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November 7, 2012

Still to be seen
Posted by Avram Grumer at 03:41 AM * 104 comments

Important issues still left unresolved by yesterday’s election results:

  • The people of Puerto Rico voted (53%) to change their political status to that of statehood (65%). But Congress has to approve the change. In population, Puerto Rico falls between Connecticut and Oklahoma, so figure it’d have five Congressional Representatives. It also trends pretty blue politically, so that’s a few more Democratic seats in the House, two more in the Senate, and a seven more reliable blue votes in the next Presidential election. All of which means the Republican-controlled House isn’t gonna go for it.
  • Will the vindication of Nate Silver’s predictive model over the gut instincts of political pundits translate to a more general shift towards knowledge and expertise and away from empty bloviating and bullshit in political reportage?
  • Has Nate Silver already figured out how the admission of Puerto Rico would alter the size of the Electoral College, and registered the appropriate domain name?
  • Are Hoefler & Frere-Jones going to release that slab-serif version of Gotham they cooked up for the Obama campaign last year?
Comments on Still to be seen:
#1 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:07 AM:

Here's hoping that Nate Silver's second triumph does bring a reduction in empty bloviation. Hard to imagine what Fox Noise could find to replace this, though.

Adding Puerto Rico to the United States would bring the electoral college to 540. Puerto Rico's five seats in the House would be taken from other states, but the Senate would gain two seats.

#2 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:20 AM:

Is there any reason to think that Congress would not approve making Puerto Rico a state?

#3 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:25 AM:

...and either that first point got edited between when I first read it and now, or else I should not read these things late at night, because now it has some reasons.

#5 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 06:25 AM:

I'm under the impression that the Puerto Rican vote is a "nonbinding referendum". Does that imply they'd need to have anotherformal vote before submitting the question to Congress?

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 06:37 AM:

dichroic #5: In the Puerto Rican case, what should happen now is that their delegate in Congress (who sits in the House but has no floor vote) will ptesent a statehood bill to the House.

It's then up to the House to decide what to do.

The high likelihood is that some Republican will stick an amendment on requiring that Puerto Rico make English official. Quite possibly requiring that all public education be in English. That will be interesting.

A state (or commonwealth) of Puerto Rico, would add at least four of its five House seats to the Democratic side, with a chance of one going to the Republicans once in a while. It would be a mostly reliable source of Democratic senators (with the odd chance of electing a Republican). The Republicans will not be happy with this. On the other hand, if they reject Puerto Rico's application for statehood, their chance of making any inroads into the Latino vote heads down to absolute zero.

#7 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:47 AM:

The Republican Party of old--forget today's abomination--wouldn't consider giving D.C. to right to representation over just one Representative. Why would anyone think PR would get better treatment?

#8 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:13 AM:

If Maryland's and Maine's approval of gay marriage will be the tipping point for the rest of the country.

#9 ::: Ginny P. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:16 AM:

Also on a design note, has anyone drawn IP a flag with 51 stars?

#10 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:21 AM:

It also trends pretty blue politically, so that’s a few more Democratic seats in the House, two more in the Senate, and a seven more reliable blue votes in the next Presidential election.

Although about half of the house and electoral college votes would come at the expense of already blue states, so the net change would be smaller. Some of the red states are already at the 1 house member floor and can't lose representatives/EVs.

#11 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:35 AM:

In spite of the above...

There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow
There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow.
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye
And it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky.

Oh, what a beautiful Mornin'
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I've got a beautiful feelin'
Everything's goin' my way.

#12 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:59 AM:

Well, it's a relief that Romney was defeated, but we still have that Republican House to deal with.

#13 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 09:00 AM:

Pundits have known FOREVER that good math is a better predictor than all their bloviating.

But they can't do math, and they can bloviate. JOB SECURITY!

Yeah, I'm not hopeful. But maybe (like that 'fact-checking' thing they've begun to adopt) we can shame them into at least including a little bit of it.

#14 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 09:20 AM:

jnh @8, I actually suspect that the tipping point on marriage equality was Obama's endorsement of the issue, and that Maryland and Maine (and the rejection of the amendment in Minnesota) are the first realization of that. This summer and fall saw marriage equality becoming the default Democratic position, and I think a lot of people who otherwise would have been undecided or supported a civil union position but were not strongly anti-marriage equality supported it as a result. Here in MD, marriage equality was supported not only by the Democratic party but by the AFL-CIO and the state teachers' union, and I don't think that would have happened without Obama.

There's also just the general increase in support for the issue as younger people vote for the first time; age has been the strongest predictor of support for marriage equality for a while, and there was an old 538 post that I can't find now which showed a state-by-state prediction of when each state would vote against a marriage ban; ISTR that there was a lot of movement between then (this was 2009, I think, after Prop 8) and 2012.

#15 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 09:27 AM:

The interesting question on Puerto Rico is whether there is a believably potential-state candidate available that is reliably red. Hawaii and Alaska were brought into the union in the same year; I can see someone brokering a Missouri-Compromise-like situation to bring in PR *if* they could add another one with two probably-red senators ...

But I don't think we have another candidate nearly as ripe as PR is. We own a bunch of territory that has no Congressional representation, but not with the, um, solid esprit-de-corps and identity that PR has (kind of like how in the SCA it is determined that a given Principality or region is ready to go Kingdom on its own).

#16 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 09:36 AM:

9: Wiki has a 51-star flag on the "51st state" page:

#17 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 09:54 AM:

The 435-representative size is set by Congress, so they can increase it in the same bill that admits Puerto Rico as a state, if they choose. I'd be inclined to think they'd be happier to add 5 seats than take 5 away from existing states. (I might think otherwise if it were done as part of a census realignment overall, but there isn't another one of those scheduled for a while.)

Given the Latino effect in the other races this election, I'm hopeful that saner GOP heads would realize a flat rejection of a PR statehood petition would pretty much kill the chance of any significant support from that growing demographic for a long time, as Fragano Ledgister points out above. I could see some attempts to delay it, though, or to try to attach additional conditions in the hopes of killing it without being too obvious about it.

#18 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:13 AM:

With regard to marriage equality: back when our kids were in high school and participating in Youth in Government (which I believe is the amalgamated version of what used to be Boys' State and Girls' State), one of the "bills" that came up every year in the state session was marriage equality, and every year it passed -- this even before New Hampshire went blue.

Those kids are voters now.

#19 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:26 AM:

Did anyone else think Romney looked relieved when he came out to give his speech? It was the most natural body language I've seen from him since he started campaigning.

I'm praying that Obama has enough sense to let the damn Bush-Obama tax cuts expire. And I confess I would enjoy watching the Republican writhe over the sequestration of funds which Boehner said were "80% of what he wanted."

So Puerto Rico wants to be a state? Cool.

#20 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:29 AM:

I think it more likely Congress would increase the size of the House rather than shift seats to PR if they were accepted as the 51st state. IIRC the Republican platform does approve admitting PR as a state if the populace calls for it. The Democrats would support such a move as well, so now it's basically figuring out how to work out the details.

Talk about a historic election last night; a black President is re-elected with fairly broad support, the first openly gay Congressperson is elected, and we may see our 51st state admitted to the Union as well!

#21 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:40 AM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 17--a substantial increase in the size of the House would also have the excellent effect of making that House--and the electoral college-- more closely reflect actual demographics. Right now, the requirement that each state have at least one congressperson, and the fact that states can't have fractional congresspeople, means that some House districts are nearly twice the size of others.

#22 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:51 AM:

"The fact that 18 women out of 100 senators would be a record high is pathetic. But it's progress."

When a formerly all-male group gets 1 or 2 women, it changes the debate a little. At 18% we are not even within sighting distance of equality, but we're definitely in the territory of confused men thinking women are talking waaaaay too much all of a sudden. When we actually get to about 35% or 40%, men who haven't done the math will look at photos of the Senate and sincerely believe that we're at a female majority.

So, still to be seen: who will say "wow the Senate has a lot of women these days" and imply that this is illegitimate. Or will say, or imply, that surely 18% is basically enough representation for that special interest group.

#23 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 11:37 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @22: men thinking women are talking waaaaay too much

Hah! You just reminded me of a weird experience I had some years back. Riding the bus to Denver, someone in the front row was harrassing the driver. Other passengers finally got tired of it, and started calling him on it. When I chimed in, the guy in the seat in front of me turned around and said, "Boy, you sure like to talk, don't you?"

I blinked at it, went back to watching the altercation. Said something again, a few minutes later. Again, this guy turns around and repeats his comment. His reaction was unthinking, almost reflexive.

Very weird. I quickly deduced that this was his tactic for keeping the "wimminfolk" in his household in their place.

#24 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Ginny P. @ 9: Flags of the World has a couple of proposed 51-star US flags. The second one is rather lovely, I think.

#25 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 12:00 PM:

Re #22: It's not just men who will look at 40% female group and think it's majority female; it's been shown that both sexes do that.

#26 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 12:36 PM:

John L @ 20

the first openly gay Congressperson is elected

Minor correction: the first openly gay senator is elected. If my research is correct, Baldwin was also the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to the House of Representatives, but that happened back in 1998. There have also been several others in the House who came out while in office and who were re-elected after that (e.g., Barney Frank).

Sorry to focus on nuances, but the nuances give us even more incremental victories to celebrate. Step by step.

#27 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 12:37 PM:

Oh yeah: Colorado legalized marijuana. (On balance, I regard this as a good thing. The downside is that I now find myself biking through foul-smelling clouds in addition to the effluvium of the tobacco smokers. ::sigh::)

#28 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 12:47 PM:

Jacque: Thanks for sharing that anecdote. Blergh! What a jerk.

I get bewildered, then angered when someone presumes that I don't have a right to participate in the common discourse -- because I'm a woman, because I'm not white, because I'm not a software developer, what have you. (I work in tech.) So, wtf? and AARGH on your behalf.

Lawrence: I remember reading that too -- do you happen to remember where we can find those studies? I'm trying to find them and not getting anywhere.

Yeah, this unfortunate prejudice affects everyone who grew up in a patriarchy, unless we make deliberate personal attempts to combat it. I fight it by noticing that "meh" reflex regarding the opinions of a member of a historically marginalized demographic, and then consciously listening; I hate that I still have any residue of that reflex at all.

#29 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:03 PM:

giltay @24: I rather like that second one, too -- the drawback is that it's visually different enough from the one we have now that everyone (and I mean EVERYONE that ever even considers displaying a flag once or twice a year, so keeps one in the basement) is going to have to replace theirs or be very obviously using An Old Flag.

The reflowed rectangular layout is similar enough to the current on in broad outlines that probably a lot of people wouldn't buy new flags (and wouldn't be seen as making a political statement thereby).

Of course, flag-buying is economic activity that pushes jobs, right? :-> And probably most of the 'fly a flag every day' folks are going through a flag every year or two for general wear-and-tear anyhow, so they won't see it as an onerous economic burden to replace early. Especially if (as seems likely) we'll have 6-10mo warning it's going to be happening as things grind through legislatively.

#30 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:12 PM:

Something I haven't seen mentioned so far: the Democrats now have a supermajority in BOTH houses of the CA legislature. This is potentially news of global importance; they've finally got a chance to solve the festering tar-pit of the California state budget at both ends -- by raising taxes as well as cutting infrastructure. And they also get to put constitutional amendments in front of the voters.

The CA economy is globally important -- if CA was independent it'd be a member of the G8 -- and the risk of a collapse was very real and would have had global repercussions. Hopefully it won't happen now ...

#31 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:15 PM:

giltay #24, Elliott Mason #29: I like the circular-arrangement flag quite a lot. I don't think having an old flag is necessarily a problem, though that could be because the flag my mother uses on appropriate occasions is a 48-star version.

#32 ::: Betsy-the-muffin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:17 PM:

I hope that Republicans decide to acknowledge the growing Latino vote in more ways than "merely" Puerto Rican statehood.

#33 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:18 PM:

On the 40% patriarchy effect

Senators are elected from an elite. How does the product compare to the raw material? Candidate selection or election?

#34 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:26 PM:

The high likelihood is that some Republican will stick an amendment on requiring that Puerto Rico make English official. Quite possibly requiring that all public education be in English. That will be interesting.

Public education in Puerto Rico is already bilingual, and has been for decades. Embarrassingly for me, my cousins who grew up there speak far, far better English than I (who moved away just before kindergarten) do Spanish. The effect of such a proposal is going to be emotional/cultural, not practical. And I guarantee it will be highly unpopular in PR.

#35 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Yay for Maine and Maryland, putting paid to the argument that voters will never approve gay marriage! I still can't find any results about the Washington State initiative, though.

Texas has sent a teahad lunatic to the Senate, courtesy of the "straight party ticket" vote. I would be buying popcorn if I weren't so busy cringing for my state's reputation, already damaged enough by the likes of Tom Delay and Bush II.

Sumana, #28: I remember hearing about that as "the 15% effect" in the 1980s, when a series of studies of college students demonstrated that in mixed-gender classrooms, any time the women contributed more than 15% of the class discussion, they were perceived as "dominating" it. I don't recall whether that was only by men, or by the women themselves as well.

Elliott, #29: Most of the American flags for sale now are made in China. The military might be an exception, but check the next few sets you see in retail stores.

I love the circular-stars flag design! Talk about thinking outside the box... Unfortunately, some loon is almost certainly going to look at it and see "pagan symbol", and start a smear campaign like the one that made Proctor & Gamble knuckle under, so it's unlikely we'll ever see it in use.

Betsy, #32: They'll have a hard time doing that, given the way they've doubled down on the "illegal immigrant" issue over the last 4 years. Too many of their core constituency more-or-less assumes that anyone with brown skin is an "illegal immigrant" -- unless they're an "Islamic terrorist".

#36 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 02:41 PM:

With regard to the 51-star flags at giltay's link--the second one has, lurking in its design, a circle with 13 stars, Just Like George Washington's Flag. I capitalize that because that will be my argument anytime anyone argues against it. Look! It's paying a tribute to the Father of Our Country (or to Betsy Ross*, but bringing GW into it is a hard argument to top.) It won't shut up everyone who wants to agitate for stupidity, but it's a hard one to fight.

Also, doesn't the Texas flag have a five-pointed star in it? Does that mean Sam Houston and Stephen Austin were pagans? (OK, I might have to spot you Sam...)

*Ms. Ross (whose very good biography is on sale at That Big South American River place (she was raised in the Society of Friends, and returned to it after she married out of meeting, so Not A Pagan, honestly) is supposed to have argued for a five-pointed star because it was easier to cut and sew in numbers. I don't know that she ever imagined 50 of them, let alone 51...

#37 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 02:43 PM:

Lee @35 and anyone else looking for info on WA R-74, Because WA state is vote-by-mail and ballots are accepted so long as they're postmarked by the end of election day, there are no official results yet. As of 11:00 am PST today the numbers were: for 985,308 and against 917,197 with 62% of the ballots received so far counted, that's 51.8% for, 48.2% against according to the Seattle Times. So ahead at the moment, but close and not all ballots even received yet, let alone counted.

#38 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 02:51 PM:

I was thinking of alternate star field configurations for a 51-state flag last night. Maybe a sort of spiral galaxy shape?

#39 ::: Justin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 02:55 PM:

Many of the votes not yet counted in Washington probably come from King County, both most populous and most left leaning of the counties, so the hope is we'll manage to keep our lead.

#40 ::: Richard Hershberger ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 03:01 PM:

@15: The SCA has a system? Who knew?

@29: Yes, the second one is pretty, but as we SCA heralds all know, you should use the space available. Notice how the first design, using the same size flag, makes the stars clearly identifiable. The second design reduces them to tiny blobs, barely within the range of the resolution of the picture. The canton is actually smaller, yet has empty blue space.

Yes, the Betsy Ross flag had the stars in a circle. They were few enough to retain their identifiability. They went to a rectangular arrangement early on, and more often than not stuck with it.

#41 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 03:01 PM:

I'm not sure the 40% effect is always "patriarchal". For at least some men - well, me to be honest - women in general are just more noticeable. I see them before I see men if that makes sense.

A few years ago I did some evening classes, and a few weeks in when I was back at home I went through the other students in my mind to see if I could remember their names and faces. I could remember *all* the women but only about half of the men. Women outnumbered men on the course (I counted). I don't think that was sexism (though it might have been sex)

The effect carries on when women are in a large majority - for me anyway. The church I go to has more women than men in the regular congregation (like most churches anywhere) . It "feels" to me as if men are about ten percent of the congregation. But if I actually count (we do get a few boring sermons!) I find its much more likely to be 20-30%

I don't think I get the same effect with race. Most of our congregation are black (as normal in inner south-east London) but I think my estimates of the proportions are actually usually about right, borne out by real figures (Maybe I'm just addicted to counting people. Don't tell the vicar)

As for Puerto Rico - I guess as others said the Republican majority in the House have to make a choice. Let them in and then be prepared to reach out to Americans who aren't like them. Or try to keep them out and show another generation of non-Anglo and non-white Americans that they aren't welcome in their party. Which might start to look pretty shortsighted ofg them in a few elections time when Texas becomes a majority Mexican-American state again.

#42 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 03:54 PM:

fidelio, #36: The Texas Star has a solid interior... most of the time. There's a church in the middle of downtown Houston with a circular window up near the top that has a very obvious pentagram in it; I'm sure it's supposed to be a Texas Star, but it still makes me giggle every time I pass by it.

The star shape in the 51-star design is not a pentagram, but a 5-rayed star from a central point. I do not expect the religious loons to be aware of the difference. I do like your counter-argument, though!

#43 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:02 PM:

chris @10, as I understand things, congressional reapportionment only happens after the decennial census, and we've already had the one resulting from 2010. A new state being admitted would result in an extra bunch of Representatives, until after the 2020 census, when the House would get reapportioned back down to 435 members in accordance with the Reapportionment Act of 1929. That'd mean the next two presidential elections (because reapportionment wouldn't happen till 2021 or 2022) would have those seven extra blue electors.

Sumana @22, is there a formal name for that psychological phenomenon? The one where majority members start to think they're outnumbered when a minority gets to a sizable not-yet-majority? (Actually, now that I've read @28, I figure you've probably got the same question. So, anyone else know if there's a formal name for it?)

#44 ::: parkrrrr ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:17 PM:

Fidelio @36, I don't see a 13-star circle in that design. I see four more-or-less circles, each a multiple of five stars, and each with five more stars than the next smaller one. So there's a 10-star circle, and a 15-star circle, but no 13-star circle.

#45 ::: Joy Freeman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:39 PM:

Avram @43
I don't have a name for that precise effect, but I think it's tied into Rosabeth Moss Kanter's work on tokenism in the 70s and 80s.

#46 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Nobody else is excited about the possibility of a slab-serif Gotham?

#47 ::: parkrrrr ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:50 PM:

Avram, the font was the item in the list that first drew my attention. But if H&FJ haven't released it yet, I'm not gonna hold my breath.

#48 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:54 PM:

parkrrr@44--I could have sworn there were 13 in the second circle from the edge, but I will admit it's past time for new glasses here.

#49 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Avram @46 - it does look very *American*! But on this side of the Atlantic I still prefer Gill Sans :-)

#50 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 05:05 PM:

Big annoying results in Maryland were that (a) we got more casinos, (b) gerrymandering passed, and (c) gerrymandering works: they succeeded commandingly in getting Bartlett out of the western Maryland district by dumping most of Montgomery County in it. The problem with that is that in Maryland the Dems are the in-bed-with-business party. Presumably in ten years they'll figure out some way to run districts down the eastern shore to achieve some new fractal level of proportionality.

OTOH my wife is very happy that Tester (MT) is apparently reelected.

#51 ::: Lylssandra ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 05:27 PM:

While I am relieved that Obama got reelected, for me, the PR news was the star of the night. I never thought we'd add another state now that out-and-out imperialism is considered uncool. It's amazing to me, thrilling, and I couldn't even tell you why. Maybe it's because of the idea that PR wants to join us, like a validation, and indication that we are still a wonderful thing to be a part of, despite all the doom and gloom. Or maybe it's just the "brave new world" feeling.

Also, that circular flag is gorgeous.

@28, et al: It's funny, while I have definitely encountered the "one woman is already too much" phenomenon (ask me about the time I dated a superconservative), I notice myself as a feminist skewing the other way sometimes. The first time that I read that women now make up 60% of college grads, my kneejerk reaction was that it was too low-- when of course, a perfect percentage would be 50% female and 50% male. Math: not my strong suit.

#52 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 05:40 PM:

The slabby version of Gotham is not a million miles away from H&FJ's Archer, modulo things like the top of the A.

#53 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 05:47 PM:

Occurs to me that those who are loudest in wailing on the panic button about All Them Brown People Coming Illegally To Take Our Jobs often tend to be the same people who harp the tune about The U.S. Is The Greatest Nation; Look How Many People Want To Come Here! They point to immigrants as proof that we're AWESOME, then point to them as proof that we're UNDER ATTACK.

The expected response of Republican Congresscritters to Puerto Rico's vote last night seems like the very epitome of that hypocrisy. They'll point to the vote as proof that the U.S. is the bestest thing ever -- look! They want to be the 51st state! I don't see them trying to join OTHER nations, do you? -- and then they'll whip up their base into a frenzy of DON'T LET THEM IN THEY'LL VOTE DEMOCRAT AND STEAL THE VALUABLES AND FORCE US ALL TO SPEAK SPANISH.

Expected response, understand, not predicted. I would love my expectations to be confounded by un-looked-for decency.

#54 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 06:25 PM:

"You forget I'm in America."
- Anita in 'West Side Story'

#55 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 06:41 PM:

@51: ask me about the time I dated a superconservative

So, Lylssandra, I hear you once dated a superconservative...?

(Hey, far be it from me to pass up a request for a straight line.)

#56 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:06 PM:

Richard Hershberger @ 40:

Would a design more like this historic this 38 star flag work better?

Before 1912 the arrangement of the stars in the flag wasn't officially set, so you'd get all sorts of designs like diamonds, crosses, phalanxes, and stars made up of stars, in addition to rows and circles.

#57 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:28 PM:

I think we should go back to the thirteen-stars-in-a-circle "Betsy Ross" flag and have done with it.

#58 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:32 PM:

More good news from last night: Alan Grayson is back in the House. He's the one pushing for "Medicare for All" genuine health-care reform.

#59 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:33 PM:

Probably for a Word of Power. Ginger shortbread, anybody?

#60 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:42 PM:

Avram @43, is there a formal name for that psychological phenomenon? The one where majority members start to think they're outnumbered when a minority gets to a sizable not-yet-majority? How 'bout "Oh-my-God-they're-gaining-on-us!"?

#61 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:16 PM:

The decision by the Puerto Rican people to vote for statehood, while rejecting their pro-statehood governor in favour of one who prefers greater autonomy is intriguing. It's taken decades to get to that point, and I, for one, didn't expect it.

In the past, Republicans have supported Puerto Rican statehood, and the United Statehooders in PR are (in the main) affiliated with the Republicans on the mainland. However, the current of anti-Latino racism in the Republican Party today (disguised as hostility to illegal immigration) poses a significant problem. In order to get out of the white ghetto into which they have managed to drive themselves, the Republicans need black and Latino support. Backing statehood for Puerto Rico is tailor-made as a starter for reviving Republican hope of making inroads into the Latino communities. Especially now that there is no longer a solid Cuban right-wing vote.

Nonetheless, while I expect that some Republicans will want to seize this opportunity the reflexiveness of the racism within the Republican Party may well doom it. Just as the reflexively sexist and homophobic attitudes of the core doomed any hope of reaching out to women and gays when it would have been remarkably easy to do so (compromise anyone?).

#62 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 09:42 PM:

Charlie, we're happy because it means we have a much better chance of getting a budget passed on time, instead of two months (or more) late. (One legislator, a few years back, ran with a major point of his ads being that he hadn't voted for a budget in 20 years.)

#63 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:01 PM:

Q Pheevr @52, they're pretty different. Gotham has a taller x-height, a bolder bold weight (and a black weight beyond that, which Archer lacks), and is generally more geometrical. If you look at some mixed-case writing set in the two fonts, you'll see they have very different characters. Archer brings in design elements from the world of typewriter lettering, while Gotham is based on early 20th century public signage.

#64 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Ah, good points. I was looking mostly at all-caps text, and at "OBAMA BIDEN" in particular. (I haven't seen any of the lowercase characters in the slabified version of Gotham.)

#65 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 11:22 PM:

#53 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

The other thing the anti-immigrant contingent fails to see (aside from their own cruelty) is that American culture is attractive enough that most people who come here want to assimilate. I don't know whether the assimilation rate in the US is unusually high, but it's high enough that there's no need to worry about being swamped.

#66 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 11:31 PM:

I had assimilated myself even before I moved here.

#67 ::: Eric Walker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:30 AM:

Apparently the statehood vote is less clear than might be wanted. An AP-sourced article (in the San Jose Mercury News) reinforces what I have read elsewhere to the effect that the ballot was somewhat confusingly presented, and that the results have, as the artcle puts it, an asterisk attached. Mr Obama has stated that he would support statehood if there were (I forget the exact word, but something like) a "clear" demonstration of popular will for it; if anyone wants to do a two-step on that, the small margin and alleged confusion probably provide a dance floor.

#68 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:02 AM:

Regarding which states would be losers were Puerto Rico a state.

Using the 2010 Census and my spreadsheet Puerto Rico statehood would take one seat from California, one from Texas, one from Florida, one from Washington, and one from Minnesota. If someone can point me at a data table for 2020 that is not pdf I can project what states would lose for that census with Puerto Rico as a state. I am not going to enter the information by hand from a census pdf.

#69 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:31 AM:

Yet another funky side-effect of this election that has only just attracted some notice:

There’s one big, but overlooked, development from the election last night: In Montana, a referendum to state that corporations don’t have constitutional rights has unofficially passed by a 75 percent to 25 percent margin. Initiative number 166 stated that “corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings,” and thus is a blow to the Citizen’s United ruling that helped make this presidential election the most expensive one ever.

(Primary source).

It seems to be a local fight over land grabs by big mining conglomerates, but has the potential to end up in the Supreme Court. The post-Obama II Supreme Court. This could be interesting ...

#70 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 08:40 AM:

re 69: That referendum is about this, the reversal of this decision from the state supreme court basically rejecting Citizens United. The two dissents in the Montana decision are something else, both in essence saying "the majority is right about this, and Citizens United is an idiotic decision, but we're going to get reversed." Of course the eight or so pages of history in the main opinion shows that they are exactly right, and that allowing corporations to dump money into elections is hopelessly corrupting. The US supreme court basically told them to f___ off. Getting rid of corporate personhood would be a major advance in getting us back to reality-based politics.

#71 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:18 AM:

Charlie Stross @69 and C. Wingate @70:

Montana has a very painful history with large corporations. You can start here and work your way through the links and references. One of Montana's Cooper Kings, William Clark, bought himself a seat in the US Senate, back in the days when senators were selected by the state legislatures. Of all people in the US, they may well retain the clearest memory and understanding of why corporate personhood is a dangerous policy for human persons.

Also, if anyone thinks the name of the big copper company is ironic, you're not alone in that.

We* should maybe listen to them when they tell us the consequences of corporate personhood are not good, instead of just waving the banner of legal precedent overhead and not thinking the thing through.

*"We" being in this case, the collected citizens of the United States and their courts and legislatures, not the readership of Making Light.

#72 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:24 AM:

Statehood for Puerto Rico. Great idea.

But please don't forget us disenfranchised folks who live in the District of Columbia, who have only a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives. There are more of us in DC than in the state of Wyoming.

The people of the District of Columbia couldn't even vote for President until 1964. Our desire to have at least one vote in Congress was about to be finally realized until the gun lobby in Congress inserted an untenable provision (What?) in the authorizing bill.

That the population of DC votes in overwhelmingly numbers for Democrats doesn't endear us to the Republicans in Congress.

#73 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:55 AM:

Charlie Stross @69 and C. Wingate @70:
Aimed at the Citizens United decision, and for obvious reasons. But this could have much wider application:
From Montana's constitution
Section 17. DUE PROCESS OF LAW. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

Section 25. SELF-INCRIMINATION AND DOUBLE JEOPARDY. No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in a criminal proceeding. No person shall be again put in jeopardy for the same offense previously tried in any jurisdiction.

and what about
Section 11. SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures. No warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing shall issue without describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized, or without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing.

It looks broad enough to survive, but could the first sentence be interpreted to mean that the requirements do not apply to corporations?

#74 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:23 PM:

Mishalak @68: Regarding which states would be losers were Puerto Rico a state.

Using the 2010 Census and my spreadsheet Puerto Rico statehood would take one seat from California, one from Texas, one from Florida, one from Washington, and one from Minnesota.

Gut reaction from a Minnesotan: "Hey, wait, they'd take one of our seats? No, they ... well, but they can't just sit there without any. That wouldn't be right. OK. Here, have one. There's hotdish and jello salad too, if you want some."

I wonder what the nice old guy down the street who flies the Puerto Rican flag and the U.S. flag in his yard thinks of the whole thing.

#75 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:55 PM:

Elise @ #74

Seems like a sensible reaction. I did finally figure out how to get various data sets out of pdfs and in doing so I discovered that this article on Real Clear Politics used a somewhat dodgy method of just taking the population growth from 2011 and projecting it forward nine years. It was the only way I could make his numbers fit with mine. The writer projected Minnesota losing a seat after 2020, but the whole set of numbers seems to be rubbish so I did not even bother figuring out Puerto Rico under that scenario. All the other estimates for 2020 population seem to be much older, vintage 2005.

Janet K @ #72 :::
I never forget DC, but the problem is that just purely making it a state seems a bad idea. It would make the Senate even less representative of the nation as a whole and anything else would seem to require a constitutional amendment as giving DC a vote in presidential elections did. Though if Democrats held a majority they could threaten statehood unless Republicans went along with a plan to give DC a representative and/or let them vote for Senators from Maryland.

Also, from a purely demographic point of view DC may not be larger than Wyoming for long. Wyoming has grown at an average rate that is higher than that of the district and is likely to pass it by the time of the 2020 census.

All in all, I am not surprised (but mildly disappointed) that congressional leaders do not want to take up the cause.

#76 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:09 PM:

Cassy, #60: I propose "They're rubbing our faces in it!" (Where "it" is the fact that they exist.)

Nancy L, #65: Some of what they see is assimilation going the other way (Cinco de Mayo celebrations, Day of the Dead observations, etc.), as well as accommodations from our side (bilingual signage, etc.) which they view as anathema.

OTOH, there are hopeful signs as well. On my last trip thru Nashville that involved getting off the Interstate (about 2 years ago), I saw Spanish-only billboards and store signs in Arabic -- both of which would have been unthinkable when I left there in 1998.

#77 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Richard Hershberger @40: As someone pointed out to me on $SOCIAL_MEDIA, it does have the advantage of being one step closer to Old Freebie. (Which has even more whitespace, but actually works a little better.)

#78 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:27 PM:

One of Montana's Cooper Kings

Had everyone over a barrel, did he?

About 18% seeming like `a lot of women': I am pulling this out of ancient memories, probably from Virginia Valian's work, but IIRC 20% women is something of a threshhold for group behavior changes. I think the Swedish navy found that a lower proportion led to more troubled crews than expected on an all-male ship, and a higher proportion to *less* troubled crews. Social norms changed.

#79 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:27 PM:

Charlie @ 69:

Montana Initiative no. 166 doesn't directly end constitutional rights for corporations. What it does do is make that position official state policy and directs Montana's congressional delegation to work to overturn Citizen's United. Writing that into the state constitution strikes me a squirrelly way to do things, though the goal is laudable.

#80 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:44 PM:

Re: a vote for DC: How about a Rep for "all citizens either residing in U.S. Territories not incorporated into a state, or resident outside the U.S.A."? IIRC, there's still the Virgin Islands, and the second part would bring in Armed Forces abroad... also ex-pats, which I suspect would cause all kinds of interesting effects.

If you really wanted to set the cat among the pigeons, you could give them a Senator too! (That would partly moot the Vice President's tie-breaking power.)

#81 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 04:49 PM:

clew @78 *head-desk* I swear I proofread that.

Copper Kings. Copper Kings. Copper Kings. Although Clark did do his best to get everyone who wasn't a Clark over a barrel and keep them there.

#82 ::: Larry S ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:01 PM:

Dave Harmon @80: The issue is how the electoral college works. It's the states that elect a president not the general populace. That would need to be completely changed. It is part of the benefits of statehood. The problem is there is now a vested interest in keeping the number of states fixed since they also froze the number of reps in the House.

#83 ::: Jeff R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:53 PM:

My understanding is that nobody would actually lose seats immediately, and that we'd just have a 440-seat House (and a 543-member EC) from the time statehood passes through the next census, at which point everything gets reapportioned down to 435/540.

#84 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:28 PM:

heckblazer: Colorado's Amendment 65 was very similar: an amendment to the state constitution that basically says "We're going to try to overturn Citizens United." It passed.

#85 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 06:31 PM:

Link-gnomed! And here I ate all the tuna-mac, too.

#86 ::: Eri ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:36 PM:

Jacque at 27:
The mile-high state?

#87 ::: k Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 07:46 PM:

I forgot the rest of my name. Here it is.

#88 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:27 AM:

Jeff R. @ #83 :::

You are correct that is how they handled the admission of Hawaii and Alaska. Two more seats than normal until the next census. However, it is also true that four states are likely to lose out at the next census and the pure power considerations will be taken into account by at least some of the people who have to vote on the issue.

While the number of house seats is only fixed by statute, it is also true that there probably is a maximum size for a functioning legislative body. I understand that there have been attempts to determine this number and it may be larger than 435, but it is not hugely larger. Probably no more than 600 as I recall.

#89 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:09 AM:

Some links found in the course of an image search on '51-star-flag':

A higher-quality image of the circular design.

A pentagonal version (essentially the same layout as the circular one).

Personally, I find this hexagonal version (in the upper left) has a certain charm. It would be easier to draw freehand from memory than the circle, which I feel is a desirable characteristic in a flag.

Another variant.

Discussion of rectangular arrangements of 51 or more stars.

#90 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:12 AM:

As I rather expected, my link-heavy comment is held by the gnomes. I have some leftover kimchi cheese & rice bake in the fridge...

#91 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:52 AM:

Is it actually true that Puerto Rico "trends pretty blue politically"? I get the impression that the Republican Party is competitive there, though the national party may be in the process of destroying that by going out of their way to offend all Latinos in the US, regardless of national ancestry.

Historically, the Republican Party has been more vocally supportive of Puerto Rico statehood than the Democratic Party, probably because the Democrats are trying not to offend the internal anti-statehood factions. But there's a long list of Republican Party positions they've run away from.

#92 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:06 AM:

Tim May@89: I've found it interesting that many of these discussions don't mention the actual design of the 49-star flag, which was in official use for one year in between the admission of Alaska and Hawaii. It was basically a 7x7 array, but with the rows staggered left and right to make the starfield look more isotropic.

#93 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:33 PM:

A bit less than a year, right Matt? They were both admitted in 1959 IIRC.

*smacks forehead, Googles*

Yeah, Alaskan statehood took effect on January 3, 1959, and Hawaiian on August 21 that same year. So less than 8 months.

Btw, if Wikipedia has the correct flag for Hawaii, it's eye-hurtingly hideous. Not to mention colonialist.

#94 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:39 PM:

Mishalak, #75: If DC voters are to be allowed to vote for Senators from an existing state, I'd rather see it be Virginia for strategic reasons. But Maryland is the one they'd most likely be given.

Dave H., #80: Now that's an interesting idea!

#95 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 01:55 PM:

Xopher @93:

The statehoods of Alaska and Hawaii were eight months apart, yes, but new flags go into effect on July 4 following the admission of a new state, so the 49-star flag was in official use for exactly one year.

#96 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 02:13 PM:

lorax, wow, I never knew that! I shouldn't be surprised they have a ritualized timing for that.

#97 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:30 AM:

Lee @94: Given that the District 'gave back' the Virginia land so Alexandria wouldn't have to shut down their main slave market (see also: why it is no longer square), having Districters vote for Marylander Senators makes sense.

#98 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:57 AM:

My husband suggests that PR could just take over Texas's star.

#99 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:18 AM:

Is "shrink DC" still being talked about? That's basically the Vatican City option: make the District cover the Capitol, the White House, and maybe the Mall and a few other monumental buildings, but the parts of the city of Washington where substantial numbers of people actually lived would become part of Maryland (or perhaps Virginia).

That would largely solve the "taxation without representation" problem without requiring any Constitutional changes; though it would have to both get a sizable number of Washington residents to approve, and have the state that absorbed the city go along with it as well. I'm not sure either neighboring state wants to absorb Washington at this point.

As with Puerto Rico until this last vote, it looks to me that a lot of people would like Washington's status to change, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus on exactly *how* to do it.

#100 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 12:58 PM:

I'm rather fond of the distinct entity that is the District of Columbia (I've lived here over 40 years), so bumping us into another state doesn't appeal to me.

Now if our good neighbors in the Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges would join with a non-Federal DC to form New Columbia--that would be cool.

A constitutional amendment proposing full Congressional representation for the residents of DC failed to be ratified by a large margin. I don't think the rest of the country (or at least the legislatures) gives a damn about us.

I'd settle for a voting respresentative in the House.

The Wikipedia article summarizes the issues and proposals.

#101 ::: Janet K has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 01:02 PM:

Oh my, what did I say?

[It was three spaces in a row. -- JDM]

#102 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:12 PM:

Slightly different take on plebiscite

The results were not as clear as some news stories make is sound. There were two questions. The first was "are you satisfied with the current status?" which got a clear 54% majority.

The seoond questions gave three choices, current status and undefined hybrid of commonwealth and independence and statehood. Independence supporters had been asked to cast blank ballots to protest the way the election was conducted. One third of voter left their ballots blank on the 2nd question. Sow while Statehood received 64% of ballots not left blank on the second question in only got a bit over 45% of all ballots cast. Of course we don't know for sure that the blank ballots were all by people opposing statehood. But around 45% of Puerto Ricans favor statehood actually matches public opinion polls. Also the pro-statehood party was defeated and so the government charged with implementing this non-binding referendum is opposed to statehood.

#103 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:13 PM:

For some reason link to news item did not post - so

#104 ::: Larry S ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 01:24 PM:

I think a part of this is they have frozen the number of reps available in the House so they would need to reapportion those which have larger political implications for other states.

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