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From today’s Guardian:

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees

‘We simply can’t do any more,’ prime minister says in announcing Sweden’s asylum regime will revert to EU minimum

David Crouch in Gothenburg
Tuesday 24 November 2015 13.17 EST

Sweden needs “respite” from the tens of thousands of refugees knocking at its door, the government has said, announcing tough measures to deter asylum seekers in a sharp reversal of its open-door policy towards people fleeing war and persecution.

The country’s generous asylum regime would revert to the “EU minimum”, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said on Tuesday, revealing that most refugees would receive only temporary residence permits from April.

Identity checks would be imposed on all modes of transport, and the right to bring families to Sweden would be severely restricted, he said. …

“It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today. We simply cannot do any more.”

The reversal in refugee policy, which follows the imposition of border controls two weeks ago, marks a policy choice the ruling red-green coalition would have considered unthinkable until asylum seekers began arriving this autumn at a rate of 10,000 a week. …

In other words, the government of Sweden didn’t have a clue how many poor people there are in the world who’d like to move to Sweden and collect welfare. But you can’t blame Sweden’s leaders for their ignorance. How could the government of Sweden possibly have known that many poor foreign countries have large populations? Those are HateStats!

The changes announced on Tuesday were particularly difficult for the Social Democrats’ junior coalition partner, the Green party, seen as the most refugee-friendly of Sweden’s main political parties. The Greens’ deputy prime minister, Åsa Romson, broke into tears as she announced the measures. …

Here’s video. It’s pretty funny (unless you are a Swede and she’s your deputy prime minister).

Sweden’s new asylum regime will apply for three years.


On 9/11 there were numerous reports of celebrating Middle Easterners in New Jersey, but this is the one that appears to have been most carefully documented. From ABC News on an incident that has since been pretty much memory-holed:

Were Israelis Detained on Sept. 11 Spies?

Millions saw the horrific images of the World Trade Center attacks, and those who saw them won’t forget them. But a New Jersey homemaker saw something that morning that prompted an investigation into five young Israelis and their possible connection to Israeli intelligence.

Maria, who asked us not to use her last name, had a view of the World Trade Center from her New Jersey apartment building. She remembers a neighbor calling her shortly after the first plane hit the towers.

She grabbed her binoculars and watched the destruction unfolding in lower Manhattan. But as she watched the disaster, something else caught her eye.

Maria says she saw three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. “They seemed to be taking a movie,” Maria said.

The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men’s faces. “They were like happy, you know … They didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange,” she said.

She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. Before long, the FBI was also on the scene, and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.

The plate number was traced to a van owned by a company called Urban Moving. Around 4 p.m. on Sept. 11, the van was spotted on a service road off Route 3, near New Jersey’s Giants Stadium. A police officer pulled the van over, finding five men, between 22 and 27 years old, in the vehicle. The men were taken out of the van at gunpoint and handcuffed by police.

The arresting officers said they saw a lot that aroused their suspicion about the men. One of the passengers had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock. Another was carrying two foreign passports. A box cutter was found in the van. But perhaps the biggest surprise for the officers came when the five men identified themselves as Israeli citizens.

According to the police report, one of the passengers told the officers they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan “during the incident” — referring to the World Trade Center attack. The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The other passengers were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.

When the men were transferred to jail, the case was transferred out of the FBI’s Criminal Division, and into the bureau’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which is responsible for espionage cases, ABCNEWS has learned.

One reason for the shift, sources told ABCNEWS, was that the FBI believed Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation. …

Steven Gordon, the attorney for the five Israeli detainees, acknowledged that his clients’ actions on Sept. 11 would easily have aroused suspicions. “You got a group of guys that are taking pictures, on top of a roof, of the World Trade Center. They’re speaking in a foreign language. They got two passports on ‘em. One’s got a wad of cash on him, and they got box cutters. Now that’s a scary situation.”

But Gordon insisted that his clients were just five young men who had come to America for a vacation, ended up working for a moving company, and were taking pictures of the event.

The five Israelis were held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, ostensibly for overstaying their tourist visas and working in the United States illegally. Two weeks after their arrest, an immigration judge ordered them to be deported. But sources told ABCNEWS that FBI and CIA officials in Washington put a hold on the case.

The five men were held in detention for more than two months. Some of them were placed in solitary confinement for 40 days, and some of them were given as many as seven lie-detector tests.

Since their arrest, plenty of speculation has swirled about the case, and what the five men were doing that morning. Eventually, The Forward, a respected Jewish newspaper in New York, reported the FBI concluded that two of the men were Israeli intelligence operatives.

Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of operations for counterterrorism with the CIA who is now a consultant for ABCNEWS, said federal authorities’ interest in the case was heightened when some of the men’s names were found in a search of a national intelligence database.

According to Cannistraro, many people in the U.S. intelligence community believed that some of the men arrested were working for Israeli intelligence. Cannistraro said there was speculation as to whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists in the area, particularly in the New Jersey-New York area.”

Under this scenario, the alleged spying operation was not aimed against the United States, but at penetrating or monitoring radical fund-raising and support networks in Muslim communities like Paterson, N.J., which was one of the places where several of the hijackers lived in the months prior to Sept. 11.

For the FBI, deciphering the truth from the five Israelis proved to be difficult. One of them, Paul Kurzberg, refused to take a lie-detector test for 10 weeks — then failed it, according to his lawyer. Another of his lawyers told us Kurzberg had been reluctant to take the test because he had once worked for Israeli intelligence in another country.

Sources say the Israelis were targeting these fund-raising networks because they were thought to be channeling money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, groups that are responsible for most of the suicide bombings in Israel. …

Despite the denials, sources tell ABCNEWS there is still debate within the FBI over whether or not the young men were spies.

I doubt if this was terribly important incident, although I have to say I was surprised to see how seriously the FBI took it.

My guess is that there are many casual ties between Israeli intelligence, Israeli business interests (e.g., telecom software), organized crime (e.g., the Ecstasy pill trade), and Israeli illegal immigrants in the U.S.

For example, I can vaguely recall decades ago the marketing research firm I worked for being subjected to intrusive “Israeli art students.” Were they selling bad paintings? Were they trying to spy on us? Both? It didn’t seem like any kind of sophisticated effort. What in the world kind of info could you steal by barging around the hallways of a consumer packaged goods research firm with the office manager trying to throw you out? It was more like just something that random aggressive Israeli young people might think might turn out to be a good idea. Or maybe they could sell some crummy paintings. Or maybe it would just be a fun adventure.

But that’s how good intelligence systems work: you can’t afford to pay for full timers to cover everything, so you exchange gossip with merchants and journalists on your side and encourage them to be pushy about finding out stuff.

For example, the Tom Hanks character in Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” is portrayed as a humble insurance lawyer who just happens to get picked by the local bar association to defend the arrested Soviet spymaster Rudolf Abel. But in reality, the man Hanks portrays had been the head lawyer for the CIA’s predecessor, the OSS, in WWII. After the war he went into commercial law because it pays better than being a government lawyer. But the American government continued to trust him to handle delicate deals, just as the remarkably prosperous East German lawyer he negotiated the Francis Gary Powers swap with had been vetted by his side.

As far as I can tell, U.S. intelligence is fairly hamstrung by fear of leaks and traitors. For example, a friend applied for a job as a CIA analyst, but it took forever for the security checks so he took a job in private industry instead. My impression is that Israeli intelligence is more free-wheeling because it trusts Israeli Jews (with the exception of that technician who spilled the beans that, yes, Israel has nukes). But I’m speculating because what do I know?



To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, let’s ponder the fact that the young Barack Obama really did help Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe write this embarrassingly sophomoric-sounding article. Here’s the abstract that reads like a Sokal Hoax:

The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn From Modern Physics

Laurence H. Tribe
Harvard Law Review (Impact Factor: 3.95). 11/1989; 103(1):1. DOI: 10.2307/1341407

Twentieth-century physics revolutionized our understanding of the physical world. Relativity theory replaced a view of the universe as made up of isolated objects acting upon one another at a distance with a model in which space itself was curved and changed by the presence and movement of objects. Quantum physics undermined the confidence of scientists in their ability to observe and understand a phenomenon without fundamentally altering it in the process. Professor Tribe uses these paradigm shifts in physics to illustrate the need for a revised constitutional jurisprudence. He argues that judges and lawyers need to recognize the profound impact that the law has in shaping the social background. This background is too often taken as given. Judges, in particular, cannot simply reach in and resolve disputes between individuals without permanently altering the legal and social space. The very act of judging alters the context and relationships being judged. Professor Tribe concludes that, while perspectives resembling those of modern physics have been integrated into some of the most important constitutional cases decided during the twentieth century, the current Supreme Court shows an unfortunate tendency toward relying too often on visions of society and knowledge that have long been rejected as overly formal and sterile.

According to Tribe, Obama did the physics parts for him, so you know it’s legit.

Is this where Obama got that “arc of history bends toward” whatever he feels like trope? Is the full article available online anywhere?

Update: Thanks to commenter Handle, here’s the full paper, which indeed thanks Barack Obama. Here’s the official “Summary:”

… Early in our nation’s history it was commonplace, for example, to say that the 1787 Constitution was Newtonian in design, with its carefully counterpoised forces and counterforces, its checks and balances, structured like a “machine that would go of itself” to meet the crises of the future. … The dissenters, in what I would praise as an admirably post-Newtonian insight, concluded that it belied reality to contend that the state had done nothing with respect to Joshua. … From a post-Newtonian perspective, Boddie is the more dramatic case and provides the stronger parallel to DeShaney. … B. The Tentative Emergence of a Post-Newtonian Paradigm … This school board focus creates the perception that white flight is an insoluble problem. … The constitutional violation Kennedy identifies is all but invisible unless one takes a post-Newtonian perspective. … The first is empirical — which paradigm best explains the available “data”? Although the mathematics needed to work it all out is complex, Einstein’s theory is not only simpler in basic conception and more elegant in design than Newton’s; it makes better predictions about a number of real-world phenomena — including the degree to which a star’s light ray that passes in the sun’s vicinity appears to be deflected by the sun’s mass when visible during a solar eclipse. … The Einsteinian paradigm is, in this way, more progressive than the Newtonian paradigm. … In this way, the post Newtonian legal paradigm is more progressive than the Newtonian
paradigm. …

Here’s never-before-seen video of Tribe and Obama writing “The Curvature of Constitutional Space” together:


Since we all know by now that Islamophobia is a baseless delusion, former Irving, TX 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed is suing random deep pockets for $15 million, which would pay for ample slave labor in the family’s new home in Qatar.

- In other Clock Boy news, the Mohamed clan has filed a patent lawsuit asking for a penny annual royalty per each of the estimated 50 billion clocks in use, which would amount to, in the words of the filing, “a whole lot of money.”

- A copyright lawsuit over ownership of the concept of “time™” has been mooted as well. Ahmed’s father is weighing a subpeona of noted legal expert on time and space, Barack Obama, who helped Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe write “The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn from Modern Physics.”

- Also, Clock Boy’s older sister is negotiating with the E! Network for Kris Kardashian Jenner, the mother of celebrities Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kylie, and Kendall, to produce a reality show about the family to be entitled Klock Kid in Katar. But negotiations are currently stalled over the Qatari royal family’s refusal to change the spelling of their country to suit the Kardashian Klan’s branding preference for the letter K.

Ahmed’s sister has threatened to open negotiations instead with veteran reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who recently displayed his independence from his ex-wife’s emasculating machinations by choosing to call himself Caitlyn instead of Kaitlyn.


With student protesters worked up over universities’ historical figures, such as former Princeton president Woodrow Wilson, it’s worth taking a look at Stanford, the central engine of vastly wealthy Silicon Valley.

One thing you don’t hear articulated much is that Stanford — and thus Silicon Valley — was America’s hotbed of eugenics theorizing and IQ testing.

The first American IQ test, the Stanford-Binet, was created just before World War I by Lewis Terman, who went on to do the first long-term tracking study of high IQ individuals, The Genetic Studies of Genius or Terman’s Termites. (Future Nobel Physicist William Shockley famously just missed scoring high enough to qualify.)

Lewis Terman’s son Fred Terman, Stanford’s longtime Dean of Engineering, is often called the Father of Silicon Valley. Fred Terman, the mentor of Hewlett & Packard, both devised the high tech start-up model for Silicon Valley and brought in huge amounts of Cold War spending on aerospace electronics that paid for the Valley’s tech infrastructure.

The other main candidate for the role of the Father of Silicon Valley, physicist / eugenicist William Shockley, was hired as a Stanford professor by his friend Fred Terman.

It’s almost as if there’s a pattern that Stanford and Silicon Valley believe that intelligence matters and that it’s not wholly malleable through social engineering … But of course that has all been discredited, as demonstrated by Silicon Valley’s lavish hiring of non-Asian minorities for engineering jobs.

Stanford’s connection to now unfashionable ideas goes back before even the Terman dynasty to its first president David Starr Jordan. From a Bahai website:

Dr. David Starr Jordan (1851-1931), President of Stanford University

David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. (January 19, 1851 – September 19, 1931) was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.

Jordan was born in Gainesville, New York, and studied at Cornell University, Butler University, and the Indiana University School of Medicine. While at Cornell University, Jordan joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity.

In 1885, he was named President of Indiana University, becoming the nation’s youngest university president at age 34 and the first Indiana University president that was not an ordained minister.

In 1891, he became president of Stanford University, serving there as president until 1913 and chancellor until his retirement in 1916.

Jordan served as a Director of the Sierra Club from 1892 to 1903.

Although well regarded as an ichthyologist, Jordan was best known for being a peace activist. He argued that war was detrimental to the human species because it removed the strongest organisms from the gene pool.

Jordan was president of the World Peace Foundation from 1910 to 1914 and president of the World Peace Conference in 1915, and opposed U.S. involvement in World War I.

In 1925, Jordan was an expert witness for the defense in the Scopes Trial.[2] That same year, he was a listed member in the Bohemian Club and the University Club in San Francisco.

He served as a member of the initial board of trustees of the Human Betterment Foundation, a eugenics organization established in Pasadena, California in 1928 in order to compile and distribute information about compulsory sterilization legislation in the United States, for the purposes of eugenics.

Also, it’s fun to speculate that president Jordan poisoned the mother of Leland Stanford Jr. with strychnine.


Screenshot 2015-11-23 14.46.42From, an official Princeton University website with the ominously dystopian slogan “Many voices, one future” (which sounds like an Orwellian boy band):

Latinx & LGBTQA– Exploring Intersections

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Carl Fields Center (58 Prospect Ave), Multipurpose Room

Fund for Reunion/Princeton BTGALA with support from the Fields Center, Intersecting Queer Identities, the LGBT Center, Program in American Studies, Program in Latino Studies, and Women*s Center

This panel discussion will explore the identities and experiences of activists, academics, and community members who identify as both Latinx and part of the LGBTQA community. Panelists include: Elicia Gonzales (Executive Director of GALAEI – Queer Latin@ Social Justice), the Honorary Representative Mary González from the State of Texas (the first openly pansexual elected U.S. official), Jose Gutierrez (Founder of the Latino GLBT History Project and Co-Founder at Dicción Queer), and Isa Noyola (Program Manager at the Transgender Law Center and Advisory Board Co-Chair of El/La Para TransLatinas).

Screenshot 2015-11-23 15.51.40 The panel will be facilitated by Brian Eugenio Herrera, Assistant Professor of Theater and author of LATIN NUMBERS: Playing Latino in 20th Century U.S. Popular Performance.

Thank goodness that Latino@s and Latinxs — not to mention BTGALAs, LGBTs, LGBTQAs, GALAEIs, and GLBTs — all have straight cisgender non-Hispanic white males to hate. Otherwise they might just have a hard time getting along with each other.

• Tags: The Black Autumn

One of the forerunner events for the current Black Autumn on American campuses was the defacing and removal of the statue of arch-imperialist Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town last spring.

So, with the new 32 American Rhodes Scholars being announced over a weekend otherwise devoted on campuses to agitation involving The Black Autumn (to focus on universities with ongoing BLM brouhahas, here are press releases from Princeton celebrating its four new Rhodes Scholars and a Harvard Crimson story about Harvard’s five new Rhodes Scholars), it’s worth reflecting on the well-known history of this most celebrated of scholarships.

With Princeton’s president’s office being occupied by black demonstrators demanding the eradication of the name of the anti-imperialist Woodrow Wilson (see video), it’s a bit ironic that Princeton is simultaneously celebrating garnering four scholarships named after the most flamboyant imperialist in the history of the English-speaking world.

Rhodes, founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond monopoly of South Africa, funded the Rhodes Scholarships in his will as a refinement of his long-treasured plan to launch a covert conspiracy to ensure that Anglo-Saxons ruled the world. Rhodes’ first will, written in his early 20s, articulated his original conception:

To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity.

But by his last will, Rhodes had achieved one of the great insights of 20th Century affairs: while secret conspiracies of the Masonic / Jesuit ilk sound like fun, they’re not as effective as public conspiracies in which the conspirators issue press releases about how amazing they all are. (This is the reason that PR-intensive Davos has overcome secretive Bilderberg.)

So, Rhodes switched his will from funding his “Secret Society” to his very public Rhodes Scholarships that bring hard-chargers from across the North Atlantic to Oxford for enculturation and networking at an impressionable age. The most prominent living Rhodes Scholar is likely term-limited former President Bill Clinton, who is currently maneuvering to move back into the White House.

So, with all the recent emphasis in campus protests on obscure bits of historical racism, you might think that the news media today would be full of reports of idealistic students turning down their Rhodes Scholarships to protest this extremely flagrant symbol of the history of white supremacy. And the husband of the Democratic frontrunner might renounce his Rhodes Scholarship and return the money, with interest.

But … that’s not how things work.

Instead, while the Black Autumn on campus is a low-brow grift for affirmative action admittee self-promoters, the Rhodes Scholarships are a high-class grift for superstar self-promoters. They are better off cooperating against everybody else than competing with each other.

• Tags: The Black Autumn


Commenter Abe writes:

But, of course, if post-Puritan whites actually do let this get out-of-hand, isn’t there something darkly comical in some of the most valuable brands in the world (and a Harvard BA is probably still barely just beating a Stanford BA for most valuable brand on the planet right now) going into the crapper, just like how post-Puritan whites almost let the same thing happen to the most valuable real estate in America (NYC) during the 70′s and 80′s?

circa 2030
Abe: No, seriously, I remember there was a time when Harvard Square could go for weeks, even months, without a stabbing or a shooting…
Facebook Friend Douche: BULL-SHEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!

circa 2035
Black Justice League: And we demand more black faculty and enhanced diversity training at the University of Phoenix, especially given its shameful history in segregating minority students into such sub-standard colleges as Yale, Princeton, and MIT.

circa 2060
Janet Napolitano’s preserved head: You build me an orbiting space station at 250 miles, I’ll show you a space ladder that goes to 251.

circa 2500
Overlord Merkel: We can no longer afford to live in the past as if it were still 2480. Cheap faster-than-light travel means we must welcome Milky Way immigrants suffering in their hellish spiral galaxy region to our prosperous and privileged asteroid belt.

circa 3100
Hivemind Kristof: Verily the databanks weep at our most ungenerous welcome toward the refugees from the Earth-1 Reality. Have we so quickly forgotten how we abandond them in the harsh, underserved Universe to live our comfortable lives in this singularity? Sure it’s infintiely dense here already, but that just means we’ll have no problem absorbing an extra 10E+115 new human souls (plus their 10E+97 pitbulls). Why, ’tis SCIENCE!

• Tags: The Black Autumn

From the New York Times:

7 New York City Schools Will Reserve Slots for Disadvantaged Students

Taking a small step to address segregation in New York City schools, the Education Department announced on Friday that it would allow seven [elementary] schools to reserve slots for children from low-income or non-English speaking families.

Six of the seven schools that will change their policies are unzoned, meaning that they admit students by lottery rather than by drawing from the surrounding neighborhood, the Education Department said. Under the pilot program, students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, are in the child welfare system, are English-language learners or have incarcerated parents would be given priority in those lotteries.

Did that just say there would be affirmative action for children who “have incarcerated parents”?

Is that really a prudent way to pick your admittees? Do you get double Pokemon points if both your parents are in jail?

Is it a good incentive to encourage people to say, “I’m not dealing crack for the money, I’m doing it to get my kid into a good school”?

Knowing how obsessive New York City white parents are about their children’s schools, will in a few years white kids be showing up at these schools claiming to be the in vitro-fertilized offspring of Bernie Madoff?


One of the weirder trends in American discourse these days is the decline in any sense of how long ago specific dates in the past were when asserting theories of historical causality. Black students at Princeton are oppressed by Woodrow Wilson, while Genius T. Coates blames everything on FDR’s FHA.

For example, here’s a big article in The Atlantic about how the current troubles of black people in Syracuse, NY are due to the construction of an elevated highway during the Eisenhower Administration:

How to Decimate a City

Syracuse thought that by building a giant highway in the middle of town it could become an economic powerhouse. Instead, it got a bad bout of white flight and the worst slum problem in America.


The article doesn’t explain exactly when I-81 was built, but does say the money was raised in 1956, which was 59 years ago.

Commenters have jumped in to top the article’s sense of historical causality by saying that it wasn’t really the highway that ruined Syracuse economically, it was construction of the New York Central railroad and/or the Erie Canal, which was during the Clinton Administration (DeWitt Clinton, that is).

Screenshot 2015-11-22 18.33.39Nor is it fashionable to compare geographies to reality check one’s theories. For example, lots of upstate New York cities didn’t build elevated highways through downtown, but are also struggling today.

Conversely, about the same time as the Syracuse highway, Sherman Oaks/Encino in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley was sliced up by two freeways, the 101 (the Ventura Freeway) and the 405 (the San Diego Freeway).

So you can just imagine what an urban wasteland Sherman Oaks is today with all that transportation infrastructure. Here’s the bar in the lobby of the Arclight Cinemas Sherman Oaks ($16 per ticket), overlooking the 405 a block south of the 101. The window on the right is about 20 feet from the freeway:

Seriously, the problem with upstate New York today is that it was the high tech manufacturing capital of America in the 19th Century due to abundant waterfalls to drive mills and the influx of enterprising post-Puritan Yankees from nearby New England. There is still a lot of tech in upstate New York. Corning’s Gorilla Glass, that amazingly durable material in smartphone screens, was R&Ded in upstate New York (although it’s manufactured in Kentucky and overseas).

But mill streams and canals as economic resources passed their peaks maybe 125-175 years ago, so upstate New York is overbuilt with small cities that made brilliant economic sense at one time but not any longer. Cheap houses and generous welfare programs keep people around.


A press release from Princeton University:

University, students reach agreement on campus climate concerns
Posted November 19, 2015; 08:45 p.m.

University officials reached agreement with student demonstrators over a series of steps to improve the campus climate, ending a 32-hour sit-in at the president’s office in Nassau Hall.

President Christopher L. Eisgruber, Dean of the College Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun signed the agreement Thursday evening after meeting with students over several hours. Seventeen students signed the agreement. …

The agreement reads:

November 19th, 2015

This meeting was attended by the Black Justice League (BJL) and President Eisgruber, Vice President (VP) Calhoun and Dean Dolan.

The Justice League is the team-up of DC superheroes like Aquaman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The Black Justice League sounds like a spinoff for Genius T. Coates to pen when he’s done writing The Black Panther.

The Black Justice League, however, is not quite as comic book-sounding as the University of Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians, whose webpage says: “The Legion of Black Collegians is the only Black Student Government in the country.” I don’t know what that means, but The Legion of Black Collegians was cofounded by Michael Middleton, who, following the football putsch, was named the interim president of the U. of Missouri system, so his bank account is having the last laugh.

By signing below, I agree to have verbalized the following during the Thursday afternoon meeting with the BJL:

On the first demand concerning the legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus:

Write to Professor Cadava tonight to initiate the process to consider removal of Wilson’s mural, which will express President Eisgruber’s personal view that the mural should be removed from the Wilcox Dining Hall. Dean Gonzalez will be CC’d on this email exchange. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.

Write an email to Katie Hall, the chair of the Board of Trustees, to initiate conversations concerning the present legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus, including Black Justice League’s request to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.

The Board of Trustees will collect information on the campus community’s opinion on Woodrow Wilson School name and then make a decision regarding the name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.

Woodrow Wilson was the progressive reformer president of Princeton from 1902-1910, the progressive reformer governor of New Jersey from 1911-1912, and the progressive reformer president of the United States from 1913-1921.

In the distant future when America is dominated by high IQ Asians through sheer bulk of numbers, will President Eisgruber be retroactively shamed and have his name stripped from places of honor at Princeton for presiding over affirmative action programs that had negative disparate impact on Asians?

As Lenin said: Who? Whom?


From the NYT:

‘The Statue of Liberty Must Be Crying With Shame’
NOV. 21, 2015

by Nicholas Kristof

Do people ever get embarrassed by this kind of thing?

Steven Pinker pointed out in The Blank Slate 13 years ago the Reign of Shmaltz:

Sophisticated people sneer at feel-good comedies and saccharine romances in which everyone lives happily ever after. But when it comes to science, these same people say, “Give us schmaltz!” They expect the science of human beings to be a source of emotional uplift and inspirational sermonizing.

In reality, the Statue of Liberty is a beautiful French sculpture, a gift from France to celebrate American independence, not immigration, so if it were to be crying it would be for the French murdered by Muslim terrorists.


Screenshot 2015-11-21 19.31.28


From Haaretz:

Jonathan Pollard to Work at N.Y. Investment Firm, Lawyers Say


From The Atlantic:

The Geography of Terrorism


Of the 17,958 people who died in terrorist attacks in 2013, 82 percent were in one of five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria.


War photographer Teun Voeten writes in Politico about trying to gentrify the Brussels neighborhood where so many terrorist plots are hatched:

I called Molenbeek my home for nine years. In 2005, it was the city’s last affordable neighborhood — in large part because of its bad reputation. My apartment, just across the canal from the city center, is close to the home where two suspects in the Paris attacks were based, and around the corner from where the shooter from the foiled Thalys attack in August had been staying.

I was part of a new wave of young urban professionals, mostly white and college-educated — what the Belgians called bobo, (“bourgeois bohémiens”) — who settled in the area out of pragmatism. We had good intentions. Our contractor’s name was Hassan. He was Moroccan, and we thought that was very cool. We imagined that our kids would one day play happily with his on the street. We hoped for less garbage on the streets, less petty crime. We were confident our block would slowly improve, and that our lofts would increase in value. (We even dared to hope for a hip art gallery or a trendy bar.) We felt like pioneers of the Far West, like we were living in the trenches of the fight for a multicultural society.

Slowly, we woke up to reality. Hassan turned out to be a crook and disappeared with €95,000, the entire budget the tenants had pooled together for our building’s renovation. The neighborhood was hardly multicultural. Rather, with roughly 80 percent of the population of Moroccan origin, it was tragically conformist and homogenous. There may be a vibrant alternative culture in Casablanca and Marrakech, but certainly not in Molenbeek.

Over nine years, I witnessed as the neighborhood become increasingly intolerant. Alcohol became unavailable in most shops and supermarkets; I heard stories of fanatics at the Comte des Flandres metro station who pressured women to wear the veil; Islamic bookshops proliferated, and it became impossible to buy a decent newspaper. With an unemployment rate of 30 percent, the streets were eerily empty until late in the morning. Nowhere was there a bar or café where white, black and brown people would mingle. Instead, I witnessed petty crime, aggression, and frustrated youths who spat at our girlfriends and called them “filthy whores.” If you made a remark, you were inevitably scolded and called a racist. There used to be Jewish shops on Chaussée de Gand, but these were terrorized by gangs of young kids and most closed their doors around 2008. Openly gay people were routinely intimidated, and also packed up their bags.

I finally left Molenbeek in 2014. It was not out of fear. The tipping point, I remember, was an encounter with a Salafist, who tried to convert me on my street. It boiled down to this: I could no longer stand to live in this despondent, destitute, fatalistic neighborhood.

Territorialism isn’t a fashionable concept in today’s discourse, but it sure is useful in explaining a lot of behavior.

By the way, Brussels today:

Screenshot 2015-11-21 15.46.41


With a second Mariel Boatlift likely over the next few years, it’s worth reassessing the first one (1980). One of the most popular papers in economics is David Card’s claim that the Law of Supply and Demand doesn’t apply to immigration because wages didn’t fall in Miami in 1980-1984 compared to four other American cities.

As I’ve been pointing out for years, though, ceteris wasn’t paribus in these five cities in 1980-1984 because Miami was enjoying a world famous Cocaine Boom, as depicted in well-known movies like Scarface (1983) and TV shows like Miami Vice (1984).

But economists aren’t supposed to learn things from anywhere outside of economics journals.

Now, however, Harvard labor economist George Borjas has written a study pointing out that wages in Miami among high school dropouts got hammered by the Mariel Boatlift.

The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal

George J. Borjas


This paper brings a new perspective to the analysis of the Mariel supply shock, revisiting the question and the data armed with the accumulated insights from the vast literature on the economic impact of immigration. A crucial lesson from this literature is that any credible attempt to measure the wage impact of immigration must carefully match the skills of the immigrants with those of the pre-existing workers. The Marielitos were disproportionately low-skill; at least 60 percent were high school dropouts. A reappraisal of the Mariel evidence, specifically examining the evolution of wages in the low-skill group most likely to be affected, quickly overturns the finding that Mariel did not affect Miami’s wage structure. The absolute wage of high school dropouts in Miami dropped dramatically, as did the wage of high school dropouts relative to that of either high school graduates or college graduates. The drop in the relative wage of the least educated Miamians was substantial (10 to 30 percent), implying an elasticity of wages with respect to the number of workers between -0.5 and -1.5. The analysis also documents the sensitivity of the estimated wage impact to the choice of a placebo. The measured impact is much smaller when the placebo consists of cities where pre-Mariel employment growth was weak relative to Miami.

This shouldn’t be too surprising since Miami high school dropouts in 1980 were heavily African-American, and Miami blacks were notoriously angry about the changes in their city after Mariel, rioting three times in the 1980s.

But who cares about poor African Americans? It was a good time in Miami to be a lawyer, banker, real estate developer, or all-purpose businessman with connections, such as Jeb Bush, who moved to Miami in late 1980.


A “Letter to the Editor” in today’s NYT from Harvard Law School professor and former Reagan Administration Solicitor General Charles Fried:

A Lesson at Harvard Law
NOV. 20, 2015

To the Editor:

Re “Tape Found Over Portraits of Black Harvard Professors” (news article, Nov. 20):

Instead of dignifying with inflated philosophical bloviation the grim nastiness of the anonymous vandal(s) who pasted strips of black tape on the portraits of African-American professors, Harvard Law students responded with wit and human warmth: They put along the frames of those same portraits hundreds of colored Post-it notes bearing messages of affection and gratitude.

These young men and women teach us all a valuable lesson.


Cambridge, Mass.

The writer is a professor at Harvard Law School.

But General-Professor Fried isn’t enough of a gumshoe to notice that the Racist Tape was exactly the same as the Anti-Racist Tape used by Black Lives Matter protestors the same night in the same place to deface Harvard Law School’s seal for being racist. As the NYT reported yesterday,

In a twist, the black tape used on the portraits had apparently been used in an earlier protest, which sought to have the law school change its seal.

Occam’s Butterknife says the fact that the same of type of tape was used for both protests was a conspiracy to make black Harvard Law School protestors-students look careless and less cunning than you’d want in a new associate you’d be paying $160k annually.

Occam’s Razor, on the other hand, says …


One of those events you can see looming on the historic horizon is a Second Mariel Boatlift of Cubans trying to get to Miami before the U.S. wises up and rescinds the wet foot dry foot law that gives all 11 million remaining Cubans near-automatic right of asylum if they can set one foot on American dry land.

Down through history, Cuban have usually been relatively high-achievers by Latin American standards. For example, 90 years ago the world chess champion was a Cuban, Capablanca.

Cuba has some real geographic advantages over the rest of the Caribbean that attracted middle class immigrants rather than just agricultural laborers (as who mostly came to Puerto Rico). Most Caribbean islands have their main port on the south side of the island to give ships shelter from strong winter storms from the north, but Havana is a good enough natural harbor that it can be on the north side of the island and thus be cooler due to northerly breezes. So Cuba was long the favorite destination of Europeans moving to tropical New World.

The affluent anti-Communist Cubans who took over Miami a half-century ago are of course highly white in ancestry.

That raises the question, however: how white are the Cubans who are left in Cuba? Clearly, a lot of the whitest Cubans have been skimmed off to Florida over the decades. So, what about the remainder?

For example, some spectacularly gifted black baseball players have been seeping out of Cuba in recent years, such as Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers. (On the other hand, Puig is a Pedro Guerrero-like screw-up, and Dodger future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw has been lobbying to get him traded.)

Here’s a recent genome analysis of the current population of Cuba:

Cuba: Exploring the History of Admixture and the Genetic Basis of Pigmentation Using Autosomal and Uniparental Markers

Beatriz Marcheco-Teruel , Esteban J. Parra , Evelyn Fuentes-Smith, Antonio Salas, Henriette N. Buttenschøn, Ditte Demontis, María Torres-Español, Lilia C. Marín-Padrón, Enrique J. Gómez-Cabezas, Vanesa Álvarez-Iglesias, Ana Mosquera-Miguel, Antonio Martínez-Fuentes, Ángel Carracedo, Anders D. Børglum, Ole Mors

Published: July 24, 2014

We carried out an admixture analysis of a sample comprising 1,019 individuals from all the provinces of Cuba. We used a panel of 128 autosomal Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) to estimate the admixture proportions. We also characterized a number of haplogroup diagnostic markers in the mtDNA and Y-chromosome in order to evaluate admixture using uniparental markers. Finally, we analyzed the association of 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with quantitative estimates of skin pigmentation. In the total sample, the average European, African and Native American contributions as estimated from autosomal AIMs were 72%, 20% and 8%, respectively.

By way of contrast, a 2014 article on the National Geographic genome project said of Puerto Ricans in the southeast of the island:

The average Puerto Rican individual carries 12% Native American, 65% West Eurasian (Mediterranean, Northern European and/or Middle Eastern) and 20% Sub-Saharan African DNA.

So that’s pretty similar.

But of course one should stay cautious about assuming that any of these samples are nationally projectable.

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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