Unemployment

Scary title huh?

I was reading about unemployment levels tonight. Take a look.

Ever wonder how the Unemployment level is actually counted? Here's the question: do you think the unemployment rate is determined by the number of people claiming unemployment? Nope. A survey of about 60K households is completed on a monthly basis.

Then...

At the time of the first enumeration of a household, the interviewer prepares a roster of the household members, including their personal characteristics (date of birth, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, veteran status, and so on) and their relationships to the person maintaining the household. This information, relating to all household members 15 years of age and over, is entered by the interviewers into laptop computers; at the end of each day's interviewing, the data collected are transmitted to the Census Bureau's central computer in Washington, D.C. (The labor force measures in the CPS pertain to individuals 16 years and over.) In addition, a portion of the sample is interviewed by phone through three central data collection facilities. (Prior to 1994, the interviews were conducted using a paper questionnaire that had to be mailed in by the interviewers each month.)

Each person is classified according to the activities he or she engaged in during the reference week. Then, the total numbers are "weighted," or adjusted to independent population estimates (based on updated decennial census results). The weighting takes into account the age, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and State of residence of the person, so that these characteristics are reflected in the proper proportions in the final estimates.

A sample is not a total count, and the survey may not produce the same results that would be obtained from interviewing the entire population. But the chances are 90 out of 100 that the monthly estimate of unemployment from the sample is within about 290,000 of the figure obtainable from a total census. Since monthly unemployment totals have ranged between about 7 and 11 million in recent years, the possible error resulting from sampling is not large enough to distort the total unemployment picture.

How the unemployment level is calculated reminds me about a West Wing episode.

Two parts to this: the first being - are you concerned that the unemployment level is determined by interviewing 60K households? The second, and more importantly - I would think the real unemployment level would be terrifying.

Here's why it would be terrifying: if a true unemployment level was identified, the number would have to include stay at home parents, those between 16 and 65 who aren't working for one reason or another, are not generating income, and are no longer looking for work. People who the government would identify as someone NOT in the labor force.

My take on Artwalk (in response to Downtown News)

Everything is changing; Art Walk is no exception! For years it was a kind of grass-roots organization without a formal structure, but with thousands of people coming to the corner of Spring and 5th every second Tuesday Thursday of the month the Art Walk was ready to take a step forward. For quite some time the Artwalk was a joyfully decentralized effort led by gallery owners, with additionally wonderful (and successful) stakeholders stepping up to be supportive and a part of the action.

The only thing was, people had grown frustrated with the problems presented by the crowds and other kinds of problems, and some of those frustrations had gone unresolved for so long, that the BRAND NEW Artwalk Board was blamed for all the OLD problems.

Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Chinta Cooper came forward to organize a Board of Directors, and it was the Board who led to incorporate the Art Walk as a 501-c-3 non-profit entity. The Downtown L.A. Artwalk as an entity was born on July 8 2009, with a group of community leaders dedicated to resolving the crowd logistics, supporting and promoting the galleries, promoting other local business, and helping to curate public art and performances for the second Tuesday of the month.

People don't know how hard Richard, Kim, and Chinta have been working to create, print and distribute maps, get a logo, get a great website going, and work with LAPD, and other groups to help make ARTWALK great. And, they are doing it all as volunteers for the time being.

Instead of working together, a small group of frustrated people have blamed the new Art Walk board for problems that have been on-going for at least a year and a half.

I say, let's move forward! End the bitterness! Get behind our community and work together so we can have a fun Art Walk that benefits our community. Two examples of great new things that are happening:

Richard got the owners of the Spring Arcade building to open up the arcade between Spring and Broadway for September's Art Walk. There was a band and some performance artists there. At first there were only a few people, but in about forty minutes, the arcade was full of people, and lots of people came from Broadway to Spring. That's the kind of creative, pro-active work that is being done now.

And, Nick Cha Kim's website galleryrow.org, up for three years has been updated in the past month or so and it looks great! It's a way for Gallery Row to break out from the once-a-month Art Walk label and get people thinking about visiting the galleries all month long. That just shows how once the Art Walk board came in to handle the once-monthly events, galleries can now focus on themselves.

Are there problems? Of course. But we can only solve them if people work together, instead of just complaining and being bitter.

And let's see how we can get the galleries who now close at 6pm to open up again for all of ART WALK!

Taking it on the chin

From time to time Facebook changes from a happy pink glow of love and joyfulness to a grey no-man's land of discussion.

During the Prop 8 campaign, the political and social beliefs of long-time friends, acquaintances, and professional connections played out on their Facebook walls twitter pages, and blogs. It wasn't until the heat of Prop 8 did I have to teach myself how to "unfriend" or prevent them from contacting me. I did it to just one person, and in retrospect - I kind of wish I hadn't.

In any case, tonight...I posted a link about another tea-party protest and I used a disparaging catch phrase I'd heard on a conservative radio show to describe the event.  Yes - I heard it on a conservative radio show...it was a misstep by the radio personality - as tea-bagging is very different from a tea-party. So, here's what is playing out on my facebook page:


So, there it is.

I can appreciate how Scott is feeling.  I've been perceived for decades as the folky-crazy-lefty-tree-hugging-tofu-snorting-government handout-loving liberal.

In high school I was the punch line for many off hand remarks about how my afterschool activities raised the taxes of those who couldn't afford it.  The moment after graduation, some one told me that I could go out and save all the trees I wanted.

When I started college I was made fun of because I loved the Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco and that I still liked boys.

It gets better.

When I got to Evergreen, while at first a seemingly haven of the super liberal...I was questioned why I would dare to put a Nader poster on my door.  I was asked - why not Clinton?  Hasn't he done well?

Apparently it was wrong to question TANF and the attempt to "end welfare as we know it"

Then...came Pepperdine.

Why would a liberal-loving girl go to a well-known conservative institution?  Well - the weather was nice, I liked the religious component, and I didn't think there would be anything wrong learning about the conservative argument.

I knew that I would be made fun of being a member of the Green Party (and I still am).  Since so many people see the Greens as an illegitimate political force.  I expected my fellow students to be the most relentless - which wasn't the case.  There were two professors in particular who felt they could take additional liberties to do their best to embarrass me and belittle my political and social beliefs.

There were questions about how I could consider baptism and continue to be pro-choice.  Outrageous questions about the limits of government, which seemed irrational.  Of course I would take a moment to consider the argument.  The whole experience forced me to really question my commitment to both my political and social beliefs.

I think that I have good friends who are politically and socially conservative.  IMO, the good conservative is one who came to it on their own.  They aren't registered as a republican just because their parents were, but rather they came to the conclusion on their own.  I have good friends who are politically and socially liberal.  Same thing...People who are confident in their beliefs not because it's how their parents were/are, but believe in their beliefs because they are indeed their beliefs.

Now - just to focus on the government spending protesting...

After September 2001, the left mobilized.  This mobilization was to support peace, to avoid war.  I fully admit there are people who would be very aggressive in "fighting" for peace and "fighting" to avoid war.  I've had friends who have died working for peace.  I know people who have died in uniform - all in the effort to seek peace.  I worry about it all the time, given my brother is in the Navy.

From all of President Bush's decisions to dig the United States deeper into debt, deeper into a very messy and (IMO illegal) war, I take pride that I essentially was protesting years ago against government spending. I was protesting against government spending on war.

Others are taking pride in protesting against government spending on health care, education, and social services.

Here's my promise to the tea-party folks: Protest at the federal building on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The "other" anti-spending folks will take Tuesdays and Thursdays.  However - let's leave the federal buildings along on Saturday and Sundays so that the feds don't have to schedule extra private security on the weekends.

At the end of the day, I hope that Scott and his wife don't "unfriend" me on Facebook.  I like them, they are good people, and we obviously don't agree on a couple of things.  And, today - of all days...we can see this as a joyful and prideful example of the American Democracy.

Can I get an Amen?  (or what-what if you are so inclined)