Charles Pillsbury III

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Archive for November, 2008

Bailout costs from Boing Boing

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Sheesh, I’m not thankful for THAT

If we add in the Citi bailout, the total cost now exceeds $4.6165 trillion dollars.

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

[From Bailout costs more than Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, moonshot, S&L bailout, Korean War, New Deal, Iraq war, Vietnam war, and NASA's lifetime budget -- *combined*! - Boing Boing]


Written by cpillsbury

November 26th, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Posted in Misc

Probably the last political post for a bit

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Largely because I’m sick of hearing about it, even if I’m not sick of thinking about it. This is basically an e-mail I sent to Nate Silver who does some fascinating statistics on baseball, and applied that knowledge to the election this time around. There are a few things from the original e-mail edited out because they were more specifically related to my asking him to do some statistical analysis (if possible).

The problem with most of these questions is finding valid means of measuring vs speculation. I appreciate your time in reading this e-mail (and fully understand if it’s just too silly or long-winded to undertake).

These questions are largely interesting to me because while the race was a decisive electoral win, very few battleground states were huge blowouts and even popular vote was ‘only’ 53/46ish, which all ads up to “what, if anything, could McCain have done to win this?”. I ask not because I wanted him to win or lose, but because I like that sort of question.

Here are the questions I have.

1) How much did the ‘fear-mongering’ ads from the McCain camp effect his results (one assumes it brought in a certain segment of voters and turned off a certain segment)? This wouldn’t be so much about the “Joe the Plumber” sort of ads as much as the Ayers/Acorn/Iran segment of ads. I assume somebody could find out which markets aired which ads and how many times, but I don’t know, and then compare that to the polling and voting in those areas (well, if I knew how to calculate it and had access to the information I wouldn’t be trying to beg you into doing it would I?). From a strategic running of the campaign sort of thing I think he would’ve been smarter to let the Sean Hannity/Rush Limbaugh’s of the world do the fear-mongering for him because the segment of the population most influenced by those ads are also most likely to be listening to those people anyway (and Hannity/Limbaugh are going to fear monger either way because it’s what keeps them in ratings and money).

2) Much harder to quantify would be how, what might be classified as indirect “fear-mongering”, ads from Obama might have effected things. These would be ones in which Obama equated McCain to Bush, which for a not-insignificant portion of the voters is essentially calling McCain evil because to so many Bush = evil. (I’m sure there’s a great discussion to be had on if this was intentionally thought of in this terms as part of strategy or if it was a tertiary benefit, but that’s another story).

3) How much effect did Palin have in the end? She was, I think, much like the worst of the campaign ads a +/- (brought in one segment of voter, alienated another). The offshoot question would then be: “Was there a better VP choice to be made?”.

4) How did the Obama spending level effect the end results? Obviously whoever wins wants to claim some sort of mandate from the public, but if the popular vote is only 53/46 one assumes that the advertising probably played some part in the final vote (why else advertise?).

My suspicion is that McCain alienated a significant number of independents with his attack ads and VP choice, but brought in a few of the republican base with both. I think if he had ‘kept things clean’ (and picked a better VP) it would’ve been closer than it was, and if Obama had stuck to public funds it would’ve been possibly too close to call (or at least predict). This is not to discount Obama as a candidate (he’s charismatic and likable, and plays the political game well), nor to discount the dislike of Bush and the way republicans ran things, I’m really just interested in the political game and how it is played (probably too much Demosthenes and Locke in the Ender’s Game books).

I’m not sure why I’m posting this here, because I know how few people actually READ my blog anyway, I can’t expect a conversation or answer to come from it. Maybe I’m just hoping that a few people will see it and the question may get passed around. Thoughts?


Written by cpillsbury

November 24th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Posted in Blog Entry

A couple election-esque links

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First off is this great set of election maps where they show red/blue/purple by county and relative population and all sorts of other interesting ways to visualize how people vote in this country.

Most of us are, by now, familiar with the maps the TV channels and web sites use to show the results of the presidential election:

[From Election maps]

2nd is the nice gesture idea of ZeFrank’s. While it’s a bit cheesy at times, it’s a nice way of reminding us of the human element on both sides of the isle.


Written by cpillsbury

November 7th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Blog Entry, Misc