Thursday, March 5, 2015

A new Pew Research Center survey shows that most Americans believe Barack Obama’s two terms in office have favored the rich, and have not benefited the middle class or the poor

In the survey, 66% of Pew’s 1,504 respondents say that “government economic policies since the recession have helped” wealthy people a “great deal” or a “fair amount.” Only 29% said that the wealthy were helped “not too much/not at all.” In contrast, only 26% of respondents said that middle-class people were helped a great deal or a fair amount while 72% of respondents said that the middle-class people were helped “not too much/not at all,” according to the Pew survey, which was released March 4, 2015. Only 32% said that poor people were helped, while 65% said that they were not helped. There’s plenty of outside data to support the sour view. The median household income in January 2015 was $54,332, which is 3.9% lower than January 2000, 15 years prior, according to a March 4, 2015 report by Sentier Research. The median number is the mid-point in the income scale. Half of the people earned above the number, and half earned below that number. Americans’ stalled income comes after both George W. Bush and Barack Obama stoked economic growth — but not wages — with waves of new lower-skilled immigrants. In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs in January 2010, according to federal data highlighted by the Center for Immigration Studies.

After 25 years of blue policies, the wealth gap between whites on the one hand and African Americans and Hispanics on the other has barely budged

The St. Louis Fed researchers said it’s not differences in age or education levels that explain the racial and ethnic wealth disparities; these persist even if you’re looking at older and better-educated blacks, Hispanics and whites. Part of the story here is the disproportionate effect the foreclosure crisis had on African Americans. Black families were in some cases stuck with riskier loans than whites, and when the crisis hit a lot of their wealth was wiped out. Since then, many blue cities with large minority populations have been hit particularly hard by financial problems. When Detroit, a majority African-American city long ruled by blue politicians, needed to raise money recently it foreclosed on tens of thousands of homes. Then there is the overall decline in clerical and some government jobs, which have long been a staple of African-American middle-class employment — a decline likely to continue, given the sorry finances of state and local governments across the nation.

The mortality rate for white women in the United States has increased 12% since 1999

White women in the United States have historically enjoyed low mortality rates. But in recent years, the death rate for adult white women 15 to 54 years old has increased even as the rates for black and Hispanic women have declined, according to a new analysis from the Urban Institute. The researchers focused on women's mortality rates because they're lower than men's and because death rates reflect the overall health of a population. If mortality is increasing, other measures of health are also getting worse. Black women have a much higher mortality rate, but it has declined significantly — 23% since 1999. Hispanic women also posted declines. (Hispanics of all age groups, both men and women, have lower mortality rates than average, a demographic phenomenon known as the Hispanic paradox.) Part of the jump in the death rate for whites is explained by the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and overdoses that disproportionately affected whites. But that accounts for only half the total increase, according to the report. Other causes of death on the rise include suicide and respiratory disease. Some declined, including traffic deaths, homicides, and the cancers most closely linked to smoking. Though overdose deaths among blacks also increased, the rise was smaller. And overall mortality for black women fell dramatically, with declines in deaths from cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, and cancers, among other causes. The pattern may reflect "a systematic reversal in the long-term trend of mortality decline" for white women, according to the Urban Institute paper. Such a shift could be linked to social and economic circumstances. Poorer people generally have poorer health for a variety of reasons, and growing inequality could be weighing on death rates. "It’s possible that as this group of women ages, there could be a reversal of a very long-term decline in the death rate," said Nan Marie Astone, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and the lead author of the report. America isn't really used to the idea of declining life expectancy. The next few decades might change that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jews and the British empire

Tanstaafl provides an interesting insight into British history.

Jihadi John and his asylum-seeking family have milked the British benefits system for 20 years

Housing the Islamic State executioner and his relatives in affluent parts of London has cost taxpayers up to £400,000. One landlord said that Mohammed Emwazi’s family were parasites and tenants from hell. Incredibly, they are still believed to be pocketing £40,000 a year in handouts despite there being no sign of them in Britain. Emwazi’s father Jasem, who has six children, is back in his native Kuwait – the country he claimed he fled fearing for his life. Westminster City Council is still paying the rent on the family’s £600,000 flat even though the rules say that housing benefit should normally be stopped after 13 weeks. British MPs said that they were horrified that the child of a family given refugee status, citizenship and benefits had returned the favor by orchestrating the murder of two of its citizens. The owner of a house in Little Venice where they lived for four years said that Westminster City Council paid £450 a week in rent for the family – £23,400 a year. Two more of the five owners of homes they have lived in have confirmed that their rent was paid by the council or through a housing association. Assuming the same £23,400-a-year cost, then the bill over 20 years is £468,000. Emwazi’s father Jasem, 51, and his wife Ghaneya brought their family – including Mohammed, then aged six – to Britain in 1994. The couple successfully argued that because they are Bedoon – stateless people denied citizenship by Kuwait – they should be granted asylum. The award of British citizenship allowed the whole family to make regular trips back to Kuwait.

In Israel, it is a sin to be a sucker

Israeli Jews tend to see naivety as being worse than dishonesty.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A black police chief in Florida has been arrested for soliciting a prostitute and was promptly fired just 10 months into his tenure

According to an arrest report, Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson called a number in a "two-girl special" prostitution ad and negotiated a $100 deal for two women for 30 minutes. Only problem: The woman he allegedly paid at a motel was really a sheriff's detective. "The stress overwhelmed me, and I made a very bad decision," Johnson said. He was hired in May 2014 to repair community relations after former top cop Matthew Boyd resigned amid allegations of harassment and illegal tactics.

The top suspect in the brutal killing of a Bangladeshi-American blogger has been apprehended

Farabi Shafiur Rahman, who was arrested at a bus stop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has confessed to threatening blogger Avijit Roy. "It's a holy duty of Bangalee Muslims to kill Avijit," he wrote on Facebook in 2014. Farabi was jailed in the past in connection with an Islamic extremist organization; Roy battled extremism in his writings. Farabi was also arrested in 2014 over social media comments backing another blogger's death, though he was released in that case. That blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was similarly hacked to death.

What is a normal penis length?

For any man who's secretly wondering if he measures up, here's the answer: British researchers set out to determine what can be considered a "normal" penis length by analyzing prior studies and identifying 20 that met their criteria. That gave them a data pool of 15,521 males ages 17 to 91 with which to conduct the first "formal systematic [review] of penile size measurements." Using the men's measurements, they created nomograms, or graphical diagrams that plot the relationship between two variables (in this case, length and percentile), of flaccid and erect penile size measurements. Their conclusion: The average length of a flaccid penis is 3.6 inches, and the average length of an erect penis is 5.16 inches. They also determined average girth: 3.7 inches when flaccid, and 4.6 inches when erect. The average stretched flaccid length was 5.21 inches. Dr. David Veale explains that the nomograms should "help doctors reassure the large majority of men that the size of their penis is in the normal range," as it easily illustrates whether a man who isn't exactly average falls in the 40th percentile, for instance, or the 65th. As for those at the extremes, the pool is small: Just 2.28% of males' members would be considered "abnormally small"; roughly the same percentage have an abnormally large penis. What the researchers didn't find: any differences in penile size across different races or any correlation between the length of a man's foot and his penis.

Muslim sex criminals of Britain: Ten men have been charged as part of an investigation into child grooming and sexual exploitation in Rochdale against girls as young as 13

The men are accused of a catalog of serious sex offences, which include numerous charges of rape and sexual activity with a child, against seven victims between 2005 and 2013. All 10 have been arrested under Operation Doublet, which aims to tackle child sexual exploitation by older men in Rochdale. The operation was launched after the conviction of nine men in May 2014 for their roles in a child abuse ring which spanned Rochdale and parts of Greater Manchester. So far, 65 people have been arrested as part of Operation Doublet and the investigation continues. The charges are; Shayfur Rahman, 31, of Prestwich, one count of rape; Kutab Miah, 34, of Rochdale, three counts of sexual activity and one count of rape; Rehan Ali, 26, of Manchester, one count of rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child when the offender was over 18 and three counts of sexual activity with a child when the offender was between 15 and 17. Iklaq Choudhry Hussain, 37, of Rochdale, three counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of rape; David Law, 45, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, three counts of conspiracy to commit rape; Mahfus Rahman, 28, three counts of rape and three counts of sexual activity with a child. Ashfaq Yousaf, 28, has been charged with one count of aiding and abetting rape against one victim. He has also been charged with one count of rape against a further victim. Afraz Ahmed, 32, of Rochdale has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit rape and one count of rape against one victim. He also faces two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, relating to offences against to girls. He has also been charged with one count of rape against a further victim. Mohammed Davood, 37, of Burnley has been charged with one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against one victim. He has also been charged with three counts of rape, one count of sexual activity with a child and one count of sexual assault against a further victim. Mohammed Miah, 39, has been charged with three counts of sexual activity and one count of rape against one victim. He has also been charged with one count of rape against a further victim. The Crown Prosecution Service said that the majority of offences took place when the complainants were under 16.

Monday, March 2, 2015

DNA analysis has revealed evidence for a massive migration into the heartland of Europe 4,500 years ago

Data from the genomes of 69 ancient individuals suggest that herders moved en masse from the continent's eastern periphery into Central Europe. These migrants may be responsible for the expansion of Indo-European languages, which make up the majority of spoken tongues in Europe today. Prof David Reich and colleagues extracted DNA from remains found at archaeological sites around the continent. They used a new DNA-enrichment technique that greatly reduces the amount of sequencing needed to obtain genome-wide data. Their analyses show that 7,000-8,000 years ago, a closely related group of early farmers moved into Europe from the Near East, confirming the findings of previous studies. The farmers were distinct from the indigenous hunter-gatherers that they encountered as they spread around the continent. Eventually, the two groups mixed, so that by 5,000-6,000 years ago, the farmers' genetic signature had become melded with that of the indigenous Europeans. But previous studies show that a two-way amalgam of farmers and hunters is not sufficient to capture the genetic complexity of modern Europeans. A third ancestral group must have been added to the melting pot more recently. Prof Reich and colleagues have now identified a likely source area for this later diaspora. The Bronze Age Yamnaya pastoralists of southern Russia are a good fit for the missing third genetic component in Europeans. The team analysed nine genomes from individuals belonging to this nomadic group, which buried their dead in mounds known as kurgans. The scientists contend that a group similar to the Yamnaya moved into the European heartland after the invention of wheeled vehicles, contributing up to 50% of ancestry in some modern north Europeans. Southern Europeans on the whole appear to have been less affected by the expansion. Even more intriguing is the possible link between this steppe expansion and the origins of Indo-European languages. Most indigenous European tongues, from English to Russian and Spanish to Greek, belong to the Indo-European group. The classification is based on shared features of vocabulary and grammar. Basque, spoken in south-west France and northern Spain, does not fit in this group, and may be the only surviving relic of an earlier group of languages once spoken more widely. Two principal hypotheses have been put forward to explain the preponderance of Indo-European tongues in Europe today. According to the "Anatolian hypothesis", Indo-European languages were spread by the first farmers from the Near East 7,000-8,000 years ago. But the latest paper supports the "Steppe hypothesis", which proposes that early Indo-European speakers were Bronze Age farmers on the grasslands north of the Black and Caspian Seas. "An open question for us is whether the languages spoken by these steppe migrants were just ancestral to a sub-set of Indo-European languages in Europe today - for example, Balti-Slavic and maybe Germanic - or the great majority of Indo-European languages spoken in Europe today," Prof Reich said. But he added that Indo-European languages spoken in Iran and India had probably already diverged from those spoken by the Yamnaya before the nomads blazed a trail into Europe.