Saturday, August 31, 2013

Latino Website An Examination of "All-In Nation"

Latino Website A Look at "All-In Nation"

"In a new book, the Center for American Progress evaluates the demographics that make up the United States, finding that the panorama has drastically changed.
Right now, the majority of children under 1 year old are of color, and it is expected that before 2020, more than 50 percent of all youth in the U.S. will be of color."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Salon's Joan Walsh: Prominent Republicans Absent From the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of MLK's "I Have a Dream" Speech

Joan Walsh: The GOP and African-Americans

"The fact that no leading Republican bothered to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration shows how far to the right they’ve moved on race. It’s not just that they’ve thrown in the towel when it comes to appealing to black voters. They also don’t think it’s worth it to make an extra effort to appeal to white voters who flinch at racism."
Joan Walsh, Salon

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pew Research Center's Drew Desilver: King's Dream and Today's Numbers

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pew Research Center: MLK's Dream and Modern Numbers

"Poverty rates among African-Americans has fallen considerably since the 1960s, according to Census Bureau figures, but they remain far more likely than whites or Asians to live in poverty."

---Drew Desilver, Pew Research Center

Slate's Coverage of King's "I Have a Dream" Speech: Photos from the 1963 March on Washington

MLK, August 28, 1963

Slate's article is linked below.

Slate: Photos from the 1963 March on Washington

Check out the link below for student comments regarding the 50th Anniversary of King's iconic speech.

History Teacher in Lower Alabama: Student Comments about MLK's 1963 speech

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reuters: Fewer U.S. Households Made up of Two Married Parents With Children

In an article for Reuters, Susan Heavey examines just-released Census Bureau data showing historic trends in American living arrangements.

Among the Census Bureau findings covered by Heavey is the dramatic one indicating that only 20% of American households in 2012 had two married parents with children.  In 1970 that number was 40%.

Heavey notes that approximately 57% of U.S. households are without children. Single-person households, moreover, have increased from 17% in 1970 to 28% in 2012.

Susan Heavey's article is linked below.

Reuters: Fewer American Households Have Children

"Since 1970, the portion of U.S. households that include families with two married parents and children fell by half, from 40 percent to 20 percent last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau."
---Susan Heavey, Reuters

Are Schools Incarcerating Millions of Young Americans in a Manner Depriving These Students the Opportunity to Learn Effectively? Education Researcher Peter Gray Seems to Think So

Are schools---at least schools as we know them--something on par with prisons?  Boston College psychology professor Peter Gray seems to think so.  He argues that schools, by their very structure, stifle and inhibit student learning.  Gray's viewpoint is provocative and likely controversial.

It will be interesting to see if his argument gains any traction in today's cultural milieu.

Peter Gray's Salon column is linked below.

Peter Gray: Schools as Prisons

"But what if the real problem is school itself? The unfortunate fact is that one of our most cherished institutions is, by its very nature, failing our children and our society.

School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them."
---Peter Gray, Salon 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Salon's Alex Pareene: Fox News and an Angry and Old Demographic

Alex Pareene's article is linked below.

Salon's Alex Pareene: Fox News and Older Angry Whites

Roger Ailes "began his career selling Nixon to worried white people and now he’s selling older, even more worried white people reverse mortgages and #BENGHAZI. But that generational tantrum is currently in its rampaging hysterical death throes. The next generation is not quite as panicky about the endangered state of white supremacy."

---Alex Pareene, Salon 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

USA Today: Forecast Claims that the U.S. Total Fertility Rate Will Increase

Cathy Payne, in USA Today, examines a recent report by Demographic Intelligence, a forecast that claims the U.S. total fertility rate will rise modestly in 2013.

The USA Today article is linked below.

USA Today: Is the U.S. Birth Dearth Over?

"The total fertility rate in the USA is predicted to rise from a 25-year low of 1.89 children per woman in 2012 to 1.90 in 2013, according to the U.S. Fertility Forecast report released today by Demographic Intelligence."

---Cathy Payne, USA Today

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The New York Times: Whither Goes France?


In an article for the New York Times, Steven Erlanger takes a look at the question of whether France can reverse its relative economic decline and re-emerge as a top-strata European economic power.

Steven Erlanger's New York Times article is linked below.

The New York Times: Shall France Rebound?

"Today, however, Europe is talking about “the French question”: can the Socialist government of President Fran├žois Hollande pull France out of its slow decline and prevent it from slipping permanently into Europe’s second tier?"
---Steven Erlanger, The New York Times 

CBS News: Thousands Turn Out to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Wednesday--August 23, 2013--will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech, an masterpiece in American rhetoric calling for racial healing and human brotherhood.  On Saturday, thousands converged to the nation's capital to commemorate the March on Washington, the larger event in which Dr. King made his speech.

The CBS story is linked below.

CBS News: Thousands Honor the March on Washington's 50th Anniversary

"The event, which was sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Martin Luther King III and the NAACP, featured a roster of speakers, including King, Sharpton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. They spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where 50 years ago this month King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech."
---CBS News

The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson: The Socialist Roots of the 1963 March on Washington


Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect provides a fascinating chronicle of the role of American socialists Michael Harrington, Rachelle Horowitz, Tom Kahn, and Bayard Rustin in bringing about the 1963 March on Washington, a massive civil rights rally capped off by Martin Luther King's iconic I Have a Dream speech.

The article is linked below.

The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson: Socialists and the March on Washington

"When [Michael] Harrington suggested that Horowitz and Kahn go help out [Bayard] Rustin, whom they’d not met before, he was organizing a national support network for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which had begun just a few weeks earlier.
This was the genesis of the network of democratic socialists who seven years later were to conceive, organize, and set the themes for the March on Washington."

---Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pew Research Center: MLK's Dream Still Not Realized

Martin Luther King, Jr.

A summary of the Pew Research Center's findings is below.

Pew Research Center: Dr. King's Dream Has Yet To Arrive Fully

"Five decades after Martin Luther King’s historic 'I Have a Dream' speech in Washington, D.C., a new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that fewer than half (45%) of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality and about the same share (49%) say that 'a lot more' remains to be done."
---Pew Research Center

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Value Walk: China Facing a Demographic Calamity

Value Walk examines demographic stress in the People's Republic of China.  Per the article, the Chinese total fertility rate is around 1.4, well below the needed 2.0 mark needed to maintain population stability.

The author of the Value Walk article maintains that, as the Chinese population develops an age structure that is more top-heavy (i.e. a larger elderly population), this will put great economic stress on the nation's retirement system, especially with relatively fewer workers entering the workforce.

The article is linked below.

Value Walk: China Facing a Demographic Calamity

"The Ministry of Education reported Aug. 21 that more than 13,600 primary schools closed nationwide in 2012. The ministry looked to China’s dramatically shifting demographic profile to explain the widespread closures, noting that between 2011 and 2012 the number of elementary-aged students fell from nearly 200 million to 145 million. It also confirmed that between 2002 and 2012, the number of students enrolled in primary schools dropped by nearly 20 percent."
---Value Walk

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Associated Press: Only 1 in 4 High School Graduates Ready For College, Per the ACT

The AP article is linked below:

AP: Only 25% of High Schoolers Ready for College

"The ACT reported that 31 percent of all high school graduates tested were not ready for any college coursework requiring English, science, math or reading skills. The other 69 percent of test takers met at least one of the four subject-area standards."
---The Associated Press

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salon's Joan Walsh: White Racism Still Running Amok in the GOP

In a provocative column for Salon, Joan Walsh argues that white racism is both real and active in the political discourse of the Republican right.  She particularly notes the similarities between then Fox News host Glenn Beck's 2009 claim that President Obama hates white people and that of Maine's Governor Paul LaPage, a GOP pol who recently claimed that Obama hates whites, despite being multiracial.

Walsh doesn't find this right-wing racism to be strictly confined to the likes of Glenn Beck and Paul LaPage.  She instead sees "Obama Derangement Syndrome" as a more pervasive phenomenon manifesting itself in recent episodes like the Obama-mocking rodeo clown, a Florida sign calling for the "Kenyan" to be sent back, or the Donald Trump jeremiads about the President's birth certificate.

Salon's Joan Walsh: Race and a GOP Redux?

"Now comes LePage recycling Beck’s silly claim that the president “hates white people.”  The white grievance industry is still on overdrive (even if Sean Hannity has fallen on hard times, losing his Cumulus radio deal.) I’m still waiting for national Republican leaders to repudiate this new surge in racial attacks on the president."

---Joan Walsh, Salon 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Slate's Matt Yglesias: Maps Showing Language Usage in the U.S.

Slate's Matt Yglesias takes a look at recent Census Bureau data plotted on maps of the United States, data that shows the clustering of particular spoken languages other than English.

The article is linked below.

Slate: Maps of Language Usage in the U.S.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Brookings Institution's Audrey Singer and Nicole Prchal Svajlenka: Report on the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program

Audrey Singer and Nicole Prchal Svajlenka of the Brookings Institution have analyzed government data on applications for and acceptance into the Deferred Action and Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  DACA is a program created by the Obama Administration in which young undocumented immigrants can avoid potential deportation, and instead receive U.S. work permits.

Around 400,000 applicants have been accepted into the program.  The vast majority of applicants were from Mexico.

The Brookings Institution report is linked below.

The Brookings Institution: Report on DACA

"The DACA program—an initiative of the Obama administration—does not provide permanent lawful status to applicants. However, it confers two important advantages to approved applicants: a temporary suspension of deportation and the authorization to work in the United States."

---Audrey Singer and Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, The Brookings Institution 

National Journal's Rebecca Kaplan: In One Year, Approximately 400,000 Young Undocumented Immigrants Spared Deportation, Thanks to the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program

President Obama
On the first anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, National Journal's Rebecca Kaplan examines data showing that around 400,000 young undocumented immigrants have been spared potential deportation due to DACA, an Obama Administration initiative.

Rebecca Kaplan's article is linked below.

National Journal: In One Year, About 400,000 Young Undocumented Immigrants Kept From Deportation

"About 400,000 "Dreamers" have been allowed to stay in the United States in the year since the Obama administration began accepting applications for young illegal immigrants to defer deportation proceedings and receive work permits..."

---Rebecca Kaplan, National Journal 

The Economist: In an Odd Political Coincidence, the Federal Government and Texas Are Adjusting Sentencing Policies

The Economist examines actions by Attorney General Eric Holder to reduce the level of incarceration in federal prisons.  Holder recently announced new reforms designed to reduce the level of federal imprisonment, a population that grew significantly since the 1980s due, in large part, to drug-related mandatory minimum sentences.

Oddly enough, Rick Perry's Texas spearheaded prison reform a decade ago by enacting policy that sent low-level drug-possessors to probation instead of prison.  Per The Economist, the kinder and gentler Texas drug policy has worked.

The Economist article is linked below.

Odd Political Bedfellows: Eric Holder, Rick Perry, and Reducing Incarceration Rates

"America has the world’s largest prison population. China, which has more than four times as many people and nobody’s idea of a lenient judiciary, comes a distant second. One in 107 American adults was behind bars in 2011—the highest rate in the world—and one in every 34 was under 'correctional supervision' (either locked up or on probation or parole)."

---The Economist 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The American Prospect's Paul Waldman: The Lunacy of the American Incarceration Rate Shown in Several Charts

Lady Justice

In a chart-filled article for The American Prospect, Paul Waldman examines the reasons behind the statistic that nearly 3% of the American population are under some form of legal punishment, either imprisonment, parole, or probation.

The article and charts are linked below.

Paul Waldman: Charts Showing the Craziness of the American Incarceration Rate

"At the end of 2011, there were 2.2 million Americans incarcerated, 854,000 on parole, and almost 4 million on probation, meaning just under 7 million Americans—or one out of every 34 adults—were being supervised by the criminal-justice system."
---Paul Waldman, The American Prospect 

Population Reference Bureau: More Highly Educated Americans Tend to Live Longer

Robert Hummer and Elaine Hernandez contend a positive correlation between educational status and life expectancy. Higher educational status, as such, tends to correlate with greater longevity.

The Population Reference Bureau is linked below.

PRB: Education and Life Expectancy

"For example, remaining life expectancy at age 25—an important overall indicator of adult population health—is about a decade shorter for people who do not have a high school degree compared with those who have completed college."

---Robert A. Hummer and Elaine M. Hernandez, Population Reference Bureau

Friday, August 16, 2013

Forbes' Mark Adomanis: Russia's Birth Rate Exceeding the American Birth Rate, but Probably Only Temporarily


Mark Adomanis' article is linked below.

Forbes: Russian Birth Rate Higher than American Birth Rate

"It’s also worth noting that Russia’s birth rate will, in the not too distant future, start to decrease as the tiny cohort born during the chaos of the 1990′s comes into prime childbearing years and replaces the relatively large cohort born during the 1980′s. It’s unlikely, then, that Russia’s  birth rate is going to exceed that of the United States for very long[.]"

---Mark Adomanis, Forbes 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Politico's Allen and Vandehei: So Far, 2013 Has Been a Horrible Year for the GOP

The article is linked below.

Allen and Vandehei: 2013 Not a Good Year for the Republican Party, Thus Far

Aljazeera America's Haya El Nasser: Whither the American Birth Rate?

Haya El Nasser of Aljazeera America looks at the question of whether recent declines in the U.S. birth rate are short-run anomalies, or the shape of things to come for the foreseeable future.

The Aljazeera America article is linked below.

Is the Declining U.S. Birth Rate an Aberration or a Long-Term Trend?

"The United States has been the envy of the developed world for more than 20 years in the way its fertility rate has stayed near the 2.1 "replacement level" -- the number needed to keep the population stable.
But the average number of births per woman has fallen 12 percent from a peak of 2.12 in 2007 to its lowest in 25 years."
---Haya El Nasser, Aljazeera America

Huffington Post's Nick Wing: The U.S. Leads All Nations in Incarceration Rates

The Huffington Post's Nick Wing reports on a recent rankings of worldwide incarceration rates, a list topped by the United States of America.  Per Wing, the U.S. incarcerates 716 people per 100,000 in the general population.

The study was conducted by the International Centre for Prison Studies.

Nick Wing's article is linked below.

Huffington Post: The United States Has the World's Highest Incarceration Rate

"No country incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than the United States. At 716 per 100,000 people, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the U.S. tops every other nation in the world."
---Nick Wing, The Huffington Post 

New York Magazine's Adam Martin: Obama-Mocking Rodeo Clown Embraced by Elements of the American Right

New York Magazine's Adam Martin notes that prominent right-wingers like radio talker Glenn Beck and Republican Congressman Steve Stockman have endorsed the actions of Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown who portrayed President Obama during a rodeo at the Missouri State Fair.

Adam Martin's article is linked below:

New York Magazine: Obama-Mocking Rodeo Clown Becoming a Right-wing Icon

"Welcome to the latest in the you-didn't-build-that-empty-chair-upside-down-American-flag train of right-wing memory: the Obama rodeo clown as a hero for liberty."

---Adam Martin, New York Magazine 

Texas Republican Congressman Steve Stockman Has Invited Obama-Mocking Rodeo Clown to Visit the Lone Star State

The ABC blog post is below.

Steve Stockman Wants Anti-Obama Rodeo Clown to Visit Texas

"In his latest publicity stunt, Stockman has invited to perform at a rodeo in Texas’ 36th District a rodeo clown who created a stir for donning a mask of President Obama while sporting an upside down broomstick attached to his backside at an event in Missouri last Saturday."

---John Parkinson, ABC News

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gallup: Hispanics Prefer the Democratic Party

A recent Gallup survey indicates that, by strong margins, Hispanics prefer the Democratic Party over the GOP.

Gallup's polling data on Hispanic party preference is linked below.

Gallup: Hispanics Prefer the Democrats

"Hispanics in the U.S. identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by about a 2-to-1 margin, regardless of whether they were U.S.-born."

---Frank Newport and Joy Wilke, Gallup

Politico's look at the Gallup poll is linked below.

Politico: Hispanic Support for the Democratic Party

"Hispanics tilt Democratic by a 2-to-1 margin over Republican, a new survey shows."

---Hadas Gold, Politico 

The Atlantic's Molly Ball: Falling Support For the GOP Among the Elderly?

The Atlantic's Molly Ball examines some recent polling data from Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg.  Greenberg's surveys suggest that the Republican Party is now losing significant support among elderly voters, a group that the GOP has carried by comfortable margins in recent election cycles.

Molly Ball's article is linked below.

The Atlantic: Shift Away From the Republicans by Elderly Voters?

"More seniors still said they plan to vote Republican than Democrat in 2014, 46 percent to 41 percent. But that 5-point margin is down from the 21-point margin seniors gave the GOP in 2010, according to exit polls."

---Molly Ball, The Atlantic 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Leads European Union Nations in 2012 Births

United Kingdom

Rule Britannia in 21012 Births

BBC: Most UK Births Since 1972

The Guardian: UK Population Outgrew all EU Nations in 2012

"The biggest baby boom in the UK for 40 years contributed to the country's population growing more quickly than that of any other EU country last year, according to official statistics."
---Peter Walker, The Guardian 

Slate's Josh Levin: NCAA Football as Something of a Prison

This particular blog post admittedly does not fit easily and obviously into the "demographics" topic.  Josh Levin's article deals with the economics of NCAA football, namely those who labor without direct conventional monetary compensation, all the while earning millions for the NCAA and its member institutions.

Millions of Americans are excited that the start of the college football season is just around the corner; moreover, millions attend colleges and universities that are member institutions of the NCAA.  Some of those NCAA member schools have multi-million dollar football programs with national profiles.

With that in mind, it seemed appropriate to address the matter of college football and its system of labor.  Slate's Josh Levin provides a provocative column about Texas A&M's Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the selling of "Johnny Football" autographs.

The column is linked below.

Josh Levin: Prison Economics and NCAA Football

"College football is a lot like prison. It can be relentlessly violent. You need permission from an authority figure to do anything. Everyone eats together in a cafeteria, wears uniforms, and lifts weights all the time. And since nobody’s got any cash, you need to extract value from whatever you can get your hands on."

---Josh Levin, Slate 

Vanderbilt Football Players Indicted for Rape

Friday, August 9, 2013

Anti-Intellectualism in American Education

Dana Goldstein, writing for The Daily Beast, provides a review of Amanda Ripley's new book, The Smartest Kids in the World: and How They Got That Way. Goldstein's review notes the warnings of historian Richard Hofstadter, a scholar who--in the early 1960s--warned that anti-intellectualism plagued American culture, particularly education.

Hofstadter warned that American schools were suffering from a variety of maladies ranging from dumbed-down subjects to over-emphasized athletics.  Hofstadter, in the mid-1960s, won a Pulitzer Prize for Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Goldstein cleverly cites Hofstadter to introduce her review of Amanda Ripley's new work.

Goldstein provides a brief description of how Ripley studies three American high school students who study abroad for a year in Poland, Finland, and South Korea.  In essence, these students studied in school systems far more rigorous than what is typical in the United States.

While finding some weaknesses in Ripley's analysis, Goldstein endorses the broad thesis of Smartest Kids in the World. Goldstein provocatively calls for a de-emphasis of school sports programs, along with a de-empahsis of educational gadgetry such as high-tech chalk boards and i-pads for all.

The intellect, contends Goldstein, should return to a place of primacy in American education.  It's amazing that such a notion runs counter to the current tide of American schooling.

Goldstein's review is linked below.

The Daily Beast: American Educational Failure on the World Stage

"In all of these nations [Finland, Poland, South Korea], sports have little or nothing to do with public schooling. If kids want to play hockey or basketball, they organize pick-up games, join a community program, or take private lessons. Children are held to high academic expectations and allowed to fail, so they come to understand the importance of school."
---Dana Goldstein, The Daily Beast 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recent Jobless Claims Point to an Improving U.S. Economy

Per NBC News, the 4-week average of state unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since the autumn of 2007.  The numbers suggest that the employment picture for the U.S. is improving.

The NBC article is linked below.

NBC News: Jobless Claims and an Improving Economy

"Now it appears that a long cycle of aggressive layoffs -- which had fueled a surge in unemployment and helped shape two presidential elections -- is over."

---Jason Lange, NBC News

Census Bureau: Report on Language Usage by U.S. Residents in 2011

The United States Census Bureau has released data showing the range of languages spoken in the United States in 2011.

The report is linked below.

Census Bureau: Language Variety in the U.S.

"Of the 60.6 million people who spoke a language other than English at home in 2011, almost two-thirds (37.6 million) spoke Spanish."

---U.S. Census Bureau, Newsroom (online)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Opinion Poll: Among Georgia Republicans, Paula Deen More Popular than Martin Luther King, Jr.


According to a survey by Public Policy Polling,  more Georgia Republicans view Paula Deen favorably than those who view Martin Luther King, Jr. favorably.  Per the poll, 73% of Georgia Republicans view Paula Deen favorably.  In contrast, 59% of Georgia Republicans view Martin Luther King, Jr. favorably. 

PPP Poll: Among Georgia Republicans, Paula Deen Has Higher Favorability Numbers Than Martin Luther King, Jr.

Washington Post: Comments on the Paula Deen Poll

New York Daily News: Coverage of Paula Deen's Popularity Exceeding MLK's, Among Georgia Republicans

"Only 11% of those polled had an unfavorable view of Deen, while nearly 30% felt unfavorably toward King."

---Adam Edelman, New York Daily News 

The Brookings Institution: Suburban Poverty Increasing in Many Democratic and Republican Congressional Districts

Brookings Institution researchers Alan Berube, Elizabeth Kneebone, and Jane Williams have produced a report on the prevalence of suburban poverty in the United States.  They report that, in the 2000s, there was an increase in poverty in 388 out of 435 congressional districts, with much of the increases in the top 100 U.S. metro areas.

The Brookings Institution report is linked below.

Berube, Kneebone, and Williams: Suburban Poverty on the March in Both Red and Blue Congressional Districts

Salon's Brian Beutler: Shall the GOP Embrace an All-White Electoral Strategy?

Salon's Brian Beutler takes a look at a possible Republican electoral strategy that might result in an almost all-white GOP electorate.

The article is linked below.

Brian Beutler: The GOP and a Possible All-White Electoral Strategy

"So after feinting toward more inclusive policies, the GOP might actually change nothing, and have no choice but to deepen its strategy of maximizing white turnout and depressing the minority vote. Its transformation into a white-only party will be complete."
---Brian Beutler, Salon 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Atlantic: Great Disparities of Wealth Between White and Black Families in the U.S.

Signe-Mary McKernan and Caroline Ratcliffe chronicle the varying degrees of wealth and income disparities that exist between whites versus Blacks and Latinos.

The article is linked below.

The Atlantic: Racial Disparities Between White and Black Families in U.S.

"Although the United States is one of the wealthiest countries, this prosperity remains out of reach for many Americans. Blacks and Hispanics, who strive to make a better life for themselves and their families, are not on the same wealth-building paths as whites. They are less likely to own homes and retirement accounts, so they miss out on these traditionally powerful wealth-building tools. Families of color also lost a greater share of their wealth in the aftermath of the Great Recession."
---Signe-Mary McKernan and Caroline Ratcliffe, The Atlantic 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Daily Beast's Peter Beinart: The Tea Party is Nativist, and Only Selectively Libertarian

The Tea Party

Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast contends that the contemporary Tea Party is not a thoroughly libertarian movement that seeks to guard and maximize the liberties of all.  To the contrary, he argues, the Tea Party is a more consistently nativist movement with little concern for how marginalized groups (e.g. Muslims, etc.) are treated by the state.

The column is linked below.

Peter Beinart: Tea Party Nativism

"We’ve seen this before. In the 1920s, many of the same “small-government” conservatives who denounced progressive-era taxation and regulation as an assault on personal freedom also supported Prohibition, which they considered necessary to keep Catholics and other recent immigrants from endangering America’s moral fiber. Throughout the civil-rights era, segregationists accused tyrants in Washington of denying the people of the South the freedom to do as they pleased. Their definition of “people of the South” just didn’t include blacks."
---Peter Beinart, The Daily Beast 

National Journal's Alex Roarty: Many Whites Will Eschew an All-White Political Party

National Journal's Alex Roarty contends that younger white voters (i.e. millennials) view diversity positively, and if the GOP were to embark on an electoral strategy of maximizing white voter turnout without seeking meaningful minority support, then failure is likely to follow.  Per Roarty, white millennial voters are unlikely to find a practically all-white GOP to be appealing.

The column is linked below.

Alex Roarty: Many Whites Will Eschew an Exclusively White Party

"But if the GOP determines that its future lies with an all-out pursuit of whites, it might find an unwanted surprise. Some white voters, particularly young ones, won’t align themselves with a party that can’t attract support from Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians. To attract more white voters, the GOP, ironically, might first need to attract more minorities."
---Alex Roarty, National Journal 

Pew Research: Employment Rate Progress for U.S. Blacks and Hispanics

The Pew Research Center's Ron DeSilver examines subsets of recent U.S. employment numbers.  He notes that Blacks and Hispanics have made some progress.

The article is linked below.

Pew Research: Some Progress for Black and Hispanic Employment

"The employment-to-population ratio for blacks, after bottoming out at 51.1% in mid-2011, has lately been moving higher, reaching 53.7% in July. And among Hispanics, the ratio (which closely tracked that of whites for a year and a half) spiked a few months ago; it now stands at 60.4%, a full percentage point higher than whites. All told, the numbers suggest a bit more jobs momentum for blacks and Hispanics."

Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center

Sunday, August 4, 2013

John Thompson to be the New Director of the U.S. Census Bureau

On Friday, the U.S. Senate confirmed John Thompson as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

New Census Director Confirmed by the U.S. Senate

The Atlantic's Elizabeth Gregory: Good Policies Helpful to Raising Children Might Help Raise the U.S. Birth Rate

The Atlantic's Elizabeth Gregory takes a look at the issue of America's declining birth rate relative to the issue costs associated with childrearing.  Gregory rejects that call to raise the US. birth rate for its own sake.  Instead she advocates the development of better policies that make it easier to raise children, a situation that might have the ultimate effect of raising the U.S. birth rate.

Gregory also examines the historical context of America's declining birth rate. She notes that the advent of "The Pill" in the 1960s precipitated a decline in the U.S. birth rate.  She also describes how the increased entry of women into the U.S. workforce has offset the declines in American fertility.  Simply put, she contends that the issue of American fertility is complex, defying simple approaches.

The article is linked below.

Elizabeth Gregory: Public Policy for Raising Children Should be a Priority

"Fair wages and affordable care would make families more fiscally feasible for would-be moms and dads.  That might lead to a rise in the birthrate down the line when educated younger women feel ready. It could also lead  to more efficient work strategies overall that could allow us to function well as a society with a birthrate below replacement and a reasonable immigration policy  Whatever your views on population growth, the reproductive contract has changed.  Some societal investment in the next generation, and in the current generation of female workers and their families, is crucial."

---Elizabeth Gregory, The Atlantic 

The Brookings Institution's Gary Burtless: Unemployment Declining; Job Market Improving Very, Very Slowly

Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution gives a lukewarm assessment of the U.S. employment picture.  On balance, he sees an improving situation, albeit positive change occurring very slowly.

The article is linked below.

Gary Burtless: Unemployment Declining; Job Market Slowly Improving

"For job seekers, especially the long-term unemployed, the employment outlook continues to be poor.  It is worth emphasizing, however, that the job picture is gradually improving, though at a heartbreakingly slow pace."

---Gary Burtless, Brookings Institution

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Doyle McManus: The GOP Come-Apart

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times describes a GOP that is now deeply divided on how to proceed.  He cites a conservative who describes the Republican schisms as being too chaotic to be considered an intra-party civil war.

McManus' article is linked below.

Doyle McManus: The Republican Come-Apart

"It all means that when Congress returns to Washington in September, at least two dramas are in store. One is the collision between the two parties over federal spending; the other is the civil war within the GOP."
---Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times 

Is American Suburbia Dying?

Salon has excerpted Leigh Gallagher's book about the decline of U.S. suburbs.  Gallagher contends that the glory days of the American suburbs have all but ended, and that problems commonly associated with urban America have emerged in suburbia, in particular a significant rise in suburban poverty.

The Article is linked below.

Salon: American Suburbs Dying?

"But while many cities have been benefiting  from an influx of wealth, the suburbs have been suffering a rise in poverty. From 2000 to 2010, the number of poor in the suburbs or the nation’s largest metro areas grew by 53 percent to a record 15.3 million. And while poverty has increased in cities as well, the growth rate in the number of poor living in the suburbs was more than twice that in cities during the decade—and the suburbs are now home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country."

---Leigh Gallagher, Salon 

Life is Shorter in Dixie

Per the Centers for Disease Control, Southern states tend to be those with the lowest life expectancy.  Mississippi has the dubious distinction of being the state with the worst life expectancy ranking.

Articles are linked below.

The Daily Beast: Life is Shorter in Dixie

 "Likewise, many states where the CDC found people are expected to live shorter and less healthy lives are politically conservative states with low happiness listings and low median incomes."

---Eliza Shapiro, The Daily Beast Mississippi and Alabama Among the States With Shortest Life Expectancy

CDC Report on State by State Life Expectancy

State By State Happiness

Friday, August 2, 2013

Salon's Henry Grabar: The Possibilities For Cities

Salon's Henry Grabar announces the start of a new column covering the future of cities.  Garber notes that the world is steadily urbanizing, and that this trend coincides with the historical theme that cities are incubators of innovation.

Grabar states that, for a long time, some have viewed cities in terms of vice, others in terms of virtue. His column, in turn, seems to be dedicated to covering the possibilities associated with urban life, the increasingly chosen option for human community.

Salon's Henry Grabar: The Virtues of Cities

"The United Nations estimates there will be more people living in cities in the year 2050 than there were people living on the earth in 2000."

---Henry Grabar, Salon 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Washington Post Coverage of UN 90-Year Global Population Projections

United Nations

In an article for the Washington Post, Max Fisher provides a survey of the United Nations' 90-year population projections.  Fisher notes that sub-Sahara Africa will fuel a population explosion that will elevate Africa's total population to over 4 billion by the year 2100.

Asia's population, however, should peak around mid-century at 5.1 billion, but decline to 4.7 billion by the start of the 22nd century.  That decline aside, Asia is projected to remain the world's most populous continent in the year 2100.

Europe, North America, and South America are each projected to be well under 1 billion.

The Washington Post article is linked below.

Washington Post Coverage of UN Projections For the Next 90 Years

"If these numbers turn out to be right – they’re just projections and could change significantly under unforeseen circumstances – the world of 2100 will look very different than the world of today, with implications for everyone. It will be a place where today’s dominant, developed economies are increasingly focused on supporting the elderly, where the least developed countries are transformed by population booms and where Africa, for better or worse, is more important than ever."

---Max Fisher, The Washington Post

Gallup: Beer Popularity is Waning in the U.S.

According to Gallup, beer and wine are nearly tied in terms of preference among Americans who consume alcohol.

In 1992, preference for beer exceeded that of wine by 20 percentage points. Currently, beer leads wine 36% to 35%.

Gallup: Among U.S. Drinkers, Beer and Wine of Nearly Equal Popularity

"Young adult drinkers' alcoholic beverage preferences have changed dramatically over the past two decades. In the early 1990s, 71% of adults under age 30 said they drank beer most often; now it is 41% among that age group."


Slate: Beer Popularity is Waning

Associated Press Analysis: Optimism About Economics Among U.S. Hispanics and Blacks

AP Analysis: Hispanics and Blacks More Optimistic than Whites About Economics

"Americans' attitudes about their economic future are sharply divided by race, with whites significantly less likely than blacks or Hispanics to think they can improve their own standard of living. Indeed, optimism among minorities now outpaces that of whites by the widest margin since at least 1987, a new analysis shows."
---Associated Press

Reactions to the Pew Research Survey of GOP Opinion About the Direction of the Party

Below are links to articles reacting to the Pew survey:

The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky: The GOP Monster

"These people really have created an out-of-control Frankenstein in this base. Although now that I think about it I'm not wild about that analogy, because doesn't Frankenstein kill the doctor or something? Doesn't bode well for the body politic. In any case, unbelievable."

---Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast 

The New Republic: Pew Poll Shows Bad News for the GOP

"And if congressional Republicans can’t advance the rebrand by allowing losing issues—like a pathway to citizenship or background checks on gun purchases—to advance through Congress and depart from consideration in 2016, then the next Republican nominee will be left with the difficult task of broadening the appeal of the GOP."

---Nate Cohn, The New Republic 

Pew Research Center: A Divided Republican Party

The Pew Research Center has conducted a survey that reveals a Republican Party that is increasingly divided on the direction for the party.

The article is linked below.

Pew Research: The GOP is Divided Over Where it Should Go

"Coming off of two consecutive presidential election defeats, most Republican voters believe that their party must address major problems to be more competitive in the future. And roughly six-in-ten say improved messaging alone will not be enough – the GOP also needs to reconsider some of its positions."

---Pew Research Center