May 15, 2015

Social Determinism Study Explains South Louisiana Children's Future Income

My Hometown is Not the Best Place to Grow up for Upward Mobility

Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren are interested in whether or not where you grow up determines how much money you will make as an adult. According to their data, released by the Equality of Opportunity Project, Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana (where I spent at least ten years of my childhood) is one of the worst counties* in the U.S. in helping poor children up the income ladder.

I found this out after reading an article the New York Times published: The Best and Worst Places To Grow Up: How Your Area Compares.

The Best and Worst Places to Live for Income Mobility in the New Orleans Area

The Times crunched the numbers and compared every county in the United States. It turns out, Saint Tammany Parish ranks "425th out of 2,478 counties, better than only about 17 percent of counties. It is relatively worse for poor boys than it is for poor girls."

Saint Tammany Parish is very bad for children in average-income families. It is better than only about 8 percent of counties."

And for the top one percent living in Saint Tammany? Saint Tammany Parish is also "very bad for children in families in the top 1%. It is better than only about 7 percent of counties. It is better for rich kids to live in Saint James or Assumption Parish."

Assumptions Squashed: Where You Really Should grow up in South Louisiana

I found these findings to be surprising given the number of people who have left New Orleans and Jefferson Parish to move to more suburban parishes like Saint Tammany.

According to data gleaned from the study, "If you’re poor and live in the New Orleans area, it’s better to be in Plaquemines Parish than in Jefferson Parish or Orleans Parish. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Plaquemines, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more."

According to the data analysed by the Times: "Every year a poor child spends in Plaquemines Parish adds about $60 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $1,300, or 5 percent, more in average income as a young adult."

So in Sum:

  • Poor families should move to Plaquemines Parish
  • Average income earners should move to La Salle Parish.
  • And children of the one percent should move to Catahoula Parish. 
Or, pack your bags (whether you're poor or average), Louisiana, and move to Mississippi.

*In Louisiana, counties are referred as parishes.

May 7, 2015

Somewhere in San Francisco in 2008

San Francisco 2008 (Somewhere Along the Cable Car Line)

It's queer how in San Francisco you can stand up straight and still appear to be tilting sideways.

Feb 12, 2015

Dolan's Mommy Opens Screens

There is a moment in Xavier Dolan's film, Mommy (2014), where Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), a troubled teenager who has been dispatched to several group homes, and is now living with his mother after he caught fire to the cafeteria and seriously injured another boy.

Mother and son seem to have this affective bond that is both generative and at times destructive — but anyway, the point I want to make is similar to what A.O. Scott wrote in his review of the film: at the midpoint of the film, after Steve has been tutored by his shy neighbor Kyla who seems to have the ability to soften his violent outbursts. In the scene, Steve is feeling free and he actually stretches out his arms and makes the screen wider — which is really kind of neat considering the movie is mostly restrained by a tight 1:1 ratio (like a square — which some people say reminds them of a cellphone camera). The film literally opens up and it we feel the surge of trust coupled with hope that the film has promised us — as well as the feeling of a downward spiral to come when the screen closes back up again to its restrictive 1:1 aspect.

The movie is bombastic and melodramatic and I admired its intensity and the several Home Alone references that weirdly fit.

Mommy just opened in the United States a few weeks ago and it won the 2014 Jury Prize at Cannes (shared with Jean-Luc Godard's story of a dog-cum-traveller — Adieu au Langage (2014).

Image Source: Debordements

Feb 4, 2015

Jesus Did Say "This Too Shall Pass" But He Wasn't Talking about Estimated Taxes

I stop myself. Before I even begin typing. The thoughts in my head may not be appropriate even for a stream of consciousness rant.

Ranting on the Internet, even if it is a like-I-am-in-my-therapist's-office-just-free-associating kind of rant, is rarely beneficial to humanity.

Yet. Here I am. Ranting. Here's one rant I am sure you heard: estimated taxes suck. Rewrites are a pain in the ass. Staten Island needs a rail connection to Brooklyn. It's colder than a witch's tit. Oh. Here's a good one: the rent is too goddamn high. I also wanted to rant about how I worked so hard to write a blog post for one of my freelancing gigs, only for the editor to send me back to the drawing board. Well, almost to the drawing board. She accepted most of the piece but eliminated huge chunks and asked for a rewrite. It's a lesson in humility. 

So. I did rant. But I tried to save myself by saying I am humbled now. I think folks detest rants because they're jealous. They want to rant too. But they don't. So they rant that you ranted. And it sucks. But I ranted by saying that I wasn't going to rant. It's excusable. But estimated taxes really do suck. I think if I were more attentional to minor details it would not bother me as much. It does not help that I have been a slave to a grouchy academic who needs me to ferret out sources for his upcoming book.

This too shall pass. I think Jesus said that.

I guess I should warn you that here is an ulterior motive to why I am writing this blog post this today.

First, I have to get my mind set on writing. Tomorrow is Thursday. Work awaits. And it feels like I may never reach the end of my labors. I wonder how Virginia Woolf felt when she was struggling with a sentence?

Second, it really pains me that I have started to think more about estimated taxes than what novel I want to read.

Third, someone was correct when she said "no rest for the weary."

I put a period after the last sentence, looked up, and saw a cardinal perched on the window sill. A cardinal. I rarely see cardinals in my neighborhood. Also, the Staten Island Ferry chugs along on its determined route. And somewhere some bloke is estimating his quarterly taxes.

Image Source:  tomcopelandblog


Jan 27, 2015

Waterfall Postcard

I don't remember where I found this postcard, but I think it was in a public library book on bats.

Nov 26, 2014

Chef Boyardee: Wheat Girl

A photograph of girl getting intimate with her "amber waves of grain" is so totally interesting to me without the Chef Boyardee ad copy that would normally be pasted over this warped gesture to Norman Rockwell.

The original ad copy reads:
Oh look, a mother's daydream.
It'll never be a reality. So serve them Chef Boyardee Whole Grain
Beefaroni, now with whole grain pasta. Just don't tell them.
Obviously Delicious. Secretly Nutritious.

Image Source: Zachary Scott

Nov 23, 2014

On a Sunday Trip Over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge

The Verrazano Bridge that connects Brooklyn to Staten Island celebrates fifty years this week. The bridge spans the Narrows, a strip of waterway that divides Upper and Lower New York Bay.

It is often visible when I'm out and about walking around my neighborhood. Even though I live about fifty blocks away.

It's an impressive bridge. But too bad there ain't pedestrian walkways or a bike path. Only once a year, for the NYC marathon are its gates open for peeps.

Lately, I've had to make trips across the Narrows for work. So I get to see the bridge up close.

I feel like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

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