Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Religion and Race

Gallup reports:
The relationship between religiosity and party identification in the U.S. has been both constant across time and most demographic groups within the population, including age, gender, region, and socio-economic status. Within each category of these groups, Americans who are the most religious are the most likely to be Republican, while those who are the least religious are the most likely to be Democratic.
The one exception to the basic religiousness and party identification relationship occurs among black Americans, who tend to be the most Democratic of any major race and ethnic group measured. Blacks are very religious on average, but the political orientation of blacks who are nonreligious does not vary significantly from those who are very religious. Democratic affiliation among black Americans hovers near 75% within all three religious groups of black Americans.
On the other hand, non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and Asians follow the basic pattern bserved in the general population, with more religious members of each group skewing more Republican. The relationship is most pronounced among non-Hispanic whites, among whom the swing in the net Democratic advantage goes from +18 points among those who are unreligious to -39 points among those who are very religious.
Political Party Affiliation, by Religiousness, Race and Ethnicity

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mass Media, Social Media, and Overseas Conflicts

Anjam Sundaram writes at The New York Times:
I worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a stringer, a freelance journalist paid by the word, for a year and a half, in 2005-06. There, on the bottom rung of the news ladder, I grasped the role of the imaginary in the production of world news. Congo is the scene of one of the greatest man-made disasters of our lifetimes. Two successive wars have killed more than five million people since 1996.
Yet this great event in human history has produced no sustained reporting. No journalist is stationed consistently on the front lines of the war telling us its stories.
In some places, though, social media are partially filling the gap. Also at The Times, David Carr writes:
Vietnam was the first war to leak into many American living rooms, albeit delayed by the limits of television technology at the time. CNN put all viewers on a kind of war footing, with its live broadcasts from the first gulf war in 1991.
But in the current news ecosystem, we don’t have to wait for the stentorian anchor to arrive and set up shop. Even as some traditional media organizations have pulled back, new players like Vice and BuzzFeed have stepped in to sometimes remarkable effect.
Citizen reports from the scene are quickly augmented by journalists. And those journalists on the ground begin writing about what they see, often via Twitter, before consulting with headquarters about what it all means.
Bearing witness is the oldest and perhaps most valuable tool in the journalist’s arsenal, but it becomes something different delivered in the crucible of real time, without pause for reflection. It is unedited, distributed rapidly and globally, and immediately responded to by the people formerly known as the audience.
But overseas stories have a short life in social media.  Remember Kony and Boko Haram?  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New York Times Flip-Flops on States' Rights

On May 29, 2011, The New York Times denounced states' rights.
States’ rights has been a politically charged concept for even longer. It was a basis for secession and then for years of Southern defiance on segregation. Now it is used as an excuse for rejecting national immigration policy.
Today, it embraces the idea:
A decision about what kinds of substances to permit, and under what conditions, belongs in the purview of the states, as alcohol is handled.
As we have noted before, President Obama and other Democrats have explicitly embraced the language of states' rights.

Media Consolidation

At Pew, Katerina Eva Matsa reports:
One of the key impacts of last year’s barrage of acquisitions has been the consolidation of local TV newsrooms, a number of which now share operations in news production. The survey found 1,026 local stations that aired newscasts in 2013 — the highest number since 2008, the first year that Pew Research began tracking this data. At the same time, the number of those stations that aired a newscast produced by another station in 2013 rose to 307 — an increase of 50% from 2008.
At The New York Times, James B. Stewart reports:
The much-admired Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black may be rolling in his grave at the prospect of a merger between 21st Century Fox and Time Warner Inc., which would reduce control of the major Hollywood studios to five owners, from six, and major television producers to four, from five.
Advocates for consolidation in media, who include not just Mr. Murdoch, who controls 21st Century Fox, and their allies, but also other big media, cable and telecommunications companies, tend to brush off antitrust concerns when it comes to content creation. (Even Time Warner has been cautious about raising any antitrust defenses, presumably because, should it thwart Mr. Murdoch this time, it may want to acquire its rivals at some point in the future.)
After all, the rise of Netflix and the popularity of YouTube demonstrate that anyone can make successful original programming in the freewheeling digital era. And even as television producers have consolidated, critics have hailed a new “golden age” of television.
But this ignores the fact that in 1983, 50 companies owned 90 percent of the media consumed by Americans. By 2012, just six companies — including Fox (then part of News Corporation) and Time Warner — controlled that 90 percent, according to testimony before the House Judiciary Committee examining Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Disability Data

Today is the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Census reports:
On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.
Population Distribution
56.7 million
Number of people in the United States in 2010 with a disability. People with disabilities represented 19 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. Persons with a disability have a physical or mental impairment that affects one or more major life activities, such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, preparing meals, going outside the home, or doing housework. A disability can occur at birth or at any point in a person's life.
By age —
  • 8 percent of children under 15 had a disability.
  • 21 percent of people 15 and older had a disability.
  • 17 percent of people 21 to 64 had a disability.
  • 50 percent of adults 65 and older had a disability.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
Percentage of females with a disability, compared with 17 percent of males.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>

Specific Disabilities
7.6 million
Number of people 15 and older who had a hearing impairment. Among people 65 and older, 4 million had hearing impairments.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
8.1 million
Number of people 15 and older with a vision impairment.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
30.6 million
Number of people 15 and older who had movement impairment, such as walking or climbing stairs.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
3.6 million
Number of people 15 and older who used a wheelchair. This compares with 11.6 million people who used canes, crutches or walkers.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
2.4 million
Number of people 15 and older who had Alzheimer's disease, senility or any form of neurocognitive disorders.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010
12.0 million
Number of people 15 and older who required the assistance of others in order to perform one or more basic or instrumental activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, doing housework and preparing meals.
Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
Earnings and Poverty
Median earnings in the past 12 months for people with a disability. This is 66 percent of the median earnings, $30,660, for those without a disability.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey, Table B18140 <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_1YR_B18140&prodType=table>
Percentage of people with a disability who were in poverty. By comparison, those without a disability had a poverty rate of 15 percent.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey, Table B18130
Government Assistance
Percentage of people who received income-based government assistance and have a disability; 18 percent of assistance recipients had difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
Source: Disability Characteristics of Income-Based Government Assistance Recipients in the United States: 2011 (from American Community Survey)


Following the plain text of the Affordable Care Act,  the US Court of appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell, that insurance buyers can only get the federal tax credits if they purchase through a state exchange.  Liberals say that the wording was a mistake.  Conservatives say that it is the letter of the law, and in any case, was deliberate.  Adam Serwer reports at MSNBC:
The challengers got a boost Thursday evening when a video surfaced showing Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber, an adviser to the Obama administration during the drafting of the health care law, saying in 2012 that subsidies weren’t available on federal exchanges.
Gruber’s remarks, seen in a video discovered by a commenter on the conservative legal blog Volokh Conspiracy named Rich Weinstein, were publicized by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative group backing the lawsuits. Here’s an excerpt, which begins about 30 minutes in.
What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits— but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.
Gruber told The New Republic that he had made a mistake.

“I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it,” Gruber told The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn. “But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.”
A second recording has surfaced showing Gruber making similar statements about subsidies not being available on federally run exchanges. Asked over email whether those remarks were a mistake, too, Gruber wrote back, “same answer.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Clintons and the Media

At Politico, Daniel Halper writes about his work on a book about the Clintons:
  • While I was still reporting on my book, James Carville’s office called, seemingly out of the blue, to grill me on whom I’d already spoken to. I obviously refused to indulge the questioner.
  • Someone from Bill Clinton’s publisher went to mine, HarperCollins, asking questions about my book and what I might be planning.
  • I write in my book that “Clintonites are known to scour through magazine articles and books to try to decipher blind quotes and tie them to a suspect.” I believed that was true. But now I know it is. This is in fact happening with my book as I write this, I’ve learned, and has been happening for days, if not weeks. Some are throwing other people to the wolves.
  • Other Clintonites named in the book are heading for the hills. Some preposterously denied that they ever talked to me. Perhaps it’s buyer’s remorse—but more likely they know the Clinton code of omerta.