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December 1-15, 2004 Archive
Justice is served:
former Claremont McKenna College visiting professor, who spray-painted
her car with racist and anti-Semitic slurs and then reported a hate
crime on campus, was sentenced today to a year in state prison. Pomona
Superior Court Judge Charles Horan said Kerri Dunn
"terrorized" minority students at the college and turned the
rest of the students into suspects, adding that her actions could have
sparked major racial violence. He likened her actions to calling in a
fake bomb threat, saying it had the effect of terrorizing people.
From my never before online "Hate Hoax" article in the May 10, 2004 American Conservative:
1999, Pamela Gann became Claremont McKenna College's first president who
was a registered Democrat. She didn't seem happy heading a college with
a moderately conservative reputation, and tried to use
"diversity" to make CMC less diverse and more like every other
college. Gann and the conservative professors fought bitter battles over
affirmative action hiring.
4th Annual Kwanzaa Song Search: A December tradition here at
iSteve.com is our attempt to find out if anyone in Kwanzaa's 35 years of
bureaucratically recognized existence has ever written a Kwanzaa song
that is not intended either to parody Kwanzaa or to indoctrinate
children, but simply to celebrate the holiday.
Timmy: "Santa Claus is come and gone,
Timmy: "Look at my eyes, and listen to my mouth."
Not bad, but that hardly lives up to the funniest fact about Kwanzaa, which is that its invention was subsidized by J. Edgar Hoover. Ann Coulter has the details here.
iSteve.com's 1st Annual Recent Christmas Song Search: Of course, not a lot of popular Christmas songs have been written since 1969, either. For example, each year, Madonna's 1987 version of "Santa Baby" moves closer to standard status, but the song itself was written in 1953, and originally performed by Earth Kitt.
Dru Sefton wrote:
There are just no up-and-coming, festive standards of tomorrow. Experts say that's because music styles have shifted from lyrics-based ballads to upbeat dance music. Composers have a hard time getting big names to record new pieces. And publishers just aren't interested in sentimental holiday songs anymore.
To be crass, the incredible royalties you can make from a popular Christmas song ought to motivate songwriters -- for example, one-hit-wonder Elmo Shropshire, a retired veterinarian, still makes $80k annually from having written half of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" in 1979 -- but there are a lot of things our culture can't seem to accomplish anymore no matter how much money is available.
Here's an interview with Justin Wilde that explains the dire economics of modern Christmas songwriting.
Intelligent Design: I think the Intelligent Design theorists must have a pretty low opinion of the Designer's talents if they assume that His universe is such a badly designed, misfiring contraption that He must frequently get to work with his divine monkeywrench so that advanced life forms can evolve.
I don't object much to Intelligent Design theorists positing one or two interventions (e.g., to create life in the first place or to kick prehumans up to the human level), but to argue that the Designer is so inept that he must constantly meddle strikes me as nearly sacrilegious.
From the Cyber-Catacombs: A friend writes:
MAU-MAUING of Steve Sailer for having the temerity to propose a[n] ethno-demographic model of US psephology without
academic gatekeepers, and then slipping it past the pee-cee censors, is
both remarkable and horrifying to watch in real time.
Which is no doubt intentional on the part of people like Morris Dees who profit by terrifying elderly and out-of-touch liberals in the suburbs of the big blue cities into donating to his money machine.
Morris Dees’ America, night is always falling. It is a nation of
ceaseless cross-burnings and lynchings, where minorities cower endlessly
in fear, waiting helplessly for the next assault from the Klan,
skinheads, the League of the South, Thomas Fleming, Samuel Francis and
Chronicles, Peter Brimelow and VDare.com, David Horowitz and the Center
for the Study of Popular Culture, the American Enterprise Institute . .
. The American Enterprise Institute? Surely there must be some mistake.
Not at all...
SPLC bête noires include “neo-Confederates”; Pat Buchanan; the
Bradley, Olin, and Scaife Foundations; the Free Congress Foundation; the
Council of Conservative Citizens; the Ludwig von Mises Institute; and
the New Century Foundation, publisher of American Renaissance.
Those added to the SPLC’s enemies list are inclined to consider it a rather higher honor than any NEA gong. David Horowitz, however, was mortified. Horowitz was added for his opposition to reparations for slavery. Two howls of protest were published on Horowitz’s website, FrontPageMag.com. His own cri de coeur was an open letter to Morris Dees, which begged him not to lump him in with the real bad guys:
"You’ve made yourself a national reputation as a fighter against hate groups. Recently, however, you released a report called “Into the Mainstream” by a leftwing conspiracy theorist named Chip Berlet, which purports to show how “right wing foundations and think tanks support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable.” This report is so tendentious, so filled with transparent misrepresentations and smears that if you continue to post the report you will create for your Southern Poverty Law Center a well-earned reputation as a hate group itself."
has Horowitz been? It is an old story: First, they came for the Pioneer
Fund, and I did not speak out because I was not a eugenicist . . .
We live in an age when guilt-by-association is considered the highest form of reasoning.
By the way, for a benign example of consanguinist thinking, the wonderful journalist Alistair Cooke, who died recently at 95, made it a habit in recent years, according to Peter Robinson, to tell people who had just shook his hand for the first time: "You have just shaken the hand of a man who shook the hand of a man who shook hands with Lincoln."
The intermediary between Cooke and Lincoln was the famous Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935). Damn, I wish my sons had had a chance to shake Cooke's hand. They could have carried this chain with just two intermediaries into the third century after Lincoln's death.
UPDATE #1: The American Prospect Can Dish It Out, But They Sure Can't Take It! After publishing Garance Franke-Ruta's neo-McCarthyite smear of me, The American Prospect is now threatening legal action against anybody who "reproduces" an article somebody published a while ago accusing her of racism. You've really got to read this to believe it. Haven't they ever heard that a "chilling" effect on freedom of speech is a no-no? As The American Prospect's reputation for supporting civil liberties crashes in flames like the Hindenburg, all I can say, is "Oh, the hypocrisy..."
At the time I wrote about the article accusing Franke-Ruta of racism:
"I must confess that my eyes glazed over while reading about Franke-Ruta's and
The American Prospect's alleged high crimes and insensitivities against Latinos. What I saw of it before nodding off seemed no more persuasive than what she wrote about me.
The Winds of Change blog is flabbergasted by the whole deal.
Update #2: Garance Franke-Ruta claimed in The American Prospect that black Americans were "seven times more likely to commit homicides" than whites!
Although Franke-Ruta wrote some obnoxious and absurd things about me (my response is
below), she shouldn't be silenced for her own political incorrectness.
What she is saying in the quote above, as offensive as it might seem to American
Prospect readers, is perfectly true, and the truth should be an
absolute defense. Both for her ... and for me.
as a woman in Washington D.C., Franke-Ruta has to keep these kind of
statistics in mind daily as she decides what parts of the District of
Columbia are safe for her by looking at the people on the streets. Unfortunately, this kind of "real estate
realism" that everybody talks about with their friends almost never
makes it into written policy discussions, much to the detriment of the
realism and effectiveness of American journalism. Personally, I think The American Prospect could use more of the kind of honesty Franke-Ruta is showing in the two paragraphs I quoted above.
It would greatly benefit from not smearing truth-tellers like myself.
interest for her to be devoured by the politically correct either.
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere: I made the big time. Now I'm being smeared in a New York gossip column! The New York Daily News' professional tattletales Rush and Molloy (email them your thoughts on the subject at email@example.com) write:
Bad source code at
In reply, I wrote back:
Dear Rush and Molloy:
of the kettle calling the pot black, Part 1,
you didn't mention that Ms. Franke-Ruta, amusingly enough, has herself
been accused, at vast length, of racism by a civil rights activist
organization who objected intensely to an article she wrote for The
[Also, check out all the other organizations the SPLC has denounced for racism, such as the American Enterprise Institute!]
to find out the kind of mainstream organizations that the SPLC
denounces, click here.
Finally, let's look at the nonsense Franke-Ruta writes.
She doesn't deny that the facts Mr. Brooks cited from my article "Baby Gap" in The American Conservative (http://www.amconmag.com/2004_12_06/cover.html) are facts. Her behavior is a classic shoot-the-messenger attempt to help Democrats bury their heads in the sand. How is the Democratic Party ever going to put up an effective opposition to the Bush-Rove machine if they denounce those who tell them truth about the American voters?
The rest of her diatribe consists mainly of Joe McCarthyesque-guilt by associationism and out-of-context quotations from my hundreds of articles, none of which she attempts to refute.
The defining characteristic of anti-Sailerist diatribes like Franke-Ruta's is multitudinous quotations from my writings with no attempt at refutation of their truth. The reader is simply supposed to be shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would dare write such politically incorrect things.
A few times, Franke-Ruta gets so worked up she can't even be bothered to quote me out of context. I was particularly amused that she included my AmCon article's concluding paragraph in full:
Apparently, by letting slip that I believe that the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking, I've condemned myself in the eyes of all of polite society. No refutation of my shocking faux pas is needed. All bien-pensants can instantly see how much better it is to bask in reputable ignorance.
Franke-Ruta seems to be convinced that I drew a correlation between Bush's share of the vote by state and the total fertility of white women by state because I am a racist. No, I did it because I am interested in the facts.
[I of course also looked at the correlation of Bush's share and the total fertility of all the women in the state, but the r-squared of that nonracial correlation was only 37%, compared to 74% for the correlation between Bush's share and white fertility. For Franke-Ruta's benefit, let me point out that 74% is twice as big as 37%. As for explaining to her what an r-squared is, well, ...
The reality is that white fertility correlates with Bush's share of the vote better than total fertility or nonwhite fertility does.
Since I published my "Baby Gap" article, I've found a demographic factor that correlates even better with Bush's share of the vote by state: the average years married between the ages of 18 and 44 for white women. Here's the scatter plot, with it's spectacular correlation coefficient of r = 0.91:
Unlike with fertility, years married for all races correlates quite well with Bush's share of the vote, but still significantly less well than years married among white women. You can read all about this factor here. And you can read about a third factor that also correlates super strongly with Bush's share of the vote -- lack of housing price inflation -- here.
In 1943, George Orwell famously observed of this manner of thinking that puts all the weight on who says something and none on what he says:
"Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as 'the truth' exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as 'Science.' There is only 'German Science,' 'Jewish Science,' etc… This prospect frightens me much more than bombs -- and after our experiences of the last few years that is not such a frivolous statement."
Yet, there was an ironic and fortunate coda to Nazi disdain for objective truth that Orwell couldn't have known in 1943. Luckily, it was precisely the Nazis disdain for "Jewish science" that prevented them from investing enough to develop the most frightening of all bombs -- the atomic bomb. Historian Paul Johnson wrote in Modern Times: "Germany despite the scientific exodus, retained enough nuclear scientists to conceive a bomb. But to Hitler, the nuclear field was identified with Einstein and 'Jewish physics.'"
Anyone, whether Hitler or Franke-Ruta, who evaluates assertions of fact based on the political correctness of the speaker is bound to be self-defeating, .
The tragedy in this case of course is that liberal smear artists like Franke-Ruta are, despite their similar attitudes toward truth, far from Nazis, and understanding what motivates voters is not destructive information like the secrets of the atomic bomb, but constructive knowledge. America needs the Democratic Party to be on top of its game, not to be wallowing in politically correct ignorance. The Democrats are the only organized American opposition to the Bush dynasty. But if they don't want to understand why they lost, and prefer to slumber in self-congratulatory bigotry, they simply won't be able to provide the effective political competition our country desperately needs.
As for Franke-Ruta's Six-Degrees-of-Joe-McCarthy-guilt-by-association charges:
"Brooks doesn't mention that Sailer reportedly runs a Web discussion group whose members include white supremecists [sic] and anti-Semites."
[You really shouldn't smear people as "white supremecists" if you can't even spell the word right!]
If there are any anti-Semites on the discussion group, they would be vastly outnumberd by the Jewish intellectuals and scientists who are members.
As for white "supremecists" (sic), the group includes East Asians, blacks, South Asians, and about 10% of the whites have non-white spouses.
And get a load of what Ruta-Franke calles me: a "eugenicist sympathizer?" Ooooooh! Sounds bad! But what the heck is that supposed to mean? Anybody who sympathizes with Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Margaret Sanger, or George Bernard Shaw would be a "eugenicist sympathizer" because they were all staunch advocates of eugenics back in the day.
What's particularly bizarre is that in the article of mine she cites http://www.vdare.com/sailer/pioneer.htm, I explicitly discuss my deep worries that new medical technology is increasingly making do-it-yourself eugenics, such as sex selection, available to parents. The potential social impact of this new free market eugenics concerns me greatly, and so I call for intensive study before we decide to let this cat out of the bag.
[Indeed, Franke-Ruta's list of out-of-context quotes from me draws from a lot of my most liberal arguments! For example, she quotes my criticism of conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan for his attacks on blacks for practicing ethnocentrism and identity politics. She is also shocked by my article presenting evidence from 30 social science studies that male homosexuals do not choose to be homosexual, but instead generally exhibit gay traits long before puberty. I could go on at great length in this vein, as could anyone who follows the links in her smear to my articles.]
As for indulging in "racial stereotyping," I am a science and sociology journalist whose work has been recognized by the highest scientific authorities. For example, Steven Pinker of Harvard, the superstar cognitive scientist who wrote the bestseller The Blank Slate, picked my "Cousin Marriage Conundrum" article, which originally appeared in American Conservative, for inclusion in his new anthology The Best Science and Nature Writing 20004. My article from early 2003 predicted, accurately, that nation-building in Iraq would be far more difficult than the Bush Administration was assuming because the Iraqi tendency to inbreed (half marry their first or second cousins) makes nepotistic corruption inevitable and makes it hard for Iraqis to cooperate beyond their intensely loyal inbred extended families.
In summary, you have aided Franke-Ruta in perpetrating "journalism at its absolute shoddiest."
If you have anything to add, you can write to Rush and Molloy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be polite and avoid wide-ranging controversies.
My important sequel to "Baby Gap" is up at VDARE.com. Please make sure to read the message from Peter Brimelow. (Don't forget to mention to him how much you value my contributions to VDARE.com.)
Here are a couple of graphs that didn't make it in the initial version of the article, but really show what an outrageously strong correlation with the 2004 state-by-state election results I've found.
What a remarkably close fit for a single demographic variable!
When you do a multiple regression model using Years Married and Babies per Woman, you get a linear formula that gets the actual vote 88% right:
Interestingly, you get this 88% r-squared for accounting for Bush's share of the states' total votes when looking at the marriage and fertility among whites, rather than total population. When you look at marriage and fertility rates for the whole population, the r-squared of the multiple regression is only 80%.
A reader writes:
always, your latest VDARE piece is brilliant. I did a quick search on my
univiersity's periodical databases and didn't find a single study on
white fertility/marriage and voting patterns. It simply does not appear
to be on the radar screen of political scientists and sociologists in
spite of its explanatory power. I made a contribution to VDARE and told
them I was doing so because they publish your stuff.
the way, I blasted what's-her-name from TAPPED in an e-mail the other
Safire's Replacement on the NYT Op-Ed Page -- Jack Shafer in Slate writes about who might take over William Safire's slot on the New York Times op-ed page when William Safire shortly retires:
Safire's impending departure prompted New York magazine to handicap the field for his replacement, tossing out the names of David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, Christopher Caldwell, Richard Brookhiser, Fred Barnes, and Robert Kagan. But the leading candidate, the magazine said, was John Tierney, who has already visited four stations of the cross at the Times as a metro reporter, feature writer, city columnist, and Washington reporter. Tierney's good humor, kinetic prose style, contrarian nature, wide-ranging interests, and rumored ability to attend congressional hearings would make him a fine replacement for Safire. I also like that he's a libertarian or, at the very least, a fellow traveler.
Tierney would be a great choice. Shafer goes on:
Without disparaging the Tierney nomination, here are a few candidates who have a demonstrated ability to report and would drive respectable opinion crazy:
Heather would be a great choice too,. So, I'd be shocked if either got the nod. (And not shocked, SHOCKED, just plain shocked.)
My sequel to "Baby Gap" will be up on VDARE late Sunday night. It's hot stuff ... if you are interested in understanding what drives the blue-red gap in election results. I've now found a demographic factor that correlates even better with Bush's share of the vote by state than total lifetime fertility of white women does. (It's not a terribly different factor than fertility, so don't expect a huge surprise.)
When you put the new mystery factor together with fertility in a simple multiple regression model, you get an r-squared of 88%, which is bizarrely high. That means that if you have just these two demographic measures for each state (in fact, those just for the white residents, weirdly enough), you can come up with a model where only 12% of the variation in Bush's share is unaccounted for. And it worked almost as well in 2000.
Think about all the reasons that pundits gave for why Bush or Kerry would do well in a particular state -- the strength of the state's economy, whether or not the candidates platforms would be good or local interests, the popularity of Gov. Schwarzenegger in California or the unpopularity of the scandal plagued GOP in Illinois, or the number of visits the candidates paid to the state, or yada yada yada. All trivial, accounting in sum for 12% of the variation, compared to the two big demographic factors that nobody mentioned. Granted, they are still very important, but you can see why all the campaign resources were poured into the small number of battleground states where the demographic factors put them on the cusp.
Most strangely, the racial makeup of the state doesn't much matter in this model. Because blacks gave 88% of their vote to Kerry, while whites gave him only 41%, common sense says that the percentage of voters in a state who are black would play an important role in determining Bush's share of the vote. Yet, you can get to an r-squared of 88% without inputting the black share of the state's voters. Remarkably, how large a share of the state's populace is black apparently influences the state's white fertility and the white mystery demographic factor enough to account for the varying black influences on the state's voting outcome. (I will, however, eventually input each state's racial makeup and see if that makes the model even more accurate. But the fewer factors in a model the better, on the whole. You want to make it as simple as possible, but no simpler, as Einstein might have of said.)
In defense of Underperformin' Norman Mineta: My airline expert writes:
still do not see what is so irrational about what the
no-racial-profiling policy has, in practice, turned out to be in air
travel. In practice, it means we don't check only Arabs. The TSA,
airport and, especially, the airline people, are not crazy or suicidal.
They are going to check very closely any unknown Arab passenger. And
then they are going to do a thorough check on a randomly selected old
DAR lady in a wheel chair or a retired Marine general with a walker to
1) avoid having it look like racial profiling and 2) prevent the Arab
from feeling too bad about the search. As in, "see, we're all in
By the way, the popular phrase "Underperformin' Norman Mineta" was invented a couple of years ago by John Derbyshire, but the Bush Administration appears to be impervious to witticisms, as shown by Bush's re-appointment of Mineta.
Underperformin' Norman Mineta asked to stay in Cabinet by Bush! The architect of the system of airport security system whereby a 94-year-old retired Marine Corp general and former Montana governor is given the third degree because his Congressional Medal of Honor set off the metal detector while security workers are banned from giving extra attention to Arabs will be back as Secretary of Transportation, one of only three Cabinet officers to serve since the beginning of Bush's first term.
It's widely believed that because Mineta was interned as a lad during WWII, he refuses to incorporate ethnic profiling in airport security.
Mineta said Thursday that his childhood experience had nothing to do with his position. He was simply following the lead of Bush, who declared shortly after the attacks that Arab Americans would not be targeted, and the advice of security professionals, who said racial profiling was not effective.
And at age 73, he's not exactly going to get any better at his job. All this makes him Bush's kind of Cabinet Secretary!
The War Nerd on the highest battlefield in the world -- Gary Brecher reviews the 1999 fighting at 18,000 feet in Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The topic sounds as thin as the air, but, as usual, Brecher finds something important to say about it:
In tactical terms, Kargil meant very little. The battlefield was one of the least-valuable bits of real estate on the planet. If it had fallen, nothing would have changed down on the hot flatlands where the Indians and Pakistanis actually live.
The War Nerd writes war reviews for the same reason I write movie reviews: because thinking hard about anything can teach you a little more about how the world works.
"NRO Rebunks Bush’s Hispanic Share Myth" -- My new VDARE.com column is up. An excerpt:
Review Online ran an article yesterday (Dec. 8th, 2004) by Richard
Nadler entitled "Bush’s
'Real' Hispanic Numbers: Debunking the debunkers."
"Oceans' Twelve" -- An excerpt from my review in the Jan. 3, 2004 American Conservative (available in full to electronic subscribers on Saturday)
ought to be a new golden age of movies. Special effects, cinematography,
and sound are all steadily progressing. Audiences can now absorb more
rapid editing. Budgets are bigger than ever, averaging $64 million in
2003, so sets and costumes are better than ever. Able character actors
are everywhere, and today's big stars have broader skills than their
glamorous but repetitious predecessors.
An Acquired Taste: The new blog "Across Difficult Country" is hard to describe: perhaps, you could try to imagine Jorge Luis Borges, the War Nerd, and Manhattan Transfer teaming up to impersonate a travel writer. Not work safe, not libel safe, not sanity safe. But funny.
"The Neocon's Man in Iraq:" I finally put up my never-before-online July 5, 2004 American Conservative article about why the neocons fell so disastrously in love with Ahmed Chalabi.
of the many conundrums revolving around Ahmed Chalabi, that
International Man of Mystery, is why so many neoconservatives took
seriously his assertions that he was devoted to democracy. In the Wall
Street Journal, for example, Seth Lipsky extolled the convicted
embezzler as a "democratic visionary." Why did it never occur
to them that Chalabi might simply be blowing smoke? More broadly, why
hadn't it dawned upon the neocons that their obsession with this kind of
ideological declaration is outdated?
Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons - I finally started the new novel about a freshwoman at a Duke-like university. I had some trepidation since the quality of Wolfe's writing fell off so drastically in the last 100 pages of A Man in Full after the masterful body of the book, presumably due to Wolfe's coronary bypass surgery and his subsequent depression. But Wolfe seems in fine form, not ascending the heights of his amazing "In the Breeding Barn" chapter in A Man in Full, but quite serviceable so far.
And his exultation over finding this great topic -- student life in a modern university -- that nobody important had touched is palpable. A dozen years ago when date rape was a hot topic, I did some research to write a debunking article, but found that naive little me was in over my head, so nothing came of it. One thing I discovered was that the girls most likely to be abused are freshmen living away from home for the first time who want to party with football and basketball players and the top fraternities, but who don't belong to a sorority. Sorority girls, in contrast, have sisters to look out for them when they get drunk and traditions of behavior that can protect them to some extent. Poor Charlotte Simmons, from a hillbilly village in the Blue Ridge mountains, appears to fit this model of a girl headed for trouble.
Also, having a teenage girl for the main character solves Wolfe's old problem that while his fascination with and knowledge of fashion and decorating is hugely important to his books, in the manly men he normally writes about, it always seems a little, ahem, gay. Back in the 1960s, Wolfe wrote some brilliant essays about young women, but in the 1970s he became obsessed with physical courage (e.g., The Right Stuff) and lost touch with his ability to write about women, leading to the rather underdeveloped female characters in his two novels. I haven't read enough to see if he's back in touch with his feminine side, but he seems to be off to a good start.
Here's John Derbyshire's NRO article on the book.
The "Natalist Movement" Explained: David Brooks' NYT column on "natalism" left me scratching my head: "It's strange that having enough babies to keep the species going needs its own name. What's next? 'Breathingism?'"
The term "natalist" goes back at least to 19th Century France, where the government was correctly worried that the low birth rate of the French was going to put them at a disadvantage on the battlefield against the more fecund Germans. The French government has implemented "pro-natalist" policies ever since. But, obviously, there is virtually nothing in the way of an organized natalist "Movement" in the U.S., as there was in 3rd Republic France. Instead, there is a lot of lower-case movement around the country as people call up moving vans and move to places they hope are better suited for what they want out of life. And it turns out that feelings about having babies are one of the more important sorting mechanisms for where people live and how they vote.
A reader explains:
Brooks comes up with the word for two reasons: publicity and Internet
In my corporate career, I was a good marketing researcher but a lousy marketer. Obviously, nothing much has changed.
Anti-Sailerism: There's a classic example of anti-Sailerism over at TAPPED, the blog of The American Prospect by somebody named Garance Franke-Ruta who is in a deep tizzy that David Brooks polluted the pages of the New York Times by citing my "Baby Gap" article.
The defining characteristic of anti-Sailerist diatribes is multitudinous quotations from my writings with no attempt at refutation of the truth of any of them -- the reader is simply supposed to be shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would dare write such politically incorrect things.
Sometimes, Franke-Ruta can't even be bothered to quote out of context. I particularly liked that my concluding paragraph was quoted in full:
"Nobody noticed that the famous blue-red gap was a white baby gap because the subject of white fertility is considered disreputable. But I believe the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking. At least, it’s certainly more interesting."
Obviously, by contending that the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking, I've condemned myself by my own words in the minds of all of polite society. No refutation of my shocking faux pas is needed.
Everyone can instantly see how much better the world was back when it basked in reputable ignorance on the question of what drives the red-blue divide.
Franke-Ruta seems to be convinced that I drew a correlation between Bush's share of the vote by state and the total fertility of white women by state because I am a racist. No, I did it because I am interested in the facts. I of course also looked at the correlation of Bush's share and the total fertility of all the women in the state, but the r-squared of that nonracial correlation was only 37%, compared to 74% for the correlation between Bush's share and white fertility. For Franke-Ruta's benefit, let me point out that 74% is twice as big as 37%. As for explaining to her what an r-squared is, well, ...
The reality is that white fertility correlates with Bush's share of the vote better than total fertility or nonwhite fertility does.
By the way, last weekend I found another demographic factor that correlates even better with Bush's share of the vote. It correlates strongly with fertility, of course, but a simple two factor multiple regression model of white total fertility and the new mystery factor has an astonishing r-squared of 87% with Bush's share. I'll try to write it up for this weekend. Franke-Ruta will be even more aghast.
If you want to see some completely apoplectic reactions, check out Atrios. I hope nobody had a stroke. Not a lot of members of the reality-based community there. As far as I can tell, just members of the hate-based community.
Franke-Ruta Accused of Racism! Amusingly, Franke-Ruta has herself (himself?) been accused, at vast length, of racism by a civil rights activist organization, who objected intensely to an article she wrote for The American Prospect. (This was discovered by the blog Across Difficult Country.)
To read the original indictment of Franke-Ruta's purported racism, go here and scan down to "Special Report: In Attack on Hispanics, American Prospect's Garance Franke-Ruta Is Accused of Journalistic Fraud." I must confess that my eyes glazed over while reading about Franke-Ruta's and The American Prospect's alleged high crimes and insensitivities against Latinos. What I saw of it before nodding off seemed no more persuasive than what she wrote about me.
On the other hand, as Across Difficult Country asks, why should the benefit of the doubt be extended to Franke-Ruta if she won't extend it to me? Good question. It's often those who live in the glassiest houses who are most inclined to throw stones to distract from the fragility of their own abodes.
Well, it being the Christmas season, I shall give Franke-Ruta the benefit of the doubt anyway.
Scam Watch -- By the way, the Southern Poverty Law Center is on the official Scam Watch of iSteve.com. See Ken Silverstein's Harper's article "The Church of Morris Dees: How the Southern Poverty Law Center profits from intolerance" for the basics on Morris Dees' money machine. And here's leftist Alexander Cockburn's column on the SPLC's money-hungry machinations.
Lately, as Morris's moneymaking ambitions have expanded, he has turned to attacking people of the quality of Richard Lamm, the Democratic former three term governor of Colorado. I'm proud to be on Gov. Lamm's side of the ethical chasm between him and Mr. Dees, a member of the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame.
Here's something important I hadn't seen before: the revealing statement of Jim Tharpe, the Deputy Metro Editor of the Atlanta Constitution, which he made during a Harvard panel discussion about his experience editing a massive Pulitzer-finalist investigative series on the Southern Poverty Law Center during his days at the Montgomery Advertiser:
I’d never done any reporting on nonprofits, I thought they were all good guys, they were mom-and-pop, bake-sale, raise-money-for-the-local-fire-department type operations. I had no idea how sophisticated they were, how much money they raised, and how little access you have to them as a reporter, some of which has already been covered here.
The Roe Effect -- James Taranto claims that he knew all about the relationship between white fertility and Republican voting. See, it's the Roe Effect -- future Democrats get aborted, he says.
The only problem with this popular idea is that there's little evidence that abortion has a big effect on white fertility -- a 2000 Rand Corporation study found:
The white TFR where abortion is legal and Medicaid funding for the procedure available is estimated to be 1.81. Ending Medicaid funding would increase the TFR for whites by 2 percent. Klerman estimates that making abortion illegal would increase white fertility by an additional 3 percent, still below replacement levels.
If abortion wasn't convenient, people would have a lot fewer unwanted pregnancies. They really aren't all that hard to avoid.
It makes you wonder what the point of legalized abortion is if the great majority of aborted fetuses wouldn't have been conceived without abortion being legalized.
"Natalism" -- David Brooks writes:
There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is 'natalism.'
It's strange that having enough babies to keep the species going needs its own name. What's next? "Breathingism?"
My "Baby Gap" article makes the New York Times:
The New Red-Diaper Babies
"Baby Gap" vs. "Parent Trap" -- Here's the New Republic's article "Parent Trap" by my neighbor Joel Kotkin and William Frey. Fairly similar, although they didn't come up with the killer statistics that I did about Bush carrying 25 of the top 26 states because they look at overall fertility rather than white fertility, which is the key variable. The average number of babies per white woman in a state accounts for 74% of the variation in Bush's share, but the fertility for all women only accounts for 37%.
I've long resented Dr. Kinsey because he gives a bad name to sex researchers. The unanswered question about his life is whether he became a sex researcher because he was an omnisexual pervert or did he become an omnisexual pervert because he was a sex researcher. In either case, his life story was bad for the reputation of a legitimate and important field.
By the way, before conducting the big sex study of 4,300 people published in the book "Sex in America" (which turned out to be the anti-Kinsey Report, showing that married couples were having the most and best sex ... with each other, and a lot of other not very lascivious findings), the U. of Chicago researchers put a lot of work into finding out the best kind of interviewers. They found an overwhelming preference among all segments of society for being interviewed about intimate matters by middle-aged white ladies. Kinsey, instead, hired enthusiastic young men, who used their jobs as an excuse to run amok.
Brother of ex-Presidente murdered in Mexico:
Enrique Salinas, the youngest brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, was found dead in a car on the outskirts of Mexico City on Monday, with a plastic bag tied over his head in an apparent murder, officials said. Authorities said there indications that Salinas had been killed as part of an attempt to extort him or get information out of him. "Generally, if you put a bag over someone's head, you're often not trying to kill them, but rather extort them or get some information out of them," said Alfonso Navarrete Prida, the attorney general of the State of Mexico, which abuts Mexico City and where the body was found.
Do you get the feeling that this attorney general sounds like he has first-hand experience with putting plastic bags over people's heads?
Ah, the Salinas family... Life has been dreary without them in the news. If you want to read about the exploits of Carlos and his brother Raul (a.k.a., "Mr. 10%," for his demand that all contracts with the Mexican government include a 10% kickback to the Salinas family), here's my VDARE article.
The Salinases were great friends of the Bushes. For example, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush vacationed three times with his family on Raul's ranch, perhaps to further educate young George P. on how Presidential relatives should behave. Raul is now doing 27 years in the slammer for having his ex-brother-in-law, the PRI chairman, murdered. Raul's wife was arrested in Switzerland while trying to remove $94 million in cash from their safe deposit box.
New VDARE.com column at left on my vindication by AP and NBC over the exit poll's inflated share of Hispanics for Bush.
I've been on a hot streak since mid-October with four quantitative scoops:
1. Kerry's IQ
Maureen Dowd's latest menopausal hot flash:
I've never said this out loud before, but I can't stand Christmas.
Everyone in my family loves it except me, and they can't fathom why I get the
mullygrubs, as a Southern friend of mine used to call a low-level depression, from Thanksgiving straight through New Year.
Much of the appeal of feminism, like a lot of other 20th Century intellectuals' fads like Freudianism, consists of trying to persuade others to become as unhappy as you are. Nothing drives liberals crazier than seeing their less intelligent relatives grow up to be happier than they are. The great curse of Maureen's life is that she was the smart one in the family, the one who believed what smart people were supposed to believe, while her brothers and sisters believed all the politically conservative, socially traditional stuff that dumb people believe. Unfortunately, just like they predicted, they ended up happier than her.
Fortunately, she has her bully pulpit from which to try to lure others into her mistakes. It won't maker her any happier, but it will make her feel more fashionable.
Barry Bonds told the grand jury he unwittingly used Balco's steroids -- Sure, Barry, whatever you say.
Here's Barry's batting performance by age (as of July 1), using the Baseball Reference's single best hitting statistic, Adjusted OPS. The average hitter is a 100. To reach 200 for a single season is out of the reach of most Hall of Famers (Hank Aaron and Willie Mays never did it). As you can see, Barry reached his first peak, achieving 205 and 206, in 1992-93 when he was 27 and 28, which is the typical peak age for a ballplayer. He then declined slowly, as is conventional, to a still outstanding 162 at age 34 in 1999. The next year he bounced back up to 191, which is a little suspicious but hardly impossible for somebody who was already one of the top 20 or so greatest ballplayers of all time, and arguably top 10. Then, from the age of 36 through 39 he went on a four-year tear averaging 257, which is better than Babe Ruth's single best season (1920) of 255, when he was 25. Ted Williams had a 233 when he was 38 but his surrounding seasons weren't too close to that. Bonds' last four seasons include the three best offensive seasons in the history of baseball. That just ain't natural.
Unaccountability -- As I said just before the voting, the election was all about accountability. If you wanted more of what we got over the last four years, then vote for Mr. Bush. The President clearly agrees with my analysis that the voters have ringingly endorsed unaccountability, and he appears determined to give the public what it voted for, in spades. He just re-hired that author of countless mistakes, Donald Rumsfeld (my favorite: equating looting with freedom in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq conquest, instead of ordering our victorious troops to shoot looters).
But, you are probably saying, Rumsfeld is an amateur in the screw-up department compared to the #3 man at the Pentagon, Douglas Feith. So, what will be the fate of Sergeant Snafu? Well, Newsday reports, "Feith was reported earlier this week to have told his staff he was staying."
A reader writes:
Bush can't be so stupid as to think Iraq is a victory much less a political plus. Thus, he is simply practicing the old "we all hang together or separately" tactic. If he fired the Neocons and their tool (Rummy) they would turn on him and he'd be finished. So, he needs them to "cover up" the disaster that is Iraq.
The election's over, so the FBI is back to chasing spies: The FBI conducted a "massive" 6 hour raid on the headquarters of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday, after a long hiatus in pursuing Neocongate presumably mandated by the Bush administration while the election was going on. You've got to admire the patriots in the FBI who keep pushing this investigation even though 95% of the politicians in Washington want this case to vanish.
The full text of my important article on "The Baby Gap" is now up on the American Conservative website.
The demise of the shotgun wedding -- Here's a new Census Bureau graph
on the increasing median age of first marriages. Graphs like this are
misleading because by
starting in 1950, they don't show that the immediate post-War decades
were anomalous. Before WWII, the average age of first marriages had been
higher, but after the War, the abundance of union jobs paying a living
wage to very young men allowed the age of first marriage to hit an
all-time low. In general, Europe has been a fairly late marriage
civilization (compared to the Chinese or Indians) since pre-Christian
More on the Decline of Rock: A reader writes:
My personal theory about the decline of rock-- record company profits are not perfectly correlated with record sales. If a group becomes too popular (say Led Zeppelin circa 1976) they can get a better deal for themselves and reduce the margins of the companies. Ergo, record companies pursue a series of disposable acts rather than nurture those of the highest quality. (Nothing wrong with it, just smart business.) Disco, boy bands, and rap are producer driven and hence ideal forms for the record execs. The Clash, Stones, and Grateful Dead are bad investments.
The Clash used to drive their record label nuts by insisting on lower than usual suggested retail prices for their records.
I don't know enough about the music industry to say if this is true, but this economic logic has almost killed off the sit-com, with reality TV starring amateurs replacing it. The supporting cast of Seinfeld showed just how much leverage even lesser stars had when they got paid about $22 million apiece for the final season. Supposedly, NBC offered Jerry Seinfeld personally $5 million per episode or $110 million to do one additional season (on top of the $66 million in salaries the other three would split, showing the top-rated show would still be profitable even if it paid out $176 million in salaries annually), but he turned it down, saying he had enough money. (Jason Alexander claims Seinfeld has made a billion dollars total in royalties on his ownership of the show.) Likewise, the six member cast of Friends made about a million dollars apiece per episode or $132 million per year (or $143 million if Jennifer Aniston really did get an additional $500,000 per episode.
Or, you can hire some attractive but anonymous exhibitionists each year for your reality series and promise [portentuous pause, in the manner of Dr. Evil threatening world leaders] one million dollars to the winner!
No surprise: The New York Yankee's slugging (but now sick) first baseman Jason Giambi is revealed by the San Francisco Chronicle to be a steroid user.
Last summer, I pointed out that the much acclaimed philosophical revolution in baseball player evaluations pioneered by author Bill James and first put into practice by Oakland general manager Billy Beane (under whom Giambi suddenly leapt to superstardom) had a downside: it particularly valued the kind of accomplishments (homeruns and walks) that could be significantly boosted by taking steroids.
"Sabremetricians" have long derided the bestowing of the 2001 American League MVP award on Seattle's singles-hitter Ichiro Suzuki instead of Giambi. From a statistical point of view, this critique was flawless, but from the perspective of the health of baseball, it was all wrong: Giambi was obviously just another steroid abusing Mark McGwire clone, while Ichiro was a unique talent.
This year, Giambi's health broke down, quite possibly because of steroid and human growth hormone abuse, while Ichiro, at age 30 broke George Sisler's ancient record for most hits in a season.
An extraordinary change in politics: I've discovered something I am almost flabbergasted by concerning how much Presidential politics has changed since the 1950s.
I've mentioned before how stable the election results by state and by demographic group were from 2000 to 2004. Bush's share of the vote in 2004 by state correlated at the 0.98 level with his performance in 2000. What that means is that if you spent November in a cave and just surfaced today and asked "What happened in the election?" you could be 96% (that's 0.98 squared) accurate in guessing Bush's share in each state with just three kinds of information: his 2000 performance, his new intercept (start Bush off 3.9 percentage points higher), and his new slope (for each 10 percentage points his 2000 share goes up per state, his 2004 share goes up 9.77 percentage points). For example, if he earned a 50% share in a particular state last time, you would expect him to earn 52.7 points this time (3.9 + (5 * 9.77).
So, how does the stability from 2000 to 2004 compare to elections in the past? The impact of third party candidates makes it somewhat difficult to compare seemingly similar pairs of elections, such as the President's father's campaigns in 1988 and 1992. The correlation of Bush41's share in 1988 to 1992 on a state-by-state basis was only .83 (71%), but, perhaps, the intervention of Ross Perot, who captured 19% of the vote, had something to do with that.
The cleanest comparison to 2000 and 2004 is the 1952 and 1956 elections, which twice in a row matched up Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. You would think that the results would have been almost identical from 1952 to 1956, but they correlated only at the 0.78 level, meaning you could only be 61% accurate at plotting Eisenhower's 1956 results knowing his 1952 results and Eisenhower's intercept and slope for 1956. In other words, there was hugely more shifting at the state level between 1952 and 1956 than between 2000 and 2004.
Eisenhower's overall share grew 2.3 points from 1952 to 1956, only a little less than Bush's improvement from 2000 to 2004, but Ike's share fell in 19 of 48 states. In contrast, Bush lost share in only 2 of 51 states (although this may change slightly as final vote counts come in).
Were voters in 1956 much more sensitive to the actual policies advocated by the candidates, and how they would affect their states, and thus more likely to change their votes as both candidates altered their stance on issues to try to appeal more broadly? In contrast, did voters in 2004 vote not so much on the issues as on which (relatively unchanging) part of society they wished to affirm their membership in?
By the way, the correlation between Eisenhower's share by states in 1952 and Bush's in 2004 is -0.01, or utterly random.
Here are the r-squareds for state-by-state correlations for the last eight elections. For 1992 and 1996, I've laid out the correlations both with the GOP candidate by himself and with the GOP candidate plus Perot (i.e., the non-Democratic share of the vote). There seems to be an upward trend over time for elections to become more stable, although 1984 to 1988 was 88%, which is low only compared to 2000 to 2004 (96%). The 1992 and 1996 elections were somewhat perturbed by Perot and by Clinton, who had a certain amount of Southern appeal.
The Decline and Fall of the American Teenybopper: For about a quarter of a century in the middle of the last century, adolescent girls had a superb sense for recognizing the next big thing in pop musical greatness, going crazy over Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson long before any other demographic segments did . For example, back in 1944 when my late mother-in-law was 14, she put on her bobby-sox and took the El down to the Chicago Loop at 9am to see Sinatra sing for 15 minutes. Sinatra was so popular with bobby-soxers then that he did something like eleven shows a day.
Then, something happened and teenyboppers stopped being able to sense greatness: they were into Bobby Sherman, the Bay City Rollers, and the Backstreet Boys. I think there were several causes:
First, teenyboppers' judgment was at its best during stylistic innovations such as the invention of rock and roll in the mid-Fifties and the British Invasion in the mid-Sixties. In contrast, there has been little stylistic innovation since the second half of the 1970s, which saw the popularization of disco, rap, punk, and the various "new wave" styles. My son listens to LA's "New Rock" station KROQ, but just about everything they play could have been created in 1982.
Second, the way you become a legend with the people who write about popular music -- who are, overwhelmingly, adult males -- is by making music for adult males. Thus, Sinatra took control of his music-making in 1953 and ascended to a new level of sophistication, as did the Beatles in 1965-1967, and the Stones, too, lagging, as always, a little behind the Beatles. As an artist, Presley's weakness was the he was just too nice a guy, too polite and compliant, and never took control of his own artistry, allowing himself to be pushed around by Col. Parker and other mediocrities, although his brief 1968 comeback, which produced "Suspicious Minds" and "Burnin' Love" indicates what he was capable of.
Bob Dylan, however, showed that you could bypass the teeny-bopper stage of your career and go right for the critics.
Third, various impresarios discovered that rather than wait around for some raw genius to strike sparks with teenyboppers, you could manufacture bands that would push young girls' buttons in a Pavlovian fashion.
Fourth, as the search intensified for male singers who could function as unthreatening "practice boyfriends" for young girls, regular guys like Sinatra, who was in his mid-20s when the teeny-boppers discovered him and was definitely not the ideal "practice boyfriend," were shunted aside for more specialized types. What impresarios look for in teenybopper idols are males who seem younger than they actually are, but they are less likely to grow up to appeal to adult males.
A reader writes:
dunno bout your theory but I have my own observations. Somewhere in the
70s there started increased specialization. Whereas in the past both
boys and girls listened to the same bands. Like in the 80s you had hair
bands that strongly appealed to guys but not so much girls. And this
trend only got stronger culminating with Nirvana. Which is ironic
because Kurt Cobain hated the people who loved his music the most, that
is, testosterone addled teen males. But also rap, doesn't appeal much to
girls, but a lot of guys love it.
Right. A band like The Clash, which has the #8 album on Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 albums of all time, with London Calling, has a very specific market niche -- high IQ males interested in politics as well as music, which pretty well defines rock critics. But it's hard to get girls interested in The Clash. The gender divisions have only gotten deeper since then. For example, back in 1982 KROQ played lots of girl groups, like The Go-Gos, including some goofy novelty hits, like Toni Basil's cheerleader chant "Hey, Mickey," but today, even though, the general style of the music has barely changed, the only girl group on the regular rotation is No Doubt, and the mix is aimed overwhelmingly at boys.
Sherwin Nuland slams Fox's "House, M.D." for portraying a doctor who is a jerk and Colby Cosh slams back -- The premise of the new show starring Hugh Laurie is: Wouldn't it be cool if every hospital had a Greg Cochran on staff for diagnosing the really hard cases -- an irascible genius who has personally been burned by other doctors' incompetence at diagnosis and now won't let anything, including reputation, civility, and other people's self-esteem -- get in the way of figuring out what the damn disease is?
Everybody has stories abut doctors' incompetence at diagnosis. Personally, back in 1997 I had a board-licensed M.D. feel a hot dog-sized tumor growing out of my armpit and tell me, "Don't worry about it. It's probably just a muscle pull." But he was a nice guy! In contrast, the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma expert I eventually went to who had access to a life-saving cutting edge experimental monoclonal antibody treatment was a jerk, but I'm alive today, seven years later. Thank you, Dr. Jerk!
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