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February 16, 2018

Comments

I think engineers in general are more prone to look for patterns in everyday life. They are accustomed to knowing "how things work". For some, the lure to subscribe to conspiracy theories to describe what they see is strong.

One of many articles you can google re: disproportionate numbers of engineers being terrorists:

http://gregladen.com/blog/2016/03/25/are-engineers-more-likely-to-be-terrorists-and-if-so-why/

I think choosing to be a terrorist is related to conspiracy theory seeking behavior.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2018/02/perfectly-aligned-incentives.html

Mick Mulvaney and minions should further emasculate the CFPB by getting it behind the placement of high-interest, back account-gouging Payday Loan kiosks in hospital emergency rooms and trauma centers throughout the satanic municipalities of gun-besotted America.

Say, you have dozens of children struck down in a nearby school in our now monthly reenactments of the Battle of the Somme in our educational institutions ... it's pretty clear these murders are planned and executed by shadowy forces aligned with the conservative movement's religious program of fully privatizing the Nation's public school systems ... and they are rushed to nearby hospital emergency rooms as their recently notified parents converge in anguished panics.

Those parents not covered by private or employer-provided medical insurance, including those who think they covered by republican-destroyed Medicaid and other Potemkim village social safety net programs could be shunted to the PayDay Loan window directly adjacent to the Emergency Room Admittance window, where a smiling point of sale fucker with immaculate teeth could quickly have them sign forms to borrow whatever estimated amounts of cash might be required (the estimators, like car insurance estimators, with clipboards, could be standing over the savaged, bullet-ridden bodies of the children on their gurneys in the emergency room anterooms coming up with a quick rough amount for which a check could be cut immediately and handed to the parents, like you know when your car windshield is stoved in by a hailstorm).

The same smiling piece of conservative vermin, recently employed by Wells Fargo, but having moved on to greener pastures, could also coax the parents, in their moment of extreme misery, to sign their children, should the latter survive the conservative gunfire that brought them to the emergency room in the first place, up to attend private religious schools for the next school year wherein ghastly security officers in priestly vestments concealing high-powered weaponry and much else besides, roam the halls.

One simple form. So many conservative principles spread like the squirming deadly microbes on the filthy hands of the conservative movement throughout the country.

The NRA, as both client and bankroller of the republican party, .. this is not widely known outside those in the 4-Chan know ... is now investing heavily in these payday loan schemes, their efforts lubricated by Mulvaney's corruption at the highest reaches of conservative gummint, in hospital emergency rooms.

Follow the blood trail is now synonymous with follow the money in conservative business schools.

The NRA supplies the chaos and fear in the guise of seemingly random gunfire, and profits via its beautifully-integrated vertical corporate superstructure not only by selling military grade weapons of war to its carefully placed and coached perpetrators, but at the other end by dunning these savaged families for the rest of their lives merely to collect the 42.5% interest, forget the principal, on the loans, savaging being a conservative family value.

That 4chan and its beneficiaries in Moscow and the mp republican party are a mortal danger to America's future is a given. The challenge for the rest of us is to learn, internalize, perfect, and make even more deadly its methods in order to turn the entire conservative movement on itself and kill it dead.

It's Wednesday and I'm already out of hot air, so have a good week.


RE: the PASC Congressional Districts ...

538 is applying math to say that the districts are "fair" and that sense I suppose it is. In talking to people (all Dems) who have been in the trenches on this issue, there is a wide variation in what would appear to be "fair" and in this case, the PASC put out a map that is shaded towards helping Dems with their geographic issue of heavy concentrations in Philly and Pitt. So it isn't "unfair", but it is shaded to help the Dems a bit.

That coupled with the very short timeframe that the court gave for the legislature to come up with an alternative map and the fact that the PASC didn't publish their "ideal" map in advance for the Pubs to work off of, appears kind of partisan to me.

RE: engineers and libertarianism ...

As someone who is libertarian-minded, I can say that one of the lures for that backwater in the political spectrum is that it gives consistent results to policy questions. Mindlessly consistent, but still.

For me, I start each political issue from a libertarian proposition, but then in a lawyer-like manner I start seeking out the patches of gray in every nook and cranny. See, e.g., my support of single payor.

The engineer-libertarians that I know (and there are several), are happy to derive "the answer" to the policy question and move on. Once you know the answer to the engineering problem and have checked your math, what else is there to discuss?

I think engineers tend towards libertarianism for two reasons.

First, typically, they tend to be grounded in objective reality -- if you aren't your bridge will fall down, your program will crash. etc.

Second, they tend to be "reasonable" themselves, and they work with and associate with people who are similarly reasonable. As a result, they can lose track of just how varied the general public's views are on what would be reasonable. (This being, admittedly, something of an exception to the "objective reality" grounding.)

I guess I'm missing the connection between "grounded in objective reality" and "libertarian".

Likewise the connection between "reasonable" and "libertarian".

the PASC put out a map that is shaded towards helping Dems with their geographic issue of heavy concentrations in Philly and Pitt. So it isn't "unfair", but it is shaded to help the Dems a bit.

If the new map is fair by some reasonably objective standard, and results in some advantage to the (D)'s, it seems to me that whatever advantage accrues to the (D)'s is inherent in the demographics of the state of PA.

Which seems like it's exactly as it should be.

"In sum, independent commissions do not draw House maps that encourage greater electoral competition any more than partisan legislature do," the researchers conclude. "Overall, our results suggest caution in overhauling state redistricting institutions to increase electoral competition: independent commissions may not be as politically-neutral as theorized."
Independent Commissions Gerrymander Just as Much as State Legislators: Independent redistricting commissions may not be as politically-neutral as theorized, says new study


"It's difficult to feel bad for the Republicans, who drew a bad-faith map in 2011 and eventually got their comeuppance for doing so. They deserved to lose their ill-gotten advantage. But Democrats do not deserve the advantage they have given themselves by politicizing the state Supreme Court's oversight powers."
Pennsylvania's New Congressional Districts Are More Compact. But They're Still Just as Partisan.: The state Supreme Court did away with a Republican gerrymander and tilted the new map toward Democrats. That should be worrying.


"Let this be a reminder of how easily any reform—no matter how appealing it may sound—can and will be manipulated by those who are most skilled at the political game. In California, reform measures promoted by political novices will undoubtedly be manipulated by the pros. And as the GOP becomes less relevant, it seems less capable of recruiting highly skilled politicos who can duke it out with the Dems."
Rampant Corruption in California Redistricting: How left-wing activists stacked the deck in favor of Golden State Democrats

engineers prefer simple, well-defined systems: predictable, explainable, useful. and so they sometimes end up thinking that real life can be made predictable and explainable by setting out a few simple but strict rules.

but real life is essentially chaos.

not wanting to admit this, engineers look for ways to explain real life in simple ways - usually favoring a framework of "the fewest agents acting on the simplest motivations". and that leads them to simple, but wildly implausible, explanations.

[he explained, in simple terms of simple motivations]

engineers prefer simple, well-defined systems: predictable, explainable, useful.

hence, by extension, my skepticism about the connection between libertarianism and objective reality.

and hence, by extension, why I "just say no" to links to reason.com.

just saying.

Would you prefer PA public broadcasting?

https://whyy.org/articles/a-boost-for-democrats-pa-supreme-court-overhauls-states-congressional-district-map/

I guess I'm missing the connection between "grounded in objective reality" and "libertarian".

Likewise the connection between "reasonable" and "libertarian".

My view is that a libertarian approach to the world works, to the extent that it does, when everybody is reasonable and interested in getting along with others. And realizes that, in the real world, you can't really function in isolation from others.

When people are primarily, or even just significantly, self-interested, especially when they are pathologically so, it can't work. At least, not outside an Ayn Rand novel or Paul Ryan's imagination.

This is not to say that limited libertarian aspects are bad. Indeed, I tend to favor them myself. But it seems to reach pathology rather faster than most political philosophies.

Removing a blatant jiggering of the districts in favor of the (R)'s will, no doubt, bring some benefit to the (D)'s.

Not the same thing as "tilting the scale" in favor of the (D)'s. More like removing the requirement for one party to run their race while wearing lead shoes.

What is difficult to understand about this?

If the new map is fair by some reasonably objective standard, and results in some advantage to the (D)'s, it seems to me that whatever advantage accrues to the (D)'s is inherent in the demographics of the state of PA.

Let's be clear. The new PA district map will still give Democrats rather fewer representatives than their portion of the population. They are a (small) majority of the population, but absent a serious wave election will end up a couple of seats short of parity. It's just that it's lots less skewed towards Republicans than the existing map.

russell-

I think you are over-simplifying things. There is a range of "fair" outcomes and the PASC went with a result that was fair, but slightly skewed to the Dems. They also did this under a short timeframe without giving this map to the Pubs to work off of.

That's too partisan for me.

I have no doubt that for you, the water is just fine.

According to 538, the court map gives an "efficiency gap" of 3% in favour of the Republicans.

The map is "tilted towards Democrats" only in the very weak sense that the court has given a quite high priority to electoral fairness relative to compactness.

My view is that a libertarian approach to the world works, to the extent that it does, when everybody is reasonable and interested in getting along with others.

My view, FWIW, is that libertarianism is a great fit for hunter-gatherer societies.

The objective reality of the situation is that 10,000 years of settled human civilization has produced exactly zero libertarian societies.

This tells me that it's not a natural form of organization for human beings.

Humans are social. Just ask Aristotle, who presented that as an observation, not a normative assertion. Libertarianism is not social, or at least provides no reliable means for being so in any practical way.

So, basically, yes, it works great when everyone is reasonable and places a priority on cooperation and getting along with others. And that's why it fails in the face of objective reality.

It's certainly attractive - who wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone just did as they wished and it all worked out? It just seems unrealistic to the point of being almost not worth discussing.

It's the polar opposite of the Communist worker's paradise, and just as feasible.

Libertarians may be overrepresented by engineers and related professions, but they're not technocrats. Instead, libertarians tend to favor the ideas related to Spontaneous order.

Pollo, when your link says "a boost for Democrats" that isn't the same as saying "skewed in order to favor Democrats". Removing a skew towards Republicans is a boost for Democrats, right?

From my link:

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court didn’t just reverse the Republicans’ gerrymander, they went further by helping Democrats compensate for their natural geographic disadvantages in the state,” he said. “Democrats are clustered in terms of their voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but the choices that the Supreme Court made in adopting this map tend to help Democrats versus what they might expect from a random or neutrally drawn map.”

From PdM's WHYY link:

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court didn’t just reverse the Republicans’ gerrymander, they went further by helping Democrats compensate for their natural geographic disadvantages in the state,” he said. “Democrats are clustered in terms of their voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but the choices that the Supreme Court made in adopting this map tend to help Democrats versus what they might expect from a random or neutrally drawn map.”

These, of course, are the words of someone being quoted in the WHYY piece, not the words WHYY. I'm not sure what is "natural" about their geographic disadvantage such that it is something that shouldn't be compensated for when drawing districts. Are districts "natural"? I've no problem with neutrally drawn, though I'm not sure there's anything inherently good about random districts.

These are the words from WHYY's staff:

The court’s version also splits fewer counties than the proposals it received in the past 10 days from Gov. Tom Wolf, GOP leaders, and House and Senate Democrats. The recent proposal from GOP leaders, though, split two fewer municipalities.

Make of that what you will. It sounds like a reasonable compromise to me - certainly more so than what the Republicans had put in place or had just proposed, and probably more so than what the Democrats had just proposed, to boot.

The objective reality of the situation is that 10,000 years of settled human civilization has produced exactly zero libertarian societies.

The neverending search for a true Scotsman.

I have no doubt that for you, the water is just fine.

I don't live in PA. Not my hash to settle. I.e., not water I swim in, personally, so I have no opinion about its temperature.

I look at the old map, I look at the new map, and I find claims that the new map does some injustice to the (R)'s to be risible.

YMMV

libertarians tend to favor the ideas related to Spontaneous order.

Perhaps consider that what has emerged, consistently, from the playing out of spontaneous order over the 100,000 year career of human beings, are governments.

I'm not making claims for good, bad, or indifferent. I'm making an observation about objective reality.

Nobody told us to do it. It's just what we do.

The quote was from someone with the Cook Political Report. Fairly non-partisan and consistent with what I'm hearing elsewhere.

Even if one were to think the map is completely down the middle fair, I still don't like the manner and timing that it was published.

I've posted this link before, but this is a revealing look at small-scale libertarianism:

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/06/28/534735727/episode-286-libertarian-summer-camp

These folks are willing to put up with what would be massive inefficiencies in a large economy to play at living in a libertarian bubble.

From my link:

“...” he said.

Who "he"?

David Wasserman, a national political analyst with The Cook Political Report

Don't know the man. He's entitled to his point of view.

I look at the map before, I look at the map after, and when folks talk about how the change is somehow providing any kind of advantage to the (D)'s above and beyond what should naturally emerge from the demographics of the state of PA, I shrug my shoulders and move on.

Not because I "don't care" when it's "my side that wins", but because it's borderline absurd.

The (R)'s have enjoyed a ridiculous and unearned advantage in the state of PA for years. Somebody took their cookies away. Sucks to be them.

I'm not sure there's much more to say about it.

russell-

No one is saying that the PASC map is nearly as skewed as the Pub map. But if the Pub map was a 1000 on the gerrymander scale and the PASC map is a 10, then that bothers me when taken in context with how this went down.

It's not a crime against humanity. The Pubs in PA are still the bad actors in this. I'm just a little skeeved out.

"Not because I 'don't care' when it's 'my side that wins'"

Yeah, I'm not buying that.

I started this by asking if anyone else was bothered by this and I have my answer.

Thanks for the responses everyone, I'm gonna get some work done.

Hartmut,

But would he not perceive the colours on his palette the same wrong way thus correcting the error for the most part (as opposed to a person with actual colour-blindness where some colours are not shifted but look the same)?

Good question.

Does the brain color-correct automatically? I doubt it, though I don't know. It would have to have the correct information. Maybe it knew my cabinets were white from pre-cataract days. So Monet sees white paint as yellow and blue paint as white. (All approximate, of course.)

Also, the white balance shift does not, I think, affect all colors equally, so maybe the blend is not corrected.

All conjecture on my part.

Yeah, I'm not buying that.

Assumptions of bad faith rarely win hearts and minds.

Just saying.

Yeah, I'm not buying that.

I'm generally an appreciator of your attempts to look at things dispassionately, Pollo, but this seems a touch self-righteous to me. Anybody else's MMV.

Bernie -- I tried to write something like this but got too tangled up in speculations and conjectures myself. But these are interesting questions.

I would think that Monet of all people (simply as a visual artist if nothing else) had some kind of *memory* of what Alizarin red and Cadmium yellow etc. look(ed) like, separate from how they currently looked on his palette as his eyes got worse....?

Then again, I've talked to several people who got hearing aids after resisting for a long time, and they had quite an adjustment period during which they thought everyone was talking too loud. Their hearing had gotten worse so gradually that they weren't consciously aware that everything was kind of muffled compared to before.

I dunno. But it's fun to think about it as a break from the eternal other topic.

Anyone else a little skeeved out at the PA Supreme Court drawing the Congressional Districts?

Not me. Drawing districts is a task legislatures are highly unsuited for. The whole point of gerrymandering is to entrench the party controlling the legislature - to make it hard for the voters to throw them out.

Why would a gerrymandered legislature detrench itself? It wouldn't.

If a legislature passes a law that proves unpopular we rely on democratic processes to change or repeal it. But that doesn't work so well for gerrymandering, since by definition it makes it very hard for voters to exert enough pressure to bring about a change.

"Anyone else a little skeeved out at the PA Supreme Court drawing the Congressional Districts?"

Skeeved? You mean like how much of the PASC got pitched out because of a Good-Ol'-Pervs racism and pr0n email chain?

Maybe I'm just not wearing the RWNJ Sekrit Decoder Glasses, so I don't see the indecent images in the PA district map, but the OLD map had some rather Cthuloid shapes.

Martin Longman over at Washington Monthly has some of the same concerns as Pollo DM.

I guess I'm unclear on why it's illegitimate for the PA SCOTUS to weigh in on the (PA) constitutionality of the earlier map. Or why it's illegitimate or even "skeevy" for them to appoint a more or less neutral outside party to re-draw them. The guy in question - Nathaniel Persily - seems pretty legit.

I'm open to arguments to the contrary, but I'm basically not seeing this as (D)'s gone out of bounds, or the PA SCOTUS overstepping.

Skeeved?

Being from the region where that term gets used the most (or so it seems, at least), I found that usage curious.

I could go on about whether one skeeves things or one is skeeved by things, but that's more a matter of regional internecine colloquial warfare.

"Assumptions of bad faith rarely win hearts and minds.

Just saying."

I was not implying bad faith. When I think of knee jerk partisan Dems on ObWi, you are not the first or even the second one to come to mind, but when you are refusing to click a reason.com link (I promise you won't get cooties) and ignore a quote from the Cook Political Report, I'm thinking that some partisanship is bleeding through.

"I'm generally an appreciator of your attempts to look at things dispassionately, Pollo, but this seems a touch self-righteous to me. Anybody else's MMV."

LOL ... you'll know when I'm tap dancing in my self-righteous shoes. I generally don't take my online self seriously enough to get self righteous.

On "skeeved out" ... my wife is from PA and uses that phrasing for a general sense of unease; my use here was an homage to her Pennsatucky roots.

"I guess I'm unclear on why it's illegitimate for the PA SCOTUS to weigh in on the (PA) constitutionality of the earlier map. Or why it's illegitimate or even "skeevy" for them to appoint a more or less neutral outside party to re-draw them. The guy in question - Nathaniel Persily - seems pretty legit."

It isn't a problem for them to invalidate the Pub maps. I think you are mistaken when you imply that the PASC map was "neutral".

Look at your own link again. In a typical purple state with a mix of urban and rural areas, you expect that a neutral map will favor the Pubs somewhat because the usual urban concentration of Dem voters creates a naturally occurring form of gerrymandering. The PASC map "fixed" this by creating a map that is close to 50/50. People who don't work in this area say "It's 50/50, it must be fair!", but that's not the case. A map that focuses on existing geographic and political boundaries first would have resulted in the Pubs still having some advantage. The algorithm for this map included a mandate to get to 50/50 and that feels like the PASC had their thumb on the scale.

Add in the timing and manner that this was done, and it was an aggressive partisan move.

On "skeeved out" ... my wife is from PA and uses that phrasing for a general sense of unease; my use here was an homage to her Pennsatucky roots.

Pennsatucky (aka Pennsyltucky) would imply at least a bit west (or possibly north) of Philadelphia. I wonder if the way she uses "skeeve" is a first or second derivative of its use in the Philly/NJ/NYC nexus, where it's closer to its Italian origin.

She's Pennsylvania Dutch ... about 45 minutes NW of Allentown. I don't think she was exposed to Italian-Americans except for summer trips to the Jersey shore.

She also has some interesting Hungarian/Yiddish words that she tosses around ... "shpilkes" being one that I've picked up.

The PASC map "fixed" this by creating a map that is close to 50/50. People who don't work in this area say "It's 50/50, it must be fair!", but that's not the case.

But the thing is (at least if you believe 538), the new map isn't 50-50. As noted, the state has a small but significant Democratic majority in registered voters. And the new map is expected to produce something like 10-8 (or even 11-7) Republican majority. Which is down from the current 12-5 (one vacant seat), but hardly 50-50.

wj-

This map only gave the Pubs a 3% advantage in efficiency when you'd expect more due to the geographic concentration of Dem voters.

If the PASC was going to spring a map on everyone on short notice, then I think the algorithm should have left out shifting districts to Dems.

Apparently I'm the only one here bothered by it.

We can move on.

when you are refusing to click a reason.com link (I promise you won't get cooties) and ignore a quote from the Cook Political Report

I don't read reason.com because life's too short and I find them annoying. I'm not avoiding their viewpoint, I just generally assume I know what they're going to say before I even read it, and in general I'm right about that.

I don't read a whole lot of stuff that approaches life from a specific and doctrinaire point of view, because I don't find a lot of value in it. FWIW.

I'd never heard of the Cook Report before, and in what was a generally balanced discussion of the issue, Wasserman stood out like a sore thumb. I generally discount outliers, it saves time.

In general I'm more pragmatic than partisan. Believe it or not.

I think you are mistaken when you imply that the PASC map was "neutral".

I characterized the guy that drew the map as neutral. He's an academic, not from PA or currently living in PA. He's been called on to participate in redrawing districts in at least five other states. Maybe he's a wild partisan, but I'm not seeing it in his CV.

I've lived in PA and spent time in most parts of the state. I understand that (D)'s there are concentrated in the cities, as they are in many places. I've hung out with friends in York, and Altoona, and Tyrone. I'm familiar with the sensibilities of people who live in between Philly and Pittsburgh.

Per these guys, PA has 4.2 million registered (D)'s and 3.3 million registered (R)'s. If the map's mandate was to go for a 50/50 split, that seems favorable to (R)'s, as far as I can see.

It was sucky and egregiously tilted toward (R)'s, now it's not.

Maybe you can explain how the new map gives the (D)'s an unfair advantage. I don't see it, so I'm not skeeved.

russel-

I have no reason to believe that the expert is a partisan or was acting as a partisan (I assume that for self-interested reasons he is/was not). I assume that he gave the PASC a number of maps and the PASC chose one that included a partial fix for the Dem urban concentration problem.

Set aside the numbers and results. People who work in this area (not 538) are saying this map was shaded towards helping Dems. Let's *assume* that's the case.

Does it bother you that in my hypothetical, the court used political results to draw the map as opposed to only focusing on compactness, existing boundaries etc?

On the conspiracy-theory front, I came across a mutual facebook friend who, based on his unusual last name and being local, I was pretty sure was a semi-distant cousin. He and I quickly confirmed such once I brought the subject up to him and we exchanged some information. So he sent me a friend request, which I accepted.

I was immediately treated to a seemingly endless stream of conspiracy-theorizing posts about the outspoken survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS shooting from my newfound semi-distant cousin. (I guess sharing a great-great grandmother isn't a good basis for friendship.)

I kept blocking the original sources he shared them from without unfollowing (or unfriending or blocking) him, but I guess he's really out there getting at it, because new posts shared from new sources kept coming. (He didn't seem like a nut/idiot when I first corresponded with him.)

I finally unfollowed him after a post from "Christian Soldiers of Truth" put me over the edge (not because of that particular source, but because the post happened to reach my breaking point, though the source's name does give you a flavor of the sort of thing he's been sharing).

Given the volume of plainly ridiculous falsehoods he had shared, I have to wonder if any of his sources were Russian bots. I also wonder if he really believes these things or if he just gets off on trolling liberals (or something???).

It's all so fncking weird to me.

I have read this several(10+) times, and cried every time. The human tragedy is beyond my ability to deal with, fuck anyone who questions these kids right to express themselves however they want.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/i-would-rather-not-be-alone-behind-their-anger-florida-students-are-still-teens-struggling-with-trauma/2018/02/20/5e21bb40-1661-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html?utm_term=.377f39d4a09b

Does it bother you that in my hypothetical, the court used political results to draw the map as opposed to only focusing on compactness, existing boundaries etc?

It depends on what we think the standards for drawing district lines should be. Should it be geographic contiguity? Population density? Age? Average income? Political boundaries like county or other municipal lines? Political affiliation?

What is the goal and purpose of drawing district line? To insure electoral fairness? What does "electoral fairness" mean?

To make a long story very short, to my knowledge NO SUCH STANDARDS EXIST. I would be very much in favor of creating such standards, because then it would be much easier to decide if any particular district scheme is fair or not. But that is not on offer. I doubt we as a nation could even come close to agreeing on where the responsibility for figuring out what the standards should be should lie, let alone who should execute them.

So, given all of that, the fact that the PA SCOTUS considered party affiliation in drawing the districts doesn't bug me. Because party affiliation was the most glaring dimension by which they were askew.

I'm not seeing it as a "power grab". I'm seeing it as the remedy for a power grab. So I find it skeeveless.

Since this is the whatever open thread, Bertrand Tavernier's doc "My Journey Through French Cinema" is now available on Amazon etc.

It's great, a bit like Scorcese's docs about US and Italian cinema, but more idiosyncratic (he has produced a more comprehensive 8 part series since) and even more personal.

https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/film-week-journey-french-cinema/

If the PASC was going to spring a map on everyone on short notice, then I think the algorithm should have left out shifting districts to Dems.

Of course it would have shifted districts to Dems if the gerrymandered earlier maps were pro-R - that was the whole problem, that R's won because too many districts were gerrymandered in their favor.

I'm bothered when you say things like "People who work in this area (not 538) are saying this map was shaded towards helping Dems" without providing cites. You don't seem to provide many citations for your arguments - it's more like "people I talk to" or "connected Dems that I know" etc. (and I'm paraphrasing, so if I'm mischaracterizing, please say so). You should tell us who you're talking about because there's a lot of objective reality out there, and we can discuss whether what we're looking at is that.

By the way, I'm unabashedly partisan Democrat. I live in a state where all of our statewide offices are held by Democrats. Our gerrymandering has screwed the popular will of the people in that our statehouse is R, and our Congressmen are R. It's the legacy of white privilege. We need to come up with a system that doesn't honor that.

sapient-

I cited someone from the nonpartisan Cook Political Report who said this was weighted towards Dems. russell linked to a Washington Monthly piece that said the same thing. I believe Washington Monthly is considered "center-left".

I don't know how much additional citation you need.

I agree that "mathematically" this looks like a fair result. In terms of traditional work in drawing political maps, this was mildly in favor of the Dems to the extent that the map helps to overcome a Dem disadvantage due to voter concentration.

Set that aside and consider my hypothetical by assuming that the Court chose a map that helped Dems like I described above. Does that bother you?

russell-

Standards for drawing political boundaries exist, but the factors and the application of those factors vary by state.

FWIW, some states include provisions for avoiding pitting incumbents against each other, and have provisions for favoring competitive districts. On a quick look, I don't see where the PA constitution has any of these political factors listed and that's part of my issue here.

I assume that the PASC is coming at this from a "disenfranchisement" angle.

Set aside the numbers and results. People who work in this area (not 538) are saying this map was shaded towards helping Dems. Let's *assume* that's the case.

Somehow, that reads as assuming the conclusion.

But IF the court had actually deliberately shaded the map towards either, then yes, that would bother me.

However, if someone is going to argue that it happened, I'd like to see evidence. Real evidence would be a statement from someone involved (either on the court or the outside expert) saying so.

Failing that (and I admit it seems unlikely; although the things that people will say never ceases to amaze me), then I'd want to see RESULTS that support the claim of bias. And, from what I can see, the results look rather the opposite.

One more follow up ...

Here is the standard given by the PASC:

any congressional districting plan shall consist of: congressional districts composed of compact and contiguous territory; as nearly equal in population as practicable; and which do not divide any county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, or ward, except where necessary to ensure equality of population.

reaching a political result was not on the list.

Sorry for maybe looking too deeply into this, but I'm struck by this

Yeah, I'm not buying that.

Cause it is exactly the same phrase that Donald Johnson used earlier when discussing Yemen. As I said to him, we aren't really selling anything. You came and said 'geez, does this piss you off?', most people say 'no, not really' and we descend into dueling links. I understand that it can feel crappy when other people don't feel the same fervor that you may concerning a subject. (I'm about to write a post about Black Panther, so I'm getting prepared for that) But if you are going to ask 'what do you think about this' and the answer that comes back is not the one you really wanted, it doesn't make much sense to keep hammering on why that wasn't the right answer.

The republicans got X years with an advantage, and they leveraged that advantage. If a fairer map had been drawn, maybe we wouldn't have had to put up with articles like these

https://www.npr.org/2018/01/18/578956908/trump-voters-in-pennsylvania-say-they-are-pleased-with-presidency-so-far

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/08/donald-trump-johnstown-pennsylvania-supporters-215800

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/26/no-regrets-one-year-after-they-voted-for-trump-has-he-delivered

I don't know how anyone these days can divorce politics from life. It's baked into the cake and it really sucks. So complaining that it somehow wormed its way into this map (without showing how any change would not be a political result, since the problem was a political one) really strikes me as not realizing the times that we live in.

So, Puello, yeah, I missed your Cook report link - there are a couple of people who share your concerns. But as to that Cook Report, which you describe as "fairly non-partisan and consistent with what I'm hearing elsewhere" - what is "elsewhere"? You do this a lot - "what I'm hearing". Just a tic that bugs me.

Martin Longman's beef is that the Supreme Court is majority Democratic so its interference "looks" political, but concedes that any fair version of reality would diminish R seats,. (The Supreme Court is elected in a statewide race - when "the people" vote, they elect Democrats.)

I'm not sure how disenfranchising urban voters is fair. Can you explain why you think that it is? I take the point that creating "fair" districts is complicated. But the crazy districts that were drawn in VA are there in order to wholly disenfranchise Democrats, and that was obviously true in PA and other states.

What factors would you consider in redrawing the map?

Looking at your more recent comment to russell, you say: "Standards for drawing political boundaries exist, but the factors and the application of those factors vary by state." I know that state statutes vary, but do you have a source for describing state by state standards? I'm not asking this to be challenging, but rather to know what you're looking at, and whether some states have figured it out in a way that seems reasonable.

Second, they (engineers) tend to be "reasonable" themselves

This is funny. As a building contractor I have spent a good deal of time arguing with PE's about their design work. As a rule, they can be just a disagreeable as any random selection of people.

but real life is essentially chaos.

This. In the abstract world of economics (as currently practiced) the math always works. The assumptions? Well, not so much.

Perhaps it would help balance the discussion if we also talked about the districts in Maryland. Which, from what I can see, is at least as bad as Pennsylvania -- just with the Democrats being the ones dong the gerrymandering.

For myself, I think those districts ought to be tossed out as well. And if it takes having a court do it, so be it.

Thanks for the cite, Marty.

It's certainly attractive - who wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone just did as they wished and it all worked out? It just seems unrealistic to the point of being almost not worth discussing.

It's the polar opposite of the Communist worker's paradise

Russell, shame on you. You obviously did not get the memo. From the Wikki:

A communist society would free individuals from long working hours by first automating production to an extent that the average length of the working day is reduced[12] and second by eliminating the exploitation inherent in the division between workers and owners. A communist system would thus free individuals from alienation in the sense of having one's life structured around survival (making a wage or salary in a capitalist system), which Marx referred to as a transition from the "realm of necessity" to the "realm of freedom." As a result, a communist society is envisioned as being composed of an intellectually-inclined population with both the time and resources to pursue its creative hobbies and genuine interests, and to contribute to creative social wealth in this manner. Karl Marx considered "true richness" to be the amount of time one has at his or her disposal to pursue one's creative passions.[13][14] Marx's notion of communism is in this way radically individualistic.[15]

Marx's concept of the "realm of freedom" goes hand-in-hand with his idea of the ending of the division of labor, which would not be required in a society with highly automated production and limited work roles.

In a communist society, economic necessity and relations would cease to determine cultural and social relations. As scarcity is eliminated,[9] alienated labor would cease and people would be free to pursue their individual goals.[16]

People tend to forget that Marx was as utopian as any glibertarian, perhaps even moreso.

Since populations tend to not be randomly distributed, drawing lines on a map to have all districts with the same population and still create "fair" election outcomes seems to be a rather hopeless endeavor. If you have areas where one group (call them Democrats) tend to congregate and other areas that are 60-40 or 55-45 you would, I should think, wind up with election outcomes that tend to favor the minority.

Am I missing something here? What if we abolished the Senate and elected the House via nationwide "at large" elections? I'm sure then there would be squawking about certain areas "being overlooked" and "not being represented".

But isn't that the same as asserting that such areas should have a political edge? And if a political edge is "built in" then does not that dreaded "partisanship" (a terrible thing that only occurs when your side is shut out) follow immediately behind?

Just askin'

I am Spartacus not skeeved.

I have read this several(10+) times, and cried every time.

Thanks for the link, Marty. I lost it in the paragraph that includes this:

The school’s fence was lined with 17 crosses built by a carpenter from Illinois who drove through a snowstorm to bring them here. In the past six months, he brought crosses to Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Tex. Before that, to Orlando, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and Virginia Tech.

Which reminds me to thank lj as well, for continuing to call out the names.

I assume everyone has seen this, but in case not, or as a reminder:

March for our Lives

These kids are incredibly inspiring. I fear for them and hope they will continue to be well-supported.

It's not nearly over, but maybe they will be like the pebble that triggers the avalanche.

sapient-

I don't mean to bug when I pass along what professional political types here in Fla tell me over drinks. Feel free to ignore.

I don't think you've captured what bothers Longman (and me). Because of the natural concentration of Dem voters, Pubs will always have an advantage as long as we have single-member winner take all districts. The likely PA split of Pub to Dem in a non wave election is going to hover between 10-8 and 11-7. Giving these districts a somewhat more Dem advantage is only helpful in a marginal year and that's too small a benefit for the price in skeeviness for some (apparently very few) Dems and outrage from Pubs and further politicization of the courts.

And I'm not defending political gerrymandering or VA's crappy district lines. I spent time and money to get the Florida anti0gerrymandering constitutional amendment passed. But while I will fight against political gerrymandering, I don't think we should be putting our thumb on the scale to "fix" naturally occurring gerrymandering such as what we see with high concentrations of urban voters who go for one party. Especially in a state like PA where the standards don't include political considerations.

To be clear, I don't think that voting power dilution for urban voters is "fair" or "good". Hell, I'm an urban liberal voter in a purple state. But once you root out the political gerrymandering, Pubs will still have an advantage unless you slice up the urban areas and dilute the more conservative surrounding suburbs and rural areas. I don't agree with that. It sucks that one feature of single-member winner take all districts is that urban liberal voters get diluted, but I'm not in favor of putting my thumb on the scale to fix it.

If you want to fix it, try to get things changed to proportional voting and a parliamentary system.

Here's the site that I googled for the state by state standards:

http://redistricting.lls.edu/where-tablefed.php

Pollo, thanks for the link.

I do appreciate that you know some political types (as do I). I'm reluctant to make the case that their views mean more than ranting over drinks. I'm pretty active in my local party, and my views differ from friends in meaningful ways. Some of my friends are or were party chairs, etc. Democrats are crazily varied, and not at all of one mind. That's our strength and our weakness.

So I'm not surprised that there's a buzz of one kind or another with people of views like Martin Longman, or other types. It's what we do. So, taking a step back, thanks for doing it.

One other thing:

After the election, I was with some friends who were bemoaning the poor disenfranchised white JD Vance people. I lost it (almost - I manage to be polite enough IRL).

Are you f'ing kidding me? In VA the general population who voted are Democrats, including for Congressional seats and statewide offices. And yet, gerrymandering has deprived me of a voice in Congress and in my House of Delegates. And the Electoral College.

Please, I said.

It does not bother me.

Even assuming that contiguity, integrity, and compactness were compromised in favor of the wasted votes metric involved in the WI gerrymandering, I have no problem with the decision because wasted votes seems a more "one person, one vote" sort of standard than does geographical integrity.

If some circumstance were to change and there was a cultural shift that resulted in Rs flocking to cities and Ds to the countryside, I can't imagine that the Rs would complain that the cities were somehow overrepresented. Likely they would complain bitterly about the resulting +3 skew towards the Ds.

And if the rural/urban split were as definitive as people make it out to be, you'd expect that rural Ds would complain and urban Rs would be less upset by this result as it would balance regional interests a bit more. But I'm not hearing anything like that.

Does it bother you that in my hypothetical, the court used political results to draw the map

Here is the standard given by the PASC... reaching a political result was not on the list.

Was "achieving a political result" one of the motivations in real life, or just in your hypothetical?

I don't really mind if the PA SCOTUS drew the map so that the districts resemble the demographics of the population, rather than the geography of the state. More than "I don't mind", that seems like a sensible thing to do.

To me.

There are significantly more registered (D)'s in PA than registered (R)'s. Not slightly, significantly. So if having the representation in Congress approximate the political affiliation of the population is a legitimate purpose in drawing districts, then having that as one of the motivations for the PA SCOTUS choice of map seems not just sensible, but correct. Because, if that is among the standards, the prior map was rubbish.

If we want standards that ignore party affiliation, different story. I'd actually be OK with that, it just doesn't seem to be among the standards at this point, such as they are.

I'm not discounting what Longman and Wasserman (and you) have to say, I'm disagreeing with it.

I don't really care about the optics, the outcome seems fair and reasonable to me.

While we're calling out the names of the innocent dead, we should also start calling out the names of the guilty walking dead:

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/02/21/texas-business-association-cancels-dinesh-d-souza-event-after-his-comments-mocking-school-shooting/219456

I'm concerned about the venal, poisonous strain of republican conservatism finding its way into our civilization, conservative media outlets, educational institutions, and conservative political elites from the Indian sub-Continent.

Do you suppose our federal jackbooted immigration authoritarians could take their boots off the necks of the innocent for a moment and round these foreign bugs up and send them packing back to Goa?

People tend to forget that Marx was as utopian as any glibertarian, perhaps even moreso.

Yes, that was the point I was (feebly) trying to make.

Because of the natural concentration of Dem voters, Pubs will always have an advantage

Well, that is basically FUBAR, and we should change it.

It's bad enough that the Senate is inherently undemocratic. The House is intended to be an approximation of the political sentiment of the population. If it's not, it's broken, and we should fix it.

In my zeal to eliminate mp republican conservatism from American civilization, I won't overlook it when it is disguised as a Democrat:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/20/1743160/--You-can-t-fight-Trump-when-you-agree-with-him-New-ads-hit-conservative-Democrat-Dan-Lipinski

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/02/left-needs-smarter-part-even-knows

The latter mp clown endorsed by jackass Bernie Sanders' organization.

The First Amendment is a deadly military grade weapon to be ducked by cowardly conservative NRA pukes:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/21/1743467/-NRA-s-Wayne-LaPierre-to-speak-at-CPAC-but-the-schedule-is-secret-because-gun-huggers-are-cowards

My mouth shoots itself off automatically and it has its own bump stock.

sapient-

We're good.

Keep in mind that one motivation for me to post here comes from the fact that I can't really challenge the views/positions of those Dems that my firm gets work from.

I can up to a certain point because political types generally want to feel like we're having a good debate, but there are definitely limits.

So if it feels like I'm always hard on liberals or being contrarian, there's a selection bias at work and I'm just blowing off steam.

Remember to furrow the brow and for god's sake don't stick your tongue in the mouth of one of the female teenage survivors and smack her on the behind as she leaves the meeting.

How's my hair look?

When I say "I hear you", that's the cue to start moving these fake punks along out of the White House.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-notes-at-gun-violence-meeting-include-reminder-i-hear-you-2018-02-21?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Couldn't hear a thing those blubbering stunt students were saying. That one kid's Mom was a looker though. I wouldn't mind bumping her stock.

KellyAnne, tell me what I heard in there?

"We'll let you know, Chief, as soon as we talk to Wayno."

Nicholas Dworet

morning Pollo, all,
I see a bit better where you are coming from, which I greatly appreciate. I assume the question that started all of this ("are you skeeved", which was a word I didn't know, but assumed it was angered, but the urban dictionary says it is 'disgusted and morally repulsed', which seems like a big ask, given all the other things that morally repulse me at the moment) is also something of a habit you have developed, where you ask before putting out your opinion to gauge how much you can push. No problem with that, that seems to be 98% of my life here in Japan, but in the safe space of this blog, I don't think it is as necessary, it may be better to say 'I think X is problematic and here's why' rather than 'are you upset about X' and then listing the reasons why we should be. Just my feeling, but it might lead to more fruitful discussions. But I appreciate the discussion. Thanks.

I don't think we should be putting our thumb on the scale to "fix" naturally occurring gerrymandering such as what we see with high concentrations of urban voters who go for one party.

"Natural" is in the eye of the beholder. People tend to overlook the fact that the Constitution itself was a highly charged political document, the outcome of a costly and destructive revolutionary struggle and bitter post revolutionary disagreements. We've been trying to fix it ever since...even, gasp, going to the extreme of a bloody protracted civil war to do so.

So when people assert moral claims based on what they assert is "natural" (as opposed to OMFG "political" because we all know that "political" is just another word for bad) I reach for the rhetorical thermonuclear devices.

With deep apologies.

Thanks to everybody who commented on cataracts (and vision issues generally) in response to my bleg. I need to read through them a second time before I ask any follow-up questions.

Meanwhile, may I suggest some compromises to He, Trump and his acolytes?

1) Don't even think about demanding the death penalty for the "mentally ill" who shoot up schools with AR-15s until you forthrightly condemn the RWNJs who claim the survivors are "paid actors".

2) You can have guns in locked safes at schools if you ban sales of assault rifles.

3) You can have "concealed carry" teachers if you outlaw existing assault rifles.

4) You can keep taking money from the NRA if you close the "gun show loophole".

5) You can go fuck yourselves. I'll wait.

--TP

The likely PA split of Pub to Dem in a non wave election is going to hover between 10-8 and 11-7.

Anyone know if the PASC districts used 2010 census data for equal populations, or current estimates? Almost every apportionment projection I've seen calls for Pennsylvania to lose a House seat after the 2020 census. I don't follow PA population dynamics -- my expectation would be that "community of interest" districting will tend towards the lost seat likely being a rural-leaning one.

If you want to fix it, try to get things changed to proportional voting and a parliamentary system.

Proportional voting has its own problems, but any voting system which routinely elects more candidates from the second largest party than from the largest is not fit for purpose. It's democratic (small 'd') to seek to avoid that when drawing electoral boundaries.

I don't understand your point about a parliamentary system.

lj-

Part of my "style" is based on how I take depositions which consists of asking general open ended questions and then circling around to the point I'm trying to get to. Sometimes I do it without thinking.

Part of it is I'm genuinely curious what people think. Anyone could tell that I didn't like how the PASC acted from the original post, but rather than set out my reasons right off the bat, I was hoping to get some thoughts before I made my pitch. In hindsight, it would have been more efficient if I had started by laying out my entire argument, but you don't know that when you start the questions.

I appreciate that you feel that I'm concerned about how far I can push, but I'm afraid that doesn't enter in to it. I'm not actively trying to piss people off, but at the end of the day this is an internet forum and the stakes are pretty small.

PB-

I was thinking of issues related to the Electoral College when I mentioned parliamentary systems. It probably was not a useful thing to toss out there.

If you are suggesting that we should gerrymander to deal with the urban concentration issue, then I obviously disagree.

This is funny. As a building contractor I have spent a good deal of time arguing with PE's about their design work. As a rule, they can be just a disagreeable as any random selection of people.

As and engineer who works with contractors (mostly of the electrical sort), I’m generally deferential to them on that which is their business, because they know how to make things work with the tools and materials that are actually available in the real world. Design only that which needs to be designed, and leave the physical details to the experts to the extent that those details don’t deviate from that minimally necessary design.

Were it not for certain rules (or at least common practices) of procurement, engineers and contractors would design projects together before attempting to construct them, saving a lot of time and money (says me).

bobby-

No need to apologize to me for rhetoric.

Compactness and avoidance of splitting existing political boundaries are common factors that seem like good ideas. If you employ those factors with single-member districts, then dilution of the voting power of urbanites who tend to vote for one party will follow.

I would rather move to a proportionate voting system than engage in political gerrymandering to "fix" single member districts.

So when people assert moral claims based on what they assert is "natural" (as opposed to OMFG "political" because we all know that "political" is just another word for bad) I reach for the rhetorical thermonuclear devices.

“Natural” has the same sort of ring that the “free” market does, no? That people have organized themselves in certain ways, and have chosen to live in certain places with certain densities, is at least in some part the result of policies chosen by people elected under the electoral systems in place, so it’s rather circular to say that those electoral systems should not recognize their own results and only treat them as “natural” phenomenon not to be interfered with in any way.

One mustn’t violate nature.

Compactness and avoidance of splitting existing political boundaries are common factors that seem like good ideas. [emphasis added]

The "compactness" principle isn't so much good in itself as that it constrains (to some degree) how much gerrymandering can be done. So it's a means to an end, rather than end to be pursued for its own sake.

But it occurs to me that the virtue of "existing political boundaries" is even less obvious in a lot of cases. For example, county lines (the ones that aren't purely arbitrary) tend to reflect the situation decades, or even a century or two, ago. These days, even city limits often don't reflect current realities on the ground -- witness the way I can drive thru a half dozen (suburban) towns and never have a clue exactly when I pass from one to the next. Objectively, it's just on continuous suburb.

" Objectively, it's just on continuous suburb."

I find this somewhat odd, just because you don't know where those boundaries are doesn't mean they don't have value, or meaning.

It is not objectively one continuous suburb, it is subjectively one continuous suburb to you.

Well, it's not a matter of me just passing thru. Since I live in one of them, I think I might have a clue about the (lack of) differences. Actually, I probable am more aware of the differences than most -- at least the historical ones. Simply because I've lived here since the days when they were a bunch of little farm towns with lots of open space between them.

I would rather move to a proportionate voting system than engage in political gerrymandering to "fix" single member districts.

Well sure. And I want a pony. You get skeeved with the political realities you have to deal with, not the ones you wish you had...or that old saw about cutting you nose off to spite your face or something like that.

There is/are reason(s) there are "partisans". Some of them are actually legitimate.

There you go.

Thanks.

But it occurs to me that the virtue of "existing political boundaries" is even less obvious in a lot of cases.

A sizeable chunk of my property taxes get spent by the county commissioners. At least in my state, they have a large say in how things like public assistance will be handled (eg, they can make applying straightforward, or miserable). The county is currently split across three Congressional districts -- some county had to get split that many ways, and traditionally (more than the last 30 years) it's this one. I'm hoping that we get another House seat after 2020, and that the new districts can at least only split us into two parts.

my two favorite ideas for drawing districts, so far:

1. voronoi tilings at the state level, based on points of greatest population density in each state, one point per house seat

2. wj's suggestion of having parties take truns defining successive districts

voronois appeal to my desire for a simple, clear, easy to measure solution.

wj's seems most cognizant of human nature.

Were it not for certain rules (or at least common practices) of procurement, engineers and contractors would design projects together before attempting to construct them, saving a lot of time and money (says me).

Alas, in public works dealing with taxpayer money this ain't gonna' happen. But I would note that electrical engineers (as a discipline) are more inclined to say, "Meh. Blew that. Change order approved," than say, most architects who, with the assistance of AIA boilerplate, tend to think they are God, and beyond mistakes.

:)

Marty: "I find this somewhat odd, just because you don't know where those boundaries are doesn't mean they don't have value, or meaning."

Your East-Coast "elitism" is showing. Try living in SoCal or NorCal and you'll soon see wj's point.

Does the brain color-correct automatically? I doubt it, though I don't know. It would have to have the correct information...

Day to day, absolutely. This was brought home to me when I got my fift digital camera and forgot to reset the white balance setting from 'sunshine' on a day it snowed... the snow came out bright blue in the pictures. If you use photoshop, and look at the RGB colour channels (which loosely correspond to the colour detecting cells of the retina) you get a good idea of what's happening.

I think the issue with cataracts is that they block out some light wavelengths almost completely (the blue end of the visual spectrum), and in the almost complete absence of that colour information the brain makes a more permanent correction than the dynamic changes it makes every day to changing light conditions.

It's complicated, as most people will be aware (for example) of the difference between the light from an incandescent and a fluorescent bulb - but will still 'see' white as white.
Under a sodium street lamp, there is virtually no colour information other than a particular wavelength of yellow, and that is all you will see.

The sight in my left eye deteriorated fast than my right eye. I put off getting the operations until I was having trouble seeing with my right eye. By then my left eye was bad enough that it wasn't staying in sync with my right eye. After the operation on my left eye, when looking at someone a short distance away, I could see two people standing side by side. One dressed in drab clothing. The other in bright colors.

In hindsight, it would have been more efficient if I had started by laying out my entire argument, but you don't know that when you start the questions.

It's not the efficiency, I live in Japan, home of so many inefficient things. It's that someone answers your question and you then, by taking on arguments, make it seem that you weren't really interested in what the answer is. For a teacher, that's a no-no and I am definitely not a lawyer, but I believe one of the key things about taking depositions is that you should never ask a question if you don't know what answer you will get. That deposition discourse makes the discussion oppositional. It may make for great fireworks, but probably doesn't help clarify notions and ideas. I know we have a lot of lawyers here, but I hope all of you might consider how asking questions you know the answer to doesn't really let you learn things about how people think.

This is all beside the point of drawing districts and such and I am interested in hearing how it is done, and how it should and shouldn't be done. Here in Japan, there are, I think, similar problems about the rural vote.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/09/japan-rural-voters-tokyo-abe

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/11/27/national/politics-diplomacy/vote-value-disparity-ensures-rural-maintain-clout-urban-masses/#.Wo5xdRNuam0

https://www.nippon.com/en/currents/d00078/

However, all those articles are from 2013 and while there was legislation to reduce the 5 to 1 disparity,

https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a04401/

activists are still protesting

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/11/national/politics-diplomacy/lawsuits-aim-to-void-japans-latest-election-over-vote-disparity/#.Wo5yMBNuam0

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/31/national/crime-legal/fukuoka-court-rejects-suit-vote-value-gap-july-upper-house-election/#.Wo5yNRNuam0

It's all interesting stuff so I appreciate you bringing it up, but I do think it would be better to lay out why you hold your opinion. thx.

I'm pretty sure I've shared this, but consider it a public service announcement. I had a detached retina which occurred when the vitreous in my right eye began to lose liquidity and shrink up, tearing the retina which then allowed the retina to be peeled away from the back of my eye. I was told that this is a common problem, especially among people who have had corrective lenses for a long time (me, since 2nd grade) because the deformation of the eye makes it more likely that the retina will stretch and tear. I could have prevented this had an opthomologist taken a look, he would have then done what they did to my left eye, which was use a laser to 'weld' the tears so they wouldn't get bigger. I was 53 and the doctor said that I should have been doing yearly checkups from the age of 50. Oh well, maybe I can get this right in my next life...

If you are suggesting that we should gerrymander to deal with the urban concentration issue, then I obviously disagree.

You're using a loaded word there. Fair boundaries are ones in which the party getting more votes wins more districts. "Gerrymandering" by definition is aimed at an unfair result.

PB-

I agree that "gerrymander" has baggage. What you are suggesting is that lines be drawn that deprioritize existing political boundaries and compactness for a political result (creating single-member districts that better reflect the political makeup of the state at large).

I could argue that it's all gerrymandering and only a difference in degree, but not kind, but if you have a better word for it, then I'll use it.

FWIW, I think this was done in Chicago at some point. The districts looked like pizza slices where liberal downtown areas were at the point then the district spread out to more conservative suburbs. I don't think that folks in the suburbs felt like they are being treated fairly there.

In googling for the Chicago districts, I came across this:

https://blog.ucsusa.org/michael-latner/pennsylvanias-new-congressional-map-is-fair-but-reveals-fundamental-tradeoffs-in-institutional-choice

This Slate article makes a couple of interesting points...

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/the-pennsylvania-supreme-courts-new-map-restores-the-states-democracy.html?
The University of Florida’s Michael McDonald, who studies redistricting, pointed to a computer program designed to draw 500 maps that prioritize compactness and ignore partisanship. A majority of the plans it produced had a probable 9–9 split, just like Persily’s map.

Still, Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende made a strong case that Persily did draw at least a handful of districts with the goal of making them more competitive. That raises a tricky question: Does Persily’s map constitute its own partisan gerrymander? And, more broadly, should courts ignore politics altogether when they’re fixing gerrymanders?

In Pennsylvania, the answer is likely no—for a very specific reason. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court may have emphasized compact districts, but its opinion dove much deeper into the state constitution’s guarantee of “free and equal elections.” Partisan gerrymandering, the court wrote, “dilutes the votes” of Pennsylvanians who affiliate with the Democratic Party. “It is axiomatic,” the court continued, “that a diluted vote is not an equal vote, as all voters do not have an equal opportunity to translate their votes into representation.” Thus, “each and every Pennsylvania voter must have the same free and equal opportunity to select his or her representatives.”

The court interpretation of the wording of the state constitution seems almost to imply that a system of proportional representation ought to be in place...

Also worthy of note when considering the brain's ability to adjust to visual inputs...
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/nov/12/improbable-research-seeing-upside-down

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