don’t tread on my statehood dreams

"Taxation Without Representation" license plate on Presidential Limo

In case you’ve missed the news of of rural Northern Colorado, a number of counties there wish to secede from the state because those darn city slickers in Denver just don’t listen to their concerns. Although the chances are nearly impossible since it would require an amendment to the Colorado constitution and approval of Congress, nothing has deterred them yet.

One of the leaders of the movement, however, Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway made a much more plausible case: admit the new state of “Northern Colorado” along with another state, either Puerto Rico or Washington, D.C. As some of you may or may not know (though I’ve mentioned before), residents of the District of Columbia do not have representation in Congress. In other words, they have taxation without representation.

The idea is pretty clear: admit one Republican-leaning state and one Democratic-leaning state. The action would have precedent: the Missouri Compromise admitted Maine and Missouri together in order to maintain the balance of free and slave states.

I was curious what the addition of D.C. and Northern Colorado would do to state Congressional apportionment if Congress maintained the current 435 seats in the House (the Senate would likely add two Republican Senators and two Democratic Senators, keeping the current balance, though breaking a filibuster would be even slightly harder because 63 votes — or 60.6% of the Senate — would be required rather than the current 60). I wrote a Stata script to implement the “Amazing Apportionment Machine.”
Continue reading “don’t tread on my statehood dreams”

trends in anonymous blogging.

Somehow – and much to my dismay, now that most of the day is behind me – I ended up tumbling down an internet rabbit hole today and venturing through blogs (and blog entries on still flourishing existing blogs) from yesteryear.*

When I looked back at those blogs (and early entries here), there were so many more anonymous/pseudonymous posts and bloggers than today. Is it just my imagination, or maybe the circles that I read in? If not, what accounts for these differences?

Have those same bloggers become more comfortable with the venue, and so switched to their given names? Has that cadre of bloggers become tenured or more comfortable with their prospects of being so in the near future, and so less worried about being visible on blogs? Is it a shift in topics (perhaps less complaining about colleagues, more exchanges of lofty ideas)? Is it the legitimacy of blogging that came with increasing numbers of high-status academics engaging in it? Is it that bloggers who sign their names to their ideas are more likely to continue blogging, as there’s more of a reputation – even if just as someone who sticks with things – to uphold? Is it a Facebook foot-in-the-door effect, where  having our given names such a central part of so many people’s online lives makes us more comfortable using them elsewhere, including on blogs?  My own guess is that it’s some combination of the above (and likely factors I didn’t think to include), but I’d like to hear what others think. Do those same people roam these blogs, just less disguised, or are participants in the academic blogosphere significantly different in the age of declining anonymity? 


*To provide some context, I started reading blogs in the summer of 2006.


A friend directed me to this blog the other day. It’s a great place to take a fluff-break.

Not that my taste is universal, but I adore the author’s commentary. Of course, sometimes she shares the stage and it’s just as good. Like here, where I laughed until I cried (appropriately, it appears, as that’s the title of the post).

verrry e-nteresting

I received an e-mail this evening from a certain widely respected and extremely productive scholar. Right there, in the signature file of the message:

** I never read my email before 4pm. **

Now, there’s an idea. I mean, I don’t think it’s actually the idea I have the wherewithal or willpower to act upon it myself, but, indisuputably, there’s an idea. Everybody knows, nobody expects otherwise, and you’ve committed yourself.

tomorrow never comes

Procrastinators have all kinds of things they want to do, they just don’t want to do them today. Maybe they don’t feel like it; maybe there are so many other things they feel like they must do today they can’t possibly contemplate embarking on the others. The problem is that it is always today, and so if you don’t do tasks some today, you will never do them. Sure, one might think changing “someday” to “some today” involves just deleting the middle syllable, but if that was the case then why are there so many things I’ve been meaning to do someday that any realistic appraisal would indicate I’m never going to get around to?

A cognitive-therapish check for “I’ll do it someday” is just to ask oneself: Continue reading “tomorrow never comes”

asa: a lobbying organization?

I just got the new issue of Footnotes. It fit in well with my attempt to look busy but avoid doing my immediate work. Two pieces were what I would consider “lobbying” or “position-taking” on the part of the organization (excluding a South African Scholar from the US and a letter of protest to the ASA Israel Boycott resolution). And I began to wonder what the implications of this kind of position-taking is for our discipline. My intuition is that it weakens our position both in public policy arenas and in the academy more generally. But rather than make arguments about it, I wonder if anyone has actually looked into this. Anyone out there know of some kind of work done on this questions (it doesn’t have to be about sociology, just organizations in general).

But now to my own uninformed mind. Thinking about the ASA I can’t help but wonder about PAA by contrast. As far as I can tell, PAA takes the approach that it is an information clearinghouse. Want to know something about demographic trends? Ask PAA. They’ll tell you (or tell you about someone who can tell you about it). ASA’s approach, by contrast, is to generate policy statements. Often on issues that no one has asked about. Continue reading “asa: a lobbying organization?”