Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A poll conducted by Harvard-Harris has found that 80% of Americans believe local law enforcement should be required to turn over illegal immigrants they arrest to the federal government so they can be deported

The survey indicates widespread support for President Donald Trump's directive to federal agencies to cut off funding for sanctuary cities across America, except when the money is for crime fighting. Conservatives have been on the warpath with sanctuary cities since the July 2015 death of San Francisco resident Kate Steinle, who was struck by a bullet that came from a gun shot by an illegal immigrant. Some large cities shield illegal immigrants but do not call themselves sanctuary cities such as Salt Lake City, San Diego, Los Angeles and Boston. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center says that at least 39 cities provide some form of sanctuary protection. Fearful for their county's own federal funds, Miami-Dade commissioners have voted to comply with federal immigration laws, ending sanctuary in the Florida county with a large immigrant population. In the Harvard-Harris poll, 75% of respondents said that they were in favor of ICE hiring more border patrol agents, another mandate of Trump's.

A new study, looking at the sex-specifically inherited X chromosome of prehistoric human remains, shows that hardly any women took part in the extensive migration from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe approximately 5,000 years ago

The great migration that brought farming practices to Europe 4,000 years earlier, on the other hand, consisted of both women and men. The difference in sex bias suggests that different social and cultural processes drove the two migrations. Genetic data suggest that modern European ancestry represents a mosaic of ancestral contributions from multiple waves of prehistoric migration events. Recent studies of genomic variation in prehistoric human remains have demonstrated that two mass migration events are particularly important to understanding European prehistory: the Neolithic spread of agriculture from Anatolia starting around 9,000 years ago, and migration from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe around 5,000 years ago. These migrations are coincident with large social, cultural, and linguistic changes, and each has been inferred to have replaced more than half of the contemporaneous gene pool of resident Central Europeans. Dramatic events in human prehistory can be investigated using patterns of genetic variation among the people that lived in those times. In particular, studies of differing female and male demographic histories on the basis of ancient genomes can provide information about complexities of social structures and cultural interactions in prehistoric populations. Researchers from Uppsala and Stanford University investigated the genetic ancestry on the sex-specifically inherited X chromosome and the autosomes in 20 early Neolithic and 16 Late Neolithic/Bronze Age human remains. Contrary to previous hypotheses suggesting patrilocality (social system in which a family resides near the man's parents) of many agricultural populations, they found no evidence of sex-biased admixture during the migration that spread farming across Europe during the early Neolithic. For later migrations from the Pontic steppe during the early Bronze Age, however, we find a dramatic male bias. There are simply too few X-chromosomes from the migrants, which points to around ten migrating males for every migrating female, says Mattias Jakobsson, professor of Genetics at the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University. The research group found evidence of ongoing, primarily male, migration from the steppe to central Europe over a period of multiple generations, with a level of sex bias that excludes a pulse migration during a single generation. The contrasting patterns of sex-specific migration during these two migrations suggest a view of differing cultural histories in which the Neolithic transition was driven by mass migration of both males and females in roughly equal numbers — perhaps whole families — whereas the later Bronze Age migration and cultural shift were instead driven by male migration.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sweden: Foreign-born people account for about 17% of the population, and second-generation immigrants, for an additional 5%

Despite this, foreign-born people make up 53% of those with long prison terms, 54% of the unemployed and they receive 60% of paid social benefits. In addition, 71% of the country’s child poverty is in households with a foreign background, while 76% of the members of criminal gangs have immigrant backgrounds.

Why is Israel allowed to interfere in the politics of the United States without being criticized?

This is how Philip Weiss sees it:
The Israeli interference in our politics is the conspiracy in plain sight that no one in the media talks about because they’re too implicated themselves. The two top executives at the largest media company, Comcast, are pro-Israel; one of them, David Cohen, raised money for the Israeli army. Netanyahu’s speeches to Congress were written by Gary Ginsberg, an executive at another media company, Time Warner, but hey, that’s not an issue. Four New York Times reporters have had children serve in the Israeli army. One of them is columnist David Brooks, who says that he gets gooey-eyed when he visits Israel. He is one of several Zionists with columns at the Times. Tom Friedman justified the Iraq War because suicide bombers were going into Tel Aviv pizza parlors. (Huh?) Yesterday Martin Indyk said on National Public Radio that Jared Kushner’s strong Jewish background was an asset for his being a Middle East mediator, a job that Aaron David Miller, who also has a strong Jewish background, defined as being Israel’s lawyer. Indyk, himself a mediator, started a pro-Israel thinktank with Haim Saban, an Israeli-American who was Clinton’s biggest funder and who lately smeared Keith Ellison at a giant gathering at Brookings, which he also helps fund, as “clearly an anti-semite” and “anti-Israel;” and Jake Tapper of CNN moved on to the next question, presumably because smearing a public official in that manner is not news. Saban is also chummy with Jeffrey Goldberg, one of whose qualifications for being the best journalist in his generation, according to the Atlantic’s publisher, is that he served in the Israeli Defense Forces, because he felt that America was unsafe for Jews. One of Goldberg’s first hires as editor at the Atlantic is Julia Ioffe, who hates Russia, and who told a synagogue audience last year after she was attacked as a Jew by Trump supporters: “Personally I was kind of glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism” because people had forgotten that Jews and Israel are the “underdog.” At another NY synagogue, believing that he was speaking off the record, Dennis Ross, the longtime White House “mediator” of the peace process, said that American Jews must be “advocates” for Israel, not for Palestinians. Again, not a scandal. But when Rashid Khalidi, who wrote a book about the U.S. being imbalanced in the peace process, warned that neoconservatives would “infest” the Trump administration, he was smeared up and down as an anti-semite.

Having high levels of a certain biomarker is linked to poor prognosis in African-American patients with triple-negative breast cancer, while the same biomarker doesn't influence disease outcomes in white patients, according to a new study

Racial disparities in disease, particularly breast cancer, continue to pose a major challenge in healthcare. African-American breast cancer patients are more likely to suffer from a more aggressive course of disease and higher mortality compared to other racial groups. In particular, African-American patients with triple-negative breast cancer have a dismal prognosis. The dire outcome of this group could indicate that high-risk, African-American breast cancer patients are not being identified as such using standard clinical prognostic tools and aren't being prescribed sufficiently aggressive treatment. Therefore, it's critical to find novel biomarkers that could identify differences in tumor biology between racial groups and serve as risk predictors to help alleviate health disparity in disease outcomes. In this study, a research team led by Georgia State University examined whether a biomarker called nuclear KIFC1, which has been associated with worse outcomes in breast cancer, can predict risk in triple-negative breast cancer, a subtype that disproportionately affects African-American women. The researchers assessed the nuclear KIFC1 biomarker in triple-negative breast cancer tissue samples from 163 African-American patients and 144 white patients who were treated between the years 2003-2008 at Grady Memorial and Emory University hospitals, 2005-2013 at Northside Hospital and 2001-2012 at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. Race information in medical records was self-declared by patients. "We looked at the levels of nuclear KIFC1 in their tumors, and interestingly, we found that African-American women had slightly higher levels, but it was only within African-American patients that the levels mattered for their outcome," said Angela Ogden, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Ritu Aneja's laboratory in Georgia State's Biology Department. "African-American women with high nuclear KIFC1 levels tended to do poorly, whereas in white women, it didn't matter if they had high or low levels. It had no effect on their outcomes." The researchers further investigated why the biomarker only seems to matter in African-American patients by studying triple-negative breast tumor cells from African-American and white patients. "We found that if we silence the KIFC1 gene, it had a greater impact on the migration of the African-American cells than it did on the white cells," Ogden said. "It may be that for whatever reason, in African-American breast cancer tumors, KIFC1 helps the cells to migrate and spread to other parts of the body. And for reasons that we currently don't know, that's not the case in white tumors. Ultimately, it may even be that African-American patients could potentially be treated with a KIFC1 inhibitor to help prevent metastasis, but that's for future studies." The study is multi-institutional with tumor samples from breast cancer patients treated at four different hospitals, so the results can likely be generalized. To ensure certain factors didn't confound the results, the researchers adjusted for tumor stage, age at diagnosis, receipt of chemotherapy and the hospital where patients received chemotherapy. They found that nuclear KIFC1 had a significant effect on outcomes in African-American patients, even after adjusting for these factors. Biomarkers of relevance to specific racial groups are starting to be explored more in scientific studies, Ogden said. "The approach of treating all patients the same, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, may not be the best approach as genetic ancestry matters," she said. "There may be biomarkers and treatments that work better for people of a certain ancestry, race or ethnicity, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach."

Superstition and barbarism in Africa: In Malawi, like other countries in the region, people with albinism are hunted down because of the belief that potions made from their body parts can bring good luck and wealth

In 2016, a UN expert warned that Malawi's estimated 10,000 albinos face "extinction" if they continue to be murdered for their body parts. Since November 2014, 19 albinos have been killed and there have been more than 100 cases of attempted kidnapping and disappearances. Graves of albinos are also targeted by criminals who remove bones in order to sell them. Amnesty International says that police lack investigative skills and the majority of cases remain unresolved. Activists say poverty contributes to the suspicion surrounding albinos and the belief that their body parts can be sold for large sums of money.

A zoo in northern Japan has culled 57 of its snow monkeys by lethal injection after discovering that they carried the genes of an "invasive alien species"

Takagoyama Nature Zoo in Chiba said that DNA testing showed the monkeys had been crossbred with the rhesus macaque. The non-indigenous rhesus macaque is banned under Japanese law. A local official said that they had to be killed in order to protect the native environment. The zoo's operator held a memorial service for the snow monkeys' souls at a nearby Buddhist temple. Japanese macaques, commonly known as snow monkeys, are native to Japan and are one of the country's major tourist attractions. Japan prohibits the possession and transport of invasive species, including crossbreeds. An official from the Office for Alien Species Management, part of the country's environment ministry, said that the culling was unavoidable because there were fears they might escape and reproduce in the wild. Junkichi Mima, a spokesman for conservation group WWF Japan said that invasive species cause problems "because they get mixed in with indigenous animals and threaten the natural environment and ecosystem". Apparently racial purity and segregation are alright for animals but not for humans.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Are we seeing the end of identity politics?

Victor Davis Hanson says that class is finally reemerging as a better barometer of privilege than is race. The children of Barack Obama, for example, have far more privilege than do the sons of Appalachian coal miners — and many Asian groups already exceed American per capita income averages. When activist Michael Eric Dyson calls for blanket reparations for slavery, his argument does not resonate with an unemployed working-class youth from Kentucky, who was born more than 30 years after the emergence of affirmative action — and enjoys a fraction of Dyson’s own income, net worth, and cultural opportunities.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A strong majority of Americans say Democrats should look to cooperate with President Trump to strike deals, according to the inaugural Harvard-Harris poll

The survey found that 73% of voters want to see Democrats work with Trump, against only 27% who said Democrats should resist Trump’s every move. The findings are significant as Democratic leaders in Congress are under growing pressure by their liberal base to obstruct the president’s agenda. The poll shows that the party is divided on how to deal with Trump: 52% of Democrats polled say they should cooperate with him on areas of agreement and 48% saying that they shouldn’t.

Obama leaves the White House having achieved nothing positive on the economic front, nothing positive on the international front, and nothing positive on the domestic front

But at least he is the best black president!