Saturday, April 18, 2015
sciencedaily | Most partisans -- average Democratic and Republican voters -- act like fans in sports rivalries instead of making political choices based on issues, according to a new study with a University of Kansas researcher as the lead author.
"What is the consequence of today's polarized politics? What's motivating partisans to vote in this climate?" said Patrick Miller, a University of Kansas assistant professor of political science. "For too many of them, it's not high-minded, good-government, issue-based goals. It's, 'I hate the other party. I'm going to go out, and we're going to beat them.' That's troubling."
Miller and Pamela Johnston Conover, a distinguished professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are co-authors of the study "Red and Blue States of Mind: Partisan Hostility and Voting in the United States," published recently in the journal Political Research Quarterly.
The researchers analyzed the attitudes of voters nationwide in survey data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. They found that many average voters with strong party commitments -- both Democrats and Republicans -- care more about their parties simply winning the election than they do either ideology or issues. Unlike previous research, the study found that loyalty to the party itself was the source of partisan rivalry and incivility, instead of a fundamental disagreement over issues.
The survey showed that 41 percent of partisans agreed that simply winning elections is more important to them than policy or ideological goals, while just 35 percent agreed that policy is a more important motivator for them to participate in politics. Only 24 percent valued both equally or expressed no opinion.
When it came to uncivil attitudes, 38 percent of partisans agreed that their parties should use any tactics necessary to "win elections and issue debates." When those who agreed with this view were asked what tactics they had in mind, the most common ones they offered were voter suppression, stealing or cheating in elections, physical violence and threats against the other party, lying, personal attacks on opponents, not allowing the other party to speak and using the filibuster to gridlock Congress. Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to express this opinion.
"This is the first research to show that strong partisans who are motivated by partisan conflict are endorsing uncivil attitudes about the political process," Miller said. "This comes to an important point. If our politicians are polarized and uncivil, maybe it's because many voters are polarized and uncivil."
Friday, April 17, 2015
ratchetmessreturns | Since the 1960s, Black America has been plagued with a growing cultural epidemic, beginning with the most poor and underexposed and then spreading beyond the inner cities where they lived. Over the past half-century this counterproductive culture of negativity has permeated both the entertainment and sports industries, and now affects Americans of all races and walks of life. Characterized by escapism and materialism, this culture calls irresponsibility freedom, glorifies crime, violence, and hypersexuality, defies all authority, and acts as a coping mechanism for those who feel rejected by mainstream society and economy.
This culture is being “ghetto”.
Now reaching far beyond housing projects, slums, and other depressed urban areas, ghetto culture attracts ‘wannabes’ who wish to identify with the either hardness and struggle or the criminal element of many people living in poverty. Being truly “ghetto” is universal. Because prostitution is one major aspect of the criminal economy of inner cities, the relative degradation and abuse of women is a part of the culture that members of every walk of life can participate in. The abuse of drugs and alcohol as well as the preoccupation with flashy, expensive clothes and cars is attractive and accessible to anyone who has the money and time to spend seeking pleasure in these things. So, you clearly don’t have to live in the ghetto to ‘be’ ghetto; thanks to the entertainment industry, the gospel of the ghetto has been spread far and wide, promising fleshy satisfaction to all who would exchange civility for vulgarity and rebellion, and who will live for today instead of planning for tomorrow.
Hopefully, my description of ghetto culture depresses you, at least a bit. If not, you may indeed be desensitized due to overexposure.
In case you are wondering, I believe I understand ghetto culture because I was born and raised in the hood (I will break down the difference between the two in another article) and lived in the midst of various ghettos in Detroit, Michigan, a city thoroughly infused with ghetto culture. My wife however was raised in an upper class family and has never once been seen in any shady area around town. I never fully immersed myself in it, but I have been and still can get a little ghetto, even to this day.
Some of it really is harmless fun.
Most of it, however, is not.
While I don’t judge people I do judge things, and ghetto culture is one of those things that inner city dwellers need to graduate from. It was fostered by the rise of government social services and welfare programs and nurtured by a warped, maternal family structure born out of war, underemployment, and crime. When men ceased to be the head of families in urban areas, ghetto culture spread like a disease. Now, America’s metropolises are plagued with restless, ignorant, self-serving, deviants and those who validate them by sharing in the customs and entertainment of ghetto culture. No, you may not break into people’s homes and rob them, but you sing along with the rapper who glorifies such actions. You may live conservatively during the week but on the weekends you party in the ghetto, with the ghetto, or like the ghetto, further validating the negativity of ghetto culture. While you may not live in a poor area, you like to flash your designer goods and expensive cars in areas where ghetto people can admire you for owning them.
So, even though you aren’t in the ghetto, if the ghetto is in you, you are part of the problem.
We have to graduate from ghetto. People living in ghettos often use ghetto culture as a way of coping with a seemingly hopeless situation; if there is no way out, I should just make the best of what I have. However, when those who are not confined to the ghetto validate the self-destructive culture of the ghetto, it only confirms that there is no need to strive for anything else! People now work to get out of the ghetto just so they can live “ghetto-fabulous”! What kind of sense does that make? Leave the ghetto so I can live like a king in the ghetto, except outside the ghetto, kinda? The idea should be to get out of the ghetto so that we can live safe, productive, responsible lives that ensure our children never have to live in a ghetto. How does spending exorbitant amounts of money on clothes, intoxicants, vehicles, and recreation build a future for you or your family? It may be fun for now, but what happens when later comes?
Oh, that’s right; the government is supposed to give you what you need then because you couldn’t ‘afford’ to think ahead when you did have means and opportunity to build.
That’s their job, right?
No, it’s ours; that is why for every ghetto, there must be an anti-ghetto. The anti-ghetto is simply the sphere in which any person or group from or in the ghetto simply refuses to conform to the expectations and the culture of the ghetto.
Someone who subscribes to anti-ghetto culture:
- Refuses to listen to music or support artists that glorify ghetto culture and ideals
- Refuses to degrade themselves in speech, dress, or demeanor as ghetto culture allows and encourages
- Refuses to be depend on government assistance as a way of life, especially when the benefits are not necessary for survival
- Refuses to glory in ignorance but values education in all forms, both formal and informal
- Makes empowerment not only a goal, but a lifestyle
- Respects themselves and others
- Obeys just laws and works to change unjust laws
- Honors their own bodies through proper nutrition, exercise, and moderation in delicacies and non-nutritional consumables
- Speaks with dignity and respect for self and the environment he or she is in
- Seeks to act as an agent of change and shine as a beacon of hope for others who wish to live above and beyond the ghetto
It’s time for the anti-ghetto element to rise in the inner cities and abroad.
medialens | We live in a time when compassionate rhetoric is used as a weapon of state-corporate control. The rhetoric focuses on ethical concerns such as racial, gender and same-sex equality, but is disconnected from any kind of coherent ethical worldview. Corporate commentators are thereby freed to laud these moral principles, even as they ignore high crimes of state-corporate power.
Thus, it was deemed 'historic', even 'epoch-making', by our corporate culture that Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States. And it certainly was a triumph for racial equality. But the moral significance was hailed by a media commentariat that proceeded to gaze with blank indifference at the ethical trailblazer's bombing of seven countries, his deep involvement in four ongoing, full-scale wars, his devastation of Libya, and his abject failure to address the apocalyptic threat of climate change.
Alongside these horrors, Obama's involvement in the Honduran coup, his diplomatic and military support for Egypt's blood-soaked military junta, and his $90bn in arms sales sent (in the last four years) to a Saudi Arabian tyranny wreaking havoc in Syria and Yemen, are mere footnotes.
None of this matters: for our corporate media, Obama remains, above all, the inspirational first black president.
Similarly, in evaluating Obama's possible successor, the Guardian's editorial 'view on Hillary Clinton' focuses on the problem that she is 'hammering the glass ceiling (again)' of gender inequality:
'with four years as her nation's chief diplomat on the world stage under her belt, Mrs Clinton's personal gravitas is even harder to quibble with than it might have been in 2008'.
So, for the Guardian editors, Clinton has more 'personal gravitas' now - she actually has more dignity, should be taken more seriously. A remarkable response, as we will see. The Guardian continues:
'On foreign policy, her spell as secretary of state leaves her with a somewhat clearer record - she is associated with a rather more interventionist approach than Mr Obama. Her admirers would describe her as a happy mix of the smart and the muscular; doubters will recall her vote for the ruinous invasion of Iraq in 2003, and prefer the Obama-esque oath to first do no harm.'
The cognitive dissonance could hardly be more glaring: Obama's colour and Clinton's gender are key ethical concerns, and yet Obama's responsibility for mass killing is not only not a concern, it is not even recognised. Instead, he continues to be presented as a benevolent non-interventionist who has consistently chosen to 'do no harm'.
FP | In the end, the fate of Rwanda’s victims hardly figured at all in U.S. calculations about the international community’s response to what turned out to be the worst mass killing since the Holocaust, according to hundreds of pages of internal White House memos.
On the contrary, Richard Clarke, a special assistant to President Bill Clinton on global affairs in the NSC and Rice’s boss, had already been looking for a way out of Rwanda for months. Rwanda’s descent into mass killing, paradoxically, provided a fresh opportunity.
“We make a lot of noise about terminating U.N. forces that aren’t working,” Clarke wrote on April 9, just three days after the genocide started. “Well, few could be as clearly not working. We should work with the French to gain a consensus to terminate the U.N. mission.”
The Clinton administration’s failure to muster a credible international response to Rwanda’s mass murder has been amply documented over the past two decades. President Clinton and his key aides — including National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright, and Rice, who has since risen to become President Barack Obama’s top national security advisor — have all publicly expressed regret that they didn’t do more to stem the killing.
But the recently declassified documents — which include more than 200 pages of internal memos and handwritten notes from Rice and other key White House players — provide a far more granular account of how the White House sought to limit U.N. action. They fill a major gap in the historical record, providing the most detailed chronicle to date of policy instructions and actions taken by White House staffers, particularly Clarke and Rice, who appear to have exercised greater influence over U.S. policy on Rwanda than the White House’s Africa hands.
The National Security Archive and the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide obtained the documents during a two-and-a-half-year effort to amass long-secret records of internal deliberations by the United States, the U.N., and other foreign governments. They add to a collection of some 20,000 declassified documents from Britain, France, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and the United States. They were mhttps://temple3.wordpress.com/the-clinton-plan-for-africa/ade available exclusively in advance to Foreign Policy before their public release Thursday, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The White House documents, which were secured through Freedom of Information Act requests, largely confirm previous accounts that portray the Clinton administration as reluctant to play the role of global police force, stung by peacekeeping setbacks in Bosnia and Somalia and faced with a hostile Congress bent on cutting funding for new U.N. adventures.
But these documents also alter the public record. It was the White House, not a beleaguered Belgian government that had just suffered the brutal murder of 10 of its soldiers, that was the first to advocate a pullout of U.N. blue helmets from Rwanda during the genocide, where they served as a last line of defense for tens of thousands of terrified Tutsi civilians.
A midlevel crisis
The documents provide few fresh insights into the thinking of President Clinton, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, or other top officials, reinforcing indications that Rwanda policy was left to midlevel bureaucrats. They place Clarke and Rice — who were overseeing a far-reaching review of U.N. peacekeeping — at the crux of American efforts to limit U.N. involvement in Rwanda in the face of mounting congressional pressure to rein in U.N. peacekeeping costs. The death of 18 U.S. Rangers in Mogadishu while participating in a raid on a Somali clan on Oct. 3, 1993, less than six months before the genocide began, only hardened the administration’s resolve to say no to an ambitious new peacekeeping operation in a country with few historical links to the United States.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
WaPo | One month before his suicide, Tom Schweich announced that he was running for governor. He looked pale and tired, with dark crescents under his eyes, but he spoke with precision and force. He told supporters he had learned to fight liberals by attending Harvard and Yale, to fight corruption by serving as state auditor, and to fight terrorism by serving the U.S. government in Afghanistan.
“At the State Department, I negotiated with everybody from Chinese bureaucrats to Afghan warlords,” he said. “And I’ll tell you: Negotiating with Afghan warlords was really good practice for Missouri politics.”
On the morning of Feb. 26, Schweich put a .22-caliber handgun to his left temple and pulled the trigger. He left behind a wife, two children and a Missouri Republican Party divided over the meaning of his death.
Four weeks later, Schweich’s loyal spokesman, Spence Jackson, also fatally shot himself. The two suicides stunned political observers far beyond Missouri’s borders and drew attention to the darkest undercurrent of a race that had quickly turned nasty: allegations that one of Schweich’s GOP rivals had made an insidious appeal to anti-Semitism.
The rival denied the charge, and a police report released this week found little evidence of a sustained campaign. But Schweich’s friends insist that the whispered bigotry was real and that it devastated the emotionally fragile Schweich — who, the report said, had threatened suicide in the past. As the governor’s race continues without him, his death has sparked a debate in Missouri over the ugliness and innuendo that pervade modern politics.
NYTimes | The average citizen of Nepal consumes about 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a year. Cambodians make do with 160. Bangladeshis are better off, consuming, on average, 260.
Then there is the fridge in your kitchen. A typical 20-cubic-foot refrigerator — Energy Star-certified, to fit our environmentally conscious times — runs through 300 to 600 kilowatt-hours a year.
American diplomats are upset that dozens of countries — including Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh — have flocked to join China’s new infrastructure investment bank, a potential rival to the World Bank and other financial institutions backed by the United States.
The reason for the defiance is not hard to find: The West’s environmental priorities are blocking their access to energy.
A typical American consumes, on average, about 13,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. The citizens of poor countries — including Nepalis, Cambodians and Bangladeshis — may not aspire to that level of use, which includes a great deal of waste. But they would appreciate assistance from developed nations, and the financial institutions they control, to build up the kind of energy infrastructure that could deliver the comfort and abundance that Americans and Europeans enjoy.
Too often, the United States and its allies have said no.
The United States relies on coal, natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power for about 95 percent of its electricity, said Todd Moss, from the Center for Global Development. “Yet we place major restrictions on financing all four of these sources of power overseas.”
RT | A top Federal Reserve official indicated Tuesday that the municipal bankruptcies of Detroit, Michigan, and Stockton, California, could mean further such filings in the future, more so that current bond ratings suggest.
At a workshop on the US bankruptcy code for local governments, or Chapter 9, New York Fed President William Dudley spoke of the possibility for more US cities to fall into bankruptcy before long.
"While these particular bankruptcy filings have captured a considerable amount of attention, and rightly so, they may foreshadow more widespread problems than what might be implied by current bond ratings," Dudley said, according to a text of his speech.
"We need to focus our attention today on addressing the underlying issues before any problems grow to the point where bankruptcy becomes the only viable option," he added.
Dudley did not mention any specific municipalities that could join the likes of Detroit, but he did say that cities borrowing money to pay for a current year's operating budget is "equivalent to asking future taxpayers to help finance today's public services."
Chicago is one city that is facing unfunded pension liabilities of more than $35 billion, according to the Civic Federation. Chicago received a warning just last week -- the same week it reelected Rahm Emanuel as mayor -- from Standard & Poor's over its debts, as the city has $8.3 billion in general obligation bond debt.
"In our view, if the city fails to articulate and implement a plan by the end of 2015 to sustainably fund its pension contributions, or if it substantially draws down its reserves to fund the contributions, we will likely lower the rating," Standard & Poor's wrote. "This is regardless of whatever relief the state legislature may or may not provide. We will likely affirm the rating and revise the outlook to stable if Chicago is able to successfully absorb its higher pension costs while maintaining balanced budgetary performance and reserves at or near their current level."
Unfunded pensions across the US could be as high as several trillion dollars, Dudley said.
RT | The Tennessee House of Representatives has voted to make the Bible the official state book. Legislators backed the measure despite questions raised by the state’s attorney general about the bill’s constitutionality and the governor’s stated disapproval.
Republican state Rep. Jerry Sexton, a pastor for 25 years before being elected in November, sponsored the bill to make the Bible a state symbol.
“History's going to tell us where we stand on this. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to have the side that I'm on,” Sexton said after the vote. “It may be kind to me in the future and it may not be kind, and that's OK. I made a decision for today and I feel good about it.”
The House was initially set to vote on the bill on Tuesday, but waited until Wednesday after receiving the state attorney general’s legal opinion on the issue, as requested by state Rep. Bill Sanderson (R). The legislation passed 55-38 over the legal objections of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III.
“Yes, designating The Holy Bible as the official state book of Tennessee would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the federal Constitution and Article I, § 3, of the Tennessee Constitution, which provides ‘that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship,’” Slatery wrote in his legal opinion.
“When the legislature chooses an official state symbol, it is in effect saying that the symbol, whether it be a poem, a flag, a rock, or a glass of milk, stands for and represents the State and its values in a positive way,” Slatery wrote. “Thus, these designations of ‘official state symbols’ inherently carry the imprimatur and endorsement of the government.”
Rep. Marc Gravitt (R) said the attorney general's legal opinion made it clear Tennessee could spend millions of dollars in a losing effort to defend the measure if it becomes law, Reuters reported.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
NationalReview | One of the most frustrating aspects of the loud and vitriolic debates over police shootings is the extent to which they ignore common sense and human nature. In the quest to find grand narratives, we’re too quick to discount the simple realities of how human beings react during times of stress, and we minimize the reciprocal moral and legal responsibilities that citizens owe police and police owe citizens.
First, when wary, angry, and/or frightened citizens interact with wary, angry, and/or frightened police — often at odd hours and in moments of maximum stress — there will inevitably be a certain number of both tragic mistakes and heinous crimes. Thus, it stands to reason that we should endeavor to decrease — not increase — such interactions. Yet our regulatory state keeps criminalizing more and more conduct. In two of the worst recent incidents, Eric Garner’s choking death and Walter’s Scott’s apparent execution, the victims were facing prosecution for violating petty or stupid criminal laws — selling loose cigarettes in Garner’s case and failing to pay child support in Scott’s case. Regarding child support, it’s idiotic policy to lock deadbeat dads in debtors’ prisons. According to one study of South Carolina jails, one out of every eight inmates was behind bars for falling behind on child support. Yet inmates are notoriously poor earners, and stints in prison tend to exacerbate chronic unemployment.
TPM | Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said Monday night that Hillary Clinton has an edge in the 2016 presidential election because white men and Christians are under attack in the U.S.
O'Reilly added that he will be "fair" but "tough" to Clinton during the election.
"I don’t think gender matters one bit, and if this war on women business is resurrected, we’ll have something to say about it," he said.
He also warned Clinton against aligning with "smear merchants" like Media Matters.
Watch the clip via Media Matters:
slate | There’s wide consensus around the video: Walter Scott was shot and killed in cold blood as he ran for his life from Michael Slager, the cop who stands charged with his murder in North Charleston, South Carolina. But Scott’s demise was set in motion moments earlier, when Slager decided to pull him over for a traffic violation—a stop that never should have happened.
The dashcam video leaves no doubt as to why Slager pulled over Scott: “The reason for the stop is that your third brake light’s out,” Slager told Scott, minutes prior to the fatal shooting.
Slager’s asserted “reason” had no premise in South Carolina law: Scott’s vehicle was in full compliance. Lacking reasonable suspicion that Scott was doing something illegal, Slager should’ve never pulled him over in the first place, unless his true motive was something other than a concern for enforcing the laws he took an oath to uphold.
Policing minor traffic violations as a pretext for more intrusive, “crime-fighting” stops is a real and dangerous problem—Slate’s Jamelle Bouie broke down the numbers of how people of color are hit hardest by this rampant style of roadside discrimination.
But there’s another problem: The legal pretexts police use for such traffic stops can be plainly mistaken or made up.
South Carolina law is straightforward on the issue of third brake lights. Motor vehicles must be equipped with “a stop lamp on the rear”—a singular brake light, which is to be maintained in good working order. A South Carolina appeals court has confirmed this reading: A single operating brake light means a vehicle is “in full compliance with all statutory requirements regarding rear vehicle lights,” and a stop premised on requiring anything more is “unreasonable” and thus a violation of the driver’s constitutional rights.
So why did Slager pull over Scott? If what he said, as captured on the dashcam account, is to be believed, Slager made a mistake and decided to “seize” Scott for a law not in the books. In a perfect world, such errors should never give a police officer an opportunity to stop anyone.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
salon | Hillary Clinton wants to run for president as an economic populist, as a humane progressive interested in bolstering the fortunes of poor and middle class Americans. But before liberals enthusiastically sign up for Team Hillary, they should remember this: In the late 1990s, Bill Clinton played in instrumental role in creating the world’s largest prison system — one that has devastated our inner cities, made a mockery of American idealism abroad, and continues to inflict needless suffering on millions of people. And he did it with his wife’s support.
That liberals are now being asked to get excited for Hillary’s Clinton’s candidacy, announced on Sunday, almost requires the suspension of disbelief. That the best progressive alternative to Clinton is a long-shot from Vermont is a tragedy. This is not to say that President Hillary Clinton would pursue the same prison policies as her husband — the political headwinds on criminal justice reform have shifted considerably in the past two decades, and the Clintons, accordingly, have shifted with them. But past actions should matter, and what they show is that the Clinton Dynasty embraced and exacerbated one of the late 20th Century’s greatest public policy disasters.
The explosion of the prison system under Bill Clinton’s version of the “War on Drugs” is impossible to dispute. The total prison population rose by 673,000 people under Clinton’s tenure — or by 235,000 more than it did under President Ronald Reagan, according to a study by the Justice Policy Institute. “Under President Bill Clinton, the number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled, and grew more than it did under the previous 12-years of Republican rule,combined,” states the JPI report (italics theirs). The federal incarceration rate in 1999, the last year of the Democrat’s term, was 42 per 100,000 — more than double the federal incarceration rate at the end of President Reagan’s term (17 per 100,000), and 61 percent higher than at the end of President George Bush’s term (25 per 100,000), according to JPI.
people-press | Democrats hold advantages in party identification among blacks, Asians, Hispanics, well-educated adults and Millennials. Republicans have leads among whites – particularly white men, those with less education and evangelical Protestants – as well as members of the Silent Generation.
A new analysis of long-term trends in party affiliation among the public provides a detailed portrait of where the parties stand among various groups in the population. It draws on more than 25,000 interviews conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014, which allows examination of partisan affiliation across even relatively small racial, ethnic, educational and income subgroups. (Explore detailed tables for 2014 here.)
The share of independents in the public, which long ago surpassed the percentages of either Democrats or Republicans, continues to increase. Based on 2014 data, 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. This is the highest percentage of independents in more than 75 years of public opinion polling. (For a timeline of party affiliation among the public since 1939, see this interactive feature.)
When the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account, 48% either identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 39% identify as Republicans or lean Republican. The gap in leaned party affiliation has held fairly steady since 2009, when Democrats held a 13-point advantage (50% to 37%).
A closer look at …
Race and ethnicity. Republicans hold a 49%-40% lead over the Democrats in leaned party identification among whites. The GOP’s advantage widens to 21 points among white men who have not completed college (54%-33%) and white southerners (55%-34%). The Democrats hold an 80%-11% advantage among blacks, lead by close to three-to-one among Asian Americans (65%-23%) and by more than two-to-one among Hispanics (56%-26%).
Gender. Women lean Democratic by 52%-36%; men are evenly divided (44% identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 43% affiliate with or lean toward the GOP). Gender differences are evident in nearly all subgroups: For instance, Republicans lead among married men (51%-38%), while married women are evenly divided (44% Republican, 44% Democratic). Democrats hold a substantial advantage among all unmarried adults, but their lead in leaned partisan identification is greater among unmarried women (57%-29%) than among unmarried men (51%-34%).
Education. Democrats lead by 22 points (57%-35%) in leaned party identification among adults with post-graduate degrees. The Democrats’ edge is narrower among those with college degrees or some post-graduate experience (49%-42%), and those with less education (47%-39%). Across all educational categories, women are more likely than men to affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic. The Democrats’ advantage is 35 points (64%-29%) among women with post-graduate degrees, but only eight points (50%-42%) among post-grad men.
Generations. Millennials continue to be the most Democratic age cohort; 51% identify as Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 35% who identify with the GOP or lean Republican. There are only slight differences in partisan affiliation between older and younger millennials. Republicans have a four-point lead among the Silent Generation (47%-43%), the most Republican age cohort.
Religion. Republicans lead in leaned party identification by 48 points among Mormons and 46 points among white evangelical Protestants. Younger white evangelicals (those under age 35) are about as likely older white evangelicals to identify as Republicans or lean Republican. Adults who have no religious affiliation lean Democratic by a wide margins (36 points). Jews lean Democratic by roughly two-to-one (61% to 31%). The balance of leaned partisan affiliation among white Catholics and white mainline Protestants closely resembles that of all whites.
theatlantic | Public policy has “focused on the concentration of poverty and residential segregation. This has problematized non-white and high-poverty neighborhoods,” said Goetz, the director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, when presenting his findings at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. “It’s shielded the other end of the spectrum from scrutiny—to the point where we think segregation of whites is normal.”
Goetz and his team are still researching the effects of this self-segregation of whites, but he thinks that a high number of RCAAs may be a negative factor for cities.
“Some people argue that when whites and affluent people segregate themselves, it can erode empathy, and it can inhibit the pursuit of region-wide remedies,” he told me. “It can inhibit a sense of shared destiny within a metropolitan area.”
This brings to mind a metro area such as Detroit, which emerged from bankruptcy last year, and was characterized by a poor and segregated urban core and wealthy white suburbs that did not contribute to the city’s revenue. The executive of Oakland County, to Detroit’s north, which is one of the whitest areas in the nation, has said publicly he doesn’t feel any incentive to help the city of Detroit.
Goetz and his team also researched the RCAAs’ and RCAPs’ distance to downtown. Areas of affluence are located, on average, 21.1 miles from a metro area’s downtown. In Detroit, racially concentrated areas of affluence are, on average, 24.2 miles from the city’s downtown. In Washington, D.C., racially concentrated areas of affluence are 25.1 miles from downtown; in Chicago, they’re 22.1 miles. Racially concentrated areas of poverty, on the other hand, are on average 6.6 miles from downtown, and in cities such as Baltimore, St. Louis, and Philadelphia, they’re much closer.
Monday, April 13, 2015
reactionary, seat-of-the-pants conservatard governance embarrases GOP and devastates constituents..,
theatlantic | Now, Kansas's red ink has left the governor red- faced. Brownback is asking Republican state lawmakers to slow the income tax cuts over the next few years, raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, overhaul school funding, and divert money from the state's highway fund in order to balance the budget. It's not as if he's abandoning his conservative economic philosophy—he still wants to replace the state's income tax entirely with consumption taxes over time. And like any politician on the ropes, he is preaching patience. "These things take time," he said last month. He also acknowledged the toll his stumbles have taken on his image. "We're in Lent season, so I'm giving up worldly things, like popularity," he joked to a small crowd. Brownback has blamed the budget shortfall in part on automatic increases in education spending (a subject of a long-running court dispute), and he's cited a recent uptick in job growth as evidence that the tax cuts, on the whole, are working. "Kansas is on the rise, and the state of our state is strong," the governor proclaimed in an annual budget address in January.
Yet Brownback's latest proposals represent at least a partial retreat, and it's unclear how many of them the legislature will approve. "He’s trying to figure out how to save face. I think that’s the bottom line," Rochelle Chronister, a former Republican state chairwoman, told me. Chronister has led the GOP opposition to Brownback's agenda through the group she founded, Traditional Republicans for Common Sense. A separate anti-Brownback effort led more than 100 current and former Kansas GOP officials to endorse Brownback's Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, in the 2014 election. Brownback won anyway, 50 to 46 percent. "He’s lived and died by this philosophy," Chronister said of the governor, "and it’s becoming more and more obvious that it is not going to be successful."
Lori McMillan, a law professor at Topeka's Washburn University specializing in taxation, said Brownback's latest proposals were "band-aids" and an example of a "reactionary, by-the-seat-of-your-pants fiscal policy." The original tax plan went awry, tax analysts said, not merely because it slashed rates but because it wasn't paired with deeper structural changes to the budget. The exemption for businesses wasn't tailored narrowly enough to encourage job creation, and so people rushed to take advantage of it without actually boosting employment. "They used a lot of adjectives I’m sure they now regret, like 'immediate' and 'shot-in-the-arm' and 'adrenaline,'" said Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation. "Just cutting taxes, and so deeply, without really any plans for how the state will pay for the spending that it’s not cutting–that’s proven to be a big problem there."
theatlantic | Writing the final manuscript, he synthesized the team’s research on racial discrimination in the United States, but he also injected his untested hypothesis about white Americans. The first pages of An American Dilemma stated that the race problem in the United States was a moral issue: “The Negro is a ‘problem’ to the average American partly because of a palpable conflict between the status actually awarded him and those ideals.” Americans not only felt this tension, he argued, but also acted on it to create positive social change in the country. In the final chapter, he emphasized to his American readers the global significance of living up to their egalitarian ideals. However, he offered no empirical support for his conclusion that Americans experienced a moral dilemma at the sight of racial discrimination.
Reviewing Myrdal’s book, Howard University’s E. Franklin Frazier wrote: “One would certainly agree with the author in the sense that all social problems are moral problems. But it might be questioned whether the problem is on the conscience of white people to the extent implied in his statement of the problem.” Echoing Frazier in his own review of An American Dilemma, Yale University sociologist Davie reflected: “Though the treatment of the Negroes is without a doubt the greatest challenge to American democracy, the conscience of white America does not appear to be as aware and disturbed as Myrdal thinks it is from the rational moral standpoint.”
The University of North Carolina’s Campbell tested the hypothesis on nearly three hundred students at an un-disclosed public university in the South that was likely his own. “Gunnar Myrdal performed a disservice to our understanding of segregated social systems by his drastic simplification of the normative dimensions of the issue,” he concluded. “It seems apparent that the American Creed simply is not transmitted to many people as a set of values pertinent to racial issues. Further, a segregated system provides its own set of counter-norms, a rationale that justifies the system while it helps the actor in the system to compartmentalize or re-interpret the American Creed.” Yes, racial discrimination in the United States conflicted with the American Creed. And yet, Campbell’s study suggested that Americans did not necessarily experience any moral angst about the contradiction.
Late-twentieth-century sociologists peppered journal articles with doubts about Gunnar Myrdal’s claims. Nevertheless, the American public embraced this image of itself. Even today, with little reflection on whether it is true or not, Americans like to echo Myrdal’s hypothesis that they belong to a people whose moral compass drives them to address racial discrimination. When he spoke at Selma, President Obama perpetuated this theory. Over seventy years after the publication of An American Dilemma and in this moment of heightened reflection on racial discrimination in the United States, though, perhaps it is time for the American public to question that idea.
Myrdal’s theory of Americans as a moral people who champion racial equality may seem harmless. After all, much as Myrdal imagined, it might motivate Americans to achieve these ideals, and it can burnish the image of the United States abroad. But however comforting and flattering that image might be, and however politically useful it may prove on the domestic and global stages, it obscures harder truths. As Campbell discovered, many Americans felt that segregation was either irrelevant to, or consonant with, these basic principles. Instead of assuming, like Myrdal, that Americans will inevitably feel compelled to rectify racial discrimination to meet their egalitarian ideals, perhaps making progress on issues of race requires acknowledging that absent difficult discussions on what equality means in the U.S. and conscious organizing to bring it about, nothing will change at all.
theatlantic | THAT brings me to the issue of race consciousness. America in Black and White takes a very strong line in favor of what might be called "racelessness" for blacks (and whites). The authors castigate a black high school student for speaking of "my people" in reference to people of African descent. "His people" should be simply the American people, they suggest. Would that it were so. Public expressions of racial solidarity by blacks worry them. They call "racially divisive" a slogan one used to see on T-shirts -- "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand." They go this far: The police in Boston, believing the story of one Charles Stuart, a white man who alleged that his wife had been killed by a black, laid down an invasive dragnet seeking the killer in a largely black community. Later it was learned that Stuart himself had slain his wife. The Thernstroms argue in this context that the credulity of the police was understandable, in part because rap-music lyrics declare all whites to be the enemy, and worthy objects of black violence.
The Thernstroms know that race relations are not at a happy juncture in America these days. They discuss the O. J. Simpson trial, a source of much recent racial disharmony, at length. (All they can find to say about that enormous expression of race consciousness, the 1995 Million Man March, is that Minister Louis Farrakhan, who called the march, gave a bizarre speech.) Their diagnosis of the problem places great weight on a syllogism that may now be outmoded, proposed originally by Shelby Steele: Blacks and whites are supposedly locked into a relationship of mutual psychological dependence and reciprocal cognitive dissonance. Blacks fear they may be inferior. Whites fear they may be racist. Blacks want status achievement while avoiding true competition, which might reveal their inferiority. Whites want to avoid a confrontation with black claimants over the basis of black status, so as not to appear to be racist. Blacks convey approval to whites, certifying them as morally fit; and whites provide status to blacks, protecting them from the reality of their competitive inadequacies.
This purported symbiosis accounts for blacks' aggressive displays of their sense of grievance. Thus
The relentless pretense that almost all whites are an enemy, that white racism remains a constant, serves a purpose. It invites whites who are nervous about their racial rectitude to remain supplicants. The result is an unending game (black anger, white guilt) in which the white score is always zero, and the illusion of power is bestowed upon a group whose members seem to live in constant fear that their hard-earned status is not quite real -- that they remain the "invisible" men and women they once so clearly were.
This was a new insight a decade ago. It has not worn well over time, however. Events like the publication of the 1994 elections, and the passage in California of Proposition 209 raise questions about the power of white guilt to drive political culture in this country. Is it not enough to cast an eye over the scene unfolding in inner-city America in order to grasp that blacks have real reasons to be angry, and that the white score in the game that counts is positive after all?
The authors of America in Black and White blame the existence of affirmative action -- in college admissions, in the drawing of voting districts, in employment -- for an excess of race consciousness among blacks. This, they say, gives blacks an incentive to sustain their belief in "the figment of the pigment." The authors consider recommending that official government bodies do away entirely with the use of racial categories in economic and social statistics, but ultimately reject the idea. They note that in 1993 a group of big-city mayors asked the U.S. Attorney General to cease collecting crime data by race, because this information was of no use to policy and fostered harmful stereotypes. These officials reasoned, not without some basis in experience, that if people are constantly told that most criminals are black, they may come to think that most blacks are criminal. The Thernstroms chide these mayors for inconsistency -- the mayors want the bad racial news suppressed, but welcome the collection of employment or education data showing that blacks are underrepresented in some desirable pursuit.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
why the "body of 'stupid conservatives" is a problem for every u.s. citizen and every nation around the globe
truthdig | Although the United States, in the words of columnist Nicholas Kristof, is “the most powerful colossus in the history of the world,” it lags significantly in quality of life for its citizens. In the Social Progress Index 2015 the U.S. does not make the top 10, or even top 15. The global study measured “basic human needs,” “foundations of wellbeing” and opportunity.
Overall, the U.S comes in at 16th, and some indices are particularly startling.
As Kristof writes in The New York Times: “The index ranks the United States 30th in life expectancy, 38th in saving children’s lives, and a humiliating 55th in women surviving childbirth. O.K., we know that we have a high homicide rate, but we’re at risk in other ways as well. We have higher traffic fatality rates than 37 other countries, and higher suicide rates than 80. We also rank 32nd in preventing early marriage, 38th in the equality of our education system, 49th in high school enrollment rates and 87th in cellphone use.”
The top countries in the study are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, New Zealand and Canada. Of the 133 countries rated, Central African Republic comes in last, right after Chad and Afghanistan.
The top countries in the study are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, New Zealand and Canada. Of the 133 countries rated, Central African Republic comes in last, right after Chad and Afghanistan.
“One way of looking at the index,” says Kristof, “is to learn from countries that outperform by having social indicators better than their income levels. By that standard, the biggest stars are Costa Rica and Uruguay, with New Zealand and Rwanda also outperforming.”
In a time of ever-greater economic inequality, it’s worth remembering that everything isn’t just dandy if some Americans are doing extremely well. What counts is how we are doing as a people.