Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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30 January 2007

Climate Scientists Censored?

Henry Waxman's House Oversight and Reform Committee is looking into whether the White House is "inappropriately censoring impartial government scientists" on global warming. Now, c'mon. Is there any group of people less restrained, less blatant about pushing a political agenda in the name of science than climatologists? Here's some excerpts from a CBS report on this topic, interviewing NASA's chief whiner, James Hansen:
As a government scientist, James Hansen is taking a risk. He says there are things the White House doesn't want you to hear but he's going to say them anyway...
Asked if he believes the administration is censoring what he can say to the public, Hansen says: "Or they're censoring whether or not I can say it. I mean,I say what I believe if I'm allowed to say it...
Hansen has a theory that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message.
Now does it sound like he's scared? No, he's obviously full of shit, as he obviously feels completely unrestrained in saying anything he wants, including his crackpot theory about a tipping point. Maybe what's happening is that the Bush administration, like every other government that has ever existed, doesn't like to be criticized by government employees making political statements disguised as scientific pronouncements.

Meanwhile, global warming gets the full media saturation treatment, and those who question the CW are tarred and feathered and run out of town. We may well need to be concerned about human-induced climate change, but one thing we don't have to worry about is that the message is not getting out.

25 January 2007

Prosecutorial Malfeasance

We all know about the travesty of justice taking place in Durham due to the willful misconduct of a cowardly prosecutor wishing to placate a bloodthirsty mob. But yesterday we learned about a terrible miscarriage of justice involving a (at best) negligent prosecutor and shoddy evidentiary standards.

After serving 15 years for a murder he did not commit, Roy Brown was released from a NY State prison after a DNA test exonerated him. He was a bit unlucky in that the murder victim was a social worker and he had earlier served some prison time for threatening another social worker over a custody dispute involving his daughter, so there was some putative motive.

But in prison, Brown continued to investigate his own case and found evidence of a local volunteer firefighter, who was the brother of the victim's former lover. When Mr. Brown confronted the killer in a letter, the apparently guilt-stricken murderer threw himself in front of a train, so his body had to be exhumed to test his DNA. Along the way an investigator declined to pursue the firefighter because he knew him and thought him incapable of the crime. What convicted Mr. Brown were bite marks found on the victim. A local dentist was recruited to do the matching when a more competent forensic odontologist did not find a match.

So Mr. Brown seemed to fall victim to 4 basic breakdowns in judicial process:
  • Poor detective work (failing to follow leads)

  • Prosecutorial misconduct (disregarding exculpatory findings)

  • Incompetent defense (failing to investigate on behalf of the defendant)

  • Shoddy evidentiary standards (allowing expert testimony from non-experts)

Put them all together, you ruin lives.

23 January 2007


I hate to sound like a prude or hopelessly unsophisticated, but reading this article kinda gave me the creeps.

The Lesson of Prada

I finally got around to watching The Devil Wears Prada last night. While I found it very entertaining, I was struck by the important social commentary buried in the story. No, not the crap about finding yourself or being true to yourself or whatever nonsense it was ostensibly spouting. What it really is is a lesson about the overarching importance of intelligence in job success. As I'm sure you all know, the film is about a young midwestern Northwestern graduate (Andie Sachs), looking to break into journalism in the Big Apple, who applies for a highly coveted job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the frightening editor of Runway magazine (see Steve Sailer's excellent review). Before hiring her, Miranda spells out how ill-fitted the girl is for the job (other than her being, at a size 6, a bit over-sized in this milieu):

Miranda: So you don't read Runway
Andie: No...
Miranda: And before today you had never heard of me...
Andie: No...
Miranda: And you have no style or sense of fashion...
Andie: Well, um, I think that depends on what's your...
Miranda: No, no, that wasn't a question.

But Miranda takes a chance on her because of her apparent intelligence. As she explains later, thinking she might have made a mistake (because Andie was unable to find her a flight out of a hurricane-ravaged Miami):
I usually hire the same girl - stylish, slender, worships the magazine, but so often they turn out to be disappointing and - stupid. But you, with that impressive resume and the big speech about your supposed work ethic, I thought you'd be different. I said to myself, 'go on, take a chance, hire the smart, fat girl'.
But Andie succeeds spectacularly (except of course that at the end she must walk-away from this high-powered world so that she can be herself).

This theme - that the interest you have in a job is nowhere near as important as the brains you bring to it - was discussed recently in a gnxp thread commenting on Charles Murray's recent series on education. Commenter ANM points to this study, a meta-analysis of "85 years of research in personnel selection." The study found that
in the pantheon of 19 personnel measures [studied], GMA (also called general cognitive ability and general intelligence) occupies a special place, for several reasons. First, of all procedures that can be used for all jobs, whether entry level or advanced, it has the highest validity and lowest application cost.
In other words, intelligence testing is the most effective and cheapest way to predict job performance. This is true for the most analytical jobs to those jobs requiring almost no skills. But what about following your passions - isn't that an important predictor of success?
Many believe that interests are an important determinant of one's level of job performance. People whose interests match the content of their jobs (e.g., people with mechanical interests who have mechanical jobs) are believed to have higher job performance than with nonmatching interests. The validity of .10 for interests shows that this is true only to a very limited extent. To many people, this seems counterintuitive. Why do interests predict job performance so poorly? Research indicates that interests do substantially influence which jobs people prefer and which jobs they attempt to enter. However, once individuals are in a job, the quality and level of their job performance is determined mostly by their mental ability and by certain personality traits such as conscientiousness, not by their interests. So despite popular belief, measurement of work interests is not a good means of predicting who will show the best future job performance.
So there you have it - The Devil Wears Prada, Hollywood's stealth endorsement of The Bell Curve.

16 January 2007

The case has raised issues of race, sex and class

Media afficionados will immediately recognize those words from countless articles in the New York Times on the Duke rape hoax (not that they'll ever recognize it as such - I can just imagine the Times a year from now: "While most legal experts consider the allegations to be, in retrospect, unfounded, the case nevertheless raised important issues of..."). Here's some other samples: the case has touched historically tender nerves of race, sex and class...The case has drawn national attention to Duke and Durham while underscoring issues of class and race...pointing to underlying issues of race, class, sex and privilege. While I feel I know as much about the lacrosse case as the players' attorneys, I was completely unaware of a more recent, and far more disturbing, case that raised similar issues in my mind. But somehow, I must have missed the wall-to-wall saturation coverage in the media (rather ham-handed bit of sarcasm there, sorry).

I am speaking of the double murder in Knoxville a week ago. A young white couple (pictured here), while visiting friends, decided to go out and grab a bite to eat. The exact details of what happened next are not known at this time, but they were apparently car-jacked or set upon by two to four black men (pictured here - two might be mere accessories after the fact). The two were bound and dragged to a semi-occupied apartment. The young man was brought outside, beaten, executed, and his body set on fire near a railroad track. The young girl was not so lucky, allegedly being repeatedly raped over a couple days, then killed and her body stuffed into a trash can in the apartment.

If you search Google News on "Newsom Christian" (the surnames of the victims) you get a pathetic 77 hits (that's as of 8:07pm EST). "Knoxville double murder" brings an even sadder 24 hits. In contrast, googling the Times alone on "lacrosse race class sex" garners 26 hits. Googling the Times on "Duke lacrosse rape" fetches 368 hits! The Times of course has not deigned to cover this Kentucky case, presumably because it presents no issues of race and sex? Let's see - black street thugs kidnap, torture, rape, and murder a young, attractive, college-educated white couple - no, no interesting undercurrents of race, sex and class there!

In an otherwise unrelated post, Lawrence Auster writes about the Left's ever-more fervent attack on "Christian Theocracy". He ascribes it to Auster’s First Law of Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal Society.
The First Law states that because of the modern liberal belief in the moral and substantive equality of all peoples and cultures, the worse any minority or non-Western group really is, the worse the West must be made to appear, as the guilty cause of the non-Western group’s bad or dysfunctional behavior, or as simply bad in itself.
So with the Duke rape hoax, even though the charges were obviously fabrications from the onset, the story had to be played out, with all its sub-context of "race, sex and class" as if it were real, because actual cases of brutal white-on-black rape simply can't be found. While there are about 15,000 black-on-white rapes each year, the opposite is statistically non-existent. Brutal murders present just as much of a problem. So if blacks are to be depicted as no worse than whites, the media (particularly the Times) must ignore black crime as much as possible while loudly trumpeting any white violence that may surface. The pickings are slim however, typically limited to some Howard Beach ruffians who might happen on some black kids wandering into their neighborhood (the last such involved a local known as "Fat Nick" beating up a would-be car thief with a baseball bat - no sex, no class, just race - hey, you take what you can get and you go with it). The last great opportunity was the James Byrd murder in 1998. Even though the killers were the embodiment of white-trash, and the crime universally condemned across the nation, the Times made every effort to cast its net as widely as possible, and Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote at the time that the murder "reflects [a] growing national problem of race hatred and other forms of prejudice and intolerance that has to be addressed".

It has to be addressed, indeed, but not in the way Mr. Herbert would like it to be addressed. Of course horrific black-on-white crimes are relatively rare, but how much less rare would they be if so many whites did not organize their lives around avoiding contact with African-Americans? And I wouldn't exactly call it exceedingly rare - just last year there was the Imette St. Guillen murder in NYC (which received alot of publicity since she was missing for a week) and the Harvey family slaughter in Richmond (that wasn't well publicized) that immediately come to mind. Yet white efforts to racially isolate themselves - all-white neighborhoods and schools, for example - is depicted in the media as irrational prejudice rather than as an understandable response to statistically valid fears.

But Bob Herbert - well, not just Bob, but the media, the educational establishment, the corporate culture - everyone who decides what is acceptable to say and not say - prefers that this racial discussion occur in one direction only. We can talk about Bull Connor, Medgar Evers,
George Wallace blocking the school door, busing riots in Boston, Rodney King, and recognize them all as unobstructed signposts along the road of hatred and oppression that has led us to this divided state; or we can talk about black illegitimacy, crime, or New Orleans as the outcomes of poverty and hopelessness, both inevitable products of racism. Even the stomach-churning scenes of the L.A. riots were aired with the drone of guilt-ridden commentary implicating inequality and despair as the real force behind the flying bricks. White racism, prejudice, isolation, and fear have no context - they are just evils that dwell in the white man's heart. And so fictional white crimes are more valid and important to discuss than actual crimes committed by Afrian-Americans (remember Willie Horton - it was the ad that was bad, not Willie and not the furlough).

Do I sound angry? I am fed up, is what I am. No more excuses - no more nonsense. Too bad there's little I can do but vent in this lonely corner of the blogosphere.

Nicholas Stix's Definitive Account of the Duke Rape Hoax

Dennis Dale - The R-word

See this 'gc' (the former blogger formerly known as 'Godless Capitalist') comment from which I nicked a few thoughts above and read the whole comment thread as well (and of course the original post).

08 January 2007

A Change in the Slope?

I heard a report on Marketplace this morning about how ski resorts are trying to shore up their stagnant market by recruiting minority customers. Good lord, white people have only just finished heaving a big sigh of relief over the passing of the Tiger-Woods-will-inspire-more-urban-kids-to-play-golf scare of a few years back, now another cherished enclave is under threat?

It's hard to believe this is a serious marketing campaign, though. I mean, you don't grow revenues by alienating 90% of your customer base. For example, there's this snippet:
So when you show up at the resort, if you're Korean, you're going to see some lift operators who are Korean. If you are Hispanic, you're going to see some rental technicians who are Hispanic.[EA]
Ski resorts have traditionally hired young people who are expert skiers - ski bums. Do you maybe get the idea this is more a PR campaign to justify the largescale hiring of immigrant labor? And the story's emphasis on Asians is a little phony, as there are already plenty of Asian skiers. But, to hedge your bets, you might want to consider investing in a company like this.

The Most Asinine Article of the Year

Yes, it's only January 7, but I am fully confident that I have stumbled upon the most asinine article of the year. I'm pretty sure it may be one of the most asinine I have ever read. Keep in mind that this is not an editorial - it's a news article - and it's so obviously asinine I see no need to even comment on its asininity. Ok - here's the link - it will open in a separate browser. Now if you think I'm wrong, and that this article is not asinine at all, do explain to me where I'm off base (I fully admit that you might have read a more asinine article, but if you don't actually think it's asinine, I'm curious to hear your view).

Update: Mickey Kaus seems to agree, though he gives the article too much credence by actually quoting one of its idiotic passages which he audaciously labels the "stupidest" as if any one of the article's assertions could be 'elevated' above the rest.

03 January 2007

Good News/Bad News

The New York Times reports on the paradoxical longevity of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. Despite being generally poor, they live longer lives than white Americans. That's good news for the immigrants - but the obvious bad news is that this will only increase the burden of these immigrants on the general population.
[A] recent analysis by Irma T. Elo, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania, indicates that a 65-year-old white woman will live, on average, an additional 18.9 years. But a 65-year-old Hispanic woman who immigrated to the United States will live an additional 19.8 years, a significant difference. The longevity difference persists even though Hispanic immigrants tend to be like Mrs. Lara, poor and poorly educated and lacking health care. It persists even though, like Mrs. Lara, they get chronic diseases like arthritis and high blood pressure and are often overweight.

“Everyone,” said Kyriakos S. Markides, who directs the Division of Sociomedical Sciences at the University of Texas in Galveston, “is trying to figure out what the hell is going on.” Two popular hypotheses have not held up in recent studies. One said that immigrants returned home to die, leaving healthier people in the United States. The other said that healthier people were more likely to immigrate.
There's always been that silly notion that illegal immigrants would help solve our Social Security mess by contributing via payroll taxes while never being able to collect. The Democrat (and Bush/McCain) proposals to legalize our 11+ million illegals sounds like a really dumb idea in this light. At least there seems some likelihood that current illegals will return to the more affordable Mexico with some kind of nest egg as they age, but full normalization would guarantee them a publicly financed (and long) retirement wherever they settle.