Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Garden

We picked and ate the first green beans of the season. The first green tomato is showing, and the apples are growing on our little dwarf apple tree. Wow! Bits of joy God has sprinkled in our life not only to see but to eat.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Supreme Court Case Could Revolutionize Voting Districts

The Supreme Court will soon be deciding (in Evenwel v. Abbott) if representation should reflect eligible voters or total population. Does one person/one vote mean voters are all equal, or that a voter in an area with lots of non-voters should have more sway than a voter in an area with fewer non-voters. An interesting question. It could change political power from cities where there are more non-voters (including areas that have been courting illegal immigrants) to suburbs or rural areas where the eligible voter to non-voter population is more even.

From Seth Lipsky of the New York Sun:
The case — known as Evenwel v. Abbott — is arising from Texas. It’s about whether voting power has to be apportioned equally by general population or by eligible voters. The impact could extend way beyond the Lone Star State, shifting political power away from cities.
Particularly cities with relatively high, non-voting immigrant populations like — oh, say — New York. The case has the potential to require authorities to strip away during the redistricting process population that isn’t eligible to vote — undocumented aliens, felons, children.
Edward Blum is the conservative constitutional sage who heads the Project on Fair Representation, which provided counsel in this case. He tells me the Nine could force redistricting. The court could, he said, “help upstate New York districts dramatically.”
Not just upstate. Mr. Blum reckons the case could lead to changes in city councils, too. He speculates that council districts in such big cities as New York, Houston and Chicago are among the “most mal-apportioned” in the country.
Here's a link to an amicus brief that gives some of the argumentation.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Seniors View Smartphones as Instruments of Freedom More than Young People

The Pew Research Center reports that older people see smartphones much more positively than younger people.

Almost 4/5ths of those 50 and over see smartphones as giving them freedom and allowing them to connect.

While almost 1/3rd of those under 50 see smartphones as a "leash" and "distracting".

Pew notes that far fewer older people use smartphones than younger people. While 85% of those under 30 have smartphones, only 27% of those 65 and older have smartphones.

Pew says that the difference in views may come from the fact that older people use smartphones for a much narrower range of activities than younger people.
. . . Younger adults tend to use their phones for a far wider range of purposes (especially social networking and multimedia content) and are much more likely to turn to their phone as a way to relieve boredom and to avoid others around them.
Older adults, by contrast, tend to use their phones for a narrower range of purposes – especially basic communication functions such as voice calling, texting and email. For young adults, smartphones are often the device through which they filter both the successes and annoyances of daily life – which could help explain why these users are more likely to report feeling emotions about their phone ranging from happy and grateful to frustrated or angry during a weeklong survey.
It also may have to do with seniors remembering what it was like when both communication and information sources were not readily at hand.

I remember when someone with a cell phone called for roadside assistance when our vehicle broke down. My dad had started to walk up the highway in what looked to be a miles long walk to try to find the nearest phone to call for assistance. A kind man with a cell phone pulled over, talked to my dad, and called AAA for him.

As an older person I see the internet as a marvel. I remember the days of going to the library and poring over encyclopedias, reference books, and the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature to find answers to questions that are now a snap. And "how to" information is especially accessible via youtube.

The only downside of cell phones and smart phones is that you are always on call. Unless, of course, you turn them off when you don't want to be disturbed, or only turn them on when you have a need for them. Heh.