Morning Ed: United States {2017.03.16.Th}

This contains comparatively few surprises, except the scarcity of green in the South (Texas especially).

If it didn’t have the word “WICHITA” on it, this would be better than all but a few state flags.

Wesley J Smith explains leaving California.

How California got and stays rich: It brings wealthy people in, and ships the rest to Texas (and other states). Jay Cobb comments.

Patrick McKenna writes up some of the history of Irish-Americans transitions from being black to being white, and slaves’ and post-slaves’ troubles with them.

Travel industry folks are warning: Trumpism is bad for tourism.

Meet Center, North Dakota. Which, coincidentally, is the center of North America.

Meet Lily, South Dakota. Images of a near ghost town (population 4).


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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44 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2017.03.16.Th}

    • He presents Pete Wilson as an example of moderation, and makes no connection with the implosion of the California Republican party. He also thinks that gathering climate data is proof of obsession.

      I love the characterization of Sam Yorty as “somewhat anti–civil rights movement.” Here is an account from Wikipedia of his 1969 campaign against Tom Bradley:

      “Yorty painted his opponent as a dangerous radical, alternately of the black power or communist revolutionary varieties. The charges were not plausible since Bradley had spent much of his career in the Los Angeles Police Department, but they resonated among fearful voters, and Yorty was re-elected.”

      This, mind you, is the version that gets through Wikipedia’s “neutral point of view” filter.

      Smith also manages the neat trick of discussing racial politics in California without mentioning Rodney King. My guess is this is because his rhetorical position is one of California as post-racial utopia, just like the rest of the country today.

      In short: what a wanker!

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      • Pete Wilson is pretty much the guy who destroyed the Republican Party in California, and he did it by immigrant bashing. Well, it got him to be governor, so what does he care? It’s a classic principal-agent problem. Which we are seeing replay itself at the national level.

        That’s been my prediction for quite some time.

        His complaint about the current situation is “people from San Francisco run everything”. Is there a hint of homophobia in there. Is there any critique there other than the classic North vs. South rivalry? It’s all ad hominem.

        There are two points with any policy substance, the Bay Bridge rebuild and the drought. It turns out the water rights in California are really complicated, but environmental concerns didn’t drive decisions about who got water. (And if we had done what the environmentalists wanted, the Oroville dam would not have had a crisis.)

        I don’t know anything about the Bay Bridge rebuild. I believe that some groups held up plans for the sake of bike lanes. That’s politics. He doesn’t think it’s practical, but all the people riding bikes over it now do.

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        • Pete Wilson’s impact on the CA GOP is probably overrated; it was already declining in the 80s and has continued to embrace irrelevancy well after Wilson. He’s a good example of some of their problems, but not much of their current state can be convincingly attributed to his influence.

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          • This depends on whether you think the party’s nativism was already inevitable at that point.

            Up to that point, the argument goes, a Hispanic voter could plausibly look at the party’s platform on, for example, social or fiscal issues and conclude that it was a better fit than the Democrats. Pete Wilson making Prop 187 a central element of his campaign drove Hispanic voters to the Democrats and established nativism as central to the California GOP’s identity. Alienating the fastest growing segment of the electorate turns out to be poor strategy–who knew?–and the rest is history.

            Or so goes the story. It does form a suspiciously pat narrative. My guess is that the nativism was already baked in at that point, but Prop 187 drove the point home such that no one paying the least attention didn’t understand what was going on.

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    • “Last week, I moved from California to the Washington, D.C. area after my wife accepted a journalism job there.”

      A true hero for the people, this guy is :rolleyes:

      “By the time the replacement opened in 2013, it was many billions over the initial budget.”

      This had nothing to do with progressive politics, little to do with aesthetic concerns, and quite a lot to do with shocking mismanagement by a bunch of people who figured that having the contractors say “we are ISO certified” meant that they’d deliver quality products.

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      • I don’t know much at all about this particular project, but I know that most infrastructure projects in the US cost a lot more than equivalent ones in Europe. I also know that it’s hard to put a finger on why that is, since most of the obvious hypotheses have apparent rebuttals from the data.

        We keep doing this, though. I wish we could figure out how to do it better.

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        • “most infrastructure projects in the US cost a lot more than equivalent ones in Europe.”

          I recall a recent article which pointed mostly to failures in management. The cost of design decisions is poorly understood in the analysis (when not simply ignored due to inconveniently large numbers); oversight of suppliers is insufficiently rigorous; when errors or difficulties occur, emphasis is placed on the wrong aspects of the solution process.

          It’s not so much that Americans don’t know how to build infrastructure, as it is that they don’t know how to build much of anything at all; everyone who knew how to do things got hounded into retirement and replaced by a big thick binder marked “Procurement Specification”.

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  1. Mobility map: It seems to me the lighter-purple “islands” in the seas of dark purple tend to be places where larger cities (unsurprising) or universities (something people might not think of). My county is light purple but we don’t have a city of more than 15,000 – but we do have a university.

    The county where my parents live is similar, though they DO have a city of some 100,000. In the eastern half of the country at least, it looks more like a rural/urban divide. The western half, I don’t know as much about.

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    • I hate the choice of numbers on the scale. It would have been better to simply have “percent locally born” starting with >80% at the top and <20% at the bottom.

      I’m suspicious of the number of counties in the West that are designated as “ties” and wonder if it reflects something else. If the scale were done the way I suggest, “tie” is a category that falls between 40-50% locally-born and 50-60% locally born. If there are counties in that gap, there should be counties in the gap between, say, 50-60% locally born and 60-70% locally born.

      There’s some of the urban/rural thing in the West, although (ex California) it’s color-shifted towards the green end because of the large recent immigration into the region. County size also skews things. Eg, the light green in southern Nevada is Clark County and Las Vegas; the huge swatch of medium green around it are counties that were very low population until the Vegas exurbs reached them.

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  2. Texas isn’t green because the denominator is state of birth. I move from Odessa to Austin, I’m not ‘mobile’ by that map, but if I move from Bethesda, Maryland to Alexandria, Virgina, I am.

    Most of the green are some sort of retirement/resort communities, e.g. Florida, Poconos, Tahoe, or newish exurbs (across state lines) of major metros (panhandle West Virginia, Washington bank of the Columbia river). (the newish exurbs of the major metros are often semi-resort communities themselves)

    The only thing Texas apparently doesn’t really have going for it is the interstate retirement trade.

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    • I don’t think it’s ok. My ethos is non-violence. I have spoken up about it repeatedly on other social media. I do not think, for instance, that “nazi-punching” is ok, either.

      AND, I think there’s such a thing as “live by the sword, die by the sword”. His rallies were full of threats of violence. Some components of his audience is quite comfortable with the presence of violence in political speech. He succeeded, and got elected, and so now his competitors are imitating him. That’s not exactly an unpredictable happenstance.

      People who voted for Trump ended up saying, “I want more of this style of politics”. I’m not sympathetic when they complain about getting more of that style of pollitics.

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  3. American prejudice against the Irish was almost entirely religious, not racial, while the Irish-American prejudice against blacks was racial, arising out of their economic and political integration through the Democratic Party machine. In the words of Frederick Douglass, they were “instantly taught when they step upon our soil to hate and despise the Negro.” Part of the tragedy was that most stepped upon our soil in the moribund economy of the Northeast at a time when cities in the Mississippi/ Ohio River valleys were booming and the story of the Irish-American is different.

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  4. The First Things essay is absolute bullshit. You can tell this when he uses the hoary old insult of Democrat Party instead of the proper Democratic Party. Second, there is no Jacobin wing of the Democratic Party. One thing that the right either doesn’t understand or purposefully obfuscates is that the far left (like the Jacobin Mag crowd) always hated and never trusted or liked the Democratic Party.

    San Francisco is still much more liberal than Los Angeles and even here, the establishment Democrats win over the radicals. David Chiu beat David Campos for State Assembly. Scott Weiner beat Jane Kim for State Senate. Ed Lee is our Mayor and he is far from a fire-brand radical.

    He doesn’t even try to analyze why the California Republican Party self-destructed and can’t assemble itself back together again because he probably agrees with the policies that causes the California Republican Party to be in a permanent rump.

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  5. The funniest part of the first things article is that, implicitly, he thinks the DC area is going to be better on the things he’s complaining about than California?

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  6. The Republican Party and Trump have released their budget and it is the catastrophe that you would expect. Huge increases to the military budget and tax cuts for the wealthy. Huge cuts to everything else:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-federal-budget-2018-massive-cuts-to-the-arts-science-and-the-poor/2017/03/15/0a0a0094-09a1-11e7-a15f-a58d4a988474_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_b-budget-desktoptablet-blurb%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.e83e65adbd0f

    Word is that this would basically reduce Meals on Wheels to dust.

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  7. Dissent on Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, five justices would vacate the order staying Trump’s first executive order because it was within a President’s discretionary power. Opinion (pdf) In my view, this is the flip side of the opinion of the three-justices that ruled against the EO, both took the opportunity to write a prototype opinion that could be used by other courts or litigants, while overlooking procedural issues. Trump’s first EO has been withdrawn; most justices would no longer find it meriting special attention. I also notice a lot of discussion of Justice Kennedy’s writings. Assuming Gorsuch is confirmed in time, this opinion probably reflects the ultimate SCOTUS decision.

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    • Let me add my voice to encourage the participants here to read the opinion. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it (but since I’m no expert in the area I give substantial deference to the court). In any event the opinion is a thoughtful analytical piece about the relationship between the Executive branch and the federal courts in the area of immigration. If the DOJ (and its client) can settle down and start litigating effectively, this opinion provides a roadmap for the President to achieve his goals.

      (note for the record: I was shocked when the DOJ ended up incapable of defending the second EO which presumably went through more detailed review. Immigration is classically an area where the Executive branch has very broad powers. But contemptuous briefing plus an out-of-control client has led to this result. very strange.)

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  8. Jay Cobb writes: “why are poor people moving away from California with its more generous welfare to parsimonious Texas? ”

    They aren’t. The people moving from California to Texas are only poor in a relative sense; in Texas they’re middle-class, in terms of income and wealth. The actual poor people in California aren’t going anywhere.

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    • Yes because housing in Tx is far cheaper than at least the coastal sections of Ca cheaper than the rest of Ca. In particular big cities in Tx have neither natural or man made borders that limit the range of growth as much (yes Houston is hemmed in on the east and southeast sides but the limits in other directions are over 100 miles, likewise for Dallas/Fort Worth 100 miles etc.) Austin is sort of hemmed in on the west but the east is limited by Houston.

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  9. Watching a bit of Mulvaney defending Trump’s budget: he’s doing a good job. Better than Spicer, Trump, Ryan, any of the other knuckleheads could. Dude did his homework. He’s the MC (Hammer) of the Trump Admin: “Break it down! Can’t touch this.”

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          • That’s the first requirement, sure. But I gotta point out that even your link said

            You are still selling at this stage in the process.

            By my estimation he did yeoman’s work advocating for that budget. Like, literally.

            That judgment shouldn’t be construed as an endorsement for the policies advocated, of course. Or I hope that’s clear anyway. But the guy did a good job both selling and objection-handling the rollout.

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        • One thing about completely burning your credibility early on is that it makes it pretty easy to say just about anything with a straight face. I mean, what do you have to lose? Do you think you’re going to get your reputation back by not going all-in on the next ridiculous thing?

          Soon Mulvaney will be another unkillable soldier like Spicer and Conway. What is dead may never die…

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          • That’s the interesting thing about watching all this in real time: it seems to me Mulvaney is a true believer in econometrics as a tool to determine policy. But since policy is political and not merely economics his credibility will be undermined to the extent he continues to advocate for these types of punitive, oops I meant pecuniary, economic policies.

            But til then he’s selling!

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