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The Associated Press reports:

San Francisco: No ‘legal basis’ to hold shooting suspect
Associated Press
1 hour ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man suspected in the shooting death of a woman at a busy San Francisco tourist destination has seven felony convictions and has been deported five times, most recently in 2009, a federal agency said Friday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had turned Francisco Sanchez over to San Francisco police March 26 on an outstanding drug warrant, agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Officers arrested Francisco Sanchez about an hour after Wednesday’s seemingly random slaying of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 — one of the busiest attractions in the city. People gather there to take in the views, joggers exercise, and families push strollers at all hours.

Sanchez was on probation for an unspecified conviction, police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said Thursday.

Kice said ICE issued a detainer for Sanchez in March, requesting notification of his release and that he stay in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up. The detainer was not honored, she said.

Freya Horne, counsel for the sheriff’s office, said Friday that federal detention orders are not a legal basis to hold someone, so Sanchez was released April 15. San Francisco is a sanctuary city, and local money cannot be spent to cooperate with federal immigration law.

The city does not turn over people who are in the country illegally unless there’s an active warrant for their arrest, she said. Horne said they checked and found none. ICE could have issued an active warrant if they wanted the city to keep him, she said.

“It’s not legal to hold someone on a request to detain. This is not just us. This is a widely adopted position,” Horne said.

Steinle was gunned down while out for an evening stroll with her father along the waterfront. Police said witnesses heard no argument or dispute before the shooting, suggesting it was a random attack.

Perhaps the President will speak at Kathryn Steinle’s funeral?

From yesterday’s Washington Post:

Obama administration scales back deportations in policy shift

So, I guess not.

The AP article doesn’t seem to mention which country Sanchez had been deported to five times. Informing the public of that would be racist. Nor does it mention how he got into the United States in the first place, much less all those other times. Was he ever legally here? Why are you asking? Only Donald Trump or Ann Coulter would find anything relevant about that knowledge. Ignorance is smart.

Thomas Jefferson once said:

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

But now we get all the advantages of government and newspapers working together to keep the public from knowing information it shouldn’t know, so all those Jeffersonian quibbles are outdated. Besides, Jefferson owned slaves.

The next day, local San Francisco news camera crews covering the murder were attacked live on television at the tourist attraction. (Trust me, you will be glad you watched this short clip.)

It’s actually pretty common for news cameras crews to be assaulted and robbed in the San Francisco Bay Area, although it’s more routine over in Oakland. For example, here’s 2012 local news footage of a reporter celebrating outside of Oakland Technical High School the passage of a liberal initiative: the last couple of seconds are when the cameraman is slugged and robbed live:

The late Adrienne Shelly, Cheryl Hines, Keri Russell

By the way, when the New York Times runs articles demanding to know why aren’t there more successful women movie directors and screenwriters, one reason is because a promising writer-director, actress Adrienne Shelly, was murdered in 2006 at age 40, shortly after finishing her quite decent debut movie Waitress, by an illegal immigrant from Ecuador.

Of course, the Times didn’t mention that the murderer was an illegal alien.


From the New York Times:

It’s Summer, but Where Are the Teenage Workers?

JULY 3, 2015


Ice cream still needs scooping, beaches still need guarding and campers still need counseling. But now, there are way fewer teenagers doing it all this summer.

Since 2000, the share of 16- to 19-year-olds who are working has plummeted by 40 percent, with fewer than a third of American teenagers in a job last summer. Their share of the overall work force has never been this low, and about 1.1 million of them would like a job but can’t find one, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Experts are struggling to figure out exactly why. “We don’t know to what extent they’re not working because they can’t find a job, or aren’t interested, or are doing other stuff — like going to summer school, traveling, volunteering, doing service learning,” said Martha Ross, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a research organization based in Washington.

As usual, Control-F brings up:

Screenshot 2015-07-03 18.11.57


Although his recent successful shakedown of Silicon Valley flagship Intel suggests he’s not wholly washed up, Rev. Jesse Jackson is now 73 and clearly slowing down. From Breitbart News:

Reddit is in meltdown.

The hugely popular link-sharing site is in a state of virtual lockdown after the volunteers who run some of the site’s biggest communities (known as “subreddits”) went on the digital equivalent of a general strike. This followed the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a popular site admin, after a Reddit Q&A with the Rev. Jesse Jackson went badly for the activist preacher.

Since, as we know, All Things That iSteve Must Converge, it’s worth pointing out that the interim CEO of Reddit is Chairperson Pao, Ellen Pao, the wife of Buddy Fletcher.

Here’s one interchange between a Reddit reader and the famed civil rights leader:

[–]huhaskldasdpo 430 points 8 hours agox2
Mr. Jackson,
You are an immoral, hate-filled race baiter that has figured out how to manipulate the political system for your own gain. You’ve personally set back race relations year after year and continue to do more harm than good. Extorting money from companies to line your pockets and threatening to bus in protestors and create a fake racial controversy if they don’t agree to pay you off is NOT civil rights activism. My question is simple; how is your relationship with the illegitimate child you fathered in 1998 while cheating on your wife? Bonus question: How much money have you extorted from various people and companies over the years of practicing your shakedown scheme? Do you think Al Capone would be jealous of your business model if he were still alive?

[–]RevJesseJackson[S] 12 points 8 hours ago
I do. But I was jailed in 1960. For trying to use a public library. And that caused more good than harm. I marched to end segregation. The day Dr. King spoke on Washington, in 1963, I was there for that speech. That day, from Texas to Florida, you couldn’t use a single public toilet. We could not buy ice cream at Howard Johnson’s, or stay in Holiday Inns. We fought to bring those barriers down. And because those walls are down, all the new interstate construction across the South – the new bridges and ports, and seaports – that’s progress. You couldn’t have teams behind the Cotton Curtain. You couldn’t have had Olympics in Atlanta behind the Cotton Curtain. You couldn’t have Toyota, and Michelin, behind the Cotton Curtain, so we pulled those walls down.
So our work has been beneficial. And it seems to me that people who benefit from that work ascribe it to the wrong reasons.
When the laws change to make the South more civil, that brought in more investment. So we’ve made America better.
All these changes have come from our work. Our work has bene good for the South, and good for America.
My goal is to expand our consciousness, to create as big a tent as possible, as we fight for justice and world peace. I was able to bring Americans home from jail, from prison, and gaining those freedom of those Americans was the highest and best use of my talents and time.

In contrast, Rev. Al Sharpton is only 60 (although his frequent losses and gains of weight have left him looking a bit like a Shar Pei). President Obama is clearly more comfortable with Sharpton than with Jackson, inviting the veteran race riot agitator frequently to the White House.

The President has longstanding political and perhaps personal issues with Rev. Jackson going back to the years when Jackson bestrode the Chicago black community like a colossus while Barack, to say the least, did not. Moreover, the future Mrs. Obama was Rev. Jackson’s babysitter.

But still some of the excitement in the air these days is due to the sense that after many years of a Jackson-Sharpton oligopoly, there will soon be new openings at the top of the racial grievance industry. So who will succeed Jackson and, later, Sharpton?

One possibility would be the tag-team of Fletcher and Pao. Granted, that would be absurd for multiple reasons, but, hey, it’s 2015 in Caitlyn Jenner’s America. Still, that seems increasingly implausible as their losses pile up. Americans don’t love a loser, even a gay black hedge fund con man married to a Chinese feminist adventuress.

Now it’s important to note Rev. Jackson is in a symbiotic relationship with his victims/enablers. Jackson lasted so long because he was mutually satisfactory both to blacks as a race man and to the moneyed interests he pestered because they saw him as a man they could, ultimately, do business with.

Corporate America would undoubtedly prefer to see the amenable Barack Obama slide into Jackson’s role of Race Hustler-in-Chief on January 21, 2017.

But, I suspect that Barack, who doesn’t really like African-Americans unless they have an Ivy League degree or two, would prefer mostly to play golf and give highly compensated speeches at Davos and the like, and would be uncomfortable having to do too much of the lowbrow down and dirty work in the Community. Granted, he did once help get some of the asbestos removed from a housing project, but that may have been enough Community Involvement for him for one lifetime.

In contrast, the next such leader would more likely be a genuine African-American from a black community, one without many intellectual pretensions, and with a certain hostile edge, perhaps one who as far back as adolescence had an inside view of how Rev. Jackson did his job.

In other words, the most likely candidate satisfactory to blacks, to the media, and to the big money would be Michelle Obama.


Apatow and Schumer hyping “Trainwreck”

Comedienne Amy Schumer, a native of the Upper East Side who is a distant relation of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has been much celebrated in recent months by the humorless for Punching Upwards with her “edgy” feminist humor. But now the Coalition of the Fringes is assembling a circular firing squad for Schumer. From Slate (and very similar thumbsuckers about Schumer are running in the other usual suspects as well):

Amy Schumer Reacted to Criticism of Her Race Jokes Like a Stand-Up—and That’s a Dead End

By E. Alex Jung

Over the weekend, Amy Schumer experienced what has become a contemporary ritual for rising entertainment stars after an editorial in The Guardian criticized her work as racially insensitive. Monica Heisey wrote, “For such a keen observer of social norms and an effective satirist of the ways gender is complicated by them, Schumer has a shockingly large blind spot around race.” What made headlines wasn’t the piece itself, but Schumer’s reaction. “You can call it a ‘blind spot for racism’ or ‘lazy’ but you are wrong. It is a joke and it is funny. I know that because people laugh at it. Even if you personally did not,” she wrote on Twitter. “I ask you to resist the urge to pick me apart. Trust me. I am not racist. I am a devout feminist and lover of all people.”

The response is disheartening for those who’ve been cheering Schumer’s ascendance. Her weekly injections of humor are at once topical and deft, feminist without feeling didactic—the exact opposite of her response to Heisey. Rather than listen to the critique, she got defensive and recycled a series of arguments that have become familiar from previous incidents involving Trevor Noah, Lisa Lampanelli, Daniel Tosh, and others: She has the right to joke about what she wants; it’s a comic’s job to be edgy; she’s not racist (or sexist, or homophobic), really; she’s a feminist! Schumer cut her teeth in the adversarial space of the comedy club, where you go in to win over the audience and kill them with your material. She’s used to cutting down hecklers, but that approach might not work so well with a broader audience that goes well beyond a small room.

A friend points out that some Social Media Justice Warriors are starting to get a sense that they could turn this type of thing into an institutionalized shakedown system like Jesse Jackson perfected back in the 1970s:

What’s becoming clear is that, besides pulling big numbers for yourself as a freelancer if YOUR opinion piece is the one that gets the avalanche started on an entertainer or writer, what the SJWs want is for Hollywood to share their money with them by hiring SJWs as consultants. In exchange for money and the gesture of deference, they will guide the writers and entertainers away from the arbitrary, and constantly changing, landmines.

Nice movie you got here. It would be a shame if anything bad happened to it.

Keep in mind that Rev. Jesse is both a problem to Corporate America and The Solution: he’ll provide your Fortune 500 behemoth with racial benediction if you, say, hire companies who donate to his operations to run your cafeteria (badly) and the like.

That helps explain the long tenure of Jackson and Sharpton at the top of the seemingly greasy pole of black grievance-mongering. Jesse understands how the game is played and is in it for the long haul.

Big time entertainment generates big money, so, many SMJW’s are starting to reason, why not get paid a tiny percentage of the budget to Give Notes? In return, you’ll give your blessing to a project.

These SJW comedy “struggles” are morphing into a kind of shakedown — let the mediocre minds from these harridans feel important and listened to, or, better yet, invite them to the set — and include a free tour of the Paramount lot! — and indulge them as they discuss the methods your script or movie scene could be improved, at least racially, and they will give your movie or comedy act a pass for bigotry when it’s released.

The new economic model for SJWism is exemplified by the way Dr. George Miller paid Eve Ensler, the feminist heroine whose “Vagina Monologues” made America more Vagina Conscious (although I was under the impression that Larry Flynt’s Stakhanovite labors in the 1970s had already achieved much of that noble goal), to declare that Mad Max: Fury Road wasn’t an ultra-macho comic book fantasy about a bunch of Australian bogans hooning down the highway, as it would appear to those unfamiliar with its PR campaign, but was actually a feminist work of art that subverts the male gaze etc. etc.

This misdirection worked fine for Miller (a former Emergency Room doctor, and nothing is more likely to make you doubt the SJW worldview than working in an ER), getting his movie 98% critics’ thumbs-up on Rotten Tomatoes. And it helped Miller completely sidestep (Look, a feminist squirrel!) any inconvenient questions he might otherwise have had to face about his formative influence upon Mel Gibson and Mel’s later movies such as The Passion of the Christ.

At Uncouth Reflections, Sax von Stroheim notes:

But I don’t think Courrier goes far enough in pointing out the biggest marketing con job of them all: that the people selling this [Mad Max] movie got a bunch of college graduates to write about its “feminist” message. Courrier notes that the movie’s feminism doesn’t have any “dramatic consequence”, but, I would argue, the film’s feminism isn’t merely superficial: it’s non-existent. Rather than a feminist message, the film aggressively expresses a sexist perspective of the world. That is: throughout Mad Max: Fury Road, Dr. George Miller keeps us very aware that there are biological differences between men and women, and the entire story points towards these being meaningful differences; that it’s the biological differences between men and women that shape society and not the other way around, where men and women’s role are shaped primarily by society. From the very beginning Miller shows us a world where the women exist for milk and breeding and the men exist for war and bleeding. The plot is driven by bride-stealing (just like the Iliad‘s) and at no point does the movie undercut the idea that women’s primary power, and primary value, comes from their ability to give birth.

Also, there’s a very blatant attack on the idea of a matriarchal society. When Our Heroes finally reach what they hoped would be a paradise ruled by wise old women instead of gross mean men, they find only a handful of the wise old women struggling to survive. And instead of going off to found some new community of their own, they decide to turn around and go back to try to take over the only viable society in this world: one that had been built and maintained (albeit in a nightmarish form) by men. The movie’s thesis might be: a society run by men might be horrible, but a society run by women would lead to the end of the human race.

Hey — I’m not sure if this is just a coincidence or if George Miller is the Master of All Trolls, because what he’s describing here, allegorically, mirrors the relationship between internet activist “feminists” and a lot of the traditionally dude-centric geek culture, like computer gaming and comic book conventions. Instead of going off to create their own thing, these social justice warriors have tried to use social media bullying to impose their politically correct standards on nerd subcultures that were doing fine without them.

But, hey, it’s a living. Or it will be.


There was much publicity this week when the NYC exurb of Pine Bush paid off millions of dollars to five Jewish families who accused it of allowing students to get away with anti-Semitic doings such as discussing how they were going to celebrate Hitler’s birthday on 4/20. (My guess: by getting wicked high — 4/20 is both Hitler’s birthday and the national dope smoking holiday.)

If you follow the news closely, you will have noticed that the framing of this narrative has revolved around a battle between NY Times reporter Benjamin Weiser, who has acted as a conduit for the plaintiffs, and a host of liberal Jewish reporters, some of them even at the NYT, who have tried to play defense by implying that the lawsuit is an attempt to bully the heavily liberal Jewish local leadership into letting the Satmar Hassidim convert Pine Bush’s village of Bloomingburg into another Kiryas Joel ultra-Orthodox settlement that politically controls the surrounding community through bloc voting.

For example, from the NYT last year:

A Quiet Village in the Catskills Braces for an Influx of Hasidim

BLOOMINGBURG, N.Y. — Clifford M. Teich came to this rustic village in the foothills of the Catskills 30 years ago to be a country doctor, an internist who would treat his fellow villagers’ aches and pains, and get to know them as neighbors. He occasionally accepts payment in the form of homegrown onions and tomatoes.

“I wanted to wake up in a small, quiet, quaint village,” said Dr. Teich, 61, who grew up in Westchester County. “People came up here with the intent to live in a place that is rural, not congested, and where everybody knows everybody’s name.”

Now, Dr. Teich and many neighbors are worried that Bloomingburg, which has 400 residents, is about to become a very different place, more like the jostling streets of Brooklyn, more bustling as it becomes populated by Hasidic newcomers. He wants to keep the village what he calls heterogeneous.

“It’s no longer my village,” he said. “It’s a Hasidic village.”

A developer, Shalom Lamm, has been granted the right by village boards to build 396 townhouses that seem likely to be bought up by Hasidim. Mr. Lamm argues that Dr. Teich and others who are resisting the development have no right to decide who gets to live in the village. …

“They want to determine the religious and racial profile of every person who moves into land I own,” he said. “Because we live in America, if you determine you don’t like the neighbors, you have a right to move, but if they adhere to the law, you have no right to block them.”

“Substitute ‘black’ for ‘Hasid,’ ” he said, and his opponents would be “horrified” to question his right to sell his townhouses to whomever he wishes.

The controversy took a twist on Thursday when agents with a Federal Bureau of Investigation public corruption squad descended on the village and raided more than 20 properties owned by Mr. Lamm in what opponents of the townhouses said was an investigation into their claims of voter fraud. Mr. Lamm, the opponents have charged, has moved 140 Hasidim into vacant apartments since January in an effort to assure a sympathetic majority on the three-person village board that is up for election on Tuesday. In the last election, just 24 people voted. Mr. Lamm, meanwhile, has gone to court to challenge the petitions of candidates opposed to his development. …

Nevertheless, Hasidim in Brooklyn’s Satmar community have published ads in Yiddish newspapers heralding a new Hasidic community in Bloomingburg with the name Kiryas Yetev Lev, an echo of an incorporated village farther south, Kiryas Joel near Monroe, of 21,350 Hasidim. …

Mr. Lamm said some of his opponents had acted in ways he described as anti-Semitic or, for those opponents who are Jewish, anti-Orthodox. One couple who live next to the development put up a 20-foot wooden cross as a Christmas ornamentation, but it is still there more than 10 weeks later. Mr. Lamm said a dozen protesters had turned up outside Friday night services and hollered profanities at Mr. Lamm, his family and Hasidic worshipers.

Lesleigh Weinstein, who is an opponent of the development and is Jewish, said she “had no problem with that cross” because it was a Christmas symbol. Hyperbolic comments, she said, are “expressions of anger,” no more a generalized stereotype of a group than Mr. Lamm’s accusations of anti-Semitism. His accusations, she said, only stoke anti-Semitism.

The charge of anti-Semitism has a particular resonance in the area because Bloomingburg is in the Pine Bush school district, where three Jewish families in 2012 sued the district for tolerating anti-Semitic slurs, jokes about the Holocaust, and swastikas. Holly Roche, a Jewish woman who leads the largest opposition group, Rural Community Coalition, denies that she or other opponents are anti-Hasidic. …

Opponents like Dr. Teich, who is also Jewish, and Ms. Roche have accused Mr. Lamm of “bait-and-switch” tactics. They say he arranged for a local developer to appear before the village board in 2006 as a “frontman” and promise a gated community of 125 luxury homes with a golf course. … Then, opponents say, Mr. Lamm revised the plan to 396 townhouses with no golf course before getting final planning board approval in 2010. As a sweetener, Mr. Lamm built the village a $5 million wastewater treatment plant.

Denying deception, Mr. Lamm said he challenged opponents to produce a single piece of paper that promises no more than 125 homes. Opponents have not been able to do so. Nevertheless, Dr. Teich, who as deputy mayor supported annexation, said he was verbally told of 125 units several times by the local developer.

“This whole thing has been done through smoked glass,” Dr. Teich said.

But who can remember all these details when the world is so hungry for hate? The best defense is a good offense or at least a claim to be offended.


Screenshot 2015-07-02 17.10.40A reader sent me a link to the names and high schools of all the 2015 National Merit Semifinalists in California.

This list of high-scorers on the PSAT is of course dominated by students with Asian surnames. For example, public Arcadia H.S. in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles has 31 Semifinalists, only one of whom has a white surname.

But I did notice one public high school with an impressive 15 Semifinalists in its class of 2015, all of whom have Caucasian surnames.

(Of course, somebody could have a non-white mother).

H. Bazakas, NMSF

You may be wondering what kind of name Henry Bazakas is. It was easy to find a picture of this Semifinalist on college football recruiting websites because he is also a 6′-7″ 284 pound tackle.

So what is this weird, suspicious-sounding public high school dominated by smart white kids that seems to repel smart Asians?

Is it hidden away in some mountain fastness away from the striving Asian masses of coastal California?

No, it is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Is it in some politically conservative enclave of that liberal area?

No, it used to be the most famously liberal, if not radical, municipality in America in the 1960s. Bill Ayers’s retired terrorist brother Rick used to teach there.

It’s Berkeley High School.

(My recollection from a decade or more ago is that the black parents and white parents were traditionally at loggerheads at Berkeley HS, with the black parents demanding a less progressive curriculum.)


From the NYT:

Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ May Have Been Found Earlier Than Thought

On the eve of the most anticipated publishing event in years — the release of Harper Lee’s novel “Go Set a Watchman” — there is yet another strange twist to the tale of how the book made its way to publication, a development that further clouds the story of serendipitous discovery that generated both excitement and skepticism in February.

As HarperCollins, the publisher, and Ms. Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, have told it, Ms. Carter set out to review an old typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird” in August and happened upon an entirely different novel — one with the same characters but set 20 years later — attached to it.

“I was so stunned,” Ms. Carter told The New York Times last winter.

Miss Lee is now 89 and pretty gaga, so there are numerous suspicions that this is a mercenary move on the part of the people controlling her literary estate. The book that is going to be published soon is a failed first draft set in the contemporary South using the characters that eventually appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird. That unsatisfactory draft was later radically revised by moving the characters 20 years back into their younger years, producing a huge bestseller and perennial English class reading assignment.

This reminds me of the pre-publication excitement in the early 2000s over a supposedly “lost” early novel by science fiction master Robert A. Heinlein from before any of his published works. His protege Jerry Pournelle, however, pointed out that the dean of hard sci-fi had very much enjoyed being paid for his writing, so if Heinlein had chosen not to publish it for the rest of his long life, that suggested it was pretty dire.

And it was.

Similarly, there was much to-do a few years back over a rough draft that Vladimir Nabokov couldn’t finish due to his terminal illness. It eventually was published over his final instructions and … it was pretty bad.

Ralph Ellison worked for years on a follow-up to Invisible Man. It was eventually published after his death, and quickly forgotten.

There are, however, examples of good posthumous works, such as Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, that were held back for reasons of discretion. But nobody has offered any non-literary reasons for holding back on releasing this draft.

In general, most writers enjoy being read and being paid, so if they refuse to publish a manuscript, they probably have good reasons.

Are there, however, any example of a writer deciding in extreme old age to publish a manuscript that he or she had found unworthy before and it turning out good? Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together is sometimes said to have been about three or four decades old at the time of its publication in Europe at the beginning of this century. But of course it’s never been published in New York, so it’s hard to know what to make of it. That would, however, appear to be more an example of Humean discretion than a change of mind over literary merits.

Of course, the fact that Miss Lee’s attempt at writing about the contemporary South wasn’t as good as the book she eventually published about the South of her childhood reminds us that her childhood next door neighbor was master prose stylist Truman Capote. While To Kill a Mockingbird was at the publishers getting ready for publication, she worked as Capote’s research assistant on In Cold Blood. They appear as characters in each other’s books.

Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.


Screenshot 2015-07-01 16.54.40

Paul Krugman argues today that Puerto Rico is kind of like West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama:

Put it this way: if a region of the United States turns out to be a relatively bad location for production, we don’t expect the population to maintain itself by competing via ultra-low wages; we expect working-age residents to leave for more favorable places. That’s what you see in poor mainland states like West Virginia, which actually looks a fair bit like Puerto Rico in terms of low labor force participation, albeit not quite so much so. (Mississippi and Alabama also have low participation.) … There is much discussion of what’s wrong with Puerto Rico, but maybe we should, at least some of the time, just think of Puerto Rico as an ordinary region of the U.S. …

Okay, but there’s a huge difference in test scores.

The federal government has been administering a special Puerto Rico-customized version of its National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam in Spanish to Puerto Rican public school students, and the results have been jaw-droppingly bad.

For example, among Puerto Rican 8th graders tested in mathematics in 2013, 95% scored Below Basic, 5% scored Basic, and (to the limits of rounding) 0% scored Proficient, and 0% scored Advanced. These results were the same in 2011.

In contrast, among American public school students poor enough to be eligible for subsidized school lunches (“NSLP” in the graph above), only 39% scored Below Basic, 41% scored Basic, 17% scored Proficient, and 3% scored Advanced.

Puerto Rico’s test scores are just shamefully low, suggesting that Puerto Rican schools are completely dropping the ball. By way of contrast, in the U.S., among black 8th graders, 38% score Basic, 13% score Proficient, and 2% score Advanced. In the U.S. among Hispanic 8th graders, 41% reach Basic, 18% Proficient, and 3% Advanced.

In Krugman’s bete noire of West Virginia, 42% are Basic, 20% are Proficient, and 3% are Advanced. In Mississippi, 40% are Basic, 18% Proficient, and 3% are Advanced. In Alabama, 40% are Basic, 16% are Proficient, and 3% are Advanced. (Unmentioned by Krugman, the lowest scores among public school students are in liberal Washington D.C.: 35% Basic, 15% Proficient, and 4% Advanced.)

Let me repeat, in Puerto Rico in Spanish, 5% are Basic, and zero zip zilch are Proficient, much less Advanced.

Am I misinterpreting something? I thought I must be, but here’s a press release from the Feds confirming what I just said:

The 2013 Spanish-language mathematics assessment marks the first time that Puerto Rico has been able to use NAEP results to establish a valid comparison to the last assessment in 2011. Prior to 2011, the assessment was carefully redesigned to ensure an accurate assessment of students in Puerto Rico. Results from assessments in Puerto Rico in 2003, 2005 and 2007 cannot be compared, in part because of the larger-than-expected number of questions that students either didn’t answer or answered incorrectly, making it difficult to precisely measure student knowledge and skills. The National Center for Education Statistics, which conducts NAEP, administered the NAEP mathematics assessment in 2011. But those results have not been available until now, as it was necessary to replicate the assessment in 2013 to ensure that valid comparisons could be made.

“The ability to accurately measure student performance is essential for improving education,” said Terry Mazany, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP. “With the support and encouragement of education officials in Puerto Rico, this assessment achieves that goal. This is a great accomplishment and an important step forward for Puerto Rico’s schools and students.”

NAEP assessments report performance using average scores and percentages of students at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient and Advanced. The 2013 assessment results showed that 11 percent of fourth-graders in Puerto Rico and 5 percent of eighth-graders in public schools performed at or above the Basic level; conversely, 89 percent of fourth-graders and 95 percent of eighth-graders scored below that level. The Basic level denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for grade-appropriate work. One percent or fewer of students in either grade scored at or above the Proficient level, which denotes solid academic performance. Only a few students scored at the Advanced level.

The sample size for 8th graders was 5,200 students at 120 public schools in the Territory.

Results this abysmal can’t solely be an HBD problem (although it’s an interesting data point in any discussion of hybrid vigor); this has to also be due to a corrupt and incompetent education system in Puerto Rico.

New York Times’ comments aren’t generally very useful for finding out information, but Krugman’s piece did get this comment:

KO’R New York, NY 4 hours ago

My husband and I have had a house in PR for 24 years. For two of those years we taught English and ESL at Interamericana, the second largest PR university. Our neighbors have children in the public grade schools. In a nutshell: the educational system in PR is a joke!!! Bureaucratic and corrupt. Five examples: (1) In the elementary schools near us if a teacher is sick or absent for any reason, there is no class that day. (2) Trying to get a textbook changed at Interamericana requires about a year or more of bureaucratic shinnanigans (3) A colleague at Interamericana told us that he’d taught in Africa (don’t remember where) for a few years and PR was much worse in terms of bureaucracy and politics. ( (4) The teaching method in PR is for the teacher to stand in front of the class, read from the textbook verbatim, and have the students repeat what he or she read. And I’m not speaking just about English – this goes for all subjects. 5) Interamericana is supposed to be a bi-lingual iniversity. In practice, this means the textbooks are in English, the professor reads the Spanish translation aloud, and the usually minimal discussion is in Spanish. …

Public school spending in Puerto Rico is $7,429 per student versus $10,658 per student in the U.S. Puerto Rico spends more per student than Utah and Idaho and slightly less than Oklahoma.

Puerto Rico spends less than half as much as the U.S. average on Instruction: $3,082 in Puerto Rico vs. $6,520 in America, significantly less than any American state. But Puerto Rico spends more than the U.S. average on Total Support Services ($3,757 vs. $3,700). Puerto Rico is especially lavish when it comes to the shifty-sounding subcategories of General Administration ($699 in PR vs. $212 in America) and Other Support Services ($644 vs. $347). PR spends more per student on General Administration than any state in America, trailing only the notorious District of Columbia school system, and more even than DC and all 50 states on the nebulous Other Support Services.

Being a schoolteacher apparently doesn’t pay well in PR, but it looks like a job cooking the books somewhere in the K-12 bureaucracy could be lucrative.

The NAEP scores for Puerto Rico and the U.S. are for just public school students.

A higher percentage of young people in Puerto Rico attend private schools than in the U.S. The NAEP reported:

In Puerto Rico, about 23 percent of students in kindergarten through 12th grade attended private schools as of the 2011-2012 school year, compared with 10 percent in the United States. Puerto Rico results are not part of the results reported for the NAEP national sample.

So that accounts for part of the gap. But, still, public schools cover 77% of Puerto Ricans v. 90% of Americans, so the overall picture doesn’t change much: the vast majority of Puerto Rican 8th graders are Below Basic in math.

It’s clear that Puerto Ricans consider their own public schools to be terrible and that anybody who can afford private school should get out. The NAEP press release mentions that 100% of Puerto Rican public school students are eligible for subsidized school lunches versus about 50% in the U.S. Heck, Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro’s lawyer father didn’t just send him to private school, they sent him to a boarding school in Pennsylvania.

Still, these Puerto Rican public school scores are so catastrophic that I also wouldn’t rule out active sabotage by teachers, such as giving students an anti-pep talk, for some local labor reason. For example, a PISA score from Austria was low a couple of tests ago because the teacher’s union told teachers to tell students not to bother working hard on the test. But the diminishment of the Austrian PISA score wasn’t anywhere near this bad. And Puerto Rico students got exactly the same scores in 2011 and 2013.

And here’s Jason Malloy’s meta-analysis of studies of Puerto Rican cognitive performance over the last 90 years.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Hispanics, Public Schools, Puerto Rico

From the Daily Mail:

Mixed-race relationships are making us taller and smarter:

Children born to genetically diverse parents are more intelligent than their ancestors

Researchers analysed genetic information from more than 100 studies

These included details of 350,000 people from urban and rural communities

The team found that greater genetic diversity is linked to increased height

It is also associated with better cognitive skills and higher education levels

PUBLISHED: 12:00 EST, 1 July 2015 | UPDATED: 14:58 EST, 1 July 2015

I wrote in VDARE in 2006:

Since then, however, I just haven’t seen much more evidence come along to back the hybrid vigor theory as being terribly important in America.

There’s no question that inbreeding is a major problem in the western half of the Muslim world (and among Pakistani immigrants in Britain), where marriages between first cousins are considered the ideal marital arrangement. In Iraq, for instance, about half of all married couples are first or second cousins.

Psychometrician Arthur Jensen, the leading researcher on intelligence, reports that, besides increasing the likelihood of major birth defects, inbreeding reduces “birth weight, height, head circumference, chest girth, and resistance to infectious diseases.” IQ is lowered by a few points on average.

Among Europeans, inbreeding tends to be found both in the highest classes, among royalty, and at the highest altitudes, among hillbillies. An Italian ancestor of my wife’s was famous in his village in the Apennines as a true romantic because he wooed and won a girl from the town 1,500 feet in elevation down the mountainside. Most of the other local swains couldn’t be bothered with the long trek back uphill and therefore married village girls. Not surprisingly, the villagers tended to be short and a little unhealthy, until the generation after motorbus service first made the outside world conveniently accessible.

Interracial marriage is the surest cure for inbreeding. But it’s also close to overkill. Simply marrying somebody of the same race but from the next valley will eliminate most “inbreeding depression” in your kids.

Americans have such a horror of inbreeding that there’s less of it here than anywhere else on earth: less than one percent of Americans in the middle of the 20th Century were married to a first or second cousin. Further, Americans have moved so many times in settling this country that the less obvious forms of inbreeding that occur when the same families occupy the same village for centuries, a situation where married couples might well be, say, fourth, fifth, and sixth cousins to each other by multiple genealogical paths, are rarer here than in Europe.

And there is a downside to intermarriage.

The obverse of hybrid vigor: the possibility that combining genes which didn’t evolve to work together might cause health problems due to incompatibilities. …

Like hybrid vigor, genetic incompatibilities across racial lines unquestionably exist in some cases. So the key empirical question is: what the net balance of the two opposing forces?

Gregory Cochran told me that he and University of Utah population geneticist Henry Harpending once scanned the medical literature to see if interracial mating increased human fertility (due to hybrid vigor) or decreased it (due to genetic incompatibilities). They concluded that whatever net effect might exist was smaller than the statistical margin of error in the studies.

There’s another aspect which is that interracial mating tends to increase phenotype variance, so interracial celebrities (e.g., Quincey Jones’ daughter Rashida Jones) tend to be the lucky winners in the looks department in a more high stakes genetic lottery.

But there’s much selection bias. We don’t see much of the unlucky losers (unless they have a lot of talent besides looks).

However, here’s a rare photo of Richard Pryor with his comedienne daughter Rain Pryor.


From the NYT:

The Bonds That Broke Puerto Rico

… Government spending and debt service became a Rubik’s cube of interrelated, crisscrossing payments. In 2012, Moody’s decided to solve the puzzle and found there were about $10 billion more bonds outstanding than it had counted before….

Good job, Moody’s! Well, except for the part about losing track of $10 billion before 2012 …

In May, Puerto Rico made the remarkable announcement that its main pension system was down to just seven-tenths of a penny for every dollar the retirees are due. A properly funded pension system has 100 cents on the dollar. It is not clear how the pension system is paying retirees, but when its remaining seven-tenths of a penny is spent, it will become a pay-as-you-go system, with hundreds of millions of dollars of new claims on the central government.

As with the example of Greece and the EU, Puerto Rico’s ill-defined borders with the United States encourage irresponsibility.

PRexit now!

These two similar financial fiascos illustrate the ironies of cosmopolitanism vs. nationalism. Cosmopolitanism is seen as smarter because cosmopolitans tend to have more confidence in their own intelligence:

Then: “Sure, those Greeks and Puerto Ricans speak different languages than us and have different cultures and different customs, but I’m not some backward provincial. I’m so smart I can understand all that tricky little stuff, so I feel completely confident lending them a billion dollars each.”

Now: “Help! We need a bailout! Who could possibly have foreseen that the Greeks and Puerto Ricans weren’t going to be good credit risks?”

Tomorrow: “Sure, lending 100 quadrillion credits to Alpha Centauri may seem worrisome to Earthling bumpkins who have never been beyond Pluto, but you wouldn’t want to sound like one of them, would you?”


Commenter ABN amplifies upon my review of Ann Coulter’s ¡Adios, America! that “The running joke of the book is that liberals don’t get that they’ve unleashed on America the opposite of the principles they claim to uphold and, more surprisingly, the tastes they prefer.”

July 1, 2015 at 6:51 pm GMT (Edit-992556)

… Yes, this is the tragedy of mass immigration. In the short run, more immigration means more clients for the Democratic Party, and therefore more power for the white liberals who run the Democratic Party.

In the long run, of course, there will be no permanent one-party majority because political coalitions will just re-equilibrate around the median voter. A competitive two-party system will be restored.

So, will the median voter be more liberal in the long run?

I doubt it. Liberalism is a smart white people thing. (Needless to say, I’m not a liberal, but many of my intelligent friends are. Liberalism is an upscale status symbol.) The median voter will be less upscale and less white. Less intelligent, too.

So the end result of making white liberals more powerful in the short run will be a peasant-prole idiocracy in the long run. The Blue Tribe will succeed in destroying the political and cultural power of the Red Tribe in the short run, but then it will destroy itself in the long run. The dream of the 90s may be alive in Portland, but it sure as hell isn’t alive in Guatemala.

This is why I’m a nationalist first and a conservative second. I think the challenge before the Dissident Right is, first, to save conservatives from white liberals and, second, to save white liberals from themselves.

And it’s not just the IQ thing: my part of the San Fernando Valley, for example, is filling up with Russians who are plenty clever, but who noticeably lack the customs, mindset, and inhibitions of a traditionally self-governing people.


From Taki’s Magazine:

But Coulter’s real literary achievement in ¡Adios, America! is less in the pointillist jokes than in her architectural structuring of a huge amount of information and observation to convey a deeply black comic effect.

The running joke of the book is that liberals don’t get that they’ve unleashed on America the opposite of the principles they claim to uphold and, more surprisingly, the tastes they prefer.

Read the whole thing there.

• Tags: Books

Awhile back I posted about the public flaying of chemist Sir Tim Hunt under the title of “Nobel Scientist Says Women Take Things Personally; Women Take It Personally.” Not surprisingly, it now turns out, the professional SJW who started the witchburning took things out of context. From the Daily Mail:

Not Sir Tim

The report began by confirming that Sir Tim had joked about falling in love with women in laboratories and ‘making them cry’.

However, it said he’d prefaced those comments with an ironic introduction, joking that they would illustrate what a ‘chauvinist monster’ he was.

The report then revealed the existence of an entire second half of the controversial toast.

In it, Sir Tim was said to have told his audience that his remark about ‘making them cry’ was, indeed, an ironic joke.

He purportedly said, ‘now seriously . . .’ before going on to speak enthusiastically about the ‘important role’ women scientists play. He ended by joking that his largely female audience should pursue their trade, ‘despite monsters like me’.

The report’s author added: ‘I didn’t notice any uncomfortable silence or any awkwardness in the room as reported on social and then mainstream media,’ going on to describe the speech as ‘warm and funny’.

The Guardian is now editorializing that, well, okay, they didn’t get the joke, but that’s not important because some things are much too serious to ever joke about:

The Hunt camp claims feminists are too humourless to see that it was a joke. But as the provost of UCL, Professor Michael Arthur, pointed out when he indicated last Friday that Professor Hunt would not be reinstated, it was impossible for an institution to tolerate someone to whom they had awarded an honorary post, even a 71-year-old Nobel prize winner, expressing views even in jest that so comprehensively undermined its own reputation as a leading supporter of female scientists.


A reader points out two lawsuit settlement stories in the NYT:

Arizona Settles Cases With Relatives of 19 Who Died Fighting Wildfire

PHOENIX — Relatives of some of the 19 firefighters killed in one of the nation’s deadliest wildfires joined state officials here Monday to announce settlements in two legal cases against the Arizona State Forestry Division, the agency responsible for the firefighters on the day they died.

The agreements, disclosed on the eve of the fire’s second anniversary, include more than $600,000 in compensation for the families and an acknowledgment that commanders’ misguided decisions put the elite firefighting crew, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, at great risk. …

In one of the settlements announced Monday, forestry officials agreed to distribute the money among the seven families who were not plaintiffs in a wrongful-death lawsuit: $10,000 for each dependent.

As part of the second settlement, the 12 families who filed the wrongful-death suit will receive $50,000 per family. Their lawyer, Patrick J. McGroder III, said the payouts reflected “the priorities of the families,” who pushed not for money but for “remedial measures and changes to ensure a tragedy like this one never happens again.”

Mrs. Warneke and the wife and mother of Andrew Ashcraft, another of the firefighters, will use the money to establish a foundation to help other fallen firefighters’ families and push for greater training, Mrs. Warneke said.


Pine Bush School District Settles Anti-Semitism Suit for $4.48 Million

An upstate New York school district has agreed to pay $4.48 million and enact broad reforms in curriculum and training to settle a lawsuit by five current and former Jewish students who claimed that they had been victims of pervasive anti-Semitism in the schools, a court filing on Monday showed.

The civil rights lawsuit, filed in 2012, had accused officials of the Pine Bush Central School District, which is about 90 minutes north of New York City, of failing for years to take action to protect the Jewish students from anti-Semitic bullying, slurs and other intimidation.

Who are these anti-Semitic banjo-picking rednecks in the NYC exurbs?

I looked into this question back in 2013 after reading a dubious sounding article by reporter Weiser in the NYT. It was easy to piece together what was really going on by reading the Jewish Daily Forward and Jewish Week. The community leaders accused of anti-Semitism turn out to be mostly liberal Jews who opposed the machinations of Satmar Hassidic real estate developers from Kiryas Joel to take over their town. Jewish Week reported:

As they explained it, the developers decided to fight growing opposition to the development by claiming residents don’t want Jews moving in. To prove their point, they leaked the suit to the Times as evidence of anti-Semitism in the community.

But Holly Roche, leader of the Rural Community Coalition, which is spearheading community opposition to the project because of its size in a village of 375 residents, said that theory no longer worked after she disclosed she is Jewish.

“Now they are calling me anti-Satmar,” she said. …

“The best defense is a strong offense,” explained a Jewish resident about the developers’ approach, who asked that his name not be used for fear it might complicate his business dealings in the area.

So this appears to be largely a power, money, real estate, tax, and welfare struggle between ultra-orthodox Jews and a local community led in large part by normal American Jews. You might think that the New York Times would instinctively identify with the educated liberal Jews against the smears of the reactionary Jews.

But that underestimates the media’s insatiable longing for allegations of anti-Semitism, no matter how wacky. The hunger for hate is strong these days.

The NYT should not let Benjamin Weiser continue to report on this story.

Here’s a 2013 New Republic article:

Did Hasidic Jews Leak Anti-Semitism Accusations to The New York Times?

Here’s a 2014 Newsweek story on the complex machinations going on in the town, traditionally 24% Jewish, over the Satmar real estate developers plans to take over the political control and turn it into a new ultra-Orthodox colony.


Amy Rodriguez

Four years ago I looked into the 23 players on the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team and found remarkably little diversity.

This year I haven’t looked in detail, but at first glance it appears to be about the same.

They’ve added a second part-black woman, and maybe there is a part-Asian player or two. But, once again, the only Spanish-surnamed player is Beverly Hills-born Amy Rodriguez.

As I wrote in 2011:

Female soccer embodies many of the most deeply-held values of white American upper middle class families: gender equality; parental (especially paternal) investment in their children; organized practice instead of play; ambitions for college scholarships; tacit race and class segregation via spending; and chauffeuring … lots and lots of chauffeuring.

So nobody in the American MSM has been so rude as to point out the remarkable lack of racial and ethnic diversity on the U.S. women’s soccer team.

Judging from the latest roster—if our World Cup team was the Tea Party, it would be denounced as nativist and racist. Certainly the women’s national soccer team would fail the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s notorious “Four-Fifths Rule” for sniffing out possible “disparate impact” discrimination—discrimination where it doesn’t have to prove intent. …

Right now, white upper middle class people have constructed a youth soccer system in the U.S. that is much more expensive, elitist, and ineffective at nurturing talent in young men than any other country’s system.

And soccer moms and dads like it that way—because it provides a de facto white-dominated environment for their children.

The current American youth soccer system of expensive pay-to-play travel squads and countless away games is not designed to win World Cups or even to create professional soccer players. Young players learn how to handle the ball by practicing one-on-one, not by playing in eleven-on-eleven games. It’s designed by affluent parents to get their kids some exercise, let them experience some level of success in a game away from minorities, and maybe win a college scholarship.

Everything that can be said about the motivations of American soccer parents regarding their sons can be said double regarding their daughters. They don’t care about training their daughters for non-existent women’s professional leagues. They care about giving their daughters something wholesome to do with their time so they don’t get pregnant and marry losers before they finish college. …

In summary, not surprisingly, much about American soccer, especially girls’ soccer, therefore goes without saying.

And there’s a lot to be said for unspoken norms. But if nobody is ever crass enough to explain in writing what’s actually going on, nobody ever learns any lessons that they can apply to anything else.

For instance, talking honestly about soccer reveals that much of what nice upper middle class people say out loud about diversity and immigration isn’t true. There isn’t a lot of talent coming from Mexico, even in soccer. There especially isn’t much female talent from south of the border. Massive Latino immigration doesn’t make America more sophisticated; it makes the population more backward and knuckleheadedly macho. Privileged whites don’t actually want their children exposed to diversity; they will spend a lot of money to keep them, especially their daughters, in a cocoon as white as (say) the U.S. Women’s World Cup team.

These are not, when it comes down to it, ignoble desires. In fact, they’re quite reasonable.

What is unreasonable is how the same people who spend huge sums to protect their own children from diversity will, at the same time, demonize their less privileged fellow citizens as racists for asking for some help from their government in guarding America’s borders.


Remember the old Twilight Zone episode about mass migration and how it turns out that the alien’s To Serve Man tome is a cookbook?

From the New York Times:

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

You’re Better Than This, Europe

STRASBOURG, France — DURING the last seven decades, European countries have painstakingly tried to rebuild a continent once shattered by war and atrocities according to the values of solidarity and human rights. We built institutions to prevent the crimes of the past and we made a commitment to help those in need of protection.

This process has now gone awry. Europe’s current response to refugees shows unmistakable backsliding on that commitment. Immigration has become such a contentious issue that it is tearing apart what remains of the European project and its facade of solidarity.

… The Hungarian government has also announced a plan to build a 13-foot fence on its border with Serbia to prevent migrants from entering. This is similar to what Bulgaria has already done on its border with Turkey.

… In Denmark, a populist party now holds the balance of power after running an electoral campaign on anti-immigrant rhetoric, including calls for stricter border controls.

Europe needs to take a long, hard look at itself — and at the reality of the refugee issue. … Laws that ensure a humane approach to the needs of migrants should replace provisions that criminalize migrants who enter and remain by irregular means.

Nils Muiznieks is the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights.

Now, it’s like: Remember Raspail’s The Camp of The Saints and Houellebecq’s Submission? Well, those are recipes for Europe to follow!


From the New York Times:

Supreme Court to Weigh Race in College Admissions

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to take a second look at the use of race in admissions decisions by the University of Texas at Austin, reviving a potent challenge to affirmative action in higher education.

The move, which supporters of race-conscious admissions programs called baffling and ominous, signaled that the court may limit or even end such affirmative action. …

A decision barring the use of race in admissions would undo a 2003 ruling that the majority said it expected to last for 25 years. In that 5-to-4 decision, in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court said that public colleges and universities could not use a point system to increase minority enrollment but could take race into account in vaguer ways to ensure academic diversity. …

In 2003, the Supreme Court endorsed such holistic admissions programs in Grutter v. Bollinger, saying it was permissible to consider race as one factor among many to achieve educational diversity. Writing for the majority in that case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said she expected that “25 years from now,” the “use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”

So, today, we are almost exactly half-way to Justice O’Connor’s 25 years.

How’s that going anyway? We’re hearing fewer and fewer complaints from blacks all the time, right? You never hear about slavery and Jim Crow anymore, do you, what with them receding ever further into the distant past, so I guess it would be noncontroversial if the Supreme Court were to junk affirmative action in 2015. Of course, if the Supreme Court were to announce that, in accordance with O’Connor’s 2003 statement, affirmative action would be abolished as of 12.5 years from now, then there would be no objection whatsoever, right?

I wrote in VDARE over 12 years ago:

O’Connor would be 98 years old in 2028. So she’s probably not expecting to suffer any embarrassment in case her prediction doesn’t come true. But even she might not have been so glib if she knew psychometricians are already able to test her test score forecast. And the prognosis looks bad.

Age three is the first point at which children can be effectively tested for mental aptitude. Unfortunately for O’Connor, the racial gaps that cause demand for quotas are already [PDF] apparent among preschoolers.

Some of the kids who will be applying to law school in 2028 are already alive. The rest will be born fairly soon. Unless the race gap in aptitude among toddlers suddenly, miraculously, vanishes in the next few years, there’s no hope for O’Connor’s forecast.


A Google search on:

evict Puerto Rico

returns the initially promising:


From the New York Times:

A Scientific Ethical Divide Between China and West

BEIJING — China is spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually in an effort to become a leader in biomedical research, building scores of laboratories and training thousands of scientists.

But the rush to the front ranks of science may come at a price: Some experts worry that medical researchers in China are stepping over ethical boundaries long accepted in the West.

Scientists around the world were shocked in April when a team led by Huang Junjiu, 34, at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, published the results of an experiment in editing the genes of human embryos.

The technology, called Crispr-Cas9, may one day be used to eradicate inheritable illnesses. But in theory, it also could be used to change such traits as eye color or intelligence, and to ensure that the changes are passed on to future generations.

Dr. Huang and his colleagues tried to modify a gene that causes a blood disorder called beta-thalassemia. The experiment failed in 85 embryos. Even so, to many in global science, it was a line that should not have been crossed.

Scientists in the West generally abjure this sort of research on the grounds that it amounts to genetic engineering of humans. In any event, the technology is still in the earliest stages of development.

“The consensus among the scientific community is, ‘not for now,’ ” said Huso Yi, the director of research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Center for Bioethics.

Yet Chinese scientists seem in no mood to wait.

“I don’t think China wants to take a moratorium,” Mr. Yi said. “People are saying they can’t stop the train of mainland Chinese genetics because it’s going too fast.” …

“The ‘red line’ in the West and in China are not too similar,” Deng Rui, a medical ethicist at Shanxi Medical University, said in a telephone interview. “Ethics are a question of culture, and that is about tradition, especially where it touches on human life.”

“Confucian thinking says that someone becomes a person after they are born. That is different from the United States or other countries with a Christian influence, where because of religion they may feel research on embryos is not O.K.”

The state does set limits, Ms. Deng said: “Our ‘red line’ here is that you can only experiment on embryos that are younger than 14 days old.”

I’d be interested in reading a follow-up article on another non-Christian high-tech country that hasn’t been as squeamish about neo-eugenics as the United States: Israel.


As has been noted, the liberal New York Review of Books regulars such as, say, physicist Freeman Dyson (b. 1923), social scientist Christopher Jencks (b. 1936), and political scientist Andrew Hacker (b. 1929) are not necessarily the youngest intellectuals on the scene. On the other hand, it’s not their first rodeo and thus they tend to be less naive than the new generation of clickbait content generation drones at other publications.

From the New York Review of Books:

The Frenzy About High-Tech Talent

Andrew Hacker

JULY 9, 2015 ISSUE

… Norman Matloff, a computer scientist at the University of California’s Davis campus, provides some answers. The foreigners granted [H-1B] visas, he found, are typically single or unattached men, usually in their late twenties, who contract for six-year stints, knowing they will work long hours and live in cramped spaces. Being tied to their sponsoring firm, Matloff adds, they “dare not switch to another employer” and are thus “essentially immobile.”6 For their part, Bach and Warner warn, “it may be risky for you to give notice to your current employer.” Indeed, the perils include deportation if you can’t quickly find another guarantor.

Matloff also found that employers “tailor job requirements so that only the desired foreign applicants qualify” and they “have an arsenal of legal means to reject all US workers who apply.” Despite Microsoft’s talk of “best minds,” the majority of H-1B workers are, in Matloff words, “ordinary people doing ordinary work.” On a Government Accountability Office scale, only 17 percent were graded “fully competent” in their specialty. Typically, they produce the lines of code needed to keep so much of our digitized world functioning. Of course, coding can be challenging and creative. But behind each innovative designer, there’s a need for dozens of routine coders whose main job is to get every symbol, letter, and integer precisely right.7

Most businesses prefer having an oversupply of workers, in part to keep those on board fearful lest they be replaced. And if less money goes to the rank-and-file, that often means that more money is available for the executive floors. In Matloff’s view, the dramatic warnings about scarcities of skills are actually “all about an industry wanting to lower wages.” To this extent, he argues, wider income spreads between executives and other employees are integral to corporate visions for the years ahead. But unlike in earlier eras, a STEM proletariat will be digitally literate, thanks to the coding classes Microsoft would make universal (and which are increasingly available from other firms and from high-tech education companies providing classes for recent high school graduates as well as older workers; among them are “boot camps” that charge as much as $12,000 for eight or nine intense weeks). What they’ll do as they reach, say, thirty-five years old is not the concern of an economy based on revolving cubicles, marginal salaries, and importing acquiescent labor. In the summer of 2014, Microsoft laid off 18,000 of its employees.

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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