Sunday, December 07, 2014

Is there any doubt, the Blue States have it right?

Collins Dictionary defines quality of life as the general well-being of a person or society, defined in terms of health and happiness, rather than wealth.

There are elements to the understanding of quality of life; health, self-esteem, goals and values, money, work, play, learning, creativity, helping, love, friends, children, relatives, home, neighborhood and community.

There can be surveys regarding the quality of life from -6 to +6. Negative being dissatisfied and positive being satisfied. Then a person can define where they are most unhappy and move out of that area.

A problem occurs where a person or community doesn't have the clear understanding of satisfaction and/or the resources to make change.

Politico conducted their own study on quality of life. In their assessment the "Right to Work" laws impacted that quality of life.

Politico quality of life study. (click here) They used standard data in their assessment.

This past election there were referendum in some states that are basically Democratic issues. The ballot measures passed while the election did not necessarily include the Democratic candidates. It is likely the lack of attention of ads encouraged the issues to pass. The reality that Republicans were elected in states obviously more liberal than conservative lends itself to a 'throw the bumbs out' movement rather than party choice.

I could go from state to state and assess the quality of life of the people in a similar way I focused on Louisiana. But, the Red States out number the Blue States in difficulty of life and opportunity and the result on happiness. 

This is a population density map from 2000. (click here)

The Red States also exhibit some of the least dense areas of population in the country. Is it that Blue State population density brings life's harshness into clear view by many more people than Red States? Maybe. But, when it comes to the federal government the entire of the USA has to be examined and not just one state in particular to set policy.

The approach to governance by the political Left and Right is starkly different. The next two years can be productive if the Republicans want to solve problems rather than cause them. But, for Republicans to pretend they have the answers for all Americans is hideous and ridiculous. The Red States profoundly lack the quality of life in comparison to the Blue States even though as in the example of Louisiana receives a lion's share of federal monies.

I would suggest the next two years be harmonious in solving the problems of minorities, civil rights and equitable treatment for women in the work place. I would like to see the Red States redeem themselves rather than play politics for the benefit of cronies. Let the pay to play elections be reformation to the ills of our people rather than a slash and burn priorities that will only harm the country, especially the poor. There better be upward movement to preserve and build the Middle Class over the next two years without compromising the climate.

Just adding a little perspective.

The 2006 Gallup World Poll (click here) data shows a positive correlation between per capita income in a country and average self-reported life satisfaction. One report on the World Poll data concluded, "high-income countries have greater life satisfaction than low-income countries...there is no evidence that the cross-country effects of greater income fade out or vanish as countries increase their income."

Figure 8.3 (click here) shows population pyramids typical of low- and high-income countries in 1995 and those expected to be typical in 2025 if current population trends continue. Note how these shapes represent higher birth rates, higher death rates (particularly among children), and lower life expectancies in low-income countries. Think about why in poor countries the base of the pyramid is broader and the pyramid is basically triangular rather than pear-shaped or rectangular as in rich countries. Explain also the changes expected to happen to both pyramids by 2025.

This is the age distribution for Louisiana (click here) in the year 2000. 

The ages of 20-34 are worrisome. It would have to be discerned as to the percent dead over the number of births in those years. If death rates are higher in those age groups, is it work related and/or socially related causes. There also has to be an accounting of migration in Louisiana for these age groups as well. This report might prove helpful as to movement in and out of Louisiana as a trend to the state. (click here)

14 % of pregnancies resulted in induced abortions in 7 clinics as of 2011.

Louisiana (click here) was ranked 6 out of 51 (50 states + the District of Columbia) on 2011 final teen births rates among females aged 15-19 (with 1 representing the highest rate and 51 representing the lowest rate).  On a similar scale – where 1 is the highest teen pregnancy rate and 51 is the lowest – Louisiana was ranked 8 out of 51 (50 states + the District of Columbia) in pregnancies to females aged 15- 19 in 2008.

One might note the abortion rates in the USA have been falling for over two decades. Women don't need to be controlled to lower abortion rates, they simply need contraception that works. They also need to be able to pay for the contraception. The Anti-abortion crowd finds more and varied reasons to assault a woman's right to self-determination. There is no doubt in my mind, the political right wing wants women to be dependent on their spouses. No doubt.

This graph is from Pew Research based on USA Census information. The Pill was approved for use in 1960. There is some variation over the years of birth rate since the introduction of the pill, but, for the most part it has remained the same starting in 1970.

Federal Aid as a percentage of State General Revenue.

Figures are from 2011 (click here). Louisiana is only second to Alabama in the amounts of monies received from the federal government in relation to their overall state's income.

So, let me get this right. Louisiana has some of the largest oil facilities in the country and ranks among the most impoverished people relying on federal monies to fund it's state government. 

Delaware has the lowest percentage amount of federal dollars to their state treasury. That is so strange. I would expect a long standing Senator like Joe Biden and then Vice President to have higher and higher amounts of federal dollars in their state treasury. It gets even stranger to realize the GDP for Delaware is 62.703 billion (click here) US per year and Louisiana's GDP is 253.576 billion (click here) US per year as of 2013.

Louisiana has 20 hate groups within it's borders.five

In the immediate wake of the 2012 election, (click here) Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called on his fellow Republicans to “stop being the stupid party.” He said it was “no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments – enough of that.” Jindal was referring to theinfamous remarks by top-tier GOP candidates, most notably former Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, about rape and pregnancy.

So much for that! Jindal has appointed Akin’s most prominent defender, Tony Perkins, to a seat on the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement. Perkins is president of the D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC), an anti-gay hate group known for making its share of “offensive, bizarre comments.” Perkins and the FRC earned that designation by consistently demonizing and smearing gays and lesbians – including calling them pedophiles – with falsehoods.

Perkins has deep Louisiana roots. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1996 to 2004 and ran unsuccessfully for the US. Senate, placing a distant fourth, in the 2002 GOP primary. Before that he was a TV news reporter and a reserve police officer, until he was suspended in 1992 for failing to report an illegal conspiracy by anti-abortion extremists to his superiors. He became head of the FRC in 2003 but never fully left Louisiana.

In fact, Jindal named Perkins to the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family in 2008, supposedly on the basis of “expertise in community programs and assistance.”

The Commission on Marriage and Family website provides meeting minutes for the past three years. Perkins is listed as absent for seven out of seven meetings. Since Perkins has a day job in Washington, D.C., and is apparently unable to attend those meetings, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be any better about attending the Commission on Law Enforcement meetings.

The 20 hate groups within Louisiana's border are four KKK groups, five Neo-Nazi groups, two racist skinheads, one Christian Identity, five White Nationalist, one Neo-confederate, one Black Separtist and one general hate group called M.A.C.S. Klan Merchandise. True to form of any big box store, the Klan Merchandisers don't discriminate in their identity for commercial purposes.

General Hate Groups are described as: these groups espouse a variety of rather unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that are not easily categorized. This list includes a “Jewish” group that is rabidly anti-Arab, a “Christian” group that is anti-Catholic and a polygamous “Mormon” breakaway sect that is racist. Many of the groups are vendors that sell a miscellany of hate materials from several different sectors of the white supremacist movement.

This is about as ineffective a state government as any in the country.

LOOP - Louisiana Offshore Oil Port

137 Northpark Blvd.
Covington, LA, 70433

Oil (click here) delivered to LOOP is temporarily stored in the LOOP crude oil storage facilities in Clovelly, Louisiana - the largest privately-owned crude oil storage facilities in the nation.

LOOP operates eight underground caverns that have a total storage capacity of 58 million barrels. The man-made LOOP storage caverns are cylindrically-shaped, vertical spaces that were hollowed out from a vast underground salt formation. While salt dome storage is not an unfamiliar technology, the LOOP Clovelly Salt Dome facility is the only repository in the world continuously receiving and distributing crude oil.

The Louisiana Governor and it's majority state congress sports the largest off shore crude oil storage facility and enormous amounts of impoverished people.

One third of Louisiana's jobs are low wage with no minimum wage. The Republicans are bad for Louisiana. 

Louisiana poverty rate is astounding.

  • Child poverty rate: 28%
  • Senior poverty rate: 15%
  • Women in poverty: 21.5%
  • Percent of single-parent families with related children that are below poverty: 46%
  • Number of Black and Hispanic children below 200% poverty: 391,000
  • Poverty rate: 19.8% (click here)
  • Extreme poverty rate: 9.0%
  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Food insecurity: 16.5%
  • Low-income families that work: 36.3%
  • Minimum Wage: No minimum wage law
  • Percent of jobs that are low-wage: 31.4%
  • Percent of individuals who are uninsured: 20%
  • Number of Black and Hispanic children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment232,000
Republican governor and majority Republican in state house and senate.

Alaska and Hawaii both rank below 11%

The worst poverty (click here) in the USA is found in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Michigan.

Michigan's poverty is fairly easy to dissect, out sourcing of jobs. The rest of the states have some astounding issues. When examined more closely is completely due to pandering to wealth.

People with income 50% below the poverty line are commonly referred to as living in deep poverty.

...Census figures (click here) reveal a stark contrast in the percentages of non-Hispanic whites living in poverty as compared to Hispanics and blacks. In 2012, 9.7% of non-Hispanic whites (18.9 million) were living in poverty, while over a quarter of Hispanics (13.6 million), and 27.2% of blacks (10.9 million) were living in poverty.

The figures are more dismal when looking at the rates for deep poverty. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics are more than twice as likely to live in deep poverty, and blacks are almost three times more likely to live in deep poverty. In 2012, 12.7% of blacks (almost 5.1 million), 10.1% of Hispanics (almost 5.4 million), and 4.3% (8.4 million) of non-Hispanic whites were living in deep poverty....

...In 2012, over five million more women than men were living below the poverty line; and two million more women than men were living in deep poverty. For women aged 18 to 64, the poverty rate was 15.4%, compared to 11.9% for men of the same age range. At 11%, the poverty rate for women aged 65 and older is almost double that of men aged 65 and older—6.6%.

Families headed by a single adult are more likely to be headed by women, and these female-headed households are at a greater risk of poverty. Almost 31% of households headed by a single woman were living below the poverty line—nearly five times the 6.3% poverty rate for families headed by a married couple. For households headed by a single male, 16.4% were living in poverty....
FOUR YEARS AGO, (click here) researchers identified a surprising price for being a black woman in America. The study of 334 midlife women, published in the journal Health Psychology, examined links between different kinds of stress and risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Black women who pointed to racism as a source of stress in their lives, the researchers found, developed more plaque in their carotid arteries -- an early sign of heart disease -- than black women who didn't. The difference was small but important -- making the report the first to link hardening of the arteries to racial discrimination.

The study was just one in a fast-growing field of research documenting how racism literally hurts the body. More than 100 studies -- most published since 2000 -- now document the effects of racial discrimination on physical health. Some link blood pressure to recollected encounters with bigotry. Others record the cardiovascular reactions of volunteers subjected to racist imagery in a lab. Forthcoming research will even peek into the workings of the brain during exposure to racist provocations....

...Boston's Disparities Project, launched in 2005 by Mayor Menino's office and the Boston Public Health Commission, is one of the most progressive blueprints for change. It includes partnerships with medical institutions, detailed public reports tracking progress, and community grants to tackle such entrenched problems as street violence and lack of access to fresh produce. In May, lawmakers on Beacon Hill held a hearing on proposed legislation that would reverse the root causes of health inequities. The bill would establish a state office of health equity, among other measures....

..."Across multiple societies, you're finding similar kinds of relationships," said David Williams, a sociologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "There is a phenomenon here that is quite robust."

For decades, experts have agreed that racial disparities in health spring from pervasive social and institutional forces. The scientific literature has linked higher rates of death and disease in American blacks to such "social determinants" as residential segregation, environmental waste, joblessness, unsafe housing, targeted marketing of alcohol and cigarettes, and other inequities....

...Jules Harrell, a Howard University professor of psychology, said he was moved this spring by a photo of the Rutgers University women's college basketball team, sitting together with dignified expressions, after radio talk show host Don Imus had labeled them with a racist epithet.

"The expressions on their faces," said Harrell. "All I could think was, 'Good God, I'd hate to see their cortisol levels.' "...

Addressing poverty includes safety within our society. "2009 study ... found it is okay for boys to hit girls."

Learning to be a second class citizen begins early in the USA.

Changing Yes to No

Capito - WV

Cassidy - Louisiana

Cotton - Arkansas

Daines - Montana

Ernst - Iowa

Gardner - Colorado

Perdue - Georgia

Rounds - South Dakota

Sullivan - Alask

Tillis - North Carolina

The Republican answer to women and children in poverty is "Get married and put up with the abuse." (Defense of Marriage Act and Violence Against Women Act)

  1. 1 in 3 American women,  (click here) 42 million women, plus 28 million children, either live in poverty or are right on the brink of it. (The report defines the “brink of poverty” as making $47,000 a year for a family of four.)
  2. Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and these workers often get zero paid sick days.
  3. Two-thirds of American women are either the primary or co-breadwinners of their families.
  4. The average woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, and that figure is much lower for black and Latina women; African American women earn only 64 cents and Hispanic women only 55 cents for every dollar made by a white man.
  5. More than half of the babies born to moms who are under 30 are born to unmarried mothers, and most of them are white.
  6. 75% of unmarried mothers are under 30, and only 7% of have finished college. Single motherhood and lack of a college degree are two of the strongest indicators of poverty.
  7. 96% of single mothers say paid leave is the workplace reform that would help them the most.
  8. Even though women outnumber men in higher education, men still make more money than women who have the same level of educational achievement, from high school diplomas to advanced graduate degrees. And in 2011, men with bachelors’ degrees earned more than women with graduate degrees.
  9. 60% of low-income women say they believe even if they made all the right choices, “the economy doesn’t work for someone like me.”
  10. 76% of single mothers say if they could do it all over again, they would have gotten out of a bad relationship sooner.
  11. 27% of fathers and 40% of low-income fathers don’t live with their children.

Everybody wants heaven but nobody wants dead
Everybody wants diamonds without the bloodshed
Everybody wants heaven but nobody wants dead
Everybody wants diamonds without the bloodshed

They wanna shine on, shine on, shine on, shine on
Shine on, shine on, shine on, shine on, yeah

They dug me out the soil in the mines of the motherland
Now I'm misplaced, one hand to another hand
Illegal smugglin', people strugglin'
Wish they could just throw me back in the mud again

Yeah, guess that's how we got here
Slave trade then the diamond trade
Every child's afraid when
His mother and father get sprayed

Forced in the army, young killer brigade
Gets a new name then he give his nose glue
Til' his mind can't take what he's gon' through
Lookin' in that dirt for that eyes so blue
Then the Royal Family, the ice goes to

And this thing has to change, feelin' half-ashamed
As I rap with my platinum chain when you shop for a gift for me
You think about the misery, the same way we made apartheid history
We can do the same thing to the conflict ice
But everybody wanna shine, right?

Everybody wants heaven but nobody wants dead
Everybody wants diamonds without the bloodshed
Everybody wants heaven but nobody wants dead
Everybody wants diamonds without the bloodshed

They wanna shine on, shine on, shine on, shine on
Shine on, shine on, shine on, shine on

My VVS glimmers on my chest
200 thou' encrusted watch on my wrist
I wonder how people starve to death
When God bless the land that lacks the harvest

The stone's equality, but they homes are poverty
And the whole world ignores the robbery
Bought my girl pretty rocks when she's mad at me
Tear-drop shaped, uh, perfect clarity

It shocks, so many are killed annually
'Cause of greed, lust, and pure vanity
Stop talkin' and do somethin' about it

Every holiday season, jewelry stores crowded
Kids snatched from their homes, mutilated alive
Husbands separated from wives, keep the Jesus piece to be fly
But back in the day there was a time when they called us shine

Everybody wants heaven but nobody wants dead
Everybody wants diamonds without the bloodshed
Everybody wants heaven but nobody wants dead
Everybody wants diamonds without the bloodshed

They wanna shine on, shine on, shine on, shine on
Shine on, shine on, shine on, shine on
November 10, 2014
By Husna Haq

...Invading Iraq was the right decision, (click here for video, too) but former President George W. Bush does have one regret, he told CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, in a wide-ranging interview Sunday that touched on brother Jeb Bush's potential presidential run, Bush 43's "love letter" to his father, and the controversial Iraq war.
“Do you have any regrets [about sending troops into Iraq]?” Schieffer asked. “I mean, do you ever feel that maybe it was the wrong decision?”
“No I think it was the right decision,” Bush said, but he said he regretted the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in parts of Iraq....
Death by Saddam - 50,000 + civilian deaths of Shi'ites 

Death by US military invasion - 132,984 - 149,819 documented deaths of civilians (click here) 

With the death of so many of a single ethnicity in 2002 there should have been a meeting of the UN Security Council to move against Saddam in a meaningful way to stop the cleansing of Shi'ites and to provide aid to the Shi'ites of southern Iraq. 

The southern No Fly Zone was already effective, Saddam needed to be tried at the World Court, even in absentia. The world focus on the removal of Saddam would have resulted in different outcomes to the people and it's government. The war by the USA only increased suspicion and fear of each other. That is what resulted in Baghdad. Of the three ethnicities in Iraq, it was the Shi'ites that had lost the largest number of people. Their need to control the government's central authority was important.

The so called moral war is non-existent. There are far more deaths with a US military invasion than the global community's vigilance.

It is why the people of the USA named their military "The Department of Defense," not, the Moral War Authority based on USA assessment of deployment of assets.

Maintaining priorities

The USA should have left troops in Iraq. "W"rong. US Troops would have prolonged the discovery of the Islamic State. The covert methods of the Islamic State provided for it's brutal methods and strategic ability. 

It is not up to the USA to patrol the world and bring order. It is up to regional authorities to govern.

Ethnic cleansing and ethnic wars especially in the Middle East can be addressed, by regional countries deciding on the best method to use to bring about peace through cooperation.

- End financing of jihad.

- Maintain a consistent method to end internal wars

- Allowing groups like the Islamic State to exist is the tail waging the dog, not methods to maintain the peace. The Muslim faith within these countries is capable of great peace and cooperation. It is the insurgents within the countries, such as the Bat'thists post Saddam that can result in complete breakdown in governance. Prolonged war is not the answer. The regional authorities should be deciding if a country's leadership, ie: Assad, is causing destabilization of the region. 

The region of the world has a strong characteristic to be a powder keg. First distancing from war as a solution and finally stabilizing the region with established methods to maintain peace has to be set by the countries involved. The Middle East has to take control over their regional governance and prevent war mongering from people like Senator John McCain to result in problems such as Syria. 

I have witnessed great cooperation before within these countries before. The desire for peace and prosperity for all the people regardless of their ethnicity or religious identity is the path forward. It is one thing to denounce President Assad for human rights abuses, it is quite something else to invade a sovereign country.

The Middle East has every right to complain about The West when it interferes with it's determined goals. I have not witnessed any Arab leader in recent years demanding the death of specific citizens in cleansing/genocide. The last time that occurred it was 50,000 dead Shi'ites in Iraq in 2002 when there was an uprising due to the lack of water to their wetlands and communities.

Iraq post Kuwait was defeated in advancing border wars with the No Fly Zones. What needed to occur were additional pressures on Saddam to end the hatred of the Shi'ites. Oddly enough, the Kurds were protected by the No Fly Zone in the north. The Shi'ites in the south were protected which caused Saddam to work within central Iraq to cut off the water supply to the south, resulting in an uprising.

The Holy Men in the region have to stop using hate between religious difference as a means to prayer, a relationship with Allah and way to maintain their own power. Killing and dying is not noble nor is it virtuous when it can be defined as a human rights violation or in the case of the Islamic State genocide. Peaceful lives whereby longevity is judged by God is more a trial of the soul than short lived existence to be used as a weapon.

Where The West and other countries failed was in never understanding the jihadist groups in the region and their ability to effect deaths. The only time The West bothered to understand the ability these groups had on the people was AFTER the violence began that caused destabilization of a local or national authority.

The radicalized groups in the Middle East are accepted by the populous they govern, including the Taliban, in fear but also because they are given food, water and a way to make a living. The Taliban (militia not ethnicity) pre-Afghanistan war did govern, about 8 years. They did so by 'the gun' and adaptable rules of the faith, but, they did govern and people were able to have a living. The Taliban governed harshly in an unforgiving method, but, so long as everyone knew the rules there was governance. I don't recall the Taliban ever causing genocide among one ethnic group or the other. The Taliban did behave somewhat because of the oppositional Northern Alliance. The Taliban was actually more tolerant of diversity than Saddam Hussein. They tolerated bin Laden which was a mistake on their part.

There has to be regional governance, I thought think that evident. It can begin by ending the flow of small arms across their borders.

Stop relying on Israel for the only intelligence in the region. The leaders of these countries know their people. 
There should be no ransom paid to any hostage taking including ships in the Persian Gulf.

The prolonging of war by paying ransom of any kind is ridiculous. The agents of violence be they Somali pirates or the Islamic State make good on their bargains. Pay or die.

It is very safe to say even if the funders of war in the Middle East end their practice that will have no effect to end the wars, terrorism or inhumane living conditions.

Non-sovereign groups are acting the same a rouge state. They leverage their budgets through fear. They'll continue this over the next century or more until there is an internal shift in their leadership that sees the world differently.

The global community has answers to the suffering of people in the way of assistance that provides for food, water, clothing and an achievable future. Every ransom paid defeats the global priority to a higher quality of life for all countries and the nations of people that live within them.

Most of the hostages in the Middle East have been taken over a year ago.

What does that mean? The taking of foreign citizens in the region occurred long before they were ransomed by the Islamic State. That means the foreign citizens to Syria and Iraq were expected to bring a price when needed. Why hold people for ransom for years unless there was a purpose?

The USA military can expect more of this. THEREFORE....

This civil war isn't going to end. It will become a permanent status of this region of the world. This is more than a civil war, it is ethnically based with automatic induction of ethnic soldiers. Tell women to stop having babies. Kindly, RECALL, the Islamic State institutes ethnic cleaning in it's methodology. 

Luke Somers, 33, an American photojournalist who was kidnapped more than a year ago by al-Qaida, photographs a demonstration in Yemen in 2013. Somers and a South African teacher held by al-Qaida militants in Yemen were killed Saturday during a U.S.-led rescue attempt, a raid President Obama said he ordered because of an "imminent danger" to the reporter.
...Somers (click here) was born in England and raised in the U.S., and he was always struck with a bit of wanderlust.

"Luke was the friend that you had in high school or college that you would find kind of inspiring," says Shawn Gillen, who taught him at Beloit College in Wisconsin, "because he was willing to go the distance."

Somers worked as a salmon fisherman in the Arctic, lived in Jamaica and spent time in Egypt before moving to Yemen full-time in 2011. It was there that he took a hobby of photography and turned it into a career.

Tik Root, a freelance journalist who worked in Yemen at the same time as Somers, calls him "an extraordinarily passionate and thoughtful person."...

Hostage taking is not governance.

The attempts by the US House to avert the presidential executive order is nonsense. There is no point to attacking the presidential order, there will only be less border security and more people will enter the USA anyway. The Senate has to vote on the budget as well. The House is playing politics with the country which is an ethical violation at the very least. 

December 5, 2014
By David Lawder
(Reuters) - Overriding objections (click here) from some conservative Republicans, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Thursday to plow ahead with a spending bill that averts a government shutdown while keeping some budget "leverage" over President Barack Obama's immigration order.
Boehner said he expected the bill, which provides full funding for all government agencies except the Department of Homeland Security through September 2015, to pass next week with some votes from Democrats, just ahead of a Dec. 11 deadline.

The department, which controls the agencies that would implement Obama's plan to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the United States, would get only a short-term funding extension, likely until sometime in February, Republican lawmakers said....