September 28, 2007

Bollinger and Hospitality

I know I'm late to the story about Iranian President Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia, and the personal insults Columbia President Lee Bollinger made in his introductory speech, but my question is about Persian culture (or cultures -- it's a big, very old, very complicated place). I don't know much about Persia, but a lot of it is desert, and don't West Asian desert cultures put a very strong emphasis on hospitality?

Winston Churchill wrote about the Pathans who live to the east of Iran:

"Every family cultivates its vendetta; every clan, its feud... For the purposes of social life … a most elaborate code of honour has been established and is on the whole faithfully observed. A man who knew it and observed it faultlessly might pass unarmed from one end of the frontier to another. The slightest technical slip would, however, be fatal. The life of the Pathan is thus full of interest…"

Did Bollinger come across as an ill-bred barbarian to people from that part of the world for accepting the role of host but then failing so badly in his duty to be a polite one?

Bollinger got his Ivy League sinecure because he defended "diversity" (i.e., quotas) so vociferously at the U. of Michigan, but an enthusiasm for multiculturalism often goes along with ignorance about other cultures.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Carol Swain on the Jena Six

Vanderbilt law professor Carol Swain, whose book Debating immigration I recently reviewed at, writes in the Tennessean:

When teens aren't taught value of life, it can have deadly consequences


Much sport has been made of the deadly sneaker that the district attorney introduced as a weapon. What is missed is the fact that sneakers and fists can become lethal weapons under the right circumstances.

Almost a year ago, my 41-year-old brother, Kevin Henderson, died from injuries he sustained on his job after he was attacked by a group of teenage boys.

According to a neighbor who witnessed the attack, five teens knocked my brother to the ground, kicking and stomping him until the neighbor intervened. Kevin staggered home, collapsed into a coma and was declared brain-dead within hours of the attack.

It took many months for a measure of justice to occur. So far, two of the five boys have been charged with first-degree manslaughter. Like Mychal Bell, one of the boys has been held many months without bail. He awaits sentencing, and the family hopes he will go straight to prison. Most, if not all, come from single-parent households.

Perhaps the boys meant to kill him. Perhaps it was an accident. In any event, a life was lost because a gang of boys mortally wounded a man who left home for his job, not knowing that he would never return.

I offer this story of a senseless killing to provide another perspective on what might have been going on in the head of the Jena district attorney. [More]

September 27, 2007

Cochran, Brecher, et al in The American Conservative

Here's the table of contents:

September 24, 2007 Issue

Easy Out
By Gregory Cochran
Don’t overestimate the logistical impediments to a quick withdrawal.

A Separate Peace
By Leon Hadar
Iraq will move forward when America leaves it behind.

Open Fire
By Paul W. Schroeder
Americans still don’t understand that the Iraq War didn’t go wrong. The war was wrong.

Once More into the Breach
By Justin Logan
Will the neocons’ Iranian PR campaign bomb?

After Tocqueville
By Chilton Williamson Jr.
Can democracy expand across the globe when it’s dying at its source?

Run for the Border
By W. James Antle III
Rudy and Romney pose as Minutemen.

Breaking Planks
by Michael Brendan Dougherty
Giuliani wins, social conservatives lose?

In the Shadow of the Valley
By Steve Sailer
Paul Haggis’s “In the Valley of Elah”

The School for Scandal
By Richard B. Spencer
Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Case by Stuart Taylor Jr. and K.C. Johnson

Sneak Preview
October 8, 2007 Issue

Sycophant Savior
General Petraeus protects official Washington from its greatest fear: admitting it was wrong.
by Andrew J. Bacevich

For some reason, this isn't the whole table of contents. For example, the new biography of Dick Cheney by Stephen Hayes is reviewed by Gary Brecher.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Here's my review of "Chalk" from the June 4, 2007 issue of The American Conservative:

Although the average studio film cost $100.3 million to make and market in 2006, "Chalk," a sympathetic mockumentary about high school teachers by two teachers, demonstrates that competent, insightful films don't have to be expensive. Yet, while less than 0.5 percent of the typical Hollywood budget, "Chalk" still cost somewhere around $5,000 per minute, suggesting that even with digital video, filmmaking remains a do-it-yourself undertaking only for the richest or most impassioned.

The fictional premise of "Chalk" is that a documentary crew follows four young Texas educators to find out why half of all teachers quit the profession within their first three years on the job.

Hollywood screenwriters routinely regale us with uplifting tales, such as last winter's Hilary Swank drama "Freedom Writers," of teachers who rebel against what President Bush denounced as "the soft bigotry of low expectations" and inspire their impoverished students to prodigious accomplishments. In this gentle but unromaticized movie, however, the teachers view the students as similar to the constantly malfunctioning office photocopier: just another frustration of the job.

"Chalk's" two main characters are contrasting history teachers. Mr. Lowery, a shy former computer engineer, knows and cares about American history, but is treated by his students with disdain until he lowers himself to their level by using his nerd skills to win a spelling bee where students quiz teachers on current teen slang terms like "whoady" (which means "friend," in case you care, which you don't).

Meanwhile, Mr. Stroope (co-writer Peter Mass, who teaches geography in Austin, Texas) is a complete idiot. He makes his two smart kids stay after so he can privately warn them, "In class, try not to know as much as me." Yet, he is admired by most of his charges because he exhibits the masculine self-assurance embodied by Fred Willard's smugly clueless characters in all those docu-comedies directed by Christopher Guest like "A Mighty Wind."

"Chalk" demonstrates something that parents can find surprising: how often even the rawest teachers have to wing it in the classroom with negligible guidance. Mr. Lowery is baffled that his students don't respond as logically as the computers he used to design, while Mr. Stroope, a master manipulator but not exactly a scholar, is required to make up his own lesson plans. When Meryl Streep goes to work, they hand her a screenplay, but teachers are frequently expected to write their own scripts.

Ironically, the stars of "Chalk" (mostly struggling stage actors in their first film) semi-improvised their lines based on an outline by Mass and director Mike Akel, and did a fine job. Still, there's a subtle weakness inherent in ensemble improvisation that has also been plaguing Guest's similar films, such as 2006's "For Your Consideration." Because the writers relinquish some control over the material to the actors, who have varied views, the jokes tend to be scattershot. Ad-libbing can seldom achieve the deep humor exemplified by the half dozen superbly crafted repetitions, each building on the last, of the "cleft stick" joke in Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, that epitome of the comic writer as painstaking architect.

Similarly, satires on complex topics are less suited for ensemble development than for a single artist's judgment. In contrast to the other workplace comedy filmed in the Texas capital, the ferocious "Office Space" by the Austin auteur Mike Judge ("Idiocracy"), "Chalk's" improv methodology blurs the point of the film, leaving ambiguous the answer to the original question of why all those teachers quit.

Indeed, American public schooling still awaits its own well-deserved Catch-22. Consider the madness of the federal No Child Left Behind act that mandates "that all children should reach a proficient level of academic achievement by 2014," a goal that can be reached only by palpable fraud. In 2002, 67 percent of all students scored below proficiency on the federal government's NAEP exam. After three years of NCLB, the 2005 test found that 69 percent were too low.

Education's overwhelming reality is that, unlike in Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average, in America half the students are below average in intelligence. Yet, because equality of outcome, not doing the best we can with what we have, is the goal, public education is dominated by fantasy and frenzied faddishness -- This new vogue must be the magic bullet that will turn us into Lake Wobegon H.S.! -- alternating manic-depressively -- Eh, what's the use? -- with the lassitude of despair.

Rated PG-13 for some bad language.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

September 26, 2007


My review from the July 30, 2007 issue of The American Conservative:

Michael Moore's comic polemical documentaries have done more for his net worth than for his political causes. He attacked greedy CEOs sending American factory jobs abroad in 1989's "Roger & Me," gun sales in 2002's "Bowling for Columbine," and President Bush's war in Iraq in 2004's "Fahrenheit 9/11," leaving him 0-for-3.

In "Sicko," he has his ripest target yet, America's ramshackle health care finance system. Having come down with lymphatic cancer in 1996, I am sympathetic to Moore's bias against for-profit health insurance. I may still be here only because I had the kind of generous insurance that few employers provide these days.

Moore's centerpiece example is a young man battling cancer (at the same age as me) whose request for an expensive bone marrow transplant was denied. He died three weeks later. Moore blames his death on insurance company greed (although that brief interval suggests his condition was hopeless). If I'd needed a bone marrow transplant, I'd have wanted the law to align incentives by requiring my employer to buy both my health and life insurance from the same firm. The insurer would then have had to choose between paying my clinic or paying my widow.

Strangely, "Sicko" misses much of our expensive but stressful system's black comedy, such as medical providers mailing out heart-attack inducing bills demanding we pay their zany list prices, apparently in the hope that an occasional senile patient might dutifully ante up rather than forward it to his insurer. For instance, after a two night hospital stay costing $2,000 (according to the rate my insurance company had already negotiated), the hospital billed me for $34,000.

Unfortunately, Moore's self-promotion, disingenuousness, and leftist ideology leave his event movies being more about Moore than about their ostensible subjects. "Sicko's" underlying goal appears to be to use our absurd health payment system to persuade us that socialism in general is superior to capitalism, that innately evil tumor on humanity. That's not a debate he's going to win, so he's distracting from the reality that medical insurance is a big exception to the rule that the profit motive works best.

Moreover, Moore's faux populism gives him an excuse to dumb down "Sicko" and not bother to explain why the competitive enterprise system that's good at providing us with, say, life insurance is bad at medical insurance.

In truth, our dysfunctional tradition of employer-provided health insurance isn't a result of the free market. Instead, it emerged during WWII as companies slid past wage-price controls by offering free fringe benefits to attract workers. In other words, it began as corporate liberality evading government-mandated stinginess. Of course, you won't learn that from "Sicko."

The documentary's lack of economic sophistication could be tolerated if his audience really was as uneducated as Moore implies. Yet, despite his trademark obesity and bad clothes, Moore's blue-collar Joe shtick is just an act, as he showed in his gun control movie "Bowling for Dollars." Moore's fans -- urban white liberals -- want gun control to disarm the minority criminals who threaten them, but they aren't going to admit that, so Moore concocted a fantasy for them about how dangerous those heavily armed rural rednecks are.

Similarly, Moore lovingly shows us in "Sicko" that the French upper middle class live more stylishly than us American slobs. And he seems most at home chatting with another pseudo-prole, the grand old man of English leftism, Tony Benn, who used to be Anthony Wedgwood Benn, the 2nd Viscount Stansgate.

When Moore ventures abroad to tells us about the wonderfulness of the government-paid systems in Canada, Britain, France, and, yes, Cuba, his satirical eye deserts him as he descends into complete credulity: It's free! Unlimited care, free!

Sadly, nothing can be unlimited. When I had cancer, I made my insurance pay for second, third, and fourth opinions. I hired an oncologist as my consultant to help me evaluate the clinical trials offered by three top lymphoma specialists. With his aid, I became the first patient with intermediate-grade non-Hodgkins lymphoma to be treated with a radical new monoclonal antibody that has since become a multi-billion dollar per year drug. I've been fine for the decade since.

Today, I suspect, few HMO's -- or, contra Moore, governments -- would pay for such a lavish (but effective) plan of attack.

Still, despite Moore's miscues, health insurance is the best domestic issue the Democrats possess. Why let them have it?

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


My review from The American Conservative of the micro-budget Irish musical that might be still be playing:

Musicals won six Best Picture Oscars in the 1950s and 1960s, but only one since ("Chicago" in 2002). Why aren't movie musicals terribly popular anymore? Americans will often tell you that it's just not realistic for somebody standing on a street corner to burst into song, accompanied by 100 violins.

Common as this criticism is, it's a rather unpersuasive explanation because we're perfectly happy with many other implausible artistic conventions. We seldom scoff that a novel's omniscient third person narrator presumes a point of view that only God enjoys; that stage plays are ridiculous because normal people don't converse in complete sentences while all facing toward an invisible fourth wall; or that, unlike in sitcoms, families don't actually sit around in vast living rooms cracking wise.

If lack of realism truly is the cause of the musical's decline, then "Once," a tiny Irish musical written and directed by John Carney, should win box office success comparable to the enthusiasm it has inspired in critics. "Once" overcomes this common objection by giving its hero (played by an oversized red-headed teddy bear named Glen Hansard, the guitarist in the last Irish musical, 1991's "The Commitments") a practical reason to break into song on the sidewalk: he's a street musician who does indeed routinely pour out his heart, as battered as his old acoustic guitar, to the passing multitudes. So, the musical interludes in the film are perfectly plausible.

A flower girl (young Czech singer Markéta Irglová) tosses ten Euro cents into the busker's guitar case, in return for which she feels entitled to inquire about who this "you" is in all the singer-songwriter's lovelorn lyrics. Finding out that that his girlfriend has moved to London while he works in his Da's vacuum cleaner-repair shop, she shows up the next day dragging her malfunctioning Hoover like a cat being taken for a misguided walk. At the instrument store where a genial owner lets the girl play the piano, the two work on his songs.

Love blossoms, but gets sublimated into making music. (The film's R-rating is solely due to the inability of the modern Irish to utter a phrase without the word "fook" in it.) After a single rejected pass, his Irish sexual diffidence gets the better of him. And, being a folk rock-strumming beta male, he's a bit of a sap for this cute but unreadable girl who turns out to be a single mum. Or is her ex-husband in Prague even her ex at all? Anyway, on film, unconsummated relationships are the most romantic. "Once" is amply romantic.

The unanimously rapturous reviews that "Once" has garnered might stem more from how its minimalism is convenient for critics, who find it easy to write about stripped-down conceptual breakthroughs -- The old stage musical is reinvented as a busker musical! -- just as rock critics preferred the simplistic Ramones to grandiose Led Zeppelin. In truth, a great musical, such as "Singin' in the Rain," is overstuffed with delights, which "Once," as pleasing as it is, definitely is not.

I suspect the decline of the musical, though, was not really due to a sudden demand for naturalism among audiences (who had no problem enjoying absurdly surrealistic music videos in the 1980s), but because electric guitars, which aren't suited to musical theatre because they drown out lyrics, came to dominate radio from the 1960s onward. It takes a number of hearings to learn to appreciate new melodies, so without the chance to hear a show's tunes on the air beforehand, the musical came to be at a disadvantage.

"Once" gets around this problem by repeating each original song several times. Moreover, most of Hansard's compositions feature much the same sing-songy alternation of high and low notes, so the melodies all sound a lot alike. The "Once" soundtrack won't make anybody forget "Oklahoma," but it's a reasonably effective solution to the modern musical's lack of radio exposure.

"Once" is set among the marginally employed in prosperous contemporary Dublin, thronged by immigrants. It's gladdening to see long-suffering Ireland, which sent forth her hungry children to the ends of the earth, now wealthy enough to attract the poor of the world. And yet, watching Ireland hurrying toward a postmodern Euro-blandness in which it becomes so diverse that it's just like everywhere else in Europe, I fear we'll miss the Irish Ireland when we eventually realize its gone.

Rated R for language.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

September 24, 2007

College for Everyone! High School Diplomas for Less than Half!

Candidate John Edwards has given his big education speech, in which he says in effect that the President's job, Constitution be damned, is to run every public school in the country. (Just you wait, private schools and foreign countries, just you wait...) And that's not all! He's also going to send everybody to college.

In general, America's education policy makers, like school board members, state legislators, Senator Kennedy, President Bush, and Candidate Edwards give the strong impression that they are unable to understand simple cause and effect reasoning about issues of selection in education, and instead rely upon wishful thinking and sentimentalism to make up laws and regulations off the top of their heads.

Consider, for example, the dropout problem in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest.

In LA public high schools, 9th grade classes are typically twice the size of 12th grade classes because half the students drop out.

Bizarrely, the LA school board has decided to attempt to raise the graduation rate by making it harder to graduate. This year's 9th grade class will be the first to be required to pass not just Algebra I and Geometry to graduate, but now they also must pass Algebra II. At at least one high school, I am told, the entering 9th graders weren't informed about this new requirement, on the grounds that once they hear about it, many would likely give up and dropout right away.

In the LA school district, only 8-9%% of entering 9th graders will ever score 1000 or higher on the SAT (Math plus Verbal, not Writing) before they leave high school. By the way, that would be an 890 under the pre-1995 SAT scoring system.

The school board is also going to require an extra year of foreign language to graduate. This won't bother the Latinos all that much since Spanish is just about all they teach in LA anymore (there are only two German teachers left in the 700,000 student district), but will just hammer the graduation chances of African-Americans, who really dislike learning Spanish. For example, a lawyer who had been a protege of Johnnie Cochran told me in 2001 that only four out the 900 black LAPD officers speak Spanish.

The idea behind these changes is to make sure that LAUSD graduates are qualified to attend the elite University of California system, by requiring more of what UC calls A-G courses. Yet, by law, the UC system is reserved for the top 1/8th of California high school students. (The California State University system is aimed at the top 1/3rd, and the Community College system is open to everybody else.)

But, then, who cares about the other 7/8ths? I mean, why does anybody have to be in the lower 7/8ths? If we just stopped succumbing to the soft bigotry of low expectations, everybody could be part of the top 1/8th!

In reality, what we need are high school diplomas that are like the Oxford/Cambridge diplomas, where you take a big test at the end and are awards a First, Second, Third, or Pass degree. We have a lot of students for whom getting a Third in high school would be a major accomplishment, a goal for which they could strive, and just getting a Pass degree would at least represent to potential employers that they are reasonably tractable.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

All Quiet on the Southern Front

... gangland-style executions have surged, with the report counting 1,588 in the first half of 2007. For the full year of 2001, there were 1,080 such crimes, the report said.

Mexico's violence is often spectacular and lurid, with tales of street shootouts, decapitations and bomb blasts filling Mexico's news pages and airwaves. No place is immune, including the buildings of the country's news outlets.

In May a severed head wrapped in newspaper was left in a cooler outside the office of Tabasco Hoy in Villahermosa, where drug violence is on the rise. Grenades have been tossed into newsrooms from Cancun to Nuevo Laredo in the past 18 months. The Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders reported that Mexico was the most dangerous country for journalists in 2006, after Iraq.

On May 14, suspected drug traffickers on motorcycles gunned down Jose Nemesio Lugo, a senior federal investigator in charge of gathering intelligence on drug traffickers, in Mexico City's upscale Coyoacan neighborhood. Two days later in Sonora state, about 20 miles south of Arizona, a five-hour shootout between heavily armed commandos and police left 20 people dead.

The bloodbath continued unabated this month, with the assassinations of two state police chiefs. The first was Jaime Flores of San Luis Potosi state, shot in the head multiple times in front of his wife on Sept. 13. Then on Wednesday came news that Marcos Manuel Souberville, the state police chief in Hidalgo, had fallen in a hail of bullets during an afternoon drive-by shooting.

Many prominent Mexicans have sought refuge in the United States, but that is no guarantee of safety. Mario Espinoza Lobato, a businessman and city councilman from Ciudad Acuna, was gunned down Wednesday at his home in neighboring Del Rio, Texas, authorities said. He was an outspoken critic of the criminal gangs that he said had tried to kidnap him.

Kidnapping is a multi-million dollar industry in Mexico. The report from Congress indicates there are about 4,500 kidnappings a year, about a third of which are reported. Greg Bangs, head of the kidnapping and ransom unit at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, said Mexico has rocketed past Colombia to become the world's ransom capital.

"Mexico is now very definitely No. 1 in the world in terms of the numbers of kidnappings,'' Bangs said. "Kidnappers are indicating how serous they are by sending parts of ears and noses and fingers and various bodily parts ... they didn't used to do that so much, but that seems to be more prevalent.''

Top officials here continue to insist their efforts are paying off even if the numbers don't show it. At a news conference last week, Medina, the attorney general, told reporters "there is a decrease" in organized crime murders.

But then Medina provided figures for "violent executions" in January and February — 175 and 208, respectively.

"They're going down?'' one reporter asked.

"I wish they were lower than last year,'' Medina responded. "But in the first months of this year there were more than in the same period last year.''

Congressman Juan Francisco Rivera, chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Committee on Security, expressed confidence in the government's crime-fighting campaign. He said pointedly that Americans should not be so quick to judge Mexico.

He described the country's violent crime wave as temporary, while in "cities like Detroit, Houston or Dallas, it has become a permanent thing.'' Rivera also called on U.S. authorities to do more to stop illicit firearms exports.

"That's what is killing us,'' Rivera said. "I think if look at the number of arrests, the number of drug seizures, the number of policemen who have risked their lives and who have been killed, I think it shows that our Army and local police forces are engaged in a frontal battle.'

My fellow Americans: One way you can help the good people of Mexico out is by not buying drugs. (It will also help the good people of American out, and yourself as well.)

By the way, Mexico also is being plagued by a Marxist terrorist-revolutionary group that has been blowing up petrochemical pipelines.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The George W. Bush-Prester John Alliance

The Bush Administration recently encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia, which had, after a number of years of quasi-anarchy, come under the rule of Islamic clerics. Who knows, it might work! An alliance with Ethiopia from the mid-1970s onward sure did the Soviet Union a load of good!

The funny thing is that forging an alliance with Abyssinia to catch the Musselmen in a pincer movement has been the most legendary of all strategic brainstorms. The Crusaders had heard that their was a Christian king named Prester John somewhere on the other side of the Islamic world, and their grand strategy was to get him to open a second front in the war with Islam. Eventually, they narrowed Prester John's home down to the Christian kingdom in the Ethiopian highlands, and over several centuries diplomatic missions were exchanged. Thirty Ethiopians visited Pope Clement V at Avignon around 1306. In 1520, Farther Francisco Alvares was part of a 13 man delegation from the King of Portugal to Prester John, King of Ethiopia. Alvares published a detailed account of his travels in 1540. He returned from Ethiopia with a letter from the king of Ethiopia to the king of Portugal expressing the hope that "we might tear out and cast forth the evil Moors, Jews, and heathens from [our] countries."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

September 23, 2007

Jena Six: Emmett Till Redux or OJ Simpson All Over Again?

It's striking how much demand there is in modern America for evidence that some whites somewhere are still committing the same crimes against blacks as in the distant past. It's even more striking that in a country of 300 million where surely it's statistically plausible that somebody somewhere is doing any horrible thing you can imagine, that so many of these media campaigns end up humiliating themselves.

For example, the prestige media, led by the New York Times, fell so hard for the Duke lacrosse hoax in part because they so desperately wanted a news story about white men raping a black woman. They wanted it so bad that they threw out all their standards and principles to push it endlessly until it blew up in their faces.

Similarly, the Jena Six story is all about America's craving for proof that white Southerners are still a lynch mob. That's why every recounting starts with nooses being hung from a tree on campus three months before the Jena Six stomped that kid.

Yet, as the facts emerge (see my VDARE article), we're able to start piecing together a very different, much more modern narrative of what happened, one that is much less redolent of poor Emmett Till, and much more reminiscent of OJ Simpson. The Emmett Till narrative was constructed long after the stomping by cherrypicking events, and leaving out massively relevant facts, like that the Jena Six, far from being despised outcasts, were the best football players in a football mad small town.

Mychal Bell was to Jena what OJ was to LA.

As you'll recall, Johnnie Cochran persuaded the jury (which ultimately was three-fourth black, with eight black women jurors, due to prosecutor Marcia Clark's doctrinaire feminist assumption that gender trumps race in a domestic abuse case) that the racist LAPD was out to frame OJ.

In reality, most cops loved OJ. Whenever the late Nicole Brown Simpson would call 911 to report that her husband was beating her, a couple of LAPD's finest would go around to the Brentwood house, and ... "Hey! You're OJ!" So, they'd wind up getting his autograph and some pictures taken with great man himself, and a grand old time was had by all. Except by the victim, but, while cute, she never rushed for 2003 yards in a season, did she? Did Leslie Nielsen ever slap her on the back, sending her wheelchair careening down the steps and off the grandstand at Dodger Stadium in "The Naked Gun?" I think not.

The only cop that took Nicole's 911 calls seriously was evil old Mark Fuhrman.

This doesn't mean the average white LAPD cop liked blacks in general -- the ones cops come in contact with the most, other than their partners, are not the kind of people that inspire warm feelings -- but OJ was a football star!

And the Jena Six knew they were football stars, and like so many star athletes, exploited their privileged position to run wild. Finally, they went too far.

And that explains the initial attempted murder charges (lowered to aggravated battery in the actual trial of Mychal Bell, the first defendant), which appear to have been necessary to get them out of the juvenile justice system that had completely failed to dissuade them from committing more crimes. Bell, we now know, was convicted in the juvenile system on four occasions over the over 12 months before his involvement in stomping the unconscious kid, including two crimes of violence. "Sources told ESPN that one of those cases was a battery in which Bell punched a 17-year-old girl in the face." (The juvenile records of the other five have yet to be unsealed.)

Yet, Bell didn't miss the football season, in which he averaged 101 yards rushing and 12 tackles per game, and 17 yards per punt return, earning him All-State honors as a junior.

Was the DA's legal ploy justified? Maybe, maybe not. A higher court ruled it was not. But, the judge recently refused to reduce Bell's bail enough to get him out of jail -- this is one scary guy who has been convicted five separate times since Christmas Day 2005!

Was the DA's reasoning so preposterous that his real motivation must have been racism? Obviously not.

It is clear that the juvenile justice system can't get the job done of adequately punishing the stompers -- the one member of the Jena Six who was so young (14 at the time) that he had to be left in the juvenile system has now taken Bell's place on the Jena HS football team and has averaged 100 yards rushing per game this season!

The interesting question is whether anybody ever learns from repeatedly getting snookered over these kind of racial brouhahas in the media.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

From The Jena Six Through the Looking Glass

Here's an excerpt from my new column. PLEASE click on the [More] link at the bottom of the excerpt to read the rest of it on the VDARE site.

The Jena Six Through the Looking Glass

Last Thursday in the small Louisiana town of Jena, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led a march of thousands of protestors chanting "Jail the Jena Six!"

The demonstrators and the press had come from all over the country to condemn the savage racist attack of December 4, 2006, in which a black high school student was jumped from behind, knocked unconscious, and then kicked and punched by six white football players until they were dragged off their supine victim.

"Phrases like 'stomped him badly,' 'stepped on his face,' 'knocked out cold on the ground,' and 'slammed his head on the concrete beam' were used by the students in their statements," wrote reporter Abbey Brown in "Documents Give Details of Fight," a June 11, 2007 article in the local Alexandria-Pineville Town Talk.

On Thursday, the two ministers demanded that hate crime charges be added to the indictments against the six muscular white athletes accused of beating black student Justin Barker senseless. "Why in the world isn't this being called a hate crime?" asked Sharpton. "Given the long series of racial incidents in Jena, this was clearly a racially-motivated attack."

The black leaders denounced District Attorney Reed Walter's decision to reduce the main charge from second-degree attempted murder to second-degree aggravated battery. They implied that only bias could account for his leniency toward the white athletes. "These six football stars might well have killed this poor boy if they hadn't finally been stopped," said Jackson. "Let the jury decide whether it was attempted murder or not."

The Rev. Jackson blamed school authorities for not disciplining their star white players for earlier crimes. He pointed out that the only one of the football players so far to be tried and convicted, fullback/linebacker Mychal Bell, had been accustomed to running amok off the field because of preferential treatment he enjoyed due to his athletic stardom. In the twelve months leading up to the attack on Barker, Bell had scored 18 touchdowns and been convicted of four crimes, two of them violent. Capping off the junior's busy year, on December 17, 2006, Bell was named All-State while he was sitting in his jail cell.

Jackson quoted Brown's August 25 article "Bell denied bond due to criminal history:"

"… Bell was placed on probation until his 18th birthday -- Jan. 18, 2008 -- after an incident of battery on Dec. 25, 2005. After being placed on probation, he was adjudicated of three other crimes, the two in September and another charge of criminal damage to property that occurred on July 25, 2006."

The Rev. Jackson noted that Brown's article showed that school officials were negligent in reining in their violent star:

"Mack Fowler, Jena High's football coach at the time, said that … he discovered that while he was punishing his players, the school 'wasn't doing anything' to them. Fowler said he decided then that he was going to do the same thing the school did—nothing."

Discriminating on Bell's behalf paid off on the football field. Brown wrote:

"Bell was adjudicated—the juvenile equivalent to a conviction—of battery Sept. 2 and criminal damage to property Sept. 3 … A few days later, on Sept. 8, Bell rushed 12 times for 108 yards and scored three touchdowns—one of the best performances of the year for the standout athlete."

The Rev. Sharpton argued that the youngest of the attackers, Jesse Ray Beard, should have been charged as an adult. "Instead, he is frolicking on the football field right now!"

Brown reported in "'Jena Six' all ran together -- on the field and off:"

"Since returning to school, Beard has shined as one of the Jena Giants' star players on the football field. … He had 91 yards rushing and scored the game-winning touchdown Friday night in the Giants' 12-6 overtime win over Iowa."

Both civil rights organizers agreed that … oh, wait … No … hmmhmmh …

Look, this is kind of embarrassing for me. I'm not sure how to explain this … Okay, here goes:

I just realized that this article I've been writing is about an "alternate universe" ... [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer