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From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Berkeley killing renews debate over gender pronouns
Paul Elias, Associated Press Updated 11:17 am, Sunday, March 26, 2017

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Pablo Gomez Jr. was a University of California, Berkeley, senior majoring in Latino studies and a prominent campus activist when authorities say he stabbed to death a popular elementary-school teacher.

Soon, the crime that police described as “very brutal and unusual” in a city that reported just two homicides last year was sucked up into the debate over gender identity when it was reported that Gomez preferred to be called “they” rather than “he.”

Even in famously liberal Berkeley, with its long history of protest, the uproar came as a surprise, overwhelming the online news site,, that first reported on Gomez’s preference.
“I didn’t see it as something that would anger anyone,” reporter Emilie Raguso said. …

Hours earlier on Jan. 6, police found Kiana Schmitt, 24, seriously injured outside an apartment just north of campus. Police have declined to say how Schmitt was connected to Gomez.

They were, at minimum, colleagues / rivals in the ultra-competitive Social Justice Jihadi racket.

Gomez was arrested Jan. 7 at a Burbank hospital near the Southern California home of Gomez’s parents.

In other words, Gomez, wanted for murdering one woman and almost murdering another, as well as two more felonies, was a fugitive desperado on the run while the Great Pronoun Debate was underway. Here’s Berkeleyside’s January 6th article that attracted some bemused attention in the dissident media and is now finally spreading to the MSM:

Police hunt for armed and dangerous Berkeley suspect after homicide, stabbing

January 6, 2017 11:46 pm

by Emilie Raguso

Police are looking for a person described as armed and dangerous who authorities say is responsible for Berkeley’s first homicide of 2017. …

Police have identified the wanted person as 24-year-old Pablo Gomez Jr. of North Hollywood. According to Gomez Jr.’s Facebook page, they are a UC Berkeley student who lives in Berkeley. [A friend contacted Berkeleyside after publication to say that Gomez Jr. uses the pronoun “they.” This story has been updated.]

So may I make a non-satirical proposal for a journalist principle: Armed and dangerous fugitives from the law should be identified by whatever pronouns make their identification and arrest most likely.

In contrast, calling the desperado “they” just confuses readers as to whom they should be on the lookout for: Are they in danger from a man or a woman?

Perhaps, we can indulge in the luxury of these postmodern academic debates about gender theory once the alleged murdered is safely locked up. But until then, the media should avoid obfuscating the lethal fugitive’s identity. For example, Berkeleyside could have reported the hilarious pronoun detail, while adding something to clear up reader confusion, such as: “While Pablo Gomez tells people to refer to him as “they,” he is actually male.”


Somebody took me up on my January 23rd suggestion:

I’ve been reading up some more on the career of “They,” the Berkeley Latinx / Chicanx Studies major and campus activist currently in the pokey on charges of murdering one woman, attempting to murder another, and home invading a third.

It seems like a story that a Berkeley journalist like Michael Lewis could use to illustrate How We Live Now.

From Buzzfeed, an article by Jessica Testa about the media coverage of the arrest of Pablo “They” Gomez for (allegedly) murdering that poor hippie chick folksinger in Berkeley.

(I usually give the title of articles, but I worry that if I look at the flashing graphic on Buzzfeed that contains the headline for more than 1.5 seconds I will go into epileptic shock, and then the FBI will have to arrest Buzzfeed. So I don’t know exactly what the title is.)

The Unz Review’s Steve Sailer later raised similar questions about Gomez’s motive (with a dramatic emphasis on pronouns). “How much evidence is there that They’s stabby outburst consisted of hate crimes?” Sailer wrote. “Was They motivated by hatred of whites, the female sex, heterosexuals, or what?” …

Good questions, if I say so myself.

But the partisan drama of both the Yiannopoulos riot and the Gomez case has overshadowed a more subtle truth: … Berkeley was not immune to tensions created by the rise of white nationalism, or to battles over political correctness.

Emilie Raguso [a reporter at Berkeleyside] saw that firsthand. As she continued following the case … she moderated and responded to dozens upon dozens of reader comments. The general idea behind most comments, as laid out by username “xlrq”: “Who the hell cares what pronoun he/she/it prefers to be called by? I’ll bet his victims would have preferred not to be stabbed.” …

“We’re in Berkeley, so I was not used to seeing all of the anger around these issues. It just took me aback. This is really where we are?” she said. Raguso thought the pronoun change was uncontroversial, and that Gomez should be identified by the right pronoun, no matter the allegations.

These long days of moderating — and participating in — a gender pronoun debate left Raguso struggling to recognize the community she covered. …

“I was really surprised — this is the Berkeley community,” she said, again emphasizing the name historically synonymous with young progressive radicals who love free speech and open debate. “There was a lot of anger on both sides about how Pablo should be referred to.”

… there’s another reason people aren’t speaking out on Gomez’s behalf.

In addition to identifying as nonbinary (neither male nor female), Gomez identifies as pansexual, or pan — a sexuality similar to bisexuality, except that the attraction is to all gender identities, not limited to male or female. Drawing attention to Gomez’s case could reinforce harmful stereotypes about queer people, who, for decades, have been cast in the media as dangerous or depraved.

The organization GLAAD tracks these media portrayals of queer people, to show how often bisexual and transgender people in particular end up being depicted as killers, villainous sociopaths, or sexual deviants. According to GLAAD, the television industry has greatly improved in writing LGBT characters; film has taken longer. But portrayals in the news media rarely catch GLAAD’s attention anymore, the media watchdogs said. Most traditional journalists are familiar with the recommended practices.

If the pronoun issue had never come up, would the far-right have latched on?

Fred Fejes, a journalism professor at Florida Atlantic University who has studied gay and lesbian media portrayals, said it’s no longer acceptable for reporters to treat “sexuality as an aberration,” …

After the days-long pronoun crisis, Raguso said she wondered whether she could or should have handled it all differently. Fred Fejes maintained that unless Gomez’s gender identity “was an important element in the story, unless it figured in somehow to what was going on, it shouldn’t have been mentioned.”

GLAAD’s Nick Adams, director of programs for transgender media, said while he agrees that reporters should not “bring up the fact that [people] are LGBTQ unless it is relevant to the case at hand,” he said in a case like Gomez’s, “you don’t really have much choice to bring their gender identity into it …”

But both Fejes and Adams acknowledged this is an uncommon case in uncharted territory. This central question — how to respect a pronoun identity without drawing undue attention to it — hasn’t really come up before. And so Raguso’s question remains: If the pronoun issue had never come up, would the far-right have latched on? Was gender the one thing that tipped Gomez’s story over the precipice from local news to viral political content?

Not long after that tipping point, someone said to Raguso, “‘You’ve really done Pablo a disservice, because if you had just called Pablo ‘he,’ then it wouldn’t have gotten this national attention. Ann Coulter isn’t going to jump on the bandwagon and start firing up people up about it,’” she recalled.

“Well, I guess that is a point,” Raguso said. “Maybe I did do Pablo a disservice.”

Pronoun Crisis would be a good name for a K-pop band.

Read the whole thing there. Just avert your eyes until you can scroll down past the potentially lethal title graphic.

Is this article as serious as it tries to sound? Or is it a big put-on?


Reuters has been doing a good job covering testing recently, with lots of articles on topics like cheating on American college admissions tests in Asia. Here’s one bringing us almost up to date on long time iSteve subject David Coleman, who sold the Common Core idea of school curriculum to Bill Gates, then got hired by the College Board to revamp the SAT admissions test in its battle with the ACT.

Coleman strikes me as a bright guy (I suspect he made such a good impression on Gates because he’s simply smarter than most people in the Ed Biz). Politically, I suspect Coleman is the second coming of clever centrist Michael Kinsley, whom Gates hired to edit Slate in the mid 1990s. Coleman’s high school debate partner Hanna Rosin is married to Slate’s third editor, David Plotz.

One of Coleman’s innovations has been to cut down on the fiction passages on tests and replace them with Slate-like nonfiction.

On the other hand, should we really bet so much of education reform on one guy being right?

College Board faces rocky path after CEO pushes new vision for SAT
By Renee Dudley

Filed Dec. 12, 2016, 1:07 p.m. GMT

… [David] Coleman seemed aware of the challenges he faced. In 2012, the year he became College Board president, the ACT had just overtaken the SAT as the most popular college entrance exam in America.

His problem wasn’t just a matter of students preferring the ACT over the SAT. Some universities were turning against standardized testing itself. A growing number have made the tests optional for applicants.

One was Bennington College in Vermont, a liberal arts school that concluded test scores were an overrated indicator of future academic performance. Bennington chose to go “test optional” in 2006 – a decision made by Coleman’s own mother, Elizabeth, who served 25 years as the college’s president.

“Probably it’s a good idea not to talk about this stuff,” Elizabeth Coleman said when contacted by Reuters. “I’m his mother. One of the wise things for a mother to do is to stay out of it.”

A Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Yale, Oxford and Cambridge universities, David Coleman worked as a McKinsey & Co consultant. He went on to found an education technology company, which McGraw-Hill Education later acquired for millions of dollars, and started a nonprofit that developed the Common Core.

Coleman had established himself as one of the most dynamic voices in education. But he had never managed anything as sprawling as the College Board, which pays him nearly $900,000 a year in salary and benefits and has about a dozen separate offices.

“Going from an organization of approximately 22 people to one of 1,400 has been a little bit jarring,” Coleman said during a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution in November 2012, the month after he became College Board president.

“To them or to you?” the moderator asked.


Screenshot 2017-03-27 16.46.51

Maybe there are anti-gravity machines inside the invisible backpacks? White men are always culturally appropriating by inventing stuff, so maybe they stole the idea for an anti-gravity device?


From The Atlantic:

AP Classes Are a Scam

The College Board earns over half of all its revenues from the courses—and, in an uncertain environment, students keep being suckered.

by JOHN TIERNEY OCT 13, 2012 U.S.

By the way, I think this John Tierney of The Atlantic is a different person than the John Tierney of the New York Times, and that both are different from former Congressman John F. Tierney. (In short, there are a lot of Irishmen in American public life.)

Fraudulent schemes come in all shapes and sizes. To work, they typically wear a patina of respectability. That’s the case with Advanced Placement courses, one of the great frauds currently perpetrated on American high-school students.

That’s a pretty strong claim, right? You bet. But why not be straightforward when discussing a scam the scale and audacity of which would raise Bernie Madoff’s eyebrows?

The miscellany of AP courses offered in U.S. high schools under the imprimatur of the College Board probably started with good intentions.

This Tierney goes on to make a number of arguments against Advanced Placement courses and tests, some plausible, some less so. He doesn’t have a lot of data one way or another, unfortunately.

I looked into the statistics on AP testing results back in 2009 for a VDARE article and concluded that diminishing marginal returns due to expansion of the number of students taking the tests hadn’t yet become a severe problem. At that point, Blue State students were getting more benefit from AP, but not enough Red State students appeared to have discovered this way to earn expensive college credits as a high school student.

I think somebody might want to reproduce my 2009 methodology with 2017 statistics to see if AP has gotten too big since I last checked.

On the other hand, I’m more of a fan of AP tests than AP courses. For example, one of my sons took a US history course that followed the AP curriculum and the class was just a forced march through memorizing a lot of facts with no time for class discussions. After the test had been taken in early May, the class experience got a lot better.

My other son went to a very good high school that doesn’t offer AP-branded courses — on the grounds that their talented teachers are better at making up their own curriculums — while encouraging students to take the AP tests. This seems to have been the best of both worlds, although it was dependent on hiring very good teachers, having very good students, and having small class sizes with lots of discussion.

As Kingsley Amis said, there’s no end to the way nice things are nicer than nasty ones.

Here’s the graph I made up in 2009:

Screenshot 2017-03-27 16.06.45

So, third from the top, eight years ago, 4% of all high school seniors got a passing grade (3, 4, or 5) on the AP US History test, while 4% got a flunking grade and 92% didn’t take this AP test. And US History was the most widely taken AP test back then, with 8% of the cohort attempting it.

I did a bunch of analyses that suggested that that current 4% who got college credit for passing the test did not come close to comprising all of the students in the country with the potential for passing the test. There were a lot of smart kids in the other 92%, largely in the less Tiger Motherish Red States

But that was then. Perhaps Mr. Tierney’s accusation is right and now the AP tests are scraping the bottom of the barrel? Or perhaps not?

My impression when I looked into it a decade ago was that, on the whole, AP tests were a pretty good thing.

For example, I wanted colleges to weight AP scores more heavily in admissions on the grounds that if students are going to endlessly test prep for college admissions tests, they might as well test prep on something where they’d actually learn something in the process, such as US History or Physics or Statistics.

But good things tend to go sour over time, so I wouldn’t rule out this Tieney’s accusations just because they hadn’t gone through the formality of taking place yet in the previous decade.


From the New York Times editorial page:

The Movie ‘Get Out’ Is a Strong Antidote to the Myth of ‘Postracial’ America

Editorial Observer


The touchstone scene in the new horror film “Get Out” depicts a 20-something white woman named Rose appraising the sculpted torsos of black athletes on a laptop as she sits in her bedroom sipping milk through a straw. …

In this case, the director Jordan Peele wants the audience to see Rose as what she is: the 21st-century equivalent of the plantation owner who studies the teeth and muscles of the human beings he is about to buy at a slave market. Like her antebellum predecessors, Rose — who has recently delivered her black boyfriend into the hands of her monstrous family — is on the hunt for handsomest, buffest specimen she can find. …

The film is a disquisition on the continuing impact of slavery in American life. …

It would be wrong to reduce this film to an attack on white liberals who mouth racial platitudes. Mr. Peele sets out to debunk the myth of “postracialism” generally — by showing that the country is still gripped by historically conditioned preconceptions of race and blackness.


From the New York Times, a widely cited figure:

Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants

… Nearly 40 percent of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students, according to a survey of 250 college and universities, released this week by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

But at, commenter GoldenEra went and looked up the original, which reads:

Key findings of the survey include:

- 39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.

Which is different by an order of magnitude than the implication of headline. Instead of 40% of colleges, the net is 39% – 35% = 4%, which is an order of magnitude smaller.


I don’t pay much attention to Spy-vs.-Spy stuff because my strengths are not in abstract reasoning but in noticing what is in front of one’s nose, using multiple public sources of knowledge.

In contrast, the whole “wilderness of mirrors” area just makes me sleepy. How am I supposed to know the inside scoop?

But analogies can be helpful.

In The Baffler, an old staffer from The Exile writes about how a lot of current American media assumptions about “cyberwar” go back to the Georgia-South Ossetia-Russia war of 2008.

From Russia, with Panic
Cozy bears, unsourced hacks—and a Silicon Valley shakedown

Yasha Levine

As you’ll recall, the actual physical fighting was reported in four stages:

- Lowly wire service stringers reported that Georgia had attacked South Ossetia around midnight of the night of August 7-8th, 2008.

- American Big Foot pundits declared that, obviously, Russia had been the aggressor against Georgia.

- Careful studies long after the fighting stopped concluded that the lowly wire service stringers had been right and the Big Feet wrong.

- Everybody in American forgot the post-mortems and went back to assuming the Big Feet’s assumption.

And that was an actual war involving artillery and tanks.

How much less likely are we to have a clear picture of who did what to whom in cyberwar?


Over the past few days I read articles about three young star athletes in the news

- Christian Pulisic, an 18-year-old star of the US men’s national soccer team whom experts think might turn out to be the best American soccer player ever

- Christian McCaffrey, the highly productive Stanford running back, who is the subject of a lot of debate among NFL experts as the draft approaches

- Lonzo Ball, the UCLA freshman point guard

All three are not just the sons of men who played sports at the college level (McCaffrey’s dad Ed reached the Pro Bowl as an NFL receiver), but so did their moms.


From The Undefeated:


An Undefeated analysis shows that first-generation college students are starting to disappear from NCAA sports


… That players like Iverson and Waters – the first members of their families to go to college – are increasingly rare in college sports, even in the big-money, high-stakes sports of basketball and football. Indeed, most athletic scholarships are going to middle-class kids with college-educated parents, not to kids from poor families who need a scholarship to get anywhere close to a university campus.

Simply put, NCAA sports have been gentrified.


… But here’s the stark, myth-busting truth: Fewer than 1 in 5 students playing Division 1 hoops, and 1 in 7 in all Division 1 sports, come from families in which neither parent went to college. And their numbers are declining.

Educators call such students “first gens,” …

In 2010, the NCAA began asking college athletes whether they are first gens as part of its little-known GOALS Study, which captures the background and experience of those playing sports at all three levels of competition. In 2015, it did another survey of 21,000 athletes. …

Surprisingly, the data revealed that most Division 1 sports experienced steep drops in first gen students. The falloff was dramatic even in the sports most associated with tales of uplift: In men’s basketball, the sport that used to have the highest percentage of first gens, the number plummeted by a third in just five years. Women’s basketball experienced a similar drop. Football fell by more than 10 percent. …

In men’s basketball, 28% of Div I player’s were first generation college students in 2010 versus only 19% in 2015.

Indeed, the data suggests that athletes awarded scholarships in big-time college sports are more likely to come from advantaged backgrounds than the wider student body. …

Indeed, the data suggests that athletes awarded scholarships in big-time college sports are more likely to come from advantaged backgrounds than the wider student body.

… There were about 400 fewer first gens in Division 1 men’s hoops in 2015 than in 2010, and about 300 fewer in women’s hoops. That’s the equivalent of 50 teams, enough to fill much of each NCAA tournament bracket. Across all Division 1 sports, the first gen population is down by nearly 2,000 people. …

Coppin State University represents a beacon of hope amid the rundown rowhomes of West Baltimore, where the riots erupted in response to the death of Freddie Gray. …

Coppin State is a public Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

But Grant acknowledges that no more than one-quarter of his players are first gens.

“That’s because we’re picking kids from families with collegiate backgrounds,” he said. “We are more careful now about who we take. Our jobs are on the line. It’s all about winning and losing – and APR. More about the APR.”

That would be the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, a policy that some believe limits opportunities for educationally disadvantaged athletes. Since 2005, the NCAA has held institutions accountable for the academic progress of athletes by measuring the eligibility and retention of each athlete. Recruit one player who lacks ability or interest in classroom matters? That can hurt a program. But recruit a bunch, and draconian penalties await. Teams have been banned from the NCAA tournament for low scores, most notably the UConn men in 2013, two years after they won a national championship.

As a result, Grant said, he only recruits players with 2.5 GPAs or higher….

Just as wealth builds wealth, advantage builds advantage. Repeating sixth grade at the Greens Farms Academy while playing up with the high school team each of those years means that [Tremont] Waters is now in his eighth year of high school ball. You read that right: eight years of high school hoops. He’s finishing out at Notre Dame High School, back home in New Haven, where he can spend more time with his parents before heading to college.

So, this super-agile black kid from Baltimore started playing on his prep school’s high school basketball team as a sixth grader, but then he repeated sixth grade. So he played 7 seasons for the high school team: sixth, sixth, seventh, eighth, nineth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and new he’s going to another prep school for another twelveth grade. That’s how you get to eight years of playing high school basketball.

If he had landed at Georgetown like he originally planned, Waters would have joined a Hoya roster wholly unlike those that created a national profile for the program in the 1980s and ’90s. Long gone are the Hoya Destroyas, the hard-edged band of working-class kids that provided John Thompson Jr. with his first and only NCAA championship. Exemplifying the ethos of that team was Michael Graham, an elbow-throwing forward who grew up poor and hungry in Southeast Washington, D.C. He told me the only reason he went to school was to eat, and that he robbed people for dinner money.

Screenshot 2017-03-26 13.57.15I remember people at the office a third of a century ago talking about Graham’s dunk in a the 1984 NCAA final game.

He was scary. I remember people talking about him as the Future of College Basketball.

But then he got suspended by Georgetown, never made it to the NBA, and played a lot of minor league basketball in America and Europe.

“I never owned a pair of real shoes,” he said. “I wore cloth bedroom slippers, even in the snow.” He took up basketball in eighth grade mainly because, at 6-foot-7, he was the tallest kid in the school.

And then at age 50, doing shift work in Norman, OK, Graham happened to buy a lottery ticket that turned out to be worth a million dollars.

Iverson came along a decade later. He skipped nearly a third of his school days one year, got locked up for an overblown incident in a bowling alley, earned only a high school equivalency degree – and still got into Georgetown, enrolling after classes started, just in time for the ’94 season.

In his 2016 induction speech at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he said, tearfully, “I want to thank Coach Thompson … for saving my life, for giving me the opportunity.”

Today’s Georgetown roster, by contrast, is dominated by recruits from private schools. From a review of their online biographies, most have a college-educated parent who went on to be a professional – a couple of them even pro athletes. Alonzo Mourning’s son, Trey, suits up for Georgetown, as does Gheorghe Muresan’s son, George.

Since becoming Georgetown coach in 2004, Big John Thompson’s son, John Thompson III, has recruited other children of the jockocracy – not just Mourning and Muresan but the sons of Doc Rivers (Jeremiah), Reggie Williams (Riyan), and Patrick Ewing (Patrick Jr.), among others. In September, he offered a scholarship to Shaquille O’Neal’s kid, Shareef, a top 20 prospect in the class of 2018.

Still, the backgrounds of the players being pursued concern Graham, who argues the Hoyas would be better with more kids who grew up with less. While the Golden State Warriors have done just fine with the sons of NBA pros (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson), that’s not been the case at Georgetown. For the second straight year, the Hoyas had a losing record and missed the NCAA tournament.

“Don’t recruit the sons of NBA millionaires,” Graham said, chortling. “Why should Alonzo’s kid be there? Give the scholarship to a kid who wants it more.” …

Across Division 1 sports, first gens, regardless of race, are now less common than they are in DIII, an extraordinary development because in DIII there are no athletic scholarships – no aid to help pay for college. And while race often matters in shaping access to elite institutions in American life, the data suggests it’s less of a factor in NCAA sports than that of socioeconomic status. For instance, across all divisions, only 3 in 10 black athletes come from homes in which neither parent attended college.

Lots more interesting stuff in Farrey’s article

So we go through cycles of Nature and Nurture in basketball. Desegregation a half century ago boosted Nature by opening up a lot of poor black Southern talent. But over time, there are diminishing marginal returns, so now there is increased emphasis on Nurture, such as playing eight years of high school basketball, which in turn has selection effects, like can you spend 8 years at expensive prep schools without getting kicked out?


From the New York Times, an account of an HBD interface that I’ve mentioned before:

Nebraska May Stanch One Town’s Flow of Beer to Its Vulnerable Neighbors


WHITECLAY, Neb. — This town is a rural skid row, with only a dozen residents, a street strewn with debris, four ramshackle liquor stores and little else. It seems to exist only to sell beer to people like Tyrell Ringing Shield, a grandmother with silver streaks in her hair.

On a recent morning, she had hitched a ride from her home in South Dakota, just steps across the state line. There, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, alcohol is forbidden. In Whiteclay, though, it reigns supreme. …

Now many residents of Nebraska and South Dakota are pushing for the liquor stores of Whiteclay to be shut, disgusted by the easy access to alcohol the stores provide to a people who have fought addiction for generations.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian reservation is just about the most tragic place in America. The Native Americans have imposed Prohibition on themselves, but Whiteclay, Nebraska is a town that mostly exists to sell beer to Indian alcoholics.

Now I don’t know whether extending Prohibition to Whiteclay would be a good idea — some local law enforcement officials worry that it would mean that Sioux would drunk drive further for alcohol, endangering other motorists. But I want to point out that it is a good thing that we recognize that American Indians have a particular problem with alcohol.

The grim scene in Whiteclay has scarcely changed for decades. Particularly in the warmer months, Native Americans can be seen openly drinking beer in town, often passed out on the ground, disheveled and ill. Many who come to Whiteclay from the reservation spend the night sleeping on mattresses in vacant lots or fields. …

Pine Ridge, one of the nation’s largest Indian reservations, is a catalog of social ills: Unemployment exceeds 80 percent, poverty affects more than 90 percent of those living on the reservation and alcoholism is rampant. By some estimates, one quarter of children born on the reservation have fetal alcohol syndrome. …

State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, who has represented Lincoln since 2015, said that when she began trying to whip up support in the Legislature to take action in Whiteclay, she heard a common response: Don’t bother.

… She saw it differently. “We have people lying on the streets, and it would not be allowed in any other part of the state,” she said. “We are selling alcohol to a people who we have known for centuries are particularly vulnerable to alcoholism. We have been living off and getting tax receipts from their hopeless, vulnerable situation.” …

A more distant possibility is a buyout. Bruce and Marsha BonFleur, who run a ministry in Whiteclay, said they had been trying to raise money — at least $6 million — so that the store owners would sell and close down for good. The BonFleurs have held meetings with the owners, who Mr. BonFleur said were exhausted from the attention and open to the idea of selling.

This NYT article is noteworthy in that it doesn’t bother to argue that Indian alcoholism is a socially constructed myth. It doesn’t explain the plausible evolutionary hypothesis for why northern Indians are so vulnerable to alcohol — they didn’t have much besides a few berries they could possibly ferment until the white man came — but it doesn’t go out of its way to denounce it either.

Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom has been until very recently that it was racist to hypothesize that American Indians might be particularly vulnerable to alcohol. For example, from the Wikipedia page Alcohol and Native Americans:

Firewater myths

After colonial contact, white drunkenness was interpreted by whites as the misbehavior of an individual. Native drunkenness was interpreted in terms of the inferiority of a race.

What emerged was a set of beliefs known as firewater myths that misrepresented the history, nature, sources and potential solutions to Native alcohol problems. These myths proclaimed that Indian people:

had a natural craving for alcohol, were sensitive to alcohol, became belligerent when they were intoxicated, were susceptible to alcohol addiction, and could not resolve such problems on their own.

The scientific literature has refuted the claims to many of these myths by documenting the wide variability of alcohol problems across and within Native tribes and the very different response that certain individuals have to alcohol opposed to others.

Another important way that scientific literature has refuted these myths is by identifying that there are no current discovered genetic or other biological anomalies that render Native peoples particularly vulnerable to alcoholism.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much in the way of genetic studies of alcoholism so far. It’s particularly hard to study the genes of American Indians due to various legal restrictions. It’s easier to study Canadian and Mexican Indians.


From the Los Angeles Times:

Malibu becomes a sanctuary city — in solidarity with its gardeners, cooks and others in the U.S. illegally

Benjamin Oreskes

The discussion inside Malibu City Hall over whether to become a sanctuary city last week bore the usual hallmarks of the heated national debate over illegal immigration.

… The idea was inspired by one of the town’s many famous residents: actor Martin Sheen. In December, he grabbed the lectern during a City Council meeting and — as if conjuring his inner President Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” — urged the city to become a sanctuary city.

Like many sanctuary city resolutions, Malibu’s is largely symbolic. Backers said the move, which passed on a 3-2 council vote, is a chance for Malibu’s privileged to stand up for the city’s vulnerable population.

The city’s “population” that doesn’t actually live in the city, to be precise. The city of Malibu possesses 21 miles of oceanfront, but the population has never been allowed to reach 13,000.Screenshot 2017-03-25 21.25.40

Malibu has been world famous for about 60 years, but practically nobody lives there because the voters who currently live there like it that way. That’s because they are environmentally conscious and thus don’t want tacky commoners from Encino moving in. In contrast, you aren’t in favor of Open Borders for your country because you are a racist xenophobe, you hater, you.

Downtown Malibu consists of the city hall and a big vacant lot that Rob Reiner and Barbra Streisand won a referendum over in 2014 to keep somebody from opening a Whole Foods in it because people who live in Malibu have interns who can drive to the Calabasas Whole Foods for them. At the bottom of the screen is the Pacific Ocean and just above it is the Perenchio Golf Course. Jerry Perenchio isn’t Hispanic, but he used to own Univision, so he is still your moral superior.

Malibu is about 92% white and one of L.A. County’s wealthiest cities.

Everyone agrees the city has workers who are not authorized to be in the United States, and they tend to serve the food at upscale eateries, clean the beachside mansions, look after children and keep the landscaping looking lush. …

Only about 6% of Malibu is Latino, according to the 2010 census. …

Screenshot 2017-03-25 21.35.22But residents say a good chunk of the service workforce is Latino. … “Heck … we would be paralyzed and no one’s houses would be cleaned,” the former surf shop owner said.

On the other hand, the good people of Malibu aren’t going to let their illegal alien servant class make their unsightly homes in Malibu. Dealing with them and their families when they aren’t working is your job, you nativist hater you.

Juan Escobar 32, makes sure the Malibu Country Mart, a collection of upscale boutiques, stays in tip-top shape. … He commutes to Malibu from Compton.

It’s only 40.2 miles each way from Compton to Malibu. That’s 2 hours and 16 minutes by public transportation.


Commenter Thomas observes:

Again with Trump, on this issue as he has been on others, he’s Schrödinger’s politician: either a fool or a genius, depending on how you look at it and how the chips fall. Either he got buffaloed into this mess by Ryan, rather than getting out in front of it; or he was smart enough to let it fail on its own to basically let the Congressional GOP show itself as incoherent, to give him room to maneuver into taking the party over more completely now.


A lot of smart guys, such as Scott Alexander of, worry about the AI robots taking over and enslaving humanity. I don’t, not because I’ve figured out a flaw in their reasoning but because I haven’t. So therefore they seem pretty smart and I leave it to them to worry about complicated stuff like that while I worry about dumber stuff that nobody else is yet worrying about like the UN’s forecast that the population of Africa will octuple from 1990 to 2100.

From N+1:

Confirmation Bias
Did big data sink the Clinton campaign?

by David Auerbach
February 23, 2017

… “People took Michigan for granted,” said the Michigan Democratic congresswoman Debbie Dingell, on the day after the election, by way of explaining the Clinton campaign’s shocking loss. The Great Lakes state, in combination with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, was supposed to have formed a “firewall” against a Trump win. Yet Clinton’s campaign had a skeletal ground organization in Michigan and ran no local advertising until the very last week of the campaign, when Team Hillary launched a last-minute ad blitz. In the end, turnout in Detroit was down 75,000—13 percent—from 2012, and Clinton lost Michigan by 10,000 votes.

Not enough “walking around money” in Detroit?

The core of Clinton campaign strategy was their analytics system, developed by dozens of researchers who were led by Clinton’s director of analytics, Elan Kriegel, in close consultation with campaign manager Robby Mook. … The oracle of the system was “Ada,”

Presumably named after Lord Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage’s theoretician of software.

“Ada” as a name didn’t work out well for the Pentagon in the 1970s, either.

I’m sorry, Hillary. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

a big-data simulator that issued up-to-the-minute probabilities on Clinton’s chances by state and county. Throughout the general election, Ada backed her arguments for a decisive Clinton win in the Electoral College with a ton of stats. But Ada, and all her numbers, turned out to be wrong.

… But the campaign missed a critical lesson when they didn’t take stock of Sanders’s upset in Michigan, which Clinton had been favored to win.

Why did Ada fail in Michigan? The primary and the general election were different contests, but both suggest that the failure lay in Ada’s model of the electorate—or more precisely, her inability to update her model of the electorate. In the general election, Ada told Clinton that Wisconsin was a lock, that Michigan was not a problem. But it wasn’t so much that Ada’s cake arbitrarily failed to rise; the failure was in the recipe. In an election where a great realignment took place

This was the realignment I suggested back on November 28, 2000.

—where thousands of voters in Rust Belt states who had voted for Obama twice now turned to Trump—Ada had not been programmed to detect the possibility of that realignment.

But who is going to listen to a badthinker like me? Hillary and her people would rather preserve their honor by losing.

… Once the initial analysis showed that Clinton was favored to win in certain states, Ada helped prevent the campaign from questioning her conclusions. “They weren’t running a massive program because they thought they were up 6–7 points,” a senior operative told the Huffington Post. Ada’s recommendations reinforced themselves. By deallocating resources from Wisconsin and Michigan, Ada starved herself of data that might have caused her to recognize a problem.

Well, there’s your problem.

… What was validated, ultimately, was the internal consistency of the campaign’s initial assumptions. Those assumptions, and Ada’s apparent statistical support for them, caused so much inertia that the Clinton campaign starved Michigan of resources and ignored Wisconsin’s low-enthusiasm Clinton supporters, many of whom ended up not voting. …

This was Ada’s failure: she went wrong early and no one ever noticed. What Ada needed to do was to generate recommendations for collecting new data most likely to falsify her recommendations—like ground-level voter verification throughout Michigan, or interrogating turnout in the “safe” Clinton districts of Pennsylvania. Only an aggressive attempt to falsify would have broken the hermetic seal on Ada’s model.

Maybe that’s how SkyNet will take over: by telling us only what we want to hear?


Since Hillary’s ignominious defeat, some of the smarter Democrats have been staring at Electoral College maps and quietly discussing an alternative to Hillary’s mainstream strategy of running on transgender locker rooms, putting a failed cop killer’s mom on stage at the DNC, praising Ms. Merkel for letting in her million Muslim mob, and calling “deplorable” every white person who didn’t major in Intersectional Studies at Middlebury.

What if, crazy as this may sound, next time the Democrats tried to win back the Great Lakes states by running on an old-fashioned Harry Truman-style tax-and-spend issue — Canadian-like single-payer health care — designed to appeal to the bottom 60+% of the American class system … regardless of their race or pronouns?

It’s so nuts it might work!

For these Democrats, Paul Ryan’s health care bill must have seemed like a God-send. What could be better in 2020 for their purposes than running on replacing a poorly-written bill endorsed by Trump with a sleek single-payer system?

The class-warrior Democrats must have been salivating to run against TrumpCare.

But now they are stuck with ObamaCare. How do they run on replacing ObamaCare without the Democrats’ black base feeling they are racistly dissing a black man?


From the Anti-Defamation League:

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:

We are relieved there’s been an arrest in the majority of the bomb threats against JCCs, schools, synagogues and several of our offices across the country. We are deeply grateful to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the state and local law enforcement officials who made this investigation the highest priority.

While the details of this crime remain unclear, the impact of this individual’s actions is crystal clear: These were acts of anti-Semitism.

From The Tablet:

Being Jewish doesn’t immunize a person from being anti-Semitic. It just fuses their bigotry with betrayal.

By David Schraub
March 23, 2017 • 5:00 PM

On March 1, I penned a column excoriating Donald Trump and other mainstream conservatives for suggesting attacks on Jewish sites—bomb threats, vandalism, and otherwise—were false flag attacks designed to discredit the right.

Later that week, Juan Thompson—a former journalist for the left-wing outlet The Intercept—became the first man arrested for calling in some of these threats, allegedly in the hopes that he could blame his ex-girlfriend for the crime. Clearly, I lack the gift of timing.

Today, Israeli officials announced the arrest of a 19-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship who is alleged to have been behind many of the remaining bomb calls. …

For Jews, by contrast, this is agonizing. First having to endure these threats, we must now also deal with the painful knowledge that many of them were acts of betrayal. …

The man who did this was anti-Semitic.

As you know, I’m a big fan of Orwell’s adaptation of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis to politics: the basic idea behind 1984′s Newspeak is that if you don’t have a word for a concept, it’s harder to think the thought.

For example, as this chart from Google Trends shows, the English-speaking world obsesses over who might be anti-Semitic. Is Trump anti-Semitic? Was Walt Disney anti-Semtic? Is PewDiePie anti-Semitic? These are pressing issues that modern Americans worry about.

Screenshot 2017-03-24 15.44.00

In contrast, the logically parallel term “anti-Gentilic” just doesn’t come up enough for Google Trends to notice it being used.

Similarly, the term “hate hoax” has never appeared in the New York Times since 1851:

Screenshot 2017-03-24 16.26.36


I don’t pay much attention to health care finance issues because

A) The topic is very complicated;

B) Lots of other people pay attention to it;

C) Few get ejected from Polite Society over their health care finance views.

That said, will the failure of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to get his RyanCare bill through the House, where he has a 237-193 partisan majority, finally burst the image of Ryan? The GOP establishment had several months after the election to put together an appealing bill, and failed to do so. What are all those think tanks for?


I don’t know about lately, but back in the 20th Century, it was common for London newspaper pundits to periodically loudly announce a whole new stance on a major issue of the day such as the Common Market. Public feuds with ex-friends and embraces of ex-enemies would ensue.

Sometimes the change would be on one issue, sometimes on most issues.

Christopher Hitchens is an example well-known in the U.S. of that British tendency for side-switching. Paul Johnson is another. Arianna Huffington, who moved from right to left in America, was the girlfriend in London of top pundit Bernard Levin, who had a tumultuous career, so she has the British rather than American perspective.

I presume this difference between Britain and America was linked both to the economics of the punditry business and to the British culture that puts a higher weight on nonconformity in matters of public debate.

The British had about a dozen highly competitive national newspapers largely sold at news stands to commuters, so a fun controversy could translate into weeks of higher sales.

American newspapers and magazines typically sold by subscription, so controversy and unexpectedness mostly just generates dreaded “Cancel my subscription” letters. I also presume political debate in America is more subsidized by interest groups than in Britain, where it’s paid for more as entertainment and the first rule is: Avoid Boring People.


Skull & Bones is an amusingly secret society at Yale that picks out 15 Yalies per year for membership for weekly “lemon sessions” in its fortress-like clubhouse on the campus. The 2004 Presidential election featured two Skull & Bones members facing off. George W. Bush’s grandfather Sen. Prescott Bush boasted of stealing Geronimo’s skull to display in the clubhouse.

Other Skull & Bones members included George H.W. Bush in 1948, William F. Buckley in 1950, and Richard Warren Russell in 1951.

Richard Warren Russell was the sparkplug of the Yale crew team that out-rowed Harvard in 1949 for the first time in 14 years. According to Anthony Sutton’s book on Skull and Bones, Russell is listed as a 1951 member.

Members in Skull & Bones have often been said to be associated with the CIA. Buckley, for example, went to work for the CIA in Mexico City after graduation. George H.W. Bush was often said to be the first Director of the CIA who hadn’t been an agent, but there is a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that the elder Bush had helped out the CIA with logistical assistance from his Mexican offshore oil platforms during the Bay of Pigs.

This stuff doesn’t strike me as terribly scandalous: the CIA had a general inclination to hire from among Old Money elites as being the least inclined to sell out their country since their clans pretty much owned it anyway. Similarly, the British Army had long found its generals among aristocrats, figuring they were less likely to lead a military coup because they already were top dogs. That’s kind of how a deep state is supposed to work.

After graduation, Russell worked for Army counterintelligence for a few years. He went to MIT grad school and became president of James Russell Engineering Works, which may have been a family firm, and founded another company of note. He appears to have lived a long and worthy life and died in 2011.

One of his sons became a doctor, and the doctor’s daughter appears to have married Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

That’s kind of weird.

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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