July 13, 2013

Zimmerman-Trayvon, from the files

I blogged on June 12, 2012:
George Zimmerman, Wrecker 
From the Chicago Tribune: 
New records released by prosecutors in the George Zimmerman murder case show federal civil rights investigators interviewed dozens of his friends, neighbors and coworkers, but found no one who said Zimmerman was a racist. 
And if they had? 
This whole brouhaha is basically the equivalent of a 1930s Stalinist show trial of "wreckers." The Five Year Plan not going as planned? Find some engineers to be blamed for throwing wrenches in their turbines out of spite. Blacks still shooting each other in large numbers? Find a Great White Defendant to play the symbolic role of Racist Wrecker. Of course, the whole thing rapidly turned into a fiasco with the GWD turning out to look like a cross between Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez, and the victim of profiling turning out to have a history of burglary. ... 
To step back: I've got to figure that, in contrast, the next time the gay lobby decides to go all in on some killing of a gay, they'll make sure to get their ducks in a row better than the black lobby did on Trayvon. And if the story still turns out to be a fiasco, the gays will be able to use their media power to massage The Narrative. Blacks still have a ton of symbolic clout, but they don't have a lot of competent people in positions of power to suavely manage the storyline, so things tend to unravel on them like this. No wonder nice white people are slowly switching from blacks to gays as their Most Favored Oppressed Minority. We live in an era that values skillful marketing above just about anything else, and blacks, while they have moments of genius, generally don't execute as well as gays.

The Oberlin case was, of course, a subsequent fiasco involving mostly blacks. Did the gay lobby go all in on Marco McMillian "the openly gay Mississippi mayoral candidate who was murdered"? That was another fiasco, but I think the big time gay lobby had the good sense not to fully commit to that rough trade killing and instead left it to blacks and the more Pavlovian haters of Southern whites to look like fools over that. 
December 1, 2012 
Quiz: Can you pick out the "white Hispanic" amidst all the Hispanic Hispanics? 
With immigration reform and Puerto Rican statehood much in the news as Republicans ponder how to leave behind their image as racist white men, I thought I'd go through my recent posts to find Hispanic experts in the media who have their finger on the pulse of What Hispanics Want, who know deep in their Latino bones how the masses of la raza feel. It's time for white people to stop ignoring Hispanics just because they look different and lack White Privilege! Fortunately, the press assiduously brings to our attention these fresh new voices with their fresh new kind of face. A gallery:

The hunt for the Great White Defendant: a reading list

I've been writing for years about what Tom Wolfe calls the "mania for the Great White Defendant." Here are some links to this recurrent phenomenon in fact and fiction:
Bonfire of the Vanities on the Great White Defendant 
Duke Lacrosse Hoax 
The Jena Six 
Nestor Camacho in Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood
Quentin Unchained 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
The KKK at Oberlin 
Marco McMillian
Law & Order: the 100% irony-free Bonfire of the Vanities 
Tom Wolfe v. Dick Wolf 
Chandra Levy and Rep. Gary Condit 
Amanda Knox: The Hot White Defendant 
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman 

The only way to have any effect on how more than few people are equipped to think about the world is to repeat yourself over and over.

Here's the paragraph where Wolfe introduced the concept in the Great New York Novel in 1987. Three assistant district attorneys are discussing a case that had interested the publicity-mad head D.A., known as Captain Ahab:
Every assistant D.A. in the Bronx, from the youngest Italian just out of St. John's Law School to the oldest Irish bureau chief, who would be somebody like Bernie Fitzgibbon, who was forty-two, shared Captain Ahab's mania for the Great White Defendant. For a start, it was not pleasant to go through life telling yourself, "What I do for a living is, I pack blacks and Latins off to jail." Kramer had been raised as a liberal. In Jewish families like his, liberalism came with the Similac and the Mott's apple juice and the Instamatic and Daddy's grins in the evening. And even the Italians, like Ray Andriutti, and the Irish, like Jimmy Caughey, who were not exactly burdened with liberalism by their parents, couldn't help but be affected by the mental atmosphere of the law schools, where, for one thing, there were so many Jewish faculty members. By the time you finished law school in the New York area, it was, well ... impolite! ... on the ordinary social level ... to go around making jokes about the yoms. It wasn't that it was morally wrong ... It was that it was in bad taste. So it made the boys uneasy, this eternal prosecution of the blacks and Latins.

Breaking: George Zimmerman not guilty on both counts

From the Miami Herald. (Expect slow loading due to heavy web traffic.)

Will the jury's repudiation of the national media's Narrative cause any second thoughts about the press's prejudices that caused so many to get this story so wrong for so long? It would be nice to hope that this long, sad story at least causes a few people to notice the biases of the conventional wisdom.

I doubt it, though.

July 12, 2013

Amnesty v. Path to Citizenship

The Washington Post's moderate Republican columnist Kathleen Parker opinionizes:
Likewise, Republicans are not shooting straight when they insist that the Senate bill’s path to citizenship is de facto amnesty. As paths go, it’s a 13-year pilgrimage along a precipice lined with bramble bushes — taxes, fines and various burning hoops through which one must leap in order to stand in line. Hardly rose-petal strewn.

I don't think Ms. Parker is being disingenuous here. She's just got it stuck in her head that "amnesty" is what some Democratic extremists want, while "a path to citizenship" therefore must be the moderate compromise between the liberal la-la land of "amnesty" and the horrors  of "self-deportation" (i.e., going home).

In reality, of course, "a path to citizenship" is just amnesty plus the vote and other privileges. Karl Rove, for example, proposed in 2004 amnesty without "a path to citizenship." He didn't call it amnesty, of course, for the simple reason that it was amnesty.

Mickey Kaus explains:
GOP legislators said the biggest question was whether to give the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States a path to eventual citizenship, as provided by the Senate measure.–CNN, July 11 
For months, Democrats have been saying they won’t agree to an immigration bill unless it has a “path to citizenship.” Reporters wrote it down. Many Republicans have also been saying the key sticking point is over the “path to citizenship”–they oppose it. Reporters wrote that down too, and declared  “citizenship” the big line-in-sand battleground in the immigration debate. 
The only problem is, this was BS.  Citizenship isn’t the big dealbreaker issue. That’s because Democrats would ultimately–reluctantly, of course–accept a bill that did not give illegal immigrants a “path to citizenship” if it gave Dems what they really want, namely quick legal status before any new enforcement measures must be in place.  Legalization gives the undocumented most of what they need from immigration refom–they can work, get driver’s licenses, etc. without fear of ICE. And if the legalization comes before enforcement, not only wouldn’t the undocumented have to wait very long, but Democrats would have the chance to water down the enforcement as soon as the the undocumented were in the clear (as Democrats, including Chuck Schumer, did after the 1986 reform). 
Legalization First–that’s the real dealbreaker issue for Dems.

Now, that reminds me of a sociological issue. Ms. Parker, for example, appears to be a nice, well-adjusted lady. From Wikipedia:
Parker grew up in Winter Haven, Florida, graduated from Winter Haven High School in 1969, and attended Converse College before transferring to Florida State University where she majored in Spanish Literature. She also holds a Master's degree in the subject from Florida State. 
She is married to an attorney, has three sons, and currently resides in Camden, South Carolina.[5]

A political party like the Republicans should be proud that it represents a lot of fine, upstanding, agreeable Core Americans like Kathleen Parker. The problem is that to avoid getting taken to the cleaners by the Democrats on an issue that they enjoy thinking about far more than the typical well-adjusted Republican, you also need a few smart, cynical misfits, too. 

Mickey, for example, is the kind of guy who graduates from Harvard Law School and then never practices law. A reasonable person who goes to all the expense and trouble of going to Harvard Law School and then doesn't practice law usually has something even better-paying to do. My cousin, for example, went to a fine law school, but then didn't take the bar exam because his older brother helped him get started in San Francisco real estate and development, in which he has done very well for himself. Mickey instead goes to work for the Washington Monthly magazine, run by the notoriously cynical/honest Charles Peters. Not a wise career move! In an age of feeding the blog beast, Mickey ekes out superbly crafted post every few days.

Janet Napolitano & UC's "powerful coterie of lesbians"

Department of Homeland Security honcho Janet Napolitano has been appointed to head the multicampus University of California system, despite little experience with academia, California (she attended the private U. of Santa Clara in the 1970s, but that's about it), or much of anything of seeming relevance.

Maybe she's got some files? But that raises the question: Does DHS get access to the Panopticon's good stuff, or are they treated like the dim stepbrothers of the Surveillance State, getting stuck just with lists of weird metal objects that people were carrying in their pockets while attempting to board airliners?

Hey, here's the premise for a thriller about blackmail in the halls of power and finance: Assume DHS inherited from the INS the list of all the illegal aliens caught coming over the Mexican border for the last 40 years. If you had access to that list, just think about all the major players in New York, Washington, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood whom an unscrupulous high government official could blackmail by threatening to expose their darkest secrets: that they're actually Mexican illegal aliens!

Not an undocumented worker
(not Janet Napolitano, either)
There's like ... well, no ... uhhhmmm ... okay, it's taking a little longer to think of anybody powerful in America who might actually be a Mexican illegal alien than I figured, so I'll just get back to you on this. It must be because of all that living in the shadows ... Wait a minute -- the guy who made the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots movie! Oh ... looks like Guillermo del Toro didn't permanently move to America until his dad, the owner of an automobile factory, got kidnapped in 1998 and held for a giant ransom, which James Cameron helped raise.

But now that I think about it, James Cameron doesn't have anything to do with the topic of this post. Perhaps Napolitano's being rewarded for her famous physics breakthrough in 2005: 
“You show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border. That’s the way the border works.”

Probably of more relevance is that Napolitano's career in high office is an offshoot of The Year of the Woman. From Wikipedia:
In 1991, while a partner at Lewis and Roca LLP, Napolitano served as an attorney for Anita Hill.[9][10] Anita Hill testified in the U.S. Senate that then U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her ten years earlier when she was his subordinate at the federal EEOC.[11] 
In 1993, Napolitano was appointed by President Bill Clinton as United States Attorney for the District of Arizona.[9] ...
Napolitano is an avid basketball fan and regularly plays tennis and softball.[66]
Napolitano has never married or had children; as a result, there has been speculation about her sexual orientation. ... She is not gay, she has said, "just a straight, single workaholic".[68] ...
In July 2012, Napolitano was accused of allowing discrimination against male staffers within the Department of Homeland Security.[56][57] The federal discrimination lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, was filled by James Hayes Jr. who is presently a special agent of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in New York City.[58] The suit alleges that Dora Schriro and Suzanne Barr mistreated male staffers and promotions were given to women who were friends of Napolitano, and when the abuse was reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity office, that Napolitano launched a series of misconduct investigations against the reporting party, Hayes.[59] Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's spokesman stated that he would not comment on "unfounded claims".[60] 
Suzanne Barr, who was one of Napolitano's first appointments after she became secretary in 2009, went on leave after Hayes filed his lawsuit and then resigned on September 1, 2012. Although she called the allegations in the lawsuit "unfounded", others suggested that her resignation raised serious concerns regarding personnel and management practices at the Department of Homeland Security.[61]

Here's some forgotten history: The University of California system had a series of financial scandals in the 2000s focusing on successive female chancellors (i.e., presidents) of UC Santa Cruz and $192,000 per year jobs for their special lady friends. When Santa Cruz chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood was promoted to the #2 job in the whole statewide system, provost, she was succeeded as chancellor by Denice Denton (who briefly became nationally celebrated for claiming to "speak truth to power" in the Larry Summers brouhaha).

A local Santa Cruz newspaper columnist noted that for years people in the know whispered about how "a powerful coterie of lesbians has gained power and influence within the UC system." He was immediately disciplined for mentioning something so uninteresting.

Another boring aspect of this nonstory that got deservedly little attention is that on June 24, 2006, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton, age 46, climbed to the roof of her lesbian lover's luxury 42-story apartment building in San Francisco and leapt to her death.

Of course you didn't hear much about it when it happened, much less been reminded of it since then. It was just a dog bites man story. College presidents jump off skyscrapers all the time. It's not a world-historical news story like Trayvon Martin. And it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Janet Napolitano's new job.

18 million more non-working native Americans over last 13 years

Peter Schaeffer notes:
Immigrant Gains and Native Losses In the Job Market, 2000 to 2013″ 
By Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler
“While jobs are always being created and lost, and the number of workers rises and falls with the economy, a new analysis of government data shows that all of the net gain in employment over the last 13 years has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). From the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2013, the number of natives working actually fell by 1.3 million while the overall size of the working-age (16 to 65) native population increased by 16.4 million. Over the same time period, the number of immigrants working (legal and illegal) increased by 5.3 million. In addition to the decline in the number of natives working, there has been a broad decline in the percentage holding a job that began before the 2007 recession. This decline has impacted natives of almost every age, race, gender, and education level. The total number of working-age (16 to 65) natives not working — unemployed or out of the labor force entirely — was nearly 59 million in the first quarter of this year, a figure that has changed little in the last three years and is nearly 18 million larger than in 2000.

Fortunately, Schumer and Rubio have a plan to change this.

How much of Edward Snowden' revelations are novel?

I've been reading since 1982 the work of lawyer-journalist James Bamford on the National Security Administration. So, Snowden's revelations haven't come as a big surprise to me. How much has he revealed that is truly new, versus how much is he just a great personal story, a man who will risk everything to cut through the haze and apathy?

Eric Holder and Rev. Bacon

From Investors Business Daily
Taxpayers Helped Sharpton Stir Anti-Zimmerman Anger 
Race War: The Obama administration spent thousands of federal dollars to help the Rev. Al Sharpton pressure the state of Florida to railroad George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. 
The Justice Department not only met with Martin's parents and the notorious racial arsonist Sharpton, as we reported earlier this week. It even helped them organize rallies against Zimmerman, who trial evidence shows shot Martin in self-defense. 
Newly released documents reveal the department spent more than $5,320 to send officials to Florida "to work marches, demonstrations and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen." 
According to Washington-based Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group that uncovered the records through a Freedom of Information Act request, the department launched six separate deployments to Sanford, Fla., between March 25, 2012, and April 12, 2012, when officials got their way and Zimmerman was arrested for murder. 
The purpose of one trip from March 30 to April 1, according to the expense report, was "to provide support for protest." Sharpton was a featured speaker at the March 31 protest, dubbed "The March for Trayvon Martin," where he agitated for Zimmerman's arrest. 
... Behind the scenes, Attorney General Eric Holder assured Sharpton that he would take "swift action" in the case to investigate whether local police had committed a "civil rights crime" in releasing Zimmerman from custody. Holder also deployed FBI agents to Sanford. 
Soon after, Sanford's police chief was fired. Bill Lee now says he was axed due to "political pressure" and that "outside forces" hijacked the Zimmerman case.
"They just wanted an arrest" to placate protesters threatening violence, Lee told CNN earlier this week, even though the evidence provided no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman. He said it was purely a matter of self defense, and he was right. 
As soon as the case was taken away from Lee, evidence was leaked to the Martin family and Sharpton and his thugs. They got to hear the 911 tapes and coordinate their stories. 
Who leaked them? The same person who fired Lee — Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte, a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. 
Before he sacked the police chief, Bonaparte met in Washington with — you guessed it — Eric Holder. The attorney general had summoned both him and Sanford's mayor to discuss the allegedly "unprovoked hate crime against a black teen." 
The evidence is clear that Zimmerman was framed to look like a homicidal racist. It's also now clear there was a larger political orchestration behind the racial rabble-rousing, one that was led from the highest levels in Washington.

July 11, 2013

Prosecutor sums up: Zimmerman hasn't proven his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt

From the NYT:
In Closing, Zimmerman Prosecutor Focuses on Inconsistencies

Okay, but isn't that what the defense normally does -- point out inconsistencies in the prosecutor's story to try to raise the possibility that the prosecution hasn't proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt? Isn't this whole trial taking place in Mirror Land?
SANFORD, Fla. — In a murder case of chain reactions, the chief prosecutor, Bernie de la Rionda, began with the very first link when he delivered his closing statement on Thursday in the George Zimmerman trial.

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager carrying nothing but snacks, died of a gunshot to the heart for one reason, he said: Mr. Zimmerman saw himself as a cop and Mr. Martin as a hoodie-clad criminal. 

"For one reason"?
“He went over the line,” Mr. de la Rionda told the jury. “He assumed things that weren’t true and, instead of waiting for the police to come and do their job, he did not. He, the defendant, wanted to make sure that Trayvon Martin didn’t get out of the neighborhood.” 
“In this defendant’s mind he automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal,” Mr. de la Rionda added. “And that’s why we’re here.”


Fortunately, in his retirement, Michael Bloomberg probably won't end up in a condo complex in Nowheresville, Florida, so he's safe.
Mr. Zimmerman, 29, a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he shot Mr. Martin in self-defense, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26, 2012, death of Mr. Martin, who was 17. If convicted, he could face life in prison. On Thursday, the judge, Debra S. Nelson, said the jury would also be able to consider manslaughter as a lesser charge. This charge is typically included in Florida murder cases if either side requests it. Manslaughter with a firearm carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

The judge should order a directed verdict of not guilty on the absurd Murder 2 charge, which would make it harder for the jury to decide to just split the difference and go with the manslaughter charge as a compromise that would bring them the least criticism.

Why are blacks moving to conservative southern states?

Thomas Edsall of the NYT is aghast that while there are now lots and lots of black legislators in Southern state legislatures, they almost all represent the minority party (Democrats). Something should be done! (And, no, not some blacks should join the GOP.) The Feds should help the Democrats win in the South.

It's funny, though, how blacks keep migrating to states like Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. You might almost think that blacks find they do better in Republican-run states that are pro-jobs and pro-affordable family formation than in liberal Democratic states like Vermont, where prices are high and the economy shackled. Isn't it time for Vermont to start a strong affirmative action campaign to rid it self of its shame of being the least diverse state in America?

Panhandling drive lurches into gear again

This is the third posting on my summer fundraising drive.

I want to thank everybody who contributed so far, especially a very generous Southern Hemisphere gentleman. 

For those who haven't:

First, you can make a tax deductible contribution via VDARE by clicking here.

Second, you can make a non-tax deductible contribution by credit card via WePay by clicking here. 

Third: You can mail a non-tax deductible donation to:

Steve Sailer
P.O Box 4142
Valley Village, CA 91607-4142


July 10, 2013

NYT: Egyptian conspiracy theories about "deep state" make sense

A long-running theme here at iSteve is the slow evolution of the United States into something vaguely reminiscent of the old Ottoman Empire. The basic notion is 21st Century Los Angeles writ large, with its continuing influx of people from the Near East and the ex-Soviet Union: that America, being desirable and expensive, will attract foreigners from places where the populations (at least their upper reaches) aren't untalented, but tend to lack civic virtues. Thus, their homelands tend to be crummy and thus they tend to be more motivated to emigrate than, say, Danes. These folks can make a fair amount of money in America, but whether they will sustain the civic and institutional capital that helps make America a desirable destination is one of those interesting questions that are too interesting to discuss.

Now, the Ottoman Empire wasn't the worst place of all time, but it wasn't exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind, either, so it's going to take some getting used to. One difference is that Americans tend to dismiss conspiracy theories, while the inhabitants of the ex-Ottoman Empire cherish them, and not just for aesthetics, but for Occamite reasons as well: of course conspiracies are how things get done. So, to help sensitize Americans to aspects of our multicultural future, here's an informative article from the NYT:
Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi


CAIRO — The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.
The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi. 
And as the interim government struggles to unite a divided nation, the Muslim Brotherhood and Mr. Morsi’s supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Mr. Morsi fail. Not only did police officers seem to disappear, but the state agencies responsible for providing electricity and ensuring gas supplies failed so fundamentally that gas lines and rolling blackouts fed widespread anger and frustration. 
“This was preparing for the coup,” said Naser el-Farash, who served as the spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsi. “Different circles in the state, from the storage facilities to the cars that transport petrol products to the gas stations, all participated in creating the crisis.” 
Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country’s top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani El-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi. 
But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power. Throughout his one-year tenure, Mr. Morsi struggled to appease the police, even alienating his own supporters rather than trying to overhaul the Interior Ministry. But as crime increased and traffic clogged roads — undermining not only the quality of life, but the economy — the police refused to deploy fully. 
Until now. 
White-clad officers have returned to Cairo’s streets ... 
Despite coming to power through the freest elections in Egyptian history, Mr. Morsi was unable to extend his authority over the sprawling state apparatus, and his allies complained that what they called the “deep state” was undermining their efforts at governing. 

One and Done

The technical problem that was causing my latest column, "Pyramid Schemes," to intermittently load slowly seems to be gone, so if you didn't get a chance to read it by now, I'll post this snippet as a reminder that it's working well again:
Since my job is to speak the reasonable ideas that are presently thought unspeakable, here’s a suggestion. President Obama is a big fan of basketball, and the NBA has a famous “One and Done” rule mandating that young stars spend at least one year in college before jumping to the pros. 
Obama should thus promote the phrase “One and Done” as a simple mnemonic advice for women who are in jail, on welfare, unwed, or illegal: Unless you get your life together, you shouldn’t have more than one child.

Read the whole thing there.

Newsweek: "Is Trayvon Martin a Victim Not Just of Racial Profiling But Youth Profiling Too?"

Is Newsweek still in business? Apparently so:
Too Young to Be Innocent? 
Is Trayvon Martin a Victim Not Just of Racial Profiling But Youth Profiling Too? 
By Caroline Linton
THE QUESTION burns for all teenagers: would George Zimmerman have singled out Trayvon Martin if he had been an adult?On George Zimmerman’s 911 call, he said Martin “looks black” before finally confirming the 17-year-old was black, but he also identified Trayvon as being in his “late teens.” 
“A 30-something person would confront a teenager—something tells me he felt emboldened by [Trayvon’s] youthfulness,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of law and police studies at John Jay College in New York. “The seeds of this have to do with the youth of the person.” 
It’s unclear what was going through Zimmerman’s mind when he confronted Martin, but one of the biggest debates raging around the case is whether Zimmerman racially profiled the teenager. 
For some people, there’s no question that Zimmerman would not have singled out Martin as being “up to no good” if Martin had been white. 
But what if he hadn’t been a teenager—what then?

Or what if Trayvon had been a Samoan grandmother? Have you thought about that? Huh?
There is little research on youth profiling, where an older person immediately assumes a teenager is “up to no good.” Some have speculated that a jury with greater minority representation would be more sympathetic to Martin. 
But there’s no way to determine if it would be also different if the jury was made up of young people who know how it feels to be stopped and interrogated by, say, a 28-year-old man, since teenagers aren’t eligible to sit on juries. 
Many teenagers have no doubt that Martin was stopped because of his age, and they’ve taken to social media to say so. “The fact is, a crime was committed against [Trayvon] by an adult and that adult needs to be held accountable,” reads one typical post on Tumblr by a high-school senior in Ontario.

This is exactly the kind of op-ed I would have commissioned to appeal to my readers back when I was a high school newspaper editor. Perhaps Newsweek's new business model is to compete with high school newspapers for the Resentful Teen demo? Under my guidance, the Notre Dame Knight brought in steady ad revenue from rock concert ticket scalpers and military recruiters, so maybe that's Newsweek's latest financial strategy.

Anyway, this is a good example of how the message has trickled down all the way to the dimmer corners of the hivemind that one crime that cannot be forgiven is Noticing Patterns.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-chestions: "After FBI probes, questions on granting of asylum"

The Boston Globe finally gets around to asking the question that has been ignored for months: Why in the world were these crazy Chechen dudes legally in the U.S.? 

A few politicians such as Rand Paul had raised the issue, but Sen. Paul's impertinent skepticism was slapped down by New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, who explained, showing his deep knowledge of the technicalities of the Constitution and of immigration law:
The ethnically Chechen Tsarnaevs came here from neighboring Dagestan. And when did the United States start excluding immigrants from dangerous places? Seems to me that they fall into the categories of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” not to mention “wretched refuse” of teeming shores and the “homeless, tempest-tossed.” 

As we all know, those famous phrases are in the Zeroth Amendment, which supersedes all the rest of the Constitution.

Anyway, the Boston Globe looks into the various Chechens' grants of asylum:
After FBI probes, questions on granting of asylum 
By Maria Sacchetti |  GLOBE STAFF     JULY 05, 2013 
Ibragim Todashev told federal immigration officials he feared persecution in his native Russia and needed safe harbor in the United States. He won asylum in 2008, then a green card. Then, relatives said, Todashev made plans to return to the country he’d fled. 
Before he could follow through on those plans, the 27-year-old was shot and killed in Orlando on May 22 by an FBI agent investigating the Boston Marathon bombings.

Are we ever going to be allowed to hear more about that?
But Todashev’s willingness to return to a place he said he feared is raising new questions about his asylum claim, and focusing new attention on the asylum case of his friend, suspected Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. 
“I haven’t seen any justification for the granting of asylum to any of them, to be honest,” said Mark Kramer, director of the Cold War Studies program at Harvard, who is not involved in either case. “I am baffled because I’ve known of others who applied and been turned down in cases that seemed to me far more deserving than these.” 
Federal immigration officials say they cannot discuss the cases because asylum claims are generally confidential to protect applicants, who might be victims of war, rape, or other atrocities. But critics say the law also protects people who concoct stories to win asylum and eventually, US citizenship.

Thousands of foreigners seek asylum every year in the United States. According to federal law, to be granted asylum, they must fear persecution in their homeland based on their political opinion, race, religion, nationality,or membership in a particular social group, such as people who are gay or lesbian. 
Federal officials can revoke asylum for reasons that include if immigrants voluntarily return to the homeland they feared, but revocations are rare. Since 1994, immigration officials have rescinded 1,582 asylum grants, less than 1 percent of roughly 300,000 granted during that time. ...
Todashev and the Tsarnaevs were ethnic Chechens, and in the past, the US government has granted asylum to Chechens who fled two brutal civil wars that started in 1994, when Russian troops clamped down on an uprising of Islamic separatists in Chechnya, a semiautonomous region in southern Russia. 
But Todashev’s father, Abdulbaki, has told the Globe that his son had no reason to fear persecution in Chechnya. He said his family fled the fighting in Chechnya but returned home five or six years ago. Now he is a department head in the local government.
Ramzan Kadyrov & friends

So, the elder Todashev reports to the mayor of Grozny, who reports to Ramzan Kadyrov, who reports to Vladimir Putin. That's kind of like the son of Rahm Emanuel's Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation in Chicago applying for asylum in Switzerland because he wants to work on his slalom skills and is afraid that if Rahm ever loses re-election, his dad's career will be at risk.

The Todashevs and Tsarnaevs were on the winning side in the Chechen troubles.
“He was too young to fight in the war, and he has nothing to fear here now,” Todashev said. “He would have faced no oppression here.” 
His father said Ibragim left for America in 2008 on an exchange visa to study English. Abdulbaki Todashev also obtained a visa in 2006 but never used it, a federal official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 
On May 22, a Boston FBI agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, who had two prior arrests for violent attacks, after he allegedly initiated a violent confrontation during an interrogation. His family and friends dispute that account and called for an independent investigation. 
Todashev’s father said his son, who recently received a green card, was planning to come home to visit his family. He was the oldest of 12 children.

By his polygamous father's two wives.
The case of the Tsarnaev family is more complex. Friends and relatives say Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the suspected Marathon bombers, suffered effects from persecution, though it remains unclear what those effects are. 
His son Tamerlan, 26, died after a shoot-out with police in Watertown, and his other son Dzhokhar, 19, remains in federal custody. 
Relatives said Anzor Tsarnaev came to America in April 2002 and won political asylum, which also likely covered his wife and children. The country he feared persecution in is Kyrgyzstan, the former Soviet republic where he was born, according to a federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity. 
Maret Tsarnaeva, Anzor Tsarnaev’s sister, told the Wall Street Journal that Tsarnaev was fired from his job in the prosecutor’s office in Kyrgyzstan after the second war erupted in Chechnya. She said he suffered persecution in Kyrgyzstan because he was Chechen, and that she helped write his application for asylum. 
“We were lucky to take him out of Kyrgyzstan alive,” Tsarnaeva, who lives in Canada, said in an interview broadcast online after the bombings. She did not elaborate and did not respond to messages left on her cellphone. 
Representatives at the Kyrgyz Embassy in Washington declined to comment but said they would look into reports that Anzor Tsarnaev suffered persecution there. 
About a year ago, according to media reports, Tsarnaev moved to Dagestan, the southern Russia home of his former wife, though researchers say the fighting is now more intense than when he came to America. His former wife, Zubiedat, also returned home, and their son Tamerlan, visited last year. 
Former neighbors in Kyrgyzstan told reporters that Anzor Tsarnaev also visited his hometown of Tokmok in the past year, a decade after he sought asylum.
Anzor Tsarnaev had suffered health problems and divorced in 2011. But one former neighbor said Tsarnaev seemed content. 
“He was very happy and proud of his sons’ success in the US,” Badrudi Tsokoev, a former neighbor told the Associated Press, describing Tsarnaev’s visit. “We also were happy for him.” 
David Filipov contributed to this story. Maria Sacchetti can be reached at msacchetti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariasacchetti.

But this ignores Uncle Ruslan's role in his nephews coming to the U.S. From a June 6th article by Philip Martin of WGBH summarizing a two hour interview with Uncle Ruslan Tsarni, the D.C. area lawyer and international energy industry wheeler-dealer:
At the end of World War II, the Tsarnaevs were forcibly relocated from Chechnya to the Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. 
As a trained lawyer, Ruslan moved to the U.S. in 1995, living in Washington state. By the end of the '90s, he moved back to Kyrgyzstan. 
Meanwhile, his brother and sister-in-law, Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, were living hours away with their four children, including Tamerlan and Dzhokhar. 
When Anzor and his wife fled to the U.S. in 2002, they brought with them just one child, young Dzhokhar. Once here, they applied for political asylum. Tamerlan stayed behind with his uncle Ruslan, who told me Tamerlan was a "wonderful 14-year-old." 
In 2003, Ruslan helped arrange for passports for Tamerlan and his two sisters to rejoin their family who, by then, were living in Cambridge. 

Unmentioned is that Uncle Ruslan used to be married to former CIA insider Graham Fuller's daughter. The possibility that Uncle Ruslan pulled some deep state strings to get his brother's family asylum seems worth investigating, but, you know, that stuff's secret so we're not supposed to learn about it.

Sailer: "Pyramid Schemes"

Jeb and George Bush: Need "more fertile" immigrants to rebuild "demographic pyramid"
From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
After Richard Nixon’s landslide victory in 1972, New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael lectured: 
I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them. 
Kael’s Conundrum has muddled much of the Western coverage of the current turmoil in Egypt and Turkey, where urban protestors are denouncing democratically elected Islamists. Few of the educated urbanites in Cairo and Istanbul who Tweet in English for the edification of Western journalists voted for Islamist election-winners such as Egypt’s recently deposed Mohamed Morsi or Turkey’s still reigning Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 
One reason that democracy in Egypt and Turkey led to the election of Islamists is because pious Muslims in the sticks and the slums have long had higher average birthrates than secular sophisticates in the metropolises.

Read the whole thing there.

July 9, 2013

Emperor Hadrian insufficiently imperialist for Invade / Invite World economist

Emperor Hadrian, ruled 117-138 A.D.
From The Atlantic:
The Great Wall of Texas: How the U.S. Is Repeating One of History's Great Blunders 
Today's immigration debate has an eerie precedent in the mistakes that brought down great empires from Rome to Britain. 
Before their empire fell, the Romans built walls.  
They began by erecting barriers along the border following the death of the Emperor Trajan in 117 A.D., notably Hadrian's Wall, which belted Britain. 
Okay, so Hadrian's Wall was finished around 128 A.D., and the Romans held England until the legions were recalled in 410 A.D. 410 - 128 = a mere 282 years. (In fact, local troops apparently continued to find Hadrian's Wall useful enough to man for a few generations after 410.) By my calculations, 282 years from now would be 2295 A.D.
... Despite the cautionary tale of Rome, building walls, both literal and figurative, has remained a habit of great powers in decline -- the fateful course taken not only by Ming China, but also Soviet Russia, and even Great Britain. 
Sadly, many Americans are all too eager to repeat history.  
Witness the immigration bill slowly making its way through Congress, and the feverish reactions it has inspired.
... The real dilemma for American growth is not ignorance about good economics, but the quagmire of bad politics. Simple-minded protectionism in terms of trade or migration is being exploited by populists in both major parties. What our leaders need to understand is that the only existential threat facing America is not embodied by barbarians at the gates, but by American isolationism. To continue the miraculous American growth story, we need to continue the traditions of constant innovation, diversity, and openness to the world. 
The last thing we need is a wall. 

Let's take a look at Hubbard's notion that building Hadrian's Wall in about 122 A.D. demonstrated that Rome was "in decline." The history of the Roman Republic was largely one of massive land-based piracy. Every year the legions would march out to inflict horrific violence on somebody, take slaves and tax their land. Eventually, after Augustus became the first emperor in 28 B.C., especially after his legions were destroyed in the forests of Germany, the emperors tended to feel that Rome had conquered most of what was worth conquering. For example, Hadrian, an energetic and competent ruler, appears to have felt that owning England was nice, but Scotland wasn't worth the trouble. (The next emperor built the Antonine Wall 100 miles north to protect his conquest of the Scottish Lowlands, but later emperors abandoned even southern Scotland as unprofitable.)

So, indeed Rome was "in decline" in the second century A.D. under the "five good emperors" in the sense that Rome wasn't out waging war in, say, the Scottish Highlands or Russia or Chad or the Empty Quarter of Arabia.

Edward Gibbon began his account of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire with the famous judgment that for humanity, the second century A.D. was as good as it had ever got:
If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus. The vast extent of the Roman empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded involuntary respect. The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws.

But Glenn Hubbard, the chairman of Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, knows better than Gibbon: the Roman emperors of the second century weren't invading the world and inviting the world enough. The Emperor Hadrian was insufficiently imperialist to satisfy modern economists' lust for centralized power and dominion.

By the way, here's Columbia B-School dean Hubbard being interviewed in Inside Job about his numerous financial conflicts of interest:

Big Data and the media

Having been fascinated by data since my mom bought me a book on the best baseball players of 1964 when I was 6, I don't want to be too skeptical of all the Big Data hype. Still, the evidence suggests that Big Data will, in some fields, just make things cruddier. 

Consider higher-end journalistic outlets. Has The Atlantic improved, overall, as it has evolved over the last two decades from the voice of WASP genteel foreboding to a data-driven vehicle for delivering maximum clicks by the all-important female consumer demograpic? Has Slate improved as it has evolved along the same Big Data path? Is National Review better? (To its credit, the New York Times has retained more of its self-respect.)

I probably should try to think of something else to say on this topic before I hit "post," but I've got to feed the beast. The Twittersphere can't wait!

GOP Brain Trust got rolled on "path to citizenship"

Something that has already been forgotten is that back in November, Republican elites started down the road to "immigration reform" largely assuming that they wouldn't have to grant the vote to illegal aliens. 

But that left them with two obvious rhetorical problems: 

First, since what they were for is amnesty but they can't admit that it's amnesty because Republican voters are against amnesty, that left them with nothing to call it. The Democrats immediately jumped in with their own helpful suggestion as to what to call the heart of the Schumer-Rubio bill: "a path to citizenship." But, of course, "a path to citizenship" is not what Republicans wanted.

Second, "a path to citizenship" just sounds nice. Naive American voters tend to think of citizenship as entailing responsibilities as well as privileges, even though that's increasingly less true in the real world.

Now, it should have been obvious to the GOP strategists that they were walking into this trap -- because it happened before. During Bush Push #2 in 2004, Karl Rove took citizenship off the table to placate Republican Congressmen, and immediately got rhetorically hammered by Democrats. As I wrote in VDARE on February 1, 2004:
For example, immigrants who become citizens vote for Democrats by landslide margins, so Congressional Republicans don't want more immigrants. KRAP [Karl Rove Amnesty Plan], therefore, denies citizenship to guest workers, leaving them a disenfranchised caste of unassimilated gastarbeiters
But Bush's new Machiavellianism automatically cedes the rhetorical high ground to the Democrats, who are already pushing for "earned legalization" (i.e., giving illegals the vote). Bush is left contradictorily sputtering about how wonderful immigrants are and how we don't want them to become our fellow citizens. 
Rove has spent three years telling the press what a brilliant political ploy amnesty would be, so his initial spin was: what a cynical political ploy!

On May 9, 2004, I noted in VDARE:
And, as I forecast, the Democrats have duly offered to not only give all illegal aliens amnesty, but also to put them on the road to citizenship…and, thus, to being good little Democrats. 
The whole thing offers the Dems some slam-dunk soundbites. For example, Rep. Bob Menendez, one of the bill's sponsors, said Bush's proposal "is a pathway to deportation. This is a pathway to the American dream." 

Opening borders as the Yankee missionary impulse

How much of elite enthusiasm in the Northeast for opening the borders further to, among other worthy goals, save Mexicans from starvation is a transmutation of the old Yankee missionary impulse? In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the wealthier northern Protestant denominations did a lot of missionary work abroad, such as in Hawaii, China, and the Arab world. In Hawaii, the Yankees started off doing good and wound up doing well, while in China they got kicked out, one and all.

Eventually, the high WASP progressives tired of Christian proselytizing, and also realized they weren't always as welcome in other lands as they had assumed. So, rather than go to heathen lands to uplift the benighted, why not just have the vibrantly diverse come here to be uplifted? The uplift urge continues.

Of course, little of the traditional northeastern Yankee uplift effort is currently directed at immigrants, which would be insensitive. Instead, it is focused upon you unenlightened nativist yahoos for not being persuaded by the browbeating of your betters that allowing mass immigration is your post-Christian duty.

Commenter David M. immediately replies:
You know, I don't think they would really want us nativist yahoos to change our ways. We give them an enemy and someone to feel morally superior to. 
I don't think that they want the immigrants to change either. They would rather that immigrants remain oppressed noble savages that they can protect from the evil nativists. As long as they remain foreign and distant (but simultaneously resident in the U.S.) they serve as excellent blank slates to project victimhood onto, while their actual behavior and beliefs remain totally irrelevant. If on the other hand they behave like white Americans (ala George Zimmerman) then they become real human beings, and must be lumped into the "good" or "evil" categories based on whether they have the right opinions and cultural habits.

July 8, 2013

Moneyball A's celebrate 28th year as PED pioneers

Everybody knows that the Oakland A's baseball team are plucky underdogs who use advanced statistics to outsmart the big budget teams, as Brad Pitt showed when playing Oakland general manager Billy Beane in 2011's hit movie Moneyball

Of course, when statistical analysis isn't enough (and when is it?), the A's just cheat, like they've been doing since Jose Canseco came up in 1986. Tyler Kepner writes in the NYT:
He might be baseball’s most confounding player, at once a marvel and a miscreant. Bartolo Colon flunked a drug test last summer and served a 50-game suspension. Now he says he is pitching better than he ever has.

Colon is the 40-year-old ace of the Oakland Athletics, the only All-Star on the team leading the American League West. Few players are older or seemingly in worse shape than Colon, who is 5 feet 11 inches and every bit of his listed weight of 267 pounds. 
And yet, after a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Monday, Colon was 12-3 with a 2.69 earned run average, pitching with enough confidence and precision to be the league leader in fewest walks per nine innings. 
... Who knew what to make of Colon last August, when he was suspended after testing positive for testosterone? He was 10-9 with a 3.43 E.R.A. when he was caught, after already pushing the system’s boundaries with the Yankees in 2011. 
Colon, whose career was sputtering because of injuries, had never told the Yankees that he was treated by a doctor who used Colon’s fat and bone marrow stem cells and injected them back into his elbow and shoulder. The doctor had used human growth hormone in similar procedures, but said he did not do so with Colon. 
It sounded shady enough, and the positive test, plus Colon’s subsequent link to the Biogenesis investigation, seemed to confirm that his renaissance was a mirage, too good to be true. Surely his cheating explained his success, and Colon, without the drugs, would decline. 

How do we know he's without drugs?
The A’s thought otherwise, as they often do, and brought him back for one year and $3 million, more than he had made in 2012.

Of course the A's signed Colon. The A's have had two general managers since 1983, Sandy Alderson and his protege Billy Beane, and the ballplayers they've employed have included notorious juicers practically the whole time. It's fun to make up bestselling airport books about how they win because their executives play the percentages, but let's not overlook names like Canseco, McGwire, Giambi, the other Giambi, Tejada, and Colon.

You'll notice that players now, finally, get penalized. But teams don't. And executives sure don't. If Billy Beane signs Colon and he gets away with cheating, the A's prosper. If Colon gets caught again and suspended for 100 games, the A's don't have to pay him for 100/162nd of a season. It's win-win.

U! S! A! -- We're Number Two!

But Schumer and Rubio have a plan to fix that.

The Awesomest Newspaper on Earth reports:
Mexico takes over from the U.S. as the fattest nation on earth, according to UN report 
Around 70 percent of Mexican adults are now classified as overweight ...
Only 10 per cent overweight in 1989 - before fast food was widely available 
The young and poor are the worst-affected groups 

The U.S. has finally lost its dubious honour of having the world's highest number of overweight and obese people. 
Fuelled by a worsening diet of fizzy drinks and cheap fast food restaurants, Mexico has now become the fattest nation in the world.  
Around 70 per cent of Mexican adults are now overweight and a third of them are obese, causing a range of serious health problems. ...
Mexico may still be battling malnutrition and hunger among some of its poor but now it is also managing to claim the largest number of overweight people, according to a UN report.

The fat epidemic is most prominent among the poor and the young - many of whom also suffer from malnourishment because of poor diet. 
Part of the difficulty is that the crisis has taken hold rapidly - In 1989, fewer than 10 percent of Mexican adults had any weight problems. ...
This year was the first time Mexico has inched ahead into first place, with a 32.8 per cent obesity rate to America's 31.8 per cent. 
However, this was only among the most populated countries of the world. 
Both Mexico and the U.S. have nothing on the small countries such as American Samoa in the Pacific where the rate of overweight inhabitants has now reached 95 per cent.  
Mexico - 32.8 per cent
United States - 31.8 per cent
Syria - 31.6 per cent
Venezuela, Libya - 30.8 per cent
Trinidad & Tobago - 30.0 per cent
Vanuatu - 29.8 per cent
Iraq, Argentina - 29.4 per cent
Turkey - 29.3 per cent
Chile - 29.1 per cent
Czech Republic - 28.7 per cent
Lebanon - 28.2 per cent
New Zealand, Slovenia - 27.0 per cent
El Salvador - 26.9 per cent
Malta - 26.6 per cent
Panama, Antigua - 25.8 per cent
Israel - 25.5 per cent
Australia, Saint Vincent - 25.1 per cent
Dominica - 25.0 per cent
UK, Russia - 24.9 per cent
Hungary - 24.8 per cent 

This is, on the whole, a pretty cruddy list of countries that Mexico and America rule over: No Norway, while Syria, Libya, and Venezuela are third through fifth. Take that, ghost of Hugo Chavez -- your Bolivarian Republic is only Number T4!

Remember when George W. Bush announced in his third debate with John Kerry in 2004 on the subject of illegal immigrants: "you're going to come here if you're worth your salt, if you want to put food on the table for your families"? Much of the discussion of immigration seems to be predicated on the American ruling class's assumption that Mexicans are this close to starvation.

For more evidence that the U.S. if falling behind and can only retake it's rightful place at the top by importing more folks from the Global South, see this table. Fans of The Wire will be ashamed that Baltimore's down to #48 in the world.

NYT prepares surprised readers for Zimmerman acquittal

Having served on a jury, I now realize I have no idea what any jury is going to do. Still, it seems hard to believe objectively that the now-rested prosecution has managed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was guilty of second degree murder in the sad, unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin.

This, however, is coming as a surprise to numerous New York Times readers, who are used to a steady diet of stories about KKK rallies at Oberlin and fiftieth anniversary articles about obscure events in the civil rights struggle. So, here's an NYT article (not "opinion" or even "analysis," just plain news) explaining that, even if the "protocols of a criminal trial" (including technicalities such as the presumption of innocence) aren't on the side of the angels, the angels are still on the side of the angels, and that's what really counts. 

And anyway, the Trayvon thing got the black vote out to re-elect Obama, so don't expect any apologies. We did what worked and we'll do it again the next time it feels necessary.
Zimmerman Case Has Race as a Backdrop, but You Won’t Hear It in Court 
SANFORD, Fla. — From the very beginning, there was no more powerful theme in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin than the issue of race.

It's not coincidental that the opening sentence reads like it was adapted from a book report on The Great Gatsby. We're talking Narrative, not trivialities like a man's guilt or innocence. The phrase "there was no more powerful theme in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin" makes sense only in the context of the media's spinning of the story, but that pregnant topic is off limits.
But in the courtroom where George Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder, race lingers awkwardly on the sidelines, scarcely mentioned but impossible to ignore. 
For African-Americans here and across the country, the killing of Mr. Martin, 17, black and unarmed, was resonant with a back story steeped in layers of American history and the abiding conviction that justice serves only some of the people. 

Of course, the last 50 years of high black youth crime rates are not "resonant." Who told you that you get a say in what is American history and what is not? What are you, some kind of profiler?
Had Mr. Martin shot and killed Mr. Zimmerman under similar circumstances, black leaders say, the case would have barreled down a different path: Mr. Martin would have been quickly arrested by the Sanford Police Department and charged in the killing, without the benefit of the doubt.  
Instead, there was no arrest for six weeks. And only after sharp criticism from civil rights leaders and demonstrations here and elsewhere did the Florida governor transfer the case to a special prosecutor from another county.

Let's not mention the hoopla in the national media. We just report the news, we don't have any responsibilities for making it.
“For members of the African-American community, it’s a here-we-go-again moment,” said JeffriAnne Wilder, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Florida. “We want to get away from these things, but this did not happen in a vacuum. It happened against the backdrop of all the other things that have happened before.” 
Yet inside a Seminole County courtroom, with the prosecution’s case against Mr. Zimmerman now over, race only occasionally punctuated the proceedings. The judge made it clear that statements about race would be sharply limited and the term “racial profiling” not allowed. What is more, overtly bringing up race might not have helped the prosecution. 
“There is no question that race is the 800-pound gorilla in this trial,” said Ed Shohat, a Miami lawyer who is also a member of the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board. “But if you overplay that card either way, you lose with the jury. You have to let the jury come to its own conclusion.” 
For supporters of the Martin family, Mr. Martin’s death was part of a more complex tale of profiling and injustice. But this perception has run up against the protocols of a criminal trial and Florida’s expansive self-defense laws. These laws, critics say, give too much leeway to people who say they acted violently because they felt threatened.

In other words, under the rule of law in Florida, the state of Florida has the burden of proof to demonstrate that Zimmerman wasn't acting in self-defense, and lots of luck with that.
Defense lawyers argue that Mr. Zimmerman, 29, a neighborhood watch volunteer in his gated community in Sanford, was attacked by a visiting Mr. Martin and, fearing for his life, shot him. Prosecutors counter that Mr. Zimmerman, whose mother is Peruvian

and who looks a little black himself
, set out to confront Mr. Martin and initiated the fight that ended in Mr. Martin’s death. The charge is second-degree murder, inflicting death with spite, hatred or ill will. But no one in the courtroom is saying outright that race or racial hatred entered into the shooting.

Unlike in the media, where we said it over and over despite a lack of evidence until we forced this absurdly over-charged trial to happen.
“It’s like we are watching two different trials,” said the Rev. Al Jackson, a pastor in Richmond Heights, a predominantly black community in Miami-Dade County, expressing frustration over the case and how it is unfolding at trial. “The law doesn’t care how this started, but we do. You are punishing this boy for defending himself, even though it wasn’t his fault.” 
Even so, race made an entrance on the first day of the trial. John Guy, a prosecutor, said in opening statements that Mr. Zimmerman had “profiled” Mr. Martin and pursued him because he was suspicious of the black teenager who looked as though “he was up to no good,” as Mr. Zimmerman told the police dispatcher in a call that night. He cited Mr. Zimmerman’s apparent frustration in that call, quoting him making derogatory references to potential burglars who always seemed to “get away.” 
Race came up again when the jury heard four other phone calls to the police by Mr. Zimmerman reporting suspicious people in the neighborhood, all of them black. The fact that Mr. Zimmerman was studying criminal justice in college and seemed eager for a career in law or law enforcement rounded out the prosecution’s portrait of a would-be vigilante. 
Race arose again, in topsy-turvy manner

I mean, what could be crazier than the concept of a black racially demeaning a non-black? Has the world gone insane?
when Rachel Jeantel, 19, a young black woman who was speaking to Mr. Martin on the phone shortly before he was shot, took the stand. Mr. Martin told her during that call, Ms. Jeantel said, that Mr. Zimmerman was following him; he called him a “creepy-ass cracker." The defense team quickly jumped on the words, suggesting to the jury that Mr. Martin had profiled Mr. Zimmerman.

Seriously, note the bizarre inversion of sense, where evidence of "profiling" is the worst sin imaginable, whereas evidence of racial animus is ignored. The term "cracker" is evidence of racial animus on the part of Martin, not of profiling. But in our anti-empirical age, the worst sin is Noticing Things.

On the other hand, the term "creepy-ass" suggests anti-gay profiling on the part of Martin, but the substantial possibility that this incident had a gay-bashing aspect to it would just make poor NYT readers' head explode, so let's never mention the obvious.
In the cocoon of the courthouse, even Mr. Martin’s bullet-scarred hooded sweatshirt, positioned for jurors in a clear plastic frame, appeared less a poignant symbol for the thousands who marched in his name than a lamentable but necessary piece of evidence.

Think of the Skittles!
Still, black pastors, sociologists and community leaders said in interviews that they feared that Mr. Martin’s death would be a story of justice denied, an all-too common insult that to them places Trayvon Martin’s name next to those of Rodney King, Amadou Diallo and other black men who were abused, beaten or killed by police officers. 
“Profiling, stereotyping, the disparity in treatment of African-Americans when it comes to criminal matters, how imbalanced it all is in the eyes of African-Americans,” said the Rev. Lowman Oliver, the pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford. “That’s why so many eyes are on this case. It’s nationwide and international.” 
The makeup of the jury, six women, none black, is occasionally noted. Race also framed Ms. Jeantel’s turn on the witness stand, which drew heckling online from white and black observers who mocked her demeanor. In testimony over two days, Ms. Jeantel, a high school senior and Mr. Martin’s friend, was clearly uneasy in the spotlight, at times impatient and often hard to hear or understand.
“She was mammyfied,” said Ms. Wilder, the sociology professor, expressing disappointment over the reaction. “She has this riveting testimony, then she became, overnight, the teenage mammy: for not being smart and using these racial slurs and not being the best witness. A lot of people in the African-American community came out against her.” 
In the past two weeks, defense lawyers have chipped away at the prosecution’s case, legal analysts said, raising the possibility of an acquittal. The law in Florida allows for the use of force if someone fears great bodily harm, and prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.

All this legal mumbo-jumbo like "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the racist crackers are using to get their good old boy off. Florida must be a racist hellhole if the government can't just go around convicting individuals of murder without meeting the burden of proof.
The twists and turns of the case — its weaknesses and legal complications — were not a factor for many supporters of the Martin family, until recently. “We thought this was an open-and-shut case,” said Mr. Jackson, the pastor in Richmond Heights. 

Probably a New York Times subscriber.
Mr. Oliver, the Sanford pastor, said he remained optimistic. “You can feel a little sense that anger is re-emerging,” he said.

Rev. Oliver is optimistic about having a good race riot if Zimmerman is acquitted?
The possibility of an acquittal has prompted community leaders, ministers and law enforcement officials in Miami and Sanford to prepare. This week in Miami, they will hold a meeting in Miami Gardens, where Mr. Martin lived, to talk about the complexity of the legal case and what has happened in the courtroom so far. They are also reaching out to young people in schools and parks and through Web sites, urging them to remain calm. 
“It is important that we still maintain peace, even though decisions are not made to our liking,” Mr. Jackson said. “That is our message, and that is what we are preaching.” 
Even the suggestion that trouble may follow an acquittal is fraught with racial overtones, particularly since much of the preparation is focused on the black community. 
But in cities like Miami, which have experienced racial unrest, the ministers and activists said it was a reasonable concern. It is better to be prepared, they say, than caught off guard. 
“Everybody wants to know the pulse of the community,” Mr. Jackson said. “It’s not an insult to ask whether we feel there will be unrest.” 
As the trial begins its third and perhaps final week, there is widespread agreement that one fact rises above all others: post-racial America, as some hoped it would be after a black man was elected president, is still a work in progress. 
“We are going to have to have a dialogue in this nation about racial matters,” Mr. Oliver said.

A "dialogue" about race is code for "Shut up and listen to your betters." But, having gotten Obama re-elected, white liberals are once again tiring of black people being less than satisfactory in their appointed roles as saints and martyrs, so the New York Times now returns to its regularly scheduled around-the-clock coverage of gay marriage.

In summary, I'm always being accused of being obsessed with questions of race. But, in reality, I just read the New York Times.

The Terman Family: Proof that IQ and heredity are frauds

Glancing at the comments on a Salon article on IQ testing:
politicalrealist3 23 hours ago 
Malcolm Gladwell wrote of the problems with IQ tests in "Outliers".  In the 1920s, Stanford psychology professor Lewis Terman thought the IQ test was the answer to predicting what would happene in people's lives.  He devoted his life to the concept.  He managed to track the children who had scored in the highest percentiles for decades. He thought their high IQs would predict their success.   
It didn't.  Only a tiny percentage of Terman's High IQ children excelled. Many were complete failures in life.  None were Nobel prize winners. Ironically, in California two children who DID win the Nobel prize were not a part of his group because their IQs were not high enough. 

I've run through this history before, but it's so ironic that it's worth repeating. 

One of the two Nobelists who just missed Terman's cut-off was physicist William Shockley. Shockley is often called "the father of Silicon Valley" because so many of the silicon chip firms were founded by lieutenants he recruited to work at Shockley Semiconductor, such as Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, founders of Intel. 

So, obviously, this proves that Louis Terman's obsession with IQ and heredity was pseudo-science.

And yet, Shockley didn't think so: as a Stanford professor in the 1960s and 1970s, he was a notorious advocate of the heritability of IQ. 

But that raises other questions, such as why was Shockley hired as a Stanford professor after he washed out as an entrepreneur by alienating his employees? And was Shockley really the father of Silicon Valley? After all, HP and a number of other Stanford-connected high-tech firms were flourishing there before Shockley arrived from Bell Labs.

The other candidate for the title of father of Silicon Valley is Stanford's dean of engineering Fred Terman, who mentored future entrepreneurs like Hewlett and Packard, and developed the military-industrial-academic-entrepreneurial complex on Stanford land that he leased to his former students. 

Fred Terman hired his buddy Shockley for Stanford. 

And Fred Terman was the son of Louis Terman, the inventor of the famous Stanford-Binet IQ test.

Of course, we now know that the Termans, father and son, and Shockley were totally wrong about everything, which is why nobody today at Stanford or in Silicon Valley ever worries about how smart anybody is. Hence, Stanford or Google just admit or hire applicants at random.

Does IQ testing work or not work?

My previous post cites an interesting new study of brain development that begins:
“IQ predicts many measures of life success ...

Here's an article in Salon by the author of a new book on the failures of IQ testing, which appears to be aimed at upper middle class parents of kids who are having trouble in school:
IQ tests hurt kids, schools — and don’t measure intelligence 
The research proves that IQ tests poorly predict learning disabilities. So why are schools still using them? 

Can IQ testing both "predict" and "poorly predict" at the same time?

Can a glass be half-full and half-empty at the same time?

If it's your kid, of course you want more detail. You want to know your child's strengths as well as weaknesses. But one number IQ scores also have their uses, especially in social sciences when thinking about groups.

The half-full glass wisecrack that I use a lot seems snarky, but the truth is that I found learning enough about psychometrics in the 1990s to be able to write non-stupidly on the subject to be hard work. I noticed early in my writing career that writing X number of words on IQ was more mentally exhausting than writing X number of words on almost any other subject.

But, I don't regret the effort in that once you get the hang of thinking about IQ, you'll notice that you've learned a lot about how to think about the human world in general. The subject is so difficult that you need to improve your toolbox of helpful reductionist concepts, and you need to be able to hold opposing concepts like nature and nurture in mind at the same time, which isn't easy to do.

Back in 2007, I wrote up a Frequently Asked Questions list for IQ that discussed some of these issues:
Q. So, do IQ tests predict an individual's fate? 
A. In an absolute sense, not very accurately at all. Indeed, any single person's destiny is beyond the capability of all the tests ever invented to predict with much accuracy. 
Q. So, if IQ isn't all that accurate for making predictions about an individual, why even think of using it to compare groups, which are much more complicated?
A. That sounds sensible, but it's exactly backwards. The larger the sample size, the more the statistical noise washes out. 
Q. How can that be? 
A. If Adam and Zach take an IQ test and Adam outscores Zach by 15 points, it's far from impossible that Zach actually has the higher "true" IQ. A hundred random perturbations could have thrown the results off. Maybe if they took the test dozen times, Zach just might average higher than Adam. 
But for comparing the averages of large groups of people, the chance of error becomes vanishingly small. For example, the largest meta-analysis of American ethnic differences in IQ, Philip L. Roth's  2001 survey,[Ethnic group differences in cognitive ability in employment and educational settings: a meta-analysis, Personnel Psychology 54, 297–330.] aggregated 105 studies of 6,246,729 individuals. That's what you call a decent sample size. 
Q. So, you're saying that IQ testing can tell us more about group differences than about individual differences? 
A. If the sample sizes are big enough and all else is equal, a higher IQ group will virtually always outperform a lower IQ group on any behavioral metric.
One of the very few positive traits not correlated with IQ is musical rhythm—which is a reason high IQ rock stars like Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and David Bowie tell Drummer Jokes. 
Of course, everything else is seldom equal. A more conscientious group may well outperform a higher IQ group. On the other hand, conscientiousness, like many virtues, is positively correlated with IQ, so IQ tests work surprisingly well. 
Q. Wait a minute, does that mean that maybe some of the predictive power of IQ comes not from intelligence itself, but from virtues associated with it like conscientiousness? 
A. Most likely. But perhaps smarter people are more conscientious because they are more likely to foresee the bad consequences of slacking off. It's an interesting philosophical question, but, in a practical sense, so what? We have a test that can predict behavior. That's useful. 
Q. Can one number adequately describe a person's intelligence?
A. Sort of. 
Q. "Sort of"?!? What the heck kind of answer is that?
A. A realistic one. 
Q. How can something be true and not true at the same time?
A. How can the glass be half-full and half-empty at the same time? Most things about IQ testing are partly true and partly false at the same time. That's the nature of anything inherently statistical, which is most of reality. 
Humans are used to legalistic reasoning that attempts to draw bright lines between exclusive categories. For example, you are either old enough to vote or you aren't. There's no gray area. But the law is artificial and unlike most of reality. Many people have a hard time dealing with that fact, especially when it comes to thinking about IQ. 
Q. Enough epistemology! How can you rationalizing summing up something as multifaceted as intelligence in a single number? 
A. Think about SAT scores. Your total score says something about you, while breaking out your Math and Verbal scores separately says more. A kid who gets a total of 1400 out of 1600 (Math + Verbal) is definitely college material, while a kid who gets a 600 isn't. That's the big picture. For the fine detail, like which college to apply to, it helps to look at the subscores. A kid with a 1400 who got a 600 Math and an 800 Verbal would be better off at Swarthmore than at Cal Tech. 
A few years ago, the SAT added a third score, Writing, but many colleges aren't sure how useful it is, and there's some sentiment for dropping the Writing test as not worth the extra time or cost. In other words, there are diminishing marginal returns to more detail.

By the way, the FAQ was a mainstay of the Usenet era of Internet discussion groups before the invention of the World Wide Web. It was widely considered a terrific way to bring people up to speed. Yet, in this century, FAQs seem to have fallen dramatically out of fashion. Why? Does it have something to do with the rise of Wikipedia? 

The dialogue format for written instruction of difficult material has gone in and out of favor over the ages. Plato and Galileo used it, but at the moment it seems to be just not done.

Eric Turkheimer's got some 'splainin' to do

From Psychological Science:
The Nature and Nurture of High IQ
An Extended Sensitive Period for Intellectual Development 
“IQ predicts many measures of life success, as well as trajectories of brain development. Prolonged cortical thickening observed in individuals with high IQ might reflect an extended period of synaptogenesis and high environmental sensitivity or plasticity. We tested this hypothesis by examining the timing of changes in the magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on IQ as a function of IQ score. We found that individuals with high IQ show high environmental influence on IQ into adolescence (resembling younger children), whereas individuals with low IQ show high heritability of IQ in adolescence (resembling adults), a pattern consistent with an extended sensitive period for intellectual development in more-intelligent individuals. The pattern held across a cross-sectional sample of almost 11,000 twin pairs and a longitudinal sample of twins, biological siblings, and adoptive siblings.”