Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Income inequality Over Time

Some people think that other people, like Krugman, Piketti, Saez, and - well - me have it all wrong about income inequality. I might take a deep dive into that link at some future date, but for now here are quick graphical looks at reality.

I plotted data from the Census Bureau Historical Household Income Tables to get these graphs.

First, here are the upper income limits for the bottom 4 quintiles, along with the lower limit for the 95th percentile for years from 1967 through 2017.


Graph 1 - Income limits per population slice

Clearly, the spread between quintiles has increased, and by larger amounts as you go up the income ladder.

Looking at it in constant 2017 dollars in Graph 2 makes this picture even more stark.

Graph 2 - Income Groups in Constant 2017 Dollars

The modest nominal gains in the bottom two quintiles have been largely obliterated by inflation. The spread between groups has widened.

What is the mechanism for increased disparity?  The data shows that it is income captured by each group.  This is presented in Graph 3.

Graph 3 - Aggregate share of income

Even into the 4th quintile, the aggregate share of each lower group has declined, while the top quintile has captured more than 100% of the gains, almost every year over the last 50 years.

Graph 4 shows the 1st and 4th quintiles along with the top 5%.

Graph 5 - Including the Top 5%

The top 5% have gained a significantly increasing share of the pie, and now are receiving about as much as the entire 4th quintile.  The pie is growing, but the rich are taking an increasingly larger slice.

I haven't taken a hard look yet at the article I linked at the beginning of this post.  We'll see what kind of arguments are put forth to counter the reality I have presented here.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What Is Free Speech?

A Va. newspaper published a KKK recruitment flyer on their front page.

Rational people were not happy about it.  I got into a back-and-forth with a right winger on FB, who does not understand what "free speech" means.

Right Winger: One of the sharp ends of "freedom of speech." We may not like what it allows but we much like it because we too are allowed.

Me: But - free speech does not guarantee anyone a forum, an audience, nor print space in the paper.

Here, the audience was provided, free of cost, as if it were a news item - on the front page, no less. Their disclaimer does nothing to change that.

This is not a free speech issue. It's a what-in-the-hell-is-the-matter-with-you? issue.

RW: I will have to disagree with your assumption that it does not provide an audience. That is if "free speech" is truly a right.

If someone controls the content of your "speech" on social media, or controls the results of the search engine to eliminate finding articles that you see as objectionable, do you think that we are protecting our right to free speech?

We don't think about the fact that there are two sides to free speech. The first is the spoken part. The second is the hearing part. 

The history of the KKK tells us a lot about hate and control and fear and the political system. It is our "duty" to do our own research about what others say (or print,) and then make an informed decision. 

If "free speech" is shut down (in any manner,) we have less ability to make an informed decision. I may not like how it is done or what is said (or printed,) but we need to protect every manner of free speech (sadly - even that which we viscerally disagree with.)

I took this on, point by point

Thank you for confirming that you have no idea what free speech means. Seriously, you do not comprehend this issue.

"I will have to disagree with your assumption that it does not provide an audience." 

Not only is this wrong, it makes no sense. Don't you think you are free to walk away and not listen?

"If someone controls the content of your "speech" on social media, or controls the results of the search engine to eliminate finding articles that you see as objectionable, do you think that we are protecting our right to free speech?"

No. But the question is irrelevant. Every publication controls what their content is. Search engines are devised by private companies who have no obligation to provide free anything. You are conflating free speech with a right to know, which is not guaranteed anywhere.

"We don't think about the fact that there are two sides to free speech. The first is the spoken part. The second is the hearing part."

That's not how it works. I can stand on the street corner shouting, "[Fill in a name] is a goose and he wants to shit on your lawn." People have every right to walk away, shaking their heads.

"The history of the KKK tells us a lot about hate and control and fear and the political system. It is our "duty" to do our own research about what others say (or print,) and then make an informed decision."

OK. Fair enough. Unfortunately, though, this statement has absolutely nothing to do with the topic we are discussing.

"If "free speech" is shut down (in any manner,) we have less ability to make an informed decision." 

You have no facts to back up this assertion. in fact, it has been demonstrated that people who get all their information from Fox News actually know less than people who don't watch any news. You are ignoring propaganda, which results in people have less ability to make an informed decision. 

"I may not like how it is done or what is said (or printed,) but we need to protect every manner of free speech (sadly - even that which we viscerally disagree with.)"

Not so. Free speech is not an absolute. Many types of speech are in fact crimes - libel, sedition, etc. Here is a catalogue of illegal speech.

Usually, this is where these conversations end.  We'll see if there is a continuation.

[Days later]

Nope.  That was the end of it.



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tigers Update

Over the last 20 games, the Tigers are 11-9.  Their run differential has gone from -33 to -25, despite giving up 16 humiliating runs to the Royals on two separate occasions during that period.
After recently getting swept 0-3 by the hated Royals at home, they have now gone 4-2, winning their next two series against the Astros and Yankees - two rather good teams.
At 49-57, they are now 8 games under .500, with a .462 win percentage. This would project to a 75-87 final record.
With 56 remaining games, barring some horrible collapse involving 43 losses (.232 win %), the dreaded 100 loss season does not seem to be in the cards.
The run differential for only innings 7-9 has hovered in the range of -39 to -53 since game 67 against the Rays, and is currently at -44. 
Tigers scoring breaks down like this -
Innings 1-3: 176 runs
Innings 4-6: 197
Innings 7-9: 135
Opponents -
Innings 1-3: 173
Innings 4-6: 175
Innings 7-9: 179
You can see the double whammy here - opponents late relief has been effective, while ours has not. So the Tigers are a team that has trouble holding a lead, and trouble coming from behind.

On to Baltimore, then Pittsburgh.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Assessing the Tigers first 9 Games

Nine games in, the Tigers are 6-3, a percentage that would project to 108 wins over the season.  Nobody expects that kind of success, but we can hope that this team contends.  The bright spots have been 7 quality starts in 9 attempts, and offensive contributions from the back of the line up.  The let downs have been relief pitching - AGAIN, as always - and the lack of offense from the big guns.

Here are the batting stats.


Player

RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
Avila, A

1 .600 .667 1.000 1.667
Romine, A

4 .375 .375 .750 1.125
Collins, T

2 .350 .381 .500 0.881
Kinsler, I

5 .280 .455 .560 1.015
Jones, J

4 .238 .360 .524 0.884
Castellanos, N

4 .222 .282 .500 0.782
Martinez, V

3 .207 .294 .207 0.501
Upton, J

3 .182 .357 .364 0.721
Iglesias, J

4 .179 .179 .357 0.536
McCann, J

5 .167 .286 .542 0.827
Cabrera, M

1 .133 .278 .233 0.511
Mahtook, M

1 .071 .188 .143 0.330
Machado, D

0 .000 .000 .000 0.000

When the RBI leaders are the lead off hitter and a guy with a .167 average, but you're still winning, something strange is going on.  The real hero of the young season has been Andrew Romine, who can also play any infield or outfield position adequately.

Scoring has been well distributed across the game, with 12 runs coming in the first 3 innings, 16 in the middle third, and 9 in the final 3.  In five of their home games, they have not had to bat in the 9th inning.

The team batting average is a sorry .218.

So how are they winning?

1) Hitting has been clutch.  Note the low averages of the guys with 3 or 4 RBI's. This is not something you can count on in the long run.

2) Defense has also been good, with the occasional stellar play.

3) Starting pitching has been from very good to outstanding in 7 of the 9 games.  One loss came in Fulmer's excellent no-decision first start, when the bull pen allowed 5 runs in the 8th inning.  Zimmerman and Boyd each have one good and one bad start, accounting for the two blow-out losses.

4) They were lucky to catch the Red Sox when they were dealing with illness in the club house,  and some of their better players didn't make the trip to Detroit.

On the other hand, relief pitching has been wildly erratic.  There have been some good outings, but Sanchez, in long relief, has been horrible, and Rondon has been sent back down to the minors.

Here are the pitching stats.


Player

W L ERA AVG WHIP
Verlander, J

1 0 1.35 0.188 0.980
Fulmer, M

1 0 2.25 0.190 0.920
Zimmermann, J

1 1 5.06 0.216 1.310
Boyd, M

1 1 5.40 0.194 1.440
Norris, D

0 0 4.26 0.292 1.580
Sanchez, A

0 0 10.50 0.379 2.500
Wilson, J

1 0 0.00 0.000 0.430
Rodriguez, F

1 0 4.15 0.350 1.620
Wilson, A

0 0 4.50 0.214 1.250
Ryan, K

0 0 2.45 0.300 1.640
Greene, S

0 0 2.70 0.231 1.500
Rondon, B

0 1 40.50 0.500 5.250
Hardy, B

0 0 0.00 0.000 0.000
Jimenez, J

0 0 0.00 0.000 0.000

Frankie has 3 saves and a vulture win in 4 save attempts.  There is a lot of luck here, since he has not been very good. If he doesn't improve, the back end will be a liability, and that, all by itself, could sink the season.

Overall assessment and expectations -- The starting pitching will be fine, and usually will give the team a chance to win. Relief pitching is a huge question mark, and needs to get a lot better if this team is to contend.  They do have a pair of 2-1 wins where the bull pen was good, so there is hope.

Defense has been adequate or better, and hasn't been responsible for many runs scored.

Team offense is in the middle third or worse among the 30 MLB teams.  The current run differential vs the opposition is -6.  Their 37 runs scored have them tied for 19th out of 30.  Cabrera, Victor and J-UP will start producing, and J. D. will be back soon.  If and when that all starts clicking, the offense will be formidable.

Next up - three games in Cleveland.  This will be a test

Hope springs eternal - at least in the Spring.

Data source





Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Opening Day

Some thoughts on the Tigers as they start their rain delayed oping day game in Chigago vs the Sox.

Last season, Cleveland dominated the Tigers, amassing a 14-4 record.

[A postponed game was not made up at the end of the season, since it would not affect the final standings. So both teams played 161 rather than 162 games.]  

This is why they won the pennant. During the Tigers string of pennants that ended in 2014, they dominated the 2nd place team every year, so this has been typical in that division.
Here are the results for the two teams last year.


2016

                                       W             L %
Tigers 86 75 0.534
vs CLE 4 14 0.222




less CLE 82 61 0.573




CLE 94 67 0.584
vs DET 14 4 0.778




less DET 80 63 0.559

Except for the games against each other, the Tigers had a better record.

Tigers should be better this year than last. They've unloaded some liabilities from the pitching staff; Zimmerman and Greene should be healthy; Norris and Boyd should keep improving, and Fulmer and J.V. should be solid.

On the offensive side, Castellanos should have the break out year that got cut short by injury in 2016; Upton should be the real Upton for a full season; J.D. is the real deal, though he'll miss the first month; and Kinsler is top notch. If Miggy and Victor stay healthy, this will be a formidable line up.


Lots of shoulds and ifs here. But if the Tigers perform otherwise the same as last year, and can go even 9-10 against CLE this year, it's game on! Ceteris paribus, that gives the Tigers 91 wins to CLE's 90!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Superbowl Sunday Meditation On Sports Fandom.

The mere act of being a sports fan - until recent years this was the 2nd most geographically divisive topic in America, since the South is still pining over Sherman’s march to the sea.   I can scarcely doubt that had I been born anywhere near Boston, I would be [shudder] a Patriots fan.  But, thank whatever gods control these things, I hale from the otherwise benighted Midwest, specifically Toledo - that overgrown village nestled up against Ohio’s Michigan border, where the muddy Maumee slogs its torpid way into the western corner of algae-choked Lake Erie.

This is actually a great place to be a sports fan, if you’re in to divisiveness and controversy.  It’s close enough to Both Detroit and Cleveland to have fans of both city’s Major League teams: Lions vs Browns; Tigers vs Indians; Pistons vs Cavs.  And, of course, the biggest rivalry of all: Buckeyes vs Wolverines.  Then, there’s the occasional lovable odd ball who follows a Cincinnati team.  This occurs even in my own family.   I don’t recall ever meeting a fan of any Chicago team.

Still, it’s kind of easy to see what is the most powerful factor in making one a fan of some given sports team - mere geographic parochialism.

Perhaps a more interesting topic is what makes one hate a certain team.  Many people feel that if you love team A, then you must hate their biggest rival.  Frex, many Michigan fans want OSU to lose every game - simply because of the rivalry, and vice-versa.  I think that is petty.  My son-in-law - an avid Wolverine fan - wants OSU to win every preceding game, so that when the 2 teams meet in late November, everything will be on the line when the Wolverines [one would hope] triumph.  That’s the kind of camp I’m in.

So, who do I hate, and why?  There are a few reasons - hatred of a particular key player, the coach, or the owner seem to predominate.  This is often irrational, but that ends up not mattering very much.  However, there can be some more or less rational basis for it, often relating to bad behaviors.  I have hated the Fildelfia Phlyers because of their cheating ways back in the early 70’s.  It seemed as if they always scored the winning goal with a man in the crease, mugging the goalie - and getting away with it!  They were a genuinely great team, but everyone on it - even Bobby Clarke - was a damned goon. That, right there is a good, solid reason, seasoned with a heavy dollop of resentment for the hash realities of an unfair world.  Carrying it on for over 4 decades is way over the top, but there you have it.  When it comes to teams, I am a grudge holder.  But in this instance the passion has gone out of it for me - maybe through the passage of time, or the fact that they aren’t very good any more, or that my youngest grandson is a fan of theirs.   At any rate, the whining, cheating, cry-baby Crosby-Malkin edition of the Penguins is now in top spot.  Sad, because I liked them in the Lemieux years.

My next favorite hate is the Dallas Cowboys.  I have no particular animus toward any of their players - with only a couple of historical exceptions.  But their conceit of calling themselves “America’s Team” is an affront this mid-westerner refuses to tolerate.  Beyond that, it's the terminally loathsome, hyper-Republican, meddling owner Jerry Jones who inspires my everlasting enmity.  I never hated the Cowboys under coach Landry.

So, for me, it’s either blatant [and unfortunately successful] cheating, or a personal reaction to an obnoxious prominent face of the team.

What does it for you?


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Historical Look at Electoral Maps

When I was a kid, "The Solid South" used to mean that the southern states from Texas through The Carolinas could be counted on to support the Democratic presidential candidate.  This had been true since 1880, and was a manifestation of southern resentment against Republican northern profiteers, known as carpet baggers, who had gotten fat on the post war reconstruction.

This all changed in the 1960's, after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.   He said at the time that the Democrats had lost the south for a generation. What a failure of imagination!  Here we are, more than 50 years later, and the South is still lost, and probably will remain so for a few more decades.

Heres' s a link to historical electoral maps.

In 1964, the effect was immediate.  For the first time in history, the Republicans took LA, MS, AL, GA and SC, while suffering an epic national loss of of 486 to 52 electoral votes.  As an aside, it's also notable that in the first half of this century, the Democratic party was a welcome home to southern racists.  After 1964, they ran to the Rethugs, who welcomed them with open arms, as evidenced by the Nixon-Reagan southern strategy.

The south revealed its other characteristic factor in the '64 election - voting for its native son.  The Dems carried Texas in '64, and again in '68, when LBJ decided not to run again, and Humphrey stepped up to get stomped by the vile Richard Nixon.  Despite the even worse George Wallace draining off 5 southern states and their 46 electoral votes, Nixon beat Humphrey by 110.

The only anomaly occurred in 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter of Georgia swept the south and beat Michigan's Jerry Ford by 57 EV.  The south gave the presidency to its native son. Except for the first two elections of the 2000's that were stolen by GWB, that was the closest EV margin since 1884.

In '92 and '96 Clinton won his home state of AR, along with a couple other southern states each time, beating his rivals by sizable EV margins.

Florida has gone blue in the last two elections, but the rest of the south remained solidly behind McCain and Romney.

What will happen now?  The black guy has been replaced by a woman who has been vilified by the right wing for 25 years.  More recently, the Rethug controlled congress has wasted huge quantities of both time and money chasing bogus scandals to further discredit her.

HRC is very unlikely to win any southern state beside FLA, which has a large contingent of displaced northerners.

It's up to the rest of the country to keep the dumb con man, who has deep and serious emotional problems, and might actually be insane, out of the White House.

What a god damned night mare.


The Rest of the Tigers' Season

After today's game against the Sox ace Quintana, who has the 2nd best ERA in the AL, the Tigers have 7 games left against first place CLE and 3 more with defending champion KC.

Next up are 3 games against the Orioles, who are 1 game ahead of them in the wild card race.

So far, they're
1-11 vs CLE
6-10 vs KC
1-3 vs BAL

Their other remaining games are 7 against the Twins and 3 against the Braves. They're 10-2 against the Twins, and have not played the 54-85 Braves.

So, they have 14 tough games, and10 where they should be heavily favored.


With 13 remaining games head to head against teams they are contending with, they have an opportunity to control their own destiny, but I have a hard time seeing this as a favorable schedule.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Endgame of ASoIaF

Sophie Turner imagines an elongated, beautiful death for her TV character.   It's all tongue in cheek [I sincerely hope.]  At any rate, it is a hope and a vision that I do not share.

Arya, Bran and Sansa survive, and they all reunite to ultimately rule in the north. Sansa takes down Little Finger. Stannis, in despair after sacrificing Shireen for no good purpose, becomes the 1000th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Brienne becomes castellan at Winterfell.

Davos finally gets to go home. The Boltons die horrible deaths that could never, ever be horrible enough. Big Walder takes over whatever is left of house Frey.

After inadvertently setting off the wildfire that destroys King's Landing, Dani fries Euron on the Isle of Faces. Previously he blew the horn of Joramon, bringing down the wall and setting off the zombie apocalypse. Then Jon gets the dragon - probably Rhaegal - that Victarion unwittingly summoned to Euron with the dragonbinder horn.

Tyrion rides Viserion to Casterly Rock for a showdown with his sibs. Jamie and Cersei go out in a murder-suicide. Then, Jon, Tyrion and Dani ride their dragons into the Land of Always Winter to defeat the Others at their home base. They win, but none of them ever return. Well, maybe Tyrion. Somebody has to relate what happened there.

Cold Hands is not Benjen.


It is known.

H/T to poorquentyn


Friday, August 19, 2016

ASoIaF as Horror

Best horror chapters in ASoIaF, per poorquentyn, who knows these things ---


Best horror chapters in ASOIAF? Here’s my top five:

1. “The Forsaken,” TWOW

2. “The Dragontamer,” ADWD

3. Sam I ASOS

4. Reek I ADWD

5. Catelyn VII ASOS

UPDATE 8/20:  Also, his top ten chapters in the series.

my top ten chapters in the series: 

AGOT: Sansa II

ACOK: Catelyn III

ASOS: Davos IV

AFFC: The Princess in the Tower, The Drowned Man

ADWD: Daenerys X, Bran III, The Dragontamer

TWOW: The Forsaken, Theon I


BIG EVIL, little evil

Quote of the day, relating to alleged kin-slayer Big Walder Frey:
Choosing the lesser evil isn’t a sad half-measure, not in a world where the greater evils are the likes of Ramsay, Gregor, Craster, Rorge…or the Others, above them all.
            -- poorquentyn


Funny, he didn't mention Euron Greyjoy.




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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GoT S6 E09

I finished watching GoT S6 E09 this morning.

Spoiler alert in case anyone needs it at this late date.

A few thoughts.