Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Immigrants Less Likely To Commit Crime

The Immigration Policy Center has released a report comparing the incarceration rate of immigrants against other groups in the U.S. The results seem to contradict much of what anti-immigrant activists would have us believe.

Among the findings of this report:
  • Even as the undocumented population has doubled to 12 million since 1994, the violent crime rate in the United States has declined 34.2 percent and the property crime rate has fallen 26.4 percent.

  • Among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the prison population), the 3.5 percent incarceration rate of the native-born in 2000 was 5 times higher than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of the foreign-born.

  • The foreign-born incarceration rate in 2000 was nearly two-and-a-half times less than the 1.7 percent rate for native-born non-Hispanic white men and almost 17 times less than the 11.6 percent rate for native-born black men.

  • Foreign-born Mexicans had an incarceration rate of only 0.7 percent in 2000—more than 8 times lower than the 5.9 percent rate of native-born males of Mexican descent. Foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men had an incarceration rate of 0.5 percent, compared to 3.0 percent of native-born males of Salvadoran and Guatemalan descent.

  • Foreign-born Chinese/Taiwanese men had an extremely low incarceration rate of 0.2 percent in 2000, which was three-and-a-half times lower than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of native-born men of Chinese/Taiwanese descent.

  • With the exception of Laotians and Cambodians, foreign-born men from Asian countries had lower incarceration rates than those from Latin American countries, as did their native-born counterparts.

  • The children and grandchildren of many immigrants—as well as many immigrants themselves the longer they live in the United States—become subject to economic and social forces, such as higher rates of family disintegration and drug and alcohol addiction, that increase the likelihood of criminal behavior among other natives.

  • The risk of incarceration is higher not only for the children of immigrants, but for immigrants themselves the longer they have resided in the United States. However, even immigrants who had resided in the United States for 16+ years were far less likely to be incarcerated than their native-born counterparts.

Americans Clueless on Number of Iraqi Dead

An Associated Press poll of over a thousand adults conducted earlier this month shows that, while Americans are keenly aware of the number of U.S. soliders killed, they grossly underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed during the war.
Among those polled for the AP survey, however, the median estimate of Iraqi deaths was 9,890. The median is the point at which half the estimates were higher and half lower.

Conservative estimates of Iraqi losses put the number of dead at just over 50,000, but other estimates indicate the number is much higher. A report from John Hopkins last year says 645,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the U.S. invaded in 2003.

"Bomb a Day" Stories are Discouraging

Last night, First Lady Laura Bush told Larry King that we just aren't hearing the stories about how good it's going in Iraq.
This is their opportunity to seize the moment, to build a really good and stable country. And many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody.

Except, that one bombing a day seen on TV actually misses the other 184 attacks that occur on an average day, according to the most recent report from the Brookings Institution.

via Democracy Now

Monday, February 26, 2007

Strom and Al, Separated Before Birth?

The New York Daily News is running a multipart story which says the great grandfather of Al Sharpton was a slave once owned by a relative of Strom Thurmond.
  • Coleman Sharpton, a woman and two children - believed by genealogists to be his wife and kids - were given as a gift to Julia Thurmond, and were forced to move to Florida.
  • Julia Thurmond's grandfather is Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bloggers and Sock Puppets

The Boston Globe has a story today about how bloggers are becoming increasingly concerned about comments and posts which originate from political operatives acting on behalf (or against) a particular candidate or issue. These Sock Puppets have been around for a while, but with the ever-increasing use of the Internet by politicians (and a record number of people citing the Web as their primary source for news), it's no surprise that this type of behavior is becoming more prevalent.
The Internet has already become a prime target for such manipulation. Tom Rosenstiel , the director of Project for Excellence in Journalism , said the growing influence of political blogs, combined with the relative ease of posting negative information anonymously, make them "irresistible for dirty tricks and attack politics."

Vilsack: First In, First Out

The news is aflutter with reports that Tom Vilsack will announce he is dropping out of the 2008 Presidential race today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Helen Thomas Kicked to Second Row

It looks like Helen Thomas will be moving to the second row when the new White House Briefing Room is re-opened after renovation. While a final decision hasn't been made, it looks like the legendary journalist will be replaced in the front row by a cable news outfit such as CNN or Fox. She will still remain as the only columnist with a reserved seat. Other seats are reserved for news organizations and not individuals.
Thomas usually comes to the press secretary's morning "gaggle" but does not always attend the afternoon briefing, so sometimes her seat is empty. It's the only seat that traditionally is left vacant if unoccupied. Every other chair gets filled in by those without regular seats, whose questions do not always live up to Thomas's zingers.

via Romenesko

Friday, February 02, 2007

Scientists Offered $10k to Bash Report

The Guardian is reporting that scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by the American Enterprise Institute for articles which dispute the findings of the report on climate change from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report was issued today and reportedly gives a 90% probability that human activity is a significant factor in global warming.
The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN's panel as "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and ask for essays that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs".

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Exxon: Largest. Profit. Evar.

Exxon Mobil Corp. has posted the largest annual profit ever reported by a U.S. company: $39.5 billion on revenue of over $377 billion. Remember that the next time an oil executive exclaims that the high price of oil is merely to offset the high-cost of exploration. Oh, and it's not a one-year quirk either.
The 2006 profit topped the previous record, also by Exxon Mobil, of $36.13 billion set in 2005. The record earnings amounted to roughly $4.5 million an hour for the world's largest publicly traded oil company, which produces about 3 percent of the world's oil.

via HuffPo

School Bans Recording After Teacher Caught Preaching

Kearny High School in New Jersey has instituted a ban on recording devices in the classroom after a student used such a recording to prove a teacher was preaching in the classroom.
A junior at Kearny High School in New Jersey, Matthew LaClair, 16, complained to his principal after the teacher in his American history class, David Paszkiewicz, told students that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark and that only Christians had a place in heaven. He started recording the comments in September because, he said, he was afraid school officials would not otherwise believe that the teacher had made them. Matthew said he was ridiculed and threatened after his criticism became public.

The ban comes after "several students complained to the school board that their voices had been broadcast on the Internet and on television news programs without their consent" and requires students to get permission from an instructor before recording in a class.

While it refuses to discuss specifics any actions taken regarding Mr. Paszkiewicz, the school says it plans to institute a training program for teachers regarding the preaching of religion in classrooms. They are still in the process of finding the consultant to conduct those sessions.
In addition to the first training session, the board's policy will include presenting yearly refresher courses on the topic for all teachers, as well as introductory training for all new teacher hires.

via Obscure Store