October 22nd, 2012


Are policies a hostage to swing states?


I was watching this Jon Stewart interview with a statistician the other day - this is a guy who has explored the intricacies of polling and electorate research from a statistics perspective. In this segment of the interview he touches on a subject that caught my attention: election campaigns mining data to target increasingly shrinking, tiny portions of the electorate for the sake of winning swing states and thus, the election.

It was recently argued here that the electoral college system is (quote) "better" than a direct vote system - for reasons unexplained, unfortunately. Now, I'm aware that, being a non-American, I'm by definition doomed to never quite "understand" how the US electoral system is "more awesome", so I'm humbly prepared to be enlightened on the subject.

Still, I'll venture to give it a shot, and see if the way I understand this system is anywhere close to reality.

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ø¤º° Welcome to the Debate !! °º¤ø

Live streams @

NBC News
ABC News
You Tube

CBS News' Bob Schieffer will be the moderator; and the topic will be foreign affairs.

[Some interesting Twitter feeds to watch]

Ezra Klein , Washington Post.
Jeff Greenfield, PBS.
John Heilemann, New York Magazine.
Rachel Maddow , MSNBC.
Sean Hannity, Fox News
Bil Maher, HBO
Politifact, Tampa Bay Times.
Fact Check, Fact Check dot org.
Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chairwoman.
Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman.
David Axelrod, Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama.
Eric Fehrnstrom, Senior Romney campaign adviser.
  • luvdovz

When the gap reaches a critical width


In their paper about the relationship between inequality and crises, the economists Michael Kumhof and Romain Rancière try to go beyond the simplistic notion that economic crises are merely a result of personal incompetence plus greed plus bad loans. They look at one of the less researched aspects of the US market, which otherwise is closely related to bank failures - namely, the level of financial disparity between the various segments of society. They analyzed the data for the last century, particularly the periods of the greatest crises, 1929 and 2008. In both cases they've found that the gap between wealthy and poor had opened beyond a certain critical level. Their conclusion: there's a pattern showing that whenever the top 5% possess 34% of the total wealth or more, the level of private loans would tend to double within a short period of time.

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