,214) has four significant figures it is appropriate to keep the same number of figures for the standard error to avoid errors from rounding too early. If they used the standard error based on Brown's percentage the standard error of the sample becomes 1.059%. Either way the 95% margin of error is 1.96 times the standard error or 2.08%. This should be rounded to 2.1% to match the precision of the quoted percentages for the candidates (I'm not sure where they get 2.0%). It is not necessary to round the figures off to the nearest percent, the calculations are perfectly meaningful with one decimal point. Many top scientific papers will quote two significant figures of error.

In this case the extra decimal actually helps to understand the spread. If everything was rounded to the nearest percent the top line would read Brown 46% to Shaheen 44% with a 2% MoE. That makes it look like Brown is ahead at the limits of the MoE or about two times the standard error. Using the given decimal points shows Brown up by 1.6% with a 2.1% MoE. The MoE on the difference is actually somewhat larger that the MoE on the sample, but that doesn't change the conclusion that the difference is well inside the MoE and its 95% confidence level. That makes it look much more like the statistical tie that it is.

Bottom line: Decimals in polls are not necessarily a sign of bad polling or bad statistics.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What type of climate do you live in? on: September 15, 2014, 08:42:36 pm
Humid continental Dfa for me. With 45 votes cast it's interesting that we have 3 E's but no B's yet. I expect we just need some votes from the US west.
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Were there any big cities in the South pre-1860? on: September 15, 2014, 12:05:49 am
The article on Louisville lists its 1850 population as 43,194. That would make it the second largest city in the South, if it counts as a Southern city (I'd consider it just as Midwestern as Cincinnati, both now and then.)

Louisville was a strong pro-union city and helped keep KY out of the Confederacy. If Louisville counts as a southern city because of its slave status, then St Louis is a better example of a Midwestern river city in a slave state. In 1860 its population was 160,773 much bigger than Louisville at 68,032 and almost the equal of New Orleans.

If you want evidence that Louisville was a strong pro-Union city, you need to provide better evidence than a New York Times article from January 1861.  Northern overestimates of the strength of Unionist sentiment throughout the South was a contributing cause to the eventual civil war.  It led the North to think that the threats of Southern secession were mere gasconade and even after secession occurred to think the policy was unpopular among the non-slaveowning class of the South and thus would quickly collapse with but a little effort on the part of the North.  While it was essentially impossible that war could have been avoided by January 1861, a sober realization of the strength of Southern sentiment might have gotten the North prepared for the major war to come sooner and thus led to its end sooner.

While I agree that the North underestimated Southern sentiment, I'll stand by my statement about Louisville largely backing the Union. Louisville voted in favor of Bell and the position of Union+Slavery in 1860. After secession river merchants were the most likely group to back the Confederates, but the blue collar meat packers and local professionals leaned Union and were the larger group. The Speed brothers in Jefferson county were arguably Lincoln's strongest allies in KY and actively organized in Louisville for Lincoln at the run up to the war.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Were there any big cities in the South pre-1860? on: September 14, 2014, 11:52:48 pm
The article on Louisville lists its 1850 population as 43,194. That would make it the second largest city in the South, if it counts as a Southern city (I'd consider it just as Midwestern as Cincinnati, both now and then.)

Louisville was a strong pro-union city and helped keep KY out of the Confederacy. If Louisville counts as a southern city because of its slave status, then St Louis is a better example of a Midwestern river city in a slave state. In 1860 its population was 160,773 much bigger than Louisville at 68,032 and almost the equal of New Orleans.

If you want evidence that Louisville was a strong pro-Union city, you need to provide better evidence than a New York Times article from January 1861.  Northern overestimates of the strength of Unionist sentiment throughout the South was a contributing cause to the eventual civil war.  It led the North to think that the threats of Southern secession were mere gasconade and even after secession occurred to think the policy was unpopular among the non-slaveowning class of the South and thus would quickly collapse with but a little effort on the part of the North.  While it was essentially impossible that war could have been avoided by January 1861, a sober realization of the strength of Southern sentiment might have gotten the North prepared for the major war to come sooner and thus led to its end sooner.

While I agree that the North underestimated Southern sentiment, I'll stand by my statement about Louisville largely backing the Union. Louisville voted in favor of Bell and the Union+Slavery in 1860. After secession river merchants were the most likely group to back the Confederates, but the blue collar meat packers and local professionals leaned Union and were the larger group. The Speed brothers in Jefferson county were arguably Lincoln's strongest allies in KY and actively organized in Louisville for Lincoln at the run up to the war.
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Were there any big cities in the South pre-1860? on: September 14, 2014, 05:35:34 pm
The article on Louisville lists its 1850 population as 43,194. That would make it the second largest city in the South, if it counts as a Southern city (I'd consider it just as Midwestern as Cincinnati, both now and then.)

Louisville was a strong pro-union city and helped keep KY out of the Confederacy. If Louisville counts as a southern city because of its slave status, then St Louis is a better example of a Midwestern river city in a slave state. In 1860 its population was 160,773 much bigger than Louisville at 68,032 and almost the equal of New Orleans.
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