July 25, 2009

Testing99's insight

T.K. Farrow wrote:
On Monday, the daily presidential tracking poll for Rasmussen Reports showed that Barack Obama no longer has the job performance approval of a majority of Americans. His overall approval rating was down to an even 50 percent. Released on the same day was a [1] demographic breakdown of that rating: only 41 percent of white Americans approve of the job he’s doing, while 97 percent of blacks approve and 58 percent of all other ethnicities combined approve.

And it hasn't gotten better since.

I think Testing99 has been making a good point in comments about the unfolding political dynamics: Obama's racialism, as demonstrated in Gatesgate, would be okay if he were President of Switzerland, where the President has little power, or President of the U.S. in the 1920s with its minimalist agenda. Yet, as Obama aggressively tries to take control over huge parts of American life through health care and the carbon police, suspicions inevitably arise about the, shall we say, disparate impact of the fine print. For example, the health care legislation appears to mandate racial quotas for medical schools. More generally, there's just a lot of fine print that can be manipulated for Who? Whom? purposes.

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

Bouchard on Groupthink

Nicholas Wade on John Tierney's NYT blog writes:

“Academics, like teenagers, sometimes don’t have any sense regarding the degree to which they are conformists.”

So says Thomas Bouchard, the Minnesota psychologist known for his study of twins raised apart, in a retirement interview with Constance Holden in the journal Science.

Journalists, of course, are conformists too. So are most other professions. There’s a powerful human urge to belong inside the group, to think like the majority, to lick the boss’s shoes, and to win the group’s approval by trashing dissenters.

The strength of this urge to conform can silence even those who have good reason to think the majority is wrong. You’re an expert because all your peers recognize you as such. But if you start to get too far out of line with what your peers believe, they will look at you askance and start to withdraw the informal title of “expert” they have implicitly bestowed on you. Then you’ll bear the less comfortable label of “maverick,” which is only a few stops short of “scapegoat” or “pariah.” ...

The academic monocultures referred to by Dr. Bouchard are the kind of thing that sabotages scientific creativity....

What’s wrong with consensuses is not the establishment of a majority view, which is necessary and legitimate, but the silencing of skeptics. “We still have whole domains we can’t talk about,” Dr. Bouchard said, referring to the psychology of differences between races and sexes.

The 100 or so comments are pretty amusing since only one (mine) picks up what Bouchard and Wade are actually primarily talking about -- the crushing of James Watson, Larry Summers, and the like. Everybody else rushes off to talk about global warming or Kuhn v. Lakatos or whatever they haven't shoved down the memory hole.

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

July 24, 2009

NYT Editorialist: Obama peeved at his postracial image

Brent Staples of the New York Times editorial board explains in the NYT that Obama was elected under false pretenses about his being postracial and transcending race and what not, and that it's getting on Obama's nerves that the idiot press keeps believing the facade David Axelrod concocted just to get him elected:

Successful African-Americans — whether they are sports stars, entertainers or politicians — are often accorded a more tortured significance. In addition to being held up as proof that racism has been extinguished, they are often employed as weapons in the age-old campaign to discredit, and even demean, the disadvantaged. ...

Mr. Obama has refused to play this role, even though people have tried to thrust it upon him. ...

He underscored this point again this week when he commented on the arrest in Cambridge, Mass., of the Harvard African-American scholar (and my longtime friend) Henry Louis Gates Jr. and about the tendency of police officers to target blacks and Hispanics for traffic stops.

These remarks could change how the news media sees the president’s views on race. Up to now, he has been consistently and wrongly portrayed as a stern black exceptionalist who takes Negroes to task for not meeting his standard.

He is not happy with this characterization. That was clear in a recent Oval Office interview with the columnist Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post. Mr. Obama complained about the press coverage of his speeches and seemed especially miffed about the portrayal of the one he delivered before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People this month.

He suggested that the news media had overemphasized his remarks about “personal responsibility” — a venerable theme in the African-American church — while disregarding “the whole other half of the speech,” which included a classic exercise in civil-rights oratory.

The president described disproportionate rates of unemployment, imprisonment and lack of health insurance in minority communities as barriers of the moment. He contrasted them with the clubs and police dogs that black marchers faced in the 1960s and said that solving present-day problems would require comparable determination.

And “make no mistake,” he continued, “the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender.”

This was no exceptionalist rant. Speaking to Mr. Robinson, the president used the first-person plural revealingly when he said: “I do think it is important for the African-American community, in its diversity, to stay true to one core aspect of the African-American experience, which is we know what it’s like to be on the outside," said the President of the United States from behind his desk in the Oval Office.

Oh, wait, I added that part after the close quotes. Never mind.

During the campaign, Mr. Obama tended to avoid direct engagement with racial issues until circumstances (a tempest over his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright) made further evasion impossible.

He reached a similar moment when he was asked to comment on Mr. Gates’s arrest at a White House news conference on Wednesday.

In a remark that became instantly famous, he responded that the police acted “stupidly” in arresting Mr. Gates when no crime had been committed and the professor was standing in his own home. Mr. Obama further noted that disproportionate attention from the police was an unwelcome fact of black life in America.

People who have heretofore viewed Mr. Obama as a “postracial” abstraction were no doubt surprised by these remarks. This could be because they were hearing him fully for the first time.

Dear National Media Personalities: Do you know what would be a convenient way for you to finally hear Obama fully for the first time? Read my book, America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance," in which I explain in straightforward prose that you can understand what Obama is saying in his autobiography.

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

Winner: Officer Crowley -- Loser: President Obama

Here's a lesson for future James D. Watsons:

When You Tell the Truth ... Don't Apologize

Defeated by Cambridge Police Officer James Crowley's stubborn courage, Obama made an unscheduled appearance at a White House press briefing today to say:

I wanted to address you guys directly because over the last day and a half obviously there's been all sorts of controversy around the incident that happened in Cambridge with Professor Gates and the police department there.

I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation -- and I told him that.

And because this has been ratcheting up -- and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up -- I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically -- and I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sergeant Crowley.

I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you've got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.

The fact that it has garnered so much attention I think is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America. So to the extent that my choice of words didn't illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.

What I'd like to do then I make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people, not extrapolate too much from the facts -- but as I said at the press conference, be mindful of the fact that because of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African Americans are sensitive to these issues. And even when you've got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding.

My hope is, is that as a consequence of this event this ends up being what's called a "teachable moment," where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity. Lord knows we need it right now -- because over the last two days as we've discussed this issue, I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody has been paying much attention to health care. (Laughter.)

I will not use this time to spend more words on health care, although I can't guarantee that that will be true next week. I just wanted to emphasize that -- one last point I guess I would make. There are some who say that as President I shouldn't have stepped into this at all because it's a local issue. I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with. The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive -- as opposed to negative -- understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio.

So at the end of the conversation there was a discussion about -- my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don't know if that's scheduled yet -- (laughter) -- but we may put that together.

He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn. (Laughter.) I informed him that I can't get the press off my lawn. (Laughter.) He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn. (Laughter.) But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass.

All right. Thank you, guys.

Obviously, this isn't much of a real apology, but the basic fact remains that the President's racial prejudices just got stared down by the Policeman who had the facts on his side.

My guess is that one reason Obama backed down was because the police dispatch operators have tapes of much of the confrontation. They haven't been released yet, but they would be interesting to hear.

Teachable moments? The first is that Obama's comments at his news conference on the "stupidity" of the Cambridge Police Department were, despite all his lawyerly stipulations, a textbook example of racial prejudice in action. He had prejudged these specific events based on his deeply held views on the general racial situation in America.

As in Ricci, we see the value of civil servant unions in standing up to racialized politicians. Crowley's cop union stood shoulder to shoulder with him and helped him face down the Governor and the President. Government employee unions are expensive, but they do have an interest in standing up for civil service rules in fighting the new racial spoils system perpetrated under the guise of "civil rights."

Another lesson is that as the Establishment has ratcheted up Racism into the worst sin imaginable in the history of the world, it has not correspondingly ratcheted up the seriousness of the consequences of falsely accusing somebody of "racism." It was clear from even Dr. Gates's self-serving account that his accusations of racism against Officer Crowley were the product not of evidence but of his understandably tired, overexcited brain intersecting with his business interests as a prestige media race man. Crowley refused to buckle under to extraordinary pressure, going all the way up to the President, thus setting a new standard for how to respond to false charges.

It's time to pressure Obama to publicly call on his friend Skip Gates to withdraw his charges of racism against Officer Crowley on the grounds that the epidemic of false charges of racism must be halted.

Now, that would be a Teachable Moment!

There are two distinguishable issues in this mess:

- The false accusation of racism by Professor Gates against Officer Crowley (which, in Obama's usual lawyerly way was more or less endorsed, in so many words, on national television by President Obama). Gates's prolonged attempt over the last week while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard to make money off his defamation of Officer Crowley by promoting his future television program about it, should, at minimum, lead to Gates's public shaming.

- The question of whether Crowley over-reacted to Gates' unhinged temper tantrum and false accusations of racism. As I've said, I sympathize with Gates' frustrations. While traveling a couple of years ago, I was forced to stay up all night through airline incompetence (after four hours standing at an airport ticket counter, I finally figured out that two airlines had merged and the desk agents, who were all from the acquired airline, didn't know how to operate the computer system of the acquiring airline). Therefore, I came close to throwing a hissy fit of Gatesian proportions when I tried to go through the security checkpoint only to find out that the airline had now flagged my ticket for public interrogation in a glass box. I did manage, barely, to not step over any lines. If I ever do, I hope, for my own personal sake, that the cop I insult is more of a wishy-washy type than Officer Crowley.

Should "contempt of cop" be an arrestable offense? This appears to be a gray area in the law, and perhaps necessarily so. In theory, it would be nice if you could relentlessly scream insults at a cop in public under the First Amendment, but the Second Amendment gets in the way. There are a couple of hundred million guns in America, which means that cops feel they always have to stay in control of the situation psychologically, because, otherwise, the confrontation might escalate to the point where somebody winds up with a hole in him. (Usually, it's not the cop but the enraged suspect who ends up in the morgue.) Moreover, letting one probably harmless maniac like Gates get away with abusing cops sets a dangerous precedents for the less harmless maniacs.

An interesting psychological point is that the same stubborn professionalism that helped make Officer Crowley a hard-ass toward Professor Gates has made him a heroic public citizen in his refusal to be browbeat by President Obama. He's shown more spine than James Watson or Larry Summers.

By the way, I'd like to use this Teachable Moment to flog my reader's guide to what the President considers the Teachable Moments in his own life: America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance."

It makes a great gift! (Well, your mileage may vary.)

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

July 23, 2009

MSM: More Message Discipline Now!

One of the more striking aspects of press coverage of the Obama Administration is how vociferously the press demands to be bored. For example, Sonia Sotomayor's stonewalling and dissimulation in her Senate testimony were greeted not with scorn and demands for revelations, but with praise for how well she played the game of being boring and calls by pundits for eliminating Senate hearings for Supreme Court justices altogether.

And here is The Fix in the Washington Post, in which Chris Cillizza laments that Obama's press conference produced an interesting, unexpected news story that revealed some normally well-concealed aspects of the President's personality:

A seemingly innocuous answer by President Barack Obama in response to a question at last night's press conference regarding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. has spawned a national controversy that threatens to overshadow the chief executive's messaging on the urgency of health care reform. ... But, little did we know that media maelstrom that would ensue. ...

A tempest in a teapot? Almost certainly. But, the media swirl that has developed in the wake of Obama's comments last night reveals just how critical message discipline is when you sit in the White House.

The Administration wanted today's message to be about the urgent need for health care reform -- witness the president's town hall in Cleveland and the new Democratic National Committee ad campaign -- but instead saw much of the coverage focused on whether Obama stepped too far out on a limb in his defense of Gates.

Again, the long-term impact of the Gates story is minimal. But, for every minute of press coverage it draws is a minute not being spent pushing the idea of the necessity of health care reform.

The Mainstream Media demand: More Message Discipline Now!

It's as if every single person in America these days is in the Marketing Department. Journalism today consists primarily of marketing campaigns and critiques of the implementation of those marketing campaigns.

A lot has changed over the last century.

By way of contrast (but mostly for my own enjoyment), here's an excerpt from the exuberant autobiography, A Child of the Century, by Ben Hecht, co-author of the newspaper play The Front Page (later reworked for Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as His Girl Friday). Hecht did more than anyone to create the old stereotype of American reporters, so here's their historic first encounter when he was hired at age 16 by the Chicago Journal in 1910:
We entered a large barnlike room full of desks and long tables, piled with typewriters and crumpled newspapers. There were many men in shirt sleeves. Some of them were bellowing, others sprawled in chairs asleep, with their hats down over their eyes. ... The smell of ink, the drunks coming in with seven A.M. hangovers and sucking therapeutically on oranges, the clanging of a mysterious bell abovve Mr. Dunne's head, the air of swashbuckle -- hats tilted, feet up on top of typewriters, faces breathing out liquor fumes like dragons -- these matters held me shyly spellbound.

... before another week was done, I was a curious combination of ruffian, picklock and enemy of society. Mr. Finnegan, handsome and smiling, sent me forth each dawn to fetch back a photograph of some news-worthy citizen -- or die. The citizen was usually a woman who had undergone some unusual experience during the night, such as rape, suicide, murder or flagrante delicto. ... The picture chaser was thus a shady but vital figure. It was his duty to unearth, snatch or wangle cabinet photographs of the recently and violently dead for his paper. While maturer minds badgered the survivors of the morning's dead for news data, ... I scurried through bedrooms, poked noiselessly into closets, trunks and bureau drawers, and, the coveted photograph under my coat, bolted for the street.

On his fellow journalists of a century ago:
They sat, grown and abuzz, outside an adult civilization, intent on breaking windows.

There was, I am sure, neither worldliness nor cunning enough among the lot of us to run a successful candy store. But we had a vantage point. We were not inside the routines of human greed or social pretenses. We were without politeness. There was a feast all around us. We attended it as scavengers. We picked up and examined the debris of murders, suicides, family explosions. Our noses were full of the odors of chicanery and human fatuousness.

I'm sure the progress of journalists over the last century toward being polished marketing professionals is all for the best, but, still, it's kind of boring.

Henry Louis Gates Inc.

I've been writing about Henry Louis Gates for 14 years, going back to this passing mention in a National Review article. Here, for instance, is a blog post about Gates' televised adventures with genetic testing. And here's my post on Gates's sensible campaign to restrict affirmative action at Harvard to the descendants of American slaves, such as, say, Michelle Obama, and deny racial preferences to the children of immigrants and whites, such as, oh, Barack Obama.

Granted, Gates is, as we've seen in recent days, a race hustler. It's completely in character for Gates to try to make money off his unfortunate temper tantrum by whipping it into a PBS documentary. Yet, for most of his long career he's been the classiest race hustler in the racket.

But, my goodness, does he ever hustle.

I touched on his indefatigability in my 1997 book review, "The Ebony Tower," in National Review of the (purportedly) Gates-edited Norton Anthology of African-American Literature:
Although anthologies of black American writing have been published by the score over the last 150 years, this enormous tome is sure to attract much attention, due to the authority of the "Norton Anthology" brand name and the well-deserved celebrity of co-editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The multitalented Dr. Gates somehow manages to be a master political operator in the growth industry of multicultural studies, an impressive researcher into the history of black literature, and a graceful writer for general audiences.

Franklin Foer explained this mystery the next year in Slate in "Henry Louis Gates Jr.: The Academic as Entrepreneur."
Gates does so many things at the same time that you have to wonder how he makes sure all of them meet the same high standard. The answer is, he can't. In 1997 alone, according to his curriculum vitae, he wrote four long pieces for The New Yorker, published one book, and edited two more. He also supervised doctoral dissertations, taught two undergraduate courses, ran Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research (raising funds, balancing budgets, recruiting professors, planning conferences), served as director of editorial content for a publishing imprint he co-founded, was a consultant on Steven Spielberg's Amistad, scripted and hosted a Frontline documentary on the black bourgeoisie, and developed a six-part BBC-PBS documentary on Africa--the entire continent. He continued as an editor of Transition magazine; the Black Periodical Literature Project; the Zora Neale Hurston Library series; the 30-volume African-American Women Writers, 1910-1940; and the 2 million word Encyclopedia Africana. Nominally, at least, he sat on the board of editors of 29 other journals and on 82 advisory committees for museums, theaters, institutes, literary prizes, and universities.

This month's Boston Magazine takes a hard look at Gates. It gives you an exhaustive account of his career, marred by a deeply unfortunate headline: "Head Negro in Charge." [That's Gates' own joking term for himself.] The Du Bois Institute site details Gates' many projects, including the Encyclopedia Africana. If you're interested, it says it's hiring.

Gates works very hard. Most days, he starts writing at 5 a.m. A 9,000-word New Yorker profile that would take most journalists weeks or months flows effortlessly from his pen. An incisive piece on Louis Farrakhan was reported Monday afternoon, written Tuesday, edited Wednesday, and closed Thursday. Gates drafted his 216-page memoir, Colored People (1994), in six weeks, though some critics thought the final result reflected the hasty composition.

But hard work alone doesn't explain Gates' output. He also understands a fundamental maxim of capitalism: Don't do yourself what you can pay others to do for you.

It is a time-honored perquisite of senior professorship to have students act as minions, fetching books from the library and doing grunt research. Many scholars have figured out how to turn this somewhat feudal tradition into an industry. In the 1980s, for example, Yale Professor Harold Bloom served as the "editor" of 160 anthologies of literary criticism, even though it was graduate students (and a few undergraduates) who actually waded into the library and picked out the selections. But Gates pushes the envelope. He may be the only academic with a self-designated "chief of staff" who handles day-to-day details and deals with reporters. An assistant edits his writing. Another conducts research, keeping him abreast of the latest developments in hip-hop and digging up quotes for New Yorker pieces. Dozens of other writers and editors are hired to help produce his various projects. To put together one volume, The Dictionary of Global Culture, for instance, Gates used 32 research assistants and 32 fact checkers, in addition to 27 writers. (For this piece, I spoke with 17 current and former Gates employees.)

The last large-scale reference work Gates co-edited, also with Appiah, was The Dictionary of Global Culture, published last year. The book was meant to be the multiculturalist rebuttal to E.D. Hirsch Jr.'s controversial The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (1988); the idea was to highlight the accomplishments of non-Western societies and their contributions to Western culture. But it was too weirdly conceived and poorly edited to do all that. As a response to Hirsch, it is irrelevant, appearing long after most had forgotten Hirsch's book. It is also filled with easily dismissable PC agitprop. As a reference work it fails, because entries are shorter and less informative than most entries for the same subjects in even the Encyclopedia Britannica. And it is embarrassingly error-ridden.

Why would Gates allow the publication of such a book with his byline and photo on the dust jacket? He had no idea it was so bad. After coming up with the idea for the project and appointing an "associate editor" to run it, he says, he was only minimally involved. According to those who edited the Dictionary, Gates read entries only just before they were sent to press, then looked closely only at items within his area of expertise, such as the Harlem Renaissance and Hurston. The book's introduction was drafted by Appiah [who, by the way, is the grandson of Sir Stafford Cripps, the famous Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain in the late 1940s]. ...

Gates' 29-page CV is packed with other projects to which he devotes scant energy. Between 1992 and 1998, for example, he contributed not a single word to 28 of the 29 magazines where he is listed as an editor. He does none of the line editing of articles for Transition, even though it proclaims his editorship in ads. For the 40 volume Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers he edited, he appointed others to put together the books and write their introductions. Ten other editors helped put together The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, even though it was his byline that appeared on the cover. ...

The problem is, the work that comes out of his scholarly chop shops isn't nearly as good as it should be.

David Axelrod's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I've got to bet that David Axelrod's blood pressure is high at the moment, what with his prize pupil slipping the leash at yesterday's news conference and letting everybody know what's really on his mind. And now, Obama's getting a second day of headlines over GatesGate.

From ABC News:

President Obama today stood by his comments that the Cambridge, Mass., police department acted "stupidly" in its arrest of Henry Louis Gates, telling ABC News that the Harvard University professor should not have been arrested.

President says he doesn't regret his criticism of Cambridge police department.

"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama said.

In an exclusive interview with ABC's Terry Moran to air on "Nightline" tonight, Obama said it doesn't make sense to him that the situation escalated to the point that Gates was arrested.

"I think that I have extraordinary respect for the difficulties of the job that police officers do," the president told Moran. "And my suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officer and Mr. Gates and that everybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed. That's my suspicion."

At this point, Axelrod must have been feeling a bit better about Obama getting back on script.

The president said he understands the sergeant who arrested Gates is an "outstanding police officer."

Good, thinks the President's handler, Now just wrap it up, get back to health care, and you can go smoke a whole pack of Lucky Strikes.

But he added that with all that's going on in the country with health care and the economy and the wars abroad, "it doesn't make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he's not causing a serious disturbance."

Oh, noooooooo! What with all that's going on in the country with health care and the economy and the wars abroad, what doesn't make any sense is for my client, the President of the United States of America, to get publicly obsessed over a local police incident!

Cambridge Police Department Commissioner Robert C. Haas said in a press conference late Thursday that his department was "deeply pained" by the president's comments yesterday.

Watch "Nightline" Tonight at 11:35 p.m. ET for Terry Moran's full interview with President Obama

By the way, if you want to understand why Obama slips loose from Axelrod's master plan and does these kind of self-destructive things every now and then, please buy my reader's guide to the President's memoir, America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance."

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

Unsurprising news about Officer Crowley

Commenters directed me towards this Associated Press article:
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on racial profiling.

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

"I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy," Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The course, called "Racial Profiling," teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community "and how you don't want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from," Fleming said.

Obama has said the Cambridge officers "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates last week when they responded to his house after a woman reported a suspected break-in.

Crowley, 42, has maintained he did nothing wrong and has refused to apologize, as Gates has demanded.

So, the former police chief of Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT, is black. The current mayor of Cambridge is black. The governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick (Obama's stablemate in the Axelrod dojo), is black. The Attorney General of the U.S. is black. And the President is black.

Obviously, Crowley is sensitive to racial issues. My guess would be that Gates's playing of the race card, which can be a career-killer in Cambridge, got the cop's dander up.

Let's keep in mind, however, that just about all cops became cops because they like being dominant over other people. If they just wanted to help people, they would have become firemen instead. As Joseph Wambaugh, the cop-novelist repeatedly says, everybody loves a fireman. In contrast, Wambaugh's cops have issues, lots and lots of issues: divorce, drinking, and mental health (these days, about twice as many cops die by their own hands as on the job).

So, cops aren't always nice people. They tend to be domineering and paranoid, two traits that tend to make them effective at their difficult jobs. They have power, they are trained to keep power in interpersonal situations, and they like power. So, you don't make serious unfounded accusations at a cop if you don't want something bad to happen to you. It's not fair, but that's the way it is.

Now, I have a lot of sympathy for Gates because he'd been traveling for a couple of days from China. When I finally got home from 36 hours straight of traveling back from Turkey in June, I climbed straight into bed with a Robert Heinlein novel I first read when I was eleven. If my door had been jammed and then, just when I had finally got into my (dilapidated) home sweet home, somebody had knocked on my door and asked me to step outside, I might well have thrown a hissy fit like Gates did.

Gates, however, is trying to milk his racial profiling crucifixion for all it's worth, so, rather than apologize and explain why he was tired and not his usual genial self, he's issuing dubious statements about his "glorious" trip to China, and how relaxing his trip home was in order to close off this line of retreat for himself.

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

Britain's Half-Blood Prince: J.K. Rowling's "Story of Race and Inheritance"

My new Taki's Magazine column considers some overlooked reasons for the popularity of the Harry Potter books and movies.

Read it there and comment about it here.

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

July 22, 2009

Obama on The Passion of the Gates

Our postracial President demonstrated once again how he transcends race at today's news conference, which, I gather, was supposed to be about some kind of health bill or some other minor matter, but Obama felt it necessary to devote 445 words to what really gets under his skin. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Obama’s response was his most animated performance of the hourlong news conference, and represented an extraordinary plunge by a president into a local law-enforcement dispute. And it opened a window into a world from which Mr. Obama is now largely shielded, suggesting the incident had struck a raw nerve with the president.

From the transcript:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you? And what does it say about race relations in America?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here.

I don't know all the facts. What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house; there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place.

So far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into -- well, I guess this is my house now, so -- (laughter) -- it probably wouldn't happen.

(Chuckling.) But let's say my old house in Chicago -- (laughter) -- here I'd get shot. (Laughter.) But so far, so good. They're -- they're -- they're reporting. The police are doing what they should. There's a call. They go investigate. What happens?

My understanding is, at that point, Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in. I'm sure there's some exchange of words. But my understanding is -- is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house, and at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped.

Now, I've -- I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

Q. How does Obama know so much about the stupidity of the Cambridge Police Department?

A. Our President personally waged a gallant 17-year-long war against the Cambridge Police Department's oppression, before finally being forced to bend his knee to their tyranny and ante up the $375 he owed them for unpaid parking tickets from his years at Harvard Law School.

And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportionately. That's just a fact.

As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.

That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.

And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause, casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that's why I think the more that we're working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody's going to be.

"The safer everybody's going to be" -- riiiiight.

It's kind of funny how Obama's formerly fairly plain-spoken Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, was instructed by Obama's minions to stonewall the U.S. Senate at her hearings, but the President feels compelled to interject himself, disingenuously, into a police blotter matter.

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


What should be done about Advanced Placement Tests and Advanced Placement Classes?

My essential message is that "You have to read the fine print."

The kind of assimilated American Catholics and Protestants I grew up around tend to assume that the fine print on admissions to taxpayer-funded institutions such as the University of California is made up by experts with the public good always in mind, and if you need to be aware of its implications, you'll be duly informed by professionals.

The kind of people I talk to now about these questions tend to be Korean, Armenian, Jewish, and so forth. It would never occur to them to trust public institutions to treat their family members well. Nor do they trust the media to explain the rules of the game honestly to them, since everything about public education hinges on race, and everybody is supposed to lie in public about race.

Now, my traditional instinct in my writing is toward making disinterested public policy recommendations consistent with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. But, I intend, as a service to my readers, to increase the percentage of Self-Help advice in my writing, especially in regard to education.

Right now, there is a lot of information on getting the best education for your kids that you have to be plugged into an extended family and/or ethnic network to become aware of.

For example, consider the current proposals to streamline the University of California admissions process somewhat. Earlier in the decade, the UC had bludgeoned the College Board / ETS into making major changes to the SAT, including adding the Writing test and extending the range of math subjects tested on the SAT into higher math. This expansion of the SAT means that the UC's complicated requirement that students take both the SAT and three SAT Subject achievement tests (including Writing) seems obsolete. By getting rid of the requirement for three SAT Subject tests, the UC supposedly hopes to make admission less complex, less time-consuming, and less expensive.

Is this a good idea? I don't know. I'll look into it. What I can say in the abstract is that it will be good for some people and bad for other people.

One thing that is clear is that organized Asian pressure groups like application processes that are complex, time-consuming, and expensive. The Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus in Sacramento sent a detailed letter to the chairman of the UC Board of Regents complaining that in one "low end" scenario,
"the total percentage of African American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, and Asian American students would decrease from 60 percent to 53 percent; ... whereas, the percentage of White students would increase from 34 to 41 percent. ... The Joint API Legislative Caucus has specific reservations about how the new admissions proposals would decrease the percentages of Asian Pacific Islanders from 32.6% to 25.2% of the entire eligibility pool ..."

In other words, in the low end projections, the changes probably wouldn't have much effect on NAMs, so lumping all minorities together is just a smoke screen to occlude what the Asian Caucus is really mad about: the changes might benefit whites at the expense of Asians. The letter is worth reading because the politicians who wrote it have thought very carefully about the effects of UC admissions requirements -- not from a Kantian perspective, but from a zero sum one.

Now, as you might guess, the California state legislature doesn't have a White Caucus, so it's hard to get the other side of the story. It is, however, easy to find insanely detailed analyses of the effects of suggested changes worked up by Asian pressure groups. For example, the website of the liberal organization APAP, Asian-Pacific Americans for Progress: A National Network of Progressive Asian Americans and Allies for Action and Change posted:
APAP's blog would like to welcome Spam Fried Rice to our blog team where she will be covering education issues. She starts off with a six-part series called, UC Admissions Scandal of 2009! … Yo, let’s not freak out… just yet.”

Asian-Pacific Americans for Progress read the fine print.

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

Question for feminists

Two white men arrive in a taxi and knock down the locked front door of a house. A neighbor calls the police. A black policeman arrives and find an extremely agitated man who identifies himself, in between hurling abuse at the cop, as a resident of the house. The cop asks the man "If there is anyone else in the residence?" The man replies, "None of your business, you [bad word for black people]!"

What should the cop do?

Let's assume he goes away.

A few days later, a neighbor notices an unpleasant odor. The police get a search warrant and find the corpse of the agitated man's wife.

Would this become a massive feminist issue splashed all over CNN?

Good question. If the cop who walked away had been white, then, sure, of course it would be.

On the other hand, race usually trumps sex. Consider O.J. Simpson vs. Mark Furhman. When O.J. would beat up Nicole Simpson and she would dial 9-11, the responding cops' typical response over the years would typically be along the lines of "Hey, it's The Juice! Can we get a picture of you and us and your Heisman? Do the Heisman pose!" The one cop out of the many who came by their place on Brentwood who didn't get wrapped up in the jock-sniffing extravaganzas and who actually worried about the welfare of Mrs. Simpson was Mark Fuhrman.

As you'll recall, the only individual convicted of a felony in connection with the evenutal murder of Nicole was ... Detective Fuhrman.

As feminist prosecutor Marcia Clark found out when she tried to pack the OJ jury with women and Johnnie Cochran tried to pack it with blacks, and they ended up in a compromise packing it with black women, race trumps sex in modern American identity politics.

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

July 21, 2009

UPDATED: Who is "carrying racist thoughts?"

The Washington Post, which has business ties with the well-known chairman of the Harvard Afro-American Studies Department, Henry Louis Gates, has a long article about Prof. Gates' embarrassing arrest by the Cambridge Police Department last week after he had to break in to the house Harvard University provides him in Harvard Square, then launched into a tirade of accusations of racism against the white policeman sent to investigate the break-in.
Prominent Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. casts his arrest at his home last week as part of a "racial narrative" playing out in a biased U.S. criminal justice system. ...

"This guy had this whole narrative in his head. Black guy breaking and entering."

Clearly, though, Gates also had his own narrative in his head.

The Cambridge cops' reports were briefly up on the Boston Globe before being shoved down the memory hole. Larry Auster, however, has preserved them here. They make interesting reading.

When Officer Crowley told him he was "investigating a report of a break in [in] progress," Gates "exclaimed, 'Why because I'm a black man in America?'" Gates then proceeded to loudly make an ass of himself.

The cop reported, "I then asked Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While yelling, he told me that it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer."

My guess would be that by this point the cop thought it unlikely that this well-dressed middle-aged man was a common burglar, but was, consciously or unconsciously, becoming worried about a different scenario:

Q. Why would an extremely angry man break into his own house?
A. Because his wife had locked him out?
Q. What did this enraged man do to his hypothetical wife after he broke in, or what would he do to her after the police left?

When somebody is as out of control emotionally toward a policeman as Gates was, they are often a danger to other civilians, such as their loved ones. I presume that Professor Gates doesn't watch Cops much, but screaming It's None Of Your Business, You Racist at a policeman who asks if there is anybody else in the house is traditionally seen by policemen as a warning sign that there might be somebody else, or her corpse, in the house.

Making an ass of yourself shouldn't get you arrested, but anybody over the age of three should know that you speak to policemen in quiet, deferential tones. (Nor do you threaten a policeman's career by charging him with racism on no grounds.)

Why? Because they have guns. You don't want to get shot, and, more often than not, they'd prefer not to shoot you (which requires them to go downtown and fill out a lot of paperwork). So, they like to keep things on a civil plane where nobody starts getting an itchy trigger finger.

In Gates's defense, he was arriving home from China, and nobody is quite in his right mind when that jet-lagged.

But Gates, a master of the media game, is already planning to milk the unfortunate incident:

His next project on race, he said, will be rooted in his arrest. "I hope to make a documentary about racial profiling for PBS," he said. "[The idea] had never crossed my mind but it has now."

He said the documentary will ask: "How are people treated when they are arrested? How does the criminal justice system work? How many black and brown men and poor white men are the victims of police officers who are carrying racist thoughts?

Clearly, as Gates points out, we need to police the thoughts of the police.

Hey, I've come up with a name for the enforcement arm against racist thinking which Gates's logic demands: The Thought Police!

A commenter named Piper writes:
... I think it is interesting to compare Gates' story with the arresting officer's report.

Reading both suggests that the real problem was a contest over dominance or control, with Gates likely so adrenalized that he suffered “auditory exclusion.”

“Auditory exclusion” is a well-known phenomenon, a side-effect of the “fight or flight” adrenaline response, by which very excited people do not respond to nor remember hearing speech or even loud noises such as gunshots during periods of great stress.

Here's Stephen Hunter's description of this phenomenon that I quoted in VDARE.com in 2006 when reviewing his book American Gunfight about the 1950 shootout between Puerto Rican nationalists and Harry Truman's bodyguards:
"Physiologically, the fighters have entered a zone that cannot be duplicated by man. It has to be real for you to get there: you feel nothing, you see only a little bit of what's ahead of you, you hear nothing. "Auditory exclusion" it's called: your hearing closes down. Meanwhile your fingers inflate like sausages and your IQ drops stunningly."

The commenter continues:
Gates was obviously very excited and fearful as well as angry at the police officer and shouted* at the officer repeatedly. Gates claims the officer never answered, yet the officer claims that he did answer and Gates ignored him. The two stories are not inconsistent, because highly excited people commonly fail to hear things.

Furthermore, Gates was trying to dominate the police officer by shouting him down, repeatedly (per both stories) demanding the officer’s name and badge number (implictly threatening administrative punishment), and (according to the officer and other witnesses) calling the officer (with no evident basis) a racist.

The officer, like all police officers, has been extensively trained that he must establish and maintain control in every situation for safety reasons. Gates was trying to take control away from the officer; he wanted to officer to kowtow to him. According to the officer’s training, anyone who tries to take control away from the officer presents a threat, possibly a deadly one. Even if the officer might have realized, in quiet contemplation, that Gates had a 1st Amendment right to shout, at the moment of confrontation the officer was faced with a man who was trying to strip the officer of the authority he had been trained to maintain even at the price of violence.

Note that Gates’ and the officer’s stories agree that the officer decided to retreat from Gates’ premises, that Gates did follow the officer out, and that Gates did keep berating the officer until the officer finally arrested Gates.

As I pointed out above, it is perfectly plausible that Gates did not hear the officer’s replies to Gates (self-admitted) badgering “What’s your name? What’s your badge number?”

(If Gates thought the officer was a racist, then Gates had even more reason to be hyper-adrenalized, since Gates would feel that he was confronting an armed racist likely to commit violence on Gates.)

(There’s certainly no evidence in any of the stories that the officer displayed any racism whatsoever. Investigating a report of a possible burglary with the citizen complainant standing by, bolstering her credibility by her presence and willing cooperation with the police, is not a “racist” activity.)

Anyone who thinks police training with respect to “control of the situation” can or should be revised would do well to think very carefully about the limits of human behavior under stress. It may not be possible to effectively train police officers to manage violent punks without giving them reflexes that produce the “wrong” results when dealing with over-excited college professors.

*Gates now claims he didn’t shout, but look at the photo!

The cop to Gates’ left is clearly trying to calm Gates down.

By the way, speaking of need for dominance, last week, I read Joseph Wambaugh's true crime book Fire Lover about John Orr, the veteran Glendale (California) Fire Department arson investigator. He became a legend in the arson investigation business for his uncanny ability to find the point of origin and the charred remains of the firestarting device.

The reason for his divining ability was that he was not just an arson investigator, but a mass-scale arsonist who started at least four score fires, and may well have started one thousand or more (the number of brush fires in Glendale the year after he was arrested dropped from something like 67 to 5).

The bastard set fire to quite a few stores where my mom shopped. He'd dropped a delayed-ignition device in the middle of the most flammable merchandise and stroll out, get in his Glendale Fire Department car, drive away, then, when the smoke was rising, ostensibly notice it, drive back and videotape the fire from across the street.

He was convicted in the arson murder of four people in a home improvement center in South Pasadena largely based on his novel/diary Point of Origins, he was writing about an arsonist (which was eventually made into an HBO movie with Ray Liotta).

The defining event of Orr's life had been that he had applied to be a Los Angeles Police Department officer when it was at the height of its reputation as the most professional department in the country in 1970, and been turned down as "psychologically unstable."

He then became a fireman because he needed a job, but the psychological rewards of being a fireman (as Wambaugh, who served in the LAPD from 1960-1974, says: "everybody loves a fireman") didn't fulfill him. He always told people he didn't want to be a cop, but he gravitated toward the most cop-like job in the fire business, arson investigator, and loved engaging in cop-like stunts like high speed chases and intimidating interrogations. (Presumably, cop turned novelist Wambaugh found Orr, the quasi-cop turned novelist/criminal, intriguing in a sort of evil twin way).

Eventually, Orr acted out his need for dominance by terrorizing people with fire.

The good news about people that screwed-up morally is that they are generally screwed-up in terms of being effectual as well. Orr reminds me a little of Hitler, in that he was a messed-up authoritarian personality with ambivalent feelings of resentment and admiration toward the most prestigious local authority hierarchy (the LAPD, the German Army officer corps), and highly effectual, although Orr was a lot more heterosexual than Hitler (when arrested, this pudgy non-descript guy was splitting his week between his fourth wife and his mistress), and his obsessions, fortunately, were more private than public.

And to get totally off the topic of Henry Louis Gates, I just noticed Inductivist's posting on JP Rushton's new work on a General Factor for personality, which seems relevant to Orr.
To be really reductionist about it, people can be classifed into one of four categories: 1) smart-good; 2) smart-bad; 3) dumb-good; and 4) dumb-bad. And since intelligence and pro-social behavior are positively correlated, as Darwin suggested, there may be more people in categories 1 and 4 than in 2 or 3.

We are lucky that Category 2 smart-bad folks like Orr are relatively rare. Rushton's theory suggests why that may be.

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

How to use AP classes to get your kid into Berkeley

Here's an excerpt fr0m my new VDARE.com article:

My VDARE.com article last week on Advanced Placement (AP) tests provoked my favorite type of letter: one that tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about and then proceeds to be so informative that I finally do know. ...

My correspondent, a test tutor called Mitchell Carr, emails:
“I know more about AP, SAT, and ACT test scores and their use in college admissions than you do, and that's saying a lot. … Your AP article's focus is totally screwy … The public policy issue about AP has nothing to do with the pass rate of APs, but rather AP's influence on college admissions via Grade Point Average (GPA).”

Carr proceeds to document that the proliferation of Advanced Placement classes in high schools has harmed the chances to get into the University of California of white (and to some extent middle class black and Hispanic) kids. It benefits some inner city blacks and Latinos—but mostly it boosts upscale Asians. Result: as USA Today reported in April:
“Asian-Americans are the single largest ethnic group among UC's 173,000 undergraduates. In 2008, they accounted for 40% at UCLA and 43% at UC Berkeley — the two most selective campuses in the UC system — as well as 50% at UC San Diego and 54% at UC Irvine. Asian-Americans are about 12% of California's population …” [University of Calif. admissions rule angers Asian-Americans, April 24, 2009]

Why? It’s largely due to a complicated (and, not surprisingly, not terribly competent) ploy by University of California administrators to get around the ban on affirmative action in government imposed by California voters in 1996.

Ever since Proposition 209, UC administrators have searched for sneakier ways to admit more Latinos and blacks. The California Latino Legislative Caucus made clear to the UC Board of Regents that they’d better manipulate the system to admit more Hispanics or they’d have their budget cut.

Their stratagems, however, have been quickly deciphered by workaholic Asians. (As the May 2008 Minutes of the University of California Academic Council state, “… Asian students seem to be very good at figuring out the technical requirements of UC eligibility.”) ...

As Carr explains, the UC schools downplayed absolute test scores in favor of relativistic high school grades: “Once affirmative action was outlawed, UCs made GPA ever more important, and it now represents 75% of admissions decisions.” ...

Inevitably, UC’s decision to give more weight to grades led to schools engaging in a grade inflation arms race. The key point: classes designated “AP” by the high schools come with a “bonus point” when calculating GPA. That makes an A in an AP class worth 5 on the traditional 0 to 4 scale. Thus, freshmen admitted to UC Berkeley in 2003 averaged an absurd GPA of 4.31 on a 0 to 4 scale. ...

Moreover, the University of California admissions process gives no weight to getting a good score on the actual AP Test. Hence the rush by many high schools to rig the system by sticking the “AP” label on sundry mediocre classes. ...

In contrast, honest grading gives high school students a better picture of what competition will be like in the UC colleges—but not a better chance of getting into one in the first place. ...

Paradoxically, the big winners from the UC’s attempt to discriminate in favor of Non-Asian Minorities are … Asian Minorities. Carr points out:
“Once GPA became increasingly important in UC admissions, the strongest kids started taking all the AP courses they could, because of the bonus points. The irony, of course, is that grades became important because of the low achieving kids, but the public universities have to be consistent, so it rippled up. The emphasis on GPA after affirmative action was banned is the reason for the explosion of Asian students—Asians have much higher GPAs than whites (but not much higher test scores, for the most part).”...

Asians tend to be harder working, more organized, more conformist, and more devoted to gaming the system. In contrast, white Americans tend to have a touching faith that experts have no doubt devised fair methods for selection, so it wouldn’t be sporting to try to find an edge … an assumption that immigrants find most amusing.

Carr continues:
“As for the reason white students are underrepresented in AP classes, it's probably because access is granted by GPA in most suburban schools. Asians have a better GPA, while not higher competence, than whites, and this keeps whites (particularly boys) from getting into AP classes. Parents can challenge this, but few choose to—because few white parents understand the impact that AP has on GPA.”

Read the whole thing on VDARE.com and comment about it here.

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

Speaking of getting into the University of California ...

There's this:
American Children Like Me Are Lazy And Insolent And Must Try Harder

By Jimmy McDonalds

Hello, reader! I am a young boy from the United States, and like most other American children such as me, it seems there is nothing I enjoy more than lazing about from morning until night, eating sweets, and wantonly disrespecting the wishes of my elders.

But I am beginning to realize that my behavior—and the behavior of all typical American young people like me—is in every way unacceptable. What is more, my lack of obedience goes completely unchecked, since my parents, teachers, and government authorities will do nothing to stop it.

Sleep, eating, and Mickey Mouse. That's what I like best. Most days, when I am not gorging myself on cheese hamburgers or wasting my time collecting baseballs, I tend to speak to adults as if they were my schoolmates or mere common insects, instead of figures to be feared and respected. Did you know the amount of effort I put forth in my daily life is not even one-tenth that of children my age in other countries?

Also in the news:
Well, I've Sold The Paper To The Chinese

By T. Herman Zweibel
Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911)

As the longtime publisher of this news-paper, it is my duty and unrestrained pleasure to inform you spittle-soaked readers that I have sold The Onion and all of its various holdings to a syndicate of industrious China-men from the deepest heart of the Orient. ..

Any-way, I wish you all the best of luck making sense of the dis-jointed drivel contained in this inaugural issue of the Chinese Onion. ... Oh, and in accordance with the contractual terms of the buy-out, let me remind you all that Yu Wan Mei Fish Time is the best Fish Time, perfect eating for you and me and so delicious. That is all.

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

July 20, 2009

Whatever happened to the Saudi Menace?

After 9/11, which was mostly carried out by Saudi nationals, there were all these articles in the papers explaining how the Saudi royal family bribed Wahhabi fanatics in Saudi Arabia to leave the country and go spread extremism and terrorism somewhere else. It was widely argued that shutting down this mechanism was central to winning the War on Terror.

I recall that a number of investigations were begun into Muslim charities.

And then what happened?

I hardly ever hear about Saudi Arabia anymore. Was this problem fixed and somebody forgot to tell us? Did it not really exist in the first place? Did everybody just get bored with terrorism? Did the Saudis just pay off everybody in America to shut up about it? If so, where's my payoff? (Dear Saudi Royal Family: Please slip your envelope under the blue recycling trash can when I put it out on the street on Tuesday evening. I'll know what to do with it.) Have the Saudis just kept on doing what they do and nobody here bothers to even whine about it anymore? What's the deal?

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

July 19, 2009

Steve McNair

Colby Cosh says what I never got around to saying about Steve McNair, the retired quarterback, who has been widely blamed for getting himself murdered in cold blood while taking a nap on the couch.

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

Two Predictions

The Washington Post is concerned that Sonia Sotomayor didn't seem liberal enough:

At the heart of those questions is another one, which has ignited a debate among legal scholars, advocates and members of Congress. Did the hearings reveal a true absence of liberal ideas in the 55-year-old judge President Obama chose to fill his first Supreme Court vacancy? Or did they reflect sheer political pragmatism by someone, coached by White House staff members and following the model of other recent nominees, seeking to maximize support by avoiding controversy?

Either way, Sotomayor's reticence, if not her nomination, has disappointed legal thinkers on the left. The hearings "did serious damage to the cause of progressive thought in constitutional law," said Geoffrey R. Stone, a University of Chicago Law School professor who was dean there when Obama joined its faculty. Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal think tank, called them "a totally missed opportunity. . . . The progressive legal project hit rock bottom [last] week."

One liberal Senator, however, gloated that what you saw won't be what you get with Justice Sotomayor:

And Cardin [D-MD], who announced on Friday that he will vote for Sotomayor, said he is encouraged by her judicial record and her private conversations before the hearings. When she came to his office, Cardin said, he told her he is concerned about civil rights issues. The nominee smiled, he recalled, and told him his concerns were "refreshing."

Two predictions:

- Sonia Sotomayor will turn out to be more liberal on the Supreme Court than she admitted to being under oath.

- When that becomes clear, it will then be widely blamed on the Republican Senators: "Those racist Republicans turned her into a leftist racialist by acting like they didn't believe her protestations of utter moderation!"

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