October 6, 2010

Joe Sobran, RIP

Here's Ann Coulter's column on Sobran.

Why I like Mark Zuckerberg

The movie The Social Network exaggerates how asocial the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is in its efforts to make him look like the world's biggest jerk. In comparison to the sneer with which Jesse Eisenberg plays him, Zuckerberg has a likable smile (and the computer nerd is even a little better looking than the movie star who plays him).

Judging from interviews, when Zuckerberg starts explaining something complicated, he stops trying to charm the interviewer and just focuses on the middle distance and lets his face go blank. His expression isn't hostile like in Eisenberg's performance, it's just neutral because he's concentrating on the logic of what he's trying to say. He's a monotasker. (I do the same thing -- if I'm being engaging and personable, well, you can tell I'm not thinking that hard. But, if I stop looking at you and start speaking in a monotone, then I probably found your question very interesting.) When Zuckerberg tries to spin something he did for money, like the recent privacy default settings imbroglio, he tends to sweat a lot: in other words, he's not an expert conman. This awkwardness makes it easy for The Social Network to attack Zuckerberg, but I like that in somebody that rich and powerful.

Still, as The Social Network emphasizes,  Zuckerberg's traits might seem, on the surface, ironic for the founder of the top social networking firm.

For example, unlike all the millions who go on Facebook (or Twitter or their blog) to alert their hundreds of close friends that they are going to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk and some toilet paper, Zuckerberg is quite private. And, relative to most billionaires (and contrary to the impression fostered by the movie), he also doesn't seem to be that socially or sexually ambitious, as the paparazzi pictures from Roissy's blog that I linked to in my review of the movie suggest.

Of course, when you stop and think about it, the kind of person who would likely do a better job of abstracting out the rules of how social interactions work is exactly like Zuckerberg: somebody who is not at all autistic, but who is just enough outside the human personality mainstream, just enough Mr. Spock-like, to be struck by, say, the fact that people like to tell you stuff about their day that isn't very important; and that, therefore, you could get rich by giving people a computerized way to efficiently tell even more people stuff about their day that isn't very important. 

Similarly, Adam Smith was good at thinking about making money in general because he didn't spend all that much time thinking about making money for himself in particular.

Ironically, in Aaron Sorkin's screenplay, however, Zuckerberg is the antihero because he says out loud the kind of things that everybody feels. In the now-famous opening scene that establishes him as the bad guy, his girlfriend dumps him for saying things like that he wants to social climb into higher circles. Why in the world would he want to do that? "Because they're exclusive and fun and they lead to a better life."

That makes Zuckerberg a bad person because you aren't supposed to say that (you are just supposed to do that).

Zuckerberg is a fish who notices that he, and all the other fish, are wet. 

Obviously, I rather identify with Zuckerberg (minus the seven billion dollars).

If my one important insight is that race and genealogy are more or less all part of the same thing -- that a racial group is a partly inbred extended family, a definition that makes how the world works simpler to understand in many ways -- then the reason I noticed that in the abstract is because I care a little bit less than most people about things like race and genealogy at the personal level. For a variety of reasons, I'm slightly less invested emotionally in such things than the median person.

And because I say out loud stuff I've figured out about how the game is played, that makes me a bad person. 

Perhaps. It's possible that if I succeed in explaining to more people more about how the game is played, that will lead to all sorts of horrible consequences because I, due to my mild personality, just don't understand how horrible people would be to each other if they found out the truth. 

Or, possibly, the people who are winning at the game right now just don't want more competition from the currently clueless.

I don't know.

Kin Selection

From the New York Times, a good story about the extended family of the U.S.-installed President of Afghanistan:
... Of the seven sons of Abdul Ahad Karzai, a prominent Kandahar politician who lived in exile in Quetta, Pakistan, until his 1999 assassination by the Taliban, only one — Hamid Karzai — had never lived in the United States. By 2001, a generation of Karzais who had grown up in the United States and knew little of Afghanistan was emerging.

But after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Taliban in 2001 and lifted Hamid Karzai from obscurity to the presidency, the family’s migration pattern reversed. Only one of his brothers, Abdul Wali Karzai, a biochemistry professor at Stony Brook University in New York, declined to go back home. Many others seized the opportunity. ...
WASHINGTON — Until recently, Taj Ayubi’s specialty was retail. Mr. Ayubi, an Afghan immigrant, ran a furniture store in Leesburg, Va., and before that, a thrift shop in Washington.

But today, Mr. Ayubi’s specialty is foreign policy. He is the senior foreign affairs adviser to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

Among Mr. Ayubi’s qualifications for his post in Kabul are ties to President Karzai’s extended family. His sister is married to a Karzai, and her sons are now important junior members of the growing Karzai family network in Afghanistan.

In recent years, dozens of Karzai family members and close allies have taken government jobs, pursued business interests or worked as contractors to the United States government, allowing them to shape policy or financially benefit from it.

While the roles played by two of President Karzai’s brothers — Ahmed Wali Karzai, the power broker of Kandahar, and Mahmoud Karzai, a prominent businessman and investor in the troubled Kabul Bank — have been well documented, the extensive web of other family members has not previously been reported. Most of them lived in the United States before going to Afghanistan, leveraging the president’s position to put them at the center of a new oligarchy of powerful Afghan families.

... The family’s expanding presence serves both to strengthen and to undermine President Karzai, according to American and Afghan officials. Corruption allegations taint his government, and Afghans routinely accuse him of turning a blind eye to the activities of some of his relatives. ....

Ronald E. Neumann, the United States ambassador to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007, said he believed that President Karzai intended to create a support network that could help him survive after the withdrawal of American troops, the same way that another Afghan president, Najibullah, survived for years after Soviet troops withdrew in 1989. “Karzai is convinced that we are going to abandon him,” Mr. Neumann said. “What’s his answer? To create a web of loyalties and militia commanders and corrupt families all knitted together.”

“This network,” he added, “is part of his survival mechanism.”

... “Family politics is part of the culture of this part of the world,” said Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani author who has written extensively about Afghanistan. “Right now, Afghanistan is going through a phase of very primitive capital accumulation by the country’s leading families.”
... One Afghan Parliament member said family members exploited their connections to get in on favorable business ventures. “They have carte blanche to be partners with anyone they want to; it’s the unwritten law,” said the official, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution. “Anyone who wants to start a business and has problems becomes partners with them.” ...

With so many Karzais flooding back into the country, tensions and rivalries have emerged among them, according to several family members. Rateb Popal, for example, has been feuding with Mahmoud Karzai, and in interviews, Mr. Popal, who served a prison sentence in New York on drug-related charges in the 1990s, accused Mahmoud Karzai and the president of undermining his business deals.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Karzais are Pathans, who are notorious for their self-destructive individualistic rivalrousness even at the nuclear family level. Consider the Pathan proverb: When the floodwaters reach your chin, put your son beneath your feet. A famous phrase often associated with the Pathans is, of course: I against my brother, my brother and I against my cousin, we three against the world. That kind of thinking explains a lot about why Afghanistan is the way it is.

But the Karzais appear to be more like the rest of humanity in that their extended family is pretty good at working together for their mutual benefit. By Pathan standards, the Karzais are practically Rothschilds. Granted, when you have the U.S. Army and the CIA at your beck and call, you ought to be able to do pretty well for yourselves. But a lot of Pathan families, if granted the use of the World's Only Superpower as their personal piggy bank, would have, literally, gone to war with each other. So, the Karzais are clearly a cut above the Pathan norm.

I've noticed that a lot of the new immigrants in LA are rather like the Karzais: they're Caucasians from West Asia or Eastern Europe, and they're definitely not peasants. They are typically from Old Country political and/or mercantile elites. They remain plugged into complex multinational social structures that we poor dumb Americans can only begin to fathom.

October 5, 2010

Text and Violence

From the NYT:
A former parolee with a long history as a petty criminal was convicted of capital crimes on Tuesday for his part in a nighttime home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., three years ago that left a woman and her two daughters dead. The jury deliberated less than one full day. 

The defendant, Steven J. Hayes, who, the testimony showed, described his eager anticipation of the crime with an “LOL” — laughing out loud — text message hours before taking part in murder, rape, kidnapping and assault at the home of the Petit family, was convicted of 16 of 17 crimes in all; he was acquitted of arson.

A few years ago in VDARE, I explained some of the reasons why it was much harder now to get away with crimes than in, say, 1965, when people still left their car keys in the ignition switches of their unlocked parked cars. Back then, "You could pursue a lucrative career in auto theft just by climbing into random cars and driving them away." 

Since I wrote that, the spread of communications via text rather than speech means that conversations get archived permanently. If you have a street gang, you can threaten to kill a potential witness who might have heard you mention your crime, but you can't threaten to kill a Verizon server farm.

Granted, most potential criminals are pretty dim, but the lesson has to be slowly sinking in by now from all the police procedural shows on TV that the cops have all sorts of ways to follow up electronic trails on your actions. Sure, you could make like Ben Affleck's bankrobber gang in "The Town" and have a long checklist of track-covering steps like microwaving the video camera data storage box  and pouring bleach all over the crime scene to wipe out DNA evidence, but, that's starting to seem like real work. If you and you're pals are that foresightful and competent under pressure, you could get real jobs, like being a NASCAR pit crew or working on the crew filming a bankrobber movie or whatever, and not have to go to prison all the time.

Think of it this way: Imagine a 13-year-old who looks up to his 20-year-old gangbanger cousin, who is sharp enough to have stayed out of jail so far. The cousin tells the kid that if he wants to be a real gangsta and do real crimes, he can't be playing around posting pictures of himself and his homies flashing gang signs on MySpace, he can't text to his friends the address of the place where they're going to buy some drugs, he can't put the address of the guy he buys drugs from into his PDA, he can't be sending Twitter messages about where he's going, he can't even own a normal cell phone with a permanent phone number for girls to call him on because the cops can track what cell he was in and disprove his alibis.

In other words, to be an old school original gangsta, he's got to give up a lot of the methods by which kids these days socialize. And what's the fun of that?

The Liberal Crack-Up in the District of Columbia

Here's an excerpt from my new VDARE.com column on electoral trends in what ought to be the citadel of the Obama Coalition:
Fifty two weeks ago, I  pointed out that the Democrats’ winning 2008 strategy–positioning Barack Obama to  blacks as the black candidate, to  Asians and  Hispanics as the minority candidate, and to  whites as the postracial candidate–did not make for a long-term stable political strategy.  To quote me: "A black-led four-race coalition is an inherently fragile thing." [Sailer Strategy Supplement: Rebrand Democrats As The Black Party, October 04, 2009]

Now I have to congratulate me. Subsequent electoral events in the heart of the political universe–the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia–are demonstrating the fault lines in the 2008 Obama Coalition.

... The central complaint of young white liberals living in Washington D.C. became D.C.’s schools, which were not only full of black students, but were administered by black bureaucrats for the benefit of black bureaucrats. D.C. whites compared the local black-run public school system to Chicago and New York, where Mayors Richie Daley and Michael Bloomberg had seized control of the schools and installed dynamic white administrators, Paul Vallas and Joel Klein, respectively, to shake up the systems. Publicly, nobody ever put it in terms quite that blunt—everybody hand-waved about "bad schools"—but it was hard for Washington D.C. whites (even though they voted 86-12 for Obama in 2008) to avoid thinking that way. 

Let’s do the math. Say you are typical nice white engaged couple in D.C., one with a federal job, the other with a media job. You wouldn’t dream of sending your future kids to a mostly black school after puberty, but you think that public education ought to get them through K-5. If D.C., however, can’t provide even decent public elementary schools, though, that comes right out of your net worth. Now, Sidwell Friends, where the Obamas send their children, costs $31,000 per year. But, say, you could find a low end private school charging only $12,000 annually. Well, six years times two children times $12,000 equals $144,000.


Yet if D.C. public elementary schools improved enough so that lots of other nice white people like you become willing to send their kids to them, not only would you save $144,000 in private school tuition, but your property would appreciate in value–because now your condo comes with "good schools!"

Not surprisingly, the national press was excited in 2007 when new D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, a yuppie black, appointed as school chancellor the energetic and ambitious Korean-American Michelle Rhee. (She’s the heroine of the current much-lauded documentary Waiting for "Superman.") If Rhee could actually clean out the Augean Stables of the D.C. schools, she could literally provide many in the national press with a financial windfall. So when she fired a large number of teachers for underperforming (many of the teachers black), the white press was ecstatic.

Black voters were not, however. According to Paul Schwarzman and Chris L. Jenkins of the Washington Post in How D.C. Mayor Fenty lost the black vote - and his job [September 18, 2010]:
"...blacks also see the school system as a primary employer, providing jobs to thousands of teachers, school bus drivers, administrators and secretaries. When Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee laid off hundreds of teachers, many blacks saw … an assault on economic opportunity."

So in the 2010 Democratic primary, Fenty was defeated by veteran black city councilman Vince Gray 54-44:
"Fenty won 53 of the city's majority-white census tracts but only 10 of those that are predominantly black. Gray, in contrast, captured 108 majority-black census tracts and just five that are majority-white…"

The Washington Post asked its readers on September 16: "Should she stay or should she go?" A commenter calling himself kentonsmith vividly expressed the black community’s attitude:
"Rhee got her overrated fame. Now...scam!!! Scat!!! …

"She's a consultant, folks. Nothing more....she just happens to be Asian; something we haven't seen before, and folks think that means she has created the "Suzuki Method" or something. It's amazing how much credit a person can get for firing Black professionals. I mean...the chick fires Black folks and ends up on the cover of TIME magazine as courageous?"

Read the whole thing there and comment upon it here.

Something I try to do is to mentally put myself in other people's shoes, to think about what are the specific economic and emotional incentives facing other people. When you do that, you see that, for example, this deep, angry split in Washington D.C. between white liberals and local blacks is quite rational on both sides. It's perfectly understandable for white liberals in D.C. to expect at least K-5 public schools to be good enough for their children. And it's perfectly understandable for blacks, especially in a city with perhaps the biggest IQ gap in the country between whites / Asians and blacks (whites and Asians in D.C. are absurdly well educated), to despise a Korean lady whose plans are, in effect, to fire a lot of black workers and replace them with whites and Asians being paid twice as much.

Of course, to understand other people, you have to bear in mind various verboten hatestats, so my efforts to be broadly empathetic have made me broadly hated.

Hispanic Electoral Tsunami Delayed Once Again by Apathy

Here's the top story at the New York Times:
Disillusioned Hispanics May Skip Midterms, Poll Suggests

PHOENIX — Arizona’s controversial immigration law has prompted denunciations, demonstrations, boycotts and a federal lawsuit. But it may not bring the protest vote many Democrats had hoped would stem a Republican onslaught in races across the country.

That’s because although many voters are disillusioned with the political process, Latino voters are particularly dejected, and many may sit these elections out, according to voters, Latino organizations, and political consultants and candidates. A poll released Tuesday found that though Latinos strongly back Democrats over Republicans, 65 percent to 22 percent, in the Congressional elections just four weeks away, only 51 percent of Latino registered voters say they will absolutely go to the polls, compared to 70 percent of all registered voters.

The other side in the immigration debate is suffering no such lack of enthusiasm. One measure of its high spirits is the dance card of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. He conducts raids in Latino neighborhoods that have led critics to label him a racist and the Justice Department to start a racial profiling investigation. But he is a pariah who is also in demand.

As conservatives across the country seek to burnish their tough-on-immigration credentials, Mr. Arpaio’s endorsement is much sought after.
The Arizona law seems to be rewriting not just the rules on immigration, but the rules on how it is talked about on the campaign trail, too.

Even in New Mexico, a state with a large Hispanic population and traditional tolerance for illegal immigration, the issue is seen as a vote-getter for Republicans. 

Illegal immigration hasn't traditionally been a big political issue in New Mexico because there aren't all that many illegal immigrants in New Mexico because there have been Hispanics in New Mexico for 400 years, so, New Mexico (state motto: Thank God for Mississippi) is a poor state, so illegal immigrants avoid it.
... The results of the poll released Tuesday, by the Pew Hispanic Center, suggest that the raging debate over Arizona’s law and the lack of Congressional action on immigration reform may have turned off many Latinos.

Just 32 percent of all Latino registered voters say they have given this year’s election “quite a lot” of thought, compared with 50 percent of all registered voters in the country, the poll found. The poll is based on a survey of 1,375 Latinos conducted from Aug. 17 to Sept. 19.

(The Pew poll also found that for Latinos, education, jobs and health care trump immigration as major issues, which could be bad news for Democrats hoping to capitalize from anger over the Arizona law.)

That's what practically every poll of Hispanic voters has more or less found in the decade I've been following this issue. Hispanic voters have sensibly ambivalent feelings about illegal immigration. The press routinely ignores this because they talk to professional Hispanic activists who are all in favor of increasing the population of Hispanics in the U.S. to boost their personal careers by giving them more putative followers to claim to be the leaders of.

Does text communication cut down on crime?

While I was reading up on the reality behind the movie The Social Network, I realized that we know a surprising amount about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg because so many business decisions were done by text, which is archived, and can be leaked. This can be pretty embarrassing to a famous young person.

That got me to thinking : Crime seems to be falling pretty steadily. It would seem like a social networking age would be a bad time to become a criminal. Say you were 16 and wanted to try a big crime like robbing a convenience store. Your cell phone can tell which cell you were in, so you have to leave it home. But you don't feel as confident without it.  

Then, you want to brag to all you friends about knocking over the convenience store, so you go on MySpace like you do to brag about everything you do, but then you realize it's all archived and the cops might see it. So you start to send out instant messages, but you realize those are archived too, so you'd have to get together with your friends to tell them about, but they'd rather stay home and play Grand Theft Auto, which you can at least text message your friends about. So, maybe turning to a life of crime was a bad idea.

October 4, 2010

"Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis"

After years of demanding more mortgage lending to minorities to smash residential segregation, Douglas Massey of Princeton says that segregation caused too much lending to minorities:
Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
Jacob S. Rugha and Douglas S. Masseya


The rise in subprime lending and the ensuing wave of foreclosures was partly a result of market forces that have been well-identified in the literature, but it was also a highly racialized process. We argue that residential segregation created a unique niche of minority clients who were differentially marketed risky subprime loans that were in great demand for use in mortgage-backed securities that could be sold on secondary markets. We test this argument by regressing foreclosure actions in the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas on measures of black, Hispanic, and Asian segregation while controlling for a variety of housing market conditions, including average creditworthiness, the extent of coverage under the Community Reinvestment Act, the degree of zoning regulation, and the overall rate of subprime lending. We find that black residential dissimilarity and spatial isolation are powerful predictors of foreclosures across U.S. metropolitan areas. To isolate subprime lending as the causal mechanism through which segregation influences foreclosures, we estimate a two-stage least squares model that confirms the causal effect of black segregation on the number and rate of foreclosures across metropolitan areas. We thus conclude that segregation was an important contributing cause of the foreclosure crisis, along with overbuilding, risky lending practices, lax regulation, and the bursting of the housing price bubble.

Now, there's part of a good argument here: lenders definitely geared up to lend more to minorities, such as by hiring Spanish-speaking mortgage brokers. But, that's what Massey had been arguing for for years. 

And guess what? He'd won his argument. By the last decade, there was nobody left to say publicly that lending more to minorities was a bad idea. The gonzo lenders like Countrywide thought it was a great idea. Investors thought it was a great idea. Government regulators thought it was a great idea. What kind of filthy racist pig would say  it was a bad idea? How many dare say it even now?

Massey's attempt to torture the data to fit his idee fixe that residential segregation is the root of all evil is prima facie silly. Of course, the most segregated areas have the most foreclosures: they have the most blacks and Latinos. Moreover, they typically have the poorest blacks and Latinos, the ones who can't afford to move away.

Yet, the costliest foreclosure disasters weren't the most segregated regions, but in highly diverse, quite integrated, fast growing exurbs like California's Inland Empire. The huge foreclosure dollar value were racked up largely in places where working class people, white, black, Hispanic, and Asian were trying to get away from the 'hood.

Massey ends up giving the game away in a footnote:

To estimate the potential effects of Hispanic segregation, we undertook a separate analysis of the nation’s largest state, California, where Hispanics are numerous and there are far fewer blacks. In the analysis of California foreclosures at the city- and county-levels
that control for a much more extensive array of loan underwriting factors, such as weighted loan-to-value ratios, average credit scores, and interest rates and matched city-level home price trends, we estimated a significant, robust effect of Hispanic segregation. Notwithstanding the incredible boom and bust in places like the Central Valley and Inland Empire, the residential segregation of Latinos matters a great deal to local differences in foreclosure trends. These results support our proposition about the primacy of segregation in structuring the foreclosure crisis and do not bode well for the housing market fortunes of Hispanics, who became the largest minority group during the housing boom.

If you have to have a separate analysis of the nation's largest state, especially the one with a majority of all defaulted dollars, you are kind of missing the point.

"The Social Network"

Here's part of my review in Taki's Magazine:
In the Internet Age, an increasing fraction of media “content” is generated by young nobodies, much to the disgust of old pros, such as screenwriter Aaron Sorkin of TV’s The West Wing: “I am all for everyone having a voice, I just don’t think everyone has earned the microphone. And that’s what the Internet has done.”

Sorkin has teamed up with veteran director David Fincher (Fight Club) to strike back at Kids These Days by making a supremely accomplished bit of up-market razzle-dazzle, The Social Network, an enjoyably bogus hatchet job on 26-year-old zillionaire Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.com. Hyped as The Film that Defines a Generation, The Social Network is more an entertaining compendium of the worries of the new generation’s upper middle class parents: elite colleges, IQ, money, the social status of their kids on the marriage market, and why young people never go outside anymore.

The Social Network asks: How could somebody who is extremely smart but not intuitively gifted at making and keeping friends ever figure out the logic underlying friendship well enough to program it into a computer?

Doesn’t that question answer itself? ...

There’s much debate in the press about how realistically the film portrays the tycoon. The obvious answer is that Sorkin is projecting onto Zuckerberg his own (perhaps not wholly undeserved) self-loathing over sex, drugs, class, and ethnicity.

Read the whole thing there

The Sailer Effect

The Chris Sailer Effect, that is: i.e., the growing impact of specialized tutoring on American life. From the LA Times:
Hitting 50 has become the thing to do for high school kickers

So many more high school players are able to kick field goals from that distance, as special teams continue to have a major impact on games.

Eric Sondheimer

There was a time when field goals beyond 50 yards in high school football were rare. Now, with so many ex-soccer players receiving lessons from private coaches, long field goals are as much a part of the game as 100-yard rushing performances. ...

What ties many of the kickers together is that they receive lessons from a growing number of competent private coaches. Castellanos, based in Fontana, has been giving free lessons for years. Others charge a fee, such as ex-kickers Chris Sailer and Paul Stonehouse. But they are producing results.

Chris Sailer (no readily apparent relation to me) was 18 years behind me at Notre Dame high school of Sherman Oaks, CA. He's the only kicker ever to be the San Fernando Valley football player of the year, after kicking eleven field goals in four playoff games, including a last play, game-winning 58-yarder in the rain.
And there are even private instructors for long snappers, such as San Fernando Valley-based Chris Rubio. ...
The kicker who has beaten USC the last two seasons on game-ending field goals, Erik Folk of Washington, went to Notre Dame, is a protege of Sailer and is the younger brother of New York Jets kicker Nick Folk. USC Coach Lane Kiffin called two timeouts trying to ice Folk. He only smiled, because the private coaches prepare their kickers for just such a situation.

That's one reason every single NFL kicker last season was a non-Hispanic white.

By the way, I think the NFL should narrow the goals post to make kicking a field goal more of an accomplishment, like it used to be before kickers became so competent. Forty years ago, it was a huge national sports story when old George Blanda would come on the field on the last play and kick a 35 yard field goal to win the game.  Now, unless it's snowing, it's only a big story if the poor bastard misses. (It's become almost as bad as it is for centers, who only get noticed for bad snaps.)

October 3, 2010

Any changes in college prestige?

The prestige of colleges is a topic of broad interest, but it doesn't seem like it has been studied objectively very much. In particular, the list of prestigious colleges in 2010 seems quite similar to that of 1975. Moreover, being a prestigious college like Harvard in 2010 seems like even a bigger deal than being Harvard in 1975. This suggests that the people running colleges have largely not messed up. 

But, they mostly all do roughly what their peers do -- for example, admissions policy generally consists of special advantages for blacks and (to a lesser extent Hispanics), legacies, and athletes, with some discrimination against Asians. It's hard to tell if this is a wise policy, though, since it's a consensus policy. For example, the Ivies, plus MIT and some other northeastern colleges used to get together in a conference room each year to fix prices for individual students that more than one colleges wanted to admit: the Ivy Overlap Group.

So, I'm looking for outliers. For example, Caltech doesn't have legacy admissions and doesn't seem to care much about affirmative action. Reed, which aims at the intellectually serious hippie niche, doesn't do affirmative action. It doesn't strike me that either one has gotten much of a boost in prestige over the last 35 years from its independent attitudes. The UC schools aren't supposed to discriminate on race anymore, so there may be less discrimination against Asians there than elsewhere.

What other outlier schools are there in terms of admissions policies?

What about outliers who  have climbed or fallen in prestige?  What did they do right or wrong?

Then, from this, are there any general lessons to be learned about how to get ahead in the college racket? I mean, other than to have been founded in 1636?