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Safe as Houses: Majorities of Americans See Home Ownership, Gold and Jewelry as Safe Investments

September 14, 2014 Comments off

Safe as Houses: Majorities of Americans See Home Ownership, Gold and Jewelry as Safe Investments (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

Despite periods of volatility in the real estate market over the past few years, over seven in ten Americans (72%) see owning a home as a safe investment. Majorities agree on this point across generations, albeit with considerable shifts from one generation to the next: nine in ten Matures (89%) see home ownership as a safe investment, compared to just over three-fourths of Baby Boomers (77%) and seven in ten Gen Xers (70%). Even among Millennials – for whom the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 and the ensuing financial crisis it helped kick off is likely a more formative experience – the majority still see home ownership as a safe investment (63%), albeit with a slimmer majority vote than any of their elder counterparts.

Majorities of Americans also see gold (65%) and jewelry (59%) as safe investments.

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Doctors, Military Officers, Firefighters, and Scientists Seen as Among America’s Most Prestigious Occupations

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Doctors, Military Officers, Firefighters, and Scientists Seen as Among America’s Most Prestigious Occupations (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

When shown a list of occupations and asked how much prestige each job possesses, doctors top the Harris Poll’s list, with 88% of U.S. adults considering it to have either “a great deal of prestige” (45%) or to “have prestige” (44%).

After doctors, the rest of the top ten occupations seen as prestigious include military officers (78%), firefighters (76%), scientists (76%), nurses (70%), engineers (69%), police officers (66%), priests/ministers/clergy (62%), architects (62%), and athletes (60%).

Remotely Piloted Aircraft and War in the Public Relations Domain

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Remotely Piloted Aircraft and War in the Public Relations Domain (PDF)
Source: Air & Space Power Journal

Many of the RPA articles, opinions, and interviews produced over the last decade are either based on false premises (option a) or employ a logical fallacy of analogy (option c); therefore, many of their conclusions are invalid. This article does not attempt to show that most of the writing on RPAs over the last decade contains fallacies of some kind. Rather, it recognizes the ease with which sincere people can commit such errors as a result of the epistemic problem inherent in any discussion of RPA operations.

The argument, then, begins by asserting that such a problem exists and suggesting that it has three causes. First, enemy forces (here referring specifically to al-Qaeda and the Taliban) have an effective public relations (PR) campaign against RPAs. Second, the United States conducts an ineffective PR campaign in support of RPAs. Third, RPA operations are necessarily concealed by security classifications and national security precautions. The article expounds upon the significance of these causes and provides evidence for them—evidence that will demonstrate not only the three causes but also the reality of the epistemic problem. Its conclusion offers two ways that individuals can mitigate the dilemma and one means by which the US government can rectify it.

Employers: Celebrate Labor Day By Showing That You Value Your Workers

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Employers: Celebrate Labor Day By Showing That You Value Your Workers
Source: American Psychological Association

Labor Day is a celebration of American workers and the contributions they have made to the well-being of the country. As we mark Labor Day’s 120th year as a federal holiday, only about half of the U.S. workforce (51 percent) say they feel valued by their employer, more than a third (36 percent) haven’t received any form of recognition in the last year and just 47 percent say recognition is provided fairly. These were among the findings of a survey released today by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence. The survey was conducted on APA’s behalf by Harris Poll on Aug. 13-15, 2014, among 882 adults who are employed either full time or part time.

Employee recognition efforts reward employees both individually and collectively for their contributions to the organization. Recognition can take various forms — formal and informal, monetary and nonmonetary. Although a majority of working Americans (81 percent) reported that their employer provides some type of recognition, less than half (46 percent) said their organization recognizes employees for individual job performance. Additionally, less than a third (29 percent) said that team or work-unit performance is recognized and even fewer reported that their employer provides recognition for company-wide results (21 percent), or engaging in specific behaviors, such as those consistent with the organization’s values (18 percent).

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time

September 2, 2014 Comments off

Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time (PDF)
Source: Perspectives on Psychological Science

Disagreements about the optimal level of wealth inequality underlie policy debates ranging from taxation to welfare. We attempt to insert the desires of ‘‘regular’’ Americans into these debates, by asking a nationally representative online panel to estimate the current distribution of wealth in the United States and to ‘‘build a better America’’ by constructing distributions with their ideal level of inequality. First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution. Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups—even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy—desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.

BYP Memo: Moving Beyond Marriage, What Young People of Color Think about the LGBT Agenda

August 28, 2014 Comments off

BYP Memo: Moving Beyond Marriage, What Young People of Color Think about the LGBT Agenda
Source: Black Youth Project

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in how the public and the courts view same-sex marriage. Much of the reporting on this issue focuses on the overwhelming levels of support for same-sex marriage from the millenial generation. But as victories pile up for the marriage equality movement, we know much less about how young people view the LGBT agenda, and whether young people of color believe the LGBT agenda best serves their communities. These questions are particularly important as LGBT organizations negotiate policies such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and prepare strategies around other important LGBT issues.

Our latest report provides answers to these questions using a nationally representative survey of 1,500 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 conducted during June 2014. Our main findings are as follows:

  • More Black (80.2%) and Latino (74.9%) youth believe the marriage equality movement has taken too much attention away from other important LGBT issues compared to white youth (64.0%).
  • More Black youth (58.0%) believe that LGBT issues in communities of color are not well-represented by mainstream LGBT organizations than Latino (45.9%) and white youth (42.7%).
  • More than a third (35.0%) of Black youth reported that HIV/AIDS is the single most important issue for LGBT organizations to address. Latino youth reported that bullying (20.1%) is the most important issue, while white youth (21.3%) reported that same-sex marriage is the most important issue.
  • Young people of color are more supportive of policies that would provide sensitivity training for police around transgender issues (77.8% and 73.2%, respectively) and require health insurers to provide coverage for transgender health issues (64.5% and 65.8%, respectively) than white youth (66.2% and 56.3%, respectively).

Religion and American Politics from a Global Perspective

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Religion and American Politics from a Global Perspective
Source: Religions

Past findings and theory in the sociology of religion support two opposing perspectives concerning the influence of religion on American politics. Looking from within the United States, the commanding influence of religion on political rhetoric and voting patterns seems apparent. From a global perspective, the role that religion plays in American politics is less clear; in fact, one could argue that our political institutions are decidedly secular. I present support for both of these perspectives before turning to an international analysis of images of God using the Gallup World Poll. These data indicate the uniqueness of American religiosity and suggest that the ways in which religion affect politics in the United States is unusual for a post-industrial country. Namely, many Americans understand God as a political actor; because of this, American political culture mixes religious and political language with fervor, all while keeping church and state institutions separate.

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