June 25, 2011

Firewatchers: Much Ado about Very Little

With the press in a tizzy over the epochal importance of gay marriage in New York state, the Chicago Tribune has an unwittingly timely article on a past whoop-tee-doo that has quietly fizzled:
Female firefighters blazed a trail that few followed 
After 25 years, they are still rare in Chicago and suburbs 
Twenty-five years ago, Daniels was among the first group of 20 female firefighters hired in Chicago, a move that gave women entree to a macho profession that had been reserved primarily for white men. The women braved hostility, harassment and low expectations to prove they were capable of doing the job. Yet today, women remain barely visible in the firefighting ranks in the Chicago area and the nation. 
In Chicago, there are 116 women, representing just over 2 percent of the department of more than 5,000. Nationally, fewer than 11,000 women are career firefighters, making up 3.6 percent of the firefighter population, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. ... 
For most women, it was impossible to pass the physical test, which included timed exercises of hanging from a pole, climbing stairs carrying a 60-pound coiled hose and pulling a 150-pound dummy across a room without its feet touching the floor. ...
In the 1980s, the U.S. Justice Department urged the city, then led by Mayor Harold Washington, to hire more women and minorities as part of a 1974 consent decree governing minority hiring at the Fire Department. A new test was developed in 1985 that eased some of the demanding physical tasks and placed more emphasis on the written exam. The physical exam remains a barrier for some women in Chicago and the suburbs. 
The women in the 1986 class were given additional physical training before entering the fire academy. In an affirmative-action move, those who passed the test were placed ahead of men who scored higher, making some men even more resentful. The women were assigned in pairs to 10 stations. ... 
Most of the old fire stations in Chicago have been replaced or retrofitted to accommodate women. 
The same is true in the suburbs. In Schaumburg, for example, all of the firehouses have been built or remodeled with unisex washrooms and bunkrooms. Hoffman Estates has separate female locker rooms and other facilities for women, though the village has not hired a woman. 
One to 2 percent of applicants are women, but none has scored high enough on the entrance exam to make the hiring list, said Hoffman Estates fire Chief Robert Gorvett. 
"We openly acknowledge the fact that we're all white men," Gorvett said. "It's certainly not something we're proud of."

June 24, 2011

How far down does the Pakistani rabbit hole go?

The New York Times reports that Osama bin Laden's courier's cell phone has lots of interesting phone numbers on it. This article focuses on that of Harakat, a Pakistani militant group that fights in Kashmir and elsewhere, which sounds like a cutout organization for the Pakistan's CIA, the ISI. The NYT reporters have a couple of old Harakat insiders speaking off the record:
He and the other commander, who spent 10 years with Harakat, offered no proof of their belief that Bin Laden was under Pakistani military protection. But their views were informed by their years of work with the ISI and their knowledge of how the spy agency routinely handled militant leaders it considered assets — placing them under protective custody in cities, often close to military installations. 
The treatment amounts to a kind of house arrest, to ensure both the security of the asset and his low profile to avoid embarrassment to his protectors. 

A friend writes:
OK, so ISI was caching Bin Laden, probably using him when convenient, for example when [former Pakistan president] Musharraf wanted to knock off Benazir Bhutto. It already looked like that, now it seems almost certain. 

Well, that might be hard to prove. Presumably, the ISI is reasonably professional in its spycraft. And then there's the next line of conceptual defense: it's not the ISI, it's "rogue elements" within the ISI. And then there's the argument that the ISI is a rogue element within the government of Pakistan. (Or is the government of Pakistan more a front for the ISI?)
Remember when the Warren Commission was shared that the Soviets had ordered JFK murdered? Like, what were they supposed to do if they found that to be the case and it got out? Push the button? This is the real deal: hiding Bin Laden for years IS a casus belli. Even the Israelis couldn't get away with _that_.

Pakistan is more of an enemy than Iraq ever was, more than Iran. Of course neither of them ever did much to us. More even than Libya (I'm counting Lockerbie).

Pakistan is more of an enemy than anyone we're whacking in Afghanistan. But we'd have to admit that we were PAYING the people sheltering Bin Laden for the past six years: the Fools at the Top would have to admit that were wrong. That won't happen. We may continue to pretend to get along with Pakistan for years more, so that they will allow our logistics for Afghanistan, a pointless and expensive war. And, of course, to avoid admitting what utter, poisonous damn fools our leaders are.

And I wonder if this goes deeper yet. A real fair chance that Musharraf was in on it. And might they have been involved with Bin Laden earlier? Involved in 9-11 itself? You have to wonder. With friends like these.... 

June 23, 2011

Walmart discriminates against women because its male managers work really hard

In an op-ed in the NYT, UCSB historian Nelson Lichtenstein explains that the sex discrimination lawsuit against Walmart was intended to rectify the injustice that ambitious young men tend to work harder and make more sacrifices for the job than family-oriented middle-aged women:
Walmart's Authoritarian Culture 
There are tens of thousands of experienced Wal-Mart women who would like to be promoted to the first managerial rung, salaried assistant store manager. But Wal-Mart makes it impossible for many of them to take that post, because its ruthless management style structures the job itself as one that most women, and especially those with young children or a relative to care for, would find difficult to accept. 
Why? Because, for all the change that has swept over the company, at the store level there is still a fair amount of the old communal sociability. Recognizing that workers steeped in that culture make poor candidates for assistant managers, who are the front lines in enforcing labor discipline, Wal-Mart insists that almost all workers promoted to the managerial ranks move to a new store, often hundreds of miles away. 
For young men in a hurry, that’s an inconvenience; for middle-aged women caring for families, this corporate reassignment policy amounts to sex discrimination. True, Wal-Mart is hardly alone in demanding that rising managers sacrifice family life, but few companies make relocation such a fixed policy, and few have employment rolls even a third the size. 
The obstacles to women’s advancement do not stop there. The workweek for salaried managers is around 50 hours or more, which can surge to 80 or 90 hours a week during holiday seasons. Not unexpectedly, some managers think women with family responsibilities would balk at such demands, and it is hardly to the discredit of thousands of Wal-Mart women that they may be right. 

So, it's sex discrimination if you hire harder-working people to be managers and more of them turn out to be men? Sounds like that proposition has four votes on the Supreme Court.

It's kind of hard to argue that Walmart would have been more successful if only it had hired more women managers. What else would Walmart have done? Conquered Russia? Colonized Alpha Centauri?

One could make the argument that the point of disparate impact discrimination law is to redistribute wealth to blacks (the Slavery Tax) without hurting their feelings too much. Okay, But redistributing wealth to women who work for Walmart away from the (mostly female) customers of Walmart by making Walmart less efficient via colossal lawsuits seems vastly inefficient, except for the lawyers involved. Women who work at Walmart are quite likely to have menfolk who work at Walmart.
There used to be a remedy for this sort of managerial authoritarianism: it was called a union, which bargained over not only wages and pensions but also the kind of qualitative issues, including promotion and transfer policies, that have proved so vexing for non-unionized employees at Wal-Mart and other big retailers. 
For a time it seemed as if the class-action lawsuit might be a partial substitute.

Okay, now I'm really confused: Walmart was guilty of sex discrimination in its managerial ranks by not having a union? Since when is management unionized?

Sam Walton's theory was that a bunch of Ozark hillbillies could outmanage the city slickers by working harder and more honestly: especially by not letting Walmart managers become friends with the people they did business with.

Personally, as a former corporate type who made made some sales calls on Walmart in the early 1990s, I think Walmart's management should belong to a Corporate Types Union that would enforce rules of modern corporate niceness on Walmart managers like, yes, they will go out to lunch with suppliers and no they won't meet with suppliers only in their windowless interrogation cells.

June 22, 2011

Social Media v. Antisocial Media

Is Twitter the new disco music? So argues Virginia Heffernan, the NYT's perceptive new media columnist, saying that social media appeal to blacks, gays, and women, just like disco did in 1977. 

Yes, but what about the antisocial media? I ask in my new Taki's Magazine column. Roughly 1995-2005 may go down in history as the golden age of white guys' antisocial media. 

June 21, 2011

Feminists are easy to fool

In his response to the Supreme Court tossing out 5-4 the vast Walmart disparate impact discrimination lawsuit, Matthew Yglesias deftly threads the needle of placating feminists without actually embarrassing himself by positing:
"Imagine that general background social conditions in the United States are such that women will be disadvantaged in any male-run institution that doesn’t make a specific and deliberate effort to lean against that disadvantage."

Imagining is fun! What else should we imagine? 

To imagine that Walmart discriminates against female employees is to imagine that it discriminates in favor of male employees, which is to imagine that Walmart, evidently a Big Softie famous for leaving money on the table, overpays for male employees. 

But I don't have a big enough imagination to imagine that.

A simple request

As a Person of Height, I'd like to protest all the recent TV coverage of Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James, which gives society the false impression that we People of Height are all a model minority of the agile and athletic, while ignoring our tragic challenge of coordination-challengement. But don't insensitively show us as we really are, either, because that would stereotype us as clumsy oafs! 

Hmmhmm, well, I could see how this could be tricky. Okay, the best all-around solution for society would be to put me on TV a lot. But not on live TV, because I might trip and fall down. No, I should be on lots of carefully edited TV. But wait a couple of days to start shooting until I get over this limp from when I tried to pick up three cans of beer at once and dropped one on my big toe. Then ... lots of me on (carefully edited and maybe with some cool CGI effects, too, to mask the awkward parts) TV! Or maybe just get Ryan Reynolds to play me in The Steve Sailer Show. Yeah, I think that's the least society could do.

Shooting fish in a barrel

Quoting Amanda Marcotte in illustration of Sailer's Law of Female Journalism (That the issue that will tend to most passionately engage non-self-aware female journalists is that society should be turned upside down so that she, personally, would be considered hotter-looking) is kind of a cheap shot because Ms. Marcotte notoriously combines self-absorption, lack of self-awareness, vast reserves of hate, and dimness, but sometimes I can't pass her up:
Boycotting the Hollywood Age Gap 
Well, I'm proposing a test of my own, to save myself the pain of seeing a movie that's advertised as being some kind of intelligent indie film but is yet another example of cliched sexist fantasies being passed off as realistic story-telling. Call it the "Marcotte Test": no more movies or shows where the hero is a decade or more older than his love interest.  And if she's under 25, the time span gets shortened to five years.  Exceptions will be made for anti-heroes whose attraction to younger women helps establish how deeply flawed they are as people (see: Don Draper).

Right. Women of the blogging class all watch Mad Men because Jon Hamm's character is so pathetically flawed.
I hate to be a hard ass about this, because I do believe that there are many happy romances between people who are more than ten years apart, but in reality, most people tend to partner off with those who are close in age to themselves. (The average age at first marriage is less than two years difference in the United States.)  And when people do expand beyond the few-year range, there is usually some discussion about the age gap, and some struggle to overcome it.  But if you only learned about love from Hollywood movies

Perhaps movies should come with a bold type notice from the Surgeon General: Warning: Don't only learn about love from Hollywood movies! (Also, don't attempt to use a broomstick to fly.)
you'd think that most women needed a man who was nearing or past puberty when she was born, and men are disgusted by women with whom they share generational touchstones with. Sorry, but I just don't know many dudes who say things like, "Yuck, I can't be with someone who was actually buying records when Kurt Cobain was still alive. We'd have way too much in common!" 
This test was developed while I was mindlessly reading the preview for the new Ewan McGregor movie "Beginners" in Entertainment Weekly.  It's supposed to be one of those quirky comedies about a man who faces some hard times and learns to grow up and find true love, but my enthusiasm for the movie drained when I realized that McGregor, born in 1971, was being paired off with Mélanie Laurent, born in 1983.  If you want to make a romance a symbol of someone's maturation process, it seems uniquely stupid to make said romance with someone who was still pooping her diapers while you were starting to get your first real crushes. 
Once noticed in this movie

In other words, this 33-year-old professional pundit hadn't noticed that there tends to be an age gap between leading men and leading ladies in movies until a few weeks ago.
it began to bug me across the board: Ryan Reynolds is 11 years older than his love interest Blake Lively in "The Green Lantern."  

In other words, there's ample disparate impact evidence that Hollywood sex discriminates against younger male actors. Unless, like Shia LeBeouf, you remind Steven Spielberg of himself at your age, it's much harder to get cast as the male lead in summer blockbusters until after you've paid a lot of dues than it is to get cast as the female lead. Call the EEOC!
Ryan Gosling, who is 30,  is being paired off with 22-year-old Emma Stone in "Crazy, Stupid, Love". Even Tom Hanks in "Larry Crowne" is 11 years older than Julia Roberts.  I'm sure there are more that have passed my notice; these were just the highlighted movies in the magazine. 

Or how about in last winter's indie version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, in which Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester is 12-years-older than 21-year-old Mia Wasikowska as Jane? Or how about all those mangled adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice where the actor playing Mr. Darcy is substantially older than the actress playing Miss Bennett? What woman ever liked 36-year-old Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC version of P&P? Or what about how Hollywood ruined Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind by casting Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh? It's all the fault of Hollywood moguls for leaving out popular female romance novelists' commitment to gender equality in age just to stoke their own aging male vanity.
Again, none of this would bother me if it was dealt with honestly or was rare as it is in real life.  But when it sits on the screen with no acknowledgment or explanation, it leaves the impression we're supposed to think of the characters as peers, since they're still just close enough in age you can assume they're supposed to be the same age. Which, in turn, thwarts the onscreen image of what a woman actually looks like at any given age.  Ryan Gosling is allowed to be and look 30, but are we meant to assume that a woman around that age should look 22?  Are we really meant to believe that still-radiant Julia Roberts is the same age as puffy-eyed Tom Hanks?  What women look like at any given age is being subtly erased in movies when we're supposed to assume smooth-faced Mélanie Laurent is roughly the same age as Ewan McGregor, whose face is replete with the lines of looming middle age.

Okay, now I get it, it's a double bankshot version of Sailer's Law. The problem with casting a 28-year-old actress opposite 40-year-old Ewan McGregor is that audiences will assume the beautiful 28-year-old is actually a beautiful 40-year-old, which will make the 33-year-old Marcotte seem less hot in comparison. I strongly doubt that audiences will do any such thing, but to alleviate Marcotte's worries, I propose:

Memo to Hollywood: the surest way to ease Armanda Marcotte's concerns that the women in movies are hotter than she is would be to cast Armanda Marcotte as the sexy lead in all your 2012 releases. Is that too much to ask?

"The Tribal Imagination" by Robin Fox

Roger Sandall writes in his review of anthropologist Robin Fox's The Tribal Imagination in The American Interest:
Fox begins this chapter by describing New York Times columnist John Tierney’s bafflement in September 2003 upon discovering that the lavish weddings regularly taking place in his Baghdad hotel were mostly marriages of first cousins who were the children of brothers. Questioned about this practice, the young people told Tierney, “Of course we marry a cousin. What would you have us do, marry a stranger? We cannot trust strangers.” 
... It is also a truth, Fox believes, that we ignore at our peril as we go stumbling about in far-away strange places where tribes rule with an authority denied the more-or-less absent state. The pride and latent violence of groups of mutually suspicious kindred must be the starting point, Fox says, for anyone venturing into this political landscape. Such men and women are not the free individual citizens of a recognized territorial jurisdiction; nor are they people with clearly defined and defensible legal rights with respect to the state, whether in Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan. 
... While primates have kin, they do not have in-laws. 
Unpacking this highly condensed formulation reveals a whole range of connected evolutionary phenomena: the dispersal of animal populations, the need for genetic variability and the origin of language, the last enabling social structures to form in time and space among men and women who have never seen each other and in some cases never will. Other primates don’t do this, and here Lévi-Strauss was right. The uniquely human cultural fact that arose was something new, and it formed “the enduring relationship between natal kin separated by marriage but linked by kinship, by descent from a common ancestor.” 
All mammals ensure genetic variability through population dispersal. Fox argues that this observation applies as far back as “the emergence of self-replicating matter, and the crucial revolution that produced sex to replace cloning.” Sexual reproduction, plus dispersal, spontaneously produces the genetic variability natural selection needs to work on. If mammalian populations did not disperse, close inbreeding would result in a loss of such variability, and “hence mechanisms evolved to avoid it.” At the same time too great a dispersal—so great that separated bands lost contact with each other—meant that beneficial features of kinship association might be lost. So it is that “organisms breed out to avoid losing variability, but not so far out that they dissipate genetic advantages.” Not too close, but not too far; that was the evolutionary Golden Rule and, of course, the plinth of tribal society itself. 
Which brings us back to what was going on in that Baghdad hotel. In human terms, the Darwinian imperatives of dispersal, variability and natural selection eventually produced a social world in which marriage with cousins was preferred. Historically, that’s how it has been in most traditional preindustrial societies until quite recently. And for Fox it is an integral part of the tribal default system of humanity everywhere.

The last word on Florence of Arabia

From Mark Steyn (via ParaPundit and Razib)
From CNN to The Guardian to Bianca Jagger to legions of Tweeters, Western liberalism fell for a ludicrous hoax. Why? 
Because they wanted to. It would be nice if "Amina Arraf" existed. As niche constituencies go, we could use more hijab-wearing Muslim lesbian militants and fewer fortysomething male Western deadbeat college students. But the latter is a real and pathetically numerous demographic, and the former is a fiction – a fantasy for Western liberals, who think that in the multicultural society the nice gay couple at 27 Rainbow Avenue can live next door to the big bearded imam with four child brides at No. 29 and gambol and frolic in admiration of each other's diversity. They will proffer cheery greetings over the picket fence, the one admiring the other's attractive buttock-hugging leather shorts for that day's Gay Pride parade as he prepares to take his daughter to the clitoridectomy clinic. ... 
You can learn a lot from the deceptions a society chooses to swallow. "Amina Arraf" was a fiction who fit the liberal worldview. That's because the liberal worldview is a fiction.

June 20, 2011

Why are corporate profits so high compared to a generation ago?

From the Washington Post:
With executive pay, rich pull away from rest of America 
It was the 1970s, and the chief executive of a leading U.S. dairy company, Kenneth J. Douglas, lived the good life. He earned the equivalent of about $1 million today. He and his family moved from a three-bedroom home to a four-bedroom home, about a half-mile away, in River Forest, Ill., an upscale Chicago suburb. He joined a country club. The company gave him a Cadillac. The money was good enough, in fact, that he sometimes turned down raises. He said making too much was bad for morale. 
Forty years later, the trappings at the top of Dean Foods, as at most U.S. big companies, are more lavish. The current chief executive, Gregg L. Engles, averages 10 times as much in compensation as Douglas did, or about $10 million in a typical year. He owns a $6 million home in an elite suburb of Dallas and 64 acres near Vail, Colo., an area he frequently visits. He belongs to as many as four golf clubs at a time — two in Texas and two in Colorado. While Douglas’s office sat on the second floor of a milk distribution center, Engles’s stylish new headquarters occupies the top nine floors of a 41-story Dallas office tower. When Engles leaves town, he takes the company’s $10 million Challenger 604 jet, which is largely dedicated to his needs, both business and personal. ... 
Other recent research, moreover, indicates that executive compensation at the nation’s largest firms has roughly quadrupled in real terms since the 1970s, even as pay for 90 percent of America has stalled. 
This trend held at Dean Foods. Over the period from the ’70s until today, while pay for Dean Foods chief executives was rising 10 times over, wages for the unionized workers actually declined slightly. The hourly wage rate for the people who process, pasteurize and package the milk at the company’s dairies declined by 9 percent in real terms, according to union contract records. It is now about $23 an hour. ... 
While no company over this period of time — from the 1970s to today — can be considered completely typical, Dean Foods offers a better comparison than most because fundamentally it hasn’t changed. 
The dairy business is still the root of the company; it was on the Fortune 500 by the late ’70s and remains there today. It grew then and more recently through acquisition.
Moreover, both chief executives — Douglas and Engles — could boast records of growing the company and profits. 
From 1970 to 1979, while Douglas was the chief executive, sales at Dean Foods tripled and profits increased tenfold, to $9.8 million, according to company records. Similarly, from 2000 to 2009, sales at what would be Dean Foods had roughly doubled, and so had profits, to $228 million. (Engles became chief executive after the company he led bought Dean Foods in 2001 and adopted its name.)

I'm guessing from all this that the CEO's compensation as a % of corporate profits went up from about 3% in the 1970s to about 4% these days. So, there's no apparent economy of scale in CEO pay. 

That change from 3 to 4% is not insignificant, but the big change since the 1970s seems to me to be the huge growth in corporate profits. 

And that seems kind of odd. I paid a lot of attention to the business world from, say, 1979 into the early to mid 1990s, but the size of corporate profits these days seems hard to reconcile with economic theory.Adam Smith 101 says that more perfect competition will lead to lower profits.

You might think that regional monopolies and oligopolies that allowed higher profits than the risk adjusted cost of capital would have been worn down over the decades by increased competition caused by the huge improvements in shipping, communications, data processing, and globalization. But I don't see much evidence for that.

I'm not surprised that Apple has very high profit margins on innovative products, but why does, say, P&G do so well these days on toothpaste and detergent?

I mean, sure, we all know that corporate executives have been winning in the struggle with workers over pay. But why hasn't increased competition between corporations competed away the profits won away from employees?

Criminology back from boredom

From the New York Times:
Genetic Basis for Crime: A New Look 
Published: June 19, 2011 
It was less than 20 years ago that the National Institutes of Health abruptly withdrew funds for a conference on genetics and crime after outraged complaints that the idea smacked of eugenics. The president of the Association of Black Psychologists at the time declared that such research was in itself  “a blatant form of stereotyping and racism.” 
The tainted history of using biology to explain criminal behavior has pushed criminologists to reject or ignore genetics and concentrate on social causes: miserable poverty, corrosive addictions, guns. Now that the human genome has been sequenced, and scientists are studying the genetics of areas as varied as alcoholism and party affiliation, criminologists are cautiously returning to the subject. A small cadre of experts is exploring how genes might heighten the risk of committing a crime and whether such a trait can be inherited.     
The turnabout will be evident on Monday at the annual National Institute of Justice conference in Arlington, Va. On the opening day criminologists from around the country can attend a panel on creating databases for information about DNA and “new genetic markers” that forensic scientists are discovering. 
“Throughout the past 30 or 40 years most criminologists couldn’t say the word ‘genetics’ without spitting,” Terrie E. Moffitt, a behavioral scientist at Duke University, said. “Today the most compelling modern theories of crime and violence weave social and biological themes together.”   
... Criminologists and sociologists have been much more skittish about genetic causes of crime than psychologists.  In 2008 a survey conducted by John Paul Wright, who heads graduate programs at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice, discovered that “not a single study on the biology-crime link has been published in dissertation form in the last 20 years” from a criminal justice Ph.D. program, aside from two dissertations he had personally overseen (one of which was Mr. Beaver’s). He also noted that the top four journals in the field had scarcely published any biological research in the past two decades.  
Mr. Wright said he now thinks “in criminology the tide is turning, especially among younger scholars.”

Is criminology a social science? I hadn't realized that. I thought criminology was just what people who wanted to be prison guards majored in at junior college. 

I'm sort of joking, but I'm kinda not. I am, relatively speaking, a devoted aficionado of the social sciences. If you want your field to be of interest to the intelligent layman, I'm exactly the kind of person you need to interest. Yet, there are a whole bunch of social sciences, such as criminology, that have simply faded out of interest for people like me.

Occam's Butterknife is a big reason why criminology has been so boring for so long. Obviously, the most notable fact about street crime in America is that blacks commit a disproportionate share. And, the most obvious reasons for this are the same reasons as why, say, blacks are disproportionately represented playing defense in the NFL. Here is Lawrence Taylor famously breaking quarterback Joe Thiesmann's leg. You look at L.T. and say: he's got all the tools it takes to be a really good mugger. 

Back in 1985, James Q. Wilson (political scientist) and Richard Herrnstein (psychologist) wrote Crime and Human Nature. It reviewed all the twin studies related to crime up through that point. It documented the obvious. That pretty much ruined criminology, because now the highest service any criminologist could render to the field was to not mention the elephant in the living room.

Similarly, Jonathan Haidt made waves a few months ago by making a speech at a social psychology convention, where he asked all the conservative social psychology professors to raise their hands, and he got three out of about a 1000 or so. 

My amazed response was: Social psychology is a discipline? Why hasn't anybody told me about it before? Maybe the fact that it is so ideologically homogeneous has something to do with why it's so boring and so widely ignored?

In contrast, overall psychology is doing much better at keeping the intelligent layman's attention. For example, here's a paragraph from this article:
Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard whose forthcoming book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” argues that humans have become less violent over the millenniums, suggests that the way to think about genetics and crime is to start with human nature and then look at what causes the switch for a particular trait to be flipped on or off.

Let me make a prediction: Pinker's book, which is set for release on October 4, 2011, will be huge. Not necessarily in sales, but everybody will be blogging about it.

Granted, Pinker prefers to be called a "cognitive scientist" rather than a psychologist, but Harvard calls him  psychologist, so that's what the NYT calls him.

The point is that psychology, because they haven't managed to totally squeeze out the politically incorrect psychometricians and other members of the awkward squad, is a relatively happening field.

June 19, 2011

The All-Star Game Nonboycott of Arizona

My new VDARE column investigates the amusing rise and fall of the movement to boycott the baseball All-Star Game in Arizona next month. Who is it who really gets themselves enraged at Arizona voters? Not the average Mexican-American voter, that's for sure.

Asian hockey stick guy

From HBD Chick: