Academia Moving Further to the Left

63% of academics classify themselves as liberal or "far left"?  But my guess is that this really underestimates how biased they are because since they are around so many other left wing types I think that their ability to sense what is considered moderate is impaired.  From Inside Higher Ed:
Academics, on average, lean to the left. A survey being released today suggests that they are moving even more in that direction. 
Among full-time faculty members at four-year colleges and universities, the percentage identifying as "far left" or liberal has increased notably in the last three years, while the percentage identifying in three other political categories has declined. The data come from the University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute, which surveys faculty members nationwide every three years on a range of attitudes. 
Here are the data for the new survey and the prior survey:
Far left12.4%8.8%
Middle of the road25.4%28.4%
Far right0.4%0.7%
Gauging how gradual or abrupt this shift is is complicated because of changes in the UCLA survey's methodology; before 2007-8, the survey included community college faculty members, who have been excluded since. But for those years, examining only four-year college and university faculty members, the numbers are similar to those of 2007-8. Going back further, one can see an evolution away from the center. 
In the 1998-9 survey, more than 35 percent of faculty members identified themselves as middle of the road, and less than half (47.5 percent) identified as liberal or far left. In the new data, 62.7 percent identify as liberal or far left. (Most surveys that have included community college faculty members have found them to inhabit political space to the right of faculty members at four-year institutions.) . . .

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New York Times finally covering scandal involving their incoming president

From the NY Times:
Mr. Thompson, the BBC’s chief from 2004 to last month, was not in charge during the years when Mr. Savile is now said to have engaged in widespread pedophilia. But he was when Mr. Savile died at age 84 last October and two branches of the network set off in very different directions to examine the life of the eccentric host. . . . 
Precisely why an investigation by the BBC program “Newsnight” into pedophilia accusations against Mr. Savile was killed while a package of Christmastime tributes to the host was broadcast was at the heart of a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday that featured an uncomfortable and apologetic George Entwistle, the current director general. . . . 
In a statement released on Oct. 13, Mr. Thompson issued a blanket denial of any knowledge of the squelched BBC report. “I was not notified or briefed about the ‘Newsnight’ investigation,” he said, adding that “during my time as director general of the BBC, I never heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile.” 
But on Tuesday, in a letter in response to Mr. Wilson, the Parliament member, Mr. Thompson appeared to adjust his answer slightly, saying, “I was never formally notified about the ‘Newsnight’ investigation and was not briefed about the allegations they were examining and to what extent, if at all, those allegations related to Savile’s work at the BBC.” . . .
There are some questions in what Thompson was told.
BBC foreign correspondent Caroline Hawley said that she thought she had told Thompson the "broad context" of the axed Newsnight investigation into Savile at a pre-Christmas drinks party at BBC Television Centre in late 2011. . . . 


"Buy an Engagement Ring, Get a Free Shotgun" produces a "1,000%" increase in sales

For some reason the video links aren't always working when I paste them in so you can also see the original video here.



Donald Trump offers Obama $5 million for a charity of his choice if he releases college and passport records

"If Barack Obama opens up and gives his colleges records and applications, and if he gives his passport applications and records, I will give to the charity of his choice — inner city children in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants — a check immediately for $5 million.  The check will be given within one hour after he releases all of the records so stated. He will be doing a great service for the country if he does this."
It has always been interesting that the media hasn't pressed Obama to release his college records. On the other hand, the request regarding the passport photos seems to be a play on the nutty Birther discussion.  Personally, I wish that Trump would have limited himself to just the school records.  Why someone who claims to be all for transparency would not allow his university records to be released should raise questions.  Possibly because of the passport request, I assume that the press will just ignore this.

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Democrat Congressman's Field Director explains how to vote using other people's names

UPDATE: CBS News has an update here.
The field director for Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran - his son Patrick Moran - has resigned after being secretly recorded seemingly advising an conservative journalist masquerading as a supporter that utility bills could be used to aid in voter fraud. . . . 
The undercover video comes from Project Veritas, which is led by group James O'Keefe - the activist whose undercover videos have caused serious headaches for ACORN, NPR and other groups. It shows a Project Veritas "investigator" telling Patrick Moran that he has a friend who is seeking to "get in a van" and vote on behalf of about 100 people. Patrick Moran responds with skepticism, but is later shown saying the person voting on behalf of others could potentially use "utility bills or something like that."  
"He'll need bills," says Moran. "He'll need something with the name and their address on it." He adds, "they can fake a utility bill with ease, you know?". . .
More examples of vote fraud are herehere, and here.


"Rep. Moran's son resigns from father's campaign amid voter fraud scandal"

From The Hill newspaper:
Patrick Moran, the son of Virginia Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and the field director for his father's reelection bid, resigned abruptly Wednesday after a video linked him to voter fraud.  
The video — released earlier in the day by Project Veritas, a conservative organization headed by the Republican activist James O’Keefe — revealed that the younger Moran had weighed options for helping an undercover operative cast votes on behalf of 100 people who allegedly weren't planning to vote. 
"There will be a lot of voter protection, so, if they just have, you know, the utility bill or bank statement — bank statement would obviously be tough ... but faking a utility bill would be easy enough," Moran says, apparently referring to options for getting around Virginia's voter ID laws.  
Moran's campaign issued a statement confirming the congressman's son had stepped down. . . .
More examples of vote fraud are herehere, and here


Clint Eastwood's Ad for Romney


Updating the comparison between US and Canadian Unemployment Rates

Back in the middle of 2011 I provided this discussion available here.  As I noted, "the striking feature of this diagram is how the Canadian and US unemployment rates moved so incredibly similarly until after Obama's $830 billion "Stimulus" was passed."  Well, I have updated the numbers.

It looks like after the stimulus dollars ran out that the gap between the unemployment gap two countries got much smaller.

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Dramatic drop in Intrade probability that Obama will win presidency

This is still not in equilibrium (just add up the different prices), but the change over the last week in the Intrade probability that Obama will win the election is dramatic.  Note even the offer price is now down to 57.5 percent.  The third debate sure seems to have helped Romney.


Vote Fraud: Colorado 441 non-citizens registered to vote?

These non-citizens who are registered to vote in Colorado look to be biased towards Democrats.  While the number is hardly huge, in a close election it could make a difference.  In addition, there is the issue of how helpful the federal government has been in providing all the information necessary to track these non-citizens down.  From Fox News:
The latest figures mean that out of the 3,903 who received letters, 441 are believed to be non-citizens, according to the federal database, which has normally been used to check the status of legal immigrants who receive government benefits. . . . 
Of the 441 identified as suspected noncitizens, 232 are unaffiliated, 163 are Democrats, and 37 are Republican. Gessler's office has said they did not look at party registration when checking the voter rolls for possible fraud. . . . .



Finally a news article that describes that a multiple victim public shootings occurred where permitted concealed handguns are banned

A sign posted on the door of the Azana Salon and Spa in Brookfield says "No firearms allowed."
Credit goes to Michael Sears for this picture.  A larger, clearer version of the picture is available at this link.

I have to give real credit to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper.  I have been covering these attacks for years, and I haven't been able to the news media to write these types of news stories.  Yet, finding out this fact has been probably the easiest fact to check out about these attacks.  Sarif Durhams has this piece in the Journal Sentinel:
A sign on the door of the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield bans those entering from carrying concealed weapons. That means customers or employees who were following the law would be barred from having weapons. Radcliffe Haughton entered the salon Sunday and killed his wife and two other women and shot four others before killing himself. . . .
I hope that Mr. Durhams get the response that he deserves for writing this story (sdurhams@journalsentinel.com). 

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Graph on UK gun control laws and Homicide rates

Edited by Kevin Smith and John Flatley. UK Home Office, January 21, 2010.

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Fewer Americans have a favorable view of the US than they did in 2008

According to the Pew Research Center: The Percent of Americans who have a favorable view of the US

2012 80%
2011 79%
2010 85%
2009 88%
2008 84%

American's opinion of Americans has also fallen by two percentage points over the same period.  Foreigners are also less likely to like the way that Americans do business.  Down from 44% in 2007 to 41% in 2012 (survey not done in all years).

What is most striking is how so many more people in the Middle East and Southern Asia dislike the US.  These are the percent who have an "unfavorable" view.

2012 80%
2008 63%

2012 79%
2008 75%

2012 86%
2008 79%

2012 49%
2008 48%

Strangely Israel is only included in the polls on America's role in reducing terrorism, and their opinion of the US has fallen considerable.  Falling from 78% in 2007 to 72% in 2011 (Israel not included in all years).

George McGovern explains why it is important for politicians to have some business background

Possibly this is something Mitt Romney should point to when Obama attacks him for being a businessman.  From the WSJ in 1992:

. . . In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut's Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility--complete with an experienced manager and staff. 
In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn's 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender. . . .

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Interesting patterns in who identifies themselves as homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual

In a massive survey of 120,000 people over four months, Gallup claims that 3.4 percent of people identify themselves as either homosexual, bisexual or transsexual.  Among the striking findings are the huge increase in those categorizing themselves this way among the young.

Past surveys that were done a decade or so ago showed a fairly similar percentage across age groups.  I wonder to what extent TV shows showing homosexual stars has played a role in this.  It would be hard to do empirical work on this in the US because you would only have purely time series data to deal with, but I wonder if it could be done across countries.  The relatively low income shown for those in this category is due in significant part to the large percentage of young people who identify themselves as having these preferences.  What is perhaps more surprising is that blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to identify themselves this way.

There is some other interesting data at a dating website (though this obviously suffers from self selection problems).  This information indicates that about half of the people who identify themselves as bisexual are really heterosexuals.  The other interesting feature is how the percents change over time.  Men are much more likely to be homosexuals when they are young and women when they are older.  Is this result really surprising given that men find it more difficult to obtain sex when they are young and because of the relative shortage of men the same is true for women when they are older?

It would also be interesting to see whether those who might be less attractive to the opposite sex are more likely to be homosexual.  For example, low income males or those with significant prison histories might fall in this category (it also raises the question of whether criminal records explains the higher rates among blacks and Hispanics).  On the last point there is the whole issue of whether prison turns some people to be BLGT or whether their unattractiveness to others because of their criminal activity is what causes them to be this way.  I wonder if any of these various Gallup surveys that asked this question on homosexuality had information on criminal records.

Final note: It is interesting to note that people think that the share of the population that is "Gay or Lesbian" is much greater than the share of the population that is actually BLGT.  It raises the question of why there is this huge gap and presumably it is because of the amount of attention given to this by the media.

Interestingly, this gap can't really be explained by the person knowledge that people have.  For example, there is relatively little difference between the percentage of the population who are perceived of as homosexual by political affiliation, even though there is a huge gap in what parties homosexuals identify themselves.  Also, people in the South think that there are slightly more homosexuals, but in fact there are fewer people in the South who identify themselves as BLGT.

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Remember my warning about the coming regulatory flood?

For those who might remember my post in July about the coming regulatory flood after the November election, here is a news story about what is forthcoming from the EPA.  From Fox News:
Republican Sen. James Inhofe says the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed action or "punted" on numerous regulations while President Obama tries to "earns votes" for a second term. 
The Oklahoma senator and ranking Republican on the chamber's Committee on Environment and Public Works has released a report stating that when the agency approves the roughly one dozen regulations next year in 2013, they will "spell doom" for jobs and economic growth. 
"The Obama-EPA plans to move full speed ahead to implement this agenda if President Obama wins a second term," Inhofe writes. "These rules taken together will inevitably result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, drive up the price of gas at the pump even more, impose construction bans on local communities and essentially shut down American oil, natural gas and coal production." 
The 14-page report cites pending regulations on a wide range of environmental-economic issues including those on power plant emissions and hydraulic fracturing. . . .

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The value of a shadow economy

The Economist magazine has a piece defending Greece's shadow economy, but I think that the piece misses the main point.  It isn't just that the shadow economy provides jobs and income.  The benefit is that it provides an area of commerce that is relatively unprotected from government regulation and taxes.  Indeed, that is the very reason that the shadow economy exists.
Friedrich Schneider, a professor at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, has been assessing shadow economies for years. He reckons that much of Greece’s shadow economy, perhaps as much as half, actually complements activities in the official economy, adding to welfare and overall GDP. Stamping it out altogether might do more harm than good. 
House cleaners, casual labourers, moonlighting plumbers and street buskers may pay no tax or social insurance on the cash they are paid. But a lot of that cash ends up being spent in supermarkets, petrol stations, on utilities and mobile phone bills—on which value-added (VAT) and other taxes are charged. . . .