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February 05, 2006

Once More into the Breech

Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

Matthew Yglesias counters that the health care industry in Pittsbrugh requires lots of low-wage workers, which is true. But in addition, any hospital needs lots of nurses, who make decent middle-class to upper-middle class wages and are certainly not considered blue collar. Meanwhile, someone has to keep the buildings clean at Boeing and Microsoft, though there certainly isn't as much cleaning to do in an office park as there in a hospital. And it's not clear how we should count call center workers, internal tech support, and other tech-sector jobs that pay wages somewhere middle-class and "working class". But we can argue about it, or we can look it up. Returning to the Census employment survey, the percentage of workers describing their job as "service" in Pittsburgh is 16%, and in the Seattle is ... 14%. Perhaps lots of staff workers, billing professionals, and research assistants at Pittsburgh's medical centers count themselves as having "managerial, professional and related occupations" despite not making that much money; perhaps to the huge barista population in Seattle is raising the city's service number. The data seems inconclusive; we could use better information on the income distribution for workers in the health care sector.

The Steelers' real proletariat cred comes from the surrounding areas, which include the coal country of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Southern Ohio, as well as various Rust Belt towns that are outside Pittsburgh's offical metro area (Erie, PA; Youngstown, OH; etc.). If we play this game, however, the Seahawks get to include the Tacoma metro area, whose education profile matches Pittsburgh's quite well.

As for football, problem here is the gratuitous overuse of the term "West Coast Offense", which carries the perception of 6-yard slant routes, quick outs, short-yardage drag routes, and dinky passes to the fullback or tailback [things that the Seahawks don't do, according to the eggheads at Football Outsiders]. This image comes from Holmgren's 1996 Green Bay Packers, who didn't run very often after an injury to Edgar Bennett, as well as other pass-wacky WCOs such as the current vintage Eagles and various recent incarnations of the Rams. And of course there's the original WCO, the 1983 49ers, who played a different brand of football than their competition; they had a noticeably higher completion rate and lower yards-per-completion than other quality teams of their era. But when Holmgren has a feature running back, such as Shaun Alexander today or Dorsey Levens in 1997, he's shown no fear of the running game. The 'Hawks do retain the other primary characteristic of the West Coast Offense, which is the release of all five receivers on passing plays; traditional offenses explicitly leave the tight end and/or running backs as extra blockers in many cases.

Either way, the Emerald City's presence of heart will be proved (or disproved) within the next few hours. Go 'Hawks.

February 5, 2006 in Sports, Weblogs | Permalink


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I'd like to point out that my husband and I live in Tacoma, and between us we have one associates' degree, 2 bachelor's degrees, 3 masters' degrees, and 2 PhDs. Furthermore, our North End neighborhood is just as latte-swilling and brie-eating (and Democratic) as any neighborhood in Seattle. So there.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, RN, PhD | Feb 5, 2006 6:19:50 PM

Ezra... remember me? I'd say we have both matured much since our first years as undergraduates. When you were learning how the game was played, my focus turned to theory. Since we parted ways I have often checked in on your site, only to find you doing wonderfully. I am proud of you, my friend.

My heart still lies with Plato, Hobbes, Nietsche, and Weber... but my ability to adapt their words into a common tongue has improved. As a favor to an old friend I thought I might ask for your council. I have started my own blog. It is a dedicated workbench for formulating my thesis - 100 pages to change the world. In my search for intelligent feedback I knew that your audience, as well as yourself might be interested to hear about it. I am just getting up and running, but I need a few core people to bounce ideas off. I am now at www.symbiotic.tk Would love to hear from you.

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