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Oct. 1-15, 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 Mar 2004 Feb 2004 Jan 2004 Dec 2003 Nov 2003 Oct 2003 Sep 2003 Aug 2003 Jul 2003 Jun 2003 May 2003 Apr 2003 Mar 2003 Feb 2003 Jan 2003 Dec 2002 Nov 2002 Oct 2002 Sep 2002 Aug 2002 July 2002 May-Jun 2002 Mar-Apr 2002 Jan-Feb 2002 Dec 2001
October 2004 Archive
Accountability -- To me, the essential issue in the election is accountability: Has George W. Bush done a good enough job to justify hiring him for another four years? We don't know what the next four years will bring. (Certainly, the Bush Administration of the last four years is not, for better or worse, what anybody voted for in 2000.) All we can say with any confidence is that if we re-elect Bush, we will be rewarding the kind of behavior we've seen for the last four years, and thus we will get more of it in the future. If we reject Bush, we're sending the message that that kind of behavior will not be rewarded, so we'll see less of it.
New York Times' John Tierney on IQ again: In a quiz in the NYT, Tierney asks:
When Tom Brokaw asked Mr. Kerry about a report that Mr. Bush's I.Q. was higher than his, how did he respond?
a) "But he doesn't even speak French."
b) "I've never misunderestimated his intelligence."
c) "That's great. More power."
d) "This just shows, once again, that the president has been deliberately hiding the truth from the American public."
e) "It's a great boost in our campaign to connect with voters who are still trying to figure out which candidate to support. I mean, these folks are obviously not Mensa material."
So, what will be the impact of Saturday night's extra hour of sleep on the election? I'm just throwing this out there because it doesn't seem much stupider of a thing to worry about than anything else people are talking about.
So, what's his excuse for the 31 years since Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? The Washington Post reports:
Pop star Elton John says he doesn't mean to throw tantrums -- it just comes with the territory of being creative.
The Left wins again in Latin America: Although Karl Rove says that Latin American immigrants are natural Republicans, back in Latin America, the masses keep voting socialist. The NY Times reports:
Left Makes History by Winning Presidential Vote"
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Oct. 31 - Tabaré Vázquez, a Socialist doctor running as the candidate of an opposition coalition that includes former guerrillas, narrowly triumphed Sunday in the presidential election, bringing the left to power for the first time in this South American country.
The victory by the coalition, known as the Progressive-Encounter-Broad-FrontNew-Majority, whose largest faction consists of Tupamaro guerrillas turned politicians, strengthens a trend throughout the continent. As in the last presidential votes in Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, the candidate most opposed to American-supported free-market policies has defeated backers of those policies.
Surveys of voters leaving the polls and early returns indicated that Dr. Vázquez, an oncologist and former mayor of this capital, would win about 51 percent, just above the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Even before official returns were announced, both of his main opponents had conceded and indicated their willingness to cooperate with him.
More of my old film reviews:
First half of 2002 (Reverse chronological order)
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner - Eskimo epic
Minority Report - Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron - Animated feature
Windtalkers - Nicholas Cage, John Woo
Bad Company - Chris Rock, Anthony Hopkins
Sum of All Fears - Ben Affleck, Tom Clancy
About a Boy - Hugh Grant
Attack of the Clones - Star Wars II
Unfaithful - Diane Lane, Richard Gere, Adrian Lyne
Spider-Man -- Tobey Maguire
Life or Something Like It - Angelina Jolie
Murder by Numbers - Sandra Bullock
Other Side of Heaven - Mormon missionary movie
Death to Smoochy - Robin Williams
Big Trouble - Dave Barry, Tim Allen
E.T. 20th Anniversary Edition - Steven Spielberg
Showtime - Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro
The Time Machine - Guy Pearce
We Were Soldiers - Mel Gibson
Dragonfly - Kevin Costner
Collateral Damage - Arnold Schwarzenegger
John Q - Denzel Washington
Birthday Girl - Nicole Kidman
Count of Monte Cristo - Jim Caviezel
Why isn't TicketMaster's monopoly a political issue? I took my son to Tower Records yesterday to buy a $12 ticket to a Youth Brigade punk rock concert. So, $12 is cheap, right? But not after they added TicketMaster's $5.65 service charge (47% of the ticket price), plus a $2 "facilities access" fee that went into who knows who's pocket, so we end up spending 64% extra in fees.
Years ago, TicketMaster (a.k.a., TicketBastard) bought its rival Ticketron and ever since has jacked up service fees to absurd levels. Is the cost of computer processing going up every year? All this profit flows into the pockets of Paul Allen, who was already one of the richest men in America from being Bill Gates' ex-roommate. This is classic monopolistic behavior, which I thought was illegal under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.
If any of you out there are thinking of running for President in 2008 and are looking for an issue to fire up the youth vote, breaking up the TicketMaster monopoly is a no-brainer.
Are Republicans or Democrats smarter? An almost unknown fact is that the GOP House candidates did extraordinarily well among the well-educated in the 2002 midterms. I bought the long lost VNS exit poll data from 2002 and crunched it. I found that that GOP candidates for the House of Representatives won 58-40 among voters claiming to have college degrees and 52-44 among those saying they have advanced degrees. (I have data going back to 1986 and this was the first time the GOP had ever won among those purporting to have post-grad degrees.) In contrast, in 2002 Democratic candidates won 63-35 among the high school dropouts and 50-48 among those with only a high school degree.
The GOP also won 53-44 among the median voters -- those who attended college but didn't get a four year degree. (By the way, you have to take self-reported education credentials with a grain of salt -- more than a few voters exaggerate.)
Don't you get the impression, however, that in 2004, at least in the Presidential race, this pattern will reverse? Rove sure seems to be running a campaign aimed at the 30% of the population that thinks that Saddam actively planned 9/11. When the facts aren't on your side, you have to try to appeal to the easily confused. However, we should have new exit poll data by Wednesday, knock on wood.
The National Republican Campaign Committee has filed a complaint of "criminal behavior" against KFI's highly-rated John & Ken for crusading for the defeat of Congressman David Dreier (R-CA) for being a wimp on immigration.
Uh, NRCC, ever heard of the First Amendment?
Kerry leads among Hispanics 59-30. Yawn. Soon enough we'll know for real, but likely the last poll of Hispanics shoots another harpoon into the sinking Rove-Bush model of Hispanic voting ("They are a swing vote up for grabs if we just Hispander like mad!") and supports the Sailer theory of Hispanic voting ("They always give 19 to 28 more points to Democrats than do whites, so, for the good of the GOP, cut down on immigration, don't increase it.").
Richard Morin and Dan Balz write in the Washington Post:
The new poll also found that Democrat John F. Kerry leads President Bush by 59 percent to 30 percent among registered Hispanic voters, virtually unchanged from a Post-Univision-Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) survey in July. Independent Ralph Nader received 1 percent.
As with all voters, economic concerns have emerged as the top issue among Latinos, the survey found. More than one in four -- 27 percent -- named the economy and jobs as the issue that will determine their vote on Tuesday. Twenty percent said terrorism was their major concern; 15 percent listed Iraq and education.
Latino voters preferred Kerry, rather than Bush, to deal with each of the major issues facing the country. The Democrat led Bush as the candidate who would do the better job of dealing with the situation in Iraq, where Kerry held a 15 percentage-point advantage. The Democrat also had double-digit advantages over the president on handling the economy (26 points), dealing with immigration issues (18 points) and dealing with education (23 points).
Kerry also was seen as the candidate best able to handle terrorism, where he led Bush 46 percent to 38 percent on an issue on which most voters overall give the president the advantage.
On personal qualities viewed important in a president, Kerry was seen as more empathetic, likable and more trusted to deal with crises. Bush was seen as the candidate who was more likely to take positions and stick with them. Hispanics were divided over whether Bush or Kerry was the stronger leader, the quality that voters consistently say they most value in a candidate and one where Bush has held a substantial lead among all voters.
The poll also strongly suggests that Bush may fall short of topping the 35 percent of the Hispanic vote he received in 2000. In only one heavily Hispanic state -- Florida -- does Bush lead Kerry among Latinos, largely on the strength of overwhelming support among Cuban Americans.
In other states, Bush finishes a distant second to Kerry. In California, two in three registered Latinos said they plan to vote for Kerry while barely one in five support the president. Even in Bush's home state of Texas, the president gets only a third of all Latino votes while Kerry claims 57 percent, according to the Post-Univision-TRPI survey.
If Bush falls short of the 40 percent mark among Latinos, that will prove to be a major disappointment to his strategists and to Republican National Committee, who jointly have invested four years and substantial amounts of money to attract greater support in the Hispanic community. Matthew Dowd, the Bush campaign's senior strategist, said not long after the 2000 election that, because of surging population growth in the Hispanic community, the president would need to win a greater share of the vote in 2004 or risk losing the election -- all other things being equal.
Bush and his team have tried to woo Latinos by showering presidential attention on the community and by running a systematic public relations campaign, much of it bilingual, aimed at highlighting administration accomplishments that might play well among Hispanic voters.
Kerry and the Democrats have fought back, paying more attention to Latino media and advertising than Vice President Al Gore did four years ago. Several outside groups, notably the New Democrat Network, have poured money into Spanish-language advertising in battleground states with heavily Hispanic populations.
This is the third and final survey of Latino registered voters sponsored by The Post, the Univision Spanish-language television network and TRPI, an independent think tank affiliated with the University of Southern California. A total of 1,603 randomly selected Hispanic voters in the 11 states with the largest Latino electorates were interviewed by telephone Oct. 4-16.
Well, I was wrong -- I'd been figuring Osama was dead for lo these many years that we hadn't seen a videotape of him speaking, but the new videotape shows he's familiar with "Fahrenheit 9/11," so, that's that.
He sure seems to want to get Bush re-elected. But, I've been wrong before.
Another immigrant group that Bush and Rove pursued ardently in 2000, with Grover Norquist's help, was Muslims. Bush promised during the campaign to ease anti-terrorist enforcement, including eliminating ethnic profiling of Arab airline passengers, a policy that might have been called into question when airports screeners, encouraged by the Administration not to overly hassle Arabs, allowed 19 hijackers on board on 9/11.
Yet, Bush and Sen. Spencer Abraham, an Arab-American, both lost in Michigan, the most Muslim state, in 2000. The 2002 VNS exit poll, the first to offer "Muslim" as a religion to check off, showed that only 0.3 percent of voters claimed to be Muslim.
An order of magnitude more numerous, but still statistically small, Jewish voters cast 3.3 percent of the ballots in 2002. Just as Hispanics are growing, however, the Jewish share of the vote is slowly shrinking. On the other hand, Jews are often said by analysts to be particularly influential per voter, due to their above average degrees of political interest, energy, eloquence, and donations. (In contrast, because of language barriers, Hispanics would appear to be below average in influence per voter, although that never makes it into print.)
Bush did poorly with Jews in 2000, winning only 17 percent, perhaps because Joe Lieberman was on the Democratic ballot. The GOP House candidates' share of the Jewish vote grew from 22 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in the last election.
A mid-September poll commissioned by the American Jewish Committee showed Kerry leading Bush 69-24. So, Bush is up a little over 2000, but that must still be disappointing considering all the Administration has done for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. (The Republican record among Jews is Reagan's 39 percent in 1980, when some Jews punished Jimmy Carter for the Camp David Accord.)
Despite Bush's neoconservative foreign policy, a substantial number of Jews tend to be uncomfortable with fervent Christians like the President, as the enormous brouhaha over Mel Gibson's hugely popular "The Passion of the Christ" showed. Neocon pundit Charles Krauthammer, for instance, just couldn't restrain himself from insulting his many Israel-supporting allies on the Religious Right who loved the film. Krauthammer published an op-ed entitled "Gibson's Blood Libel," calling the boffo box office hit "a singular act of interreligious aggression" and "spectacularly vicious."
Among Christians, the denominational equivalent of the famous gender gap (the "church chasm”?) widened substantially from 2000 to 2002. The Republican slice of the House vote pie narrowed among white Catholics, from 52 to 50 percent. Among white Protestants, though, the Republican share rose from 63 to 69 percent.
According to Brandeis historian David Hackett Fischer's famous book Albion's Seed, WASPs are still divided into four subethnic groups which had spread West across the U.S. at roughly constant latitudes: from north to south, they are New England Puritans, Pennsylvania Quakers, Appalachian backcountry Scotch-Irish, and Southern lowlanders. He expects the bellicose Scotch-Irish and the self-righteous descendents of the Puritans to be particularly at arms this year over Iraq.
"The family tree of George W. Bush is as close to pure Yankee Puritan as any Presidential candidate's in many decades, but Bush has mastered the idioms of the backcountry culture he grew up in down in Midland, Texas," Fischer told me. As epitomized by the Scotch-Irish warrior Andrew Jackson, Bush's adopted culture prefers to shoot first and ask questions later.
In contrast, John Kerry is from Massachusetts-bred and is part Puritan. He does best in New England and its outcroppings such as Northern California. Fischer contended that the Bush Administration's doctrine of pre-emptive war on Iraq was foreign to Greater New England's traditional self-image. "It's very important to New Englanders not to fire the first shot."
Another traditional aspect of liberals' self-image is their assumption that they are smarter than conservatives. Indeed, in May, hundreds of liberal websites, as well as The Economist magazine, fell for a telling hoax: a fictitious table of state IQ scores purportedly showing Gore states vastly outsmart Bush states. In reality, state IQ scores have not been published in decades, but school achievement scores and educational levels found in exit polls indicate the two parties are highly similar intellectually, on average.
This year, however, much of Bush's support comes from the two-fifths of the public who continue to tell pollsters that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in 9/11. This view isn't necessarily illogical -- many Americans seem to assume that's why the President responded to 9/11 by invading Iraq -- but it is ill-informed.
This Presidential election will, of course, be decided in about a dozen and a half "battleground states" such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Immigrant groups tend to be concentrated in out-of-play states such as California, New York, and Texas, so neither campaign seems to be paying them all that much heed.
In fact, 2004 is starting to look like 1968 or 1972 all over again, in part because most of the attention is focused on Great Lakes industrial states where the voters are either white or black, but not immigrant, and are more blue-collar and older than is common these days. Indeed, much of the campaign controversy has revolved around what the candidates did back in 1968 and 1972 during the Vietnam War, issues of intense personal interest to white men of a certain age, but not to all that many others.
You can watch Tom Brokaw interview John Kerry about my IQ story by going here and clicking the LAUNCH button under Kerry's picture. My part of the interview comes up right after the 5 minute mark. Of course, this will take a long time to download on a dial-up connection.
Anybody know how I can save this video to my hard disk?
What species do economists think they are studying? On Marginal Revolution, guest economist Steven Landsburg writes:
If George Bush had chosen the racist David Duke as a running mate, I'd have voted against him, almost without regard to any other issue. Instead, John Kerry chose the xenophobe John Edwards as a running mate. I will therefore vote against John Kerry.
Duke thinks it's imperative to protect white jobs from black competition. Edwards thinks it's imperative to protect American jobs from foreign competition. There's not a dime's worth of moral difference there. While Duke would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of skin color, Edwards would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of birthplace. Either way, bigotry is bigotry, and appeals to base instincts should always be repudiated.
You don't have to think that protectionism is a good idea to see why Landsburg is an arrogant, self-righteous scold. One way to lower racial conflicts with the U.S. is to promote solidarity based on citizenship, but our elites hold the concept of citizenship in contempt.
Landsburg is an extreme example, but have you noticed how economists have become increasingly irrelevant? This is a good example of the kind of economists' prejudices that have caused this. (Of course, the other reason is the more admirable one that because a lot of the bad economic policies of the past have been eliminated, economists have reached diminishing returns. The obvious solution is to inject more realism into their models by incorporating more knowledge of human diversity, but few are interested in that.)
UPDATE: Jack Strocchi gives Landsburg what-for on Catallaxy.
My new VDARE.com column "Does IQ Matter in a President?" is up now. It's a more contemplative follow-up to last week's investigative report "This Just In: Kerry's IQ Likely Lower than Bush's!" which continues to make news (see below). By the way, if you type in Bush and IQ on Google, you find 198,000 pages, so this topic isn't my lone obsession -- I just try to apply evidence to what everybody else opinionizes about.
Tom Brokaw: Someone [i.e., Steve Sailer] has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.
Sen. John F. Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from.
Brokaw: Do you think he's [Bush's] a smart man?
Kerry: I do. Yes, I do think he's a smart man.
Brokaw: Do you think too many people in your party underestimate?
Kerry: I think people have always underestimated President Bush. But I'm proud that in those debates, I didn't underestimate him.
Well, actually, Kerry's campaign did release his Officer Qualification Test score on this Acrobat PDF on the www.JohnKerry.com website. Yet, even though huge numbers of Kerry's supporters and detractors pored over this dump of documents on Kerry's military record, the first person who seems to have noticed the significance of that one document was Sam Sewell, a Navy vet and minister in Florida who works with gifted children with learning disabilities. Because I'd written articles in the past on candidates' IQs, he called it to my attention about a month ago, and I spent three weeks interviewing military psychometricians and reading old military reports to figure out how to interpret Kerry's score and how to compare it to Bush's scores on the somewhat similar Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (p. 25 of this huge PDF file).
So, although Kerry's statement that "my record is not public" was incorrect, I'm sure Kerry's not trying to lie when he says, "So I don't know where you're getting that from." I'm sure he honestly doesn't know. His test score appears on just one rather cryptic-looking page out of the hundreds of pages of military records his campaign has put online, and I doubt if he recognized what it was, assuming he even looked at it.
Also, I don't see that Kerry is under any obligation to release any of his other test scores or grade transcripts. Although many of his supporters have claimed that he is much smarter than Bush, I've never heard Kerry claim that. Further, I don't believe that Bush's SAT score (1206, old style) was voluntarily released. I think it was leaked to The New Yorker in 1999.
Finally, Tom Brokaw is oversimplifying when he says, "Someone [i.e., Steve Sailer] has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do." My best judgment is that they were fairly similar in cognitive capability back when they were seniors at Yale, but that if I had to bet on who would have scored higher if they had taken the same test back then, I would bet on Bush. While, it's not an apples to oranges comparison between the two service branches' officer tests, it's not an oranges to oranges comparison either. It's more like oranges to tangerines. So, there will always be uncertainty.
What we do know is that both candidates scored roughly about what you'd expect for someone qualified to apply to become a military officer. It appears by my reading of the results that Kerry got the average score for applicants to the Navy's Officer Candidate School and that Bush did better than about two of out of three applicants to the Air Force Academy, which strikes me as a little better than Kerry's performance, but not by a huge amount.
Those are both good performances, although hardly great. I would imagine that a large majority of the regular readers of this blog would score higher. That does not mean, of course, that you or I would make a better President than Bush or Kerry. They both have a lot of non-cognitive gifts. On the other hand, it does raise questions about whether these are the two best candidates our nation of 270 million citizens can put forward.
I think Kerry would benefit if his supporters stopped flattering him about how smart he is. Like Bush, he's smart enough to be President, if he works hard, seeks out good advisors, and fires bad advisors. But Kerry would be a better campaigner if he stuck to reading the speeches his speechwriters give him and stop trying to improve them on the fly by adding digressions and dependent clauses. He's not smart enough to do that.
My Kerry IQ story is here. By the way, a reader just wrote in to say that Tom Brokaw asked John Kerry about his IQ! Anybody else see that?
Human Biodiversity Conservation -- The global excitement over the discovery that dwarfed pre-humans, cutely nicknamed "hobbits," existed in Southeast Asia at least until the last Ice Age contrasts sharply with the almost complete lack of interest in the fact that races of dwarfed modern humans continue to cling precariously to existence in the same region. Besides the fairly well-known Pygmies of Africa, there are several groups of "pygmy negritos" in Southeast Asia and, at least until very recently, even in Australia, as this 1938 picture from Queensland shows.
Indeed, as Keith Windschuttle and Tim Gillin have pointed out, the very existence of pygmy negritos in Australia was completely written out of the record after the 1960s in order to promote the politically correct position that all of Australia's pre-Western inhabitants were racially identical.
More pressing is the fate of the remaining pygmy negritos of the Andaman Islands, a colony of India in the Indian Ocean south of Burma. They appear to be a remnant of the first Out-of-Africa wave of modern humans. Adults are under five feet tall, and the women are so "steatopygous" that when an Andamanese mother is carrying her toddler around, she simply has the child stand on her platform-like buttocks. (There's a picture in Carelton Coon's Living Races of Mankind that you have to see to believe.)
Q: What's been happening to the Jarawa tribe in the Andamans?
A: In the last few years, the Jarawa tribe has largely given up its old hostility toward all outsiders. The result was predictable: a large number of diseases have struck and violent crime is on the rise. The latest reports received privately speak of 50 percent infection rate with Hepatitis B among Jarawas (only a few months ago it was said to be 30 percent). Other diseases are rampant and one official has carelessly let slip that there is AIDS among the Jarawa. Officially, of course, all is well.
You had better heed local advice when meeting with Jarawa. Thanks to grossly incompetent government policies in the past, you are likely to meet them on the Andaman trunk road where they will hijack your bus and not be satisfied with a handshake, but instead will demand goodies -- or else. Such is progress in the Andamans.
Q: Why are Andamanese so vulnerable to the outside world?
A: They have been isolated from other people for a long time and have never had a chance to develop resistance against outside diseases. The Andamanese do have a limited immunity against malaria (a very ancient human scourge), but the common cold or an ordinary flu, let alone pneumonia, measles or venereal diseases, can be deadly to them.
Q: What's special about the North Sentinel Islanders?
A: They are the only Andamanese group that is today still as isolated as all the Andamanese were in the past. That they live on a coral-fringed island in stormy waters has protected them until now from those do-gooders who would "bring them into the mainstream of Indian society," as the nationalist phrase has it. For just what this expression means in reality, the Jarawa situation provides an all too clear illustration.
Q: Is their future safe?
A: "Missions of friendship" to the Sentineli have started only a few years ago. Just as with the Jarawa, most were junkets for visiting VIPs, camouflaged by being called "scientific." They were hurriedly aborted after the Jarawa catastrophe burst over the guilty administrators at Port Blair, the main city of the Andamans. At the moment, the Sentineli are left alone again and all development plans have been put on ice. May they long remain there.
These little people don't have chimp-sized brains like the extinct Flores Islander species announced yesterday. They are modern humans, just like you and me, except they have practically no immunities to the rest of the world's germs. You would think that 1% of the attention given to the preservation from extinction of pandas or the Florida panther or whatever would be given to helping save our fellow humans, but, no, human biodiversity conservation is not on anybody's agenda today. See, if you say it's important to preserve human biodiversity, then you have to admit human biodiversity exists, and that's a no-no.
Welcome back, Nicholas Wade: The NY Times' ace genetics reporter is back in a big way from his sabbatical writing a book. He has a fascinating article on the "hobbits" of Flores Island, and another article on the "Does Race Exist" brouhaha called "Articles Highlight Different Views on Genetic Basis of Race." He extracts a hilarious/sinister quote from sociologist Troy Duster:
But linking diseases to race is an "explosive issue," said Dr. Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University. "Once you enter this realm of saying some diseases are more common in this or that group, the popular imagination will ask what else is more common," like behavioral differences, Dr. Duster suggested.
Right, Troy, it's better for patients to die than for the public to start asking questions.
New government height and weight statistics confirm that African-Americans, despite their domination of the NBA, are not taller than non-Hispanic white Americans. Among 20-39 year olds in 2002, the average white guy was 5'-10.2" tall compared to the average black guy who was 5'-10.0" tall. There is probably a little more variation in height among blacks, but height differences don't account for the overwhelming edge that blacks have over American whites in the NBA. (However, one reason European whites are making a bigger splash in basketball is because they continue to get taller fairly rapidly, while American men's increase in height has slowed to about 0.2 or 0.3 inches per decade.
Interestingly, Mexican-American men have gotten shorter. From 1984 to 2002, Mexican-American men ages 20-39 have shrunk from 5'-7.4" to 5-6.8", probably because recent immigrants are increasingly coming from the shorter, more Indian south of Mexico. (It's all in Table 13 of this big PDF.)
There's nothing in the report on Asian-Americans, who appear to me to be growing taller fairly rapidly.
The Boston Red Sox are legitimate world champions - Although the Red Sox didn't have the best record in the AL this year, going 98-64 vs. the Yankees' 101-61, that was just bad luck. Overall, the Red Sox outscored their opponents by a sizable 949-768 ratio, outscoring their opponents by 24%, compared to the Yankees' 897-808 margin (only an 11% edge). By this measure, the second best team in the AL were the Anaheim Angels at 836-734.
The Saint Louis Cardinals were much better than they looked in World Series, going a legitimate 105-57, leading the National League in both runs scored (855) and fewest runs against (659), an impressive 30% margin.
You sure wouldn't have known the Cardinals were such big hitters by the way their manager had them sacrifice bunt so much in the Series. Like in the first inning in the final game, the leadoff hitter gets on first, so LaRussa has big bopper Larry Walker coming up (.589 slugging average this year), followed by Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds (those three averaged 41 home runs each this year). So, what does Tony LaRussa have Walker do? Lay down a bunt! What year did LaRussa think this is? 1968? Why play small ball with that lineup?
By the way, of what ancestry is the Red Sox longhaired leadoff hitter Johnny Damon? He kind of looks like a prehistoric mammoth hunter in a diorama at a natural history museum. My wife says he look like actress Helena Bonham-Carter if she had a beard and a brow ridge.
I just discovered that Dienekes runs an online Human Biodiversity Discussion Forum (not affiliated with my Human Biodiversity email group). One popular segment is Guess Race/Ethnicity/Nationality, where participants post photographs and invite speculation on the ancestry of the person. So, I posted my question. I'll let you know what I find out.
Do "Hobbits" still exist? About four years ago, Greg Cochran told me that offshoots of Homo Erecti probably survived in the East Indies into the era of modern humans. Because those islands are accessible by land during deep ice ages but ocean-surrounded the rest of the time, they are good places for speciation events. The announcement today of the discovery on Flores Island of the skeletons of dwarfed offshoots from the Ice Ages confirmed that. Now, he sends along this article from the Daily Telegraph about rumors some may still be alive.
Richard Roberts, discoverer of the Hobbit, says local tales suggest the species could still exist:
When I was back in Flores earlier this month we heard the most amazing tales of little, hairy people, whom they called Ebu Gogo - Ebu meaning grandmother and Gogo meaning 'he who eats anything'. The tales contained the most fabulous details - so detailed that you'd imagine there had to be a grain of truth in them.
One of the village elders told us that the Ebu Gogo ate everything raw, including vegetables, fruits, meat and, if they got the chance, even human meat.
When food was served to them they also ate the plates, made of pumpkin - the original guests from hell (or heaven, if you don't like washing up and don't mind replacing your dinner set every week).
The villagers say that the Ebu Gogo raided their crops, which they tolerated, but decided to chase them away when the Ebu Gogo stole - and ate - one of their babies.
They ran away with the baby to their cave which was at the foot of the local volcano, some tens of metres up a cliff face. The villagers offered them bales of dry grass as fodder, which they gratefully accepted.
A few days later, the villagers went back with a burning bale of grass which they tossed into the cave. Out ran the Ebu Gogo, singed but not fried, and were last seen heading west, in the direction of Liang Bua, where we found the Hobbit, as it happens.
When my colleague Gert van den Bergh first heard these stories a decade ago, which several of the villages around the volcano recount with only very minor changes in detail, he thought them no better than leprechaun tales until we unearthed the Hobbit. (I much prefer Ebu as the name of our find but my colleague Mike Morwood was insistent on Hobbit.)
The anatomical details in the legends are equally fascinating. They are described as about a metre tall, with long hair, pot bellies, ears that slightly stick out, a slightly awkward gait, and longish arms and fingers - both confirmed by our further finds this year.
They [the Ebu Gogo] murmured at each other and could repeat words [spoken by villagers] verbatim. For example, to 'here's some food', they would reply 'here's some food'. They could climb slender-girthed trees but, here's the rub, were never seen holding stone tools or anything similar, whereas we have lots of sophisticated artefacts in the H. floresiensis levels at Liang Bua. That's the only inconsistency with the Liang Bua evidence.
The women Ebu Gogo had extremely pendulous breasts, so long that they would throw them over their shoulders, which must have been quite a sight in full flight.
We did ask the villagers if they ever interbred with the Ebu Gogo. They vigorously denied this, but said that the women of Labuan Baju (a village at the far western end of Flores, better known as LBJ) had rather long breasts, so they must have done.
Poor LBJ must be the butt of jokes in Flores, rather like the Irish and Tasmanians.
A local eruption at Liang Bua (in western Flores) may have wiped out local hobbits around 12,000 years ago, but they could well have persisted much later in other parts of the island. The villagers said that the last hobbit was seen just before the village moved location, farther from the volcano, not long before the Dutch colonists settled in that part of central Flores, in the 19th century.
Do the Ebu Gogo still exist? It would be a hoot to search the last pockets of rainforest on the island. Not many such pockets exist, but who knows. At the very least, searching again for that lava cave, or others like it, should be done, because remains of hair only a few hundred years old, would surely survive, snagged on the cave walls or incorporated in deposits, and would be ideal for ancient DNA analyses.
Interestingly, we did find lumps of dirt with black hair in them this year in the Hobbit levels, but don't know yet if they're human or something else. We're getting DNA testing done, which we hope will be instructive.
Richard "Bert" Roberts is a University of Wollongong professor and one of the team investigating the Hobbits.
It's fun to think they are still around, but I'm sure you could have heard similar stories about wee folks in Ireland not too long ago.
My 2001 Film Reviews: I'm slowly putting all my old UPI movie reviews online on this page. Here are 26 reviews of the more prominent movies of 2001. The real test of a film critic is his ability to come up with something interesting to say about the instantly forgettable movies, so I'll eventually put online my reviews of What's the Worst that Could Happen?, Someone Like You, and Domestic Disturbance. But, I'll start out with the movies that haven't completely disappeared down the Memory Hole.
2001 (Reverse chronological order)
Black Hawk Down - Ridley Scott
Monster's Ball - Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton
A Beautiful Mind - Russell Crowe, Ron Howard
Ali - Will Smith, Michael Mann
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - Peter Jackson
The Majestic - Jim Carrey
Vanilla Sky - Tom Cruise, Cameron Crowe
Behind Enemy Lines - Owen Wilson
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chris Columbus
Spy Game - Robert Redford, Brad Pitt
Training Day - Denzel Washington
The Man Who Would Be King - My September 26, 2001 analysis of the Kipling-Huston classic and why it suggested the US would win fairly easily in Afghanistan
Curse of the Jade Scorpion - Woody Allen
O - Othello updating, Julia Stiles
The Others - Nicole Kidman
Rush Hour 2 - Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
Planet of the Apes - Tim Burton, Mark Wahlberg
Jurassic Park III - Tea Leoni, William Macy, dinosaurs
Legally Blonde - Reese Witherspoon
Atlantis - Disney
Moulin Rouge - Baz Luhrmann, Nicole Kidman
Pearl Harbor - Ben Affleck
Shrek - Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers
Bridget Jones' Diary - Rene Zellweger
American Desi - Indian-American romantic comedy
Memento - Guy Pearce
Not many Kerry defenders defend Kerry's IQ -- I've received lots of angry responses to my recent article on Kerry's IQ claiming that Bush's IQ today must be much lower than how he tested as a youth, but not many claiming that Kerry is much smarter than I estimated. (A few have argued, reasonably, that Kerry would have scored higher on a more verbally-oriented tested than the Navy's Officer Qualification Test, a point I'd already suggested in my article.) After four years of Bush as President, everybody is entitled to an opinion on Bush, but Kerry remains much more of a closed book, which is why I brought to light some objective information about Kerry.
So, here's a non-partisan IQ question for Kerry supporters: How does Kerry compare to Al Gore, for whom we have a lot of data: Gore tested at an IQ of 133 when entering high school and 134 when leaving, 1355 SAT score (about 1420 under the post 1994 scoring system)? All these numbers suggest Gore was solidly in the 98th, maybe the 99th, percentile. Gore probably would not get into Harvard today with those scores, if he wasn't the son of a Senator, but he could probably get into several Ivy League colleges. In contrast, my estimate for Kerry is roughly between the 90th and 95th percentiles. Any Kerry supporters out there want to argue that Kerry is smarter than Gore? As smart as Gore?
MIAMI, FL—With the knowledge that the minority vote will be crucial in the upcoming presidential election, Republican Party officials are urging blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to make their presence felt at the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 3. -- The Onion
Majority Rights -- An important new group blog is just getting launched. Majority Rights has on board quite a roster of independent minds, many of whose names will be familiar to iSteve.com readers.
I'm not going to predict the election results: It just doesn't seem like a good use of my time. Thousands of smart people are trying to do it, and the odds of me doing it best are between slim and negative one. I'm better suited to working on puzzles that nobody else would think of analyzing.
Q&A on Presidential IQs:
HOW DID THE CANDIDATES DO ON IQ TESTS?
There's a lot of talk that Kerry has a much higher IQ than Bush.
For example, Howell Raines, the former executive editor of the New York Times, wrote:
"Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead."
But there's little hard evidence for that. In my article on VDARE.com, I showed that when Kerry and Bush were seniors at Yale, they each took the IQ-like entrance exams to be Navy and Air Force officers, respectively.
They both did good, but not great. Kerry scored at the average for applicants to the Navy's Officer Candidate School and Bush scored a little higher than average compared to applicants to the Air Force Academy. Those are both good scores -- people who apply to become military officers are well above average.
It's not too easy to compare results on the separate Navy and Air Force officer tests, but the two candidates were clearly fairly similar in mental ability at that age. Based on my research into the details of the tests, if I had to bet, I'd bet Bush would have scored higher if they had both taken the same test.
Kerry has never released his test scores or grades, but we also know Bush's SAT score from when he applied to Yale. Bush scored 1206, which would be about 1280 under the easier scoring system introduced in 1995. Under both the Air Force test and the SAT, he scored around the 95th percentile compared to the general public, suggesting that he's smarter than about 19 out of 20 people. Kerry would be similar, maybe a little behind.
IS A HIGH IQ HELPFUL IN A PRESIDENT?
Maybe not during the campaign, when voters are looking for a regular guy they can identify with, but it is when they are in office. An enormous amount of research, much of it done by the U.S. military, shows that all else being equal, in just any job, smarter people tend to do it somewhat better.
This is the objective judgment of the U.S. military which has relied on IQ-type tests as entrance exams for over 80 years. For example, over the last dozen years, the military has allowed almost no one to enlist who scores below the 30th percentile nationally on the military's IQ-type test .
DON'T A LOT OF PEOPLE NOT BELIEVE IN IQ?
Politically, IQ is highly controversial. Liberals tend to hold completely contradictory opinions on IQ:
1. IQ is utterly discredited, AND
2. We liberals are better than conservatives because we have much higher IQs.
A couple of times in the last four years, many Democrats have fallen for hoaxes claiming to scientifically prove that Democrats have much higher IQs than Republicans. For example, in 2001, Gary Trudeau, the Doonesbury cartoonist, fell for the notorious Lovenstein Institute hoax that claimed that Bush's IQ was a sub-average 91 while Bill Clinton's IQ was a stratospheric 182, which would put Clinton out there with Galileo and Einstein.
HOW MUCH DOES IT MATTER?
I think it's useful for both the public and the candidates to have honest information about their intellectual capacities. Test scores aren't hugely important, but at least they are objective and honest compared to the enormous amounts of spin we voters are subjected to.
It's not good for Kerry to listen to all the flattery about how brilliant he is compared to Bush. For example, it hurts him on the campaign trail because he refuses to just read what his speechwriters give him. He did well in the debates where the time limits kept him from rambling.
But when giving a speech, he insists on embroidering the crisply-written text with his own off the top of the head dependent clauses and digressions. He'd be doing better if somebody told him -- Senator, you aren't that smart. Just the read the speech.
Bush, in contrast, is a more disciplined campaigner because he doesn't improvise much. But, as President, he'd do a better job if he sweated the details more. He should be told, You were smart enough to get two Ivy League degrees and learn how to fly a supersonic jet fighter, so stop winging it based on your gut instinct. Buckle down and study the issues.
WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE THINK KERRY IS SMARTER?
First, Kerry is from Massachusetts, where voters appreciate an academic style, Bush is from West Texas, where they don't. The only election Bush lost was in 1978 when he ran for Congress from Midland. His opponent won by making fun of Bush for having two Ivy League degrees. Bush vowed he'd never get outdumbed again, and he hasn't.
Second, there's always been a liberal bias on this question. For example, to this day, lots of liberals intellectuals are convinced that Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate in the 1950s was much smarter than Dwight Eisenhower, who merely organized the most complicated military operation in history. Stevenson was a good man, but he was a lightweight socialite who merely hired intellectual to write his speeches.
The same is true for Kennedy vs. Nixon. JFK scored a 119 on an IQ test in high school, which is the 90th percentile. We don't have a test score for Nixon, but he didn't have a lot of assets other than a ruthless intelligence. Kennedy in contrast, had looks, charm, a sense of humor, self-confidence, and a rich daddy who hired ghostwriters to write his two bestselling books.
WHAT ABOUT THE 2000 ELECTION?
We have very good numbers for AL Gore. He scored 134 on an IQ test and 1355 on the SAT, which would put him at the 98th or 99th percentiles, significantly better than Bush, but not enormously so.
Bill Bradley, who ran against Gore in the primaries, only scored a 485 on his verbal SAT test. He went on to become a tremendous basketball player, and did some good work in the Senate, but he wasn't very scintillating on the campaign trail running against Gore, a performance that validated his low SAT score.
WHO IS SMARTER ON AVERAGE: REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS?
They appear to be very similar. We don't have much in the way of IQ data, but the exit poll in 2000 showed Bush and Gore voters had identical levels of education. The typical voter for both parties had been to college but hadn't graduated. Gore did better at the top and the bottom of the educational pyramid -- he won both people with advanced degrees and high school dropouts and Bush did better among everybody in the middle.
In the 2002 midterm elections, the GOP candidates for the House of Representatives did very well among the well-educated, even winning a majority among advanced degree holders. However, I suspect that the GOP campaign is aimed more low-brow this year. For example, a big part of Bush's support comes from people who think Saddam was personally involved in planning 9/11. That's not an illogical assumption for why we invaded Iraq, but it's not correct.
One interesting difference is that conservatives tend to do better on the SAT-Math test and liberals do better on the SAT-Verbal test. Psychologists have found that people who score higher on Math tend to be more "tough-minded" and people who score higher on the Verbal section tend to be more "tender-minded".
I'll be on Fox News (cable) Tuesday at 8:44 am Eastern Time. I can't figure out whether that goes out live across the country or is tape delayed for different times zones.
UPDATE: Anyway, the show was called Fox and Friends. I was only on for about three minutes, and I probably seemed a little overcaffeinated, but it was a lot of fun.
What did I learn about being on TV? If you wear glasses, have them blast the air conditioning to lower the temperature in the room. Otherwise, between wearing a wool suit, the lights, and the adrenalin, you'll probably sweat enough to steam up your glasses. Fortunately, I realized that early enough to fix the problem (I hope). David Letterman keeps his studio at 55 degrees, for exactly these kind of reasons.
Psychological profiles of Bush vs. Kerry: The authors of the new book: Personality, Character and Leadership in the White House: Psychologists Assess the Presidents have put together a quick picture of the candidates on various psychological measures associated with Presidential success. One problem with the study is that most historians' polls, including the first and most influential one organized by Kennedy staffer Arthur Schlesinger Jr., suffer badly from liberal bias. For example, Eisenhower was originally rated one of the ten worst Presidents in Schlesinger's poll. (Generally speaking, Democrats employ more academics, such as Schlesinger, as advisors, while Republicans tend to employ more business and military leaders. The academics write the history books, so they naturally tend to make their old bosses look better.) Thus, tendermindedness is rated as good in a President and toughmindedness as bad. Voters in 2004 might have a different view. Still, their following assessment seems reasonable:
Bush, in contrast to Kerry, appears to have more personality assets as a candidate than as a president. Our findings echo accusations that Bush is not very smart, not competent (doesn't keep well-informed, makes poor judgments), and not hardworking. Recall that our "rated intelligence" factor is not the same as an IQ test and Bush may score better on such a measure than he did on our ratings. But ratings of intelligence were used in Dr. Ones's analysis and were shown to correlate strongly with presidential success: Being perceived as intelligent, complex, and creative may be just as important as IQ.
Lastly, despite his low scores on most traits related to leadership, there are other analyses that soften this assessment. Of all the presidents, Bush appears to most closely resemble Andrew Jackson, another charismatic, incurious, impulsive, tempestuous personality. Jackson was regarded as a great or near-great president in every historian poll. The correlation of Bush's scores with Jackson's, across 592 items of our questionnaire, was .56 - a moderately high resemblance. To a lesser degree (.39), Bush also resembles Ronald Reagan. Reagan has been bestowed high honors (naming of the DC airport, federal buildings, and talk of adding him to Mount Rushmore) and seems headed to a secure place in history's estimation. Both Jackson and Reagan obtained low scores on rated intelligence and Competence, like Bush, although both were rated higher on Achievement Striving. Reagan was considerably more trusting and much lower on Angry Hostility than Bush.
Can't Find a Better Man?
According to our data and ratings, the American political process does not appear to be working very well. Out of tens of millions of potential candidates for president, we are faced with a choice between two candidates, only one of which is expected to finish in the upper half of the class. It seems unlikely that either candidate would have made it to the final round on The Apprentice - where candidates are judged on many of the same traits we find related to presidential success.
Regarding Bush's IQ, one of the psychologists associated with the study published this defense of Bush's IQ in 2001. One of the authors emailed me:
I was referred to your article on Bush's IQ by my publisher. Well done! One of co-authors (Deniz Ones) is a true expert on IQ, SATs, and predicting job performance. I think she would agree with your analyses.
In turn, I would agree with their general assessment that Bush's bigger problem is poor character rather than poor mental ability. As I said on Fox News this morning, he should force himself to work harder on learning the issues rather than just trusting in his (hardly foolproof) gut instincts. The funny thing is that the general public has decided that Bush is a man of excellent character. Somebody has to be wrong here.
California Senate race: Bill Jones would rather lose quietly to Barbara Boxer than win noisily. The Republican candidate Jones is a decent guy and would make a better Senator than Barbara Boxer, but he's gotten no traction this year because he hasn't been able to raise the huge amounts of money needed to inundate the biggest state with TV commercials.
The other approach would be to get free media by taking a strong stand on a controversial but popular issue like, oh, say, illegal immigration. But, modern California Republicans seem to prefer to lose in an approved fashion than win ugly, like Pete Wilson did back in 1994.
380 tons of missing explosives in Iraq? Isn't the total number more like 650,000 tons of missing ammunition from all over the country?
And from Slate:
Kerry So Darn Smart?
Is Kerry Really That Smart?--Part II:
Er, yes, someone does! [What makes him so sure?-ed He's got proof!] 3:02 A.M.
One thing I would add: Although neither candidate is brilliant, both are smart enough to be President, if they work hard and search out good advice. Bush should try exercising his brain more, and Kerry should force himself to doubt the flattery of intellectuals who tell him he's extremely intelligent just because he agrees with them on politics.
Reader reactions to "This Just In: Kerry's IQ Likely Lower than Bush's!"
There is an old story that I am assured is true: the night Roosevelt died, Alben Barkley came into Harry Truman's office, deposed and said, "Harry, this is the last time I can talk to you man to man. That office makes you somebody else, and you'll be Mr. President even to me. So let me give you one piece of advice. Harry as soon as you take that Oath you're going to meet intellectuals. A lot of them. And every one of them will have a scheme, and every one of them will try to convince you that you're smart enough to understand what he's talking about.
"Harry, you ain't that smart. Just remember that."
It would certainly be useful for a President Kerry to be reminded that he ain't that smart, just as Bush should be reminded that he ain't that dumb that he couldn't do a better job by thinking harder about his duties.
Glad to see your numbers for Kerry aren't too different than what I'd vaguely suspected. I'd also be curious about Howard Dean's numbers, if anyone has them. He was supposedly a big goof-off and jock in college, so I doubt his grades were great, but he seems very smart when I've heard him speak on TV or at an event. I'd suspect his scores might be an SD or more higher than Bush/Kerry's at the same age.
One slight unfairness in your Bush/Kerry comparison is that it was based on their numbers a couple of decades ago, and all indications are that Bush's mind seems to cratered since then, even just since his debates against Richards in 1994. Maybe Bush should volunteer to be the star (a la Bob Dole) of a major media "prevention" campaign to warn young people against the long-term ill effects of too many years of heavy alcohol and cocaine use.
I don't think Bush is a dummy. But I think he had personality defects that impair the practical use of his intellect. Bush just likes competing and winning -- i.e., solving problems by manipulation of people. He denies his mistakes. And Bush's long record of substance abuse must have caught up with him. Kerry is interested in learning - i.e., solving problems by acquisition of knowledge. He learns from his mistakes. Plus Kerry speaks a whole bunch of languages.
I am guessing that Theresa gives Kerry a harder run for his money than Laura gives Bush. I really like Theresa. She is an entertaining monster.
The reason I'm kind of skeptical about this conclusion is that Kerry rose to the top of the antiwar movement-- a fairly competitive environment full of smart ambitious people. He had family advantages, but no more than a lot of other people.
Having spent 3.5 years at the US Naval Test Pilot School as an instructor – and having flown and trained some of the greatest pilots in this and other countries, let me assure you that the emphasis should not only be on IQ but a strong desire to be the winner. There is a unique difference between “attack pilots” that drop bombs on targets and “fighter pilots” that engage in one-to-one combat. George W was and is a fighter pilot with the mentality to win.
IQ tests do not reveal that human characteristic – but it an essential characteristic required to win. To this day I have dear friends that have the “fighter pilot” mentality that refuse to play cards with me because they just hate to lose – and when they do they become obnoxious. How do you calculate that aspect of a leaders personality from an IQ test? But you do have to have brains to fly complicated sophisticated aircraft in order to kill the bastards!
Look, I wore our bathroom toilet bowl many a night (after happy hour) while serving with and flying with the most gifted pilots that made the cut to attend the USNTPS. I recognize the “fighter pilot” mentality – and “W” has it. That is why he will win this election.
I am sorry! Number 41 (the DNA providerr to “W”) was an “attack pilot” – they just don’t know how to win at all costs!!!
Maybe you will get the opportunity to investigate the “fighter pilot” mentality of WINNING in your next article. If you need any references to interview, I have a long list of losers that you can never interview – they are no longer with us. But I do have many friends who represent the truly living examples of those who know the difference between a live coward and a dead hero.
Thanks again for an excellent analytical article that defines the IQ controversy between Bush and Kerry.
Kerry has the superior *character* to Bush. I think that shows up rather clearly throughout his life. (If Bush got the higher score on officer candidate tests, which one of them actually ended up being the better and more effective military officer? That is what the test is supposed to predict after all). I agree with you that liberals have a habitual blind spot about the intellect of their candidates (although Clinton genuinely had a ferociously high IQ - take my word for it) and the "stupidity" of their opponents.
But conservatives have a blind spot about character flaws in their representatives. Because conservatives tend to form their identity around character - churchgoing, traditional values, etc. - it is inconceivable to them that the character of their politicians could be inferior. Yet it often is. The honest, straightforward war hero McGovern probably had a lower IQ but a better character than the paranoid, hostile, egotistical but highly intelligent Nixon. Yet very few conservatives or liberals would agree to that assessment.
Part of the problem here is that "character" is usually assessed around a series of B movie clichés - loves his wife, salutes the flag, etc. So Kerry's courage in opposing the genuine human rights violations he saw in Vietnam (sorry, but they were there) does not count for character, and Bush's fidelity to his wife (despite chasing tail for much of his life prior to marriage) does. But the kind of character that counts for powerful, high-level jobs is deeper and more complex than that.
Good point about McGovern -- I hadn't know that his WWII record as bomber pilot was so heroic until recently.
Manhattan Transfer has some fascinating reflections on his junior high school days during the Crack Years and the uses of standardized testing inspired by my article. I'm looking forward to a novel from M.T. one of these days. -- it ought to be as good as Vile Bodies or Bright Lights Big City.
Summary: John F. Kerry's supporters widely assume he is much smarter than George W. Bush. For example, Howell Raines, former Executive Editor of the NY Times, wrote, ""Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush?" Yet, objective evidence of Kerry's intelligence, such as grades or test scores, was unavailable ... until now.
A new report by Steve Sailer reveals that, according to an overlooked Navy record posted online by Kerry's own campaign, when Kerry took the Navy's IQ-like Officer Qualification Test at age 22, he scored a little worse than Bush did on the somewhat comparable Air Force Officer Qualifying Test. Kerry scored at the 50th percentile compared to applicants for the Navy's Officer Candidate School. In contrast, when Bush took the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at the same age, he scored at about the 67th percentile on the most IQ-like parts of the test compared to applicants to the Air Force Academy.
At last, up on VDARE.com is the article I've been promising you for weeks, ever since a minister in Florida named Sam Sewell, a Navy veteran and Mensa member who works with gifted children with learning disabilities, pointed out to me that the Kerry campaign had posted online the Navy form giving the score Kerry had earned when he took what Arthur Jensen called the "heavily g-loaded" IQ-like test to become an officer in 1966, when he was a Yale senior. Bush's 1968 scores on the Air Force's Officer Qualifying Test are also online. It took three weeks to figure out how to compare the scores with any confidence, but I think the results are most interesting.
Strikingly, during the seven or eight years before they took their officer tests, Kerry and Bush had been in extremely similar educational environments -- famous New England prep schools followed by Yale, where they majored in similarly non-strenuous subjects (Poly Sci for Kerry, History for Bush) and both were inducted into the heeby-jeeby mysteries of the elite Skull and Bones society. Neither achieved honors upon graduation. So, it would be hard to argue that either's score on the military's tests would have been artificially depressed by, say, a deprived childhood and that their true brilliance was only able to blossom later.
Is John Kerry too intelligent to be president of the United States? asks Chilean leftist playwright Ariel Dorfman, with perfect timing to make my point about how deluded liberals are about their own IQ superiority. He writes in the LA Times in an op-ed entitled "Brainy Candidates Need Not Apply:":
Is John Kerry too intelligent to be president of the United States?
It was what I felt instinctively the first and only time I met him, at a lunch at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 1998. He was subtle, full of cultural and historical references, elaborating each fine argument at length, with perception and nuance. I commented to one of his aides afterward that I regrettably thought his brains could turn out to be the biggest impediment to a man like him ever occupying the White House.
All these years later, with most polls still showing George W. Bush ahead of his opponent after three debates in which Kerry proved himself more articulate and thoughtful and flexible and able to understand an increasingly dangerous world, I am afraid I may have been right. Yet it still seems inconceivable to me that someone as incompetent, incoherent and obtuse as Bush could possibly command almost half the votes of his fellow countrymen.
Is it that Americans actually like Bush's know-nothing effect? Or is it that Kerry strikes Americans as too highbrow? As pretentious? Do they see his complexity as excessive effeminate suppleness?
This anti-intellectualism has, unfortunately, a long history in the United States.
I first encountered that widespread prejudice as a 10-year-old Latin American boy in New York in 1952. It was an election year, and I was enrolled in the Dalton School on 89th Street â€” a bastion of American progressives. I had no doubt that "my" candidate, Adlai Stevenson, one of the most lucid and cultured men in the nation, was going to defeat Dwight D. Eisenhower, a general who bragged that he preferred playing golf to reading a book. In a mock vote, the tally in my class was, as far as I recall, 27 to 1.
A few days later, the American people, in the real balloting, overwhelmingly chose "I like Ike" over "egghead" Adlai. When I asked my dad how people could possibly reject someone as smart and educated as Stevenson, he explained that this was a transitory aberration, the malevolent dregs of McCarthyism, which had convinced many Americans that, at a time of great national peril, being an intellectual was akin to being a traitor.
But it was not an aberration and certainly not transitory.
It's fascinating how impervious to reality liberals are on the question of the mental superiority of liberal politicians. Over half a century has gone by, and Dorfman is still convinced that Stevenson, a pleasant and fairly competent but lightweight socialite, was smarter than Eisenhower, the man in charge of the most complicated military operation in history. Historians have known since the 1970s that while in the White House, Eisenhower deliberately maintained a facade of being a genial old duffer, when in reality, he was, in his Vice President Richard Nixon's expert opinion, "the most devious man" Nixon had met in politics.
My Monday morning column on VDARE.com will be a wide-ranging consideration of the pros and cons of high IQs in leaders.
Is there any point in watching baseball on TV before October 15th? This time of the year, the blandest of TV sports always turns suddenly into the best.
It was definitely time for some team to come back from an 0-3 deficit and win 4-3 like the Red Sox did. If teams are evenly matched, then that kind of comeback should happen every 16th time a team gets down 0-3. Of course, the reason a team is down 0-3 usually isn't bad luck but because they are lousier. Still, there has clearly been a demoralization factor behind the fact that baseball teams down 0-3 had previously never even forced a 7th game in 25 tries, much less win. Similarly, NBA teams are 0-73. Hockey teams show a little more spunk, being something like 2-123.
Baseball teams come back from being down 0-2 a lot, but never before from being down 0-3. I think what happens is that teams can psychologically shake off losing two straight by blaming it on being on the road or having the pitching matchups not in your favor. Say you have to start the series on the road with your number 3 and 4 starters while your opponent starts with his #1 and #2 guns at home. Well, nobody is surprised you are down 0-2, but in the third game, you've got your #1 guy going against their #3 in front of your fans. If you lose that matchup, you probably get badly shook.
Hopefully, we'll see more comebacks from 0-3 now that the Red Sox have shown it can be done, which should make playoffs more exciting.
The immigration bandwagon starting to roll - A reader writes:
Have you noticed the recent trend (Ok, I'm asserting that 2 examples makes a trend) regarding immigration coverage? Yesterday, the Washington Post's editorial page complained that the presidential candidates haven't talked enough about immigration. Today, the L.A. Times jumped on the bandwagon.
What's truly astonishing is that neither newspaper acknowledges any responsibility for this state of affairs. Having gone out of its way to avoid any serious discussion of immigration for many years now, I find it both amusing and infuriating that the major media will now blame Bush and Kerry for not talking about the subject.
The Post and the Times are looking for someone to blame. A quick glance in the mirror would seem appropriate.
The LA Times editorials are now under the control of Michael Kinsley, who edited Slate for a half dozen years in which the topic of immigration almost never came up. Granted, his boss, Bill Gates, wants those H-1b visas to keep on providing him with cheap coders, but still...
Sorry about so little blogging -- I tried to install the new Beta release of Google Desktop Search. There's a reason it's called a Beta release -- it trashed my PC. It took 24 hours to figure out it had been up to no good among my Winsocks, whatever they are. It's definitely worth paying extra for Dell's Gold support. I probably used up the additional $300 I paid for three years of premium support in one day.
The rest of my time was taken up with finally writing up the Kerry-Bush IQ Cage Match article I've been promising for so long. It should be up on VDARE.com Thursday night. Preview: when they were each 22, Kerry and Bush took an Officer Qualification Test that's pretty much of an IQ test. (Arthur Jensen calls the Navy OQT "a heavily g-loaded test"). There are quite a few differences between the Air Force and the Navy officer tests, so, while this isn't an apples to oranges comparison, it is an oranges to tangerines match-up. Still, I think you'll find it explains some otherwise mysterious aspects of this election.
Finally! My major scoop coming up. At last, I feel confident enough in the facts to publish my story on John F. Kerry's IQ and how it compares to George W. Bush's IQ. The tentative plan is to publish it in VDARE.com late Thursday evening.
The Case for Kerry. Scott McConnell, Executive Editor of The American Conservative explains:
But this election is not about John Kerry. If he were to win, his dearth of charisma would likely ensure him a single term. He would face challenges from within his own party and a thwarting of his most expensive initiatives by a Republican Congress. Much of his presidency would be absorbed by trying to clean up the mess left to him in Iraq. He would be constrained by the swollen deficits and a ripe target for the next Republican nominee.
The Case for Bush. Pat Buchanan, Co-Editor of The American Conservative explains:
If Bush loses, his conversion to neoconservatism, the Arian heresy of the American Right, will have killed his presidency. Yet, in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing.
I'm certainly feeling cheered up!
Imagine if President Gore had invaded Iraq...
From the editorial board of the Orange County Register: "Our Utopian Liberal President."
Conservative theory mocks those who think reason can overcome nationalism and religious fervor. Please, someone get a memo on this to George W. Bush.
Imagine if a handful of extra chads had ended up dangling in Al Gore's favor four years ago, and he had gone on to invade and occupy Iraq, for the same reasons President George W. Bush has given for undertaking those actions. The instinctive response to this hypothetical is to claim that because Gore is a liberal, he would never have engaged in something like the Iraq war.
The irony is that the administration's Iraq policy exemplifies what classic conservative political theorists have identified as the fundamental weaknesses of the liberal worldview. Specifically:
Conservative political theory recognizes that human reason is a far less powerful tool than shallowly optimistic liberal rationalists would have us believe. Grandiose claims about the ability of experts to predict and control the future are characteristic of liberal intellectual arrogance.
Conservative political theory has always emphasized that human cultures are by nature immensely complex things, and that each culture has its own organic logic and structure, which will be difficult for outsiders to understand. In particular, conservative thinkers deride the liberal delusion that imposing one culture's laws and institutions on another will automatically transform the latter into something that resembles the former.
Conservative thinkers have made particularly devastating criticisms of liberal thought by pointing out the extent to which liberalism has failed to grasp that religious belief and nationalist sentiment remain overwhelmingly powerful forces in human affairs.
Now consider how these insights apply to the Iraq war.
The architects of that war have a grand strategic vision: By replacing Saddam Hussein's brutal regime with a government friendly to Western values, the Middle East will be transformed eventually from a region governed by dysfunctional dictatorships and religious fanaticism into an area where democracy, free markets and the rule of law are welcomed rather than despised.
This is, to put it mildly, an ambitious scheme.
The War Nerd salutes a hero. Recalling the Biafran rebellion against Nigeria in 1967-1970:
One of the few real heroes you"ll get in this sleazy world, was a Swede, believe it or not. A Swedish aristocrat, no less. Count Carl Gustav von Rosen volunteered to do close air support for the Biafran army, hosing down government troops and raiding their bases, flying tiny civilian prop planes like little Swedish Cessnas.
Is that glorious or what?
In the crunch, Rove turns to the Sailer Strategy - From my 2000 VDARE.com article "GOP Future Depends on Winning Larger Share of the White Vote" to my cover story "Ethnic Electorate" in the current (10/25/04) issue of the The American Conservative, I argued that Karl Rove's minority outreach strategy is a losing proposition for Republicans. Instead, the way to win is to mobilize the base. It now appears that Mr. Rove has come around to my way of thinking:
Trims Sails but Steers for Victory
A few months before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Karl Rove held clinics for White House officials in which he laid out what amounted to his early game plan for reelecting President Bush in 2004: improving the party's performance among blacks, Hispanics, Roman Catholics, union households and the "wired workers" of the technology world.
Bush had won about 8 percent of the African American vote in 2000, and Rove insisted that number needed to be pushed higher.
His Office of Strategic Initiatives, a creation that is known around the West Wing as "Strategery," handed out colorful laminated cards so that aides could remember their goals...
Back then, Rove did not strive simply to produce a convincing victory but to create a permanent Republican majority.
Now, two weeks before the election, the Bush-Cheney campaign would be happy to eke out the barest, skin-of-the-teeth majority, and aims to cobble it together by turning out every last evangelical Christian, gun owner, rancher and home schooler -- reliable Republicans all. It looks like the opposite of Rove's original dream...
On May 15, 2003, when Rove and others gave Bush a formal briefing about preparations for his campaign, the strategy looked very different than it did on the laminated cards. By then, the broad strokes of Bush's likely legacy were already clear: He was given credit for a stalwart response to the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, had turned a budget surplus into a massive deficit, had gone on the offensive against terrorism and had chosen to invade Iraq. A month earlier, Saddam Hussein's government had fallen. Two weeks before, Bush had declared the end of major combat. It was not yet clear that the United States might lose the peace in Iraq.
Rove's strategy, as described by officials who were briefed at the time, had two central pillars. One was raising $170 million or more for a campaign budget that he thought -- incorrectly it turns out -- would swamp the fundraising ability of the opposition. The other was to maximize the yield from Bush's "base," or core supporters, including fiscal and social conservatives, rural residents and small business owners. Rove would do this both by energizing these voters to turn out and using creative ways to get them to tap into their own networks to expand the base. Rove also put a priority on locking in suburban and exurban voters.
What might be called the Rove Doctrine of emphasizing the base grew partly out of the scarring experience of 2000. According to the calculations of Bush consultants, 4 million evangelical Christians stayed home, perhaps in part because of the final-weekend revelation that Bush had once been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
The officials said the base theory also stemmed from the calculation that there were more potential base voters available to Bush than there were swing voters, two-thirds of whom could be expected to go to the challenger.
The obvious anomaly in Rove's current base-mobilization strategy is the President's Invite-the-World open borders immigration plan. With Kerry favoring an unpopular amnesty, if Bush was running strongly against illegal immigration, the President would be doing his pre-election victory lap right now. Instead, Bush-Rove have managed to position themselves slightly to the left of a Massachusetts liberal on what ought to be the no-brainer issue illegal immigration. (Remember how Congressman Sonny Bono would respond in debates when given 2 minutes to explain his position on illegal immigration? He'd say, "I'm against it," and sit down.)
Because Kerry looks like he'd rather lose than win by shocking the liberal elite by going to the mat with Bush over the President's radical/nuts unlimited temporary worker plan, Bush may well skate home to victory. But, it would have been so, so much easier if Bush and Rove had listened to me all along.
New VDARE.com column on the Bush-Kerry Debate on illegal immigration: Almost 50% new material!
On substance, you'd have to give this part of the debate to Kerry.
But what an opportunity he blew by failing to expose Bush's Open Borders plan.
Sure, the Wall Street Journal would have blown a gasket accusing Kerry of "xenophobic racism," and the New York Times would tut-tut about his "appeal to nativism." With the voters, however, the Bush campaign would have suffered a massive blow—on the issue that debate moderator Bob Schieffer reported attracts the most emails.
This failure to exploit Bush's peculiar recklessness is a recurrent problem for Kerry. On several crucial issues—immigration, foreign policy, and the deficit—Bush, with his Invade-the-World-Invite-the-World policies, is radical, even utopian.
Kerry sometimes senses that he could win simply by running as an old-fashioned, sensible Eisenhower Republican. This is why he often feints to the right.
But, ever since his now-famous 1962 sailboat ride with John F. Kennedy, John F. Kerry's heart apparently just isn't in running as the conservative.
Not for nothing did George W. Bush’s biographers call him a “fortunate son.”
Sorry about my web hosting service being down for 12 hours on Sunday.
My film reviews from the first half of 2004 and late 2003. To read them while the movies are still in the theatres (and I do a better job than most magazine critics of getting the review to you before the film is gone), you need to subscribe to The American Conservative.
Fahrenheit 9/11 - Michael Moore
A Day without a Mexican -- Chicano political satire
Troy - Brad Pitt
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius - Jim Caviezel
The Ladykillers - Tom Hanks, Coen Bros.
The Alamo -- Dennis Quaid
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Jim Carrey
Good Bye, Lenin! - All-time German box-office hit
Monster - Charlize Theron
21 Grams - Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn, Naomi Watts
The Battle of Algiers - Screened by the Pentagon
Big Fish - Tim Burton
Nothing Verboten: An Interview with Steve Sailer - Bernard Chapin interviews me on how I review films
The Last Samurai - Tom Cruise
Master and Commander - Russell Crowe
The Missing - Ron Howard, Tommie Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett
Veronica Guerin - Cate Blanchett
The Human Stain -- Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman
The Matrix Revolutions - The Wachowski Siblings
Intolerable Cruelty - George Clooney, Coen Bros.
Beyond Borders - Angelina Jolie
Mystic River - Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins
Under the Tuscan Sun - Dian Lane
Lost in Translation - Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola
Matchstick Men - Nicholas Cage
Open Range - Kevin Costner
American Splendor - Harvey Pekar
Le Divorce - Kate Hudson, Merchant & Ivory
The Secret Lives of Dentists -- Campbell Scott
Seabiscuit - Toby Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper
Northfork -- Polish Bros., James Woods, Nick Nolte
Terminator 3 - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Herod's Law - Mexican political satire
Together - Chinese violin prodigy film
Matrix Reloaded - Wachowski Brothers? Siblings?
The Man Who Would Be King - My September 26, 2001 analysis of the Kipling-Huston classic and why it suggested the US would win fairly easily in Afghanistan
Unfortunately, this election does not offer traditional conservatives an easy or natural choice and has left our editors as split as our readership. In an effort to deepen our readers' and our own understanding of the options before us, we've asked several of our editors and contributors to make "the conservative case" for their favored candidate:
Pat Buchanan: George W. Bush
Taki: Michael Peroutka
Scott McConnell: John Kerry
Justin Raimondo: Ralph Nader
Howard Phillips: Michael Peroutka
Alan W. Bock: Michael Badnarik
Kara Hopkins: Nobody
Well, that clears everything up!
"Stage Beauty" -- an excerpt from my film review in the 11/8/04 edition of The American Conservative:
Movie stars are normally terrible at playing the opposite sex because the reason they are stars is that they so exemplify their own sex. Remember "Tootsie?" It offered a symposium on acting by Bill Murray, Charles Durning, and Jessica Lange, but star Dustin Hoffman couldn't pass as a woman in the eyes of the drunkest sailor in Subic Bay.
The delicately featured Billy Crudup isn't quite a star -- he's best known as the 1970s guitar god in "Almost Famous" -- but he doesn't make a persuasive woman either in the interesting but slightly quease-inducing "Stage Beauty," where he plays the last male to portray Desdemona on stage in the 1660s before King Charles II legalized actresses. That the rugged Duke of Buckingham would find him an acceptable female substitute, even in Desdemona drag, seems unlikely. Part of the problem is Crudup is 36 while the historical figure he's playing, Edward Kynaston, was only 21 when the King ended his transvestite career.
John Derbyshire tells me that he constantly gets emails from homosexuals asserting that every famous individual in history was one of their fraternity: Johann Sebastian Bach? The only reason he fathered 20 children, honey, was to cover up his being as gay as a French horn.
Yet, much of the past male homosexuality actually recorded by history appears to have been radically different from modern "egalitarian" homosexuality. It was opportunistic, exploitative, often pederastic, as it remains today in the Middle East. Indeed, many of the famous personages that homosexuals like to call their own later matured into heterosexuality, which contemporary gays claim is impossible.
Kynaston, for instance, returned to play Othello, married, and had children. In "Stage Beauty," it's pleasing to see Crudup reclaim the masculinity buried by his cruel apprenticeship by making his comeback as the manly Moor of Venice. Still, for him to introduce Restoration audiences to Method acting by portraying Othello as a 17th Century Stanley Kowalski is a head-scratching anachronism.
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