Wednesday, October 29, 2014

12 Heroes Who Died August 12 to October 24, 2014

August 12 - Sgt. 1st Class Samuel C. Hairston, 35, of Houston, Texas, died in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit was engaged by enemy small-arms fire.

August 20 - Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Leggett, 39, of Ruskin, Florida, died in Kabul, Afghanistan, of injuries received when he was engaged by the enemy.

August 22 - Sgt. Christopher W. Mulalley, 26, of Eureka, Calif., died in Gardez, Afghanistan, as the result of a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

September 4 - Spc. Brian K. Arsenault, 28, of Northborough, Massachusetts, died in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit was engaged by enemy small-arms fire.

September 15 - Sgt. Charles C. Strong, 28, of Suffolk, Virginia, died in Herat province, Afghanistan while conducting combat operations.

September 16 - They died in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an enemy attack. Killed were:
- Maj. Michael J. Donahue, 41, of Columbus, Ohio.
- Stephen Byus, 39, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, a member of the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio, working as a supply specialist, and assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan while deployed.

September 30 - Sgt. 1st Class Andrew T. Weathers, 30, of DeRidder, Louisiana, died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from wounds sustained when the enemy attacked his unit with small arms fire Sept. 28, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

October 1 - Maj. Jonathan D. Walker, 44, of Merriam, Kansas, died in Doha, Qatar, of a non-combat related incident at Camp As Sayliyah. The incident is under investigation.

- Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, of Memphis, Indiana, was lost at sea Oct. 1 while conducting flight operations in the North Arabian Gulf. He was initially classified as a non-global war on terrorism casualty.

October 23 - Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

October 24 - Cmdr. Christopher E. Kalafut, 49, of Oceanside, California, died in Doha, Qatar, of a non-combat related incident at Al Udeid Air Base. The incident is under investigation.

Oregonian Circulation Plunges

Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) reports have become worthless to track circulation statistics. AAM statistics now can count as five subscribers an individual who accesses the same newspaper edition via print, desktop, laptop, tablet, and smart phone. AAM also includes "branded" editions which are free editions made up of a tiny amount of article content and lots of advertising circulars.

So, anyone interested in serious study of a newspaper's true circulation status has to rely on the annual report (Statement of Ownership) required by law that is included in newspapers and magazines. The Oregonian prints its report in an October edition, the latest report coming out on October 17, 2014, for the daily edition.*

The news is not good. Here are the stats for 2012, 2013 and 2014.**

The September 14, 2012 (Friday) edition had a paid circulation of 219,917.

The September 13, 2013 (Friday) edition had a paid circulation of 203,051.

The September 12, 2014 (Friday) edition had a paid circulation of 163,635.

That's more than a 25% drop in two years.  Ouch!
__________
*There is also a report on the Sunday edition that was published in the October 19, 2014 (Sunday) edition.
**Comparison with AAM statistics prior to 2012 is ballpark possible, but there is a difference. For example, AAM's September 2012 paid circulation figure was 228,599 compared to the Statement of Ownership report of 219,917. AAM's figure is about 4% above the Statement of Ownership report, This could be due to the changing AAM metrics which started in 2011.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Wall Street Journal Only Major News Source Trusted Similarly Across Political Spectrum

Pew Research Center poll, March-April, 2014
Pew Research Center again has an interesting poll up. This one is on how trusted major news sources are across the political spectrum. The only major news source trusted about the same by liberals, moderates and conservatives is the Wall Street Journal. Interesting that liberals trust it a little more (35%, 34%), and moderates (28%) trust it the least. Conservatives are in the middle (32%, 30%).

In overall trusted average, the Wall Street Journal (31%) rates 11th, just behind the New York Times (34%) and USA TODAY (33%), which are the top trusted newspaper sources.

It would be interesting to find out what percentage of people irrespective of political position trust these sources. Since about 38% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 34% as moderate, and only 23% as liberal, weighting the responses by those indicators gives a ballpark figure.

Here's how the top 13 come out when combining consistently and mostly liberal as well as consistently and mostly conservative and multiplying those averages by the percentage of Americans who self-identify as liberal and conservative. Then multiplying the "mixed" percentage by the moderate 34%.

Trusted:
50.3% - Fox News
44.8% - CNN
42.8% - ABC News
42.1% - NBC News
39.0% - CBS News
31.0% - MSNBC
30.3% - PBS
29.2% - Wall Street Journal
29.1% - BBC
28.8% - USA TODAY
26.0% - New York Times
22.1% - NPR
21.7% - Washington Post


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oregon Juvenile Crime Treatment Failing

Charles French and John S. Foote's study Juvenile Justice in Oregon gives a grim view of the effectiveness of the current juvenile justice philosophy in most Oregon counties. Three of the counties (Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas) include 45% of Oregon residents. They have bought into the Annie E. Casey Foundation philosophy that limiting youth detention and lower involvement of formal justice institutions such as the courts in their cases will result in less juvenile crime. 

The idea is that through an evaluation process it be can determined which juvenile offenders are most likely to need official intervention and the others are better left to their normal home environment. An expected side benefit is that a lower incarceration rate will mean lower state expenses to house and oversee juvenile offenders.

However, the data shows that Oregon's arrest rate (6,699 in every 100,000) is much higher than the national average (4,897 in every 100,000) and juvenile corrections costs per capita ($64.01) is 2nd highest in the nation at almost three times the national average ($20.14).

Juvenile Justice in Oregon by Charles French and John S. Foote, p. 86


The Casey-implanted philosophy of fewer detentions and interventions as regards juvenile offenders is in opposition to Oregon's stated statutory philosophy of "'early and certain intervention and sanctions' as the most effective way to hold juveniles accountable for their criminal behavior. (ORS4l 9C.00 1 )" 

Oregon's juvenile arrest rate in 2010 was 12th highest in the nation. So, just in terms of cutting arrests, Oregon is not doing well compared to the other states. In 2011 Oregon's juvenile arrest rate for property crimes was 12th highest in the nation and almost worst in the nation at 2nd highest for juvenile drug arrests.  
In at least one area of juvenile crime, adolescent drug abuse and resultant drug addiction, Oregon’s performance in the Casey Foundation era borders on catastrophic, deteriorating over a decade from better than average to the second worst rate in the nation. In Oregon today, as many minors use illegal drugs as drink alcohol. (p. 4)
Oregon did well only in juvenile violent crime arrest rate. Oregon scored below the national average at 38th highest in the nation. However, as French and Foote point out it is exactly in the violent crime area that there is much less discretion on applying Casey standards because juveniles ages 15 and up are treated as adult offenders.
The contrast between the performance of Oregon’s juvenile and adult systems is best seen in the area of major violent crime, where twenty years ago adult jurisdiction was mandated by state statutes for juveniles 15 years of age and older for major violent crime. Since the implementation of adult jurisdiction for major violent crimes in 1995, violent juvenile crime has decreased by 68%, one of the very best performances in the nation. (p. 4)
Multnomah County has paid $6,000 for an analysis critical of French/Foote "logic", but has not denied the facts presented.



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Lunar Eclipse - October 8, 2014


The clear sky last night to see this was a blessing from the Lord. This photo was taken near the darkest point  at 3:56 am (and has been enhanced in Photoshop).  I used a Canon SX50, and this shot was taken with a 1 second exposure, f6.5, ISO400, 1200mm equivalent.

What great beauty--just because of a shadow. It puts me in mind of the verse that says God rested after the six days of creation. Even this "little" piece of process creation is first class work.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hispanic Families Join Black Families in Major Decline

There has been a lot of coverage of the demise of the black family structure. Hispanic families are joining that danger line. 

A recent Pew Research Center poll shows very similar rise lines for never-married blacks and hispanics. Rises among whites and Asians were more moderate.
"The share of never-married adults has gone up for all major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., but the rate of increase has been most dramatic among blacks. Among black adults ages 25 and older, the share who has never been married has quadrupled over the past half century—from 9% in 1960 to 36% in 2012. For whites, the share has doubled (from 8% to 16%).
"Among Hispanics and Asian Americans, whose numbers have swelled in recent decades due to a large influx of immigrants, the share of adults who have never married also has increased. Among Hispanic adults, the share has doubled since 1980 (12% vs. 26%). And for Asian American adults, the share has gone up from 13% in 1980 to 19% in 2012."
Pew links to a National Health Statistics Report on cohabitation rates. The data shows that white woman are two to three times as likely to get married when a pregnancy results from cohabitation as black or Hispanic women.


This does not bode well for communities that have traditionally valued family/community over rugged individualism. One wonders if the U.S. welfare structure and encouragement of family break up by not enforcing border security and immigration laws have been a major factor in decline in marriage among Hispanics.

It also calls into question the impact of the church (especially Protestant for blacks and Catholic for Hispanics) on these communities. Their values seem to be coming from surrounding societal circumstances rather than from the church.


Friday, September 26, 2014

72% of Americans See Religion Losing Influence and 56% Think It a "Bad Thing"

Pew Research Center has found that 72% of Americans think religion is "losing influence in American life". A solid majority (56%) think this is a "bad thing".
"Nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) now say that religion is losing influence in American life, the highest share to hold this view in Pew Research surveys going back to 2001.
"As in previous surveys, most people who say religion is losing its influence in American life see this as a negative development, with 56% of the public as a whole saying it is a 'bad thing' that religion is losing sway in the U.S."
Interesting that 9% of White mainline Protestants and 9% of Hispanic Catholics think losing influence is a good thing. Also, strange is that only 50% of Hispanic Catholics think losing influence is a bad thing. Doesn't sound like Hispanic Catholicism is either deep or growing.

(Apparently Pew Research found Black Protestants for this poll, who they missed for a previous poll. However, there are now no Hispanic Protestants or Black Catholics. What's with Pew Research?)