July 19, 2008

Greg Norman leads British Open

Golf has more randomness than most other sports, so it often has weirder storylines than say, tennis, where the same few people dominate for several years on end. For example, with one round left in the British Open, the leader by two shots is 53-year-old Greg Norman, whom I had assumed until this weekend had given up the game to concentrate on his many business interests.

Norman was the dominant personality of the 1985 to 1996 era in golf, between the primes of Tom Watson and Tiger Woods. He never won as much as you'd expect from his talent, partly for his own fault (e.g., his collapse in 1996 Masters after leading by six strokes) and partly through bad luck (he might have won three straight major championships in 1986-87, but his opponents chipped in on the last hole for miracle birdies). He was probably the greatest driver off the tee for length and accuracy since Sam Snead. But his charismatic personality might have been a too swashbuckling for golf, which most rewards ultra-disciplined people like Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.

The question about Norman was always why this magnificent specimen of rampant masculinity had chosen golf, rather than, say, rugby, Australian rules football, or even boxing (which was seriously suggested in Golf Digest). Considering the popularity of Australian leading men in recent decades, he might have made his fortune as a movie star. Thus, it wasn't surprising when he became one of the few top pros to largely give up golf as he reached 50, the age at which most start competing on the pleasant little Champions Tour. Maybe golf really wasn't his game.

Norman attributes the resurgence of his golf game to playing lots of tennis with his new bride, Chris Evert, the great ladies' tennis champion. They were married earlier this year after mutual messy divorces. Evert is both very competitive and very feminine, which has made for an interesting private life, with her name linked romantically over the years to various hard-chargers such as Jimmy Connors, Burt Reynolds, and Geraldo Rivera. So, it's not surprising she's ended up with as extraordinary an alpha male as Norman.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The Half Sigma theory

Half Sigma writes:

IQ is more highly correlated with life outcomes for people with below average to average IQs. Most career tracks have an IQ floor, and if your IQ isn't high enough to meet the floor level, you can't perform that job adequately. Few career tracks have IQ floors much higher than 115, so if your IQ is higher than that, your parental wealth and connections become very important.

Thus, the higher your IQ, the more important the wealth of your parents becomes (the very opposite of what most people think). People with exceptionally high IQs but inadequate parents often have poor life outcomes because of the mismatch.

So, JFK and GWB would be examples of people just above the Presidential IQ cutoff who became Presidents because of their fathers.

An interesting idea. I haven't had time to assess it, but it seems worth thinking about.

In general, let me say that I check in on Half Sigma regularly because, while we have fairly similar approaches, he often winds up with ideas I wouldn't get to myself.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

July 18, 2008

Presidential Timber?

First-term Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC) is often mentioned along with Sen. James Webb (D-VA) as the kind of hillbilly moderate-conservative Democrat who might do well on the national stage. Shuler, was the runner-up for the Heisman trophy at the U. of Tennessee in 1993. He later returned to school, finished his degree in psychology, started a successful real estate firm, and won election to Congress in 2006.

That's the good news. On the other hand, he was a complete bust in the NFL, listed by one count as the 17th biggest flop of the last quarter century in sports. This may have something to do with his reported Wonderlic IQ score of 16, which translates to about a 90.

Shuler replies that he didn't take the test seriously.

On the other other other hand, he named his children "Navy" and "Island," so maybe the Wonderlic score does say something about him.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

July 17, 2008

Newspaper Sentence of the Day

From the Wilmington (DE) News Journal:
Increasing the number of black male librarians has become a hot topic.

More fully:

According to a 2007 report from the American Library Association, of the nation's almost 110,000 credentialed librarians -- that is, librarians with master's degrees -- 19 percent are men, 4.5 percent are black, and 0.5 percent are black men. The number of Latino men is just slightly higher -- 25 more nationwide.

By comparison, black women make up 4.2 percent of credentialed librarians, with Latina women at 1.4 percent.

Increasing the number of black male librarians has become a hot topic. At a recent conference in California, library association leaders dedicated a diversity program to finding ways to attract more black men to the profession.

I don't know about these days, but a couple of decades ago when I was in the marketing research business, we always had our eye out for hiring research librarians interested in switching to a higher paying career. A librarian who was okay with numbers was a good fit for many marketing research jobs, and we paid a lot better than libraries did. Why is it blacks' interest to get recruited into a notoriously low-paying career?

This just reminds me of something I wrote for National Review in 1995:

On campus, however, the automatic reaction whenever an embarrassing shortfall of blacks in any field is pointed out is another affirmative action campaign. For example, architecture schools have been attempting for years to recruit more blacks and Hispanics. Now, I commend a career in architecture to any young person with a trust fund, but the less privileged should remember that architecture pays wretchedly for the first decade or two (or three or four). Conservative critics of quotas often argue that lowering entrance standards for minorities is Bad, but that more intensely recruiting minorities is Good. Yet, seldom does any race-based recruitment campaign stem from a hardheaded analysis of what's in the best interest of the minorities. Instead, affirmative action is an automatic response by white leaders to their discomfort over their Black Lack. African-Americans have enough problems of their own without taking on this new Black Man's Burden of helping whites feel better about themselves.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Great moments in trustworthy spam pen names

The folks who send out fraudulent phishing email from Nigeria and elsewhere don't always have a well-developed sense of what names would strike rich dumb Americans as confidence-inspiring. Here, for example, is the beginning of an email rescued from my Junk file:

CAHOOT Bank has been receiving complaints from our customers for unauthorised use of the CAHOOT Online accounts. As a result we periodically review CAHOOT Online Accounts and temporarily restrict access of those accounts which we think are vunerable to the unauthorised use.

I don't think they quite have a handle on what the phrase "in cahoots" implies to Americans.

LA Times: "Why do Asian students generally get higher marks than Latinos?"

Hector Becerra of the LA Times visits a high school near downtown LA that has basically no whites or blacks, and asks students and teachers "Why do Asian students generally get higher marks than Latinos?"

Lincoln Heights is mostly a working-class Mexican American area, but it's also a first stop for Asian immigrants, many of them ethnic Chinese who fled Vietnam.

With about 2,500 students, Lincoln High draws from parts of Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Chinatown.

Both the neighborhood and student body are about 15% Asian. And yet Asians make up 50% of students taking Advanced Placement classes. Staffers can't remember the last time a Latino was valedictorian.

"A lot of my friends say the achievement gap is directly attributable to the socioeconomic status of students, and that is not completely accurate," O'Connell said. "It is more than that."

But what is it? O'Connell called a summit in Sacramento that drew 4,000 educators, policymakers and experts to tackle the issue. Some teachers stomped out in frustration and anger.

No Lincoln students stomped out of their discussion. Neither did any teachers in a similar Lincoln meeting. But the observations were frank, and they clearly made some uncomfortable.

To begin with, the eight students agreed on a few generalities: Latino and Asian students came mostly from poor and working-class families.

According to a study of census data, 84% of the Asian and Latino families in the neighborhoods around Lincoln High have median annual household incomes below $50,000. And yet the Science Bowl team is 90% Asian, as is the Academic Decathlon team. ...

Asian parents are more likely to pressure their children to excel academically, the students agreed. ...

The journalist winds up with the usual George W. Bush-style postmodernist explanation -- the soft bigotry of low expectations. If only everybody would just assume the two groups are equal, then they would be.

Try and falsify that proposition!

Of course, the long article doesn't mention the two dread letters, but, on the other hand, there is a lot of evidence that Chinese tend to overachieve and Mexican-Americans tend to underachieve relative to their IQs. Family expectations and pressure are certainly a plausible explanation for over vs. underachievement.

The subtler question that I want to focus on, though, is whether it's better, all else being equal, for Hispanics to be in a school that's 85% Hispanic and 15% Chinese or in a school that is 100% Hispanic?

That's a tough problem for social science to crack since all else is never equal. If the school was really bad, it wouldn't be 15% Asian -- the Chinese parents would get their kids out. So you can assume that Lincoln isn't a really awful, dangerous school like, say, Jefferson, where there were brown vs. black race riots a few years ago. Not a lot of Chinese at Jefferson. (Here's Roger D. McGrath's 2005 American Conservative article on Jefferson High. By the way, I don't think there are many high schools that are perpetually 85% black and 15% Asian -- it sounds unstable -- but I could be wrong.)

I don't have much of a hunch what a good study would find. I could see it going either way. Having 15% Asians around might help the smart, nerdy Hispanics find friends, and might keep better teachers around the school. (Good teachers like to teach -- i.e., to impart learning -- so good teachers gravitate toward schools with good students -- i.e., those more able and willing to be taught.) Being 15% Asian means there are enough advanced students around to justify advanced classes.

On the other hand, having an "academic-dominant minority" of Asians in a high school may well further racialize attitudes toward studying. If your name ends in Z and you are a student at Lincoln, what's the point of setting out in 9th grade to be valedictorian? No Hispanic has been valedictorian at Lincoln H.S. since the mind of man runs not to the contrary. To study hard is to act Asian, to betray La Raza. If Mexican students tried to beat the Chinese at their own game, and failed, well, that would just prove the Chinese are smarter. So it's better for Mexican racial self-esteem to make sure nobody even tries, to proclaim that studying is just something Asians high school students do because they're, uh, no good at tagging and getting pregnant.

That's basically what the most respected institutions in our society -- the LA Times, the State Superintendent of Schools, etc. -- tell them to think, right? That there can't possibly be an innate intelligence gap between the Mexicans and the Chinese, because if there were, it would be the worst thing in the history of the world. It would mean that Hitler was right, that Nazis should rule America. So, to prevent a Nazi takeover, the Hispanic students will do their part by screwing off instead of studying. (It's not hard to persuade teens not to study.)

In contrast, at a 100% Hispanic school like Garfield or Roosevelt (nearby East LA schools that don't include Chinatown -- Jaime Escalante taught AP Calculus at Garfield), well, somebody Hispanic has to be valedictorian each year. So, trying to be valedictorian there, while nerdy and uncool, is likely to be less racially fraught than at an integrated school.

As I said, I don't really know which way it would go. People have similarly argued over this type of question concerning Historically Black Colleges for a long time -- is a black kid with an 1100 SAT score better off at Howard where he'd quite competitive academically or at Georgetown, where he'd feel like Michelle Obama did at Princeton and Harvard Law School?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

July 16, 2008

They're all whores

From the Washington Post:

Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, was president of the Homeownership Alliance, which advocates the expansion of homeownership through low-interest mortgages funded by Fannie and Freddie. Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., who is heading McCain's vice presidential vetting panel, was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae. Mark Buse, a longtime McCain aide, lobbied for Freddie Mac before returning to McCain's Senate staff.

And the list of Republican Fannie and Freddie lobbyists includes some of its most notable rogues -- including Tony Rudy, Edwin Buckham, Kevin Ring and David H. Safavian, all of whom were linked to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal -- as well as some of its leading power brokers, from Reagan White House chief of staff Kenneth M. Duberstein to uberlobbyists Vin Weber and Tom Korologos. Alberto R. Cardenas, one of McCain's top fundraisers, has lobbied for Fannie Mae, as have former Montana governor Marc Racicot and tax-cut advocate Grover Norquist.

Obama also has ties to the firms. James A. Johnson, the former head of his vice presidential vetting panel, was a chief executive of Fannie Mae, as was Franklin D. Raines, who said this week that he has been consulting with the campaign on housing issues. Maria Echaveste, a top Clinton White House official whose husband, Christopher Edley Jr., is a close Obama friend and adviser, has lobbied for Freddie Mac, and former commerce secretary William M. Daley, a top Obama backer, was an in-house lobbyist.

Other Democratic luminaries who have advocated for the mortgage giants include strategist Steven Elmendorf, Rep. Doris Matsui (Calif.), former Al Gore aide Ronald A. Klain, former Clinton aide Steve Ricchetti and former congressman Harold E. Ford Jr. (Tenn.), now the head of the Democratic Leadership Council. Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, was also vice chairman of Fannie Mae.

That payroll has cost Fannie and Freddie nearly $200 million in lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade, according to lobbying reports and Federal Election Commission disclosures. It has also won them plenty of protection from calls for greater regulation, less federal protection, and even nationalization.

From Robert Novak's column:

As financial storm signals appeared the past 18 months, some Bush officials urged drastic reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But, according to internal government sources, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson objected because it would look "too political." The Republican administration kept its hands off the government-backed mortgage companies that are closely connected to the Democratic establishment.

Paulson is a Republican, but as head of the Goldman Sachs investment bank he had close ties with Democratic-dominated Fannie Mae.

After prominent Democrat James A. Johnson's departure from Fannie following eight years as chairman and chief executive, and after Johnson joined the ZymoGenetics biopharmaceutical firm, he was named head of Goldman Sachs's compensation committee, helping to set Paulson's abundant salary there.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Save the Ants!

Nicholas Wade has lunch with Sociobiology author Edward O. Wilson and hears about the 79-year-old's upcoming first novel:

Over lunch he describes his novel in progress, currently titled “Anthill.” Its contents have occasioned certain differences of emphasis between himself and his publisher, even though it was his editor at Norton, Robert Weil, who suggested he write it. Dr. Wilson would like ants to play a large role in the novel, given all the useful lessons that can be drawn from their behavior. The publisher sees a larger role for people and a smaller, at most ant-sized, role for ants. The novel is rotating through draft after draft as this tension is worked out.

Dr. Wilson has won two Pulitzer Prizes for literature, but that is no shield against a publisher’s quest for perfection. “They said, ‘You can do better than that, Ed,’ ” he recalled. “I wrote another draft. They said, ‘This is great, Ed, but we need more emotion, ambivalence.’ ” In the next draft, he plans to have the human characters stand alone, without the ants if necessary.

C'mon, Norton, there are a million novels about people already. What are the chances that a 79-year-old first time novelist's novel about people is going to be terribly special? In contrast, how many novels are there about ants? And how many have been written by the world's leading authority on ants?

Save the ants!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Inherently funny numbers

When I lived in Chicago, the funniest temperature to see displayed on a bank sign in January was:


Now, the NYT has a poll of black voters' preference in the Obama-McCain race that's almost as amusing:

89 - 2

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

July 15, 2008

The real problem with Wikipedia ...

... is not its reliability, which isn't bad. Instead, in its obsession with being trustworthy, it is determined to lack style, to wage a relentless war against insight and panache. In other words, it's boring.

Obviously, Wikipedia doesn't pay writers, so it typically gets what it pays for in terms of quality writing. Worse is its institutional focused on exterminating whatever bits of good prose get into Wikipedia in the first place. For example, a few years ago I was researching the long-running Mike Judge animated sit-com King of the Hill. In the middle of Wikipedia's informative but ho-hum posting was a 900 word essay on the social themes of the show that stood out for its grace, wit, and acumen. About halfway through it, I realized this part had undoubtedly been written by Kevin Michael Grace, The Ambler.

Tonight, I checked back to see how badly the self-appointed editors had sucked the life out of Kevin's essay, only to find it was completely gone. Typical.

In contrast, for the last week I've been reading my 1971 Encyclopedia Britannica's enormous article on "World Wars." Individual sections are written by authors identified only by their initials, such as "B.H.L.H." The corporate style is fairly terse and stodgy; still, it's an exciting read, in part because of the creativity of authors. For example, B.H.L.H. commented on the British forces' capture of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks in late 1917, after starting in Egypt a long year before:
"As a moral success the feat was valuable, but from the strategic point of view it seemed a long way round to the goal. If Turkey be pictured as a bent old man, the British, after missing their blow at his head (Istanbul) and omitting to strike at his heart (Alexandretta), had now resigned themselves to swallowing him from the feet upward, like a python dragging its endless length across the desert."

B.H.L.H. is of course Capt. Basil H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970), one of the best known and most controversial of military historians and innovators, who contributed to the development of tank warfare. In its clunking style, Wikipedia explains:
"He was Military Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph from 1925-1935, and The Times, 1935-1939. Later he began publishing military histories and biographies of great commanders who, he thought, were great because they illustrated the principles of good strategy. Among these were Scipio Africanus Major, William Tecumseh Sherman and T. E. Lawrence."

I especially like the "great commanders who, he thought, were great" part. I would bet that one man can't write that badly himself -- he needs editors looking over his shoulder to stick in the "he thought" part to keep it all neutral and reliable.

Is B.H.L.H. a completely reliable guide to events in which he played a minor role and later played a major role in interpreting? Of course not. Still, his writing is interesting and memorable, unlike Wikipedia's.

In case you are wondering, I have no first hand experience with writing or editing anything for Wikipedia. My closest experience is watching my 12-year-old son write half of one long Wikipedia article.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The War You Never Hear About

When I was a kid, somebody started saying that outfielder Joe Rudi of the Oakland A's was the most underrated player in baseball. After a few years, he was famous for being not famous. By 1974, he was second in the press' league MVP voting even though he was only the second best hitter on his team (OPS .818), well behind Reggie Jackson (OPS .905), who came in 4th in the MVP vote. Rudi was a fine player and he was genuinely underrated for a little while because the Oakland pitcher's park held down his statistics, but it got to be a running gag pretty fast.

Similarly, you always hear about how you never hear about the Eastern Front in WWII.

What you actually never hear about is the Eastern Front in WWI. That was one wild war, with all the second string empires bashing each other about all over the map each year, until the Germans would scrape together the 6 or 12 divisions they could spare from the Western Front and go over and bail out the Austrians with brilliant generalship.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

NYT: Violent criminals tend to be in proper shape for committing criminal violence

Eric Nagourney writes in the Health section of the New York Times:

Thinking about a life of crime? You may want to hit the gym first.

A new study that looked at the physical characteristics of about 5,000 Arkansas inmates found that most were athletically fit when they entered prison. The researchers referred to them as mesomorphs.

Oh, there were also endomorphs and ectomorphs — fatties and skinnies to the lay people. But the study found that they were less likely to have been imprisoned for violent crimes.

The researchers, whose study appears in The Social Science Journal, used body mass index, a measure of height and weight, to assess fitness.

Scientists have long explored whether physical traits play a role in criminality — a field that has fallen into disrepute when its practitioners advanced claims about characteristics like race.

The new study does find that mesomorphs make up an unusually large percentage of the prison population, from 62 percent to 73 percent.

But that does not mean that being fit is a predictor of criminal tendencies, said one of the authors, Jeffery T. Walker of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“Those who are fit may have personalities that are more likely to make them violent,” Dr. Walker said in an e-mail message.

“In essence,” Dr. Walker said, “what drives them to be fit also drives them to be violent. It is also likely that those who are fit find themselves in violent situations more.”

Hmmhmmhmm, what could possibly be the underlying link between being muscular and being aggressive? Thank God this is a "field that has fallen into disrepute" due to political correctness. Otherwise, somebody might have learned something by now.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Obama: Is he Jonathan Livingston Seagull or Sammy Glick?

There are two remarkably contrasting articles out this week on the Presidential frontrunner.

Newsweek offers us a cover story on Sen. Obama's religion, "Finding His Faith," that is so skeptically insightful that you'd think it was written by Will.I.Am and Scarlett Johanson and edited by David Axelrod.

Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker has a much more informative article on Obama's coldly calculated rise to power in Chicago from 1991-2004: "Making It: How Chicago Shaped Obama."
Like many politicians, Obama is paradoxical. He is by nature an incrementalist, yet he has laid out an ambitious first-term agenda (energy independence, universal health care, withdrawal from Iraq). He campaigns on reforming a broken political process, yet he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist. He runs as an outsider, but he has succeeded by mastering the inside game. He is ideologically a man of the left, but at times he has been genuinely deferential to core philosophical insights of the right.

Lizza doesn't provide much explanation of what Obama wants to do as President, although he makes it clear that that's kind of like asking Tiger Woods what he wants to do if he wins the US Open: Tiger wants to be the U.S. Open champion, just as Obama wants to be President. Among people who run for President, only weirdos like Ron Paul want to be President primarily in order to do something or other. Normal candidates want to be President in order to be President.

Obama has been thinking about running for President at least since 1992:
According to a recent biography of Obama by the Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell, he even told his future brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, that he might run for President one day.

It's hard to blame him when practically everybody Lizza interviews claimed that the first time they met Obama they figured he'd be President someday. For years, people have been subconsciously longing for the Half-Blood Prince, the half-black half-white unifier of our contentious extended families. That kind of "You are the one we've been waiting for" response had to go to his head.

The stumbling block, though, was that Obama had been trying to turn himself into an African-American since he was a little boy in Indonesia, but African-American voters didn't like him as much as they liked more naturally African-American politicians.

As I've long speculated, the turning point in Obama's career, according to Lizza's account, was when the state senator from upscale mixed-race Hyde Park (home of the U. of Chicago) was crushingly defeated at the hands of Bobby Rush, a Black Panther turned Congressman, in a heavily black district in the 2000 Democratic primary. (Obama's second book makes it sound like he fell into a prolonged depression after his defeat, although that may be just Obama Oprahizing his otherwise charmed life. Lizza has nothing on that, one way or another.)

After that, it appears from Lizza's well-researched article, is when Obama finally realized he'd never be black enough to beat black candidates among black voters. Yet, he was both white enough and black enough to win among white voters:

A South Side operator named Al Kindle, a large man with a booming voice, was a field operator for Obama’s race against [Black Panther turned Congressman Bobby] Rush [in the 2000 Democratic primary] . He had helped elect Harold Washington, and he saw Obama’s congressional campaign from the street level. … Kindle described some of the worst moments in the campaign. “The accusations were that Obama was sent here and owned by the Jews,” Kindle said. “That he was here to steal the black vote and steal black land and that he was represented by the—as they were called—‘the white man.’ And that Obama wasn’t black enough and didn’t know the black experience, the black community. It was quite deafening in terms of how they went after Alderman Preckwinkle [another black Obama supporter] and myself. People would say, ‘Oh, Kindle, man, we trust you, you being fooled. Obama’s got you fooled.’ And some people called me a traitor.”

The loss taught Obama a great deal about the components of his natural coalition. According to Dan Shomon, the first poll that Obama conducted revealed that the demographic he could win over most easily was white voters.

[Obama's Illinois State Senate godfather] Emil Jones told me that, after 2000, Obama moved decisively away from being pigeonholed as an inner-city pol. During one debate with Rush, he noted that he and the other candidates were all “progressive, urban Democrats.” Even though he lost, that primary taught him that he might be something more than that. “He learned that for Barack Obama it was not the type of district that he was well suited for,” Jones said. “The type of campaign that he had to run to win that district is not Barack Obama. It was a predominantly African-American district. It was a district where you had to campaign solely on those issues. And Barack did not campaign that way, and so as a result he lost. Which was good.” Meaning, it was good for Barack Obama. …

The tangible proof that Obama now knew his destiny lay in appealing to whites was the new state senate district boundaries that Obama cooked up for himself in 2001. Obama, like the other Democratic state senators, got to gerrymander his own district's boundaries in 2001 after the 2000 Census.

Like every other Democratic legislator who entered the inner sanctum, Obama began working on his “ideal map.” Corrigan remembers two things about the district that he and Obama drew. First, it retained Obama’s Hyde Park base—he had managed to beat Rush in Hyde Park—then swooped upward along the lakefront and toward downtown. By the end of the final redistricting process, his new district bore little resemblance to his old one. Rather than jutting far to the west, like a long thin dagger, into a swath of poor black neighborhoods of bungalow homes, Obama’s map now shot north, encompassing about half of the Loop, whose southern portion was beginning to be transformed by developers like Tony Rezko, and stretched far up Michigan Avenue and into the Gold Coast, covering much of the city’s economic heart, its main retail thoroughfares, and its finest museums, parks, skyscrapers, and lakefront apartment buildings. African-Americans still were a majority, and the map contained some of the poorest sections of Chicago, but Obama’s new district was wealthier, whiter, more Jewish, less blue-collar, and better educated. It also included one of the highest concentrations of Republicans in Chicago.

“It was a radical change,” Corrigan said. The new district was a natural fit for the candidate that Obama was in the process of becoming. “He saw that when we were doing fund-raisers in the Rush campaign his appeal to, quite frankly, young white professionals was dramatic.”

Obama’s personal political concerns were not the only factor driving the process. During the previous round of remapping, in 1991, Republicans had created Chicago districts where African-Americans were the overwhelming majority, packing the greatest number of loyal Democrats into the fewest districts. A decade later, Democrats tried to spread the African-American vote among more districts. The idea was to create enough Democratic-leaning districts so that the Party could take control of the state legislature. That goal was fine with Obama; his new district offered promising, untapped constituencies for him as he considered his next political move. “The exposure he would get to some of the folks that were on boards of the museums and C.E.O.s of some of the companies that he would represent would certainly help him in the long run,” Corrigan said.

In the end, Obama’s North Side fund-raising base and his South Side political base were united in one district. He now represented Hyde Park operators like Lois Friedberg-Dobry as well as Gold Coast doyennes like Bettylu Saltzman, and his old South Side street operative Al Kindle as well as his future consultant David Axelrod.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The End of Science

Having fixed the housing market, the federal government is turning its attention to fixing science. John Tierney writes in the NYT on the inevitable aftermath of the Larry Summers affair:

Until recently, the impact of Title IX, the law forbidding sexual discrimination in education, has been limited mostly to sports. But now, under pressure from Congress, some federal agencies have quietly picked a new target: science.

The National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy have set up programs to look for sexual discrimination at universities receiving federal grants. Investigators have been taking inventories of lab space and interviewing faculty members and students in physics and engineering departments at schools like Columbia, the University of Wisconsin, M.I.T. and the University of Maryland.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

July 14, 2008

Not not The Onion

From The Onion, although it didn't take a lot of imagination to come up with this:

Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In

WASHINGTON—A panel of top business leaders testified before Congress about the worsening recession Monday, demanding the government provide Americans with a new irresponsible and largely illusory economic bubble in which to invest.

Clearly, the next bubble will be alternative energy. We're all going to get rich off investing in start-ups that will build automobiles powered by phosphorescent bacteria.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

July 13, 2008

Treasury announces bailout plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Normally, financial crises happen because really, really rich people screw up, because they're the ones who have most of the money. Yet, the mortgage meltdown is much more egalitarian in origins than the typical collapse. For instance, until a few months ago, mortgages backed by the now tottering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were capped at $417,000. Certainly not all, but some of the blame should rest on the bipartisan consensus to social engineer the home ownership rate above the 64 percent level, where it had been stuck since the 1960s.

Here are some excerpts from my June 22 article in Taki's Magazine on "The Diversity Recession:"

In 1992, Congress passed the Government Sponsored Enterprises bill, which set “targets” (i.e., quotas) for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are quasi-governmental publicly-traded for-profit thing-a-ma-bobs, to encourage “affordable” and “underserved” (more or less minority) home loans.

Both the Clinton and Bush departments of Housing and Urban Development raised the quotas repeatedly. For example, initially, the Clinton Administration required 21% of these quasi-governmental mortgages must go to ”underserved areas” (which are officially defined as “low-income census tracts or in low- or middle-income census tracts with high minority populations"), but the quota for 2008 established by the Bush Administration is 39 percent.

Reuters reported October 13, 1999:

"The mortgage industry intends to pursue minorities with greater intensity as federal regulators turn up the heat to increase home ownership in underserved groups. ‘We need to push into these underserved markets as much as we can,’ said David Glenn, president and chief operating officer of Freddie Mac. …

"In September, Freddie Mac launched a new lending program, based on research done in collaboration with five black colleges, to bring more African-Americans into the market.

"The federal government in the meantime has increased pressure on lenders to seek out minorities, as well as low-income groups and borrowers with poor credit histories.

"Fannie Mae recently reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to commit half its business to low-and moderate-income borrowers. That means half the mortgages bought by Fannie Mae would be from those income brackets."

Now, even the head of Freddie Mac has protested that the quotas have become “perverse.” On March 12, 2008, Bloomberg News reported:

"Freddie Mac Chief Executive Officer Richard Syron said he’s urging changes in federal rules that enabled too many low- and moderate-income Americans to buy houses they can’t afford. It’s ‘perverse’ that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two biggest providers of money for U.S. home loans, have been encouraged ‘to put people into homes that they end up losing,’ Syron said at a meeting with analysts and investors in New York."

Ironically, Syron helped get us into this mess when he was head of the Boston Fed. His Freddie Mac biography boasts, “Syron also was sponsor of a landmark study on racial discrimination in mortgage lending …”

… Straightforward tax-and-spend programs were out of favor in the 1990s, but lean-on-lenders for the benefit of your political constituents is always in season.

For instance, an article entitled “Fannie Mae Bending Financial System to Create Homeowners, Says Raines” reported in 2000:

"Yet home ownership is unevenly distributed in society, [Fannie Mae head Franklin] Raines said. He quoted the famous pronouncement by W.E.B. Du Bois, in The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, that the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line. Du Bois also observed that the size and arrangement of people’s homes is an index of their condition…

"In the early days of the movement, he said, there was a significant commitment of government funds. … Now, said Raines, more money is being invested in community development through private mechanisms, including Fannie Mae, which works through mainstream lenders to reach out to underserved communities.

"During the 1990s, Fannie Mae pledged $1 trillion in capital over seven years to boost home ownership among underserved populations. Last spring, said Raines, the commitment was completed ahead of schedule, and Fannie Mae pledged a further $2 trillion to assist 18 million families during the next decade." [More]

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you are talking about real money.

Bill Burnham explains how Fannie Mae and its supposed competitor Freddie Mac work here. Essentially, they figured out in the 1980s that they had a license to print money, as long as Congress didn't take it away:

Fannie Mae’s only significant problem thus became that the supply of mortgage securities would prove insufficient to fund its projected earnings growth (which was well above the projected growth in mortgage debt). As a result Fannie began a series of largely successful political campaigns to increase the volume of mortgage securities available to fund their habit. Theoretically, the easiest way to increase the supply of mortgage securities was to get the federal government to increase the size limit of mortgages that Fannie could buy and guarantee, but this was a very difficult political fight for Fannie to win because commercial and investment banks dominated the so-called “jumbo” mortgage market and, already smarting from Fannie’s dominance of the so-called “conforming” market, they had drawn a line in the sand in the jumbo market and committed most their lobbying resources to keeping Fannie’s size limit as low as possible.

Moral Hazard vs. Mo’ Money
While Fannie still fought to increase its size limits, it quickly found another, much more politically palatable, way to increase the pool of mortgages it could buy: it dropped underwriting standards under the guise of increasing “home ownership” and “affordability”. Traditionally, Fannie had required the mortgages it purchased to be so-called 80/20 mortgages wherein the borrower puts at least a 20% down payment on the mortgage. This was a requirement because residential mortgages in the US are a “no-recourse” loan in which the borrow can generally “walk away” from the loan with no recourse to the lender other than seizing the house and reporting the default to a credit agency. A 20% down payment was generally thought to be enough to dramatically limit the moral hazard of borrowers “walking away” because housing values would have to decline 20%+ for the borrower to be underwater and even then the borrower would still face the prospect of losing their own sunk capital which makes walking away even more difficult from a psychological perspective

The problem with a 20% down payment is for many people it was very hard to come up with that big a down payment and thus it limited the total size of the mortgage market which in turn limited the volume of mortgage securities that Fannie Mae could purchase for its golden goose. While the obvious solution to this problem is just to lower the down payment requirement, Fannie couldn’t do this unilaterally because the government unit that regulated it would see such cuts as needlessly raising Fannie Mae’s risk profile. Far more politically astute that that, Fannie Mae began a campaign to increase “home ownership” and “affordability”. It created a home ownership “foundation” which opened offices in almost every congressional district and promptly set about mobilizing all the local advocates for “affordable” housing to put pressure on their elected representatives to let Fannie Mae offer “affordable housing programs”. Of course, “affordable housing problems” was just a euphemism for allowing Fannie Mae to lower its underwriting standards so that more mortgages could be created and the golden goose could thus kick out more golden eggs.

This proved to be a highly effective political coalition for Fannie Mae. Not only did they build a huge network of grass roots political supporters through their “foundation”, but politicians saw political advantages in supporting the programs because it cast them in the role of trying to help families buy a new home (as opposed to lowering underwriting standards to help a giant corporation keep up its earnings growth by taking a free ride on the US government’s guarantee). Even commercial banks and investment banks signed on to the program because it at least resulted in higher origination fees and an expanded credit market, even if most of the assets ultimately went to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae's "grassroots" allies are all over the political spectrum, including the far left. Barack Obama's friends at ACORN are in deep with Fannie Mae.

Paul Jackson at Housing Wire writes:

It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that nearly everyone was swept up in “the Ownership Society” — with the White House issuing press release after press release challenging lenders to loosen their credit standards and make riskier loans to minorities in the name of “expanding homeownership.” Consumer groups often even partnered with lenders to make riskier loans to the very minority groups they’re now indignantly suing lenders for lending to.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Consider this press release from Citigroup in September of 2004, which finds ACORN and Citi happily holding hands and pushing “the goals of both organizations to promote homeownership in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, especially in immigrant communities.”

From the press statement:

“With this agreement, ACORN will be able to expand our mission of strengthening communities by helping low- and moderate-income families, including new immigrants to this country, become homeowners,” said Maude Hurd, National President of ACORN.

It’s not as if Citi and ACORN were the only ones jumping deep into subprime lending together, either. Economic policy research at the time centered on how lenders were denying loans to those with poor credit, often minorities; consider the following conclusion from a September 1999 study:

The Urban Institute report issued today says that “not all Americans enjoy equal access to the benefits of homeownership, in part because of unequal access to capital.”

“Fair lending” essentially became synonymous with a universal lowering of credit standards — and as lenders loosened credit standards, community groups cheered, and the White House lauded the commitment to “expanding homeownership.”

Legislatively, President Bush went so far as to propose eliminating down payment requirements altogether. In a September 2004 press statement, administration officials touted a so-called “Zero-Downpayment Initiative” that would eliminate the statutory requirement of a minimum three percent down payment for FHA-insured single-family mortgages for first-time homebuyers.

Even when we had clear data suggesting that lending to people who couldn’t afford their loans would likely end up badly, we ignored it. Consider this story from April 2004, which noted a Fannie Mae study that found that 49 percent of English-language Hispanics, 46 percent of Spanish-language Hispanics, and 42 percent of African Americans cited “credit concerns” as the primary reason they had not yet bought a home.

Instead of realizing that borrowers’ concerns over their credit and finances might actually be valid, we — and that means everyone, from lenders to legislators, to community and consumer groups — decided to convince them otherwise, out of the belief that being part of the “Ownership Society” trumped small-minded credit concerns. There was a bigger experiment in social progress at stake, after all.

We unfortunately now know all too well how well pursuing “greater access to credit and capital” turned out, not only for ACORN and Citi, but for nearly every lender and consumer group out there that bought into the strange and wonderful ethic of “the Ownership Society.” None more than Countrywide Financial.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Spanish language radio stations hit hard by drying up of zero down mortgages

The same days as the news of proposed government bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Washington Post runs a revealing article on how the drying up of subprime mortgages has badly hurt the advertising revenue of Spanish language radio stations in the DC area:

But these days the subprime mortgage meltdown has hit many Spanish-language radio stations hard. Real estate companies that targeted the Hispanic community have closed their doors or cut back on advertising and sponsorships. Aragon has lost most of the real estate agents who once advertised with him…

As the housing market took off, Spanish-language radio and real estate companies -- two businesses that are highly locally focused -- became increasingly intertwined. Jose Luis Semidey, a real estate agent who catered to the Hispanic community, ran Radio Latina at 950 AM in Potomac and 810 AM in Annapolis. He's no longer an agent, and he ceased operating the stations in 2006. The realty firm Vilchez & Associates was a principal sponsor of Radio Universal in Manassas at 1460 AM, which no longer exists. It was shut down last year to be reopened this year as La Kaliente, with a new format and a new owner.

Peruvian native Ronald Gordon, whose Arlington-based ZGS Communications operates 11 Telemundo television station affiliates and three radio stations, including VIVA 900 AM in Laurel, said the housing bust has hit Spanish-language radio in the area, much like it has hit the whole Hispanic community.

"I think in terms of the mortgage and real estate industry, we were over-indexed in terms of advertising," Gordon said.

With a pair of headphones over his brushed-back black hair, his lips never far from a suspended microphone, Aragon can be found weekday mornings in his studio, pumping out a steady diet of Spanish-language news, talk, and Mexican and Central American tunes on his show "Buenos Dias Washington."

Aragon began renting his station's signal from JMK Communications of Los Angeles in 2002, changing its format from country to Mexican regional. Those days, the housing boom was just getting underway and an influx of Hispanics that would change the county's demographic mix had begun.

The station began throwing an annual Fiesta Hispana in its parking lot. It promoted Mexican and Central American bands. And when the latest immigration debate heated up, the station served as a place for information about demonstrations and meetings.

At the height of the housing boom, Aragon had as many as 15 real estate agents advertising with him, he said. He got his own Realtor's license three years ago and began advertising his services on his show -- which he still does today. Only one other real estate agent remains as an advertiser.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

My review of Ross Douthat's and Reihan Salam's "Grand New Party"

Here's the opening of my book review in VDARE.com

Grand New Party Recycles Old (but Good!) VDARE.COM Ideas

Peter Brimelow writes: I know some readers get annoyed, but I was going to block off VDARE.COM’s home page again tonight with a new fundraising appeal. After a few hopeful days, our current campaign has once again stalled. And nothing else seems to work.

But then I got this piece from Steve Sailer, which is a case study in the influence of VDARE.COM writers. Steve, in his serene way, doesn’t seem to mind that these writers have ripped him off. He thinks it’s all for the good of the cause, and he’s right. But to do the pioneering work that causes the MSM to steal their ideas, our writers need to be paid. Please give generously.

By Steve Sailer

Two young Atlantic Magazine editors, both fairly conservative, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, have written a much-discussed book, Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream. They argue, sensibly, that the Republican Party should focus on policies that strengthen families, financially and morally.

They observe:

"The American dream is ultimately a dream of home, of a place to call your own, earned and not inherited, and free from the petty tyranny of landlords, bureaucrats, and bankers. It's a dream of a country in which ownership is available to everyone, provided that they are willing to work for it, rather than being handed out on the basis of wealth or caste, brains or beauty."

Less poetically, they want the traditional high wage, cheap land America that Ben Franklin endorsed in his 1751 essay showing that "When Families can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in Life."

Of course, Republicans have been winning the family vote recently. In 2004, George W. Bush carried 25 of the top 26 states grouped in terms of white “total fertility rate” (number of babies per woman per lifetime), while John Kerry was victorious in the bottom 16.

But Republicans haven't actually delivered much to deserve the family vote, other than some good judicial nominees. What has the Bush Administration's policy, now endorsed by John McCain, of Invade the World/ Invite the World/ In Hock to the World done to build the human capital of average American families?

Douthat and Salam argue that the GOP's commitment to tax-cutting has hit electoral diminishing returns. It's no longer 1980, when the "animal spirits" of businessmen desperately needed to be jumpstarted by cuts in marginal tax rates.

Instead, they offer a long list of creative, if wonkish, reforms that Republican politicians might consider.

One I liked: their plan for breaking the higher education system's monopoly on credentialing. Most people go to college primarily to show future employers they are smart and hard-working:

"But making credentialing dependent on four years of college sets the barriers to entry so high that it limits competition and shuts out ambitious Americans who lack the time and money to acquire a four-year degree."

And, let's be frank, it's not just time and money. Plenty of Americans are smart enough to earn a decent living at a job for which they've been well-trained who aren't ever going to be smart enough to fulfill, say, Cardinal Newman's vision of what a well-rounded university-educated gentleman should know: hence today's enormous college dropout rate.

Ross and Reihan continue:

"A far fairer system would assign credentials on the basis of examinations, either national or state-level, that evaluate students on the basis of the actual skills they'll need to do their jobs well."

A benefit they don't mention: this would reduce the amount of time Americans at impressionable ages are exposed to leftist indoctrination on college campuses.

In general, the youthful authors aren't cynical enough to note that policies don't endure just on their merits—they have to grow their own constituencies.

For example, Ted Kennedy's 1965 and 1990 immigration laws have, as planned, harvested a heavily Democratic voting bloc that has scared off many would-be reformist politicians.

As a mirror image of Democratic immigration policy, Republicans should focus on programs that raise the marriage and birth rates among Republicans. As Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg noted, in 2004 when all else was held equal, being single made a voter 56 percent more likely to vote Democratic.

For example, Randall Parker has long emphasized the importance of getting competent people through the education system and into the workforce faster. "Turn kids into taxpayers sooner", Parker trenchantly suggests.

The partisan benefit to Republicans is that this gives their kind of people more years to get married and have more children.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Why doesn't Univision put English subtitles on American movies?

Many European readers have commented over the years on how watching television with subtitles helped them learn English.

Univision is the giant of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S. In 2006 it was sold by Republican Italian-American billionaire Jerry Perenchio to a consortium headed by Democratic Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban for $13.7 billion. Perenchio was the chief donor in 1998 to the campaign against Ron Unz's Proposition 227 restricting bilingual education in California schools. The more Mexican immigrants who learn English, the worse it is for business. (Unz won easily, nonetheless).

Not surprisingly, according to Wikipedia, "Univision's major programming is closed-captioned in Spanish, but unlike main competitor Telemundo, it almost never provides English subtitles." This refusal to run subtitles in English costs Univision a slight amount of ratings -- I recall stumbling upon "Repo Man" dubbed into Spanish on Univision and watching about 40 minutes because I know much of the dialogue by heart. But, to Univision, the principle of keeping Spanish-only residents of America Spanish-only comes ahead of short-term profits. If they started putting "Repo man is always intense" in English under Harry Dean Stanton's mug while some guy says it in Spanish, who knows, somebody somewhere might someday learn enough English to watch a different station.

There are numerous campaigns against corporations for anti-social practices, but I've never heard any criticism of Univision for refusing to subtitle English-language movies in English. Criticizing Perenchio and/or Saban for holding back the spread of English in the interests of higher profits would be racist, so it's just not done.

Speaking of Univision's lack of subtitles and learning another language, Bert Limbec explains "I Bet I Can Speak Spanish:"

Hello, amigos! El soy quando agunto! Ella balloona balunga espanyo!

Did that sound Spanish to you? I bet that means something. And guess what? I've never had one lesson. It's just that I have a natural gift for Spanish. I was able to pick it up all by myself, "outside the system," if you will.

When I was a kid, I thought a foreign language would take a long time to learn. That's what society tells you, probably because of the anti-foreign attitude in America. They're trying to discourage people from going foreign, I guess...

I remember how, in high school, Spanish was taught by Mr. Gomez, and you could spend years learning every single word. Forget that! I'm sure I've got the gist of it. I don't need any classes or books, because I can speak Spanish without all that. I mean, ¡Balunga el baguayo con blinko! Don't tell me that didn't sound Spanish! And it sure didn't take three years of high school to learn. Forget that, I've got a life! ...

But another important link in the chain of me speaking Spanish is that I've been watching tons of Univision lately, and I completely understand what's going on. Just yesterday, there was this soap opera on, called Ellabungo Juanita or something Spanish like that, and I was completely following it! This girl and this guy were in bed together, and this guy came in and was mad. Just from listening, I could tell that the girl in the bed was cheating on the guy who just walked in. There were no subtitles, I just figured it out! You folks reading this might have needed Spanish lessons to understand what was going on, but I'm on the fast track, Charlie!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

How many can walk the talk?

Does anybody know of any reliable statistics on what percentages of American adults who don't have family members who are native speakers of a foreign language or who haven't lived abroad can carry on a conversation in a foreign language? In other words, what percentage of American adults who learned a foreign language solely through the American educational system have maintained this skill into adulthood?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The good thing about learning Spanish

Obama's declaration that everybody should make sure their children learn Spanish has relaunched the usual inconclusive discussions in America about what would be the most useful second language to learn. Everywhere else in the world, it's obvious that English is the best second language (except for speakers of minority languages, such as Mixtec-speakers in Mexico, for whom English is the clear best third language).

For example, even though India is growing in importance, it doesn't make sense for Americans to learn an Indian language because there are 15 national languages in India, and everybody who is anybody knows English. In China, there are a number of wildly different-sounding dialects, and, besides, be serious, you are never going to get anywhere with studying Chinese. It might make sense to learn Japanese, since so few Japanese learn English, but the Japanese are creeped out by the sight of white people speaking Japanese fluently, so why inflict that upon them? Lots of 19th Century scholars in gloomy Europe fell in love with Arabic, with its beautiful alphabet, but America has its own desert, so we've never put much emphasis on Arabic.

When I was considering what foreign language to take in 9th grade in 1972, it was widely said that Spanish was the smart choice because if you got rich you could order your servants around more precisely. Oh, and besides, there is all that vibrant Latin culture that we'll no doubt start paying attention to Real Soon Now.

All these years later, you still hear this same logic, but, I have to say, that I haven't noticed upper middle class Americans becoming notably better Spanish speakers. Could it possibly be that they aren't following their own advice? Spanish-language television and radio is now much more widely available across America than in 1972, but those stations sure aren't considered cool.

A big advantage Spanish has, though, is that it's among the simpler major languages. Spanish is kind of like the metric system of languages: it gives the impression that somebody has rationalized it. What's funny is that that seems more like what the modernizing French would do, whereas the Spaniards have tended to be very conservative.

And yet, French is full of quaint medievalisms. For example, the number ninety-nine in French is quatre-vingt-dix-neuf: four twenties ten nine. The French love to go around saying things like Je suis tres cartesian, but there's nothing very Cartesian about four twenties ten nine. In contrast, 99 in Spanish is noventa y nueve: ninety and nine.

D0es anybody know why Spanish seems more straighforward than French? Was there ever a reform movement in Spanish, like how Noah Webster simplified a few English spellings for Americans, but on a larger scale?

My impression is that English has so many irregular spellings not just because of all the different source languages for vocabulary, but because poets actively altered spellings to make words sound better. For example, "solemn" has a seemingly silent "n" at the end because "solemnity" sounds more solemn than "solemity."

Or so I've been told. But, I've noticed that when it comes to etymologies, that there are usually multiple plausible-sounding explanations, so take that with a grain of salt.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Competitive States in 2008 Electoral College

When McCain and Obama were Hispandering recently, Audacious Epigone got sick of hearing from the innumerate media about how important immigrant ethnic groups are in key swing states in the Presidential election. So, he sat down and crunched the numbers from the Obama v. McCain polls summarized at the CNN election center website. It turns out that 2008 is shaping up just like 2004 and 2000: the battleground states are white and black, while Hispanics and Asians are concentrated in uncompetitive states like California and Texas.


Keep in mind that these percentages are for residents, not voters. Hispanic and Asian residents vote at much lower rates than white and black residents. The actual percentages of voters by ethnicity will be significantly skewed more toward whites and blacks. So, the Electoral College results will be determined overwhelmingly by whites and blacks.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The End of "The End," I hope ...

One of the standard book-naming conventions of the last two decades has been The End of Whatever: History, Racism, Poverty, Faith, or various other things that clearly aren't coming to an end. This week's Economist devotes a serious review to a book with the most absurd title yet in this line: The End of Food.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer