Tag Archives: disaster

Chart of the Day: Georgia’s 6th Congressional District

Mother Jones

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Jon Ossoff’s near win in the special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district has spurred a lot of conversation about how this represents a huge electoral shift that may be a harbinger of disaster for Republicans in the 2018 midterms. Maybe. That’s a long time away, and a lot of things can happen between now and then. In the meantime, though, this chart from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives a pretty good idea about what really happened:

This is a district that’s been steadily shifting Democratic for years, in both presidential and congressional races. In 2000 it favored George Bush over Al Gore by nearly 40 points. In 2012 that gap was down to about 20 points. The 2016 election accelerated that trend, with Donald Trump squeaking by with only the barest possible victory. There was unquestionably both a long-term Democratic tailwind in the district and a Trump effect specific to 2016.

During that same period, congressman Tom Price went from a 40-point victory in 2006 (his first as an incumbent) to a 20-point victory in 2016. Remove the incumbency effect and it’s not surprising that Jon Ossoff cut that lead to a couple of points earlier this week. There’s a long-term Democratic tailwind and an incumbency effect specific to 2017.

If Ossoff wins the runoff—or loses a close race—it’s unclear exactly what this means. Is it a huge turnaround in electoral fortunes? Or a modest turnaround fueled mostly by the lack of an incumbent and only a little by the Trump effect? I suspect the latter, though I’m not quite sure what evidence we can bring to bear to sort this out. Come back in eight weeks and we’ll take another crack at it.

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Chart of the Day: Georgia’s 6th Congressional District

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Yet Another Feinstein-Burr Bill Has Been Leaked

Mother Jones

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Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr apparently have very unreliable staffs. Yet another discussion draft of a national security bill they’re jointly sponsoring has been leaked to the press. They really need to tighten up their operation.

Source:  

Yet Another Feinstein-Burr Bill Has Been Leaked

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Chart of the Day: The Rich Live a Lot Longer Than the Poor

Mother Jones

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This really is the chart of the day. It seems like it’s been making the rounds on about half the blogs I read:

It comes from the Health Inequality Project, and it will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog. Still, these findings are even more dramatic than usual. The difference in life expectancy between the poorest and richest is a full 15 years for men and 10 years for women. But this chart, based on HIP’s data, is important too:

In the largest coastal cities, life expectancy is four or five years longer than it is in smaller, Midwestern cities. If you take a look at the map in HIP’s report, there’s a broad swath running diagonally from Texas up through the rust belt that has the lowest life expectancies in the nation. Why? Perhaps because of this:

Much of the variation in life expectancy across areas is explained by differences in health behaviors, such as smoking and exercise. Differences in life expectancy among the poor are not strongly associated with differences in access to health care or levels of income inequality. Instead, the poor live longest in affluent cities with highly educated populations and high levels of local government expenditures, such as New York and San Francisco.

If you’re looking for policy conclusions, I can toss out two off the top of my head. First, effective public health campaigns matter. Reducing smoking and encouraging better eating and exercise can make a big difference. Second, increasing the retirement age is the worst possible way to fix Social Security’s funding problems. It’s already 67 for everyone under the age of 55. This means that among the rich, a two year increase reduces their retirement life by about two years out of 20—roughly 10 percent. But among the poor, it takes two years out of ten—roughly 20 percent. There’s no need to balance the Social Security trust fund on the backs of the poor. We have plenty of better alternatives.

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Chart of the Day: The Rich Live a Lot Longer Than the Poor

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It’s Been Quiet Lately. Maybe a Little Too Quiet…

Mother Jones

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Didn’t there used to be some guy named Donald Trump running for president? Whatever happened to him? It seems like days since I’ve heard a desperate cry for attention from the campaign trail.

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It’s Been Quiet Lately. Maybe a Little Too Quiet…

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Russia Decides It’s Time to Declare Victory and Get Out of Syria

Mother Jones

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Vladimir Putin announced today that he would begin withdrawing most of his forces from Syria. The move came as a complete surprise—sort of:

But U.S. officials also said that there had been evidence over the last several months that appeared to suggest that Moscow didn’t have plans for a long-term stay at the bases it used in Syria.

For instance, the Russian military didn’t appear to be rotating its equipment—tanks, aircraft and artillery—among bases throughout the country in a way that would be consistent with a military’s plans for a sustained presence. Equipment wasn’t being withdrawn for maintenance, for example, and Russian forces weren’t being rotated in and out, according to U.S. officials.

It’s unlikely that Putin ever really intended to stay for a long time in the first place. His goal wasn’t to help Assad win his civil war, but merely to prevent him from losing—just as there’s a reasonable case to be made that this is basically our goal too on the other side of the fight. It’s realpolitik at its nastiest and most cynical. And while the recently convened peace talks in Geneva provided Putin with a convenient pretext to get out, there was more to the timing than just that:

Russia is also facing deepening economic problems caused by the collapse in global oil prices, and the announcement may reflect Mr. Putin’s desire to declare victory and extricate his country from a costly military venture….There have been growing signs of differences between Russia and the Syrian government over the Geneva talks, which Moscow has pressed hard for, along with Washington. And for Mr. Assad, the prospect of Russia’s leaving him to fend for himself is sure to focus his mind on following its lead — advice that Russian officials have publicly offered him in recent days.

In the end, Putin managed to prop up Assad for a little while longer and reassert control over Russia’s only military base outside of its own territory. He also earned a place at the negotiating table and, perhaps, kept Iran’s influence over Syria at bay. In terms of pure military achievement, however, it was a modest affair. The maps below, from ISW, show what’s happened over the past six months. Syrian forces have made progress toward retaking Aleppo, which is significant but hardly tide turning. And that’s about it. What’s more, with Russian air support gone and Kurdish forces also advancing on Aleppo, it’s unclear if Assad can hold this ground in the long term. Stay tuned.

Continued – 

Russia Decides It’s Time to Declare Victory and Get Out of Syria

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