What the hell is this? A cell dividing and then morphing into two separate entities — one of them possibly an angry ass-pustule, perhaps located on the butt of humanity?
In a sense, yes: It’s an excerpt of a visual representation of the polarization of the US House of Representatives over time. If you vaguely suspected partisanship has grown steadily worse since Reagan (despite the bonhomie he allegedly shared with Tip O’Neill), you were right.
The visuals are from network diagrams for each House of Representatives class and were created by researchers who published a paper in PLOS One. WaPo has the scoop here.
PS: Open thread!
Others (example Rosenthal and Poole in their DW-NOMINATE scoring system) have found this as well:
The increased polarization kicks in with the southern strategy (voting becomes far more one-dimensional) and grows worse commensurate with the rise in economic inequality (I imagine there is circular causation here). And the increasing polarization is almost entirely the result of the right moving further to the right rather than the left and right drifting apart in equal measure (there is a slight leftward drift as well but a good 90% of the effect is happening on the right). The distance between the median represenative (senator/congressman) in each party is the greatest it has been since 1861.
Nothing particularly new, in the sense of the ebb and flow of enmity occurring on the Hill. No one recalls the odious Rep. Preston Brooks and his infamous cane?
An infection that red and sore looking always bursts. But, eeewwwwww, look out when it does.
That’s a great graphic. It very much follows the advice of Edward Tufte– every bit of ink carries information, and it consists of multiple small graphs.
@MattF: Tufte’s website.
Big ole hound
we can make that red dot smaller and easier to hit with the common sense swatter by the rest of the country.
@MattF: Any idea what the vertical axis is? It must be something. How about Dem/GOP split of electing districts?
OT: Al Franken beat the Comcast merger. Quietly but effectively.
@catclub: Looks like h/v axes are minor/major time steps.
ETA: Oh, you mean within the small graph. Don’t know.
@catclub: “The network is drawn using a linear-attraction linear-repulsion model with Barnes Hut optimization “
Gin & Tonic
Sorta OT, but a great quiz here: Is the headline from RT or Democracy Now? (I know we have devoted readers of both here.)
1993 is the year the House changed – Newt Gingrich.
@Mike J: So tell me what the vertical axis within the small figures represents.
@catclub: Al Franken beat the Comcast merger. Quietly but effectively.
Charles Pierce has a nice column about it (link on left-side blog roll). He says Ted Cruz is a senator who acts like a celebrity, and Franken is a celebrity who acts like a senator.
@Gin & Tonic: I remember seeing an internet quiz with extreme close-up photos of the faces of bearded young guys: Taliban or Jam Band Fan?
@Gin & Tonic: Too mean! (translation: I did not do very well.)
@Germy Shoemangler: Are you cyber-stalking me? I just read that, and decided not to include the link.
I am pleased, but oddly enough not surprised, that Franken has dug into his job hard and displays not one trace of the funnyman or anything else entertainment-related (celebrity bullshit) that he’s been previously known for. And I doubt he ever will while in office.
Takes his job more seriously than any other politician I can think of these days. I like that.
@catclub: Not at all.
My regular routine is to read Pierce and the comments here.
Jeb Jeb Jeb……you are pitiful
Jeb Bush Distances Himself A Bit More From Adviser James Baker
Published April 24, 2015, 10:57 AM EDT
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) further distanced himself from foreign policy adviser James Baker on Thursday during a closed-door meeting hosted by the Manhattan Republican Party.
Bush had previously said it was a mistake for Baker, an adviser and former secretary of state, to speak at the left-leaning Israel policy group J Street. In that appearance, Baker criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over seeming to change his position on a two-state solution.
On Thursday, according to CNN citing two sources in the room, Bush light-heartedly noted Baker and former secretary of state George Shultz are over 85 years old. Bush then said he planned to bring in more foreign policy advisers who from hail from a different generation than Shultz or Baker.
Bush did add that he considers Baker a friend and he didn’t think the former secretary of state’s remarks at J Street were anti-Israel, according to CNN.
Queens Republican Party chairman Bob Turner told CNN that Bush was just trying to emphasize that some aspects of foreign policy are different than 25 years ago.
“The point he was making is that some of the complexities of the modern world are different from the mindset they were dealing with 25 years ago,” Turner said.
The 2007 graphic is similar to the 2011 graphic, just blue and with no little red satellites near the blue blob.
So when people discuss this full graphic in a partisan discussion format, “both sides do it” will be a theme, sadly.
Baker is sharp and competent and reality based.
He handled the litigation for George Bush, Jr. in 2000.
I do not particularly like him, but he’s not a 100% mindless ideologue.
I’m not sure if it’s because he wanted to strike a contrast with his celebrity background, but Sen. Franken has been all business and no mugging for the cameras since taking his seat.
I appreciate that about him and wish more were like him.
@gene108: He ran at least a good portion of Reagan’s presidency. I would agree that I don’t like him – really don’t like him – but he is dangerously competent and more a pragmatist than ideologue.
Dick Polman has a nice bit about the incestous relationships in Washington. The specifics are about Bill and Hillary but I suspect that you could take out the Clin tons and plug in any long-time Washington political figure.
@rikyrah: When I read that headline I knew it was that Baker was not going to be far right enough.
And it’s not that “some aspects of foreign policy are different than 25 years ago”, it’s that aspects of domestics politics are different than 25 years ago.
I don’t know if this is the case (I’m a computer scientist but not a visualization person) but one plausible technique for generating these network visualizations is to plop down all the points randomly in a plane, define the forces between them, and let a simulation run until quiescence. If the authors did this, I’d assume that afterwards they oriented the D and R clusters in the left/right arrangement for consistency. All this would mean that the vertical and horizontal axes don’t mean anything in a global sense; they’re only relevant in defining a space where you can easily see linear distance between points.
Mike in NC
“Angry ass-pustule” is a pretty good description of Ted Cruz.
Not that kind of a graph:
Poorly translated – each representative is dot. Each dot is connected to every other dot in the graph via an edge. The more their votes agree, the higher the weight put onto that edge. Then you draw the graph by treating the weight as a kind of “gravity” that pulls nodes with strong agreement together faster than nodes with weak agreement. Apply that to each Congress over time and paint Republicans red and Democrats blue and viola – you get the behavior you see here.
The horizontal and vertical axes here have no meaning other than as spatial axes for us to visualize the data – the information is all coded in the agreement (gravity) between the nodes.
ETA: Basically what @RSA said, except he got there first and I used more words :)
@Bill Arnold: that’s my thought too. The blobs on each side looks the same, so “both sides” are polarizing! But these diagrams only show the what, not the why. If you could somehow weight each dot by some sort of radicalization metric to show the Rightward drift of the R’s that would help. For example, one big reason there are no lines between blue and red are all 50 or whatever votes to repeal the ACA, in which each party voted in unison. But those votes were realistically meaningless and only reflected R intransigence, which doesn’t show up in the diagrams.
OT but really freakin’ cool:
Swedish researchers have sequenced the entire genome of the Woolly Mammoth.
Mammoth clones in the future?
This shows what health care anxiety and fear mongering on this issue can do for Republicans. The 1993 to 1995 and 2009 to 2011 transitions look almost identical.
Not just mammoths, but the whole gamut of Pleistocene megafauna! Mastodons! cave bears! terror birds! giant ground sloths! and of course, neanderthals. Someone has to teach us how to cook them.
@Gin & Tonic:
I only got 8 out of 12. It was a tough one. Amusing that Chomsky is well represented in both.
@NonyNony: The one thing the positioning represents, if I understand the description correctly, is how much agreement there is. So, when you see the dark red 2011 vs 2003, the current Republicans are in far more agreement than they were in 2003.
@Belafon: I believe this is a clever side-effect of the visualization, so yes. Dots are connected (with a red line) if the agreement between their votes is above a threshold, and we’re seeing more such connections (producing a more saturated red) in 2011 than in 2003.
Homer Simpson voice: “Mmmmm, neanderthal (drooling sounds).”
So what are we saying here? An economically populist unification to stick it to
Obamathe man is a bunch of fantasist bullshit?
@Gin & Tonic: 10 of 12 – there were a couple that were easy based on tone, several that were easy because they sounded off – not how a Russian, or American as the case may be, would phrase things.
And they’ll all sound like Ray Romano
How does this polarization end? And are we sure it ends peacefully?
Gin & Tonic
@Geeno: That’s a good score. Yeah, some were tone, but some others were pretty challenging.
In which case, I’ll advocate for their re-extinction with all possible haste.
@Archon: I’m hoping for a invasion by peaceful, yet overpowering, aliens, but I’m afraid it will either take a war, epidemic, economic collapse, or a meteor. I don’t have much hope in rational resolution.
@Archon: Lots of eliminationist rhetoric from the right, a lot of homicidal ideation.
So many disturbed people plugging themselves into and believing glenn beck and others’ hyperbole, it’s a wonder more acting out doesn’t occur.
There is an incredible piece of puffery / ‘journalism’ on the FP of the NYT’s website talking about how wonderful it is that you have a hardcore Paleo-dieting Jeb Bush running for president – and then talking about how ‘relatable’ it is, compared to the ‘tea-sipping’ Obama.
1) I have NEVER seen (or even heard) of Obama being a huge tea-drinker (not that it’s a bad thing, but still – total BS pulled out of thin air), and
2) This reminds me of that bullshit all the big media people pushed with regards to Dumbya being who you’d ‘hang out with’ in 2000.
Seriously, I cannot believe how much in the bag the media is in for Jeb. If they bothered to focus on his positions – outside of immigration and (maybe) education, he is as right-wing as they come. He sure as hell isn’t remembered as being a moderate governor when he was in Florida…
@Mike in NC: why you gotta insult angry ass pustules?
Watched my local abc news affiliate at noon. They did a segment on Hillary2016 and quoted the new Schwietzer book (or whatever his name is) as fact, rather than a political hatchet job.
The average low-info voter watches and has unsettling feelings about HRC’s honesty and fitness, without understanding any details. Just an uneasy feeling.
@PsiFighter37: What must be going through Jeb’s mind, seeing Rubio ahead of him in the polls?
The right wing slime machine has been out for the Clintons’ scalps for a full quarter century now.
The end result has been Bill Clinton is the most admired living POTUS.
@Archon: I believe the last time it got this bad, the solution was a civil war. If it happens this time, though, I’m not sure the North would fight that hard to keep the South in the Union. And I say that as an expatriated southener.
I was just reading that swill myself…
The American electorate “craves a relatable eater-in-chief”? Seriously?
I’m surprised he didn’t call Obama a “tea-sipping faggot” as well. That article is possibly the worst swill ever published.
Our liberal media at work.
@C.V. Danes: If it happens this time, though, I’m not sure the North would fight that hard to keep the South in the Union
If there ever was a split, I’d expect constant war. They need someone to fight with.
@PsiFighter37: It’s the kind of thing the right likes to say about a lefty. “Tea sipper” etc. Compare their own red meat-eating, Lucky-smoking, Jeep-driving fantasy idealizations of themselves. As opposed to the keyboard tapping, video game-playing, comic book-reading bully victims that they are.
@Mandalay: Holy shit: I checked the reporter’s twitter page and this is what I found (he retweeted a reader comment):
Hurry before it disappears.
“So who told you to write down the “tea sipping” line. Karl Rove? Have the balls to answer and not just retweet like a pussy.”
“You have written the dumbest fucking thing in the history of journalism. And that says a lot in the age of stenography #rube”
So, basically, you want Childhood’s End.
I looked at the twitter page of the NYTIMES paleoJeb piece author, and he retweeted a beautiful reader comment. I think he will take it down any second now. I quoted it here, but was thrown into moderation.
@C.V. Danes: People up north like to pretend otherwise, but today’s crazy is not a regional phenomenon. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, anyone? Steve King of Iowa?
@Germy Shoemangler: I feexed!
I remember when the media tried to make an issue out of Obama ordering orange juice at a diner rather than coffee.
The only thing I saw about tea was when he had a starbucks cup with tea in his hand and he casually returned the salute of two marines. The military wouldn’t have anybody over the rank of 2nd Lt if “sloppy return of salute to underlings” was an actual issue.
@Betty Cracker: Thanks! He says he came up with the tea-sipping line all on his own. I guess he came up with an electorate craving a real paleo man as well.
I recall that even his book bashing Russ was often funny, but not dumb comedy. The researchers he had hired to help him compile his satire were not dopes or comedians. I get the impression that even back then, Franken may have had in the back of his mind entering politics.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but looking at those images, I suspect Pepsi is the real culprit. Pepsi, dividing America since 1961
@Linnaeus: According to the link, ScyFy will release a 6 hour miniseries based on the book this year.
Considering what happens to humankind at the end of Childhood’s End, I’m not sure if it’s such a great thing to wish for.
dunno about earlier, but in the 2011 graph there’s nowhere near enough Blah.
And wasn’t there some outraged silliness over his putting mustard on his hamburger?
@Germy Shoemangler: Brought a smile to my face…
@Betty Cracker: The group that MLK Jr really did not like to deal with: Republicans. Even in the 50s and 60s, Republicans outside the South were as bigoted as Democrats in the South, which is why Dixicrats made such an easy transition after the VRA and CRA.
That guy’s (Cranston Snord) twitter feed is awesome. He sounds like someone I know, and he’s here in Massachusetts so he may be. “Lifelong Democrat and liberal. I laugh at rubes and want the South to secede”.
@Germy Shoemangler: I wanted to write something rude to him, mainly because he’s not half the clever dipshit he thinks he is, but I thought better of it.
What a fucking tool. No wonder the media is going to hell in a handbasket.
@Germy Shoemangler: The article has been pushed up to top center of NYT’s home page. But nothing at all on Hillary Clinton’s speech yesterday:
I’m not a Clinton fan but reading that gave me a bit of a tweety-like tingle. Whichever Republican runs against her is going to get tossed in the wood chipper.
@Belafon: I think you put your finger on it. The great sorting started with the civil rights movement.
The answer to “why are things so polarized?” is that for many white people, hating black people is more important than any other principles they may hold.
That was Hannity.
@D58826: My headline for that story: “Senator Clinton Shows No Conflict of Interest, Puts Constituents Ahead of Husband’s Ties.”
Somehow I think the NYT would lead it differently.
He knew when he started that if he went in as “celebrity Senator” he’d be side-show clown. He seems to have wanted to be a Senator to actually, you know, get shit done, and not as a way to get onto TV like many of the clowns in office.
Actually now that I think about it – how many other TV-to-Congress people have parleyed their previous careers into more TV time once they were in office? The ones I can think of off the top of my head are him, Sonny Bono, Fred Grandy and Fred Thompson. And of those Fred Thompson is the only one I can think of who was on the TV a lot when he was in the Senate and even then I think it might have only been when he decided to amble towards the Presidency (I’d say make a run for the Presidency, but I remember Fred Thompson’s campaign…)
Open thread so can I just say that at 63 divorce is one of the most painful and humiliating things I think I will ever go through. I’m so glad I have this puppy to keep me laughing and comforted and reaffirming my will to get past this.
Come to find out the Mr. has been miserable for 15 years & he has made sure everyone knows about it.
I feel like the stupidest person on the planet. With the possible exception of every republican I’ve ever known.
Apparently Franken hardly ever grants interviews for that reason. I think he’d make a fine president.
I saw that. It’s been years since I’ve read the book, so I’d like to see what SyFy does with it.
He gives interviews all the time to media from Minnesota. He just doesn’t feel the need to entertain the NYT or WaPo.
Sorry about you having to go through this crisis. It hardly reflects well on your soon-to-be ex, does it, that he told everyone about his misery — except the one person who could have helped him do something about it. On that basis, I reckon there’s at least one better candidate than you for stupidest person on the planet.
No, it’s 1983 that the two sides stop mingling. You have a big spread out blue area, and a small compact red area. What mingling is left gets less and less, rapidly on the red side and slowly on the left, as the years go by.
This is Reagan’s baby. He’s the father of Cleek’s Law, the man who sold whites that there are two sides – for black people and for white people. If you want blacks kept in their place, then everything liberals are for, no matter how unrelated, is your enemy. Fuck trees, fuck worker protections, fuck taxing the rich, fuck any kind of safety net HARD, fuck education, and so on, and so on. As the demographic timer ticks and racists get more and more scared, they cling to Reagan’s philosophy more and more desperately.
If memory serves, Fred Thompson’s first acting gig was playing himself, in a TV movie about a case he’d been involved in as a lawyer.
Sorry Jack’s mom, to hear that. Time and the new puppy will help, but for now I feel your pain….
Hugs from a stranger…
@Jacks mom: It sounds as though you were really blindsided by much of this. Very unfortunate, but I hope you come through this terrible experience OK. Glad that the puppy helps.
The number of ways most of my fellow enlisted saluted other than the correct way outnumbered us by a factor of ten. The reason was those who didn’t deserve a salute by virtue of their competence rather than deserving one by the uniform they wore approached 90%.
Like I say every time this comes up; the mind-boggling thing to me about these stories is that no matter how blatantly pro-Republican they get, most of the public continues to think the mainstream media is “liberally biased.”
@Jacks mom: Exactly what Amir Khalid said. Sorry you’re going through this, and I hope you come out the other side stronger for the journey. Glad you have a furry companion to help you through it.
The thing that gets forgotten is that in the same way Democrats were the WASP party of the South, Republicans were the WASP party of the North.
It’s not an exact parallel, because the exact prejudices were different (bigots in the North were more obsessed with immigrants than black people, at least until black people started migrating to Northern cities at which point they were included as well), and because the North never turned into a one-party state to the extent that the South did under Jim Crow. But there’s mroe than a passing similarity.
Open thread so I will post about my wife who has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for the past 16 months. Quick recap from my other posts – successful chemo in winter & spring of last year, then successful blood stem cell transplantation in September, followed by almost fatal case of pneumonia on Day 85. This was followed by 10 days in medical coma, 2 months of hospitalization to recover from atrophy, then C. diff after first day of pulmonary rehab which led to another couple of weeks of hospitalization. Transplant team & pulmonologist released her from their care at the end of March – she waited until then to make flight arrangements. She came home over a week ago.
To add more comedy, she and her stepsister missed a flight on the trip home due to delays. She got home safely though. Now we need to put our life back together. We’ve got our 15th anniversary in a couple of weeks and are going to take a little trip to the Oregon shore. Yeah, it’ll be a little chilly & maybe rainy, but we just want to relax (she can’t go in ocean, rivers, hot tubs or public pools anyway).
just wanted to give a quick update to the community. I appreciate the kind words & thoughts given after my previous posts.
Tire swings for everybody on the bus! I wonder which is hotter: a Florida tire swing or an Arizona tire swing? Would a paleo-tyre be made of sloth jerky?
@Seanly: So glad she’s home and that you’ll have some time time at the shore. Don’t forget to look after yourself too — this ordeal has no doubt taken its toll on you as well, so be kind to yourself. YOU deserve it!
Wanted to add this as an edit:
I encourage everyone to sign up to be a marrow donor on BeTheMatch.org. If you are a match, being a donor now involves taking a drug to boost production of blood stem cells in your bones & sitting through a couple of hours IIRC of apheresis. You can literally save a life.
Signing up for the service is free for people between 21 to 44 (prime donor age) and only involves taking mouth swabs.
That’s the abstract of an article by Benjamin Lauderdale (London School of Economics): “Does Inattention to Political Debate Explain the Polarization Gap Between the U.S. Congress and Public?,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 77, Special Issue, 2013, pp. 2–23.
@Jacks mom: It takes one day at a time. When my ex wanted a new life, during the divorce proceedings, he was diagnosed with cancer. After a year of chemo, and a good report, we continued with the plan. He admitted that he was going to tell the judge, I only helped him because of money.
That helped me get over him fast.
@Gin & Tonic:
I’m on fire (“fahr!”); only missed one.
@Seanly: That is great news.
Anywhere, I hope you have a great time. Congratulations and best wishes!
Found a little vacation rental near Newport just big enough for us & our old Lab. Driving through Bend rather than Portland (nice country drives used to be a thing we did before her cancer hit). Think we can see the Yaquina lighthouse from the home.
Have a wonderful time together.
Fuck the (R)s. Give me MOAR years like 1989 in the graphic.
That doesn’t surprise me a whole lot. The Republican county executive where I grew up began his political career opposing busing in the early 1970s
@Cervantes: We had a toddler knocked over by a sneaker wave on Cannon Beach.
It is/was a ‘memorable family event’. Toddler now about to get PhD (but not in oceanography).
I’m glad to hear she’s well enough to come home. As I understand it, the first year is by far the most dangerous time for transplant recipients, so subsequent hurdles are likely to be shorter. My work is throwing our annual “Celebrate Life” picnic for transplant recipients, donors, and their families, and it’s always a wonderful time. I hope you get to go to something similar for many years.
The ocean is wonderful there.
The surrounding area is a little tacky these days, but the ocean is wonderful.
Congratulations to the long-ago toddler. The world awaits.
This is rough but do not feel stupid. What is stupid is that it seems that your husband felt comfortable enough to tell so many others but carefully not letting you know. A lot of guys have difficulty in communicating sensitive issues or are too cowardly. He did a great disservice to you and also to himself for not putting his big boy pants on and being an adult. My two cents but I don’t think you should beat yourself up for not knowing what he didn’t want you to know.
This. Signing up takes a few minutes, and they won’t contact you again unless you’re a likely match. It’s ridiculously easy.
Usually. They still use actual bone marrow for some patients, especially children, though the marrow donation is usually done under general anesthesia so it won’t be immediately painful. That said, the drug they give you to prep you for apheresis is a fairly big deal; it causes your marrow to grow rapidly enough that it pushes on your bones and makes them ache, and even after the donation, you feel very tired for a few days to a week from the metabolic load. It’s still nothing compared to what you’re giving the other person, and I’d do it again in a moment if I were asked.
@Mike in NC: Shifting the hyphen left works as well.
@Cervantes: I spent a few weeks in Astoria more recently. I was impressed by the number of nice restaurants and other retiree friendly amenities.
WTF happened in 1995? Suddenly all those DEMs disappeared and up came a bunch of REPs and they started screwing the USA. Did the Democratic Party just fucking give up when Clinton was elected? In 2007 and 2009 things seem to get okay again, and then the DEMs shit the bed once again in 2011!
@Bart: That was the Contract On America™.
@Bart: Welcome to the off year electorate. After N years of GOP misrule, any Democrat has 2 years to fix everything.
Do you recommend anything that addresses the direction of causation between changes in polarization levels in the legislature (the “elite”) and changes in polarization levels in the public? (The wikipedia article on polarization has several references.)
@Seanly: You may never see this because I’m so late to the thread but I just want to say how happy I am to hear your good news. I bet you wondered if this day would ever come! All the best to both of you.
Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz destroyed a decades-long Democratic majority in the House. They nationalized the off-year election (1994) by capitalizing on the Clintons’ health-care debacle and, more generally, by demonizing the left.
@Mike J: I recall a previous study on congressional polarization that determined that, through most of the 20th century, you could only describe voting differences adequately using a two-axis model: one was more or less left-right, and the other had to do with attitudes toward civil rights/race. What’s happened since then, mostly during the Reagan era into the 1990s, was that the two axes collapsed into one.