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A couple of weeks ago in Taki’s Magazine, I recounted commenter Sean’s theory that the German Chancellor’s 2015 whim to open the gates of Europe was part of a coherent plan to weaken European opposition to united Germany’s New Order in Europe by positioning Germany not as the scary hegemon it objectively is, but as a moral superpower, Sweden writ large.

In the London Review of Books back in March, a top German academic offered a similar analysis:

Scenario for a Wonderful Tomorrow
Wolfgang Streeck

Wolfgang Streeck is director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. His next book, How Will Capitalism End?, is due to be published by Verso in September.

Europe’s Orphan: The Future of the Euro and the Politics of Debt by Martin Sandbu
Princeton, 336 pp, £19.95, September 2015, ISBN 978 0 691 16830 2

Europe is falling apart, destroyed by its most devoted fans, the Germans. In the summer of 2015, having humiliated the Greeks by forcing another reform diktat down their throats, Angela Merkel started a new game, aimed at diverting attention from the economic and political disaster monetary union had become. …

Last year, the refugee crisis offered Merkel another opportunity to demonstrate just how fast she can change tack. Once again, media coverage influenced her decision-making, just as it would a few months later when smartphone videos of the New Year’s Eve riot at Cologne Central Station triggered another 180 degree turn in her policies. In July a PR event, part of a government campaign to encourage cabinet members to meet ordinary citizens and listen to their ideas, went wrong. One of the young people invited to take part in a ‘dialogue’ with Merkel on the environment, the 14-year-old daughter of Palestinian asylum seekers, unexpectedly complained in front of the TV cameras that her family, who had been living in Germany for four years, might be sent back to the Lebanon at any moment. She asked, in flawless German, why she wasn’t allowed to stay in Germany ‘to enjoy life like everybody else’. Merkel said something like, ‘we cannot take in everyone, much as we might want to.’ The girl began to cry. Not knowing what to do, Merkel started patting the child’s head with a helpless expression on her face. The result was widespread outrage on social media. A few months later, the authorities told the girl’s family that they could stay in Germany for at least another year.

The elite was persuaded that the German public would never put up with images like those of the Jungle in Calais. Day after day the media, whipped into a frenzy by Facebook and Twitter, accused France and Britain of callously denying migrants’ human rights. Then, in September, the publication of the photograph of the dead Syrian child, Alan Kurdi, forced political leaders worldwide into hectic if symbolic activity. Among Germans it was widely believed that the boy’s death was the fault of ‘Europe’ as a whole, including Germany. Meanwhile, refugees had been gathering in increasing numbers at Budapest’s central station, which produced another set of powerful images; most of those refugees seemed to be heading for Germany.

A master politician like Merkel will never let a good crisis go to waste. It wasn’t just media stories about suffering migrants that led her to invite the refugees in Budapest to come to Germany, no papers required and no questions asked. What Merkel called ‘showing a friendly face in an emergency’ was meant to shame those who, during the euro crisis, had enjoyed the cartoons of Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, in Nazi uniform. By opening the German border while the French and British borders remained closed, Merkel could hope to recapture the moral high ground occupied for so long by those accusing the German government of sado-monetarism, or worse.

Another factor was the tight labour market that German employers, still Merkel’s main constituency, were facing, especially after the introduction of a statutory minimum wage was forced on Merkel by her coalition partner, the SPD. Rumours spread in the German press that Syrian refugees in particular, many of them allegedly with degrees in engineering and medicine, had all manner of skills. German economic research institutes predicted a new Wirtschaftswunder, while employers promised to invest heavily in training the presumably tiny number of less skilled immigrants. Everybody assumed that most if not all the refugees and asylum seekers – a distinction soon lost in the general excitement – would stay in Germany for a long time if not for good. For Merkel, who in October 2010 claimed that ‘the multikulti approach [had] failed, absolutely failed,’ this was no longer a problem. In fact, it had become a solution: in the first half of 2015, several studies indicated that the expensive measures taken over a decade of Merkel rule to induce German families to have more children had had next to no effect. Early that summer, to avert what was perceived as a looming demographic crisis, Merkel got her closest aides to test the mood in the party and among the general public on immigration legislation, but was met with firm resistance.

Budapest was what the ancient Greeks called a kairos – a lucky moment when a number of birds were positioned in such a way that they could be killed with one stone. Politics, as always with Merkel, trumped policies. ‘Showing a friendly face’ would make it possible for the Greens at the next election in 2017 to do what their leadership has long wanted to do but never dared: enter into a coalition government with the Christian Democrats. Merkel acted exactly as she did on neoliberal reform in 2005 and nuclear energy in 2011: quickly, on her own, and without wasting time explaining herself. … she counted on the opposition parties in the Bundestag – Linkspartei and the Greens – not to ask awkward questions, and they obliged. The members of her party couldn’t complain: they had been backed into a corner by the SPD’s approval of Merkel’s stance, and by their desire not to damage their leader. Once again, a decision ‘that will change our country’, as Merkel herself put it, was made without regard for democratic process or, for that matter, constitutional formalities. When Merkel declared the German borders open, there had been no cabinet decision to this effect and no official statement in the Bundestag. Since the opposition didn’t ask, as Merkel knew they wouldn’t, nobody knows to this day what sort of order, legal or not, by whom and when, was given to the police. The Interior Ministry is still refusing requests from leading figures (including the former president of the constitutional court, who was preparing a legal opinion on the matter for the Bavarian government) for access to the ministerial decree that should have been issued to the border authorities.

There were good reasons for asking questions. The refugees, more than a million of them, who arrived in Germany in 2015, all arrived from safe third countries. Under German and European law, they had to register in the country where they entered the European Union, and then wait to be assigned a legal residence in a member state. Merkel seems to have decided that she could safely ignore all this. When anyone complained that this was both a huge stress test on German society and a giant social engineering project, Merkel regally announced that if she had to apologise for ‘showing a friendly face’, ‘then this is not my country’ – an extraordinary statement for a democratically elected leader to make. In fact, as the Energiewende demonstrated, she has for some time been governing not like a parliamentary leader but like a president with emergency powers. For some time, inquiries into the wisdom of her immigration policy were answered by her entourage – which in this case included all the Bundestag parties – by claiming that the mere expression of dissent ‘played into the hands of the right’, a potent rhetorical device in Germany. Until Cologne, concern over the government’s handling of the refugee crisis was effectively suppressed.

Between September and January, Merkel’s minister of the interior was left out of the loop as Merkel governed directly, using staged public appearances – press conferences, talk shows and party conventions – to cultivate the support of those in German society who saw the influx of refugees as an opportunity to demonstrate to the world their country’s new friendliness. Merkel did not shy away from Obama-style nationalist pathos, employing it in her annual summer press conference on 31 August, when she told her compatriots: ‘Germany is a strong country … We did so many things, we can do that. We can do it, and where something gets in our way, it has to be overcome.’ For six months she evaded all constitutional checks and balances, enjoying the praise showered on her by, among others, Time magazine, which made her Person of the Year 2015. She was talked about as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and even Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January turned into a Merkelfest when the guest speaker in the Bundestag, an Austrian writer who survived the Holocaust, told her audience that ‘this country, which eighty years ago was responsible for the worst crimes of the century, has today won the applause of the world, thanks to its open borders.’

What about Europe? And why dwell so long on the refugee crisis when I’m supposed to be discussing a book on the euro crisis? The answer is that Merkel’s immigration policy offers an object lesson in what other countries can expect from Germany acting European. Just as the United States sees the world as an extended playing field for its domestic political economy, Germany has come to consider the European Union as an extension of itself, where what is right for Germany is by definition right for all others. There is nothing particularly immoral about this; indeed Germans think it is supremely moral, as they identify their control of Europe with a post-nationalism understood as anti-nationalism, which in turn is understood as the quintessential lesson of German history. Very much like the US, German elites project what they collectively regard as self-evident, natural and reasonable onto their outside world, and are puzzled that anyone could possibly fail to see things the way they do. Perhaps the dissenters suffer from cognitive deficits and require education by Schäuble in the Eurogroup classroom?

One problem with hegemonic self-righteousness is that it prevents the self-righteous from seeing that what they consider morally self-evident is informed by self-interest. The self-interest of German export industries, for example, underlies Germany’s identification of the ‘European idea’ with the single European currency. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the national interest that is mistakenly seen as identical to the interest of all reasonable human beings, in Europe and beyond, is necessarily shaped by the political interest of the government and its dominant social bloc in preserving their power. This puts peripheral countries at the mercy of the national power games and the moral and semantic ethnocentrisms of countries at the centre, which are hard to decipher for outsiders – especially with a postmodern leader like Merkel who, free from substantive commitments and constitutional constraints, has perfected the art of staying in power by means of unpredictable changes of course.

As the refugee crisis unfolded, Europe was dragged into the complicated twists and turns of German domestic politics. Merkel early on informed an astonished German public that controlling national borders had become ‘impossible in the 21st century’, and backed this up by aggressively criticising the Hungarian government for preparing to close its borders. After Cologne, of course, the closing of borders suddenly became possible again, and Hungary re-emerged as a model for the rest of Europe, in particular for Greece, which was threatened by Germany with exclusion from the Schengen area if it didn’t seal its borders. German law forbids, or is said by the German government to forbid, sending would-be immigrants away once they have expressed a desire to apply for asylum. So Merkel had to get the Greeks, and Europe as a whole, to observe this principle, lest her German pro-immigration constituency smelled the rat that was heading in its direction. The burden of keeping the migrants out of Europe fell on Turkey, which was supposed to put an end to the illegal trafficking of migrants to Greece – on a country, that is, whose human rights record suggests it may not be particularly careful when dealing with Syrian or any other refugees. Of course, Turkish co-operation had a price, and though Merkel had in the past steadfastly opposed the country’s bid for EU membership, now, having changed tack again and speaking on behalf of Europe as a whole, she promised Erdoğan expedited negotiations on accession as a reward for preventing the Syrian refugees she had invited to enter Germany from entering Greece. …

So immigration once again became ‘Europeanised’ while Europe became more ‘Germanised’ than ever. Merkel’s highest priority is to avoid having to close the German border, as Denmark and Sweden have closed theirs: closed borders make for ugly pictures, and they also make German voters wonder whether it’s worth paying for Europe if they have to stop at the border when they go on holiday. Moreover, German businesses have begun claiming that the end of Schengen would cost billions of euros because of time lost at Europe’s internal borders, as well as tens of thousands of jobs. Even so, the German public had to be given a reason to believe that the number of immigrants coming to Germany is going to drop. EU member states must therefore agree to take a share of the immigrants invited by Germany, even though they weren’t consulted before Merkel made her offer. The number of migrants can have no upper limit, or Obergrenze, a term that Merkel’s PR machine has declared anathema, and that has consequently become a signifier in German public discourse of Fremdenfeindlichkeit (xenophobia, if not racism). It’s difficult, however, for member countries to commit to letting in a defined proportion of an undefined total number of migrants. So Visegrád-bashing – Visegrád representing the alliance of four Central European countries, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – followed Hungary-bashing, and German politicians started threatening Poland, of all countries, with financial punishment unless it fell in line with German-style ‘European solidarity’. …

The result of all the equivocation, double-talk and Merkelspeak, this difficult-to-disentangle mix of self-interest and sentimentality, is an immense political and institutional mess caused by the imposition on Europe of German policies disguised as European policies to which, supposedly, there is no alternative. This includes a restructuring of the citizenry through immigration, not just in Germany where it might seem economically or demographically expedient, but also in other European countries where it definitely isn’t. The result is rapidly rising anti-German sentiment in the form of anti-European sentiment, not only among political elites but also, most powerfully, among the electorate.

… The new ‘European question’ is whether the only way to protect Europe from the antics of a German chancellor and her increasingly personal rule is to dismantle centralised European regulations like Dublin and Schengen, along with the euro.

Back in 1999, I had dinner at a Hudson conference with General William Odom, head of the National Security Administration, where Mrs. Thatcher was the main speaker.

Earlier in the day, General Odom had given an eye-opening speech in which he described America’s huge military advantage over everyone else, and then offered his theory of why America maintained troops in Germany, Britain, Japan and South Korea. There were only two parts of the world industrialized enough to really matter to the U.S.: northwest Europe (Germany, France, and Britain) and northeast Asia (Japan, Korea, and China). Naturally, those countries would eventually go to war with each other, just as they did in the past, except that any possible war (e.g., Britain vs. Germany or Japan vs. China) would involve American troops on at least one side, and is therefore unthinkable.

During the Q&A after Mrs. Thatcher’s speech, Gen. Odom, who had spent years based in West Germany during the Cold War, challenged Mrs. Thatcher’s futile resistance in 1989-1990 to Chancellor Kohl’s successful plan to reunify the two Germanies after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Afterwards, Mrs. Thatcher came over to our table to continue the argument with General Odom over German unification, which went on for ten minutes of rising intensity, kind of like a baseball manager arguing with an umpire.

Eventually, Gen. Odom told the former Prime Minister, riffing on the 1960s Bill Cosby bit, that his ancestors had hid behind trees and shot her ancestors while they marched in their stupid red coats. They both laughed and invited us slightly agog onlookers to have a drink with them in the bar.

Their whole argument over German reunification was way over my head and security clearance, but I realize 17 years later that it’s becoming more relevant. As far as I can recall, General Odom’s view was that the intention of the Cold War was tear down the Berlin Wall, which ultimately meant acceding to German reunification. (Besides, the longer an American spends on the Continent conversing with Continentals the less the offshore islanders’ role in European history looks less like liberty, as we Americans learn our history from articulate English spokesmen like Winston Churchill, George Orwell, and Paul Johnson, and more like piracy.)

Mrs. Thatcher’s view was that for 500 years or so, HMG’s highest priority was to prevent any single continental power from becoming the hegemon of Europe. Germany might look kind of dilapidated from the strain of reunification in 1999, but in the long run it was the obvious focus of traditional British divide and rule balance of power strategems when the old game of nations restarted itself.

Ms. Merkel seemed to hope in 2015 that an extravagant act of virtue signalling by taking in refugees would disarm London’s traditional anti-hegemon immune systems, allowing Germany to rule Europe under the guise of being pro-diversity, just as the Bush Administration had made sure to always have a black Secretary of State when invading foreign countries for diversity Pokemon Points. The American hyperpower had been practicing Invade the World / Invite the World since 1965 and nobody seems to have called Washington on it yet, so why shouldn’t Berlin finally get in on the game too?


It only recently dawned on me that the U.S. involvement in the Italian War, first fighting the Italian army in North Africa and Sicily, and then fighting the Germans in Italy all the way up into 1945, made Italian mass culture extremely fashionable in the U.S.

Here for example is a 1944 New York Times “News of Food” column announcing “Pizza, a Pie Popular in Southern Italy, Is Offered Here for Home Consumption.”

Once you recognize the pattern, you can see all sorts of examples. For example, Frank Sinatra’s first spell of superstardom was with bobby-soxers in 1944-45.

But the pattern of this quite amiable process has largely been forgotten because it doesn’t fit into the current penchant for portraying the American past as one unending story of prejudice and hate and horror:

Screenshot 2016-05-29 16.28.07


From the NYT:

The End of Black Harlem
Newcomers say gentrification is about wealth, not race. But that’s a distinction without a difference.

… There is something about black neighborhoods, or at least poor black neighborhoods, that seem to make them irresistible to gentrification. Just look at U Street in Washington or Tremé in New Orleans. “Everywhere I travel in the U.S. and even in Brixton, in London, a place as culturally vibrant as Harlem, wherever people of color live, we and the landmarks that embody our presence, unprotected, piece by piece, are being replaced,” said Valerie Jo Bradley, who helped found the preservation advocacy group Save Harlem Now!

Well, not exactly. A more accurate way of looking at it is that blacks acquired a number of close-in neighborhoods — Harlem, most of Washington DC, the south lakefront of Chicago, a huge swathe of Los Angeles between the beach and downtown, etc. — and then held onto them longer than would have happened if they had been less violent. Black crime allowed blacks to afford otherwise desirable urban neighborhoods for longer than less violent groups, who got economically or ethnically cleansed from their neighborhoods with little muss or fuss.

Slowly, especially in New York City, crime has been brought under better control, which means no part of Manhattan will stay a slum.

The Obama Administration, going back to its Chicago roots, has close financial ties to urban real estate interests, such as the Pritzkers. The very first conversation between the young Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Dreams from My Fathers: A Story of Race and Inheritance is a discussion of the spiritual adviser’s secretary’s plan to move to the suburbs and why Wright opposes that. (Wright eventually retired to a 10,000 sq. ft. house in a golf course development in a highly white suburb).

So, the Obama Administration has paid particular attention to greasing the skids under urban blacks so they won’t face any resistance to their abandoning all the potentially valuable real estate they occupy and moving to less fashionable locations. For example, the Obama Administration has been at war with Dubuque, Iowa over its resistance to Chicago plans to relocate Chicago’s poor, violent blacks to Dubuque. Obviously, the liberal Democrats running Chicago are liberal Democrats so they can’t be racist in their desire to pawn their troublesome Chicago blacks off on the small city losers of Dubuque, who are no doubt vicious racists, just look at them.

The general term chosen by the Obama Administration for this strategy of dumping the hot potato of poor blacks on the rest of the country to create trillions in new value for urban real estate interests is Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. I suspect this awkward term was chosen to dissuade talk radio hosts from taking it up because it’s hard to say without sounding like Daffy Duck.

My position on all this is that poor blacks will always be a hot potato that powerful interests are plotting to dump on less well-connected Americans. That’s always going to happen, but at least we can have fair arguments about the machinations if we all lay our cards on the table and publicly criticize each other in open debates.


Via SlateStarCodex, here are some futurist predictions for the year 2000 by John Elfreth Watkins Jr. in the December 1900 issue of Ladies Home Journal. This list is fairly well-known for being pretty reasonable, so it’s worth looking at for suggestions of how to make decent predictions and how to avoid mistakes that even a fellow who was pretty good at it fell for.

A lot of the predictions involve advances in transportation, such as automobiles replacing horses for everything except as a luxury good, and advances in comfort, such as:

Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.

Most of that is right, although central A/C plants are fairly rare, but they do exist (I can recall one plant being built on the south edge of Chicago’s Loop to cool multiple office buildings in the 1990s).

Infrastructure is a tricky thing to forecast with precision. Willis Carrier is said to have invented air conditioning a couple of years later in 1902, so people were thinking about it. And Americans already were prodigious consumers of ice. (The ice from Thoreau’s Walden Pond in Concord, MA was exported to the Caribbean.)

But guessing whether the economies of scale of a future technology will be best to have window air conditioners, central air conditioning, or a plant for the whole city is very hard. Scale was part of the famous battle between Edison and Tesla/Westinghouse over DC vs. AC electricity. Direct current would require a separate power plant for, say, each square mile, which seemed pretty reasonable. But AC could electrify the countryside as well as the city.

Here are some other predictions:

Prediction #1: There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next. Europe, seeking more territory to the south of us, will cause many of the South and Central American republics to be voted into the Union by their own people.”

This was just after the Spanish-American War of 1898 in which the U.S. liberated Cuba and acquired Puerto Rico. So one of Watkins’ secrets was to predict stuff that already was happening.

Instead, however, anti-Americanism emerged in Latin America. But lots of people from Latin America moved to the U.S., so his population estimate turned out not to be too inflated. (The U.S. population was 282 million in 2000 and is approaching 324 million today.)

By the way, making population estimates for the distant future is an American tradition. For example, Abraham Lincoln told Congress in 1862 that the population of the United States in 1930 would be 251,680,914. This tradition goes back to Benjamin Franklin’s estimate that the population was doubling every 20 to 25 years even without immigration in his 1754 pamphlet Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, an anti-immigration tract that was hugely stimulating to advanced thought on both sides of the Atlantic, but now has been written out of American history for reasons of political incorrectness.

Prediction #2: The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs. The city house will practically be no more. Building in blocks will be illegal. The trip from suburban home to office will require a few minutes only. A penny will pay the fare.

The height increase might have been slightly understated.

But stick to simple uni-directional predictions. Don’t try to pull off complicated predictions like: by 2000, the poor will be fatter than the rich. Too many moving parts.

Life expectancy was already about 47 years in 1900, so his prediction of 50 by 2000 was pretty bad. The commute time estimate was optimistic.

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling. …

We certainly have a lot of gyms these days. On the other hand, walking ten miles sounds quaint to our ears.

Prediction #16: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. Russian will rank second. …

There were all sorts of reform movements around 1900 for simplifying English, the calendar, weights and measures, etc. For example, plutocrat Andrew Carnegie insisted that his articles on golf be published with simplified spelling. In 1906, Teddy Roosevelt issued an Executive Order requiring all federal documents be published using the 300 reformed spellings promoted by Carnegie’s organization, but Congress overrode TR later that year.

In the U.S., nearly all of these reform efforts failed.

Even so, English is “more extensively spoken than any other.” I don’t think Russian is second, but that wasn’t too bad a guess.

Prediction #22: Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. They will at first connect with the private houses of the wealthy; then with all homes. Great business establishments will extend them to stations, similar to our branch post-offices of today, whence fast automobile vehicles will distribute purchases from house to house.

When Watkins was writing, Paris already had a huge network of pneumatic tubes for mail. It finally closed in 1984. Watkins had a pretty good sense of coming improvements in telecommunications, which is mostly what headed off Pneumatic Tube World from coming true. Once again, the exact type of infrastructure is hard to forecast.

Prediction #26: Strawberries as large as apples will be eaten by our great great grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence. Raspberries and blackberries will be as large. One will suffice for the fruit course of each person. Strawberries and cranberries will be grown upon tall bushes. Cranberries, gooseberries and currants will be as large as oranges. One cantaloupe will supply an entire family. Melons, cherries, grapes, plums, apples, pears, peaches and all berries will be seedless. Figs will be cultivated over the entire United States.

Strawberries are indeed huge, but they don’t taste like much, and they seem to be used more as decorations on fancy brunch buffets than as food. Unfortunately, strawberries are not grown up tall bushes, but instead we import stoop laborers to keep strawberries from rotting in the fields.


Dave Pinsen points out these two columns from last fall by Simon Kuper in the Financial Times:

Why we should welcome migrants

September 11, 2015 10:42 am

by Simon Kuper

‘Norway found oil under the seabed but it would have been better off if it had discovered 50,000 nurses there instead’

I love seeing Europeans line up in airports to applaud arriving refugees. But humanitarianism will not guide policy for long. We liberals need to argue from Europe’s self-interest: our continent has the need, the space and the ability to accept people. Here’s the pragmatic manifesto for welcoming refugees into Europe.

1. We need young workers” …

and from two months later:

Paris witness: Simon Kuper in the Stade de France

Last updated: November 14, 2015 1:03 am

by Simon Kuper

I was sitting in the stadium watching the France-Germany football match when I heard the first explosion. It was very loud, and seemed to come from just outside the stadium. Most people ignored it, or even cheered: football crowds are used to firecrackers. Even after the second explosion, a few minutes later, the crowd remained in good humour and the game continued. France-Germany is the sort of top-class entertainment that people live in Paris for: the world champions visiting the country that in seven months’ time is due to host the European Championships.

Hours after the game, we found out that two suicide attacks had killed five people and injured many more just outside the stadium, a few hundred metres from our seats. More than 100 died in the city centre in separate attacks.

“It was an evening of uncertainty, of trying to find out what on earth was happening. After the explosions, the crowd, bizarrely, continued to follow the match and cheer the French goals. I had stopped watching. I was on my laptop, following the rolling, horrible news, and asking myself: should I be raising my children here?” …


Gretchen Morgenson writes in the NYT:

Where More Women Are on Boards, Executive Pay Is Higher
Fair Game

Appointing more women to corporate boards has long been viewed as a good thing for a company’s performance and for society as a whole.

But gender diversity among directors carries another benefit, 2015 proxy filings show: a bigger paycheck for the company’s chief executive.

An analysis of C.E.O. pay at 100 large companies last year by Equilar, a compensation research firm in Redwood City, Calif., found that companies with greater gender diversity on their boards paid their chief executives about 15 percent more than the compensation dispensed by companies with less diverse boards. In dollars, this translated to approximately $2 million more in median pay last year among these companies.

This data, which comes from a smaller set than Equilar’s broader study of pay at the top 200 companies, doesn’t necessarily prove cause and effect, of course. There could be other reasons for the disparity, too. The more diverse companies could be bigger or more profitable than average, for example.

Still, it stumped me. For some reason, I had expected women directors to stand tougher on pay issues.

As a general rule, everything that sounds “progressive” and “appropriate” to modern Americans correlates with higher pay for CEOs.

Funny how that works …


The black cop really pounded the Mexican jerk in the gray t-shirt after his comrade in the red bandana tried to reach up and steal the black cop’s gun (at about 0:04 to 0:06):

Screenshot 2016-05-27 19.33.13

Cops really, really don’t like it when you grab for their guns.

The white cops then try to get their partner to calm down a little.

Commenter Anon writes:

“Person in the red bandana appears to be a chick.”


That explains why the black cop merely feints at her with his nightstick after she tries to grab his gun but then instead takes his anger out on the guy in the gray shirt … who pops up smiling a few seconds later. The black cop and the Mexican guy in the gray shirt appear to have a shared understanding of what a reasonable fight is like, but the girl in the red bandana does not and thus tried to escalate by grabbing the cop’s gun, which is not cool.

Ross Douthat writes on what it would take to elect Trump:

A lot of people would start with the economy, where the idea that we’re just one financial meltdown away from a Trump presidency has become the pessimist’s conventional wisdom lately.

I’m not so sure that’s the right way to look at Trump’s appeal, however. He’s done well with working-class voters, and his promise to bring back jobs has resonated, but it’s not as if he’s been riding to victory amid a swooning economy, or even an economy with the high unemployment rates that prevailed in 2012. Like Bernie Sanders, his populism has fed on stagnation and diminished expectations, not panic or collapse: Its success is the fruit of an unsatisfying stability, not a vertiginous decline. A real collapse might actually not be good for his prospects, since the idea that America needs him to “blow things up” in Washington might seem considerably less appealing if the world economy were actually blowing up on its own.

In other words, Trump benefits more from things continuing on the course they are on. What does that imply?

The same logic might hold for a mass-casualty terrorist attack on American soil, another oft-cited Trump-versus-Clinton black swan. …

What Trump benefits most from, I suspect, is a more limited sense that things are out of control — a feeling of anxiety about the world that pulses through your TV set or your computer screen but hasn’t yet hit your neighborhood or family or bank account directly.

You left out more rioting by the left.

Say the girl in the red bandana got ahold of the black cop’s gun and it went off, killing him.

Where would we be?

The Administration has been egging on urban unrest by blacks, which has already led to two outbreaks of undocumented shopping in Ferguson and a big one in Baltimore. And the media have been urging on anti-Trump rioting by supporters of illegal immigration, as we saw again this week. The press has been spinning the anti-Trump mobs as Trump is causing the violence against his own supporters, but in an age when smartphone video goes viral, that kind of propaganda power is harder to maintain than in the past.

I doubt that white Bernie Bros will riot against Hillary at the Democratic Convention, but that’s not impossible either.

George Soros should pay his minions to spend the next six months at the beach rather than cost Hillary the election.


Old Italian laundry detergent commercial from around 2007:

New Chinese laundry detergent commercial from 2016:

From Murdoch’s

Is this the most racist commercial ever made?
MAY 27, 20164:15PM

THIS Chinese commercial for laundry detergent is being labelled the most racist ad ever made. …

It’s worth pointing out that the ad is a remake of an Italian commercial made almost ten years ago which featured a woman washing a white man with a product aimed at treating “colours”. To the woman’s delight, the man emerges from the process black. The slogan for the Italian product, Coloreria laundry powder, was: “Colour is better”.

However, those behind the Chinese remake somehow managed to turn a clever idea into one of the most blatantly racist videos that has ever appeared on TV.

Who is more likely to keep their countries when this happens:

the Europeans or the East Asians?

I visited London in both 1980 and 1987.

I can recall riding the tube into Victoria Station in 1987 on my honeymoon and thinking, “Wow, the last time I was on this train there weren’t so many white single mothers (without wedding rings) with half-black babies. Ladies of London, I’m from Chicago so I know about these things. Are you sure you’re making the right life decisions?”

According to the Washington Post:

China and India have a huge problem with racism toward black people

I dunno … Judging from U.N. population forecasts, Europe has a bigger problem.


Screenshot 2016-05-27 15.56.17

From the NYT:

Chicago’s Murder Problem

There was a time when it looked as if Chicago would follow New York and Los Angeles into a kind of sustained peace. Then progress stalled in 2004, and the city has been through some harrowing years leading up to another alarming spike in homicides this year.

Already embroiled in a crisis over race and police conduct, Chicago now faces a 62 percent increase in homicides. Through mid-May, 216 people have been killed. Shootings also are up 60 percent.

A big factor is that the nice white liberal Democrats of New York defeated five consecutive Democratic candidates for Mayor from 1993 through 2009, instead electing crime-fighters Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. You can see Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk program in the graph below of “Change in Weapons Cases Since 2001.” While there is a lot that the Democratic politicians of Chicago can get away with, what with being Democrats and all, they can’t get away with that.

Screenshot 2016-05-27 15.58.09

Guns Are a Key Difference

People who know both cities say there are some significant differences in policing, especially around the issue of guns.

The homicide rate in Chicago is just a little higher than in New York when guns aren’t involved. But when it comes to shootings, both fatal and not, Chicago stands out, suggesting a level of armed interaction that isn’t happening in New York.

Chicago has a reputation for strict gun laws, and gun rights advocates often point to it as proof that gun regulation doesn’t reduce violence….

And Chicago is more lenient about illegal handguns than New York, prescribing a one-year minimum for possession versus three and a half years in New York. An attempt to match the New York law in 2013 was rejected by the Illinois legislature out of concern for skyrocketing incarceration rates for young black men.

New York also hired a lot more police officers in response to the crime of the 1990s, and, during its stop-and-frisk era of the 2000s, steeply increased gun enforcement.

Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk is effective gun control: the cops stop young black and Latino men because they don’t like the looks of them, pat them down, and if they are carrying a gun for which they don’t have a permit, off to prison they go. Of course, it’s also a massive violation of civil rights and it’s hard to imagine any less privileged city than New York (or possibly Washington DC) getting away with it for so many years. But more important white people live in NYC than wherever you happen to live, you loser, so the anti-discrimination rules don’t apply to the NYPD to the same extent as they do to your police department.

Chicago’s Police Department, overwhelmed, can respond only to the most serious problems, leaving citizens to feel responsible for their own security, he said.

“Everyone has to establish deterrence on a retail basis,” he said. “People carry guns in public because other people are carrying guns. It’s literally an arms race, a vicious cycle. There are lots of indications that New York City, by taking guns more seriously and hiring more officers, has gotten a lot of guns off the streets, creating a virtuous cycle.”

Another aspect is that stop-and-frisk drives young minority males out of town, first to prison then to less privileged cities where the cops can’t trample on civil rights to the extent they could for 12 years in New York City.

In Chicago, gang disputes are clearly a big part of homicides, said John Hagedorn, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studies Chicago gangs. “But these are not the same kind of disputes as before – they’re more localized disputes.”

Many of Chicago’s gangs have fractured, leading to more violence, said Arthur Lurigio, a criminology professor at Loyola University Chicago. While Latino gangs have remained more hierarchical, black gangs have splintered into small, disparate factions, whose disputes are less over territory and profits, and more over personal insults or shames, often fueled by social media, he said.

The late Gakirah Barnes

… In addition to making threats, individuals at times post their location on social media to prove to rivals that they’re tough, he said.

In one well-known instance, Gakirah Barnes, a Chicago gang member who was rumored to have killed or shot up to 20 rival gang members, referenced an address she frequented on Twitter.

Gakirah was a teenage girl.

In the tweet, provided by Dr. Patton, Ms. Barnes says “Lz,” which has multiple meanings in Chicago gang cultures, including living life, at address number 6347. Later that day, she was shot and killed near the address.

… “The shootings today are more spontaneous over day-to-day humiliations of youthful African-Americans,” he said.

In other words, legalizing drugs wouldn’t do much to stop Chicago blacks from shooting each other so much. They’ve largely been squeezed out of serious drug businesses, such as by the Mexican cartels, so they’re just shooting each other over low-level knuckleheadedness.

Of course, nobody wants to live around people like Gakirah Barnes who can afford not to. So, the places where the Garkirah Barneses live are “segregated,” which gives the NYT something to blame the proliferation of Gakirah Barneses upon besides Garkirah Barnes and her parents, cousins, and friends. It’s the fault of “segregation:”

Crime Persists in Chicago’s Most Segregated Neighborhoods

Whether exacerbated by gangs or guns, though, Chicago’s killings are happening on familiar turf: Its poor, extremely segregated neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. And many say that is Chicago’s real violence issue.

“Where do gangs come from? They tend to take root in the very same neighborhoods that drive these other problems,” said Robert J. Sampson, a professor at Harvard and the author of “Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect.” “You can’t divorce the gang problem from the problem of deep concentrations of poverty.”

“What predicts violent crime rates is concentrated poverty and neighborhood disadvantage, and what determines concentrated poverty is high levels of black segregation combined with high levels of black poverty,” said Douglas S. Massey, a sociology professor at Princeton University.

In Chicago, homicide rates correspond with segregation. While many areas have few or no killings, the South and West Sides are on par with the world’s most dangerous countries, like Brazil and Venezuela, and have been for many years.

Screenshot 2016-05-27 17.13.24

Well, the Austin neighborhood on the West Side (next door to still nearly crime-free Oak Park, IL) was segregated up until Martin Luther King came to Chicago and demanded open housing. Oddly, enough, Austin was basically crime free when it was all white. (So “segregation” is a euphemism for a neighborhood being filled with the dregs of the black race so that nobody else except blacks will live next to them. In contrast, there are completely black neighborhoods in Chicago, like Avalon Park, that are pretty much 100% black but have much lower homicide rates because they are middle class blacks.)

My in-laws, being nice liberal public school teachers and classical musicians, joined a liberal organization devoted to making integration work by promising not to sell out. Three years later, their children had been subjected to three felonies and the value of their two flat had fallen in half. They sold out.

So I guess it’s all their fault that Austin is the way it is.

Anyway, I think there are a few things going on that aren’t being mentioned in the article. First, I don’t think the crack wars of the early 1990s were ever that bad in Chicago, so they didn’t purge Chicago to the same extent of its most violent thugs, as tended to happen in NYC and LA. Also, rent didn’t go up as much in Chicago as in the two larger cities, so the black population has only recently started to fall. Another thing that’s going in NYC that’s kind of subtle is that more middle class West Indian and African blacks are replacing downscale American blacks to a greater extent than in Chicago. Also, there’s some evidence that the number of American black males in NYC is way down due to imprisonment and moving out to avoid stop-and-frisk, but that’s kind of tough to tell because it could be just black men dropping off the grid.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Black Crime, Race/Crime

Even in this age of the smartphone, is your military-age son too dumb to make his hegira to the EU without getting lost? Sure, you’ve been telling him for years about how Europe is the land of blondes, the dole, car-be-ques, and family reunification privileges, and he’s slavering to go. But can he really find his way, even with that new iPhone you gave him?

The chief salesman of the OECD’s PISA test writes for the BBC that PISA will soon measure Million Muslim Mob skills:

Pisa tests to include ‘global skills’ and cultural awareness
By Andreas Schleicher
OECD education director
25 May 2016

The next round of international Pisa tests will test the skills needed to live and work alongside people of different cultures

Pisa tests, an international standard for comparing education systems around the world, could include a new measurement of global skills in the next round of tests in 2018.

The OECD, which runs the tests in maths, reading and science, is considering adding another test which would look at how well pupils can navigate an increasingly diverse world, with an awareness of different cultures and beliefs.

The OECD’s education director Andreas Schleicher explains why there is such a need for new rankings to show young people’s competence in a world where globalisation is a powerful economic, political and cultural force.

Education leaders around the world are increasingly talking about the need to teach “global competences” as a way of addressing the challenges of globalisation.

Globalisation can mean different things to different people. …

For some “cross border migration” means being able to travel for work between different countries, while for others it means escaping from poverty and war.

Educators have been struggling with how to prepare students for the culturally diverse and digitally-connected communities in which they work and socialise.

In the past, education was about teaching people something.

Navigating a changing world: Globalisation can mean benefits and challenges

Now, it is also about making sure that children develop a reliable compass, the navigation skills and the character qualities that will help them find their own way through an uncertain, volatile and ambiguous world.

When he’s setting out in a rubber raft for Lesbos and ultimately for Cologne, Malmo, or Rotherham, you don’t want him to read his unreliable compass wrong and instead navigate himself onto the beach in Tel Aviv. That won’t get you and the rest of your clan any closer to that life of welfare dependency you’ve always dreamt of.

By the way, I’m not making these pictures or captions up. They’re from the BBC article by Schleicher.

Schools need to prepare students for a world where many will need to collaborate with people of diverse cultural origins.

They will need to appreciate different ideas, perspectives and values. It’s a world in which people need to decide how to trust and collaborate across differences.

Schools can provide opportunities for young people to learn about global development, equip them with the means of accessing and analysing different cultures, help students engage in international and intercultural relations, and foster the value of the diversity of people. …

The idea is to provide an internationally comparative Pisa assessment that would offer the first comprehensive overview of education systems’ success in preparing young people to have such global competence. …

How well can they comprehend other people’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings, and see the world from their perspectives?

Family life: A refugee family on the Greek-Macedonian border

How can they adjust their own thoughts, feelings or behaviours to fit new contexts and situations? Can they analyse and think critically in order to scrutinise information given to them?

There is also a discussion about looking at more general attitudes, such as the openness of students towards people from other cultures. What is their sensitivity towards, curiosity about and willingness to engage with other people and other perspectives on the world?

Pisa is just at the beginning of exploring how to measure these dimensions.

But comparative evidence from tests could help countries to study how well their students are prepared for life and employment in a globalised world.

An anti-globalisation protest earlier this year in Paris

It could find out how much their students are exposed to global news and how they understand and critically analyse global issues.

… But the OECD sees global competence as the centrepiece of a broader vision for 21st-Century education.

One thing that PISA could do is test the Merkel Youth to see just how much of an economic boon they will be to the advanced economies of Northern Europe. Surely, the next generation of BMW’s will be engineered by brilliant Syrian and Afghan youths, right? I mean, Germany couldn’t possibly look to, say, EU states in Eastern Europe for skilled workers. Didn’t you see Borat? Everybody knows that Eastern Europeans are all idiots.

As far as I can tell, PISA hasn’t looked into this, but its competitor TIMSS did test Syrians in 2007:

Back in 2007, Hungarian 8th graders scored the highest in Europe, with 10% reaching the Advanced, 36% the High, 61% the Intermediate, and 91% at least achieving the low benchmark.

In contrast, among Syrian 8th graders in peaceful 2007, 0% scored Advanced, 3% High, 17% intermediate, and 47% low.

So, in the top two levels of math skill, Hungarians outnumber Syrians 12 to 1.

At the bottom, only 9% of Hungarians fail to achieve the minimum Low benchmark vs. 53% of Syrians.


From San Francisco Magazine:

Willie Brown looks even more like Smug Pepe the Frog than Donald Trump does

Who Needs Love When You’ve Got Willie Brown?

Lauren Smiley | Photo: Aya Brackett and Drew Altizer | November 28, 2013

Ten years a trophy girlfriend—but still willing to work!

Sonya Molodetskaya—Russian refugee, aspiring boutique owner, mostly absentee immigrant rights commissioner, and decade-long lady friend of ex-mayor Willie Brown—has a zebra pelt on her living room floor. … The collection includes the tan mink parka that she was wearing when she stepped off the plane at SFO at age 24, back in 1996, after her parents forced her to leave her social life (and boyfriend) in Moscow and reinvent herself as a Russian Jewish émigré in the Outer Sunset.

But hers is no typical immigrant tale, as evidenced by the tower of orange Hermès boxes in the closet, the shelves of stilettos, the 2011 Jaguar convertible in the garage across the street, and the giant black-and-white painting on the living room wall: Molodetskaya wearing a lacy bra and—what else?—a fur, mob-wife style. …

“I can’t live this life sober,” she says in a rich accent that rolls out like a blend of Moscow and Queens. She’s joking—sort of. …

As we sip wine from the cellar of Molodetskaya’s financial district loft, we finally arrive at the juicy topic: her arrangement with the famously philandering ex–California assembly speaker and two-term San Francisco mayor, who technically left City Hall in 2004 but is still widely considered a one-man shadow government. She almost always calls her companion “Willie Brown,” even to his face, as if he were yet another brand name in her closet. (“He doesn’t like when people call him Willie,” she says. “I don’t think he likes his name.”) At 79, Brown could be Molodetskaya’s father (she’s 41); in fact, he’s five years older than her father. Not that age has slowed him down. “He’s never really been faithful to anybody,” she says. “He was always a playboy. So did he change for me? I don’t think so.” …

Molodetskaya’s candor makes it clear that she doesn’t live in the same über-PC town as the rest of us—she lives in Willie’s world. After all, her boyfriend and benefactor is a man who, in his titular Sunday column in the Chronicle, name-drops his political cronies, roasts his foes, and openly states that all contractors lowball bids—or ought to. A man with a stable of children ranging four decades in age, the youngest of whom was conceived with a fundraising associate during his marriage to Blanche Brown (they are still married, but have been amicably separated for decades). A man who back in the ’90s dated Kamala Harris, then a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, currently the state’s attorney general. A man who now has one half of the Bay Bridge named after him.

… Brown rose from segregated Texas shoe shiner to self-made San Francisco kingpin, and Molodetskaya has a similar rags-to-riches tale, having climbed rapidly from refugee saleswoman to society doyenne. Admittedly, her rise was fueled mostly by the power of association with the city’s most famous living politician. But it was also a product of her own disarming and, dare I say it, sincere charm.


Thomas B. Edsall writes in the NYT:

In sheer numbers, Clinton has suffered her biggest losses among men, especially white men. The percentage of college-educated white men who said they would vote for her dropped an astonishing 14 points from March to May (from 47 to 33 percent); among white men without college degrees, already a problem area for her campaign, Clinton’s support also fell, from 26 to 14 percent.

The concept of an electoral gender gap was introduced into public discourse by feminists shortly after the 1980 election. They pointed out that Reagan had done less well among women than among men. I pointed out in response that Reagan had just defeated a sitting president 51-41, so maybe Democrats should be wondering about their gender gap problem.

But the point of traditional feminist gender gap rhetoric is not to provide a tool for numerical analysis, it’s to delegitimize the other side’s voters as not quite deserving of human rights. How can Democratic candidates succeed with their strategy of demonizing men if are men still allowed to vote? Something must be done about male suffrage.

The question for the Clinton campaign is whether she can make up her losses among white men with gains among women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, other ethnic minorities, L.G.B.T.Q. activists and those who value the protection traditionally provided by the Democratic Party for — and Clinton’s reliable commitment to — the disadvantaged.

I think Hillary should commit more wholeheartedly to her Coalition of the Fringes campaign by adding a few more initials to L.G.B.T.Q.

The pressure to retain and increase minority support puts Clinton in another bind: How can she meet the demands of the minority poor for jobs and housing while simultaneously winning the support of more affluent voters repelled by Trump but in no way willing to have a lot of affordable housing built in their neighborhoods?

The Clinton gamble is that she can make these numbers work. But clearly her campaign will face substantial resistance.

So far her strategy has been to tack to the left.


Most of the political establishment supports open borders. I don’t. I’ve always been pro-immigrant but I believe that immigration is much too high. It’s driving down wages for ordinary working Americans. As a US Senator I’ll work to completely shut down illegal immigration and cut legal immigration by 50%. …

If you support Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul, I’m the candidate to consider.



BuzzFeed has started to pay for long-form investigative journalism recently, and one ripe area that is largely overlooked by the traditional MSM is immigration fraud. Thus, from BuzzFeed today:

Making The Grades
How one California university faked students’ scores, skated by immigration authorities — and made a fortune in the process

Molly Hensley-Clancy

BuzzFeed News Reporter
posted on May 26, 2016, at 2:28 p.m.

A college on the edge of Silicon Valley has turned itself into an upmarket visa mill, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found, deploying a system of fake grades and enabling thousands of foreign students to enter the United States each year — while generating millions of dollars in tuition revenue for the school and the family who controls it.

Spending millions on foreign recruiters, Northwestern Polytechnic University enrolls 99% of its students — more than 6,000 overall last year — from overseas, with little regard for their qualifications. It has no full-time, permanent faculty, despite having a student body larger than the undergraduate population of Princeton.
The school issues grades that are inflated, or simply made up, so that academically unqualified students can keep their visas, along with the overseas bank loans that allow the students to pay their tuition. For two years, top college administrators forbade professors from failing any students at all, and the university’s president once personally raised hundreds of student grades — by hand.

Those false credentials are all the students need to stay in the country. Many seek jobs in the tech industry, and their degrees allow them to remain working in the U.S. for years, avoiding the scrutiny of immigration officials that would have come if they had applied for a standard work visa.


Baylor’s all-time sack leader, defensive end Shawn Oakman, 6’9″ and 287 pounds, was arrested for sexual assault on a coed 2 weeks before NFL draft

As I’ve been pointing out for years, a standard way an ambitious coach raises the success level of a college football or basketball program is to dare to scrape the bottom of the behavioral barrel harder than rival coaches when recruiting giant young males. A statistically likely side effect is that more coeds on your campus get raped, but boosters can pay the young ladies off.

And since most of the football and basketball player rapists are black and their victims tend to be white, nobody has really wanted to talk about what’s going on terribly explicitly. Black-on-white rape is a stereotype, right? So therefore it’s nothing to worry about.

It’s much more socially acceptable to make up stories about Haven Monahan and the Duke lacrosse team menace. Haven Monahan shattered stereotypes, just like he shattered glass, so we should notice him, not all the black basketball and football player rapists who actually exist.

Finally, however, a college has fired its highly successful $6 million per year football coach over this. From the NYT (with my adding photos of the athletes referred to in the article):

Baylor Demotes President Kenneth Starr Over Handling of Sex Assault Cases
By MARC TRACY MAY 26, 2016

Kenneth W. Starr, the former independent counsel who delivered a report that served as the basis for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998, was removed as president of Baylor University on Thursday after an investigation found “fundamental failure” by the university in its handling of accusations of sexual assault against football players.

The university also fired the football coach, Art Briles, whose ascendant program brought in millions of dollars in revenue but was troubled by accusations of sexual assault committed by its players — an increasingly familiar combination in big-time college sports.

Mr. Starr was stripped of his title as university president but will remain Baylor’s chancellor and a professor at the law school. …

Critics have claimed that Baylor sacrificed moral considerations — and the safety of other students — for the sake of its winning football team. …

Mr. Starr, who was solicitor general and a federal judge before taking on the Clinton case, has been credited with raising hundreds of millions of dollars for Baylor, the country’s largest Baptist university, in part by yoking its fortunes to football. …

2003 victim

That Baylor had an apparently functioning athletic department was seen as an achievement in itself:

The university experienced one of the worst college sports scandals ever after a men’s basketball player murdered a teammate in 2003, with a subsequent investigation revealing drug use and payments to players, resulting in harsh N.C.A.A. penalties.

2003 murderer

Baylor said it had retained counsel for the possibility of an N.C.A.A. investigation into the latest transgressions.

The circumstances took on a new dimension nearly a year ago, when a former football player, Sam Ukwuachu, was convicted of sexually assaulting another Baylor athlete and sentenced to six months in jail.


During the trial, a former girlfriend of Mr. Ukwuachu’s testified that he had assaulted her several years earlier, when he had been a football player at Boise State.

Baylor denied that it had been apprised of Mr. Ukwuachu’s history; Boise State disputed that denial.


The Ukwuachu case came a year after Tevin Elliott, a former Baylor player, was convicted of sexually assaulting a Baylor freshman.

Two other Baylor students testified that Elliott also had sexually assaulted them. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Subsequent news reports have found several other accusations of sexual assault by Baylor athletes, including one against two players that Baylor did not investigate for more than two years.

A third Baylor football player, all-time school sack leader Shawn Oakman, 6’9″ and 287 pounds (who could play a cyborg in Demolition Man II), was arrested on a charge of sexual assault in April. He went undrafted two weeks later in the NFL draft.


From the WSJ:

Why Basketball Runs in the Family

A new WSJ study finds 48.8% of players are related to an elite athlete—that number is 17.5% for the NFL and 14.5% for MLB

More than any other professional sport, NBA basketball is a family business. For evidence, look no further than the reigning champion Golden State Warriors.

The father of two-time MVP Stephen Curry, Dell, played in the NBA for 16 seasons as an expert outside shooter. His brother, Seth, plays for the Sacramento Kings. Curry’s backcourt mate Klay Thompson is the son of Mychal Thompson, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Trail Blazers and two-time NBA champion. Warriors guard Brandon Rush has two brothers—JaRon and Kareem—who played in the NBA. Forwards Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala both had brothers play in college. And guard Shaun Livingston’s uncle played pro basketball in Germany.

This web of familial relationships is hardly unique to Golden State. In fact, it exists on every single NBA team, with athletic bloodlines that aren’t just limited to basketball.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, who led Golden State 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals before Tuesday’s Game 4, have a center, Steven Adams, whose sister has two Olympic gold medals in shot put. Nearly everyone in the family of Thunder teammate Kyle Singler is an elite athlete, including his father, Ed, who was a quarterback at Oregon State.

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of biographical data on every NBA player, 48.8% are related to current or former elite athletes—defined as anyone who has played a sport professionally, in the NCAA or at national-team level. While other leagues feature notable dynasties—the Manning’s of the NFL or the Griffey’s in baseball—only about 17.5% of NFL players and 14.5% of MLB players are related to other elite athletes, based on a similar study.

It would be helpful if they mentioned how close a relationship is required for their study.

The connectedness in the NBA likely comes down to the importance of height in elite basketball. The average NBA player is about 6-feet, 6-inches tall, which is 11 inches taller than the average American male, according to Census data.

Actually, young whites and blacks are taller than that. The federal government’s NHANES study of 2003-2005 found that the average 20-39 year old white male is 5’10.4″ in his bare feet, the average youngish black male is 5’10.0″, and the average youngish Hispanic is 5’7.1″.

The other factor is the intense over-representation of blacks relative to the entire American population, so that NBA players are drawn overwhelmingly from tall, athletic black families. (Also blacks tend to have more half-siblings and half-cousins, which might affect the data.)

Dynasticism in major league baseball increased in the late 20th Century, but I haven’t checked for the last decade or so. Perhaps the two top stars of the 1990s, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr., were sons of All-Stars. Before about the 1980s that kind of thing was rare in baseball. As the national pastime earlier in the 20th Century, most American boys got exposed to baseball, so baseball had a wide pick of talents. But in recent decades, other sports have become high paying as well (although big league baseball remains a very lucrative career), so early specialization has become more important.


From The Atlantic:

A Shocking Find In a Neanderthal Cave In France
A rock structure, built deep underground, is one of the earliest hominin constructions ever found.

by Ed Yong

… Some 336 meters into the cave, the caver stumbled across something extraordinary—a vast chamber where several stalagmites had been deliberately broken. Most of the 400 pieces had been arranged into two rings—a large one between 4 and 7 metres across, and a smaller one just 2 metres wide. Others had been propped up against these donuts. Yet others had been stacked into four piles. Traces of fire were everywhere, and there was a mass of burnt bones.

These weren’t natural formations, and they weren’t the work of bears. They were built by people. …

Their date? 176,500 years ago, give or take a few millennia.

“When I announced the age to Jacques, he asked me to repeat it because it was so incredible,” says Verheyden. Outside Bruniquel Cave, the earliest, unambiguous human constructions are just 20,000 years old. Most of these are ruins—collapsed collections of mammoth bones and deer antlers. By comparison, the Bruniquel stalagmite rings are well-preserved and far more ancient.

And if Rouzaud’s work made it unlikely that modern humans built the rings, Verheyden’s study grinds that possibility into the dust. Neanderthals must have been responsible. There simply wasn’t any other hominin in that region at that time.

“When you see such a structure so far into the cave, you think of something cultural or religious.”
Why did they build the rings and mounds? The structures weren’t foundations for huts; the chamber contains no stone tools, human bones, or any other sign of permanent occupation, and besides, why build shelter inside a cave? “A plausible explanation is that this was a meeting place for some type of ritual social behavior,” says Paola Villa from the University of Colorado Museum.

By the way, I try not to construct big theories that hinge upon one archaeological site, since estimated dates and interpretations tend to come and go. But this one is interesting, although I certainly won’t guarantee it will stand up in the long run.


From The Undefeated, formerly Jason Whitlock’s long-awaited website, on a topic I’ve often discussed:

Mission Impossible: African-Americans & analytics
Why blacks are not feeling the sports metrics movement


May 24, 2016

The mission was to find black folks who spend anytime talking about advanced analytics, whose conversations are framed by — or even casually include references to — win shares or effective shooting percentage, WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) or points per 100 possessions. It’s a failed mission so far. Totally empty. Conclusion: Advanced analytics and black folks hardly ever mix. Set aside the tiny handful of black men who make a living somewhere in the sports industry dealing directly with the numbers and there is absolutely zero mingling.

Log onto any mainstream website or media outlet (certainly any program within the ESPN empire) and 30 seconds cannot pass without extreme statistical analysis, which didn’t exist 20 years ago, hijacking the conversation. But not in “BlackWorld,” where never is heard an advanced analytical word. Not in urban barbershops. Not in text chains during three-hour games. Not around office water coolers. Not even in pressrooms or locker rooms where black folks who make a living in the industry spend all day and half the night talking about the most intimate details of sports.

Draymond Green playing by feel

Let’s take the Golden State Warriors locker room, for example. I thought the complete stiff-arming of the statistical revolution might very well be generational. Old black folks don’t, but younger black folks might.


I asked Draymond Green, the Warriors star whose new-age game is constantly being defined statistically, if he engages in any advanced analytics conversation either professionally or personally. His answer was emphatic.

“No. Neither. Professionally, I play completely off of feel. I hear people discussing my game in terms of all these advanced numbers. I have no part of it,” Green said. “Even paying attention to it, from a playing standpoint, would make me robotic and undermine my game.”

As Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

For example, in the first half of the 20th Century, the highly articulate Ty Cobb, the son of a college professor, tended to win the verbal debates over whether ballplayers should strive to hit line drives or, as the less intellectual Babe Ruth contended, swing with an uppercut to hit home runs. The fans sided with Ruth, but the sportswriters tended to side with Cobb, pointing to his even higher batting average, the traditionally most prestigious hitting statistic. But Ruth collected a huge number of walks (which aren’t counted in the batting average) due to pitchers fearing to throw one down the middle that he could hit out of the park, so more sophisticated statistical analysis has subsequently demonstrated what every 12 year old boy in America knew in 1923: Ruth was even better than Cobb.

As I pointed out in my 2011 Taki’s Magazine review of the movie Moneyball:

Smart middle-aged white guys really like baseball statistics. Sabermetrics provides men with a sheltered playpen in which to study nature and nurture with little risk of being called sexist or racist.

The bigger question is whether smart quantitatively-oriented white guys devote too much of their time to thinking hard about sports numbers (for which they are unlikely to become the object of Two Minutes Hates) rather than more important real world issues (at the risk of having their careers destroyed).

I’ve pointed out that blogger / psychiatrist Scott Alexander is a potential Bill James of psychiatric pharmaceuticals, a field of huge importance to human happiness that currently tends to lack sources of high quality independent critical analysis.

Real estate is another field in which moneyball techniques could be applied. As I’ve pointed out, economist Raj Chetty’s current project where he’s wheedled his way into access to an unbelievable trove of IRS 1040 data has revealed a whole series of interesting patterns. For example, states without many trees (e.g., the Dakotas) have done relatively better economically since 2007 than states with a lot of trees (e.g., the Carolinas), a reversal of the 1990s. But neither Chetty nor most of the journalists writing about his work have bothered to look hard at the implications of his numbers.

There’s a definite crimestop problem where almost anything could get you in trouble these days, leading to smart guys tending to go into playpens like sabermetrics where they won’t get Watsoned.


From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

The Mexico Way
by Steve Sailer
May 25, 2016

Why does Donald Trump dumb down his speeches?

For a clue, consider how badly the elite media continues to miss the point of the most notorious thing he ever said, this infinitely denounced passage in his June 16, 2015, speech announcing his candidacy:

Read the whole thing there.


From The Guardian:

Flirting with Trump? No, the US will vote for a Boulder solution
Will Hutton

Boulder, Colorado, has been voted the US’s happiest city, thanks to its urban planning, high level of healthcare and burgeoning service jobs

What Americans will look like in the future, unless Trump wins

A bar in Boulder, Colorado, where the hippy culture of the 1960s meets the digital revolution.
Photograph: Alamy
Saturday 21 May 2016 19.21 EDT

The future is here and it works. Importantly, it is not a conservative future. Boulder, Colorado, is not as famous as San Francisco or even Palo Alto – but this city of some 100,000, where the high plains end and the Rocky Mountains begin, is the leading American urban area of the 21st century. It is a bewildering alchemy of 1960s hippy culture, frontier technologies, thoughtful urban planning and burgeoning service jobs ranging from diet counselling to advanced road bike maintenance. Boulder has become the exemplar of how rich and satisfying urban life can be. It is also a Democrat stronghold.

It has been voted the US’s brainiest city, its happiest city, the country’s foodiest place and the number one city for health. It is a standing reproach to Donald Trump, and indeed Britain’s rightwing Brexiteers who ape his thinking. The place is booming around values and principles to which they are hostile – but attracting families, entrepreneurs and innovators from all round the US because it is such a delightful place in which to live and work.

Who wants to be in neighbourhoods that incorporate the values of Trump-style populists or their first cousins, the Brexiteers, where intolerance and hostility to others are the new normal?

If Boulder is the future, where are all the white people going to come from (as in all seven in the Guardian’s photo illustrating this essay)?

In the 2010 Census, Boulder was 0.9% black, 8.7% Hispanic (in a state that is 20.7% Hispanic), and 4.7% Asian. Boulder today is about as white as the United States was in the 1950s, and far less black than during Eisenhower’s days.

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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