Transit Safety Survey Results!

Last year the MYD Women’s Issues and Transportation committees hit the streets to collect data for New Yorkers for Safe Transit.

The results of those surveys have now been released.  You can check them out here:

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Unexpected Health Insurance Rate Shock-California Obamacare Insurance Exchange Announces Premium Rates

By Forbes Contributor Rick Ungar – on

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every now and again, a political pundit is required to stand up and admit to the world that he or she got it wrong.

For me, this would be one of those moments.

For quite some time, I have been predicting that Obamacare would likely mean higher insurance rates in the individual market for the “young immortals” and others under the age of 40.  At the same time, my expectation was that those who fall into the older age ranges would benefit greatly as their premium charges would be lowered thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

It is increasingly clear that I had it wrong.

Read the full article here

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“Websites are people, my friend.”

Okay, so that wasn’t quite what Romney said. And while websites aren’t exactly people either, they do require love and attention, challenging and adapting, all in order to become better, more cooperative and helpful mechanisms. (And, like people, no matter how hard you try, the sad fact is that you can’t make them do things they’re not built to do — like, for example, the laundry.)

Could you please show a little love to ours by playing a little game? It’ll help us understand how to make it work better.

Thanks! (The website thanks you, too.)

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Check out tonight’s great events!

There’s a lot going on in Dems world tonight.  Beat the gloomy, rainy day – make it out to one of the following great events!

1. Econ Committee Meeting: 7:30 pm at the usual location (108 West 39th Street, 12th floor). Topics including NYCHA, unions and young people, internships, and our community service (particularly Sandy-related and financial literacy).  Also – Committee Chair Sasha Chait will be heading to the Liberty after for an event for MYD President Ben Yee’s campaign for YDA Vice President (see below.

2. YDA Needs a Hero:  Ben Yee – MYD President – is running for YDA Vice President! New York Downstate Region and MYD have been lucky to have him, and as a friend of MYD, you likely already know about Ben’s mission to empower young people through party organizing.  Help place a strong delegation behind him at the Young Democrats of America Convention in San Antonio, Texas!  RSVP here.

3. Mayoral Forum on Education – THIS AFTERNOON: From 3:30 to 5 pm, the candidates for Mayor will discuss issues in education and how their platforms will provide the solutions the City needs.  Register here.

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Getting the Military Back to School

On March 8, 2013 the United States Armed Forces discontinued Tuition Assistance. The program, which provides up to $4,500 a year for service members working towards a higher degree, was scrapped in response to the cuts mandated by the sequester. That day, for all the Army, Airforce, Navy and Marine personnel who go to college – or possibly joined to military for the purpose of going to college – the DOD just stopped paying.

Personally, I learned about this only two weeks ago at a friend’s party. A soldier in his Freshman year of college, weighing whether he should take a year off to voluntarily deploy to Afghanistan so he could serve with his friends, told me about it. He also told me that, when it happened, he looked forward to congress collectively getting its head bitten off and the field day the media would have ripping politicians apart. He was looking forward to some big, righteous, military news. But there wasn’t any, and no one really knew what he was talking about.

I told him I’d spread the word. I went on Facebook and Twitter and posted something. The soldier had remarked that I knew “a lot more than most civillians”; I like to think my friends are the same. Still, no one I know really knew about it either. Pretty sad.

The troops aren’t just important because they protect us from harm or defend our nation’s vital interests. They’re not just important because they risk their lives for people they don’t know or serve as a symbol of bravery. They are important, as well, because they reflect how we, as a society, value sacrifice, bravery and really hard work. A rich person with a sex tape can launch a clothing line and make millions. One and a half million people who risk their lives, spend months away from their family and friends and fight so that little girls in Central Asia can go to school can have their own school taken away from them. Why, exactly, is that? Dumb luck?

When there’s a really good first round draft pick, we know about it. When a TV star gets pregnant, or maybe just so fat it’s confusing, we know about it. When Arrested Development gets canceled we know about it, and dammit, we complain until it gets picked up again. Then we commemorate the success of its return with a good week of social media posting.  When Congress decides not to drop student loan rates to the .75% banks pay, or the military cuts Tuition Assistance, did you know about it? A lot like the existence of AD, it’s a choice.

It’s Memorial Day. It’s nice to say something nice about the troops but, if you really want to commemorate their service, get involved. Pay attention every day, watch how they’re used as pawns by grandstanding politicians and, for the love of all that’s holy, examine deeply the reasons we send them to fight, kill and die, and vote about it! It may seem far away compared to your taxes, your healthcare or your own tuition, but everyday people are sent to die for you and it takes more than two days a year to think about why they do it and who they are.

On April 10, 2013, without much fanfare or public knowledge, Tuition Assistance was reinstated through Fiscal Year 2013 (which ends in September). Better than nothing.

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On Living Cities – Millennials, Civic Engagement, and Civic Tech: Report Back on Louisville Kickoff (Part II of II)

The following is the continuation of a piece written by Tamir Novotny, an MYD member and Senior Policy Associate at Living Cities.  Living Cities is an organization that harnesses the collective power of philanthropy and financial institutions to improve the lives of low-income people and the cities where they live.  Read the full post here.

We recently kicked off in earnest a project in Louisville to develop a piece of technology aimed at engaging low-income Millennials (young adults ages 18-30) in city planning processes. This project comes as part of a broader Living Cities effort to better understand the potential for tech to deepen civic engagement and improve the lives of low-income people, and to help us explore roles we might play in maximizing this potential in the future. Part one of this piece explored issues related to Millennials and civic engagement. Part two focuses on issues related to the “Digital Divide” and designing effective civic tech solutions.

Digital Divide ? Civic Divide

Young African-American men are among those likely to face a digital divide in urban cities, but are also among the leading mobile device users in the country.


In our research on civic tech, we heard a lot of criticism that civic app developers are designing apps in ways that ignore the “digital divide,” which runs the risk of undercutting civic tech’s potential equalizing power. Some have advised us to design our tech solution for “least common denominator” technologies – namely “feature phones,” which have calling and text capabilities but no internet access. But a review of existing research by OpenPlans and discussions at our kickoff suggest that the situation is more complex. In short, the digital divide does not in and of itself create a civic divide.

OpenPlans’ research review suggests that young adults, at a rate almost unaffected by income, use mobile devices including smartphones in their daily lives. In fact, OpenPlans found that, nationally, low-income young adults actually use mobile devices at a higher rate than higher-income older adultsHowever, participants at our kickoff weren’t so sure that these statistics play out the same way in Louisville as they do elsewhere, and pointed out that mobile devices aren’t necessarily used by everyone under the same conditions. We heard that many young people use public parks and other “hotspots” to access the internet in lieu of paying for data plans, while others use feature phones instead of smartphones. These differences both present potential challenges to reaching a broader audience, but also present new opportunities for engagement – for example, are there ways to promote engagement at existing Wi-Fi hotspots like parks or coffee shops? Could we find a way to get feature phone users to partner with smartphone users as they use our tech solution?

Continue reading on the Living Cities blog.

Photo Credits: The GrioThe ‘Daly’ Planet Blog

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