Jasper Smith

Commentary on politics, economics, culture and sports.

Archive for the ‘Boston’ Category

Progressive Hicks in the New England Sticks

leave a comment »

Via Yglesias, here’s a cool map demonstrating granular county level voting patterns. Matt writes:

…the Republican parts of the country form a largely contiguous bloc while Obamaland is an incredibly fragment archipelego…it’s an interesting dramatization of the Democrats’ base in cities and inner suburbs. I wonder if anyone’s familiar with any good work on what accounts for the anomalously progressive views of rural New England. What’s the matter with Maine?

I think one way to answer that question is to look into who really is “rural” in New England and who isn’t. Maine certainly seems a pretty rural place when you’re driving through it, but Portland, Augusta, Lewiston, Bangor etc are perhaps more accurately described as urban — even though individually they’re pretty small urban areas. Heck, I suspect something like half of Maine’s population is within plausible commuting distance to greater Boston (not downtown Boston, mind you, but an office park in Andover, MA is a feasible commute for someone living near Kittery or York). This is doubly true for New Hampshire, whose southern portion — where nearly everybody lives — really is a bonafide extension of the Boston suburbs.

My point is, northern New England appears rural, but its genuinely rural parts are home to vanishingly small numbers of voters. The vast majority of voters in the region actually reside in small cities, or liberal college towns, or in the exurban spillover of Boston.

Even highly dense Massachusetts is a good example. The portion of the state west of Worcester makes up something like half the land area, but something like 10-15% of the population. If you remove Pittsfield, Northampton, Springfield and Amherst, you’re down to what, two or three percent of the state’s population? You’ll no doubt find a decent number of Limbaugh fans from amongst this small cohort, but they’re not sufficiently numerous to nudge Western Massachusetts’s political culture rightwards.

I know the image of the reasonable, centrist/liberal, libertarian Yankee living in the wilds of New England is a comforting one to us liberals, but as a life long New Englander, I doubt it’s a very real image.

Written by Jasper

November 11, 2008 at 3:58 pm

And in other news…

leave a comment »

Average temperatures once again begin to increase in Boston starting tomorrow. This for me is a considerably more important day than the winter solstice. While I like light, I guess I like heat even more. Although, for what it’s worth we have, I think, already gained a good twenty minutes or so of late afternoon daylight (I guess the truth of the matter is I greatly value both the increase in daylight and the rise in temperatures). In another two or three weeks, not only will the longer afternoon daylight be a lot more noticeable, the aforementioned warm-up should become more apparent as well. Nothing dramatic, mind you, but the three or four degrees we’ll gain in terms of afternoon high temperatures by the mid-point in February is welcome, and recognizable if you’re want, as I am, to cherish every sign of spring no matter how subtle. Indeed, by, say, Saint Valentine’s day, the winter just seems less oppressive from a psychological perspective, because, by that juncture, one is able to say (or think) things like “Gee, a week from such and such is March X.” and “Hmm, a week from next we’ll return to daylight savings.” You didn’t remember that, did you? Daylight savings now returns in early March (second week?). By that time, it should start remaining fairly bright out until 6:30.

Yup. I can almost taste it. Winter is nearly over. And February, as you’ll recall, is the shortest of the twelve months (though unreasonably lengthened by a day due to the unadvisable actions of some long-dead pope).

Written by Jasper

January 23, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Boston, Miscellania, Weather

Awesome

leave a comment »

The Celtics now top Marc Stein’s power rankings.

Written by Jasper

December 17, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Boston, Sports

When I die…

leave a comment »

…I really really really hope the Good Lord allows me to come back as Tom Brady.

Written by Jasper

September 3, 2007 at 8:49 pm

B-slapping the Chisox

with one comment

pappi1.jpg

The events unfolding on Chicago’s South Side over the last few days have, to my recollection at least, constituted the most dominating series performance by any Red Sox team, ever.

David Ortiz hit a two-run homer, and J.D. Drew and Bobby Kielty ended long homerless droughts to back Julian Tavarez’s first win since late June as the Boston Red Sox finished a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox with a 11-1 victory Sunday…The Red Sox outscored Chicago 46-7 in the series, dropping the White Sox to 18 games under .500. Boston has won four in a row, improved baseball’s best record to 80-51 and increased their lead over second-place New York to 7 1/2 games in the AL East.

Emphasis mine. Now bring on the (cough, slumping, cough) pinstripes.

Written by Jasper

August 26, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Boston, Sports

Overheard on a Celtics online discussion board

with one comment

Somebody made the point that, even if things don’t turn out all that well for Danny Ainge’s rebuilding strategy, the Boston Celtics will actually be in a pretty good position to quickly rebound back into contention. Why? Because each of the three monster contracts they’re currently paying will become extremely valuable commodities  entering their respective final years. So, if, say, Garnett doesn’t quite work out, somebody’s bound to want to unload a younger, talented player in the middle of a multi-year deal to Boston in exchange for the Ticket’s expiring contract (which comes off the cap as it expires, thereby freeing up megadollars that can be used to sign a top player).

Is it possible that Danny Ainge has gone from goat to Auerbachian genius in just a few months?

Written by Jasper

August 23, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Posted in Boston, Sports

Things that make you go hmmmmm…

leave a comment »

dannyaingeheadshot-celtics.jpg

Tamper with a college prospect? Moi?

Written by Jasper

March 19, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Boston, Sports