June 28, 2009

Gown v. Town in New Haven

Here's a teaser from my new VDARE.com column on Monday's upcoming Ricci Supreme Court decision:
Last week, Slate ran a 5000 word article about the New Haven Fire Department, The Ladder, by senior editor Emily Bazelon and intern Nicole Allan. The article turns into an inadvertent reductio ad absurdum of the Sotomayorian conventional wisdom.

Bazelon’s ultimate objection to New Haven’s discarded 2003 testing process is that it wasn’t subjective and arbitrary enough to promote as many minorities as she’s like. She ends her article with a ringing call for a more random selection method that will produce less knowledgeable fire captains and lieutenants:
"The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best. And then it could choose from that pool by lottery."

Bazelon apparently doesn’t know that lotteries are exactly what cities such as Chicago are already doing with the results of firefighter tests, in an attempt to comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s "Four-Fifths Rule". This regulation puts the burden of proof in discrimination cases on employers when blacks aren’t hired or promoted at least 80 percent as often as whites. ...

In 2006, the new Chicago hiring test passed all but the bottom 15 percent of the folks who walked in off the street wanting jobs as firefighters. And then, just as Bazelon recommends for New Haven, the Chicago city government picked "randomly" from the top 85 percent—the crème de la crème of the Disparate Impact Age.

Why did Chicago have to go so low? ...

Not until you cut the IQ minimum down to 74 would the EEOC be truly happy: 77 percent of blacks and 96 percent of whites pass. Exactly Four-Fifths!

But, seriously, what’s the point of even giving a test so easy that 96 percent of white people can pass? White people aren’t so smart that somebody at the 5th percentile of the white bell curve is going to make an adequate firefighter.

Bazelon’s lotteries are an incredibly stupid idea because cities end up hiring incredibly stupid people of all races. ...

Bazelon is much exercised by the racial injustice inherent in white firefighters knowing more about how to do their jobs. She says:
"Is this the best way to choose the leaders of a municipal fire department—the best memorizers win?"

Worse, the white firemen are unjustly learning more about fire fighting because they care more about fighting fires. Bazelon continues:
"As one Hispanic quoted anonymously by the New Haven Independent put it, the test favored ‘fire buffs’—guys who read fire-suppression manuals on their downtime …"

The white firemen also are advantaged, Bazelon says, because they tend
"… to come from families in which firefighting is a legacy. … Frank Ricci has an uncle and two brothers who are firefighters. He studied fire science at college."

I looked up "Emily Bazelon" on Wikipedia (accessed 16.59 ET, June 28 2009) and discovered that while she’s very bright, she’s not exactly the most self-aware person. When read in light of her biography, her Slate article about privileged white firemen becomes an amusing epitome of unthinking Gown v. Town prejudice in New Haven.

Wikipedia tells us:
"[Bazelon] graduated from Yale College in 1993 and from Yale Law School in 2000. ... Bazelon is a Senior Research Scholar in Law and Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School."

You might think that Bazelon would be better qualified to offer advice on admissions and promotions to the LSAT-obsessed Yale Law School rather than to the New Haven Fire Department. By Bazelon’s logic, Yale Law School should hire by lottery. Perhaps—just to get the ball rolling—she could publicly offer to give up her position at Yale Law School to some randomly chosen person?

Moreover, this legal writer’s concern about the advantages Frank Ricci garnered by being related to firemen seems a little ironic in light of this Wikipedia line:
"She is the granddaughter of Judge David L. Bazelon and cousin of feminist Betty Friedan."

This legal journalist’s grandfather, David Bazelon, was the most powerful judge in America not on the Supreme Court when he served from 1962-1978 as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Needless to say, I’m not implying that Emily Bazelon’s career as a writer on legal affairs has depended upon nepotism.

Rather, I’m pointing out that a family developing and passing on expertise in a particular field—whether the Riccis in firefighting or the Bazelons-Friedans in law and punditry—is a good thing for society in general, because expertise is always in short supply.

Now tell me: why should we have one standard of fairness for Frank Ricci and another for Emily Bazelon?

Read the whole thing here.

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

54 comments:

Danindc said...

Can someone come up with a term to use when Steve completely exposes somebody by doing 5 minutes of research. He be smokin out them fools left and right.

How do you think that Bazelon chick will feel after reading this-pissed or embarassed?

Reactionary said...

Does anybody commenting on this case other than Steve Sailer realize that fire is a chemical reaction occurring in the presence of certain elements that requires more than strength and agility to combat?

Do all women have this fantasy of threats to their well-being as being reducible to some cackling villain tying them to the railroad tracks?

AmericanGoy said...

"The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best."

Oh....

jesus.

h.

christ


disclaimer: am a militant atheist, but those were the words when I read this. Out loud.

Anonymous said...

American Goy said,

" 'The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best. '

Oh....

jesus.

h.

christ"


I said the same damn thing as my mouth fell to the floor.

Anonymous said...

I wish everyone in America could read this.

This 4/5s rule is idiotic and hurts America.

Ray Midge said...

'The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best.'


Those are the thoughts of our elite class on this subject and in that sentence is everything one needs to know.

Stare that sentence in the face. Stare at it.

Black Sea said...

This is, as usual, an excellent job of investigative journalism. The dispiriting reality is that none of this will have any impact on the Ricci case, nor the journalistic, legal, and presumably scholarly career of Emily Bazelton, nor the four-fifths rule, nor the general direction of the society.

The Emily Bazeltons and Sandra Sotomaytors shall inherit the Earth. Then gaze in wide-eyed wonder as it slowly burns down.

TomV said...

Kudos, Steve.

An article like this makes me proud to be a reader of yours.

"the crème de la crème of the Disparate Impact Age."

We're not worthy. (Of Steve, that is, not the crème.)

Anonymous said...

During the fall of the British Empire there was a phrase "mediocracy rises".

rightsaidfred said...

I second the H. Christ comments.

There seems to be a "rope ladder" mentality amongst the Bazelon crowd: they've ascended to the highest level of the tree house, so they will now pull up the rope ladder and the rest of us can live in an idiocracy that won't threaten them.

Chris said...

How do you think that Bazelon chick will feel after reading this-pissed or embarassed?

That would be covered by what 1950's French existentialists called mauvaise fois.

Black Sea said...

To continue in the same vein, assume that a test is adminstered which presents candidates with a series of emergency situations -- fires, automobile accidents, people trapped in collapsing structures, etc, and measures both their intended course of action in each scenario, and the speed with which they can arrive at the course of action.

Suppose you have two candidates for promotion to lieutenant, one of whom scores 100, and the other 97. If the test reflects the relative frequency of difficult situations, i.e. if 5% of emergency situations are highly complex, and if 5% of the scenarios on the test are highly complex, then the candidate scoring 97 might well be out of his depth in 60% of highly complex emergency situations.

Let's assume that a lieutenant supervises six emergency situations per week, most of them routine. This would be 300 such situations a year, 15 of which would be highly complex. In these highly complex situations, more than half the time, he would struggle to come up with the best plan of attack, and often he would be unable to do so. He would try take charge and start giving commands, but they wouldn't be the right commands. What's more, the firefighters who work under him would soon recognize his inability to handle such situations, and would begin to operate more as independent actors, trying as best they could to respond to the crisis in their own ways, rather than as a coordinated effort.

These numbers are purely hypothetical; I don't know how many emergency situations a lieutenant supervises, and I don't know what percentage are really tricky, but even if I've grossly overestimated their frequencies, one can see that, between these two candidates with roughly similar scores, there may be a world of difference in terms of lives lost or saved.

Anonymous said...

Rather, I’m pointing out that a family developing and passing on expertise in a particular field—whether the Riccis in firefighting or the Bazelons-Friedans in law and punditry—is a good thing for society in general, because expertise is always in short supply.

Hahaha. Steve, I know you had to say this. But it is still very funny. Ah, we have benefited so much from the expertise of the Bazelons/Friedmans and their relatives in law and punditry!

Anonymous said...

Reactionary:

I think people have a vague idea that it's just about pointing a hose at a fire, fixing the latch, and kicking back, kind of like those new pumps at the gas station which don't require you to hold the trigger the whole time. Maybe you can even watch Friends while the hose shoots water at the flame, just like at the gas station!

In reality of course, saving people from a fire is like running a military campaign. You need to make life and death decisions at a moment's notice while being familiar with a wide variety of technical equipment.

D'you think Emily Bazelon has ever diagrammed a combustion reaction?

pat said...

Common sense. This article is Sailer at his best.

Anonymous said...

Great article.

Anonymous said...

Wow, "fire buffs," huh? I didn't know that there was such a thing. I agree with the previous comment that most people (including me) have no idea what fire fighting involves. I thought it was something like watering plants or something, that is turning on a hose. My failing, of course.

"The pair contended that the real issue isn’t about race: Instead, they argued that the way the test was designed favored ‘fire buffs’ who have spent their whole lives reading fire suppression manuals, and studied like maniacs for the exam. Incidentally, most firefighters matching that description happened to be white, they said. … Those who aced the test were nerds who read fire-fighting books just for fun, said Cordova’s cohort."

Bret L said...

((Irony #1 is that there are plenty of blacks smart enough to be fire
captains and lieutenants, but _those_ blacks don't apply, because
instead of being fire officers they get to be VPs in corporations,
where they are over their heads and perform dismally. Affirmative
Action is a Peter Principle Amplifier-those 'favored' are doomed to be
promoted way over their competence. Irony #2 is that the black fire
fighters call themselves "Firebirds", a name somehow strangely
evocative of rednecks rather than blacks. The favored status of Trans
Ams in particular and Pontiacs in general amongst a certain subset of
hick peckerwoods is one, along with the similarity to the title of
that #1, All Time White Trash Anthem, "Freebird". Besides, there are
still older blacks who can recall the propensity for antiblack
hecklers in the 40s and 50s to sing that then-popular standard, "Bye
Bye Blackbird" at the most inopportune times. Bret.))

testing99 said...

Great article Steve ... BUT you undermine your own argument when you note that Chicago does in fact choose by lottery. So, no people are quite comfortable with incompetents in the Fire Dept. to achieve "diversity.

For most of the SWPL class, and particularly women, there is no real probability of them needing a competent fire dept. While Yale is in fact their meal ticket. If Yale admitted any diverse doofus without any qualifications, and did so on a widespread basis, the value of a Yale Law Degree would drop to pretty low, on the par with perhaps Ole Miss Law Degrees.

Risk of a fire, in modern America: VERY LOW.

Risk to Yale Law School Earnings: VERY HIGH.

Shrug.

Moreover, you underestimate the desire of most younger White Women to "stick it to" Beta White guys, who are their competition and unwanted sexual attention holders. Ala "Fire Buff" who read up on nerdy fire manuals = "Beta Male." Note too the disdain for Blue Collar White origins. Such as Ricci's. SWPL women are incapable of even recognizing the double standards, and they are part and parcel of feminine culture that many White working/middle class women share them. That's part and parcel of the gender divide as traditional marriage collapsed across all the West.

Reg Cæsar said...

" ...and cousin of feminist Betty Friedan."

Actually, as her 2005 Slate article Shopping with Betty suggests, she’s more like the second cousin twice removed...
*

So Wikipedia is right: a second cousin twice removed is a cousin. (It didn't say "first cousin".)

A cousin is anyone who descends from a sibling of an ancestor.

That is more inclusive than it sounds. My wife is my ninth cousin once removed. So my son is my tenth cousin! And thus (I think) he's his own tenth cousin once removed, and ninth cousin twice removed.

And it gets worse. My father's parents were seventh cousins once removed. And his mother had several second-, third-, and fourth-cousin marriages in her colonial ancestry, all in the same city. Yep, New Haven, Connecticut... and it would take a Yale mathematician to collate all the ways I'm related to myself.

Laugh, but go back enough generations and it's true of everyone else reading this as well.

*These lines were on Vdare.com, not the iSteve.com excerpt.

Bret L said...

Generally, "fire buffs" (of whom I was one as a kid and to a lesser extent still am) are non-fire-professionals with an interest in fire engines, firefighting equipment and the culture and paraphernalia fo firefighters.

This is in stark contrast to "fire bugs", who are arsonists in general and those who are sexually or otherwise titilliated by starting fires in particular. The purely professional arsonist is usually not considered a "fire bug", as his motives are monetary rather than emotional. There is some overlap.

I suppose some firefighters, both paid and volunteer, can be considered fire buffs also, just as some "foamers" (railroad buffs) are employed by the railroad. The railroads actively try not to hire known foamers (for an extreme case, Google 'Darius McCollum') but the nature of the unionized tedium of Class 1 rail employment usually cures them if they are hired anyway-or they quit when disillusioned.

A few firefighters have proven to be firebugs as well, but that's another story entirely.

Anonymous said...

OT: Did anyone else know this?

Mousavi ran the show in Iran in the 1980s as Prime Minister when Iran was America’s mortal enemy, and his track record then–when Iran was supporting kidnappings of Americans in Lebanon and attacks on US ships in the Gulf–is chiefly why the Iranians like him

Amazing that I never heard this particular angle in the media. But not so amazing actually.

Anonymous said...

Can someone come up with a term to use when Steve completely exposes somebody by doing 5 minutes of research. He be smokin out them fools left and right.

Ensailerated

or

"Human Biodiversity is Strength!"

Hmm, this could be fun! The term should encapsulate the idea of using h-bd to puncture a typical essay by one of our unclothed emperors.

Anonymous said...

The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best.

This woman has supposedly come through the most elite tier of education available...

Emily, if you read this I hope you are seriously f*****g ashamed of yourself.

headache said...

"The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best."


Why did she use the word "somehow "??

J said...

I cant see any benefit in the fact that a professional group is composed by relatives. That is called a caste, like in India. Endogamic groups stop progress, they are bad for society as a whole.

What I am seeing in this case is the absolute incompetence of the State to manage even a fire fighting service. They unable even to manage personnel including hiring and promotions. The only solution is to sell the service and/or outsource it to private companies who are able to game the system.

Victimology PhD said...

Sailer, you don't have the chops to go up against Bazelon's [classic Stalin era style] intellectual firepower. Sure, Bazelon's statements appear silly at first glance. But that is only because you cannot comprehend the context. Yunno, the three-dimensional chess.

Now let's suss out just what is what, and who is who here: It is clear that Bazelon is Ivy League, is a woman, and is fairly young, and is very liberal, and she has some ethnic victimology credentials, and she also has prominent family members as a bonus. You, Sailer, on the other hand, are just a plain old white guy.

Translation: SHE WINS THE ARGUMENT HANDS DOWN.

Sorry, Steve! But you're in the New Left Paradigm now and you just got Sotomayor-ed.

Get used to it.

dearieme said...

"Not until you cut the IQ minimum down to 74 would the EEOC be truly happy: 77 percent of blacks and 96 percent of whites pass. Exactly Four-Fifths!" Ooh, you are a wag, Mr iSteve.

beowulf said...

Dig deeper Steve, how do you think Judge David Bazelon got his start?

One area in which [Guy] Russo believes the book [Supermob] breaks new ground is in "understanding the movement of money from the Midwest out to the West," he says. Korshak and many of his attorney cronies-most practiced out of a building at 134 N. LaSalle St., Russo says-"ended up in Beverly Hills at the same time, because that was where the gold was. They all moved there and took care of each other."

There, using money from organized crime, they began buying land throughout Southern California, tipped to the best deals by Chicago tax attorney David Bazelon, who was serving as director of the Office of Alien Property in the Truman administration. From that office, he oversaw the disbursement of land seized from Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during World War II.

"It was the real 'Chinatown' scenario," Russo says, referring to the 1974 Roman Polanski film that had a similar theme. "This was where the Chicago Outfit's money really went. For years people were asking, where did it go? How did people from Chicago get such instant power (in California)? They owned the land; they got it from the Japanese."

http://nalert.blogspot.com/2006/08/chicago-mobs-mystery-man-sidney.html

SmooveB said...

"Can someone come up with a term to use when Steve completely exposes somebody by doing 5 minutes of research."

In the armored cavalry we called it "Target, cease fire!"

jimbo said...

I loved this bit, from the Slate article:

"The questions also focus only on fire runs, though the vast majority of the calls that come into the department are for emergency responses, like medical calls."

Hmm, maybe that's because sending a fire truck out after a fender-bender is just a little less complicated than fighting a major fire in an urban area with possibly explosive and/or toxic substances in it?

Anonymous said...

"How do you think that Bazelon chick will feel after reading this-pissed or embarassed?"

Neither.

sabril said...

From what I hear, Sully was an aviation buff.

God forbid that we let people with some passion in their hearts rise to positions of responsibility in the fields that they love.

Teacher said...

"I wish everyone in America could read this.

This 4/5s rule is idiotic and hurts America."


So sorry, (I mean this sincerely) but way too many Americans don't really understand what 4/5s is.

Before you scream that it must be impossible, let me share. A sweet friend of mine told me what a great student she was and always on the honor roll. Then she said she wasn't good at math because she didn't understand fractions. So I asked if she meant like 1/2 x 1/2. She just stared, so I asked her what the answer is. She guessed, 1. Then I told her she still didn't understand fractions.

My point is that there is so much grade inflation and reward for conformity that people aren't focused on knowledge. This is likely why AP tests have grown so popular. Students need a way to demonstrate competency because grades are more a reflection of compliance.

That is why it doesn't matter what you tell people because so many don't understand it anyway.

Sorry to be a downer.

Anonymous said...

This girl and her type think all
blue collar jobs are really just unskilled labor, but the guys involved have puffed up the credentials to keep people out.
Now it is likely she's not that
ignorant, but her agenda leads her
to come off that way.

So whether it's Welding, Pipe Fitting, Firefighting, Woodwork, they think it's a scam to have credentials and high standards, that may be associated with intelligence and conscientiousness.

David said...

"The city could come up with a measure for who is qualified for the promotions, rather than who is somehow best."

On its face this points to the fundamental problem of degeneracy: people don't want to live. They don't want the best. Value means nothing to them.

The only way to handle these people is to dissociate from them, and let them go down the chute as they want. Politically, this means secession from a political system run by and for degenerates.

Someone asked why she used the word "somehow." It's a fig leaf. Her honest meaning is that she doesn't want "the best" - but since that's just a little too clear, she added "somehow."

That one word also puts the lie to the assumption that the opposition to Ricci merely wants different standards - i.e., that the opposition is seeking the TRUE best, which the current test fails to uncover. No, the opposition opposes anyone who is "somehow best," meaning "in any way best." For if yet another test is formulated and administered, its adepts would also be "somehow best."

Note also the cynicism of the degenerate. She contrasts two things: being "somehow best" (i.e., best) and "qualified for the promotions." And plumps for the latter.

Explicit rejection of the best is death-worship. Makes no difference if it's in firefighting or spelling bees or athletic contests or whatever. The Bazelon mentality is injustice and evil personified. A system that produces her is a menace; a government that follows her is illegitimate.

Anonymous said...

Ala "Fire Buff" who read up on nerdy fire manuals = "Beta Male."

Yeah, 'cause education is so "beta" and stuff. LOL, wtf.

testing99_bot said...

Steve, your out of it. SWPL NYC NUKE beta shrug Tribe with Nukes. Women HATE betas. capitalizing Random words. NYC

josh said...

anon,

note the word "nerdy". She has clearly painted a picture of a beta male. Apparently she thinks this demonstrates the failing of the test to identify the truly great firefighters, whose main responsibility, as well know is posing shirtless for calenders to hang in Ms. Bazelon's office.

dr kill said...

Great article , Steve. To paraphrase what I have always told my children, Bazelon is not stupid, but behaving stupidly.

Dennis Elliott said...

"This girl and her type think all
blue collar jobs are really just unskilled labor, but the guys involved have puffed up the credentials to keep people out. etc."

Bingo. I think this is the long and the short of it, and it's a prevalent meme for the intellectuals including most in the present administrations.

Anonymous said...

How dare people who are interested in firefighting and study so they can pass the tests get the job! Bastards!

Lucius Vorenus said...

Teacher: That is why it doesn't matter what you tell people because so many don't understand it anyway.

I had a similar thought recently about the $17 Billion in Cuts story - that we have long since passed the point beyond which a majority of voting Americans are incapable of sensing [even if only subconsciously] that $17 Billion doesn't amount to background noise in modern federal budget computations.

In fact, at the time, I had the distinct impression that even Hussein Obama himself didn't realize the absurdity of it.

Presumably Axelrod and the Psy Ops Team were a little embarrassed by that episode, although maybe that isn't a good assumption to be making.

Anonymous said...

"Now tell me: why should we have one law for Frank Ricci and another for Emily Bazelon?"

Emily Bazelon=Good!

Frank Ricci=Bad!

Reactionary said...

Interestingly, a parking deck partially collapsed today in Atlanta. The fire chiefs who are coordinating the response will need to be familiar with structural engineering, or at least have enough g factor intelligence to figure out the right questions to ask their consulting engineers. So lo and behold, it looks like we do need first responders who are good critical thinkers in addition to being strong and dexterous.

I concur with what others have said above. SWPLs, and particularly SWPL women, tend to view ALL blue collar labor as unskilled. For that matter, I can imagine them being dismissive of engineering as well, since it's difficult, tedious, involves inflexible rules, and tends to have a lot of boring white guys in it. No creativity, no vibrancy.

Anonymous said...

"I concur with what others have said above. SWPLs, and particularly SWPL women, tend to view ALL blue collar labor as unskilled. For that matter, I can imagine them being dismissive of engineering as well, since it's difficult, tedious, involves inflexible rules, and tends to have a lot of boring white guys in it. No creativity, no vibrancy."

What further amazes me about these women (and some men) is that not only are they not achievers in those traditionally male spheres like engineering or even auto mechanics, they aren't achievers in traditionally female ones either. They are only interested in power positions. They want to control other people and deride productive people whether they are mechanics or stay home mothers. They despise these people. The want to theorize and issue edicts.

Anonymous said...

But wait, IQ fetishists - she's "very bright", like Steve said, which is the be all-end all. You can build a nation nonpareil with people like Emily, one that would hit the artistic heights of Israel, one that would match the ecological efficiency of China, one that would be as smoothly functioning as India, one with as bright a future as America.

Goyische Kopf said...

"Endogamic groups stop progress, they are bad for society as a whole."

J, don't you come from a long line of Hungarian Jews? Don't you boast of the accomplishments of this group fairly often?

Anonymous said...

testing99_bot - awesome, LOL.

Anonymous said...

"Ensailerated"

That's it!

Dave Lincoln said...

"Rather, I’m pointing out that a family developing and passing on expertise in a particular field—whether the Riccis in firefighting or the Bazelons-Friedans in law and punditry—is a good thing for society in general, because expertise is always in short supply."

In the case of the Bazelons, I know the punditry gene tends to skip a generation. Maybe her offspring will pundit like there's no tomorrow and revamp the family reputation.

patrick said...

"This girl and her type think all
blue collar jobs are really just unskilled labor, but the guys involved have puffed up the credentials to keep people out. etc."

You are correct. This is probably a common assumption among upper-class people who attend elite prep schools and Ivy League colleges.

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that if you replaced Bazelon with a random moron in all of her positions, there would be basically no impact to society or any person (outside of Bazelon).

If you replaced a fire captain with a random moron, people would die horrible deaths.

Yet somehow, Yale Law can continue to use the LSAT and college grades to determine admissions but testing firefighters for intelligence is to be forbidden.

-Steve Johnson

Tom V said...

J:

I cant see any benefit in the fact that a professional group is composed by relatives. That is called a caste, like in India. Endogamic groups stop progress, they are bad for society as a whole.

The New Haven Fire Department is no more Italian than the Federal Reserve is Jewish. You have no problem with the latter, do you?