Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for February 2013

Turning Texas blue

There’s an op-ed in the NY Times about efforts to turn Texas into a blue state.

The problem for Democrats is that Hispanics in Texas don’t vote as strongly Democratic as they do in other states, and they have low voter turnout.

However, one difference between Republicans and Democrats is that while Republicans are ashamed to be the party of whites, Democrats are happy with being a party of non-whites, and understand that they can win more elections by reaching out to the demographics that support their party, get them to be even more strongly Democratic, and increase their voter turnout. If Republicans followed this strategy with whites, they might win states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The article contains some bad advice for Republicans:

That also assumes that Republicans continue on their present, self-destructive course. If they moderate their anti-immigrant message, they might cut into the gains that optimistic Democrats are taking for granted.

Knowing that immigrants vote Democratic, why would Republicans want more of them, and more of them to become voting citizens?

There’s also this:

Why [is Hisapnic voter turnout low]? There are a variety of explanations, including cultural ones. It’s pretty easy to feel disenfranchised by a political system that talks about you as an “immigrant” or, worse, an “alien.”

Perhaps an immigration reform bill will cause Hispanics to feel less “disenfranchised” and increase their voter participation. And of course, when they do go to vote, they will vote for Democrats. Democrats know that. Republicans’ best electoral strategy is to fight immigration tooth and nail. If it’s what Democrats support then it’s obviously in Democrats’ electoral interests because Democrats always support their own interests.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 20, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy states

I spent a lot of time looking at the map at the Atlantic article on the geography of happiness, which was based on tweets.

My problem with the methodology is that profane language was assigned to indicate unhappiness. And because profanity is used by the lower classes a lot more than the upper classes, this map is, to a large extent, telling us where low-class people live.

Cold weather is apparently unrelated to happiness. Maine is the happiest of the 48 contiguous states, and it’s not a warm place. Also, North Dakota is happier than South Dakota, and Wisconsin is happier than Iowa, and Washington is happier than Oregon, to name pairs of adjacent states occupying the same latitude but different longitudes, and where the more northerly state is happier.

I am surprised that Connecticut is less happy than New York.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 19, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Posted in Psychology

HBO Girls, Season 2, Episode 6, Boys

The idea of Ray and Adam hanging out together and going to Staten Island was hilarious. And the low-class Staten Island girl who tells Ray off perfectly captures how people from the better parts of the city think Staten Islanders are like (and they aren’t too far off the mark).

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Republicans very stupid on immigration

According to the Wall Street Journal, Senate Republicans are “upset” about the White House immigration plan which is “threatening to complicate the delicate legislative process now under way.”

Republicans have been living in this fantasy that they could pass some immigration/amnesty bill and become heroes to Hispanics. Did they really think they could become more liberal than Democrats on this issue? It was so obvious that Democrats would just push for even easier immigration that Republicans couldn’t stomach, once again making Republicans look like the bad guys. It was always obvious that the end result would be more Hispanic citizens, and those citizens would know it was the Democrats who were really on their side and not the Republicans.

This also demonstrates how Democrats are always angling for more votes in the next election, and Republicans always fall into their traps.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Posted in Immigration, Politics

Andrew Cuomo champions abortion

Governor Cuomo is introducing legislation to make it easier for women to get late-term abortions in NY State.

I think this is a great idea. These women who are having abortions are unmarried, and without abortion they would become single mothers on welfare.

Republicans who support states’ rights are hypocrites if they oppose these laws. They say abortion should be left to the states. So they should be happy that some states believe in liberal access to abortion.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Posted in Politics

In Brooklyn!

This is a previously unpublished photo from my summer visit to the Prospect Park South/Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn. I am showcasing this not because it’s such a great photo, but because this part of Brooklyn is so fascinating. Who would have known that a large Victorian house like this could be found in Brooklyn?

Twenty to thirty years ago, these houses were dirt cheap. The people who lived in the area fled because as nice as it looks, it was the ghetto. Houses here were routinely broken into and robbed. The owners were afraid to sleep in their own houses.

The safety of the area has improved since then. Houses now sell for more than a million dollars each, but that’s still a bargain because a house like this in Park Slope would sell for three times as much. That is, if any houses like this were even available for sale in Park Slope.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Prospect Park, Summer 2012

A photo from my archives. As you may know, Prospect Park is my favorite New York City park.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 16, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Posted in Photography

Chinese to unlock the genetic secrets of IQ

There’s an essay in today’s Wall Street Journal:

“People have chosen to ignore the genetics of intelligence for a long time,” said Mr. Zhao, who hopes to publish his team’s initial findings this summer. “People believe it’s a controversial topic, especially in the West. That’s not the case in China,” where IQ studies are regarded more as a scientific challenge and therefore are easier to fund.

The roots of intelligence are a mystery. Studies show that at least half of the variation in intelligence quotient, or IQ, is inherited. But while scientists have identified some genes that can significantly lower IQ—in people afflicted with mental retardation, for example—truly important genes that affect normal IQ variation have yet to be pinned down.

The Hong Kong researchers hope to crack the problem by comparing the genomes of super-high-IQ individuals with the genomes of people drawn from the general population. By studying the variation in the two groups, they hope to isolate some of the hereditary factors behind IQ.

Their conclusions could lay the groundwork for a genetic test to predict a person’s inherited cognitive ability.

. . .

“The genetic basis of intelligence has been ignored for a very long time,” says Mr. Zhao. “Our data will be ready in three months’ time.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 16, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Posted in Biology

The mythical better Republican candidate

Whenever I write about Republicans, there are a bunch of commenters who insist that the Republicans in contention suck and that out there, somewhere, there is this Republican super-candidate who will appear and save the day.

Well let me explain reality to you guys. This isn’t going to happen. In every single Republican presidential primary cycle, the guy who wins was someone who was nationally known during the previous cycle. The Republican primary cycle also falls into a predictable pattern in which a few far-right Christian types manage to get a little bit of publicity, but they are never able to win against the candidates who are perceived as more moderate and more mainstream. Also, it seems that every four years, the far-right Christian types get nuttier and stupider.

So given that the next Republican presidential nominee has to be somebody we already know, that leaves us with people like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and yes, Chris Christie. Of this group, Christie is the most likely to win. This is not an endorsement of Christie, just a prediction. Although if you think that Cory Booker is preferable as the next president instead of Christie, I’m willing to read your explanation as to why you think so. Please leave a comment.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 16, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Posted in Politics

Lion predicts neither Hillary Clinton nor Biden to be nominee in 2016

They both look too old. And I get the impression that Hillary Clinton’s health problems are worse than she’s letting on.

This leaves the Democratic field pretty wide open. Maybe Andrew Cuomo? Kirsten Gillibrand? People will say I’m being too New York biased. I’ll have to do more research.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 15, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Posted in Politics

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