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Archive for May, 2012

So, I’ve been busy.  Living a life, raising my family.  It is rather difficult to keep up with the commenting, as I do have at least 12 other things that either need doing or that I would rather do.  But, on a business trip back to the middle of the U.S., I noticed some rather startling developments.  Or, should I say, startling to me.

I’ve been tired of reading about the “obesity epidemic” for some time now.  I’m taking care of my own problem, getting healthy, keeping the A1C and glycomark numbers as close to normal as I can, etc.  But going out & about in middle America, and yes, we’ve got some problems.  Obesity being just one, and to my mind, not the worst.  However, I also believe all theses issues I’m going to put out are also the sole provenance of every individual.  In other words:  Personal. Responsibility.

Ok, first.  If you are heavy, aside from that being your problem, DO NOT compound it by wearing clothing that is 1) ill-fitting and/or 2) leaving important parts hanging out/uncovered.  Truly– ew.  I thought the droopy drawers and not-there skirts on my commute were a problem, but WOW.  If you wear low-rise pants, make sure they are the right size and then have a top that at least covers the waist band.  If (there’s no other way to say this) your behind interfers with the hemline of your skirt, you need a longer skirt.  Sheesh.  If you are over 40, sleeves are good thing.  Just sayin’.

Now, when did paganism take over the Midwest??  What is it with the earspools, ‘cannibal’ nose rings, and tattoos???  (Tattoos, btw, are NOT a clothing substitute.)  When did this happen?  Where did I land?  Now, I do have friends from various Indian tribes who have tattoos rooted in their traditional observances, but for the most part, they are unobtrusive and mostly covered or small.  Fine– their tradition.  But to just *have* them– ostentatious and just there so you can’t even really cover them up if you wanted to?  Um….again, ew.  And then to wear clothing as if people actually wanted to look at something in the small of your back?  This is just….incredible.  And it isn’t always going to look as good or even like anything at all decades after you get it.

All right, so I have definitely changed a bit in my outlook and religious observance.  In my neighborhood, we all walk a lot, and as there are not many restaurants we eat at even in our neighborhood, fast food isn’t an issue for many of us.  I didn’t realize how this may actually effect people’s appearance and deportment.  Yes, there are overweight people, but if you are dressing modestly, perhaps it isn’t quite as noticeable as when someone’s fat is hanging out in plain view.

So I tried not to really notice, but I am appalled that this has apparently become normal.  It does indeed appear that you can’t go home again.

My resolve to not have broadcast/cable or rush after anything in “popular” culture has been renewed and strengthened.  My resolve not to have my children in public schools– likewise.

Wow.

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GOP Representatives in the House have prepared legislation to alter the American Community Survey.  Unsurprisingly, people who obviously have not dealt with the ACS in their own lives are upset by this.  There is a lot of whining on various policy blogs & etc. about “How will we KNOOOOOW where to spend tax dollars!”  See– http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/census-american-community-survey-house-vote.html; http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/226165-dont-count-out-the-american-community-survey; http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/opinion/report/051512_acs_gop_op/killing-community-survey-bad-govt-and-business/; and a bunch of ridiculous “the earth will stop”-hysteria over at the New York Times that I won’t link to.  I don’t care how “useful” it may be to businesses or gov’t– NOT the point.  My individual privacy and freedoms are worth much, much more than being a data point in some pinheaded report for ANY agency or business.

The House bill passed its first journey, according to a Cato Institute blurb (that doesn’t get too much wrong, although they don’t seem to understand that the ACS has been brewing long before 2005): http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/useful-idiots-and-the-american-community-survey/

I don’t have much optimism about this bill going into the Senate, however.

None of the writers or commentors on this article seem to have any actual experience with either receiving the ACS, or actually *reading* the thing to see if they REALLY would fill it out.  Somehow, I think any reasonable individual would NOT appreciate being asked for all this information and would think seriously before letting a gov’t agency just have it– especially given Census’ past actions in disclosing this supposedly protected information that resulted in harm and harrassment of U.S. citizens (1942 and 2002 are verified, who knows how many other instances there are?).

Government cannot and SHOULD NOT be solving or think it needs to solve all the problems.  Yes, we need some government, and we need the government to enforce the laws that protect citizens.  When the government starts picking and choosing the laws it enforces (or for who it enforces them), we are in serious trouble.  We’re there now, and I don’t need the gov’t knowing *anything* about my private, law-abiding life.  ZERO.

That said, I am happy to see that some people in Congress are paying attention.

Now, although I believe that just ending the ACS would be a good thing, could the ACS actually be fixed?  Perhaps, with careful oversight and people dedicated to seeing that various statutes effecting the collection of citizens’ personal information are upheld.  Maybe.  First, remove any names from the survey.  If the survey is truly based on a “randomly chosen address” then THAT and only THAT ADDRESS as the only information– leave off the names, but have, say, Resident 1, Resident 2, etc.  Then, ditch the personal schedule questions, the income questions, the employer questions, the ethnicity questions…. hmmm, this appears to indicate that we could just ditch the ACS altogether.  When it comes to my personal information, I don’t care if it is “useful” or “helpful” for a gov’t agency to know– it is simply none of their business.  Commuting information?  What do you think those car-counter wires across streets are doing.  Why are they so interested in what languages we use in our home?  Did you know this has been used against citizens before, to intimidate and harrass or imprision?  WWI and II.

And let’s face it, like any self-reported information (or worker-gathered information)– there are serious quality issues.  The quality of these reports is only as good as the reported information, which for various reasons is more likely than not inflated or minimized, not reported, etc.  For instance– the information they have for my survey is ALL INACCURATE– because I did not give them anything and what they tried to use is INCORRECT.  So, for my address, the whole entry is bunk.  Useless.

And incorrect data is sometimes even worse than no data at all.  So I say, scrap it.  Just collect the number of residents and be done with it, as mandated by the Constitution.

 

 

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