Problem Set 1: National Income Accounting: Economics 101b: U.C. Berkeley: Spring 2008
Paul Krugman Doesn't Like the Stimulus Package

Two Questions From Lunch...

Are any Democratic primaries winner-take-all?

Answer: No:

Sam Boyd: The Convention Delegate Process Explained | The American Prospect: the actual rules that cover delegate selection and behavior are obscure... some of the rules are too complicated to get into even here... what follows is a brief overview....

Eighty percent of the total delegates, known as pledged delegates, are elected to represent a particular presidential candidate through caucuses and primaries in each state... all states, whether they hold primaries or caucuses... must award pledged delegates proportionally to candidates who receive more than 15 percent of the vote. The easiest way to understand this is to consider a state primary where Kucinich gets 10 percent of the vote, Edwards gets 20 percent, Obama gets 30 percent, and Clinton gets 40 percent. Under this scenario, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards get 40 percent, 30 percent, and 20 percent of the delegates awarded by the state while the remaining 10 percent are divided evenly among the three candidates.

This selection system has the odd consequence of disproportionately rewarding candidates who receive barely more than 15 percent of the vote, especially if a large fraction of the vote goes to candidates who do not meet the viability threshold....

While voters will assign four-fifths of the delegates, the actual results could easily be decided by the remaining fifth -- superdelegates... DNC members, all Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, and certain former party leaders...

Did John McCain really say, in public, "The reason Chelsea Clinton is so ugly is that her father is Janet Reno"?

Answer: Yes:

David Corn: [T]his new standard in the practice of journalism seemingly does not extend to other political figures, at least not media darlings like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Earlier this month, at a Republican Senate fund-raiser, McCain told a downright nasty joke making fun of Janet Reno, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. The fact that McCain had made the tasteless joke was reported in major newspapers, as was the vain attempt by his press secretary to initially deny what McCain had done. But... the Washington Post... said the joke "was too vicious to print." The Los Angeles Times... provided an oblique rendering... that did not fully convey its ugliness.... Maureen Dowd... wrote that McCain "is so revered by the press that his disgusting jape was largely nudged under the rug." But Dowd chose not to relay the joke, either.

The joke did appear in McCain's hometown paper... the Associated Press did report the joke in full... But by censoring themselves, the Post, the Times and others helped McCain deflect flak and preserved his status....

[T]his is what [McCain] reportedly said: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."...

McCain's two-liner conveys some interesting insights... particularly since it was delivered to a Republican crowd... the party that champions pro-family values.

McCain's lapse in judgment... may be a significant clue into aspects of his "character."... But many voters have been spared this insight, thanks to the censors in the press....

McCain is also unusually popular with the media. He gives good quotes; he is outspoken. He takes positions that contradict the Republican leadership. When you talk to McCain, he converses in the manner of a real person, seemingly telling you what he thinks. That is rare among elected officials.... [T]he joke revealed more than a mean streak.... It also exposed how the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times play favorites when reporting the foibles of our leading politicians.

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