Your Lying Eyes

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

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30 May 2005

A Patriot in Idaho

This Times article profiles (quite even-handedly) a Mexican-American patriot battling illegal immigration. It focuses on the true enemy in the immigration - business interests who want cheap labor. How anyone thinks they have the right to hire cheap illegal immigrant labor is beyond me. You'd think these people would be embarrassed to even admit they do so. It's time decent people started to call these business interests on this - they're putting their own profits ahead of the well-being of their fellow citizens.

Viva la France

The French have rejected the new EU Constitution resoundingly. Good for them. The rejection came from the "extremes", though my guess is that, as here, the so called extremes are really the mainstream (see my post The Deluded Moderate). And so, the large numbers of French patriots combined with the large number of French socialists to defeat the referendum.

27 May 2005

Today's Immigrant

The Times has an excellent article contrasting the experiences of a now successful Greek immigrant of the 50's to the more hopeless situation of a Mexican immigrant today. The article does little preaching, but some explanations are tossed out to explain it, such as racism, which is not likely given the better experience of darker South Asians.
But the article did mention the all important continuous influx of Mexicans that makes it difficult for existing immigrants to gain a foothold. Most people don't realize that the 1924 Immigration Act effectively ended European immigration. It was then that the melting in the pot began.
But not mentioned (shockingly!) in the article is the generally lower cognitive abilities of Mexicans than Europeans. Mexicans generally score 2/3 of a standard deviation lower than persons of European extraction on intelligence tests (including the SAT) - an IQ of 90 vs. 100, for example. East Asian IQ's tend to be 105 - 100, by comparison. And the Mexicans who enter the US tend to be poor farmers - not University graduates. So, while some hold out some dim hope, in reality there is little chance that most Mexican immigrants will ever really mainstream here.

25 May 2005

Alright So Maybe We DID Flush a Koran Down the Toilet

It's impossible to literally flush a book down the toilet, OK. But the idea that an interrogator/MP/Guard might have been razzing a few detainees by threatening to flush one down the toilet, or maybe tearing a few pages or whatnot, is hardly inconceivable.
What is the lesson we should learn here? That we are evil? That we should promise to never deface a Koran or in anyway disrespect the religion of detained terrorists? That the Gitmo detainees are mistreated and should be given full Geneva Convention Rights?
I don't think so - I think the lesson is that if one-line in a story results in deadly riots, we ought to stay the hell away from these crazy people. We've got it pretty good here in the ole USofA. All we need to do is batten down the hatches and pull up stakes in scary places and stay inside these borders, and we can keep it that way. One thing is for sure - we are not going to be creating a democracy anywhere in the Mid-East, and we are only hurting ourselves trying.

We Are NOT Getting Smarter

Been lots of buzz lately about this new book arguing, among other heretical notions, that TV is making us smarter. Well if we were actually getting smarter there'd be some real-world evidence of it - like, say, some significant technological advances beyond TV and video games. But there hasn't been. We're still driving around in cars, flying in planes, living in houses and apartments and working in office buildings - living pretty much the way people lived 50 years ago. We've actually gotten worse at some things like getting into space and mass transportation.
The alleged proof that we've been getting smarter is the Flynn Effect. While IQ scores are averaged at 100, the actual number of correct answers on IQ tests had been going up decade after decade. While obviously an artifact of testing (since there's been no real world basis for believing we're getting smarter), some pollyannas grabbed onto the Flynn Effect to claim that modern society was lifting all intellectual boats. Now comes evidence the scores have been falling over the last decade. So now we can get back to thinking normal again - TV is junk - it is not making us smarter!

23 May 2005

Die Eisenfrau

Elections in 2006 could elevate Germany's Iron Lady to the chancellorship. Probably not good news for anyone outside Germany.

8-Year Old Rape Victim Rescued From Trash

This story is all over the news. The perpetrator was living in the same home and first tried to spin a yarn about how some white guys in a station wagon broke into the house and abducted her (the victim and rapist are black). But you won't find any mention of the race of the imaginary home-invasion-abductors, though, in this story or in almost any other report. I must have gone through 20 links in Google News (try yourself) before I found one that reported it. Interesting.

A New Twist on Human Origins

For years anthropologists believed modern humans descended from the older (archaic) forms of humans in their regions (Asians from Homo Erectus, Europeans from Neanderthals, Africans from Homo Erectus in Africa with some interbreeding). But then genetic analysis indicated a single origin in Africa. Now a new theory based on more complete genetic analysis suggests that migrating waves out of Africa assimilated existing archaic humans into their genes.

Why it is not obvious that Neanderthal genes survived into at least some present day human lineages is beyond my reckoning.

18 May 2005

Why Not Just Let Them All Come In?

This astounding statement is from the Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee: ""I think we need to find a way to make legal immigration and legal entry into the country easier." Sure, why should people from another land, who don't speak english, haven't a high school degree or knowledge of our laws, have to jump through hoops just to work here, live here, use our emergency rooms and schools for free - doesn't seem fair. I mean, who do we think we are - we're only the United States of America - who are we to insist on strict immigration - it's not like we're some big important country like South Africa.
Senator Cornyn is a Republican - the willingness to to turn the United States into a third world nation just to benefit businesses looking for cheap labor is not restricted to any one party - both parties are into the treason thing. Here's a handy site that shows how each member of congress votes on immigration.

17 May 2005

Tierney: Nuke Power is a Loser Technology

The NYTimes' latest attempt to trivialize conservative viewpoints, also known as John Tierney, is against nuclear power because some environmentalists are now for it. He reasons that if nuclear power were any good there'd be lots of private investment dollars behind it, but there doesn't seem to be any such private investment push and so nuclear power must be no better than windmills and cow dung.
He must be thinking of all those investment dollars feverishly competing to back countless other industrial enterprizes for the chance to earn solid long term returns. Yep, we wouldn't want to jeopardize all that investment in private manufacturing just to invest in some new-age pipe dream like nuclear energy.
Perhaps he's thinking of how efficient the free-market is at delivering large-scale regional power supplies. He seems to forget that, with President Bush's Guest Worker program, we wouldn't even have to hire any Americans to work the plants - hey, that should get the private investment dollars humming!

Now The Russians Are Pissing the Germans Off

First the Brits ruffled some Teutonic feathers by dissing the new German Pope. Now the agitation is coming from the other direction as the Russians proudly display works of art pludered from Germany in the last days of the war as "compensation." There's a neat double irony here - like the Germans have a right to complain about others looting their art - and the Russians have a right to expect compensation from anyone.
But anyway, isn't it kind of fun to see these old animosities bubble up again? Now Germany's in no shape to be starting any kind of saber rattling, but with a little motivation they could probably get themselves mobilized pretty quickly. Now wouldn't that be fun - to see the ole Huns go on another two-front rampage? Only this time, not having any particular ax to grind, we could just sit this one out and enjoy the show.

13 May 2005

Friedman Finds America Is Not That Competitive

No shit, Sherlock. We don't manufacture a damn thing, beyond the most rarefied technologies, that anyone else wants to import. And he's alarmed that Asian universities are taking top prizes in a technology competition. Well has he ever looked at the make-up of "American" computer science student bodies?
Different peoples have differing levels of available human capital. East Asians - Japanese, Koreans, Chinese - have average IQ's of 105 to 110. That means there's going to be a lot more of them in the higher IQ ranges proportionately than Westerners. The US average IQ is slightly below 100 due to our demographic make up, while European countries tend to be around 100. It's amazing we've dominated for so long. Of course winning the last World War in such spectacular fashion didn't hurt.

12 May 2005

Pat Buchanan Asks Was WWII Worth It?

Buchanan really lobs a grenade with this one. But he asks a good question that deserves better thought than the attacks he has been receiving. Certainly there was a lot done in WWII that, in retrospect, were clearly not worth it. The bloodbaths in Italy were a big mistake. Ditto the bloodbaths in Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. But Pat is asking a much bolder and provocative question - would we have been better off letting the Third Reich be than with the Soviet Empire that replaced it?
Much of his argument is based on the state of affairs when the war started. Hitler had not yet attacked or annexed the non-Germanic nations to the West nor had he begun his extermination of Jews (something Buchanan manages not to bring up!). Would Hitler have been emboldened to invade France and the Low countries had France and England not declared war first?
Buchanan ignores the tremendous benefit the U.S. got out of WWII: with Western Europe and Japan in ashes and the rest of the non-Third World enslaved under Marxist governments, we had no serious economic competition for years. Now, of course, things are different. Japan and Western Europe recovered nicely while much of Eastern Europe has joined them; and China is no longer Marxist. Fortunately the continued political chaos in post-Soviet Russia has prevented it from gaining a foothold in international trade. So if Buchanan really wants the U.S. to regain its economic strength, another World War could be just the thing.

Just What We Need - A New Type of Rat

Scientists have discovered a whole new family of rodent on display in a marketplace in Laos. This is apparently big news in the zoological community, but I found the article worth the read just for it's final line remarking on what a gold mine a Laotian market is for finding rare animals: "A trip to the market, [Dr. Timmins] said, made it clear that 'in Laos, pretty much everything gets eaten.'"

07 May 2005

Buyers Regret

Imagine spending $200 million on a baseball team and finding them to be the shittiest team in the league? And George is supposed to keep his mouth shut? Hell, people have a fit if their hamburger is overcooked.

05 May 2005

Evolution Under Siege in Kansas

There are two kinds of evolution kooks. One type insists life cannot be explained by evolution and instead needs an "intelligent designer" to make sense of it all. The other type believes evolution does explain life, with the exception of human life, which mysteriously stopped evolving 100,000 years ago (in particular there was absolutely no evolution that could possibly have resulted in any differences among peoples separated for tens of thousands of years on different continents with the exception of that part of the body from the epidermis outward).

New Global Warming Study Is Indeed Hogwash

I was perhaps incorrect in thinking the earth needs to have a positve absorption of heat over time, but my skepticism as to how they could possibly know that what was found in this study (which claims that we are absorbing more heat than we're giving off) is unprecedented over the last millenium was well founded. Being a Global Warming scientist is a great gig - you get all kinds of accolades, grant money,adoring press. But being a skeptic can be dangerous to your livelihood.

Hispanics Want Apology from Runaway Bride

Should the Runaway Bride apologize to the Hispanic community for fabricating a Hispanic man (and white woman - haven't heard from NOW yet) as the kidnapping team that supposedly abducted her? It wouldn't hurt, but in reality since no one heard the fabricated charge without knowing it was false, there really wasn't any harm.
But if you're going to concoct a kidnapping tale, you need to concoct a kidnapper. So is it unreasonable to concoct a Hispanic one? I did a simple test. I typed in the word "kidnap" in Google News Search and looked at the top 20 items for an identity of the kidnapper. The items break down as follows:
Foreign Cases - 9
Hoax - 1 (a different hoax)
Non-Hispanic - 4
Hispanic - 4
Michael Jackson Trial - 2

Of the 4 Non-Hispanic kidnappers, 3 involved child abductions. Out of 5 real domestic cases involving a kidnapping or attempted kidnapping of an adult, 4 of these cases involved a Hispanic perpetrator. So if you're an adult American interested in fabricating a kidnapping story, it's not the craziest thing to fabricate a Hispanic kidnapper while you're at it (it's certainly a lot less crazy than fabricating the story at all).

04 May 2005

Still No Rational Voices in Runaway Bride Story

Other than the girl's father who said it's none of the DA's damned business where or why his daughter left town, and the jilted fiance, and yours truly of course, I can't find any one who can think straight on this issue. My recommendation: if, God forbid, one of your loved ones should wind up missing, think twice before reporting it, or you could find yourself having to foot one huge bill the town will give you if she should show up ok.
The other side of the coin is the gross incompetence of the police. We've already seen grossly incompetent police messing up in Massachusetts. In Duluth GA, the runaway bride apparently left her ring home! That wasn't a tip-off? Were the kidnappers supposed to have mailed it back?

03 May 2005

So Now You Can't Even F-ing Run Away?

There's lots of talk about making the "Runaway Bride" pay for her malfeasance - which is what exactly? She took off! She left her home where she was living and went somewhere! Now you can't even do that?! Her only way out may be to plead insanity. If you ask me, it's everyone else who's out of their fucking minds.

02 May 2005

On Bruce's Newest

Stephen Metcalf in Slate has a really confused (and, of course, confusing) review of Springsteen's new album and his career. He likes the album but really doesn't - Springsteen lost his authenticity with Darkness on the Edge of Town (!?) - and of course we get take 10,001 of the old rock-critic-snob routine of only praising the albums (Nebraska, Ghost of Tom Joad) that his fans don't like and dismissing the ones they do. But really, when you get down to it, who gives a crap - how less significant could something be these days than a new Springsteen album.

Print Media Decline Continues

Overall circulation declines 1.9% since last year, no doubt due to further internet in-roads. Print media is doomed, of course, but so is all other media as we know it. For a very brief time in human history (about 100 years), large entities (publishing houses, record companies, movie studios, broadcasters - we'll call them "corporations") took advantage of the sudden availability - though at a cost too great for individual exploitation - of mass-distribution technology (printing presses, film, radio waves) to make unimaginably huge sums of money providing entertainment to the people. The good news was lots of people experienced things they never would have otherwise. The bad news was that they did so on the corporations' terms.
We are now at the end of this brief period (hardly long enough to be termed an "era") and it will be looked on as an anomaly. Before the anomaly people generally entertained each other. Some particularly skillful entertainers would be paid for entertaining and some entrepreneurial types would even be paid for arranging the entertainment. This approach will continue after the anomay. But now, given the cheap cost of distribution, the entertainment will be available more widely. Of course gone will be the days when certain entertainers will be earning unfathomable amounts of money due to their popularity. Nor will corporations be able to haul in vast sums of money by monopolizing entertainment.
Is this a bad thing? Only if you think that Shakespeare, Beethoven and Dickens are examples of poor entertainment. Sure, there will never again be a Beatles phenomenon, but that was never going to happen again. The Beatles were the logical extreme of the anomoly - a massively appealing though never before heard of form of entertainment - rock'n'roll - suddenly seized on and exploitedly by a few unusually talented individuals. Nothing like it has happened in the 40 years since.
Not that the role of the corporation in controlling entertainment will be completely eradicated - there will be pockets of it such as HBO's "The Sopranos" and certain niche movies will continue to be made. But as the ability to copy and distribute entertainment becomes cheaper and cheaper the willingness to invest huge amounts of money into developing mass entertainment will become too risky. The only way this will be avoided will be via Stalinist enforcement of copyright law. There will be some of that, but it won't last. My prognosis - 10 years, and the beast is dead.

The Disarming Mr. Carter

Jimmy Carter, our most annoying former president, blames the US for being the "major culprit in this erosion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty." Maybe Carter has a point - maybe our nuclear arms policies are counterproductive - I don't really know. But his record as president alone (he signed the doomed/accomodationist SALT II treaty), never mind his peace-nik internationalism of the past 25 years, doesn't give him a lot of influence over US policy - and then he just loves to talk to foreign audiences in ways that make us sound like the bad guys.