Quotulatiousness

October 16, 2013

US wages and personal mobility

Filed under: Economics, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 08:07

Coyote Blog looks at the widely touted flattening of income growth in the United States and wonders how much mobility (people moving from one state to another) might play a part in the overall picture:

All of this is a long introduction to some thinking I have been doing on all the “Average is Over” discussion talking about the flattening of growth in median wages. I begin with this chart:

Click to see full-sized image

Click to see full-sized image

There is a lot of interstate migration going on. And much of it seems to be out of what I think of as higher cost states like CA, IL, and NY and into lower cost states like AZ, TX, FL, and NC. One of the facts of life about the CPI and other inflation adjustments of income numbers is that the US essentially maintains one average CPI. Further, median income numbers and poverty numbers tend to assume one single average cost of living number. But everyone understands that the income required to maintain lifestyle X on the east side of Manhattan is very different than the income required to maintain lifestyle X in Dallas or Knoxville or Jackson, MS.

Could it be that even with a flat average median wage, that demographic shifts to lower cost-of-living states actually result in individuals being better off and living better?

For some items one buys, of course, there is no improvement by moving. For example, my guess is that an iPhone with a monthly service plan costs about the same anywhere you go in the US. But if you take something like housing, the differences can be enormous.

Let’s compare San Francisco and Houston. At first glance, San Francisco seems far wealthier. The median income in San Francisco is $78,840 while the median income in Houston in $55,910. Moving from a median wage job in San Francisco to a media wage job in Houston seems to represent a huge step down. If you and a bunch of your friends made this move, the US median income number would drop. It would look like people were worse off.

But something else happens when you take this nominal pay cut to move to Houston. You also can suddenly afford a much nicer, larger house, even at the lower nominal pay. In San Francisco, your admittedly higher nominal pay would only afford you the ability to buy only 14% of the homes on the market. And the median home, which you could not afford, has only about 1000 square feet of space. In Houston, on the other hand, your lower nominal pay would allow you to buy 56% of the homes. And that median home, which you can now afford, will have on average 1858 square feet of space.

December 24, 2012

Houston Texans accomplish one goal: keeping Adrian Peterson in check

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:54

Unfortunately for the Texans, the rest of the Vikings showed up on the field, too. Houston did everything they could to clog the running lanes and get Adrian Peterson running sideways, and with remarkable success. Peterson got a few good runs (25 carries for 86 yards on the day), but generally was not able to find running room. Earlier this year, you’d then assume that the Vikings lost the game by a couple of touchdowns, with a disproportional share of the time-of-possession for Houston, but both assumptions would be incorrect.

Minnesota’s defence looked better than they’ve been in years (according to one Twitter update, this is the fewest points they’ve allowed in a regular season game since the 2007 season opener). The Vikings passing game was not stellar, but it got the job done — especially on the opening drive with some excellent work by Christian Ponder and his receivers (who also had a much better than average game).

My favourite tweet from the end of the game:

While Adrian Peterson didn’t set the NFL rushing record today, The Blair Walsh Project did set a record: “Minnesota’s Blair Walsh kicked a 56-yard field goal against the Houston Texans to set an NFL record with nine field goals of 50 yards or longer this season. [...] The record was held by two players who had eight in a season. Jason Hanson of Detroit did it in 2008 and Morten Andersen had eight in 1995 with Atlanta.”

Andrew Garda for Bleacher Report:

The stats aren’t huge or anything, but Ponder played one of his better games all season and certainly his best game in the last two months.

Ponder avoided mistakes and, while he regressed for a bit in the second half, made very smart decisions. The offensive line, normally better at run blocking than pass blocking, did a great job of keeping defensive player of the year front-runner J.J. Watt in check, limiting him (and the Texans as a whole) to just one sack.

[. . .]

For a defense which struggled to tackle well and wrap up quarterbacks and running backs alike in the backfield, the four sacks were a big step forward. They assaulted Matt Schaub and kept him from getting anything going. Rookie Harrison Smith was tremendous in the secondary, showing great instincts, hard hitting (which caused a fumble) and a nose for the football.

July 9, 2012

Adrian Peterson on his arrest, sort of

Filed under: Football, Law, Liberty, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 08:06

The first word directly from Adrian Peterson after his arrest in Houston this weekend:

H/T to Christopher Gates at the Daily Norseman.

July 8, 2012

Apparently in Texas you can be arrested merely for “resisting arrest”

Filed under: Football, Law, Liberty, USA — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:09

In what must be the worst kind of news for Minnesota Vikings fans, star running back Adrian Peterson was arrested early Saturday morning for … resisting arrest. ProFootballTalk has the report:

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the incident culminating in Peterson’s arrest was captured by one or more surveillance cameras. Multiple persons also witnessed the event.

According to the source, Peterson, his girlfriend, and some family members were at a nightclub in Houston. At closing time, a group of police officers entered the club, and they began instructing the remaining patrons to leave.

Peterson wanted to get some water before he left, but an officer told Peterson that he needed to leave. Some words apparently were exchanged, but Peterson eventually walked to the exit with one of the club’s bouncers.

It’s believed that one of the officers then jumped on Peterson’s back from behind and tried to take him down. (Key word: “tried.”) Other officers then joined the fray and completed the arrest.

Peterson was charged with resisting arrest, which implies he was being arrested for something else. He is charged for now with no other crime.

I was under the vague impression that to be charged with “resisting arrest” you’d have to already be wanted by the police for doing something that warranted arrest. Based on the initial reports, it doesn’t sound like Peterson did anything before he was arrested to justify arresting him … unless it’s a case of a police officer deciding that he’d been disrespected. We’ll have to wait until more of the information becomes available.

Update: Contrasting with the initial report, Dan Zinski of The Viking Age says Peterson was “heavily intoxicated” at the time:

More on Adrian’s incident, and this isn’t flattering. The general manager of the club where Adrian Peterson was arrested after allegedly pushing an off-duty cop has told website TMZ that the running back was “heavily intoxicated” at the time of the incident. A police report says Peterson became belligerent after he and his companions were told the leave the bar, and ended up being subdued by three officers.

Live at Bayou Place general manager Daniel Maher says Peterson tried to order one last drink after being told to leave, and after being denied, tried to intimidate the bartender into giving him the drink anyway. It was at this point that Maher himself intervened, but Peterson refused to listen to him. The off-duty cop then broke in and was shoved by Peterson, leading to the Viking being hauled in for a misdemeanor A count of resisting arrest.

Update the second: At Viking Update, John Holler provides a bit of background (which may or may not be relevant to this particular case, but is interesting anyway):

The interesting aspect of the Peterson incident is that the only charge he was hit with was resisting arrest. He wasn’t charged with assaulting an officer. Had he actually shoved a policeman to the point that he “stumbled,” it would seem logical that charges of assaulting of an officer would also have been leveled. Therein lies the need to hear both sides of the story.

I come from a different perspective than most on this type of subject. I have been involved with “bouncer dust-ups” on the wrong side. Yet, three of my best friends are or were cops. I could accurately be accused of being “cop-friendly.” Of the numbers saved in my phone, a half-dozen of them are cops. When they’re “moonlighting,” it’s a night off for them. The odds of them getting shot as the result of a meth-addled domestic abuse call are out of the question. In those situations, they are truly “in charge.” And they like it that way.

When a bouncer (cop or otherwise) is working “his turf,” he can be aggressive. Very aggressive. As tenuous as life is in the NFL, the reality is that “hired muscle” at a nightclub can’t lose if he gets in a dust-up with a drunken patron. Whether an off-duty policeman, a local college football player or just a big guy who casts an imposing shadow, “security” at a big-time nightclub is expected to quell all problems — exceptions not allowed.

In order to do so, off-duty cops (trust me when I tell you that they’re never truly off-duty) aren’t going to take any guff from anyone. They have the experience. They have the sobriety advantage.

If the Peterson matter actually goes to court — the smart money would say that only a hard-core prosecutor would push the case — it will be destroyed by competent legal representation on Peterson’s behalf.

July 3, 2011

Separation of church, state, and common sense

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Government, Religion, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 10:11

The notion of separating church and state has been a good one: religion backed by the power of the government is a dire situation for non-believers and believers in other faiths. This, however, is just stupidity:

Veteran groups are taking legal action after they say they were banned from saying the words ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ during funeral services at the Houston National Cemetery.

Three veterans organisations are to take the Department of Veteran Affairs to court over claims that they have censored prayers and demanded that words be submitted in advance for government approval.

Cemetery officials ordered volunteers to stop telling families ‘God bless you’ at funeral and said that the words ‘God bless’ had to be removed from condolence cards, according to court documents filed this week in federal court.

H/T to Iowahawk, who commented “Apparently, the only person now allowed to say ‘God’ at a military funeral is Fred Phelps”.

April 22, 2011

Houston loses space shuttle sweepstakes

Filed under: History, Space, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas Russon @ 16:26

Houston has a problem with the allocation of the soon-to-be retired space shuttles:

Which city, in the whole of the United States, would the average person associate most clearly with America’s towering achievements, and no few sorrows, over the past half century of sending men and women into space? Why, Houston, of course — home of the Johnson Space Centre, where NASA’s mission control is located. We know this from all that has been said and done in the past. The first words Neil Armstrong uttered as Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon in 1969 were: “Houston, Tranquility base here — the Eagle has landed.”

The name of Houston will forever be associated with the manned exploration of space. No astronaut ever radioed laconically back from a crippled spaceship, “Manhattan, we have a problem”. Yet, in NASA’s recent selection of the final destinations for its four extant space shuttles, now that the last operational ones are about to be pensioned off, New York City will get Enterprise, the first of the shuttles that was rolled out in 1976, while Houston gets snubbed.

A score or more of museums and other institutions around the country competed for the honour of having a shuttle in their permanent collection. Apart from offering an appealing display, each had to be ready to stump up $28.8m to cover the cost of preparing and transporting the winged spacecraft to its new location. Of the three other remaining shuttles, Discovery is destined for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annexe outside Washington, DC. After the launch in late June of the 135th (and last) mission in the shuttle programme, Atlantis will remain in Florida to be exhibited at the Kennedy Space Centre’s visitor centre.

Meanwhile, after its own final mission later this month, Endeavour, the youngest of the shuttles, will be ferried to Los Angeles to end its days in the California Science Centre, alongside existing exhibits of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, and close to the old Rockwell plant in Palmdale where the shuttle was developed. Meanwhile, just up the road, at Edwards Air Force Base, is the runway where nearly half of all shuttle flights touched down.

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