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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Staten Island Ferry Voters

Riding the Staten Island Ferry in New York City's Harbor is a beautiful way to view the Manhattan skyline and The Statue of Liberty. Sailing on board the ferry is also like being in a mini-United Nations.

Families of all "types and stripes" use the ferry for the 5 mile transport between Manhattan and Staten Island.  These families, many with young children in strollers, speak in their vernacular languages while passing time waiting in lines and sailing New York Harbor. While riding the ferry recently during several crossings, I listened to identify languages like Spanish, French, Slavic languages (perhaps Polish), Chinese, other than American accented English (Irish?), Indi (or Tamil), different Asian languages, Tagalog and various American English accents.

Let's just suppose we created a voting district called The Staten Island Ferry.  We're talking about 20 million people a year or 60,000 people a day, says the website.  So, for the sake of creating a voting district, let's say our Staten Island Ferry District includes people on only one crossing.

Based on my observation, I'd say the ferry boats I rode included about five hundred people each crossing, speaking at least six different languages that I could identify, not including American regional English accents.

Again, based on my observations, it's impossible for me to believe the microcosm of America's melting pot represented on the Staten Island Ferry would choose to vote for candidates with right wing extremist views. Although this is only my observed opinion, the families I saw do not look like the type of people who would support a president who raised the rhetorical specter of illegality towards hard working immigrants, like Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul or their followers.

During my observation, I imagined how the Staten Island Ferry riders, while sailing past our amazing gift from France, the beautiful Statue of Liberty, each time they rode, must reflect, as I did, about why they are in New York City, in the first place.

My Italian grandparents made it possible for me to be visiting New York City.  I recall my grandmother, Alessandra Dini telling our family what it meant to see The Statue of Liberty when she and her husband, Eugenio Anselmi, arrived from Italy. She cried while telling the story, in broken English, over and over again.

Millions of other ferry riders could each tell their own compelling stories.

Which is why I simply cannot fathom how the Republican Right Wing Establishment can preach against immigrants. Their own ancestors were among those who saw Lady Liberty in New York Harbor, along with my grandparents.

Although RWE-RWEs (rightwingextremists) use the word "illegals" as a euphemism for their extremist views when referring to immigration, by inference, their labels impugn all immigrants, including my grandparents.

Riding the Staten Island Ferry was an amazingly peaceful experience.  I suspect many of the families who enjoyed the 25 minute ride could tell horror stories about their home countries where people simply don't get along.  It's a miracle to see how all of these diverse populations sit side by side in quiet comfort while riding the Staten Island Ferry.

Prayerfully, I hope this microcosm of America's heritage might flood our patriotic immigrant pride.

Politicians who rail against immigration would never want to hold their election in my Staten Island Ferry voting district.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

President Obama and United We Stand

(Since writing this blog - a letter to the editor in Maine's Portland Press Herald was published by another reader, a link to the letter is below, it's the perfect summary to this blog*)

Regardless of how much Americans complain about the regressive divisiveness of our politics, it was only 10 years ago on September 11, 2001 when we came together as "United We Stand".  This slogan appeared on bumper stickers throughout the nation.

Before he was even a presidential candidate, President Obama fired up the Democratic convention in Boston MA with his "we are a United States" speech.

President Obama was a US Senate candidate from Illinois when he reached out to the Boston MA audience on July 27, 2004, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19751-2004Jul27.html

"- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work"

"... there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America..."

"There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America"  
"We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states."

"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."

Americans can reach back to the United We Stand message.  Let's embrace the concepts so eloquently expressed by President Obama in the inspiring "We are A United States of America" speech of July 27, 2004.  Frankly, it is essential for us to reach beyond our differences. We can look beyond divisiveness, to the greater good.

 Our nation was built on hope, that's not a slogan, it's a fact.  We can hope for a healthier, more prosperous and politically united nation.  When Americans wish for something, we do something about it.

I recommend we stamp the words "United We Stand" on the margins of ever American flag sold from this day forward, and pledge allegiance to it.

http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/131377443.html - United We Stand letter to the editor.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Jobs - Unemployment in the New Math

I'm dating myself, but I recall how devastating it was when I had just learned the old math, to have some academics come along to decide there was a "new math".

In my mind, this change was some ethereal method based upon "concepts" or "groups".  It didn't really feel like math at all.

Whatever new math was (or is), it never replaced the old math, in my mind.  But, since we've learned math the new way ever since, let' me give the 9.1 percent Unemployment Statistics an analysis by applying the new math, the way I understand the data.

In new math language, the unemployment percentage may be irrelevant. Why? Because, if you're among the 9.1 percent of unemployed Americans, the reality is simple. Unemployment is 100 percent in your "unemployed" universe or group.  (You see, in new math, the number of unemployed is now a "group". In the group of unemployed, 100 percent is the actual statistic.) 

Compared to those who are employed, the data creates a ratio of 9.1 percent;  meaning 89.9 percent of Americans are employed.

When labor statistics were considered excellent indicators of a thriving economy, the number of unemployed was stable at about 4.9 percent. In fact, unemployment has never been "zero".  Never.

A baseline for the unemployment rate might be 4.9 percent, because it's seldom the number drops below this level in a good economy.  So, using "Julie's understanding of new math", we might say 4.9 percent unemployment equals "zero" unemployed, because the data rarely goes below that number.  In a conceptual universe, the normal unemployment rate is usually 4.9 percent; therefore, let's use this data as our baseline.

Employing real math subtraction, an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent minus 4.9 percent means the number of people unemployed exceeds the normal by 4.1 percent.  In other words, the percentage of unemployed who are above the baseline are less than the percentage included in the baseline.

Nonetheless, if you're among the "group" in the 9.1 percent, or the 4.9 percent or the remainder 4.1 percent, your universe of unemployment is still 100 percent.

And the moral of the new "Julie Math" jobs concept is this:  When Republicans rail on the dismal 9.1 percent unemployment rate, they are adding and subtracting using new math.  They aren't offering solutions to the equation.

In other words, if Republicans are subtracting jobs from the economy by cutting money to federal programs like the US Post Office, Medicare, the US Military, Medicare, Social Security, Food Stamps, farm subsidies and the public service areas they can root out, then how can the private sector absorb these unemployed?  

There is no plan, only whining.  If the GOP really believes the private sector will absorb the 4.1 percent of "employable" unemployed, they must be living in an ethereal universe. 

Let's get to squared root of the jobs problem.  Let's discard politics as usual, dump the T-party and work together like scientists to solve the unemployment problem. Surely the rhetoric, absent solutions, we're hearing  from political candidates now is just as fuzzy as "Julie's New Math".













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