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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

The Unhappiness Explosion
by Steve Sailer

December 19, 2018

The prestige of the intersectional is pushing respectable opinion in anti-science directions, as seen in the resurgent prestige of astrology and witchcraft. Granted, perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much what lowbrows who like horoscopes and spells are into, but it probably does matter that actual sciences such as genetics, which had been the glamour field of the new century, are starting to be castigated by the prestige press as deplorable “race science.”

Read the whole thing there.

 
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Nate Silver tweets:

Screenshot 2018-12-18 22.20.11

My conspiracy theory is that The Russian Bot Conspiracy Theory is a conspiracy by Old Media (NYT, CNN, WP, etc.) to castrate Social Media with censorship and approbation. (Note: conspiracies don’t require meeting in parking garages at midnight, they can use, say, headlines and TV to coordinate.)

iSteve commenter Playing Mantis adds:

The responses to Silver’s tweet are rather amusing. For example, here’s Timothy Burke, Professor of History at Swarthmore College:

As far as effectiveness goes, don’t send a statistical thinker to do a humanities and psychology job. This was about meaning and cognition and about how messages pass around in paratexts and affect people. You can’t measure it using your usual instruments, so don’t try.

I guess we’ll just have to take the Professor’s word that it cannot be measured, but that he (somehow) knows just how effective it was. On second thought, I think I’m with Lord Kelvin: “when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind”.

Uh-oh, the Russians are using paratexts! I don’t know what paratexts are, but they sound scary. I imagine paratexts are like this, but high tech:

Or maybe paratexts have paranormal powers:

Paratexts: it’s a very 1984 word.

 
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Via Drudge, from the Associated Press:

US pledges $10.6B aid for Central America, southern Mexico
By MARK STEVENSON
today

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The United States pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment Tuesday for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.

From the New York Times:

White House Signals Retreat on Shutdown Threat

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Katie Rogers
Dec. 18, 2018

WASHINGTON — The White House signaled on Tuesday that President Trump might be ready to capitulate on his demand for $5 billion for a wall on the southwestern border, but negotiations on a spending deal remained murky as lawmakers awaited a White House strategy to avert a Christmastime government shutdown.

 
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From iSteve commenter Couch Scientist:

12 Days of Intersectionality

12 ethnicities inciting
11 genders bending
10 victims accusing
9 borders crossing
8 muslims peacing
7 lefties writing
6 classes clashing
5 grey hairs
4 so-called races
3 sexes
2 languages
And a microaggression in a wheelchair

 
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From the New York Times:

Advertisers Flee Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Show After He Derides Immigrants

Tucker Carlson said last week on the air that allowing undocumented immigrants into the United States “makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

By Sapna Maheshwari
Dec. 18, 2018

The Fox News host Tucker Carlson has lost advertisers after saying on the air last week that allowing certain immigrants into the United States “makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

By Tuesday, 11 companies — including IHOP and TD Ameritrade — said they would stop advertising on his prime-time show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Mr. Carlson made the comments at the start of his Thursday program, during which he discussed the arrival of Central American immigrants in Tijuana, Mexico. In those opening remarks, he mocked those who believe “we have a moral obligation to accept the world’s poor.”

What Carlson actually said was:

“It’s obvious that we need more scientists and skilled engineers, but that’s not what we’re getting. Instead, we’re getting waves of people with high school educations or less. Nice people. No one doubts that. But as an economic matter, this is insane. It’s indefensible, so nobody even tries to defend it. Instead, our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer, dirtier and more divided.”

Back to Sapna Maheshwari reporting for the New York Times about how pressure groups are trying to get Fox “to shut up and accept this.”

His rhetoric prompted Pacific Life Insurance to say on Friday that it would not advertise on the show in the coming weeks, adding, “As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements.”

On Monday’s program, Mr. Carlson reiterated his remarks and accused liberal opponents of trying to silence him by calling for an advertiser boycott.

By Tuesday, more companies — including NerdWallet, Minted and Ancestry.com — had announced that they would not advertise on his show. …

A Fox News spokeswoman said the network would not lose revenue, because commercials for the companies will simply air on other Fox News shows. …

Mr. Carlson has long made derisive comments about immigration and diversity. At the start of the year, he questioned whether diversity was divisive.

Nooooooooooooo! Don’t say that. Diversity is what unites us.

In August and September, he claimed that immigration was destroying a thriving middle class in California and accused illegal immigrants of producing “a huge amount of litter.”

As I wrote in my recent review of Carlson’s bestselling book Ship of Fools:

A fly fisherman, Carlson is happy to admit that 1970s environmentalists did wonders for cleaning up polluted rivers. And, he points out, the famous 1971 “crying Indian” TV commercial persuaded Americans to be ashamed of littering.

Today, however, environmentalists have lost interest in down-to-earth issues like littering and would never dream of being so racist as to try to shame picnicking illegal immigrants into picking up their used disposable diapers. Now when Carlson goes fishing in the Potomac, the water is clean but the banks are filthy.

The correlation between Latino immigrants and litter is completely obvious but it doesn’t seem to exist in the hive mind. For instance, when I drove along the border in Arizona in 2003, I could trace illegal alien pathways back to holes in the 4 foot ball border fence by the string of garbage they’d dumped.

But if I google the alliterative phrase “Latino littering,” Google finds all of 26 pages on the entire web. The first half dozen are by me.

What kind of unAmerican Communist is Carlson to not believe the 84 Lumber Super Bowl commercial about how undocumented border crossers pick up all the trash that environment-hating Americans strew:

 
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I’ve been writing forever about the fate of the Cabrini-Green housing project a mile inland from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. For example, I noted in 2011:

I tried the Clybourn shortcut to the Loop one Sunday afternoon in 1983 but found my progress blocked in the middle of the Cabrini-Green housing project by hundreds of black people excitedly milling about and watching a car burn.

In 1989, my wife and I were warily condo-shopping on North Avenue near Clybourn when a white man approached and told us to Buy Now: The Near North Side land that Cabrini-Green sat upon was too convenient for black welfare mothers to hold for long, he explained. We demurred, asking, “Which alderman will agree to take 13,000 Cabrini-Greeners?”

Steppenwolf, however, was braver. As white-yuppie Chicago’s cultural flagship (I had season tickets from 1987 onward), Steppenwolf’s new theater in 1991, built just north of Cabrini between Halsted and Clybourn, signaled that white gentrifiers would win.

The last Cabrini high-rise was finally demolished this March, the denizens dispatched to the hinterlands clutching Section 8 vouchers. The spot on Clybourn where the car burned is now home to Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters, serving locals who own second homes in Aspen.

But now we can quantify the change in demographics from Rahm Emanuel’s population transfers. From Bloomberg

Americans Earning Over $200,000 Are Flocking to These Neighborhoods
Everyone knows wealth is concentrating. This is where the rich are going.

December 18, 2018, 1:00 AM PST

… Cook County, which includes the county seat of Chicago, is home to the No. 1 and No. 7 fastest-growing concentrations of $200,000-plus households. No. 1 is, ironically, the area around where the Cabrini-Green public housing projects once stood. Cabrini-Green was notorious for violent crime, poverty and de facto racial segregation until its demolition beginning in the 1990s at the behest of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Even back then, authorities fretted that redevelopment plans might displace low-income families. They were right to be worried.

My unconfirmed impression is that outgoing Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel may have come up with the idea around 1989 when he worked at the Chicago Housing Authority for Mayor Daley. Did Rahm worry or hope that tearing down Cabrini-Green “might displace low-income families?”

Two decades later, the area’s concentration of $200,000-plus households has skyrocketed from zero to 39 percent. For some of the longtime residents who remain, the neighborhood’s transformation has been isolating.

Latanya Palmer, 53, grew up in the Cabrini Rowhouses. While she moved into a nearby mixed-income development in 2005, the hypergentrification has occasionally made her feel like a stranger in her own home. …

“It looks beautiful,” Palmer said of the neighborhood now, though she recalled how property managers early on would berate former Cabrini-Green residents for sitting on their own stoops. “They made us feel like we were less than human.”

Palmer recently got a job as a home health aide and hopes to move out of her subsidized unit. Still, she laments what’s been lost. “As poor as we were growing up, I didn’t realize we were poor—because it felt like a community,” she said. “Now it doesn’t feel like a community.”

The census tract in question includes the still-standing, albeit largely vacant row houses where Palmer grew up. But now there are luxury condominiums and apartments, too…. A three-bedroom penthouse can cost around $2 million.

 
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iSteve commenter Kibernetika writes:

We have proposed (and are actively developing) a broadly integrated system that quantifies one’s RacialValue. Think FICO score. We daily sample a wide range of cultural, and a drunken baker’s dozen other indicators (think Rabelais, and Oracle of the Bottle), and after much sausage making, quantify it as the WhoWeAre index. This value is a vital

in our algorithms, and captures what the current BeautifulPeople, our betters and cultural elites, think is correct.

Any person within the polygon defining US border boundaries will have this value keyed to SSN. (Well, we’d better get a more legit identifier, as SSNs are traded like candy these days at any street corner where day laborers loiter, in the shadows.)

Currently in negotiation with Pantone regarding licensing. In the near future, the equivalent of the “What’s your sign?” pickup line will be “What’s your racial value?” Racval, in the vernacular.

Angel investors most welcome!

https://www.designboom.com/art/pantone-skin-color-spectrum/

We can and will, in the brilliant future, quantify our MulCultVal.

Also, some trolls with chops could put together a website that quantifies the Progressive Stack by asking visitors questions about who possesses more Intersectionality.

Questions could be asked in the abstract. E.g., Who has more intersectionality?

A. A transgender person

B. A black person

And in the particular by using celebrities, such as asking respondents to opine upon whether, say, Elizabeth Warren or Lin-Manuel Miranda has more Intersectionality.

Also, fictional characters should compete: e.g., Hermione Granger vs. Chewbacca.

The value of each respondent’s opinions could in turn be weighted by how much intersectionality they possess as of the moment.

Also, users would be encouraged to weigh in on philosophical questions like: Is intersectionality different from diversity?

The interface should be nontrolling and sincere to attract lots of participation from true believers in intersectionality who simply have different opinions on who is the most intersectional of all.

Ideally, the system would would result in lots of:

A. Instability, with who is on top of the progressive stack varying daily. Audiences should be encouraged to check in daily to see who is Number One today and, if they don’t like it, change it.

B. Incoherence, with lots of A>B, B>C, and C>A type results.

 
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From Politico:

Ryan pushes for thousands of Irish visas before leaving office

By TED HESSON 12/14/2018 04:48 PM EST

House Speaker Paul Ryan is leaving Congress with a grateful nod to his Irish ancestors.

A bill pushed by Ryan, whose family fled famine-ravaged Ireland in 1851, could provide Irish nationals with thousands of additional U.S. work visas each year.

 
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From the Eastern Michigan University Eastern Echo:

Alt-right Message Written On Free Speech Wall
By Andrew Lenzo | 12/16/18 7:53pm

Spotted earlier today by a reporter for the Eastern Echo, one of the walls in the Free Speech Space reads “it’s okay to be white.” …

“As soon as we saw that message, we knew it couldn’t stay up,” said Student Government Vice President Ethan Smith. “To whoever did this, I’d just say give it up. Your message is never going to take root here, and the EMU community isn’t even going to give it a chance.” …

The message was painted over at 6:00 p.m. by members of Student Government and the Silver Linings Fellowship Group.

 
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From the New York Times:

Trump Officials Plan to Rescind Obama-Era School Discipline Policies

By Erica L. Green and Katie Benner
Dec. 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at ensuring that minority children are not unfairly disciplined, arguing that the efforts have eased up on punishment and contributed to rising violence in the nation’s schools, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

The Education and Justice Departments plan to send a joint letter this week announcing the rescinding of policy statements dating to 2014, according to a draft letter signed by Kenneth L. Marcus, the Education Department’s head of civil rights, and Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general for civil rights.

The 2014 Obama policy advised schools on how to dole out discipline in a nondiscriminatory manner and examine education data to look for racial disparities that could flag a federal civil rights violation. Though the guidance is nonbinding, critics have argued that the edict pressured districts to keep suspensions low at the expense of student safety.

This is a classic Late Obama Age Collapse policy. Did anybody ever ask Obama if he believed his own Administration that the problem in the public schools was too much discipline? Not that Obama ever sent his kids anywhere near a public school …

The commission’s report argues in favor of narrowing a legal avenue for the federal government to combat discrimination in the nation’s schools by rejecting “disparate impact theory,” which holds that seemingly neutral policies can harm certain racial groups. That was the underpinning for the Obama administration’s disciplinary policies.

Instead, the panel will hold, the administration will act on evidence of explicit discrimination, not just statistics that indicate one group may be failing or falling behind. …

The report referred to two Supreme Court rulings, one in 1978 and another in 2001, that affirmed that Title VI extended only to intentional discrimination.

In undermining court rulings, the commission said the Obama administration “gave schools a perverse incentive to make discipline rates proportional to enrollment figures, regardless of the appropriateness of discipline for any specific instance of misconduct.”

The Obama-era guidelines were released when federal data showed that black students were three times as likely to be suspended or expelled, and black and Hispanic students made up more than half of the nation’s school-related arrests and referrals. In the nearly half-decade since the guidelines were issued, those numbers have not improved.

Obama administration officials wrote in 2014 that discipline rates may be caused by a range of factors but that they could not be explained solely “by more frequent or more serious misbehavior by students of color.”

“In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem,” they wrote.

According to the McArdle Rule, we may ask if it’s OK to ask if there might be some other reason than systemic white racism for why blacks and Hispanics get caught misbehaving more, but it’s Not OK to ask.

 
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From the Hollywood Reporter:

Woody Allen’s Secret Teen Lover Speaks: Sex, Power and a Conflicted Muse Who Inspired ‘Manhattan’
by Gary Baum December 17, 2018, 6:00am PST

Not that secret, since Allen made one of his most famous movies, 1979′s Manhattan, about their affair, with Mariel Hemingway playing his high school student girlfriend. It was considered uncool at the time to have moral objections to the film, but I always found the movie distasteful. Still, it’s kind of Peak Woody Allen, along with 1977′s Annie Hall, the way Lolita is extremely distasteful but it’s also Peak Nabokov. (By the way, Lolita isn’t really that good — it’s overly long and show-offy — while Pale Fire and Speak, Memory are wonderful and don’t make you read about child abuse.)

Open and thoughtful, Engelhardt unspools a life story that took root in a strict German immigrant household and blossomed into a Zelig-esque series of adventures as she attempted to break into modeling: partying with Iman, jet-setting with Adnan Khashoggi

This is the international arms dealer who was in the news all the time a generation ago. He was the cousin of the Khashoggi who was murdered by the Saudis.

, dining with Stephen King, working as a personal assistant to Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier later convicted for soliciting an underage girl. Following her time with Allen, she went on to become a platonic muse to Federico Fellini during the auteur’s late-life journeys in Rome and Tulum, Mexico, then spent years tending to egos as a hostess in the executive dining room at Paramount before landing her current gig, working as an assistant for producer Bob Evans.

Hoo boy, she can pick ‘em. I’m surprised she didn’t also sleep with Armand Hammer.

… Another element that may have factored into her dynamic with Allen, Engelhardt muses, was her German background. “I had been taunted, tormented as a ‘Nazi child’ in the Jewish neighborhood I grew up in: Matawan, New Jersey. [The family moved to a rural area of the state when she was a teenager.] My father ran around in lederhosen. I had doors slammed in my face.” Her parents were both postwar emigres, her father — by his account — a 14-year-old ditch-digging conscript into Hitler’s army serving near the French border before the end of the war. “Woody’s the uber-Jew, and I’m the uber-German,” she says. While the pair never discussed their difference, she contends it hovered, at least on her end: “There was a chip on my shoulder about wanting to please those who cast me aside. I wasn’t confrontational because I thought, ‘Nobody likes Germans.’ ”

As I wrote in Taki’s Magazine last March after the Oscars:

While film critics have been wondering recently how they could have been so…toxic as to have long admired Woody Allen’s 1979 movie Manhattan about a 42-year-old man sleeping with a 17-year-old girl played by Mariel Hemingway, the Academy voted the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar to 89-year-old James Ivory for Call Me by Your Name, a movie about deflowering a 17-year-old boy.

But that’s different because Ivory, unlike Allen, is gay.

So that’s okay.

Also, please keep in mind that Allen is in bad odor these days because of his inveterate white maleness. Nobody is apologizing for why Woody, a hardworking, Pete Rose-like talent but not exactly a transcendent genius, was so lavishly praised by critics for all those decades, which has something to do with his casting in Manhattan the granddaughter of the most prestigious arch-gentile of his youth, Ernest Hemingway, as the high school shiksa he’s shtupping.

That predilection would be…not appropriate to discuss in print, you understand.

 
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Screenshot 2018-12-18 05.08.29From BBC News Pidgin:

Ghana Foreign Ministry remove Mahatma Gandhi statue from University campus afta protests say he be ‘racist’
13 December 2018

University of Ghana Authorities on Thursday remove statue of India Independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi which dem mount for di school afta massive online protest by some lecturers who argue say Gandhi be racist. …

Di lecturers argue say some of Gandhi en writings dey suggest say Indians be “infinitely superior” to black Africans, so dem no want see en statue for campus.

Registrar for University of Ghana, Mercy Haizel-Aisha release press statement today inform di University say Ministry of Foreign Affairs remove di Gandhi statue from campus.

“We no fit have racist person statue for wana campus sake of he be racist, sake of statue be honourable thing, so if Gandhi be racist them en statue for the University go mean say we dey project den tins” Nana Adoma Asare Adei, one law student for University of Ghana campus, wey BBC Pidgin tok plus.

An anonymous iSteve commenter says: “And then they came for Gandhi, and I said nothing, because their sunsplash-rasta language sounded so cheery.”

I enjoy reading BBC News Pidgin, but is there really anybody in Africa who finds it easier to read than normal English? Isn’t the point of a pidgin that it’s easier to speak, rather than easier to read? (“Pidgin” is a simplified language that emerges among adults who speak different languages when they are cast together. “Creole” is the more complex language that their children come up with.)

 
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From the Washington Post:

Who should decide what topics are off-limits?
By Megan McArdle, Columnist

December 15

Noah Carl, a young British social scientist, stands accused of peddling “racist pseudoscience.” And as I discovered, even asking whether the accusation is true invites the same sort of unwelcome attention.

… Carl’s published papers address sensitive subjects such as Islamist terrorism and immigration. More provocatively still, he has argued in favor of researching race and IQ. But since the open letter didn’t cite specifics, defenders of Carl’s academic freedom could only guess at what had provoked it. …

Investigating links between race, IQ and genes has long been anathema; Carl’s case suggests that it is now anathema even to ask whether those investigations should be forbidden. And I seemed to be proving that it is anathema to ask whether it should be anathema to ask …

So Noah Carl should be allowed to ask if it’s okay to ask, so long as he never, God forbid, asks …

All somewhat ironic, considering that I already leaned toward believing that research into race and IQ should be off-limits. …

There’s a history, I said, of scientists finding whatever they expect, from scientists insisting that humans had 48 chromosomes, even as their experiments kept showing 46, to the eugenics that fueled the Holocaust. One of Jussim’s own papers shows that left-leaning social psychologists have long been inadvertently biasing their research toward answers the left finds congenial.

Given flawed scientists and imperfect scientific methods, and given the fraught history of Western racism, isn’t the likelihood of getting it wrong just too high?

Because the bulk of 2018 scientists are so biased toward the right? Huh? Aren’t all the incentives in 2018 in favor of scientists disproving the race – IQ connection? For example, look how immensely popular SJ Gould became in 1981 not for disproving such theories, but merely for snarking about old time scientists who held them.

And the potential cost of those particular errors simply too catastrophic to risk? All societies place some questions out of bounds because they’re too toxic; we don’t debate whether child molestation or spousal murder is acceptable. …

… I did emerge with two prior beliefs basically confirmed: first, that research into race and IQ should stay off limits, but, second, that those limits are better established by debate than denunciation.

Okay, but should arguments based on the assumption that there cannot be empirical links between race and IQ also be ruled out of bounds? Should Mayor De Blasio’s argument that the Stuyvesant HS entrance exam must be biased because a couple of orders of magnitude more Asians than blacks pass it also be banned on the grounds that we aren’t allowed to speculate about such questions?

How would that work, exactly?

By the way, one leftist social scientist, James Flynn, actually made a major contribution to knowledge by discovering the Flynn Effect of rising raw IQ test scores in his effort to scientifically undermine Jensenism.

 
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From the New York Times:

Elizabeth Warren, Speaking to Black Graduates, Warns ‘the Rules Are Rigged’

‘It’s Time to Change the Rules,’ Warren Tells Graduates in Speech on Racism

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and a possible contender for the 2020 presidential race, spoke to graduates of Morgan State University, a historically black college in Baltimore, about racial discrimination and wealth inequality.

By Astead W. Herndon
Dec. 14, 2018

… “Two sets of rules: one for the wealthy and the well-connected. And one for everybody else,” she said. “Two sets of rules: one for white families. And one for everybody else. That’s how a rigged system works. And that’s what we need to change.”

So “white families” are the privileged enemy?

Got it.

This is an interesting question: Is Senator Warren just being an inept yokel again, or is attacking “white families” now smart politics given the demographics of the Democratic primaries and the current media crusade against whiteness and Beckys?

 
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From The American Conservative:

What The Weekly Standard Has Wrought

Its shuttering is a loss. But the awful costs of the foreign policy it advocated shouldn’t be forgotten.
By SCOTT MCCONNELL • December 17, 2018

There’s a sadness in the shuttering of any print publication, and The Weekly Standard is no exception. If its website is dismantled as the owners have suggested is likely, it will be a loss to the reading public and even to the world’s ability to understand itself. Any right-of-center reader would have found much to admire in the Standard, both in its early days and now. Christopher Caldwell, who has written for the magazine since its inception, has developed into America’s most important analyst of contemporary Europe. Andrew Ferguson always writes with wit and style. Several Heather Mac Donald essays have fiercely told the truth on the delicate subjects of race, policing, and political correctness on campus. …

Invariably left unsaid or minimized in such accounts (the Times devoted a full eight words to the subject) is the role the Standard played in fomenting the Iraq war, the sole policy question where the magazine’s role was unambiguous and decisive. Given the centrality of foreign policy to Kristol’s concerns, it is probably not too much to say that for the Standard, the main purpose of publishing the writers referenced above was to provide an attractive gift wrapping for neoconservative foreign policy advocacy.

It was far from obvious how the United States would respond after the terror attacks of 9/11. Pretty much everyone but pacifists agreed there would be a military campaign against the Taliban, which had provided a base for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and a campaign to destroy al-Qaeda, which had been conducting major terrorism operations in Africa and the Mideast. But Iraq was not on the radar for most. There were no serious connections between Saddam Hussein’s essentially secular dictatorship and a group bent on restoring a caliphate based on fundamentalist Islam. …

9/11 provided an opportunity to change that. As a glossy weekly publication, with hundreds of issues hand-delivered every week to important Beltway figures, the Standard occupied a critical node in Beltway opinion formation. Neoconservative think tank types could publish a piece there, and then go on Fox News (another Rupert Murdoch property) to reach non-magazine readers. And unlike most in the American government, Kristol knew exactly what he wanted America to do after 9/11: overthrow Saddam Hussein. …

Diverting the nation’s anger from bin Laden and towards Saddam Hussein was the priority. Wrote Schmitt and Donnelly, the “larger campaign must also go after Saddam Hussein. He might well be implicated in this weeks’s attacks or he might not. But…he is our enemy. Elimination of Saddam is the key to restoring our regional dominance.”

The magazine pounded this message relentlessly for months. Saddam was paired at the hip with Osama bin Laden in virtually every issue. “Who cares if Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks?” asked Max Boot. He, for one, did not, as he urged the American government to establish a regency on Baghdad to go with the one on Kabul. Reuel Mark Gerecht echoed PNAC, arguing that the war on terror would be a failure unless we removed Saddam. Stephen Hayes (later to become editor of the magazine) funneled intelligence scraps generated by a neoconservative nest in the Pentagon led by Douglas Feith to claim a relationship between Saddam and bin Laden that the CIA did not believe to be credible.

… the editors’ sheer skill at normalizing the idea that attacking a dictator with no connection to al-Qaeda was the only non-defeatist option. Seen in these terms, the Standard was a monumental success. It achieved its aims on a discrete policy issue more emphatically than any publication in living memory.

 
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From the New York Times:

Nashville’s Star Rises as Midsize Cities Break Into Winners and Losers

Nashville and others are thriving thanks to a mix of luck, astute political choices and well-timed investments, while cities like Birmingham, Ala., fall behind.

By Ben Casselman, Dec. 16, 2018

NASHVILLE — Forty years ago, Nashville and Birmingham, Ala., were peers. Two hundred miles apart, the cities anchored metropolitan areas of just under one million people each and had a similar number of jobs paying similar wages.

Not anymore. The population of the Nashville area has roughly doubled, and young people have flocked there, drawn by high-paying jobs as much as its hip “Music City” reputation.

Last month, the city won an important consolation prize in the competition for Amazon’s second headquarters: an operations center that will eventually employ 5,000 people at salaries averaging $150,000 a year.

Birmingham, by comparison, has steadily lost population, and while its suburbs have expanded, their growth has lagged the Nashville area’s. Once-narrow gaps in education and income have widened, and important employers like SouthTrust and Saks have moved their headquarters. Birmingham tried to lure Amazon, too, but all it is getting from the online retail giant is a warehouse and a distribution center where many jobs will pay about $15 an hour.

Amazon’s announcement has been widely described as a rich-get-richer victory of coastal “superstar cities” like New York and Washington, regions where the company plans to employ a total of at least 50,000 workers. But the company’s decisions also reflect another trend: growing inequality among midsize cities.

The article doesn’t mention, however, that Birmingham is a lot blacker (71.6%) than Nashville (28.1%). The metro areas aren’t as different, but those are big differences in the city itself, kind of like Detroit vs. Pittsburgh.

The NYT’s list of second tier cities that are doing well, like Nashville, tend to be whiter than cities that aren’t doing well: e.g., Columbus vs. Cleveland.

The real incendiary question is whether there is an inflection point: if blacks have a big enough share of the population that they take control of the city government, as in Detroit, Gary, East St. Louis, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Birmingham, does the city tend to go into a tailspin? Birmingham, for instance, has had only black mayors since 1979, which may explain why the NYT reporter chose “40 years ago” as his baseline, although nobody outside of Birmingham likely got the joke.

Nashville has had only white mayors. That’s because in 1963, Nashville’s whites annexed its white suburbs, providing a permanent white majority for the upcoming civil rights era. The NYT reporter endorses this reform for Birmingham, without mentioning that it would provide a small white majority in mayoral elections.

Baltimore, in contrast, had a white mayor (Martin O’Malley) as recently as 2007.

Some cities go so far down, like Detroit and New Orleans, that they wind up with white mayors again.

Atlanta, while it has problems, is kind of an encouraging exception. My impression is that Atlanta has long had a black middle class and its political class has a pretty good awareness of how much it can squeeze the corporate golden goose without killing it. (E.g., the black political operators in Tom Wolfe’s Atlanta opus A Man In Full are, on the whole, fairly impressive.)

By the way, we’re off to a good start with the final iSteve fundraising drive of 2018. December is one of the three months of the year (along with April and August) when I hassle you for donations. I sometimes find myself discouraged, but then my loyal readers chip in with cash in its manifold forms, which I find highly encouraging. Say not the struggle nought availeth.

Large or small, I find each to be a personal message of encouragement to keep doing what I’m doing.

Here are eight ways for you to contribute to me, iSteve:

First: You can use Paypal (non-tax deductible) by going to the page on my old blog here. Paypal accepts most credit cards. Contributions can be either one-time only, monthly, or annual. (Monthly is nice.)

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

Steve Sailer

P.O Box 4142

Valley Village, CA 91617

Third: You can make a tax deductible contribution via VDARE by clicking here.

Please don’t forget to click my name at the VDARE site so the money goes to me:

Screenshot 2017-12-23 15.25.23

VDARE has been kiboshed from use of Paypal for being, I dunno, EVIL. But you can give via credit cards, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, check, money order, or stock.

Note: the VDARE site goes up and down on its own schedule, so if this link stops working, please let me know.

Fourth: [Warning: Does this work?] You can use Bitcoin using Coinbase. Coinbase payments are not tax deductible. Below are links to two Coinbase pages of mine. This first is if you want to enter a U.S. dollar-denominated amount to pay me.

Pay With Bitcoin (denominated in U.S. Dollars)

This second is if you want to enter a Bitcoin-denominated amount. (Remember one Bitcoin is currently worth many U.S. dollars.)

Pay With Bitcoin (denominated in Bitcoins)

Fifth: if you have a Wells Fargo bank account, you can transfer money to me (with no fees) via Wells Fargo SurePay/Zelle. Just tell WF SurePay/Zelle to send the money to my ancient AOL email address steveslrAT aol.com — replace the AT with the usual @). (Non-tax deductible.) Please note, there is no 2.9% fee like with Paypal or Google Wallet, so this is good for large contributions.

Sixth: if you have a Chase bank account (or even other bank accounts), you can transfer money to me (with no fees) via Chase QuickPay/Zelle (FAQ). Just tell Chase QuickPay/Zelle to send the money to my ancient AOL email address (steveslrATaol.com — replace the AT with the usual @). If Chase asks for the name on my account, it’s StevenSailer with an n at the end of Steven. (Non-tax deductible.) There is no 2.9% fee like with Paypal or Google Wallet, so this is also good for large contributions.

Seventh: send money via the Paypal-like Google Wallet to my Gmail address (that’s isteveslrATgmail .com — replace the AT with a @). (Non-tax deductible.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEhS9Y9HYjU

Eighth: At one reader’s request, I recently added Square as an 8th fundraising medium, although I’m vague on how it works. If you want to use Square, send me an email telling me how much to send you an invoice for. Or, if you know an easier way for us to use Square, please let me know.

Thanks.

 
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Zach Goldberg’s Twitter account (@ZachG932) does a lot of interesting deep dives into survey research:

Screenshot 2018-12-16 22.08.00

Young (18-34) whites exhibit the lowest in-group bias of any racial/ethnic group, while white liberals are the only demographic to register a pro-outgroup bias (#whiteguilt)

Somewhat relatedly, a clear majority of young white libs and dems think that a majority-minority America would “strengthens the country”, while a majority of mods, indeps, reps and cons say that it ‘doesn’t make a difference.’

Screenshot 2018-12-16 22.13.48

Interestingly, the big young white conservative vs. young white liberal disagreement is over whether the coming “majority minority” population “Doesn’t make much difference” versus “Strengthens the country.”

Agnosticism on Diversity is hateful. Only true believers are acceptable.

 
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A ridiculous number of books published recently have been about Trump. Similarly, just about every article published on any topic lately seems to include a reference to the sheer agony of living in a world where Trump is President. And here’s a critic disappointed that a new novel set in the near future about a fictional self-improvement cult isn’t about Trump. From The Atlantic’s print edition (which is usually usually written by grown-ups, while much of the online stuff is written by interns):

Sam Lipsyte’s Lame Send-up of a Guru and His Acolytes
In Hark, the characters are distracted, and their author veers between satire and sincerity.

A. O. SCOTT
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 ISSUE

Scott is the better of the NYT’s two main film critics.

Lipsyte writes amusing semi-satirical how-we-live-now novels like The Ask, which was about working for the NYU development office. He’s the son of engagée sportswriter Robert Lipsyte, but seems to lack his dad’s simplistic confidence about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

The novel’s tone and premise point toward satire, a mode that depends on accurate aim and swift, sharp impact. Lipsyte has a full quiver and a range of targets that include cosmopolitan culinary trends, urban-parenting dogmas, digital-workplace dynamics, and the arrogance of the technocratic ruling class. But satire is especially hard to pull off right now, its objects at once too obvious and too obtuse for effective puncturing. The dystopian imagination, looking for intimations of disaster that might be exaggerated for cautionary or corrective ends, finds itself beggared by reality on a daily basis.

Lipsyte, casting his eye toward a semi-plausible near future, has an astute ear for corporate and therapeutic idioms and how they echo each other. He knows the habits and attitudes of world-beaters and slackers alike. The universe of Hark looks pretty familiar, although politics, the bane and boon of most contemporary satirists, receives little more than a lazy, glancing shot:

He’s not an evil man, this president, nor a good one. He was elected to undo the catastrophic policies of his predecessor, who was herself elected to undo the apocalyptic agenda of the man before her, but it all seems too late for that these days, mostly because it’s always been too late, though now, pundits agree, this moment is steeped in a radical and irrevocable lateness, a tardy totality heretofore unseen.

An update flashes: president has not ruled out ground forces in Bulgaria.

That’s enough of that, just so we’re clear on what and whom Hark is not about.

In other words, this novel (the first from Lipsyte since 2012) is not about Trump. That violates the standing order: All Hands on Deck. Denouncing Trump is the only legitimate subject of any cultural work in the Current Year.

 
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Roma is a nice little black & white movie about growing up upper middle class in Mexico City in 1971.

It’s the first film from Alfonso Cuaron, one of the Three Amigos of Mexican directors (along with Innaritu and Del Toro) whose movies always get lots of Oscar attention, since his 2013 astronaut film Gravity. Unfortunately, it’s suffering from The Artist’s curse in which the Academy and end of year lists overhype an interesting small film that would be more fun to stumble upon without grandiose expectations.

Cuaron, whose father was a rare Mexican nuclear physicist and his mother was a biochemist, grew up in Roma, the fashionable Mexico City neighborhood where his his very white family and their Mixtec-speaking Indian servants lived. (In one scene they go to the beach and the children get sunburned while the maid, of course, does not.)

Presumably, the title Roma is also a nod to the neorealist style of 1940s Italian movies filmed on low budgets in Rome, such as Rome, Open City and The Bicycle Thief.

One of their young Indio maids is the main character of what plot there is. Roma is intended as a tribute to this faithful family retainer. There are similar tributes to similar servants with the proper feudal spirit in the childhood memoirs of other privileged high achievers, such as Nabokov and Churchill. iSteve Commenter Paul Rise notes:

Cuaron holds the narcissism so many successful Mexican men do, he is saying – look at this noble savage, more loyal than any dog. She did so much and is so responsible for my important, world scale success. She nurtured and enabled the gift to civilization that I am.

That’s harsh but reasonably fair. Keep in mind that I feel that Cuaron’s self-satisfied nostalgia is justified. He is a fine movie director and I am glad that he had loyal servants to provide him with a nice upbringing. It’s pleasant to see him reproduce childhood moments that inspired his movies decades later: e.g., the kids go to see Marooned, the 1969 astronaut movie that served as a first draft for Gravity.

For a film shot in a neorealist style with no color and no musical score, just a lot of incidental sound (such as the constantly barking dogs that I too associate with Mexico), Roma cost a substantial $15 million. Cuaron reproduced the townhouse he grew up in meticulously. But maybe he should have been a little more fanciful because Casa Cuaron turns out to have been lacking in Nabokovian splendor.

He also spent expansively on Felliniesque crowd scenes, such as the background in one scene where, while the main character walks down the street oblivious, an outdoor circus performer is shot out of a cannon. I also liked the kung-fu fascists scene in which Cuaron has assembled hundreds of rightwing martial artists under the guidance of the American deep state.

But the best stuff is various childhood memories filmed from a 3 foot tall boy’s point of view, such as his father nightly parking his huge Ford Galaxy in their driveway, which is only one inch wider than the car. (I think I might have been to this neighborhood, where my friend’s aunt owned a four story townhouse, on a 1979 RV roadtrip. Driving across Mexico City the next morning was a memorable lesson in just how wide a Winnebago is. For 25 miles, we had to delegate passengers to look out the window and pull in the side mirrors whenever another large vehicle approached.)

On the other hand, lots of talented directors have made this kind of boyhood memories film (e.g., Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, Zeffirelli’s Tea with Mussolini, Malick’s Tree of Life and Linklater’s Boyhood), and Roma doesn’t stand out from them. Part of the problem is that Cuaron is trying to tell the story of his Mixtec-speaking maid, but nine year old boys, even ones who are future film directors, aren’t that observant about what life looks like to people of other sexes, races, classes, and ages.

So, while Roma is not wholly lacking in incident, it is lacking in dramatic tension, other than the usual fear inherent in Mexican life that at any moment somebody could get maimed in another random accident caused by the ambient carelessness.

Also, the cinematography is uninspired. You expect a black and white art film to look crisp, right? But Cuaron’s usual cameraman, three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki, was unavailable, so Cuaron did the camera work himself. Roma came out muddy looking in low-contrast B&W.

Also, Cuaron edited his autobiographical movie himself. Editor Cuaron was very generous to Director Cuaron over how many extra seconds to linger on each shot. Perhaps my chair was uncomfortable, but that was a pretty long 135 minutes.

A final problem is that life in Mexico is just less visually appealing than life in Italy. Thus the most commercially successful movie recently set in Mexico, Pixar’s Coco, totally revamped what Mexico looks like. (Cuaraon, personally, has lived in London since 2000.)

The Three Amigos are big shots because they make cool looking movies, not because they are philosophical geniuses. Many of their films are kind of ridiculous, such as Cuaron’s Children of Men, Innaritu’s Babel and Birdman, and del Toro’s Oscar winner about the lady who has sex with a frog, My Favorite Color Is Red. Roma is neither ridiculous nor cool looking, so it’s a little meh.

Note: every other critic in the world loved loved loved this movie.

Roma is now on Netflix.

 
• Tags: Movies 
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From the New York Times:

“There’s this narrative of Asian-Americans being targeted in the quest to bring more opportunity to black and Latino people,” she said. “I think that narrative is incredibly problematic.”

In recent years, the word “problematic” has come to mean, basically:

“I gotta a lot of problems with you people. Now, you’re gonna hear about it! … But I’ve been to college longer than Frank Costanza, so I say ‘problematic’ to sound smart.”

Did “problematic” always mean “I’m angry but I can’t articulate a logical reason why”?

I first ran into “problematic” around 1974 from a high school teacher I didn’t get along with. I gave him a lot of grief about using “problematic.” He was big into existentialism, so I always associated the word with existentialism: Sartre, Tillich, those guys. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines existentialism:

Existentialism, any of various philosophies, most influential in continental Europe from about 1930 to the mid-20th century, that have in common an interpretation of human existence in the world that stresses its concreteness and its problematic character.

Lately, I kind of miss the existentialists — considering what comes after you’ve been forgotten, you guys weren’t so bad. So I was feeling down about being hard on my old teacher.

But maybe it was always a word that appealed to the kind of people who use it now?

 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

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


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