Saturday, November 14, 2020

Bookmarks: Data Sources

 Pew Research Center | Nonpartisan, non-advocacy public opinion polling and demographic research

Wealth Inequality

Measure of America: A Program of the Social Science Research Council

Center on Urban Poverty

The National Bureau of Economic Research

National Center for Children in Poverty

United States Department of Labor

What The Hell Is Happening With These Alabama Polls? | FiveThirtyEight


Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates - Interactive Data and Mapping - U.S. Census Bureau

The effects of personality traits, self-esteem, loneliness, and narcissism on Facebook use among university students - ScienceDirect

The effects of personality traits, self-esteem, loneliness, and narcissism on Facebook use among university students - ScienceDirect

Bookmarks: Race

 White Privilege, Quantified - The Atlantic

Separate and Unequal | FRONTLINE | PBS

Measuring Race: Census

RACE - The Power of an Illusion . Background Readings | PBS

The Enlightenment’s ‘Race’ Problem, and Ours -

Race and Censuses from Around the World - Sociological Images

The US Census and the social construction of race - Sociological Images


There Is No Such Thing as Race

Understanding Race After Charlottesville - Attend Events

Understanding Race After Charlottesville - Attend Events

Understanding Race After Charlottesville - Attend Events

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys - The New York Times

There’s Never Been a Native American Congresswoman. That Could Change in 2018. - The New York Times

Sunday, November 1, 2020

15 day pre election financial data

It's required by law for candidates for office to report financial data. Here's a look at campaign finances for pertinent upcoming elections. 

Here are some key points and observations: 

* most campaign dollars for local elections come from the candidate and the candidate's family funds. 

* you need at least $5,000 to run a respectable city commission campaign. That doesn't mean you can't win on less. 

* only 8 of the 16 city commission candidates have reported finance data. This could mean they have raised and/or spent less than $3,000. Local candidates only have to provide financial data if they raise or spend more than $3,000. 

* the likely winning mayoral candidate will have raised and spent nearly $10,000. Per this report Conder has spent over $30,000 and Watson over $43,000. They both have more to spend. 

* be mindful that a lot of campaign money usually is spent between the 15 day report and the post election report. The post election financial data usually indicates a jump in expenditures in the 15 days leading up to an election. 

* there were no financial reports for any of the Board of Education candidates. 

I provide the U.S. Senate race data for comparison. Keep in mind the Senate race in Kentucky is hotly contested.

All of the state and local data above is found at the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance:

The data for the U.S. Senate race is found at the Federal Election Commission:

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Bookmarks: Social Class

Who Rules America: Explore the Power Elite

Mapping Poverty in America - The New York Times

Where Americans—Rich and Poor—Spent Every Dollar in 2012 - The Atlantic

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters -

Inequality is real, personal, expensive, and it was created

Institute for Research on Poverty | University of Wisconsin–Madison

Where the 1 Percent Fit in the Hierarchy of Income - Interactive Graphic -

Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power

Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart - The New York Times

Are you in the US middle class? Try our income calculator | Pew Research Center

Childhood poverty linked to brain changes related to depression

5 facts about the minimum wage | Pew Research Center

Which States Are Givers and Which Are Takers? - The Atlantic

Americans Think Upward Mobility Is Far More Common Than It Really Is - CityLab

Plutocracy Rising | Moyers & Company |

Talk Poverty - Real People. Real Stories. Real Solutions.

10 least expensive states to live in the U.S.

Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil – Mother Jones

The Most and Least Healthy Counties in America - The Atlantic

America's Wealth Is Staggeringly Concentrated in the Northeast Corridor - CityLab

The Minimum Wage Used To Be Enough To Keep Workers Out Of Poverty—It’s Not Anymore: 
Raising It to $10.10 Would Lift a Family of Three Above the Poverty Line | Economic Policy Institute

Who Makes Up The Working Class, in 3 Graphs - CityLab

Peter Temin: Economic Mobility Requires the Nearly Impossible - The Atlantic

Why the Poor Don't Work, According to the Poor - The Atlantic

Very Sad Graph: How Much Americans Have Left to Spend After Essentials, Today - The Atlantic

NCCP | Budgeting for Basic Needs

Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

‘Welfare Makes People Lazy’: A Myth That Needs Busting - The Atlantic

The financial impact of winning (and losing) the birth lottery - Mar. 6, 2018

The new gilded age: Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area, and county | Economic Policy Institute

Barry Schwartz: The way we think about work is broken | TED Talk

How Many Americans Live in Poverty, and What Does That Actually Mean? (with Lesson Plan) | KQED

Middle-class income rose above $61,000 for the first time last year, U.S. Census Bureau says - The Washington Post

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Coronavirus: on lifting orders

First, I'm not at all into conspiracy. I am though very much into understanding personal and social phenomena with valid and reliable data. I've tried my adult life not to jump to conclusions without good information. In fact, in the face of no good information I'm quite comfortable saying "I don't know" or "based on the information I have..."
I also believe there is tremendous value in making decisions and living life in an informed, mindful manner.
Here's some food for thought. Be very careful how you interpret information being given out by organizations. Most are adept at "branding" and "messaging." That often means you are getting the information they present to you through a marketing filter. What you're being told is what they want you to know in the context of what's good for their organization.
For example: we're in lockdown/quarantine and there's discussion at the federal level about lifting those orders. Without on demand testing and/or a vaccine, what makes going out in public in crowds any different now than a month ago?
Also, there is some data available on infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. But, HOW and WHERE infections are occurring has not been made available to the public. Wouldn't you like to know if there are public places that are showing a trend for contraction of the coronavirus? For example, shouldn't we know if people are contracting the coronavirus by going to drive thrus or the grocery?
I present this food for thought because organizations and agencies are making decisions for you. Are those organizations operating in their best interests or your best interests? Are the decisions to be made based on finances or based on what's best for the health of their employees, clients, or even the general population?
Do your best to stay informed. Your health and the health of your family may depend on it.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

New coronavirus (covid-19) cases in Daviess County, Kentucky

Update: December 15, 2020

In an effort to reach a broader audience, I've been providing regular covid-19 updates on a Facebook Page that I've created. Until further notice those updates are posted to the Facebook Page here: Owensboro: Managing Covid-19


Update June 10, 2020

My last presentation of local coronavirus data included the addition of the moving average measure. That May 20 post indicated a previous two week decline of covid-19 cases in Owensboro-Daviess County.

Over the past 7-10 days national, state, and some local media have been reporting an increase in cases in several states, including Kentucky. This is precisely why it is important to look at this type of data at the local level.

As of yesterday (June 9th) Owensboro-Daviess County continues to see a stable, declined rate of new cases of coronavirus/covid-19.

*Note: data are not included for several days in late May and a few dates in early June. In late May Governor Andy Beshear 's office changed how they were holding covid-19 media briefings and how they were presenting new case data. I also cannot go back to review any press briefings to retrieve the missing information.

As a matter of record I'd also like to include a link and text of some comments made on Facebook after the Daviess County Judge Executive was brought into discussion. That Facebook post can be found here:

The main comment reply I'd like to include follows:

As I draft this comment I first want to note that Arnie tagged Al, not me. I'm not really seeking anything. I understand that so much data can lead to data overload. I'm a Sociologist and dealing with data is part of my profession. All I have done here is taken the only regularly publicly reported local data and graphed it over time. As has been well noted in the public health community, looking at data over time with this particular public health issue is important due to the time of contraction, dispersion, and contagious infection. When I began tracking this data longitudinally (over time) back in mid March there was no public source of Daviess County data available. You are correct Al, the hospital and public health department do post their data on their social media and online. I have not yet though seen it anywhere in longitudinal form. Daily data is certainly useful but what does daily data mean in the context of the previous day, the previous week, or the previous two weeks? And certainly those issues of where we stand in terms of a trend (currently being couched as a 14 day trend) are deemed critical in how political decisions are made regarding social distancing and reopening the economy and society. I asked early on for access to the data but the data at that time was believed to have not been accurate. I respected that conclusion and certainly did not want to get in the way of the very important work that needed to occur locally in the early stages of this pandemic. You and other stakeholders working closely on this issue may very well be discussing the trend among yourselves but I also feel it's very important for the community to see what is the trend. Trend data is being analyzed at the federal and state level. I personally want to know what is going on at the local level because what happens at the state and national level may not reflect local realities. Because I couldn't get access to local public data and because I understand the importance of looking at this longitudinally, I started tracking it with the data for which I had access.


Update, May 14, 2020: trend data

Here's a look at the trend lines of 3 2 week segments (6 weeks) of new coronavirus cases in Daviess County.

It's a very stable line for the first four weeks, followed by a spike then a general downturn the past 7 days. This is encouraging.


Update, April 25, 2020: trend data


Update: As of April 25, 2020 there have been 205 deaths in Kentucky due to the coronavirus. Ninety five (95), or 46% of those deaths stem from people in long term care facilities.

Update: As of April 20, 2020 there have been 154 deaths in Kentucky due to the coronavirus. Fifty nine (59), or 38% of those deaths stem from people in long term care facilities.

Update: As of April 14, 2020, there have been 115 deaths in Kentucky due to the coronavirus. Thirty four (34), or 30% of those deaths stem from people in long term care facilities.


Looking at data over time (longitudinally) helps us to track the trends in increase, stabilization, or decline in cases. Much of the federal and state level data looks at covid-19 cases longitudinally. Unfortunately, comprehensive, longitudinal public data about coronavirus cases in Owensboro-Daviess County does not exist.

I have collected the following information from watching and recording daily new cases as stated by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear during daily press conferences beginning March 19, 2020.

Because the state data is sometimes updated the following data may or may not reflect exact official numbers for Daviess County.

I fully understand the variety of issues with testing and whether the new cases data accurately reflects the amount of coronavirus infections in the population. But, this is the only publically accessible data that can be examined for trends.

The "Projections" tab below contains the projection for hospitalizations in Daviess County.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Statement regarding proposed Fairness Ordinance

Please note this statement is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Public statement to the Daviess County Fiscal Court, Public Forum on the proposed Fairness Ordinance January 30, 2020

My name is Chad Gesser. I am an Associate Professor of Sociology and have been a full time professor for 16 years of the 25 years I’ve been teaching. I’ve also been a small business owner for the past 10 years.

I am here speaking this evening out of a sense of obligation. I have been fortunate for the past 25 years to be able to engage with students in the classroom, mostly introducing them to my field of study: Sociology. For those that do not know, sociology is the study of society. My field of study is built on a body of research and we examine all topics relative to be human, to be in society.

My sense of obligation centers around my areas of specialty, which include culture, inequality, and community. Over the past 20 years inequality has been a central focus of my field of study, particularly in the United States.

I teach a course entitled Inequality in Society. During that class, which lasts about 4 ½ months, we cover in great detail subject matter central to inequality in society. These topics include race, social class, gender, and sexual preference.

At the heart of each of these topics are the topics of prejudices, stereotypes, discrimination, and institutional prejudice and discrimination. On the surface these topics appear emotionally charged. The benefit that I and the students have in the classroom setting is that we are intentionally there to study these topics. As a result, my classes are always thoughtful, detailed, conversive, and frankly rewarding. Students find this class helpful in their understanding of people that may be different than the groups they belong to. Students also gain insight on topics central to inequality.

I would like to share a couple of insights from my professional experience that bear on topics relative to this evening’s public hearing.

First, culture has changed drastically over the past 20 years. As a result, people from different age groups increasingly have difficulty relating to one another. At the same time, community life has also become quite diverse.

For example, according to a 2019 report by the Pew Research Center, in 2004 only 31% of the American public approved of same sex marriage. In 2019 that number grew to 61%. When we look at those that indicate they oppose or approve of gay marriage over the past 16 years, the data actually are flipped flop over time. I bring up this particular point of information because for me, with my students, it stands as one of the most remarkable shifts in public opinion in the modern era. This is also relevant because of age groups. I mentioned this earlier. Many of us in this room grew up in an era where there was non acceptance of members of the LGBTQ community. I’m here to tell you that fact is not my fault, and it’s not your fault. But, culture and the times have changed.

When I cover this material with my students (certainly those of the younger generation) there often is a sense of relief. The students are glad to hear that their acceptance of members of the LGBTQ community is not a behavior that is inconsistent with the acceptance or lack thereof in the country. Young people feel the community does not represent their standards and values of acceptance.

We don’t have to look to national information to chart the acceptance of members of the LGBTQ community. As you know, many Kentucky communities have adopted fairness ordinances prohibiting LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. These include Louisville (1999), Lexington (1999), Covington (2003), Vicco (2013), Frankfort (2013), Morehead (2013), Danville (2014), Midway (2015), Paducah (2018), and Maysville (2018), Henderson (2019), Dayton (2019), Georgetown (2019), and Versailles (2019). Given the movement of these fairness ordinances, communities that overtly choose not to enact these protections do in fact give voice to prejudice and discrimination at the individual and the policy level. I do believe this is a very important consideration as you reflect upon your decision of this ordinance. What will you be saying to the public, to other communities, to businesses, if you choose not to pass this ordinance?

I now want to speak from a different vantage point. I’m married and have been for 22 years to my lovely and inspiring wife Susan. We are both from Owensboro-Daviess County. We have four children: ages 19, 15, 12, and 5. We are also both practicing Catholics, and our family are members of Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish.

I believe that in part I represent the silent majority. I’m not on either extreme of this “debate.” While I believe in the dignity of each person, regardless of race, gender, social class, and sexual preference, I also understand that your decision is a political one. Politics is not always moral, it’s not always ethical, it’s not always fair. What I do know is that culture has changed. We as a population of people are different now than we were 30 years ago, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.

Be careful to hear only the extremes, and consider doing what is right not for you but for the good of this community and its future.