# blueollie

## The real utility of Wendy Davis….

Yes, it appears that she will be the Democratic nominee for the Governor’s race in Texas.

Frankly, she doesn’t have much of a chance in a large, conservative state like Texas. She will probably win the Obama regions (South Texas, El Paso, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio) and get smeared elsewhere.

But she has national appeal and can probably be used to raise PAC money that can go to more viable candidates.

My guess: she might eventually run for and win a US House seat.

March 5, 2014

## Bustos joins the Blue Dogs: bad move

Let me get this straight from the start: I am supporting Cheri Bustos in her election against tea party extremist Bobby Schilling. I’ve even given her campaign a small amount of money. But I am bothered by her joining the “Blue Dog” democrats (a group for moderate to conservative democrats)

But: if she really is conservative, then I suggest we look for someone else; remember that in the 2012 election, Barack Obama won her district by 17 points. She won that district by 6.

So this isn’t a case of, say, having a Democrat in a red region; I can completely understand accommodating conservative Democrats in Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, etc. That is NOT the situation here.

Unfortunately, on appearances, her embrace of this group appears to be a reaction to being in what might be a tight race.

That might be a misreading of what a tight race means.

Many think that a close race means that there are a sizable number of “unpersuaded” voters who will decide the election. In such a case, appearing to “move to the center” might work. But there are also races that are tight because the region is genuinely split between people who are highly unlikely to change their mind (think: North Carolina). In the latter case, one wins by getting people to the polls and they need a reason to show up.

I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are–when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people–then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

I hope that Bustos doesn’t continue down this path.

February 4, 2014

## Attitudes toward wealth and poverty: the Republican and Democratic divide

Workout notes I didn’t sleep that well last night (beeping fire alarm that needed batteries) but I did get up in time to get an easy 6 miles on the home treadmill (1:01). I remembered to bend my knees so as to reduce the upper thigh strain and I did vary the incline; I got sweaty and a bit out of breath at times (in a good way).

It is cold and slippery outside, hence the treadmill.

Attitudes
Yes, I am not a good athlete. No, I don’t resent those who have athletic success at my events. To me, the successful (say, those who run an Olympic Trials qualifying time), have

1. inherent genetic advantages (e. g. that would never be me, even had I devoted myself to it full time in my youth)
2. opportunities to train (e. g. they did grow up in a war zone or weren’t so constrained by crushing poverty they lacked proper nutrition…or perhaps were shunted to a training camp by a talent scout)
3. an incredible work ethic; these people train a ghastly amount and drive themselves in ways that I could never do; they are very mentally tough and determined.
4. good luck (their mother didn’t smoke crack while they were gestating, they didn’t get paralyzed in an accident, etc.)

To me, ALL of these are necessary (though perhaps not sufficient?). I admire the successful but realize that they had some advantages to begin with.

I think that the same is true with life and wealth. But this is where Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree:

Of course, poll questions like these oversimplify things, but they shed some light on most people’s knee jerk reactions.

Caveats abound: what do you mean by “rich”? Republicans like to focus on the “upper 20 percent” (e. g. starting where my wife and I are, together) where Democrats focus on where most of the “income inequality has grown” (top 1 percent, or even smaller than that):

There is also a counterpart on the upside of the income distribution: an obvious desire to believe that rising incomes at the top are kind of the obverse of the alleged social problems at the bottom. According to this view, the affluent are affluent because they have done the right things: they’ve gotten college educations, they’ve gotten and stayed married, avoiding illegitimate births, they have a good work ethic, etc.. And implied in all this is that wealth is the reward for virtue, which makes it hard to argue for redistribution.

The trouble with this picture is that it might work for people with incomes of $200,000 or$300,000 a year; it doesn’t work for the one percent, or the 0.1 percent. Yet the bulk of the rise in top income shares is in fact at the very top. Here’s the CBO:

And if one dismisses unequal opportunity, one is delusional. Check this out:

The fact that college completion is higher for each successive income group among similar scoring students is evidence against a completely meritocratic system. The pattern implies that at every level of test scores, higher income led to higher completion rates. The key comparison in this figure is the fact that high-scoring students from low-income families complete college at nearly the same rate as low-scoring, high-income students (29 percent vs. 30 percent). In other words, high-scoring, low-income children are no more likely to complete college than low-scoring, rich children.

So opportunities have a great deal to do with it. But yes, so does discipline and focused work. But so does being born into money, etc.

My take away: doing the right things is mostly necessary (save a small percentage of those born into it) but very insufficient. Having advantages is statistically necessary, save a handful of outliers.

Anyway, this is one reason that we, as a country, will continue to talk past each other.

January 23, 2014

## Lyme disease, genetic mutation and cholesterol, etc.

This is an interesting article in the New York Times about Lyme disease and how antibiotics might affect those who suffer from it and…:

Chronic Lyme disease is a highly controversial catch-all term for a host of long-lasting symptoms that may or may not stem from prior infection with the bacterium that causes acute Lyme disease. Often misdiagnosed and mistreated, chronic Lyme disease leaves thousands of people physically and mentally debilitated and without a medically established recourse.

Mary Rasenberger, 51, a New York lawyer, experienced “a series of ailments going back 10 years.” She was finally given a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease last summer after having been told that she had multiple sclerosis.

Her long-term symptoms were “aching joints, headaches and indescribable fatigue” that made her miserable and unable to exercise. In the last few years, two additional symptoms developed: neuropathy in her limbs and face, and vision problems. In an interview, she said she “woke up every day feeling sick”; if she became overheated, she felt as if she had the flu.

Yet a test for Lyme disease came back negative. Desperate, she finally consulted a Lyme “specialist,” one of a number of doctors who treat patients with symptoms like Ms. Rasenberger’s with long-term antibiotics, despite the fact that such a regimen has shown no significant or lasting benefit in controlled clinical trials. These trials involved randomly assigning patients to the antibiotic Rocephin (often administered intravenously) or a placebo, with neither patients nor those evaluating their symptoms aware of who got what.

Still, after several months on antibiotics Ms. Rasenberger, like many similar patients, said she felt “completely healthy for the first time in years.” Each time she tries to stop the medication, her debilitating symptoms return.

Reports like Ms. Rasenberger’s are hardly unusual, and experts now realize that some people who get Lyme disease go on to develop a chronic illness even if their initial infection was promptly diagnosed and correctly treated. Approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of people who are treated for medically documented Lyme disease develop persistent or recurrent symptoms of fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and cognitive complaints …[...]

As for why some people with PTLDS seem to benefit from intensive antibiotic therapy, at least temporarily, Dr. Aucott suggested a few theories. The antibiotics may have an anti-inflammatory effect that relieves pain and swelling. Alternatively, patients may have a low-level, persistent infection that is temporarily suppressed by antibiotics — but not killed by them. Or it may be that some PTLDS patients experience a placebo effect, improving because they believe the treatment will help and because someone is finally taking their symptoms seriously.

Complicating the picture is the fact that some people with PTLDS symptoms apparently never had Lyme disease in the first place, Dr. Marques said in an interview. There are other infectious organisms — Epstein-Barr virus, for example — that can produce similar symptoms and may be the real culprits.

But experts cannot rule out Lyme spirochete as a cause, either. Many, if not most, people who are infected with it never know they have been bitten by the tiny deer tick that spreads the bacterium from animals to people. They may never develop or notice the red rash that can result. Even when a rash occurs, only one in five is the characteristic bull’s-eye associated with Lyme disease. Most are solid red and round or oval.

[...]

We still have a lot to learn, don’t we?

Now to cholesterol:

Her cholesterol was astoundingly low. Her low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the form that promotes heart disease, was 14, a level unheard-of in healthy adults, whose normal level is over 100.

The reason was a rare gene mutation she had inherited from both her mother and her father. Only one other person, a young, healthy Zimbabwean woman whose LDL cholesterol was 15, has ever been found with the same double dose of the mutation.

The discovery of the mutation and of the two women with their dazzlingly low LDL levels has set off one of the greatest medical chases ever. It is a fevered race among three pharmaceutical companies, Amgen, Pfizer and Sanofi, to test and win approval for a drug that mimics the effects of the mutation, drives LDL levels to new lows and prevents heart attacks. All three companies have drugs in clinical trials and report that their results, so far, are exciting.

“This is our top priority,” said Dr. Andrew Plump, the head of translational medicine at Sanofi. “Nothing else we are doing has the same public health impact.” [...]

Fascinating, huh?

Politics
I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again: President Obama never had a “progressive majority” in Congress, though for a 5 month period, there were 60 Democrats in the US Senate. And as for those who fantasize about President F. D. Roosevelt, remember that he made some huge compromises too.

July 10, 2013

## To my fellow Facebook liberal friends: it appears that you were right and I was wrong…maybe…

Interesting. The background check amendments failed in the Senate. I chalked it up to Senators pleasing their conservative constituencies in their home states.

My liberal friends tried to tell me that things like background checks were reasonably popular, even among Republicans.

I replied that sometimes policies were popular but the bills that contained said policies weren’t (President Clinton’s proposed health care plan was such a case).

I was skeptical that those who voted “no” would pay a political price.

Well…it turns out that some might be paying a price: (via Politics USA)

In a new poll by Public Policy Polling, five Senators in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio are feeling the wrath of the public after failing to support a background checks measure, in what PPP called “serious backlash”. According to the poll, Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Dean Heller (R-NV) face lowered approval ratings and a public less likely to support them in the next election.

Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling, concluded that the lowered approval ratings are a direct result of the failure to support the background check measure, “The background checks vote is a rare one that really is causing these Senators trouble back home. All five of these Senators, as well as Kelly Ayotte, have seen their approval numbers decline in the wake of this vote. And the numbers make it clear that their position on Manchin/Toomey is a major factor causing the downward spiral.”

In Arizona, Republican Senator Flake’s approval rating dropped to 32% with a 51% disapproval. He is now more unpopular than even Mitch McConnell. In Arizona, 70% of the public supports background checks. Fifty-two percent of voters say they’re less likely to support Flake in a future election because of this vote. To demonstrate just how extreme the rejection of background checks is, the poll determined that only 19% of the public say they will be more likely to support Flake in a future election due to his vote.

Contrast Flake’s lowered approval ratings with Pennsylvania Republican Senator Toomey’s, who saw an increase in approval after co-sponsoring the bipartisan background check measure (Manchin/Toomey).

In Ohio, Republican junior Senator Rob Portman plunged a net 18 points in approval, from 35% approval and 25% disapproval to just 26% approval with 34% disapproval (net -8). Portman lost support across the board. No one seems to approve of the Ohio Republican. Some of his loss in approval among Republicans is more likely tied to his support for gay marriage, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.

In Alaska, Democratic junior Senator Mark Begich lost approval from Democrats and Independents after failing to support background checks, with 41% approval rating and a 37% disapproval, down from 49% approval and 39% disapproval. Begich got no bounce from Republicans after his vote, so he basically alienated his base for nothing.

Popular Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski has lost a net 16 points in approval due to her rejection of background checks. Forty-six percent of voters approve of her now, with 41% now disapproving of her. Prior to the vote, she enjoyed a 54% approval rating and only 33% disapproval. The bad news is that while Murkowski predictably lost Democratic support due to her vote, she also failed to gain Republican support by voting with the NRA.[...]

If I am wrong, and it appears that I might be, it will make me very happy. I’ll gladly endure some “I told you so”s.

April 30, 2013

## Guts, politics and gaming the system….

I was wide awake before 4 in the morning. But I am not going to run long as last weekend was tough and I have to watch that left leg, so I’ll do something gentle on the treadmill and then stretch.

At my age, I have to worry about injuries just a bit more. More training might cut my potential marathon time by a minute or two, but might increase my risk for injury which would mean no marathon at all. So I have to play it safe.

Articles
Every now and then I’ll change what I eat and eat something less healthy (sometimes while travelling). Usually one day of this makes me feel sluggish and and almost ill. There might be a reason for that:

A few years before Super Size Me hit theaters in 2004, Dr. Paresh Dandona, a diabetes specialist in Buffalo, New York, set out to measure the body’s response to McDonald’s—specifically breakfast. Over several mornings, he fed nine normal-weight volunteers an egg sandwich with cheese and ham, a sausage muffin sandwich, and two hash brown patties.

Dandona is a professor at the State University of New York-Buffalo who also heads the Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York, and what he observed has informed his research ever since. Levels of a C-reactive protein, an indicator of systemic inflammation, shot up “within literally minutes.” “I was shocked,” he recalls, that “a simple McDonald’s meal that seems harmless enough”—the sort of high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal that 1 in 4 Americans eats regularly—would have such a dramatic effect. And it lasted for hours.

One of the keys is the interplay between bacteria in our gut and what we eat.

Over the next decade he tested the effects of various foods on the immune system. A fast-food breakfast inflamed, he found, but a high-fiber breakfast with lots of fruit did not. A breakthrough came in 2007 when he discovered that while sugar water, a stand-in for soda, caused inflammation, orange juice—even though it contains plenty of sugar—didn’t.

[...]

The Florida Department of Citrus, a state agency, was so excited it underwrote a subsequent study, and had fresh-squeezed orange juice flown in for it. This time, along with their two-sandwich, two-hash-brown, 910-calorie breakfast, one-third of his volunteers—10 in total—quaffed a glass of fresh OJ. The non-juice drinkers, half of whom drank sugar water, and the other half plain water, had the expected response—inflammation and elevated blood sugar. But the OJ drinkers had neither elevated blood sugar nor inflammation. The juice seemed to shield their metabolism. “It just switched off the whole damn thing,” Dandona says. Other scientists have since confirmed that OJ has a strong anti-inflammatory effect.

And yes, I drink a lot of orange juice.

What else is going on:

Those subjects who ate just the McDonald’s breakfast had increased blood levels of a molecule called endotoxin. This molecule comes from the outer walls of certain bacteria. If endotoxin levels rise, our immune system perceives a threat and responds with inflammation.

Where had the endotoxin come from? One possibility was the food itself. But there was another possibility. We all carry a few pounds’ worth of microbes in our gut, a complex ecosystem collectively called the microbiota. The endotoxin, Dandona suspected, originated in this native colony of microbes. Somehow, a greasy meal full of refined carbohydrates ushered it from the gut, where it was always present but didn’t necessarily cause harm, into the bloodstream, where it did. But orange juice stopped that translocation cold.

I always had viewed my orange juice as something I enjoyed and liked; I never realized that it was something that was good for me too.
I admit that I like hash browns but I also can’t eat them too often, else I get a stomach ache.

Gaming the system
Ok, the state pays for “senior citizen centers” where old people, presumably of reduced physical and mental capacity, can spend the day. These centers are for profit. So, how do you make them profitable? Well, one way is to get healthy, alert old people to become your clients!

Politics
Long term joblessness is bad for people in many ways. One way: those out of a job the longest will have the hardest time getting a new one:

For the overriding fear driving economic policy has been debt hysteria, fear that unless we slash spending we’ll turn into Greece any day now. After all, haven’t economists proved that economic growth collapses once public debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P.?

Well, the famous red line on debt, it turns out, was an artifact of dubious statistics, reinforced by bad arithmetic. And America isn’t and can’t be Greece, because countries that borrow in their own currencies operate under very different rules from those that rely on someone else’s money. After years of repeated warnings that fiscal crisis is just around the corner, the U.S. government can still borrow at incredibly low interest rates.

But while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed.

Now, some unemployment is inevitable in an ever-changing economy. Modern America tends to have an unemployment rate of 5 percent or more even in good times. In these good times, however, spells of unemployment are typically brief. Back in 2007 there were about seven million unemployed Americans — but only a small fraction of this total, around 1.2 million, had been out of work more than six months.

[...]

The key question is whether workers who have been unemployed for a long time eventually come to be seen as unemployable, tainted goods that nobody will buy. This could happen because their work skills atrophy, but a more likely reason is that potential employers assume that something must be wrong with people who can’t find a job, even if the real reason is simply the terrible economy. And there is, unfortunately, growing evidence that the tainting of the long-term unemployed is happening as we speak.

One piece of evidence comes from the relationship between job openings and unemployment. Normally these two numbers move inversely: the more job openings, the fewer Americans out of work. And this traditional relationship remains true if we look at short-term unemployment. But as William Dickens and Rand Ghayad of Northeastern University recently showed, the relationship has broken down for the long-term unemployed: a rising number of job openings doesn’t seem to do much to reduce their numbers. It’s as if employers don’t even bother looking at anyone who has been out of work for a long time.

To test this hypothesis, Mr. Ghayad then did an experiment, sending out résumés describing the qualifications and employment history of 4,800 fictitious workers. Who got called back? The answer was that workers who reported having been unemployed for six months or more got very few callbacks, even when all their other qualifications were better than those of workers who did attract employer interest.

So we are indeed creating a permanent class of jobless Americans.

Krugman goes on to state that we could have helped by providing more stimulus (again, stimulus for times like these, austerity for boom times)

Politics
Some are wondering why President Obama didn’t “twist more arms”; after all 4 Democrats voted against the background check bill (technically Harry Reid did too, but that was a procedural vote so he can bring it up again). Some Democratic/liberal activists are outraged.

My hunch: perhaps Senator Reid saw that the bill (which needed 60 votes) didn’t have enough Republican support to pass; hence he quietly gave the red-state Democrats permission to vote “no”. After all, in such states, raising the ire of liberals might help them win a tough reelection bid in the general election.

But this is just a guess; I have no insider information, etc.

April 23, 2013

## A note on the background check amendments…

Yes, President Obama isn’t happy and neither am I. But I saw this on Facebook:

The bill itself was sort of milquetoast:

But it failed to attain cloture.

Five Democrats voted against the amendment: Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; Mark Begich of Alaska; and Max Baucus of Montana. Reid voted against for procedural reasons, so he can bring the proposla up in the future. Four Republicans who voted for: Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; Mark Kirk of Illinois; Susan Collins of Maine; John McCain of Arizona.

There weren’t a lot of split states. Bottom line: Senators know their constituents and let’s be blunt: a Senator from Alabama, Idaho or Wyoming isn’t going to care what I think or how people like me think. Conservatives are grossly overrepresented in the Senate to begin with and the filibuster rules just amplifies that effect.

Saying “X percent of Americans want this” really doesn’t mean that much.

April 17, 2013

## What the Ryan Budget Plan really means to me…

Yes, I agree with Paul Krugman that on substance, the Paul Ryan budget is flim-flam, even if the Very Serious people desperately cling to the notion that he is a “smart conservative”.

But I take something else out of this. First, Ryan is reasonably popular in his district and is popular among the Republican base; this budget is “red meat” for them. Next, no “serious” Democrat would submit a budget that was this popular among liberals; that is, no “serious” Democrat with national ambitions would throw out a budge that was “red meat” (ok, granola and tofu? ) to liberals. They’d point out that such a budget would be DOA in the House and/or Senate; it would not survive a filibuster or the objections of “blue dog” Democrats. Hence they would start with a budget that should appeal to moderates and a few conservatives…only to end up moving the goal posts further and further and further to the right until what was left would be indistinguishable from what, say, John Boeher would come up with.

Is the president a lousy negotiator?

Paul Krugman is a politically savvy man so it surprises me that even he thinks that the reason that the Republicans and the oligarchy are getting their own way so easily on fiscal issues is because Obama is a lousy negotiator.

As I have said over and over again, the Democrats negotiating strategy is to betray the middle and working classes that support them and give the oligarchy as much as they can while acting as if they were forced into it or were outmaneuvered. Since even people like Krugman and other liberal commentators seem to have bought it, it means that they have succeeded.

The Democrats behavior is perfectly understandable if you bear this simple rule in mind: When it comes to any policy that the Democrats say they espouse but which hurts the interests of the oligarchy, the Democrats do not want a strategy that will win, they seek one that will lose.

But I really believe that the Republicans are better negotiators and better politicians than Democrats are. Yeah, they lost the executive branch and the Senate in 2012, but the fact that they held the House and are not relegated to being some mere fringe party geting 10-20 percent of the vote is a testimony to their political abilities. Their ideas are terrible, yet they manage to sell them to a significant percentage of the voting public.

March 13, 2013

## Photos, Pictures and Figures

Peoria Democrats Dinner, with my wife. I am on the right.

The joke here (from Jerry Coyne’s website) is that this gene is frequently tampered with during experiments.

Nature

The moon over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Sequoia National Park.

I’ve seen all of these while out running or walking, but never together.

February 19, 2013

## Quantum Mechanics, Religion, filibusters and growth rates

Math and Science

The upshot: many quantum theories help us calculate and make predictions; none really explain the “why”. Upshot: reality doesn’t conform to our notion of “common sense”.

Growth Rate
Paul Krugman talks about the growth rate in federal spending. Why “growth rate”? Our country is getting larger all the time (think: Peoria, as a city, will always spend less than Chicago; hence we have to talk about some sort of population correction or “over time” correction).

Note this:

Meanwhile, via Mark Thoma I see that Robert Waldmann and Karl Smith have also gotten into the “what spending surge?” debate. Actually, here’s what may be the simplest way to see things. Here is total government spending (federal, state, and local) since 2000 on a log scale, so that a constant slope means a constant rate of growth. See the spending surge under Obama? Well, actually the reverse.

Yes, you can argue that spending was growing too fast under Bush, although it’s funny how few deficit scolds saw fit to mention that at the time. Or you can say that you just want less spending, although as always people who say this tend to be short on specifics. But the narrative that says that spending has surged under Obama is just wrong – what we’ve actually seen is a slowdown at exactly the time when, for macroeconomic reasons, we should have been spending more.

Emphasis mine. Here is the graph:

Ok, what is this “log scale stuff” and “constant slope” means a “constant rate of growth”?

Well, imagine $ln(y) = mx + b$. Now take the exponential of both sides: $y = exp(mx + b) = exp(mx)exp(b) = ke^{mx}$ where $k = exp(b)$. As far as the “constant growth rate”, use the derivative: $y = ke^{mx}$ then $\frac{dy}{dx} = mke^{mx}$ hence $\frac{\frac{dy}{dx}}{y} = \frac{mke^{mx}}{ke^{mx}} = m$ That is, the growth rate as in “percent per year” is constant.

Religion
“If you don’t “believe in god”, where do you get your morals from?” Guess what: in reality, everyone gets their morals from the same place: other people. Or, perhaps we can put it this way:

(via: The Atheist Pig via Jerry Coyne)

Note the title of Coyne’s article: he must be a Monty Python fan.

Politics
We are probably going to get a modest filibuster reform measure. The idea: the Republicans won’t be able to filibuster until the bill has come to the floor for debate; in return the Democrats will allow for amendments to be presented. I was hoping for another compromise that had been floated: it would take 41 votes to keep the filibuster alive rather than 60 to break it. That would make filibustering painful, as it should be.

Frankly, it burns me a bit that the Republicans are overrepresented in Congress. For one: this “two Senators per state, no matter how small of a state” gives disproportionate power to rural, thinly populated states to begin with. Then in the House, you have a combination of gerrymandering plus, again, disproportional representation of rural areas giving Republicans disproportional power. Remember in 2012, Democrats, collectively, got more House votes than the Republicans did. Though gerrymandering is part of the problem (and yes, both parties do it), the other part of the problem is that Democrats tend to live in urban clusters. Republicans tend to be more spread out. So, if you take a state like, say, Texas, the amount of people in some north/west Texas region plus the number of people living in a rural east Texas region might not add up to, say, the number of people living in a Houston district. But those people in the west Texas region might not have much in common with those living in east rural Texas; hence it is appropriate that these (possibly) smaller (in population) regions would have different representatives. So part of it is just the nature of the beast.

January 24, 2013