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September 2002

 

Long run consequences of an Iraq Attaq -- The world clearly faces the major long term problem of nuclear weapons increasingly becoming a do-it-yourself project. The biggest danger would presumably come from terrorists who theoretically might have no return address (although the al-Qaeda example suggests that large scale terrorist projects still require the acquiescence of a state). Buying up all the nuclear and biological flotsam left over from the Soviet war machine would appear to be the highest priority. The destruction of the Taliban as an example to the others was a good start toward insuring that governments will police what goes on within their territories. Still, I fear that naive liberal states like Canada or Germany could be assembly points for terrorists' bombs. Interesting question: If terrorists operating out of Toronto, left unimpeded by Canadian fears of discriminating against anybody, nuke Detroit -- how do we punish Canada for letting it happen? Nuke Toronto? I think we need a new doctrine on this, but I don't know what it should be.

 

For enemy governments, who have a return address, deterrence will likely continue to work, at least until it stops working. Fortunately, we now pretty much know how to shoot down ballistic missiles. You take all the latest bullet-hitting-a-bullet technology and stick an atomic bomb on the end of it and exterminate any missile that comes within a kilometer of our interceptor.

 

One big question is whether an Iraq Attaq would act as a deterrent on other countries like North Korea or Iran to keep them from developing their own nuclear arsenals. Or, will they take the lesson away that they'd better get their own nukes chop chop to deter us from invading them too? Considering how much political capital we'll burn up on Iraq and how long we'll likely be bogged down there, and thus unlikely to undertake new adventures immediately, I'm not optimistic.

***

 

Thomas Sowell raises an interesting question:

 

"Years ago, while doing research on education and IQ, I happened to be in the principal's office at a black school in Cincinnati, as he was preparing to open a large brown envelope containing the results of IQ tests that his students had taken. Before he opened the envelope, I offered to bet him that a large majority of the students with IQs over 110 would be girls. He was too smart to take the bet. Studies had shown that females predominated among high-IQ blacks. One study of blacks whose IQs were 140 and up found that there were more than five times as many females as males at these levels."

 

With whites you see the opposite -- there are more males at high (and low) IQs than females. But, is it true? 

 

This is not inconsistent with what we see in the real world -- for example, black females are 60% more likely than black males to qualify for UC Berkeley, according to Cal geneticist Vince Sarich. Still, there could be other causes, such as a difference in work ethic between the sexes among blacks. So, I'm looking for solid data. 

 

One confusing aspect is that IQ tests are rigged so that on average males and females get the same mean score. That males and females have equal mean intelligence was first proposed by IQ pioneer Cyril Burt in 1912. This of course was a huge surprise at the time, but since then it has seemed to work so well in the real world that tests are now constructed with the right balance of male-favoring and female-favoring questions so the sexes automatically come out with equal scores on average. In 1998, Arthur Jensen demonstrated that Burt was right overall. This isn't just an artifact of how tests are constructed. Males and females are equal in g, the "general factor" underlying IQ. However, the evidence appears inconsistent on whether or not this applies to African-American subsamples. Jensen rejected the hypothesis that black females are smarter than black males on g, but I didn't find his discussion completely convincing.

***

 

John Derbyshire writes in National Review Online today:

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  I am devastated, shattered and discombobulated. SurfControl, which filters out websites that might bring a blush to a maiden's cheek, has flagged occasional-NR-contributor Steve Sailer's site as "hate speech"; but they haven't flagged mine! What's going on here? What do I have to do to get respect from these people? I urge those readers — they are legion — who have taken gross offense at something I have written, to get in touch with SurfControl and demand that I be accorded the same privilege as Steve. I want to be "hate speech." If I don't get my rights here, I shall be even more offensive. You have been warned.

The London Times columnist Bernard Levin threw a party when he learned that the apartheid government in South Africa had banned him from entering the country. He considered it a great honor. I feel the same way about being flagged by the PC police. Get on it, readers.

 

(Added later in the month: Steve tells me he got in touch with SurfControl and complained. They looked at his site again and agreed that it is "news," not "hate speech." Still, you have to wonder how they came up with that original judgment. Steve is the nicest guy you'll meet in a month of Sundays, and as far as I know doesn't hate anybody. This "hate" business is totally out of control.)

 

By the way, I looked up VDARE.com on SurfControl and found it categorized as being devoted to the subject of Drugs, Tobacco, and Alcohol!

 

That also reminds me that awhile back I got an email from the great population geneticist L.L. Cavalli-Sforza saying that he wanted to read my major VDARE article "It's All Relative: Putting Race in it Proper Perspective," but couldn't access it. A population geneticist at Penn St. ran into the same problem. That got me wondering whether universities were blocking VDARE or iSteve to keep their scholars from being corrupted by them. If you are reading this at home and have access at school or work, please let me know if either website is being censored. 

***

 

I can't pass up this plug from the always interesting artbloggers 2Blowhards.com, in their list of blogs that go beyond politics to touch on culture:

 

* That impossible-to-categorize, multipurpose giant Steve Sailer (evo-bio specialist, immigration skeptic, movie reviewer), does what only he can do here.

 

 

Film of the Week: 'Sweet Home Alabama' by Steve Sailer
If they gave out a Most Valuable Player award in the movie industry like they do in baseball, Reese Witherspoon might have won for her delightful performance in "Legally Blonde," a cheap comedy ($18 million budget) that she carried on her petite shoulders all the way to $95 million in domestic box office.

***

 

The new on-paper magazine The American Conservative, overseen by Pat Buchanan and Taki and edited by nice-guy Scott McConnell, should be out on newsstands soon. They plan to carry my movie reviews. Although I'm always busy with my other work, I did try to help them out by contributing to the first issue a fairly substantial piece on veteran rocker Neil Young. You'll only be able to read this article if you buy the issue or subscribe (hint, hint). I haven't seen the magazine yet, but judging from their obviously discerning taste in pop culture critics, it sounds pretty cool.

***

 

 Q&A on gerrymandering with Dan Polsby by Steve Sailer: "Democracy is supposed to be about people choosing their representatives, not representatives choosing their people," acidly commented Daniel D. Polsby, associate dean of the George Mason University law school and a long time critic of state legislatures gerrymandering Congressional districts to protect incumbents and other powerful interests.

***

 

Book of the week: 'Biology at Work' by Steve Sailer

Book Review: "Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality" -- Kingsley R. Browne, a Wayne State law professor, brings the latest research to bear on a wide variety of gender issues. This makes "Biology at Work" resemble a sober, scholarly complement to earlier, less formal explorations of sex differences such as "Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys."

***

 

Am I the only one who thinks that the new spirit of "German nationalist anti-militarism" on display in the recent election is better than some possible alternatives such as, say, the old spirit of German nationalist militarism?

 

The point is that Germany is a nation that always requires serious thought. Before we do anything rash regarding our relationship with Germany, let me point out that Iraq is just a sideshow compared to maintaining peace in Northwest Europe. We stopped worrying about that, but perhaps we should. Three years ago I heard a former head of military intelligence sum up the Big Picture of the post-Cold War World with stunning clarity. This is radically different from what you'll hear from anyone else. This retired general mostly delivers this analysis to restricted audiences - when I heard his speech, the audience of about 50 included Mrs. Thatcher - because it's not diplomatic, but it has a harsh logic to it that more need to understand.

 

According to the general, there are two regions in the world so advanced economically and organizationally that the U.S. cannot afford wars to break out within them: Northwest Europe and Northeast Asia. In each area there are three serious advanced nation-states that have traditionally been enemies: Germany, France, and Britain and China, Japan, and South Korea (especially if Korean reunification occurs). You've been told that the reason Northwest Europe has been at peace for half a century is the European Union. Yet, Northeast Asia has had a half century of peace, too, with nothing resembling the EU to bind them together. 

 

The general says the real reason in both cases is that the U.S. maintains sizable garrisons in two of the three countries in each region (Britain and Germany; Japan and South Korea). That means that war cannot break out between any pair of countries (e.g., between Germany and France) without at least one U.S.-garrisoned country being involved. And that is unthinkable. Thus, the EU is made possible by the U.S. military occupation. Sounds crazy? Well, then, why do we still have 70,000 troops in Germany, at the Europeans' request, supposedly guarding the Fulda Gap from, well, from whom?

***

 

Top Democrat politicians are upset that Bush is "playing politics" by asking Congressmen to vote yay or nay on war before an election. Guys, isn't politics your profession? Is there anything more appropriate to make into an election issue for the American people to decide than how their representatives voted on war or not war? What's really going on is that members of the House, due to scientific gerrymandering, now see their offices as their personal lifetime sinecures, and they are upset at the idea that they might lose their jobs just because the citizens don't like how they voted on whether or not to start a war.

***

 

I've been reading Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction novels since I was ten, and I was struck by how they keep staying relevant. For example, the report claiming (with who knows how much validity) that Saddam employs doubles reflects one of Heinlein's favorite conceits, which he used several times before writing a full novel about it. In Double Star a ham actor is hired to impersonate an indisposed statesman (think William Gladstone), who dies, leaving the actor to carry on his career. The self-absorbed thespian eventually grows into the role and becomes a great man himself, wining three elections as Prime Minister of the Solar System. But what would it do to your soul to play Saddam? Perhaps the Saddam we know and love is really an actor playing the late leader's role?

 

Also, all the speculation about how once Saddam is sure to use The Bomb once he gets it is reminiscent of a series of short stories Heinlein wrote in the 1940s about the inevitability of an atomic sneak attack. The most brilliant, perhaps the most prophetic sci-fi story ever, was "Solution Unsatisfactory," which he wrote in 1940, well before the secret Manhattan Project had begun. In it, Heinlein predicted the U.S. would end the second world war in 1945 by dropping atomic weapons on an Axis city. He went on to predict that the Russians would quickly acquire their own weapons, then use a foolish American disarmament attempt to launch a sneak attack. The U.S. would win the short but apocalyptic war with the Soviets. To prevent anyone from ever again building their own atomic weapons, the U.S. would then set up a global strategic air command, with bombers circling over all the nations of the world, ready to annihilate them if they tried to threaten the monopoly. The man in charge found himself, against his will, to be the effective Dictator of the World. Hence the title, "Solution Unsatisfactory."

 

The sneak attacks the following year on Russia and Pearl Harbor only reinforced Heinlein's views. As it turned out, deterrence worked better than Heinlein expected. But those who think deterrence is now kaput, and that America must take on the role of Dictator of the World, should definitely check out Heinlein's stories from the 1940s.

***

 

Women and Trucks -- Lots of women these days like to drive massive, brutal-looking SUVs and pickup trucks. My wife, who drives a Honda Prelude minivan, wants to know why lots of other moms buy much less practical Dodge Rams, Toyota Land Crushers, and the like. Is this because:

 

1. They are asserting their independence and empowerment?

2. Trying to get noticed by men who are interested in gargantuan trucks?

3. They look more feminine when contrasted to their monstrous vehicle?

4. Guy stuff is always cooler than girl stuff?

5. They don't want anybody to think they are a mom?

6. Men want to find a woman who isn't into icky girl frilleries, but likes manly things just like them (but isn't a lesbian either)?

7. They really need to haul a giant load of firewood over the washed-out dirt roads of Studio City.

 

Which one is it? 

***

 

Irish Travelers - The arrest of the ironically named Mrs. Toogood for whomping her four-year-old has cast a spotlight on the Irish Travelers. Here's some background info on them from Slate. Johnny Depp portrayed a romanticized Traveler in Chocolat, while Brad Pitt gave a more realistic portrayal in Snatch. Travelers, like Gypsies, have a largely parasitic economic culture based around scamming off the dim-witted and elderly. They exhibit extreme cases on "in-group moralities," where dishonesty toward members of other ethnic groups is simply not a sin in the slightest. Although Gypsies are deeply unpopular wherever they show up in any numbers, there is no Gypsy nationalist or Zionist movement whatsoever, probably because Gypsies realize that without productive outsiders to prey upon, they would starve.

***

 

Mysteries of the East -- One of the great mysteries of the modern world is why the vast Republic of India doesn't fly apart like Yugoslavia did. Since I know very little about India, I was able to quickly come up with a theory to explain, without a lot of facts to distract me.

 

Hinduism and ethnic separation don't work (at least among Hindus). First, there are way too many endogamous groups (something like 40,000+) for any single one to think seriously of forming its own state. (A billion people divided by 40,000 is an average of 25,000 per endogamous group.) Second, they are completely dependent on each other. While, say, the Croatians can get along fine without any Serbs around, the subcastes need each other or society as they know it would collapse. For example, the Brahmins famously need Untouchables to clean up after them -- less well known is the incredible subdivision of occupations into hereditary subcastes. Separatism would lead to starvations almost immediately, since Hindus aren't allowed by their religion to do other subcastes' jobs. Third, caste loyalties provide a glue across regions.

 

This suggests that if the caste obsession declined in the future, India would probably fracture along geographic lines.

***

 

Female buddy movies -- I'm working on an article about the paucity of hit movies where the two most important roles are both female. There are at least 10 times as many $100 million dollar male buddy hits as female buddy hits. I'm looking for quotes I can use on why you guys won't go watch female-dominated movies, but women will see male-dominated movies?

***

 

Film of the Week: 'Spirited Away' by Steve Sailer 
In 1997, animator Hayao Miy
azaki, the George Lucas of Japan, broke his nation's box office record with "Princess Mononoke," a "Lord of the Rings"-style adventure epic. After "Titanic" beat his mark, Miyazaki came out of retirement to retake the top spot with 2001's "Spirited Away," an intensely Japanese reimagining of the basic "Alice in Wonderland" dreamworld plot -- or, perhaps more accurately, non-plot.

***

 

The Four Feathers -- At least three of the greatest movies ever -- Gunga Din, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Man Who Would Be King -- are British Empire desert adventures. (It's hard to avoid the suspicion that one big reason the British got so excited for awhile over the Empire was it gave them a chance for Fun in the Sun.) The new version of The Four Feathers, a melodrama of cowardice and redemption involving a mission to rescue General Gordon from Khartoum in the Sudan in 1885, doesn't belong in their company. Still, it features striking scenery (filmed like most such movies in stable Morocco -- just bring a lot of baksheesh), an electrifying cameo by Dinka fashion model Alex Wek, and a fairly exciting rendition of the famous battle where the Mahdi's men temporarily broke into a British infantry defensive square, something Napoleon's forces had never accomplished.

 

So ’ere’s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your ’ome in the Soudan;

You’re a pore benighted ’eathen but a first-class fightin’ man;

An’ ’ere’s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your ’ayrick ’ead of ’air—

You big black boundin’ beggar—for you broke a British square!  --  Kipling

 

Unfortunately, the plot has enormous holes in it -- at one point, I was convinced the projectionist must have misplaced a reel! I am so frustrated by gazillion dollar productions that skimped on the extra quarter million to have a first rate script doctor fix obvious plot problems. And director Shekhar Kapur is a humorless sad sack who utterly lacks the high spirits and love of costume glamour necessary to pull off the preposterous story.

 

The Indian director is supposedly angry at the British Empire, but it's hard to tell for sure. Of course, the Sudan is hardly the best place to stage a condemnation of colonialism. Over the last 20 years in post-colonial Sudan,  two million Sudanese have died during the civil war between the brown Muslim slavemasters in the north and the black Christian or pagan potential slaves in the south.

 

Still, the story is thought-provoking, in these days when Americans are getting the imperial itch for their own desert adventures. Consider how alien seems the fierce moral code of the British elite during the height of the empire. Certainly there are men in America made of such stern stuff, but our Imperial officers will not be drawn from the families of the Great and the Good, but from a fairly hereditary and culturally isolated caste. Can a republic long endure such an arrangement?

***

 

Paul Wolfowitz -- The NYT runs a long, flattering profile of the Bush Admin's main proponent (along with Richard Perle) of war with Iraq. Wolfowitz comes across as a man with a nail (Iraq) who has been searching everywhere for a hammer and thinks he found it in 9/11. 

 

Unlike Perle, however, Wolfowitz comes across as a man who doesn't want to be seen as a fanatic. So, he doesn't make much of a case for the grab bag of dubious reasons for war he's tossing out: Saddam might give a nuke to a terrorist or he might have had something to do with 9/11 or maybe we can establish democracy in Iraq and make Iraq into a light unto the nations. Maybe these aren't very plausible arguments, he seems to suggest, but look how many there are! The end of the article makes Wolfowitz look pathetic as he argues with himself over whether Iraq is worth the possibility of thousands of American soldiers' deaths.

***

 

The Rev. Jesse is mad at the hit movie Barbershop for dissing him. (Link probably won't last).

***

 

Mort Zuckerman, owner of U.S. News & World Report and chairman of the influential Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, slams our current mass immigration system in USNWR. Judging from a cursory search on Google, this appears to be quite an intellectual breakthrough for such an establishment figure. Sad that it took 9/11 and the recent unpleasantness in the Holy Land to open a lot of eyes to the fact that heavy immigration is no longer in the best interest of Jews.

***

 

Calling Bill Simon: Here's an environmental issue custom made for the GOP. The Republicans lose a lot of upper middle class votes because they are perceived, with some reason, as The Party That Hates Nature. I've recommended before that they go back to their Teddy Roosevelt heritage and take a stand against the misanthropic tendencies of extreme environmentalists, but also in favor of vigorous fun in the Great American Outdoors. A beautiful wedge issue is opening up -- California's liberal Democratic senator Barbara Boxer wants to ban mountain bikers from 2.5 million acres of California wilderness. The Democrats are on the side of the  backpackers, a declining Baby Boomer contingent. That opens the door for the Republicans to side with mountain bikers, a growing group of younger people. I'll give you 4 to 1 odds, though, that the GOP will blow this opportunity.

***

 

Speaking of "human diversity preserves," I just recalled that here in the U.S., there is a privately owned, 70 square mile preserve for abut 200 full-blooded indigenous people that has been in operation since 1864: Hawaii's "Forbidden Island" of Niihau.

***

 

Question: I want to write an article about cousin marriage among Muslims. Among Pakistanis in the UK, around 60% marry a first or second cousin (typically from the Old Country - among other purposes, it generates an immigration visa for a family member out of thin air). This rate of in-marriage has been increasing in Britain. Has anybody heard anything about cousin marriage among U.S. Muslims. Muslim immigrants here tend to better educated than UK Pakistanis, who are mostly descended from peasants, so that would suggest a lower rate in the U.S. 

 

How about uncle-niece marriages among South Indian immigrants? These are quite popular in places like Bangalore and Pondicherry.

***

 

Thinking like an Arab: One of the best things an economics education teaches you is to try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and see what the world looks like to him. You don't want to see his world the way he wants you to see it (that's what multiculturalism does); instead, you want to understand the incentive structure he faces in as hard-headed a way as possible. (Of course, that includes far more than just monetary incentives.) So, why haven't other Arabs been terribly upset about Saddam trying to build a Bomb? Especially since, if he ever used it aggressively, he'd almost certainly use it on them, rather than on Israel or America, whom, he knows, would vaporize him with their vastly greater arsenals.

 

So, what are these crazy Arabs thinking? I suspect, they are thinking, "Saddam's a sunuvabitch, but he's our sunuvabitch. Thus, his Bomb would be an Arab Bomb! Our racial honor would be restored! The Jews have hundreds of Bombs, but the Americans never complained about nuclear proliferation to Israel. They think the Jews are intelligent, rational people who can handle the Bomb responsibly. They think we Arabs are a bunch of hotheaded lunatics who must be treated like especially dimwitted but ill-tempered children."

 

Which is, after all, how we do think of the Arabs. At least, that's how I think -- letting them have the Bomb would be like letting Yosemite Sam have it.

***

 

Bad Arguments from all sides about Iraq: Armchair Worriers keep arguing that we should wait until Saddam's nuclear bomb program has made a lot more progress before invading. Does that make any sense? If we are going to blast him, let's do it now, before he can fight back with his supposed upcoming superweapons.

 

Armchair Warriors tell us that we must crush Saddam to prevent him from invading other countries like Kuwait with his fearsome war machine. Then, they immediately turn around to tell us how for us to invade him would be a piece of cake, this his pathetic wretches of soldiers will throw down their toy guns and run off screaming like little girly-boys and we'll just parade into downtown Baghdad. So, which is it, guys?

 

The reality appears to be that, even with a few nuclear weapons, Saddam would be no threat to the Gulf States. How could his invasion-force tanks even get to his border with Kuwait to begin an invasion? They'd have to pass through hundreds of miles of barren No Fly zone in Southern Iraq, where American aircraft would obliterate them. Like shooting fish in a barrel ...

 

No, Saddam's forces are only good for defense. If he is under attack, and if he actually has much in the way of WMD and delivery systems, he might use it Sampson-style in a terrorist attack or on our invading forces. Further, the only place his men are likely to fight well at all is with their backs to the wall in their own home cities, especially Baghdad. I'm not all that worried about these threats, but I worry about them a lot more than I do about Saddam somehow going on the offensive.

***

 

Video of the Week: 'Death to Smoochy' by Steve Sailer

When Robin Williams' "Death to Smoochy comes out on video Tuesday ($26.98 list price for DVD, $22.98 for VHS), it may well do better than it did in the theaters last winter. It could hardly do worse.

***

 

Armchair Warriors vs. Armchair Worriers (Part 79) -- Iraq Attack supporters are in ecstasy over Bush's speech to the UN outlining Saddam's repeated violations of the contract he authorized in 1991 agreeing to shut down his weapons research in return for not being crushed like a cockroach. As I said last summer, this would be a traditionally acceptable casus belli. The question, though, is: "Why didn't the War Party in the opinionariat mention this before?" The reason would appear to be that Bush's move sets an uncomfortably restrictive precedent. We couldn't use it to justify attacking anyone else they want to conquer, like Syria or Iran, since we don't have contracts with anybody except Saddam.

***

 

Opinion polls on invading Iraq -- I wonder whether pollsters would get the same results if in their questions about using military force they substituted "Iran" for "Iraq"? What % of the American people can't, off the top of their heads, tell Iraq from Iran? 50%? 70%?

***

 

One cheer for Paul Krugman: Perhaps no liberal op-edster is more hated by pro-Bush op-edsters than Paul Krugman of the NYT. Now some of this is just personal -- my experience with Krugman is that he is rude and nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is (which is saying a lot because he is quite smart, especially compared to, say, his colleague Frank Rich). But, it's also been my experience that roughly the same is true of a more than a few famous rightist and libertarian "heavyweights," who turn out to be lightweights when you get them into email discussions. And as for disagreeableness, well, does the name Ann Coulter spring to mind? Krugman's just playing the opinion game by the same nasty rules that the Right followed during the Clinton years. And that seems to be the real problem Andrew Sullivan and Co. have with Krugman -- the very notion of a harshly anti-Bush liberal opinionizer strikes them as fundamentally illegitimate. All commentators, dammit, are supposed to be on the Right.

***

 

Barbershop opens with a first weekend of $21 million, about three times expectations, a lot of money for mid-September. It's a terrific little movie. It will be interesting to see if it brings in the over-25 white audience. One problem with it that reviewers didn't want to mention (because it would make them seem uncool) is that for an unhip white guy like me, it's hard to understand the characters' ghetto dialect until you're about a half hour into the movie.

***

 

We've had a lot of fun here with the question of Denzel Washington vs. Vin Diesel for the role of Hannibal. In breaking ancient world movie news comes the announcement that in Troy, Wolfgang Petersen's upcoming version of the Iliad, Achilles will be played by Jet Li. Oops, I got that wrong - I meant Brad Pitt.

 

This propensity to cast blondes as Greek heroes (such as the announcement that Leo DiCaprio would star as Alexander the Great in Baz Lurhmann's version of that newly hot story) raises the question of whether ancient Greeks looked liked modern Greeks.

 

Such "Mediterraneanist" population genetics issues are hot buttons for the dueling websites Racial Myths and Refuting Racial Myths. Sometimes they end up arguing over whether a particular glass is 95% empty or 5% full, but those with less emotional stake in the controversies can have a good time reading the two sites.

***

 

The website of Molefi Asante, the Afrocentrist Temple U. professor, is one of the more egomaniacal I've come across (the exalted coverage of his "enstoolment" is particularly bemusing), but I've got to thank him for his Music Room page, which introduced me to a Top Ten All Time Most Fun song: "Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba of South Africa. (It's the one where she sounds like she's singing "I got a a coconut.")  Try it. It's guaranteed to brighten your day. For extra enjoyment, you can sing counterpoint to it using the lead-in to the "A-weem-o-wack" chorus from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." (You'll need IE 5 or higher and Flash5.)

***

 

At the U.N. yesterday, Bush made what I've said is the the strongest case possible -- to survive in 1991, Saddam agreed to an open-ended ceasefire whose conditions he has repeatedly mocked with impunity. We have the moral and legal right to resume the 1991 war.

***

 

Of course, some of Bush's other arguments were flummery: the claim that Saddam might hand over weapons of mass destruction to terrorists seems to rest on the concept that Saddam is a "madman." In reality, he's no more of a madman than your typical mafia scumbag. The only thing I can ever think of him doing that made no sense at all was his one act of mercy: letting go of a couple of thousand Western hostages right before the Gulf War. No, the only situation in which Saddam would be likely to hand over WMDs for use by terrorists would be if he had no reason any longer to to be deterred by the almost infinitely more powerful WMD arsentals on America and Israel. What kind of situation would that be?... The most obvious would be if ... we were invading Iraq to bring about "regime change." In the Middle East, it's called the Samson Option.

 

Here's a pretty good WaPo column by somebody claiming to know what the "intelligence experts" think about Iraq, for whatever that's worth. Lots of likely sounding ideas -- e.g., Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11. The most encouraging theory is that only a few thousand will fight for Saddam because everybody else in Iraq hates him. This may very well be true, but we shouldn't avoid contingency plans just because we'd like it to be true. It might instead be true that in the Iraqi army, hate isn't quite as powerful as fear. And not just fear of Saddam (although, considering that he has survived and wreaked horrible vengeance on those who betrayed him ever since the 1960s, this emotion won't be negligible), but also fear of other Iraqis. Saddam, while a fool as a conqueror is a master as a survivor, has organized his regime so that most of the leadership talent in Iraq is guilty of horrible crimes against other Iraqis. The cadres fear that the moment that Saddam falls, they will be torn to shreds by mobs of the relatives of their victims. This gives them an incentive to stick by their dark master.

***

 

Presidente Vincente Fox, who was Senor Glamoroso on 9/10/2001, is sounding increasingly petulant and pathetic. He waited all the way until 9/12/2002 to demand the U.S. roll the clock back and pay enormous attention to him and his demands that we tear up our immigration laws the way we did back before the recent unpleasantness. In return, he offers Bush ... well, zip. Not even verbal support on Iraq.

 

Look, Bush's vague Mexican amnesty plan of the summer of 2001 was the last silly excrescence of the 90's Bubble. It was already deflating before 9/11 because the Republicans in Congress rightly thought it suicidal. Terrorism and unemployment have made it even less palatable. Apparently, Fox thinks he can still push it through by playing the race card in American on a massive scale. The thought of a foreign president stirring up racial discord in the U.S. is repulsive, but that appears to be Fox's plan.

***

 

Film of the Week: Likable 'Barbershop' by Steve Sailer
The modestly budgeted ense
mble comedy "Barbershop" is one of the most likable movies of the year, a sort of black "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

 

The really interesting thing is how black-white dramas aimed primarily at a white audience are usually about white racism, while all-black movies aimed at a black audience and made by black film-makers are increasingly about how blacks need to stop blaming racism for all their problems and start taking responsibility for their lives.

***

 

The indefatigable Randall Parker has simultaneously started a whole bunch of blogs. Here are two: FuturePundit and ParaPundit.

***

 

Colby Cosh blogs:

Is it just me, or are the Nigerian spammers getting kind of indolent and brusque? I can remember a time, understand, when the fax machine was the preferred medium for the old "I am the unrecognized natural child of the deposed God-Emperor Mbubu" con game. There was always a long introduction, polite to the point of servility, and riddled with nuggets from history (warning: nuggets may not contain actual history). Now it's like these guys are just going through the motions--we never cared, but now they don't either! "I AM LEOPOLD MOVUTU! YOU SEND MONEY NOW!" ... Come on, put on a show for me. Sing for your supper. You're t-h-i-s far away from my PIN number.

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Judge vindicates Bill Simon -- This was close to inevitable, but glad to see it happen quickly. The $78 million dollar damage decision that an obviously incompetent and biased jury brought in against the California gubernatorial candidate was clearly a piece of crap.

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9/11/2002 -- After, literally, tens of trillion words, there isn't much left to say. So, I just put out a couple of flags.

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I just a found a website Consang.net that thoroughly documents a subject I only heard about a year ago -- the extraordinarily high degree of inbreeding in the Muslim world. It's not uncommon for 30%-50% of marriages in the Middle East to be between first cousins. That's much higher than the rate found among Kentucky hillbillies in 1942. Individuals in the Arab countries tend to be about 250 times more inbred than in America. This must have a huge impact on why Arab societies are so fractious along clan lines and why the degree of trust is so low outside of extended families. Arabs are just much more related to their relatives than we are.

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If you are tired of reading 9/11 rehashes, here's something completely different (i.e., irrelevant -- but interesting!):

 

Q&A: Pygmy Negritos of Andaman Islands by Steve Sailer 9/9/2002 1:51 PM
In an era when we are routinely encouraged to celebrate diversity, perhaps no group of humans on Earth is more diverse yet less celebrated than the tiny but fierce Pygmy Negritos of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. They provide some of the best examples of what modern humans were like when they first emerged out of Africa dozens of millennia ago.

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Video of the Week: 'Count of Monte Cristo' by Steve Sailer
Last winter's solidly entertaining "The Count of Monte Cristo" came as a pleasant surprise; on Tuesday it will be back on DVD ($29.99) and VHS (rental only).

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Film of the Week: 'City by the Sea' by Steve Sailer -- This is a minor but ultimately effective low-key "true story" about the crimes and tragedies that affected four generations of one family. Even with that ultimate Real Man movie legend Robert De Niro starring as -- prepared to be stunned by this novel casting concept -- a veteran New York City police detective, "City by the Sea" is sure to be derided as better suited for a TV Movie of the Week. Studio films are so male-oriented these days that it can sometimes seem like the only way a family relationship movie aimed primarily at a female audience can get greenlighted is if it's about men, as in this father-son male weepie.

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The always urbane Henry C. writes in regard to my question of what to call my giddiness/exaltation at high altitudes:

 

It's called "Acrophilia." The Swiss used to have a lot of acrophiliacs, but their republican impulses led them to deport the most severe cases to France, Germany and Italy. Hence 300 years of peace in the highlands.

 

On the Homeland naming front: It is funny hearing about how Americans are not supposed to be enchanted by anything so primitive as love of the land, and then watch Kaus and Noonan get patriotically obsessed with the precise meaning, phrasing and sequence of words in a government bureaucracy. This is called logo-philia. It afflicts writers, not real people. Alan Jay Lerner understood his own diseases.

 

Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words ...

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I've added a permanent link to the National Post columns of Mark Steyn, the Prince of Pundits.

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It's well understood that traveling up to high altitude regions tends to make people grumpy. For many, this clears up overnight, but for others, they stay grumpy. On the other hand, I wonder if I'm subject to "high altitude elation." Perhaps it's just the scenery, but I tend to get feelings on mountaintops somewhere between exaltation and giddiness. Does this syndrome have a name?

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Here's Colby Cosh's fine blog.

 

Richard Poe is now blogging daily.

It sounds like Robert Locke had to go back to work and won't be blogging.

And the formidable, yet sensible, Randy Parker is promising to shortly launch four separate blogs.

 

To paraphrase Andy Warhol, "In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen hundred people." (Of course, Andy has been famous for saying that for 34 years.)

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Affirmative Action controversy in Israel -- This should prove a real conundrum for American neoconservatives because Israel's rightwingers are for racial preferences, its leftwingers against them. Hebrew U., the top research university, practices meritocratic admissions, so it is dominated by Ashkenazi (European) Jews, who lean toward the Labor Party. The Likud Education minister now wants to eliminate the use of test scores in the admissions process for applicants from poor neighborhoods - i.e., Jews whose roots go back to Jewish communities in Africa and West Asia. These groups have been mostly separated from each other for about 60 or more generations. The Ashkenazis have significantly higher average IQs than the "Oriental" Jews, so they take up most of the places in the meritocratic elites.

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The National Council of Women's Organizations has been trying to organize a boycott of The Masters golf tournament broadcast because the tournament's host club, Augusta National, has no female members. Augusta National supremo Hootie Johnson's scorched earth response has been to cancel all advertising for next April's broadcast to prevent sponsors from being boycotted.

 

I hereby announce that I am available to integrate the Steering Committee of the National Council of Women's Organizations, an exclusive and influential club that currently clearly practices sex discrimination, as this list of its members reveals. (I am also available to integrate Augusta National if they want a token low-level schmoe to prove you don't have to be a CEO to get in.)

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A reader writes, "While we're all debating what to do about Iraq, how about sending a force into Zimbabwe to arrest Mugabe and prevent two million people from death by starvation? The situation there is truly sickening." Indeed, a friend of mine (who in one of his many careers came within a few weeks of overthrowing a certain Communist regime in 1967, only to have the Six Day War accidentally interfere with his best-laid plans) says he could arrange for mercenaries to take out the tyrant if he was furnished with the money ... but if he did so, he would be put on trial in front of the World Court in The Hague, so he isn't, and all those Zimbabweans will just have to starve.

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Mickey Kaus has been denouncing the name of the Homeland Security department. I don't care about the name, but some of his reasons for getting worked up over the word "homeland" deserve scrutiny, especially his curious assertion, "Note again that even the 'good,' patriotic meaning of 'homeland' --  'your roots, the region where you grew up, your identity, where you belong' -- is a bad and un-American meaning." Personally, I just got back from the magnificent Eastern Sierras, where I spent much time from age 11 through 18. I wonder what Ansel Adams or Galen Rowell would have said to Mickey's theory? What would Edmund Burke have said? Thomas Jefferson? Mark Twain? Teddy Roosevelt? John Ford? William O. Douglas? Ronald Reagan?

 

I fear that as conservatives become more ideological, they are losing touch with basic human emotions. The scientific evidence is that people imprint on whatever landscape they experience around puberty, and that becomes their standard of what the landscape should look like. Americans - the drivingest, family vacationingest people on Earth - imprint on large chunks of the American landscape. Is that such a bad thing?

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The big question is whether it's too late to call off the Iraq Attack. Will the U.S. look like a paper tiger if after all the Administration's saber rattling, we let Saddam off the hook? Personally, I'd rather use the saber on a weakling like Saddam now than have to use it later on China over Taiwan. What's galling though is that this is what Richard Perle has wanted all along - to bypass the Constitution by hustling us into an untenable position where the only option is war.

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