Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

I just came across this through one of the trending topics on twitter currently and i found that it lay out the differences quite clearly in phrases that are most often used incorrectly, whether it is a word spelled incorrectly or used in the wrong context.

Where i'm editing essays or papers for my little cousins or friends, i noticed some of the mistakes listed below many times over.

The ten that the website lists are:
  1. Lose (opposite of win) vs. loose (not tight).
  2. Weird (e before i), not wierd. 
  3. Their (implies a possession, owning something) vs. they're (a contraction for 'they are') vs. there (refers to a place or an idea; or something abstract).
  4. Your (possessive, the idea that you own something) vs. you're (a contraction for 'you are').
  5. It's (a contraction for 'it is' or 'it has') vs. its (indicates possession).
  6. Definitely (without an 'a').
  7. Effect (a noun; to cause) vs. affect (a verb; have an influence on).
  8. Weather vs. whether.
  9. A lot, not alot (no such word). The site i linked to above humorously (and correctly) notes that 'you don't write alittle, abunch, acantaloupe... so don't write alot'.
  10. Then (used for time) vs. than (used for comparison).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Games - the Old Fashioned Way

I don't know about you, but i LOVE playing old board games with family and friends. Tonight, my little cousin Imran stayed over after a really long time and we (my brothers, Imran, and I) played a game of monopoly (that took over four hours!) the old fashioned way (after a few years) - and it got me thinking.

We used to play so many board games (like chess, checkers, chinese checkers, mastermind just to name a few) when we were little... and it reminded me of that time today. I wish we still played as much as we used to, but honestly no one does anymore. Like i was telling some of my family members some time ago, no one takes the time to play board games or actively play games outside and things like that anymore. Now, 'playing' a game means playing something on the computer or a gaming system like the Wii or X-box. By the way, i can pretty much guarantee my brothers will argue me on this.

Even the newest edition of monopoly now is computerized with a 'credit card' like system to take away the mathematical portion of the game. Don't get me wrong - it's a neat aspect, but part of the fun of the game was the old fashioned way to play it. Sure, the game runs much faster now... but that was half the fun.

I am still relatively young, but i can remember clearly that we used to go outside and play regularly after school and whatnot when we were younger. Nowadays, you don't see that too much. Of course there are changes with each generation, but don't you think some things should always remain the same?

Not only is playing actively outside or a board game with others healthy, but it is great for your social skills. People nowadays, especially little kids, lack basic social skills that are necessary to be able to communicate with others. I can't count the number of times I've noticed people (of all ages) not being to communicate with other people face to face.

Technology is great, by all means - I'm not arguing that. But sometimes, it inhibits people. Nowadays, people 'communicate' primarily though email, texting, or instant messaging (or just Facebook). While all of these have made communicating with people much easier, it should not mean that you are no longer able to talk to people face to face at all.

The next few times you are talking to people from various age groups, take note of it - you'll be surprised at how many people can't even make eye contact when they are speaking to people!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Trending Tweets in Review: 2009

As the year 2009 quickly comes to an end, in ten short days, there have been articles everywhere online about "2009 in review" - just like there are every year. This year, however, i came across a new list - one that hasn't been so widely available in the past, and which i found quite interesting. I feel like it captures all the other sources and information all into one.

It's called "Top Twitter Trends of 2009".

In essence it's everything everyone was talking about and discussing throughout the year. It's what we, as a collective groups of people from across the world, found most important and worthy of attention.

Do you agree with this assessment? What would you rate to be the the 'top three' in each category? The ones you found most important. Did any one of the aforementioned surprise you? Or, are there any other you would have included?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Storm '09

I just started taking pictures from my phone to show you guys how rapidly the weather changed:

this picture was from around 1:50 PM  (my brother took this first picture to comment on the lack of snow, and it started snowing continuously as soon as he took this picture):

this picture is from 1:59 P.M:

this picture is from 2:02 PM

2:20 P.M:

i'll update as the day progresses if there is a significant difference.

4:05 PM:

4:53 PM:

6:43 PM (the following pictures are all from my camera, unless otherwise noted, since it is now too dark to take pictures from my phone):

the next two pictures are from 9:03 PM:

the next two pictures are from 11:08 PM (tires half way covered = decent amount of snow!):

1:03 AM (sunday):

and one last picture from around 11 AM this (sunday) morning (from my phone)... unless it snows more:

Better than nothing, I suppose?

Snow Complaints

Every time i get excited about snow, there's always like ten people ready to tell me they hate snow because the only thing it means to them is that they have to shovel. Well how often does it even snow in our area? like once or twice, if that. Everyone has to rake the leaves in the fall every year ALL season long, and most people don't think that's a big deal. Snow, on the other hand, happens very infrequently... yet it's just seen as a big annoyance. Take the time to enjoy it people!

And for those people who complain they are stuck at home and can't do anything or get anywhere - how many times do we actually have excuses to do nothing and just relax at home? Most of the time, we're in "go" mode and are constantly worrying/thinking about what else we have to do. Snow days give us an opportunity to take a short break for the everyday stuff and rejuvenate... something that is MUCH needed for the most of us.

Like i say for mostly everything, it is what you make of the situation.

So far today, it has literally only snowed for like 5 minutes (around 8 or 9 AM), so i was of course disappointed with the lack of snow when i woke up, but we'll see if this 'blizzard' turns into anything. It has definitely snowed a lot in other parts of the east coast, and even in a lot of places in New Jersey... just not in our area. Oh, well.

P.S. - no lie, it just started SNOWING! It's really light, but i'll take it. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Storm Forecasted

I don't know about you, but i LOVE snow! Actually, i think that is the biggest understatement ever haha (and anyone who knows me can attest to that). Since i woke up this morning and read/heard that we were expecting a snow storm, i've been anxiously looking forward to it (and hoping it won't dissapoint). My brother, Ayaz, was just teasing me some time ago that we'll probably just end up getting an inch or two of snow (or less), but i hope not! All i ask for is one big snow storm a year... is that really too much to ask? ;)

I just LOVE snow as it's falling, and the white blanket of snow on the ground with a storm/blizzard.... until it gets dirty and slushy. then, it's not so cool. I could do without the incredibly cold temperature that comes with it though haha. I guess part of the reason i love it so much has to do with me growing up in Canada, but i don't know about that since the rest of my family isn't too fond of it (or most of extended family in Canada).

The forecast has changed from 12 inches, to 1 or 2 inches, to currently being at 8-14 inches in the span of less than 12 hours... so we'll see how that plays out. Currently, it is forecasted that the snow will start around 1 or 2 A.M. and get heavier around tomorrow evening, and end by Sunday 6 AM. We'll see how that changes and progresses. It's already started snowing in Virginia and the surrounding areas (even though it was forecasted to start tomorrow sometime), so the snow is definitely coming... just not sure how much of it!

anyhow... let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

On a side note, things i'm looking forward to in the next few days: 1) tomorrow is the bowl game for the Rutgers football team (the last RU football game i'll watch as a RU student); 2) monday is my last final for this semester (i hope the snow doesn't mess with the exams schedule on monday since it is supposed to snow until sunday morning); and 3) which means winter break starts monday evening and i'm off from classes until jan 19, 2010 when classes resume (which will be my last semester for my undergraduate degree! :/ ). Not quite sure how i feel about that just yet - i'm excited about being done, but have mixed emotions about it as well... so we'll see.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Late this afternoon, i went to see the 'Princess and the Frog' with a bunch of my cousins (it's my cousin Samia's 18th birthday on tuesday, so we went out for a lunch and a movie for an early celebration).

The movie was pretty good and funny (it was a children's movie, but we still had a great time). It was also the first time Disney has featured a 'black' women as a princess in one of their movies ever, so that was a big deal. When i started writing this blog post, my main point was going to be on discussing this, but it quickly changed when i realized how few movies i watch (partly because i really should be studying and paper writing and this would be quicker for now).

It's pretty funny because usually i see one or two movies (if that) per year in theaters (and only a couple of them outside of theaters), and now this is the second movie I have seen in a few weeks (i saw Blind Side around thanksgiving time), and i plan on seeing Invictus soon as well. I don't know if there's been a string of good movies out (that actually interest me) or what, but in all honesty - i can't think of what other movie i've seen in theaters all year.

So just for the sake of it, i searched up a list of all movies that came out this year to see which ones i've seen and here's what i came up with:

(name of movie, release date, where i saw it)
Bride Wars - January 9, cousin's house a few weeks ago (saw it Nov. 21).
State of Play - April 17th, theaters (saw it Apr. 27)
Angels and Demons - May 15, theaters (saw it May 22)
Blindside - November 20, theaters (saw it Nov. 25)
Princess and the Frog - November 25, theaters (saw it Dec. 13)
Avatar - December 18, theaters** UPDATED DEC. 26, 2009 (saw it Dec. 25)

I can't believe i've only seen five movies all year long - in theaters and out combined! i know i don't watch tv much, but i didn't realize how little! I don't know if i should be annoyed about that or happy that i don't waste my time watching tv too much.

in my winter break in a few weeks, i want to see (don't know if it will end up happening):
Up - released May 29
The Proposal - June 19

and two movies that are either in theaters or coming out soon:
Invictus - December 11

ha, according to my history - i'm more likely to watch the movies in the theaters.

have you guys seen any of these movies? what did you think of them? or do you have any other recommendations? most of all, i think it'll cool to see what (and how many) movies you guys have seen this year. and perhaps, even harder to recall - movies you have seen this year that were released in the past.

Now back to the reality of studying for exams and paper writing...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bloggers Unite: Human Rights Day

Tomorrow -- December 10, 2009 -- is "Human Rights Day".

Most people don't realize how many people around the nation -- not just around the world - are denied their basic rights. some of these are constant court battles in the U.S., so at least they are being addressed... but what about people around the world? Privileges that we take for granted on a daily basis are something that many people yearn for their whole life in other parts of the world.

To name just one of the many issues i am concerned with, don't you think medical care should be a right that everyone has? to think of how many people in the U.S. alone are not able to receive medical care because they can't afford it or health care insurance and then to think about those across the world who lack the technology, the science, and enough educated doctors to be able to provide medical care is beyond devastating.

Blogger's Unite lays out the Objective of "Human Rights Day" as to "celebrate Human Rights Day and stand up with people all over the world who want to make human rights a reality for everyone".

For a little more background information:
Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted on December 10, 1948 that set down the basic principles at the very heart of the human rights movement. The UDHR has enabled remarkable progress in human rights, inspiring international human rights standards, laws and institutions that have improved the lives of many around the world.

Click here for more information on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I came across "Guidelines to Live by" on here earlier, quite randomly, and thought i would share it since it's the same subject matter:

You are human.
In that, you are the same as everyone else; no more and no less.
You have a right to be here. You have a right to the necessities of life, 
including food, shelter, warmth and companionship.
You have a right to stand tall. Accept your individuality. 
Be honest about it, for your individuality is who you are.
You have a right to be respected. No matter what you look like, 
what your beliefs may be, or where you come from, you have a right to 
be free from persecution.
You have a right to strive for what you value.
You have a right to be happy.

In your interactions with others, remember that every one has the same rights as you. 
Respect one and all. Before all else, do no harm – and let no 
harm be done due to your own inaction.
Seek not to impose your beliefs on others. People are not ignorant. 
They have their own beliefs, equally precious as yours.
Do not judge others by your own standards, for those standards will always be biased. 
Judge instead, if you really must, on whether their intentions are good.
When conflict comes – which it will, given the diversity we live in – listen. 
Seek common ground. Strive to act in ways to limit the conflict, not compound it.

Remember that when you are gone, 
others – many yet to be born – will inherit the things you leave behind.
They too have their rights. Therefore, seek ways to leave them peace. 
Seek ways to leave them prosperity.
Seek ways to leave them with the resources and knowledge they need
 to build their lives as they see fit.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow, Classes, RU Football

It FINALLY snowed today for the first time this season! When i read in the newspaper a couple of days ago about the forecast for snow for today, i'll admit i got super excited for it - but i didn't really think it would end up snowing... or that if it did, it wouldn't snow a lot and definitely not stick (considering it was almost seventy degrees two days ago).

the rain this morning, however, quickly turned into wet snow... and then snow that stuck... so we have a nice blanket of snow outside! I LOVE snow as it is falling and the blanket of white snow on the ground, until it starts getting dirty. it was only an inch or two of snow, but it was great nonetheless. I hate the cold temperature that comes with the snow, but LOVE snow - i guess because i grew up in Canada (actually i don't know about that reasoning since the rest of my family is not so fond of snow).

On a different note, this coming week is my last week of classes - just days more days of classes! I also have two of my exams on thursday, and i will be done with exams and all on december 21st. As the semester draws closer to an end and the fact that i had my senior photos yesterday, the realization that i have only one semester left at Rutgers as an undergraduate is finally hitting me. I can't believe how fast the past three and a half years have gone by, and i'm sure my last semester will go by just as fast.

Ttoday was also the last rutgers football game of the regular season ( the bowl game happens in a few weeks). i didn't get to go to today's game even though it was a home game, but it was a great game.  it would have definitely been nice to have gone, considering it was my last game as a student, but oh well. it may be just as well considering the weather and the temperature - risking getting sick right before finals would not have been too great. anyhow, we played against west virginia university (who has beat us every year since 1994, unfortunately). we didn't win, but the game was close with the final score being WVU - 24, RU - 21.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods' Fifteen Minutes of Negative Fame

Normally, I do not take the time to write about an athlete and his (wrong)doings... but for a week now, all i keep hearing about are the million variations in the story and it's driving me crazy.
  1. first i hear that Tiger Woods has been involved in a "serious" car accident (near/outside his home).
  2. then i hear that Tiger Woods' wife used golf clubs to break the rear windows of Tiger's car to get him out of the car after the car accident.
  3. then i hear that Elin (Tiger Wood's wife) was actually hitting Tiger's car (aiming for Tiger) with the golf clubs after the two had been fighting about Tiger's possible infidelity- and was not trying to get Tiger our of the car after his accident as earlier reported. news surface of Tiger's affairs with two other females.
  4. at this point, Tiger has refused to speak to the police i think like three times. Suspicious? sure.
  5. more rumors continue to spread.
  6. then, five days later, today - Tiger Woods issues another statement saying he has let his family down, and regrets the "transgressions" among other things, but does not admit to an affair or offer any other information. 
Let me get this out - i do not think athletes/celebrities/politics, etc. owe us (the public) anything about their private lives. If Tiger Woods had done something in his athletic field or something that would directly effect athletics (like steroids), by all i means i would be pressing for more information or an explanation. However, it is not.

Famous or not, your actions have consequences for not only you, but for your family members too unfortunately. While it saddens me that yet another person has not only let their own family down but embarrassed them publicly, i still do not think it is the right of the media nor anyone else to press on this matter for the sake of his family.

If Tiger Woods is indeed guilty of what is claimed, you can not honestly tell me that Tiger did not know he would be caught. Politicians, athletes, celebrities are hounded every minute and every thing they do is released to the public (from what they are wearing and eating to anything extraordinary), so it was only a matter of time before such news would come out. nonetheless, it is hard to fathom why people do the things they do. I'm sure this is what Woods will be remembered for (unless he does something worse in the future), so i don't understand why he would risk all of his success.

And another point, I don't know why he denied the claim/lied (only to later confirm it). Like we weren't going to find out ? Come on people, in this day and age of technology, we find out things the instant it happens in so many cases.... so lying is only making it that much worse. Like i said, they owe us nothing... and they don't have to say anything or release statements to the public, but lying to the public on their free will... is ridiculous.

The bottom line is - What politicians, athletes, celebrities, etc. do in their private sphere should be their own business. Until it effects or comes into their public sphere, it should be left alone. And no, i am not naive - i don't think this will ever happen... but it is wishful thinking.

I do not know the complete truth of what Tiger did or did not do, but i'm sure i'll find out soon - simply by opening a newspaper or reading the news online. Why such things are "breaking news", i will never understand.

Oh well, happy Wednesday everybody! Until another (and more intriguing) story breaks...

How to Automatically Include Signatures in Blog Posts

It took about two years (i started blogging end of December '07), but i FINALLY figured out (by accident) how to have new blog posts automatically include my customized signature in blogger.

I have been searching online periodically but never found the answer, and then tonight i was just playing around with settings and stumbled upon how to do it. I know i've been trying to figure it out for a long time, so chances are that some other people are too. I'll share the steps here:

1. from your dashboard, click on "settings".
2. click on the "formatting" tab near the top

3. scroll all the way to the bottom, to where it says "post template". type in the html code for your signature and click on "save settings". In this space, you can enter whatever you want to be automatically included in each of your new posts, and not just a signature.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, November 25, 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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

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!

Monday, November 2, 2009

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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Met Two Presidents in Two Days

I don't know how many people get to say that... or when i will ever get the chance to meet even ONE other president, but the last two days have been amazing for someone like me who LOVES politics and who is such a big fan of Barack Obama!

by the way, i'm going to throw in the past two days in one HUMONGOUS post because otherwise, one or the other would never get done... as i've been getting about one post done per month for the last few months. I have a post that i barely started two weeks ago still sitting in my drafts that i just haven't had time to write out! :( hopefully, soon... because i definitely want to get it done.

Anyhow, after being hesitant for a few days whether i was even going to attend the political rally where Bill Clinton was coming to rally for Corzine at my own school (Rutgers) because of a long and tiring day, i did end up going right after class... and i had a great time. The waiting line was decently long by the time we got there, and soon it had become much much longer! One thing that surprised me was there were no security checks (considering a former president was going to be present).

I know my brother Ayaz and i were discussing this, and many others feel the same way... but those rallying for Corzine seem to be doing a better job for him than Corzine is himself. and of course, Clinton is a great speaker as it is.

On a sidenote, after the event my brother and I met a reporter/fellow tweep (one uses twitter) Mike Memoli and it was so interesting to meet someone you communicate with online! We saw and talked with him at the Clinton/Corzine and the Obama/Corzine event (and met his sister and nephew there too).

Until attending the Clinton/Corzine rally, i was 100 percent sure that i was absolutely not going to be attending the Obama/Corzine rally the following day at FDU because of work, school work, and whatnot. But then, after the Clinton/Corzine rally...i realized no matter how much else was going... they could all take a back seat, because who knows when i would get such an amazing opportunity again in my life (or if i would ever!).

Luckily, i have no classes on Wednesday and was able to get someone to cover my shift at work on campus. I am SO SO SO glad i convinced myself to go!

Ayaz and I left home around 12ish (it was about 40 - 50 minute drive without traffic to get to Farleigh Dickinson University) and doors opened at 3 PM. We got there around 1:15ish i would say, and somehow, there were no real lines of any sorts and we were lucky enough to get to the front of the line!! To think that i wasn't even going to go, and then i ended up in the front row!!! (Can you tell how great of a time i had? :) )

One of the many speakers before we finally hear from Obama, was freeholder/reverend Vernon Walton (the first African-American to serve as a Bergen County Freeholder). He was a great speaker and he was amazing at getting the crowd going and was definitely a tough act to follow. he was probably my favorite speaker, aside from Obama of course, from last night.

Oh, and a last minute addition to the rally was Caroline Kennedy. most of the crowd had no idea she was also going to be one of the notable speakers that we would witness, but my brother and i got a heads-up from the reporter Mike Memoli that we follow on twitter. While Weinburg teased the unknowing audience about the "she" that was about to speak, we already knew all thanks to technology. :)

Caroline Kennedy received a much deserved standing ovation. Like so many others, I've had a natural interest in the Kennedy family and the tragedies that have struck their family. and no matter what your political philosophies are, Caroline Kennedy comes of as "real" and comes off to be just one of us. Furthermore, what Ted Kennedy did throughout his life for healthcare was amazing, and hopefully the fight will continue.

It's scary/sad to think of how many people are not covered by health insurance... and how many of those people are little helpless kids! Education and Healthcare issues are two of the main ones that i am especially concerned with. It's nice to hear the politicians hear about what "they are going to do", but it'll be even nicer to see some action being taken.

I'm no huge fan of Corzine (i haven't researched him enough to be one) but some of the things Christie is against, is so hard to believe! I can't believe anyone would be against things such as having a 2 day hospital stay for new mothers, having mandated mammograms, and funding for education. If we elect Christie, that's taking some major steps backwards. Christie wants to make it not mandatory for healthcare insurance providers to cover mammograms!!!! can you believe that?? who could be against such things! especially when breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for females!!! not only that, but Christie also wants to cut funding for early education... because he thinks preschool is "babysitting". can you hear my frustration??

Anyways, getting back to the rally, talking about Caroline Kennedy reminds me of one of the funny moment as we waited for the "real" speeches. one of the secret service agents brought out a black portfolio to the podium that i am assuming was carrying Obama's speech and the crowd was so anxious, that the secret service agent got a huge ovation from the crowd for simply bringing the portfolio out to the podium and walk back to the back area. the agent just smiled, shook his head, and headed back out. The pretty cool DJ promoted a second wave of cheers/applause from the crowd for him too. :)

here's Caroline's speech:

Loretta Weinberg spoke before Caroline Kennedy and Jon Corzine spoke after Caroline Kennedy. Weinberg's speech was the same as the one from the night before at Rutgers. Corzine started off by saying he'll keep his speech short because he knew the real reason we were all here was to listen to Obama. Obama, of course, spoke last. i think one of the best techniques Corzine has been doing lately is linking Christie to Palin - that's ingenious right there and anyone with half a brain will negate them. the latest polls (from today) show Corzine leading by a three point margin (very small)... but this is the first time he's been leading for a while. all of the powerful speakers this week have definitely helped Corzine, undoubtedly.

by the way, did you guys know Corzine's mom is a registered republican?? i had no idea until Corzine mentioned that yesterday!

Obama came out to a loud and cheering audience, of course... and the atmosphere was amazing. and it only got better as Obama spoke. I've said it many times before - Obama is a great, inspirational, and eloquent speaker... and even more so in person! Ayaz and i were so lucky to meet him from so close up, and shake hands with him! I truly believe he has the potential to make a big difference for the country.

I've heard the "fired up" story many times before, but i heard it again last night live as Obama ended with the story (and i was wearing my 'fired up' shirt too!). it's one of those things that never get old. Obama said the moral of the "fired up" story was that "one voice can change a room...and if can change a room it can change a city... and if it can change a city, it can change a state...and if it can change a state, then it can change a country...". Obama, intelligently, connected this with urging each of us individually to go out there and knock on some doors, call some people, get our friends/family/neighbors out to vote, etc because we could make the difference.

this next image shows just how close we got:

also, during Obama's speech... near the center in the front row alone we had three girls "faint" in the same general section. i found that really weird, but the secret service just came in and carried each of the girls out as it happened.

here's obama's speech btw:

I know i would have regretted it later had i not gone to either of the events (ESPECIALLY the Obama event)! This is a pretty long post as it is, but i'll probably add more thoughts to this as i remember more things.

These past two days have been pretty amazing... and one of those things i'll remember forever!

UPDATE: this post is as long as a 5 page essay! to think how productive i could have been school-wise today! :( :)

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