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June 13, 2013

The majority of toddlers are no longer white kids

The percentage of white kids under five dipped below fifty percent. Time to cue a racist freakout amongst the usual suspects. Whites Becoming The Minority Among U.S. Population Under Five
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, America’s racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group, the government said Thursday. It’s a historic shift that shows how young people are at the forefront of sweeping changes by race and class. The new census estimates, a snapshot of the U.S. population as of July 2012, comes a year after the Census Bureau reported that whites had fallen to a minority among babies. Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth, particularly among Hispanics, racial and ethnic minorities are now growing more rapidly in numbers than whites. Based on current rates of growth, whites in the under-5 group are expected to tip to a minority this year or next, Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director, said. The government also projects that in five years, minorities will make up more than half of children under 18. Not long after, the total U.S. white population will begin an inexorable decline in absolute numbers, due to aging baby boomers.

June 11, 2013

A man in his fifties laments the loss of his gaydar

Interesting theory here. Boomer Finds His Gaydar Weakening - NYTimes.com
When I was single, gaydar was what enabled me to enter a room and decide if there was someone there I might want to share my life with. Now that I’m married (11 years), it’s what enables me to enter a room and decide if there’s someone there I might want to share a joke with (if the joke is one that I think only another gay man would appreciate). Gaydar was what enabled me to figure out who in the world was on “my team.” . . . But in my view, the real reason my gaydar has failed is that there is no such thing as gaydar. No item of clothing, speech pattern, hairstyle or career choice (or even facial topography) is enough to identify someone as gay. In reality, the way you know, when you enter a room, if another man is gay is by seeing how he looks at you. If he maintains eye contact a split second longer than he needs to, or gives you a once-over, he’s gay. After all, those are things a man does if he’s interested in what he sees. So if I don’t have much gaydar anymore, it may be that not many men I come across are interested in what they see. In other words: At 55, I’ve become invisible to them, so they’ve become invisible to me. If they won’t check me out, I can’t check them off.

June 07, 2013

David Simon on the media's overreaction to the NSA story

David Simon | We are shocked, shocked…
You would think that the government was listening in to the secrets of 200 million Americans from the reaction and the hyperbole being tossed about. And you would think that rather than a legal court order which is an inevitable consequence of legislation that we drafted and passed, something illegal had been discovered to the government’s shame. Nope. Nothing of the kind. Though apparently, the U.K.’s Guardian, which broke this faux-scandal, is unrelenting in its desire to scale the heights of self-congratulatory hyperbole. Consider this from Glenn Greenwald, the author of the piece: “What this court order does that makes it so striking is that it’s not directed at any individual…it’s collecting the phone records of every single customer of Verizon business and finding out every single call they’ve made…it’s indiscriminate and it’s sweeping.” Having labored as a police reporter in the days before the Patriot Act, I can assure all there has always been a stage before the wiretap, a preliminary process involving the capture, retention and analysis of raw data. It has been so for decades now in this country. The only thing new here, from a legal standpoint, is the scale on which the FBI and NSA are apparently attempting to cull anti-terrorism leads from that data. But the legal and moral principles? Same old stuff. Allow for a comparable example, dating to the early 1980s in a place called Baltimore, Maryland. There, city detectives once began to suspect that major traffickers were using a combination of public pay phones and digital pagers to communicate their business. And they took their suspicions to a judge and obtained court orders — not to monitor any particular suspect, but to instead cull the dialed numbers from the thousands and thousands of calls made to and from certain city pay phones. Think about it. There is certainly a public expectation of privacy when you pick up a pay phone on the streets of Baltimore, is there not? And certainly, the detectives knew that many, many Baltimoreans were using those pay phones for legitimate telephonic communication. Yet, a city judge had no problem allowing them to place dialed-number recorders on as many pay phones as they felt the need to monitor, knowing that every single number dialed to or from those phones would be captured. So authorized, detectives gleaned the numbers of digital pagers and they began monitoring the incoming digitized numbers on those pagers — even though they had yet to learn to whom those pagers belonged. The judges were okay with that, too, and signed another order allowing the suspect pagers to be “cloned” by detectives, even though in some cases the suspect in possession of the pager was not yet positively identified. . . .