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  1. It's less obvious to me than to you, I guess, how the existence of a world-wonder-facade strip center in the Woodlands testifies to the unlikelihood Texas will see a world-wonder-facade casino in the middle of a treeless parking lot so big you can see the curvature of the earth. The second sentence I can't say I follow. The Atlantic recently had a short negative piece by David Frum on casinos: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/08/a-good-way-to-wreck-a-local-economy-build-casinos/375691/2/#disqus_thread. It was a little surprising for 2 reasons: one, it didn't follow the Atlantic's tendency of many years' standing to force every story to (shallowly) upend polite opinion in one direction or another, so that it would have been actually more predictable for them to write something like "Why You Should Want a Casino Next Door"; and two, that a neo-con should have written it. There wasn't much to it, but the comments at the top were interesting and thoughtful (I know, the exception that proves the rule). One takeaway, re "tourism": casinos will certainly capture that coveted demographic, eighty-to-ninety-year-olds. In fact, the gambling-legalization crusaders might do well to market casinos as "daycare for the elderly," as they've been referred to. Er, unless there's some distinction I'm missing, between the old people that get off the charter bus in Oklahoma and Louisiana, and those who would get off the bus in Texas ...?
  2. Don't worry, gambling HAIF-ers! With any luck at all you'll have your casinos within the decade; and perhaps one of them will also appeal to your love of architecture, as does this fine establishment to our north: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2550/3713553240_855a9bdcdb_z.jpg
  3. Others may judge whether slots players are a completely different (fun!) breed, but the heaviest lottery players do not appear to be playing for amusement, according to a Cornell behavioral economist: That's one very small ray of hope - more like a photon! As Rick Casey of the San Antonio Express-News points out, you have statistically pretty much the same chance of winning the Texas Lotto whether you buy a ticket or not - 26 million to one. You don't actually have to pay to "play" that one. Uness you've been persuaded otherwise by lottery agency advertising. Of course, for all we know, the poor are no longer overrepresented in Texas lottery ticket sales. Maybe that's a myth! The state lottery commission no longer publishes ... I would actually prefer casino gambling to the state-run lottery. There is just something so sinister about it. Doubly so when it comes to the poor: the government distributes a million checks, then tries to get some of it back through trickery. I don't know what that is but it is not governing. More like we are toddlers being redirected - "You were going to save that dollar? Or buy that trinket? No, no, don't do that, buy this ticket instead, wouldn't you rather? There's a good boy." .
  4. Indeed, if I were a betting man, I would wager our gambling future will be a casino in every Buc-ees (billboard: "Royal Flush"? - except there won't be anything as diverting even as poker; no, it will be nothing but one-armed bandits as far as the eye can see, either because Americans don't want to work very hard at losing money, or it's simply the fastest, most efficient way to get to the final outcome). But do dream on about a "couple of" (!) tasteful downtown casinos where elegant gents may enjoy a game of baccarat after dinner.
  5. In a column a year or so ago Ross Douthat explored the tension between consistency and permissiveness. Column short: historically limiting casinos mostly to NJ and NV worked - by which he means, kept vice somewhat contained - pretty well, if "indefensibly," until the big Indian gaming expansion. Turned out the Great White Father still can't yield anything - even casino receipts - to the Indians, and hence the push by the states to cash in too. Were it not for those awful res casinos, despite their well-documented attendant crime and social ills, it is doubtful we'd be talking about legalizing gambling in Texas, a state where most of us with Anglo surnames had at least one Baptist grandmother. Me: libertarians enjoy the feeling they are leading the quest for people of all stations to be able to more liberally squander their $$ in a game where one side always wins, but make no mistake: that side is not the house, it is the statehouse and its insatiable thirst for fresh sources of revenue. Thus libertarians, as so often, are the very useful idiots of big government.
  6. Having just read a book about Detroit - called: "Detroit," but it might well have been called "America" - I am more than ever finding the fixation on who can afford to live in San Francisco, or whether it will have enough baristas per capita - to be about on par with Romans worrying, late in the Republic, about whether the Palatine Hill was getting too exclusive. It's a thing, I guess, but is it really the thing?
  7. I don't know about "statistically corrected" - the seemingly modest (in terms of the numbers it generates) practice of imputation, while not directly statistical, has a statistical component, in assigning a number to a presumed household based on local characteristics - but the Supreme Court case that I linked to earlier, held that a Census that is "statistically produced," which had evidently been proposed ahead of the 2000 census, was not consistent with the Constitution. I think Scalia argued that in order to show that sampling would yield a more accurate result than counting, you would have to rely on - sampling. Perhaps the Nine may change their minds, though; that would definitely be more consistent with the Game of Special Interests.
  8. No. A census is an ancient thing, unlike statistics, so I find it strange that you should all trust that the government "knows" the result in advance and assume statistical methods are used to arrive at it. I think, if you'll forgive me, there may be a generational divide at the moment, as to faith in what government "knows." This article explains the one statistical method of "imputation" employed, more and less in some decades, to try not to undercount: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/05/04/imputation-adding-people-to-the-census/ When after repeated failed attempts to count them, people are still thought to live at an address, they are added based on household size in the neighborhood. The article says that Texas had the largest "add," of 143,000 people, in this way. For its between-census estimates, and other data collection, the Census employs the usual statistical methods, and includes a margin of error. I have read the next Census will be internet-based. Perhaps in future they will decide to make it more "scientific," and abandon the notion of a Census, but they'll have to amend the Constitution first.
  9. Seems to indicate Supreme Court rejected massaging the numbers, but the legalese is too lengthy for me: http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/detail/census-methods-raise-constitutional-flags Pro and Con: http://www.scienceclarified.com/dispute/Vol-2/Should-statistical-sampling-be-used-in-the-United-States-Census.html
  10. I am confused. Are you saying the census bureau assumes a certain number of people are eluding them, deliberately or not, and hazards a guess as to their number? I was only a lowly enumerator for a couple months, but I understood the census to be, pretty simply, a head count. i think I heard them say they had a way of catching duplicate surveys, but that's all I remember. Perhaps you are referring to statistical methods and assumptions that are likely involved in census bureau reports, based on sampling, on the attributes of the population.
  11. I would have enjoyed that rant! One of the things about America's troubled future that I actually look forward to, is the lights going out, and no one replacing them.
  12. Exactly. To speak only of the cultural impact: it's the homogenization that dismays some few of us. It is a matter of total indifference whether you call it urbanization or suburbanization. If you are a a non-flyer, as I am, of a certain age, you will have observed over the course of a lifetime of road travel that places have all begun to look the same. If you or your family are new to this country, this can hardly be expected to necessarily disturb you in any way. Or perhaps in any case, the benefits of sprawl are so apparent to you that you in no way regard its displacing something else as a diminishment. You consider it in the aggregate a wonderful place to be "from," to grow up in. Or: even if it is true of the places where most of us live, it is just a small percentage of the surface of the earth. (Relevance unclear.) There can be no reconciling this point of view, with Larry's and mine.That's fine. I only wish to suggest that there is an alternative to the dominant point of view (oh yes, the pro-sprawl view is dominant: it's easy to forget that anti-sprawl urbanism mainly lives on the internet, not in the world). Aesthetic arguments generally fail on this board, so I'll try to present it in other terms: Reflect that diversity is routinely held up as an unalloyed good, an end in itself, whether of people in a classroom or a neighborhood. It amounts to a first principle. If diversity is a value, our last shared value perhaps, then there is no reason it shouldn't apply to geography too. And in fact, diversity of place may well be what gives rise to real diversity of people. Which we most assuredly value, right?
  13. I tend to be comfortable when others are hot. My Houston family must be air-conditioned at all times. I have never known them to dine al fresco even once, at any time of year. Moreover, they prefer the air to be conditioned to a fairly arctic degree, because "the men are wearing suits," Mother used to say. But men aren't wearing suits all that much anymore, and my family are a collection of old fuddy-duddies, and I'm pretty sure none of them has ever been to a park anyway. As HAIFers often point out, Houston has drawn a very international crowd of newcomers, most of whom have gotten along just fine without air-conditioning in their home countries. I suppose it's possible they came to Houston for the A/C. Still, a big chilled dome park seems, forgive me, a bit dated. "Passive cooling" seems much more of the moment. And I think people value outdoor spaces a good deal more than they used to, especially now that we've finally figured out about hydrating. There is so much more enthusiasm for parks now. I agree with all who have argued for the shell of the dome overarching a green space or open venue of some sort. Also, an impression I've had, and I don't quite know how to put it, but I think a trend is people sort of bringing their own entertainment again. They just need places to gather and do whatever oddball things they do; there is less desire for things to be programmed from above. Turning the dome into a sealed rainforest just seems like overthinking. Sometimes "the solution to an architectural problem is not a building," as I've read somewhere recently. The "world's largest gazebo"?
  14. I'm not sure if you think it would be nice, or if you are being facetious, but I wouldn't look for it to happen since corporate America has figured out that keeping American workers in a perpetual cage match with newcomers, is a good way to tamp down costs. "Savings passed on to the consumer," of course, of course. Only little hitch is the malaise that seems to come with "consumer" being one's identity, but that will pass in time, I expect.
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