Friday, October 31, 2008

The (non)value of education: My experience as a professor convinces me that students do not learn much long-term that is independent of what they would learn anyway, given their IQ.

Let's attempt a test. The General Social Survey quizzed respondents with eleven basic science questions. I regressed their quiz scores on years of education and a measure of IQ. Here are the results:

OLS unstandardized coefficients (standardized coefficients in parentheses)

Years of education .038 (.107)
IQ .034 (.425)
Constant -4.05

N = 222

To give you an intuitive sense of the results, the model predicts that if you have an IQ of 100 and complete 12 years of school, your predicted science score is 8.6 (out of a 11). If you have the same IQ but finish 16 years of education, you're score is 8.9--not much of a difference. If, instead of being a high school grad with a 100 IQ, you have the same level of education but an IQ of 125, your predicted score is 10.2--a big improvement over 8.6.

I sometimes get the feeling in the classroom that I'm just going through the motions. Students learn plenty, but it's clear that it doesn't stick. These data are consistent with that impression. I'm inclined to think that a GREAT deal of time and resources are wasted. For many, college might do little more than condition students to adopt liberal values.

Oh how the country genuflects to that sacred idea--education. Unless it produces real, useful results, I say bullshit.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tito the Builder: I've posted dozens of analyses documenting the lower average human capital among Hispanic immigrants. I keep beating that drum, not because ordinary folks who live with Latinos don't sense these kinds of things, but because all too many elites have romantic notions about this population.

Knee-jerk multiculturalists, of course, assume I'm a racist and that I want no Hispanics to live in the country. Hispanic citizens enjoy every right I have, and are just as much an American as I am. Admission to this country should be based on an individual's ability to make the country a better one.

A recent example of this is Tito the Builder. An immigrant from Colombia, he's worked hard and now owns a construction company. As a partisan, I'm also glad to see that he's a conservative--the politics that productive people who are comfortable with traditional America often adopt.

Now, some reader will probably find something that makes Tito look bad, but I only use him as a symbol of what I am talking about. I couldn't care less that a man is brown, or that he speaks Spanish at home. I do care that he makes a net contribution to society, and I do care that he's not the type to tear down what I value about America.
I can already see the black narrative forming: Racist White America was overcome by black determination at the polls. Those 50% of whites who voted for Obama conveniently do not exist.
Hispanic Americans are fatter than the rest of us (and we're fat as hell): I examined 2002 Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System data on 247,964 Americans. Here are mean Body Mass Indexes by Hispanic ethnicity:

Mean Body Mass Index

Hispanics 3248.95
Non-Hispanics 2992.84

(I wasn't able to figure out why their index is different from the one that ranges from the teens to the thirties). Adjusting for height, Hispanics are heavier than others, and the difference is about one-sixth of a standard deviation.

As everyone knows, obesity is associated with a long list of health problems, not to mention eye pollution. Mass immigration from the south is making us a less healthy society.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The mystery of Obama X is finally getting unravelled: I read Steve Sailer's blog every day. He's written an awful lot about Obama for like a year and a half, so how it is that I could not put down his new book, America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's Story of Race and Inheritance?

I'm not going to give you the details. You need to read the book. But I will say that the presidential candidate I've seen on TV and read about in the newspaper for the past two years is NOT the man who wrote Dreams From My Father in 1995. I simply don't recognize the man Steve describes. But the crazy thing is that the author spends most of his time simply putting Obama's abstruse memoir into plain language. The book is not arm-chair speculation; it's a translation.

The man who wrote Dreams is a race man. He lives and breathes to advance the interests of the black race. A literary Louis Farrakhan. Either Obama has undergone a Malcolm X-like transformation in the past few years, or he is a hustler like we've never seen among politicians.

I kept thinking as I was reading, "Almost 500 pages of race obsession in Dreams, and the Republicans can't make anything of it?" Why try to make an association with Ayers or Khalidi stick when it's much, much more effective to associate Obama 2008 with Obama 1995?

Sure, Obama uses convoluted language, but you can string phrases together, or as I teach my students: paraphrase. For example, Obama said the Nation of Islam is not the way for blacks to go only because it's not practical. It's not wrong to hate whites? Not wrong to hate Jews? Not wrong to believe that only blacks matter? Not wrong to believe that whites are the creation of an evil scientist--hairy-assed, blue-eyed devils?

Now, it might sound like Steve's book is a simple retelling of Obama's life. That alone would be an important contribution since most people are totally ignorant about the basic facts. But Prince is much more. I was surprised that the author turned it into a work chock full of psychological insights about the probable future POTUS. I pray to God that Obama is not going to work out his personal hang-ups on us, the American public.

Steve himself says the book might not have much influence on the public because it's too intellectual. I'm not going to inventory all the gems for you. Get off your butt and get the book yourself here.

And make a generous donation, dammit!
Dick Morris--good strategist that he is--says McCain is making a mistake to not run Reverend Wright ads this last week. He suggests we donate to this PAC. As we near the election, I've noticed that Obama has been turning up his black-speak at rallies. At this rate, by January it will be increasingly difficult to recognize the difference from his voice and Wright's. You want to listen to THAT for four years? Open that wallet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who's comfortable with genetically modified foods?

The General Social Survey asked 900 people their view about eating foods that have been genetically modified (GM). Results are shown in the graphs. People with extreme political views are move likely to refuse to eat this kind of food, as are the less educated and less intelligent.

From what I have read, GM foods are perfectly safe. These findings surprise me a bit: My impression was that whiterpeople types and a lot of Europeans are opposed to this practice, and while there are a lot of extreme liberals who won't eat GM food according to the top graph, the overall pattern shows that smart, educated people tend to be more comfortable with it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Religiosity vs. brand of Christianity: The General Social Survey asked white Christians about their brand of religion--fundamentalist, moderate, or liberal--their frequency of church attendance, and their choice of presidential candidate in 2004. Here are the results of voting for Bush regressed on the other two variables :

OLS unstandardized coefficients, N = 1,838

Liberal vs. fundamentalist -.098
Moderate vs. fundamentalist -.109
Frequency of church attendance .022
Constant 1.66

(all effects are statistically signficant at the .05 level, two-tail test)

So how are these numbers interpreted? Let's do it this way. The model can be used to predict the percentage who voted for Bush, given a set of characteristics. Here are four combinations:

Predicted percent voting for Bush

Fundamentalist, never attends 66.0
Fundemantalist, attends more than weekly 83.6
Liberal, never attends 56.3
Liberal, attends more than weekly 73.8

A fundamentalist Christian who never goes to church was less likely to vote for Bush than a liberal Christian who goes all the time.

There is much attention paid to the fundamentalist streak among Republicans, but less attention paid to the fact that many who vote Republican are moderate or liberal Christians who are serious about their religion. As is usually the case with religion, behavior is more important than status: whether you are fundamentalist are not is not as important as how devoted you are to your particular brand of Christianity.

Fundamentalists are a minority of Christian Republicans. To be precise, 62.2% of Christians who voted for Bush in 2004 were moderate or liberal believers.
Prepare yourselves for Obamamerica... and value the police like I do: This is a pretty good piece on the election polls. It shows that the variation among poll estimates is larger than in 2004, and the simple explanation for it is that pollsters have differing sampling methodologies based on assumptions about who is going to turn out to vote.

It looks like those who expect a really big turnout from folks likely to vote for Obama are generating a large Obama/McCain gap; those with more conservative methodologies show a somewhat tighter race.

All polls show Obama ahead, and if we go by the two polls that were closest in 2004 (at least those I am familiar with)--Investors Business Daily and Rasmussen--Obama is ahead by 4 or 8 points, respectively. The probability is very high that Obama will win. Go out and vote, anyway, all you Republicans, but you'd better start asking yourselves today how you need to change to win next time around.

Let me offer a first suggestion: return to the conservative view that people are inclined to be naughty and therefore need to be policed. Government stinks at most things, but it is pretty good at cracking heads with night sticks. And nobody needs the occasional crack on the head more than our economic elites.

Libertarian, schmibertarian. I, for one, am pro-police. The irony was intensely rich when I saw anarchist Bill Ayers on Fox News yesterday calling the frigging police to get protection from those oh so scary journalists. The guy who tried to kill NYC police officers. Truly rich.

Those Chicago cops should have cracked Billy Boy on the head.
Whites most likely to defend themselves with a gun: The National Crime Vimization Survey (1992-2005) asked 4,030 crime victims if they did anything to resist the attack. Only 1.1% fought back by threatening or attacking the offender with a gun. What is the racial breakdown of the resisters? 84% were white, 7% were black, 7% were Hispanic, and 2% were Asian. This is consistent with the white emphasis on self-reliance.
I'm considered a bigot because I want illegals who are often poor and uneducated deported out of the country. In this they are deprived only of a nicer place to live. Liberals consider themselves enlightened and compassionate because they encourage the poor and uneducated to deport their babies from the womb. In this the babies are deprived only of their lives.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Look into early voting folks--no lines, it's cool.

I proudly cast my vote today for Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan. He's such a stud, he can serve as his own vice-president. He sends the exact right message: abortion sucks, mass immigration blows, and American empire can bite me.

IQ and voting

Silly me--I forgot in my earlier analysis to include IQ as a predictor of voting. The above graph shows the percentages of people who voted in 2004 by IQ. Amazing--95.8% of the highest category voted. Even if a few smarties are lying, it's still impressive.

Also, you gotta love all those folks with IQs of 56 who voted.
I rarely get blog e-mails so I sometimes go for months without remembering to check for them. Now I see that a number of people sent me something, so I will try to get back to everyone soon. Sorry about that.

While I'm at it, you never know when the black hats are going to come and get me, and I might have to take down my blog in order to keep my job. If you send me an e-mail, I can keep a list and send out my data analyses in place of a blog.
3,200 professors have signed a pro-Ayers petition. And you wonder why I get so pissed off at liberals? I have to work with these idiots every day. The Steveosphere is one place that takes intelligence seriously, but my work environment reminds me on a daily basis that IQ ain't everything.

And this "Ayers is a leading education scholar" is nonsense. I knew of Ayers years ago, but as a terrorist, not a serious scholar. I've never run across his work on education or juvenile justice in anything I've ever read. That's probably because I stick to serious, quantitative research, not Marxist drivel.

(By the way, "education scholar" is an oxymoron.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Likelihood of voting favors Republicans: I'm interested in how the likelihood of voting varies across groups. From highest to lowest, here are the percentages of Americans who voted for president in 2004, according to the Census:

Percent who voted in 2004

White males 65-74 73.9
White males 75+ 72.8
White females 65-74 71.0
White females 45-64 69.9
Black males 65-74 68.2

White males 45-64 67.4
White females 75+ 65.6
Black females 45-64 65.3
Black females 65-74 64.9
Black males 75+ 62.4

Black females 75+ 60.2
Black males 45-64 59.2
Black females 25-44 58.9
White females 25-44 56.9
White males 25-44 51.2

Black females 18-24 48.7
Black males 25-44 48.0
White females 18-24 45.5
White males 18-24 39.8
Black males 18-24 39.0

You can see that age is the biggest factor: the elderly are much more likely to vote. Race and gender are less important. More women vote at young ages, but more men do at older ages.

I estimated OLS coefficients where the dependent variable is voting in 2004, and a number of predictors are included (General Social Survey data):

Standardized OLS coefficients, N = 2,349

Education .28*
Church attendance .18*
Age .14*
Income .05*
Sex .03
Political orientation .02
Race .01

* p < 05, two-tail

The person who is most likely to vote: educated, frequent churchgoer, older, and higher income. These factors favor Republicans. Not so sure about the educated? Here are the percentages for 2004:

Voted for Bush in 2004

Less than high school 41.6
High school 49.7
Junior college 52.1
Bachelors 54.5
Grad 39.0

The pattern holds for the lowest four categories, with post-baccalaureates being the exception.
The ongoing race freakout: Pat Buchanan, as usual, gets it right. This time, on Powell's stab in the back. I never particularly liked the general, and he showed Sunday that he is a consummate, opportunistic politician like his buddy Obama. I think he is bored and looking for a job offer.

But the reason I post this is that I watched Sunday as some woman pundit on MSNBC told Pat that it was beneath him to suggest that race was a factor in Powell's decision. She almost passed out, his words were so shocking.

Here is Powell's answer to the race question posed by Brokaw:

"If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world."

This is a roundabout way of saying that Powell can't deny that race is one factor. The black pundit, Juan Williams, said on Fox that of course race was a factor. It's simply a fact, but the woman's response shows the race hysteria among whites that I frequently complain about. This ongoing race freakout is a HUGE problem, and it destroys our ability to deal with so many problems.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let's compromise on abortion: Readers of this blog know that I'm pro-life, but then again, so is Barack Obama. As recently as the last debate, he said that he's not for abortion--nobody is.

So, in the spirit of bipartisanship, let's work together find ways to reduce this problem. Let's do it this way: each side can offer up one idea, and we can next find out how effective the idea is.

You first. Expand public support of birth control for needy women, you say? Great, I'm all for the maximum use of contraceptives as a way to lower the abortion rate. So how effective is it? Well, using Guttmacher data for all 50 states, I calculated the correlation between the percent of needy women getting their birth control paid for by the state and the rate of abortion. It's -.22 (not statistically significant at the .05 level). Not very impressive, but hey, better than nothing (maybe).

Now my idea. Shrink, or at least do not increase, the number of counties around the country with abortion clinics. How much of a difference would this make? The correlation across all 50 states is .68. Much more impressive--it explains almost half of the variance--which is not surprising since it is a conservative idea, but let's not try to score points here. Let's hold hands on this one and do both ideas.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More on Native Alaskan crime: In an earlier post, I provided evidence that Native Alaskans are much more criminal than their white counterparts who, in turn, have crime rates somewhat higher than whites in the lower 48 states. American Indians (AIs), by contrast, are not arrested much more often than whites.

Some readers suggested that native Alaskans are not more criminally prone than AIs; rather, many crimes committed by AIs do not result in an arrest because the law is underenforced on reservations.

The General Social Survey asked thousands of Americans if they have ever been threatened or shot at with a gun. I define as American Indian those people who say their primary ethnicity is Indian and that their race is non-white (in order to eliminate whites who say their main ethnicity is AI). Here the percentages:

Percent having ever been threatened or shot at with a gun

American Indians 18.1
Whites 18.7
Blacks 25.2

I'm assuming that most attacks are intra-racial. (The white offense rate is probably lower since the National Crime Victimization Survey indicates that a substantial share of attacks on whites are perpetrated by blacks. This should not be the case with the more rural and segregated American Indians.) These numbers indicate that gun violence is not higher--or not much higher--among AIs than among whites. This pattern is consistent with arrest statistics.

So native Alaskans still look much more violent than Native Americans.
Here is a liberal exemplified. You remember Arthur Miller, the leftie playwright who wrote about the cruelties of the American way of life. Oh, how everyone loved him for his sensitivity.

Now I read this: "A few months ago Vanity Fair ran an article about the discovery that the playwright Arthur Miller, with his third wife, the photographer Inge Morath, 40 or so years ago had a Down syndrome son. Miller promptly clapped the boy into an institution--according to the article, not a first class one either--and never saw the child again."

Typical. All the sensitivity amounts to status manuevering.

Actually, it's pretty smart. He got into Marilyn's bed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Michelle Malkin writes that, "After Wurzelbacher told Katie Couric that Obama's rhetorical tap dance was 'almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr.,' the inevitable cries of 'bigotry' followed. (There are now tens of thousands of hits on the Internet for 'Joe the Plumber racist.')"

This is why this former liberal can't stand liberals.
What happened in my office the other day: I am in the habit of telling my students that, on average, women are more prosocial than men. Look at any list of crime stats broken out by gender. Even prostitution arrests are 40% male, and how often do they arrest the Johns?

But maybe I'll stop telling them this after an incident the other day. Two students were in my office. One was a really nice guy with cerebal palsy. The other was a very attractive young woman who is recently divorced with young children. The three of us were swapping stories, and I learned that this woman gets no child support from her ex, but she loves to go out and get drunk--she appears to be making up for a youth lost to motherhood. She has no money, so she always insists that her friends pay.

You can probably see where this is headed. This girl starts flirting with the guy. He's eating it up and telling stories about what a tough guy he is--you know he hasn't been with a woman in years--and before you know it, she has given him her number, and they plan to go out with her friends the following night. Who do you suppose is going to pay for drinks?

Now I could couple this story with my recent observation that women love Obama--a man who sits in his peaceful way looking on the million babies aborted each year--or I could, of course, mention the Caylee Anthony case, but I'll just end by saying that I won't feel like praising women much in class next time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dumb people are sometimes right

In my view, the gut instinct which dumb people are more likely to rely on is sometimes right, while the analytical approach that smart folks have a habit of taking at times leads to mistakes. For example, the General Social Survey asked 901 Americans, "One of the bad effects of science is that it breaks down people's ideas of right and wrong."

The graph above shows that the percent agreeing with this statement tends to decline with increasing IQ, but I would argue that the statement is correct. Now, in terms of logic, science does not undermine morality: facts do not imply values. But the question is asking about cause and effect, not logic, and I think it is clear that science often works like an acid on established value systems.

The values of traditional religion, for example, do not have the status among the Western elites that they used to have, and this is due in part to the advance of science. I don't like to include cultural anthropology and sociology as sciences, but they share the epistemology of the hard sciences, and anyone who has taken even an introductory course in one of these subjects learns that values and norms are arbitrary. They are nothing more than social convention, and could easily be something else. These ideas come from the observed fact that cultures vary a lot.

Now, of course, you can argue that there is more to values than mere convention, but science will never argue that they are God-given, or that they have some transcendent, Platonic status. Science reduces values to a human level.

It looks like unintelligent people intuit this, while that understanding is drowned out in smarter folks as they deliberate over the question. Perhaps many smart people fail to appreciate the irrational nature of humans. Science doesn't corrode traditional ideas of right and wrong through logic: it does so through a psychological, irrational process.

For example, let's assume for a moment that heterosexual monogamy is right. Science has taught us that polygyny has been common among humans and is found among closely related species like gorillas. This knowledge might convince a person that monogamy is not right--it is just one way to organize human sexuality.

Logically, this makes no sense since the observed fact of polygyny does not imply that monogamy is either right, wrong, or neutral. Science doesn't deal in right or wrong, but it has an impact on our definitions of morality nevertheless. Smart people might not see this because they have these models of rational humans which are incorrect.

(It would be nice to see answers for people smarter than those shown in the graph. The people who are disagreeing with the statement in large numbers really aren't that smart, so it could be that they, by their answer, are simply saying that science is good because that's the respectable thing to say. And yeah, I might have just thrown out my earlier ideas. Get used to it: I do that all the time. I still like the idea of smart people using an incorrect model of rational humans, though.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Female voters: Did anyone see tonight's debate on CNN that tracked the immediate reactions of men and women as the debate proceeded? It gave me a lot of insight into the minds of female voters. It is clear that they like positive plans and promises and happy talk in general. Numbers went way down when candidates went negative.

Without a doubt women prefer Obama, but why? I got the impression that women love coolness--a man who will absolutely not be ruffled. When it comes to a man, women like a rock. The Marlboro Man. That combined with a resonant baritone voice signals masculinity and leadership. McCain's emotionality, along with a nasal voice, is less attractive. The various arguments seemed much less important than these qualities. I'm not sure about this, but it seems like women, compared to men, base their votes more on one's likeability and the niceness of one's positions.

I assumed that women don't read this blog because they are less interested in politics and numbers, but they must be at least as turned off by its harshness.

The American animal: Have you ever noticed how the United States looks like an animal? Johnny Depp did say that America is like a big puppy. New England is the head, with Boston being the brains. Between all the media and politicians, New York City and DC are the two ends of a big mouth.

All those solid folks in the northern states form the straight backbone, and Midwestern region is where the nation's heart is found. The West Coast is the nation's buttocks with Las Vegas as the colon and Hollywood and San Pornando Valley the anus out of which the waste comes.

Florida and South Texas are the fore- and hind legs, and New Orleans is the sex organs.

A fine lookin' animal, if you ask me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More on those nutty religious conservatives: Now that I have a few more free minutes, I can compare the risk of mental health among very religious, extremely conservative people and extreme liberals who never attend church. The mean days of mental illness reported per month for the former group is .47. For the latter group, it's 7.05.

That means that the rate is 15 times higher for irreligious liberals. Put differently, a typical godless liberal is mentally ill one week out of each month!
"The irreligious are all lunatics!" A reader by the pseudonym of Jewish Atheist claimed in a comment in the last post that the only people supporting McCain these days are racists and religious nuts. Let's set aside the fact that JA just impugned the motives of about 100 million people--boringly typical among lefties--and see if there is any empirical basis to his fact-free assertion about the craziness of really religious people.

The General Social Survey asked 5,273 Americans about their church attendance as well as how many days of mental illness have they have experienced in the past 30 days. Here are the means:

Mean days of mental health problems last month

Never attends church 4.66
Less than once a year 4.22
Several times per year 3.66
Once a month 3.70
Two to three times a month 3.51
Nearly every week 3.10
Every week 2.69
More than once a week 3.53

People like JA have 1.7 times the mean number of mental illness days per month compared to a weekly churchgoers like myself. So, let me mirror JA's type of language with the one exception of actually basing it on data: "The irreligious are all lunatics!"

I expect a response back from JA saying something to the effect of, well, maybe religious people are healthier, but their POLICIES are sick!

(If JA wants to claim it's only conservative religious people who are nuts, I'd be happy to look at that as well.)
Brooks has "Whiterpeople disease": David Brooks, in his piece on Palin and the decline of Republicans, shows that he is a card-carrying member of the American Whiterpeople Association. His basic argument is that Republicans are becoming too populist and thus are losing the educated class.

Any successful party needs to attract the masses in order to win a majority of votes and a substantial number of wealthy and smart people to properly arm the party. A successful party has no choice but to have two faces.

Brooks is one of the first pundits I've read who is arguing that Republicanism does not appeal to elites. Wealthy people don't like the doctrine that lower taxes is good for society? And for those who feel they must justify their votes with something other than self- or class interest, since when is it a dumb argument that high taxes on small businesses in a recession will make things worse? Palin pushes this idea on a daily basis at rallies. Since when is it brilliant and not demogoguery to argue that fat cats need to be taxed more heavily, as Obama argues on a daily basis?

Brooks is not turned off these days by Republicans because they are now espousing dumb ideas, or because they are against being smart. He is a whiterperson who wants his vote to be associated with politicians who seem like they read Proust in their spare time. He shows that his status concerns are overwhelming his intelligence. Democrats are smarter. They have the two necessary faces: one that appeals to the Georgetown cocktail set, and one that appeals to ordinary people, especially poor, nonwhite ones.

You might counter that these two Democratic faces are more compatible with each other. After all, whiterpeople gain status by professing concern for the underprivileged. But the two faces that fit together for Republicans are based on no-nonsense smarts. Appealing to the middle class is not at all incomptable with appealing to talented people who have no patience for intellectually fashionable BS.

Democrats are smart to demonize cigar-smoking fat cats, and Republicans are smart to demonize cultural snobs.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Let me share my nightmare vision: The catastrophic diversity recession puts Obama in the White House, and it gets 60 Democrat Senators elected to Congress. A long list of liberal legislation is quickly passed. A cyclical recovery and a cheerleading media give Obama a second term. But before second term scandals tarnish his image, his charisma gets him assassinated. His reputation eventually surpasses that of Roosevelt, JFK, and MLK. Liberalism is so beloved, alternative ideas, like human biodiversity, are never more than marginal, and the U.S. goes down the shitter just like every country that is not in touch with reality.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Phyllis Schlafly reviews Dreams of My Father:

"With his new all-black identity, Obama stews about injustices that he never personally experienced and feeds his warped worldview by withdrawing into a 'smaller and smaller coil of rage.' He lives with a 'nightmare vision' of black powerlessness.

"Obama says that the hate doesn't go away. 'It formed a counter-narrative buried deep within each person and at the center of which stood white people -- some cruel, some ignorant, sometimes a single face, sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives.'

"Obama's worldview sees U.S. history as a consistent tale of oppressors and oppressed. He objects to the public schools because black kids are learning 'someone else's history. Someone else's culture.'

"He even criticizes his white grandparents, who worked hard to give him a privileged life. Their motives are a mystery to Obama because they came from the 'landlocked center' of the United States, which, he asserts, is full of 'suspicion and the potential for unblinking cruelty.'

"Obama grew up in Hawaii, the exemplar of a melting pot of races, yet he sees it as a place of 'aborted treaties and crippling diseases brought by the missionaries.' Although his mixed race was not a handicap in Hawaii, he whined that 'we were always playing on the white man's court ... by the white man's rules....'

"Obama immersed himself in the writings of radical blacks: Richard Wright, W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Obama's favorite became Malcolm X.

"Obama scarcely knew his father, yet he wrote: 'It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.'

"Obama described his happiness in going to Kenya: 'For the first time in my life, I felt the comfort, the firmness of identity that a name might provide.' He felt he 'belonged' and had come home. Apparently, the only other place he felt at home was in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church in Chicago.

"Obama rejects racial integration because it is 'a one-way street' with blacks being 'assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around.' Does he think America would be a better country if whites were assimilated into African culture?

"There is absolutely nothing in this book that expresses pride in or love of or appreciation of America. In 442 pages of introspection extending over his life as a teen, undergraduate and law student at prestigious institutions, community organizer and working adult, he doesn't say anything positive about American government, culture, society, freedom or opportunity.

"Obama's refusal to wear an American flag pin on his lapel sounded too trivial for a campaign issue. But since there is nothing in his book about respect for the flag, or the republic for which it stands, maybe the flag-pin flap does indicate his disdain for patriotism.

"In his autobiography, Obama accepts the view that 'black people have reason to hate.' His later book is called 'The Audacity of Hope,' but his autobiography, which he has never disavowed, should be titled 'The Audacity of Hate.'"

Obviously, I don't like Jeremiah Wright, but I do think he honestly communicates what he thinks. I believe him when he says that Barack is saying whatever he needs to say to get elected.
Age and race in the presidential race: Some folks don't think it's fair to focus on McCain's age--ageism they call they it. Even though I want Obama to lose, I think it's a reasonable concern. According to CDC stats, people in McCain's age group have death rates five times higher than those Obama's age.

But if it's legitimate to worry about troubling events correlated with age, why is it not legitimate to worry about risks associated with race? For example, the Uniform Crime Reports shows us that blacks are 3.4 times more likely than whites (with Hispanics added in) to commit the crime of embezzlement, even though they are under-represented among people in the position to be guilty of this crime. If it's okay to worry about a dead president, why isn't it okay to worry about a live, corrupt one?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Good point by Victor Davis Hanson:

"He [Obama] said they have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005" (New York Times, 10/3)

"Why in the world was Barack Obama still communicating on the phone or via email with Bill Ayers up until 2005 — when in 2001 Ayers gave widely publicized interviews claiming he had no regrets about the bombing, indeed regretted that he had not done enough, and did not necessarily have any remorse either about his Weathermen career?

"Ponder that: the possible next President of the United States, well after 9/11 and in the climate of hourly worry over terrorism here at home, was still friendly and communicating with an associate that had to abandon his book tour due to popular outcry, and was widely quoted as absolutely unrepentant about his terrorism. That is a damning indictment of his judgement — among other things — and it is no "smear" to raise the issue.

"Indeed, there is a disturbing pattern here. Obama's once-close radical Chicago associates are never jettisoned out of principle, but only at the 11th-hour when they became impediments to Obama's political career."
Camille Paglia never fails to stimulate:

"One of the most idiotic allegations batting around out there among urban media insiders is that Palin is 'dumb.' Are they kidding? What level of stupidity is now par for the course in those musty circles? (The value of Ivy League degrees, like sub-prime mortgages, has certainly been plummeting. As a Yale Ph.D., I have a perfect right to my scorn.) People who can't see how smart Palin is are trapped in their own narrow parochialism -- the tedious, hackneyed forms of their upper-middle-class syntax and vocabulary.

"As someone whose first seven years were spent among Italian-American immigrants (I never met an elderly person who spoke English until we moved from Endicott to rural Oxford, New York, when I was in first grade), I am very used to understanding meaning through what might seem to others to be outlandish or fractured variations on standard English. Furthermore, I have spent virtually my entire teaching career (nearly four decades) in arts colleges, where the expressiveness of highly talented students in dance, music and the visual arts takes a hundred different forms. Finally, as a lover of poetry (my last book was about that), I savor every kind of experimentation with standard English -- beginning with Shakespeare, who was the greatest improviser of them all at a time when there were no grammar rules.

"Many others listening to Sarah Palin at her debate went into conniptions about what they assailed as her incoherence or incompetence. But I was never in doubt about what she intended at any given moment. On the contrary, I was admiring not only her always shapely and syncopated syllables but the innate structures of her discourse -- which did seem to fly by in fragments at times but are plainly ready to be filled with deeper policy knowledge, as she gains it (hopefully over the next eight years of the Obama presidencies). This is a tremendously talented politician whose moment has not yet come. That she holds views completely opposed to mine is irrelevant."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The smart fraction among American ethnic groups: La Griffe du Lion has shown that per capita GDP is a function of the smart fraction: the percent of a population with a verbal IQ of 106 or higher. The vocabulary test of the General Social Survey can serve as a good measure of verbal IQ, and I'm interested in estimating the smart fraction of each ethnic group in the United States, especially those groups with currently high levels of immigration. Here is what I found (immigrants are excluded since they can't be expected to have the vocabularies that natives have):

The smart fraction

Russian 66.3
Chinese 57.2
Japanese 55.5
English/Welsh 55.3
East Indian 49.9

All Native-born Americans 42.5

Filipino 28.5
Puerto Rican 27.4
Blacks 20.8
Mexican 20.6

Once again, Mexican Americans fall to the bottom of the list. I'm surprised that Filipinos don't do better since their educational levels are quite good. If we want to become a wealthier society, and to the extent that immigrants match their native-born counterparts, we want to encourage the immigration of those who increase our smart fraction and discourage those who shrink it.
Three very nice paragraphs by the great Thomas Sowell:

"The story of Obama's political career is not a pretty story. He won his first political victory by being the only candidate on the ballot-- after hiring someone skilled at disqualifying the signers of opposing candidates' petitions, on whatever technicality he could come up with.

"Despite his words today about 'change' and 'cleaning up the mess in Washington,' Obama was not on the side of reformers who were trying to change the status quo of corrupt, machine politics in Chicago and clean up the mess there. Obama came out in favor of the Daley machine and against reform candidates.

"Senator Obama is running on an image that is directly the opposite of what he has been doing for two decades. His escapes from his past have been as remarkable as the great escapes of Houdini."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Shut up with the attacks: I, for one, am fed up with all the personal attacks that we're now witnessing between McCain and Obama. The American people want to hear about the issues that matter to them. Like education. With all the insults, Obama has no chance to tell us that we shouldn't be devoting more money to improve kids' math and science skills. Obama's priorities while serving on the Woods Fund board were exactly right. Kids needs millions funneled into classrooms so they can spend their time learning how to overthrow the American goverment. Shut up with all the talk about what these men are like, and let's focus on their promises!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Help me with a quote: Some readers don't get my post on the "alpha male with a vagina" although it seems perfectly plain to me. I'll give a dollar to anyone who can give me the Churchill quote about how the critics on the sidelines are little pip squeaks--the great man is the one in the center of the battle. It won't help anyone understand any better, but I like it anyway.

UPDATE (Thanks to scrutineer): “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt

Married conservatives are happier than married liberals

In my previous post, a reader named Jewish Atheist claims that conservatives have lower divorce rates than liberals due to the fact that conservatives stay in unhappy marriages because their religions say they shouldn't get a divorce. He asserts this with no evidence, so let me help him out.

The chart above shows how happy people are with their marriage by political orientation. If JA is right, unhappy marriages among conservatives should be more common than among liberals (who supposedly break up if they are dissatisfied). It turns out that just the opposite is true: conservaties have happier marriages. To be precise, 62.4% of liberals are very happily married, while 67.9% of conservatives are (shown in red).

Jewish Atheist, being the logically consistent commenter that he is, will retort that the religions of conservatives will insist they always tell the truth, which means the happiness gap with liberals is actually even larger since conservatives will not give the socially desirable answer of being happy when they really aren't like irreligious liberals will sometimes do. Uhm, oops, I guess that doesn't work out for him.
Actually do something to smack Obama and Reverend Wright: In condemning Republicans who run Jeremiah Wright ads, John McCain revealed that not being called a racist is more important to him than the election. Why the topic would be off-limits is absolutely beyond me.

After many months of opposing McCain's candidacy, I'm going eat some humble pie and urge readers to donate to Freedom's Defense Fund, a 527 which has been airing ads on Rezko, Ayers, and, most importantly, Wright. (If you know of a better 527 or better ads, please post a comment). For a 44 dollar donation, they send you a free copy of Obama Nation by Jerome Corsi.

What motivated my change was simple: reading USA Today, I was reminded that Justice John Paul Stevens will turn 89 in December, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75. That has a way of bringing clarity to one's mind.
Another wacky idea from the Inductivist: Bill O'Reilly rants all the time about how NBC has lost all professionalism in its support for liberal ideology. That got me wondering if Saturday Night Live's plan to air fresh political parodies every Thursday night (the night with the largest TV audience) during prime-time slots until the election is motivated only by profit, or if NBC wants to influence the election by using Tina Fey to drive home the argument that Palin is not up to being the vice-president.

Who to turn to for advice: smart liberals or smart conservatives?

If you're a young person looking for direction, we all know it makes sense to ask a smart person, but does it make sense to seek out an intelligent liberal or conservative? An excellent measure or whether people have their act together or not is whether they can make their marriage work. It's a huge challenge as anyone who has been married knows. Not everyone has the wisdom to figure out how to keep it together.

I looked at the marital status of the smartest people (WORDSUM=9,10) over 30, using General Social Survey data. It is summarized in the above graph. With the exception of extreme conservatives, divorce decreases as one moves in a conservative direction (shown in green).

And this underestimates the success of conservatives since liberals are much less likely to have ever been married and thus are not at risk for divorce. Among all who have gotten married, 33.0% of liberals and only 10.8% of conservatives have gotten divorced or separated.

Liberal IQ does not translate into successful institutions. Conservative intelligence does.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The alpha male with a vagina: Allow me some vent therapy. I really do try once in a while to visit liberal blogs because I figure you can always learn from the other side, but I confess that the past 8 years have made it increasingly difficult. There are only so many ways that commenters can do a variation on the theme that Bush is a moron. Now with Palin on the scene, this could potentially go on forever.

Look--nobody respects the importance of IQ more than I do. Many years after the fact, I am still mortified that I never ran across the term "g factor" in all the undergraduate psych courses I took. Something so huge was totally ignored by instructors and textbook writers. It was a damn crime.

Having said that, I have never felt comfortable making fun of a national politicians' intelligence. Here I sit in my underwear, playing around with numbers and occasionally spouting off when visiting other blogs, and I--ME, MYSELF--am going to laugh at the world's power brokers? When I read the predictable comments at a liberal blog, the vision that comes to mind is a huddle of beta chimps all laughing because the alpha makes funny noises as he copulates with all the females.

And now I witness the same ridicule by male blog commenters about Sarah Palin--a gotdamn woman. Palin's got more testosterone in her little finger than that whole troupe of chimpanzees.

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment, and I'll be the first. I couldn't be elected mayor of Wasilla if my life depended on it. How far have I actually risen in the halls of power? I've served on a condo association board, and that was because they were hard up for help.

My little theory is that every guy who shoots hits mouth off on the Internet secretly wishes he were in Bush's shoes or Sarah's pumps. All this talk is a longing for power, and I, for one, can do no more than bloviate. This ridicule gives one a false sense of superiority over someone who is your superior by leaps and bounds. We are the little men; they are the giants. A five year old can see that.

In each of us is that chimp wanting to run the show and to get all the girl chimps, but only that rare few has what it takes.

Yes, I criticize and disagree with and dislike politicians, but do I fool myself into thinking that I have something they don't and so, in a sense, am greater than them. I'm much too honest for that.

I rode in an elevator with Senator Moynihan one time in DC. I was absolutely speechless, and felt like I was in the presence of a God, and not because he was smart. And I don't even like Democrats.

Which immigrant groups shift us toward a more educated society? The General Social Survey asked immigrants to America about their highest degree. I looked at the percent over age 25 who answered bachelors degree or higher:

Percent with bachelors degree or higher

East Indian 74.3
Chinese 71.1
Arab 60.6
Japanese 51.2
Swedish 50.0
Filipino 49.2
Russian 48.7
English 45.3
French 45.2
Polish 33.7
African 32.8

Native-born Americans 23.2

Italian 9.9
Puerto Rican 7.9
Mexican 5.4

All groups are higher than native-born Americans except for Italians (this might surprise you) and Hispanics (which shouldn't surprise you if you read this blog). Mexicans immigrants are the largest of the immigrant groups and yet produce very few college graduates. We should welcome the handful and discourage the rest.

Some people think this low number is a temporary thing: Each new generation will do much better than its parents, they claim. While it is true that some of the children of these Mexican immigrants will finish college, a large number will at most finish high school.

I looked to see how far the children of Hispanic fathers with 4-year degrees go in school. It turns out that 42.2% of them at most finish high school. That is compared to 30% of the children of whites with a bachelors and 39.0% of blacks. In other words, Latinos who have finished college are more likely than their black counterparts to have children who grow the lower class. And if educated Hispanic immigrants produce this many low achieving kids, what about all those with only a few years of school?

Seventy-nine percent of Hispanic respondents have a father who finished high school or less (40.6% and 38.4%). Of those with a father who dropped out, 20.5% didn't finish high school themselves, and 56.0% did not go to college. The corresponding numbers for people with fathers who competed high school are 5.1% and 55.6%.

Put simply, very few Hispanic immigrants go to college, and it only improves a bit for their descendants. Let's face it: Latinos can be characterized as a working-class population with a few upwardly mobile folks on the one hand, and an underclass on the other. It is unlikely to change substantially, and constant swamping by new immigrants only exacerbates the situation.

Americans and Hispanic communities themselves have been ironically blessed by the economic downturn: as USA Today tells us, fewer illegals are now coming. Maybe I'll vote for the candidate who will deepen and extend the recession as long as possible!

Are all news photographers in the tank for Obama?

Obama announced he was running for president 20 months ago, and in all that time I have never seen a bad news photo of him. (The one above is just the latest). Is he just really photogenic, or are all news photographers in the tank for him?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Boy how things change: Anticipating the vice-presidential debate tonight, I found myself longing for the old days when Cheney kicked Lieberman's ass in 2000. After watching that, I told my friends that I wished that he, rather than Bush, were at the top of the ticket. Needless to say, my opinion of Cheney is not what it used to be, and I do not wish that the vice-presidential candidate were running for president this time around.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Will the "Bradley effect" help McCain? According to's poll of polls, Obama is now up about 5 percent points over McCain. At a moment like this, Republicans might be hoping that the "Bradley effect" is in operation; that a sizeable number of so-called bigoted whites are saying they plan to vote for Barack when they really intend to vote for the white guy. Data from Realpolitics compared with the recent AP-Yahoo News poll indicate that there is no such effect at work.

The AP survey was conducted between August 27th and September 5th, and is unique in that telephone interviewers direct respondents to the Internet or to loaned equipment so that answers are private. People might be unwilling to admit to others that they plan to vote for a white candidate over a black one (I'm skeptical about that) but why lie to a computer?

According to the results, Obama was up 4 to 5 points during that period of time. I looked at the other nine national polls that were taken during that period (data provided by Realclearpolitics), and I calculated a simple average which turned out to be a 5.1 point advantage for Barack. Respondents are telling telephone interviewers the same thing that they are telling the computer, so there is no dishonesty. There is some evidence from other races that whites might change their minds last minute, and that late deciders might break for McCain, but there is little reason to expect that current polls are off by much.

One factor that might benefit Obama is that surveys sometimes under-sample cellphone users. This is a younger group, and consequently is more likely to vote for Barack.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...