Recent Posts

Jailed Russian hacker: I hacked Democrats 'under the command' of Russian intelligence agents

No comments
A Russian hacker believed to be a member of a hacking collective called Lurk said in court over the summer that he was ordered by Russia's security services, known as the FSB, to hack the Democratic National Committee.
The hacker, Konstantin Kozlovsky, told a Moscow court in August of this year that his nine-member hacking group - which has been accused of stealing over $17 million from Russia's largest financial institutions since 2013 - has been cooperating with the FSB for several years, according to the independentRussian news outlet The Bell . Part of that cooperation included hacking the DNC, he said.
Kozlovsky said during a hearing on August 15 that he "performed various tasks under the supervision of FSB officers," including a DNC hack and cyberattacks on "very serious military enterprises of the United States and other organizations."
Minutes from the hearing, as well as an audio recording, were posted on Kozlovsky's Facebook page . The Bell said it confirmed their authenticity with two sources, including a person who was present at the hearing. Kozlovsky also posted a letter that he wrote on November 1, 2016. The letter outlined what he said was his work for the FSB, which he said had spanned nearly a decade and, most recently, involved attacking the DNC servers.
Kozlovsky identified his FSB handler as Dmitry Dokuchaev, a cybersecurity expert who worked as a hacker under the alias "Forb" before joining the FSB. Dokuchaev has been linked to a group of hackers known as Shaltai Boltai, or Humpty Dumpty, that has published emails from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other Kremlin officials.
The cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike publicly concluded in June 2016 that hackers associated with the FSB breached the DNC in late 2015. WikiLeaks published internal committee emails during the Democratic National Committee in July 2016.

He 'did everything they said'

Kozlovsky also named Ruslan Stoyanov, a key cybercrime investigator at the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky who was arrested last December along with Dokuchaev and Sergei Mikhailov, the deputy head of the information security department of the FSB.
Mikhailov has been accused of giving US intelligence officials information about a server-rental company,King Servers , through which Russian hackers have been known to attack the US, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last December. The Bell reported earlier this month that he could soon be charged with treason.
Dokuchayev and Stoyanov have been in pretrial detention since last December on treason charges, according to independent Russian news outlet Meduza .
If confirmed, Kozlovsky's work with the FSB could undermine the Kremlin's repeated claims that it had nothing to do with DNC hacks during the 2016 campaign. And it would fit a consistent pattern in which Russian intelligence officials recruit skilled hackers to engage in cybercrime.
Hiring elite criminal hackers, or cultivating them from a young age, has allowed Russian intelligence agencies like the FSB and the GRU (Russia's military intelligence arm) both to improve their foreign espionage capabilities and keep potentially rogue hackers under government control.
The New York Times' Andrew Kramer reported on this phenomenon last December, writing that "for more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia's criminal underworld for potential talent."
"If you graduated from college, if you are a technical specialist, if you are ready to use your knowledge, we give you an opportunity," one of these ads read, according to the Times.
Kozlovsky, for his part, wrote in his November 1 letter that he began cooperating with the FSB in 2008, when he was just 16 years old. He said he was recruited by Dokuchaev and "did everything they said.

Anyone over 21 could grow weed at home under proposed Ohio ballot initiative

No comments
A group of local investors who failed in their bid to secure a state license to grow medical marijuana on Monday announced plans for a statewide ballot issue that would fully legalize marijuana.
Jimmy Gould, chairman of Cincinnati-based Green Light Acquisitions, has proposed an Ohio constitutional amendment that would allow anyone 21 or older to grow marijuana in their homes for personal use or commercial cultivation.
Gould said the ballot issue would not conflict with Ohio's current medical marijuana law but would expand legalized marijuana use among qualified adults without a physician's recommendation.

Needed: More than 300,000 signatures

Gould said he would need 305,592 signatures to place the issue before Ohio voters next year. His group plans to finalize the language in the proposal and begin circulating it next month. The initial filing deadline for the ballot proposal is July 4, 2018.
" I guess we’ll find out how much adult citizens want to be able to administer (cannabis) for themselves,'' Gould said. "I think people want to have more control over their lives.''
Gould is a longtime proponent of decriminalizing marijuana, which he said can be a useful tool for dealing with a variety of chronic conditions, including opioid addiction, which continues to plague Ohio.
He co-founded the group ResponsibleOhio, which was behind Ohio's failed Issue 3 marijuana initiative in 2015 that would have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
The measure lost in all 88 Ohio counties, with nearly two-thirds of voters statewide voting "no.''
But the new proposal "is as different from Issue 3 as night and day,'' Gould said. "We spent a lot of time and effort to get this right. This is not Issue 3 revisited.''

Dropped: Rules that doomed Issue 3

Gould said the new proposal tosses out many of the contentious items that he blames for Issue 3's ultimate defeat, including designating certain properties as the only places in Ohio where the cannabis plant could be legally grown - a stipulation would have benefitted only a handful of mega-growers.
"The concept of the rich getting richer goes right out the window with this,'' Gould said.
He said the new ballot proposal is a responsible way to fully legalize marijuana use, cultivation, possession, processing and dispensing, and regulate it like alcohol-related businesses in Ohio.
At least one critic charges the ballot proposal is simply an effort to use Ohio's democratic process for personal gain.
"The initiative constitutional amendment proposed today is yet another ill-conceived ballot initiative with dishonest intentions,'' said State Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg), who has introduced a joint resolution to change the procedures for initiating statutes and constitutional amendments. "This is another proposal attempting to use the Ohio Constitution as a means for a special interest to make a profit at the expense of the taxpayers of Ohio.''
Gould counters that his latest proposal would benefit consumers and entrepreneurs alike in a fair and equitable free-market system.
And he's confident now is the right time to introduce a new marijuana initiative, at least in part, because "a lot of time has gone by'' since Issue 3 was defeated.

Has public opinion shifted enough?  

Shifting public opinion shows more Americans are inclined to support legalized marijuana now, a trend underscored by the sheer number of states that have adopted such laws over the past several years, Gould noted.
Since 2015, more than a dozen states, including Ohio, have adopted legalized marijuana laws for either medical or recreational use or both.
Chris Lindsey, an attorney for the national advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, said voters in Ohio "just might'' embrace the new ballot proposal, although next year might not be the optimal time to introduce the measure.
"Voters are increasingly supportive around the country, and I'm sure there will be a lot of interest in Ohio,'' Lindsey said. "Younger voters tend to be very supportive of legalization, and for that reason, some might suggest the presidential election in 2020 as the best time'' to introduce the new ballot proposal.
"But Alaska and Oregon certainly didn't wait,'' he added. "They won at the polls and now have good programs.''
Both Alaska and Oregon passed legislation allowing adults to possess and grow marijuana in their homes in 2015 - a non-presidential election year.

Gould: I'll spend "whatever it takes'' 

Gould and his investors in ResponsibleOhio spent more than $20 million to get Issue 3 on the ballot in Ohio. And Gould said he would spend "whatever it takes" through donations, fundraising and direct investment to get his new proposal on the ballot.
Gould said his new ballot initiative would "run parallel'' to a lawsuit he plans to file against the state after his firm, CannAscend Ohio, and dozens of other applicants were denied "Level 1" licenses for large-scale medical marijuana growers.
The Ohio Department of Commerce earlier this month awarded 12 preliminary Level 1 licenses based on what Gould alleges was a deeply flawed selection process.
Hurting the credibility of the process is that fact that at least one of the application graders, Trevor C. Bozeman, was a convicted drug dealer. Bozeman pled guilty in 2005 to possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance in Pennsylvania and was sentenced to three years of probation.
"That stuff is just not OK,’’ Gould said. "Commerce feel asleep at the wheel. They either didn’t know, or they didn’t do background checks'' on the application graders.
"This is incompetence at best, and borders on criminal at the worst,'' he added.

Proposed amendment: The basics: 

* The "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment'' would provide for the legal cultivation, possession, processing, dispensing, use and consumption of marijuana by anyone persons 21 years of age or older.
* The amendment would control the commercial production and distribution of marijuana under a system that licenses, and regulates the businesses involved; while also providing the lawful cultivation, sale, and processing of industrial hemp.
*  The amendment would provide for the commercial cultivation, processing, and dispensing of marijuana by persons 21 or older: "If you can own a bar, or make beer, wine or spirits, you will be able to own a marijuana dispensary, processor or cultivation."
The amendment would control the commercial production and distribution of marijuana under a system that licenses, and regulates businesses involved. 
* Cities, villages and townships could approve the number of commercial marijuana businesses that may be permitted to operate in their community, and local voters would be allowed to decide if dispensaries can open in their precinct.
* No public consumption would be allowed. Smoking marijuana or marijuana products would be prohibited in any public place, in any place where smoking is prohibited, or on (or in) any form of public transportation.
* Commercial marijuana facilities could be no closer than 500 feet from a school, church day-care center or playground.
* Ohio farmers would be permitted to cultivate hemp and compete with farmers in neighboring states. 
* People 21 and older would be allowed to grow marijuana in secure, private locations inaccessible by anyone under 21.

U.S. soldier who deserted to North Korea in 1965 dies aged 77

No comments
A U.S. soldier who deserted to North Korea more than half a century ago, but who was eventually allowed to leave the secretive state, has died in Japan aged 77.
One of the Cold War's strangest dramas began in 1965 when Charles Robert Jenkins, then a 24-year-old army sergeant nicknamed "Scooter" from tiny Rich Square in North Carolina, disappeared one January night while on patrol near the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas.
At an emotional court martial in Japan in 2004, Jenkins - who had never gone to high school - said he deserted to avoid hazardous duty in South Korea and escape combat in Vietnam.
"It was Christmas time, it was also cold and dark. I started to drink alcohol. I never had drunk so much alcohol," he said in a thick Southern accent, choking back sobs.
He drank 10 beers, took his men on patrol and told them to wait while he checked the road below. He then walked towards North Korea, holding a rifle with a white t-shirt tied around it. He said he had planned to go to Russia and turn himself in, and had not expected North Korea to keep him.
While in North Korea, where he taught English to soldiers and portrayed an evil U.S. spy in a propaganda film, Jenkins met and married Hitomi Soga, a Japanese woman 20 years his junior who had been kidnapped by North Korea to help train spies.
Fear for his safety and the family he built with Soga made it impossible to refuse any demands made on him, Jenkins said.
"You don't say no to North Korea. You say one thing bad about Kim Il-sung and then you dig your own hole, because you're gone," Jenkins told his court martial, referring to the founder of the secretive state.
Soga was allowed to return to Japan in 2002 and Jenkins followed with their two North Korean-born daughters in 2004.
After serving a token 30-day sentence for desertion, Jenkins moved with his family to Sado, Soga's rural hometown, late in 2004. He subsequently worked in a gift shop and wrote a book about his experiences in North Korea.
A Sado town official confirmed his death, but could give no further details.

Clinton rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick explains why she supported Trump

No comments
A woman who accuses former President Bill Clinton of raping her during his 1978 campaign for Arkansas governor spoke out on Monday about her support for President Donald Trump. 
Juanita Broaddrick, who was a volunteer on Clinton's campaign when the alleged rape occurred, came out of relative obscurity last year during 2016 presidential campaign alongside Trump.
"Constantly asked about allegations against Pres. Trump. My reply "All allegations of sexual assault should be respectfully heard and given a fair assessment. I can only speak to my situation because I was there and lived it," Broaddrick wrote in a tweet on Monday. 
"Why did I support President Trump? I was raped by Bill Clinton & threatened by Hillary Clinton," she continued in a follow-up tweet. "I supported the one person who I believed had the chance of preventing my rapist and his enabler from being sent to the White House and back in the seat of power."

Her comments came hours after three different women who have accused Trump of misconduct spoke out during an interview with Megyn Kelly on Monday, revealing specific details of the ways in which he allegedly forced himself on or otherwise ogled the women in professional settings. 
“I just felt so gross,” one accused explained. "Just looking me over like I was a piece of meat.”
The recent flurry of sexual assault allegations have brought all claims and figures like Broaddrick's back into the spotlight, as figures from NBC News anchor Matt Lauer to Minnesota Senator Al Franken have been forced out of their jobs over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. 
Broaddrick has also criticized TIME magazine for its coverage of the so-called "Silence Breakers," naming the alleged victims who've spoken out about sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace as the "Person of the Year" for the impact they have had. 
According to Broaddrick, she was initially interviewed for TIME's coverage but did not see any of her quotes or contributions make the final coverage. 
"Time magazine asked to interview me re: #metoo movement. The comments I gave were deemed of no value. I'd like to know why. Could it be I didn't fit in their liberal victim mold," she said in a tweet last week. 

How Nazi Germany Could Have Won World War II: Not Declaring War on America?

No comments

The big what-if question. 

How Nazi Germany Could Have Won World War II: Not Declaring War on America?
Both Hitler and Roosevelt believed that war was inevitable, and they were both probably right.  Restraining the war machine in December of 1941 might have bought some additional time for Germany in the Med and (possibly) in the skies, but would have forced the Kriegsmarine to forego an offensive that it believed could win the war. And in the end, the Americans likely would have joined the conflict anyway, perhaps with less experience, but with greater overall preparation to make a decisive commitment.
What if Germany had never declared war on the United States during World War II? 
Scholars and analysts have long wondered whether this represented one of the great “what-ifs” of World War II; could the Germans have kept the United States out of the war, or at least undercut popular support for fighting in the European Theater, by declining to join the Japanese offensive?
Was the decision to declare war on the United States, effectively relieving the Roosevelt administration of the responsibility of mobilizing American sentiment for war in Europe, among Hitler’s greatest blunders? 
Probably not.  Washington and Berlin agreed that war was inevitable; the only question was who would fire the first shots.
At War:
The United States and Germany were at war in all but name well before December 1941.  Since early 1941 (at least) the United States had shipped war material and economic goods to the United Kingdom, enabling the British government to carry on with the war.  American soldiers, sailors, and airmen served in the British armed forces, albeit not in great numbers.  And in the late summer of 1941, the United States effectively found itself at war in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Greer Incident, in which a U.S. destroyer tangled with a German U-boat, served to bring the conflict into sharp focus. 
The Fireside Chat delivered by President Roosevelt on September 11, 1941 made clear that the United States was already virtually at war with Germany:
“Upon our naval and air patrol -- now operating in large number over a vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean -- falls the duty of maintaining the American policy of freedom of the seas -- now. That means, very simply, very clearly, that our patrolling vessels and planes will protect all merchant ships -- not only American ships but ships of any flag -- engaged in commerce in our defensive waters. They will protect them from submarines; they will protect them from surface raiders.
It is no act of war on our part when we decide to protect the seas that are vital to American defense. The aggression is not ours. Ours is solely defense.
But let this warning be clear. From now on, if German or Italian vessels of war enter the waters, the protection of which is necessary for American defense, they do so at their own peril.”
This declaration did not simply apply to U.S. territorial waters. The United States would escort convoys filled with military equipment to Europe with surface ships and anti-submarine craft, firing at will against any German submarines, ships or planes that they encountered.
Moreover, even U.S. ground forces had begun to participate in the war.  In early July 1941, the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, with Navy support, began deploying to Iceland. The Americans relieved British and Canadian troops who had invaded the island a year earlier.
In the long run, Hitler (and the rest of the German government) believed that confrontation with the United States was virtually inevitable.  The U.S. had intervened in 1917 on behalf of Russia, France, and the United Kingdom; it was almost certain to do so again.  U.S. behavior in 1941 reaffirmed this belief. Starting the war on German terms, before the U.S. was prepared to effectively defend itself, was the consensus position within the German political and military elite.
And so Germany declared war on the United States not out of a fit of pique, but rather because it believed that the United States was already effectively a belligerent, and that wider operations against the U.S. would help win the war. In particular, the Axis declaration of war enabled an operation that the Germans believed was key to driving Britain out of the conflict; a concerted submarine attack against U.S. commercial shipping.  Although the Kriegsmarine had targeted U.S. vessels in the months and years before Pearl Harbor, it radically stepped up operations in the first months of 1942, launching a major effort just off the U.S. Atlantic seaboard.
The German tactics were devastatingly effective against a U.S. military that lacked good tactics, equipment, and procedures for fighting the U-boats.  For their part, British military and political authorities worried that the German offensive might work, destroying enough shipping to cut Britain’s lifeline to North America. The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force quickly dispatched advisors to the United States in an effort to staunch the bleeding, but 1942 nevertheless proved the most devastating year of the war for shipping losses.  Overall, Operation Drumbeat proved far more successful for the Axis than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
But What If…
If, despite all this, Germany and Italy had somehow managed to avoid an open declaration of war against the United States, conflict would have continued in the North Atlantic. The U.S. would have continued to supply Britain and the Soviet Union with war material, potentially with somewhat more secure lines of supply, especially if the Germans continued to avoid attacks along the Atlantic seaboard.
In the real war, U.S. air, naval, and ground forces made their first decisive contribution in the Mediterranean. Plenty of analysts, now and then, have questioned the strategic logic of the Mediterranean campaign, but in the long run it helped beat U.S. ground and air forces into shape.  If the U.S. had maintained formal neutrality, Operation Torch (the invasion of North Africa) might never have happened, and progress in the Med would have come much more slowly.
U.S. participation in the Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO), designed to destroy German industry and morale and drive the Third Reich from the war, might also have developed more slowly.  Given the limited impact and immense cost of the CBO in its early stages, however, it’s unclear how much of a net impact on the tides of war that this would have made.
A reduced U.S. combat commitment in the Atlantic could have led to a greater effort in the Pacific, although it’s difficult to see what impact that would have made in the first year of the war.  Over time, the U.S. built up an enormous advantage over the Japanese; this would have happened even more quickly with a smaller commitment to Europe. Still, the overwhelming superiority that the U.S. exhibited in 1944 depended on technology, training, and the availability of ships that remained on the slipways in 1942. Schemes to step up the fight in China or in Southeast Asia suffered from immeasurable logistical problems, which the U.S. could not solve until 1944 in any case.
The Final Salvo
Both Hitler and Roosevelt believed that war was inevitable, and they were both probably right.  Restraining the war machine in December of 1941 might have bought some additional time for Germany in the Med and (possibly) in the skies, but would have forced the Kriegsmarine to forego an offensive that it believed could win the war. And in the end, the Americans likely would have joined the conflict anyway, perhaps with less experience, but with greater overall preparation to make a decisive commitment.

Poverty: 10 Cities With the Most Homeless People

No comments
America may be the land of 2,600-square-foot starter homes with massive walk-in closets, but many people living in the United States will go to sleep tonight without a roof over their heads. Although the total homeless population has fallen almost 14% since 2010, there are still close to 550,000 people in the U.S. who don’t have a fixed abode, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Unsurprisingly, larger metros, such as New York and Los Angeles, had bigger populations of homeless people than smaller cities, but homelessness is a problem in towns of all sizes. In Honolulu, with a population of less than 400,000, there were nearly 5,000 homeless. Orange County, California; Nassau and Suffolk Counties on New York’s Long Island; and Monterey, California, all had homeless populations above 3,000. In Wyoming, the state with the smallest population, there are 857 homeless men and women.

Counting the homeless

Those figures are alarming enough, but the number of people who are actually homeless might be even higher. HUD’s estimates of the homeless population come from annual point-in-time counts conducted in cities nationwide in January. During those counts, volunteers survey the number of homeless people living in emergency shelter or transitional housing (the sheltered homeless), as well as on the street, under bridges, in their cars, or in other places not typically used as residences (the unsheltered homeless). People who lack permanent housing of their own but are staying with friends and family aren’t counted, nor are people who are living in hotels or motels. Specifically, homeless women, children, and young people might be undercounted.
Nonetheless, HUD’s point-in-time counts still provide the clearest overall snapshot of homelessness in the United States. And though those numbers indicate the homeless population has been on the decline for the past five years, thousands of people in cities across the U.S. — including about 120,000 children — still lack permanent, stable housing.
In 2016, these 10 U.S. cities had the largest homeless populations

10. Philadelphia 

Total homeless: 6,112
A 26% poverty rate, low wages, high housing costs, and a lack of affordable transportation all contribute to the problem of homelessness in Philadelphia, according to Project Home, a local nonprofit group. An opiate addiction crisis is also causing the homeless population in the city to grow, reported.

9. Las Vegas 

Total homeless: 6,208 (includes Clark County)
The number of homeless in Las Vegas dropped by over 1,000 from 2015 to 2016. But the city still has a large number of homeless youth and unsheltered homeless, according to HUD. Half of the homeless in the city were suffering from mental illness, according to the Nevada Homeless Alliance. Many others were victims of domestic violence.

8. Boston 

Total homeless: 6,240
In Boston, 3,755 of the 6,240 homeless people are part of families with children. In Massachusetts overall, the number of homeless families has more than doubled in the past nine years, according to the Boston Globe. Relatively few people in Boston are sleeping out of doors because Massachusetts is one of the few places in the U.S. where most homeless have a legal right to shelter. (New York and Washington, D.C., are the others.)

7. San Jose and Santa Clara, California 

Total homeless: 6,524 (includes San Jose and Santa Clara City and County)
San Jose might be at the heart of wealthy Silicon Valley, but it’s also home to one of the largest homeless populations in the U.S. Some of the homeless KQED said they worked full-time jobs but still couldn’t afford to rent in one of the most expensive cities in the country.
Inadequate shelter space mean a significant number of homeless in San Jose and the surrounding area live on the streets or in their cars, including 88% of the city’s 885 homeless young people. Sixty-four percent of homeless veterans in the city also lacked shelter, the largest percentage in the country.

6. San Francisco 

Total homeless: 6,996
HUD estimates there are just under 7,000 homeless in San Francisco, but the real number might be much higher. Local authorities and nonprofit groups estimate the real homeless population is somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000. The city has only 1,300 shelter beds, which means many homeless end up sleeping on the street, in tent encampments, and other spots around the city.

5. District of Columbia 

Total homeless: 8,350
The number of homeless in Washington, D.C., grew by 34% between 2009 and 2016, an analysis of HUD by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found. The city has 124 homeless for every 100,000 residents. The high cost of living in the nation’s capital is to blame, local experts told the New York Times. Some low-wage workers, especially single mothers with children, simply can’t find stable, affordable housing.

4. San Diego 

Total homeless: 8,669 (includes San Diego City and San Diego County)
Like many cities on this list, a lack of affordable housing is a key component of the homelessness crisis in San Diego. Even people who get housing vouchers are often unable to use them because of low vacancy rates and high rents, KPBS reported. Plus, redevelopment downtown has caused cheap, single-room occupancy units to vanish, pushing people onto the street. San Diego also has the second-largest population of homeless veterans in the country, at 1,156 people.

3. Seattle 

Total homeless: 10,730 (includes all of King County)
Rising rents and cuts to government programs are partly to blame for Seattle’s large homeless population. The city has struggled to figure out what to do about the number of people living on the streets and in encampments. One innovative solution involved building tiny houses to serve as temporary housing for the homeless, though only a few dozen units have actually been constructed. The city’s mayor, Ed Murray, has also said he plans to pursue a property-tax levy that would provide millions of dollars to help combat homelessness.

2. Los Angeles 

Total homeless: 43,854 (includes both Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County)
Los Angeles has more chronically homeless, homeless veterans, and homeless young people than any other city in the country. Seventy-five percent of all homeless people in Los Angeles are living on the streets, in their cars, or in other makeshift situations, the second-highest rate of in the country.
The sky-high cost of housing in the city is largely to blame for the homelessness crisis, the Los Angeles Timesreported. But some relief is in sight. In November 2016, voters approved a bond measure that would cover the cost of building 10,000 permanent homes for the homeless in the next 10 years.

1. New York  

Total homeless: 73,523
Thirteen percent of all homeless people in the United States live in New York City. The city has a large number of homeless, but only about 4% of them live on the street, according to HUD. Homeless people in New York are legally entitled to shelter, but because of a lack of shelter space, the city has been spending millions of dollars every year to house the homeless in hotels, the New York Times reported.

This Is the Unhappiest State in America in 2017

No comments
Do you think your state promotes happiness and well-being? If you live in Utah, Minnesota, or Hawaii, you may be more inclined to answer “yes,” as those three states are said to be the happiest in the nation. A report from WalletHub analyzed 28 factors that affect a person’s happiness, including self-reported items like satisfaction with life and physical and emotional health, along with data like depression rates, income, unemployment, volunteerism, and the number of hours spent at work.
The report ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a 100-point scale. One view of the report shows we could all use a little more happiness. Even top-rated Minnesota only scored 70.81, suggesting that there’s always room for improvement. While you may not think your state affects your happiness, experts agree that location can play a role. Factors like a sunny locale may improve happiness, but other elements are at play, too.
“It [location] can matter a lot, but it’s not always in the ways we might imagine. Sometimes, living near a valued community is more important than white sandy beaches,” Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center and professor in the Media Psychology Program at Fielding Graduate University, told WalletHub. “In a perfect world, you would seek balance between valued social connections, ability to use one’s strengths, being part of a larger purpose and having psychologically supporting and aesthetic surroundings.”
While we likely need to take steps to improve our own happiness, you may be up against additional challenges in the 10 most unhappy states — especially the one ranked worst.

15. Ohio 

Happiness rating: 49.67
We start of our list of unhappiest states in Ohio. To arrive at the overall ranking, states received scores in three main categories: Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Work Environment, and Community & Environment. The Buckeye State ranked right in the middle (No. 25) for Community and Work Environment — not so bad. But its other categories fell toward the bottom of the list, landing it just barely on our list of the unhappiest states to live in.

14. Nevada 

Happiness rating: 48.95
Nevada has the lowest income growth and the highest divorce rate of all 50 states, which are both detrimental to its happiness ranking (especially in the Community & Environment category). It also has a low volunteer rate, contributing to its overall ranking as the No. 14 unhappiest state.

13. South Carolina 

Happiness rating: 48.55
South Carolina’s beauty can’t keep the sadness away. It ranks very low (No. 45) in the Community & Environment category, likely influenced by its fourth worst safety rating. It’s Work Environment ranking is much better, at No. 30, keeping it out of the contenders for most unhappy state in the U.S.

12. Wyoming 

Happiness rating: 46.96
You’d think those gorgeous mountains would make Wyoming a happier place to live. But the Cowboy State has its fair share of issues. Its fourth worst in the Work Environment category, with its suicide rate (the highest in the country) and long work hours contributing to this. As the No. 12 unhappiest state overall, Wyoming’s Community and Environment ranking (No. 30) keeps it out of the top 10. The bright side: This state has the third highest income growth in the nation.

11. New Mexico 

Happiness rating: 45.53
The Land of Enchantment is not so enchanting when you consider its long-term unemployment rate — the worst in the country. This, as well as high suicide and divorce rates make it nearly one of the 10 most unhappy states. It squeaks by at No. 11 overall, with an especially bad Work Environment category (No. 45).

10. Alaska 

Happiness rating: 45.43
Alaska actually did okay with its Emotional & Physical Well-Being, with a No. 23 ranking. But the other categories decimated The Last Frontier’s happiness rating. Out of all 50 states, it scored last in Community & Environment and second to last in Work Environment. What contributed to this sadness? It has a very high suicide rate and residents work long hours.

9. Tennessee 

Happiness rating: 44.29
Tennessee ranked No. 38 for the Community & Environment category and No. 45 for the Emotional & Physical Well-Being category. A No. 17 ranking in the Work Environment category kept the state from a worse overall ranking. Despite other dings on Tennessee’s record, the state scored closer to the middle of the pack for other categories; it didn’t rank in the top five for any. Sorry, Volunteer State.

8. Missouri 

Happiness rating: 43.86
Missouri actually ranked No. 26 in the nation for Work Environment, which isn’t so terrible. But it scored quite poorly in the Community & Environment category, ranking at No. 44. That category includes items like the rate of volunteerism, the divorce rate, and population growth, among other things. What really got Missouri was it’s ranking in the top five worst states for safety (taken from the safety rankings of another WalletHub analysis.

7. Kentucky 

Happiness rating: 41.69
Kentucky’s happiness rating shows there’s a lot of room for improvement, particularly in the Emotional & Physical Well-Being category. The Bluegrass State scored a 46 in this area, in part because of low rates of adequate sleep (third worst state) and low rates of sports participation (fifth worst state) diagnoses.

6. Mississippi 

Happiness rating: 38.89
The rest of the unhappy states’ ratings stay below the 40-point threshold. In this case, the Magnolia State ranked fourth worst in the nation for the Community & Environment section. Sub-par rankings in the other categories also contribute to Mississippi being one of the top 10 unhappiest states in the nation. It ranked as the worst state for rates of sports participation and it has the second worst volunteer rate in the nation. It also scored poorly for safety and divorce rates. Mississippi has some work to do.

5. Arkansas 

Happiness rating: 37.33
Although Arkansas has a middle-of-the-road Work Environment ranking, it has the absolute worst scores concerning Emotional & Physical Well-Being. Factors that likely contribute to this situation: It has a high rate of adult depression (third worst) and low rate of sports participation (second worst).

4. Alabama 

Happiness rating: 36.60
Alabama has actually improved since last year — from second most unhappy state to fourth. That’s progress! But the Cotton State still has a poor Emotional and Physical Well-Being ranking, coming in at No. 47 compared to the rest of the nation. In fact, all of the state’s category rank No. 42 or worse. Among other factors, residents in the state report having trouble getting adequate sleep.

3. Louisiana 

Happiness rating: 35.35
Louisiana ranks last in the Work Environment category, and it ranks third worst in the Community & Environment category. What makes its residents so sad? The Pelican State has a low rate of sports participation, but people work a lot. It has one of the lowest volunteer rates and one of the highest divorce rates. It’s also not known for being a safe place to live. Unfortunately, this all sounds like a recipe for unhappiness.

2. Oklahoma 

Happiness rating: 34.97
Oklahoma really struggles with its Emotional & Physical Well-Being, but it improved two spots from last year when it ranked last in this category. It has the third worst sports participation rate and the third worst safety ranking. Its Community & Environment rank was its top-scoring category, but not enough to make it a better place to live. Oklahoma is our second most unhappy state.

1. West Virginia 

Happiness rating: 34.89
Despite ranking No. 31 for Community & Environment, poor ratings in the other categories deemed West Virginia the unhappiest state in the nation. High rates of depression really hurt the Mountain State’s  Work Environment score; it ranks as the third worst.
Of course, having a statewide low ranking doesn’t mean all individuals are automatically unhappy — or should view this as a concern automatically. “Based on my extensive research, I would say that intentional positivity is the key to a happy life,” Carolyn M. Youssef-Morgan, Redding Chair of Business at Bellevue University, told WalletHub. “The intentional piece about this is that positivity is a choice,” she added, explaining that roughly 40% of our happiness is determined by our own ability to consciously choose contentment. While factors like personality, family income, and where you live are at play, learned traits like effective goal-setting and intentionally acting more positively can also affect overall happiness.