June 16, 2007

The Senate Horrorshow Bill: The Axis of Amnesty's revival of the Senate immigration bill has inspired a lot of zombie, vampire, mummy, and Frankenstein references, but I think I like best Dennis Dale's citation of the climax of The Eagles' song "Hotel California:"

They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can't kill the beast

Hotel California ... hmmhmm, that's not a bad metaphor for what the Axis wants the American nation to turn into ...

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

June 15, 2007

The Steveosphere in The New Republic

The New Republic recently published an article entitled "Why genes don't determine race: Race Against History" by Merlin Chowkwanyun that's a lot of the same old same old.

I've long felt my single biggest contribution was coming up with a definition of "racial group" that was both rigorous and common-sensical ("a partly inbred extended family"). Simply having a useful definition should do much to dispel the hysteria, bad-faith, status-seeking, and general air of nonsense surrounding the topic of race.

On the other hand, my definition hasn't exactly swept like wildfire through the intellectual world as Chowkwanyun. But that's the way it generally is. You don't persuade famous thinkers, like, say, Richard Rorty, you outlive them. A new generation then comes along that doesn't have their egos invested in bad old ideas.

So, I was pleased to see in TNR a reply to the article by Justin Shubow that demonstrates a good familiarity with state-of-the-art thinking on the subject.

(By the way, Steven Pinker was mistaken in attributing the phrase a "a race is just a very large and partly inbred family" to my friend Vince Sarich -- Sarich was the first to draw the analogy of races to fuzzy sets in math.)

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

In other words, the Senate will squeeze amnesty through when the public isn't watching

From the NYT this afternoon:

President Bush and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, pledged today to work for passage of the suddenly revived immigration bill, with Mr. Reid saying Senate Democrats would sacrifice their Fourth of July break, if necessary.

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

The Nielsen Ratings of the Future

This week, everybody is writing about the end of The Sopranos, but is smart TV the wave of the future? For example, the triumph of the medical diagnosis show House, with Hugh Laurie's spectacular portrayal of a Greg Cochran-like doctor, is highly gratifying. But, which way is the market really heading?

At the same time, Gov. Schwarzenegger has come under fire from the usual suspects for advising immigrants to turn off the Spanish-language TV in favor of English-language TV:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated his ignorance on immigration issues once again by perpetuating the myth that immigrants have to reject their old culture and language in order to learn English and assimilate," said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Clearly, the Governor "has demonstrated his ignorance on immigration issues once again." After all, what would Arnold Schwarzenegger know about how immigrants can learn to be successful in America?

So, what's the cultural future look like? Let's check out the Nielsen ratings in the Los Angeles market, the best harbinger of the demographic transition of America. The LA Times doesn't seem to put Nielsen ratings online, so here's the previous week's ratings as transcribed from the June 8th LAT I retrieved from my recycling bin:

LA Rank

US Rank






Destilando Amor





Destilando Amor





La Fea Mas Bella





Destilando Amor





La Fea Mas Bella





La Fea Mas Bella





La Fea Mas Bella





Destilando Amor









Destilando Amor



Here's a fraction of the plot of the dominant show, the new Mexican telenovela Destilando Amor, according to Wikipedia:

Rodrigo and Gaviota rapidly fall in love and believe that they are soulmates. One late night, Rodrigo and Gaviota sneak into the agave fields and passionately make love to one another under a large tree. After a night of unforgettable passion and love, Rodrigo packs his belongings and returns to Europe so that he could continue with his studies. However, before Rodrigo left, he made a promise to Gaviota that he would return to Tequla in exactly one year...so that he could make Gaviota his wife. Shortly after Rodrigo's departure from Tequila, Gaviota discovers that she is pregnant with his child. Gaviota is too excited to wait for an entire year to give the news to Rodrigo that he will soon be a father, so, she makes a bargain with a photographer. The bargain was that if Gaviota would let the photographer take photographs of her as she modeled for him, he would send her to Paris, France, where she could model for clothing lines. After the photographs are taken, Gaviota is introduced to Madame Colette, a woman of elegance and refinement, and is immediately sent to Europe. While in Paris, Gaviota discovers that she has been viciously tricked by both the photographer and Madame Colette. She was not sent to work as a fashion model...but as a prostitute.

Gaviota successfully escapes from the whore house and with the help of a kind gentleman she is able to travel to London, England. Once Gaviota arrives in London, she instantly begins to search for Rodrigo. On her way from Cambridge University, Gaviota sees Rodrigo walking in the streets. She begins to shout his name, but he does not hear her. Because Gaviota was so excited to see Rodrigo after such a long time, she crossed the street without looking, and was forcefully struck by a car. Rodrigo notices the accident, however, he does not it is Gaviota. Thanks to Mother Felicity, a kind and generous nun, Gaviota was rushed off to a hospital and was performed surgery on. Fortunately, Gaviota's life is saved.

The Mexican telenovela La Fea Mas Bella is based on the same Colombian source as Ugly Betty, so it doesn't sound as dire. Nonetheless, the future looks tacky.

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

June 14, 2007

The return of the acccursed undead: Mickey Kaus writes: "Fox is reporting an imminent agreement -- significantly including Sen. Reid -- to grease the skids for passage of the Senate immigration bill via a Fool-the-Yahoos addition of $4.4 billion in enforcement spending."

ABC reports:

"The officials who described the emerging plan did so on condition of anonymity, saying the negotiations had been conducted in private."

Well, that's a huge surprise!

By the way, ABC's caption reads:

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., second from left, discusses immigration reform legislation during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 14 2007. From left are, Los Angeles radio host Eddie "El Piolin" Sotelo, Kennedy, Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif.

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

Edward R. Tufte

Edward R. Tufte: Here are a couple of articles about the author of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward R. Tufte, who has a new book out called Beautiful Evidence (which I haven't seen yet). Some of it is apparently dedicated to analyzing the most famous graphic Tufte has rediscovered: C.J. Minard's statistical map of what happened to Napoleon's Grand Army on its march to and from Moscow in 1812. I had that graph on my wall for many years during my marketing research career, and it functioned like Danny Dravot's Freemason watch fob in "The Man Who Would Be KIng" -- the people walking by who stopped and recognized it tended to be on my data-oriented psychological wavelength.

Edward Tufte is most likely the world’s only graphic designer with roadies. “We own two of everything—amplifiers, digital projectors,” other A/V gear, he says. “One set moves up and down the West Coast, and one stays in the East, to keep the FedEx charges down.” He plays 35 or so dates a year, at $380 per ticket.... As soon as the applause stops, Tufte bolts backstage, enthusiastically draining a Corona. “There are usually about 500 people who want to talk afterwards, and I’ve exhausted myself,” he says sheepishly. “I have to go hide out. Otherwise it takes hours.” This is all a good deal more lucrative than many author tours. “Thirty-five, forty dollars a book, 1.4 million copies?” he says, with a quizzical smile, when I ask about money. “You can multiply.”

And who are these fans who won’t leave? The majority are male, and wearing expensive rimless eyeglasses. Many are Web designers, creative directors, art directors, editors, architects.

Five years ago, I tried to see a display of Tufte's abstract steel sculpture at the magnificent Bradbury Building (where the climax of "Blade Runner" was filmed) in downtown LA on Broadway, which is now the city's chief Latino immigrant shopping street. I arrived about 4pm on Saturday, when there are an incredible number of people on the street -- the only place in America I've seen with a clearly higher density of pedestrians is New York's Chinatown. Unfortunately, the Bradbury Building appeared to be locked, so I started looking around for fellow Tufte fans who could explain what the situation was. Despite the enormous crowds, they weren't hard to pick out as they approached on the sidewalk even from a block away, since they were all white guys at least a half foot taller than anybody else on the street.

And here's the classic anti-Tufte "Gettysburg Address Powerpoint Presentation."

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

June 13, 2007

And what's second prize?

Nicholas D. Kristof announces a puzzling sweepstakes on the NYT editorial page:

I’m taking the two winners of the “Win-a-Trip contest” to [Africa's] Great Lakes region, where at least five million people have died in what is sometimes called the continent’s first world war.

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

What's Next? Fashion-Forward Curds?

When standing in line at the pharmacy, I'm right next to a five-foot high, four-foot wide shelf labeled "Designer Whey." Last time I looked more closely at one of the big plastic jars. In bold letters, it said, near the "Any Whey" brand name: "Virtually Tasteless!"

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

Economists preaching morality rather than learning about reality, Part MCXIV

Lots of good responses to the Slate column by U. of Rochester economist Steven Landsburg. From Across Difficult Country:

Approximately not so much

Economist Steven Landsburg calculates Americans who oppose immigration must think immigrants are “worth less than one-fifth of an American citizen.” Obviously a more apposite calculation would be determining how much immigrants’ value the lives of American citizens - to the average immigrant, is an American’s well-being worth three-quarters as much as his, or half as much, or one-quarter as much? I say obviously, but for some reason it did not occur to the great mind of Steven Landsburg, possibly because he’s tired from all the charity work someone as altruistic and unselfish as he is must surely be doing.

Dennis Mangan wonders:

So I'll just ask Landsburg this: how much should you care about your family? Am I, just to use a not-so-random example, worth only one-fifth of Landsburg's daughter? If I'm wort more than that, can I crash permanently on his living room sofa?

A wealthy friend writes to another friend of his:

What if you, [my brother], and I just buy the house next door to [Landsburg's] and make it a "sanctuary" for about a dozen illegal Mexican families. We could cover most of our capital cost via rental supplemented by Section-8 subsidies. Then when Landsburg and all his neighbors flee, selling out cheaply, we buy the homes, end our "sanctuary" program by calling the ICE to come collect our tenants, and re-sell the homes in the once-more-middle-class neighborhood for *huge* capital gains.

Then we repeat the process with Tamar Jacoby's neighborhood. We can "Do Well By Doing Good"!

My question is: why should Mexicans be so privileged? Five billion people live in countries with lower per capita incomes. Why not them instead of Mexicans?

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

"La Vie en Rose"

From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:

Why is the "struggle with inner demons" such a staple of movies about musicians and actors?

Part of the reason is selection bias: producers aren't dying to make "The Johann Sebastian Bach Story" because composing a new masterpiece for Sunday church services each week while raising 20 children didn't leave Bach much time for self-inflicted drama.

Nonetheless, on average, performers really do live more chaotic lives than the rest of us. The detective novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler explained in The Little Sister, his novel about a troubled actress: "If these people didn't live intense and rather disordered lives, if their emotions didn't ride them too hard -- well, they wouldn't be able to catch those emotions in flight and imprint them on a few feet of celluloid ..."

Nobody lived a more intense and disordered life than Edith Piaf (1915-1963), the Parisian chanteuse depicted in the melodramatic and moving French film "La Vie en Rose." While her contemporary Judy Garland became an icon to male homosexuals (the gay liberation movement began in 1969 when drag queens returning from Garland's funeral rioted at New York's Stonewall bar), Piaf was a national heroine, as French as Johnny Cash was American.

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

June 10, 2007

The Axis of Amnesty

My new VDARE.com column is up. Here's an excerpt:

Fifth, the Achilles heel of the Axis of Amnesty’s putsch was that the bill had to be posted on the Internet.

The legislation was written in secret. Committee hearings on it were blocked. It was far too long for many busy Senators and their staffers to read.

But networks of highly intelligent citizens examined it carefully and emailed each other with what they found. For example, Thursday's VDARE.com article, Ten Reasons The Amnesty/Immigration Surge Bill Is Appalling, by 'An Economist,' grew out of an email list utilized by a brilliant economist-turned-highly successful businessman, who has been devoting a lot of his extraordinary energy to immigration.

Sixth, it has become obvious over last three weeks that there is a strong correlation between one's level of factual knowledge about immigration and one's level of skepticism about the Kennedy-Bush Immigration Surge scheme.

Indeed, that helps explain something that baffled the clueless MSM. According to the press' interpretation of their own polls, the public thought the Kennedy-Bush plan was a swell idea. The "Gallup Guru," Frank Newport of the Gallup Poll organization, influentially claimed on May 22: "Senate immigration bill in sync with American public opinion."

In particular, the Washington Post didn't just drink the Inside-the-Beltway Kool-Aid about the popularity of amnesty, it brewed up vast new quantities. Even on Saturday morning, June 9, the Post's immigration "reporter" Jonathan Weisman [Send him mail](who was culpable for last Monday's notoriously wrong agitprop classic Backers of Immigration Bill More Optimistic: Lawmakers Cite Sense of Urgency was still proclaiming:

"Within policy circles, immigration reform is viewed as vital, addressing both the growing demand for workers and the social costs of an illegal underclass. The public also generally supports the idea."

Yet, when push came to shove, an unexpected majority of Senators ran away from the Kennedy-Bush bill—because their constituents had made clear to them over the Memorial Day break that they opposed it.

That’s opposed—NOT supported. There’s a difference.

To his credit, Gallup's Newport looked deeper into the topic. He reported on June 6:

"Those Americans who are following the debate closely are highly likely to be opponents of the bill. Among those who know enough to have an opinion, the bill is opposed by almost a three to one margin. Among those who say they are following the news about the bill very closely, opposition outweighs support by almost a four to one margin." [While Majority Unsure About Immigration Bill, Those With Opinion Are Strongly Opposed, Gallup News Service, June 06, 2007]

In other words, pro-amnesty pollsters manipulated the ignorant into expressing approval of the Kennedy-Bush plan by presenting them with a few carefully crafted talking points about what its sponsors claimed it would do.


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

Would a tough stand on illegal immigration be deadly in Florida in the 2008 Presidential election?

Mickey Kaus, who has been indispensable over the last few weeks, writes:

"Immigrant Bill Hurts Martinez at Poll": Senate GOP Grand Bargaineer Mel Martinez's approval ratings have "plunged" from 48 to 37 percent approval in his state, Florida--an all-time low for him, reports the Orlando Sentinel. ... P.S.: Isn't Florida, with its large Hispanic population, supposed to be one of the more comprehensive-friendly states? [More]

Florida's 27 electoral votes went to the GOP by five points in 2004, but, of course, 2000 was rather close. (Most of the bigger states that were close in 2004 were either old-fashioned black and white industrial states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.) But I doubt that amnesty for largely Mexican illegal immigrants would be a strong vote-getter in Florida.

While Florida is above average in its percentage of Hispanic voters, it's actually below the national average in its share of Hispanics of immigrant nationalities.

According to the Census Bureau's 2004 survey of 50,000 households right after the election, Hispanics cast only 11.2% of the vote in that state. Further, Florida's Hispanic electorate is led by Cubans and, increasingly, Puerto Ricans, neither of whom have a direct interest in immigration policy. New arrivals from Cuba are treated by current law as refugees, not immigrants, and Puerto Ricans are born U.S. citizens. In 2003, 68% of Hispanic citizens in Florida were Cuban or Puerto Rican, and probably at least 75% of Hispanic voters. Only 7% of Florida Hispanic citizens are Mexican.

In a Florida newspaper poll of 600 likely voters, Hispanics were just as hostile toward immigration as the general populace.

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