1767: "US State Names"

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby azule » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:04 pm UTC

Thanks for the replies, you two. I just read up recently about the proposed state of Sequoyah, which was about half of Oklahoma. It was not approved by the Republican congress because it would have been a Democratic state. Therefore it was combined with the proposed Oklahoma state.... Politics. Ignore this part if you don't like the political climate. Knowing this (Oklahoma, Dakotas, etc.) makes it hard to think of the meaningfulness of the voice of a red state vs a blue state when there might have been more smaller blue states.
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:28 pm UTC

azule wrote:Thanks for the replies, you two. I just read up recently about the proposed state of Sequoyah, which was about half of Oklahoma. It was not approved by the Republican congress because it would have been a Democratic state. Therefore it was combined with the proposed Oklahoma state.... Politics. Ignore this part if you don't like the political climate. Knowing this (Oklahoma, Dakotas, etc.) makes it hard to think of the meaningfulness of the voice of a red state vs a blue state when there might have been more smaller blue states.

I think all this gerrymandering shows the weakness of district systems (whether each district is huge like in US general elections or smaller like in the UK) compared to proportional representation (or 1 person 1 vote for single person offices). Also, I think the historical value of US states as opposed to provinces in a unitary state is hugely diminished by having the federal government mould them from randomopportune pieces of land, as opposed to them being created from historical entities like the original states, Texas, Hawaii or Alaska.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:31 am UTC

somitomi wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:It has been a day and a half... So answers to my cryptic clues, as promised, that were:
Soupspoon wrote:"Fit a trillion old Englishmen into a small measure."
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Are, respectively:
Spoiler:
Texas, Nevada, Delaware

...I don't think I need to explain why/how.

I think you do, because they make no sense to me.


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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby sotanaht » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:04 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:
sotanaht wrote:The Carolina and Dakota splits can basically be summed up as infighting. North Dakota had "problems" with the capitol being too far away and it looks like the people running the Carolinas were just an incompetent and mostly criminal mess. Both of those were essentially split down the middle to separate groups, rather than one group taking its land and leaving. I am of course greatly oversimplifying things.


The Dakotas are a much too interesting story to simply sum up like that. Originally a single "Dakota" territory, the controversy was whether to admit it as a single state or split it along the natural line of the Missouri River and admit both East and West Dakota separately. Two states would have meant four new US Senators, all Republican, which didn't sit well with Democratic then-President Grover Cleveland. When Cleveland lost the election in 1888 (although winning the popular vote), his successor Benjamin Harrison split it the other way and also admitted Montana and Washington to balance out the parties in Congress.

The whole thing is treated entertainingly, including campaign songs for both candidates, in the Disney film The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band.


Interesting, but what I was reading was basically a dispute over where the capitol was/would be. The northern parts of Dakota only became populated due to a gold rush. Prior to that, the capitol was very far to the south along with most of the population near Yankton. The northern part created their own capitol for need of more local governance, and ultimately that issue lead to the north/south split.

What you said is probably why the US chose to admit them as two states rather than force them to come together as one, with the capitol issue being the driving cause behind their desire to split.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby sotanaht » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:17 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
azule wrote:Thanks for the replies, you two. I just read up recently about the proposed state of Sequoyah, which was about half of Oklahoma. It was not approved by the Republican congress because it would have been a Democratic state. Therefore it was combined with the proposed Oklahoma state.... Politics. Ignore this part if you don't like the political climate. Knowing this (Oklahoma, Dakotas, etc.) makes it hard to think of the meaningfulness of the voice of a red state vs a blue state when there might have been more smaller blue states.

I think all this gerrymandering shows the weakness of district systems (whether each district is huge like in US general elections or smaller like in the UK) compared to proportional representation (or 1 person 1 vote for single person offices). Also, I think the historical value of US states as opposed to provinces in a unitary state is hugely diminished by having the federal government mould them from randomopportune pieces of land, as opposed to them being created from historical entities like the original states, Texas, Hawaii or Alaska.


It would probably be good to remember that republican states are typically large producers, whereas democratic cities are huge consumers. While "1 person 1 vote" might sound good in theory it can easily leave those we depend on most without any real say in their own governance, which in turn leads to civil war and a nation that cannot support itself. Ironically it's the very same "tyranny of the majority" the democrats are so afraid of.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby mschmidt62 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:44 am UTC

It would probably be good to remember that republican states are typically large producers, whereas democratic cities are huge consumers.


Really? Wyoming produces more than California? California is the leading producer of all sorts of agricultural products, in addition to entertainment, technology, and lots of other things.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby mschmidt62 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:46 am UTC

There have been some weak ones lately. Either he's got another Time/Garden/etc. in the works (we seem to get a string of phoned-in xkcds before the big script-o-licious ones land), or he's still in mourning.


Well, there was a comic about labeling moving boxes not too long ago. Moving can suck lots of time and energy.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:36 am UTC

mschmidt62 wrote:
It would probably be good to remember that republican states are typically large producers, whereas democratic cities are huge consumers.

Really? Wyoming produces more than California? California is the leading producer of all sorts of agricultural products, in addition to entertainment, technology, and lots of other things.

Not to mention that blue states typically send more money than they receive from the federal government, while red states typically take more than they give back.
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:44 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
mschmidt62 wrote:
It would probably be good to remember that republican states are typically large producers, whereas democratic cities are huge consumers.

Really? Wyoming produces more than California? California is the leading producer of all sorts of agricultural products, in addition to entertainment, technology, and lots of other things.

Not to mention that blue states typically send more money than they receive from the federal government, while red states typically take more than they give back.
Yeah, it's always entertained me that the strongest anti-tax sentiments are usually found in places that are a net cost to the US government, whereas blue states provide much more tax income than they receive back in funding.

Producers and consumers of what, in other words. Sure, farms are in rural areas, but most of the economic and industrial production occurs in cities.

Plus, gerrymandering is a separate problem from the issue of how much a person's vote counts. The Electoral College and Senate structure that give more power to people from underpopulated states could continue to exist without state legislatures gerrymandering districts beyond all sense in order to give unfair influence to whichever party is already in control of the legislature. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with privileging voters in less populated states.
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(It's not privileging rural voters, because rural voters get swamped by the more populous cities in every state, including Wyoming and Alaska, and small non-rural places like RI and DC also get the benefit of extra electoral power in presidential elections.)
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby BoothbayBruce » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:50 pm UTC

Everybody (at least everybody I know) knows it is "New Hamster", not "New Hamper"

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby TvT Rivals » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:36 am UTC

There have been suggestions to avoid the most egregious problems of gerrymandering (creating districts more compact would help), but politicians don't want this, of course.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:44 pm UTC

TvT Rivals wrote:There have been suggestions to avoid the most egregious problems of gerrymandering (creating districts more compact would help), but politicians don't want this, of course.

Why not switch to a mixed representation system like in Germany?

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby azule » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:12 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
TvT Rivals wrote:There have been suggestions to avoid the most egregious problems of gerrymandering (creating districts more compact would help), but politicians don't want this, of course.

Why not switch to a mixed representation system like in Germany?

Which parts are mixed?
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:43 pm UTC

azule wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:
TvT Rivals wrote:There have been suggestions to avoid the most egregious problems of gerrymandering (creating districts more compact would help), but politicians don't want this, of course.

Why not switch to a mixed representation system like in Germany?

Which parts are mixed?

Doesn't the German parliament have a system where the district elected MPs are complemented by other MPs added in such a ratio as to closely resemble proportional representation? Thereby having a combination of district voting with proportional representation.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby Sableagle » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:20 pm UTC

LMJGTFY:
The Economist explains

On the left side of the ballot, they vote for an individual in their district (as though voting for an American congressman, say). There are 299 districts, so 299 members of parliament are directly elected. On the right, they vote for a party. Once these "second votes" are tallied, the parties get to fill another 299 seats from candidate lists until each party's share of the Bundestag's 598 representatives matches the proportion of second votes that it won. To deal with the Weimar problem, parties that fall below a threshold of either 5% of second votes, or three directly elected candidates, do not enter parliament at all. (The other parties' shares are then rebased accordingly.)

There was a problem, however. Many voters "split" their ballots, voting for a candidate from one party with their first vote and for a different party with their second. The directly elected candidates (known as direct mandates) entered the Bundestag, but a given party might then have more candidates than its share of the second votes would imply. This also meant that the Bundestag swelled from its theoretical size of 598 seats to 620. The constitutional court in Karlsruhe ruled that this was unfair.

So the parties haggled out a new system, which is in force now. If direct mandates for any party exceed its second-vote ratio, then all the other parties get compensated so that the ratios again reflect the second votes exactly. In practice, that could make the Bundestag bigger again, with perhaps more than 700 seats. Crucially, it also hurts one party by withdrawing an advantage it has enjoyed in the past: most of the excess direct mandates went to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Angela Merkel, the chancellor. As a result, the CDU is likely to fare worse than it would have done under the previous system.
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby svenman » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:05 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
azule wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:
TvT Rivals wrote:There have been suggestions to avoid the most egregious problems of gerrymandering (creating districts more compact would help), but politicians don't want this, of course.

Why not switch to a mixed representation system like in Germany?

Which parts are mixed?

Doesn't the German parliament have a system where the district elected MPs are complemented by other MPs added in such a ratio as to closely resemble proportional representation? Thereby having a combination of district voting with proportional representation.

That is correct. So, in other words, the part that determines how votes get translated into parliament seats is mixed. One of the results is that voting districts, as far as I can tell, don't have quite the same importance as in FPTP systems; also, there is hardly any incentive for gerrymandering. A drawback is that while it is ensured that each voting district is represented by at least one member of the parliament, it usually happens that because of the complementary seats some districts (often more urban ones) are in effect represented by multiple members (of different parties), but others (often more rural ones) only by the one that has been directly elected there. Party politics tend to ensure that the lists from which the complementary parliament members are drawn are at least regionally well balanced, though.
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:19 pm UTC

Interesting. I would think they could have more elegantly solved the split-vote problem by reducing the ballot to a single option, the direct mandate candidate, and then inferring what would have been the second option, the party, from the direct mandate candidate's party.

This kind of mixed representation also gives me an interesting idea to solve the kind of population-vs-location problem often discussed in US politics (does one way or another of counting votes, e.g. electoral college vs popular vote, give or take too much weight from people in dense urban or sparse rural areas). Divide electoral districts up (in some formulaic manner not subject to gerrymandering) in two different, overlapping ways: one way into districts of equal population, another way into districts of equal area, with the size of each kind of district adjusted such that there are equal numbers of both kinds of district. Every individual will be in one of each kind of district, and for the whole country overall there will be one of each kind of district per the other kind, but in some places there may be many pop-districts per area-district, in other places many area-districts per pop-district. For a multi-seat election (like a congress or parliament), you would then populate it with the (Condorcet) winners from each of both kinds of district. For a single-seat election (like a president), you would then give one electoral vote to each of both kinds of district, cast for the (Condorcet) winner of that district, and the single seat would be filled by the (Condorcet) winner of those electoral votes.

This could then be complimented by a fixed number of seats per sub-entity in a federation like the United States (e.g. the Senate seats and two presidential electoral votes which area apportioned by state, irrespective of either area or population), and lastly by additional seats / electoral votes to represent different parties proportionally too (like this German system does). So all kinds of different factors are appropriately weighted: population, geographic area, federated entities (like US states), political parties, and conceivably it could be extended to consider other factors as well.
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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:57 pm UTC

That should work fairly elegantly, though it might give rural voters more pull than at present. Politically, I imagine it would be difficult to arrange a change of this magnitude, but it should be functional enough to represent both demographic concerns and geographical ones. I suppose someone could make the case that one of those things are more important and should be given priority, but that's easily accomplished by changing the ratio of districts.

That said, there's a certain elegance to splitting it evenly.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:22 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Interesting. I would think they could have more elegantly solved the split-vote problem by reducing the ballot to a single option, the direct mandate candidate, and then inferring what would have been the second option, the party, from the direct mandate candidate's party.

Maybe it helps with outlier candidates, more popular for their position than the party or party leader is deemed to deserve in the eyes of the same sub-electorate.

I know I have personal disdain for tactical voting (i.e. 'dishonest' voting against what you'd normally want, but for idealistic 'stick it to the leader' reasons), unless that somehow includes my personal tendency to vote for the candidate alone. (It has helped that I've had a particular 'character' MP on the ballot for a long period, sometimes out of favour with his leadership and sometimes not. But a good guy, IMO, though not according to everyone. No longer running, though.)

So, what might I do with a 'character' vote and a 'policies' one, officially? Maybe split.

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Re: 1767: "US State Names"

Postby svenman » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:37 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Interesting. I would think they could have more elegantly solved the split-vote problem by reducing the ballot to a single option, the direct mandate candidate, and then inferring what would have been the second option, the party, from the direct mandate candidate's party.

That is indeed a possible variant and happens to be used in the state elections in my home state of Baden-Württemberg. Advantage: the ballot is easier to understand. Drawback: the chances of independent candidates, or candidates from parties failing to clear the 5% threshold nationwide/statewide, to be elected to a parliament seat are reduced even further. The double-vote system as used in the federal elections allows you to back both a local candidate and a party of your choice with less reason for concern that your vote might be "wasted" regarding one of the two aspects.
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