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Archive: January 2010

Graphabulous No. 4: Electoral College Reform

Everyone knows that the electoral college system weights the votes of some American citizens much more heavily than it does the votes of others. States with small populations have a much higher ratio of electoral votes per eligible voter than larger states do. One solution? Abolish the electoral college.

Neil Freeman at FakeIsTheNewReal.com offers another: redraw state boundaries so that each of the 50 new states has a roughly equal population (of about six million people each).

US map with 50 new states with equal populations

And --as a bonus-- it looks like DC residents get some form of statehood out of the deal!

Learning R blog

AH and BZ have pointed me in the direction of the "Learning R" blog, which focuses almost entirely on using the ggplot2 plotting system in the free statistical package "R" to create graphs.

Lots of examples, lots of code, and lots of good discussion.

PEN-L listserv

You can follow the PEN-L listserv of progressive economists at Nabble.

Ezra Klein, Naderite

Ezra Klein is pissed. He has been a leading voice on the center-left for passing the less-than-perfect health care reform package that has come out of Congress, but is now calling for Democratic voters to stay home in November if the White House and the Congressional leadership do not make health care reform happen, and pronto.

Klein: "My basic position is that politics is a marketplace like any other, and preferences need to be known. If Democrats decide to drop something this important to the lives of hundreds of thousands of human beings because they lost a special election in Massachusetts, they should be punished in the sole way this marketplace allows."

Klein again: "We all agree that there is some point at which the base should abandon the party, at least for a single election cycle."

There is plenty of time before November for the Obama administration to win back Klein and others who have gone out on a limb to defend an important, if deeply flawed, reform. But, man, you know Obama is in a bad place when Ezra Klein is organizing a "Nader for Congress 2010" campaign, and health care reform is what drove him to it.