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African-American Women are Increasingly Buying Guns

Up to 59 percent of African-American households now view owning a gun as a “necessity,” according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center released this month, and African-American women have outpaced all other races and genders in terms of securing concealed carry permits in Texas between 2000 and 2016, according to demographic information released by the state. It wasn’t always this way — as recently as 2012, Pew had found that less than a third of black families saw gun ownership as a positive. Philip Smith, the founder of the National African American Gun Association, says that politics — and police shootings such as the recent slaying of Philando Castile — have caused the sudden upswing in gun ownership. And, in his opinion, owning a gun is perhaps the only way that African-American men and women can truly protect themselves.

CONCEAL CARRY ADVOCATE ANTONIA OKAFOR (TWITTER).

CONCEAL CARRY ADVOCATE ANTONIA OKAFOR (TWITTER).

“Regardless of what side you’re on, in the fabric of society right now, there’s an undertone, a tension that you see that groups you saw on the fringes 20 years ago are now in the open,” said Smith. “It seems to me it’s very cool to be a racist right now, it’s in fashion, it’s a trend.”

Marchelle Tigner, a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor, says that black women are particularly likely to be victims of domestic violence. She became a gun instructor, she explained, in order to give other women of color the fighting chance she wished she’d had.

“It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot,” Tigner said. “We need to learn how to defend ourselves.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Ronald Bailey: Do Researchers Risk Becoming Just Another Leftwing Interest Group?

“We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely,” warns the march’s mission statement. “Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.”

From whom do the marchers hope to defend science? Certainly not the American public: Most Americans are fairly strong supporters of the scientific enterprise. An October 2016 Pew Research Center poll reported, “Three-quarters of Americans (76%) have either a great deal (21%) or a fair amount of confidence (55%) in scientists, generally, to act in the public interest.” The General Social Survey notes that public confidence in scientists stands out among the most stable of about 13 institutions rated in the GSS survey since the mid-1970s. (For what it’s worth, the GSS reports only 8 percent of the public say that they have a great deal of confidence in the press, but at least that’s higher than the 6 percent who say the same about Congress.)

The mission statement also declares, “The application of science to policy is not a partisan issue. Anti-science agendas and policies have been advanced by politicians on both sides of the aisle, and they harm everyone—without exception.”

I thoroughly endorse that sentiment. But why didn’t the scientific community march when the Obama administration blocked over-the-counter access to emergency contraception to women under age 17? Or dawdled for years over the approval of genetically enhanced salmon? Or tried to kill off the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility? Or halted the development of direct-to-consumer genetic testing? Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Administration Ending Policy Allowing Cubans to Stay Without Visas

WASHINGTON— Carol E. Lee and Felicia Schwartz report: The White House plans to announce that President Barack Obama is undoing a longstanding policy that allows Cuban émigrés who reach U.S. soil without visas to stay in the country and apply for a green card after one year, administration officials said.

The special exception for Cuban immigrants — known as the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy — has been in place since the 1990s. It allows Cubans who make it to U.S. soil to stay, while those caught in transit are sent back.

Those who are permitted to remain also may be eligible to receive benefits the U.S. grants to refugees fleeing persecution, including cash assistance and health care coverage.

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The policy, essentially encouraging Cubans to flee their country, has long been part of the economic, immigration, and foreign policy tool kit used by Washington, and has been opposed by Havana, which considers it a drain on its resources. No other immigrants are provided similar allowances.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Mr. Obama’s decision to reverse the policy one week before he leaves office marks one of his final moves to solidify his effort begun in 2014 to restore U.S. relations with Cuba. Putting Cubans on equal footing with immigrants from other countries would be a sign of more normalized relations. But it is also a step the Cuban government has wanted the White House to take.

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The wet-foot, dry-foot policy grew out of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which gives the U.S. Attorney General discretion to treat Cuban immigrants differently than those from other countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the number of Cubans trying to leave the country skyrocketed, resulting in often dangerous flotilla escapes. In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton spearheaded a policy change that provided that anyone caught at sea would be sent back to Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘You Are Fake News!’ Trump Confronts CNN’s Jim Acosta  

Game Change: After 8 years of Obama, the press is so used to passive-aggressive, they forgot what aggressive looks like.

With Trump looking to call on other reporters, Jim Acosta yelled out, “Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?”

“Not you,” Trump said. “Your organization is terrible!”

Acosta pressed on, “You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” Trump countered by telling him “don’t be rude.”

“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump responded. “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!” Read the rest of this entry »


New Pew Research Poll: 38% Give the Press a Big Fat ‘F’ for Campaign Coverage

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Evidence keeps piling up that the American people have a very low opinion of how the media reports on our elections. The latest Pew Research Center opinion survey revealed “Just 22% give the press a grade of an A or B, while 38% give it a failing grade” – an F. The approval of the media has been declining for years. After the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, 33 percent of voters gave the press an A or a B, compared to just 16 percent picking “F.” Read the rest of this entry »


The God That Failed

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Progressive centrism was never thoroughly fleshed out, but the basic idea was to combine the goals of populism—harnessing the power of government to do good for the ‘little guy’—with the New Democrats’ recognition of markets as a powerful tool for achieving those goals.  Combined with an incrementalist approach, Judis and Teixeira argued, Democrats would form a new majority coalition. Oops

Sean Trende writes: The 2000 election left a Democratic Party that was simultaneously angry, dispirited and divided.  Populists believed that Al Gore made a terrible mistake by embracing the “New Democrats”—what we then called a group of socially moderate, culturally cosmopolitan, fiscally cautious Democrats in 51scbzlsigl-_sl250_the ’90s—thereby failing to excite working-class whites.  New Democrats, by contrast, thought Gore’s late adoption of heavily populist rhetoric had needlessly alienated whites with college degrees, costing him the election.

[If you don’t find this in the sale bin, marked 95% off, you can order the book “The Emerging Democratic Majority here, at Amazon.com]

As this fight wore on, two important left-of-center thinkers, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, wrote a book called “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” Although the book is known as a demographic work, the demographics discussed so extensively in it are, in fact, subordinate to the larger goal of the book: to find a way for the two factions in the Democratic Party described above to live together, and to win.  Their framework was explicitly Hegelian/Fichtean: They described the “thesis” and “antithesis” as being the populist Democrats and the “New Democrats.” Their proposed synthesis: what they called “progressive centrism.”

Progressive centrism was never thoroughly fleshed out, but the basic idea was to combine the goals of populism—harnessing the power of government to do good for the “little guy”—with the New Democrats’ recognition of markets as a powerful tool for achieving those goals.  Combined with an incrementalist approach, Judis and Teixeira argued, Democrats would form a new majority coalition.  This coalition would be an expansion of the old “McGovern” coalition, and would consist of working-class whites, women, African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as professional whites living in what they called “ideopolises” – high-tech areas filled with state employees and professional workers.

[Read the full story here, at RealClearPolitics]

In keeping with the progressive view that history is something with an arc that can be predicted and even bent to our will, “The Emerging Democratic Majority” was expressly grounded in realignment theory.  This view of elections holds that the arc of history moves in roughly 30-year epicycles, where the country progresses through stages where different parties hold a position as the dominant “sun” party, or the pale “moon” party (to borrow the terminology of Samuel Lubell).  The Democratic majority, we were told, would emerge fully in the 2000s. Read the rest of this entry »


A Warning Unheeded: Democratic Strategist Doug Sosnik in 2013, ‘Party In Decline’

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Doug Sosnik says the Democrats will be “at considerable risk” when the president leaves office.

One of the Democrats’ most veteran strategists warns that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama is no longer on the scene.

“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.

While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.

These memos are read closely by an influential community of insiders in the political and business worlds. In this one, Sosnik outlines several challenges facing his own party:

• Obama’s personal popularity does not easily translate for other candidates. The president is not building the Democratic Party’s institutional apparatus in a way that it will thrive when he’s gone.

• The losses in the 2010 midterms gave Republicans control of the redistricting process, which will be in effect until after the 2020 census. This gives the GOP a structural advantage in keeping the House.

• Millennials, born 1981 to 1994, and Generation X’ers, born 1965 to 1980, are voting Democratic, but a plurality identify themselves as independents — which makes them less reliable.

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[Read the whole memo. View the accompanying PowerPoint slides.]

With the likelihood of gridlock and near-record-low confidence in public institutions, Sosnik expects 2014 to bring the fourth change election in the past eight years. Read the rest of this entry »


Exploding the ‘Poor White’ Myth of Trump’s Rise to Power

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Trump’s resounding victory spotlights a wealthier and more diverse coalition of supporters than many Americans thought possible, including educated voters, women and minority voters.

Catherine Triomphe and Jennie Matthew report: The myth that only uneducated white men would vote for Donald Trump exploded in a sensational win for the maverick billionaire, a former reality star with no political experience whatsoever.

FILE - This 1967 file photo shows, cast members, front, from left, Buddy Ebsen and Max Baer, and rear, from left, Donna Douglas and Irene Ryan, of the television series "The Beverly Hillbillies." Douglas, who played the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett on the hit 1960s sitcom has died. Douglas, who was 82, died Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, in Baton Rouge, where she lived, her niece, Charlene Smith, said. (AP Photo, File)

“There is a world outside of the East Coast and the California Coast which nobody wants to think about. It’s the have and have not divide.”

— Sam Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College

His resounding victory — even if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote — spotlights a wealthier and more diverse coalition of supporters than many Americans thought possible, including educated voters, women and minority voters.

Here is a look at who voted for whom in the biggest political upset in American politics for generations:

Middle Class and Educated

Half of Americans who are considered middle class, making $100,000 a year or more, voted for the 70-year-old billionaire according to USA Today’s exit polls.

Forty-three percent of people with college degrees backed the Republican, although post-graduates voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, the Democrat, at 58 percent to 35 percent.

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“Half of Americans who are considered middle class, making $100,000 a year or more, voted for the 70-year-old billionaire according to USA Today’s exit polls. Forty-three percent of people with college degrees backed the Republican.”

“We wanted to send a message that there’s too much government ruling our life and that had to stop,” said Rolando Chumaceiro, a family doctor who lives in affluent White Plains, New York.

He recognized problems with Trump, questioned the way he spoke and his vulgar remarks about women and but said overall he was the better choice.

“Mrs Clinton comes from the establishment. It’s the same old fashioned government. We don’t need that anymore,” he said.

Rabbi Shmuel Segal of the Jewish education centre looks up at the Chanukkah lights in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, December 20, 2011. Chanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.    AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

“He created one of the most pro-Israel platforms in the history of the country, this is just crazy to say that he’s running anything as anti-Semitic in his campaign.”

— Aliza Romanoff, whose father advised Trump

Lower income voters leaned towards Clinton but their support had eroded since President Barack Obama’s election in 2012, perhaps fueled in part by resentment of the high costs associated with Obamacare.

Rural-Urban Divide

Trump’s success was rooted in profound dissatisfaction with the status quo — felt keenly in rural areas and smaller towns far from prosperous cities that voted overwhelmingly for Clinton.

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“The Latino vote is not homogenous, experts say. Cuban Americans backed Trump, others who are socially conservative also supported him.”

“There is a world outside of the East Coast and the California Coast which nobody wants to think about,” said Sam Abrams, professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

“It’s the have and have not divide,” he said.

In a city-based service and knowledge economy, people in more rural areas are struggling. “When you struggle you get angry… and Trump became the symbol of that anger,” said Abrams. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Accepts More Syrian Refugees than All of EU: 8,000 vs. 6,000 

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

In the U.S., some governors and other politicians have warned against moving fast to bring in the refugees, concerned that poor vetting could let in terrorists.

Despite promises of European Union member states to take in 160,000 refugees, a new report shows that they’ve accepted a fraction, 6,000, while the United States has embraced 8,000 of a planned 10,000 this year.

“As President Obama, backed by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has ramped up accepting refugees fleeing Syria and other war-torn nations, the EU has put the brakes on hard, apparently bowing to public outrage.”

As President Obama, backed by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has ramped up accepting refugees fleeing Syria and other war-torn nations, the EU has put the brakes on hard, apparently bowing to public outrage.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]

In the U.S., some governors and other politicians have warned against moving fast to bring in the refugees, concerned that poor vetting could let in terrorists.

In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo released by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), residents of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, queue to receive food supplies. Conditions in the camp have deteriorated since Islamic State militants muscled their way into it in early April 2015. The militants are trying to consolidate their hold on the camp. (AP Photo/UNRWA, File)

“One year later, this commitment is far from being fulfilled. France is not the only ‘bad student.’ There is an obvious lack of solidarity.”

— Pierre Henry, director of an organization called France Terre d’Asile

After officials moved to stem the huge influx if immigrants, Europe had led the way in making promises to accept the additional refugees in camps in Italy and Greece. But a new report in France found that Paris had accepted just 1,300 of the 30,000 it promised to take from Greece and Italy by 2017.

Syrian refugees wait to cross into Turkey at the border on Monday near the town of Suruc, Turkey, which has been overwhelmed as thousands flee to escape a militant advance.G Getty Images

What’s more, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, all of the European Union member states that had promised to accept 160,000 asylum seekers have taken in just 6,000 so far. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Reason TV: Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science? 

Reason TV talks with California progressives about what happens when science meets politics.

 &  report: It’s popular to portray the GOP as the anti-science party and Democrats as the sane, “party of science” alternative.  And only 6 percent of scientists identified as Republicans, according to a 2009 Pew Research poll, which seems to be the most recent one on the topic. But the truth is that when science and politics meet, the result often isn’t pretty, regardless of partisan affiliation.

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Reason TV asked locals in Venice, California about their thoughts on various scientific policy questions and compared their answers to public opinion poll data. We found that many people favored mandatory labeling of food that contains DNA, the stuff of life contained in just about every morsel of fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat humans consume. Yet a recent survey out of the University of Florida found that 80 percent of respondents favor mandatory DNA labeling, only slightly below the 85 percent that favor labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While Republicans are divided evenly on the GMO question, Democrats rate them unsafe by a 26-point margin, despite almost 2,000 studies spanning a decade saying otherwise.

Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Republicans. When it comes to other scientific matters, the waters are even muddier. For instance, Democrats and Republicans believe in the false link between vaccines and autism at roughly equal levels.

[Read the full story here, at Reason.com]

And it’s largely liberal Democratic politicians pushing anti-vaping laws, despite public health agencies estimating e-cigarettes to be around 95% safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and early evidence they help smokers quit. And vaping products don’t contain any tobacco or its resultant tar, yet the FDA still wants to treat them as tobacco products. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Women Are Buying More Guns

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Gun control’s a little down in the polls, and gun sales are up. Why? Because more women are packing heat.

Keli Goff writes: A recently released New York Times/CBS poll included some headline grabbing findings about America’s evolving attitudes on gun control. The poll found that the number of Americans supporting a ban on assault weapons is 19 points lower today than it was after the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in 2011.Perhaps more significant, it found that the number of Americans supporting stricter gun control in general has slipped 7 points in just two months. While these numbers may come as a surprise to many, they shouldn’t, because in the last few years the backbone of the gun control movement has been undergoing an evolution of its own. More and more women are buying guns. As the number of female gun owners has risen, so has the number of women expressing skepticism of gun control.

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“Gun control has almost nothing to do with ensuring the bad guys don’t have guns. Women increasingly seem to be understanding this.”

— Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus

More than a third of the women who participated in the National Sports Shooting Foundation’s most recent survey identified as new gun owners. This data are consistent with those of other organizations, including the National Sporting Goods Association. According to the NSGA’s Annual Sports Participation Report the number of women who practice target shooting increased nearly 36 percent (from 4.31 million to 5.86 million) between 2004 and 2014, while the number of women participating in hunting increased 23 percent (from 2.68 million to 3.3 million). In response to a request for comment, an NRA spokesman reported tracking a 77 percent increase between 2004 and 2011 in the number of women who own firearms.

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“According to Dees Thomases in the social media driven age it is much tougher to be a gun control activist—particularly a female one. ‘All women activists on this issue at some point are harassed,’ she said. ‘They try to publish your phone number and addresses,’ she said of gun control opponents.”

“Gun control has almost nothing to do with ensuring the bad guys don’t have guns. Women increasingly seem to be understanding this,” wrote Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus in an email.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]

For years the movement for gun control has been driven by women leaders and supporters. The Million Mom March that took place on Mother’s Day 2000 was one of the most significant milestones in the modern day gun-control movement. Founded by Donna Dees Thomases in the aftermath of the shooting of children by a white supremacist in Grenada Hills, California, the movement built momentum that resulted in a number of legislative wins for gun control supporters.

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“As a result female supporters of gun control have not been as widely represented in media in recent years, which may be having an impact on public perception of the issue.”

Advocacy by Million Mom March chapters is credited with tougher gun laws being passed in states from Arizona to Maryland to New York, where Republican Governor and current presidential candidate George Pataki signed some of the nation’s strictest gun laws just months after the Million Mom March.

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So what happened to the Mom-mentum?

In a phone interview Dees Thomases disputed the notion that gun control supporters have lost ground or lost the support of women in the 15 years since their triumphant march. She pointed to the Million Mom March activists and alums now serving in elected office (at least three currently), not to mention others whose volunteerism for candidates supportive of gun control swung elections. “They threw a lot of rascals out of office,” she said. “People didn’t leave the march and go home and do nothing. We left that march and got sweeping reform passed.”

She also said that polling data on guns can be misleading, with the phrasing of questions often being key to which way responses tilt. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REASON TV: Do College Students Hate Free Speech? Let’s Ask Them

The faculty council at Occidental College is considering instituting a system for students to report microaggressions perpetrated against them by faculty members or other students.

Reason TV visited Occidental’s campus to find out what exactly constitutes a microaggression. One Columbia psychology professor defined the term this way: Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

After exploring the limitations of a microaggression reporting system, we discussed broader free speech issues with the students in the wake of a month of campus protests that resulted in the resignations of several faculty members and a university president.

Most of the students defended free speech in principle, if not always in practice. This is consistent with a recent Pew Research Center survey, which found that although 95 percent of Americans agree that people should be allowed to publicly criticize government policies, support erodes when the question turns to offensive speech. While a majority of millennials still believe that the government should protect speech offensive to minorities, a whopping 40 percent believe the government should restric such speech. Read the rest of this entry »


Pew: Death Penalty for Leaving Islam

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Mark Krikorian: Why Refugee Resettlement Is Immoral

“Each refugee we bring to the United States means that eleven others are not being helped with that money.”

Mark Krikorian writes:

…Sure, welcoming refugees here makes us feel good. Newspapers run heart-warming stories of overcoming adversity; churches embrace the objects of their charity; politicians can wax nostalgic about their grandparents.

“it costs twelve times as much to resettle a refugee in the United States as it does to care for the same refugee in a neighboring country in the Middle East.”

But the goal of refugee assistance is not to make us feel good. It is to assist as many people as possible with the resources available. And resettling a relative handful of them here to help us bask in our own righteousness means we are sacrificing the much larger number who could have been helped with the same resources.

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“The five-year cost to American taxpayers of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with U.N. figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region.”

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

The difference in cost is enormous. The Center for Immigration Studies, which I head, recently calculated that it costs twelve times as much to resettle a refugee in the United States as it does to care for the same refugee in a neighboring country in the Middle East.

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“The goal of refugee assistance is not to make us feel good. It is to assist as many people as possible with the resources available. And resettling a relative handful of them here to help us bask in our own righteousness means we are sacrificing the much larger number who could have been helped with the same resources.”

The five-year cost to American taxpayers of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with U.N. figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region.

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[Obama On ISIS: I’m Not Interested In ‘America Winning’]

In other words, each refugee we bring to the United States means that eleven others are not being helped with that money. Read the rest of this entry »


Federal Tax Code and Regulations Now Exceed 10 Million Words in Length 

In 1955, the federal tax code and regulations together totaled 1.4 million words. Since then, the combined length has increased more than seven fold, growing at a pace of 144,500 words per year.

 reports: The length of the federal tax code and regulations now exceed 10 million words, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

“The American tax code is intentionally complex—it’s Washington’s safe haven for carve-outs, loopholes, and subsidies for special interests.”

According to the report, the federal tax code is 2,412,000 words long, and federal tax regulations are 7,655,000 words long.

“America’s tax code will continue to impede growth and opportunity until policy leaders prioritize reform and face cronyism head-on.”

— Andy Koenig, Freedom Partners’ senior policy analyst

In 1955, the federal tax code and regulations together totaled 1.4 million words. Since then, the combined length has increased more than seven fold, growing at a pace of 144,500 words per year.

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According to the Tax Foundation, the length of the tax code correlates with the complexity of the federal tax system and the difficulties faced by Americans trying to file their taxes.

“The American tax code is intentionally complex—it’s Washington’s safe haven for carve-outs, loopholes, and subsidies for special interests,” said Andy Koenig, Freedom Partners’ senior policy analyst.  Read the rest of this entry »


Pew Research Center: Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware 

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Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew.

By  and 

Chapter 1: Overview

National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.

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Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.

Nearly all the decline in the firearm homicide rate took place in the 1990s; the downward trend stopped in 2001 and resumed slowly in 2007. The victimization rate for other gun crimes plunged in the 1990s, then declined more slowly from 2000 to 2008. The rate appears to be higher in 2011 compared with 2008, but the increase is not statistically significant. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall also dropped in the 1990s before declining more slowly from 2000 to 2010, then ticked up in 2011.

Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.

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Looking back 50 years, the U.S. gun homicide rate began rising in the 1960s, surged in the 1970s, and hit peaks in 1980 and the early 1990s. (The number of homicides peaked in the early 1990s.) The plunge in homicides after that meant that firearm homicide rates inmust-think-hardthe late 2000s were equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.The sharp decline in the U.S. gun homicide rate, combined with a slower decrease in the gun suicide
rate, means that gun suicides now account for six-in-ten firearms deaths, the highest share since at least 1981.

Trends for robberies followed a similar long-term trajectory as homicides (National Research Council, 2004), hitting a peak in the early 1990s before declining.

This report examines trends in firearm homicide, non-fatal violent gun crime victimization and non-fatal violent crime victimization overall since 1993. Its findings on firearm crime are based mainly on analysis of data from two federal agencies. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using information from death certificates, are the source of rates, counts and trends for all firearm deaths, homicide and suicide, unless otherwise specified. The Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, a household survey conducted by the Census Bureau, supplies annual estimates of non-fatal crime victimization, including those where firearms are used, regardless of whether the crimes were reported to police. Where relevant, this report also quotes from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (see text box at the end of this chapter and the Methodology appendix for more discussion about data sources).

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Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened.

There also is debate about the extent of gun ownership in the U.S., although no disagreement that the U.S. has more civilian firearms, both total and per capita, than other nations. Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has a higher homicide rate and higher rates of gun ownership, but not higher rates for all other crimes. (See Chapter 5 for more details.)

In the months since the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December, the public is paying close attention to the topic of firearms; according to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Pew Research Center, April 2013) no story received more public attention from mid-March to early April than the debate over gun control. Reducing crime has moved up as a priority for the public in polling this year.

Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008. These homicides, most of which are shootings, increased as a share of all homicides from 0.5% in 1980 to 0.8% in 2008, according to the bureau’s data. A Congressional Research Service report, using a definition of four deaths or more, counted 547 deaths from mass shootings in the U.S. from 1983 to 2012.

Looking at the larger topic of firearm deaths, there were 31,672 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010. Most (19,392) were suicides; the gun suicide rate has been higher than the gun homicide rate since at least 1981, and the gap is wider than it was in 1981.

murder-for-the-asking

Knowledge About Crime

SDT-2013-05-gun-crime-1-4

Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago. A new Pew Research Center survey (March 14-17) found that 56% of Americans believe the number of crimes involving a gun is higher than it was 20 years ago; only 12% say it is lower and 26% say it stayed the same. (An additional 6% did not know or did not answer.)

Men (46%) are less likely than women (65%) to say long-term gun crime is up. Young adults, ages 18 to 29, are markedly less likely than other adults to say long-term crime is up—44% do, compared with more than half of other adults. Minority adults are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to say that long-term gun crime is up, 62% compared with 53%.

Asked about trends in the number of gun crimes “in recent years,” a plurality of 45% believe the number has gone up, 39% say it is about the same and 10% say it has gone down. (An additional 5% did not know or did not answer.) As with long-term crime, women (57%) are more likely than men (32%) to say that gun crime has increased in recent years. So are non-white adults (54%) compared with whites (41%). Adults ages 50 and older (51%) are more likely than those ages 18-49 (42%) to believe gun crime is up.

What is Behind the Crime Decline?

Researchers continue to debate the key factors behind changing crime rates, which is part of a larger discussion about the predictors of crime. There is consensus that demographics played some role: The outsized post-World War II baby boom, which produced a large number of people in the high-crime ages of 15 to 20 in the 1960s and 1970s, helped drive crime up in those years.

A review by the National Academy of Sciences of factors driving recent crime trends (Blumstein and Rosenfeld, 2008) cited a decline in rates in the early 1980s as the young boomers got older, then a flare-up by mid-decade in conjunction with a rising street market for crack cocaine, especially in big cities. It noted recruitment of a younger cohort of drug seller with greater willingness to use guns. By the early 1990s, crack markets withered in part because of lessened demand, and the vibrant national economy made it easier for even low-skilled young people to find jobs rather than get involved in crime.

At the same time, a rising number of people ages 30 and older were incarcerated, due in part to stricter laws, which helped restrain violence among this age group. It is less clear, researchers say, that innovative policing strategies and police crackdowns on use of guns by younger adults played a significant role in reducing crime.

Some researchers have proposed additional explanations as to why crime levels plunged so suddenly, including increased access to abortion and lessened exposure to lead. According to one hypothesis, legalization of abortion after the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision resulted in fewer unwanted births, and unwanted children have an increased risk of growing up to become criminals. Another theory links reduced crime to 1970s-era reductions in lead in gasoline; children’s exposure to lead causes brain damage that could be associated with violent behavior. The National Academy of Sciences review said it was unlikely that either played a major role, but researchers continue to explore both factors.

Homicide-Johnny

The plateau in national violent crime rates has raised interest in the topic of how local differences might influence crime levels and trends. Crime reductions took place across the country in the 1990s, but since 2000, patterns have varied more by metropolitan area or city.

One focus of interest is that gun ownership varies widely by region and locality. The National Academy of Sciences review of possible influences on crime trends said there is good evidence of a link between firearm ownership and firearm homicide at the local level; “the causal direction of this relationship remains in dispute, however, with some researchers maintaining that firearm violence elevates rates of gun ownership, but not the reverse.” Read the rest of this entry »


Study: 43 Percent Of Americans ‘Main Source’ Of News Is From Online

Kitchen-Planet

Digital News Sites Continue To Flourish

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Online outlets are the number one source of news in the United States, surpassing both television and print, according to a new study.

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015 found that 43 percent of Americans identified online sources as their “main source” of news, as reported by Tap Into. Television trails slightly behind with 40 percent of Americans citing it as their main source of news.

Citizens-in-Boulder-Colorado-using-their-smart-phones

“We see the smart phone more clearly as the defining device for digital news with a disruptive impact on consumption, formats, and business models.”

— Nic Newman, Research Associate, Reuters Institute

Research indicates that seven out of ten magazines have lost subscribers in recent years. About half of news magazines analyzed received more visits via mobiledevices than desktops, according to Pew Research Center. The Pew study also found that print newspapers continue to struggle with circulation dropping 3 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Commuters use smartphone

“The U.S., United Kingdom, and Japan showed the most growth in news accessed via smartphones. Average weekly usage has grown from 37 to 46 percent across all countries, with two-thirds of smartphone users  now accessing news through their devices every week.”

The new Reuters study suggests that mobile news and video news consumption online are experiencing substantial growth…(read more)

CBS DC


The Rise of Phone Reading

Kagan-McLeod

It’s not the e-reader that will be driving future books sales, it’s the phone; How publishers are rethinking books for the small screen.

Jennifer Maloney writes: Last fall, Andrew Vestal found himself rocking his baby daughter, Ada, back to sleep every morning between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Cradling Ada in the crook of his arm, he discovered he could read his dimly-lit phone with one hand. That’s how he read David Mitchell’s 624-page science-fiction saga “The Bone Clocks.”

“The future of digital reading is on the phone. It’s going to be on the phone and it’s going to be on paper.”

—  Judith Curr, publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books

Mr. Vestal’s iPhone has offered him a way to squeeze in time for reading that he otherwise might have given up. He reads on lunch breaks. He even reads between meetings as he walks across Microsoft’s Seattle campus, where he works as a program manager.

Before he tried it, he wondered whether reading in snippets might be dissatisfying. But to his surprise, he found he could quickly re-immerse himself in the book he was reading. “I want reading to be part of my life,” said Mr. Vestal, age 35. “If I waited for the kind of time I used to have—sitting down for five hours—I wouldn’t read at all.”

Ever since the first hand-held e-readers were introduced in the 1990s, the digital-reading revolution has turned the publishing world upside down. But contrary to early predictions, it’s not the e-reader that will be driving future book sales, but the phone.

Illustration-Kagan-McLeod

“How do I serve something up to somebody who perhaps wasn’t thinking about a book two minutes ago? The read-anywhere option is amazing. It’s an obligation for us as publishers to find those people.”

— Liz Perl, the chief marketing officer at Simon & Schuster

“The future of digital reading is on the phone,” said Judith Curr, publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books. “It’s going to be on the phone and it’s going to be on paper.”

For now, tablets like the iPad and Kindle Fire remain the most popular platform to read digital books. According to Nielsen, the percentage of people who read primarily on tablets was 41% in the first quarter of 2015, compared with 30% in 2012.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

But what has captured publishers’ attention is the increase in the number of people reading their phones. In a Nielsen survey of 2,000 people this past December, about 54% of e-book buyers said they used smartphones to read their books at least some of the time. That’s up from 24% in 2012, according to a separate study commissioned by Nielsen.bone-clock

The number of people who read primarily on phones has risen to 14% in the first quarter of 2015 from 9% in 2012.

[Order the book “The Bone Clocks: A Novel” from Amazon.com]

Meanwhile, those reading mainly on e-readers, such as Kindles and Nooks, dropped over the same period to 32% from 50%. Even tablet reading has declined recently to 41% in the first quarter this year from 44% in 2014.

The rise of phone reading is pushing publishers to rethink the way books are designed, marketed and sold with smaller screens in mind. It’s also prompting concern about whether deep, concentrated thinking is possible amid the ringing, buzzing and alerts that come with phones.

One reason people are reading on phones is convenience. If you’re standing in line at the deli, waiting at the DMV or riding home on the train, you may not have a print book or an e-reader or tablet. But chances are, you are carrying a illo-Kagan-McLeodsmartphone. Some 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35% in the spring of 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. Forrester Research, a research and advisory firm, projects that smartphone subscribers will number 80.8% of the U.S. population by 2019.

“The read-anywhere option is amazing. It’s an obligation for us as publishers to find those people.”

—Liz Perl, the chief marketing officer at Simon & Schuster

“The best device to read on is the one you have with you,” said Willem Van Lancker, co-founder and chief product officer of the subscription-book service Oyster. “It requires no planning. My bookshelf at home isn’t any good to me when I’m at the park.”

Another reason people are turning to phones is the size and clarity of new smartphone models, which make reading much easier. The average smartphone screen in 2014 was 5.1 inches—compared with a 3.9-inch average in 2011, according to eMarketer.

Since the release of the bigger, sharper iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, Apple has seen an increase in the number of people downloading books onto iPhones through its iBooks app. Some 45% of iBooks purchases are now downloaded onto iPhones, an Apple spokeswoman said. Before that, only 28% were downloaded onto phones, with most of the remainder downloaded onto iPads and a small percentage onto computers. Read the rest of this entry »


Political Warriors Black Robes? Poll: Negative Views of Supreme Court at Record High

scotus

68% of Conservatives Identifies Court as Liberal

Following major, end-of-term rulings on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage, unfavorable opinions of the Supreme Court have reached a 30-year high. And opinions about the court and its ideology have never been more politically divided.

“Seven-in-ten Americans (70%) say that in deciding cases, the justices of the Supreme Court ‘are often influenced by their own political views.’ Just 24% say they ‘generally put their political views aside. when deciding cases.”

Currently, 48% of Americans have a favorable impression of the Supreme Court, while 43% view the court unfavorably. Unfavorable opinions of the court, while up only modestly since March (39%), are the highest recorded since 1985.

The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted July 14-20 among 2,002 adults, finds that 7-29-2015-12-42-28-PMmost of the increase in unfavorable views of the Supreme Court has come among Republicans.

“Most Americans (54%) say that the Supreme Court has the right amount of power, while 36% say it is too powerful.”

Just 33% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of the court, while 61% have an unfavorable view. Since March, the share of Republicans viewing the court favorably has fallen 17 percentage points (from 50% to 33%), while the share with an unfavorable impression has jumped 21 percentage points (from 40% to 61%). Republicans’ views of the Supreme Court are now more negative than at any point in the past three decades.

“Only about one-in-ten (7%) thinks the court has too little power”

In contrast, Democrats’ views of the Supreme Court have become more positive since March, though the change has not been as dramatic. Currently, 62% of Democrats have a favorable impression of the court, up from 54% four months ago.

There also has been a major shift in how Americans, especially those at either end of the ideological spectrum, view the Supreme Court’s ideology. The share of the public saying the current Supreme Court is liberal has doubled since March, driven by changing attitudes among Republicans, particularly conservative Republicans.

Overall, 39% of the public views the court as middle-of-the-road, 36% as liberal and 18% as conservative. The share saying the court is liberal has increased from 26% to 36% over the past few months and stands at its highest point in surveys dating to 2007. There has been a ten-point decline in the number saying the court is conservative (18% today, 28% in March), while the share saying it is middle-of-the-road is little changed (39% now, 38% then).

Opinions about the court and its ideology have never been more politically divided

Currently, 68% of conservative Republicans say the current Supreme Court is liberal – up 20 points since 7-29-2015-12-25-38-PMMarch and by far the highest percentage since 2007. About a quarter of conservative Republicans (24%) say the court has a middle-of-the-road approach and 5% see it as conservative.

Liberal Democrats now generally view the current Supreme Court as middle-of-the-road; in March, most saw the court as conservative. Currently, 49% of liberal Democrats say it is middle-of-the-road (up from 31% in March). Three-in-ten (30%) say it is conservative, down from 56% in March. And 17% say the court is liberal, about double the share who said this in March (8%).

Perceptions of the court’s ideology have changed less among those closer to the middle of the ideological spectrum. Moderate and liberal Republicans’ continue to be divided: 42% see the Supreme Court as middle-of-the-road; 40% say it is liberal and 13% say it is conservative. A plurality of conservative and moderate 7-29-2015-12-26-53-PMDemocrats (43%) continue to say it is middle-of-the-road.

The change in independents’ views of the Supreme Court’s ideology mirrors the shift among the public: 41% say it is middle-of-the-road, little changed from 38% in March; 36% see it as liberal (up 11 points) and 18% say it is conservative (down 10 points). The share of Republican-leaning independents who say the court is liberal has risen from 38% to 54%. Just 23% of independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say the same, up a modest seven percentage points since March.

Other findings

Little Change in Views of Same-Sex Marriage, Affordable Care Act. In contrast to opinions about the Supreme Court, views on two issues that were the subject of its high-profile rulings – same-sex marriage and the 2010 health care law – have shown little change. Currently, 54% of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 39% are opposed. In May, before the Court’s ruling that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, 57% favored and 39% opposed same-sex marriage. The public is divided over 7-29-2015-12-26-37-PMthe 2010 health care law: 48% approve of the law and 49% disapprove. In February, 45% approved of the health care law and 53% disapproved.

Few Think Supreme Court Justices Set Aside Their Political Views. Seven-in-ten Americans (70%) say that in deciding cases, the justices of the Supreme Court “are often influenced by their own political views.” Just 24% say they “generally put their political views aside” when deciding cases. The belief that justices are swayed by their own political views spans partisan and demographic groups. The survey also finds that a majority of the public (56%) says the court should consider the views of most Americans when deciding cases; 39% say they should not be influenced by public opinion.

Supreme Court Not Viewed as ‘Too Powerful.’ A majority (54%) says the Supreme Court has the right amount of power, while 36% think it has too much power; 7% say it has too little power. Republicans (45%) are more likely than Democrats (32%) or independents (33%) to view the court as too powerful.

Supreme Court Favorability

Partisanship, ideology and religious affiliation are all factors in views of the Supreme Court. In addition, supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage and the 2010 health care law have starkly different opinions about the Supreme Court.

By a 63% to 28% margin, those who favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court. By almost an identical margin (63% to 30%), those who oppose same-sex 7-29-2015-12-26-04-PMmarriage have an unfavorable impression of the court. The association between views of the court and opinions on same-sex marriage is far stronger than in the past.

Opinions of the court among those who approve and disapprove of the 2010 health care law are similarly divided (61% of those who approve of the law have a favorable opinion of the court, compared with just 33% of those who disapprove). Supporters and opponents of the law were less divided last year, but were similarly split following the court’s 2012 term, in which it ruled the law was constitutional.

Since March, the plunge in the Supreme Court’s favorability among Republicans has largely come among conservatives. Just 27% of conservative Republicans have a favorable impression of the Supreme Court. Four months ago, nearly half (48%) did so. Among moderate and liberal Republicans, there has been a smaller, nine-point decline in positive views of the court (45% now, 54% then). Read the rest of this entry »


La Bienvenida a Nuevos Votantes América! Report: 2.5 Million Illegal Immigrants Have Entered the U.S. Since Obama Took Office, 400,000 Yearly

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The Center for Migration Studies report found that illegal immigration was higher under former President George W. Bush, potentially undermining the GOP’s bid to sound tough on the issue. Under Bush, 500,000-600,000 illegals surged in a year.

Paul Bedard writes: Some 2.5 million illegal immigrants have flowed into the United States under President Obama, with 790,000 rushing in since 2013, according to a new analysis.

“The immigration watchdog’s analysis of Census Bureau data also showed that an additional 790,000 illegals entered from the middle of 2013 to May of 2015, for a total of 2.5 million new illegal immigrants since Obama took office in January of 2009. That is a rate of 300,000 to 400,000 a year.”

Calculations from the Center for Migration Studies and the Pew Research Center indicate 1.5 to 1.7 million aliens joined the illegal population from 2009 to 2013 — either overstaying a temporary visa or sneaking into the country, according to a Center for Immigration Studies report out Monday morning.

Illegal immigrants caught at the U.S.-Mexico border. AP Photo

Illegal immigrants caught at the U.S.-Mexico border. AP Photo

“While the level of new illegal immigration is lower than a decade ago, the enormous ongoing scale of illegal immigration is a clear indication that the United States has not come close to controlling it.”

The immigration watchdog’s analysis of Census Bureau data also showed that an additional 790,000 illegals entered from the middle of 2013 to May of 2015, for a total of 2.5 million new illegal immigrants since Obama took office in January of 2009. That is a rate of 300,000 to 400,000 a year.

[More – On immigrant surge, White House story falls apart]

The issue has become explosive under Obama, especially in the last year when tens of thousands of children and young adults joined the regular flow of illegals from Latin America.

[Also see – Joel Gehrke‘s article at The Corner]

It has also embroiled the GOP presidential contest, with Donald Trump blasting Mexico and party leaders worrying about image of Republicans.

Immigration has become a presidential campaign issue. AP Photo

Immigration has become a presidential campaign issue. AP Photo

“Had the United States not allowed so many new illegal immigrants to settle in the country since 2009, the total number of illegal immigrants would have fallen by 2.5 million. But the arrival of so many new illegal immigrants offset this attrition in the illegal population.”

But the CIS report written by Steven A. Camarota, director of research, found that illegal immigration was higher under former President George W. Bush, potentially undermining the GOP’s bid to sound tough on the issue. Under Bush, 500,000-600,000 illegals surged in a year. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Snapshot of the Electorate with Pollsters Carroll Doherty and Ed Goeas


Carroll Doherty, Director of Political Research at the Pew Research Center, and Ed Goeas, President and CEO of the Tarrance Group, discuss the American electorate and the Presidential election next year at a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society on June 2, 2015 in Washington, DC.

POLL: 72% fear economic crash, concern ‘highest ever’…

 


Former NAACP Official James Wilburn: Rachel Dolezal ‘Has Very Self-Serving Motives’

Wilburn

SPOKANE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) — The nation was both shocked and engrossed at the narrative of Rachel Dolezal, the former head of the NAACP Spokane chapter who was outed as a white woman pretending to be black after her parents went public with the information.

The varying degrees of Dolezal’s family history, work for the NAACP, and choice of identification started a whirlwind debate drawing criticism, confusion, and concern from both the public and those who personally know her.

james-w

“People can identify with another race but it doesn’t change their racial heritage. You inherit your race but to be transgender or transsexual you do not inherit. It is not passed down from your parents.”

— former Spokane NAACP chapter President James Wilburn

For many, the saga prompted a discussion of how Dolezal’s “passing” deception opens the conversation on race in America and if her actions may have damaging consequences to race relations on some levels.

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“Many people felt that her story was so outrageous that it sensationalized the issue of race. Rachel’s  reality is not the true African-American experience. It took us off the real discussion and issues concerning racial discrimination and victimization.”

— Former Spokane NAACP chapter President JamesWilburn

“Many people felt that her story was so outrageous that it sensationalized the issue of race. Rachel’s  reality is not the true African-American experience. It took us off the real discussion and issues concerning racial discrimination and victimization. Black men are losing their lives left and right because of the real color of their skin that they can’t put on Rebecca-Carrolland take off at will,” former Spokane NAACP chapter President James
Wilburn tells CBS Seattle.

“What strikes me as the most perverse and pathological aspect of this story is Dolezal’s relationship to and ultimate identity-theft of her black adoptive siblings, or at least her perception of what their identities mean to them and the world…”

The concept of race being fluid and being something that can be “claimed” is worrisome to many. On the opposite side of the argument, some have defended Dolezal by comparing the choice of race to the choice of gender. This defense itself is problematic for many fighting for civil rights.

“…Not least of all because I could not, at any given point in my life, despite having grown up in a white family, with no black people within a 15-mile radius, suddenly choose to present myself as a white woman.”

— Rebecca Carroll, Director of Digital Media & Marketing at Scenarios USA

“People can identify with another race but it doesn’t change their racial heritage. You inherit your race but to be transgender or transsexual you do not inherit. It is not passed down from your parents,” Wilburn says.

dolenz

“I believe she needs professional help. Someone with the appropriate training in mental health would need to assess her and make the appropriate diagnosis so she can get the help she needs.”

— former Spokane NAACP chapter President James Wilburn

Rebecca Carroll, Director of Digital Media & Marketing at Scenarios USA, notes that Dolezal’s lies shed light on important issues regarding her family relations and transracial (when a child of one race is adopted by the family of another) adoptees. Read the rest of this entry »


Polls: Americans’ Opposition to Mass Immigration Spikes to All-Time High

Hispanic-Construction-Worker

American opposition to the Obama administration and GOP establishment’s extremist immigration policies is boiling at an all-time high, a broad survey of polls shows.

Katie McHugh reports: Sixty percent of Americans are displeased with the current levels of immigration, according to Gallup—a decline from 72 percent in 2008, when the country plunged into a recession, but an increase of six percent from 2014. The majority of adults Gallup polled, 39 percent in a plurality, said they wanted to see immigration levels decrease. Gallup presents these numbers through a partisan filter as “fodder” for Republicans, discomforted as they are by the results.

According to Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans want to “restrict and control” immigration rates. That’s 72 percent of whites, 66 percent of blacks, and 59 percent of Hispanics. Pew frames its questions to suggest that minorities are being somehow oppressed in America, so the results are not only indicative of support for immigration control but also a rejection of the leftist narrative that the U.S. selfishly hoards its goodies from the world. (DREAMers are just breaking into the country for a better, more exciting life of murder and mayhem, you see.)

immigration-overload

A nervous Reuters report, published before the historic 2014 midterm elections, found that support for reduced rates of immigration crushed support for an increase by a three-to-one margin, 45 percent to 17.

With reports revealing that foreign-born workers seized all newly-created jobs from 2000 to 2014, Americans sense that while low-skilled immigrants steal opportunities from Americans looking to enter the job market, highly-skilled immigrants imported on the cheap by businesses threaten to turn middle class professionals into commoditiesSixty-one percent of respondents polled by Princeton Survey Research Associates in June 2013 said we must restrict the number of highly-skilled foreign workers coming into the country, the same summer the Senate struggled to pass the Gang of Eight immigration bill to open the floodgates. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: NBC’s Puffed Up Anchor Brian Williamson: ‘He Couldn’t Stop Himself’

puffed-up-anchor-williams-nro-gold

Surrounded by fans and protected from criticism, it’s no wonder Brian Williams became a serial fabulist

Jonah Goldberggoldberg_square writes: By now everyone knows about his transgressions. If even only some of the reports are true, Brian Williams is a serial embellisher, a self-aggrandizing fabulist.

No doubt everyone knows somebody like this, and if you don’t it’s probably because you’re that guy. But Williams’ case is special. This isn’t some sad Willy Loman at the end of the bar who needs to invent impressive stories about himself. If anything, he needed to not tell such stories, given that he reportedly makes more than $10 million a year to be a trusted name in news.

Yet he couldn’t stop himself.

“To walk down a street with an anchor is to be stunned both by how many people recognize them and how many viewers call out to them about specific stories. There’s a respectful familiarity different from the awe displayed to Hollywood celebrities. The anchor is treated as the citizen’s trusted guide to the news. As a result, they can feel expected to dominate discussions, to tell war stories, to play God.”

— Ken Auletta, The New Yorker’s media critic

I have no doubt that’s true. But I am also certain that Williams is hearing only from the people who see him as their trusted guide to the news, and that can be very deceptive.

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

If Kathy Griffin is the quintessential D-list celebrity, then I’m probably somewhere south of Z. But I do get recognized at airports and restaurants from time to time, mostly because of my stints on Fox News. A couple dozen times a year, someone will come up and compliment me. (Or, they’ll compliment The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, thinking I’m him.)

But you know what virtually never happens? Someone coming up to me to tell me how much they hated my column, my comments, my book, my face, or my existence. Read the rest of this entry »


Two Years After Newton, More Americans Support Gun Rights Over Gun Control

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[Also see The Black Tradition of Arms and Historical Illiteracy]

[More – Black History and the Second Amendment]

Kate Scanlon reports: More Americans support gun rights over gun control, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.

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According to Pew, 52 percent of respondents answered that it is more important to “protect the right of Americans to own guns.” In contrast, 46 percent said that it is more important to “control gun ownership.”

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In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, 51 percent of Americans supported stricter gun control laws, and 45 percent supported gun rights.

12-10-2014-2-23-41-PM

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Now, 57 percent of Americans responded that gun ownership does more to “protect people from becoming victims of violent crime,” while 38 percent believe it does more to “put people’s safety at risk.”

12-10-2014-2-24-00-PM Read the rest of this entry »


Meet the Non-Voters

Who won’t be voting Tuesday: The young, the more racially diverse, the financially strapped http://pewrsr.ch/1DDrk85 

 


Headline Correction of the Day

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View Original


China’s Crackdown on Christianity

Photo courtesy of Lecheng neighborhood church

Photo courtesy of Lecheng neighborhood church

The crackdown may foreshadow a national shift in official policy on religion, a bid by President Xi Jinping to shore up political stability.

For the New York PostJillian Kay Melchior writes: Chinese police attacked the Christians gathered outside of Wenzhou Salvation Church last month, beating them with electric batons.

In this photo taken July 15, 2014, Pastor Tao Chongyin, left, speaks with church member Fan Liang'an in front of the Wuxi Christian Church with the words "Church of Jesus" in red, in Longwan, Wenzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province. Across Zhejiang province, which hugs China’s rocky southeastern coast, authorities have toppled, or threatened to topple, crosses at more than 130 churches. “I won’t let them take down the cross even if it means they would shoot me dead,” said Fan Liang’an, 73, whose grandfather helped build the church in 1924. (AP Photo/Didi Tang)

Pastor Tao Chongyin, left, speaks with church member Fan Liang’an in front of the Wuxi Christian Church with the words “Church of Jesus” in red, in Longwan, Wenzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. (AP Photo/Didi Tang)

“I won’t let them take down the cross even if it means they would shoot me dead.”

— Fan Liang’an, 73, whose grandfather helped build the church in 1924.

At least 14 and as many as 50 worshippers — some elderly — sustained wounds, including a fractured skull, broken bones and internal injuries.

Their crime? Rallying to guard their church cross, government-slated for demolition.

“It’s a risky game: In targeting the church, the Communist leaders also target a crucial source of social stability…”

It was just the latest in the intensifying persecution in Zhejiang Province, one of China’s most Christian regions.china-christians-nyt

[From our August 3rd edition: Report: China on Course to Become World’s Most Christian Nation within 15 years]

Communist China’s effectiveness at resisting reform and discouraging dissent would almost guarantee that Christianity’s future in China is not hopeful as it might appear. With Maoist China’s record of hostility to Christianity, and current success at containing or crushing competing ideologies, is this report drawing premature conclusions? (read more)

Since January, Communist officials there have toppled the crosses of at least 229 churches. The government has also torn down some churches entirely, and issued demolition notices to over 100 more.

“…and may end up politicizing a large and growing part of the population.”

And the crackdown may foreshadow a national shift in official policy on religion, a bid by President Xi Jinping to shore up political stability. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: China on Course to Become World’s Most Christian Nation within 15 years

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The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America.

Speaking with our Hong Kong Bureau Chief yesterday about the often overlooked historical role of the post-reform Christian church as an incubator of enlightened self-governance and radical reform (try to imagine the civil rights movement without it) I was left with the impression that Communist China’s effectiveness at resisting reform and discouraging dissent would almost guarantee that Christianity’s future in China is not hopeful as it might appear. With Maoist China’s record of hostility to Christianity, and current success at containing or crushing competing ideologies, is this report–predicting an uninterrupted rise of Christianity in China–drawing premature conclusions?

Note the reverse image in the mirror: the decline of Christianity in the west. And consider the more troubling historical reverse: the persecution, slaughter, and displacement of Christians around the world.

Liushi, Zhejiang province – For the Telegraph reports: It is said to be China’s biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.CIM_Gospel_Tract

“It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence.”

The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a “miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church”.

“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

The £8 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China’s breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.

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“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this. It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”

“It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence,” beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi’s altar in the lead up to Holy Week.

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On Israel, Democrats Are Losing Their Moral Clarity

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An Israeli soldier was silhouetted as he guarded a post overlooking Bethlehem last month.

For The Boston GlobeJeff Jacoby writes: The Pew Research Center last week released a new survey of American attitudes in the Middle East. The results weren’t surprising. In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, 51 percent of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel. Only 14 percent feel greater affinity for the Palestinians.

Sympathy Toward Israel Has Never Been Higher

Pew’s findings demonstrate the strength of pro-Israel feeling in the United States. The poll was conducted amid the current fighting with Hamas, but the bottom line hardly changed from Pew’s last survey in AprilMaking David into Goliath, when it reported that in the 36 years it has been sampling public opinion, “sympathy toward Israel has never been higher.”

[Check out the bookMaking David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel” at Amazon.com]

But below the surface, America’s Israel-friendly consensus is splitting along the same left-vs.-right fault line that has polarized so many other issues. While support for Israel is overwhelming among Republicans and conservatives, it has been shrinking among Democrats and liberals. “The partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider,” reports Pew, with 73 percent of Republicans sympathetic to Israel in the ongoing conflict, but just 44 percent of Democrats. Respondents identifying as liberal Democrats were five times as likely as conservative Republicans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.

Thus is the Democratic Party losing its way on one of the great moral issues of our time.

For roughly the first third of Israel’s existence, Democrats tended to support the Jewish state more strongly than Republicans did. In a compelling new book, “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel”,  foreign-affairs thinker Joshua Muravchik writes that during the run-up to the Six Day War in 1967, “Israel was above all a cause championed by liberals.” So heartfelt was this support that even ardent Democratic opponents of the Vietnam War, such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene McCarthy, advocated US military action on Israel’s behalf. Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] F.H. Buckley: ‘The Presidency Has Turned Into an Elective Monarchy’

“Presidentialism is significantly and strongly correlated with less political freedom.”

The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in Americabuckleybook by F.H. Buckley, Encounter Books, 2014, 319 pages, $27.99.

For Reason writes: Try making sense out of what Americans tell pollsters. According to the Pew Research Centerfewer than one in five of us trusts the federal government. Gallup says that nearly three quarters of us consider it “the biggest threat to the country in the future.”

[Check out Buckley’s book “The Once and Future King” at Amazon.com]

Yet by equally overwhelming margins, Gallup shows Americans agreeing that “the United States has a unique character because of its history and Constitution that sets it apart from other nations as the greatest in the world.”

[Also see Juan Linz‘s 1990 article “The Perils of Presidentialism”]

Apparently, we’re disgusted and frightened by our government as it actually operates. And yet we’re convinced that we’ve got the best system ever devised by the mind of man.

On both counts, no one’s more convinced than American conservatives. Few goquite as far toward constitutional idolatry as former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who earlier this year proclaimed that God “wrote the Constitution.” But the superiority of our national charter, with its separation of powers and independently elected national executive, is an article of faith for conservatives.

It’s about time for some constitutional impiety on the right, and F.H. Buckley answers the call in his bracing and important new book, The Once and Future King. Buckley, a professor of law at George Mason University and a senior editor at The American Spectator, is unmistakably conservative. But that doesn’t stop him from pointing out that America’s not so all-fired exceptional—or from arguing that our Constitution has made key contributions to our national decline. Read the rest of this entry »


Pew: Democrats Losing Millennials

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Breitbart.com reports:  Barack Obama may be the Republicans’ best friend when it comes to educating 18-33-year olds of the Millennial Generation about the downside of voting for the Democrats’ economic policies. According to a report from the Pew Research Center for Social and Demographic Trends, the 73.7 million Millennialsare “unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future.”

This growing rejection of the Democrat Party will undoubtedly have consequences in the coming mid-term and presidential elections.

Millennials in 2008 were all about the Democratic Party, with only 38% identifying themselves as political independents. Millennials associated Republicans with “a wave of disappointments and embarrassments: Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, congressional corruption scandals, the mortgage crisis.” Millennials were extraordinarily motivated to turn out and vote in 2008 and even more motivated in 2012.

But 50% of Millennials now describe themselves as political independents, “near the highest levels of political disaffiliation recorded for any generation in the quarter-century,” according to the latest Pew Research poll. This comes despite 43% of Millennials and about half of their newborns being Hispanic, Asian, and black, ethnic groups that have strongly favored Democrats in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


Latinos Widely Rejecting Obamacare as Deadline Nears

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 reports: Democrats are becoming vocal about growing concerns over the lack of Latino enrollment in Obamacare healthcare exchanges as the deadline to sign up nears.

Despite claiming about a third of the uninsured population, the Obama administration has struggled to attract Latin Americans to Obamacare. According to one Latino health advocate, the population is simply “not at the table,” and expectations for Latinos to sign up to use the public health exchanges is low. Statistics show that many Latinos are choosing to be fined over having to sign up for Obamacare. This is of particular concern in California, where the healthcare exchanges were considered “the number one priority” of the state and Latinos make up more than half of the state’s uninsured population. Read the rest of this entry »


The Most Cynical Generation

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Note: I like how Jonah cautions about the limits of generational stereotyping, while having some fun with…generational stereotyping. There is fun to be had.

Polling: the scourge of journalism these days. The media’s increasing dependence on polling data contributes to the echo chamber. A poll is taken in America every ten seconds, it seems. Wait, I have an idea. I propose we take a poll on how Americans feel about polls! Look below for our poll, and cast your vote. But first, here’s an intro to Jonah’s article:

Jonah Goldberg writes:  In case you hadn’t heard, young people these days — a.k.a “the Millennials” — are the most cynical and distrusting generation ever recorded. Only 19 percent think most people can be trusted. According to a big study from the Pew Research Center, they are less attached to marriage, religion, and political institutions than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and the other demographic flavors journalists love to use. They like their friends, their digital “social networks,” and their toys, and that’s about it. Not even a majority will call themselves “patriotic.” Probably more dismaying for liberals: Of any living generation, they are the least likely to call themselves environmentalists.

“Honor, glory, and respect are earned individually, not collectively.”

Now, I should say that I often find generational stereotyping pretty annoying. For instance, there was no “greatest generation.” Sure, there were a bunch of great Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy. But is some guy who was in jail in 1943 for petty larceny deserving of special respect because he was born around the same time as a guy who won the Medal of Honor during WWII?

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Hookup Culture: Men Benefit, Women Screwed. This is ‘Empowerment’?

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Women say they’re happy having no-strings sex, but new research casts doubt on how ’empowering’ casual hookups really feel.

Peggy Drexler writes:  In the current season of Parenthood, Berkeley freshman Drew develops a crush on a girl in his dorm. He tells her how he feels, but she hems and haws; she doesn’t seem interested, though she tells him she “likes him as a friend.” But then sometime later she shows up at his door, tipsy, and kisses him—she is the clear aggressor— before they retreat off camera to likely do more that we don’t see (this is network TV, after all). The next day, Drew wants to talk about their “relationship.” She tells him she’s not after anything serious, and sweetly says, “You understand, don’t you?” He doesn’t; not at all.

It’s clear that the show’s writers have created this character dynamic to represent the shift in gender roles among high school and college students, in which the modern young woman eschews tedious relationships in favor of far more “liberated” casual hookups. This is a phenomenon that has been widely documented, most recently in writer Kate Taylor’s New York Times story called “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too,” which echoed a 2012 piece by Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic called “Boys on the Side.” In both pieces, the writers chronicled a number of women (Taylor’s at the University of Pennsylvania, Rosin’s at Yale): smart, pretty, and most of all, independent women who use casual sex for pleasure in a way once monopolized by men. They sleep with guys but don’t date them. They talk almost clinically about the “‘cost-benefit’ analyses and the ‘low risk and low investment costs’ of hooking up.” Hooking up is about satisfying a physical need, and nothing more. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Obama’s Approval Rating Is Down

The president’s approval rating has fallen as much as 16 points since mid-December. Here’s why.

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Double Standards: NPR’s Low Approval Reporting on Obama vs. Bush

imagesDoug Powers reports: Virtually identical approval ratings in similar points in their presidencies don’t make for equal reporting, as NPR demonstrates.

Here’s NPR in October of 2005 with Bush at a 38 percent approval rating. Headline: “Poll: Bush’s Ratings Drop on Nearly All Fronts”:

President Bush’s approval ratings are in a steep decline, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. The survey found that only 38 percent of Americans think the president is doing a good job, down from 50 percent in January. For the first time in his presidency, the numbers show most people think Bush will be judged as an unsuccessful president.

Fast forward the tape to this week. Gallup has President Obama at a 39 percent approval (NPR reports the number is “around 40 percent,” a rounding-up that they almost certainly wouldn’t have seen fit to give Bush). Here’s NPR’s headline: “Why Obama Shouldn’t Worry About His Lousy Poll Numbers”:

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Operation Outreach: GOP Millennial Campaign

Elliot Echols, 23, of Rome, Ga., the Republican Party's first national youth director, recruited for the party while at Berry College in 2011.  Read more: http://triblive.com/politics/salenazito/4941076-74/echols-gop-party#ixzz2ivNhRGRZ  Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Elliot Echols, 23, of Rome, Ga., the Republican Party’s first national youth director, recruited at Berry College in 2011

The GOP wants to get its groove back with young people. It took a step toward that on Thursday by naming Elliott Echols as the party’s first national youth director, seven months after releasing a report that showed people perceive the Grand Old Party as, well, old and disconnected from pop culture.

“Today’s announcement is groundbreaking,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “Bringing Elliot on board in an off-year will help us build relationships with young voters and mobilize students and young professionals to take our message to their peers.”

Yet Echols’ work will resonate beyond the 2014 elections, Priebus said, noting that “young Americans are independent-minded people who are concerned about getting our nation’s economy back on track.”

Echols, 23, of Rome, Ga., told the Tribune-Review he has goals for his new role.

“The biggest is to bring young, energized people to the GOP,” he said. “There are a lot of young people who are eager to make a change, but they can’t change anything if they’re not a part of the process.”

Echols began to identify himself as a conservative in college: “I majored in economics, and it shaped the way I thought about policies, people’s choices and the size of government.”

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Next Wave of Promising Young Republican Voters: Millennials Who Hate Obamacare

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 Republicans need young voters, Obama just handed it to them

Alex Roarty writes:  Republicans are searching for an in with Millennials, and they think Obamacare’s glitchy rollout is it.

Next to minorities, there’s no larger voting bloc more resistant to the Republican Party. (President Obama won 18 to 29 year olds by at least 23 points in both of his campaigns.) GOP leaders feared the party’s positions on social issues like gay marriage and immigration had alienated a generation of voters.

But then the Affordable Care Act’s online exchanges went live, or tried to, on Oct. 1. Now, with everyone from comedian Jon Stewart to the satirical Onion web site mocking the program’s rollout, Republicans see a chance to convince young voters that big-government solutions favored by Democrats don’t work.

It’s an argument resting on an assumption about young people: Even if they possess an overall liberal bent, youths reserve enough skepticism for big government – and big institutions generally – to make them receptive to the GOP’s message. The heart of a fiscal conservative, they hope, lies inside every Millennial.

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Poll: Majority of Palestinian Authority Muslims Support Suicide Bombings

An Islamic Jihad militant speaks during a press conference in Gaza City on March 12, 2012, following overnight Israel air strikes on the Gaza Strip in which two Palestinians were killed.    AFP PHOTO/ TOPSHOTS/ MOHAMMED ABED

AFP PHOTO/ TOPSHOTS/ MOHAMMED ABED

A poll recently released by the Pew Research Center flies in the face of Barack Obama’s attitude toward the Palestinian people world and their desire for peace. The poll, which was conducted among 11 different nationalities comprised of large Muslim populations, found that there was unanimity among them in their opposition to suicide bombings-with one exception.

One question asked whether suicide bombings could ever be justified. The possible answers were “Never,” “Rarely,” “Sometimes,” “Often” and “Don’t Know.” Unlike their Muslim brethren, 62% of those from the “Palestinian Territories” (the areas of Palestinian Authority-controlled Judea and Samaria, and the area of Gaza) said suicide bombings were “sometimes” justifiable. The next largest group approving was from Lebanon, with 33% approving. Of those who said the suicide bombings were “often” justifiable, 37% of Palestinians approved. The second highest group was from Senegal, at 11%. Read the rest of this entry »