Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bits and Pieces

I've been reading lately, a lot. I guess I have a lot of time on my hands, and I wish I could be cranking away at my thesis, but unfortunately, the feedback and next steps of the whole process don't seem to coincide with my calendar as well as I'd like. Anyway, all of this is a preface to my wanting to post several items that I think are incredibly interesting.

The Gay Divorcees:  This was actually an article that I wanted to post on Facebook because I know there are several people who would appreciate it, but I'd like to refrain from using that network as a place to sound off on my views that I know don't sit well with many friends of mine. That's what this blog is for. There are certain things, innocuous ones, that are easy to post because everyone can appreciate them, and then there are others that make my teeth grind. I've learned more and more that I don't want to inflict my worldviews on others where they're not seeking it out, but you have no such luxury. You found your way here and, thus, are subject to my musings. With that, here's an excerpt from this one:

Announcing the results of his long-term “evolution” on the subject last week, President Obama revived the debate over gay marriage. In the widespread discussion, however, there is one question that’s rarely asked: How interested are gay couples in getting married?

Heretofore at least, the answer seems to be “not really.” Since 1997, when Hawaii became the first state in the union to allow reciprocal-beneficiary registration for same-sex couples, 19 states and the District of Columbia have granted some form of legal recognition to the relationships of same-sex couples. These variants include marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and reciprocal-beneficiary relationships; and the most recent U.S. Census data reveal that, in the last 15 years, only 150,000 same-sex couples have elected to take advantage of them — equivalent to around one in five of the self-identified same-sex couples in the United States. This number does not appear to be low because of the fact that only a few states have allowed full “marriage”; indeed, in the first four years when gay marriage was an option in trailblazing Massachusetts, there were an average of only about 3,000 per year, and that number included many who came from out of state.

...Controlling for the ratio of homosexuals to heterosexuals does little to explain the enthusiasm gap. For rates to be similar, we would have to pretend that only 0.5 percent of the population of Sweden, 0.7 percent of the population of Norway, and less than 2 percent of the population of Holland is gay. In fact, the numbers tend closer to an average of 4 percent, which suggests that heterosexual couples are up to eight times more interested in registering their relationships than homosexual couples. It is, of course, possible that the estimated number of homosexuals is wrong, but, if anything, gay-rights groups tend to argue that the projected numbers are too low, and statistics show that the numbers of self-identified gay citizens are going up in every Western country.

...In Norway, male same-sex marriages are 50 percent more likely to end in divorce than heterosexual marriages, and female same-sex marriages are an astonishing 167 percent more likely to be dissolved. In Sweden, the divorce risk for male-male partnerships is 50 percent higher than for heterosexual marriages, and the divorce risk for female partnerships is nearly double that for men. This should not be surprising: In the United States, women request approximately two-thirds of divorces in all forms of relationships — and have done so since the start of the 19th century — so it reasonably follows that relationships in which both partners are women are more likely to include someone who wishes to exit.

Interesting, right? I could have guessed that women are more likely to ask for divorces, but I would have assumed that would have been because men tend toward abuse or violence more, but in cases where it's two women in a marriage, divorce actually increases, so that's not the cause at all. Now that I think about, I do know that women are just as abusive as men, just not in the same ways.

And another woe is California article:

California’s present condition is the direct result of welfare-state governance in its full maturity. Intransigent public-employee unions use the collective-bargaining process to maintain their inflated compensation packages, while poorly administered programs for the elderly and indigent have produced a permanent dependent class with attendant expenses that are difficult or impossible to reduce: When Governor Jerry Brown attempted to impose co-pays on some recipients of medical benefits, the Obama administration blocked him. Governor Brown’s attempts to cut spending on health care by lowering some physicians’ reimbursements and subsidies for low-income Californians were blocked by the federal courts. Governor Brown has demonstrated very little that might be called fiscal responsibility, but such attempts as he has made at spending discipline have been blocked by federal authorities when they have not been blocked by Democrats in the state legislature. Those who suspect that Obamacare may turn out to be more expensive and less effective at controlling costs than its admirers have claimed should take a good long look at California to appreciate the difficulty of rationalizing out-of-control health-care spending in a single state. (And multiply by 50.)

California’s finances will not be meaningfully reformed until its public sector is reduced and disempowered, and its health-care spending is made sensible. There are significant legal roadblocks to achieving either end, which is why California’s debt-service costs are pulling away from those of the rest of the United States and heading in a distinctly Spanish direction.

Governor Brown has, in the conventional Democratic fashion, proposed raising taxes on certain high-income Californians to try to close that $16 billion deficit. California, like the nation at large, already relies disproportionately on the high-income for its tax revenue, a situation that produces inherent instability: When less than a tenth of taxpayers provide the great majority of tax income, receipts are likely to be volatile in the best of circumstances. Add to that the fact that the very wealthy — especially Silicon Valley’s cosmopolitan entrepreneurial class — have options about when, how, and where to get paid. California expects to raise $1.5 billion in taxes from a single firm, Facebook, as employees and investors realize capital gains from the company’s initial public offering of stock. But such expectations are far from assured: The Brazilian-born Eduardo Saverin, Facebook’s cofounder, has renounced his U.S. citizenship and taken up residence in Singapore, probably not for the city-state’s rich cultural milieu but because it does not tax capital gains. Others will not go so far as to cross the Pacific; for many, getting out of California will be sufficient. As California has just demonstrated, raising tax rates is not the same thing as raising tax revenue. Capital is fungible, and people are mobile.

The indispensable Thomas Sowell has an article today on The Censored Race War:

When two white newspaper reporters for the Virginian-Pilot were driving through Norfolk, and were set upon and beaten by a mob of young blacks — beaten so badly that they had to take a week off from work — that might sound like news that should have been reported, at least by their own newspaper. But it wasn’t.

The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel was the first major television program to report this incident. Yet this story is not just a Norfolk story, either in what happened or in how the media and the authorities have tried to sweep it under the rug.

Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by young black gangs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls, or in other public places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles, and other places across the country. Both the authorities and the media tend to try to sweep these episodes under the rug.

In Milwaukee, for example, an attack on whites at a public park a few years ago left many of the victims battered to the ground and bloody. But when the police arrived on the scene, it became clear that the authorities wanted to keep this quiet.

One 22-year-old woman, who had been robbed of her cell phone and debit card, and had blood streaming down her face, said, “About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for. The police wouldn’t listen to us, they wouldn’t take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating.”

...A wave of such attacks in Chicago were reported, but not the race of the attackers or victims. Media outlets that do not report the race of people committing crimes nevertheless report racial disparities in imprisonment and write heated editorials blaming the criminal-justice system.

What the authorities and the media seem determined to suppress is that the hoodlum elements in many ghettoes launch coordinated attacks on whites in public places. If there is anything worse than a one-sided race war, it is a two-sided race war, especially when one of the races outnumbers the other several times over.

Trying to keep the lid on is understandable. But a lot of pressure can build up under that lid. If and when that pressure leads to an explosion of white backlash, things could be a lot worse than if the truth had come out earlier, and steps taken by both black and white leaders to deal with the hoodlums and with those who inflame them.

These latter would include not only race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson but also lesser-known people in the media, in educational institutions, and elsewhere who hype grievances and make all the problems of blacks the fault of whites. Some of these people may think that they are doing blacks a favor. But it is no favor to anyone who lags behind to turn their energies from the task of improving and advancing themselves to the task of lashing out at others.

These others extend beyond whites. Asian-American schoolchildren in New York and Philadelphia have for years been beaten up by their black classmates. But people in the mainstream media who go ballistic if some kid says something unkind on the Internet about a homosexual classmate nevertheless hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil when Asian-American youngsters are victims of violence.

All of it very interesting, and important.

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