January 22, 2011

African Americans being driven from NYC

The NYT has maps showing demographic winners and losers in New York City between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses. By far, the biggest losers are American-born blacks, whose numbers are growing only on the remote peripheries of the city. 

With crime in New York City way, way down as African-Americans are economically cleansed, American-born whites are resurgent across much of the more desirable central part of the city, especially recolonizing some convenient neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and northern Brooklyn. 

Much of the Waiting for "Superman"-style frenzy over school reform has to do with NYC whites trying to figure out how they can take back the schools as well as the streets -- all without ever coming out and articulating exactly what they are trying to do.

January 21, 2011

JFK's Harvard Application

John F. Kennedy's 1936 Harvard application is now on the Internet. In grades, he finished 65th out of 110 at Choate Academy, which is awfully mediocre since they probably weren't all that selective back then. The application includes old-fashioned College Board tests scored on a 0 to 100 scale, but I don't know how to interpret those: Latin 75, French 60, and Math A 82.

One thing I hadn't known was that JFK had actually started college at Princeton, but then dropped out because of a severe illness that put him in the hospital for two months. He ended up missing a year to recuperate, so he didn't start Harvard until he was 19. I feel sorry for the kid being that sickly.

In other news, the Democrats' favorite Republican Senator, Lindsay Graham, likes to boast of his 800 combined SAT score.

Goldberg, Beck, Fox Piven.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic is accusing Glenn Beck of "a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling" by "Beck's recent naming of nine people -- eight of them Jews -- as enemies of America and humanity." See, everybody is supposed to at all times know who is Jewish, or you could be an anti-Semite. You are also supposed to not know, because only anti-Semites know that stuff.

Goldberg admits that he can't prove that Beck knew that eight of nine people on his eccentric list are Jews, but
But Beck is a smart person, and has researchers at hand with access to Wikipedia. Further, most of these people on Beck's "big lie" list are already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web, so an extended Google search, in some cases, would show that much of the opposition to some of these people is motivated by anti-Semitism.

Yet, how much Internet searching did Goldberg do before accusing Beck of anti-Semitism? For example, where's the Internet evidence for Goldberg's "eight of them Jews" assertion? In particular, Goldberg should explain how he's so sure that sociologist Frances Fox Piven, co-founder of the National Welfare Rights Organization back in 1966, is Jewish. Where's the Internet evidence for that?

Piven and her second husband Richard Cloward were Columbia U. professors who were highly influential in the 1960s and 1970s advocating for expanding the number of people on welfare. (In 1976, I read a book by them, The Politics of Turmoil: Essays on Poverty, Race, and the Urban Crisis, that was assigned reading for my History of the 1960s class at Rice U.) Eventually, most people figured out that putting more people on welfare was a really bad idea and their reputation receded to academia (where they, evidently, are still worshiped as gods), but they had another triumph with the Democrat's Motor Voter act in 1993.

I've wasted an hour poking around on Google and I can't find much evidence that Frances Fox Piven is Jewish.  (Nor any evidence that she's not Jewish.) Here, for example, is Fox Piven's Wikipedia page, which doesn't mention anything about it.

I found one one fellow on Media Matters on January 14, 2011 saying that eight of the nine on Beck's list are Jewish. Perhaps Goldberg is just echoing him on the theory that an organization as trustworthy and unbiased as George Soros and David Brock's Media Matters has to be unbiased and trustworthy. On the other hand, at Matzav.com, commenter Yerachmiel Lopin asserts, "The most radical name on the list, more radical than Soros, is Frances Fox Piven who is not Jewish." I would take both assertions with about equal weight.

Frances Fox was was born in Calgary in 1932. Piven is the name of her first husband. (Maybe she converted to Judaism when she married her first husband and then, like Walter Sobchak, didn't convert back after the divorce because of "3000 years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax." I don't know.)

Is Fox a Jewish name? Sometimes, sometimes not. Wikipedia, which features a gigantic list of semi-famous people named Fox, explains that "Fox or Foxe or Foxx is a surname originating in England and Ireland." For example, actor Michael J. Fox was also born in Alberta. As far as I know, Michael J. Fox, Charles James Fox, Jimmy Foxx, and Redd Foxx weren't Jewish. On the other hand, Beck's Fox News is named after William Fox, who Anglicized his mother's surname of Fuchs. Moreover, the bass player in The Runaways, Jackie Fox, went back to being Jackie Fuchs at Harvard Law School, where the youthful Barack Obama reminded her of her former bandmate Joan Jett, who starred in Light of Day with Michael J. Fox. (See, it really is all connected, just like Beck says.)

Perhaps Goldberg once exchanged the secret handshake with Frances Fox Piven, which is why he's so sure about her. I don't know. 

It all seems increasingly farcical.

I can't imagine how Beck, who sounds like the epitome of the clueless goyishe kopf, is supposed to know these things.

Of course, he's also supposed to not know these things. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

January 20, 2011

The Necessity of Doublethink

From the Atlantic Monthly:

Glenn Beck's Jewish Problem

Does the Fox host realize that the majority of his "enemies of America" are Jewish?
National | Jeffrey Goldberg

You are supposed to know who is Jewish, but you are also supposed to not know who is Jewish. Got that?

Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, explains:
It's become clear to me that the Fox commentator Glenn Beck has something of a Jewish problem. Actually, he has something of a modernity problem, and people with modernity problems tend to have problems with Jews, who more or less invented modernity (Einstein, Marx, Freud, Franz Boas, etc.)

... This is a post about Beck's recent naming of nine people -- eight of them Jews -- as enemies of America and humanity. He calls these people prime contributors to the -- wait for it -- "era of the big lie." The eight Jews are Sigmund Freud; Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, and a nephew of Freud's (which Beck discloses as if this had previously been a secret); Soros, of course; Cass Sunstein, now of the White House; the former labor leader Andy Stern; Walter Lippman, who is no longer here to defend himself; Frances Fox Piven, who Beck believes is "sowing the seeds" of revolution; and, of all people, Edward Rendell.

It is fair to ask if Beck knows that these people are Jewish (It is not widely-known that Rendell is Jewish, I think). 

But, of course, who doesn't know that Frances Fox Piven is Jewish? 

Look, I can't recall ever seeing Glenn Beck on TV (I don't have cable), but I can take some guesses about his knowledge based on my own level of knowledge in the later 1990s. At that point, I would have been sure Freud was Jewish, but would have been reduced to sheer guessing about the seven others (most of whom I'd heard of at that point: I don't recall ever wondering whether Francis Fox Piven or her late husband Richard Cloward were Jewish. It just didn't come up.)

Extremely ethnocentric Jews like Jeffrey Goldberg (born in Brooklyn, he joined the Israeli Defense Force after graduating from the Ivy League) vastly overestimate how much gentiles pay attention to the Is-he-a-Jew? questions that obsess them. Further, the media has done a really good job of persuading the average American that even noticing the ethnic patterns that personally preoccupy leading members of the media like Goldberg is a mark of lack of gentility, so most of them don't. 

As Joel Stein pointed out in the LA Times in 2008 on the dumbing down of America:
Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. 

Goldberg continues:
... That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.
My modest suggestion to those Jews who fear the building of mosques in American cities is that they look elsewhere for threats that seem to be gathering against them.

The Establishment media freakout over the last two weeks about the fans of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Sarah Palin reveals how many leading figures in the press regard average Americans with atavistic dread and rage as The Other.

Guys, grow up and get over it. Fight the feeling. It's immature and unseemly, and just because nobody is allowed to point it out in polite society doesn't make it less so.

January 19, 2011

"Blue Valentine"

From my movie review in Taki's Magazine:
Blue Valentine, a superbly acted indie drama about a middle-class nurse falling out of love with her working-class house-painter husband, is both a timeless look at how sexual attraction actually works and an increasingly timely depiction of male-female troubles.

Since director Derek Cianfrance rewrote his screenplay 66 times while struggling to find financing over the last dozen years, Blue Valentine wound up more socially relevant now than it would have been in the 1990s. The dropout-rate gap between males and females has widened, technology has rendered a strong back less useful, and illegal immigration has further driven down the wages of less-educated men.

The press has celebrated the decline of men relative to women (for example, Hanna Rosin’s Atlantic article “The End of Men”). Yet are women notably happier? Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner explained why his series’ JFK-era retrograde behavior excites contemporary female viewers: “What’s sexist in the office is fuel in the bedroom.” Blue Valentine is about a marriage running on fumes.

Michelle Williams is Cindy and Ryan Gosling is Dean. Each has been a minor star for some time, both earning Oscar nominations: he as a teacher in Half Nelson, she as the late Heath Ledger’s wife in Brokeback Mountain. (Williams and Ledger had a real-life child.) Williams and Gosling, both 30, are excellent at playing a five-year-old girl’s worn-down parents as well as (in extensive flashbacks to their first meeting) beautiful 20-year-olds. Cianfrance shot the present on harsh digital video, the past on warm film stock.

Read the whole thing there.

Roissy gives Blue Valentine a rave at Citizen Renegade.

In contrast, conventional movie critics overwhelmingly give the movie thumbs up, but have a hard time even grasping what it's about.

The Conservative McCain

Much of liberaldom's "eliminationist" rhetoric regarding Arizona has been an attempt to eliminate from the electoral playing field this guy.

January 18, 2011

O'Reilly's Willing Executioners?

Some perceptive critics, such as Michael Moynihan and Chris Roach, have noticed an extraordinary term that Paul Krugman, the most influential pundit in America, used twice in his "Climate of Hate" column: "eliminationist." 

Krugman opined:
It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. ... The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary. And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence. ... Of course, the likes of Mr. Beck and Mr. O’Reilly are responding to popular demand.

Where did Krugman get the word "eliminationist?" Moynihan noted in Reason this recurrent theme in Krugman's vocabulary in 2010:
If your dictionary is unfamiliar with the word eliminationist, that's because of the term's recent vintage, coined in 1996 by Harvard political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. In his book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Goldhagen argued that far from being bullied and terrorized into allowing its government to commit genocide in their name, most Germans were imbued with an eliminationist hatred of Jews—i.e., a desire that Jews be eliminated from Aryan society—which transitioned smoothly into an exterminationist orgy of violence. ...

Of the 40 references to "eliminationism" in the Times archive, all but one refer to the destruction of European Jewry. The sole standout is Krugman, who, as we have seen, is referencing the Republican Party's opposition to health care legislation.

Google's Ngram notes a tiny number of instances of the word "eliminationist" showing up in books before Hitler's Willing Executioners, but almost all usage since the 18th Century has come, as Moynihan says, following Goldhagen's book.

Here are the top examples of the term "eliminationist" from Ngram:

  1. David A. Neiwert - 2009 - 281 pages - Preview
    Drawing from his extensive reporting on right-wing groups, David Neiwert argues that the conservative movements alliances with far-right extremists have not only pushed the movements agenda to the right, but have become a malignant ...
    books.google.com - Add to My Library
  2. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen - 2009 - 658 pages - Preview
    The price paid by those practicing eliminationist politics owing to actions taken by the international community has, ... The current international political system, in which eliminationist politics is embedded, is, whatever its ...
    books.google.com - More editions - Add to My Library
  3. Aristotle A. Kallis - 2009 - 413 pages - No preview
    Drawing on the latest research into the ideological dynamics of fascism, Aristotle A. Kallis? fascinating new book is a major contribution to the understanding of the Holocaust, and the mass murder and genocide committed by Fascist regimes ...
    books.google.com - More editions - Add to My Library
  4. Helmut Walser Smith - 2008 - 246 pages - Preview
    5 eliminationist racism In Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, ... Eliminationist anti-Semitism, to take Goldhagen's term, cannot be said to be representative of public opinion in Imperial Germany, ...
    books.google.com - More editions - Add to My Library
  5. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen - 1997 - 634 pages - Preview
    books.google.com - More editions - Add to My Library
  6. James Waller - 2002 - 316 pages - Preview
    You lived in a culture permeated by eliminationist antisemitism, and both its expression and its lack of expression ... Was Eliminationist Antisemitism the Central Motive for the Holocaust? Even if we accept the spurious concept of a ...
    books.google.com - More editions - Add to My Library

Krugman's obsession reminds me of Dick Cheney's "One Percent Doctrine" of how the threat from a "low-probability, high-impact event," such as Al-Qaeda getting a nuclear weapon, justified things like the Iraq Attaq. Similarly, if there's a one percent chance that Bill O'Reilly's show will lead to "eliminationism," well, that justifies ... Well, it would certainly be interesting to hear Dr. Krugman's inner opinion on just what a one percent chance would justify in response.

January 17, 2011

Amy Chua's next project?

Nicholas Wade writes about Chaser, a border collie dog, whose owner, a retired psychology professor, taught her to remember proper names for 1,022 different items to fetch.
Border collies are working dogs. They have a reputation for smartness, and they are highly motivated. They are bred to herd sheep indefatigably all day long. Absent that task, they must be given something else to do or they go stir crazy.

Chaser proved to be a diligent student. Unlike human children, she seems to love her drills and tests and is always asking for more. “She still demands four to five hours a day,” Dr. Pilley said. “I’m 82, and I have to go to bed to get away from her.” ...

As with other animals for which prodigious feats of cognition have been reported, like Alex the gray parrot or Kanzi the bonobo, it is hard to place Chaser’s and Rico’s abilities in context. If their achievements are within the general capacity of their species, why have many other instances not been reported? If, on the other hand, their achievements are unique, then either the researchers have lucked out in finding an Einstein of the species, or there could be something wrong with the experiments like a Clever Hans effect.
Dr. Pilley said that most border collies, with special training, “could be pretty close to where Chaser is.” When he told Chaser’s dog breeder of the experiment, “he wasn’t surprised about the dog’s ability, just that I had had the patience to teach her,” Dr. Pilley said.

Dr. Horowitz agreed: “It is not necessarily Chaser or Rico who is exceptional; it is the attention that is lavished on them,” she said. 

Border collies are a handful if you don't own a flock of sheep to keep them busy.

Ronald Brownstein's "White Flight" article in National Journal

From the VDARE.com column I wrote before the press whipped itself into a frenzy nine days ago:
Veteran centrist reporter Ronald Brownstein’s "White Flight" article in National Journal, a trade magazine for political professionals, had begun to get a lot of attention, until the political class went berserk over that psycho shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. ...

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Brownstein’s article was left more implied than explicit:
“The Hispanic vote for Democrats in House races slipped to 60 percent, compared with about two-thirds for Obama in 2008 … Meanwhile, Republicans, with their 60 percent showing, notched the party’s best congressional result among white voters in the history of modern polling.”

Let me spell this out more clearly than Brownstein does. In 2010, whites voted slightly more as a bloc for Republican House candidates (60-37) than Hispanics did for Democrats (60-38).

...Still, it’s fascinating that after endless pronouncements in the MSM about how Republicans were dooming themselves in November by supporting the Arizona immigration law, it turns out that the GOP did fair to middling among Hispanic voters.

The unspoken reality: immigration is not that important an issue to Hispanic voters—certainly not anything like as important as it is to would-be Hispanic leaders.

Read the whole thing there.

The NYT's long war on Arizona rolls on

The NYT's long war on Arizona continues. The NYT editorializes:
Arizona, in the Classroom
Last week’s memorial service in Tucson, which began with a blessing by a professor of Yaqui Indian and Mexican heritage, showcased Arizona’s rich diversity as well as the love and tolerance of many of its citizens.

Unfortunately there is another Arizona, one where its state government all too often promotes discord and intolerance. This was painfully clear in the state’s immigration law, which empowers the police to demand the papers of suspected illegal immigrants. And it is painfully clear in a new education law that injects nativist fears directly into the public school classroom.

The law, which took effect Dec. 31, bans any courses or classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

Promoting resentment might seem like divisiveness and vitriol, but in Tucson the taxpayers were being forced to pay for the promotion of resentment of whites, so that's A-Okay. Discord and intolerance is not subsidizing  resentment toward a class, as long as the class is whites.

January 16, 2011

What are we allowed to say?

At Your Lying Eyes, Ziel elegantly states the central paradox of contemporary political discourse:
... And so this is the quandary the right finds itself in - it cannot communicate its message to voters since the message itself is verboten. And so it must rely on proxy arguments that don't necessarily make a lot of sense. For example, proclaiming loudly and forcefully to be against illegal immigration, but all for legal immigration. But when the left counters with "Then why not just declare them legal - problem solved" - the conservative is left sputtering about rule-of-law. His real argument - that the Hispanic population is simply [growing] too large and we can't afford as a nation to allow it to continue to grow rapidly - must be muted, as making this argument will lead to his banishment from public discourse. Why? Because any venue that hosts this argument will be immediately subject not just to a withering public flogging, but to boycott by sponsors and anyone associated with the host. ...

Similarly, in his attempt to be civil in his latest column "A Tale of Two Moralities," Paul Krugman states that "the real challenge we face is not how to resolve our differences — something that won’t happen any time soon — but how to keep the expression of those differences within bounds." He then goes on to frame the yawning gulf between right-and-left as an unbridgeable dispute over tax policy! Taxation is about the only topic on which the right gets to argue with some passion - perhaps because everyone hates paying taxes. Republicans are routinely lambasted as the "party of greed" as a result, but again who isn't greedy? Unfortunately, that results in the Republican party being essentially focused with near single-mindedness on cutting taxes, since that's about the only issue they can really promote with gusto.

The general idea behind freedom of speech is that more speech is, on the whole, better than less speech. That's not a very popular notion these days.

Read the whole thing here.