“Unemployment Rate” and “Infant Mortality” Are Dangerously Misleading

The Internet Age has made information abundantly available in a way not even imaginable a generation ago.  But like most things in life, an excess brings drawbacks.  The flood of data being thrown at us can cause us to forego rational processing in self-defense.  As a result, it can provide opportunities for us to be bamboozled on critical issues.

“Unemployment  Rate”

The term “unemployment rate” was useful at one time.  Back in the simpler days of a “dog-eat-dog” business mentality, it gave our more benevolent federal government the information it needed to gauge funding for assistance programs and so forth.

Now, with a “dog-eat-employee” climate, many workers are pushed into less than full-time status.  So, Big Brother repeatedly ignores that and tells us cheerfully that the unemployment for June held steady at 7.6% which is below the 10% of four years ago.

This disregards the fact that part-time workers increased by 322,000 to 8.2 million. Consequently, we actually have an unadjusted rate of 14.6% for “labor underutilization.” And, as Gary Burtless, a senior fellow of economic studies at the Brooking Institute adds, “Of course, none of these indicators tells us the number of full-time or part-time workers who hold jobs in occupations that are far below their occupational and educational qualifications levels.”1

We can’t fix the problem when we can’t define it.

“Infant  Mortality”

This statistic is the most deceptive of all of the numbers tossed at us periodically.  A week ago, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran its usual Sunday headline feature on a local issue.  That week’s article, “A Crying Shame,” described some of the regional increases in early childhood deaths and an organization, Every Child Succeeds, which is trying to improve the chances of our little ones.2

A noble cause indeed.  It also mentioned the number of “at-risk pregnant women waiting for services.”  However, the data was presented in the standard format: “deaths before age 1 per 1,000 live births.”  As a parallel to the unemployment segment, “back in the good ol’ days” when unborn babies were properly respected and cared for by most, “deaths per 1,000 live births” was an accurate way to judge pediatric progress. Unfortunately, the 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S. in a recent year2 is but a tip of the iceberg risk facing the most vulnerable humans.

My approximation of a revised “baby mortality”:  Due to the fact that abortions are estimated,3  I will use the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life’s approximation of 1,212,400 abortions to be joined with the U.S. Census data showing 3,999,386 live births in the U.S. for 2010.  This gives us a baby mortality of 303 abortion deaths per 1,000 live births.

Our motto should be, “Every Child Born, Then Succeeds.”

 

1 – Jennifer Waters, www.marketwatch.com, The Wall Street Journal, 7/5/2013
2 – Mark Curnutte, “A Crying Shame,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 7/7/2013.  The article included data from many countries (e.g. Canada 4.9, Russia 9.8, Bolivia 39.9, India 47.2 and Nigeria 78)
3 – “…there are no laws requiring abortionists to report to any national agency the numbers of abortions they perform,” Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, www.mccl.org

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Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Dvorak and Fryxell (Excel)lo!

The atypical Midwest monsoon season may have prevented the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra from its annual performance at Devou Park yesterday, but it did not douse the enthusiasm of the crowd which moved to Notre Dame Academy, also in Covington, KY, for an evening of “Dvorak: Living in America.”

Continuing his tradition, KSO conductor and founder J. R. Cassidy put together a beautifully cohesive program which began with the debut of a musical version of “The Pledge of Allegiance,” written by KSO member Steven Hinnenkamp.  The KSO Chorale added vocal enhancement to the piece.

The rest of the program featured music by Antonin Dvorak.  The “Slavonic Dance” was followed by “The American Flag.”  In the second work, Michael Young and Andrew Jones performed vocal solos in addition to the accompaniment of the KSO Chorale.

Remember the name, “Benjamin Fryxell.”  The 18-year old cellist with ear-catching talent gave a glimpse of his enviable future last evening.  His was the final segment prior to intermission.  A local musician, Benjamin will be going to Julliard shortly.

While the sports world debates whether race car drivers qualify as athletes, the young Fryxell could start a similar debate in the music world.  He played the finale of Dvorak’s “Concerto for ‘Cello and Orchestra” with a level of energy normally seen only in stadiums.  His invigorating performance showcased the “dazzling technique”1 he is already known for.  A team player all the way, he did not allow his concentration to make him self-absorbed.  He strained backward while playing complex sequences to listen to Mari Thomas’2 violin as the two artists complemented each other through a challenging part.  Benjamin seemed intent on ensuring that his music blended with hers note by note.

After such an impressive first half, the remainder of a concert can easily be anti-climactic.  Nevertheless, Conductor Cassidy led his orchestra to a wonderful rendition of “From the New World.”3  It brought the concert to a wonderful conclusion which personified the melting pot our nation has been for 237 years!

Thank you:  to Antonin Dvorak for being a part of our proud past, to J.R. Cassidy for the determined spirit of the present and to Benjamin Fryxell for an optimistic musical future!

 

1 – Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Summer 2013 program
2 – Mari Thomas, acting concertmistress for the KSO
3 – Dvorak was commissioned to compose this during the time he was director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City (1892-1895), concert notes to the audience by J.R. Cassidy

Happy Birthday, U.S.A. (with a word of caution)

Here we are, celebrating the 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence!  As we recall, it took seven years of determined fighting before our independence was officially secured.

In the succeeding twenty-three decades, our nation has overcome many challenges.  We’ve survived the War of 1812 when Washington D.C. was on fire, the Civil War/War Between the States, world wars, presidential assassinations, the Depression, economic panics, etc.

As proud as we may be for our fortitude and resilience since 1776, we must remember that our country does not have the assurance which Christ gave His Church.  While she faces threats with the knowledge that “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail” against her, Christ did not promise that secular humanism would not prevail against the greatest nation in modern history.  The seductive political correctness which induces many to embrace the killing of the unborn, redefinition of marriage and disregard for religious liberty can only bring disaster ultimately.

As George Washington said in his farewell address:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”1

Well said, Mr. President!

 

1 – Wikipedia.com