Never Trump Behavior In 2020

We didn’t get the Never Trump folks in 2016 and we are even more perplexed about what they will do in 2020.  We see 2020 as The Donald versus either Corey or Kamala.  The Donald is not the first choice for MWG but we prefer him to any alternative that we see.  We are close to certain that we won’t see HST or JFK from the Democrats.  As we learned ex-post from the Post, JFK would no longer pass the character test.

With a h/t to Instapundit here is part of a letter from one of Rod Dreher’s readers:

I can’t stand [The Donald]. I didn’t vote for him and for the moment don’t plan to in 2020. But where else to turn? What we have learned in the last two weeks is that the left will crush anyone who does not support The Agenda. [Emphasis added]

We don’t get it.  In November 2020 there will be another binary choice.  Didn’t you learn from 2016?  We think it will be The Donald versus Corey or Kamala with the latter as the most likely.  Is there anyone there close to passing a character test?  The writer seems to understand as the bold item indicates but then cannot draw the obvious conclusion that you can dislike, even despise The Donald and still vote for him because the alternative is worse.  The Donald is not a conservative and has poor character but he does some conservative things.  The other folks are the anthesis of conservative and will use their poor character to, as the writer says, enforce The Agenda.  The Never Trump cadre is going to have an interesting 2020.

Update: Here is a scurrilous attack on Brett by Kamala’s organization.  There is lots of nasty stuff on both sides but almost entirely the nasty stuff from what we might call serious folks comes from the left.  Thus, the Never Trump folks have decisions to make or unmake.

Data And Implications

Zoe Chevalier at US News has an article on per capita drinking by state.  New Hampshire wins with a score of 4.76 gallons per capita.  The next highest are Delaware with 3.72 and Nevada with 3.46.  Tenth place is South Dakota with 2.87 so NH is a runaway winner in alcohol consumption right?

Here is the problem: Zoe tells us that the NIAAA report that her data comes from uses alcoholic beverage sales compared to census population.  Zoe is measuring state sales per capita rather than consumption.  You have probably already noticed one problem state: Nevada.  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas is another way to say that out-of-state folks go to Nevada to drink.  Folks from Nevada are not consuming all the alcohol sold in Nevada.  Thus, the ratio is not a good measure of per capita alcohol consumption in Nevada.

New Hampshire has state liquor stores with low prices and a small population. It ranks 41 of 50 at 1.3 million.   Residents from neighboring states go to buy alcohol in NH.  Here is an example:

The “No Taxation on our Libations!” promotion is the first time that New Hampshire has offered a specific discount to lure out-of-state shoppers. Residents of Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont can receive a discount equal to double their home state’s sales tax. For Mainers, that means 11 percent off a purchase of up to $149.99. New Hampshire shoppers, and those from outside the three-state region, will get a flat 13 percent off.

So NH sells lots of alcohol per capita but we don’t know anything about consumption from Zoe’s data.  We don’t know if there is a reason for Delaware’s rank.

We can’t always measure what we want.  We have to use proxies like sales to estimate consumption.  But you need find really good proxies or control for the problems.  Nevada and New Hampshire are big problems for Zoe.

Negative Baseball History

The Baltimore Orioles only have an outside chance of setting a negative record.  Chris Davis, of those same Orioles, has a much better chance.  The Orioles are currently 60.5 games behind the Red Sox.  The American League record, held by the Orioles franchise when they were in St. Louis, is 64.5.  The MLB record is 66.5 by the Atlanta franchise several cities ago is untouchable this year.  In order to avoid a new AL record the magic number is two.  Any combination of a total of two wins by BAL or two losses by BOS keep BAL out of infamy.  It is reasonably likely that they will not gain games on the Red Sox and will set a new record for games behind since WWII.

Chris Davis has a much better chance of being in the baseball record book.  He is currently hitting .168.  Grant Brisbee has the info: The current record is:

Let’s take a quick look at the lowest batting averages among qualified hitters since 1920. Say, it’s a tie!

Player BA Year Tm AB H
Dan Uggla .179 2013 ATL 448 80
Rob Deer .179 1991 DET 448 80

It is a bit hard to see but it is as Grant says freaky.  Both Rob Deer (AL) and Dan Uggla (NL) had exactly 448 at-bats and 80 hits for a .179 batting average.  Chris has 79 hits in 470 at-bats and has six games left. Oh, and against whom?  Boston and Houston.  Sale, Price, Cole, and Verlander are the scheduled starters in his next four games.  Yes, those starters do have a record of 52 and 25.  If he plays all six games and gets 24 at-bats (four per game) he needs ten hits.  Hopefully, Buck will eschew the BOSChris-BALChris match-up but BALChris still needs five big days to avoid infamy.  This is real pressure because people will remember this forever.




Good Advice Depends On Circumstances

John Taylor has a fun column about opportunity cost, curriculum, and Tiger Woods.  As it happens Tiger was one of John’s students during freshman year at Stanford.  John says about Tiger:

With Tiger Woods just winning the Tour Championship, I have a wonderful example today of opportunity costs. Tiger took my course in 1996. He was the best economics student: As I have often said, he learned opportunity costs so well that he left Stanford and joined the pro tour.

As John says, it is about the choices people make when faced with scarcity.  The stock answer to, “I am a good student.  Should I stay in school or follow my dream?” is stay in school.  But the back story matters.  If you have the proven skills of Tiger Woods

In 1995, he successfully defended his U.S. Amateur title at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island[46] and was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford’s Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports)

Then leaving school in 1996 looks to be the right choice before the fact and obvious after the fact.  Here are two of our experiences about advice and opportunity cost.  A student comes to our office and says she has a local offer that she likes because it requires less hours but she wants as much money as her classmates that will be working in bigger cities and working more hours.  Our answer is that that is the trade-off she wants.  She should jump at it.

Another student comes to our office and asks for a couple of days off.  We ask why.  Our expectations were a wedding or a senior vacation.  Instead we hear that he has been invited to the NFL combine.  We said yes and he went to the Combine and played in the NFL for several years.

Trade-offs matter.  Tiger and the other folks are in the best position to make their own decisions.  Those of us that give advice for a living should always recognize that the stock answer isn’t always the best.  We need to find out about the individual when giving advice.  Exceptional golfing skills, a need to stay local, or ability to make the NFL all change the typical answer.  Then, sometimes, we wander beyond the economics to all that other stuff.


Baseball Research

Sometimes when you are evaluating research you have to look at the big picture.  If you get strange result then perhaps your model is flawed.  It is true in baseball research too.  Here we are talking about Wins Above Replacement or WAR and particularly WAR for pitchers.

Mike Petriello is discussing the impact of WAR not just on the NL Cy Young Award but the MVP award too:

Jacob deGrom is probably going to win the National League Cy Young Award. Let’s just accept it. We’ve moved past the discussion over whether his 8-9 record will prevent him from winning the award (it won’t, correctly) and stepped right into it starting to seem like a foregone conclusion. That’s in part because he deserves it, and in part because voters place too much emphasis on late-season performance — and chief competitors Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola each have September ERA marks north of 5.00.

Instead, let’s ask a far more interesting question: What if deGrom is actually the Most Valuable Player in the National League? Let’s make the case.

We don’t claim expertise on WAR but our observation is that pitching WAR is subject to extremes as this list suggests.  Also, relief pitchers end up with low WAR numbers.  Everyone says, even Mike, that WAR is imprecise and inexact.  It is useful information.  So is Jacob’s record of 8-9.  WAR is imperfect, especially for pitchers, and that is what this result shows.

Sidebar: In the junior circuit, Chis Sale’s two trips to the DL render him ineligible to win the AL Cy Young Award.  His 12 wins for a 105 team (with eight to play) make him less likely.  If you want to start the a ruckus with the WAR folk then vote for a relief pitcher.  Edwin Diaz in Seattle might be worth a look in the AL.  End Sidebar

Don’t embarrass Jacob by giving him either award for a tough year.  He might earn it some year.  Pitching in media-centric New York he just needs to be close to the best to get an award.  His numbers suggest we need to look at pitcher’s WAR.

Research Basics

After we commented on Cass Sunstein’s article about The Problem Of All Those Liberal Professors we recognized that we failed one of the standards of archival research.  You should aways check the original document(s).  The original document that Cass referred to is: Homogenous: The Political Affiliation of Elite Liberal Arts College Faculty by Mitchell Langbert.  It was posted on the National Association of Scholars (NAS) website.  NAS is:

[A] network of scholars and citizens united by our commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share our commitment to these broad principles. We publish a journal and have state and regional affiliates.

Yup, that basically makes them conservatives. It is not a surprise that Mitchell’s article showed up at NAS.  Other outlets might not be interested.

We were concerned that Cass understated the impact of the lack of conservatives on faculty because the faculty run the place.  They set the curriculum and the related courses.  They determine the research standards.  They hire (sometimes with a little help) administrators.  Most administrators were former faculty.  These administrators set accreditation standards.  In short, faculty run the place although not all faculty are equally involved in such activities.

So let’s see what Mitchell said about the impact of the lack of ideological balance in colleges and universities:

So pervasive is the lack of balance in academia that more than 1,000 professors and graduate students have started Heterodox Academy, an organization committed to increasing “viewpoint diversity” in higher education.4The end result is that objective science becomes problematic, and where research is problematic, teaching is more so. [Site added]

To an academic it is reasonable to include curriculum development in teaching but we don’t think that the general public does.  We think it is important to understand that faculty have somewhere between an extensive to exclusive say about what classes are taught and how, what research is acceptable, what outside speakers come to campus, and almost everything else that happens on campus.

Mitchell notes that West Point and Annapolis are two outliers in that they are more balanced that almost all the other schools.  We took a look at the history curriculum for Annapolis (US Naval Academy) and a local school that we have access to.  It should give you a feel for the differences between a school with balance (Annapolis) and one without balance.

Examples of history themes from the US Naval Academy:

Examples of topics include piracy, the development of national identities and the growth of capitalism.

Sidebar: We really, really want to take the course on the history of pirates.  Especially on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  End Sidebar

Here are some selected history course titles from a regional state school (yes we are aware that Mitchell was surveying Liberal Arts schools):

Women in the Modern United States: 1890-Present

History of Motherhood in the United States

U.S. Reform Movements

You can check the sites and see if you agree with us that the curriculums are very different.  Even when the titles are similar, Peace and War versus History of The Technology of Peace And War, we are willing to wager that the courses are very different.  Mitchell recognizes the connection of balance to research.  Without approved research a faculty member is highly unlikely to earn tenure.  If Military History is not part of the curriculum then military historians need not apply.  Too bad Victor Davis Hanson.  But the impact of the lack of balance is even more.  It is what happens in the classroom.  But it is also the classes that get taught, the speakers that come to campus, and the other services offered by the university.

Cass and Mitchell are right to identify the problem.  It is just bigger than they think.  It has an impact on every student in every major in every way.



Social Media And The Nomination

The current nominee for the US Supreme Court has led to an epic battle.  The best the left can come up with is a very old and unsubstantiated case of bad behavior.  Of course, social media is awash with conflict.  Two that we saw on FaceBook were shared on the same site:

  1. The posting of the accuser’s personal information leading to more bad behavior toward the accuser and
  2. The expectation that the GOP senators that called for Al Franken’s removal will call for the current nominee’s removal.

The latter tries to imply hypocrisy on the part of the GOP.  Of course, it is exactly the opposite as the accusations against Al were numerous, recent, photographed, and not effectively denied.  Unless things change we hope the GOP senators will do the right thing.  We doubt many Democrats will.

The former is inexcusable.  It is also standard operating procedure amongst Progressives.  The lovely and talented Kamala Harris used her former office as Attorney General of California to try and do just that.  So, if this is the first time you have complained about outing folks that expressed a desire for privacy then you know what you are.  It is that word that begins with an “H” and progressive love call folks.