Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Sarah’s Stat of the Day, May 29, 2011

In inequality, Poverty, Sarah's Stat of the Day on May 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Equality makes us all feel good. Literally.

According to The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Wilkinson and Pickett, “comparisons of health in different groups of the population in more and less equal societies show that the benefits of greater equality are very widespread,” benefiting not just lower classes but the upper classes of society as well. One incredible statistic cited in this book: The lowest occupational class in Sweden has a lower death rate than the highest social class in England and Wales.  (D. Vagero and O. Lundberg, Health Inequalities in Britain and Sweden, 2 Lancet 35-36 (1989)).


Sarah’s Stat of the Day, May 26, 2011

In Poverty, Sarah's Stat of the Day on May 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

A record four out of every 10 Ohio children qualify for subsidized lunches.

Sarah’s Stat of the Day, May 25, 2011

In Sarah's Stat of the Day, Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Update, 5/26/11: Appears that TPM agrees with me! They too are showing off this awesome graph.

Republicans are yammerng on about dismantling what remains of America’s fraying social safety net, when in reality the Bush tax cuts + wars + economy seem to be what is driving the deficit:

Courtesy of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Tax Cuts, Wars Account for Nearly Half of Public Debt by 2019

Timely Observations of a Election Day Volunteer (Or, why our voting system is broken, but not in the way Ohio Republicans think it is.)

In Midwest, Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I have finally decided to revive this blog, and the timing couldn’t be better. About six months ago I drafted a post based on my experience volunteering for the first time as a poll observer. Both parties in Ohio are entitled to send poll observers to monitor the elections and ensure that everything is running smoothly, the law is being followed, and voters rights’ are being protected. (Of course, one party which shall remain nameless tends to care more about voters’ rights than the other.)

The general impetus of my rant thoughtful post was that the United States is leaps and bounds away from having a fully functioning democracy. We fail at running elections.

While I had many, many criticisms about how Ohio runs its elections, I did *not* observe that we need fewer opportunities to vote by absentee ballot or that we should eliminates a requirement that poll workers direct voters in the wrong precinct to the correct one. Nope. Can’t say that those were the reforms I was thinking about.

Rather, these were the type of issues I walked away scratching my head over:

  • What, you couldn’t find us here in the voting location, back here behind the school bus maintenance building industrial entrance with no signs or flags?
  • Do you know your voting rights? It is likely that the election workers do not know your rights. Learn them and bring this handy card with you to the polls. Or consider volunteering as a poll observer. A big part of my job was educating the poll workers themselves about what was allowed under the law and correcting misinformation.
  • Why Tuesday? Seriously, why?!
  • Roving bands of republicans. Ew.
  • Yes, let’s take one of the most important jobs in a democracy–election day poll workers–and hire low-wage elderly folks and make them work a sixteen hour day (with a lunch break only). Sure, no mistakes will
  • Can someone please update the worker manual and correct those errors? Mmm thanks.
  • Identification madness. So. Much. Madness.
  • Law student fail: no clue who these judges are and which one I should vote for. Kinda doubt any of these other voters have a clue either.
  • Problems voting? I know, let’s just give you a provision ballot that will never be counted!
  • Who is in charge around here? And why am I (the volunteer) the one making sure you don’t run out of ballots?!
  • Oh, you move around frequently? You rent, you are a student, you got evicted and had to move in with relatives for some time? Oh Yeah, you are pretty much screwed because you can’t vote here anymore.
  • Why oh why can’t people just register on site?