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Is your doctor happy? With Poll from: Gallup.Com

When you visit your doctor does (s)he look happy?  At the end of the day healthcare is a one on one personal experience.  All the insurance coverage or fancy machines in the world won’t improve medical care if the doctor patient relationship is not optimal.

So what is our healthcare system doing to address physician happiness?  The Gallup organization took a closer look at hospitals, one place where physician practice is defined and sustained–for better or for worse…

“When doctors are frustrated, patient care and hospital revenues suffer. Heres how hospitals can engage their physicians — and make a positive impact on patients and the bottom line.”

via Gallup.Com – Daily News, Polls, Public Opinion on Politics, Economy, Wellbeing, and World.

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Cancer Treatment & Success, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Maternal and Child Health, Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion, Medical Research, Medicare, New American Electorate, Polls and pollsters, Public Health

The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center

There is no larger, more monolithic group in the US with less power and with less representation at all levels of the civic and private sectors of American society.  Of the 53 million hispanics, a whopping 33 million plus are Mexican American.  This means that the current immigration impasse is largely, both internally and externally, a Mexican problem.  You can think of it as a “Mexican American Problem” or as purely a Mexican problem but in any case, Mexican Americans are a relatively monolithic community with a strong sense of their past, and an ongoing connection to the mother land (incidentally, Mexican Americans do not have to divide their loyalties between North America, i.e., the USA, and modern day Mexico, because the lands between the Rio Grande and the territories beyond the Alamo have largely been one continuous playground to a Mexican community that can easily claim to be Native American.  The so called “pilgrims” have a weaker claim.

Answering the question “Why have Hispanics/Latinos been in the US for so long and achieved so relatively little?” would go a long way towards unlocking America’s potential and promise of another American century of success.  The clock is ticking and American leadership and policy makers are asleep at the wheel.  The Latino community leadership is asleep as well…

“The Hispanic population grew to 53 million in 2012, a 50% increase since 2000 and nearly six times the population in 1970, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, the overall U.S. population increased by only 12% from 2000 to 2012. Hispanic population growth accounted for more than half of the country’s growth in this time period.

U.S. Hispanic Population in 2012

Much of the growth is occurring in a relatively small geographic area. A Pew Research Center analysis last year found that the 10 largest counties by Hispanic population accounted for 22% of the national Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2011. Half of these counties are located in California.

Nationally, Mexicans are the largest Hispanic origin group but the composition of origin groups varies by geographic area. For example, while Mexicans represent a majority of Hispanics in all but 11 states, Puerto Ricans are the largest group in New York and New Jersey and Cubans are most populous in Florida.”

More via The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: access to education, analytics, Blogosphere, consumers, Culture, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, Education Policy, Education Reform, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, Leadership, Minority Males, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Public Policy

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

American immigration enforcement is necessary.  It’s goals and means at the present time may need reforming though.

Fueled by fear and political opportunity in the aftermath of the post 911 decade, this policy went into full force in 2010, despite the fact that so called “illegal immigration” had significantly tapered off.  The Obama administration, nevertheless, went full force ahead with this policy to appease popular fears and to give a sense of being tough on crime and of being pro national security.  It is clear that the affect of the current immigration policy is disproportionately falling on the Latino immigrants.  It is also labeling them criminals.  THIS POLICY MOST BE REASSESSED… In light of the hardships that illegal immigration causes for men and families running away from political, economic stress or toward the pull of the American dream, and the problems that it causes for an America whose labor markets have been themselves greatly stressed by the long, deep and lingering national recession, perhaps we need to take a good long look at how America is investing in its labor force and how it might better integrate and recruit needed talent from its neighbors to the south.  America will continue to age at an alarming baby boomer pace, by the time we hear all the reports of the “unintended consequences” of the current skewed immigration policy it may be too late.

The report fails to mention the nearly 12 million people who are not in the country legally.  According to the report only a fraction of this number (368,644) were removed, or deported, from our country.  The report fails to discuss the apparent problem that this policy is disproportionately affecting Hispanic immigrants.  For example, according to the PEW Foundation’s Hispanic Center:

“About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population are Hispanics. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico, numbering 7 million. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).” Source: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2009/04/14/a-portrait-of-unauthorized-immigrants-in-the-united-states/ 

People from Asia, for example, are underrepresented in the ICE immigration dragnet.  The connection to immigration from the Eastern European former soviet block and Russian gangs, for example, is also missing from the national security report.  Although we should not paint former Soviet block countries with a broad brush, the absence of many other groups from the demographics of this dragnet needs closer examination.

According to the most recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report, the principle investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”

The data provided by ICE shows that most of the immigrants being affected by this policy are involved with the criminal justice system or are coming across our southern border from a handful of Latin American countries (see table 1 below).  Coming across the border without appropriate immigration paperwork is itself a violation of our national laws.

Table 1 – The Latino Immigration Dragnet (by the Policy ThinkShop)

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

The Policy ThinkShop provides this convenient link for easy access to the full ICE report: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/2013-ice-immigration-removals.pdf

“In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations:

In FY 2013:

ICE conducted a total of 368,644 removals.

ICE conducted 133,551 removals of individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S.

82 percent of all interior removals had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE conducted 235,093 removals of individuals apprehended along our borders while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. 1

59 percent of all ICE removals, a total of 216,810, had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE apprehended and removed 110,115 criminals removed from the interior of the U.S.

ICE removed 106,695 criminals apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S.

98 percent of all ICE FY 2013 removals, a total of 360,313, met one or more of ICE’s stated civil immigration enforcement priorities. 2

Of the 151,834 removals of individuals without a criminal conviction, 84 percent, or 128,398, were apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. and 95 percent fell within one of ICE’s stated immigration enforcement priorities. 3

The leading countries of origin for those removed were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

More via FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals.

Filed under: Asian, Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, Political Facts and Fiction, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason

America is in an ideological tug of war: Can we do better?

Too often, American public policy discussions are framed in single issue debates of pros and cons which make for great media theater and water cooler conversation–but never end in solutions… only in winners and losers.  To be sure, the real losers are once again the shrinking middle-class which continues to see a broken Congress continue to destroy the country.  An American dream Hollywood built and the middle-class made  sustainable by working itself out of the working class and buying into the popular media illusion.  This “progress” now seems out of reach for much of the children of that middle-class and for recent immigrants.  So where is America going?  What will happen to an America where honest and bipartisan discussion of real public policy problems is muffled by cable show sensationalism and campaign politics?  Can we do better?

Immigration is not only about people staying in America without a proper visa or citizen status; it is also about the American continent and the millions of people that have called it home for well over a thousand years.  From the perspective of native Americans the question is: Who is the illegal immigrant, pilgrim?   This includes millions of modern day South of the border Latinos whose ancestors have roamed across the Rio Grande for thousands of years.  From the perspective of the Eurocentric 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation American the clamor is: Go back to where you came from; you are not a real American.  As America fails to sustain a middle-class and integrate new immigrants it dies a thousand deaths one broken dream at a time.  Mortgage foreclosures, drug abuse, urban decay, and dead end jobs that cannot pay for healthcare or sustain a family are but a few of the pervasive signs that America is not only divided but headed in the wrong direction.

Complex public policy issues are never about one variable, one social or economic dynamic or simple yes or no choices.  Today’s media industry continually portrays a false choice in a tug of  war  between one dimensional unilateral actions to protect the perceived interests of one side against those of another.  In reality, public policy issues are characterized by complex social and economic dynamics that impact many publics and present several choices in terms of:

  • acting or not acting,
  • who (government or the philanthropic sector, for example) should act,
  • who should pay and
  • how much it will all cost.

The outcome of those choices and the quality of that debate ultimately impacts the cultural and economic health of the country.

American is killing its life source–IMMIGRANTS.  As such, it is killing itself.  For this we can all agree President Obama has failed to lead in this most important of public policy problems.  

“AS A presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised to enact immigration reform during his first year in office. Although his party controlled both arms of Congress for the next two years, he barely tried. Instead, he has presided over the greatest mass deportation in American history. As our chart shows, he has tossed far more Mexicans and other illegal immigrants out of the country than his predecessors—nearly 2m so far. Spending on border security is now greater than on all other types of federal criminal-law enforcement combined. Since migrants bring youth, energy and enterprise, this is an expensive way of making America less dynamic (as our leader this week explains). And the human costs are immense (read our story here). Families are torn apart; lives ruined. Yet many House Republicans still insist that they will not back immigration reform because they cannot trust President Obama to defend the border.”

via Daily chart: Obama and aliens | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – NYTimes.com

The business world is always selling us something.  And thank God!  

Buying and selling is a huge part of our culture.  Measuring the value of what we own and what that means to us and those around us is also central to our social experience and identity.  America is about progress and the pursuit of happiness is at its very essence; we must always strive to have things and be places.  Understanding our place in the American social hierarchy  may not be as simple as counting our possessions though.  We are all Americans but we are not all equal–not even close.  Being an American is real.  But what about the so called “Middle Class”?  Have you seen it?  Do you possess a piece of it?  Are you standing in it?  If you can make a good argument that you are in it, will your children share as lofty an address?

Today’s NYTs clamors about yet another elusive metaphor that we have lived by: The Middle Class.  Illusive and metaphor because we cannot be sure if it really ever existed, at least not in all its Hollywood and public media glory.  Like the nuclear family propelled and burned into the public mind by popular TV shows like “Father Knows Best,” the middle class is a very inclusive category which most Americans strive to get into;  and yet another very important segment labors to stay above and beyond it (including today’s infamous top 1%).

For hundreds of years the extended family and agrarian life dominated gender relations, work, time and leisure.    The modern middle class and Levittowns (Levittown was the first suburb and is considered the “archetype” for America’s suburbs America’s.) are an economic creation buttressed by Hollywood and Madison Avenue cultures.  The Nuclear family of “Mom, DAD and Children,” can be similarly understood as an ideal.   Nevertheless, in perhaps a nostalgic way, today’s popular media considers the Middle Class in danger of disappearing, if nothing else, from our imaginations.  In historical terms the middle class was here for about a relative minute.  Gone so soon?

“In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.”

via The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Children and Poverty, consumers, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Education Policy, Education Reform, New American Electorate, News, Parenting, Philanthropy, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, WeSeeReason

5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month | Pew Research Center

In a world that is being made smaller everyday by advances in travel and technology, culture and language remain significant causes of distance between people.  America has a tremendous treasure in its diversity and in the muscle of its young and growing Hispanic/Latino population.   The Policy ThinkShop brings you the following facts to get you thinking about America’s future and its role in a multicultural and multilingual world…

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a period chosen because it bookends the independence days of five Central American nations (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica, Sept. 15), Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18), as well as Columbus Day/Dia de la Raza (Oct. 14 this year in the United States). In honor of the event, here are five key facts about U.S. Hispanics:

1. Geography: Although there’s been some dispersion in recent years, the Hispanic population remains highly concentrated. More than half (55%) of the nation’s Hispanics live in just three states — California, Texas and Florida — and 71% live in just 100 of the nation’s 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

2. Population size: According to the Census Bureau, there were 51.9 million U.S. Hispanics in 2011 (its latest estimate, for 2012, is just over 53 million). The Hispanic population grew 47.5% between 2000 and 2011, according to a Pew Research analysis, and accounted for more than half (55%) of total population growth over that period.

3. Countries of origin: The umbrella term “Hispanic” embraces a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. However, nearly two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics trace their family origins to Mexico; Puerto Ricans, the nation’s second-largest Hispanic-origin group, make up 9.5% of the total Hispanic population.

4. Educational attainment: College enrollment among Hispanic high school graduates has risen over the past decade: According to the Census Bureau, 49% of young Hispanic high-school graduates were enrolled in college in 2012, surpassing the rate for white (47%) and black (45%) high-school grads.

5. Language usage: A record 35 million (74%) Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home. Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States. Nearly all U.S. Hispanics say it’s important that future generations speak Spanish.

More via 5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Language, language and public relations, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, Mass Media and Public Opinion, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, , ,

Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes, even among non-Hispanics | Pew Research Center

Do you speak Spanish?  America, like the rest of the “Americas,” speaks Spanish quite fluently, prevalently and often.  Despite the illusion that North America is monolingual and that being monolingual is somehow more “American,” the truth is that America has been multilingual for hundreds of years prior to the landing of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, followed by May and Flower–the Mayflower, that is, much later.

The original experience of  the inhabitants of the Southwest, for example, included migration patterns by the native peoples of Central America across the Rio Grande and all the way up into the Dakotas and back.  For over a thousand years, the natives of what much later became North America spoke numerous languages and roamed what would become America.  The first settlement at St. Augustine, you could say, established the continent’s first European language–Español.

St. Augustine was founded forty-two years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts – making it the oldest permanent European settlement on the North American continent.

Today, America’s strong and vibrant Spanish heritage is prospering as many of us feel right at home speaking the original colonial language.  According to the Pew Foundation,

“A record 37.6 million persons ages 5 years and older speak Spanish at home, according to an analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Research Center.

Spanish is, by far, the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. The next most spoken non-English languages are Chinese (with 2.8 million speakers), Hindi, Urdu or other Indic languages (2.2 million), French or French Creole (2.1 million), and Tagalog (1.7 million).

The number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly in recent decades, reflecting the arrival of new immigrants from Latin America and growth in the nation’s Hispanic population. Today 34.8 million Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home.

However, not all Spanish speakers are Hispanic. According to our analysis, some 2.8 million non-Hispanics speak Spanish at home today. That places Spanish at the top of the list of non-English languages spoken by non-Hispanics along with Chinese and ahead of all other languages.

(The U.S. Census Bureau measure of non-English language use captures how many people say a language other than English is spoken in the home but does not capture how well or how often the language is spoken).

Who are the 2.8 million non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home? Some 59% trace their ancestry to non-Spanish European countries such as Germany, Ireland, England and Italy. An additional 12% say they are of African American descent. Nonetheless, about one-in-five (18%) non-Hispanic Spanish speakers trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country. By comparison, among the non-Hispanic U.S. population ages 5 and older, about two-thirds (64%) trace their ancestry to non-Spanish European countries, 13% say their ancestry is African American and 1% trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country.

Nine-in-ten (89%) of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers were born in the U.S., a share similar to that for all non-Hispanics ages 5 and older (91%).

The racial composition of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers mirrors that of the U.S. non-Hispanic population. Overall, three-quarters (77%) of non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home are white, 14% are black, and 9% say they belong to some other racial group. Among the non-Hispanic U.S. population ages five years and older, 76% are white, 14% are black, and 9% are some other race.

Many non-Hispanic Spanish speakers reside in a household where at least one other member is Hispanic. Overall, 26% of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers live in these types of households. By comparison, just 3% of all non-Hispanics ages 5 and older live in such households.

Three-in-ten (28%) non-Hispanics Spanish speakers who are married live with a Hispanic spouse. By comparison, only 2% of non-Hispanics are living with a Hispanic spouse.

When it comes to English proficiency, eight-in-ten (80%) non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home say they speak English “very well”, 11% say they speak English “well”, and 9% say they speak English “not well” or do not speak English.  This compares with 96% of all non-Hispanics 5 years and older who speak English only or speak it “very well”, 2% who speak English “well”, and 2% who speak English “not well” or do not speak English.”

via Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes, even among non-Hispanics | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Discrimination, Education Policy, Education Reform, ethnicity in politics, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Intolerance, Language, Latinos, Medicaid Expansion, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Public Health, Public Policy, , , , , , ,

If they could, how many unauthorized immigrants would become U.S. citizens? | Pew Research Center

One of the key constructs of American immigration policy is family.  When people request entry into our country their immediate family members are given priority.  This reflects one of the most basic values of our American community.  When it comes to people who have come here via non sanctioned immigration routes, the policy is no longer applicable.  And there in lies the rub–the policy has not worked very well over the past few decades …  Even as we try to piece together four decades of uncontrolled immigration and broken immigration policy, we are still not clear about how September 11th and the recent deep recession are transforming who we are.  Now immigration policy is tearing at our fabric…

The American dream, even “What is America?”, hangs in the balance as the Nation decides what to do with 40 million immigrants to this land.  The act of becoming a U.S. citizen is increasingly under a public microscope of political scrutiny.  The lens through which we see immigrants today is increasingly made more opaque by the currently divided American polity, and the fear and controversy brewing over our National borders.

As the country struggles with economic recessions, NSA scandals, the aftermath of homeland terrorism, and crisis in its educational, incarceration and healthcare systems, it is not in a generous mood to take in the world’s huddled masses yearning to be free.

“As Congress debates a comprehensive immigration bill, one key element under consideration is whether to offer a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants. If a bill were to pass including such a provision, how many would take advantage of the opportunity?

The answer is of course speculative. The Pew Hispanic Center has conducted surveys and analyses of government data that offer some insights – but not all of them point in the same direction.

A survey we conducted in 2012 found that more than nine-in-ten (93%) Hispanic immigrants who are not citizens said they would like to become a U.S. citizen. This was true both for those who are legal permanent residents (96%) and for those who aren’t (92%). The vast majority in the latter group is in the country illegally.

Despite this near universal expression of a desire for citizenship, our analysis of government data shows that a majority of Hispanic immigrants who are eligible to seek citizenship have not yet taken the opportunity to do so. Only 46% of Hispanic immigrants eligible to naturalize (become citizens) have, compared with 71% percent of all immigrants who are not Hispanic and are eligible to naturalize. The naturalization rate is particularly low among the largest group of Hispanic immigrants – Mexicans – among whom just 36% have naturalized.

Our 2012 survey also found that the reasons most often cited for not seeking citizenship were not speaking English (as required by a citizenship test), not being able to afford it (it costs $680 to apply for citizenship), and just not yet having gotten around to trying.”

More via If they could, how many unauthorized immigrants would become U.S. citizens? | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, New American Electorate, News, Public Policy, WeSeeReason

A Lifeline for No-Longer-Illegal Immigrants – NYTimes.com An interesting comment from this NYT’s comments section …

Contrary to popular belief America was not created by immigration. It was created by conquest and exploration and it was done so on top of many other “native” nations. To this day Americans have not been able to assimilate and fully include those natives into its polity or its economic success. How then can we argue that immigration has been so noble and that immigrants are naturally a part of the American way?The truth lies much closer to Plato’s “necessary untruths.” To romanticize immigration, both in terms of why people leave their native lands and in terms of why they come to America is simply false and misleading. People come to America because they hope for better than they have where they reside as they make the often courageous decision to uproot and venture into the relatively unknown. What never seems to be discussed is how few of us here in America consider leaving this country. In an important way, America was created by people leaving their homeland because they were pushed out by various political and economic factors. That is what we have in common with the new comers. They come here because it is not comfortable where they previously resided. Here then lies the central question that needs to be considered by all of us who want to be fair minded and responsible. What would have become of us and our ancestors if the then native “americans” would have had the wherewithal to keep our ancestors out? Just as many of us want to keep other people out today.

More via A Lifeline for No-Longer-Illegal Immigrants – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason, , ,

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