Thursday, January 11, 2018

Seinfeld loves Israel

The pro-Israel positions recently taken by Nick Cave and Ringo Starr are fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But Jerry Seinfeld just raised everything to a whole new level.

Last month Seinfeld performed in Tel Aviv – for the second time – ending his show with a rousing pro-civilisation call: “Thank you, we love Israel, we stand with you!”

Even better, he also took his family to an Israeli counterterrorism and security training academy, besides others

    "Jerry Seinfeld’s recent visit to Israel included making Israelis laugh (a certain crime in the eyes of the Israel haters and BDS-holes), as well as visits to Ramon airbase, and the old city of Jerusalem – all while looking happy to see us"

As you’d expect, the reaction from Israel haters was extreme:

"Jerry Seinfeld and his family play fascists in the West Bank. Indoctrinating his young children to murder Palestinians and steal land. There is nothing funny about apartheid, occupation, settlement expansion, and executing occupied Palestinians."

Zionism is great.


No, Catholicism Is Not Inclusive

When the pastor of a rural Minnesota Catholic church learned that three male musicians each claimed to be married to a man, he dismissed them. When officials at a suburban Maryland Catholic school learned that a substitute teacher and field hockey coach was associated with a white supremacist group, they dismissed him.

Both decisions were merited.

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage and racism. While neither the gay men nor the white supremacist were openly flouting their convictions, once their status became publicly known, Catholic officials had little choice but to dismiss them. Not to do so would be to give sanction to behaviors that are in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Church.

That should be the end of the story. However, the three gay men have garnered some community support, and one of them is refusing to leave the church. There has been no positive reaction to the teacher who has ties to racists, and he is not contesting the decision to fire him.

Similarly, gay activists have taken up the cause of the gay musicians, maintaining that the Catholic Church should be inclusive. But that is precisely the argument that white racists could make regarding the Maryland teacher: The Church should welcome everyone.

The word catholic means universal, but it is a profound misreading of Catholicism to suggest that it is an inclusive organization. It is not. Nor for that matter is any institution: from the smallest cell in society, namely the family, to global organizations such as the United Nations, all are founded on exclusivity: they have lines of authority, based on either kinship or institutional strictures, that exclude those who do not qualify for membership.

Diversity, si. Inclusiveness, no. That is what Catholicism represents.


Food Deserts and Obesity: Obama-Era Initiative Seeks Answers in Wrong Places

Nutrition and obesity have become a larger focus of health research in recent years. Multiple studies have identified areas, termed food deserts, that have a paucity of grocery stores or supermarkets. Some people mistakenly hypothesize that the limited supply of healthy foods in these deserts, many of them in low-income neighborhoods, is a factor in unhealthy eating patterns, and in the rise in obesity and related health problems.

The intuitively appealing theory has driven costly policy actions. The Obama Administration established the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, intended to address the problem of food deserts by “bring[ing] grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities.”  Since 2011 the Healthy Food Financing Initiative has awarded $220 million in subsidies and technical assistance.

The Affordable Care Act’s Community Transformation Grants have spent tens of millions of dollars to efforts to address the problem of food deserts. State and local governments have enacted their own initiatives, and each year policymakers in Congress introduce another bill that would direct the Department of Agriculture to provide grants to states. However, the connection proponents of these initiatives draw between supply-side issues such as food deserts and nutritional choices or obesity is tenuous.

In a new working paper, Hunt Alcott of New York University, Rebecca Diamond of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and Jean-Pierre Dubé of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business analyze the relationship between food deserts and food choices. By analyzing two different types of events, the entry of new supermarkets and households moving to healthier neighborhoods, the authors “reject that neighborhood environments have economically meaningful effects on healthy eating.” If low-income households faced the same food and price choices available to high-income households, they estimate that nutritional inequality would only decline by nine percent.

Instead of a supply-side explanation, such as the lack of accessible grocery stores, the authors find that 91 percent of nutritional inequality is driven by differences in demand that are explained by factors such as education, nutrition knowledge, or regional preferences. Taken with earlier studies that also failed to find a link between grocery store prevalence and dietary habits, these new findings should further increase the amount of skepticism and scrutiny brought to claims that a new initiative to combat food deserts will have an effect on obesity or nutrition. The vast majority of nutritional differences are not attributable to choice or price of the grocery options available, making it an ineffectual policy lever.

Obesity and nutrition are not the only metrics that might be of interest to people living far from grocery stores. Making it easier for busy people to obtain groceries to feed their families could save them significant amounts of time and effort. However, public policy that directs money towards building grocery stores in areas identified by the USDA as food deserts should not be justified on the grounds of alleviating obesity or related health issues.

Policymakers should avoid erecting barriers that could potentially make it easier for these people buy groceries, even if they are located relatively far away. The diffusion of affordable bike share in cities might make it more feasible to travel to existing stores. As a recent article for E21 discussed, in Washington D.C. people can pay as little as 50 cents for short trips, and have the option of getting a membership that could lead to even lower average trip prices.

Making delivery options more widespread and affordable for customers could also reduce the time and expense associated with buying groceries. While still in the early stages of pilot programs, delivery robots could enable grocery stores to offer delivery without having to hire a fleet of delivery employees, keeping costs down for customers. In a few years, delivery could become much more commonplace, and busy people who do not live near a grocery store could schedule a delivery instead.

Policies that increase the cost of labor for supermarkets or grocery stores would decrease the availability and prevalence of grocery stores or supermarkets in accessible areas. Concerns about an increasing minimum wage played a role in Walmart abandoning plans to open up two stores in low-income D.C. areas. In 2018, the minimum wage increased in 18 states and 19 cities. These increases and their effect on labor costs could limit expansion plans or put additional pressure on existing stores, limiting grocery options for residents.

The new working paper is the latest, most rigorous study finding little connection between food deserts, nutritional choices, and obesity. The experience with food deserts is an example of the risks associated with allowing a simplistic explanation to guide public policy. The evidence does not support initiatives and subsidies, and the proposed solutions will not be effective. However, city officials can address the related issue of the ease of purchasing groceries by encouraging potential private sector solutions.


Census Bureau: International Migration to U.S. Dropped in 2017; Still Accounted for 48% of Population Growth

Net international migration to the United States declined during the year that ended on July 1, 2017, but still accounted for 48 percent of the nation’s population growth for that year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Net international migration decreased 1.8 percent between 2016 and 2017, making it the first drop since 2012-2013,” the bureau says. “However, net international migration continues to be a significant factor in the population growth of the United States, adding just over 1.1 million people in the last year.”

In the year that ended on July 1, 2016, net international migration into the United States was 1,132,096, according to the Census Bureau. In the year that ended on July 1, 2017, it dropped to 1,111,283.

Back in 2013, the Census Bureau published projections estimating that net international migration would surpass natural increase (the net of births and deaths) as the leading contributor to U.S. population growth sometime between 2027 and 2038.

“This scenario would mark the first time that natural increase was not the leading cause of population increase since at least 1850, when the census began collecting information about residents' country of birth,” the Census Bureau said when it released its 2013 estimates. “The shift in what drives U.S. population growth is projected to occur between 2027 and 2038, depending on the future level of international migration.”

"Our nation has had higher immigration rates in the past, particularly during the great waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries," Census Bureau Senior Advisor Thomas Mesenbourg said in a May 15, 2013 press release. "This projected milestone reflects the mix of our nation's declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration."

The Census Bureau each year looks at four factors that yield the net growth of the nation’s total resident population during the 12-month period that begins on July 1 of one year and ends on July 1 of the next. These factors include births and deaths, which yield the net “natural increase” in the population; and migration into and out of the country, which yield the net increase caused by “international migration.” 

The Census Bureau, on December 20, released the data for the latest year, which ended on July 1, 2017.

In that year, the total resident population of the United States increased by 2,313,243, rising from 323,405,935 to 325,719,178.

Natural increase accounted for 1,201,960 (or 51.96 percent) of this growth. (There were 3,946,000 birth during the year and 2,744,040 deaths.)

Net international migration accounted for 1,111,283 (or 48.04 percent) of the growth.

As the Census Bureau noted, that was a drop from the year that ended on July 1, 2016.

In that year, the total resident population increased by 2,366,096, rising from 321,039,839 to 323,405,935.

That 2,366,096 population increase in the year ending on July 2016 consisted of a natural increase of 1,234,000 (or 52.15 percent) and a net international migration of 1,132,096 (or 47.85 percent). The natural increase of 1,234,000 was the net of 3,962,714 births and 2,728,714 deaths.

As the Census Bureau noted in its release on the 2017 data, the population increase due to net international migration declined from 2016 to 2017—dropping 20,813 (or 1.84 percent) from 1,132,096 to 1,111,283.

In the full-year data that the Census Bureau has published for the seven years starting with the year that runs from July 1, 2010 to July 1 2011 and running through the year that runs from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017, the percentage of population growth attributable to net international migration has increased every year.

In the year ending July 1, 2011, it was 36.64%--accounting for 844,816 out of a total population growth of 2,305,859. In the year ending July 1, 2017, the was 48.04 percent—accounting for 1,111,283 out of a total population growth of 2,313,243.

The Census Bureau calculates the effect that net international migration has on the resident population of the United States by estimating not only the number of foreign-born persons moving into and out of the United States, but also by estimating the movement of native-born American into and out of the United States, the number moving in and out of Puerto Rico and the number of U.S. military forces moving in and out of the United States.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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