Archive | November 2009

The Blind Side: the Story of Michael Oher and the Tuohy family

This afternoon my brothers and I went to go see the “The Blind Side“, which is a movie based on a true story. The movie revolves around the story of Michael Oher, a homeless African American sixteen year old (whose father is dead and his mother is a drug addict), who is taken in by the (Caucasian) Tuohy family. Oher happens to be in the same grade as Collins Tuohy, and Collins had mentioned to her parents about the new kid.

In his first nine years of school Oher was enrolled in eleven different schools, and each continuously passed on the “problem” to the next. When he arrived at the Briarcrest Christian School at the age of 16, Oher had a measured I.Q. of 80 — which put him in the ninth percentile — and had a GPA of 0.6.

I’m a pretty sensitive and emotional person as it is, so it shouldn’t even be a surprise – but i found myself tearing quite a few times throughout the movie! But the movie’s comedic side struck a balance as well, fortunately. It is such a sad, yet inspirational story; heart breaking, yet motivational.

If you haven’t seen “The Blind Side” yet, i highly recommend it for all of you.  it is a poignant movie and aside from a violent scene near the end of the movie that limits the movie to a PG-13 rated audience-  it is full of great lessons for everyone (from racial tensions to education)!

If you haven’t seen this yet, definitely read that too. One of my brothers shared that with me about three years ago when the piece was written, and then again later when Oher was in the NFL draft. Like the read said, for someone to be in the 99th percentile, someone also has to be in the one or two percentile – but it’s so hard to fathom its reality.

Here’s an amazing and powerful quote from the article:

Leigh Anne Tuohy grew up with a firm set of beliefs about black people but shed them for another — and could not tell you exactly how it happened, except to say, “I married a man who doesn’t know his own color.” Her father, a United States marshal based in Memphis, raised her to fear and loathe blacks as much as he did. The moment the courts ordered the Memphis City Schools integrated in 1973, he pulled her out of public school and put her into the newly founded Briarcrest Christian School, where she became a student in its first year. “I was raised in a very racist household,” she says. Yet by the time Michael Oher arrived at Briarcrest, Leigh Anne Tuohy didn’t see anything odd or even awkward in taking him in hand.

And here’s a short clip i came across earlier:

As Thanksgiving approaches, It’s so amazing to think that of how much we take for granted every day… and even complain for some of it! I can’t even imagine how many times i’ve stressed over academic work, for example, without even thinking about how blessed i am to even receive such an education in the first place!

While i think we should be thankful for our blessings every single day, I still wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Hope everyone has a great few days off to relax with their family and friends.

Thoughts on NJ Governor’s Election… Two Weeks Late.

So it’s been two weeks since election day, but i didn’t get a chance to blog about it until now.
first, my personal opinion on the results:
saying i was disappointed would be quite an understatement. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: by no means am i a supporter of Corzine. However, i oppose many of the core things Christie sides with. Like i said before, healthcare and education are two of the big issues! I just can’t understand how anyone would be against mandating health insurance companies to cover mammograms when breast cancer is the number one cause of death for females in the United States. And then to the education aspect – Christie wants to cut funding for early education because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. come on, people… seriously?
and now, comparing the results and our prediction for our class assignment for Somerset County. to refresh your memory, from an earlier post:
we predict a tight race between Christie and Corzine in Somerset County, with the following percentages:
Jon Corzine – 47%
Chris Christie – 45%
Chris Daggett – 8%
for the voter turnout aspect, we predict: around a 55% turnout rate of the REGISTERED voters (not voting age population). There are 193,345 registered voters right now in Somerset county, so 55% of that would be: 106,340.
we based our predictions, mainly, on past statistics and the trends. While Somerset County used to be the heart of the republican party in New Jersey, the margins had been decreasing tremendously each election cycle and had become quite competitive and close between the two major parties (in all sorts of races – governor, senatorial, presidential). With the Obama factor, democrats won in the county last year and we (wrongly) thought Corzine would be able to carry on the hype from the Obama factor
in reality, what happened in Somerset County was:
Jon Corzine – 34.29%
Chris Christie – 56.21% (so obviously Christie won. BIG TIME.)
Chris Daggett – 8.71% (extremely close to our prediction!!!!)
and for the voter turnout, 102,922 (approximately 53.23% of the registered voters casted a vote in the Governor’s election from Somerset County. our predictions were pretty accurate for the voter turnout aspect.
we attributed the Christie win to several factors – a low democratic turnout (incumbency bias, free-rider problem); the anger and frustration felt by many in the state with the politicians because of the corruption and scandals in the state and people just wanting a change; the national problems we are facing that trickle down to the states and how many attribute it to the party in office currently, not the one that was the root of the problem; let’s face it – most of us know at least one person who has lost their job; negative campaigning (omnipresent in EVERY election) – it’s a double negative because not only does it work, but it also works the other way because some people are totally against them and use that against the politician; and of course the notion that many were expecting a miraculous overnight turnaround in the problems the nation is facing with the election of Barack Obama and are quite displeased that none of the “changes” have seemed to occur. things don’t just happen overnight… they take time, but most of the general public doesn’t see that of course.

Thoughts: Registration, RU Football, LSATs

It’s so unbelievable, but i registered this past Monday (November 9th) for my last semester as an undergraduate at Rutgers University! I can’t believe it! It doesn’t feel like I have been here for so long (three and a half years at this point!) and now am just months away from graduating in May. While each individual semester has seemed to drag on forever, it has in general flew by pretty fast. It hasn’t been the easiest few years by any means, but i can honestly say it has been worth it. The roller coaster ride with the combination of the stress, challenges, agony, and the feelings of accomplishments have been nothing short of interesting, to say the very least.

I can’t believe how fast time is flying by! I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on my mom’s hospital stay/surgery from the beginning of October (over a month ago!), and i just can’t seem to get some free time together. Hopefully in the next few days i will since i finally finished my midterms, papers, and projects this past week. Besides a few papers and a project, I don’t have much extra school work due until the final exams period which is about a month away.

I also got my LSATs score back near the end of October, and i didn’t do nearly as well as i would have liked or as well as i thought i would have done with all the studying time i put it. Needless to say, i was (and still am) quite frustrated and flushed. For the first few weeks, i was pretty upset (quite an understatement). I’m going to retake the LSATs in February and see how i do. People have been telling me not to let it get to me, but after all the studying, how can i not let it to get to me? It’s something i’ve been thinking about and aspiring towards since the eighth grade! I know if it’s meant to be, it’ll work out… and if it’s not… that’s alright too… but i CAN’T just not give it another try. i guess i’ll re-evaluate once i get my scores back from the LSATs from February and see what i want to do. I’ve been in the law school frame of mind for so long, that the thought that it may not be for me is quite upsetting. I’ll be off for about three weeks in between the fall and spring semester that starts mid January so i’ll have to get some hard core studying done then to prepare for the February LSATs.

On a quite different note, this past Thursday i also went to another Rutgers Football game – RU vs USF. Unfortunately with everything going on, it  was only the second game i have been able to attend this season (i went to the RU vs. Howard really early in the season). I was hoping i would be able to attend more considering it’s my last year as a RU student, but oh well. Hopefully, i’ll at least be able to go to the last home game of the season against West Virginia. RU vs. USF was an amazing game, and i had a great time – so even if it is the last game i attend as the student, it was great. The final score was RU – 31 and USF – 0. I was hoping for a great game with a huge win, but i didn’t think the ranked USF team would end up not scoring at all!

2009 NJ Governor’s Election Prediction

So as i said in my earlier post from this morning, my project for my ‘Elections and Participation’ course at Rutgers this semester was to predict the voter turnout rate and who will win in Somerset County (and with what proportion).

I just submitted our prediction, and we predict a tight race between Christie and Corzine in Somerset County, with the following percentages:

Jon Corzine – 47%
Chris Christie – 45%
Chris Daggett – 8%

for the voter turnout aspect, we predict: around a 55% turnout rate of the REGISTERED voters (not voting age population). There are 193,345 registered voters right now in Somerset county, so 55% of that would be: 106,340.

I’ll update later in the week with our explanation for the basis of our prediction as i’m still organizing all of our information. Or perhaps when i take a look at the actual results for comparison. I forgot to mention in the earlier post that that is also part of our assignment. When we present next week, we also have to include the actual results, and how much the actual results varied from our predictions and possible reasons and whatnot. So at this point, our assignment is only partly over.

This was (is) definitely a fun, interesting (and hard!) assignment, and I’m quite anxious to see the results tomorrow.

On a general state level prediction, i think Corzine will end up winning (but with a very small margin) the election.

again, a quick reminder : don’t forget to go out and vote tomorrow!

UPDATE (7:45 AM on 11/03/09): the grad student that teaches our course sent out the overall predictions from our class, summing up all the counties. Here’s the data:

The class expects to see approximately 2,643,282 votes tomorrow (51% of registered
voters) and the final tally to divide statewide:
Corzine: 45.95% of the vote
Christie: 41.65% of the vote
Daggett: 6.21% of the vote

It’ll be interesting to see how close we got as a class – as political science students!

Based on an anonymous class vote taken in class yesterday:
80% expect Corzine to win the election
20% expect Christie to win the election

65% would vote for Corzine
20% would vote for Christie
14% would vote for Daggett
1% would vote for Evgeni Malkin (i asked my brother who this was…. because i had no idea… and it’s apparently a hockey player).

Election Day is Tomorrow!

just a friendly reminder that TOMORROW is Election Day!

Don’t forget to vote and remind your friends and family to do the same. Just because it is not a presidential election does not mean it is not important for you to cast your votes!

I am definitely interested in what happens in the Governor’s election here in New Jersey, and it’s implications! To make things even more interesting, my project for my ‘Elections and Participation’ class is to actually predict the voter turnout and who will win in the governor’s election, and with what proportion. We were divided into groups, and our group has to predict for Somerset County, New Jersey.