The 2016 Presidential campaign has been ridiculous (and not in a good way). Many people on the internet have shared their hatred for one or both of the final candidates and that’s after eliminating a bunch of goofballs in the primaries. There have been many scandalous moments and continuous outrage aimed at both sides. That being said, I believe there is one candidate that is going to lead this country in the right direction; Former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton. I personally like her and know she has the experience and intelligence to be the next leader of the United States. My opinion has nothing to do with her opponent this year, one Donald Trump (lack of previous positions of esteem factual and intentional), although it certainly does help many people come to agree with me. The “lesser of two evils” sales pitch has been popular for some Hillary voters but it shouldn’t be necessary given her experience and tenure.
I’ve talked about this election before because it’s important to me, but I bring it up now because it relates to Map 157. It is the latest Electoral College Map from Business Insider (although I technically found it on Yahoo Finance). This version, posted on 10/20/16, shows a significant likelihood that my preferred candidate will win on November 8th!
As you probably know, either candidate will need 270 electoral votes to win the election. According to this map, Clinton already has 217 safe votes to Trump’s 87. That is unusual in most elections but anyone not currently in a coma will know, this is no usual election. Hillary also has 61 ‘likely’ votes and 44 ‘leaning’ votes. That’s a whopping 322 potential electoral votes, 52 more than she would need. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has 94 ‘likely’ and 6 ‘lean’ votes bringing his total to 187 potential electoral votes. There are 29 votes supposedly in the ‘tossup’ category (yellow) that are too close to call for either candidate. States-wise, Hillary has 26 and the District of Columbia leaving Donald only 24 (and possibly part of Maine since its electoral votes can be split).
There are a couple interesting things to notice on this map. States like Utah and Alaska are only ‘likely’ to vote for the Republican candidate. Both those states haven’t voted for a Democrat since 1964. Texas, with its 38 electoral votes, hasn’t voted Democrat since 1976 but the race there is quite surprisingly much closer in this election than thought possible last year. Arizona, shown as a ‘tossup’, has voted Republican in 15 of the last 16 Presidential Elections (the lone exception was their vote for Bill Clinton in 1996). Florida, typically a battleground state in each election, is listed as ‘leaning Democrat’ with 16 days to go. To see how your State has voted historically, check out this excellent link I discovered called 270 To Win. To see how this country can progress into the future and ensure our awesome country remains so, vote for Hillary Clinton!
Can’t get enough election maps? Check out these additional links:
(Oh boy do I love maps)
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Map 158 shows the Care Index for childcare throughout the United States. This map is actually interactive so if you would like to check it out when we’re done here, go right ahead.
The map was created by New America using collected data available further down their page. The darker a state is, the better the childcare is in that state. This overall Care Index was created by rating cost, quality, and availability. Luckily for us, they broke the index down into maps for each of the factors individually too! Take a look below.
The average cost for in-home childcare in Minnesota is $27,542 annually, which is somehow an amount people can come up with. I don’t really understand how that’s possible. That’s so much money! Just imagine what our costs would be if we lived in Massachusetts ($31,827), Connecticut ($31,162), or California ($30,184). The cheapest state for in-home childcare is Utah at $26,211 per year. That’s not that much less than Minnesota and there really isn’t that much of a difference from the top of the range to the bottom (everyone pays a lot). In my state it’s 22% of the average income. In Massachusetts it’s 33%!
Cost of childcare is a big topic in my household right now. Beth is still on her maternity leave for the next two weeks but then we have to start ponying up buckets of cash for our little one’s daytime care. Many parents battle with this huge expense every week for obvious reasons. Our specific daycare plan is going to be changing in April when we can get into a place with full-time availability (a topic covered in the third map) when our cost will be $225 per week. Until then James will only be in daycare (a different one with part-time availability) three days a week. My sister and my mom will watch him one day per week each as well for a weekly total of $215. It will be nice to have our son hang out with my family for those first couple months of care and then they will be our go-to babysitters.
Quality of childcare is really important as any parent will know. Minnesota jumps up to the top tier when quality is concerned. It is tied at 116 with Massachusetts, below only Connecticut at 127 and Hawaii at 129. These scores are standardized “based on the proportion of accredited family child care homes and centers and ratings for in-home providers on Care.com, where 100 is the national mean, and each 15 points represents one standard deviation from the mean” [New America]. The only state with really low quality childcare is West Virginia with a score of 65.
Availability is the final factor. Standardized availability scores were “based on the ratio of child care employees to the number of children under 5 in a state, where 100 is the national average, and each 15 points represents one standard deviation from the mean” [New America]. Massachusetts (140), Connecticut (136), and New Hampshire (132) have the best scores in this category. Utah and New Mexico share the lowest grade with 81. My state of Minnesota earned a 98, just below par. There were many options for Beth and I to choose from including both in-home and daycare centers. I was hoping for a center but the costs in the Minneapolis area for a center are generally higher than in-home daycares. The best ones were $300-400 per week, something we just couldn’t justify. I love this kid but if he were to start working as a model and bring in some income, that’d be just fine with me.
I know you’re all wondering what our little man looks like so here are three recent
photos glamor shots. Isn’t he adorable?!
Until next time,