Your Lying Eyes

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

E-mail Me

Twitter: yourlyingeyes

29 April 2006

Immigration Enforcement Works - Even When It's a Hoax

The New York Times reports that immigrant communities were seized in a paralysis of fear as rumors of immigration enforcement measures terrorized these defenseless residents. And if you think the previous sentence was a tad overwrought, you should read the article.
Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami, is still looking into rumors. "The community is paralyzed," she said. "I haven't seen this kind of fear in the immigrant community ever. Immigrants are afraid of going to work, of taking their kids to school, of leaving the home. People are not going to important medical appointments. There are pregnant women canceling their prenatal care appointments because they feel immigration will be waiting for them there." Some immigrant advocates see an eerie reversal of the groundswell that emboldened tens of thousands to take to the streets in protest last month, and a frightening glimpse of the future if Congress enacts pending measures that would require the local police to enforce federal immigration law and add criminal penalties to what are now civil violations. [emphasis helpfully added to point out the reporter's own use of loaded terms]
The only reason "massive deportation of the people here is not going to work" (to quote the President) will be that people won't be able to stand hearing about pregnant women missing doctor appointments and kids being torn out of their Head Start classes - not from being genuinely touched by them, but just not being able to stand hearing the nonsense over and over and over again. The Times did at least give the last (if only) word to an immigration opponent who pointed out that this is good news.
Supporters of the measures say that illegal immigrants should feel fearful. "People should feel uncomfortable about breaking the law," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation of American Immigration Reform, which advocates sharp restrictions on immigration. "If we have a policy that is demonstrated to be consistent, many people will get the message and decide that remaining here in the United States illegally isn't worth the price that they have to pay."
Now, if only ICE would follow this up with some real raids - particularly some random ones, we might actually make some real progress.

28 April 2006

California Senate Favors May Day Boycott

By a 24-13 vote that split along party lines, the Senate approved a resolution that calls the one-day protest the Great American Boycott 2006 and describes it as an attempt to educate Americans "about the tremendous contribution immigrants make on a daily basis to our society and economy."

If Republicans can't capitalize on this then they should de-certify themselves as a 'political' party and close-up shop. But early signs are not encouraging.
Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, said lawmakers should not encourage lawbreakers even if they disagreed with the law. "It is irresponsible for this body to advocate that students leave school for any reason," Cox said.
Attaway to rally the troops, there, Dave!

27 April 2006

Iran Continues to be Defiant

And I continue to be confused by this whole situation. Should Iran start buiding nuclear weapons, that would surely be bad news. It would be bad news if any country were to start making the bomb, never mind Iran. This concern should be shared by all countries. But by all logic the closer a country is to Iran the more it should concern them. So why are the U.S., Britain, and the E.U. far more concerned than China and Russia? I can't for the life of me come up with a single reason why these two countries would not object to Iran's being able to build nukes. So the only reasonable conclusion I can draw from this is that they don't actually think Iran is close to going nuclear.

This doesn't mean that Iran is not trying to build nuclear weapons, but it does suggest they're not real close. So why are the U.S. and Europe so aggressively going after Iran's nuclear program? Since Iran can't actually attack any of these countries, I have to assume the concern is regional de-stabilization. Since the U.S. and Europe have far greater influence in the Mid-East than Russia or China, then it makes sense that the implications of Iran having a nuclear program would be a greater concern. This applies to an experimental program even years away from fruition - it's still destabilizing since it alters the balance of power in the region.

China and Russia, though, would find such destabilization attractive, since the West's dominance in the region would be weakened. But they would not want actual war to break out, and so would prefer to see Iran's nuclear program continue to grow peacefully while objecting to any measures that would increase tensions, such as sanctions.

Based on this 'reasoning' (I'm making this up as I go along), it does make sense for us to pursue our current strategy. It might even make sense for us to hint at military options. The goal is to get Russia and China to join us in working to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions. They don't want the U.S. to become more influential in the region or to expand its presence there, so our threats might have some effect. The effect of the Iraq war could cut both ways here - it makes us weaker to respond and thus the threat less credible. On the other hand, the fact that we have acted twice on our threats recently - Afghanistan and Iraq - should make China and Russia think twice.

Does any of this make any sense?

25 April 2006

Copyright or Right to Copy

A day after Kaavya Viswanathan admitted copying parts of her chick-lit novel, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life," from another writer's works, the publisher of the two books she borrowed from called her apology "troubling and disingenuous."

The work in question is published by Little Brown. So while the "intellectual property" lobby is determined to throw violators into jail, they themselves can't even avoid rather blatant theft to exploit a hot market. And, again, this is an example of the benefits society is supposed to gain from granting broad copyright protections - plagiarized tripe?

An Astounding Perspective on the Duke Rape

While I'm willing to cut African-Americans some slack in their commentary on this, this column in Time takes is so absurd I would suggest that Time's editors are racist (if I were one to use such a term) for their patronizing decision to print it. This is how the author sees the larger issue surrounding the case:
The fiasco at Duke reminds us of the vulnerability of black women, of most minority women in America who have never been protected from sex crimes by (white) men — at least not in the way that white women were historically "protected" from black men.
Well, no, if she means "historically protected" in the sense that a white man hitting on a black woman would be hung from the highest tree, then it's true they don't have that kind of protection. But white-on-black rape is so rare, one might think that they very well might. See this quote on interracial crime from back in September last year:
Every year there are about 15,000 black-on-white rapes but fewer than 900 white-on-black rapes. There are more than 3,000 gang rapes of whites by blacks—but white-on-black gang rapes are so rare they do not even show up in the statistics.
The author finishes solemnly:
Women of color in this country — and, to an extent, women in general — still teeter on that fine line between being seen as exotic objects of desire and, well, objects.
Unbelievable - "to an extent, women in general..." With 15,000 black-on-white rapes each year, I'd say to quite an extent. Women of color clearly do have plenty to fear - from men of color. The editors of Time should be ashamed of themselves allowing such stupidity into their journal. But then again, I have to admit, the Wall Street Journal does print Fred Barnes, so there is precedent.

24 April 2006

Yet More Copyright Protection!?

Via Drudge, CNET reports that an expansion of the odious Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) will soon be making its way thru Congress. Apparently the current act is not intrusive enough. The new act would apparently subject just about every citizen of the United States to imprisonment of 10 years at some point in their life:"The new language says nobody may 'make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess' such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else.." Sounds pretty comprehensive, doesn't it? But that is, after all, the goal of the federal government - to be able to arrest any citizen at any time. This bill would go a long way to establishing that.

The bill is authored by the Bush Administration, and fits in well with their general disregard for personal liberty. But you won't see the liberal media jumping in to defend the rights of ordinary Americans against greedy corporate America - because of course in this case they are greedy corporate America. But they're real quick to object when the Bush Administration violates the civil rights of foreign terrorists in foreign countries - but wiretaps and property-forfeiture for Americans who download a few songs - go for it! Most vile of all, AG Gonzalez is quoted as saying this law is needed because profits from copyright violations are used "to fund terrorism activities." You don't get much lower than that.

How important is protecting intellectual property? Let's look at artists before strong copyright laws were enacted vs. today. Literature - Dickens vs. Annie Proulx? Music - Brahms vs. John Williams? Musical theatre - Verdi vs. Lloyd-Weber? Sure, artists and writers deserve fair compensation for their work and should receive a royalty on the commercial distribution of their work.

But this is not what this is about. This is about large corporations seeking to control the entertainment and information business. They do not foster great or even good artists. Is a system that produces Madonna as a mega-star really providing any useful service to culture? How is it that some guy in Seattle can start up a blog and immediately produce more worthy prose than can be found anywhere but among a handful of published writers? How do we explain Razib of GNXP? Where do you even begin to compare the idiots who write for the Times' op-ed page (that they have the nerve to charge on-line for) to what Steve Sailer produces for free? (To be fair, with all its faults, the Times otherwise remains a great paper. It's the exception.)

Nowadays you can walk into bars across the country and hear bands every bit as good as what you can pay $75 to see in auditoriums. The bands that do make it to major labels and you hear on the radio are lucky to last more than a few years. Long after their music has ceased being broadcast their labels jealously guard these "treasures" - not because these obscure songs have any intrinsic value - but because they can't set a precedent and allow any of their "property" to leave their hands.

It's all one big crock - and just to preserve the profits of these media conglomerates, we will throw away our liberty. It's bad enough the compromises to our freedom that we have allowed to fight terrorism - here, we're doing it for what - so Sony/Time-Warner/Fox/Microsoft/etc. can continue to serve us crap every day?

And props to Matt Drudge for publicizing it.

23 April 2006

Plight of Katrina Refugees Basically Hopeless

The New York Times has a lengthy article discussing the rather hopeless situation of Katrina refugees in even in their new homes. The article isn't billed this way - "Katrina's Tide Carries Many to Hopeful Shores" is the title, referring to the fact that Katrina refugees have mostly relocated to better locales than the one they left - but the article makes it pretty plain that merely transplanting people into a (relatively) prosperous setting isn't going to make them successful.

The article chronicles the travails of the Marcells, a family who closed on a home in NOLA just two days before Katrina struck. They moved to DeKalb County, Georgia, a mecca for black professionals. While the family's unsinkable outlook is inspiring, there's little reason to see much hope in their quest for the American dream. Spending their unemployment, aid money, and finally their savings on wide-screen tv's, SUV's and demo sessions for their son's rap ambitions, both parents have not succeeded in finding work and despite the flourishing economy around them, prospects are dim. The father spends most of his time trying to build a show-biz career for his son - who's 10!

Most interesting is how little spinning the authors do - the reporting is non-judgemental towards the refugees and matter-of-fact about their plight.
Some Katrina families may be too traumatized to benefit from the moves. Others may drift back to poor areas when government aid decreases. Even if they stay, the new neighborhoods may make little difference. Other forces — like family structure, cultural heritage and personal motivation — may do more to shape success.
While significant improvement in the financial lives of the refugees who moved to better locales seems unlikely, perhaps there will be other benefits such as less involvement in crime and drugs. Along those lines, the article is also significant in referencing Barbara Bush's now infamous post-Katrina comment in a somewhat postitive light.

20 April 2006

Bush Apologizes for Heckler's Outburst

President Bush apologized to Chinese President Hu after a woman heckled Hu during a White House press conference. Below is the text of the President's statement.
Dear President Hu,

Words cannot describe the deep regret I feel at the shameful events at the White House today. Please be assured that this unfortunate outburst in no way represents the way our government normally operates. While the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, we in no way condone - nor tolerate - such public displays of dissent. Most Americans understand that such contrary opinions should be kept to the privacy of one's home or to outlets where public officials are unlikely to encounter them such as blogs.

Members of my staff understand how critical it is that average Americans not be allowed to express themselves in my presence, and that I am not confronted with criticism except by members of the opposition party whom I can safely ignore and my supporters publicly humiliate. I can only marvel at your own successes in protecting your people from the harmful effects of unbridled access to the internet, paticularly in your enlisting the assistance of American corporations in punishing offenders. Our own efforts in this area have been less successful, perhaps next time we can exchange notes - our NSA guys have some terrific stuff they call 'data mining' you might enjoy hearing about.

Until then, please accept my abject apologies.

Yours truly, G.W.B.

An Immigration Warning - From the Boston Globe?!

A Lesson in Immigration: Guest worker experiments transformed Europe. That's the headline of the article, and that's pretty much what it's about. The article chronicles how in 1961 Germany recruited a few thousand Turks to do jobs that Germans wouldn't do (though they don't mention that millions of German men were sort of 'disappeared' about 17 years earlier, which might help explain the worker shortage) and that led to the mess they have now. The basic problem, of course, is that guest workers just don't leave.
Europe's guest worker programs were mostly scrapped during the recessions of the 1970s, but in a pattern reflecting the Hispanic flow into the United States, the movement of Muslims to Europe only accelerated. Those early guest workers routinely overstayed their one- or two-year permits, or lived from extension to extension, but faced scant risk of deportation unless they committed serious crimes.
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop - you know, where they try to argue that America's more open-borders approach is so much better than Europe's more closed-society approach, but it never came. Sure, there was this stupid comment:
Birth rates in some European countries are plunging dramatically. Immigrants earning wages and paying taxes appear to represent the best chance the continent has of keeping its place in the world's economic front ranks.
but that was followed by this in the very next sentence:
Many of the original guest workers are now retired, enjoying the comfortable pensions that are the pride of Europe. But their children and their grandchildren are trapped between two worlds, too 'Europeanized' ever to return to the Middle East or North Africa, but lacking the language skills and education to forge ahead in their new countries.
Ya - they're going to keep Europe in the world's economic front ranks. One interesting point is that Germany is now turning to Polish and Lithuanian workers rather than Turks and Arabs - in other words, fellow Europeans. One thing we definitely are smarter about here is not providing welfare benefits to immigrants. But otherwise, the Europeans seem to be a lot wiser about - or at least have awakened to - the long-term demographic consequences of immigration. So this is quite surprising coming from the Boston Globe - will anybody up there be persuaded?

18 April 2006

Deportations Can - And Do - Happen

A "Fugitive Operations Team" formed late last year has removed hundreds of illegal aliens across the state — and could explain why area farmers and their immigrant employees have recently felt more scrutiny from immigration officials.
That from the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. The article is mostly sympathetic to the farmers affected by the crackdown, but is a reasonably thorough report on the problem.

The 'Team' seems to be trying to do its job up there in Rochester, which is a long way from Mexico, but where there are apparently some 8,000 illegal aliens.
The new team, made up of seven agents in the Buffalo office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, tracks down illegal immigrants who have previously been ordered to leave the country, and also may arrest those who have not yet been caught. So far, the team has removed more than 300 illegal immigrants from its territory, which includes all of New York north of Westchester County. All are detained, and most are deported soon thereafter, according to ICE.
Three hundred doesn't sound like a lot, but that's with only 7 agents. Still, it's enough to have everyone nervous. "They're scared," said Sandra Rojas, a Brockport-area pastoral minister. "They're worried they can be separated from their families, and second, (that) they cannot come back to this country anymore to get a job."

The article also describes the ineffectiveness of current employer sanctions.
Several farmers said they try to ensure they're hiring legal workers by having them fill out the proper W-4 and I-9 forms, and by studying workers' documents. But they said they don't have the tools to determine whether the papers they're presented are fake, and they face penalties if they guess wrong and deny a job to someone who is here legitimately.
Well there's an obvious problem - employers face fines if they deny a job to a legal immigrant without proper ID, but not if they give a job to an illegal immigrant.

Still, the ICE guys sure seem to be doing their jobs. "On at least one occasion, several community members said, officials surprised a group of as many as 16 immigrants in the parking lot of a Brockport-area grocery store. They have reportedly also appeared during traffic violation stops, presumably after being called by police, community members said." ICE officials denied this, but their activities are at least thorough enough to arouse the typical hysterical reactions:
Several people also described officials rounding up workers as they loaded their children onto a school bus. "It has a horrendous impact on children who see their parents taken away by people who have identified themselves as police. It's very traumatic. (They say things like) 'The police took my daddy. I don't know where my daddy is. I'll never see him again.' That kind of thing."
Whether this is really true or not is hardly relevant - this same melodrama could just as well play out for a fugitive felon - but it shows how dishonest the whole "guest worker" concept is. Are 'guest workers' going to suddenly avoid families - what about when the guest worker's visa runs out - could we really be so cruel as to tear away his crying chilren clinging to their daddy as men in uniforms brisk him off? Could the integrity and stability of our nation really be that important?

14 April 2006

Of Two Gospels

You've all heard about the recently uncovered "Gospel of Judas"? It's been getting some silly press, as if it represents something significant beyond its value as a curiousity of antiquity. The New Yorker has a good piece on it by Adam Gopnik titled Jesus Laughed. (See also Ross Douthat's comments). "It certainly makes for odd bedside reading," says Gopnik:
One of the unnerving things about the new Gospel is that Jesus, who never laughs in the canonic Gospels, is constantly laughing in this one, and it’s obviously one of those sardonic, significant, how-little-you-know laughs, like the laugh of the ruler of a dubious planet on “Star Trek.”
No, there's not a lot of laughter in the four Gospels - but there is some light moments - if not outright humor - to be found, particularly in the 4th Gospel. There, Jesus - and the author of John - display a dry sense of humor that sounds rather - well, Jewish.

Towards the end of John 1, when Jesus is gathering his first disciples, Philip tells Nathanael about the new Messiah, who hails from Nazareth. Nathanael replies incredulously: "Could anything good come from Nazareth?" Jesus then gets to have a bit of fun with Nathanael, tweaking him just a bit, in a little playful payback.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these."
In his exchange with Nicodemus early in John 3, amidst some of the most influential lines of prose in all of human history, Jesus' frustration with the faithful though muleheaded Pharisee takes a sarcastic twist: Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

The theologically critical encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4 is leavened by the repartee between this gentle Jew and the rough hewn Samaritan as Jesus tries to explain his divine nature using the metaphor of a single drink of water that woud quench her thirst forever. Though separated from this encounter by two thousand years and three languages, we sense her gritty, unsophisticated ways while detecting the good-natured soul within. Then, after finally succeeding in getting through to her that he's not talking about literal thirst but spiritual thirst, his disciples arrive and prove themselves no wiser. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?" You half expect his response to be 'Doh!'

In John, the assaults on the legalism of the day verge on satire. In John 5, Jesus heals a man paralyzed for 38 years, telling him "Stand up, take your mat, and walk." The man is immediately accused of breaking the sabbath by carrying his mat! In John 9, when he cures a man born blind by making some mud and rubbing it on his eyes, he's accused of breaking the sabbath by working with clay.

Then this episode soon turns almost Capraesque as the healed man is brought before the Pharisees and this simple man makes fools of the supposed wise men, deflecting their conniving questions with some straight talk. They said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."

Jesus's confrontation with Pilate may not be light-hearted but it is tense and mesmerizing. We sense immediately the foreignness of Pilate - he clearly does not belong to the world we've been reading about up to now. He sounds different from Jesus or the disciples or Caiaphas or anyone else. His words are bold, direct, unadorned - he sounds intelligent yet cautious - exactly how we expect a Roman official to sound. Despite his power, he is clearly no match for the machinations going on around him, and the last minute reprieve is not to be.

So your Good Friday assignment - read the Gospel of John, whatever your faith, whether heathen, apostate, or agnostic. It's a quick and rewarding read, one that will re-affirm or perhaps establish your faith - if not in Jesus, then certainly in the sound literary judgement of the early church fathers who compiled the New Testament.

12 April 2006

How Would You Like Your Giuliani - Fried or Roasted

Unlike the Kennedy-esque accolades heaped on Hillary's recent economic blatherings, the advance on Giuliani's presidential bid will likely take a more cynical turn. First out of the box is a new documentary called "Giuliani Time", given a decent review here in the Times.

The filmmakers obviously hope to derail Giuliani's candidacy by presenting the real Giuliani, not the hero of 9/11. But as lefists, they are sure to fail to have much of an impact beyond their own fellow-travelers.

Not that Giuliani is beyond reproach - quite the contrary. I see in Rudy similar character flaws as we see in Bush. Though much more intelligent, articulate, and educated than Bush, Giuliani has that disturbing need to promote loyalty above all else. We should remember that Bush's disgraceful DHS nominee, Bernard Kerik, was a Giuliani creation. To recap, Giuliani had one of the best men around, William Bratton, as police commissioner, but they couldn't get along.

He clearly can't handle woking with talented people who might outshine him. (To be fair to Bush, this is not a trait he has - he seems perfectly comfortable surrounding himself with high profile people - but that's probably more a function of his laziness than any fundamental inner strength - and it hasn't really done him a lot of good, has it.) But like Bush, he also reveled in a kind of cult of personality. It's all about Rudy - when he was mayor, I always got the impression that if he couldn't get credit (or blame, which is the same thing) for something, it didn't interest him. It's not clear he holds any principles or philosophy above his own need for Rudy-worship.

But the film's focus seems elsewhere. According to the review, "throughout the film, the Giuliani administration is rendered as a heartless and heavy-handed police state that mistreated minorities, the poor and sick, artists, people on welfare and victims of crime." In other words, he withheld patronage from minority leaders, he forced the homeless off the streets, he closed money-losing hospitals, refused to waste tax dollars on talentless "artists," he enforced welfare rules, and had the police focus on arresting street criminals. My guess is this movie is not going to be mobilizing any dump-Giuliani movements real soon.

Hillary Delivers Major Economic Address

Boy, it's hard to see how Hillary can ever make it to the White House with brutal press coverage like this.

09 April 2006

Iran: Why We Can't Wait

Please read the Seymour Hersh article in the New Yorker about the plans underway for attacking Iran - including the use of bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons. I'm always of the opinion that having a set of war plans at the ready is prudent for dealing with any international situation that could require more than just diplomacy. And I think enforcing non-proliferation is just a situation. Should it be found that Iran is actually building nuclear weapons, and concerted diplomatic efforts on the part of the international community have failed to stop them, the U.S. should be prepared, pursuant to a United Nations mandate, to stop them with military force. Such an action would send a clear signal to other countries as well. No country would want to risk spending billions on something that's going to be destroyed anyway. But use of nuclear weapons for such a task would never get international approval (particularly from Iran's neighbors, Russia and China) and so such plans would be rather last-resort, one would think.

But of course Iran is years away from having nuclear weapons anyway - they have yet to solve significant technical hurdles and may never solve them for all we know. And even if diplomacy fails to succeed there are other alternatives to employ as they get close such as industrial sabotage. Reliable intelligence is an issue, but are we trying hard enough? Would it be so hard to get some of their scientists to defect - hand them a couple million bucks and set them up in a secure villa somewhere with 72 real virgins (maybe that's a Sunni thing not a Shiite thing - but you get the idea). Of course we'd have to make sure they're telling us what's really going on, not what someone wants to hear.

So why the hurry - why is the Bush Administration so keen on bringing this to a head now? Hersh seems to have found the answer:
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
So there you have it. It seems the pressure placed on this president is unprecedented - he not only has to worry about irresponsible governments in foreign countries, he must also worry about irresponsible future governments in our own country. One would think that just trying to solve existing problems - massive trade and budget deficits, unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, a disappering manufacturing base, potential terror strikes - would be enough work. You'd think with all that the threat posed by a relatively weak foreign country half-way across the world would be a really low priority. You'd think our involvement in this crisis would be somewhat reluctant - that we'd need to be goaded into participation by nations right next door or much nearer to this troublesome country. Yet the opposite is true - we who have absolutely nothing to fear from a nuclear Iran are the most determined to stop it now while those with the most to fear are willing to play along for awhile. That's the way it works, apparently, when there's a 'legacy' at stake.

07 April 2006

Other Than That, No Problem

Mickey Kaus has been doing yeoman's work on the immigration front, digging out immigration proponents' arguments and frying them for breakfast. Today he goes after a Latino author/blogger's "16-point Open Letter..." (cutely titled "How Stupid are the US Media?!?!") and makes the important point that Mexican immigrants are particularly scary because they believe they have a rightful claim on 2/3 of the U.S. landmass. In making this point he bypasses a real howler in her point 13:
Tell us in concrete terms what the risks and dangers are being brought to the US by "illegal" immigrants. Now tell us how these problems, if any, differ from the problems caused by U.S. citizens of all other backgrounds. Be precise. Control for economics and educational background. Can't find any? Thought so.
Do you see that? - "control for economics and educational background." Well that's just the point - hispanics have terrible economic and educational numbers - and they don't improve over generations. So "controlling" for these factors is rather silly - that's like comparing two cars and saying that contolling for horsepower, they're the same speed.

Maybe if we stop immigration dead in its tracks, American Latinos will have a chance to assimilate and join the mainstream as have other waves of immigrants from the past. But there are two huge differences now from then. 1) Our society insisted on assimilation. Immigrants publicly debased themselves before the public, pledging how they wanted nothing more than to shed the foreign aura of their birthplace and become a full-fledged American. Today, of course, pandering to immigrants is de rigeur, including the spectacularly stupid policy of bilinguilism. And, perhaps even more important, 2) previous waves came from Europe. We now know that Europeans, on average, are more intelligent - and thus better able to succeed in a modern, market economy - than native North American peoples. Of course, this can't be said on TV or in newspapers, but I think most people understand this. This is why Chinese immigrants do so well even though they're not usually the cream of the crop who arrive her - they are on average actually smarter than Europeans. We can expect Latinos who are of European (Spanish) descent to succeed here - but for others, it's not so likely.

We shouldn't get too teary-eyed over past immigrants, of course. While Italian-Americans are very successful, a large element - particularly that from Sicily - was very destructive, bringing along a murderous crime culture that corrupted American society at the highest levels. Irish immigrants, while generally law-abiding, took several decades before their income and educational began to rise in the late 60's. A culture of patronage (and rampant alcoholism) probably contributed to this delay. Daniel Patrick Moynihan fretted about this mightily in his 1962's "Beyon the Melting Pot." It's not hard to imagine that if the Irish immigration waves were shifted forward only a few decades, the welfare society that erupted in the 60's could have doomed even the Irish (think Belfast).

In the case of Italian immigrants, our country would be alot better off and saved itself a great deal of pain had it had a more selective immigration policy that would have weeded out those with criminal backgrounds or coming from mafia-infested areas. As for the Irish, even the non-institutionalized patronage system almost doomed them. Today, we have no control over our borders, institutionalized welfare and patronage, and a massive surge of immigrants from an ethnic group without any history - here or in their home country - of economic success. Doesn't sound very promising, does it?

06 April 2006

The Duke Rape: Some Sense in the Media?

Finally, a sensible article on the "Duke rape" scandal, from Dick Meyer at He even refers to the eerie parallel with Tom Wolfe's novel I Am Charlotte Simmons mentioned by Steve Sailer a few days ago. Meanwhile, the big news is the e-mail sent out by one of the LAX players (I've learned that LAX is the cool way to refer to lacrosse).

In what is an obviously clumsy attempt at satire, the player outlines his plans for the night after the night in question:
tommrow night, after tonights show ive decided to have some strippers over to edens2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity I plan on killing the bitches as the walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex.
The e-mail seems to suggest that things didn't quite go as planned at the big bash at the off-campus site, and some bitterness suggesting that the big bash was in fact rather a disappointment - particularly with the girls. There are all kinds of scenarios one could conjure up to explain what might have happened - we'll find out eventually.

Anyway, it should be noted that young Master McFadyen is 6'6", 225 pounds, and hails from Mendham, a rather well-to-do town in Northern New Jersey with a median family income of well over $100k. He graduated from Delbarton, a very expensive Catholic high school. Look at this guy - what the hell kind of scary rich people are we breeding nowadays?

05 April 2006

The Duke Rape: Men Are Bad; the Rich Are Bad; Lacrosse is Bad

Should the case of the stripper getting raped by members of Duke's Lacrosse team turn out to be without merit, then what are we supposed to do with all the material that has been written explaining why it happened? Some of it is destined to be forgotten, anyway, such as this comically semi-literate letter from a professor of English(!) at Duke. My favorite line: "Two weeks of silent protectionism left all of us vulnerably ignorant of the facts" - I had no idea Duke's administration were closet Buchannanites! - but you should read it and come up with your own favorites!

One of the more common themes is "Duke Rape Case Plays Easily to Stereotypes" which I find confusing because it wouldn't be such a big story if it was so stereotypical. But I guess the article contends that the peripheral issues - white privilege, black underclass - do fit stereotypes. But it seems more likely that this angle is little more than a clever way to write about a crime without having to seriously consider whether or not it actually occurred.

Now that the white/black and rich/poor and men/women angles have been pretty well played out, collegiate sports and even lacrosse itself are under suspicion, as this ABC article contends.
Critics of sports culture, such as Harvard Sociology Professor Jason Kaufman, believe [the team's] silence is emblematic of the culture of team sports, particularly at the college level. "Any sporting activity is an intense bonding experience. There is a whole social culture that is associated with the team, often based on gender," said Kaufman. "Male solidarity can be very productive on the sports field and very anti-social in campus life."
Yeah, or maybe the guys are simply not guilty - hard to tell at this point, but we wouldn't want that to get in the way of some probing analysis!

It is certainly believable that some drunk, rowdy guys raped a reluctant stripper in a bathroom in an off-campus house. But there are some red-flags in this case that I would think should keep the media from jumping to lustily into this feeding frenzy. The theft charge, for one - if you've forced a 'sex-worker' to provide services, would you really then steal from her - or even refuse to compensate her? Wouldn't even a 'privileged' lacrosse player think that might be a little reckless? Also, the defense seems really confident about the DNA tests - even granting that the rapists might have worn condoms, other trace DNA evidence seems likely - pubic hairs, or skin under those torn fingernails. And if they wore condoms, then there wouldn't be any semen to test, no? And then the whole sequence with the 9-1-1 phone call where a woman complained about racial epithets being spewed from the house seems awfully phony. Again, I'm not claiming they're innocent, but I'd think there's enough doubt here to at least chasten the press a little - yeah, I know, what world am I living in!

But what really ticks me off is when commentators characterize the team's silence as cowardly or as part of a tribe mentality. I heard one Fox News commentator railing about what kind of upbringing these boys had that they are not coming forward. Sorry - police and prosecutors are not to be trusted anymore. As a parent, it is your duty to impress upon your children that they should never talk to investigators without asking for a lawyer. Even 12 year old children are not protected against the ambitions of detectives and prosecutors. Never, ever, talk to an investigator without a lawyer present.

03 April 2006

It's Not The Farmers, Stupid

Few things annoy me more than when people state, as to why we have daylight savings, that "it's because of the farmers." No, dummy, farmers hate daylight savings - here's a quick article with some background. Here's an example of a self-confessed dummy - no big surprise there.