March 14, 2008

Obama's reply

Here's part of Obama's response:

"The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments."

Does the word "disingenuous" come to mind?

So, Obama, who wrote pp. 274-295 about Wright in his 1995 autobiography, had no idea that Wright was an anti-American leftwing crank until early 2007?

Yet, ABC reported yesterday that the "God Damn America" soundbite is from 2003:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

We know that Obama gave $27,500 to Wright's church in 2005-06 alone. But, maybe Obama really isn't the regular church-goer he claims to be in all those campaign ads and speeches. But, you don't think he ever talked to anybody who heard Rev. Dr. say these things?

C'mon, unlike Obama, Wright is an exhibitionist who likes to leave a paper (and digital) trail. And, unlike Obama, Wright likes to make himself clear.

Obama's oratorical style is a blend of Wright's black preacher man style with David Souter's care not to leave a controversial paper trail.

Obama is trying to imply that Wright is going senile in his dotage, but the man is all of 66.

C'mon, Wright has always been Wright. In 1984 he went with Farrakhan to visit Gadaffi in Libya when the Colonel was the world's leading supporter of terrorism. Wright has always been a leftwing radical and that's a big reason that Obama chose him out of all the dozens of South Side preachers he had known in the 1980s.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Rezko trial focusing on ... hospitals

The connection between Tony Rezko and the Obamas that led to their coordinated action in 2005 in purchasing a mansion and adjoining yard in Chicago may be starting to come into better focus.

That's because Rezko's trial in Chicago is concentrating heavily on Rezko's alleged corruption of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board in 2003-2004 (see Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times), which apparently decides who gets to build hospitals. All sorts of different politicians in Illinois were aligned with one fixer or another over who would get to build them.

It's "the Chicago Way." Guys do favors for other guys, and everybody keeps a running tally in their heads of who owes what to whom.

And, according to Wikipedia, Obama was an important player in the Illinois health care regulation field at that time:

"In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority in the Illinois Senate."

An email that surfaced earlier in the trial seemed to indicate, according to the NYT, that Obama "had been involved in recommending candidates for the board." That doesn't mean much, but maybe it means something.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Obama was being paid six figures by a major Chicago hospital to coordinate community outreach, or something.

We aren't used to thinking of health care as being corrupt, but at 15% of the GDP these days, that's where the money is (as bankrobber Willie Sutton explained in response to a question about why he robbed banks). So, it's only natural that crooks will gravitate toward that industry.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 13, 2008

"Kill my neighbor's cow!"

As recently as 2004, the Obama family enjoyed merely the kind of upper middle class income ($250k) that many Americans could imagine themselves making if a few breaks had gone their way. This comprehensibility of the Obama family financial situation can put them at a PR disadvantage relative to the Clintons, whose finances are evidently way, way up in the Davos Man stratosphere, as Bill jets around with Ron Burkle and the like, introducing the odd mining magnate to his close personal friend the Grand Khan of Boratstan.

For example, consider the Obama house controversy revolving around Tony Rezko purchasing the adjoining empty lot for the full asking price at the same moment the Obamas were buying their house from the same seller for $300k off the asking price. I could imagine scenarios where Rezko's "investment" in Senator Obama ranged all the way from $0 to a few hundred thousand dollars, but my best guest would be around $70,000. (This assumes that two participants in an honest deal would have split the discount off the list price proportional to their investments. Instead, the fixer apparently let the politician have the entire discount.)

Man, wouldn't it be nice if some old buddy of yours slipped you $70k in return for all the favors you've done for him and will do for him over the years? That would be great! Or wouldn't it be awesome if your spouse got a raise of something like $150k per year, plus a signing bonus of almost $50k because you've now got even more power over her employer? Can you imagine all the things you could do with that kind of extra money?

Yes, I can.

So, it's easy for me to get in a huff over the Obama's relatively human scale corner-cutting, while Clinton-level shenanigans are just the way of the world.

I really can't grasp the kind of money Mr. Clinton rakes in for things like giving speeches to companies whose profits are heavily dependent upon votes by Senators like, say, Mrs. Clinton, such as the $250,000 that Citigroup paid Mr. Clinton for one speech in 2004. Now, Citigroup is currently desirous of Congress voting for a massive bailout of the financial industry, but I'm sure that kind of eventuality never crossed Citigroup's mind when hiring Mr. Clinton. Instead, they clearly must have done a cost-benefit analysis of the value of Mr. Clinton's oratory and saw that his wisdom was indeed worth $100 per second.

A long time ago I reported to an entrepreneur who for awhile had his own jet (I am told that that's the dividing line between the merely affluent and the really rich), but riding on it was kind of uncomfortable because the thing was so obviously hugely expensive relative to his ample but still finite net worth (for example, you have to employ two pilots full time).

So, even though I've been around private jet-rich people in the past, the idea of me ever being that rich just seems oppressive, with two pilots sitting around all day at the local airport drinking coffee, waiting for me to come up with some place to zoom off to where I can make enough money to keep paying them to sit around and drink coffee while I dream up more places to go to make more money to pay them. Yeeesh. So, I never think about having that kind of money.

But if you are Bill Clinton, you don't even have to bother owning a jet because zillionaires are constantly offering to lend you their private jets for free.

But I do think now and then about the 8,000 stock options I had in a company where I worked. They had a strike price of 14. I'd had them for years, but the stock was usually trading a little below $14. One day in the 1990s, I checked the stock price on a whim for the first time in months and it had gone up to 19. Wow, I should pick up the phone and cash cash them in for $40,000! But, then, I had an even better idea -- I'll just wait until the stock hits 20. A nice round number! It'll probably get there by tomorrow. But, as I watched the computer screen, the stock slipped to 18 7/8, 18 3/4, and so on. Within a few weeks, it was underwater and never resurfaced.

$40,000. Gone.

That's the kind of number I can dwell upon, like that $70,000 I'm guessing was Obama's cut from Rezko.

Bill Clinton doesn't get out of bed for $70,000.

This whole Clinton-Obama financial scandal comparison makes me feel like some poor 19th Century Russian peasant. That the czar has rooms full of rubies and diamonds is simply the natural order of things, but that my neighbor has a cow while I have none is an outrage.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

2006: Obamas donated $22,500 to Wright's Trinity church

My hope has long been that Barack Obama's heart moved from the far left toward the political center sometime between his 1995 autobiography and now (perhaps after his disillusioning defeat to an ex-Black Panther in a House Democratic primary in 2000).

When Sen. Obama recently addressed Jewish leaders concerned about Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr and his outspoken admiration for Louis Farrakhan, the candidate attempted to give the impression that his pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ was old and a relic of the 1960s. (Wright is five years younger than John McCain.) But he has appeared to be extremely reluctant to spell out exactly where he disagrees with his pastor other than over his spiritual advisor's admiration for Louis Farrakhan.

It's hard to know what's in a man's heart, especially in the heart of someone as verbally gifted and cautious as the Democratic frontrunner. We do have one objective source of data, however: the Obama family's charitable contributions according to their tax returns of 1998, 2005, and 2006.

The Obamas didn't give a lot to charity until they hit it rich in 2005 with Barack's book deal and Michelle's big raise, but what's of interest here is the pattern of donations. Was there a relative fall-off in support for Wright's Trinity church as they matured politically and emotionally?

According to a 2007 Chicago Tribune story:

"Only a few of the tax returns released by Obama detail the recipients of his charity. In 1998, when the Obamas reported a combined household income of $191,146 and $1,100 in cash donations to charity, the biggest gift went to Trinity. It totaled $400, about 0.2 percent of their combined income.

"In 2005 they gave the church $5,000 and in 2006 it received $22,500."

So, in two of the three years for which we have numbers (1998 and 2006), Wright's Trinity church was the top recipient of the Obama family's contributions. Now, 2006 really wasn't very long ago...

Obamas' Gifts 1998 2005 2006
Gifts to Trinity 400 5,000 22,500
Total Charity 1,100 77,300 60,307
Trinity % 36% 6% 37%

About a year late, the MSM catches on ...

Here's today's ABC News headline:

Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11

If you are new to the topic of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, here's a link to my blog posts on him over the last year.

I apologize to long-time readers who are even more bored than I am with the Rev. Dr., not to mention Jonathan Livingston Obama, HillBill, and Buck Turgidson, but what I've found over the years is that you have to keep bringing things up over and over again to have the slightest bit of influence.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Why was Mrs. Obama worth $122k?

Shortly after her husband was sworn in as a U.S. Senator, Michelle Obama famously received a raise from the U. of Chicago Hospitals from $122k to $317k for doing whatever it was she did for them.

But why was she getting paid $122k by the giant hospital in the first place?

An answer may have emerged in an NYT article, "In Developer’s Trial, E-Mail Note Cites an Obama Role." Like everything involving Tony Rezko and the Obamas, this article is complicated and boring. (For example, Rezko's involvement in the Obamas' purchase of their Chicago mansion had to do with zoning details and, likely, with Michelle being on the Chicago Landmarks Commission, but don't ask me to put together a lucid story of what exactly went down.)

What is interesting is part of this NYT sentence in reference to a 2003 email:

"The vaguely worded message also seemed to raise the possibility that Mr. Obama, who at the time was chairman of the Illinois Senate’s health committee, had been involved in recommending candidates for the board."

Yes, but there's no indication of ... Wait a minute? Did that say Mr. Obama was "chairman of the Illinois Senate's health committee?" And this was while Mrs. Obama was being paid over $100,000 per year by one of Chicago's three big private hospitals to do something or other?

Isn't that a conflict of interest?

If I didn't know that Senator Obama is a cross between Mother Theresa, Neo from "The Matrix," and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I might almost suspect he could be a Chicago politician.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 12, 2008

A pundit reads (!) "Dreams from My Father"

Mona Charen writes:

"In search of answers that go deeper than the Congressional Record, I read his first book, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." Once you get past the happy surprise of finding a politician who can actually write, the book contains some disquieting elements.

"Obama is the product of a union between a white Kansan and a black Kenyan who met in Hawaii. I had assumed, before reading his memoir, that Obama viewed himself as a natural bridge between the races and that his message of unity sprang in part from his biology. That was wrong. From his earliest years, Obama engaged in a preoccupying internal struggle to make himself a fully authentic black man."

James Fulford points out that it's about time more pundits read the Democratic frontrunner's memoir.

I think a lot of people just assumed that what they knew about Tiger Woods -- came from a stable mixed race home, didn't favor one part of his heritage over another, had a rock-solid psyche, etc. -- also applied to Obama. I realize that doesn't make one bit of sense, but stupid ideas can get stuck in people's heads for stupid reasons -- like all the doctors who assume that whooping cough is practically extinct because whooping cranes are practically extinct.

Charen very nicely sums up the slipperiness of the book:

"Left-wing ideas are not so much articulated in this memoir as presumed."

Which means you have to read the book to get a sense of where he's coming from. There are no soundbites in it.

You hear a lot of talk about whom Obama's role model might be: Martin Luther King? Malcolm X? Ronald Reagan? Obama's campaign kickoff rally in Springfield, Illinois last year was carefully crafted to remind voters of Abraham Lincoln.

And yet, Obama's most important role model would seem to be another Harvard Law School grad (Class of 1966), one who was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court during the summer between Obama's second and third years at Harvard Law School: David Souter, the "stealth nominee" with almost no paper trail. In contrast to the outspoken Robert Bork in 1987, Souter cruised to easy approval by the Senate.

It seems silly to accuse a man who published his autobiography at age 33 of hiding his views like Souter. And yet ...

One idea I had was to take random swatches of Obama's prose from Dreams from My Father and paste it into Word and run the Spelling and Grammar checker to get Readability Statistics. My guess is that the average sentence length in Dreams is very high.

But where can I find slabs of vintage prose from a man who abhorred leaving a paper trail? I thought about checking this statistic from quotations from Dreams in my articles, but I tended to pick more easily comprehensible excerpts and/or replace unnecessary clauses with ellipses to try to make his words less eye-glazing.

All I could find online was Obama's Preface to the 2004 edition of Dreams, which may not be representative of his 1995 book, since he says in it, "I have the urge to cut the book by fifty pages or so, possessed as I am with a keener appreciation for brevity."

For that 2004 selection, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is 12.2 (first year of college). I really don't know how the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is arrived at.

By way of comparison, Obama's 2004 Preface is rated for a lower grade level than my 2007 American Conservative article, "Obama's Identity Crisis," about the book (13.2). Interestingly, though, Obama's average sentence length is 30.4, compared to my 23.8. And that's including two comically serpentine sentences I quoted from John Updike's The Coup (average length 48 words and Grade Level of 21.1, or 6th year of postgraduate work!)

New York's new governor legally blind

Here's some interesting material on David L. Paterson, who apparently will be moving up to the governor's mansion in Albany:

Though his sight is limited, Lt. Gov. David Paterson walks the halls of the Capitol unaided. He recognizes people at conversational distance and can memorize whole speeches. He has played basketball, run a marathon, and survived 22 years in the backbiting culture of the state Capitol with a reputation as a man more apt to reach for an olive branch than a baseball bat.

If Spitzer resigns after being snared in a prostitution scandal, the biggest changes in a Paterson administration would probably revolve around style.

"He's a guy who had two handicaps: his blindness and his race. And he never made excuses for it," said civil rights leader Al Sharpton, a longtime friend. "He's the guy who has said, 'I have been in a minority group and a minority within a minority group. And I can make it, so don't give me no excuses.'"

Paterson, 53, is the son of former state Sen. Basil Paterson, a member of the storied "Harlem Clubhouse" that includes fellow Democrats U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. The elder Paterson was the first in the family to run for lieutenant governor in 1970. He lost, but later became New York's first black secretary of state.

David Paterson lost sight in his left eye and much of the sight in his right eye after an infection as an infant. Refusal to bow to his handicap came early. When New York City schools refused to let him attend mainstream classes, his parents established residency on Long Island, where they found a school that would let him go to regular classes.

"He was in the plays and on the stage, and required no assistance in maneuvering around stage and on the playground," said Dr. Casmiro Liotta, Paterson's former principal at the Fulton School.

Assemblyman Keith Wright, an old Harlem friend, remembers Paterson playing basketball and generally acting just like the other kids in the neighborhood. In 1999, Paterson completed the New York City Marathon.

After earning degrees from Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, he worked for the Queens district attorney's office and was elected to the state Senate in 1985 at the age of 31. He built a reputation for working hard in a place where not everyone does.

Though he can read for brief periods, Paterson usually has aides read to him. He also has developed the ability to remember entire speeches and policy arcana. State Sen. Neil Breslin recalled that he told Paterson his cell phone number once and he memorized it.

"He has one of the finest memories of anyone I've known," Breslin said.

Not surprisingly, considering that he can't really read for long periods of time, he failed the N.Y. Bar Exam. But he has to be pretty crafty to get where he's gotten. Especially because he can't really see small details of people's faces, like whether they're smiling sincerely or falsely when they promise to support you in some political deal. I bet he has remarkable voice analysis abilities.

And I bet he spends a lot of time talking to people. Being Lt. Governor can be a pretty undesirable position (I've known a former NY Lt. Gov. who must not have had terribly stiff competition), but perhaps Mr. Paterson had heard some hints that energetic young Mr. Spitzer just might not serve out his term.

The other blind politician I've heard about in recent years was British Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett, whose career was derailed by sexual and financial scandals.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Perhaps Obama has already turned down Clinton for Veep ...

because she's not a white male?

I wouldn't be surprised if Hillary hasn't already dispatched some trustworthy elder statesman such as George Mitchell to sound out Obama about an Obama-Clinton ticket, only to have Obama say he can't give Hillary the Veep slot because he needs a white male as a running mate.

No evidence for this, of course, just pure speculation ...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Another Michelle!

The NY Post reports on the wife of New York Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, who appears likely to move up to the governor's mansion in the wake of Gov. Spitzer's troubles:



March 12, 2008 -- New York's next first lady has always made one thing clear - she's more than just Mrs. David Paterson.

Michelle Paige is "David's wife, but that's not the badge she wears," said former state Comptroller Carl McCall. "She likes to be accepted for what she is, as a professional."

The 46-year-old mother of two is a health care-management expert who is an executive at HIP Health Plans involved with its charitable arm, after working for years as a community liaison at North General Hospital.

Somehow, I wouldn't be surprised if, in the grand tradition of Michelle Obama, she gets her salary in the health care industry almost tripled in the coming months.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 11, 2008

Car question

Cars these days come in boring colors, which would suggest that much of the public shares my indifference to choosing a car color based on aesthetics or self-expression. And yet, I'm having a hard time finding hard data that would let me make a functional decision on color.

In 1998, I bought an Accord in black because I thought it looked cool. Not surprisingly, it turned out to be hot anytime the sun shone. Now the paint is coming off the roof from baking for ten years, so it's time to get the Accord repainted so I can limp it along a few more years.

From a non-aesthetic standpoint, what's the best color for a car?

I see four goals:

1. Heats up the least in the sun.

2. Most visible for safety.

3. Shows dirt the least.

4. Not gaudy (i.e., not pink or purple or anything else that, as Oscar Wilde would say, might expose me to comment at the stoplight).

The EPA finally improved their Miles Per Gallon ratings about a year ago. Ever since the 1970s, they had been based on a maximum speed of 55 mph, so they were absurdly optimistic. Because car color affects gas mileage (hotter cars lead to the air conditioner being run more), perhaps the government should publish heat absorption figures for every color. (Of course, it would probably take the EPA decades to get it right.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Exclusive! John McCain's "3 AM Red Phone" TV spot

Below is John McCain's upcoming response to Hillary Clinton's TV ad about the Red Phone in the President's bedroom ringing at 3 AM. It reassuringly details exactly what would happen if the U.S. military were ever to make The Call to Commander-in-Chief McCain's White House bedroom.

How Can We Tell?

At this moment, it seems like the most important question is: How can we tell whether the financial markets are merely in an irrational panic from which they can be bailed out; or have we arrived at a rational reckoning where bailouts are just money down the rathole?

Have economists developed some sure fire models for distinguishing between panics and reckonings? I realize that economists have been busy lately studying sumo wrestling, but perhaps a few of them have stuck to their knitting?

Or, are we just flying blind?

And if we promise to bail out irrational behavior, doesn't that just buy more irrationality?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Red Phone

Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson is quite worked up in the NYT over that Hillary Clinton "Red Phone" television spot.

You know the one (as explained by the NY Daily News):

"It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep," a grim-voiced announcer intones over footage of angelic young kids in their beds.

"But there's a phone in the White House, and it's ringing," the menacing voice-over continues.

"Your vote will decide who answers that call," the announcer says. "Who do you want answering the phone?"

Patterson uses his super racism decoder ring to explain the subliminal hidden message:

ON first watching Hillary Clinton’s recent “It’s 3 a.m” advertisement, I was left with an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right — something that went beyond my disappointment that she had decided to go negative. Repeated watching of the ad on YouTube increased my unease. I realized that I had only too often in my study of America’s racial history seen images much like these, and the sentiments to which they allude.

I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society. The danger implicit in the phone ad — as I see it — is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat.

The ad could easily have removed its racist sub-message by including images of a black child, mother or father — or by stating that the danger was external terrorism. Instead, the child on whom the camera first focuses is blond.

And we know what that means ...

Two other sleeping children, presumably in another bed, are not blond, but they are dimly lighted, leaving them ambiguous. Still it is obvious that they are not black — both, in fact, seem vaguely Latino.

They should have shown all the children sleeping in one bed with all the lights on, and they should all have been different races. It would be like Angelina Jolie's house -- gotta catch 'em all!

By the way, wouldn't "Vaguely Latino" be a good name for a rock band? No, you're right, it wouldn't.

Finally, Hillary Clinton appears, wearing a business suit at 3 a.m., answering the phone.

Well, that's a reassuring image: An overwhelmed President Hillary trying to get by on two hours of sleep per night, cranked out of her skull on prescription uppers.

Anyway, the question I had about Hillary's ad must be the reason they showed Hillary fully dressed and sitting at her desk at 3 AM:

When the Red Phone rings in the President's bedroom at 3 AM, who else is in the room?

With President Obama, I presume it would be Mrs. Obama. And we can forecast Michelle's advice with some degree of confidence:

"Barack, honey, I have to be up early for my personal trainer before I chair that crucial meeting of the National Diversity Sensitivity Outreach Relations Commission and I just don't know how I'll manage it all, so, whoever it is, just nuke 'em so I can get some sleep. And while you're at it, could you drop one on Princeton, New Jersey, too? Make sure it's big enough to take out the Educational Testing Service as well. They'll know why."

But with Hillary, doesn't this ad just re-open that question that we've all tried hard not to think about?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 10, 2008

A prediction

A reader writes:

There will be no bloody convention in Denver, no days of rage, no train wreck, not even do-overs in Florida and Michigan.

Sometime within the next few weeks, Senators Obama and Clinton will announce a fusion ticket, with Obama at the top spot, Hillary as his running mate. They'll call it "Hope AND Experience," or something like that. The Democratic Party will save many millions of dollars, it will avoid racial acrimony, and Howard Dean will gleefully announce that all is right with the world.

Some obvious questions:

1. Why Obama on top? Simple math, for starters - there's no way she can win the nomination without the superdelegates and all the accompanying chaos. Hillary will also come under far less scrutiny in the second spot. There aren't just the tax returns, pardons to terrorists, and the Clinton Library donations; don't forget the cattle futures windfall, the missing documents, even her tax deduction for donating Bill's used underwear to the Salvation Army (seriously.) HRC's closet has more skeletons than Imelda's had shoes.

2. Why will he accept Hillary, who is loathed by nearly half the nation? That's her price of admission - either she gets the second spot or she fights for every last delegate in Denver, probably giving the election to McCain. For her, it's better to be the first female VP than just another senator.

3. Don't they hate one another? Sure, but it's nothing compared to the mutual loathing between the Kennedys and LBJ. Those guys needed one another in '60, just as O & C need each other now.

This scenario will be terribly disappointing to Republicans, but even more so to the media, which want a bare-knuckles brawl for ratings, circulation & excitement. I find it kind of disappointing myself, as I would relish the drama in Denver. But the Democrats are neither stupid nor venal enough to allow the fratricide everyone is predicting.

If this comes to pass, remember where you read it first. If not, remember those words of Emily Latilla. Never mind.

Seems sensible to me, but, keep in mind, that back when I was in the marketing research business, I eventually noticed that the surest indicator that a product would fail in the marketplace is if it seemed pretty good to me.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Cashing in on Title IX

The NYT article "Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships" has a fascinating table reporting the value of Division I college athletic scholarships per sport and the number of students playing each sport in high school. Yet, whether due to innumeracy or political correctness, they fail to divide the scholarship dollars by the high school athletes, which would tell you the expected value of playing a high school sport.

For example, over a million boys each year play high school football, and $367 million in college football scholarships are consumed, so the "expected value" of being a high school football player is $358 in college athletic scholarships. In contrast, only $22 in women's golf scholarships are awarded each year, but only 54,000 girls play high school golf, so the expected value of being a girl golfer in high school is $413. So, being a girl golfer only pays a little better than being a boy football player, but, on the other hand, you compete by strolling around on manicured lawns and nobody slams you to the turf. And the football players more than earn their keep, competing in front of 80,000 people each weekend, while college women golfers might get 80 people to come watch a tournament. In contrast, the expected value of being on the boy's high school golf team is only $140.

Due to Title IX, which outlaws "discrimination" against females, especially in sports females don't like to play, colleges pay absurd amounts to bribe enough women to play certain sports.

I typed in the numbers for a few of the sports. Here they are, sorted by college scholarship dollars per female high school athlete, beginning with $9,453 of college scholarship money available for every girl who rows in high school!

HS Boys $/HS Boy HS Girls $/HS Girl Sex Ratio
Rowing 2,186 NA 2,359 $ 9,453 NA
Fencing 777 $ 1,802 641 $ 3,276 0.55
Ice Hockey 32,166 $ 926 4,245 $ 2,568 0.36
Riflery 2,274 $ 132 775 $ 1,419 0.09
Lacrosse 35,266 $ 423 26,677 $ 637 0.66
Golf 165,857 $ 140 54,720 $ 413 0.34
Field Hockey 213 NA 58,372 $ 302 NA
Water Polo 13,871 $ 159 11,856 $ 295 0.54
Basketball 541,130 $ 233 451,600 $ 272 0.85
Track/CC 713,305 $ 77 602,930 $ 133 0.58
Football 1,025,762 $ 358


Even in sports that high school girls like, such as track and cross-country, which is great for staying slender, the bias is striking: the average high school girl runner can expect $133 in college scholarship money, versus only $77 for the average high school boy.

And, the "Sex Ratio" column understates the degree of anti-male bias because this table is based on high school team members, but there are a lot more boys than girls in high school who aren't good enough to make the school team.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

WSJ: "Obama Pastors' Sermons May Violate Tax Laws"

The rest of the press is finally starting to catch on that Sen. Barack Obama's church is a subject of some importance and interest. The Wall Street Journal reports today:

Obama Pastors' Sermons May Violate Tax Laws

On Christmas morning, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. compared presidential candidate Barack Obama's impoverished childhood to Jesus Christ's. "Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people," he then trumpeted. "Hillary [Clinton] can never know that."

Mr. Wright wasn't at a convention or a campaign stop. He was standing at the pulpit before the mostly African-American congregation of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where Sen. Obama has worshiped for more than 20 years.

Mr. Wright, who will be ending his 36-year tenure as the church's senior pastor in June, has previously been criticized for comments deriding President George Bush and lauding Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. Now Mr. Wright's and his successor's repeated enthusiastic promotion of their famous parishioner may be running afoul of federal tax law, which says churches can endanger their tax-exempt status by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

Sen. Obama's campaign issued a statement saying that he has repeatedly stressed that personal attacks "have no place in this campaign or our politics, whether they're offered from a platform at a rally or the pulpit of a church." The statement also said he "does not think of the pastor of his church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Senator Obama deeply disagrees.'' Mr. Wright declined to comment.

Trinity's national parent, the United Church of Christ, recently disclosed that it's being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for a speech Sen. Obama gave to 10,000 people at a church conference in June in Hartford, Conn., in which he mentioned his candidacy and parts of his platform, namely health-care reform.

As James Fulford points out, it seems a little late in the day for the IRS to notice that black ministers routinely campaign for candidates from their pulpits. They've been doing it with impunity for generations. Heck, both parties bribe ministers, as the 1993 Ed Rollins scandal revealed. After Republican Christine Todd Whitman won a narrow victory in the gubernatorial race, helped along by low black turnout, her campaign consultant boasted, according to Time Magazine in 1993:

In a breakfast meeting with Washington journalists, Rollins claimed that "street smart" New Jersey Republicans had doled out $500,000 in "walking-around money" to black ministers and Democratic Party activists on Whitman's behalf. But in this case the payments were actually sitting- around money, designed to counter Florio's heavy support among black voters by discouraging them from turning out on Election Day. As Rollins told the journalists, "We went into black churches and we basically said to ministers who had endorsed Florio, 'Do you have a special project?' And they said, 'We've already endorsed Florio.' We said, 'That's fine -- don't get up on the Sunday pulpit and preach. We know you've endorsed him, but don't get up there and say it's your moral obligation that you go on Tuesday to vote for Jim Florio.' " He added that Republicans had paid "key workers" in black Democratic strongholds to "go home, sit and watch television" instead of delivering voters to the polls. Bragged Rollins: "I think to a certain extent we suppressed their vote."

The real scandal is what's not even scandalous. At Time went on:
"The controversy cast a powerful light on the unseemly tactics both parties have used to influence black voters in many elections. Payments of walking- around money -- small amounts given to ministers and community leaders to encourage maximum turnout of black voters -- are a staple for Democratic candidates and are legal under New Jersey law. But black party activists say privately that the money is often used to purchase endorsements. "You can buy black preachers by the dozen very cheaply," says a black New Jersey Democrat, who admits participating in such schemes in earlier elections."

Obama has personally emphasized his membership in a Christian church in his campaign rallies and ads, such as in the crucial South Carolina triumph. For example, here's an Obama campaign brochure headlined "Committed Christian" showing Obama speaking from pulpits. The text includes:

"So one Sunday I put on one of the few clean jackets I had and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called "The Audacity of Hope." And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him ..."

"It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith ... [K]neeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works."

That's a very different slant than the one Obama gave to his joining Trinity in his 1995 autobiography. Then, the emphasis was much more racialist rather than religious, as in this brochure. (I've transcribed the key passage from Obama's memoirs here.)

Obama is perfect pseudo-African American Harvard AA admittee

Back in 2004, the NYT reported:

“While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard's undergraduates were black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard's African and African-American studies department, pointed out that the majority of them — perhaps as many as two-thirds — were West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples.

“They said that only about a third of the students were from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves. Many argue that it was students like these, disadvantaged by the legacy of Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools, who were intended as principal beneficiaries of affirmative action in university admissions.”

By Gates's and Guinier's standards, Barack Obama should be the perfect example of the wrong kind of person to get affirmative action: his father was an elite immigrant (Obama Jr. was both a Harvard legacy as well as affirmative action admittee) and his mother was white. The Honolulu preppie's exposure to African-American culture came through watching Soul Train on TV.

My vague impression is that African immigrants tend to be descended from the slave-dealing classes of the days of yore. (I vaguely recall that Gates ran into some of this while filming his PBS series on Africa -- the educated Africans he mostly conversed with in Africa with tended to be the descendants of the people who caught and sold his ancestors to the white man).

I wrote in in 2004:

The personal motivation of Gates, who has risen to be (as he likes to joke) “the head Negro in charge” of African-American studies in this country, is straight-forward.

He’s one of the few members of the black academic elite whose background is typical for the average middle-aged African-American. Gates’ father was a millworker in West Virginia.

The background of Guinier, whose nomination to a high post in the Clinton Administration was famously killed by Clint Bolick's skewering her as a “quota queen,” is more complicated. She is exactly the kind of dubious affirmative action beneficiary she is protesting.

Guinier looks like she could be the late Gilda Radner’s half-sister because her mother was Jewish. Her Jamaican-born father Ewart Guinier was a prominent Communist Party USA labor leader. Much of her career has been an extrapolation of themes from his life. For example, she advocates the kind of complex multiple voting schemes that helped the CPUSA elect two New York City councilmen during her father’s heyday, before the CIO expelled his union for being a Stalinist front.

So, Guinier's old-fashioned Communist upbringing has helped make her more sensitive to class unfairness than is fashionable on the left today, where race trumps class.

Of course, Barack Obama has done pretty well for himself with all the affirmative action breaks he has received. In contrast, his wife Michelle, who is from exactly the kind of all-American working class black family that Gates and Guinier would prefer that preferences go to, has somewhat floundered about, wasting her admission to Guinier's Harvard Law School, quickly dropping out of the legal profession and devoting most of her career since to being a political insider getting paid for diversity make-work. So, maybe there's a good reason that Harvard has largely given up on traditional Michelle-style American blacks in favor of Barack-style exotic newcomers and blacks who were raised by whites.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 9, 2008

More economists making fools out of themselves to promote immigration

Economists devote strikingly little attention to immigration, so they tend to be suckers for the occasional study that comes along supporting their prejudices. For example, recent papers by Ottaviano and Peri claiming that lots of immigrants in California made the natives better off got lots of play.

George Borjas of Harvard couldn't replicate their findings, however, and now he's finally figured out why:

The Ottaviano and Peri data ... classify ... high school juniors and seniors as part of the "high school dropout" workforce. Their finding of immigrant-native complementarity disappears if the analysis excludes these high school juniors and seniors.

Things that seem too good to be true usually aren’t.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

VDARE: Obama's Radical Background

My new column takes a gander at some overlooked Obama background:

A year ago, March 1, 2007, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. made an angry appearance on the Hannity & Colmes show on FoxNews. It represents one of the few times when someone very close to the old Obama has been directly challenged. The telecast attracted little attention—the discussion quickly devolved into almost incomprehensible crosstalk—but a careful reading of the transcript reveals much about the ideological underpinnings that helped bond Obama to Wright's church for the last 20 years.

Sean Hannity began by asking Wright about the "Black Value System" espoused by Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ. Wright responded:

WRIGHT: The black value system, which was developed by the congregation, by laypersons of the congregation, 26 years ago, very similar to the gospel (INAUDIBLE) developed by laypersons in Nicaragua during the whole liberation theology movement, 26, 28, 30 years ago, yes.

What exactly was going on in Nicaragua 26 to 30 years before this debate in 2007? Well, 1977-1981 were the years of the Marxist revolution in Nicaragua. The Soviet-allied Sandinistas made use of the "liberation theology" promoted by leftist Catholic clerics of the Jesuit and the Maryknoll orders. In fact, three radical liberation theology priests served in the Sandinista cabinet. During a dramatic 1983 visit to Managua, Pope John Paul II had to speak out sharply against liberation theology. He later suspended Marxist priests serving in the Sandinista regime.

So, the black liberation theology of Obama's church is, according to Obama's minister, "very similar" to the "liberation theology" espoused by old Marxist revolutionaries in Nicaragua.



My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Obama's handicap: 16

That's Barack Obama's golf handicap, according to Golf Digest's new list of the top 200 golfers in Washington. A 16 puts him 123rd on the list, but in pretty good shape among elected officials. That's because the top end of the list is dominated by lobbyists, such as #8, Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute and a 2.2 handicap, suggesting he does a lot of Beer Institute business on the golf course, and then in the 19th hole after his round. He is a man, I would guess, who feels that he has found his calling in life.

Among elected officials, Obama is tied for 37th, and tied for 15th among Democrats. His handicap is without a decimal place, so it's not USGA official. In other words, bet on super-lobbyist Vernon Jordan with an official 16.1 handicap rather than Barack Obama with a fuzzy "estimated" 16. Still, a 16 is a good handicap, saying you ought to be shooting in the 80s on a good day, and have a chance at the 70s once in a blue moon.

Obama is well-positioned to succeed George W. Bush, who is a 15. Neither McCain nor either Clinton show up on the list. Bill Clinton claimed to be around a 12 handicap, but was notorious for not following the precise Rules of Golf. Clinton played so much golf as President that his handicap improved while he was in office (or perhaps the playing partners writing down his score became more fawning).

Eisenhower averaged just under 100 days per year as President in which he teed off. I recall reading that Clinton's ambition was to break what he had heard was Eisenhower's record of 103 rounds in one year during 2000, his final year in office. I don't know if he accomplished this.

In case you are wondering, among the 27 elected officials on the Top 100 (handicap index of 13.5 or better) are 15 Republicans and 12 Democrats.

The top woman on the list is Republican pollster Linda Divall at an outstanding 1.9. Second best woman is former NJ governor Christine Todd Whitman at 15.5. Condoleeza Rice is a 22.

The best name for a lobbyist on the list is AT&T's "federal relations" guy, Lyndon Boozer (15.0)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer