November 17, 2012

Vibrant young minority sabermetricians

Society of American Baseball Research meeting
Ever since Obama's re-election, there has been a lot of odd chest-thumping in the press conflating minorities, youth, women, and ... sabermetricians (a.k.a., hobbyists devoted to sophisticated baseball statistics) versus the evil (but, fortunately, doomed) Old White Man demographic. Josh Levin, executive editor of Slate, pulls the entire emerging meme together:
Miguel Cabrera Is Mitt Romney 
The Tigers slugger was the candidate of old white men. Lucky for him, that’s who decides baseball’s MVP awards. 
Mitt Romney lost the popular vote. He lost the electoral college, too, finishing behind President Obama in every swing state but one. But the GOP nominee didn’t get crushed across the board. Sixty-two percent of white men voted for Romney, and 61 percent of white men and women 45 and older voted for the former Massachusetts governor. The problem for Romney wasn’t his opponent. 
It was the electorate. If he wanted to find a bloc of voters that was more susceptible to his charms, he should’ve announced his candidacy for another fiercely contested race: most valuable player of the American League. 
On Thursday, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera defeated Angels center fielder Mike Trout, winning the AL MVP award with 22 of 28 first-place votes. Trout, a 21-year-old rookie, was the youthful insurgent in this contest. 
Among his backers was Nate Silver, who—years before he became a political seer—made his name by inventing a system to project baseball players’ stats. Earlier this week, Silver explained why Trout, not Cabrera, was the best choice for AL MVP ...
Cabrera, by contrast, was the candidate of the establishment. While Trout led all of baseball in the sabermetrically approved Wins Above Replacement statistic, the Tigers’ slugger paced the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs, winning the first Triple Crown since 1967.  

So, I thought I'd go look up the demographics of hobbyists in advanced baseball statistics. Clearly, vibrant young minorities must predominate. 

Oddly, even though sabermetricians are good with numbers, they don't seem in any hurry to publish demographic statistics about themselves. So, let's just look at pictures from Society of American Baseball Research conventions. At the top is one from the NYT. Here's one from ESPN:
Jim Bouton greets his fans at SABR meeting
And here's one from the

Seriously, virtually any volunteer group in modern America with an eccentric and elite taste in pushing forward the intellectual analysis of just about anything in their spare time for the sheer of love of learning is going to be dominated by white people, typically by white men. I went to a golf course architecture aficionado's weekend: same thing. I attended a couple of Amnesty International meetings in 1982 chaired by Kundera's translator Michael Henry Heim: same thing. Evolutionary psychology meetings have a higher proportion of women, but, pretty much the same thing.

America's Vibrant Future is going to be cognitively catatonic.

Ross Douthat keeps getting better and better

From Ross's op-ed column in the NYT:
Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear. 
Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems. 
Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.

UCLA 38 USC 28: Excellent, it's all falling into place ...

As I pointed out last month in a posting on who donates to whom, "For example, UCLA football could be a bottomless pit for Hollywood heterosexuals to toss their millions into." The only problem with my plan to distract L.A. Democratic donors has been that the UCLA team in this century usually leads the NCAA in falling down untouched, yards penalized due to not being clear on the concept, and muffing the pregame coin toss, so they haven't been fashionable among the hypercompetitive big money boys.

But now ...

Income equality and the Canadian Border

From liberal ThinkProgress:
Gosh, the Southwest is the region with the strongest growth on income inequality. Obviously, we need some more illegal immigrations and more amnesties to fix that problem pronto.

November 16, 2012

Non-Tiger Mother Asian-Americans

At Razib's blog, commenter Spike Gomes makes a sociological observation I found interesting about Asian-Americans below the Tiger Mother class:
In Hawaii and parts of the West Coast, there’s a sort of unified “lower middle-class” pan-Asian America (at least East and SE Asian American) urban youth culture forming. It’s partially informed by black culture, particularly the music and clothes, but quite unique in its own way, with it’s souped up and customized cars and motorcycles, illegal road racing, tech bling, pan-Asian random pastiche aesthetic and b-boy dance-offs. I have far too many cousins who are into that lifestyle.

I've seen a little bit of this sort of 95 IQ Asian-American youth culture. They don't get any attention because they don't cause much trouble unless they hit somebody while drag racing. 

Is there a name for this group that seems to center around Filipinos and Vietnamese, plus the lower half of the bell curve among Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese? How pan-East Asian is it?

The insanity thickens

From the Washington Post's Slate:
Miguel Cabrera Is Mitt Romney 
The Tigers slugger was the candidate of old white men. Lucky for him, that’s who decides baseball’s MVP awards. 
By Josh Levin

All the old white men voted for the chubby Venezuelan pardo over Mike Trout, a handome all-American white kid who resembles the second coming of Mickey Mantle, because Cabrera looks kind of like George Zimmerman. In contrast, the new diverse, vibrant America is totally into advanced baseball statistical analysis. Just look at the prophet of Sabermetrics, Bill James:

Strange new respect for Republican Super PAC

As we all know from reading the national press, Republican Super PACs are the worst things in the whole world. And, immigration amnesty is the best. So, what do you get when a lavishly funded new Republican Super PAC is formed to push amnesty?

Strange new respect.

From the Washington Post:
New super PAC hopes to give cover to pro-immigration Republicans 
By Peter Wallsten, Friday, November 16, 9:51 AM 
Prominent Republicans are launching a new super PAC they hope will help begin repairing the political damage left by years of anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric that has dominated GOP primaries and alienated crucial Hispanic voters. 
The organization, to be called Republicans for Immigration Reform, aims to undermine what organizers call the “extremists” who have pushed party nominees to stake out far-right positions such as opposing a pathway to legalization for millions of illegal workers, students and children. 
Even before it raises money and establishes target races for 2014, organizers told The Washington Post, the group will help smooth the way for wavering Republican lawmakers to vote next year for an immigration overhaul, which suddenly gained momentum last week after GOP leaders watched President Obama’s dominance among Hispanic voters help carry him to an Electoral College landslide. 
Spearheading the group is Carlos Gutierrez, the Cuban American former Commerce secretary under President George W. Bush. He is joined by Washington lawyer Charlie Spies, co-founder of the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, which, illustrating the very trend that the new PAC aims to thwart, aired some tough ads during this year’s primaries accusing Romney’s rivals of supporting “amnesty” and being “too liberal on immigration.” 
“There’s currently only energy on the anti-immigration reform side, and we want to be able to provide some cover for Republicans that vote in support of an immigration reform approach,” Spies said. 
Spies and Gutierrez declined to cite a fundraising goal, but both enjoy close ties to corporate America, which generally favors looser immigration laws. A super PAC can accept unlimited donations. Spies’s pro-Romney group raised $142 million for the 2012 campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 
“This is not small ball,” Gutierrez said. “We’re serious, and we are going to push the debates on immigration reform to a place where I believe the Republican Party should be in the 21st century.” 
Gutierrez, who was a top Romney adviser, gained attention over the weekend when he told Univision anchor Jorge Ramos that the GOP nominee lost to Obama because the party “frightened the American people” during its primaries. 
He told The Post that he regretted some of Romney’s remarks on immigration during the campaign. Romney used the issue to fend of challenges from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, accusing both men of being soft on illegal immigration. At one point, Romney endorsed a policy of “self-deportation” for immigrants in the country illegally, adopting the language of some of the country’s most ardent critics of illegal immigration. 
“Mitt Romney’s comments were a symptom of the disease of the Republican Party, and the extreme far-right wing that is way out of the mainstream of Americans’ views is the cause,” Gutierrez said. “Governor Romney was forced to say things that got him into a lot of trouble. And the irony of it is that had he not said those things, he wouldn’t have been the nominee.” 
The result was Romney winning just 27 percent of Hispanics — fewer than John McCain won in 2008 and far fewer than Bush’s 40percent support level for his 2004 reelection. 
Bush and his senior strategist Karl Rove tried to push their party to the left on immigration, arguing that Hispanics were a fast-growing voter segment in key swing states. But conservatives rebelled when Bush tried in his second term to create a path to citizenship, and GOP orthodoxy ever since has required candidates to take a hard line against such policies. 
Spies said the new PAC will most likely favor whatever immigration plans are backed by House Speaker John A. Boehner and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Cuban American and possible 2016 presidential candidate who is expected to be a central GOP player on the issue, though both lawmakers have staked out conservative stances in the past. 

"Don't Trust the B**** in Apt. 23"

It's a seriously funny sit-com (ABC, Tuesdays 9:30pm) about a sociopathic Manhattan party girl / scam artist, who is like the bad acquaintance who leads the narrator astray in old Jay McInerney novels. Created by Nahnatchka Khan, who used to work for Seth McFarlane on the American Dad animated series, it's kind of a live-action cartoon the way Malcolm in the Middle was a sort of live-action Simpsons. But the jokes are on a higher level of interest than McFarlane's usual stuff.

By Any Means Necessary

From the NYT on the 8-7 decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz's 2006 Michigan Civil Rights Initiative to ban racial preferences in Michigan government policy (e.g., racial preferences in U. of Michigan admissions), which was approved by 58% of the vote in that blue state in November 2006.
People trying to change any other aspect of university admissions policies, the court said, had several avenues open: they could lobby the admissions committee, petition university leaders, try to influence the college’s governing board or take the issue to a statewide initiative. Those supporting affirmative action, on the other hand, had no alternative but to undertake the “long, expensive and arduous process” of amending the state Constitution. 
“The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the equal protection clause’s guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change,” said Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., writing for the majority.

This is an extraordinarily unpersuasive argument by the Sixth Circuit majority. Before this ruling, proponents of affirmative action faced exactly the same burdens as the opponents of affirmative action faced in 2006 when they got their initiative approved. Heck, proponents don't need 58% of the vote like the ban got, they just need 50% +1 vote to amend the state Constitution. 

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Oh, wait, gender equality is part of the War on Women, just like racial equality is racism. Sorry, my Newspeak is a couple of weeks behind the times, so my apologies.

Seriously, if Romney had won last week, do you think we'd see this particular decision this week? The majority's reasoning (such as it is) seems like a particularly blatant middle finger extended to the white and Asian voters of Michigan to demonstrate to them that racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics will be protected By Any Means Necessary (the title of the thuggish plaintiffs who triumphed in the Sixth Circuit.)

Christopher Caldwell once said: "One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong." We may have permanently made that transition last week, especially if Obama gets to replace a Republican Supreme Court justice over the next four years.

Certainly, the atmosphere has changed since Election Day toward media displays of naked racial animus. Partly this is the veil dropping once the need for politeness was over, but it's also, as Gen. Patton said, that Americans love a winner.

I believe the Hispanics are our future

As part of iSteve's continuing coverage of how I, for one, welcome our new Latino overlords, here's the Dallas News
You can almost hear the music — Highway to the Dangerzone. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, like a young fighter jock in Top Gun, is clearly on a fast political trajectory, straight up. After his star turn at the Democratic National Convention, where the 38-year-old politico introduced himself nationally with a keynote address, word is he’s writing a memoir. The book should be on the shelves by the midterm elections in 2014. The San Antonio Express-News reports that New York-based Little, Brown and Co. will publish the autobiography. It’ll be written in English and Spanish and there’ll be an audio version.

Little, Brown and Co. do know, don't they, that Mayor of San Antonio isn't a real job? We're all clear on the concept that being Mayor of San Antonio is not like being Mayor of Chicago, right?

San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley gets paid about two orders of magnitude more than Julian Castro to actually run the government of San Antonio. So, being the Mayor of San Antonio is more like being the Mayor of Hollywood, the King of the Hobos, or the Ayatolla of Rock 'n' Rolla. Capiche?

November 15, 2012

Hey, I know the answer to this question!

The NYT has various brain trusters puzzle their puzzlers over this question:
Throughout the presidential campaign, pundits zeroed in on Latino voters: why President Obama might lose them, how Mitt Romney could woo them, whether they would even vote this year. In the end, the turnout set records, and Latinos overwhelmingly favored Obama. What never changed was the tendency to discuss Latino voters as a bloc. But the talking heads on TV didn’t devote air time to “the Irish vote” or “Korean American turnout.” 
Why are some immigrants and their descendants considered simply “American,” while others are still thought of as “outsiders”? How does an immigrant group come to be thought of as native?

Hispanics are becoming an unmeltable ethnicity because Hispanics are legally classified by the Office of Management & Budget as entitled to affirmative action, while Irishmen are not. *

Of course, contrary to this question about why nobody talks about Korean American turnout, we do talk about "Asian turnout." A major reason is that Asians are entitled to some affirmative action benefits, but not to others. So they fall in between Latino immigrants and European immigrants in salience.

* Yes, I realize that raises all sorts of fascinating questions about the affirmative action eligibility of Charlie Sheen ** v. his brother Emilio Estevez. Fortunately, the Pew Hispanic Center can answer all your questions.

** Have you noticed how Charlie increasingly looks like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team logo?

Asian Obama supporters continue to be rewarded

All racial groups are legally equal, but some are more legally equal than others.

From Reuters:
Michigan Affirmative Action Ban Unconstitutional, Appeals Court Rules 
A Michigan law that bans affirmative action in public college admissions violates the Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, adding to a growing debate on preferential treatment for minorities.

A sharply divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati found that a 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution imposed burdens on racial minorities in violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

Voters passed this initiative to ban racial preferences 58-42 in November 2006, an election day that was otherwise quite pleasant for Democrats.
The decision comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether colleges and universities can continue to give special preference to minority candidates in admissions policies, specifically in a case involving the University of Texas. 
In Thursday's ruling, the 6th Circuit said that, unlike the Supreme Court, it was not considering whether race-conscious admissions policies were constitutional or worthwhile. 
Rather, the only issue before the court was whether the Michigan law violated the constitution by barring university officials from considering race as a factor in admissions decisions, Judge Guy Cole wrote for the 8-7 majority. 
Michigan voters passed the measure, known as Proposition 2, in 2006, prohibiting public educational institutions from giving a preference to any applicant based on race. 
A coalition of supporters of affirmative action sued that same year, saying the change harmed racial minorities in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. 
A district court upheld the law in 2008, ruling for Michigan's attorney general. 
The affirmative action supporters appealed and a divided three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit reversed that decision last year. At the request of the state, the full appeals court reheard the case. 
The majority of the court on Thursday said the Equal Protection Clause does more than guarantee equal treatment under the law. It also prevents laws from being passed that change the political process to impose extra burdens on minorities, the court said.

In other words: Who? Whom? And anti-majority rule.
A child of alumni trying to get a school to adopt a policy that favors legacy applicants could lobby the admissions committee or petition the school's leadership, the court said. In contrast, a black student advocating for a race-conscious admissions policy would have to amend the state's constitution. 
"The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the Equal Protection Clause's guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change," wrote Cole. 
Seven judges dissented, with Judge Richard Griffin calling the majority's decision the "antithesis" of the Equal Protection Clause. 
"The post-Civil War amendment that guarantees equal protection to persons of all races has now been construed as barring a state from prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race," Griffin wrote. ...
The case is Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action et al v. Regents of the University of Michigan et al, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 08-1387.

I wrote about this case in VDARE last year.

The name of the case is coyly shortened. The full name of the victors in this case is "COALITION TO DEFEND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, INTEGRATION AND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS AND FIGHT FOR EQUALITY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (BAMN)".

"By Any Means Necessary," the group's preferred form of address, is a not-so-veiled threat of violence.

Natural Republicans Watch: "Latino Poverty Rate Climbs to 28%"

From Fox News Latino:
Latino Poverty Rate Climbs to 28% 
While Latinos are gaining in political clout, they are also falling down the economic ladder, new Census numbers show.

This is a misleading topline in that it suggests a change over time, when the main story here is really about an important change in methodology.

The official "poverty line" was dreamed up in the early 1960s (?), but was quickly criticized for not including government transfer payments. A half century later, the feds have finally gotten around to announcing poverty rates inclusive of certain welfare payments (but not including stuff like public schools, emergency rooms, policing, etc.) Also, living expenses are counted, too.
Economists long have criticized the official poverty rate as inadequate. Based on a half-century-old government formula, the official rate continues to assume the average family spends one-third of its income on food. Those costs have actually shrunk to a much smaller share, more like one-seventh. 
The official formula also fails to account for other expenses such as out-of-pocket medical care, child care and commuting, and it does not consider noncash government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits, when calculating income. 

Under the new, alternative methodology:
Latinos poverty rates climbed to 28 percent after the census reconfigured its algorithm to take into account medical costs and government programs. The Hispanic poverty level rose after the government took into account safety-net programs such as food stamps and housing, which have lower participation among immigrants and non-English speakers.

Especially among illegal immigrants. The Gingrich House of the mid-1990s had the opportunity to actually do something to restrict immigration, but they punted on the larger question. On a lesser question, fortunately, they did take constructive action, restricting welfare for illegal aliens. I suspect that this has had a positive impact on the quality of illegal aliens and their likelihood to turn into welfare sponges.
... The numbers released Wednesday by the Census Bureau are part of a newly developed supplemental poverty measure. Devised a year ago, this measure provides a fuller picture of poverty that the government believes can be used to assess safety-net programs by factoring in living expenses and taxpayer-provided benefits that the official formula leaves out. 
Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people exceeded the 49 million, or 16 percent of the population, who were living below the poverty line in 2010. That came as more people in the slowly improving economy picked up low-wage jobs last year but still struggled to pay living expenses. The revised poverty rate of 16.1 percent also is higher than the record 46.2 million, or 15 percent, that the government's official estimate reported in September. 
Due to medical expenses, higher living costs and limited immigrant access to government programs, people 65 or older, Hispanics and urbanites were more likely to be struggling economically under the alternative formula. Also spiking higher in 2011 was poverty among full-time and part-time workers. 
The portrait of poverty broken down by state notably changed. California tops the list, hurt by high housing costs, large numbers of immigrants as well as less generous tax credits and food stamp programs to buoy low-income families. It is followed by the District of Columbia, Arizona, Florida and Georgia.In the official census tally, it was rural states that were more likely to be near the top of the list, led by Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona and Louisiana.

Under the new calculations that include cost of living (but not cost of homeownership) and some government benefits:
Hispanics and Asians also saw much higher rates of poverty, 28 percent and 16.9 percent, respectively, compared with rates of 25.4 percent and 12.3 percent under the official formula. In contrast, African-Americans saw a modest decrease in poverty, from 27.8 percent under the official rate to 25.7 percent based on the revised numbers. Among non-Hispanic whites, poverty rose from 9.9 percent to 11 percent. 

We still need an official calculation of middleclassness, which would involve the cost of buying a home in a decent public school district.

iSteve readers will be shocked SHOCKED to learn that when cost of living is entered into the equation, it turns out that immigrant-heavy states lead the True Poverty list.

Yet, the idea that California, home to the vast wealth generating industries of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, leads America in poverty ought to be a wake-up call to the conventional wisdom.

When Esquire sent Tom Wolfe to California in 1963-64 to write about the local hot rod scene, he found the opposite of what the government is reporting today. Michael Anton writes in City Journal in "Tom Wolfe's California:"
... the core insights on which Wolfe built his career—the devolution of style to the masses, status as a replacement for social class, the “happiness explosion” in postwar America—all first came to him in California. ... 
That piece—“The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby”—represents the first time that Wolfe truly understood and was able to formulate the big idea that would transform him from an above-average feature writer into the premier cultural chronicler of our age. Those inhabiting the custom car scene were not rich, certainly not upper-class, and not prominent— indeed, they were almost invisible to society at large. Wolfe described his initial attempt to write the story as a cheap dismissal: “Don’t worry, these people are nothing.” He realized in California that he had been wrong. These people were something, and very influential within their own circles, which were far larger than anyone on the outside had hitherto noticed. ...
“Practically every style recorded in art history is the result of the same thing—a lot of attention to form plus the money to make monuments to it,” Wolfe wrote in the introduction to his first book. “But throughout history, everywhere this kind of thing took place, China, Egypt, France under the Bourbons, every place, it has been something the aristocracy was responsible for. What has happened in the United States since World War II, however, has broken that pattern. The war created money. It made massive infusions of money into every level of society. Suddenly classes of people whose styles of life had been practically invisible had the money to build monuments to their own styles.” If Wolfe’s oeuvre has an overarching theme, this is it.

Well, 1963 was a long time ago in California. (Here's Benjamin Schwarz of The Atlantic on what has been lost in California.)

"But, Mr. Lincoln, sir, everybody knows that paying the lowest wages possible is good for the economy"

I'm walking down Ventura Boulevard and see a big "Paramount Studios" truck parked in front of a rented boutique. A half dozen crew guys, probably the first wave of what will be 50 or 100 workers who will arrive soon and work all night to film a minute or less of a  movie, TV show, or commercial, are setting up equipment to convert it into a location set.

They're working quickly and surehandedly, carrying on a variety of technical conversations about how they will perform their next steps while they're finishing their initial tasks. They're not a NASCAR pit crew, but they're veterans who know that while making movies involves a lot of hurry up and wait, the hurry up part is what keeps them getting hired.

Now, some Hollywood crafts unions don't have a good reputation. From The Simpsons' "Radioactive Man" episode:
Homer: You guys work on the movie? 
Teamster: You sayin' we're not working? 
Homer: Oh, I always wanted to be a Teamster. So lazy and surly... mind if I relax next to you?

But the Teamsters are close to being the exception that proves the rule that members of these specialized unions tend to be competent and cooperative. 

Not surprisingly, I made sure to check the demographics. The uniformed security guard who was there to stand around making sure passer-bys like me didn't walk off with a Red video camera was a young Latino. The five technicians, however, were blue collar white guys in the 35 to 55 age range, a demographic you don't see much of in L.A. anymore, except on movie sets.

They had beer guts and the kind of facial hair that guys who own Harley-Davidsons (maybe two or three) espouse. They look like the kind of tough guy craftsmen with high five or low six-figure incomes who, if the Oakland Raiders announced they were moving back to the L.A. Coliseum tomorrow, would shell out for season tickets the next day.

When Tom Wolfe came out to North Hollywood 49 years ago to check out the Kustom Kar scene in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, he reported that the post-WWII profusion of broad wealth in Southern California was inspiring all sorts of strange and rather beautiful blue collar creativity

Later in the 20th Century, Los Angeles pioneered the current national dogma of driving down wages via immigration "for the good of the economy." And "diversity," never forget "diversity."

One major exception, however, has been Hollywood. Sensitive artists with large but fragile egos don't take well to cost-cutting among the people who are supposed to make them look good. 

To illustrate this, I think a good sketch comedy scene could be set on the set of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. As you've no doubt heard, the delightful English eccentric Method ham actor Daniel Day-Lewis insisted upon staying in character as Honest Abe throughout filming. Spielberg dressed in a suit to direct for the first time in his career and always addressed his star as "Mr. President."

I'd like to see a sketch in which, halfway through the shoot, Spielberg, as producer, fires his expensive crew of American veterans and replaces them with minimum wage Mixtec-speakers who not only don't know that they have to address Day-Lewis as "Mr. Lincoln," but don't know who "Mr. Lincoln" was, and thus don't see anything odd about it. Miffed, Day-Lewis complains so irately to Spielberg over dinner that he punches his hand through his stovepipe hat. Spielberg then has to explain to his sensitive star / Free Soil Free Labor President that firing Americans and replacing them with lower paid foreigners is just being "good for the economy."

Nate Silver on rookie sensation v. Triple Crown Winner for AL MVP

Nate Silver's 538 blog has a clear exposition of why advanced baseball statistics state that 20-year-old rookie phenom Mike Trout of the California Angels should win the American League Most Valuable Player award instead of the favorite, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, who is the first ballplayer since Yaz in 1967 to win the Triple Crown of batting average, homers, and RBIs.

Sabermetricians often preen themselves when sportswriters give the MVP award to the wrong guy because there have been some dumb votes in the past. 

But it's not like nobody would have noticed that Trout was having an amazing season without advanced statistics. Trout absolutely electrified fans who watched him. He had all sorts of crazy feats like stealing four home runs from batters by leaping to catch balls over the fence. Cabrera, in contrast, had certain unglamorous deficiencies, such as a tendency to ground into double plays because he's a slow runner who hits the ball hard, which dedicated Tiger fans would notice. 

It's not that hard to tell who's the most valuable player on a team if you watch the team every day. As Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching." But, when trying to pick the most valuable player in the entire league, sportswriters tended in the past to look to simplifying statistics, most notoriously the highly contextual runs-batted-in counter.  

Still, picking between Trout and Cabrera is a complicated question. The difficulty raises questions about everybody's favorite panacea for fixing the schools: value-added testing of teachers.

As I've pointed out before, although the world has largely come around to the theory I propounded in the 1990s that teachers should be measured upon "value added,", almost nobody, including me, has much specific knowledge of how that ought to work in practice.  And we're probably not going to get there all that soon, either.

For baseball statistics to reach the level of sophistication in Silver's posting has taken quite a few generations. 

And, yet, there are still baseball conundrums that aren't clearly resolvable with statistics. For example, Silver deducts runs from Cabrera's overall performance for being a lousy third baseman. But Cabrera's fans write in to point out that he is a natural first baseman who volunteered during the offseason to lose weight and take lots of grounder so he could play third this season so the Tigers could sign the even fatter Prince Fielder to play first. 

Playing a defensive position you are not cut out for can take a psychological toll on your hitting -- an old time example is Pedro Guerrero's slump in the first two months of 1985 due to the Dodgers insistence that he continue to humiliate himself at 3rd base. Finally, when they let him move to his natural left field, he responded to his liberation with one of the great hitting months in history, setting a record for most homers in one month. 

(I have a general theory that sabermetric logic points baseball in an ugly direction: kind of like semi-pro slowpitch softball. Don't worry much about defense or baserunning, just get a bunch of hulks who can hit homers or get walks. But I don't think this kind of reductionism works in practice for a psychological reason: you put too many Dr. Strangegloves on the field at once, it cuts the heart out of a team. Sure, statistics might say that fielding isn't really that important, but botching too many balls embarrasses teams and causes bad feelings in the dugout. Errors depress teams, like they depressed Guerrero.)

Also, it's not clear how to account for the fact that Mike Trout spent the Angels' first 22 games in the minors (during which they went only 8-14). As soon as he came up he jumpstarted the Angels' offense. 

It's easy to say that if he'd played the whole season instead of just 139 games, he would have scored even more than 129 runs and hit even more than 30 homers. 

No doubt about it. 

On the other hand, he likely would have regressed somewhat more toward the mean in on-base and slugging percentages -- after a superhuman start, his averages were slipping during the last two months of the season. 

I suspect that it will turn out that there are all sorts of analogies to advanced teacher evaluations. If you, say, offer a $10,000 bonus for the school's Most Valuable Teacher based on value-added test scores, you will start to see all sorts of complex but not uninteresting arguments from interested parties for why more factors need to be taken into consideration.

While we have an extraordinary number of baseball statistics fans, we have almost no education statistics fans. So, we're still a long ways away from figuring out teacher statistics.

November 14, 2012

Ted Cruz

Since everybody has decided that the Hispanics are our future, it's worth catching up on the Spanish surnamed crowd.

Texas just elected Republican Ted Cruz to the U.S. Senate by a healthy margin. Ted's father came from Cuba in 1957 and went into the oil business. His mother, a Rice grad is Irish and Italian. One possible impediment to his Presidential hopes is that he was born in the Calgary oil patch, but his parents returned to Houston when he was 4. 

Ted has the usual academic superstar track record: He graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law, then clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist. His wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, works for Goldman Sachs. 

As you may have noticed, he looks rather like a younger Pat Buchanan.

The Game take on what the GOP is doing wrong

A reader comments:
To channel Whiskey, this whole election is one gigantic "sh*t test" that the GOP is failing. The GOP needs to demonstrate that they have a spine, and they are failing badly. 
Talking heads: GOP, here's what you need to do to win our hearts! You need to declare an amnesty. You need to embrace gay marriage. You need to become the party of abortions for all and sundry. But most important of all, you must embrace the idea that you have inherited the original sin of racism due to your white skin, and constantly self-flagellate yourself according to the tenets of PC to achieve true redemption. 
Only THEN will we go out with you. Will you do that for us? (Bats doe eyes at GOP.) 
GOP: Aww shucks, really? Is that all you want? Ok then! 
GOP then goes out and changes whole platform, salivating at the thought that all of these votes could be his! 
GOP (to himself): This time, I'll win for sure! I've done everything they asked me to do! I'm looking forward to the American public finally going out with me! 
Another four years roll by. 
American public: Sorry GOP, I'm sorry we didn't vote for you. It's just that we needed a REAL LEADER, and, look, I know you are a really nice guy and all... 
GOP: (tears well in eyes) 
American public: Oh, I'm so sorry GOP! We can still be friends though! Give me your number, I'll call you up some day and we can hang out. What's your number? 
GOP: um, 555-2382. You mean you'll really call me? 
American Public: 555-BETA? Oh, that's so easy to remember, I won't even need to type that into my phone. Don't worry GOP, I surely WILL CALL YOU. Later now! 
GOP: Awww, gee, thanks! When will you call me? 
American Public: I'll call you REAL SOON NOW, I promise! 
Several weeks pass by... 
GOP to best friend Rove: Rove, I've got this public I really want to woo, but to be honest I'm not sure if I'm ever going to get anywhere. 
Rove: What's the situation? 
GOP: Well, she seems really nice, and at least I'm friends with her, she's even told me so! I've done everything she's asked, or at least what her friends the talking heads told me to do. But something seems wrong, it's just this feeling I can't shake. 
Rove: Have you got several hundred million dollars? I feel like I could tell you the answer, if only you could pony up that money for me. 
GOP: You mean it, honest! Sure thing, what's your bank account number, I'll send it to you right away. You won't change your mind, will you? 
Rove: No, I'm always here to take your money, I promise. I'm a good friend like that. Just don't talk to that Sailer, he's mean and nasty and stuff. If you want to be seen to be some sort of big, gigantic a*****e, you would listen to him. You don't want that, do you? 
GOP: No, I pride myself on being a nice guy, liked by everyone! 
Rove: Just send me the money then.

Kitsch down through the ages

A reader writes:
Why do traditional cultures in general seem to get degraded into kitschiness once they come into contact with modernity?  There isn't any kitschiness among traditional traditional cultures.  You notice the same sort of thing among with "traditionally" oriented white folks too.  You have, in no particular order, tacky madonnas, Evangelical praise songs, Vatican II masses, Thomas Kinkade, the prose style of Lord of the Rings and large swathes of country music. 
I have remarked before about the bifurcation of modern aesthetics into two camps.  High art has tended to eschew any sort of sentiment at all and gone in for either the overly abstract and intellectual, or else the disgusting and degrading.

Perhaps we just can't read the sentimentality in alien traditional cultures?

Or, perhaps the small scale sentimental stuff didn't get carved into giant marble I-am-Ozymandias-king-of-kings statues, so we don't have much of ancient kitsch left anymore? It could be that Ozymandias's mom had court artists do up lots of cute little statues and paintings of Ozymandias as a baby, as a toddler, going to the prom, beheading his first rebel, all that sort of thing that warms a queen mother's heart. But, that kind of art didn't weigh as much as Ozymandias's giant brutal marble statue in Shelley's poem, so, being more portable, it got carried off by looters, or tossed out in the trash, or just worn away by the elements over time.

For example, I only recently became aware of a trove of 2000-year old Roman Egyptian paintings, the Fayum mummy portraits, that families paid professionals to make to (presumably) remember lost loved ones. They only survived due to the dry climate.

And they are just heartbreaking. If you are thumbing through a history of art of the ancient world textbook, these Fayum paintings often come last, after a long series of Egyptian-Babylonian-Greek-Roman art works intended to express aristocratic conceptions of the potential of human beauty, Ozymandias-like works intended to impose obedience, nouveau riche interior decoration, commercial pottery, and a lot of other stuff that is aesthetically impressive but doesn't make all that much of an immediate emotional impression on us. And then, at last, these cheap Fayum portraits are like a dagger to the heart, reminding us that the ancients were human beings like us who suffered emotional agonies when their ten year old children died.

But, keep in mind that these Fayum portraits were semi-mass produced, using standard techniques. They probably aren't terribly realistic pictures of the deceased, being more like reproductions from various pre-existing templates of say, a pre-adolescent boy. I fear that if I were an educated, aristocratic resident of Alexandria and had seen them all my life, I'd roll my eyes and disparage them as kitschy.

The Republican brain trust would like your attention

From the NYT, on how the Republicans should reform for 2016:


How white immigrants voted in 2008 (not 2012)

A reader writes:
Not exactly what you asked for, but for what is worth the white immigrant vote can be estimated. This obviously also includes west-Europeans, Canadians and middle-easterners. 
According to the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project in 2008 Obama got 54% of white immigrant two-party share, compared to 47% of the white non-immigrant share in that data-set (a bit higher than exit polls of 44%) and 77% of non-white immigrant vote. The sample of white immigrants was 214.   
though you won't be able to download it, it costs $15000 to participate, a professor gave me the data.

"Why Hispanics are Natural Democrats and what the GOP can do about it"

An economist writes:
As you see, there has never been a majority of Hispanics voting for a Republican president. This even when Republicans have supported or even enacted an immigration Amnesty, the issue most commonly cited as key to garner Hispanic support. The variation in Republican support is fairly small. 
What turned out to be decisive in 2012 was hence the increase in the number of Hispanic voters.  
Romney received 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, marginally down from Pro-Comprehensive Immigration Reform John McCain who got 31 percent. The highest vote share a Republican has received among Hispanics is Texas governor George Bush who got 40 percent post 9-11 and right before the peak of the housing boom, and hence the peak of Hispanic economic fortunes. The 40 percent Bush got was still a decisive defeat. Even though Republican President Ronald Reagan had granted illegal immigrants Amnesty in 1986, two years later only 30 percent of Hispanics voted for Bush Sr.  
This ["natural Republicans"] claim is demonstrably false. In 2012 Hispanics solidly support the Democrats on virtually every issue, not only on illegal immigration. This includes taxes, the size of government, health care. Less known is that increasingly liberal Hispanics now support Democrats on abortion, gay marriage and contraception.  
Why do Hispanics vote Democrat? The main reason is that Hispanics on average earn far less than Whites (henceforth "Whites" refers to non-Hispanic Whites). It is simply not in Hispanic material self-interests to vote for the party of limited government. 
The main reason that people believe largely unsupported claims about Hispanics being “Natural Republicans” is that unflattering facts about immigration are considered gauche in US public debate. It is just not nice to point out that a large segment of a group is comparatively poor and low-skilled. Though confronting these facts frankly may be uncomfortable to some, doing so is crucial to the survival of the Republican Party.

What pundits really mean when they say Mexicans are "socially conservative"

Charles Krauthammer explains his conversion to amnesty since the election:
[Hispanics] should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, family-oriented and socially conservative. The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants.

Charles Krauthammer was born in New York City and raised in Montreal, then educated at McGill, Oxford, and Harvard Medical School, where he graduated with his class despite breaking his neck during his first year. He's been paralyzed for close to four decades and that takes its toll in all sorts of ways. Who knows how much else he would have been able to accomplish if he hadn't been in a wheelchair? In other words, he's an exceptional individual. 

One thing he clearly hasn't had time for in his remarkable life is getting to know much about Mexican-Americans. 

Now, we've been through before this "natural social conservative" meme. Nobody has ever shown how it translates into many Republican votes. 

So, what do affluent, sophisticated pundits mean when they say that Hispanics (of which approaching 70% are Mexican) are socially conservative? 

It finally occurs to me that the reason elites like Krauthammer say that (and even sort of believe that) is because, deep down, they equate "socially conservative" with "tacky."

And, indeed, Mexican-Americans, whether immigrant or born here, do not, generally, display refined taste. So, that makes them "socially conservative."

Now, I'm quite conscious that I don't have the best of taste, and even more so that I don't have the money to buy it either. I'm quite aware that my neighbors are saints for not complaining to my face about my dinged up cars and other failings at keeping up property values. I don't upgrade my landscaping to follow trends, I'm not always thinking about how to make things look better. I wish I had the money, energy, time, and talent to do that. But, I don't. 

Still, being perfectly open that I've not the right person to complain, I've got to say that, having spent much of my life living near Mexican-American neighborhoods, that Mexican tackiness just wears me down.

I can't believe that nobody else in America has the same reaction. I suspect Krauthammer does. But how many other pundits ever mention that immigration policy is directly related to the aesthetic wear-and-tear imposed by giant Mexican neighborhoods? It just doesn't seem to come up.

Maybe everybody else just assumes that it's all going to change for the better Real Soon Now. But, I can remember back about, say, 45 years, and not much has changed.

I've been trying to figure out why upper middle class white people in, say, Marin County, people who are extremely concerned about optimizing the aesthetics of their lifestyles, like it when illegal immigrants push out the indigenous working class from their region We've been through the cheap-labor aspects of this a million times, but I'm interested here in the pure psychology of why else you'd also support policies that drive out natives that speak your language and look like yourself.

Say you live on that lovely winding road in Marin County where George Lucas tried and failed for 15 years to get permission to convert 5% of his vast ranch into a movie studio. As a moderately wealthy homeowner, an average of three times per week you have male blue collar service workers come by to do work in your house and on your grounds.

Back in the Bad Old Days a couple of decades or so ago, the workers were third generation Californian Okies, real Grapes of Wrath types, or maybe some assimilated American-born Chicanos, or maybe some Okie-Chicano mixes. Now, they are all Mexicans or Central Americans, six inches shorter, and only the foreman speaks English.

Leaving aside the cost issue, why is that an improvement in your lifestyle?

I can imagine several reasons.

First, your workers now look poorer. That's reassuring. That suggests they aren't ripping you off by charging too much. In the old days, your workers were strapping big guys, and it gnawed away at you that you were paying them more than you had too. Sure, you could afford it, but, still ... it bothered you.

Second, the new guys don't speak English, so you can't understand them when they talk to each other, so they don't get on your nerves as much when they talk about whatever low class things yard workers talk to each other about.

Third, most of your new workers don't try to talk to you because they don't speak English. Remember the plumber with the biker sideburns who always wanted to talk to you about the Raiders? Well, he moved to Idaho. Good riddance.

Fourth, you can't understand the lyrics to their songs. Granted, the newcomers' musical tastes are pretty dire, but at least it's not Country, with all those Blue Collar Pride lyrics crafted in Nashville by Vanderbilt English majors to annoy people like you.

Fifth, their bumper stickers aren't as obnoxious as the American proles' bumper stickers were. Remember the pickup truck with all the NRA bumper stickers? It just drove you crazy. Well, maybe if you could read the Spanish bumperstickers you'd be offended, but you can't, so you're not.

Sixth, now you aren't worried anymore about your wife or daughter taking a shine to some guy with a tool belt. (Look what happened to Larry David. Let that be a lesson to us all.) But it's not going to happen if the guy with the tool belt is 5'2" and speaks Mixtec.

In summary, your service workers used to be real people to you, and that was a major hassle. Now, they are just The Other, and you like it like that.

November 13, 2012


From my movie review in Taki's Magazine:
With his unimpeachable performance in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (which opens nationwide on Friday), Daniel Day-Lewis seems ready to become the first man ever to win three Best Actor Oscars. 

Read the whole thing there.

By the way, congratulations to Taki for winning the over-70 world judo championship, defeating the giant actor Bo Svenson (Sheriff Buford Pusser in various Walking Tall movies) in the final.

Does anybody know how new white immigrants vote?

My late father's favorite grocery store was Jon's in Valley Village in the southeast San Fernando Valley. It now carries a whole lot of weird products like Bulgarian soda pop and Georgian stuff in little glass jars: comfort food from home, if your home is somewhere in the ex-Warsaw Pact. I've been to Moscow and I've been to Istanbul, and the clientele of Jon's looks like a cross between the two. 

My vague impression is that liberated Eastern Europeans take their lead in choosing where to immigrate to from Armenians. They don't necessarily like Armenians per se, but you've gotta admit that Armenians aren't stupid, so if Armenians have been moving to the northern part of the southeast San Fernando Valley (i.e, not the rich parts south of Ventura Blvd., but the more marginal parts where the homeowners are mostly white and the apartment dwellers mostly Hispanic), we ought to look into it. (It's like how lots of newly rich oil sheiks in the 1970s immediately decided to move to Beverly Hills.) Also, a lot of ultra-Orthodox Jews now live in this area (there were zero when I was a kid), although they don't shop at Jon's.

By the way, the phrase "flatheads" that is used to describe the hired muscle who escort ex-Soviet oligarchs to nightclubs (think Viggo Mortensen as the pimp in Eastern Promises) and which inevitably comes to mind while standing in the checkout line at Jon's -- does that just come from their favored haircuts or do they really have flatter heads? What did Carleton Coon and the other caliper boys have to say? Or is it a recent Human Growth Hormone thing?

I've never seen anybody talk about how these newcomers and their kids (if any) are likely to eventually vote. The only evidence I have is that I knew a Ukrainian lady who arrived in Valley Village with some multi-syllabic Ludmilla Tourischeva-like name and immediately had her last name legally changed to Reagan.

Paul Krugman on Hispanics as natural Republicans

Paul Krugman blogs:
Some of the attempts to predict future trends argue that over time Hispanics will become politically “white”, the way Irish and Italians did. Maybe, although somehow that hasn’t happened yet to my tribe.

By the way, a story that has gotten very little attention is that Romney did quite a bit better than McCain in the Jewish vote -- approaching 50% better. That's still not very good (30% in Edison up from 21% in 2008, 34% in Reuters). The numbers are tiny, of course, but everything about trends in Jewish opinion ought to be of interest, for the Sarah Silverman Reason

Off the top of my head, I'd hypothesize that Romney's number isn't a fluke -- that's about what the Republicans would usually get from Jewish voters if they always nominated a Northeastern moderate who only talks about tax rates. McCain's low number in 2008 reflects the Jewish crush of that era on Obama that contributed to and was the result of Obamamania. 

The best evidence for this was New Yorker editor David Remnick's vast quasi-biography of Obama, The Bridge. Since Obama has done so little in his life that's interesting to read about, Remnick's book was padded out with potted Civil Rights Struggle history. The "bridge" of the title refers to some victory in the civil rights years in the South, even though Obama was not actually there. (Indeed, according to David Maraniss's boring but less infatuated biography, Obama was at that point being enrolled in an upscale pre-school in an expensive Honolulu suburb with a highly diverse class and a Japanese-American teacher.) Plus, Remnick tossed in endless reminiscences from elite friends, heavily Jewish, of how the first time they met Obama they knew that here was going to be the black President they'd always dreamed of.

Subtly, though, the bloom was off the rose of Obama in 2012. The media, with its credibility on the line for promoting Obama so uncritically, so shamelessly, hunkered down instead to attack Romney and divert attention from Obama.

But, it will be interesting to see if the media shields erected around Obama erode during the second term.

How badly did Romney get ripped off by his consultants?

From the NYT:
Academic ‘Dream Team’ Helped Obama’s Effort
By Benedict Carey 
Late last year Matthew Barzun, an official with the Obama campaign, called Craig Fox, a psychologist in Los Angeles, and invited him to a political planning meeting in Chicago, according to two people who attended the session. 

Off topic, but in case you are wondering, from Wikipedia:

Matthew Barzun is a descendent of John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, and Lucretia Mott,[9] a proponent of women's rights. ... Matthew Barzun’s grandfather is the renowned French-born American cultural historian and former Columbia University professor, Jacques Martin Barzun [who recently died at 104].
“He said, ‘Bring the whole group; let’s hear what you have to say,’ ” recalled Dr. Fox, a behavioral economist at the University of California, Los Angeles. 
So began an effort by a team of social scientists to help their favored candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Some members of the team had consulted with the Obama campaign in the 2008 cycle, but the meeting in January signaled a different direction. 
“The culture of the campaign had changed,” Dr. Fox said. “Before then I felt like we had to sell ourselves; this time there was a real hunger for our ideas.” 
This election season the Obama campaign won a reputation for drawing on the tools of social science. The book “Victory Lab,” by Sasha Issenberg, and news reports have portrayed an operation that ran its own experiment and, among other efforts, consulted with the Analyst Institute, a Washington voter research group established in 2007 by union officials and their allies to help Democratic candidates. 
Less well known is that the Obama campaign also had a panel of unpaid academic advisers. The group — which calls itself the “consortium of behavioral scientists,” or COBS — provided ideas on how to counter false rumors, like one that President Obama is a Muslim. It suggested how to characterize the Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, in advertisements. It also delivered research-based advice on how to mobilize voters. 
“In the way it used research, this was a campaign like no other,” said Todd Rogers, a psychologist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former director of the Analyst Institute. “It’s a big change for a culture that historically has relied on consultants, experts and gurulike intuition.” ...
In addition to Dr. Fox, the consortium included Susan T. Fiske of Princeton University; Samuel L. Popkin of the University of California, San Diego; Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University; Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago’s business school; and Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia. 

It's useful to have bright people in your campaign whose salaries are being paid for by the taxpayers or wealthy institutions.
“A kind of dream team, in my opinion,” Dr. Fox said. 
He said that the ideas the team proposed were “little things that can make a difference” in people’s behavior. 
For example, Dr. Fiske’s research has shown that when deciding on a candidate, people generally focus on two elements: competence and warmth. “A candidate wants to make sure to score high on both dimensions,” Dr. Fiske said in an interview. “You can’t just run on the idea that everyone wants to have a beer with you; some people care a whole lot about competence.”

Yup, you'd need some real geniuses to figure that out.

Most of the behavioral science breakthroughs in the article don't seem all that brilliant, but, one way or another, Team Obama outperformed Romney's hired guns. The daughters of the consultants Romney hired will no doubt have lovely weddings someday courtesy of the amount of cash that flowed in 2012.

There are a couple of issues for Republicans: one is that when you outsource everything, you often get taken to the cleaners. The other is the lack of institutional intellect. I often joke about the Republican Brain Trust, but, it's serious: the Republican strategists aren't that bright. You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts.

November 12, 2012

Bryan Caplan: 3 more challenges to Sailerian citizenism

Last week, Bryan Caplan dredged up an old analogy I had drawn to launch an attack on my notion of citizenism. Bryan wrote:
If you think you're often morally obligated to suppress the favoritism you naturally feel for your children, why aren't you morally obligated to suppress the far milder favoritism you naturally feel for your fellow citizens?

This, by the way, is why I emphasize the notion of the half-full (and thus also half-empty) glass so often. If "you're often morally obligated to suppress the favoritism you naturally feel," you're often not morally obligated to suppress the favoritism you feel. Thus, for example, it's not morally right for America to invade Canada, but it's also not morally wrong for America to keep Mexicans from invading America.

This idea that the glass tends to be part-full and part-empty at the same time isn't some novel insight of mine. Aristotle, for instance, liked to point out that life is full of trade-offs, perfection is unlikely, and the best you can do is some kind of optimum. (Confucius said something like this, too.)

But, I'm a notorious extremist, always going around citing Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, the Preamble of the Constitution, George Washington's Farewell Address, and other fringe crackpots.

Last week, Bryan got rather badly schooled in his comments section. Now, he's back with three more posts [Update: links fixed]

Immigration, Trespassing, and Socialism

Heckuva job, Albertoie!

Back on 9/11, 343 men of the Fire Department of New York gave their lives. Six years later, the Bush Administration (Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General) rewarded the survivors by suing the FDNY on the grounds that the hiring test was an example of disparate impact discrimination because too many white guys aced it.

How's that working out for Republicans, anyway? How many black and Hispanic voters were converted to Republicans by this ploy?

Here's the other exit poll data that nobody knows about

My big article is up at analyzing the demographics of the election.
You've been reading a huge amount about the exit poll with a sample size of 25,000 conducted by Edison, but virtually nothing about the poll with a sample size of 40,000 conducted by Reuters-Ipsos.

They're both pretty decent, but Reuters' American Mosaic Polling Explorer website has one huge advantage: it allows the general public to crosstab the data anyway they want.

Two weeks ago, I previewed the Reuters-Ipsos demographics using a sample size of 7,500 from October (which showed Obama ahead by 2 points). Now I'm back with a much larger sample size.

Read the whole thing there.

Washington Post: "Crosshairs" on the conservative white male

Columnist Courtland Milloy writes in the Washington Post:
What repels many of those potential recruits, however, is the perception, if not the reality, that the party roils with racial resentment. Why else would the GOP be so overwhelmingly white? 
It didn’t help matters, either, when Republican strategists unleashed ads aimed at whipping the party’s core constituency — aging, right-wing, non-college-educated white men — into a racial frenzy with “dog whistle” warnings that a black “food stamp president” was out to get them. 
The “Bubba strategy,” as President Obama supporters called it. 
On Election Day, Bubba went whole hog for Republican contender Mitt Romney, only to be vanquished by a multiracial, mixed-gendered groundswell of voters. In the aftermath, the conservative white male was placed on the politically endangered species list — the crosshairs on him now.

You may remember back in January 2011 when Sarah Palin was widely castigated for running ads during the 2010 House races saying various Democrats in marginals seats were in the "crosshairs." But, that was wrong for Palin to do that because she is a conservative white male, and they deserve what's coming to them. Whereas Courtland Milloy is only about 3/4ths white, so he's A-OK.

Asians get their reward from Obama Justice Dept.

Asians apparently voted overwhelmingly last Tuesday for the Party of Affirmative Action in Admissions. 

How's that working out for them?

So far, not so hot.

The New York Times editorializes in favor of the Obama Justice Department's complaint that, in effect, too many Asians are scoring highly on the admissions test to elite New York City public high schools:
The Elite Eight, on the Federal Radar 
The civil rights office of the federal Department of Education has rightly decided to investigate a complaint filed in September by civil rights groups over the admissions policies of eight highly competitive “specialized” high schools in New York City, among which are Stuyvesant, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School. 
The investigation into a possible violation of civil rights law is just beginning. The city could be required to revise the admissions policies and could potentially be threatened with the loss of federal education funds if it refuses. The city and state should revisit the admissions process before things get to that point. 
The complaint, filed by a coalition of organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, charges the city with illegally screening out qualified black and Latino middle-school students by basing admissions on a single poorly designed test. Supported by influential groups like the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the complaint offers a devastating analysis of the two-and-a-half-hour multiple-choice test, which, among other flaws, fails to reflect the curriculum taught at many middle schools. The test also heavily favors those who can afford extensive tutoring and has not been shown to be a good predictor of student performance in high school.

November 11, 2012

Last amnesty set off baby boom of future Democrats in California

As I pointed out in 2002: The last illegal alien amnesty had unexpected repercussions that echoed for years in California. It turns out that the 1986 amnesty for illegals set off a big baby boom among its beneficiaries - inevitably worsening the subsequent crowding in schools and emergency rooms, not to mention burgeoning votes for Democrats.

Demographers Laura E. Hill and Hans P. Johnson of the Public Policy Institute of California wrote in "Understanding the Future of Californians' Fertility: The Role of Immigrants:"
"Between 1987 and 1991, total fertility rates for foreign-born Hispanics [in California] increased from 3.2 to 4.4 [expected babies per woman over her lifetime]. This dramatic rise was the primary force behind the overall increase in the state's total fertility rate during this period. Were it not for the large increase in fertility among Hispanic immigrants, fertility rates in California would have increased very little between 1987 and 1991. 
"Why did total fertility rates increase so dramatically for Hispanic immigrants? First, the composition of the Hispanic immigrant population in California changed as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. In California alone, 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants applied for amnesty (legal immigrant status) under this act. The vast majority were young men, and many were agricultural workers who settled permanently in the United States. 
Previous research indicates that many of those granted amnesty were joined later by spouses and relatives in the United States... As a result, many young adult Hispanic women came to California during the late 1980s. We also know that unauthorized immigrants tend to have less education than other immigrants and that they are more likely to come from rural areas. Both characteristics are associated with high levels of fertility. As a result, changes in the composition of the Hispanic immigration population probably increased fertility rates. 
"Another possible reason for the sudden increase in fertility rates for Hispanic immigrants is also related to IRCA. Because many of those granted amnesty and their spouses had been apart for some time, their reunion in California prompted a "catch-up" effect in the timing of births..."

More Citizenism v. Open Borders debate

This time at the blog Open Borders: The Case.