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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Americans Are More Skeptical of Regulation than Europeans

People across Western Europe generally believe it is good for society if the government regulates business. In the eight countries surveyed late last year, a median of 57% said this is good, with the publics in Spain (72%) and the UK (68%) especially positive about government regulation of business. Last summer, Americans were divided on whether government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest (50%) or usually does more harm than good (45%).

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sixty-One Million American Adults Have a Disability

From CDC:
One in 4 U.S. adults – 61 million Americans – have a disability that impacts major life activities, according to a report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disability becomes more common, affecting about 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older.
“At some point in their lives, most people will either have a disability or know someone who has a one,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Learning more about people with disabilities in the United States can help us better understand and meet their health needs.”
Six types of disability measured
Using data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), this is the first CDC report of the percentage of adults across six disability types:

  • Mobility (serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs)
  • Cognition (serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions)
  • Hearing (serious difficulty hearing)
  • Vision (serious difficulty seeing)
  • Independent living (difficulty doing errands alone)
  • Self-care (difficulty dressing or bathing)

These data show that disability is more common among women, non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives, adults with lower income, and adults living in the South Census region of the United States. The report also shows that:

  • After mobility disability, the next most common disability type is cognition, followed by independent living, hearing, vision, and self-care.
  • The percentage of adults with disability increased as income decreased. In fact, mobility disability is nearly five times as common among middle-aged (45- to 64-year old) adults living below the poverty level compared to those whose income is twice the poverty level.
  • It is more common for adults 65 years and older with disabilities to have health insurance coverage, a primary doctor, and receive a routine health checkup during the previous 12 months, compared to middle-aged and younger adults with disabilities.
  • Disability-specific differences in the ability to access health care are common, particularly among adults 18- to 44-years old and middle-aged adults. Generally, adults with vision disability report the least access to health care, while adults with self-care disability report the most access to care.

“People with disabilities will benefit from care coordination and better access to health care and the health services they need, so that they adopt healthy behaviors and have better health,” said Georgina Peacock, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Division of Human Development and Disability. “Research showing how many people have a disability and differences in their access to health care can guide efforts by health care providers and public health practitioners to improve access to care for people with disabilities.”
CDC is committed to protecting the health and well-being of people with disabilities throughout their lives. Through its State Disability and Health Programs and national collaborations, CDC will continue to work to lower health differences faced by people with disabilities. To advance this goal, CDC provides information and resources for public health practitioners, doctors, and those who care for people with disabilities.
For more information about CDC’s work to support inclusive settings for people with disabilities, go to

Thursday, August 16, 2018

You Cannot Retroactively Go Off the Record

Ben Terris at WP gives an illustration of how a source cannot retroactively go off the record.
Me: You told me you found [George’s tweets] disrespectful.

Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”

Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”

Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.

Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.

Kellyanne: Well, people do see it this way. People do see it that way, I don’t say I do, but people see it that way.

Me: But I’m saying we never discussed everything about his tweets being off the record. There are certain things you said that I put off the record.

Kellyanne: Fine. I’ve never actually said what I think about it and I won’t say what I think about it, which tells you what I think about it.
Matt Flegenheimer at NYT:
On the record: This is the easy one — and a journalist’s strong preference at all times. Speakers can be named speaking the words they spoke. Enjoy responsibly.
If no rules are set in advance, the assumption is that everything is on the record: comments, eye-rolls, life in all its majesty. Sometimes, after an especially punchy flourish, a hammy politician might say something like, “And you can quote me on that!” This is generally not in doubt, but it’s always fun to hear anyway.
Off the record: Ideally, terms are established at the start. And since nothing from the conversation can be used for publication, journalists are, ideally, cleareyed about the consequences of this arrangement, if they agree to it at all: Sources will have their own agendas, trying to shape future coverage to their liking.
Background: Now it gets less intuitive. Generally, “on background” is understood to mean that the information can be published, but only under conditions agreed upon with the source. There can be good reasons for this — say, government employees sharing news-making documents that they would only volunteer without a name attached.
A reporter might negotiate with those sources to at least describe their jobs in broad strokes, to give a reader proper context: “a federal worker who shared the material,” “a government official with access to the information.” Anything is better than “a source,” which adds nothing (and which The Times does not abide as a description for a source in print).
Deep background: This is where establishing ground rules is particularly important, since many journalists and sources have competing definitions. For some, there is no practical distinction between “background” and “deep background,” except that the latter sounds brooding and mysterious, evoking dark shadows and empty garages. Others interpret the term to mean that information can be used only for the reporter’s context and understanding, with no attribution of any kind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Opioids and Overdoses

Drug overdoses killed more than 72,300 Americans last year, a record and a rise of around 10 percent, according to new preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control.
It’s not clear whether the opioid epidemic has reached its peak. The death toll, which has doubled over the last decade, is more than the highest yearly death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun deaths.
A growing number of Americans are using opioids, and those drugs are becoming more deadly. Experts who are closely monitoring the epidemic say the second factor most likely explains the bulk of the increased number of overdoses last year.
The picture is not equally bleak everywhere. In parts of New England, where a more dangerous drug supply arrived early, the number of overdoses has begun to fall. That was the case in Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island; each state has had major public health campaigns and has increased addiction treatment. Preliminary 2018 numbers from Massachusetts suggest that the death rate there may be continuing to fall.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Homeownership Has Not Recovered from the Great Recession

Derick Moore at the US Census:
Homeownership rates for all age groups were lower in 2017 than in 2006, the year before the Great Recession (2007-2009).
The homeownership rate among the largest group of homeowners — those age 65 and over — has returned to within about 2 percentage points of 2006 levels. However, householders under age 35 and 35-44 years old had 2017 rates about 7 and 10 percentage points lower than in 2006.
The figure below shows that despite the economic rebound since the Great Recession, annual homeownership rates in all age groups were lower in 2017 than in 2006.

While the overall homeownership rate fluctuates over time due to recessions, interest rates, home prices, student loan debts and other factors, the impact varies by age group. Those under age 35 are much less likely to own a home than those age 65 and older.
“Most Americans think that the ideal age people should marry is 25, but only about a quarter of adults have actually done so by that age,” said Census Bureau demographer Jonathan Vespa, author of “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975-2016”, issued in 2017. “Because marriage is closely tied with establishing their own household, young adults may be delaying homeownership to later ages as well.”
The Census Bureau also releases national homeownership rates for the Unites States on a quarterly basis. Since the first quarter 1995, the overall U.S. quarterly homeownership rate (see figure below) rose from 64.2 percent to 69.2 percent in the second and fourth quarters 2004, fell to 62.9 percent by the second quarter 2016, and came back to 64.2 percent in the fourth quarter 2017. For all the numbers, see Historical Table 19.

According to the Census Bureau’s latest homeownership release, the second quarter 2018 homeownership rate was highest for those householders age 65 years and over (78.0 percent) and lowest for the age group under 35 years old (36.5 percent).
In addition to viewing homeownerships rates by age, the Census Bureau has stats by race and ethnicity, by family income, family status and by the United States and regions.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Denaturalization, 2018

Brittny Mejia at LAT:
A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services team in Los Angeles has been reviewing more than 2,500 naturalization files for possible denaturalization, focusing on identity fraud and willful misrepresentation. More than 100 cases have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible action.

“We’re receiving cases where [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] believes there is fraud, where our systems have identified that individuals used more than one identity, sometimes more than two or three identities,” said Dan Renaud, the associate director for field operations at the citizenship agency. “Those are the cases we’re pursuing.”
From 2009 to 2016, an average of 16 civil denaturalization cases were filed each year, Department of Justice data show. Last year, more than 25 cases were filed. Through mid-July of this year, the Justice Department has filed 20 more.

Separately, ICE has a pending budget request for $207.6 million to hire 300 agents to help root out citizenship fraud, as well as to “complement work site enforcement, visa overstay investigations, forensic document examination, outreach programs and other activities,” according to the agency.

The stage for increasing cases of denaturalization was set during the waning days of the Obama administration.

In September 2016, a report released by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security showed that 315,000 old fingerprint records for immigrants who either had criminal convictions or deportation orders against them had not been uploaded into a database used to check identities.

It turned out that because of incomplete fingerprint records, citizenship had been granted to at least 858 people who had been ordered deported or removed under another identity. USCIS began looking into cases.

John Sandweg, who headed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Obama, said that when it came to denaturalization, officers considered it on a case-by-case basis, “looking at the seriousness of the offense and then deciding if it made sense to dedicate the resources.”

“It was looked at more in that context — let’s look for serious felons who may have duped the system because we didn’t digitize fingerprints yet. Not so much … let’s just find people where there’s eligibilities to denaturalize because we want to try to reduce the ranks of naturalized U.S. citizens.”

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Computer and Internet Use

Many posts have discussed the explosive growth of computer technology use, and its impact on mass media.

Among all households in 2016, the Census Bureau reports, 89 percent had a computer, which includes smartphones, and 81 percent had a broadband Internet subscription