Paul Ryan’s Faustian bargain

Good stuff on Paul Ryan in the NYT Magazine.  I especially liked this part:

“I can understand all of the rationalities,” says Charlie Sykes, a longtime conservative radio host in Wisconsin who spent years trying to persuade Ryan to run for president before turning sharply against him over Trump. “In a Faustian bargain, you get a lot of things. You get the wealth, you get the beautiful women and you get all this good stuff.” In Ryan’s case, this would include tax and regulatory overhauls. “It just turns out the price is higher than you thought.”

Ryan hears such assessments all the time. “I’m very comfortable with the decisions I’ve made,” he told me. “I would make them again, do it again the same way.” He is quick to present his counterfactual. What if he were to pick a fight with Trump every time he said something that offended? “I think some people would like me to start a civil war in our party and achieve nothing.” Why should Ryan, despite his own misgivings, make himself the vehicle for anti-Trump wish-fulfillment?

The counter-counterfactual is this: Are Republican leaders so unwilling to condemn Trump because their voters support him so vigorously, or do these voters support Trump so vigorously because so few Republican leaders have dared condemn his actions? Chicken, meet egg.

“I would say the unwillingness of Ryan and others to offer an alternative vision to Trump would be the reason” that Trump’s approval number is so high, Sykes told me. “When your best and brightest basically run up the white flag, it’s going to have an effect.”

Actually, I don’t think it would help all that much if more elected Republicans took on Trump.  Republican identifiers like authoritarianism and a (pseudo) strong-man.  That said, they are still pathetic cowards who dramatically value party and power over country.

Having a “nice” weather day

Chances are you are if you live in Long Beach, CA.  Unsurprisingly, odds are much lower in Anchorage, AK.  Based on a reasonable, but ultimately somewhat arbitrary definition of nice days, the Post has a cool article on which cities have the most and least:

Using automated weather stations with relatively complete data between 1998 and 2018, we systematically evaluated every daily and hourly observation for 373 stations around the country for all 365 days of the year and computed the number of days per year that met all of the following specific criteria:

  • High temperature between 65 and 85 degrees
  • Maximum dew point temperature less than or equal to 65 degrees
  • Peak daily wind (including gusts) less than 25 mph
  • Average daily cloud cover less than or equal to 65 percent
  • No measurable precipitation

 

I’m no expert on Honolulu’s climate, but pretty sure I’d take it over most any other place but Southern California.  And I’m 99.9% sure I’d prefer it to Lubbock.  Maybe it’s too humid?  Presumably the 0 measurable precipitation is a problem for places that have brief rain on lots of days, too.  Dew point under 65 is definitely a good thing, but I wonder how much better, Raleigh, for example, would do if you let that get up to 66 or 67 (okay, probably not all that much).  Raleigh does make the top of the “middle of the pack” not worth an actual chart:

Here are additional city annual nice-day counts — ranking close to the middle of the pack:

  • Albuquerque: 50
  • Denver: 52
  • Miami: 53
  • Detroit: 54
  • Memphis: 54
  • Houston: 54
  • Louisville: 56
  • Indianapolis: 56
  • San Antonio: 57
  • Columbus: 57
  • New Orleans: 58
  • Nashville: 59
  • El Paso: 66
  • Raleigh: 66

Anyway, a fun exercise to think about all this.  My 2000-2002 home of Lubbock is definitely losing some days to the overly-windy problem.  And Raleigh may only have 9 more “nice days” per year than Columbus, but I would argue that, overall, the weather here is dramatically better.  I suppose we also need a count of “pretty good” days :-).  I think we’d do really well there.  A count of “bad days” would be fun, too.  No sun at all definitely hits that mark for me.

Anyway, fun stuff.

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