Video of the day

When Jeff P. tells me I should make something a video of the day, I damn well do.  This is pretty amazing video of super slo-motion, hi-defition cheetahs.  It’s a little long at 7 minutes, but you can get the cool gist of it in much less.  Definitely take a look (you should actually click through to the link or click the expand button for a larger image):

Chart of the day

This is awesome from the Atlantic.  A collection of 35 charts that show changing spending habits over the life-cycle.  Here’s a few of my favorites:

Men really let themselves go once they hit their 40s

Hmmm.  I should be at my peak spending on personal care.  Not living up to it with my $13 Great Clips cuts.

You're probably spending on your kids early in your adulthood

Yep, that’s me.

And the final one somewhat mystifies me:

Presented without comment

The youth vote in 2012

Very nice report from Pew looking at the youth vote in 2012 and compared to earlier elections.  Here’s the key chart:

And some of the analysis:

In winning reelection, Barack Obama won 60% of the vote among those younger than 30. That was down somewhat from 2008, when Obama won nearly two-thirds (66%) of the votes of young people. However, Obama’s youth support may have been an even more important factor in his victory this year than it was in 2008.

The divide between young voters and older voters was as stark this year as it was in 2008. While Obama lost ground among voters younger than 30, he still won this age group by 24 points over Mitt Romney (60% to 36%). He also maintained a slimmer advantage among voters 30 to 44 (52% Obama, 45% Romney), while losing ground among those 45 to 64 and those 65 and older.

Among all voters 30 and older, Obama ran behind Mitt Romney (48% for Obama, 50% for Romney). Four years ago, Obama edged John McCain, 50% to 49%, among all 30+ voters.

And here’s the news that bodes very well for the Democrats’ future:

His losses among young voters since 2008 might have been even greater, but for the fact that the under 30s are by far the most racially and ethnically diverse age group. Just 58% are white non-Hispanic, compared with 76% of voters older than 30  [emphasis mine]. A recent report by Pew Social and Demographic Trends found that minorities are on track to become a majority of the overall population by 2050.

And they have the liberal issue preferences that fit with the Democratic Party as well:

Young voters continue to identify with the Democratic Party at relatively high levels and express more liberal attitudes on a range of issues – from gay marriage to the role of the federal government – than do older voters. In fact, voters under 30 were as likely to identify as Democrats in the 2012 exit poll as they had been in 2008 (44% now, 45% then). And they are the only age group in which a majority said that the government should do more to solve problems.

Now, the Republicans aren’t stupid (okay, some of them are) and historically parties adapting to a changing political landscape.  Surely the Republican Party will make strategic choices to win over some of these younger voters.  Nonetheless, partisanship does tend to be fairly stable over the life cycle, thus barring any major changes, Democrats look to have a continued and probably growing partisan advantage for years to come

Photo of the day

Love  these post-apocalytipc dioramas at Behold:

Lori Nix's photos of tiny dioramas of a post apocalyptic city.


Lori Nix.

These are actually tiny models with no photo manipulation:

Lori Nix thinks she may be “a little obsessed” with the apocalypse. It began as a child, when she would watch with awe as blockbuster disaster flicks “magnified” the natural disasters and dangers she saw around her growing up in the Midwest. In her latest series, “The City,” the photojournalist turned fine-art photographer imagines a human-less world where Mother Nature has reclaimed our cities; and she makes these breathtaking images all without the help of Photoshop.

Citing her strong ability to “build and construct [her] world rather than seek out an existing world,” Nix would rather not utilize digital manipulation to create her post-apocalyptic futures, choosing instead to build tiny, painstakingly detailed dioramas. Ranging in size from 18″x12″x33″ (see Beauty Shop) to 92″x42″x100″ (see Mall), each diorama takes up to seven months to build with the help of her partner, who assists in distressing and aging each of Nix’s structures. As if that weren’t enough, it takes another two to three weeks for Nix to photograph each diorama with her 8×10 large-format camera, adjusting for light until the images match her vision.

Very cool.

The Asian-American vote

Not quite sure that Richard Posner is exactly the man for the job, but I’m glad somebody’s writing thoughtfully about the increasing Democratic lean of the Asian vote, even though it’s a small part of the population.  I think some of his suppositions go a bit far, but I think his basic point is probably pretty spot on:

According to exit polls in the Nov. 6 election, Asian American voters favored Obama over Romney by a ratio of more than 3-to-1 (76 percent versus 23 percent). This has puzzled a number of Republicans. Asian Americans, more than any other group, including white suburbanites, who are a backbone of Republican support, have demographic characteristics that would seem to make them support low taxes, fiscal austerity, conventional family values, and hostility to affirmative action (especially in higher education)—all policies strongly associated with today’s Republican Party.

As pointed out in The Rise of Asian Americans, a comprehensive study issued this past summer by the Pew Research Center,

Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success … They are more likely than all American adults to be married (59% vs. 51%); their newborns are less likely than all U.S. newborns to have an unmarried mother (16% vs. 41%); and their children are more likely than all U.S. children to be raised in a household with two married parents (80% vs. 63%)…

If voting is thought of in expressive terms, it becomes possible to understand why Asian Americans should have favored Obama so decisively. For one thing, although according to the Pew Center study they do not feel that discrimination is an obstacle to their advancement in American society, and the high rate of intermarriage between Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans confirms that discrimination is not an obstacle, they are of course conscious of being a minority. And the Democratic Party is the party that racial and ethnic minorities tend to support and that courts their support. In contrast, the Republican Party is widely perceived as a party primarily of white people, though it has some prominent minority members and President Bush had some success in courting Hispanics.

Moreover, the strongest support for the Republican Party is now found in the southern states (a striking historical reversal), especially in suburban or rural areas, and it is easy to see how Asian Americans, who are concentrated on the East and West Coasts and in cities, might tend to find Southerners culturally alien.

Shorter version: the Republican Party is the Party of white people.  And Southern white people at that.  Regardless of where they may stand on issues– and Posner can really only infer on some of them– I think it’s more identity politics.  Sure Asian-American voters don’t get the attention of Black and Hispanic voters, but there no less likely to understand who the Republican party stands for.  And it’s not them.

And wait– Posner actually mentions, in a part I did not excerpt, that Asian-Americans are more liberal on abortion and gay marriage.  Now the Pew survey does not include a lot of political issues, but on what we might consider the very core economic issue– scope of government– Asians are a liberal lot:

That’s way more liberal than the American public at large.  Now, why should that be after all that Posner has suggested might drive them in the other direction?  Here’s my answer: Party Identification.  The truth is, partisanship actually drives positions on issues far more than the other way round (now, political scientists have debated endlessly on this, but to me the evidence is pretty clear).  So, my theory: Asian-Americans perceive the Republican Party as hostile and Democratic Party as welcoming for non-issue based reasons (as discussed above) –> Asian-Americans identify as Democrats –> Asian-Americans adopt more liberal views not only on social issues but scope of government as well.

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