Saturday, July 4, 2015

Our Nation's Capital Has The Highest Reported Concentration Of Hate Crimes AND Hate Groups

I'm digging into FBI hate crime statistics, and I've already discovered something shocking to me. For the last year we have complete records, 2013, the state-by-state rates of hate crime don't match up to what we've been seeing on the news. None of the top 10 states are in the former Confederacy. And South Carolina comes in near the bottom.

Below is the list of states with the number of hate crimes per 100,000 people (Hawaii wasn't included in their list).

District of Columbia 11.14
North Dakota 7.06
Massachusetts 5.39
New Jersey 4.65
Washington 4.18
Connecticut 4.07
Kentucky 3.95
Ohio 3.57
Michigan 3.38
West Virginia 3.35
Nevada 3.27
New York 3.15
Montana 3.10
Tennessee 3.02
Minnesota 2.94
Oregon 2.87
Utah 2.60
Colorado 2.48
Arizona 2.44
Kansas 2.40
Nebraska 2.38
California 2.20
Idaho 1.99
Vermont 1.92
Maine 1.88
Indiana 1.86
New Hampshire 1.78
South Dakota 1.69
Missouri 1.69
Virginia 1.44
New Mexico 1.35
Delaware 1.30
North Carolina 1.20
Alaska 1.09
South Carolina 1.07
Oklahoma 1.06
Arkansas 0.96
Wisconsin 0.88
Maryland 0.86
Illinois 0.86
Georgia 0.73
Louisiana 0.68
Rhode Island 0.67
Alabama 0.52
Pennsylvania 0.51
Texas 0.50
Florida 0.39
Iowa 0.34
Mississippi 0.27
Wyoming 0.17

The rates are based on the number of incidents and the populations covered as reported by individual law enforcement agencies to the FBI. That's key, and it could distort the numbers. Also the FBI discourages people against ranking locales and agencies for a variety of reasons, some of which seem reasonable, and some of which seem like they're trying to cover their asses. (So yeah, I'm doing exactly what they're telling me not to do.) Here's a copy of their table, and this is a copy showing how I calculated the rate per 100,000.

What's going on? Why do these numbers completely clash with our picture of hate crimes in America? Is this a fault of how the statistics are compiled - of what they leave out - or something we don't get about hate crimes? I'm going to crunch the numbers for other years to see if the trends hold up and try to figure out what's going on in the states where the numbers are highest and lowest. We need a better understanding of how and why hate crimes happen, and I think this mismatch is a good place to start.

Some things that are clear, and easy to understand.

Of the 2013 hate crimes, 49.3 percent were targeted because of race, 20.2 were targeted because of sexual orientation, and 16.9 percent were targeted because of religion.

Two thirds (66.5 percent) of the racially-motivated hate crimes were anti-African American.
Almost all (98 percent) of the hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were motivated by hatred of gay or bisexual people, with some crimes including an additional hatred of transgender people.
Sixty percent of religious hate crimes were motivated by hatred of Jews, and 14 percent were motivated by hatred of Muslims.

In the coming year you're going to continue to hear people on the right complain that the "real victims" of discrimination are straight, white, Christian men. That's not, and never has been, true.

UPDATE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has a state-by-state map of active hate groups. I've compared the numbers of these groups to population to come up with a similar per capita ranking. Yes, I'm comparing apples and oranges. But I want to see if two different methodologies show any overlap. And they do - The nation's capital is the number one, by a wide margin, on both lists. New Jersey and West Virginia both rank in the top 10. There's a lot to investigate here. We'll have more.

Here are the states, with the number of hate groups per 100,000 people (by 2013 US Census figures).

District of Columbia 2.48
Montana 0.89
Mississippi 0.74
Arkansas 0.68
Vermont 0.64
Idaho 0.62
West Virginia 0.49
South Dakota 0.47
New Hampshire 0.45
New Jersey 0.45
Tennessee 0.45
Delaware 0.43
South Carolina 0.40
Nebraska 0.37
Alabama 0.37
Kentucky 0.36
Virginia 0.33
Louisiana 0.32
Missouri 0.31
Pennsylvania 0.30
Oklahoma 0.29
Colorado 0.28
Georgia 0.28
North Dakota 0.28
Florida 0.26
Maryland 0.25
North Carolina 0.24
Indiana 0.24
Arizona 0.24
Ohio 0.23
Oregon 0.23
New York 0.22
Nevada 0.22
Massachusetts 0.19
Wisconsin 0.17
Wyoming 0.17
Illinois 0.16
Michigan 0.15
Maine 0.15
California 0.15
Minnesota 0.15
New Mexico 0.14
Washington 0.14
Utah 0.14
Texas 0.14
Kansas 0.10
Rhode Island 0.10
Connecticut 0.08
Iowa 0.06


THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mike Huckabee Has Links To The Hate Group That Helped Radicalize Dylann Roof

The Daily Beast is reporting that Dylann Roof's manifesto has been found. In it, Roof claims the first website he found which radicalized him was owned by a hate group called the Council of Conservative Citizens. 

The links between this group and the GOP are numerous, but they don't touch on many players in the party of the elephant who are relevant today. 

With one exception - an actual 2016 GOP contender, Mike Huckabee. 

Making coded appeals to white racism is nothing new for Huckabee. Indeed, well before he was a nationally known political star, Huckabee nurtured a relationship with America's largest white supremacist group, the Council of Conservative Citizens. The extent of Huckabee's interaction with the racist group is unclear, but this much is known: he accepted an invitation to speak at the group's annual conference in 1993 and ultimately delivered a videotaped address that was "extremely well received by the audience." This appeared in a HuffPo article in 2011. 

Mike Huckabee shouldn't be in the race. You already knew that. But this ought to take him out.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fuck Them: A Balanced And Considered Approach To Social Conservatism

I grew up among social and religious conservatives - the kind of people who like Duck Dynasty and Chick-fil-A. Many of them might have been supporters of Santorum or Huckabee, and the older ones might have grown up with Pat Robertson. As we discuss cultural conflicts in America today, I really feel like I can give many of my readers some insight into who they are, and how best to approach the delicate task of negotiating the parameters of our civic and economic engagement.

My position, in short, is this: Fuck them. Fuck them all. Those people are assholes.

Allow me to elaborate. And when I say "elaborate" I mean "repeat myself." Fuck them. Fuck them all. Those people are assholes.

Seriously. They are awful. They are the worst. Being fair to them isn't something you need to worry about.

I can guess your objections. Don't people have a right to be terrible to others? Absolutely and truly terrible? What about that Voltaire quote about defending to the death and somesuch? That's a good point, and I could understand how that might give you pause. So let me address it by saying you should almost never hunt these people for sport. I think that's going too far. You shouldn't hunt them for sport or lock them in a warehouse and force them to struggle with a series of lethal traps while being menaced by a clown puppet.

Yes, of course they do have the right to believe gay people are inferior. Everyone has that right. Just like everyone has the right to believe people of other races and religions are inferior. And you could argue about this in a theoretical way, which conservatives like to do, because a theoretical discussion distracts us all from the facts of our shared history in this country.

But the facts are clear. Social and religious conservatives have a well-documented record of denying rights to people. Of throwing people out of communities, refusing them service at lunch counters, and bullying them everywhere. Homophobia, like racism, and like sexism, has a death toll associated with it. It also has centuries of oppression and misery associated with it. These aren't theoretical considerations. This isn't a free speech issue. At stake is whether we give social and religious conservatives the power to continue marginalizing everyone who doesn't agree with them. Because yes, they will absolutely do anything and everything they can get away with to make life miserable for people who don't make their list. They have, they do, and they will. So it was in the beginning shall it be in the end.

I've worked with these people, I've gone to school with them, and I've lived in their neighborhoods, and they are more psychotic than a Scientology video. They believe in a God who will spend eternity torturing the majority of human beings - the majority - in the worst ways you can think of, and that this God will do that hideous thing as an expression of His perfect love. They believe this nation belongs only to them, and that they have a duty to bring it to obedience. They don't respect the rights of women, because they really don't think women are equal, or that their bodies belong to them. When the cameras are videoing, they might slip and say they might feel uncomfortable with gay marriage - but when the cameras are off, they will say that being gay really should be a crime, and that God uses disease and natural disasters to punish this country for our tolerance. Hell, many of them have said such things publicly.

No, they don't want equal rights. That's a stupid thing to believe. Every election we have one or two candidates who represent those people, and they make it quite clear what they want.

I want a country where they have exactly the same level of respect as racist skinheads. Exactly that. No one gets to throw a rock through their shop windows, but everyone agrees that they're pretty vile. Gay kids are killing themselves because of the crap these people believe. They are pretty vile.

Will they look like the underdogs in my liberal dystopia? Will they whine about their mistreatment? Will they complain that it isn't fair?

Yes. Of course. Good.

Because fuck them.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"I'm Going To Punch A Foreign Leader And See What Happens," By Sen. Tom Cotton

My name is Tom Cotton, and I'm the junior US Senator from Arkansas. You may not understand this, but Congress is a coequal branch of our government. We share some important foreign policy duties with the president. That's why I'm about to wander through the streets of the capital until I find a foreign official, and then I'm going to punch that person as hard as I can, just to see what happens next.

I bet it'll be cool.

The president can make agreements with other nations. But the US Senate performs an important role to advise and consent with him. It's right there in Article 2! Barack Obama thinks he's the only one who gets a voice. But we need to remind him he's not the boss. That's why I don't know who it is yet, but the person I punch will be at ambassador level or higher. I'm not just going to deck the export minister of some crap-bag country no one cares about. It'll be a major nation, and the guy I take down will be someone you recognize on TV. It's about respecting the office.

Plus I don't want to brag, but I have military training and I work out. If I whale on some soft, middle-aged dude who's not even expecting it, because he probably thinks I just want to meet him for a photo op or a junket, he doesn't stand a chance.

I might even do this throat-strike thing I saw in a movie once. The people who put me here don't deserve any less. We count too, you know! I want to make sure I act as a check on the president. So I'm going to put someone in the hospital, cause an international incident, and derail decades of painstaking diplomacy. Just like James Madison would have wanted.

Republican voters gave me a mandate to make sure Barack Obama is responsible to all Americans. That means he's not supposed to negotiate with foreign countries by himself. Or even respond to national emergencies or act as Commander in Chief, or any of the other stuff he wants to do, because folks like me are going to shut the government down so they can't put you in FEMA camps or force you to get gay-married to Frenchmen. I've been up since 4 am, pounding Red Bulls and reading the Constitution, and when I'm done one of those blond Fox women will interview me.

I'm from Harvard. Did I say that? That's right. Fucking Harvard, okay?

I know the law. I know my rights. I represent a major political party of a great nation and the proud state of Arkansas. Plus I've been practicing my moves in the mirror. Believe me, they are sweet.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

10 True Facts That PROVE Global Warming Is A Hoax.

If you keep in touch with your family and high school friends on Facebook, you've probably seen the report from NASA that the polar ice in the Antarctic sea is at an all-time high. It's clear proof that climate change is a fantasy. It's indisputable. The only way you could argue against it is if the earth had some kind of mythical "alternate pole," where ice was dwindling at an even faster rate to make up for the gain. We don't live in that kind of crazy sci-fi world, folks! The people at NASA know that, and that's why they couldn't actually put data from this nonexistent Narnia-kingdom in the very report your conservative friends see fit to share with you, making them all look like jackasses.

But there's more to the story. You and I know we've been gathering data about what a hoax global warming is for years now. Let's review the undeniable truths we've all heard.

10. I had to put a jacket on. Yesterday.
9. It was snowing at that one place where it usually doesn't snow, and they showed it on Fox, and Steve Doocy seemed really surprised. He raised his eyebrows in that way he has of letting you know this is not what he expected.
8. There are bloggers following this stuff on the internet in places where they'll also sell you gold and gas masks, and they can show all kinds of stuff the scientists said would happen, but then didn't happen.
7. Every time they have a guy telling you it's true on TV, or in an article, they have another guy telling you it's false. Every time. What does that say?
6. Some of those bloggers have degrees that sound technical.
5. You could see your breath just last week.
4. Also on Fox they had that guy who used to play that character you liked in that show you watched, and he was not convinced at all about this.
3. The senator said so, and he's spent his life talking to experts from energy companies who study this kind of thing. They come to his office when they bring the money, and they leave really impressive Powerpoint presentations about it.
2.This one time my friend Steve was out at the lake house, back when we were both 12, because Steve's friend Troy found a Playboy there, so we were looking for it on our dirt bikes, because Troy said it wasn't even torn up or anything. But it was really hot, and that was like, years ago. So I went back last summer, and it was much cooler.
1. Jesus just wouldn't dick us over like that.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Ben Carson's Most Impressive Achievement Is Why You Shouldn't Vote For Him

Ben Carson has gotten into trouble for saying stupid things, but the man is not an idiot. He's a brain surgeon. The potential Republican presidential candidate is a renowned doctor who was director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. His extreme religious and social conservatism - he rejects Darwin's theory of evolution - is not the product of ignorance. He's too gifted for any of us to say that. In fact, back in 2004 he performed an operation so complex and difficult it became famous. Dr. Carson separated conjoined twins attached at the head.

"The surgery would involve 11 intricate steps — each one ranging from one to five hours, each one more difficult than the previous step," according to the article about it in Johns Hopkins MagazineThe children shared an intricate web of blood vessels which needed to be carefully divided in a grueling procedure. It is a powerful testament to Carson's intellectual gifts and his determination to help people, and it's exactly why you shouldn't vote for him.

We now know - scientists from a variety of disciplines have gathered a mountain of evidence, and no responsible person can deny it - that life on earth has evolved over the course of billions of years. The processes that created our genetic variation involved countless random accidents, and only through an often cruel process of natural selection could order come from this. Nature is obviously, heartbreakingly indifferent to us and our to happiness. But we can use our incredible intelligence to improve our lives if we face our world squarely.

You know a perfect example of this sort of thing? Twins conjoined at the head.

Anyone who argues that a Supreme Being is up there designing every living thing perfectly and directing all the births and deaths, really, really needs to ignore stuff like twins conjoined at the head. That doesn't add up. It's either an awful error by a blind, motiveless system that depends on error for its dynamism, or it's the product of a malice that approaches Cthulhu levels. My intellectually honest, thoughtful Christian friends admit all this. Natural selection is at work, the world is baffingly cruel, and who knows why it happens? The problem of evil ultimately doesn't have a neat solution. They have faith. Fine. Fair enough.

But if you can spend as much time as Dr. Carson did using the tools of science to save two children from a sickeningly cruel flaw in their own bodies, and you can still say we were all designed perfectly - just a few thousand years ago in a flash of impossible brilliance by a Being who doesn't want us to question whether His scripture matches up with what we can learn about the universe - well, that's worse than ignorance.

That's denial. That's crazy, industrial-strength denial.

Dr. Carson has demonstrated talent and intelligence, and also the ability to look at two and two and actually see five. And that has important repercussions for how he will make science and education policy for this nation. Hell, I wouldn't trust him to enforce tax laws knowing what we know. I say this with respect for his professional accomplishments: He is not qualified to run the executive branch. 

He'll definitely fit in with the rest of the GOP candidates however. I have great faith in that.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Message To The Ferguson PD From An M. Night Shyamalan Movie

Wait. Wait just a minute. You gotta give me a second to wrap my head around this. I mean, I'm kind of the expert on weird, completely unexpected twists, but this is too much. Just too much. I got that report on your department, and I'm still trying to process it.

Okay. Tell me if I'm wrong on this, but does this mean that you guys were a bunch of racists from the very beginning?

Whoah.

At first I thought I had to be reading that wrong. Crude bigoted jokes around the department - really nasty stuff - rampant harassment on the street, and a cop releasing a dog to bite some 14 year-old kid. It just didn't make sense. It wasn't the story I thought I was following, you know?

Man, that reveal was incredible. The cops were actually racists. My mind was blown, man.

But now that I'm thinking about it, I guess the signs were there, weren't they? I didn't see it at first, but now that I know what the end is, I can go back and piece together all the telltale details. Like the fact that there were almost no African American officers on the force. That slipped right by me, but it was like a great big steaming clue. Also, when people protested in the street, and the cops turned out in military gear like an occupying army and harassed every journalist? Yeah, that seems clearer to me now. Wow. I totally missed that.

Also the dead guy. I mean, that's really the biggie I guess.

In fact, the more I think about it the weirder it seems that I didn't get it right then. The officer shot him multiple times, and they just let the cop walk almost immediately. I really should have assumed that was kind of the key to the whole thing. The only problem is that it's kind of... common. Cops are out there killing black people all the time, you know? It's been happening everywhere.

Wait. Hold it.

Holy crap! Hold on a second here. Because if this is really the sign, then that means this racism - this crazy, absolutely unbelievable account of racist cops - it might not only be in one ass-backwards town out in the Midwest. This racist cop thing might be... it might be all over the place.

Is that it? Is that what this is about? Did I get it? Wow. That's a hell of a story.

Jesus, what if it were true?

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.
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