sonicbloom11:

The Atlantic:

The Geography of Hate
America’s racist groups concentrate in certain regions — and their presence correlates with religion, McCain votes, and poverty
Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups — from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations — has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fueled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.
But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States — at least within some sectors of their populations — are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?
The SPLC maintains a detailed database on hate groups, culled from websites and publications, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. It defines hate groups as organizations and associations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” and which participate in “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”  As of 2010, the SPLC documents 1,002 such hate groups across the United States.
The map [above], by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, graphically presents the geography of hatred in America today. Based on the number of hate groups per one million people across the U.S. states, it reveals a distinctive pattern.
Hate groups are most highly concentrated in the old South and the northern Plains states. Two states have by far the largest concentration of hate groups — Montana with 13.8 groups per million people, and Mississippi with 13.7 per million.  Arkansas (10.3), Wyoming (9.7), and Idaho (8.9) come in a distant third, fourth, and fifth.

But beyond their locations, what other factors are associated with hate groups? With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I looked at the social, political, cultural, economic and demographic factors that might be associated with the geography of hate groups. We considered a number of key factors that shape America’s geographic divide: Red state/Blue state politics; income and poverty; religion, and economic class.  It is important to note that correlation does not imply causation —we are simply looking at associations between variables. It’s also worth pointing out that Montana and Mississippi are fairly extreme outliers which may skew the results somewhat. Nonetheless, the patterns we discerned were robust and distinctive enough to warrant reporting.
First of all, the geography of hate reflects the Red state/Blue state sorting of American politics.

Hate groups were positively associated with McCain votes (with a correlation of .52).

Conversely, hate groups were negatively associated with Obama votes (with a correlation of -.54).

Hate groups also cleave along religious lines. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, higher concentrations of hate groups are positively associated with states where individuals report that religion plays an important role in their everyday lives (a correlation of .35).

The geography of hate also sorts across economic lines. Hate groups are more concentrated in states with higher poverty rates (.39) and those with larger blue-collar working class workforces (.41).



Reblogging in light of Sunday’s shooting in Milwaukee.

sonicbloom11:

The Atlantic:

The Geography of Hate

America’s racist groups concentrate in certain regions — and their presence correlates with religion, McCain votes, and poverty

Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups — from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations — has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fueled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.

But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States — at least within some sectors of their populations — are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?

The SPLC maintains a detailed database on hate groups, culled from websites and publications, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. It defines hate groups as organizations and associations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” and which participate in “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”  As of 2010, the SPLC documents 1,002 such hate groups across the United States.

The map [above], by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, graphically presents the geography of hatred in America today. Based on the number of hate groups per one million people across the U.S. states, it reveals a distinctive pattern.

Hate groups are most highly concentrated in the old South and the northern Plains states. Two states have by far the largest concentration of hate groups — Montana with 13.8 groups per million people, and Mississippi with 13.7 per million.  Arkansas (10.3), Wyoming (9.7), and Idaho (8.9) come in a distant third, fourth, and fifth.

But beyond their locations, what other factors are associated with hate groups? With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I looked at the social, political, cultural, economic and demographic factors that might be associated with the geography of hate groups. We considered a number of key factors that shape America’s geographic divide: Red state/Blue state politics; income and poverty; religion, and economic class.  It is important to note that correlation does not imply causation —we are simply looking at associations between variables. It’s also worth pointing out that Montana and Mississippi are fairly extreme outliers which may skew the results somewhat. Nonetheless, the patterns we discerned were robust and distinctive enough to warrant reporting.

First of all, the geography of hate reflects the Red state/Blue state sorting of American politics.

Hate groups were positively associated with McCain votes (with a correlation of .52).

Conversely, hate groups were negatively associated with Obama votes (with a correlation of -.54).

Hate groups also cleave along religious lines. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, higher concentrations of hate groups are positively associated with states where individuals report that religion plays an important role in their everyday lives (a correlation of .35).

The geography of hate also sorts across economic lines. Hate groups are more concentrated in states with higher poverty rates (.39) and those with larger blue-collar working class workforces (.41).

Reblogging in light of Sunday’s shooting in Milwaukee.

think-progress:

BREAKING: Dow Jones closes above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008

think-progress:

BREAKING: Dow Jones closes above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008

nprfreshair:

xkcd takes on Money

dcdecoder:

Editors Note: This begins a weekly series of talks between Decoder and The Motley Fool columnist Morgan Housel. You can find all of Housel’s Fool columns - including his most recent, “50 amazing numbers about the economy,”here.

In our first chat with Motley Fool columnist Morgan Housel, we take on the “1 percent” of the Occupy Wall St. protests, how the financial sector could get back into society’s good graces and whether now - with economists growing bleaker on the economy by the day - might mean that things are just about ready to turn around.

1. In your piece “Meet the 1% you look at some stats that hit big on Tumblr recently - just what professions make up that top 1 percent. What do you think about how the composition of that top tier of American wealth has changed over the last thirty years or so?

Housel: It turns out, a lot of the one percent do not hail from high finance. It’s about 14 percent today, it was eight percent in 1979. Many of the top one percent are people you would consider average Americans - farmers, entrepreneurs, blue collar workers, doctors and others. But when you look at the growth from 1979 until today, you have had a huge explosion in the number of corporate executives and financiers [in the 1 percent]. Even though those are still a minority, you’ve seen a huge amount of growth in that section. And then when you look at the actual amount that those groups are earning, you’ve seen an explosion of income within the corporate executive and financial professionals over the past 30 years and basically no growth in the income of all the other professions in that one percent. 

The question from there is why are they paid so much more now? And is that growth deserved? That is really at the heart of the occupy debate. It’s not that these people are making so much more money. Most of the people in the Occupy debate are not anti-capitalist at all. They are looking at the income inequality and saying, “It’s not that they make $10 million a year, it’s that they make $10 million per year destroying the economy.” 

When you look at corporate executive compensation… you’ve seen this explosion in salary without real tangible results from that.  But you have all these tangible downsides, financial crisis, bank bailouts and recessions. So you look at this: very little upside, very tangible downside and their reward for that has been an explosion in compensation.

2. Is there anything Wall St. could do to get back in Main St.’s good graces?

Housel: What’s sort of unfortunate is that Wall St. is viewed so negatively that people aren’t looking for change, they’re more or less just looking for blood. There are real changes that could take place that would make Wall St. a really good, admirable place…

The whole purpose of the financial system is to allocate capital property. Over the last 20 or 30 years, [Wall St.’s] goal has moved from allocating capital to trading capital back and forth. Rather than pushing capital to where it’s the most productive, it’s “Let’s see how many times we can trade this back and forth so we can extract the maximum amount of fees.” 

It’s hard to say what could move them back in [toward a focus on allocating capital]. I personally think one of the things that could help that is stronger regulation and of course that’s a very controversial topic. My basis for that is looking historically and saying, when did the financial system allocate capital most efficiently? And it was probably the period from the mid-1950s until the mid-1990s, which happens to be one of the most heavily regulated periods in the financial sector. But I’m extremely well aware that that is extremely controversial. There’s really no agreement on what the problem was let alone how we’re going to fix it.

3. With some pundits giving the American economy a 50/50 chance of falling into another recession, Decoder read your piece about defying the conventional wisdom (“Everyone believes it, but most will be wrong”) and was struck by this - maybe now is the moment to start looking for green shoots, to be optimistic about the economy?

Housel: The whole history of financial forecasting is the story of being perfectly wrong. The booms start whenever conventional wisdom is bearish and the busts start when everyone is bullish. One way you can look at that is to look at how things have fared in relation to peaks and troughs of different levels of consumer confidence. When you look at market returns, two years hence, and you compare that to consumer confidence, you see that when consumer confidence bottoms, those next two years are going to be terrific for the stock market. It would be unprecedented for us to be at this level of consumer confidence and not have a fantastic five years. 

[The American economy] could go either way. But the people who are making the black sheep calls, the people who are sticking their necks out, those are the people right now who are saying the next five years are going to be a lot better than people think [are more likely to be right]. But certainly anything could happen.

4. What’s one story or theme that isn’t getting enough attention regarding the American economy right now?

Housel: One point that [Warren Buffett] makes that people aren’t paying enough attention to right now is that the biggest weight on the economy is housing. Then you ask, what is going to get housing going again?

From 2001 to 2006, household formations were at one million per year and new home construction was two million per year. Right now it’s completely flipped, with one million household formations and new home construction is going at 500,000 per year… It’s difficult to tell what the shadow housing inventory is today, but at least some regions in the US could be facing a housing shortage within the next two or three years. That’s really fascinating. That changes the dynamics of everything [in the economy]… Buffett’s been hammering about this for about six months now. 

But it’s hard for people to hear that people housing is going to make a big rebound when they see its so incredibly low right now. But the fact that it’s so incredibly low plants the seeds for something to happen within the next few years.

Want more?

(Source: dcdecoder)

dcdecoder:

Mitt Romney decided he’d do Texas Gov. Rick Perry a solid and write up a jobs plan for him.
From the somewhat stolid and generally unfunny Romney comes this political gem, which has absolutely no bearing on anything but still makes your friends at Decoder laugh. Inside, you’ll find the 114-page plan (magically, the same length as Romney’s plan) has all of two pages of content.
Romney even goes to the great lengths to dig up “early praise” for Perry, including Fox News correspondent Britt Hume’s memorable zinger “Perry really did throw up all over himself at the debate tonight” and Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol’s succinct “Yikes.”
Yesterday, MSNBC’s First Read wondered how Romney would look after 60 days of Perry shelling him with his $15 million cash hoard. For now, Romney got off the first shot. 

Haha and the little content it has uses Comic Sans.

dcdecoder:

Mitt Romney decided he’d do Texas Gov. Rick Perry a solid and write up a jobs plan for him.

From the somewhat stolid and generally unfunny Romney comes this political gem, which has absolutely no bearing on anything but still makes your friends at Decoder laugh. Inside, you’ll find the 114-page plan (magically, the same length as Romney’s plan) has all of two pages of content.

Romney even goes to the great lengths to dig up “early praise” for Perry, including Fox News correspondent Britt Hume’s memorable zinger “Perry really did throw up all over himself at the debate tonight” and Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol’s succinct “Yikes.”

Yesterday, MSNBC’s First Read wondered how Romney would look after 60 days of Perry shelling him with his $15 million cash hoard. For now, Romney got off the first shot.

Haha and the little content it has uses Comic Sans.

(Source: dcdecoder)

dcdecoder:

Louisiana Representative John Fleming (R) is being torched in the blogosphere for the following interview on MSNBC. The quote being pulled by several news sources is as follows:

“By the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.”

Here at DC Decoder, we value you, our Tumblr friends and blog readers. As such, we figured we would do you the courtesy of actually clicking the big “play” button in the middle of the video instead of just believing the still-motion image and the quote everybody else pulled.(Also, his name is John Fleming, not Flemming, as in the title of the video).

Here’s what Fleming said, in full:

The amount I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is $600,000 of that $6.3 million [of total revenues, which was where the conversation started]. And so, by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment.

Reading Fleming’s biography, he’s a physician as well as an owner of assorted other small businesses. If we take Fleming at his word that he reinvests the $400,000 a year into his various businesses, a doctor making about $200,000 a year isn’t exactly out of the American mainstream. That’s not to say ordinary Americans are all too worried about the potential for Rep. Fleming’s economic plight, if you could call it that, with higher taxes. But the fact of the matter is that listening through to the end of the soundbite gives you a much different picture than someone grousing over their $600,000 in income. 

Want more?

(Source: dcdecoder)

leftish:

“This notion of cuts as somehow being the “medicine” for our economy is exactly the WRONG medicine for a sick economy. Actually the kinds of cuts that the Republicans propose will INCREASE unemployment, NOT reduce it. They are proposing things that are going to make the economy worse in the hopes that they will defeat Barack Obama.”
~ Rep. Jan Schakowsky, (D-IL)

leftish:

“This notion of cuts as somehow being the “medicine” for our economy is exactly the WRONG medicine for a sick economy. Actually the kinds of cuts that the Republicans propose will INCREASE unemployment, NOT reduce it. They are proposing things that are going to make the economy worse in the hopes that they will defeat Barack Obama.”

~ Rep. Jan Schakowsky, (D-IL)

csmonitor:

PHOTO: Detroit’s abandoned Central Station (Melanie Stetson Freeman/ The Christian Science Monitor)
The July 25th cover story tackles the tricky restructuring of Detroit, a former industrial gem struggling to regain its footing after nearly five decades of economic decline. Writer Mark Gaurino describes the latest plans from Mayor Dave Bing and others to help revitalize a city in which the overabundance of vacant land is currently its biggest resource.  
Part of the Mayor’s plan includes connecting and consolidating neighborhoods separated by abandoned land to create a smaller, more efficient city. This is a lot for a city currently large enough to fit Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston within the 139 square miles inside its borders.

Large swaths of this city look like a ghost town. Blight, resulting from abandoned homes and shuttered factories, is everywhere. Dead zones detach rather than connect neighborhoods from each other, creating a patchwork that the city says makes it too expensive to service. So the mayor has an idea: Draw residents out of marginally populated areas through direct and indirect incentives into a close-knit population core. By razing and repurposing what is left behind, the city might reduce its geographic size and save money by not having to service such far-flung neighborhoods.

One of the challenges to his plan - the city’s 48 unions, which last year cost the city nearly $400 million in healthcare and pension payouts, a figure which remains unsustainable for the struggling city. That amount also leaves Detroit susceptible to being taken over by an emergency financial manager, appointed by the Governor, who is enabled to hire and fire employees, void union contracts, and make changes without the approval of the mayor or city council.
READ: Retooling the Motor City: Can Detroit save itself?
A related business story shares more details of the Mayor’s restructuring plan, which includes demolishing 10,000 vacant and deteriorated homes. That’s nearly one-tenth of the overall 100,718 vacant addresses in the city, which represents 12 percent of the overall city size.
READ: Detroit has radical plan: Raze the dead in Motor City

csmonitor:

PHOTO: Detroit’s abandoned Central Station (Melanie Stetson Freeman/ The Christian Science Monitor)

The July 25th cover story tackles the tricky restructuring of Detroit, a former industrial gem struggling to regain its footing after nearly five decades of economic decline. Writer Mark Gaurino describes the latest plans from Mayor Dave Bing and others to help revitalize a city in which the overabundance of vacant land is currently its biggest resource.  

Part of the Mayor’s plan includes connecting and consolidating neighborhoods separated by abandoned land to create a smaller, more efficient city. This is a lot for a city currently large enough to fit Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston within the 139 square miles inside its borders.

Large swaths of this city look like a ghost town. Blight, resulting from abandoned homes and shuttered factories, is everywhere. Dead zones detach rather than connect neighborhoods from each other, creating a patchwork that the city says makes it too expensive to service. So the mayor has an idea: Draw residents out of marginally populated areas through direct and indirect incentives into a close-knit population core. By razing and repurposing what is left behind, the city might reduce its geographic size and save money by not having to service such far-flung neighborhoods.

One of the challenges to his plan - the city’s 48 unions, which last year cost the city nearly $400 million in healthcare and pension payouts, a figure which remains unsustainable for the struggling city. That amount also leaves Detroit susceptible to being taken over by an emergency financial manager, appointed by the Governor, who is enabled to hire and fire employees, void union contracts, and make changes without the approval of the mayor or city council.

READ: Retooling the Motor City: Can Detroit save itself?

A related business story shares more details of the Mayor’s restructuring plan, which includes demolishing 10,000 vacant and deteriorated homes. That’s nearly one-tenth of the overall 100,718 vacant addresses in the city, which represents 12 percent of the overall city size.

READ: Detroit has radical plan: Raze the dead in Motor City

"

I remain hopeful that those who want to cripple this consumer bureau will think again and remember that the financial crisis — and the recession and job losses that it sparked — began one lousy mortgage at a time. I also hope that when those Senators next go home, they ask their constituents how they feel about fine print, about signing contracts with terms that are incomprehensible, and about learning the true costs of a financial transaction only later when fees are piled on or interest rates are reset. I hope they will ask the people in their districts if they are opposed to an agency that is working to make prices clear or if they think budgets should be cut for an agency that is trying to make sure that trillion-dollar banks follow the law. I hope they will ask their constituents if they are opposed to the confirmation of someone who saved $2 billion for retirees, investors, and business owners as Ohio Attorney General and who has worked hard on the front lines fighting against fraudulent foreclosures and abusive lending practices.

This week is the culmination of two years of hard battles. The President put the consumer agency in his first outline of financial regulatory reform, and he never wavered in his support for it. The agency was declared dead several times, and weak versions and lousy bargains were offered again and again, but he stood fast. When he signed Dodd-Frank into law, creating the new agency, he offered me the chance to stand it up — something for which I will always be grateful. The fights continued, and again, the President never wavered in his support. In fact, just last week he issued a veto threat if the Republicans try to move the agency’s funding to the political process, and I know that in the future he won’t allow opponents of reform to succeed in weakening the CFPB.

The agency has stepped out in the right direction. The work is good. But this agency needs to have its full powers right now, and that means we need Rich in place as Director. Today, I’m celebrating — but I’m not taking my eye off those who want to cripple this agency. We got this agency by fighting, we stood it up by fighting, and, if takes more fighting to keep it strong and independent, then we can do it.

"

 Elizabeth Warren: Enemies Await Consumer Financial Protection (via kateoplis)

Business Insider:

Yes, the rest of the world is watching this embarrassing debt ceiling nonsense, and it is growing dismayed.

Der Spiegel has a roundup of commentary in German newspapers about the fight, and the universal message is this:

The US is holding the entire world hostage, and it’s the Republicans that are playing with fire.

Hard to accuse the Germans (who are no fans of fiscal profligacy) of being motivated by politics, or of having some inherent reason to attack Republicans. This is just the reality of what they’re doing.

Here’s the passage from Bild, the newspaper of the masses:

"Playing poker is part of politics, as is theatrical posturing. That’s fair enough. But what America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics. And the whole world is being held hostage.

"Irrespective of what the correct fiscal and economic policy should be for the most powerful country on earth, it’s simply not possible to stop taking on new debt overnight. Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition."

"If it continues like this, the US will be bankrupt within a few days. It would cause a global shockwave like the one which followed the Lehman bankruptcy in 2008, which triggered the worst economic crisis since the war. Except it would be much worse than the Lehman bankruptcy. The political climate in the US has been poisoned to a degree that is hard for us (Germans) to imagine. But we should all fear the consequences."

The 400 wealthiest families in the U.S. aren’t just filthy rich, they are downright dirty. Collectively, these households own $1.37 trillion dollars; a number so high that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend. Here are 11 shocking things $1.37 trillion can buy that you can’t.

  • The richest 400 households can pay off every student loan for every single student in the entire United States. No more paying for an education, so that you can get a good job so that you can… well, pay off your education.
  • The richest 400 can pay off all credit card debt for every single person in the entire United States. Imagine that! No more credit card debt looming over your shoulders!
  • The richest 400 households can afford to triple the number of teachers in the United States, then give every single one a $30,000 raise. Teachers are being laid off everywhere, their salaries are being cut, and they are suffering. Teacher-to-student ratios in schools are abysmal. But what can we do about it when so much wealth is in the pockets of so few families?
  • The richest 400 families alone could replace 70% of all money lost in the Great Recession, for everyone! How much money did you, your parents, or grandparents lose in the Great Recession of 2008? 30%, 50% of your portfolio? Not only do the rich still have enough money to fund their wildest dreams, but they can also fund your retirements.

(Source: sarahlee310)

Report: Economy Failing Because U.S. Built On Ancient Indian Burial Grounds

Republicans want the curse to hold so that they can paint Obama as soft on poltergeists.

The Atlantic:

The Geography of Hate
America’s racist groups concentrate in certain regions — and their presence correlates with religion, McCain votes, and poverty
Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups — from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations — has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fueled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.
But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States — at least within some sectors of their populations — are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?
The SPLC maintains a detailed database on hate groups, culled from websites and publications, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. It defines hate groups as organizations and associations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” and which participate in “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”  As of 2010, the SPLC documents 1,002 such hate groups across the United States.
The map [above], by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, graphically presents the geography of hatred in America today. Based on the number of hate groups per one million people across the U.S. states, it reveals a distinctive pattern.
Hate groups are most highly concentrated in the old South and the northern Plains states. Two states have by far the largest concentration of hate groups — Montana with 13.8 groups per million people, and Mississippi with 13.7 per million.  Arkansas (10.3), Wyoming (9.7), and Idaho (8.9) come in a distant third, fourth, and fifth.
 
But beyond their locations, what other factors are associated with hate groups? With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I looked at the social, political, cultural, economic and demographic factors that might be associated with the geography of hate groups. We considered a number of key factors that shape America’s geographic divide: Red state/Blue state politics; income and poverty; religion, and economic class.  It is important to note that correlation does not imply causation —we are simply looking at associations between variables. It’s also worth pointing out that Montana and Mississippi are fairly extreme outliers which may skew the results somewhat. Nonetheless, the patterns we discerned were robust and distinctive enough to warrant reporting.
First of all, the geography of hate reflects the Red state/Blue state sorting of American politics.

Hate groups were positively associated with McCain votes (with a correlation of .52).

Conversely, hate groups were negatively associated with Obama votes (with a correlation of -.54).

Hate groups also cleave along religious lines. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, higher concentrations of hate groups are positively associated with states where individuals report that religion plays an important role in their everyday lives (a correlation of .35).

The geography of hate also sorts across economic lines. Hate groups are more concentrated in states with higher poverty rates (.39) and those with larger blue-collar working class workforces (.41).

The Atlantic:

The Geography of Hate

America’s racist groups concentrate in certain regions — and their presence correlates with religion, McCain votes, and poverty

Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups — from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations — has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fueled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.

But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States — at least within some sectors of their populations — are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?

The SPLC maintains a detailed database on hate groups, culled from websites and publications, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. It defines hate groups as organizations and associations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” and which participate in “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”  As of 2010, the SPLC documents 1,002 such hate groups across the United States.

The map [above], by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, graphically presents the geography of hatred in America today. Based on the number of hate groups per one million people across the U.S. states, it reveals a distinctive pattern.

Hate groups are most highly concentrated in the old South and the northern Plains states. Two states have by far the largest concentration of hate groups — Montana with 13.8 groups per million people, and Mississippi with 13.7 per million.  Arkansas (10.3), Wyoming (9.7), and Idaho (8.9) come in a distant third, fourth, and fifth.

But beyond their locations, what other factors are associated with hate groups? With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I looked at the social, political, cultural, economic and demographic factors that might be associated with the geography of hate groups. We considered a number of key factors that shape America’s geographic divide: Red state/Blue state politics; income and poverty; religion, and economic class.  It is important to note that correlation does not imply causation —we are simply looking at associations between variables. It’s also worth pointing out that Montana and Mississippi are fairly extreme outliers which may skew the results somewhat. Nonetheless, the patterns we discerned were robust and distinctive enough to warrant reporting.

First of all, the geography of hate reflects the Red state/Blue state sorting of American politics.

Hate groups were positively associated with McCain votes (with a correlation of .52).

Conversely, hate groups were negatively associated with Obama votes (with a correlation of -.54).

Hate groups also cleave along religious lines. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, higher concentrations of hate groups are positively associated with states where individuals report that religion plays an important role in their everyday lives (a correlation of .35).

The geography of hate also sorts across economic lines. Hate groups are more concentrated in states with higher poverty rates (.39) and those with larger blue-collar working class workforces (.41).

"

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.

Comfortable majorities of the public now call Obama a strong leader who will keep America safe. Nearly three-fourths — 73 percent — also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats. And he improved his standing on Afghanistan, Iraq and the United States’ relationships with other countries.

Despite a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, 52 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency; 52 percent also now like how he’s handling the nation’s stubbornly high 9 percent unemployment.

"

AP-Gfk Poll: Obama Approval Hits 60 Percent

So basically the public has (finally) realized that the GOP is not and never has been stronger on national security. This is kind of a big deal. — Ryking

(via ryking)

And that the GOP is bad for the economy.

(Source: diadoumenos)

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Democratic presidents have consistently higher economic growth and consistently lower unemployment than Republican presidents. If you add in a time lag, you get the same result. If you eliminate the best and worst presidents, you get the same result. If you take a look at other economic indicators, you get the same result. There’s just no way around it: Democratic administrations are better for the economy than Republican administrations.

Skeptics offer two arguments: first, that presidents don’t control the economy; second, that there are too few data points to draw any firm conclusions. Neither argument is convincing. It’s true that presidents don’t control the economy, but they do influence it — as everyone tacitly acknowledges by fighting like crazed banshees over every facet of fiscal policy ever offered up by a president.

The second argument doesn’t hold water either. The dataset that delivers these results now covers more than 50 years, 10 administrations, and half a dozen different measures. That’s a fair amount of data, and the results are awesomely consistent: Democrats do better no matter what you measure, how you measure it, or how you fiddle with the data.

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Republicans vs. Democrats On the Economy

(This is an article from 2005, but it still holds true today — and here’s a book published in April 2011 that goes in-depth on the subject: Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age.)

(Source: diadoumenos)