Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blacks bare a large proportion of the burden of hepatitis C in the United States compared with Caucasians and the overall general population

According to data compiled from 1999 to 2002, one in seven African American men between the ages of 50 and 59 in the United States is living with hepatitis C. Not only do blacks have a greater prevalence of hepatitis C than whites but also a historically lower cure rate for the disease.

Friday, October 29, 2010

About four-in-five of the nation’s estimated 11.1 million illegal immigrants are of Hispanic origin

About 82% of the native born and 90% of the foreign born Latinos say they support giving citizenship to illegal immigrants.

Ovadia Yosef forbids selling land to gentiles

During a Halahic lesson at his house in Jerusalem, Shas Spiritual Leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said that it is forbidden to sell a house or land in Israel to a non-Jew. Rabbi Yosef said that it is still forbidden to sell a house to a non-Jew even if he offers a great sum of money.

Circumcision and South African prisoners

The authorities in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province say they have been "overwhelmed" by the number of prisoners wanting to be circumcised to help combat the spread of HIV. Some studies suggest being circumcised can help men halve their chances of contracting the HIV/AIDS virus. KwaZulu-Natal has one of the highest HIV infection rates in South Africa. More than 5.7 million people in South Africa live with the HIV virus - more than in any other country. The Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, recently lifted a traditional ban on circumcision, in a bid to fight HIV. It had been prohibited by King Shaka in the 19th Century because he said it robbed him of young warriors for months at a time.

At least 9 Mexican police officers have been shot and killed in an ambush on their convoy in western Jalisco state

Recently, 5 women in Ciudad Juarez were killed when buses taking them home from work were ambushed by gunmen. In Mexico City, 6 youths were shot dead in what police say may have been a gang-related feud. Mexico is suffering a wave of violence, mostly linked to the drugs trade. The 20 officers in the convoy in Jalisco were on patrol when they were attacked by gunmen in at least 10 sport utility vehicles, said a police statement. Nine officers were killed, while a 10th is still missing. Separately, at least 5 people were injured in grenade attacks in a suburb of Guadelajara, the state capital of Jalisco. Two of those wounded were toddlers and a third was a 17-year-old girl. The killings in Mexico City may have been drug-related, said Miguel Angel Mancera of the attorney-general's office, but there had also been disputes between local car-jacking gangs. The Tepito district, just north of Mexico City's historic center, is a poor neighborhood with a high crime rate. The killings have raised concerns that the drug-related violence raging in the northern border states and some other regions of Mexico is coming to the capital. The latest killings in Ciudad Juarez, a border city at the heart of the drugs conflict, do not appear to be drug-related. Gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on 3 buses carrying female factory workers back from a shift at a plant making car parts. At least 14 others were wounded in the attack, with some in a critical condition. Some 28,000 people have died in drugs-related violence in Mexico since 2006. More than 7,000 people have died in the violence in 2010 - making it the bloodiest year since President Felipe Calderon dispatched some 50,000 troops to take on the drug cartels.

Harvard Law School professor panned Sotomayor

Barack Obama's legal mentor privately urged him not to appoint Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in 2009, criticizing her intellect and warning that her style could "simply add to the firepower" of the court's conservative wing. Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor and currently a senior official in the Justice Department, made the critique of Sotomayor in a confidential May 4, 2009 letter shortly after Justice David Souter announced his plan to retire. Tribe said Sotomayor was "not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire."

Is liberalism a genetic disorder?

People with left wing views may have their political opinions controlled by a "liberal gene", according to scientists. The research suggests that some people have an inherent bias against conservative thinking, that is independent of their education or upbringing. The effect is caused by a neurotransmitter in the brain called DRD4 which could be stimulated by the novelty value of left of center opinions, say researchers. In people who are naturally outgoing, the feature encourages them to seek out companions with unconventional views as they grow up. This in turn means they tend to form less conventional political viewpoints as adults. DRD4 is controlled by dopamine which affects the way the brain deals with emotions, pleasure and pain and can therefore influence personality traits.

66% of all incarcerated juveniles nationally are nonwhite, a figure which rises to 85% in the state of New York

Youth of color comprise more than two-thirds of the juveniles held in confinement, but less than one-third of the U.S. youth population. Latino youth represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, yet 15% of the youth population sentenced to adult prisons.

The former director of B'nai Brith Quebec says he's ashamed he had child pornography on his computer

Bill Surkis, 71, has admitted to downloading hours of videos of men engaged in sexual activity with underage girls, but said it was because he was curious. At his sentencing hearing in a Quebec Superior Court in Montreal Surkis's lawyer asked him how he would feel if his name were added to the national sex offender registry as the Crown is requesting. The father and grandfather said he still has contributions to make to his community and he wouldn't be able to make them if he were registered. The Crown and the defense are recommending Surkis be sentenced to 45 days in jail to be served on weekends, the minimum sentence allowed by law. They're also recommending he be placed on probation for three years and do 240 hours of community service. Explicit files were discovered on Surkis's computer when he took it in for repairs in 2008. The technician contacted Montreal police who uncovered 21 videos and dozens of photos, including images of girls aged six to 13. Surkis's lawyer said in November 2009 that the videos were downloaded for research reasons. "The purpose of his viewing the child pornography material [was] to educate himself on the topic of child pornography," lawyer Steven Slimovitch said outside court. "Then he would go into schools and give lectures on people abusing people." But, prosecutors argued in court that there was no evidence to back up that claim. Surkis had not been hired by anyone to research child pornography and had not begun work on a study, they said. In May 2010, Surkis agreed to a plea bargain. In return for pleading guilty to charges of possessing and accessing child pornography, Crown prosecutor Cynthia Gyenizse dropped a charge of distributing child pornography. Surkis served as the academic dean at John Abbott College on Montreal's west island for 22 years. He also served as the executive director of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Montreal.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Women are more attracted to men with facial hair than without

Fifty-four percent of women polled said they preferred a man with facial hair. Only one in three said that they preferred a clean-shaven look, while the remaining 14% didn’t mind. Seventy-six per cent of the women who admitted to a preference for facial hair said that they found a man with facial hair ‘more masculine,’ and subsequently more attractive. One in ten admitted that they thought clean-shaven men ‘often looked young.’ Two thirds of the women who said they favored facial hair said that they most liked all-over stubble, while just 12% preferred a beard. Nineteen per cent said that they most liked a mustache when it came to facial hair, but just 6% favored goatees. Just over half (51%) said that they preferred a man with hair on his chest and back, with 27% favoring a hairless, or waxed body. Of those who preferred a man with hair on his chest and back, just over two fifths explained that they found a smooth-bodied man ‘too feminine.’ Over half of the women who took part in the study admitted that they had dated a man who disliked his body hair.

Israel is amongst the OECD's most corrupt nations, ranking 22nd out of 33

Israel did better in the global corruption index where it was ranked 30th out of 178 countries.


World Corruption Index

A new poll says that 56% of likely voters want Obama fired

While 48% of likely voters think Obama is a nice guy, only 42% approve of his job performance. In addition, 56% say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while only 38% say he deserves to be re-elected president. Also 43% say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48% say Bush was a better president than Obama has been. The poll also shows that voters favor Republicans over Democrats on a generic ballot 48% to 39%.

A Somali militant group publicly executed two teenage girls after accusing them of being spies

The teens were blindfolded with their hands behind their backs against a tree. A resident of Beledweyne - a town in central Somalia - said that Al-Shabaab called on the town's residents to come out and watch the execution. "Hundreds of people came out to watch the execution," he said. "It was very bad ... the girls looked shocked and were crying but [no one] could help." A relative of one of the teens denied they were spies. "My cousin, Ayan Mohamed Jama, was just 16 years old and she was absolutely innocent," said the relative, who did not want their name used out of fear of retribution from Al-Shabaab. "And Al-Shabaab caught her and the other girl between El-gal and Beledweyne and simply accused them of what they were not." The other girl, said the relative, was 15. Al-Shabaab refused their families' request to see the teens while they were in detention, "and they executed them at a public gathering, so this is inhumane and cruelty." In 2009, Al-Shabaab stoned a teenage girl to death in Kismayo, a town in southern Somalia. Al-Shabaab is waging a war against Somalia's government in an effort to impose a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.

The entire police force in a small Mexican town abruptly resigned after its new headquarters was viciously attacked by suspected drug cartel gunmen

All 14 police officers in Los Ramones, a rural town in northern Mexico, fled the force in terror after gunmen fired more than 1,000 bullets and flung six grenades at their headquarters. Mayor Santos Salinas Garza said that the officers resigned because of the incident. The gunmen’s 20-minute shooting spree destroyed six police vehicles and left the white and orange police station pocked with bullet holes. The station had been inaugurated just three days earlier. The attack was the second in less than a week against police forces in Nuevo Leon. Recently, thugs threw two grenades at police in Sabinas Hidalgo. Los Ramones is in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, which has been a war zone of turf violence between two of the country’s fiercest drug gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf cartel. Police have blamed members of both cartels for attacks on several police stations throughout the area. Several mayors in the region have been assassinated. Mexico’s municipal police forces often quit out of fear after being attacked by cartels. About 90% of forces have less than 100 officers, and 61% of cops earn less than $322 a month. Mexico’s intelligence chief said that nearly 30,000 people have died in drug related crimes since 2006.

Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating a plot to carry out a series of terrorist bombings at stations in the Washington Metro system

The investigation is focused on a naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Pakistan, who became the target of an undercover sting operation. An administration official said the man drew the attention of law enforcement officials by seeking to obtain unspecified materials. The Pakistani immigrant, Farooque Ahmed, 34, is believed to have conceived of the plot and planned to carry it out on his own. It is not known how far he had proceeded in his preparations.

15 people were killed at a car-wash in the western Mexican state of Nayarit, the state attorney general's office said

The attack happened at a business called the Gamboa car-wash in the capital, Tepic, and is presumed to be the work of a drug cartel, according to local police. A man had been killed the night before in the same area, police said. Initial reports by investigators said witnesses heard gunfire only two blocks away from the offices of the federal police. The federal police responded to the scene to find 15 people dead, including clients and employees of the car-wash. Investigators found hundreds of shell casings from assault rifles. The mass slaying resulted in the closure of nearby businesses and schools.

30 Congolese women on the border of Angola and Congo were held in a prison and systematically raped by uniformed men, according to U.N. officials

The Congolese women were part of a group of 150 people who had recently been expelled from Angola. The United Nations said the women reported they were held for nearly two weeks in early October 2010 and raped. The U.N. said three people in the group were killed, including two men and a woman, who died after being repeatedly raped. Those who survived were then released and returned to the Congo in the nude with no belongings, according to the United Nations. In another region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Western Kasai, at least 20 Congolese women also reported being raped, the United Nations said. These reported rapes come after nearly 500 people were systematically raped during rebel attacks in the summer of 2010 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Currently, 67% of Americans have a negative opinion of the job Obama is doing while just 37% have a positive opinion

Nine in ten Republicans (90%) and Conservatives (89%) give the job Obama is doing negative ratings as do one-third of Democrats (34%) and Liberals (33%) and seven in ten Independents (70%) and six in ten Moderates (60%). Just one in ten Americans (11%) give Congress positive ratings on the job they are doing while nine in ten (89%) give them negative marks. While Congress may be under Democratic control, even four in five Democrats (81%) give them negative ratings. Just one-third of U.S. adults (34%) say the country is going in the right direction while two-thirds (66%) say it is going off on the wrong track.

Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are the least corrupt countries in the world.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom

The top 10 countries are: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Denmark, and Chile. The bottom 10 countries are: Republic of Congo, Solomon Islands, Turkmenistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Venezuela, Burma, Eritrea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and North Korea.

A woman's ability to conceive in early middle age may be influenced by her blood type

A study of 560 women undergoing fertility treatment found that those with type "O" blood had chemical signs linked to low egg numbers. Approximately 44% of the British population has type "O" blood. The researchers looked at the levels of a chemical called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the women, who had an average age of 35. A woman has a fixed number of eggs, her "ovarian reserve", which are released gradually over her fertile life. High levels of FSH are thought to be an indicator that this reserve is diminishing more quickly - which can reduce chances of conception once a woman reaches her 30s and 40s. Analysis of blood samples revealed that the women with type "O" blood were more likely to have higher FSH readings. Those with type "A" blood - the other major blood group in Britain - had lower FSH levels.

Associating racial, ethnic and religious minorities with crime is completely normal

To live in America in the post-9/11 age and not have at least some associations between Muslims and terrorism means something is wrong with you.

Gunmen in the Mexican city of Tijuana have shot dead 13 people at a drug rehabilitation center, say police

The attack appeared to be connected to the long-running violent conflict between drugs gangs in the the country, in which thousands have been killed. Recently, police in Tijuana destroyed 134 tonnes of cannabis - the largest drugs haul ever seized in the country. The drugs, with an estimated street value of at least $340m, had been wrapped in 15,000 separate packages. Police in Tijuana, just over the border from San Diego, California, said the latest killings happened when an armed gang burst into the Camino drug treatment center in the city. They lined the victims up and shot them with high-powered weapons. Drugs rehabilitation centers have been attacked by gunmen before - observers say the gangs accuse the clinics of protecting rival dealers. Police also believe drug cartels use the clinics to recruit hit-men and smugglers, threatening to kill those who fail to co-operate.

A baby was killed when 12 Africans jumped off a second-floor balcony to get away from the Devil

Eight people, including several children, were hurt, some seriously. Police are trying to get to the bottom of the bizarre tragedy. Survivors of the mass plunge from a flat in a Paris suburb said the incident began in the early hours of the morning when a dad got out of bed naked to feed his crying baby. They said the man's wife saw him moving around and started screaming that she had seen the Devil. The man was then stabbed in the hand by his wife's sister and thrown out through the door of the flat. But when he tried to get back in, the other people inside grabbed their children and jumped off the 20-foot balcony. A spokeswoman for the local prosecutor's office said: "Panic erupted." The family involved are of African origin, possibly from Angola. Police found no evidence of drug use or religious rituals at the flat. One of the children, a four-month-old baby boy, died in hospital several hours after the incident. Several of those hurt in the jump have multiple injuries. Detectives are questioning the man who sparked the incident, and another male who jumped from the balcony with a two-year-old girl in his arms. The prosecutor's office spokeswoman said: "A number of points remain to be cleared up."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The dismembered body of a young albino boy has been found in a river on the Burundi-Tanzania border, reports say

The boy, aged nine, was taken from Makamba province in Burundi by a gang that crossed the border, the head of Burundi's albino association said. Kassim Kazungu said that the remains had been recovered from the Malagarazi river and given a formal burial. Albino body parts are prized in parts of Africa, with witch-doctors claiming they have special powers. Kazungu said that Tanzanian police had arrested five people, although there was no official confirmation from Tanzania. In Tanzania, the body parts of people living with albinism are used by witch-doctors for potions which they tell clients will help make them rich or healthy. Dozens of albinos have been killed, and the killings have spread to neighboring Burundi. In August 2010, a court in Tanzania sentenced a Kenyan to 17 years in jail on charges of trying to sell an albino person. Tanzanian authorities have promised to crack down on albino traffickers, and several people have been sentenced to death in connection with killings.

In 1980, one in 10 black high-school dropouts were incarcerated - by 2008, that number was 37%

If current incarceration trends hold, fully 68% of African-American male high school dropouts born from 1975 to 1979 will spend time living in prison at some point in their lives. There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery largely due to the fact that so many black men have been incarcerated for their criminal activities. Of course, all this would change if black males would just stay in school and stop breaking the law. Unfortunately, this does not seem likely to happen.

IQ and the frontal and parietal areas of the brain

Apparently, people who score high on IQ tests use the frontal and parietal areas of their brains differently from people who score lower. This should not be too surprising since the frontal lobes constitute nearly 40% of the cerebral cortex. Researchers have found that patients with frontal-lobe damage were impaired on tests of fluid intelligence. These tests measure the ability to solve abstract nonverbal problems in which prior knowledge of language or facts is of no help. In studying the brain activity of people without brain damage, researchers found that as tests got harder, subjects made more use of areas in their frontal and parietal lobes.

Nisar Ahmed is the first teacher in Britain to be banned for life for being useless

A teacher who is judged to be incapable of ever improving his work has become the first in Britain to be banned for life from the classroom due to incompetence. Nisar Ahmed will never reach requisite standards of teaching and cannot work in state schools again, a panel ruled. The General Teaching Council for England found the 46-year-old guilty of serious professional incompetence and said there was a risk that pupils would be seriously disadvantaged if he was ever allowed to return to lessons. Ahmed was head of business studies at the John O'Gaunt Community Technology College in Hungerford, Berkshire, from September 2007 to January 2009. He had taught for a total of 13 years at schools across the South-East. His management of lessons was invariably below standard, the GTC disciplinary panel was told. The school, which has more than 450 pupils, aged 11 to 18, gave Ahmed extensive formal and informal support for more than a year but he failed to improve. Just 13 teachers have been banned from the profession for fixed periods for incompetence since 2000. Ahmed is the first to receive a prohibition order without time limit.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Natural selection in Europe

Peter Frost says it is unlikely that native Europeans were replaced by Middle Eastern farmers and that the ability to digest milk as adults is probably due to a mutation of European origin.

At least 13 people have been shot dead at a house party in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, officials say

A group of gunmen burst into the party and began shooting, police said. At least another 10 people were injured. Police said the victims were aged 14-20. The attackers escaped with no arrests made, a state prosecutor said. Ciudad Juarez has been wracked by such shootings as violence among drug gangs has escalated in recent years. Witnesses said attackers in several vans pulled up to the house near midnight and broke into the house, opening fire. The attack is similar to a previous one in which six people were killed at a party. It is not clear if the latest killings are related to Mexico's drug war, which has seen the police and army struggle to control the heavily armed cartels. The Sinaloa and Carillo Fuentes Organization (also known as the Juarez cartel) gangs are also competing in Ciudad Juarez over lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States, making the city one of the bloodiest front lines in Mexico's drugs war despite the presence of some 4,500 police and soldiers. Almost 5,000 people have died in the city in the past two years. Since President Felipe Calderon ordered the army into the fight against the drug gangs in 2006, nearly 25,000 people have died. The policy has had some successes arresting drug lords, but that has not led to a decline in the number of killings, or the level of kidnappings, extortion and human trafficking that the gangs also engage in.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do North Africans have European ancestry?

New genetic research indicates that parts of North Africa may have been colonized by Iberians about 8,000 - 9,000 years ago.

A Nigerian high court has dismissed a case brought by a 26-year-old woman who says her father forced her to marry a senator

The judge said her human rights had not been violated and it was a matrimonial matter for an Islamic court. Zainab Isa Mayana was married to the senator of Zamfara State, Sahabi Ya'u, 54, in July 2010 at a ceremony where she was represented by her father. She says she has never met him and her father knew she was already engaged. Sokoto, where the trial took place, was one of several northern states to re-introduce Sharia law after the return to democracy in 1999. Judge Isiyaku Mohammed said that under the constitution, the federal court could not intervene in the affairs of an Islamic court. Ms Mayana was not in court for the ruling, but her lawyers said they would not relent in their efforts to dissolve the marriage as she was not married to a man of her choice. They said they would file a new case at "an appropriate court", which by implication would be an Islamic court. Ms Mayana, who is studying at Ahmadu Bello University, says she has been engaged to another man for five years. Senator Ya'u was already married before his wedding to Ms Mayana in July 2010, although it is not known exactly how many wives he has. Under Islamic law, a man can take up to four spouses.

African Americans represent about 4% of Washington state's population but nearly 20% of the state prison population

State Supreme Court justices Richard Sanders and James Johnson stunned some participants at a recent court meeting when they said African Americans are overrepresented in the prison population because they commit a disproportionate number of crimes. Both justices disputed the view held by some that racial discrimination plays a significant role in the disparity.

People see black students from elite schools as beneficiaries of affirmative action, and therefore not deserving of their professional qualifications

An experiment designed to test perceptions of affirmative action found that independent observers rated companies significantly lower when they were told that the top executives were African-American graduates of prestigious universities, instead of white. The difference went away when the executives were said to have graduated from less selective schools, and when the evaluators were told that the more selective schools exercised race-blind admissions.

Jiggers are killing people in Africa

Jiggers, small insects which look like fleas, are the culprits in an epidemic which causes parts of the body to rot. They often enter through the feet. Once inside a person's body, they suck the blood, grow and breed, multiplying by the hundreds. Affected body parts — buttocks, lips, even eyelids — rot away. James Kakooza, Uganda's minister of state for primary health care, said jiggers can easily kill young children by sucking their blood and can cause early deaths in grown-ups who have other diseases. Most of those infected, especially the elderly, cannot walk or work. "It is an epidemic which we are fighting against and I am sure over time we will eradicate the jiggers," Kakooza said. The insects breed in dirty, dusty places. The medical name for the parasitic disease is tungiasis, which is caused by the female sand fly burrowing into the skin. It exists in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, besides sub-Saharan Africa. Kakooza said health workers are telling residents of the 12 affected districts in Uganda that jiggers thrive amid poor hygienic conditions. The most affected part of Uganda is the Busoga region in the east, 90 miles from Kampala, Uganda's capital. Some cases have been reported in the central region, less than 43 miles from the city, which has led to fears the whole country might be affected. Some affected people in rural Uganda, like Dakaba Kaala, think they are bewitched and simply wait to die instead of trying to remove the insects. "For the last three years I have been suffering from jiggers," the 60-year-old said. "I lost two children killed by jiggers.They were sent to me by my neighbour who wants to grab my piece of land."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A hormone which is more plentiful in wealthier people has been linked to longer life

Researchers from University College London, working on the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, found evidence that biological aging is slower among people with better socio-economic circumstances. It found that the wealthier people were, the higher their levels of DHEAS. DHEAS - or dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate - is produced by the brain, adrenal glands and sexual organs and is a guide to life expectancy. The discovery raises the possibility that the hormone could be artificially produced and used to make people live longer. The scientists also found that those with higher levels of it tended to do greater amounts of exercise, lead a more active life with lots of pastimes, and have more friends and family. Production of it is greatest during childhood and the teenage years, before it gradually declines through adult life - by the age of 80 it could be just 10% of the peak level of teenagers. Having more DHEAS in the body is linked to a better memory and ability to cope with mental tasks, particularly in men. The research also found higher levels of a second hormone - growth factor I (IGF-I) - in those who are wealthier.

More Jews live in the United States than in Israel

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) and the University of Connecticut (UConn) have published a 2010 report on the American Jewish population, as part of a new North American Jewish Data Bank Report series. The new report called Jewish Population in the United States-2010 shows a greater number of Jews in the United States than in Israel. While the article puts the total number of Jews in the United States at around 6.5 million, the authors recognize there may be some double counting in the methodology and believe the number to be fewer than 6.4 million.

Ugandan paper calls for gay people to be hanged

Gay people named in an article face violence and abuse after an African newspaper claims they are recruiting children. Human rights activists have warned that the lives of gay people in Uganda are in danger after a newspaper published a story featuring the names and photographs of 100 homosexuals under the headline: "Hang Them". At least one woman named in the story has been forced to leave her home after neighbors pelted it with stones, while several others have been verbally abused, according to the campaign group Sexual Minorities Uganda. The article appeared in the Rolling Stone newspaper, a new weekly title started by journalism graduates. Its publication came just days before the first anniversary of the introduction to parliament of a controversial anti-homosexuality bill that calls for the death penalty for those convicted of repeated same-sex relations, and life imprisonment for others. Gay activists in Uganda say the proposed legislation has fueled hate speech and created a climate of fear among homosexuals. The media have played a strong role in this. The widely read tabloid Red Pepper has previously outed dozens of gay people under headlines such as "Top Homos in Uganda named". But the Rolling Stone story appears to incite people to violence against gays. On the front page, the paper claims that the homosexual community aims to "recruit 1,000,000 children by 2012", and that parents "face heart-breaks (sic) as homos raids schools". Inside, a headline reads: "Hang them; They are after our kids!!". The article lists personal details of those named, including their addresses. Giles Muhame, the managing editor of the paper, defended the story, saying it was his duty as a journalist to expose the evil in society. "Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda but nobody is taking action against these people," he said. "They are recruiting new members among our kids, and destroying the moral fabric of our country." Asked about the headline that urged hanging, he said: "Other countries have capital punishment to stop drug traffickers; we should have the same for homosexuals."

A new Gallup Poll puts Obama at his lowest approval rating ever and finds most Americans do not want him to have a second term

For the third quarter of 2010, the seventh of his presidency, Obama's approval fell 2 more points, from 47.3% to 44.7%. Latest Gallup numbers also show that on the first day of his 22nd month in office, for the first time more Americans view Obama unfavorably than favorably, 50% to 47%, his lowest favorable rating yet. His highest favorable rating was just before he took office, 78%. Since then it's been a plummet of 31 points. According to Gallup's results, 39% of Americans now believe Obama deserves a second term. Unfortunately for him, 54% believe he does not deserve a second chance at change. That 54% against a second term is almost 2 points higher than the popular vote total Obama amassed in the 2008 election. At this point in the second year of George W. Bush's presidency, 62% thought he deserved a second term after only 48% voted for him in 2000.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black patients with heart disease are less likely to survive than white patients, even those who are younger

A new study shows that black patients were younger than the white patient group by about 2 years on average, yet still had a lower survival rate over a 15-year period. Black women had the lowest rate of survival, 41%, while white men had the highest at nearly 46%. The difference in survival is partly due to key health differences between the black and white patients. Blacks were more likely to be obese and to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and circulation problems, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

A 20-year-old criminology student has been made police chief for a border town in one of the most violent regions in Mexico

Marisol Valles got the job in Praxedis G Guerrero, in the northern state of Chihuahua, following an invitation from the mayor, Mexican media reported. Chihuahua is the battleground for drugs cartels fighting over lucrative smuggling routes across the US border. Asked if she feared for her safety, she replied: "Here everyone is frightened." Valles has been studying criminology in the city of Ciudad Juarez, about 100 kilometers from Praxedis, which has seen more than 6,000 killings since 2008. Now she has the title of director of municipal public security. More than 28,000 people have been killed in Mexico in drug-related violence since 2006, when the government deployed about 50,000 troops to combat the cartels.

Low testosterone levels seem to be linked to a heightened risk of premature death from heart disease and all causes

Researchers found that almost twice as many men with low testosterone died as did those with normal levels. One in five of those with low testosterone died, compared with one in eight of those with normal levels.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorability rating has reached a new low in Gallup polling, an ominous sign for House Democrats

According to Gallup, Pelosi's favorability stands at just 29% – down 7 points from early summer and down 13 points from January 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated. Pelosi's unfavorable rating has soared meanwhile, reaching 56% in the new poll – up 15 points from January 2009. In even worse news for Pelosi and her party, independents have particularly grown unsatisfied with the House Speaker: her favorability with this group stands at 21% while close to 60% hold a negative view.

If New Yorkers have their way, there won't be a President Bloomberg anytime soon

A new poll shows that 64% of registered voters in New York City do not want independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president. And a Mayor Spitzer? Sixty two percent of voters do not want former Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to run for mayor in 2013.

An illegal alien Muslim from Jordan caught in an FBI sting trying to blow up a Dallas skyscraper has been sentenced to 24 years in federal prison

Hosam Smadi had faced up to life in prison but received a reduced sentence after pleading guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Smadi, 20, will likely be deported after serving his sentence. Smadi acknowledged leaving what he thought was a truck bomb in a garage beneath the Fountain Place building in September 2009. Smadi said he parked the truck, activated a timer connected to the decoy provided by undercover FBI agents, then rode away to watch the explosion. Smadi dialed a cell phone number from the roof of a nearby parking garage, where he had planned to watch the explosion. The number was supposed to set off his truck bomb. It instead alerted tactical agents hiding in a stairwell, who swarmed the rooftop and arrested the teenager.

California's community colleges

Seventy percent of students seeking degrees at California's community colleges did not manage to attain them or transfer to four-year universities within six years, according to a new study. Conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento, the report found that most students who failed to obtain a degree or transfer in six years eventually dropped out; only 15% were still enrolled. In addition, only about 40% of the 250,000 students the researchers tracked between 2003 and 2009 had earned at least 30 college credits, the minimum needed to provide an economic boost in jobs that require some college experience. There were also significant disparities in the outcomes of black and Latino students. Only 26% of black students and 22% of Latino students had completed a degree or certificate or transferred after six years, compared to 37% of whites and 35% of Asian Pacific Islanders.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Safed rabbis urge Jews to stop renting property to Arabs

A group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, signed a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews. According to a report, most of the signatories are from Safed, a city that has seen an increase in its Arab student population that is enrolled at the town's local college. Safed chief rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who has been criticized in the past for incendiary remarks against Arabs, is the most prominent figure to sign the letter. The rabbis' letter, which was originally published months ago, urges Jewish owners of apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the neighborhood. The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community. There are currently 1,350 Arab students (out of a total student body of 2,200 ) matriculating at the Academic College in Safed. The increased demand for rented apartments prompted the rabbis to issue their call. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the son of the late Mordechai Eliyahu, who once served as the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel. Shmuel Eliyahu has been indicted in the past for incitement stemming from controversial remarks about Arabs. After a Palestinian suicide bomber killed nine people and wounded 50 on a bus at the Meron junction in northern Israel in August 2002, Eliyahu called on the Academic College to expel its Arab students.

Almost one in four applicants to the military are rejected for being overweight or obese - it's the most common reason for medical disqualification

Compared with white females, black and Hispanic females are less likely to meet the weight standards making it difficult for the military to achieve its diversity goals.

Radical Islamic extremism is being openly practiced at a leading British university campus

Think tank Quilliam said they had evidence of hard-line Islamist ideology being promoted through the leadership of the university's student Islamic Society at City University in central London. The group had intimidated and harassed staff, students and members of minority groups. According to students interviewed for the report, the actions of leading members of the Islamic Society made members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Society (LGBT) feel scared. Some Jewish students felt intimidated.

The Archbishop of York has urged young black people to stop blaming racism for their problems

The Ugandan-born Archbishop, second in the hierarchy of the Church of England, also criticized African nations for too readily trying to blame their former colonial masters for their difficulties. He pointed to African corruption and lack of democracy and warned that nations were squandering their opportunities.

The foreclosure crisis has hit blacks harder than any other group in America

Blacks' home ownership rate has plummeted nearly 6% to 46.2% since its peak in 2004. That's more than twice that of any other racial or ethnic group, as well as the nation's rate as a whole, which fell only 2.3%, according to U.S. Census data. Also, among recent borrowers, nearly 8% of blacks have lost their homes to foreclosure, compared to 4.5% of whites, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. Latinos, who have also been pummeled by the mortgage meltdown, came in a close second behind blacks in foreclosure losses. Fewer blacks own their home now than any other racial or ethnic group. During the housing boom, nearly seven in 10 Americans owned their home, a gain of 7.8% from a decade earlier. Black Americans saw their home ownership rates rise twice as fast to 49.1%, thanks in large part to easy credit. In addition, black unemployment stood at 16.1% in September 2010, the highest of any group and 6.5 percentage points above the national average.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One in 36 Hispanic men and one in 106 Hispanic women in the United States are at risk of being diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime

The estimated lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis for Hispanic males was three times higher than for white males (one in 102), while the rate for Hispanic females was five times higher than for white females (one in 538).

A senior Muslim cleric in charge of Britain’s largest group of sharia law courts has claimed that there is no such thing as rape within marriage

Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed said that sex without a wife’s consent was not good but could not be called rape. Sheikh Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council, was criticized by police who warned that his remarks would make women more reluctant to report sexual assaults. Rape within marriage has been illegal in Britain since 1991. But according to Sheikh Sayeed, rape is defined in Islamic law as adultery by force. Therefore, if a husband forces himself upon his wife the attack cannot be termed rape, he said.

Rabbi says that gentiles only exist to serve Jews

The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator. “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said in his weekly Saturday night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on Shabbat. According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews. “In Israel, death has no dominion over them... With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant... That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” Yosef said. “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created,” he added. Yosef’s Saturday night sermons have seen many controversial statements from the 90-year-old rabbi. In August 2010, Yosef caused a diplomatic uproar when he wished a plague upon the Palestinian people and their leaders.

Do Ashkenazi Jews have Italian ancestry?

From Dienekes:
Joe's discovery about similar allele frequencies in some markers between Ashkenazi Jews and Italians is quite interesting in terms of my theory about the origin of the European component in the Ashkenazi Jewish gene pool.

Some early studies on AJ, using Y-chromosomes (pdf) overestimated their Near Eastern component by considering them a mix between Levantine and north/central European populations. But, this made the assumption that Jewish ancestors took a Lufthansa flight to Germany rather than spend 1,000+ years in the territory of the Roman Empire and the Hellenistic world where there might also have been introgression of European elements into their gene pool.

Thus, it may very well be that Ashkenazi Jews are distinctive with respect to NW Europeans both in terms to an ancient Near Eastern ancestry (shared with Arabs and "discovered" in my re-analysis) and with respect to Southern European ancestry corresponding to particular populations they interacted with during their sojourn in the Roman Empire.

Four black men have been found guilty of planning to bomb a synagogue and Jewish center and plotting to shoot military planes with missiles

James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen were charged with conspiring to blow up a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Riverdale section of Bronx, New York. They were also accused of planning to fire surface-to-air-missiles at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York. The black men, who could now face life in prison, were arrested in 2009 after planting what they thought were live explosives at various locations. They had unknowingly been working with an FBI informant, who supplied them with what they were told was military-grade explosive material and a Stinger surface-to-air guided missile. The four black men were found guilty on seven of the eights counts against them, including conspiracy and attempts to use and acquire weapons of mass destruction and anti-aircraft missiles. Cromitie and Williams were also found guilty of attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States. Each of the seven charges the men were found guilty on carry a maximum term of life in prison. Soon after the verdict was read, Alicia McWilliams, David Williams' aunt, was escorted out of the courtroom. She had begun screaming expletives and repeatedly yelling, "There's no justice!" The judge asked that she be removed.

Oxford University is under fire after admitting only one black Caribbean student during the academic year

The elite university recruited more than 3,000 students in 2009 and almost 90% of them were white. Suggestions have now been made that ethnic quotas should be introduced to ensure more black and Pakistani students are given the chance to attend some of the best universities in the country. But Oxford has dismissed the idea and said they would continue to work to recruit more undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. Just five black Caribbean students were given places at Oxford in 2008. Black Caribbean school pupils have some of the worst GCSE results of any ethnic group in England. Concerns have also been raised over ethnic segregation, after the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that less than 10% of black students were enrolled at Russell Group universities, including Oxford.

An Iranian court has condemned a man convicted of robbing chocolates and cocoa from a Tehran pastry shop to have a hand chopped off

Judge Mohammad Reza Giyuki also sentenced the 21-year-old man, whose identity was not revealed, to six months in prison for damaging the shop and another six months for disobeying police. Police arrested him on May 29, 2010 and found in his possession 900 dollars worth of cash, three pair of gloves, chocolate and cocoa. The Islamic sharia laws of Iran lay down amputation as punishment for repeated thefts. Cases of amputation have been increasing due to a rise in robberies on the back of growing poverty in Iran. Recently, Tehran amputated a hand of a man found guilty of two robberies in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tribalism versus economism

James Fulford explains why ethnic interests will always influence voters more than economic ones.

Black people are 26 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police in England and Wales

Analysis by the London School of Economics and the Open Society Justice Initiative found that there are 41.6 Section 60 searches for every 1,000 black people, compared with 1.6 for every 1,000 white people – making black people 26.6 times more likely to be stopped and searched. South Asians were 6.3 times more likely to be stopped than whites, according to the analysis of Ministry of Justice figures for 2008-09. The data reveal a marked escalation in relative searches of ethnic minorities in England and Wales. In the previous year blacks were 10.7 times more likely to be stopped than whites, and South Asians 2.2 times more likely. Researchers at the Open Society Justice Initiative, part of the Open Society Foundation supported by billionaire financier George Soros, said the British figures provided the widest race gap in stop-and-search that they had found internationally. The previous highest use of stop-and-search powers against ethnic groups was on the Moscow Metro, where non-Slavs are 21.8 times more likely to be stopped by Russian police than Slavs. A study on the Paris Metro found passengers of Arab appearance were more than seven times more likely to be stopped and in New York City blacks and Hispanics are nine times more likely to be stopped than white New Yorkers.

The grip of violence tightened in Ciudad Juarez, where gunmen fatally shot six people at a family reunion, Mexican officials have said

Seven gunmen entered the home, which was hosting a party of family and friends, in the Melchor Ocampo district. Four men died at the scene and two other victims died later at a hospital. Killings are all too common in this Mexican border city across from El Paso, Texas. An official with the Chihuahua justice department was gunned down October 4, 2010. A drive-by shooting a few days earlier left a police officer dead and two others wounded. August 2010 was the deadliest month so far in Juarez, with more than 300 killed, while about 230 people died in September from gang-related violence, Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said. As the focal point for Mexican President Felipe Calderon's war on organized crime, Ciudad Juarez has had the misfortune of redefining urban violence. In 2009, more than 2,600 people were killed. High-profile killings in 2010 include the January killing of 15 people at a house party, most of whom were innocent students with no ties to organized crime; and the March killing of three people with ties to the U.S. consulate, who were on their way back from a children's birthday party. The female victim in that shooting was pregnant.

Barack Obama's winning coalition from 2008 has crumbled and his core backers are dispirited

It's now Republicans who stand to benefit from an electorate that's again craving change. Nearly two years after putting Obama in the White House, one-quarter of those who voted for the Democrat are defecting to the GOP or considering voting against the party in power. Just half of them say they definitely will show up on election day. It's a wide enthusiasm gap that's buoying Republicans, who are poised for big electoral gains, and worrying Democrats, who are seeking to hang onto majorities in Congress as well among governors. In a reversal from 2008, Obama backers who expected change in Washington — 63% — now think nothing ever will happen. Just 36% still think Obama can do it. On the dominant issue of the 2010 campaign, just 40% of Obama backers who are fleeing Democrats say he'll be able to improve the economy over the next two years. To a certain degree, Obama's woes are a consequence of his 2008 campaign, when he was a blank slate and many people attached their hopes to him. Now, two years in, liberals, moderates and conservatives alike who supported him are disappointed for various reasons. Obama voters who are voting for Republicans or are undecided are especially doubtful about the Democratic Party's ability to handle the economy.

Women prefer men of their own race

An African-American man would have to earn $154,000 more than a white man in order for a white woman to prefer him. A Hispanic man would need to earn $77,000 more than a white man, and an Asian man would need an additional $247,000 in annual income.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have utterly failed, Chancellor Angela Merkel says

In a speech in Potsdam, she said the multikulti concept - where people would live side-by-side happily - did not work. Merkel's comments come amid recent outpourings of strong anti-immigrant feeling from mainstream politicians. A recent survey showed that more than 30% of Germans believed Germany was overrun by foreigners. The study - by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think-tank - also showed that roughly the same number thought that some 16 million of Germany's immigrants or people with foreign origins had come to the country for the social benefits. Merkel stressed that immigrants living in Germany needed to do more to integrate, including learning to speak German. Merkel has joined the increasingly hot debate on multiculturalism, coming down on the side of those who are uneasy about immigration. Previously, Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, CSU, said about integration that it was obvious that immigrants from different cultures like Turkey and Arab countries, all in all, find it harder. In August 2010, Thilo Sarrazin, a senior official at Germany's central bank, said that no immigrant group other than Muslims is so strongly connected with claims on the welfare state and crime. Such recent strong anti-immigrant feelings from mainstream politicians come amid an anger in Germany about high unemployment.

A gene's location on a chromosome plays a significant role in shaping how an organism's traits vary and evolve

According to findings by genome biologists at New York University's Center for Genomic and Systems Biology and Princeton University's Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, evolution is less a function of what a physical trait is and more a result of where the genes that affect that trait reside in the genome. Physical traits found in nature, such as height or eye color, vary genetically among individuals. While these traits may differ significantly across a population, only a few processes can explain what causes this variation - namely, mutation, natural selection, and chance. This research may help to explain why there is so much biological variation in the human species while there is relatively little genetic variation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A group of obesity genes has been found by scientists that make it harder for some children to stay slim

Researchers found the gene variants although rare in society were common in extremely obese children. The findings suggest that some children are much more susceptible to being fat because either they have less control over their appetite or they burn energy more slowly.

Blacks and homophobia

Among gay men in the United States, blacks are more likely than whites to believe that homosexuality is wrong - and these feelings might be contributing to the black men's higher risk of HIV infection, researchers suggest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2006 African-Americans accounted for nearly half (45%) of new infections in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Also, according to recent estimates, they account for a disproportionate 24% of reported HIV cases among gay and bisexual men in the United States. Using data from a health survey conducted periodically since 1972, the researchers found that, in general, African-Americans were more likely than whites to report a negative attitude toward homosexuality. In 2008, 72% of black adults said that homosexuality was always wrong - a rate that had changed little since the 1970s. Among whites, 52% expressed that view in 2008, which was down from 71% in 1973. A similar pattern was seen among men who reported having sex with other men. Of these men, 57% of African Americans said they believed homosexuality was always wrong, versus 27% of whites. When the researchers looked at the men's reported rates of HIV testing, they found that those who regarded homosexuality as wrong were less likely to have ever been tested: 36%, versus 73% of those with a more favorable view of homosexuality. According to the researchers, other studies have shown that black men who have sex with men tend to prefer other black partners - who would inevitably bear the brunt of any reluctance to go for HIV testing.

While blacks make up 17% of the student population, they are 37% of the students penalized by out-of-school suspensions and 43% of those expelled

Black boys account for 9% of the nation’s student population, but comprise 24% of students suspended out of school and 30% of students expelled. A study found that black male middle school students are suspended at three times the rate of their white counterparts. For middle school girls, while they are suspended less frequently than males, black girls were more than four times as likely to be suspended as white girls. From the 2002-2003 school year to the 2006-2007 year, the number of out-of-school suspensions per black student increased by 8% and the number per Latino student increased by 14%, while the number of suspensions per white student actually decreased by 2%. While black children make up only 16% of this country’s juvenile population, they are 45% of all juvenile arrests. At the same time, black children only make up 4% of students enrolled in gifted classes and less than 3% enrolled in high school AP math and science.

The polygamist half-brother of President Obama has married a woman who is over 30 years his junior

Although having two other wives, Malik Obama, 52, wed 19-year-old Sheila Anyango despite protests from the girl's family. Malik's new mother-in-law Mary Aoko Ouma says she is furious her daughter quit school to get married to the much older man. She says her daughter tried to marry Malik Obama two years ago, but she wouldn't give her permission to the nuptials. Polygamy is legal in Kenya where Obama's Muslim half-brother lives if it falls under religious or cultural traditions.

An 11th Hispanic suspect has been arrested in connection with a series of anti-gay beatings in New York

The suspect, identified as Luis Garcia, 26, is accused of wrapping a chain around his fist and punching a 30-year-old victim twice, New York police said. He faces similar charges as the other suspects, which include assault as a hate crime, police said. One of the other 10 suspects was released on bail after a hearing in Bronx Criminal Court. Ruddy Vargas-Perez faces 10 charges in the case, including four counts of robbery, second-degree gang assault, hate crime, harassment, unlawful imprisonment and criminal possession of a weapon. His bond was set at $25,000. The case involved three victims being held against their will by several assailants who beat them in an unoccupied apartment and sodomized two of them, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. A fourth victim was beaten and robbed in connection with the attacks, which New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg described as torture. The string of attacks began when members of a street gang calling themselves the Latin King Goonies learned that an aspiring member was gay, authorities said. Ten of the suspects live in the Bronx, police said. Pending charges include unlawful imprisonment, abduction, sodomy, assault, robbery, and menacing, all as hate crimes, the commissioner said.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Genetics may help explain the increased risk for high blood pressure among people of African descent

A gene on chromosome 5 appears to influence the production of the sodium-regulating hormone aldosterone. Researchers analyzed genetic data from families on the Caribbean island of Tobago (where the population has about 94% African ancestry) and found that genetics account for 34% of individual variations in plasma aldosterone concentration and about 25% of variation in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Levels of aldosterone tend to be high in people of African descent. Aldosterone was very important to their early ancestors in the arid climate of Africa. Dietary intake of sodium in today's world is much higher, and there may not be the need for the amount of aldosterone produced, leading to a level of sodium balance that places individuals at risk for hypertension.


Genetic data related to sodium-regulating hormone may help explain hypertension risk

The Jewish "conservative" and the gay pedophile

James Edwards writes about one of David Frum's sick associates.

Three black teens viciously beat a 14-year-old on a bus because they thought he was gay

Nassau County Police said a local teen was savagely beaten on a Long Island school bus, in what’s being called a bias attack. Three black teens were arrested and are accused of stomping and kicking the boy, and making sexual slurs, because they perceived him to be gay. Police said it was inside a school bus where anti-gay slurs, taunting and bullying began, and added the lawless behavior went on for weeks. Investigators said the alleged victim from BOCES career prep admitted he didn’t have the courage to complain — fearing retaliation, but when the taunts turned physical the victim finally came forward. Three schoolmates have been charged with felony hate crime – 16-year-old Chase Morrison of Lakeview, 18-year-old David Spencer of North Valley Stream and 16-year-old Roy Wilson of Baldwin. The trio allegedly stomped on the victim’s arms, legs, stomach and thigh, while making disparaging remarks about his sexual orientation.

A UN envoy says some government troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have committed rape and murder

The UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom, has been briefing the Security Council on her visit to North Kivu province. She said the abuses were happening in the same area where rebels committed mass rapes in July and August 2010. Around 300 civilians and more than 50 children in the Walikale region were raped by the rebels - many of them in front of their families and neighbors. Wallstrom blamed the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Mai-Mai militia. The attacks had focused international attention on the endemic sexual violence in Congo. Since then, Wallstrom said government troops (FARDC) had been deployed to the territory to reassert control and to implement the president's moratorium on mining in the area, which is rich in minerals. The UN special representative heard directly from locals on her visit and said UN peacekeepers in the area had also told her of rapes, killings and lootings perpetrated recently by government soldiers. She urged the DRC government to investigate the new attacks and swiftly hold any perpetrators to account.

Even a liberal Jew thinks the ADL is hypocritical

Peter Beinart points out that the ADL only supports the rights of minorities in the United States but not in Israel.

A new Bollywood blockbuster is criticized for its anti-Australian plot

In the Indian film, Australia is portrayed as a land of racists and promiscuous women.


HIV fears over Nepal sex workers

India Failing to Control Open Defecation Blunts Nation’s Growth

A poll shows that 55% of Germans consider Muslim immigrants to be a social and financial burden

Another poll shows that that 66% of the German public believes that Islam does not belong in Germany. Emotions have been stirred by reports of German-born Islamic militants, the children of first-generation immigrants, receiving training as terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Health officials estimate that 1 in 22 African-Americans will be diagnosed with the HIV/AIDS virus in their lifetime

This is more than twice the risk for Hispanics and eight times that of whites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the lifetime risk is 1 in 52 for Hispanics, and 1 in 170 for whites. Asian-Americans had the lowest lifetime risk, at about 1 in 222.

Four Nordic countries lead the world in eliminating inequality between men and women

The four Nordic countries — Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden — have topped the Global Gender Gap Index since it was first released in 2006 by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, and Iceland remained in first place for the second straight year. In addition to the four Nordic countries, the top 20 countries include eight other European nations — Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands and Latvia. But France fell to 46th place — a loss of 28 places — because it has fewer women in ministerial posts, the survey said. Many Arab and predominantly Muslim countries remain near the bottom of the list, including Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mirrors and intelligence

North American children do better on a test of self-awareness than children in less developed parts of the world.

Six people face murder charges after they allegedly stoned to death two young men suspected of stealing a mobile phone in South Africa

The group who allegedly killed the two men included three women, according to Limpopo Province police. Mobs often beat up and kill suspected thieves in South Africa, where many have lost faith in the justice system. Vigilante justice is common in South Africa, where tensions are high in townships over poor housing, services and crime. A couple of years ago, there was a wave of deadly mob attacks against foreigners, who were blamed for stealing jobs and rising crime.

Eighty mainly elderly people recently jailed in Malawi for up to six years for practicing witchcraft should be freed, campaigners say

George Thindwa from the Association of Secular Humanism said the convictions were illegal as there was no law against witchcraft. He said the problem was that many officials were "witchcraft believers". The justice minister disputed the allegations, saying the justice system was "reputable". The widespread belief in witchcraft led the government to set up a committee to consider criminalizing it. Under the law as it stands, it is illegal to accuse someone of being a witch. The public prosecutions office said that there had been 11 cases brought under the witchcraft act recently across the country. According to their records, this led to the conviction of 61 elderly women, seven elderly men and 18 younger relatives of the other accused. They received sentences of between four and six years in prison for practicing witchcraft. Justice Minister George Chaponda said that a person could only be found guilty of practicing witchcraft if they confessed to being a witch. But the records showed that all the suspects had pleaded not guilty. Most of those recently sentenced were women usually accused by children of teaching them witchcraft.

A Mexican police chief investigating the disappearance of an American on a lake bordering Mexico has been found dead

Commander Rolando Flores was working on the case of tourist David Hartley, whose wife reported that he had been shot by pirates on Falcon Lake. Texas Governor Rick Perry said Flores' death was a message from a gang to stay out of their territory. Perry said that he thought the killing was an attempt to intimidate law enforcement. According to Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, the head of the decapitated police commander was found in a suitcase outside a Mexican army base. Hartley's wife, Tiffany, said she and her husband were crossing the lake on jet skis when they were attacked and shot at by pirates from a speedboat. Her husband was shot and fell into the water and she was forced to flee as the men continued to fire, she added.


Cops vow killing won't stop search for missing American

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Young Hispanic children may be more likely to have astigmatism than their African-American peers

Astigmatism refers to a distortion in the curvature of the cornea that can blur near and distance vision. Fairly little has been known about how widespread the problem is among preschool children, and how their susceptibility may vary by ethnicity. Researchers found that among 3,000 Hispanic children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years, 17% had at least mild astigmatism and 3% had a significant degree of astigmatism that would generally require corrective lenses. Those figures compared with rates of 13% and 1%, respectively, among 3,000 African-American children in the same age group. It is unknown why the ethnic difference exists but, it's likely that genetic influences are involved. Astigmatism is also very common among Native Americans and many Hispanics have significant Native American ancestry in their backgrounds.

Suspected drug gang hitmen have ambushed a police convoy in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, killing eight officers

The gunmen, traveling in three or four vehicles, began shooting with automatic weapons, an official said. The state is home to one of the country's most powerful drug gangs, the Sinaloa cartel run by Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman. More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since late 2006. The police officers were patrolling a road 50 miles from the state capital, Culiacan, when they were attacked. The killings highlight the challenges for Mexico's police as they and other security forces seek to take on the drug gangs. Officers are also drawn into working for the gangs in order to supplement their wages.

More than 4 of 10 likely voters who say they once considered themselves Obama backers now are either less supportive or say they no longer support him

Fewer than half of likely voters approve of Obama’s job performance. Likely voters are more apt to say Obama’s policies have harmed rather than helped the economy. Among those who say they are most enthusiastic about voting in 2010, 6 of 10 say the Democrat has damaged the economy. Almost two-thirds of voters believe the country is on the wrong track and unemployment is the top concern for about half the electorate. On Obama’s main foreign-policy initiative, 6 of 10 voters say Afghanistan is now a lost cause, up from 55% in July 2010. The erosion of backing for Obama among onetime supporters has been most notable among two groups of voters who were central to his election: women and independents. More than 6 of 10 of the former Obama backers who have turned away from him are women; 53% of the onetime supporters are independents.

European and Jewish ancestry and genetic testing

It is now possible to use genetic data to determine Northwestern European, Southeastern European and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

Black mothers in the United States are less likely to breast-feed their babies than other moms

Fifty-four percent of black mothers try breast-feeding, while the national average is 73%. A lack of interest in breast-feeding was the most commonly reported barrier to nursing among black women — 55% of black women compared to 27% of women in other ethnic groups felt this way. Many black women are also unaware that breast-feeding is linked with benefits for both mothers and infants. Breast milk provides babies with disease-fighting antibodies, while moms who breast-feed are at lower risk for breast cancer later on. The practice also fosters mother-child bonding.

Four black and Hispanic teens are facing hate-crime charges for taunting a Muslim classmate

Four Staten Island teens are facing hate-crime charges for taunting a Muslim classmate because of his faith, calling him a terrorist and repeatedly punching him in the genitals, police said. The victim's emotionally scarring ordeal is part of a disturbing spike in hate crimes across the city that was highlighted by news that a sadistic black and Hispanic Bronx gang tortured three men because they were gay. Police said the four Staten Island boys - three 14-year-olds who are Latino and a 15-year-old who is African-American - were collared on charges of assault and aggravated harassment, both as hate crimes. They are being charged as minors, and police did not release their names.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eight black and Hispanic suspects arrested in connection with a series of brutal, anti-gay hate crimes in New York City have been arraigned

Charges against them include harassment, criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful imprisonment, assault, robbery and sexual abuse as hate crimes. Authorities identified the suspects arraigned as Bryan Almonte, 17, Steven Carabello, 17, Brian Cepeda, 17, Nelson Falu, 17, Idelfonso Mendez, 23, Dennis Piters, 17, David Rivera, 21, and Elmer Confresi, 23. Bronx Criminal Court Judge Harold Adler set bail at $100,000 for defendants Piters and Carabello, according to the spokesman for the Bronx district attorney. The remaining suspects were ordered held without bail, he said. The teenagers are being charged as adults, police have said. None of the defendants entered pleas at the arraignment. A ninth suspect, previously identified as 22-year-old Ruddy Vargas-Perez, remains at large. The string of attacks started when members of a street gang calling themselves the Latin King Goonies learned an aspiring member had sex with a man, authorities said.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the highest levels of hunger

The Global Health Index (GHI) is calculated for 122 developing and transition countries. Twenty-nine countries - mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia - have levels of hunger described as "extremely alarming" or "alarming". The GHI shows hunger increasing in nine countries; North Korea and eight sub-Saharan African nations. The Democratic Republic of Congo saw the biggest increase; GHI rose by more than 65%. The scores are based on the proportion of people who are calorie deficient, the proportion of children under five who are underweight and the child mortality rate. In some sub-Saharan African countries, for example Burundi and Madagascar, about half the children have stunted growth because they do not have access to an appropriate diet.

A German official has called for an end to Muslim immigration into Germany

Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Democratic Union Party (CSU), which is a member of the coalition government in Germany, said in an interview to Focus magazine, “It is obvious that immigrants from Turkey and Arab countries face more difficulty integrating into German society than other immigrants. In any case, the conclusion is that we don’t need additional immigrants from foreign cultures.” The German politician’s remarks rekindled an already heated public discussion over the question of the Muslim minority’s integration in Germany. During the interview, Seehofer also argued that unemployment benefits should be revoked from immigrants who do not seek employment, arguing that immigrants should be forced to share the basic values of Germany, and have command of the language.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More black people are jailed in England and Wales proportionally than in the United States

The proportion of people of African-Caribbean and African descent incarcerated in England and Wales is almost seven times greater to their share of the population. In the United States, the proportion of black prisoners to population is about four times greater. Five times more black people than white people per head of population in England and Wales are imprisoned. The ethnic minority prison population has doubled in a decade – from 11,332 in 1998 to 22,421 in 2008. Over a similar period, the overall number of prisoners rose by less than two thirds. A quarter of the people in prison are from an ethnic minority. Muslims now make up 12% of the prison population in England and Wales.

A woman's body shape is inherited from her parents, scientists have discovered

Whether a woman is an "apple" or a "pear" is determined by a range of genetic factors, according to researchers at Oxford University and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge. They have identified 13 new sets of genes associated with a propensity to store fat either around one's abdomen or one's hips and thighs. The genes lead to differences in body shape in both sexes, but seven of them led to a greater expression of either shape in women than in men.

More than 1,000 teachers have been fired for sexually abusing girls in recent years, according to a new report from the Kenyan government

In 2009, 600 teachers were dismissed over allegations of sexual abuse, and 500 more have been let go in 2010. The allegations range from inappropriate kissing and touching to impregnating girls as young as 12. The firings underscore a serious epidemic of sexual abuse in Kenya. The government report states that the highest number of abusers were fathers, followed closely by neighbors and teachers. In one elementary school in western Kenya a teacher had impregnated at least 10 girls. Technically, it is against Kenyan law for an adult to have sex with a minor under the age of 18, but the law is hard to enforce, particularly in rural areas. The victim's family has to press charges and become heavily involved in the investigation, so most accused sexual abusers escape prosecution. In the case of teachers, the accused and school officials often pay off the the girl's family, who are often poor, to keep the family from prosecuting. Education for girls, particularly in rural areas of Kenya, still remains a struggle. Once they reach their preteen years, girls are kept at home to help their mothers care for younger siblings, carry water and maintain the household. In some communities, tradition still dictates that teenage girls can be married off by their parents. A girl attending school who's from a poor, uneducated family is especially vulnerable to abuse.

Race and the global map of human genetic variation

More on Cavalli-Sforza’s research into the genetic basis of race:
For any one gene, the map typically showed much more variation within than between human populations, just as Lewontin had found back in 1972. The pattern changed, however, when several gene maps were superimposed on each other. With data coming in from more and more genes, there emerged a distinct pattern of continental populations—the same ones that Cavalli-Sforza himself had once called “races.” This composite map would eventually appear on his tome The History and Geography of Human Genes (1994).

Women can tell from other women's voices how much of a threat they pose to their relationships, anthropologists have claimed

In a study, men who were played recordings of a range of women's voices judged those with higher-pitched tones to be the most attractive – especially when asked to choose who they would favor for a one-night stand. When women listened to the same range of voices, they accurately predicted which would be the most appealing to the men. The researchers, at Pennsylvania State University, believe that higher voices in women may have evolved to sound youthful, flirty and attractive to prospective partners. The scientists found that women were most threatened by a high, youthful-sounding voice in another woman. The findings suggest that women's high voices may signal youth and fertility to men who are listening, in the same way that men's deep voices are believed to signal dominance.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A new study says skin color leads to profound social inequality in Mexico despite state-promoted ideology denying the existence of such prejudice

The study from the University of Texas at Austin found that individuals with darker skin tones have less education, have lower status jobs, are more likely to live in poverty, and are less likely to be affluent. Mexicans who are light brown have 29.5% lower odds of having a college education compared with those who are white. Those who are dark brown have 57.6% lower odds. Mexicans in the lowest occupational categories, such as domestic workers, manual workers, drivers, and security guards, were much more likely to be in the dark-brown category and less likely to be in the white category than were respondents in the highest status occupations such as office supervisors, professional workers and employers, the study found. Could this mean that there is a connection between dark skin and lower intelligence?

Friday, October 8, 2010

African-Americans, Latinos, gay and bisexual men are the populations hardest hit by HIV

HIV takes the greatest toll among African-American and Latino men and women and gay and bisexual men of all races. The rate of new infections among blacks is seven times the rate of whites. Among Hispanics, the rate of new HIV infections is three times that of whites. And according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis, while men who have sex with men (MSM) make up only 4% of males aged 13 and older in the United States, the HIV diagnosis rate in this population is at least 40 times that of other men. CDC estimates that about 56,000 Americans become newly infected with HIV every year - one new infection every 9 ½ minutes. African-Americans are the racial group that bears the heaviest burden of HIV in the United States.

High court delays execution of black man said to be mentally deficient

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay of execution for African-American death row inmate Gayland Bradford, who was convicted of the 1988 murder of a Dallas convenience store security guard. The inmate's lawyers say he is mentally deficient, with an IQ of about 68. The high court has banned executions of the mentally deficient but has established no clear standard of determining who is in that category. The stay, issued by Justice Antonin Scalia, gives Bradford's lawyers more time to file a full appeal on the constitutional issues surrounding his conviction and sentence. The court said if this "petition for a writ certiorari" is ultimately rejected by the court in coming days or weeks, this stay of execution would immediately expire.

In 2009 foreign-born residents were about 50% more likely to be poor than natives

More than three-quarters of foreign-born poor are non-citizens, a group that includes temporary workers, recently-arrived legals, and illegal aliens. Fully one-quarter of non-citizens lived in poverty in 2009. Naturalized citizens are the most rapidly growing slice of the immigrant poor. Their poverty population rose 10.1% in 2009. An analysis of Census Bureau survey data found that 33.9% of households headed by naturalized Mexican immigrants receive at least one major welfare program. By contrast, only 14.9% of native households receive any welfare. While Hispanics account for 16% of U.S. population, more than one-third of the total increase in the poverty population in 2009 occurred among Hispanics — mostly immigrants, their children and grandchildren. From 1989 to 2009 nearly 60% of the increase in the poverty population occurred among Hispanics. The Hispanic poverty rate (25.3%) is on a par with the black rate (25.8%).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Palestinians who wish to become citizens of Israel are to be made to pledge allegiance to the country as a "Jewish state"

The Israeli prime minister's announcement, which threatened to sour the already hostile atmosphere blighting peace talks with the Palestinian leadership, ignited an immediate storm of protest. Arab leaders holding Israeli citizenship denounced the proposal as racist and there was strong condemnation on the left of Netanyahu's coalition government. The move appeared to be a sop to Avigdor Lieberman, the hawkish foreign minister whose Israel Beiteinu party – the second largest in the coalition – has long accused the country's substantial Arab minority of being disloyal to the Jewish cause. A fifth of Israel's 7.6 million people are Arab, the vast majority of whom were Palestinian until the creation of the state in 1948. The number does not include Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem. Lieberman has demanded that all Israel's Arab citizens, who are predominantly Muslim, be forced to swear loyalty to the state as Jewish.

CBS poll: Obama and the economy

Obama's rating on the economy has taken a plunge in the poll. Only 38% say they approve of the job he is doing handling the issue - which has been the problem weighing most heavily on the nation's collective mind for months. Half of those questioned (50%) say they disapprove of his work on the economy. The latest CBS News poll also suggests Obama's presidency, in general, has not lived up to the expectations of many Americans. In assessing his presidency so far, just one third of Americans said he has been a "very good" or a "good" president. According to 39%, he's been "average", while 27% say he has been a "poor" president. With these negative evaluations, Obama's involvement on behalf of candidates running for office in November 2010 could prove detrimental. If Obama supported a candidate in their area, just 15% of likely voters say that would make them more likely to vote for the candidate, and twice as many (31%) say it would make them more likely to vote against that candidate.


Hide Him!

Black male children have the highest rates of food allergies

Children, males and blacks have the highest rates of food allergies in the United States, and the risk is 4.4 times higher among male black children than in the general population, a new study finds. Overall, 7.6 million people (2.5% of the U.S. population) are estimated to have food allergies, according to researchers who analyzed data from 8,203 people, aged 1 year to 60 and older, who were included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-06. The participants had their blood tested for antibodies to four specific foods: peanuts, milk, eggs and shrimp. Food allergy rates were highest (4.2%) among children aged 1 to 5 and lowest (1.3%) among adults older than 60. Compared to the general population, food allergies were two times more common among children aged 1 to 19, three times more common among blacks and two times more common among males. Peanut allergy was the most common food allergy, affecting 1.3% of the survey participants. Rates of peanut allergy were 1.8% in children aged 1 to 5, 2.7% in children aged 6 to 19, and 0.3% in adults.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

High blood pressure in African-Americans is such a serious health problem that treatment should start sooner and be more aggressive

Complications related to high blood pressure such as stroke, heart failure and kidney damage occur much more frequently in African-Americans compared with whites.

Low levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, in older men is associated with the onset of Alzheimer's disease

Researchers studied 153 Chinese men who were recruited from social centers. They were at least 55 years and older, lived in the community and didn't have dementia. Of those men, 47 had mild cognitive impairment - or problems with clear thinking and memory loss. Within a year, 10 men who all were part of the cognitively impaired group developed probable Alzheimer's disease. These men also had low testosterone in their body tissues; elevated levels of the ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is correlated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease; and high blood pressure. The findings corroborate findings in previous studies of older Caucasian men that show low testosterone is associated with impaired thinking and Alzheimer's disease. They suggest that testosterone may have a protective value against Alzheimer's disease.

Gambia has introduced harsher penalties against drug crime, including execution for anyone found holding more than 250g of cocaine or heroin

Attorney General Edward Anthony Gomez said the move was aimed at curbing drug trafficking. The country has recently become a key transit point from Latin America. At least two tonnes of cocaine with a street value estimated at $1 billion were seized in the West African nation in June 2010, bound for Europe. The previous penalty for the equivalent drug possession was a jail sentence of between 30 and 40 years. Twelve foreigners are standing trial in Gambia in connection with June's cocaine seizure. The West African coast has emerged as a popular transit point for drugs, with cartels taking advantage of the region's poverty and weak judicial systems.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 36% of voters now say relations between blacks and whites are getting better

Twenty-seven percent (27%) now say black-white relations are getting worse, up 10 points from July 2009, while 33% think they’re staying about the same. African-Americans are much more pessimistic than whites. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of whites think black-white race relations are getting better, but just 13% of blacks agree. Only 21% of all voters now think race relations between whites and Hispanics are improving, down 7 points from April 2010 and down 19 points from December 2009. Fifty percent (50%) say they are getting worse, and 24% say they’re remaining about the same. Similarly, just 16% say race relations between blacks and Hispanics are getting better. Thirty-four percent (34%) say they are worsening and 24% staying the same. Confidence in relations with Hispanics has undoubtedly been soured by the growing national concern with illegal immigration, which many view largely as a problem coming from Mexico. Support is high nationally for Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration, a statute that has drawn loud protest from the Mexican government. Most Americans don’t believe Mexico wants to stop the illegal flow of its citizens into this country and think America’s southern neighbor should be asked to compensate U.S. taxpayers for costs incurred by illegal immigration.

Police protect drug dealers in Puerto Rico

In the biggest crackdown on police corruption in the FBI's 102-year history, authorities charged a total of 133 individuals in Puerto Rico as the result of a probe into whether police provided protection for drug dealers. All but four people, who were still being sought, were arrested, authorities said. In all, 89 law enforcement officers and 44 other people were indicted as part of a two-year undercover investigation into 125 drug transactions. The scope of Operation Guard Shack was also described as unprecedented because 750 FBI personnel were flown to the island to carry out the raids and make arrests, Attorney General Eric Holder said. In total, he said, more than 1,000 FBI personnel participated. The investigation began when an undercover FBI agent posed as a dealer selling multiple kilograms of cocaine and "put the word out that he needed security during drug deals," the FBI said on its website. "Many of those who responded were cops. They actively took part in the transactions by carrying weapons and patting down the drug buyers - who were actually FBI informants." The cops were paid between $500 and $4,500 for their efforts, the FBI said. "In all, more than $500,000 was paid in protection money." Puerto Rico is a major shipping point for drugs between the East Coast and such South American countries as Colombia and Peru, said Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, the U.S. attorney for Puerto Rico. The 133 defendants have been charged in 26 indictments with charges that include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking offense. Arrested were 60 members of the Puerto Rico Police Department, 16 members of various local police departments, 12 correctional officers, eight former law officers, three National Guard soldiers, two U.S. Army officers, one administrative examiner in child support matters, one Social Security Administration employee and 30 other civilians. Not all of the law enforcement officers arrested knew each other, according to Rodriguez-Velez, and they came from different parts of the island. A police lieutenant was involved in recruiting others to provide protection for the drug dealers, she said. "Badges were sold and honor was compromised for drug money," she added. If convicted, the defendants face sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, according to the Justice Department.

Working-class whites and the Democrats

Desperate for jobs and cool toward Barack Obama, working-class whites are flocking to Republicans, turning a group long wary of Democrats into an even bigger impediment to the party's drive to keep control of Congress. A new poll shows that whites without four-year college degrees prefer GOP candidates by twice the margin of the last two elections, when Democrats made significant gains in the House and Senate. The poll, conducted in September 2010, found this group favoring GOP hopefuls 58% to 36% - a whopping 22 percentage-point gap. In 2008, when Obama won the presidency, they favored GOP congressional candidates by 11 percentage points, according to exit polls of voters. When Democrats won the House and Senate in 2006, the Republican edge was only 9 percentage points. Compared with better-educated whites, working-class whites tend to be older and more conservative - groups that traditionally lean Republican and are uneasy with the young president's activist governing. Their wariness is reinforced by a prolonged economic funk that has disproportionately hurt the working class and shown scant signs of improvement under Obama and Congress' majority Democrats. Though accustomed to trailing among working-class whites, Democrats can hardly afford further erosion from a group that accounts for about 40% of voters nationally. Their GOP preference is in contrast to whites with college degrees, who the poll shows are split evenly between the two parties' candidates, and to minorities, who decisively back Democrats. Many of these working-class voters were dubbed Reagan Democrats in the 1980s, when some in the North and Midwest who had previously preferred Democrats began supporting conservative Republicans. Many never warmed to Obama during the 2008 presidential race, when he said some bitter small-town residents cling to guns and religion for solace. They preferred Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination, by 2-1 and in the general election backed Republican nominee John McCain by 18 points. In the poll, working-class whites were likelier than white college graduates to say their families were suffering financially and to have a relative who's recently lost a job. They are less optimistic about the country's economy and their own situations, gloomier about the nation's overall direction and more critical of how Democrats are handling the economy. They are likelier than better-educated whites to dislike Obama personally and are more negative about his leadership. Over half say he doesn't understand ordinary Americans' problems. They are also likelier to disapprove of Obama's performance as president, including more than two-thirds who are unhappy with his stewardship of the economy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Most foreclosures happen in black and Hispanic neighborhoods

Steve Sailer examines a theory that racial segregation caused the foreclosure crisis.

Kenya's most prominent polygamist has died having married more than 100 women in his lifetime and fathering nearly 200 children

Ancentus Akuku was legendary in Kenya. He married his first wife in 1939 and became polygamist some 70 years ago at the age of 22. He's outlived 12 of his wives, marrying the last one in 1992. There were so many children in his family that Akuku established two elementary schools solely to educate his children, as well as a church for his growing family to attend.

Latinos and the Democrats

A poll found that although Latinos strongly back Democrats (65%) over Republicans (22%) in the Congressional elections, only 51% of Latino registered voters say they will absolutely go to the polls, compared to 70% of all registered voters. The results of the poll, by the Pew Hispanic Center, suggest that the raging debate over Arizona’s immigration law and the lack of Congressional action on "immigration reform" (i.e. amnesty) may have turned off many Latinos. Just 32% of all Latino registered voters say they have given the 2010 election “quite a lot” of thought, compared with 50% of all registered voters in the country, the poll found. The Pew poll also found that for Latinos, education, jobs and health care trump immigration as major issues, which could be bad news for Democrats hoping to capitalize on anger over the Arizona law.

Blacks, Jews and Democrats

Pat Buchanan points out that black-Jewish tensions inside the Democratic coalition have arisen in recent years, as Jewish contributors have poured money into races to defeat black members of Congress seen as hostile to Israel.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Israel is investigating Palestinian suspicions that a mosque in the West Bank was set alight by Jewish settlers

Arsonists reportedly scrawled Hebrew graffiti on the walls of the mosque in Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem. The assault comes as Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have faltered over the issue of settlements. Israel has occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967, housing nearly 500,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements. Some 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank. Jewish settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Residents of Beit Fajjar said a group of settlers went into the mosque and set fire to carpets and copies of the Koran. Reports say the word "revenge" was scrawled on the wall in Hebrew. A spokesman for the Israeli military said it was taking the burning of the mosque very seriously. Previous Israeli investigations of mosque attacks have failed to produce results. In April 2010, a mosque was vandalized with Hebrew graffiti, cars were burnt and olive trees uprooted in the village of Hawara, near the Yitzhar settlement. In May 2010, a mosque in the Palestinian village of Lubban al-Sharqiya, near Nablus, was gutted in a fire which also destroyed holy books. No charges were brought against anyone in either case. Some hard-line settlers advocate a "price tag" policy under which they attack Palestinians in retaliation for any Israeli government measure they see as threatening Jewish settlements. The Palestinian leadership has said it will not continue peace talks with Israel unless a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank resumes, after building started again recently. Israel refused to extend a 10-month partial ban on settlement building in the West Bank which expired recently. Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in September 2010 after a break of nearly two years.