Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I expected that Western Europe would have the most religious diversity but I was terribly wrong.  Here are the top 20 countries for diversity according to Pew Research:

Country RDI Percent Christian Percent Muslim Percent Unaffiliated Percent Hindu Percent Buddhist Percent Folk Religions Percent Other Religions Percent Jewish
Singapore 9.0 18.2% 14.3% 16.4% 5.2% 33.9% 2.3% 9.7% < 0.1%
Taiwan 8.2 5.5% < 0.1% 12.7% < 0.1% 21.3% 44.2% 16.2% < 0.1%
Vietnam 7.7 8.2% 0.2% 29.6% < 0.1% 16.4% 45.3% 0.4% < 0.1%
Suriname 7.6 51.6% 15.2% 5.4% 19.8% 0.6% 5.3% 1.8% 0.2%
Guinea Bissau 7.5 19.7% 45.1% 4.3% < 0.1% < 0.1% 30.9% < 0.1% < 0.1%
Togo 7.5 43.7% 14.0% 6.2% < 0.1% < 0.1% 35.6% 0.6% < 0.1%
Ivory Coast 7.4 44.1% 37.5% 8.0% < 0.1% < 0.1% 10.2% 0.2% < 0.1%
South Korea 7.4 29.4% 0.2% 46.4% < 0.1% 22.9% 0.8% 0.2% < 0.1%
China 7.3 5.1% 1.8% 52.2% < 0.1% 18.2% 21.9% 0.7% < 0.1%
Benin 7.2 53.0% 23.8% 5.0% < 0.1% < 0.1% 18.1% < 0.1% < 0.1%
Hong Kong 7.2 14.3% 1.8% 56.1% 0.4% 13.2% 12.8% 1.5% < 0.1%
Mozambique 7.0 56.7% 18.0% 17.9% < 0.1% < 0.1% 7.4% < 0.1% < 0.1%
Macau 6.8 7.2% 0.2% 15.4% < 0.1% 17.3% 58.9% 1.0% < 0.1%
Mauritius 6.7 25.3% 16.7% 0.6% 56.4% < 0.1% 0.7% 0.3% < 0.1%
Cuba 6.5 59.2% < 0.1% 23.0% 0.2% < 0.1% 17.4% < 0.1% < 0.1%
Mongolia 6.5 2.3% 3.2% 35.9% < 0.1% 55.1% 3.5% < 0.1% < 0.1%
Netherlands 6.4 50.6% 6.0% 42.1% 0.5% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Malaysia 6.3 9.4% 63.7% 0.7% 6.0% 17.7% 2.3% 0.2% < 0.1%
Burkina Faso 6.2 22.5% 61.6% 0.4% < 0.1% < 0.1% 15.4% < 0.1% < 0.1%
Japan 6.2 1.6% 0.2% 57.0% < 0.1% 36.2% 0.4% 4.7% < 0.1%

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


That's because their ignorance is existential, not contextual, as you can see from this commenter:
Gregory Glass · Follow · Top Commenter · Expert at Pissing People Off · 223 followers
#1. We are not 'granted' rights, we HAVE GOD GIVEN rights.
#2. The Militia is EVERY US CITIZEN.


This New Yorker article weakly implies that AIPAC is losing its influence over American foreign policy yet provides these counter-examples:
 - Although the Administration repeatedly reaffirmed its support for Israel, it was clearly uncomfortable with the scale of Israel’s aggression. AIPAC did not share this unease; it endorsed a Senate resolution in support of Israel’s “right to defend its citizens,” which had seventy-nine co-sponsors and passed without a word of dissent.

- In 2011, when the Palestinians announced that they would petition the U.N. for statehood, AIPAC helped persuade four hundred and forty-six members of Congress to co-sponsor resolutions opposing the idea.

- In 1995, AIPAC encouraged Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House, to support bipartisan legislation to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This put Rabin in a political corner. On one hand, he knew that such a move would infuriate the Arab world and endanger the Oslo process. On the other, as Yossi Beilin, then an official in the Labor government, pointed out, “You are the Prime Minister of Israel and you are telling American Jews, ‘Don’t ask for recognition of Jerusalem as our capital’? Nobody can do that!” At a dinner with AIPAC leaders, Rabin told them that he did not support the bill; they continued to promote it nonetheless. In October, the bill passed in Congress, by an overwhelming majority. President Bill Clinton invoked a national-security waiver to prevent its enactment, and so has every President since.

- In March, 2010, while Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, the Netanyahu government announced that it was building sixteen hundred new housing units for Jews in Ramat Shlomo, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Biden said that the move “undermines the trust we need right now.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Netanyahu to upbraid him. But, while Obama and his team viewed the move as a political insult and yet another blow to a potential two-state solution, AIPAC went into defensive mode, sending an e-mail to its members saying that the Administration’s criticisms of Israel were “a matter of serious concern.” Soon afterward, a letter circulated in the House calling on the Obama Administration to “reinforce” the relationship. Three hundred and twenty-seven House members signed it. 

- In early 2009, after a brief truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed in a series of mutual provocations, Israel carried out Operation Cast Lead, an incursion into Gaza in which nearly fourteen hundred Palestinians were killed, along with thirteen Israelis. Baird visited the area a few weeks later and returned several times. As he wrote in an op-ed, he saw “firsthand the devastating destruction of hospitals, schools, homes, industries, and infrastructure.” That September, the U.N. Human Rights Council issued a report, based on an inquiry led by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone, that accused Israel of a series of possible war crimes. AIPAC attacked the report, saying it was “rigged.” A month later, an AIPAC-sponsored resolution to condemn the report was introduced in the House, and three hundred and forty-four members voted in favor.

- “I think AIPAC thought this vote would be one hundred per cent,” Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, said. It was close: out of four hundred and thirty-five members, only eight voted no.

Monday, August 25, 2014


According to this ABC News report, ISIS is considered by some to be VERY professional and as far as I can tell, no one in the US Intelligence apparatus seems to have a clue, unlike Juan Cole.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


ql points out that lowest teen birthrates are in New England and the highest are in the South and Southwest.  I associate high teen birthrates with poverty and poverty in America is strongly correlated with race/ethnicity so I decided to look at the percentage of White, non-Hispanic in the top five and bottom five states:

New Mexico 39.4
Oklahoma 67.5
Mississippi 57.5
Arkansas 73.7
Teas 44


New Jersey 57.6
Vermont 93.8
Connecticut 69.6
Massachusetts 75.1
New Hampshire 91.6



The Massachusetts and New Jersey have percentages similar to Arkansas and Mississippi, so the birthrate difference is not due to race/ethnicity between those states.  The USA Today article reports the following groupings:
Asian or Pacific Islanders had the lowest 2012 rate at 9.7, compared with Hispanic teens who had the highest rate at 46.3. Rates for the other groups are 20.5 for white, 34.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native and 43.9 for black teens.
It would be useful to find out why the Asian/Pacific group rate is so much lower than all the others.


You may have heard a Bagger or a talk radio gasbag claim that the Constitution enshrines capitalism so I decided to use the OED to see when the word "capitalism" was first used.  Below are the results and it turn out that the word if not the concept was first used in 1833, 44 years after the enactment of the Constitution. 

capitalism, n.2

View as:
Etymology:  < capital n.2 + -ism suffix, after capitalist n.
Compare French capitalisme ... (Show More)

  The possession of capital or wealth; an economic system in which private capital or wealth is used in the production or distribution of goods and prices are determined mainly in a free market; the dominance of private owners of capital and of production for profit. Cf. capitalist n., socialism n. 2.Sometimes used depreciatively.
Freq. with modifying term; for anarcho-, anti-, market, monopoly, popular, pro-, state, venture, welfare capitalism: see the first element.

1833   Standard 23 Apr.,   Whatever tended to paralyse British industry could not but produce corresponding injury to France; when the same tyranny of capitalism which first produced the disease would be at hand to inflame the symptoms by holding out promises of loans, &c.
1848   Caledonian Mercury 25 Sept.,   That sweeping tide of capitalism and money-loving which threatens our country with the horrors of a plutocracy.
1884   Pall Mall Gaz. 11 Sept. 6/1   A loophole for capitalism to creep in upon the primitive Christian communism.
1894   S. Gompers in J. Swinton Striking for Life 318   When the time comes, if it does come, for the displacement of the barbarity of capitalism to make way for humane conditions it will be accomplished by men whose heads are as cool as their hearts are warm.
1908   Polit. Sci. Q. 23 670   Socialism..will step into its heritage when capitalism..has created a thoroughly proletarized, class-conscious and revolutionary population.
1919   Amer. Jrnl. Sociol. 24 371   The beginnings of capitalism in England are to be traced to the thrifty manufacturing middle class.
1969   Listener 28 Aug. 267/1   Can capitalism..achieve the rate of growth that planning in a really publicly-owned economy has achieved?
1986   H. J. Maroney Feminism at Work in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley What is Feminism? 119   Kinship networks have also traditionally provided a support base for working-class struggles. Their steady disintegration in late capitalism thus has a mixed import for class-based politics.
2010   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 15 June a25/3   The rivalry between democratic capitalism and state capitalism is not like the rivalry between capitalism and communism.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Today she had Peter Hitchens on to talk about ISIS and Hitchens recommended that we avoid putting troops on the ground because we've been screwing up the Middle East beginning with the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Ingraham was and is a HUGE supporter of the invasion.

Here's a screenshot from her website:


I posted below that Hamas was not responsible for the murders of 3 young Israelis and apparently that is WRONG:
Hamas official says group abducted, killed Israeli teens
By Josef Federman
Associated Press August 21, 2014

JERUSALEM — A senior Hamas leader has said the group carried out the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June — the first time anyone from the Islamic militant group has said it was behind an attack that helped spark the current war in the Gaza Strip.

Saleh Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out what he described as a ‘‘heroic operation’’ with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising.

‘‘It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam Brigades,’’ he said, saying Hamas hoped to exchange the youths for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This did NOT make the front page of Yahoo News but it should have.
Bank of America settles mortgage probes for $16.65 billion

By Aruna Viswanatha, Jonathan Stempel and Peter Rudegeair

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:09pm EDT

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) reached a record $16.65 billion settlement with the U.S. government to settle charges that it and companies it bought misled investors into buying troubled mortgage-backed securities, helping the bank close a major chapter tied to the financial crisis.

The settlement announced on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice calls for the second-largest U.S. bank by assets to pay $9.65 billion in cash to resolve more than a dozen federal and state investigations, and provide $7 billion in help to struggling homeowners and communities.

Under the out-of-court settlement, Bank of America acknowledged that Merrill Lynch told investors in subprime mortgage bonds in 2006 and 2007 that the loans generally complied with underwriting guidelines, though reviews suggested as many as 50 percent did not.


but I don't think they get the reality of tough street situations. When I lived in Manhattan, if I saw a cop car pulled over with its lights flashing, I would either cross to the other side of the street and sometimes do a complete detour around the scene. This cop I think offers some pragmatic advice when you're not sure what's actually going down:
Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.
UPDATE: In this video of the Powell killing, as a bystander, I would have gotten around the corner as soon as I saw that the cops had drawn their guns.


Maha points out a few of the puzzles about Ferguson and I find the delay in announcing that officer Powell had an orbital fracture nothing short of mysterious.

UPDATE: Larisa Horton is also puzzled.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


The article TIME wants to sell as giving us the real facts about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson starts off with a non-sequitor:
How did Wilson encounter Brown?

Shortly before noon on Aug. 9, Brown walked into Ferguson Market and Liquor, a convenience store on West Florissant Avenue. He was with a friend, 22-year-old Dorian Johnson. At approximately 11:51, according to a police report, an unidentified officer received a call that a robbery was in progress at the store. But the suspect, who a Brown family lawyer has acknowledged “appears to be” Brown from surveillance footage, was gone when the officer arrived.
The convenience store robbery has nothing to do with the shooting unless you are pre-disposed to think Brown deserved to die.


His Republican opponent is Gabriela Saucedo Mercer and she's a Tea Party Nutter:

Local congressional candidate says Obama is an " Islamist "

Arizona Daily Star, The (Tucson, AZ) - Monday, August 18, 2014
Readability: 9-12 grade level (Lexile: 1140L)
Author: Joe Ferguson and Becky Pallack Arizona Daily Star
Republican Congressional District 3 candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer took to Facebook on Friday to approve of former Florida Rep. Allen West’s calls to impeach President Obama for being an “ Islamist .”

In her post, the CD3 candidate called West a “patriot” for releasing his six-point argument on why Obama is an “enemy of the state.”

Saucedo Mercer called on the “derelict media” to pay closer attention to West’s message.

In the comments on her Facebook post, Saucedo Mercer continued to explain her position: "I said I agree with Lt. Col. Allen West 100% because he understands the dangers if the Islamist ideology and everywhere you look Barack Hussein Obama is defending terrorist organizations and if you knew anything about Islam you would know that Islam is a patriarchal religion and just the fact that Barack Hussein Obama's father was a Muslim that makes him one. The father's religion takes precedent."

Obama is Christian, but about 11 percent of Americans believe he is Muslim, according to a 2012 Gallup poll.

Saucedo Mercer drew attention in her 2012 campaign for saying Middle Eastern immigrants' "only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States." She apologized, saying "I am not against Muslims. I am against radical Islamic terrorists. Their only goal in life is to come to this country and cause us harm."
Edition: Web Edition
Section: News
Record Number: 17604c777195941bdaf5349c8cf7e82a55be395