I have been quite busy this week running a bean bag tournament at work. 18 teams of two, including my own, have signed up to play during lunch. My boss, Cara, had our engraving department custom-etch our company’s logo into a set of bean bag boards and I spent several hours last Saturday creating a bracket and schedule (attempting to work matches in around 36 unique work schedules). We’re one week into a two-week double-elimination tournament and everyone is having a blast. My team, Throwin’ Shade, is 2-0 and I’ve been on fire, something I have credited to being 1/32 Bean Bag. The company put gift cards on the line along with some hilarious used trophies I bought at the thrift shop. One’s got a hockey guy and the other is a go-cart. It’s a fantastic waste of time and the perfect distraction from actual work. Thankfully, it was the Vice President of Sales’ idea and not my own so nobody important can get mad (at me).
Now for serious business. Map 115 is a follow-up to an earlier map discussing the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election. This new map shows one study’s projected election results. Take a look.
The study was conducted by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. This particular map, which I found here, is currently predicting a Clinton victory. It’s hardly a landslide, certainly not the massive one I’m hoping for, but it does appear that Trump may be in trouble this fall (political trouble, not just the financial trouble he’s evidently in nor the legal trouble I assume he’ll be in for soliciting campaign donations from foreign politicians). This study and map are great if you’re anti-Trump, like I clearly am (#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain), but I am still worried there are millions of people viciously supporting a man whom is so clearly unqualified to hold any public office much less President of the United States. There is practically nothing I can do or say to convince these people that Donald Trump is a horrible choice for their vote, so instead I will talk directly to everyone else. Democrats, liberals, the undecided, semi-conservatives, conservatives with a brain, immigrants, non-whites, and anyone that hasn’t already cast their vote in their head; please do not vote for Donald Trump. Try to find a couple different points of view from different sources, preferably not just online, and read what smarter people than you or I have to say about Donald Trump. He’s unintelligent. He’s a misogynist. He’s narcissistic. He has no experience or knowledge of foreign policy. He is not the right choice for our next President of the United States. I cannot be any clearer. Do not vote for Donald Trump.
Map 116 concerns the best states in the United States for raising children. Spoiler Alert: Minnesota is number one.
Part 1 shows overall child well-being by state. This was the primary focus of the CNN article where I found these beauties. The best states in this category are Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin (allegedly), New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Virginia. West Virginia and all the Southern states are the worst.Economic well-being was the second map. Again, the North, is significantly stronger than the South. Some new states appear in the top group such as Colorado, Kansas, and South Dakota. California, Oregon, and New York are mildly surprising bottom-feeders in this category. Some states were hit harder than others by the 2008 financial crisis, of course, but in this case I believe the high cost of living in those three states might be to blame for their economic ranking.
Education is clearly an important factor in raising children. Minnesota is in the top category again with a few other Midwestern states and many in the Northeast. My mother-in-law has been involved with education in several school districts around the Twin Cities over the years and will be pleased to see this ranking. The South is generally in the bottom, again. Michigan, Alaska, and West Virginia also struggle in education. If you’re not seeing a trend yet, you may have gone to school in the South (okay, that was a low blow).
The fourth map shows the strength of family and community. I don’t know how this one could really be measured but the North once again excels compared to the South. Hawaii is good at this as well. You can check out the source study for information on how this ranking was created.
Health is the final map from the article. California, Washington, and Illinois make their first appearance in the top category while Montana and Wyoming dip into the bottom for the first time.
At this point it is really looking like a tough situation raising children in the South. I know there are millions of healthy and happy families in the South, like my sister-in-law’s family in Texas, but the average Southern family is clearly worse-off.
I spoiled the end result of the study conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation early on but Minnesota is the top state when all factors of child well-being are considered. Here the top and bottom five:
I hope these maps don’t scare you into fleeing North, but if you do make that decision, Minnesota is an excellent choice (and I’m not even being paid by the State Government or Tourism Board).
Until next time,