Year-round Santas, what killed the Christmas card, the eclipse, Shaq conducts an orchestra, and the math behind the headlines.
Update: Minnesota will not lose any seats in Congress.
The Census Bureau is presenting its results of the 2010 census, including how the population shift may/may not affect states' representation in Congress, at 10 a.m. CT.
9:52 a.m. - As we wait to begin, here's some reading. Congress.org considers three states likely to be hurt the most: Louisiana (they lost a lot of the population when Katrina hit), Ohio, and Michigan.
9:55 a.m. - If you can't get through via the Census Bureau link above, CSPAN-3 has it here.
10:02 a.m. - Dr. Robert Groves will be conducting the bulk of the presentation. Several questions will be taken via Twitter, which didn't exist 10 years ago, of course. They're starting with some produced video propaganda.
10:07 a.m. - Groves begins. Introduces an undersecretary who talks about the "team" that pulled all of this together, which few people watching today care about. Give us the numbers! "We cannot be a representative government without apportioning representatives based on population," Commerce Undersecretary Becky Locke says. She notes that the Census asked only four more questions than it asked in 1790.
10:12 a.m. - Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaking. Back-patting: He notes the census was delivered on time and under budget and calls out naysayers in much the same way local meteorologists said "I told you so" after the snowstorm a week ago.
10:15 a.m. - Seventy-four percent of households returned census by mail.
10:21 a.m. - Dr. Groves is back with the numbers. This production should've been produced by the Survivor producers. They're better at announcing who's getting voted off the island.
10:22 a.m. - U.S. population is 308,745,538. The room applauds. Good job procreating, apparently is their message. It's about a 9 percent increase over 10 yeas ago.
10:24 a.m. - More growth in the south and West. Northeast grew 3.2%. Midwest grew by 3.9%. The south grew by 14.3%. The west grew by 13.8%
10:25 a.m. - Nevada grew by 35%. Michigan is the country's basket case. Ten years ago, no state lost population. South Dakota grew by 7.9%.
10:26 a.m. - Now turning to representation in Congress. Since 1940, there's been a net shift of 79 seats to the South and West. 12 seats will shift in 18 states.
Gaining: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
Losing: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Minnesota keeps its seats!
10:30 a.m. - Between 1950 and 1960, the high growth rate of 18.5% reflected the Baby Boom. The percentage growth this last decade is the second-lowest of the past century. Where's the "center" of the country, population way. In 1790, it was in Kent County, Maryland. In 2000, it was in southern Missouri. The new center hasn't been computed yet. It may move into Arkansas.
10:32 a.m. - This is the first decade in history that the West region is more populated than the Midwest. In 1910, four of the five most populous states were in the Northeast and Midwest. New York is the only state that has been ranked among the five largest in each decade. Now, the top five are: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.
10:33 a.m. - The least populated states are: Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota.
10:34 a.m. - The fastest-growing states are: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Texas.
10:37 a.m. - The most crowded states: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland.
The least crowded states: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: What do you attribute the slow growth in Louisiana to and how much of an impact was Hurricane Katrina?
A: We've looked at the numbers for only a few days. The growth in any state has yet to be discovered in terms of the root causes.
Q: What is the significance of the population center?
A: If everyone weighed the same amount, where would the center be? The value is it teaches us how we've changed as a country. This movement south and west is a simple way to know how we've changed.
Q: Is growth from immigration or rate of births?
A: Sixty percent is due to natural increases, forty percent from immigration.
Q: How much of California is immigration vs. natural birth?
A: We don't know.
Q: What's the budget for Census?
A: About $7.4 billion. About $1.7 billion was returned.
Q: Were undocumented residents included in the census?
A: We count residents, whether they are citizens or not. There was no question on the census form asking about citizenship.
Q: Will there be a point at which the Census Bureau will consider increasing the number of congressional districts and will that require an act of Congress?
A: The size of Congress is a matter for Congress.
Q: There was a low response rate in New Mexico. What did the census do about that?
A: Any household that did not return the questionnaire was followed up. That amounted to 47 million households. We visited each as many as six times. At the end of the process, for every household on our master address file, we have a resolution -- a population count. The census as much as we can know from our operations, is complete in all those areas.
Q: Is the male-to-female ratio changing?
A: We don't know yet.
Q: Which states were next in line for seats in Congress?
A: The 435th seat was assigned to Minnesota. (Yikes! Minnesota was that close to losing a seat!) Had Minnesota lost 15,000 people, the seat would have gone to North Carolina.
Q: How did the recession affect the growth rate?
A: It's an assertion by historians that the Great Depression depressed the growth rate. Teasing out the marginal rate vs. all the other things that were happening in that decade is as hard as answering the question. A lot of developed countries around the world are slowing their growth rate. Part of that may be the recession. We'll never know for sure.
Q: Could you confirm whether the overseas military and federal civilian population in state totals affected the apportioning to Congress?
Q: What would be the process after the count to be able to have an estimate of the undocumented population?
A: Article I Section II of the Constitution says that Congress specifies how the census is conducted. Our other surveys ask about country of origin and we ask other questions. None of the surveys we do ask about the documentation of non-citizens.
Q: There was speculation New York would lose one House seat, not two. How close was it?
A: I don't know
Q: What do you know about those without housing? The homeless, that you were not able to sent a census form to? Is there reason to believe this census is more or less accurate than in the past?
This is the third census that we've had a deliberate approach for the homeless. We had three separate operations that were the culmination of a lot of outreach to help us locate where the homeless tended to congregate -- soup kitchens and shelters -- or outdoor locations. We made a massive effort to count the homeless. Those counts were added in and are part of the numbers we just released. We don't publish separate counts of the homeless, nor are there plans to do so. This is one of the toughest challenges of the Census Bureau. We think we're relatively successful when there are homeless grouped together. A homeless person in a tent in Wyoming, we may not be able to get.
Q: Utah went to court in 2000 over not counting overseas missionaries. What about this year?
A: Those out of the country were not counted as part of the census operation. Utah gained a seat this time. There was no serious reconsideration of the counting procedures for missionaries. Would the seat allocation be different if we'd counted them? I don't know.
Q: How can we find information on minority groups in each state?
A: Those files will be posted in February.
Q: How did you handle Hurricane Katrina?
A: We count people where they usually live. People are moving back to the area. But while other people living elsewhere still consider themselves Louisianans, we count them where they live.
Q: Why is Idaho growing. Are people from the Northeast moving there?
A: We share the speculation and we can't wait to dive into the data. Demographers are working on the answers to the questions, but we don't know them yet.
This concludes the census data dump.(4 Comments)
The Vatican has clarified Pope Benedict XVI 's comments on the use of condoms. His original comments -- reported on the MPR site and elsewhere, of course -- seemed to suggest that the Catholic Church was changing its position on the subject.
It's not, the statement makes clear.
Following the publication of the interview-book Light of the World by Benedict XVI, a number of erroneous interpretations have emerged which have caused confusion concerning the position of the Catholic Church regarding certain questions of sexual morality. The thought of the Pope has been repeatedly manipulated for ends and interests which are entirely foreign to the meaning of his words - a meaning which is evident to anyone who reads the entire chapters in which human sexuality is treated. The intention of the Holy Father is clear: to rediscover the beauty of the divine gift of human sexuality and, in this way, to avoid the cheapening of sexuality which is common today.
Some interpretations have presented the words of the Pope as a contradiction of the traditional moral teaching of the Church. This hypothesis has been welcomed by some as a positive change and lamented by others as a cause of concern - as if his statements represented a break with the doctrine concerning contraception and with the Church's stance in the fight against AIDS. In reality, the words of the Pope - which specifically concern a gravely disordered type of human behaviour, namely prostitution (cf. Light of the World, pp. 117-119) - do not signify a change in Catholic moral teaching or in the pastoral practice of the Church.
As is clear from an attentive reading of the pages in question, the Holy Father was talking neither about conjugal morality nor about the moral norm concerning contraception. This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that "also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation--whether as an end or as a means." The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead - and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) - humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.
On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition - and indeed not only of the Christian tradition - to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: "Flee from fornication" (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.
In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment - because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute "the real or moral solution" to the problem of AIDS and also that "the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality" in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom "with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality." This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father's previous statement that this is "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."
Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the "lesser evil". This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say - as some people have claimed - that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another - even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.
In conclusion, in the battle against AIDS, the Catholic faithful and the agencies of the Catholic Church should be close to those affected, should care for the sick and should encourage all people to live abstinence before and fidelity within marriage. In this regard it is also important to condemn any behaviour which cheapens sexuality because, as the Pope says, such behaviour is the reason why so many people no longer see in sexuality an expression of their love: "This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being" (Light of the World, p. 119).(11 Comments)
The New York State Court of Appeals has ruled that a golfer who doesn't yell "fore" is not liable for the damage his shot causes.
Dr. Anoop Kapoor and Dr. Azad Anand were playing on a nine-hole Long Island course in October 2002 when Anand was hit in the head while looking for his ball on a fairway, blinding him in one eye. He sued. Today, the court tossed the case.
Let's go to the opinion:
The accident occurred during play on the first hole. Kapoor's second shot landed in the "rough." Without waiting for Kapoor to retrieve his ball, Anand went to look for his on the fairway. Kapoor, meanwhile, found his ball and, without calling "Fore" or giving any other warning to his friends, hit the shot that went in an unintended direction and struck Anand.
There's a reason golf has certain rules of etiquette. One is that the person farthest away from the hole gets the shot. Everyone else stands back. In this case, the victim should've waited for his none-fore-calling partner to hit his shot. 'Fore' is primarily used to warn golfers on other nearby holes, it shouldn't be needed to warn your playing partner.
Back to the action:
Here, Kapoor's failure to warn of his intent to strike the ball did not amount to intentional or reckless conduct, and did not unreasonably increase the risks inherent in golf to which
Anand consented. Rather, the manner in which Anand was injured - - being hit without warning by a "shanked" shot while one searches for one's own ball -- reflects a commonly appreciated risk of golf.
Maybe appreciated isn't the right word for the masses but, yes. But what if the man had called "fore?" There's some dispute over what is the best course of action for the other participants.
Back when I played golf, my golfing partners would crouch and cover their head -- the sissies. I should also point out I didn't yell "fore." It was assumed.
There's also the "cool" approach. One does not duck, but merely turns one's back to the offending party. I've also seen people look up in a "where did that 'fore' come from?" stance, thus muting whatever benefit the word has. But these golf courses have the holes pretty well crammed into a small area. You can't always tell who the "fore-fathers" are calling out to. And nothing looks worse than ducking and covering unnecessarily. In golf, it's not important to be good; it's important to look good.
There are a lot of people out there making a good living by claiming to be experts in matters of the Internet.
MJ Bear wasn't one of them. Even though she was one of the original experts of the Internet, she didn't parade herself as one.
Her funeral was held today down in Des Moines. She died last week after a seven-month fight with leukemia.
Those few of us who were around back when MPR was getting into the online news businesses, remember her as a friendly voice at NPR, where she headed npr.org's development.
It's easy to forget now just how revolutionary it was to answer questions about whether an NPR program can be streamed on a local affiliate's Web site (it couldn't), or whether there was any value in expanding online audio. Back then, MPR had a total of 100 live streams available between the classical service and news and after that, you got a message that you were out of luck. Back then, we only streamed Midmorning and Midday because there were no rights granted for the NPR programs, or even the top-of-the-hour news, for that matter.
But someone with a vision helped answer all of those questions. And MJ Bear also helped form the Online News Association, which at the time was a collection of online newsies who had a hard time getting the time of day from their core-media bosses and colleagues.
NPR undersold her contributions today when it cited her work "redesigning and overseeing NPR.org from 1996 to 2001." It was so much more than that. It was hand-holding public radio Web teams across the country as they tried to do something new, in the face of opposition from those who felt it would undercut the role of radio.
MJ Bear was one of the first people to recognize that journalism and the Web were made for each other, and that public media was uniquely qualified to prove it.(2 Comments)
Kids today, eh?
A report today says teen pregnancy is at an all-time low, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Rates fell significantly for all race and Hispanic-origin groups between 2008 and 2009, with declines ranging from 4 to 6 percent (for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and AIAN teenagers). The rate for Hispanic teenagers aged 15-19 fell 10 percent in 2009 to 70.1 births per 1,000, the lowest rate ever reported for this group in the two decades for which rates for Hispanic teenagers are available. The rate for API teenagers dropped 10 percent. Rates for all groups reached historic lows, the report said.
It's not all happy news. A survey said one third of the teenagers surveyed said "it doesn't matter whether you use birth control or not, when it is your time to get pregnant, it will happen."
Why are teens not getting pregnant in such high numbers as before? One expert says it's the economy.
"I'm not suggesting that teens are examining futures of 401(k)s or how the market is doing," said Sarah Brown, chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "But I think they are living in families that experience that stress. They are living next door to families that lost their jobs."