7.29.2014

... and the least corrupt states in the US are......

My previous post was on the 10 most corrupt states in the US.  The study also found the least corrupt states too. Citizens of these states–Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Vermont, Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Kansas–can take solace in the fact that they’re not getting ripped off as badly as the rest of us.

Is your state on the list? The 10 Most Corrupt States in America.....

Bopping around the internet news tonight I saw an article at Fortune.com regarding the top 10 corrupt states in the USA.  Without looking at the list I had a strong feeling I knew a few of the states that would be on it!  Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi!  Sure enough, they showed up on the list - gathered from a new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University.

For the record, I did think Georgia and South Carolina would be on the list, but they are not.  Basically, after living in two of the 'deep South' southern states, I find the good-ol boy network to be alive and well.  If you aren't good friends with Bubba the police chief, married to his cousin, or grew up with him since you were knee-high to a grass hopper, you are going to have a target on your back.  It's all about who you know in the South.  Or... who donates the most money to your cause - in the case of the corrupt city officials and board of directors.  HUGE HUGE problem down here.  (This from someone who has also lived in two (2) of the LEAST corrupt states in the US - from the same study - so I have a good comparison.)

The study estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year.

The researchers studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union. Based on this method, the the most corrupt states are:

1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida


That these places landed on the list isn’t exactly surprising. Illinois, which has gain notoriety for its high-profile corruption cases in recent years, is paired with states like Mississippi and Louisiana, which are some of the least economically developed in the country. The researchers also found that for 9 out of the 10 of the most corrupt states, overall state spending was higher than in less corrupt states (South Dakota was the only exception). Attacking corruption, the researchers argue, could be a good way to bring down state spending without hurting services that people need.

Researchers also found that spending in these states was different than their less corrupt counterparts. According to the report, “states with higher levels of corruption are likely to favor construction, salaries, borrowing, correction, and police protection at the expense of social sectors such as education, health and hospitals.”

The paper explains that construction spending, especially on big infrastructure projects, is particularly susceptible to corruption because the quality of large, nonstandard projects are difficult for the public to gauge, while the industry is dominated by a few monopolistic firms. Corrupt states also tend to, for obvious reasons, simply have more and better paid public servants, including police and correctional officers. The researchers argue that the need for correctional officers is greater in corrupt places too because “the overall extent of corruption will be higher in states with higher numbers of convictions of public officials.”








4.24.2014

Safest Cities and Most At Risk Cities to Live in the US: Natural Distasters





We currently live in an area of the country that is hit hard with severe storms.  This morning I was thinking about all the places we've lived across the United States, all the different natural disasters that each region is prone to and where the safest and least safe areas of the country are.  Sure enough, there have been numerous studies about this topic.  I found a really easy to read list released by Sperlings.  

Interestingly enough, most of the lowest risk places for disaster are on the upper West coast - however, I couldn't personally live there because that area gets so much rain and has so many cloudy days.  I'm a gotta-have-sunshine or it effects my mood kind of girl and although that area of our country is unbelievably gorgeous, it's not my first choice for a future relocation.

Here is the list of cities with the lowest risk of natural disasters and highest risks;


Here are the top ten metro areas with the lowest risk:
1.       Corvallis, OR
2.       Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA
3.       Bellingham, WA
4.       Wenatchee, WA
5.       Grand Junction, CO
6.       Spokane, WA
7.       Salem, OR
8.       Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
9.       Yakima, WA
10.     Olympia, WA

And here are the places most at risk from natural disasters:
1.       Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
2.       Jonesboro, AR
3.       Corpus Christi, TX
4.       Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
5.       Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
6.       Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
7.       Austin-Round Rock, TX
8.       Birmingham-Hoover, AL
9.       Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
10.     Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL








     





4.15.2014

Where Did That Thought Come From? Am I really ready to put our house on the market again?



Our relocation's are similar to childbirth.  The bad, painful memories fade with time and you forget how intense, painful and emotional it can be until you find yourself in the middle of it again!

This morning I had a dental appointment.  The dentist mentioned she would have to cover her vegetable garden tonight as we are expecting freezing temperature's and she just put in her garden this past weekend.  She put it in a bit early as her house is on the market and her realtor told her to get it in so it would be full and thriving to help sell the house.

When she said this, I completely surprised myself by feeling... a little jealousy?  A twinge of sadness that it wasn't our house on the market?

Where in the heck did THAT feeling come from?

Sure, it would be nice to BE relocated somewhere but I'm just not ready for the stress. The tears. The chapped hands and beat up, ragged fingernails from the hours of constant cleaning and DIY projects.  The anxiousness.  The anger.  The frustration and the worry.  The living alone, far from my husband while I sell the house.  The juggling the pets and pet paraphernalia and messes while trying to make the house beautiful for showings.

All of it.

After 11 moves I know what's involved so why in the world did that pang of jealousy hit me when she mentioned her house was on the market?

Gracious.  









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4.07.2014

Fat Cities and Skinny Cities in the USA

Take it with a grain of salt, as the Gallup polls are done by phone and many (most?) average, everyday people don't answer their phones if they don't know who is calling or suspect it's sales or survey'sThose that do answer, usually don't want to take the time to take survey's.  But, for what it's worth, the Gallup polls show the most and least obese cities in the USA.

The 10 most obese cities (by percentage):
Huntington-Ashland, Oh. (39.5);
McCallen, Texas (38.3);
Haggerstown, Md. (36.7);
Yakima, Wash. (35.7);
Little Rock, Ark. (35.1);
Charlestown, W. Va. (34.6);
Toledo, Ohio (34.2);
Clarksville, Tenn. (33.8);
Jackson, Miss. (33.8); and
Green Bay, Wis. (33.0);
 

The 10 least obese cities (by percentage):
Boulder, Colo. (12.4);
Naples, Fla. (16.5);
Fort Collins, Colo. (18.2);
Charlottesville, Va. (18.2);
Bellingham, Wash. (18.7);
San Diego, Calif. (19.3);
Denver, Colo. (19.3);
San Jose, Calif. (19.5);
Bridgeport, Conn. (19.6); and
Barnstable Town, Mass. (19.6).