Thursday, April 2, 2015

Last Call For Smart Phones, Not-So-Smart Policy

A new Pew Research study on Americans and smartphones finds that the percentage of Americans with smartphones has almost doubled from just 4 years ago, from 36% to 64%, and that for some 20 million mostly low-income Americans, it's the only means they have of accessing the internet:

10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have any other form of high-speed internet access at homebeyond their phone’s data plan. 
Using a broader measure of the access options available to them, 15% of Americans own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of ways to get online other than their cell phone. 
In all, one-in-five American adults (19%) indicate that at least one of those conditions apply to them, and 7% of the public says that both of these conditions apply — that is, they do not have broadband access at home, and also have relatively few options for getting online other than their cell phone. Throughout this report, we refer to this latter group as “smartphone-dependent” users. 

So, who are these Americans who depend on their smartphones for internet access?

Certain groups of Americans rely on smartphones for online access at elevated levels, in particular: 
Younger adults — 15% of Americans ages 18-29 are heavily dependent on a smartphone for online access. 
Those with low household incomes and levels of educational attainment — Some 13% of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent. Just 1% of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 per year rely on their smartphones to a similar degree for online access. 
Non-whites — 12% of African Americans and 13% of Latinos are smartphone-dependent, compared with 4% of whites. 
Compared with smartphone owners who are less reliant on their mobile devices, these smartphone-dependent users are less likely to own some other type of computing device, less likely to have a bank account, less likely to be covered by health insurance, and more likely to rent or to live with a friend or family member rather than own their own home.

If I were a Republican strategist, I'd suddenly have a desire to make it a lot harder to own a cell phone without an address, background check, bank account and credit card.

But I'm being cynical of course

Our Home And Native Slam

If businesses are having issues with states like Indiana and Arkansas's open bigotry towards the gay community, it seems our neighbors to the north want to remind everyone that things are a bit less nasty over the border.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is openly gay, is urging businesses upset by a so-called religious objections law in Indiana to set up shop in her province. 
The Indiana law, which takes effect July 1, does not specifically mention gays and lesbians, but critics say it is designed to protect businesses and individuals who do not want to serve gays and lesbians. 
Wynne says it's completely unacceptable that in the twenty-first century such a "discriminatory law" would be in place and would be used to divide people and create hostility. 
She says she'll raise the controversial law with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence if he attends this year's meeting of Great Lakes governors and premiers. 
Wynne says Ontario does "a fair bit of trade" with Indiana, and while she didn't threaten to curtail that business, she did urge companies looking for a more open, non-discriminatory jurisdiction to consider her province.

You know what?  More power to Canada on this.  Yeah, it's far from perfect, bigotry and racism towards members of the First Nations is a problem (not to mention against the African-Canadian population of cities like Toronto) but socially the folks next door are still way ahead of the politicians running the show down here.

It's just another reminder that we don't live in a vacuum here.  People around the world see the kind of things Republicans are pulling here in the US these days and they're responding to it.

Arkansas Governor Gets Pence-ive

Seems Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson isn't waiting around to get the full Gov. Mike Pence treatment over the "religious freedom" legislation passed this week by the legislature in Little Rock, and is wisely not signing the bill.

Until it's "revised" of course.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he does not plan to sign the religious freedom bill that sits on his desk right now, instead asking state lawmakers to make changes so the bill mirrors federal law. 
The first-term Republican governor said he wants his state "to be known as a state that does not discriminate but understands tolerance." 
His decision comes in the wake of an uproar in Indiana, where Gov. Mike Pence has faced pressure from businesses, sports associations like the NCAA and popular culture figures to backtrack on a similar religious freedom law he signed last week. In Arkansas, it's been Walmart applying the most pressure. 
Hutchinson asked lawmakers to recall the law that the Arkansas House had given final approval on Tuesday -- or to send him follow-up legislation that makes the changes he requested. 
Meanwhile, Hutchinson said, he's considering signing an executive order that bars discrimination among the state's workforce. 
"The issue has become divisive because our nation remains split on how to balance the diversity of our culture with the traditions and firmly held religious convictions," Hutchinson said. "It has divided families, and there is clearly a generational gap on this issue."

It's nice for Hutchinson to remember who really runs things in The Natural State.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has asked Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to veto a bill critics say would open the door to discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

Wally World didn't want any trouble, so I'm sure the Governor got his orders to punt.  We'll see what shape the final bill takes, but my guess is that in less than three months, this isn't going to be too much of an issue anyway, thanks to the Supreme Court.


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