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Beyond parody

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There’s been much discussion lately about surveillance and privacy in this electronic age. Is the Obama Administration spying on the Associated Press? Is the IRS out to get conservatives? Is Bloomberg snooping on Goldman Sachs?

Well, sure. Of course they are. 

Still, there are limits to the usefulness of spying because, while data is now cheap, data interpretation skills remain in scarce supply.

For example, consider yesterday’s big feature article in the Washington Post about professional clam-diver Heather Purser, a strawberry-blonde Suquamish Indian, who convinced her tribe in 2011 to approve gay marriage. 

It’s easily discoverable online that Heather has successfully been peddling this story, sometimes with Rebecca Platter, to major and minor media outlets for years. It’s like a cross between a Greg Packer Man in the Street quote and a sketch from Portlandia — the ones about the staff of the Women & Women First bookstore, combined with the performance artist spoofs.

All this is instantly available on Google, but nobody before ever got the joke. How can they? Gay marriage is serious.

Or then again, the Purser-Platter tale could even be a prank made up by two sniggering Beavis and Butt-headish adolescent sensibilities.

Consider, for example, the above photo from the feature “Same-Sex Marriage Brings Healing to Me—and My Tribe” in Yes! magazine (motto “Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions”). Look closely at the totem poles that Ms. Purser has chosen to pose between. Now think like Beavis and Butt-head:

What animals are carved on them?

And what exactly are those beavers about to do to each other?

That’s the $69 Question.

Data interpretation!

Seriously, everybody is supposed to be into Big Data now for pattern recognition, but nobody is supposed to notice stereotypes. So, not much computes.

By the way, did I ever mention the Spring iSteve fundraising drive is still going on?

Thanks to everybody who has contributed so far. And for those who haven’t gotten around to it:

First: you can make a non-tax deductible contribution to me by credit card via WePay by clicking here.

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Third: You can mail a non-tax deductible donation to:

Steve Sailer
P.O Box 4142
Valley Village, CA 91607-4142
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Beyond parody, Panhandling 
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UPDATE: This octuplets story really puts the capstone on the Bush years. It’s beyond the powers of parody. It’s got everything that made the Bush Years the Bush Years: Iraqis, immigrants, illegitimacy, and insolvency.

The hospital is claiming it expects to spend $3.2 million on care for the eight babies.

A number of people have wondered how I can claim the unidentified woman is an Iraqi immigrant. From CBSNews:

“The grandfather, she adds, is apparently going to head back to his native Iraq to earn money for the growing family. He told CBS News he’s a former Iraqi military man”

Iraqi military man … those are the kind of genes we definitely want to see spreading at such a rapid rate! When we go to invade Iran in a few generations, our new soldiers will get about two miles across the border, then bog down for eight years.

By the way, here’s my 2006 article on the LA illegal immigrant woman with six kids who had fertility treatments, but she only then had quadruplets, so she’s a piker compared to this lady.

From the LA Times:

The family of octuplets born in Southern California this week has a history of financial problems, including a bankruptcy, tax liens and a foreclosure, according to court records.

The 33-year-old Whittier woman, who has not been publicly identified, gave birth to the octuplets at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower on Monday and already has six young children, including a set of twins, said her mother, Angela Suleman.

She lives with her parents in a 1,550-square-foot home in Whittier, where television trucks and camera crew continued to roam the quiet cul-de-sac Friday. This afternoon, the children’s grandfather returned to the home with four toddlers and did not speak to the throng of media, other than to ask for privacy.

Last March, Suleman filed bankruptcy, claiming nearly $1 million in liabilities — mostly because of a bad house investment, her attorney said. Countrywide Home Loans approved a $492,000 mortgage for Suleman in 2006 for a second home she bought in Whittier for $615,000. In 2008, the bank began foreclosure procedures. The house was sold in August for $369,375.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, Suleman said her daughter did not expect to have octuplets, but that all the implanted embryos “happened to take.”

She acknowledge that supporting a family with 14 children would be difficult, but that her daughter felt like she had little choice.

“What do you suggest she should have done?” Suleman said. “She refused to have them killed.”

To help support the family, the woman’s father works in Iraq as a contractor, where he earns at least $100,000 annually.

Fertility experts, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, have raised concerns about the number of embryos implanted and whether it was within medical guidelines.

“I cannot see circumstances where any reasonable physician would transfer eight embryos into a woman under the age of 35 under any circumstance,” said Arthur Wisot, a fertility doctor in Redondo Beach. “I cannot imagine that any of the mainstream practices in the Los Angeles area were involved in this. I would guess — and it’s a pure guess — that she either went out of the country or went to a practice that flies below the radar.”

The California Medical Board, which investigates doctors, and the California Department of Public Health Services, which licenses clinics and hospitals, said no doctors or facilities are currently being investigated regarding the births. A spokesman for the state health agency said there is no indication the implantations occurred at a facility they license.

For much more on the Octuplet Family, see my update “Who Are These People?”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Beyond parody 
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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