State of the Nation

29% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 59% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.

Right track Wrong track
Democrats 55% 29%
Republicans 9% 87%
Independents 17% 70%

[Econ/YouGov 11/30/21]

According to Bloomberg, 18% of millennial renters (those born 1981-1996) have no plans to ever stop renting. [NYT 10/24/21]

Colin Luther Powell was born in 1937 and died in 2021. He was, in his career, a U.S. Army General, the National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State.

He adopted Thirteen Rules of Leadership.

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad and then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done.
  5. Be careful what you choose, you may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

After the 2021 election there will be more than 1,000 LGBTQ officials serving at various levels of government in the United States. [ 11/3/21]

The State Department has issued the first US passport with an “X” gender marker as it seeks to implement gender-inclusive policies, the department announced Wednesday. It will no longer require medical certification if any applicant’s self-selected sex marker doesn’t match the sex listed on other official identity documents. [CNN News 10/27/21]

An estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle accidents through the first half of 2021. That’s the highest total for the first six months of the year since 2006 and about 18% higher than the death total for the first half of 2020 – the largest percentage increase since the keeping of records began in 1975.

The country is on track for more than 40,000 motor vehicle crash deaths in 2021, roughly equivalent to the number of Americans who died last year in gun homicides, suicides, and accidents combined.

38,680 people died on U.S. roads in 2020, a roughly 7% increase from the year before. [Axios Future 11/3/21]

29 people in the United States die every day in motor vehicles crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Over 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, equating to roughly 38% of all traffic-related deaths. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC 11/20/21]

Nearly 45 million Americans have student debt and U.S. college students and graduates collectively hold over $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. [MinnPost 10/27/21]

In October the median cost of shipping a standard metal container from China to the U.S. West Coast hit $20,586. This is roughly double of what it cost to make that shipment in July, twice what it cost in January and 700% more than it cost a year ago. [Axios AM, 10/30/21]

In September 2021, 47% of U.S. adults say that spending on policing in their area should be increased. That includes 21% of those who say it should be increased a lot while 26% say it should be increased a little. This is a substantial increase from June 2020 when only 31% said there should be an increase.

61% of Republicans think spending should be increased but only 34% of Democrats share that view. Also in September 2021, 49% of whites, 46% of Hispanics, 37% of Asians, and 36% of Blacks, think spending should be increased.
[PEW 10/26/21]

Separation of Church and State

67% of U.S. adults say the Constitution was written by humans and reflects their vision, not necessarily God’s vision.

69% say the government should never declare any official religion.

On the other hand,

  • 30% say public school teachers should be allowed to lead students in Christian prayers (the Supreme Court has ruled that is unconstitutional).
  • 19% say that the federal government should stop enforcing the separation of church and state.
  • 18% say that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God.
  • 15% say the federal government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation.

[Pew Research Center 10/28/21]

7.4% of legislative incumbents who sought re-election in 2021 were defeated in the primary or general election. This is the highest incumbent loss rate Ballotpedia has recorded in a decade of covering odd-year election cycles. [Ballotpedia 11/21]

With the recent hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court, the future of Roe v. Wade is very much up in the air.

60% of Americans believe that the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade while 27% believe it should be overturned.

58% of Americans oppose state legislation making it harder for clinics to operate while 36% support such legislation.

75% of Americans say it should be left to a woman and her doctor as to whether she can have an abortion. 20% believe that should be regulated by law.

Between woman and her doctor Regulated by law
All 75% 20%
Women 81 16
Men 69 24
Women under 40 86 12
Black people 91 6
White people 72 22
Hispanic people 70 26
Democrats 95 5
Independents 81 14
Republicans 53 40
Evangelical white 49 47

[ABC/WP 11/16/21]

As of 12/1/21, this year there have been 651 mass shootings in the United States. [CNN 12/1/21]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2021, is 4.2%. That unemployment rate is lower than the 4.6% in October and substantially less than the 6.7% unemployment rate of November 2020.

If one considers the total number of unemployed + those marginally attached to the labor force + those working part-time who want full-time work, the unemployment rate in November was 7.8%, down from 8.3% in October and substantially less than 12.0% a year earlier.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is 61.8%, up from 61.6% in October 2021.

The Demographics of Unemployment for November 2021

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –3.7% (down from last month)
  • Men –3.4% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 3.7% (down from last month)
  • Black – 6.7% (down from last month)
  • Hispanic – 5.2% (down from last month)
  • Asian –3.8% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –5.7% (down from last month)
  • High School –5.2% (down from last month)
  • Some college –3.7% (down from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 2.3% (down from last month)

In October, 26 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 4.6%. One state had an unemployment rate that was the same as the national average. 21 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average.

The state with the highest unemployment rate in November was Puerto Rico at 8.0%. [BLS 10/21]

For the last few decades, workers in corporate America have put in longer hours and extra days, working–on average–an additional full month or more per year than in 1980, according to the Pew Research Center. [NYT 11/14/21]

This and That

A reader asked me how many emails I get each day offering various forms of information and opinion. So, I made a list of all such emails I got over a 24- hour period, on a weekday. The answer is 75. (That number does not include emails I get for other reasons – e.g., social, political contribution requests and emails that are basic communication with other people or organizations.)

Debbie and I decided to calculate whether there has been a change in our use of Amazon during the pandemic. The answer is a resounding “yes”. The numbers below reflect our orders in the years noted.

Debbie Mike Total
2020/2021 120 124 244
2018/2019 70 71 141
2016/2017 62 56 118

(If you want to calculate your use, go to to “Returns & Orders”.)

69% of adults say they have an account on Facebook.
28% of adults say they use Twitter.
27% of adults use TikTok.
27% of adults don’t have an account on any of these social media platforms.

Approval of Biden’s job as president:

  • All adults: 42%
  • Facebook users: 42%
  • Twitter users: 57%
  • TikTok users: 50%
  • Non-users: 40%

Positive feelings toward Trump:

  • All adults: 38%
  • Facebook users: 36%
  • Twitter users: 19%
  • TikTok users: 27%
  • Non-users: 46%

Prefer Democrats control Congress in 2022:

  • All adults: 47%
  • Facebook users: 47%
  • Twitter users: 65%
  • TikTok users: 59%
  • Non-users: 45%

Prefer Republicans control Congress in 2022:

  • All adults: 45%
  • Facebook users: 45%
  • Twitter users: 28%
  • TikTok users: 35%
  • Non-users: 45%

[NBC News Poll/Meet the Press 11/8/21]

Comparing the recent New Jersey and Virginia Governors races:

New Jersey Virginia
Population 9,288,994 8,631,393
Voting age population 7,263,993 6,749,749
Number of Reg Voter 5,008,000 4,541,000
Percentage of Reg Voter 68.9% 67.2%

New Jersey

Phil Murphy 1,339,359
Jack Ciattarelli 1,255,095


Glenn Youngkin 1,663,596
Terry McAuliffe 1,600,119

There is no exit poll from the New Jersey Gubernatorial.

Virginia Exit Poll:

% who voted McAuliffe Youngkin
Men 48% 44% 56%
Women 52% 53% 46%
Dem 36% 96% 4%
Rep 34% 3% 97%
Ind 30% 45% 54%
Biden Job App 46% 93% 6%
Biden Job Dis 53% 10% 90%

How much say should parents have in what their child’s school teaches?

Total McAuliffe Youngkin
A lot 52% 22% 77%
Some 32% 77% 23%
Not much 10% 86% 13%
Not at all 3%

Which one of these five issues is the most important facing Virginia?

Total McAuliffe Youngkin
Economy/jobs 33% 44% 55%
Education 24% 47% 53%
Taxes 15% 32% 68%
Coronavirus 15% 84% 16%
Abortion 8% 41% 58%

100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the period April 2020 to April 2021. The United States is the world “leader”.

Here are the annual death rates per 100,000 people. Norway – 5, Sweden – 4.8, Ireland – 4.6, Finland – 4.2, Denmark – 2.5, Austria – 2.2, Germany – 1.7, Netherland – 1.3, Spain – 1.0, Greece – 0.7, Italy – 0.6, France – 0.6, Poland – 0.4, Turkey – 0.4, United States – 21.1.

Here are a few examples from the U.S. of deaths per 100,000: South Dakota – 9; District of Columbia – 70; West Virginia – 90. [Washington Post – 11/17/21]

A Palindrome to be remembered: 12022021

December 22, 2021, written out numerically as 12/02/2021 is a palindrome because it reads the same backward as it does forward. This date is extra uncommon in that it can also be read upside down just the same. (To see it upside down you may have to tilt your head to the side or flip your phone upside down to see it both ways.)

There is more – 12/02/2021 is an eight-digit palindrome which occurs only 12 times in this century. The next time this occurs is March 2, 2030 – 03/02/2030.

2021 has 22 palindrome dates of at least 4 digits which will not happen again for 90 years, 2111.

This month starts with nine consecutive palindromes of at least five digits, beginning with 12/1/21 and ending with 12/9/21.

There were 10 palindrome dates last January which was headlined by the first palindrome date to fall on Inauguration Day. [Harold Feinleib]