AS THE WORLD TURNS: News Weekly
Unwed mothers / Populism / France ZUS
, December 9, 2006
Babies born to singles are at record
Out-of-wedlock births in the United States, on the rise since the late 1990s, have now climbed to a record high, accounting for nearly 4 in 10 babies born last year, government health officials said on Tuesday.
But, while such births have long been associated with teenage mothers, the number among 10- to 17-year-olds actually dropped last year - as did that group's overall birth rate, to the lowest level on record.
Instead, births among unwed mothers rose most sharply among women in their 20s.
"A lot of people think of teenagers and unmarried mothers synonymously, but they are not driving this," said Stephanie J. Ventura of the National Center for Health Statistics, a co-author of the report.
Experts said the continuing increase reflected the growing number of people who put off marriage or who decide to live with their partners without marrying. Having a child out of wedlock, the experts noted, is no longer the source of shame it once was.
- New York Times, November 22, 2006.
I'm a populist, deal with it
UNITED STATES: The Democratic victory (November 7) has our political elites in both parties and in the national media squealing like stuck pigs.
It seems nothing frightens our free trade and pro-illegal immigration orthodoxies more than putting the common good and the national interest above dominant special interests, corporate America and, of course, our darling elites in both political parties and the media.
The political, business and media elites have called me a "table-thumping protectionist" because I want balanced and mutual trade, because I want this country to export as much as it imports.
They've called me a racist, nativist xenophobe because, in order to win the war on terror, the war on drugs and to stop illegal immigration, I want our borders and ports secured.
Over the past week, pundits and savants of both the left and the right have been trying to simultaneously define me and the newly elected Democratic victors in the Senate and the House by accusing us of being populists. What a dirty little word. Horrifying.
I admit to being, among many other things, a proponent of populism ... because a populist is, after all, nothing more than "a supporter of the rights and the power of the people". In fact, I'm a damn proud populist.
We're in a class war, and our middle class is losing, and losing badly. But I do blame and have blamed the rich, corporate America and our political elites in both parties who have permitted the unabated assault on middle-class working men and women and their families.
I have never blamed the poor of Mexico, China or India for corporate America's avarice and our political elites' cowardice. I blame us for forgetting that the United States is first a nation, and secondly a marketplace or an economy, and I blame us for being taken as fools by both political parties for far too long.
It is not nationalism by any stretch of the imagination for me to remind those in power that our political system, our great democracy, makes possible our free-enterprise economy, and not vice versa as the elites continually propagandise.
- Lou Dobbs, CNN, November 15, 2006.
The 751 no-go zones of France
They go by the euphemistic term Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, with the even more antiseptic acronym ZUS, and there are 751 of them as of last count. They are conveniently listed on one long webpage, complete with street demarcations and map delineations.
What are they? Those places in France that the French state does not control. They range from two zones in the medieval town of Carcassone to 12 in the heavily Muslim town of Marseilles, with hardly a town in France lacking in its ZUS. The ZUS came into existence in late 1996 and according to a 2004 estimate, nearly 5 million people live in them.
A more precise name for these zones would be Dar al-Islam, the place where Muslims rule.
- Daniel Pipes's weblog, November 14, 2006.