February 3, 2007

So, what's the deal with Hawaii?

San Diego was long an economic underachiever, despite its port and superb climate, but in recent decades its northern suburbs have become extremely prosperous (Rancho Santa Fe is said to be the highest average income community in America), driven by communications and biotech businesses.

In contrast, Hawaii's economy, while certainly not impoverished, has never really developed beyond tourism, pineapple, and the military.

A reader writes:

"Business gurus have long predicted that Hawaii would become a high-tech powerhouse due to its central location between California and East Asia, but that has never happened. I spent one year at the University of Hawaii. Hawaii is a very Leftwing state. The largest employers are various Federal government entities. Many persons are immigrants who do not work, but just hang out and live on family money. The state government has very generous benefits, including health care. The entire atmosphere is one of relaxation. Even the East Asians in Hawaii lack their stereotypical hustle and drive."

Along the same lines, here are excerpts from the:

(pidgin kind style)

Please try to complete dis as best as you can.

Last name:________________________________________
[if your last Name no fit, continue on da other side of da page.]

First name:
[ ] Junior
[ ] Junior Boy
[ ] J.B. (short for Jr. Boy)
[ ] Honey Girl
[ ] Tita
[ ] Sistah
[ ] Braddah
[ ] Sistah-Girl

Slippah size____ Left ____ Right

[ ] Shmall kind
[ ] Mejum
[ ] Shmall kind big
[ ] Momona

[ ] Construction workah
[ ] Sanitation Engineer
[ ] Surfah
[ ] Lei greeter
[ ] Waitress
[ ] Stripper
[ ] Un-employed
[ ] Bishop Estate Trustee

Spouse's Name: ______________________________
2nd Spouse's Name: __________________________
3rd Spouse's Name: __________________________
Lover's Name: _______________________________
2nd Lover's Name: ___________________________

[ ] Hawaiian
[ ] Popolo
[ ] Japanee
[ ] Filipino
[ ] Haole
[ ] Portagee if yes; explain why:
[ ] Pake if yes; explain why:
[ ] All da above

Numbah of children living in household: ____________
Numbah of children living in your household das not yours: _____
Numbah of children thats buming off of you das over 23 years old: _______

1 2 3 4 (Circle highest grade completed)
What year you wen grad: ____ (if unsure, try guess)

If you obtained one higher edumacation what was your major?
[ ]5th grade
[ ] 6th grade

How many times have you gotten away with a DUI this year because you were related to da policeman? ____

By the way, Hawaiian Pidgin is actually a full-blown creole language with a complex grammar that evolved about a century ago among the children of immigrant plantation workers. The immigrants themselves, who spoke Portuguese, Tagalog, Cantonese, Japanese, English and so forth, developed a simplified pidgin language so they could communicate with each other and with Native Hawaiians, but their kids turned it into a full language. This is one of the stronger pieces of evidence for Noam Chomsky's theory that a "grammar instinct" is hard coded into humans.

Here are more Hawaiian Pidgin phrases, with recordings.

Whether the widespread use of Hawaiian Pidgin contributes to the poor test scores in Hawaii is a controversial question within the Islands. It's hard to see much evidence for that view from the NAEP scores. Hawaiian 8th graders average 11 points below the national average on reading, but 12 points below on math, which suggests that language is less of a problem than lack of effort or lack of brains. Hawaii's performance is pretty bad for a state where blacks and Hispanics make up only 7 percent of the population in the public schools.

A former resident of Hilo explains local terminology:

"Steve, folks in Hawai'i with even one drop of Native Hawaiian/Polynesian blood are deemed 'Hawaiian' or other words from the Hawaiian language depending on amount and political leanings nowadays, but ANYONE born and raised there for generations who does not have any amount of such racial stock is deemed both Local and one of the 'Hawaii people' as well as kama'aina. It's an ungainly way of speaking/writing but is done because the folks there are hyper sensitive/conscious their state is named for their ethnic/racial grouping. Here on the mainland after living in Hilo for seven years, I notice this misidentifying faux pas still.

"Barack Obama is certainly NOT 'Hawaiian,' though he is one of the 'Hawaii people.' Anti-White bias is rampant there in 'Paradise,' by the way, it's just well concealed unless one lives there."

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

Barack Obama's Hawaiian upbringing

As I mentioned last night, another indication of how much more obsessed white Americans are with African-Americans than with all other minorities combined is reflected in the widespread hope among whites that Barack Obama can somehow or other resolve the white-black race problem in America (an assumption shared by fewer blacks.)

And yet Obama's upbringing was wholly outside the continental U.S., in cultures with radically different perspectives on race than those prevailing here.

By upbringing, Obama is largely Hawaiian, but almost zero attention has been focused on the fact that he is the first major Presidential candidate with a Hawaiian background. Indeed, Obama's Hawaiian acculturation undercuts much of his self-made myth. He likes to go on about how he felt alienated as a youth because he didn't look like everybody else around him, but the truth is that a huge fraction of people in Hawaii look vaguely like Obama, since multiracial people are far more common there than anywhere else in America. Fu and Heaton reported: "Between 1983 and 1994, 46% of all marriages contracted in Hawaii were racially exogamous."

Granted, there aren't many blacks in Hawaii, but there also is less prejudice against them there than elsewhere because most blacks in Hawaii are connected to the military in some way, and thus they, or their ancestors, were selected for intelligence, honesty, and diligence.

That's why black children test less below average in Hawaii than almost anywhere else, except perhaps in Alaska. For example, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress school achievement exam of reading, in the overall U.S., 59% of black 4th graders score below basic versus 38% of the general population. In Hawaii, however, only 51% percent of blacks are below basic versus 47% of the total Hawaiian population -- a barely discernible difference.

Of course, Obama wasn't given an average Hawaiian upbringing. His grandparents sent him to the famous Punahou prep school, which is probably more dominant in the social structure of Hawaii than any other prep school in America is in its respective state. With 3,750 students from K-12 (and high school graduating classes of 430) in a state of only 1.2 million, it absorbs a very high proportion of all the young elites in Hawaii. Illustrative of Punahou's dominant resources, Sports Illustrated ranks Punahou as having the fourth best sports program of any of the 38,000 high school in America.

The Punahou School opened in 1841 on land owned by the Rev. Hiram Bingham I (grandfather of the discoverer of Machu Picchu), with its first teacher being the Rev. Daniel Dole (one of the many Congregationalist missionaries who went from New England to Hawaii to do good and whose families ended up doing well). It officially opened its doors to all races way back in 1851. For example, Sun Yat-sen, future first President of China, enrolled in 1883. Today, its student body is only 1/3 white.

So, Obama's feelings of racial oppression as a youth were more adolescent alienation fantasies than his daily reality.

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

Life imitates a Joseph Wambaugh novel

The LA Times runs an article almost identical to a vignette in Wambaugh's new Hollywood Station.

The force arrests Chewbacca
A Hollywood wookiee impersonator is accused of head-butting a tour guide. A witness: Superman.

The buzz on Hollywood Boulevard on Friday was over the Chewbacca who police say crossed over to the dark side in front of hundreds of tourists at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

LAPD officers arrested "Star Wars" street performer Frederick Evan Young, 44, of Los Angeles in his furry brown wookiee costume Thursday on a charge of misdemeanor battery for allegedly head-butting a tour guide who complained about Young's treatment of two visitors from Japan.

The incident — witnessed by Superman and other impersonators — is the latest clash outside the landmark cinema between visitors and performers dressed as movie and cartoon characters. They collect tips from tourists who pose for pictures and watch them perform in front of the theater, where generations of stars have placed their footprints in concrete.

Tourists have complained that some costumed characters turn abusive when they refuse to pay them to pose for pictures. Two years ago, actors dressed as superhero Mr. Incredible, Elmo the Muppet and the dark-hooded character from the movie "Scream" were arrested for aggressive begging. More recently, an actor portraying slasher movie favorite Freddie Krueger was taken into custody for allegedly stabbing another man, although no charges were filed.

Is there a funnier city in the world than LA?

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

Barack Obama: World's Most Ambitious Hawaiian?

In the Industrial Age, it was useful for the economically ambitious to live somewhere like Duluth, a harbor close to huge iron mines. In the Information Age, nobody wants to live in Duluth anymore, so there is far more money to be made in a place like Palo Alto, which has nice weather and scenery.

Nowhere is there better climate and views than Hawaii, yet you never seem to hear about a hot software startup or hedge fund located there. Why hasn't the Information Age done much for Hawaii?

Time zones are no doubt a problem. They are a big problem for a night owl like me in the Pacific Time zone, but for Hawaiians, they must be a nightmare. Trading opens on the Wall Street stock exchange at 3:30 AM. in Hawaii.

Perhaps, though, there's something about living in paradise that quells ambition, especially when the price of making it big is leaving Hawaii. Barack Obama, who spent all but four of his first 18 years in Hawaii, is one of the few hyper-ambitious people Hawaii has produced. Others include Bette Midler, Steve Case of AOL, and Hiram Bingham III, discoverer of Machu Picchu and U.S. Senator from Connecticut. (Here's a list of famous Hawaiians, although many are people who retired there, like Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors.)

But for world-shaking ambition, they are all pikers compared to an earlier student at Obama's famous Punahou prep school, Sun Yat-sen, first president of China.

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

February 2, 2007

Debating Ploys of the Smug and Stupid

A reader writes:

A reader once wrote to you about the way that liberals relentlessly employ the overlap fallacy: "Any Exception Disproves the Tendency."

Here are a few other tools I've found that liberals (and neoconservatives) frequently break out:

Argument from anecdote: Do I even need to give an example? The "apple pie" success stories of Mexican illegals in major newspapers will suffice to illustrate this sort of thing. Statistics are no match for sugar-coated anecdotes where liberals, neoconservatives, special interest groups, and open-borders libertarians are concerned. One of my favorite variants comes in the form of a rhetorical question suggesting that you need anecdotes of your own before you speak about an issue. Just mention the fact that the consequences of unrestricted Hispanic immigration are bothering you. Provide some statistics. Then (statistics be damned), the inevitable question is raised: "have you ever even taken the time to get to know Mexicans?" Not that they'll care what answer you give them.

Appeal to theoretical human potential: Actual human behavior seems to mean less to liberals than potential human behavior. I think this is one of the things that distinguishes liberals and neoconservatives from actual conservatives. For liberals, the fact that a person or people could conceivably do something often seems to be as good as if they actually do do something. Worried that Mexican cultural values are inferior to traditional Anglo-American cultural values when it comes to maintaining a First World country? "Sure, Mexican-Americans may not currently be as highly individualistic as Anglo-Americans, but no problem," the liberal will respond, "I see no reason why they couldn't be." The liberal is then happy to rest their case as if "could" solves the problem once and for all. They will simply ignore the reality that there is no force forcing Mexican-Americans to adopt such Anglo values. As a matter of fact, those traditional values are in decline among whites also. "But not to worry," the liberal might say, "we could regain those values if we really needed them."

Rubric argument: For this one, pick a relatively vague term like "social causes" and employ it as if it were something invested with a great deal more precision and explanatory power than it actually carries. One liberal commentator I came across on the internet indicated that because "social causes" could explain why women once did not attend universities in the numbers men did, that "social causes" could equally well explain why women did not comprise a high percentage of scientific and engineering graduates. What social causes is he speaking of? He didn't say, of course. He felt "social causes" was explanation enough.

The problem is that the liberal is combining a whole bunch of different things under the single rubric of "social causes" that may or may not have relevance to the issue. Historically there have been legal, economic, and familial reasons why women could not attend colleges. The fact that women now do in large numbers is evidence that none of those "social causes" apply today. Yet, even in the absence of those "social causes," women still make up a disproportionately low number of scientists and engineers. The very "social causes" the liberal refers to, far from offering an explanation of this fact, fail entirely to explain it. By appealing to a vague rubric the commentator disguises this fact and probably manages to fool himself in the process.

Squawk about qualifiers (and logical quantifiers) unnecessarily: Many liberals make a concerted effort not to understand what you mean. If I say that "young black men like rap music," in most circumstances I simply mean that "most young black men like rap music." I'm not ruling out the existence of young black men who don't like rap music. Even when it is abundantly clear that someone is speaking only in general terms, and even when common sense should be able to fill in the gap and qualify a statement, liberals rarely miss an opportunity to accuse someone of gross generalization when failing to explicitly qualify each and every statement on a politically incorrect topic. If you say, "blacks score lower than whites on IQ tests," some liberals invariably respond by accusing you of implying that "all blacks score lower than all whites on IQ tests." Of course, this never stops those same liberals from making blanket statements (often combined with horrible view accusations) about conservatives. "Why do those right-wingers continue to wage their war of hate against poor people in this country?"

The "Horrible View" Accusation: If you say that illegal immigrants are detrimental to American society, be prepared for preemptive accusations that you view Mexicans as Neanderthals or sub-humans. Liberals like to accuse their opponents of having horrible views of issues. I guess they employ this tactic because it is slightly more subtle than the plain old ad hominem attack while accomplishing pretty much the same thing.

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

January 30, 2007

College financial aid applications: as much privacy as a proctological exam

Our Endangered Right to Privacy is a favorite topic of newspaper editorials and long op-eds. Yet, I don't recall ever seeing anyone point out that the extraordinarily elaborate process of applying for "financial aid" from colleges tramples all over your privacy. This says a lot about the deference paid to the college cartel by the American upper middle class.

As you know, colleges set their sticker prices by picking some absurdly high figure, like $46,732 per year, then discount like crazy, although they call their discounts "financial aid." But, they discount the way economic theory predicts a monopolist would - by perfect price discrimination, setting the profit-maximizing price for each potential customer. You learn in Econ 101 that in the real world, this theoretical result is seldom achieved because firms can't obtain all detail necessary about each customer for setting the perfect price. If your econ professor has s a rogue wit, he will then point out that there is a single exception: American colleges, which insist upon complete financial disclosure from applicants for "financial aid."

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

January 28, 2007

Ethnic Personae and The Thin Beige Duke

Camille Paglia's career largely consists of a single bombshell book, 1990's Sexual Personae, in which she romped through 3000 years of Western decadence, outlining how artists from Michelangelo to Oscar Wilde have embodied a host of diverse sexual identities. In the late 20th Century, pop stars like Paglia's favorite, Madonna, or David Bowie -- with his Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, and more -- have made careers out of changing sexual personae every few years.

Barack Obama's straightforward masculinity wouldn't be very interesting to Paglia's taste for convolution, but Obama is a Paglian artist, nonetheless: not of sexual personae, but of ethnic personae. He has carefully crafted his image to tantalize white America's complex, inchoate ethnic fantasies, a Tiger Woods for the White House.

The obvious question, however, is whether America will get bored with Obama's Thin Beige Duke act before the 2008 election? Does he have a second ethnic personae up his sleeve?

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

Average SAT scores by high school

It's a long one, but it unveils a lot of information I've never seen written up before. Everybody talks about how average SAT scores differ at colleges, but I review how they differ at high schools. It will be of most interest to people in Los Angeles County, but SoCal high schools have enough mythos attached to them -- Beverly Hills High, Hollywood High, Compton Centennial High, home of the Bloods gang -- that it should be interesting to everybody.

What LA Schools Portend: A New, Unequal, People

… Public discourse about test scores is also retarded by a technical problem. There is such a proliferation of school achievement tests across the 50 states (the NCLB refused to institute a national test), that few people understand what the various scores mean. The states' test scores are just not as familiar as SAT scores, which tens of millions of Americans understand at least roughly.

Recently, I stumbled upon a database on the LA Almanac website listing the average SAT scores at every Los Angeles County public high school. The results were quite startling. They say a lot about public policy—and, indeed, about the future prospects for America … because, perhaps more than anywhere else, our future is being test-driven in our most populous county, Los Angeles, with its 10 million residents. …

Thus, only about seven or eight percent of the students who start 9th grade in the LAUSD will break 1000 on the SAT (even under the easier scoring system adopted in 1995).

For all Los Angeles County public high school freshmen, only about ten percent will exceed 1000 by the time they leave high school.

What about private school students? Do they lighten this dismal picture? Even adding them in, it's unlikely that much more than 16 percent of all freshmen in America's most populous county will ultimately break 1000.

It's time for our elites to face up to the fact: millions of young people just aren't all that bright by the standards of the upper middle class. Passing laws based on the assumption that we live in Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average just makes life worse for kids on the left half of the bell curve… People who are below average in intelligence have enough problems as it is, without being persecuted further by unrealistic politicians.

Duke Helfand reported in the LA Times: "Now the Los Angeles school board has raised the bar again. By the time today's second-graders graduate from high school in 2016, most will have to meet the University of California's entry requirements, which will mean passing a third year of advanced math, such as algebra II …"

A large fraction of LA high school students should be working on finally mastering fractions and percentages, skills they'll actually use in their careers—not banging their heads against the Algebra II wall of abstraction until they drop out. [More]

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

Barack Obama's Polygamous Pa Was Straight Out of John Updike's The Coup

The Daily Mail's investigative report into the true story of Barack Obama Sr., the man mythologized by Barack Obama Jr., in his bestseller Dreams from My Father, reveals a life story remarkably similar to the fictional life of the narrator of John Updike's spectacular 1978 novel of Africa, The Coup.

Updike's Col. Ellellou was born into rural poverty in Africa, married a local girl from the village, wound up at a U.S. college, where he bigamously added a white second wife to his collection, then returned to Africa, embarked on a political career, and accumulated two more wives. Updike has a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law who are black Africans, so his insights into Africa are founded on deep thought.

A drunk and a bigot [sic - should be "bigamist"] - what the US Presidental hopeful HASN'T said about his father...

It is a classic story of the American dream made real: an impoverished Kenyan goatherd rising to become a brilliant Harvard-educated economist. On the way he fights racial prejudice at home and corruption at work, survives the heartbreak of a broken relationship and, despite it all, leads the fight to rid Africa of its colonial legacy.

This extraordinary story is told by US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama as he recalls the life of the man who inspired him to political success - his father. Mr Obama's book, Dreams From My Father, is flying off the shelves of US book stores, exciting and astonishing readers in equal measure. It is a bestseller, and no wonder - because the story just gets better and better. …

Yet an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has revealed that, for all Mr Obama's reputation for straight talking and the compelling narrative of his recollections, they are largely myth.

We have discovered that his father was not just a deeply flawed individual but an abusive bigamist and an egomaniac, whose life was ruined not by racism or corruption but his own weaknesses. And, devastatingly, the testimony has come from Mr Obama's own relatives and family friends. …

Grandfather Obama sent his son to a missionary school but after completing his education, the youth could find little work except goatherding in his remote village of Nyangoma Kogela, in the roadless hills of Western Kenya.

At 18, he married a girl called Kezia. But Obama Snr was more interested in politics and economics than his family and his political leanings had been brought to the notice of leaders of the Kenyan Independence movement.

He was put forward for an American-sponsored scholarship in economics, with the idea being that he would eventually use his Western-honed skills in the new Kenya. At the age of 23 he headed for university in Hawaii, leaving behind the pregnant Kezia and their baby son.

Relatives say he was already a slick womaniser and, once in Honolulu, he promptly persuaded a fellow student called Ann - a naive 18-year-old white girl - to marry him. Barack Jnr was born in August, 1961.

Two years later, Obama Snr was on the move again. He was accepted at Harvard, and left his little boy and wife behind when he moved to the exclusive east coast university.

At the time, Ann explained to their son that his father had gone because his meagre stipend would not support the family if they lived together. But finance was the least of her worries.

Mr Obama Jnr claims that racism on both sides of the family destroyed the marriage between his mother and father.

In his book, he says that Ann's mother, who went by the nickname Tut, did not want a black son-in-law, and Obama Snr's father 'didn't want the Obama blood sullied by a white woman'.

In fact Ann divorced her husband after she discovered his bigamous double life. She remarried and moved to Indonesia with young Barack and her new husband, an oil company manager.

Obama Snr was forced to return to Kenya, where he fathered two more children by Kezia. He was eventually hired as a top civil servant in the fledgling government of Jomo Kenyatta - and married yet again.

Now prosperous with a flashy car and good salary, his third wife was an American-born teacher called Ruth, whom he had met at Harvard while still legally married to both Kezia and Ann, and who followed him to Africa. …

Unlike Updike's Col. Ellelou, however, who became a teetotaler when he joined the Black Muslims in Milwaukee, Obama Sr.'s alcoholism cost him his career and life.

Friends say drinking blighted his life - he lost both his legs while driving under the influence and also lost his job. However, this was no bar to his womanising: he sired a son, his eighth child, by yet another woman and continued to come home drunk. He was about to marry her when he finally died in yet another drunken crash when Obama was 21. …

In his book, he attempts to put the best face on it. His father, he writes, lost his civil service job after campaigning against corrupt African politicians who had 'taken the place of the white colonials'. One of Obama Snr's former drinking partners, Kenyan writer Philip Ochieng Ochieng says, however, that his friend's downfall was his weak character. …

Mr Obama claims that he, too, has been racially abused, even during his campaign for the White House. His mother, Ann, decided that he should get an American education and sent him back from Indonesia to Hawaii, where he was admitted to a £7,000-a-year prep school, Punahau Academy, and lived with his maternal grandparents. And while there, says Mr Obama, he was tortured by fellow pupils - who let out monkey hoots - and turned into a disenchanted teenage rebel, experimenting with cocaine and marijuana.

Even his grandparents were troubled by dark skin, he says in his book, recalling how once his grandmother complained about being pestered by a beggar. "You know why she's so scared?" he recalls his grandfather saying. "She told me the fella was black." Mr Obama says his soaring 'dream' of a better America grew out of his 'hurt and pain'.

Friends, however, remember his time at school rather differently. He was a spoiled high-achiever, they recall, who seemed as fond of his grandparents as they were of him. He affectionately signed a school photo of himself to them, using their pet names, Tut and Gramps. The caption says: "Thanks... for all the good times."

Updike will be amused to learn that while at prep school, the future Senator dressed like Updike's literary rival Tom Wolfe:

He worked on the school's literary magazine and wore a white suit, of the style popular with New York writers at the time.

The article confirms what I implied a few weeks ago: that the Presidential candidate was by upbringing a pretty typical upper middle class kid fantasizing a new identity for himself as an oppressed but rebellious African-American standing up to The Man.

One of his former classmates, Alan Lum, said: "Hawaii is such a melting pot that it didn't occur to me when we were growing up that he might have problems about being one of the few African-Americans at the school. Us kids didn't see colour. He was easy-going and well-liked."

Obama went on to tell us about how Columbia U. in Harlem in the early 1980s was practically Mississippi in 1937:

Mr Obama was later admitted to read politics and international relations at New York's prestigious Columbia University where, his book claims, "no matter how many times the administration tried to paint them over, the walls remained scratched with blunt correspondence (about) n*****s."

But one of his classmates, Joe Zwicker, 45, now a lawyer in Boston, said yesterday: "That surprises me. Columbia was a pretty tolerant place. There were African American students in my classes and I never saw any evidence of racism at all."

One of the reasons Sen. Obama strikes many people as refreshingly unlike a typical politicians is because he is unlike most of them. Instead, he more resembles a type of person we like a lot more than a politician -- a pop culture celebrity. Like, say, Madonna, he has devoted his life to reinventing himself, to evolving a persona that will excite the media and appeal to the white majority.

Obama has crafted himself into the New Improved Sidney Poitier, an updated version for 2007 of what Poitier represented to well-meaning whites in 1967. Not surprisingly, actual black Americans are more tepid in their response to Obama's image-honing.

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