benuski's blog

News and Observer can't understand a simple chart

Today, one of the posts on the "Under the Dome" blog, run by the News and Observer, came out with this headline: "Nate Silver prediction: Marshall wins primary, gets trounced by Burr." In the body of the article, it also says that "Silver also predicts Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr will win big in November with 77 percent of the vote."

Unfortunately for the N&O, thats not at all what Nate Silver said. In his post "Senate Rankings Update, 3/10," Nate Silver projected that there is a 75% chance that Elaine Marshall is the Democratic nominee and that there is a 77% chance that Richard Burr will win the election. But it says that Burr will win by an average of 6.3%; this, of course, would leave Burr nowhere near 77% of the total vote.

Swing State Project takes a swing at redistricting North Carolina

A blogger over at the blog Swing State Project has taken a crack at redistricting North Carolina after the 2010 Census. Currently it assumes that North Carolina does not add a new Congressional seat, which is seeming more and more likely. However, the author says that they're drawing up a new version that would take into account a 14th seat for North Carolina

Here's the link to the blog post. They think that we can redraw Virginia Foxx out of her district and take over the 5th, giving Democrats a 9-4 advantage in our Congressional delegation. What do you all think?

Less than 50% of North Carolinians have non-government provided health insurance

I was listening to WUNC this morning, and they said something that shocked me. Apparently over 20% of North Carolinians do not have any health insurance right now, due to either their job not providing it and not having money to pay for it themselves or because they are unemployed. That combined with over 30% of North Carolinians who are on Medicaid or Medicare means that over 50% of North Carolinians are either on government programs or have no health insurance at all.

This combined with the Paul Krugman piece in the New York Times about the real need for Obama to push health care shows that health insurance really is one of the most critical problems right now. Programs like SCHIPS and Medicaid/Medicare are merely steps towards what we should be doing: some sort of government funded health insurance that anyone can participate in.

FEC reports for NC House Incumbents

The FEC recently came out with its 1Q09 fundraising reports for the members of Congress. North Carolina's is as follows:

GK Butterfield: $61,080 raised, $147,144 CoH
Bob Etheridge: $156,711 raised, $772,489 CoH
Walter Jones: $16,050 raised, $9,170 CoH
David Price: $11,088 raised, $284,161 CoH
Virginia Foxx: $64,132 raised, $942,195 CoH
John Coble: $17,407 raised, $487,904 CoH
Mike McIntyre: $64,159 raised, $633,090 CoH
Larry Kissel: $164,960 raised, $137,257 CoH (with $20,000 outstanding debt)
Sue Myrick: $49,876 raised, $96,557 CoH
Patrick McHenry: $68,521 raised, $64,936 CoH (with $245,500 in outstanding debt)
Heath Shuler: $189,744 raised, $1,052,214 CoH
Melvin Watt: $14,500 raised, $100,378 CoH
Brad Miller: $43,912 raised, $37,310 CoH (with $16,506 in outstanding debt)

What does all of this mean? Probably not a whole lot.

Civil War and Education

I'm a relatively new resident of North Carolina, as I'm going to graduate school here. But yesterday a friend of mine who's from North Carolina, Durham in fact, said something that just boggled my mind.

We were talking about how people can't change what symbols mean in the minds of others, and my example was that even though some people might say that the Confederate flag is a symbol of states rights, to the majority of people its a symbol of slavery. I then quipped that the people who say that the Confederate flag is a symbol of states rights and not slavery just don't get it, because its a symbol of the states' rights... to own slaves, and that thats what caused the Civil War.

She responded that slavery was not a major cause of the Civil War, and the reason that I thought slavery was the major cause of the Civil War was because of my Northern education.

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