Friday, February 17, 2017

How Each Senator Voted on Trump’s Cabinet and Administration Nominees

From the New York Times

The Senate has confirmed each of President Trump’s nominees that it has voted on so far. Fifteen members of the cabinet and eight other top administration posts require Senate confirmation.

All but four of the “no” votes have come from Democrats and have essentially been symbolic statements of opposition. Nominees need only a simple majority to be confirmed, and Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate.

We’ll continue to update this page as the Senate holds more confirmation votes.

[Pictured: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who has cast more NO votes than any other Senator.]

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Here’s the presidential order of succession

From the New York Daily News

For no specific reason, here’s a reminder of the order of succession if President Trump — and any of his immediate successors — were to somehow leave office very soon.

1. Vice President Mike Pence

2. House Speaker Paul Ryan

3. President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (pictured)

4. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

5. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

6. Defense Secretary James Mattis...

Friday, December 9, 2016

How to Avoid a Box Office Disaster

We use analytics to predict baseball, elections, and even pop music. But can an algorithm foretell a movie’s success or failure, even before it’s made?

In his seminal 1983 memoir, Adventures in the Screen Trade, screenwriter William Goldman disclosed what he believed to be “the single most important fact, perhaps, of the entire movie industry.” He wrote it in all caps, twice on the same page, one paragraph apart: "NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING." Below, he narrowed “anything” down: "Nobody, nobody — not now, not ever — knows the least goddam thing about what is or isn’t going to work at the box office."

Goldman quotes a former studio executive, the ironically surnamed David Picker, as saying, "If I had said yes to all the projects I turned down, and no to all the ones I took, it would have worked out about the same." In Goldman’s experience, studio heads were no more effective than mutual-fund managers. Some had hot streaks, but none could keep beating the market. It wasn’t because they were bad at their jobs; it was because their jobs required the wisdom of crowds, not the wisdom of one person. "They’re trying to predict public taste three years ahead and it’s just not possible," Goldman wrote.

It’s hard enough to predict public taste in the present; even the Romans knew there was no accounting for it. Imagine trying to predict what the world will think of an unmade movie’s box office revenue, months before its first dailies. If you were facing that sort of uncertainty, you might want to rely less on the people operating on only feel — especially because, as Blumhouse president of feature films Couper Samuelson told my colleague Chris Ryan this week, "there are fewer and bigger movies being made," which means missing is more costly than ever.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2015 HIV Surveillance Report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention published the 2015 HIV Surveillance Report. It is available online at

The HIV Surveillance Report, which CDC has published regularly since 1982, includes detailed information about diagnosed HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas. Together with supplemental reports and analyses published throughout the year, the report provides federal agencies, health departments, nonprofit organizations and other partners the data they need to monitor HIV infections, focus prevention efforts, and allocate resources.

This edition of the report marks an important departure from prior years, made possible by improvements in HIV surveillance methods and data sources. The report presents all diagnosis, death, and prevalence data without statistical adjustments for delays in reporting of cases to CDC. Such adjustments were long needed to compensate for reporting delays of data.

Today, however, reporting of case information is more timely; significantly less time is needed to identify duplicate cases from multiple states; and systems for national data processing have been substantially strengthened, enabling unadjusted data to provide a reliable assessment of the impact of diagnosed HIV infection.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Children of Foreign-Born Parents More Likely to Be College-Educated Than Their Parents

Population Characteristics
Native-born children of a foreign-born parent, also known as the second generation, were more likely to be college-educated and have higher incomes than their parents’ generation, according to a first-ever report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Additionally, this second-generation group surpasses education and income levels of the generations that follow them.
Characteristics of the U.S. Population by Generational Status: 2013 examines differences among the foreign-born or “first generation,” the second generation (native-born with at least one foreign-born parent) and the third-and-higher generation (native-born with two native-born parents) using data from the Current Population Survey. Three quarters of the U.S. population were third-and-higher generation, and the remaining quarter of the U.S. population was made up of approximately equal parts first and second generation.
“The expectation that one’s economic status will improve over one’s parents and grandparents is particularly salient in immigrant communities, in which the first generation often must work harder to overcome numerous cultural and economic challenges,” lead report author Edward Trevelyan said. “This report looks for evidence of such inter­generational mobility.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

IRS Data Book

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Book is published annually by the IRS and contains statistical tables and organizational information on a fiscal year basis. The report provides data on collecting the revenue, issuing refunds, enforcing the law, assisting the taxpayer, and the budget and workforce.

With a new online format, this year’s publication makes navigating data on taxpayer assistance, enforcement, and IRS operations easier, with graphic depictions of key areas and quick links to the underlying data. You can view selected summary graphs, key statistics, and descriptions of the tables and the IRS functions they cover.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Renters More Likely to Be Food Insecure Than Homeowners

About 10.5 million American households, or roughly 8.9 percent, reported that in the past month their access to adequate food was limited by a lack of money and other resources, according to new 2015 American Housing Survey statistics released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.
For the first time in its 42-year history, the American Housing Survey included questions on food security status, which allowed HUD to assign households a “food security status” score. Using these categories, about 10.5 million occupied households were classified as having “low” or “very low” food security, which is commonly known as being “food insecure.”
The survey also looked at homeownership, race and having a disability in relation to food security. Results showed that 4.9 percent of homeowners and 15.5 percent of renters were food insecure, meaning they had “low” or “very low” food security.
 “For over 40 years, the American Housing Survey has been America’s premier source of statistics on housing costs and quality,” Katherine O’ Regan said, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “Working closely with experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we added food insecurity to this survey to better understand the balance many lower income households face between the cost and quality of their housing and putting food on the table.” 
The Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture included the questions to determine whether the dietary quality or food consumption of household members was reduced or normal eating patterns were disrupted because the household lacked money for food any time during the last month. One adult respondent per household was asked questions about experiences and behaviors that indicate food insecurity, such as being unable to afford balanced meals, cutting the size of meals because of too little money for food, or being hungry because of too little money for food.
The American Housing Survey data is collected every other year by the Census Bureau and is the most comprehensive housing survey in the United States. It covers topics such as housing characteristics, housing costs, home improvements and neighborhood characteristics. In addition to food insecurity, the 2015 American Housing Survey includes three other new topics: the health and safety of homes, the use of housing counseling, and the importance of arts and culture. In addition to these topics, new questions explore the opinions of Americans on petty and major crime, satisfaction with schools, satisfaction with public transportation and risk for flooding or disasters.
Results showed that 16.9 percent of black householders, 19.5 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native householders, and 21.4 percent of Pacific Islander householders were food insecure, all significantly higher than that of white householders, at 7.5 percent.
About 16.6 percent of households with a person with a disability were food insecure, reporting “low” or “very low” food security, as opposed to 6.9 percent of households without a person with a disability.
In addition to the new survey topics, the American Housing Survey covers topics such as physical housing characteristics and financial characteristics. Below are highlights from the 2015 national and metropolitan statistical area level findings among the 118,290,000 occupied units. More information on 25 selected metropolitan areas will be available later this year.
Housing Costs
· The median cost for electricity was $104 per month (renters $82, owners $117), $53 per month for piped gas (renters $42, owners $58), and $133 per month for fuel oil (renters $100, owners $150).
· Median rent was $790 per month. This ranged from $250 for “other units,” such as boats, RVs or vans to $833 for single-unit, attached homes.
. The median monthly cost paid for water was $46 per month.
Financing a Home
· Of the 70.4 million households that purchased or built their homes, 13.2 percent had no down payment; 12.6 percent put 5 percent or less down; 12.9 percent had a down payment of 6 to 10 percent; 18.0 percent put 11 to 20 percent down, 15.2 percent put 21 percent or more down; and 8.4 percent bought the home outright. The rest did not report.
·Of owner-occupied units, 40.9 percent were owned free and clear, 53.6 percent had at least one regular or home-equity lump-sum mortgage only, and 5.0 percent had at least one home equity line of credit. The remainder had reverse mortgages.
·Most homeowners with a regular and/or home-equity mortgage had only one mortgage (95.0 percent), 5.0 percent had two mortgages and less than 1.0 percent had three or more.
· Well over a third, or 38.4 percent, of homeowners with a primary mortgage refinanced. While most, or 71.2 percent, refinanced for a lower interest rate (11.5 million homeowners), others did so to receive cash, 11.7 percent. The median amount of cash received from refinance was $28,000. The median percentage of that spent on home additions, improvements and repairs was 10.0.
Owner Home Improvement
· In a typical year, owners spent a median of $500 on routine maintenance or regular maintenance activities necessary for the preventive care of the structure, property and equipment. Such activities included painting, fixing leaks, repairing fences, cleaning gutters and removing dangerous trees.
· There were 43.9 million households, or 59.0 percent, that performed more than 123.5 million home improvement projects, other than routine maintenance, in the last two years, spending more than $431.1 billion, with a median of $1,200 per job.
· Around one third, or 33.6 percent, of owner-occupied units had at least one home improvement project in the last two years completed for energy efficiency purposes, 6.8 percent did at least one project to improve accessibility for an elderly person or a person with a disability, and 3.5 percent did at least one project to prepare the home for sale.
· Householders of about 18.1 percent of all occupied housing units reported living near a body of water, and 14.4 percent of those reported that the unit was actually on waterfront property. In contrast, nearly 46.0 percent of all seasonal units were near a body of water, 53.5 percent of which were located on waterfront property.
·  Of the 59.8 million housing units in subdivisions (including multiunits and groups of mobile homes), 15.1 percent were located in secured communities with walls or fences, comprising 7.6 percent of all occupied units.
·  Of the 21.8 percent of all occupied housing units with a person age 55 or over, 11.3 percent were located in age-restricted communities. Of the remaining 88.7 percent, 24.4 percent said the majority of their neighbors are age 55 or over.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Eight Poets to Discuss Over the Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is coming and My Poetic Side decided to provide some dinner talk with the "Eight Poets to Discuss Over the Thanksgiving Table" article.

Danielle Mohlman goes through eight outstanding contemporary poets, sharing some highlights and telling you why you should be reading them. Kate Tempest, Claudia Rankine, Patricia Lockwood and Tracy K. Smith are a few of the featured authors.

You can read the article at