Census Citizen Question at The Supreme Court!

Prologue:  Every ten years since 1950, the Census Bureau has counted the population of the United States.  Originally, a government worker known as ‘enumerator’ would visit households and record the information.  In later years, people filled in their own forms on paper or electronically.

Everyone who lived in a household would be counted.  Adults  and children. The number then became the basis in states for their representation in the House of Representatives. Many households were two or three generational, including older members who had emigrated from other countries. There was never a question of citizenship.

On Tuesday, April 23, The Supreme Court will hear a Trump Administration case proposing a Citizenship Question be added to the 2020 Census.  Since 1960, the Census Bureau has been against adding a census question , saying “it would produce a less accurate population count. “ Five former Census Bureau directors from Republican and Democratic administrations wrote a brief to the Supreme Court against adding the Citizenship Question.

The purpose of this question is very clear.  Donald Trump has been opposed to immigration since he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and castigated immigrants from Mexico as “rapists and murderers”.   His successive bans on Muslims were in the courts for years.  Other members of his inner circle have agreed.  His chief of staff, General John Kelly said his formula for immigration from countries south of our border was” zero to one.”  In addition, the fate of the young children who were brought by their parents to live in the United States, still remains in limbo.  Many  of “The Dreamers” have graduated from college and are working and paying taxes.

Trump Administration immigrant court battles: Last year the Supreme Court upheld a Trump ban on visitors to the U.S. from several Muslim countries.  The High Court did temporarily block an administration plans to make it harder for people to claim asylum. The Justices are also considering an appeal that would allow Trump to end protections for  The Dreamers.  Last case: Federal judges in California,  New York and  Maryland have  blocked the administration from going ahead with the citizenship question.

Census Bureau experts have said millions of Hispanics and immigrants would not be counted.  That would cost several states a number of seats in The U.S. House  and millions of federal dollars that are determined by the Census.

Historical Notation:  See Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of The United States Constitution.  You will find the phrase “three fifths of other persons”…. This refers to the black slaves in the southern states.  It was the result of a compromise in 1787 between Southern and Northern states arguing about representation and taxes.  It was changed in 1868 after the Civil War by the 14th Amendment, but still exists in print in copies, with the change in a footnote.

The infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision in 1857 had described the escaped slave as property of his owner.

Epilogue:  Secretary of Commerce Ross proposed adding the Census Question to the 2020 Census.  The urgency on the administration side is that copies must be printed at this time.  The Supreme Court decision will not be made public until  June.

We would appear to be taking a step back in time since  the proposed Census Question by the Trump administration would turn back the clock to l787 . From that date on, some people living in the United States were counted as “three fifths of persons.”

Now in the 21st century, millions of undocumented immigrants would not be counted at all!  Let us hope that the Justices of The Supreme Court believe that every human being counts in the United States of America.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

Forward To The Past

 

 

“What’s a record player?” the clerk behind the counter asked when I had finally decided that my faithful decades-old machine needed replacing.  My classical music collection of LP’s includes some of the operatic greats. Toscanini conducting “La Traviata”. Leonard Warren as Rigoletto. Marilyn Horne and Joan Sutherland in “Norma”.  Maria Callas. Even Rosa Ponselle and Enrico Caruso.

 

I repeated my intent to the puzzled young man in the music store. “I would like to buy a record player.” Again, he responded, “What’s a record player.”   I had the uncomfortable sensation of being in a time warp. He was not kidding. He really didn’t know what I was talking about. And he was looking at me the way those people looked at Michael J. Fox in the film, “Back to the Future”. To see if there were any other strange characteristics besides my peculiar inquiry.

 

I persevered. “ A record machine. You know, the kind that you put the records on. With a turntable and the automatic arm that drops the records one by one.”  Oh,”, he said, “You mean the machines that people used to have in the old days before the cassettes and  C.D.s?  ( I aged two decades with that comment)  Now, it was my turn. “C.D.s What are they?” (CD to me means certificate of deposit or civil defense and I didn’t think he was on either of those wave lengths.)

He explained, “C.D.s are compact disks. They’re the latest thing in the sound business. The best possible way to hear music next to being there. Would you like me to play one for you?”  “Well”, I went on, “It’s not that I don’t believe you, but I have this huge collection of L.Ps at home. Something of a lifetime investment, you might say. I think I’ll stick with what I have. That’s why I need a new machine. Don’t you carry them at all anymore?”

 

At this point, we had reached an impasse. He obviously regarded me as an alien in the modern world of music. It also occurred to me that he might not even know what L.P.s were. It was clear that I was not a potential buyer of C.Ds, the sound of the future. He turned me over to the assistant manager, who diplomatically informed me, “We really don’t have any call for the type of machine you are describing. Perhaps a second-hand store or an antique dealer might have one.”

 

Help! Alvin Toffler was right. My world is becoming archaic. My machine is an anachronism. Toffler predicted in his book, “Future Shock” that this would happen. At the time, I didn’t believe him. After this consciousness raising session at the music store, I decided to keep my old machine. The sound may not be perfect, but I know it well and its sounds right to me. I also began t think about other things that have become outmoded, outdated and out of stock. I didn’t have to search too far. Here’s my starter list:

Clotheslines and wooden clothespins.

Dry goods stores.

Watches and clocks that one winds and sets.

Stockings, not pantyhose.

Rouge, not blusher.

Soap, not a body bar.

A manual typewriter.

A malted milk shake.

Five and Dime stores. At least one per town.

Roller skates that clip onto your shoes.

The metal key to tighten the skates.

Fountain pens. Other than the status models.

Bottles of ink for the fountain pens.

Ink eradicator to correct the blots.

A baby stroller that is simple in purpose.

 

Have you tried lately to buy a plain canvas what-we-used-to-call sneaker? The variations on this form of footwear are awesome. Tennis. Walking. Jogging. Running. Racing. With reinforced arch. Without said arch. High top. Low top. No top. Leather. Nylon. Canvas. Wide laces. Narrow laces. Stretchable laces. And all of these choices occur before you enter the world of different brands and myriad colors.

 

Many people yearn for the days of the past. For the simple rural society and its values. For fewer choices. For the small town with the 5 and 10 cent store and the corner drugstore with soda fountain. I cannot say I belong to that segment of the population. I guess I am somewhere in between that world and the present one, with a clothing chain store on every other block. One for women. One for men. And one for children. Is this really necessary?

 

How I would love to see tucked away on one of those blocks a nostalgia store. A store that stocks all the anachronisms and archaic objects I crave. All the hard-to-find record machines, needle threaders and wooden clothespins. This image conjures up the legendary store that used to exist in a neighborhood. It might have been called a hardware store, or a general store in the real old days. In every case, this store was the place of first and last resort. Merchandise usually spilled down fromm the jammed aisles.  Threading one’s way through the aisles took determination. But the reward was finding exactly what you needed. In the right size. And the right color. And just the brand you usually bought.

 

The owners of these stores knew their inventory and the hiding place of every item. They honed in on the most obscure request with unerring accuracy. “I know I have a few in stock. On the third aisle, top shelf, under the rubber spatulas.” And there they were!

 

Having such a store in our neighborhood would gave me a wonderful sense of security. As I am catapulted into the future, I could visit the nostalgia store from time to time and hold on to the comfortable past.

 

……………………………………………………………………………….  Joyce S . Anderson

 

Texting To Death!

Several months ago, while driving on Rte. 9 at the 45 mile an hour speed limit, I  found my car being followed much too closely by another vehicle. When I glanced in the rear view mirror, I could see the head of the young male driver looking down for some seconds and then up —repeatedly.  It only took me a few of the down -up motions to realize he was either reading or sending a text message. I signaled right and turned off the road at the first available opportunity. Has this ever happened to you?  I can state unequivocally that it’s a pretty scary experience. As if you are foreseeing a serious rear-end collision about to happen. And you are driving the car that is going to be crashed into.

 

Texting is a relatively new phenomenon that is growing at exponential speed.  People text while taking walks, sitting on buses and subways. eating in restaurants and riding  bicycles.  It’s the latest technological advance in communication. You don’t have to call. Just send a text message.  Only your thumbs will know the difference.

 

Ever since the arrival of cell phones, studies have proven that talking on cell phones while driving is dangerous. This is true whether the phone is hand-held or not.  The diversion of attention from the road is the key factor and distraction occurs whether one hand or both are off the wheel.  When the driver becomes engaged in conversation, either civil or heated, there is a loss of concentration and observation of  other drivers and traffic signs.

 

Texting is emerging as even more dangerous than using a cell phone according to recently released studies. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute measured the time drivers took their eyes from the road to send or receive text messages. The l8 month study followed more than l00 drivers of long-haul trucks, whose cabs had been outfitted with video cameras.  They were tracked for three million miles as they delivered frozen food, furniture and other goods across the country.  The cost of $6 million was funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whose mission is the improvement of safety in trucks and buses.

 

The study found that when the drivers were sending or receiving text messages, they typically took their eyes off the road for five seconds. At normal highway speeds, five seconds translates into the length of a football field in distance. The resultant collision risk was 23 times greater when they were texting.  Rick Hanowski, who oversaw the study, said, “If you’re not watching the road for five seconds, it’s a crash waiting to happen.”  Tom  Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Institute said of texting while driving, “You should never do this. It should be illegal.”

 

At present,  36 states do not ban texting while driving; 14 states do, including California, Alaska, Louisiana and New Jersey. Texting is so new that many police departments are not collecting data on accidents related to texting or talking on cell phones.  It is important to note that researchers of other studies said that although trucks take longer to stop and are less maneuverable, the findings applied to drivers of cars as well.

 

At the University of Utah, a study was conducted over 18 months with college students texting while in a driving simulator.  The results showed an eight times greater crash risk when texting than not texting.  The study, submitted for publication in The Journal for Human Factors, found that drivers took their eyes off the road for around five seconds — the same length of time as the truckers.

David Strayer, a professor who was the co-author of the Utah Report, saw two possible reasons for the lower risk of a crash than the truckers study: trucks are harder to maneuver and stop, and college students might be better at multitasking.  Strayer commented, “You’re off the charts in both cases. It’s crazy to be doing it.”

 

Virginia Tech  conducted a follow-up study with the focus on texting among teenagers driving light vehicles. Preliminary results from this study show risk levels for teenage texters about the same as for the truck drivers.  Earlier field and laboratory studies that delved into  drivers talking on cell phones while driving showed a crash risk as four times more likely.  And a Virginia Tech study that videotaped car drivers found that dialing the cell phone brought a crash three times more likely.

 

Researchers have done studies on all types of driving distractions: eating, drinking, combing one’s hair, putting on lipstick, turning to talk to someone in the back seat.   They do not agree about whether field studies are more valuable than laboratory simulations. However, they do agree that texting is a much greater risk to drivers than other distractions.  The AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety published polling data that shows 87 percent of people believe that drivers texting or e-mailing are a “very serious” safety threat. This is close to the 90 percent who consider drunken drivers a threat.  2,501 drivers were surveyed this past spring and 95 percent called texting “unacceptable behavior”. It is ironic that 21 percent of drivers said they had recently texted or e-mailed while driving. About 50 percent of the drivers 16 to 24 said they had texted while driving compared to 22 percent of drivers 35 to 44.

 

Robert Smith, 22, a recent college graduate says he does text while driving, even though he agrees it is a serious risk. “I put the phone on top of the steering wheel and text with both thumbs”, he said,  describing exchanges of ten messages or more at a time. “I’ll look up and realize there’s a car sitting there and swerve around it.”  He was not part of the AAA survey and said he was surprised at the findings.  However, he was not convinced to stop texting. “I’m pretty sure that someday it’s going to come back and bite me.”  The question his comment raises goes far beyond what will happen to him. It is  whether his texting will prove dangerous or deadly to another driver and passengers  when he crashes into their car.

 

………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

Trump: “Repeal and Replace Affordable Care Act!”

Prologue:  March 27, 20l9 -We learned that Donald Trump had decided once more to attempt to rid the nation of the A.C.A. known as Obamacare to millions of Americans. The day before, Trump had declared at a closed door meeting of Republicans,  “The Republican Party will be known as the Health Care Party!”   This was followed by a triumphant rally in Michigan where he had been exulting in his inflated interpretation of The Mueller Report, “No collusion.  No collusion…. Complete exoneration!” The latter claim was the exact opposite of Attorney Barr’s four page letter.

Brief History: When Barack Obama was elected in November, 2007, he placed Health Care as one of his top priorities.  The struggle took  over two years.  Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of The House working closely with him. On March 23, 2010 Obama signed the Affordable Care Act to become the “law of the land”.  It became known as Obamacare.

By November 2010,  The Tea Party had taken over the Republican Party and attacked Obama full force, winning back the House of Representatives.  From that day on, their goal was to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.’’  In the years that followed, they tried over fifty times to do that and failed.  The final blow came on July 17 in Obama’s second term, in a Senate vote. It failed when Susan Collins, Lisa Merkowski and John McCain voted No. McCain was already fighting brain cancer and entered late in the vote to turn his right hand thumb down.

Donald Trump elected in 2016.  In the years that followed, his administration was described  on June 12, 2018 in a lead New York Times editorial as “The  Zombie Health Care Killers”.  For two years the White House kept threatening Obamacare while voters reported that healthcare was their greatest concern.  Midterm elections were  coming in November.  All Representatives and some Senators whose seats were up faced angry constituents at town meetings.  The voters would chant “ACA… ACA”… and tell personal stories of how the ACA had saved  their  parents’ lives or their own.

In June, 2018,  twenty Republican led states filed a lawsuit against Obamacare arguing for repeal of popular consumer protections including coverage of pre-existing conditions. The Justice Department declined to defend Obamacare against the lawsuit. Another administration policy was to encourage “junk health policies” temporary policies that ran out after short periods of time.   Also introduced was allowing states to take away Medicaid benefits from people who are not working.  States like Kentucky. were encouraged to enact such laws.

Despite attempts to weaken Obamacare,  by November 2018 , enrollment in the program had grown by 28 percent since 2013.  Voters in Red states , Idaho, Nebraska and Utah approved ballot initiatives to expand coverage under Obamacare. Californians held rallies to replace parts of expiring sections of the law.  A huge sign in Los Angeles:  “Don’t Make America SICK AGAIN!

November 2018 Midterm Elections:  The Blue Wave gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives. They flipped forty Republican seats.  Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of The House of Representatives once more.  2018 became the second Year of The Women.

During the post election months, political focus turned to the 2020 election.  Trump was already holding rallies in key states and Democrats were entering the race:  Kamala Harris,   Cory Booker,  Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders.   Health care was an important issue . Sanders endorsed Medicare for All a progressive position favored by the new young wing of the Democratic party.

Speaker Pelosi ‘s  goal in Health Care has always been to strengthen Obamacare in different ways.  Representative Kim Schrier, Democrat from Washington who is also a pediatrician said, “We have very practical solutions that we can implement immediately. We don’t have the time right now to wait for a full overhaul of our health care system.” The fiery new leader of young progressives, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez ,  AOC, said, “I reject the idea that single payer is impossible.”  However,  Speaker Pelosi had the last word in the Medicare for All feud.  She had said, “Health Care was on the ballot in November, and Health Care won. “

  Epilogue: Speaker Pelosi and several committee chairs had met and created a plan to build on Obamacare . Now, they will use it to fight Trump’s new declaration of “Repeal and Replace”.   It would increase the two main types of financial assistance the law provides: tax credits to help middle and low income people pay premiums, and cost-sharing  reductions  to lower deductibles on payments and other out of pocket costs.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Democrats reminded reporters that Trump boasted in the Midterms campaign, that  “Republicans would always protect  patients with pre-existing conditions.”  ‘’ We will remind the American people time and time again of that broken promise.” said Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina.

…………………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson