Friday, November 9, 2012

Gerrymandering - Geological Deceit? - 3

Several times prior to the election I repeated an earlier statement I had made, exclaiming that the President would win reelection by 3% popular vote.

I went on to say that Democrats would pick up one or more Senate seats, and finally that Democrats would also take back the House.

Two out of three may not be that bad of an estimation, but "what happened to the House election?" I wondered.

After not very much research, one has to come to the conclusion that it was Republican gerrymandering that altered the normal reality that "a rising tide raises all boats."

Regular readers know that the issue of gerrymandering has been a concern expressed on Dredd Blog for some time now.

For example, in January of 2009:
The reason that gerrymandering is wrong is because it is anti-voter, to the point that even when the voters overwhelmingly favor a particular outcome, they can be thwarted by gerrymandering.

In other words, the geographical design of the districts is such that it thwarts, and is contrary to, the will of the people at large. It is designed to preserve incumbency and thwart the political notion of accountability.

Furthermore, districts are carved out in strange shapes that result in districts passing through many counties, instead of being defined and bounded by one or more counties.
(Gerrymandering - Geological Deceit?). In a recent post we reviewed the warnings given to Democrats that they were going to lose the 2010 election big time (How Science Defeated The Republican Pollsters).

Notice that the concern about gerrymandering was also expressed again before the 2010 election, which was a census taking year.

The year following a census taking year is the time when congressional districts are typically re-drawn.

That 2010 election, when the Democrats lost the House of Representatives, had double potential negative impact because following that election, later in 2011, is when the gerrymandering impact was designed by Republicans.

The Democrats also lost a lot of state legislatures to Republicans in 2010, a census taking year, and those state legislatures are the only places where the gerrymandering is done.

Thus, the stage was set for what happened in the House elections last Tuesday in the 2012 election.

Following the 2010 election, which we remember took place in a census year, Dredd Blog once again touched upon the subject:
We have little real choice in our elections. Even with low double digit congressional approval ratings, my guess is that at least 80 percent of House incumbents seeking reelection will win. Here is a number that should open some eyes: 95 percent of all House members who sought reelection between 1982 through 2004 were reelected. Expanding the time horizon changes the numbers but not their effect. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, between 1964 and 2010, the incumbent in the House was reelected between 85 percent and 98 percent of the time; the majority of those election cycles resulted in incumbent reelection rates of at least 90 percent. Those are Kim Jung Il and Robert Mugabe numbers that legitimately call into question the fundamental tenet of American democracy: the use of elections express the representative will of the people. A system with historically low approval ratings for Congress yet ridiculously high reelection rates cannot be seen as an accurate reflection of voter will ... The policy consequences that stem from illegitimate political power have long compromised the American political system. Concerned activists and pundits must pay more attention to this critical issue.
(Gerrymandering - Geological Deceit? - 2). That quote of Dr. Michael Fauntroy was discussing what in polite company is called "congressional redistricting", but it is called "gerrymandering" when one political party carves up their state to the exclusive advantage of their political party in House elections.

I found a post over at Firedog Lake blog that agrees with my concerns:
Just a brief postscript to the House elections, which as I said were really decided in Republican state legislatures in 2011 during the redistricting process. It turns out that, on a vote-by-vote basis, more Americans voted for Democrats than Republicans for Congressional seats, currently by about half a million votes ... How did this happen? The gerrymander. That kept states which voted for President Obama locked into Republican delegations for Congress ... Lawmakers simply chose voters in those states, rather than the other way around ... If you take the Brennan Center report showing that redistricting solidified Republican majorities by at least 11 seats, then you have an effective 18 pickups in 2012. For context, Democrats secured 20 pickups in the “wave” year of 2008.
(FDL, 11/8/12, emphasis added). Notably, there were more votes cast for Democrats in the House elections than there were for Republicans, yet Republicans "mysteriously" kept the House majority.

Mystery solved: "the Brennan Center report showing that redistricting solidified Republican majorities by at least 11 seats" ... in other words, gerrymandering did the dirty deed that wide spread State Voter ID Law suppression by Republicans could not do.

Mystery solved, because there is no electoral college for House elections like there is for presidential elections, but something kept the majority of votes from applying to the party that received the majority of votes for House candidates.

Gerrymandering made the electoral cracks through which those votes fell, thwarting the normal election results that should have occurred..

It was the American people who were thwarted once again, and now the nation once again faces being taken hostage by the remaining extremist right wing members of the House.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Black Merda ("They are considered to be the first all black rock band"):

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How Science Defeated The Republican Pollsters

Nate Silver - He got Game Baby!
The statistical scientist Nate Silver did it again this election cycle.

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog observes Nate Silver's enquiries before and during elections because of his track record of phenomenal accuracy.

There has been a link to Five Thirty Eight (Nate Silver) on Dredd Blog for a long time now, because I understand that there is a scientific reason why Nate Silver not only gets it, he gets it right time and time again.

That reason is: he lets reality do the talking, and lets the bloviating do the walking (Guardian).

That is not the way of Republican pollsters like Karl Rove and those who work for him, who are notorious for not letting reality, the facts, or the numbers get in the way of their play pretend during elections or anything else they do:
'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
(Dumb & Dumber -> Bleak & Bleeker, quoting Karl Rove). Their philosophy and doctrine includes denial of scientific methodology, along with replacing science with wishful thinking and whimsical analysis.

This inevitably leads them down the primrose path, a path that leads those who believed those right wing pundits to be greatly disappointed when the results come in.

The democrats were likewise displeased with Nate Silver during the lead up to the 2010 election, because he saw their landslide loss coming, and said so.

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog began to warn the democrats, a year prior to the 2010 elections, that they were courting an election disaster:
I mean in the upcoming elections, since they have shown, up until this point, that they will pay any amount for war, but very little for domestic needs.

The people have polled against the wars for years now, to no avail. The people overwhelmingly voted the neoCon republican hawks out, to give the democrats a chance to do what the people want.

Nevertheless, the wars continue, now having lasted longer than WW I and WW II combined.
(How Much Will Democrats Pay For War?, 11/25/09). The second post of that series delved into the subject a bit more:
In the first article the critical issue of the [Obama v McCain] campaign was mentioned, which was the fact that it was a rejection election. The people rejected something.

That subject is all important to understanding what went down, so in the article we answered the question by saying that it was the Bush II status quo mentality and politics that was rejected.

The Bush II regime's despotic ideology does not sit well with Americans, and in fact it does not sit well with humane people across the globe. Not surprisingly then, it was soundly rejected.


A 9-point loss in the House popular vote would translate into a projected 65-seat loss for Democrats. Or, if we adjust the Rasmussen poll to account for the fact that the Democrats' performance in the popular vote tends to lag the generic ballot, it works out to a 12.4 - point loss in the popular vote, which implies a loss of 79 seats!
(Democrats Pay How Much For War? - 2, 4/10/2010, emphasis added). If Dredd Blog can see ahead not being paid a penny for it, not having advertisers, then how does Dredd Blog do it?

Respect for readers requires the use of credible, proven resources so that Dredd Blog readers are not led astray to become disappointed, but rather are forewarned.

The use of Nate Silver as one source is because he has proven himself over and over again, even having success with predictions  and analysis in the game of baseball prior to eventually focusing on elections (Wikipedia, Nate Silver).

Anyway, I chose Nate Silver vs Karl Rove for today's post to draw upon the radical difference and distinction between reality and play pretend currently at work in our political process.

One thing I see coming is that the Republican elite will be in a civil war of sorts for a while, perhaps behind closed doors, now that some of them are realizing that their game is way off, but some are not realizing it.

Foresight must be based on the most sound and accurate scientific methods of observation available, as well as a grasp of history, both recent and ancient.

UPDATE: Kos and Lizner both did a great job too (see On Average).

Warning: R-Rated language:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Name of the Same is "Athena"

gt = sl - ro
One thing that the residents of New Jersey, Virginia, New York, as well as their bordering states, do not need is another storm coming down on them while they are recovering from the last one.

Nevertheless, a new storm is now in fact bearing down on those victims of the very recent Hurricane-Superstorm Sandy.

Fortunately, from what I can see, the officials in those areas are taking this new storm (which has a name) quite seriously, because they are preparing for it even though it is "tame" compared to Sandy.

To help with the new stormy climate the Weather Channel's new policy of naming winter storms has a purpose:
During the upcoming 2012-13 winter season The Weather Channel will name noteworthy winter storms. Our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation.

Naming Winter Storms

Hurricanes and tropical storms have been given names since the 1940s. In the late 1800s, tropical systems near Australia were named as well. Weather systems, including winter storms, have been named in Europe since the 1950s.  Important dividends have resulted from attaching names to these storms:
  • Naming a storm raises awareness.
  • Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
  • A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
  • In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
  • A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.
(Why We Now Name Winter Storms). The storm that is bearing down and threatening them with even more damage has been named Winter Storm Athena.

Why two hurricanes two years in a row, in that area, heaping repeated damages on those victims, why a follow up storm now, why the great drought in the mid-west, why great flooding one year - drought the next, and why widespread tornado out breaks like never before?

Regular readers know that we talked about our damaged global climate system recently (How Fifth Graders Analyze Hurricane Sandy).

Today, I want to explain how a Fifth Grader might choose to talk about the way the damage is being done to our global climate system, the system that makes all global and local weather around the Earth.

The simple formula we can use is:
gt = sl - ro
Where "gt" is the global temperature equilibrium, "sl" is sunlight energy coming from the Sun to then enter the Earth's climate system, that is to enter the atmosphere, and "ro" is the radiation of the Earth's heat back out into space.

If we use "100" as the amount of sunlight entering the system from the sun (sl = 100) and we also use "100" as the radiation back into space (ro = 100), we derive:
gt = 100 - 100
gt = 0
This tells us that under such conditions the Earth is balanced at zero, neither cooling nor warming, which is as it should be (stable).

However, if the "ro" is weakened to the value of "50" because the green house gas carbon dioxide stops heat from radiating back out into space, then we have a global warming scenario:
gt = 100 - 50
gt = 50
The global temperature equilibrium ("gt") is damaged when it is not at zero, so let's consider just how much it ("gt") is moving away from zero in our world today, due to the decreasing ability of "ro" (radiation of heat out into space):
"The total energy imbalance now [not enough heat radiating into space because of green house gases] is about .6 watt per square meter. That may not sound like much, but when added up over the whole world, it's enormous. It's about 20 times greater than the rate of energy used by all of humanity. It's equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That is how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day. This imbalance means, if we want to stabilize climate, we must reduce CO2 ..."
(Mother Nature Is An International Woman, emphasis added). The global warming, which that condition of being out of equilibrium causes, will in turn eventually be detrimental to the global climate system, and the more that "gt" is out of equilibrium, the more the global climate system will change for the worse.

Fifth graders know that is where we are at the moment, and therefore Fifth Graders know that we must stop pumping green house gases into our atmosphere, because they prevent heat from properly escaping into space as it should.

Thus Irene, Sandy, and Athena, etc., show up in the global climate system as "climate change" to do great and repeated damage to our people and property.

The U.S. Military asked the National Academy of Scientists about the military's current climate change policies, and were told:
The Pentagon was warned ... to stand guard against “climate surprises” which could throw off its efforts to secure America’s future.

An expert report, prepared for the intelligence community by the National Academy of Sciences, warns that the security establishment is going to have start planning for natural disasters, sea-level rise, drought, epidemics and the other consequences of climate change.

The Pentagon already ranks climate change as a national security threat, putting US troops in danger around the world and adding fuel to existing conflicts. More than 30 US bases are threatened by sea level rise.


The military [#1 fossil fuel user] is also working to cut back on its fuel costs in an age of budget austerity, by installing solar arrays and wind turbines, and monitoring electricity use.

But Friday’s report suggests strategic planners are going to have make sweeping adjustments to their planning to take account of climate change over the next decade and beyond.
(U.S. Military Warned, emphasis added). Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has pointed out that the military is way ahead of the civilian nutjobs in congress who are climate change deniers (example Has The Navy Fallen For The Greatest Hoax?).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Advance To The High Ground

The good winds of Change
Scientists are studying up on the skills required to properly convey an unpleasant but necessary message to the public.

They are concerned with informing the public without angering them or unduly alarming them, as those scientists reveal the dangers civilization faces in the wake of our damaged global climate system (Scientists Seek Strategy to Convey Seriousness of Sea-Level Rise).

That mission is not an easy task when people along the coast are told that their land is slowly going the way of the fabled Atlantis which sunk below the sea.

The scientists might point out that Atlantis went in an instant, without the kinds of warnings we have today, good and useful warnings to prepare to move and revolutionize history with the change necessary to kick the fossil fuel habit.

Perhaps those scientists could also tell the story of the towns that have relocated out of flood zones and who are happy they did so:
In the summer of 1993, the merciless Mississippi flooded Valmeyer not once but twice. The water rose to 20 feet, drowning homes, businesses and an entire town's way of life.

When the waters receded, the people of Valmeyer signed on for a bold experiment to move their entire town to higher ground. Over two years, Valmeyer was rebuilt only 2 miles to the east, but on land hundreds of feet higher.

Today, as towns north of Valmeyer struggle with crippling floods, Valmeyer stays dry.
(How a Flood Town Became a City on a Hill, see also NY Times). Those who relocated don't have to worry about the gyrations of the Mississippi River any more.

Mississippi River gyrations which this year reached record low water levels that eventually halted freight traffic, following last year's flooding that was so bad that the Army Corps of Engineers bombed levees to flood areas upstream so that cities downstream would not flood as badly.

These phenomena are not one-time events any more:
What we are doing, though, is we're forcing people to look at other options, and that they're not caught in the cycle of repetitively being flooded out, being damaged, having their personal lives just devastated, and then coming back and in a few years, having it happen again.
(NOVA Transcript). There is a better way than robbing Peter to pay Paul: build new environmentally sane communities with new infrastructure, new power designs, new smart grids, yes, technology and engineering designed to last for generations without damaging the global climate system (see Desertec).

This approach not only avoids the flooding by the inevitable sea level rise now, but it also faces and removes the cause of that sea level rise in the future - the pollution by green house gases.

The victims of Hurricane - Superstorms like Irene last year and Sandy this year can become yet another City on a Hill, another beacon that shows the rest of us the way forward, like Greensburg, Joplin, and Valmeyer (above) have done.

A national work project generating jobs like those that built the infrastructure of national highways and bridges during the depression era of the 1930's would boost the economy rather than tear it down by rebuilding in the same place only to have to rebuild again and again (Groundhog Day & The Climate of Fear).

You folks in the Northeastern U.S.A. have an opportunity to be a light on a hill, and we have an opportunity as a nation to help out big time by using our national tax dollars to Rebuild America instead of destroying foreign nations in fruitless, endless, and counterproductive wars.