June 1, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 9:53 AM


Vermont will pay people $10,000 to move there and work remotely (Kathryn Vasel, June 1, 2018, CNN Money)

The state has a new law that will pay workers to move there and work remotely. Governor Phil Scott signed the legislation on Wednesday.

Eligible workers can get up to $5,000 a year, not to exceed $10,000 over two years, through the state's new remote worker grant program.

Posted by orrinj at 9:17 AM


Study: You Can Get Whites to Oppose Welfare With This One Weird Trick (Eric Levitz, 6/01/18, New York)

The fact that there has never been a mass constituency in the United States (or any other Western democracy) for financing tax cuts for the rich by scaling back aid to the poor and working class has always been a problem for the conservative movement. But Republicans have long known a nifty trick for overcoming that obstacle to their regressive agenda: Get white Americans focused on their racial fears and resentments, and a lot of them will vote vote against the blacks instead of the plutocrats -- and some will even come to believe that welfare programs don't redistribute resources from the wealthy to working people, but rather, from diligent whites to indolent minorities.

A new study from sociologists at Stanford and UC Berkeley confirms the efficacy of this maneuver. During Barack Obama's first term as president, the share of white Americans who expressed opposition to welfare rose sharply in surveys -- as did the percentage who evinced high levels of racial resentment. To determine if there was a causal relationship between these developments -- which is to say, if racial anxieties (ostensibly triggered by the election of a black president) were turning white Americans against welfare -- the researchers designed a pair of experiments.

In one, they primed white respondents to contemplate the possibility that the United States will become a majority-minority nation within a half-century, by showing them a chart of U.S. demographic change -- and then asked them about their views on welfare programs. In another, they provided respondents with demographic information about which racial groups benefit most from each safety-net program before gauging their support for such policies.

In both cases, the priming increased support for welfare cuts: When whites were encouraged to consider their racial group's declining demographic dominance -- and when they were alerted to the fact that African-Americans disproportionately benefit from certain social welfare programs -- they became more receptive to "small government" conservatism.

Posted by orrinj at 9:04 AM


Why Low-Skilled Immigrants Work Especially Hard: The main reason that low-skilled immigrant men work more often than other low-skilled men is that these immigrants have made better personal decisions. (David J. Bier, November 7, 2016, Cato at Liberty)

For as far back as we have data, immigrant men without high school degrees in their prime years (25-54) have held jobs far more often than similar native-born men. Moreover, the gap in employment between the average low-skilled immigrant man and the similar native-born man is growing. In 1995, there was an 18 percentage point difference in the employment rates of the two groups. By 2014, the difference was 31 points.

1. Low-skilled immigrant men look for work. The single most important reason that immigrants perform better than lower-skilled natives is that they actually search for jobs in the labor market. As Figure 2 shows, more than 1 in 3 low-skilled native-born men in their primes are not even looking for jobs, compared to just 1 in 13 immigrant men. The gap is also growing. In 1995, there was a 17 percentage point difference between the share of low-skilled immigrant men and low-skilled native-born men who were out of the workforce entirely. By 2014, the difference had reached 25 points. It's hard to get a job without first looking.

2. Low-skilled immigrants use less welfare. As a 2013 paper by the Cato Institute demonstrated, poor immigrants use significantly less welfare than poor native-born citizens. Moreover, as I have shown previously, immigrant labor force participation rates grew in response to the welfare reform that Congress passed in 1996. The 1996 law barred all noncitizens from welfare, except for legal permanent residents who had been in the country for more than five years. This incentivized them to seek jobs, and during this time, overall immigrant employment rates surpassed the native-born rates. This surge in employment caused their income to rise so much that their rates of poverty actually declined. Native-born men have faced much less pressure to reenter the labor market.

3. Low-skilled immigrant men commit far fewer crimes. Immigrant men are much less likely to be incarcerated than similar native-born men. Figure 3 provides the incarceration rates for native and foreign-born men ages 18 to 39, and in every Census year since 1980, the foreign-born rate is half or less than half the native-born rate. This is also true for high school dropouts from the top sending countries for unauthorized immigrants. Almost 1 in 9 native-born men ages 18 to 39 without a high school degree were incarcerated in 2010, compared to just 1 in 59 Mexican-born men. Criminal records and unemployment resulting from incarceration provide serious obstacles to the ability of native-born men to find employment.

Posted by orrinj at 8:43 AM


Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians: A new study shows how poorly we understand the beliefs of people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular. (SIGAL SAMUEL  MAY 31, 2018, The Atlantic)

Second, the researchers found that American "nones"--those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular--are more religious than European nones. The notion that religiously unaffiliated people can be religious at all may seem contradictory, but if you disaffiliate from organized religion it does not necessarily mean you've sworn off belief in God, say, or prayer.

The third finding reported in the study is by far the most striking. As it turns out, "American 'nones' are as religious as--or even more religious than--Christians in several European countries, including France, Germany, and the U.K."

"That was a surprise," Neha Sahgal, the lead researcher on the study, told me. "That's the comparison that's fascinating to me." She highlighted the fact that whereas only 23 percent of European Christians say they believe in God with absolute certainty, 27 percent of American nones say this.

America is a country so suffused with faith that religious attributes abound even among the secular. [...]

Woodhead pointed to another finding in the Pew study: Most Western Europeans still believe in the idea of the soul. "So it's not that we're seeing straightforward secularization, where religion gives way to atheism and a rejection of all aspects of religion," she said. "We're seeing something more complex that we haven't fully got our heads around. In Europe, it's about people disaffiliating from the institution of the Church and the old authority figures ... and moving toward a much more independent-minded, varied set of beliefs."

Posted by orrinj at 4:51 AM


Make elotes, Mexican corn-on-the-cob and summer's perfect dish (Kevin Pang, 5/29/18, The Takeout)

Elote asado (charcoal-grilled corn with cream, cheese and chile)

Serves six; recipe courtesy Topolobampo in Chicago

6 ears fresh sweet corn, in their husks
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup thick cream or commercial sour cream mixed with a little milk or cream
1/3 cup crumbled Mexican queso anejo or queso fresco, or cheese like Parmesan, feta, cotija, or farmer's cheese
1 Tbsp. hot powdered chile (ground chile de arbol, guajillo, or New Mexico chile)

1. About an hour before serving, place the ears of corn in a deep bowl, cover with cold water and weight with a plate to keep them submerged. Light your charcoal fire and let it burn until the bed of coals is medium-hot; adjust the grill four inches above the fire.

2. Lay the corn on the grill and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, until the outer leaves are blackened. Remove, let cool several minutes, then remove the husks and silk. About 10 minutes before serving, brush the corn with melted butter, return to the grill and turn frequently until nicely browned. Serve right away, passing the cream, cheese, and powdered chile for your guests to use to their own liking. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Posted by orrinj at 4:32 AM


The World's Biggest Diamond Miner Said It Would Never Sell Stones Made in a Lab--Until Now. (BLOOMBERG, 5/29/18)

De Beers is moving to sell diamonds made in a lab rather than formed underground over billions of years.

The world's biggest diamond miner for years vowed that it wouldn't sell stones made in laboratories. Now, it has U-turned on that pledge and will start selling man-made stones for about $800 a carat, according to a memo sent to its customers and obtained by Bloomberg News.