Study: Conservatives Biggest Consumers Of Porn


The ones who try and make you think they live like Laura Ingalls Wilder actually may have a credit card history that proves they are more into Mapplethorpe than into Almanzo.

We all know those conservatives types that write letters about how “we just love living in the country and hearing the birds while gardening and being with family.  We find the gays just the biggest problem in the nation.  We voted Republican, and were pleased to have a McCain lawn sign showing how proud we are to be God-fearin’ folks.” 

And scene.

Later after the loved ones are tucked in bed and the birds asleep in the trees the conservatives crank up the porn, and now there is a study to prove it.

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.”

After controlling for differences in broadband internet access between states – online porn tends to be a bandwidth hog – and adjusting for population, he found a relatively small difference between states with the most adult purchases and those with the fewest.

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. “The differences here are not so stark,” Edelman says.

Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.

To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion.

Death Of A Newpaper, Rocky Mountain News


It is hard to describe, but when a newspaper ceases publication my heart really hurts.  Either one understands how I feel, or they do not.   Once again the newspaper world saw a famed paper fall to the economic times, and the pressures of an internet society, when the Rocky Mountain News folded yesterday.  Instead of my words on this sad chapter, I will let the paper say it for me.

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to you today.

Our time chronicling the life of Denver and Colorado, the nation and the world, is over. Thousands of men and women have worked at this newspaper since William Byers produced its first edition on the banks of Cherry Creek on April 23, 1859. We speak, we believe, for all of them, when we say that it has been an honor to serve you. To have reached this day, the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, just 55 days shy of its 150th birthday is painful. We will scatter. And all that will be left are the stories we have told, captured on microfilm or in digital archives, devices unimaginable in those first days. But what was present in the paper then and has remained to this day is a belief in this community and the people who make it what it has become and what it will be. We part in sorrow because we know so much lies ahead that will be worth telling, and we will not be there to do so. We have celebrated life in Colorado, praising its ways, but we have warned, too, against steps we thought were mistaken. We have always been a part of this special place, striving to reflect it accurately and with compassion. We hope Coloradans will remember this newspaper fondly from generation to generation, a reminder of Denver’s history – the ambitions, foibles and virtues of its settlers and those who followed. We are confident that you will build on their dreams and find new ways to tell your story. Farewell – and thank you for so many memorable years together.

DEPRESSION: Economists Dusting Off The Word

The front page of The New York Times this morning has many talking, and fretting over the two column headline above the fold.

The fortunes of the American economy have grown so alarming and the pace of the decline so swift that economists are now straining to describe where events are headed, dusting off a word that has not been invoked since the 1940s: depression.

Economists are not making comparisons with the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the unemployment rate reached 25 percent. Current conditions are not even as poor as during the twin recessions of the 1980s, when unemployment exceeded 10 percent, though many experts assert this downturn is on track to be significantly worse.

Rather, economists are using the word depression — a subjective term with no academic definition — to describe a condition of broad and extreme economic distress that remains stubbornly in place for much longer than a typical downturn.

This is more than a matter of semantics. As the government determines its spending plans, readying another infusion of cash for troubled banks while contemplating an additional bailout for the auto industry, the magnitude of those needs will hinge on the extent of the damage.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s, now places the odds of “a mild depression” at 25 percent, up from 15 percent three months ago. In that view, the unemployment rate would reach 10.5 percent by the end of 2011 — up from 7.6 percent at the end of January — average home prices would fall 20 percent on top of the 27 percent they have plunged already, and losses in the financial system would more than triple, to $3.7 trillion.

Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics, sees a 20 percent chance of “a depressionlike possibility,” up from 15 percent a week ago.

“In the housing market, the financial system and the stock market, we’re already there,” Mr. Sinai said. “It is a depression.”

Yet, in drawing up the budget, the White House assumed the economy would expand by a robust 3.2 percent in 2010, with growth accelerating to 4 percent over the next three years.

“It’s a hope, a wing and a prayer,” Mr. Sinai said. “It’s a return to a sanguine view of the economy that is simply not justified.”

If, as is widely anticipated, the economy grows more slowly than the White House assumes, revenue will be lower, forcing the government to cut spending, raise taxes or run larger deficits.

Economists also criticized as unrealistically hopeful the assumptions by the Federal Reserve as it began so-called stress tests to gauge the health of the nation’s largest banks. In testimony, Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, said that the nation’s unemployment rate would most likely reach 8.8 percent next year.

“That forecast just doesn’t seem realistic,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, “and I don’t think it helps the Fed’s credibility to make these sorts of forecasts right now.”

As federal regulators estimate potential losses at banks, the harshest assumptions they are testing entails the unemployment rate topping out at 10.3 percent — the highest level since 1983, but hardly the worst case.

By Mr. Baker’s reckoning, the unemployment rate may exceed 12 percent — the highest level since tracking began in 1948.

“We continue to see across-the-board numbers coming in worse than we expected,” Mr. Baker said.

By Mr. Zandi’s estimation, in the most likely case, the unemployment rate will reach 9.3 percent next year. The distress in the financial system, the job market and real estate have become inextricably intertwined.

As troubled banks remain hesitant to lend, even healthy companies are laying off workers. As more Americans lose jobs, they are cutting spending, depriving businesses of revenue, and falling behind on house, car and credit card payments, multiplying losses in the financial system. As more homes land in foreclosure and would-be buyers fail to secure mortgages, housing prices fall further, adding to the losses of the banks — a downward spiral.

Many economists expect that the labor data to be released next Friday will show that as many as 700,000 jobs disappeared in February, lifting the unemployment rate near 8 percent and pushing total job losses to more than four million since the recession began in December 2007.

Given the brutal forces at play, some experts question the administration’s decision to publicize the bank stress tests, as opposed to conducting them quietly.

“It invited the interpretation that this was the beginning of triage for the banks, that we were going to start lining them up and shooting them,” said Alan S. Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and a professor at Princeton. “There are some things in the bank supervisor role that you just keep secret.”

Others argue that the tests could sow needed assurance. “The stress test could create transparency,” said Alan D. Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore.

As the gruesome data accumulates, this much is already clear: Transparency is not for the squeamish.

Saturday Song:Michael Buble “Come Fly With Me”

Michael Buble honed his skills as a showman through years of performing in hotel lounges and smoky bars — gigs his grandfather, a plumber, helped the underage singer secure by trading his plumbing services.   This guy has an awesome voice, so this will not be his only time on Saturday Song.  Enjoy!

‘Conscience’ Regulation For Health-Care Workers To End

This is one of those issues that truly irritates me.  Not only was I upset by the ones in the health-care industry who wish to make a scene over their higher ‘moral’ responsibilities, but I was also angry that the Bush White House paid attention to them for political purposes.

People who enter the health care profession either want to work in the field and address the needs of the people, regardless of their moral differences, or perhaps these workers need to find another way to pay for their way through life.  It disturbs me to hear that some health care workers think they can pick and choose which patients deserve attention, and others that do not.  Under the Bush Administration the element within the health care industry that did not understand the full extent of their job had a sympathetic ear.  Thankfully, that has changed.

The Obama administration has begun the process of rescinding sweeping new federal protections that were granted in December to health-care workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The Office of Management and Budget announced this morning that it was reviewing a proposal to lift the controversial “conscience” regulation, the first step toward reversing the policy. Once the OMB has reviewed the proposal it will be published in Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period.

“We are proposing rescinding the Bush rule,” said an official with the Health and Human Services Department, which drafted the rule change.

The administration took the step because the regulation was so broadly written that it could provide protections to health-care workers who object not only to abortion but also to a wide range of health-care services, said the HHS official, who asked not to be named because the process had just begun.

“We’ve been concerned that the way the Bush rule is written it could make it harder for women to get the care they need. It is worded so vaguely that some have argued it could limit family planning counseling and even potentially blood transfusions and end-of-life care,” the official said.

D.C. Voting Rights Bill Passes Senate, Finally To Be Law Soon

It seems that my whole life there have been a few issues that linger, get pondered, debated and explored, and then studied, only to linger some more.  Health care is one.  D.C. full voting representation in the House of Representatives is another.

One down, one to go?

If this is not change in the way things are being done in Washington, then I guess I need a better dictionary to explain that word to me.

By a vote of 61-37, the Senate passed a bill providing full voting representation for the nation’s capital in the House of Representatives, nearly ensuring that the measure will become law this time around. While advocates were declaring victory already, a court fight almost definitely looms over the constitutionality of giving the District of Columbia voting privileges in the House that are akin to those of the 50 states.

The measure, if it became law, would increase the size of the House of Representatives to 437 from 435, adding not only a seat from the District of Columbia but also one from Utah. The Western seat was added in a compromise deal a few years back, to help attract Republican support and because officials contended that the state was deprived of an additional congressional district through an undercount in the 2000 Census. (Also Utah’s Republican lean would also help balance out the normally Democratic tilt of the district.)

The House has yet to take up the measure this session, but is certain to repeat its passage of the bill in previous years. (Representative Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, indicated that his chamber would take up a similar measure next week.) And President Obama has indicated his support for giving the district representation.

Hate Groups On The Rise


I recall when I was a kid that every now and then Phil Donahue would feature some extreme person or group on his show so to demonstrate the shocking ignorance that still existed in the nation.  I recall watching and wondering how his guests on those shows could be so uneducated.   I have not been a kid since the late 1970’s, and yet the crazies are out there in our land, and from this report their vile is on the rise.

From white power skinheads decrying “President Obongo” at a racist gathering in rural Missouri, to neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen hurling epithets at Latino immigrants from courthouse steps in Oklahoma, to anti-Semitic black separatists calling for death to Jews on bustling street corners in several East Coast cities, hate group activity in the U.S. was disturbing and widespread throughout 2008, as the number of hate groups operating in America continued to rise. Last year, 926 hate groups were active in the U.S., up more than 4% from 888 in 2007. That’s more than a 50% increase since 2000, when there were 602 groups.

As in recent years, hate groups were animated by the national immigration debate. But two new forces also drove them in 2008: the worsening recession, and Barack Obama’s successful campaign to become the nation’s first black president. Officials reported that Obama had received more threats than any other presidential candidate in memory, and several white supremacists were arrested for saying they would assassinate him or allegedly plotting to do so.

At the same time, law enforcement officials reported a marked swelling of the extreme-right “sovereign citizens” movement that wreaked havoc in the 1990s with its “paper terrorism” tactics. Adherents are infamous for filing bogus property liens and orchestrating elaborate financial ripoffs.

Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn’t just the usual suspects from the white supremacist underworld who sought to exploit the country’s economic turmoil and political strife. A key 2008 hate group trend was the increasing militancy of the extremist fringe of the Hebrew Israelite movement, whose adherents believe that Jews are creatures of the devil and that whites deserve death or slavery.

Darfur And Justice Converge Next Wednesday When el-Bashir Will Be Issued Arrest Warrant For Crimes Against Humanity

There comes a time when every responsible citizen of the world  community must recognize their duty.  Such will be the case next Wednesday when the Hague-based International Criminal Court will issue a decision on Sudan’s despicable, loathsome, repugnant, brutal, fiendish President Omar el-Bashir.  By all accounts a long over-due arrest warrant will be issued.  The scores of atrocities that el-Bashir ordered, and gave his approval to are now a part of the carnage in Darfur.  The outrage around the world over the past years in reaction to the rapes and slaughter were not of the speed or magnitude that this blogger was pleased by.  While there were many who felt as I did, and spoke out forcefully, the sad fact is that far too much time has lapsed, and lives lost and ruined as a result of world governments (including the U.S. ) failing to make a moral stand given the power they had in which to do so.   So while there is a day of justice coming in the months ahead for the people of Darfur and Sudan, we know that there are many who needlessly perished before this moment arrived.

But the action by the ICC next Wednesday does not mean that the tireless work for a just resolution that needs to result in the end to genocide and social disruption in Darfur can be ended.  In fact, our work may just be getting started.

First, and foremost, it is essential that world leaders demand upon having the decision handed down by the ICC, that el-Bashir be arrested.  I was one of those who wanted the United States to sign onto the ICC many years ago, but the Bush Administration refused.  As I have argued, it was a reckless and foolish action.   I hope that the Obama White House will signal its support for the ICC in relation to the el-Bashir  matter.  The Sudanese leader orchestrated a vicious campaign that left more than 300,000 civilians dead, and drove more than 2.7 million people from their homes.  He must not be allowed to stay in office as a free man.  He must be arrested and tried for his crimes. 

Second, powerful forces in Sudan are likely to rise up and use this time for their own political calculations.  It is important that the Obama Administration get on the right side of history by supporting political elements that were not a part or parcel to the reasons that the ICC needed to act.  There needs to be accountability not only by those who now wish to lead in Sudan, but also by those nations around the globe that were too reticent to act on the moral code that we talk about, but often fail to act upon.  In other words the United States needs to be in the forefront of promoting justice.

Darfur is a sad and wretched place.  History will write of  why it happened, and why it took so long to find the way to restore sanity.  We are still writing the pages to this story.  Let us work mightily to get the conclusion done with some moral clarity and timelessness.

Arrest the bastard el-Bashir as soon as possible.   He must be held accountable for the actions he has taken.