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 TeasersiSteve Blog

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Another effort to fool the public with an obvious super-telephoto lens shot that compresses distance. You can tell by how it constantly appears that the pedestrians are about to carom into each other, but they never do. Plus the store signs look like the Old City of Kowloon and the white streetlights appear to be set 12 inches apart.

A commenter says this video looks like it was shot with the Hubble space telescope.

In contrast, the Palm Beach Post published a beach photo on May 23 with a caption explaining the telephoto effect:

While it appears the beachgoers are close together because of the compressed perspective of a telephoto lens, people were actually practicing social distancing.

So say not that the struggle for Telephoto Distortion Awareness nought availeth.

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From the New York Times news section, an example of massively important National News:

Black Deliveryman Says He Was Blocked and Interrogated by White Driver

Travis Miller Sr. said he was trying to leave a gated neighborhood in Oklahoma after a delivery when a vehicle blocked his path.

By Mariel Padilla, May 17, 2020

In contrast, the New York Times has never once published the names of the two white octogenarians visiting their son’s grave who were gunned down by a black man on May 8, the day after the first (of now 3) arrests in the Ahmaud Arbery story promoted so extravagantly by the NYT. Two and a half weeks later, the police have yet to venture to suggest a motive,

Some news is not fit to print.

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Here’s an interesting story from the San Francisco Chronicle on the day after 9/11/2001:

Willie Brown got low-key early warning about air travel
Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross Published 4:00 am PDT, Wednesday, September 12, 2001

For Mayor Willie Brown, the first signs that something was amiss came late Monday when he got a call from what he described as his airport security – – a full eight hours before yesterday’s string of terrorist attacks — advising him that Americans should be cautious about their air travel.

The mayor, who was booked to fly to New York yesterday morning from San Francisco International Airport, said the call “didn’t come in any alarming fashion, which is why I’m hesitant to make an alarming statement.”

In fact, at the time, he didn’t pay it much mind.

“It was not an abnormal call. I’m always concerned if my flight is going to be on time, and they always alert me when I ought to be careful.”

Exactly where the call came from is a bit of a mystery. The mayor would say only that it came from “my security people at the airport.”

Mike McCarron, assistant deputy director at SFO, said the Federal Aviation Administration “routinely” issues security notices about possible threats. He said two or three such notices have been received in the past couple of months, but none in recent days.

Whatever the case, Brown didn’t think about it again until he was up, dressed and waiting for his ride to the airport for an 8 a.m. flight to New York, where he was to attend a state retirement board meeting. That was when he turned on the TV, and like millions of other Americans, saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center crumble and the Pentagon go up in smoke.

Nothing much has emerged since on this story.

It could be Willie just made the story up to have something to say, but it doesn’t strike me as implausible. Or it could be some unrelated chatter that Mayor Willie’s boys were hearing about.

But … I wouldn’t be surprised if people involved in airport security were noticing hints here and there that something was up by late 9/10. We know, for example, that just several hours after this phone call, an airport counter clerk checking in Mohammed Atta in Portland, Maine noticed that Atta looked more in looks and demeanour like an Arab terrorist than anybody he’d ever seen in his life, but then gave himself “a politically correct slap” and decided not to notify security about it.

A big aspect to 9/11 that has been memoryholed was that the Bush Administration, under transportation secretary Norman Mineta, was crusading against security profiling potential terrorists for “flying while Arab.” George W. Bush had introduced into his second presidential debate with Al Gore on 10/11/2000 that his administration would go to war against ethnic profiling of Arabs at airports. Bush said in front of a huge national audience:

Secondly, there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what is called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we have to do something about that. My friend, Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, is pushing a law to make sure that Arab-Americans are treated with respect. So racial profiling isn’t just an issue at local police forces. It’s an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we’re going to have to deal with it more and more. I believe, though — I believe, as sure as I’m sitting here, that most Americans really care. They’re tolerant people. They’re good, tolerant people. It’s the very few that create most of the crises, and we just have to find them and deal with them.

See 47:08 in this C-SPAN video of the debate.

And Bush transportation secretary had therefore launched a campaign to crack down on being suspicious of people like Mohammed Atta earlier in 2001.

So the possibility that people in air security hear and there around the country had noticed bits and pieces of evidence that ought to have alarmed them by the evening before 9/10, just passing them around to trusted colleagues, but were keeping them on the QT to avoid setting off the Transportation Department’s jihad against profiling Arabs would not be implausible.

What’s particularly striking is that the Bush Administration’s public campaign against the profiling Arab terrorists has utterly vanished from virtually all consciousness.

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Basketball has always been obsessed with height, but at some point (Bill Simmons suggests when Scottie Pippen was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1987) the NBA started to pay attention to wingspan — the distance from fingertip to fingertip with arms stretched out sideways. Rock climbers call this the Ape Index: when reaching for a handhold, it’s useful to be a nimble little acrobat but with long arms.

The average man has a wingspan roughly equal to his height, but the average NBA player has a wingspan 4 inches wider than his height.

According to some article on the Internet, the largest wingspan, both absolute and relative, in NBA history belonged to Dinka tribesman Manute Bol. He was 7’7″ tall and had a wingspan of 8’6″.

The largest relative wingspan listed for a white star was 1980s Boston Celtic Kevin McHale, who was 6’10” and had a 7’5″ wingspan. (These are not surprising to any 1980s NBA fan.)

The great Bill Walton says that nobody ever measured his wingspan when he was at UCLA in the early 1970s. I can, however, remember in 1971-1972 the L.A. Laker announcer Chick Hearn explaining that Laker legend Jerry West was the same height as him, 6’2″, but while Chick had his sports coats made with a 35″ sleeve, Jerry had his made with a 38″ sleeve, which is why he had so many steals and even blocks. (I’m 6’4″ and wear about a 34″ sleeve).

The downside of a long wingspan is that it’s harder to precisely control shots. Pippen, for example, with his 7″ wider wingspan than height, was awfully good at everything on the basketball court except shooting. Pippen’s senior partner Michael Jordan was listed at 6’6″ and 6’11” wingspan, suggesting that +5″ might be optimal.

Shorter-armed players in the NBA tend to be better shooters. Stephen Curry has arms only 0.5″ wider than his height.

Most of the top wingspan players were not great offensive players, even Wilt Chamberlain (7’1″ height and 7’8″ wingspan). Late in his career, Bill Sharman talked Wilt into not shooting so much and he proved to be an extraordinary defensive force.

My guess is that in the future, the NBA will refine its wingspan measurement into arm length vs. shoulder width, with the shoulder width being considered an all-around good, but arm length having pros and cons. Walton, for example, had hugely wide shoulders, as I observed following him down Rush Street in Chicago in 1999, which I suspect is why people didn’t talk as much about how long his arms were. McHale appeared to have fairly narrow shoulders, although, keep in mind, that’s relative to all the Specimens in the NBA like Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone.

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From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Birthrates Fall to Record-Low Level

American women had babies at record-low rates last year and pushed U.S. births down to their smallest total in 35 years, according to federal figures released Wednesday. About 3.75 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2019, down 1% from the prior year, provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed.

According to the government document, births to white women were down over 2% from 1,956,413 in 2018 to 1,914,141 in 2019.

… The data are the latest sign of how American childbearing, which began declining during the 2007-09 recession, never fully rebounded when the economy bounced back. Millennials have been slower to form families than previous generations, in part, economists say, because they are less financially secure than those before them.

… Teen- agers saw the sharpest drop, with a 5% decline in their birthrate. Since peaking in 1991, the teen birthrate has fallen 73%.

The federal government has a program to discourage teen births. It worked.

The total fertility rate—a snapshot of the average number of babies a woman would have over her lifetime—ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, a slight decline from the previous year and another record low. …

Brady Hamilton, a statistician who co-wrote the new report, said an uptick in births among women in their 40s is a sign that some births are just being delayed. “Women are still having children,” he said. “They’re just holding off until a later point in time until they establish their education and establish their career.”

A leveling-off of births among Hispanic women, who account for nearly a quarter of U.S. births, is also driving the overall decline. They had about 885,900 babies last year, down slightly from 2018.

But that was down only imperceptibly from 886,210 in 2018. The bigger driver of the national decline was the decline in the number of births to white women.

And this was during the late, lamented economic good times.

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Star basketball players, with the exception of some sharpshooters like J.J. Reddick, tend to have extremely long arms, even relative to their famously tall heights. Long limbs are good for dissipating heat in the tropics.

But why don’t Polynesians, such as Samoans, who are vastly overrepresent in American football, have long arms?

Does it help to paddle a canoe to have long or short arms? My guess is that Polynesians have gone through a number of genetic bottlenecks in which their ancestors were strong enough to paddle hard enough to complete some staggeringly long sea voyage.

Here’s an interesting Twitter thread on this topic:

Read the whole thing there.

The author goes on to suggest an example of parallel evolution for short-armed strength on the other side of the world.

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Unsilenced Science’s chart of average SAT scores by race from 1941-2019 has attracted accusations of bias due to his or her using easily recognized colors to represent each race: e.g., a black line represents blacks while a yellow line represents Asians.

As everybody knows, respectable institutions try instead to make their color schemes as hard to read as possible. iSteve commenter Calvin Hobbes points to this masterpiece of the inscrutable from an official University of California website entitled “The Facts: Diversity:”

The pie-chart color scheme is “shades of blue”, with some of the shades differing only slightly from each other.

The shades-of-blue coding also differs from graph to graph.

None of this invidious coding of different groups with different colors.

The purpose of official diversity graphs is not to communicate facts about diversity, they are to give us something to blankly stare in the direction of while we think about something else.

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As you may have noticed, the two most pressing social issues of our age are the right of black males to dress, walk, talk, and prowl like criminals without any white person calling them out on their behavior, and the right of black women to have their self-esteem about their beauty constantly fluffed by society.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, age 77, tends to free associate into microphones.

If Joe nominates Stacey Abrams for vice president, will he manage for four long months to never ever say anything that could be read as implying that she is not quite the living quintessence of Black Girl Magic?

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Students taking the SAT felt Stereotype Threat mindrays from the future emanating from @UnsilencedSci’s upcoming decision to graph SAT average score trends by race using easily comprehensible line colors (e.g., black for blacks, yellow for Asians, etc.) and thus scored high or low.

It’s Science.

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The NY Times headline today reads:

U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, an Incalculable Loss

But if it’s “incalculable,” how did they calculate it?

In reality, we need more calculation, not less.

But how to do it?

From the Washington Post news section:

The government has spent decades studying what a life is worth. It hasn’t made a difference in the covid-19 crisis.
The U.S. government often studies the trade-off between cost and safety. But the White House has failed to release any analysis of the pandemic, which could offer clues to what’s ahead.

by Todd C. Frankel
May 23, 2020 at 3:29 p.m. PDT

When President Trump said in late March he didn’t think the economic devastation from stay-at-home orders was a good trade off for avoiding covid-19 deaths, tweeting, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” economists across the country already were busy working on the exact kind of cost-benefit analysis implied by the president.

They reached a very different conclusion from Trump.

Exactly what “conclusion” has Trump reached? He seems to be reacting to this novel virus and novel situation by taking in new information and talking out loud about what might be the appropriate response given what we know now. This instills fear and loathing in millions who want the President to act like The Science is absolutely certain about exactly what to do and order them to do it, like a good democratic leader would, instead of an authoritarian like Trump who seems to act like he’s leading a national talk show as we try to make up our minds.

Economists at the University of Wyoming estimated the economic benefits from lives saved by efforts to “flatten the curve” outweighed the projected massive hit to the nation’s economy by a staggering $5.2 trillion. Another study by two University of Chicago economists estimated the savings from social distancing could be so huge, “it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens.”

In other words, the economists are saying, “the cure” doesn’t come at a cost at all when factoring in the economic value of the lives saved.

Uh … actually, it is expensive.

What these academics are doing — and what Trump’s tweet is getting at — is measuring how the extreme efforts to avoid covid-19 deaths compare to the devastating economic fallout. They do this by putting a price tag on the deaths avoided. It’s something the federal government does all the time when deciding whether to require carmakers to install new safety features or drugmakers to add new warning labels. And it’s required by law for big-ticket new regulations, such as road safety laws and pollution controls.

But this kind of approach has been missing from the debate about how to respond to the covid-19 pandemic, which has killed almost 100,000 Americans and fueled historic unemployment rates.

The calculation — known as Value of a Statistical Life or VSL — is the amount people are willing to spend to cut risk enough to save one life. The VSL at most federal agencies, developed over several decades, is about $10 million. If a new regulation is estimated to avoid one death a year, it can cost up to $10 million and still make economic sense.

At what age, though?

I looked at Wikipedia’s list of notable American deaths from Coronavirus and the mean age was 78 and the median age was 82. Only a tiny number of these people who had at one point in their lives made themselves prominent within their professions were still in their primes, and only a limited number were still earning much income.

The debate over letting the economy reopen or protecting more lives has become one of the many political fights dividing the nation. But a cost-benefit analysis using VSL, while far from perfect, would force policymakers to confront the reality of their decisions in a much more precise way. Without it, they are left to gut feelings, educated guesses or political arguments.

But is VSL the proper metric for a disease that slays primarily the aged and infirm? The feds have other, less crude measures such as Disability-Adjusted Life Years. From Wikipedia:

The DALY is becoming increasingly common in the field of public health and health impact assessment (HIA). It not only includes the potential years of life lost due to premature death, but also includes equivalent years of ‘healthy’ life lost by virtue of being in states of poor health or disability. In so doing, mortality and morbidity are combined into a single, common metric

For example, if somebody with Alzheimer’s is killed, they first estimate how many more years he was most likely to live, then deduct 2/3rds of those years on the grounds that having Alzheimer’s is only 1/3rd as good as being alive and healthy.

The British call their equivalent of DALY the Quality-Adjusted Life Years or QALY.

… But the most controversial aspect is whether older people should be assigned the same VSL as younger people.

As an older person, I say: of course not.

It’s sadder that Mozart died at 35 than that Beethoven died at 56, even though Beethoven’s late stuff is phenomenal and it’s sad to think of what we are missing from Beethoven not living his three score and ten. A while ago we discussed how Beethoven perhaps invented ragtime in his last piano sonata, and his Grosse Fuge of 1825 appears to have invented metal:

If Beethoven had lived to be 70, he probably would have invented Debussy’s impressionist music and Schoenberg’s twelve-tone, and swing. If he’d lived to be 80, he would have invented disco. 90, rap.

But, still, we are likely missing Mozart’s peak (Charles Murray’s Human Accomplishment lists creative individuals whose birthdate isn’t known by when they “flourished,” which Murray sets at age 40). The notion of Mozart and Beethoven both in Vienna competing from 1792 to 1826 (along with the elder Haydn [d. 1809] and the younger Schubert [d. 1828]) is staggering.

The Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 suggested a clean air rule would offer less of a benefit to senior citizens. Some academics agreed with the agency’s reasoning. But when critics decried it as a “senior discount,” it proved politically untenable.

But that’s silly. We need to try to estimate the Quality-Adjusted Life Years lost to this disease.

One analysis of Italian deaths, which have been highly skewed toward the elderly, probably because the residents of Northern Italy Alpine foothill small cities are among the healthiest people on earth, suggested that 10 years of life expectancy were lost per life lost. But that ignores the likelihood that those who died rather than recovered were likely frailer. Plus it ignores quality adjustments. Some of the dead likely had Alzheimer’s or other disabilities.

But … Americans and Britons both appear to be getting hit younger and harder than Continentals are by coronavirus. In John Ionannidis’s paper on the toll by age, the only American state that is skewed as much toward the old as the Continent is the best-educated US state Massachusetts.

On the other hand, it’s quite possible that the bigger danger in terms of QALYs is less immediate mortality from those who die right now than illness and early death in the future.

Say that the infection fatality rate is 1% (I hope it’s lower and that it can be lowered much further, but a 1% IFR makes for easy calculations to illustrate broad concepts) and that 5 QALYs are lost o average: that’s a loss of .05.

But, say that 10% of those who get infected and survive lose an average of 5 QALYs off their lives. That’s an order of magnitude greater QALY toll than that from immediate lethality.

Or say that only 1% of all survivors of the infection suffer major long term problems that take 5 QALYs of their lives. That toll would be the same as from the immediate deaths. (But then there’s the question of whether to use an interest rate to discount the Net Present Value of distress that would happen over the rest of the 21st Century? And if so, what interest rate?)

And there’s also the QALY loss from feeling really sick for one to six weeks. Say that 50% of those infected lose 0.05 QALY from being sick: that’s half as big of a toll as the immediate deaths.

In summary, while there is much to be learned about the toll of this disease, we really need to get serious about learning it and stop playing partisan games like this article does with an extremely serious subject.

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… he touches her hair?


Also … Joe Biden promises that Joe Biden is going to beat Joe Biden:

I think I bought that same sports coat from Men’s Wearhouse last year.

I should get Joe’s purple and yellow tie to go with it.

Conspicuous consumption is back!

The Democrats are stuck with Biden as their nominee because the black people of South Carolina voted for him, and who are white Democrats to disagree with their moral superiors?

It would be like Republicans not submitting to the will of the white people of West Virginia.

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My best guess for why the SAT is falling out of favor, as exemplified by it getting Cancelled at the U. of California campuses, would be what you see in this 2019 graph by Unsilenced Science:

Namely, Asians have been pulling away from everybody else on the SAT college admissions test, especially since David “Common Core” Coleman got his hands on the SAT a few years back, opening an unprecedented 100 point lead over whites in the last couple of years.

But the news media practically never ever mentions this 20-year-long development in Asian average test scores pulling away from everybody else like Secretariat in the Belmont.

It just doesn’t fit into the reigning worldview. Nonetheless, I think at the level of upper middle class white parents with kids in high school, their growing awareness of Asian Supremacy is a big deal, and is a major cause of growing white disenchantment with the SAT, even though it is almost never phrased in those terms. Are the Asians genetically superior, culturally superior, or are they cheating more? Nobody knows for sure, but whites are increasingly seeing the SAT as a game they are destined to lose at to Asians.

At the University of California schools, Asian dominance of undergraduate admissions is pretty obvious. For example, here is the demographics of the #3 prestige college in the system. UC San Diego in paradisiacal La Jolla.

Asian Americans make up 37% of undergrads versus only 19% of white Americans. But another 19% are international students, most of them Asian, so Asians probably outnumber white about 2..5 to one at UC San Diego among undergrads.

Going to UC schools isn’t as super cheap anymore as when I got an MBA from UCLA and our valedictorian asked for a round of applause for the taxpayers of California for subsidizing our educations so munificently. But still …

Making college admissions more subjective seems like it would hurt white parents in Santa Monica less than it would hurt Asian parents in Arcadia, because upscale whites are cooler than upscale Asians. Santa Monica parents can invent and follow new fashions in college application “Me!” essays that are more appealing to Berkeley admissions staffers than what Arcadia parents can come up with for their kids.

Let’s see what answers the New York Times news section comes up with to these questions:

Why Is the SAT Falling Out of Favor?
The University of California will no longer use SAT and ACT scores in admissions decisions. Critics say the tests put less wealthy students at a disadvantage.

By Shawn Hubler, May 23, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

SACRAMENTO — The University of California’s decision this past week to stop requiring the SAT and ACT tests for admissions renewed a debate that could be a prompt on a college application: Are the tests that were first deployed to diversify the Ivy League beyond rich prep schoolers a worthwhile yardstick, or are they, as one U.S. regent put it, “a proxy for privilege”? …

At the University of California, a faculty task force found that standardized tests were a better predictor of college success than high school grades were. They also found that including the SAT and ACT in the formula for admissions helped some black, Hispanic and low-income students by offering an additional metric for those who might have been rejected based on grades.

As I pointed out in February, the University of California faculty task force found that the r2 of GPA-only forecasting models was 16% but the r2 of SAT-only forecasting models was 21%.

So why the move away from the tests?

Higher education is running out of white kids. They are looking at a hyper stratified future of Asians versus Latinos, so they are engaging in various kinds of Shoot the Messenger behavior.

Critics of the tests cite decades of data indicating that they are inherently biased in favor of affluent, white and Asian-American students. During the debate among the California regents this week, numerous speakers used the word “racist” to describe the exams.

Critics also say the tests are too easily gamed by students who can pay thousands of dollars for private coaching and test prep. Carol Christ, the chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, has long called for a move away from standardized testing for admissions. She cited the recent college admissions bribery scandal as a case in point, calling the episode “grotesque.”

Obviously, because the Desperate Housewives actress got herself in big legal trouble for paying $15k to have a ringer take the test for her daughter, we must abolish the SAT and ACT, just like Spanish classes nationally abolished holding tests after Ted Kennedy was caught paying a ringer to take his Spanish test for him at Harvard in 1951.

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit pending against the University of California say use of the tests build on existing disparities. According to the College Board, which administers the SAT, 55 percent of Asian-American test takers and 45 percent of white test takers scored a 1200 or higher on the SAT in 2019. For Hispanic and black students, those numbers were 12 percent and 9 percent.

Proponents of a change say it is fairer to judge students by other measures, such as teacher recommendations. Some studies have suggested that high school grades better measure a student’s likelihood of graduation and cumulative performance in college.

The conventional wisdom among the well-informed was long that GPA was a better single measure than SAT, but SAT was a good complement to GPA. But the new U of C faculty task force study found SAT dominated GPA.

And some school officials say the tests are superfluous. California’s community college chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who is also a University of California regent, reminded the board this week that the university already enrolls tens of thousands of transfer students who are not required to take any standardized admission tests.

Non-Armenian white people generally don’t know about or think about this huge back door to a UCLA degree. They assume you must go to a 4 year college for 4 years, but lots of Armenians send their kids to decent junior colleges like Pasadena, Glendale or Santa Monica for two years, then off to UCLA for the last two years for the fancy diploma.

What will happen next?
John A. Pérez, chairman of the system’s board of regents, said that college officials in other states had told him privately that they would likely follow suit if California moved to eliminate the test from its admissions requirements.

“I have talked to leaders at other public universities over the last couple of months,” Mr. Pérez said, “and would not be surprised if others looked at this question as well.” …

The end of the SAT and ACT in California’s most prestigious public universities will not necessarily mean the end of admissions testing there. University officials said they were studying the feasibility of developing their own replacement test — with less baggage.

How hard could it be to invent a valid test on which blacks and Hispanics score as well as Asians? Obviously, the reason we don’t have such a test today is because it never ever occurred to anybody until last week to try to invent one.

Everybody claims they want to deepsix the SAT because, they say, the SAT is so racistly biased toward whites and against blacks, but little has changed over the generations in that regard. What has changed over the last two decades is the emergence of Asian Supremacy. That’s a big deal even if nobody talks about it.

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Lana Del Rey and Alison Roman flaunted white women’s privilege. But they’re not alone

Lana Del Rey found herself embroiled in controversy this week after an Instagram post in which she appeared to criticize other women, mostly women of color, for the sexual nature of their hit songs.


Lorraine Ali is television critic of the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she was a senior writer for the Calendar section where she covered culture at large, entertainment and American Muslim issues. Ali is an award-winning journalist and Los Angeles native who has written in publications ranging from the New York Times to Rolling Stone and GQ. She was formerly The Times’ music editor and before that, a senior writer and music critic with Newsweek magazine.
MAY 22, 20204:34 PM

Forget #MeToo for a minute. Right now, it’s all about #WhiteWomenBehavingBadly.

Callous comments from two famous white women about other female celebrities of color have hit multiple progressive triggers in recent weeks, causing cancel culture to wrest the upper hand back from COVID-19 on social media. Woke Twitter emerged from quarantine, sleepy-eyed but energized by something familiar to rage around: racism, mean-girl dragging, white entitlement, good vs. bad feminism, sexism, cultural appropriation and cutting boards (seriously).

Singer Lana Del Rey and chef Alison Roman incited firestorms when, in separate incidents, they complained bitterly about the success of female peers, almost all of them women of color. Earlier this month, in an interview with the New Consumer, New York Times food columnist Roman flippantly called Netflix star Marie Kondo a “bitch” and “sellout” and said Chrissy Teigen’s brand omnipresence was “horrifying.”

You are probably wondering: Who are all these people?

Alison Roman is a cookbook author famous for her recipe for chocolate chip cookies made with salted butter, brown sugar, and chocolate chunks, which sounds tasty but not actually all that ingenious: if you start with salt, butter, brown sugar, and chocolate, it’s not that hard to end up with something people like.

Marie Kondo is the Japanese de-cluttering lady who came up with a good Shinto-Minimalist question to ask yourself when trying to make up your mind what to throw away: “Does this spark joy?

But now she has gotten into selling her fans more stuff, because, while you can make decent money helping rich ladies throw stuff away, you can make a huge amount of money selling not-rich ladies more stuff, such as this $58 brass cookbook stand, which, now that I was trying to make up something to say that was bad about it, I realize I kind of really want one, although I don’t recall ever having successfully used a cookbook to cook anything in my life.

You may already own a cookbook stand, but is it a genuine Marie Kondo cookbook stand, implicitly guaranteed to emit Shintoist mind rays that will help make your house as decluttered as a Zen gravel garden?

I don’t think so.

Kondo is about as progressive as a kamikaze pilot, and has had the good taste to not to get involved in this race card spat, unlike:

Chrissie Teigen, who is a Norwegian-Thai Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who has become a cookbook author so that you too can eat your way to being a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

Lana del Rey is a good-looking singer, a throwback in the postwar torch singer/chanteuse mode.

Despite her Spanish surname stage name, she’s a Scottish American from Lake Placid, NY, so she’s a villainess in this:

Beyonce is of course above all criticism, according to all the mulatto hairdresser guys in America. It’s a national tragedy that she has only won 22 Grammys.

Cardi B is a stripper-rapper.

On Wednesday, Del Rey dropped a lengthy Instagram manifesto addressing age-old criticisms that her work is anti-feminist but that those same detractors give artists such as Beyoncé and Cardi B a pass. They have “number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, [having sex], cheating…” she wrote.

There’s more to their conversation and complaints, which were reckless and entitled at best, but the reaction was predictable. Women attacked Roman and Del Rey for attacking other women, as if there wasn’t enough scorn, shame and judgment to go around. The two were accused of making racist statements and flaunting their white privilege, and Del Rey was asked by half of Instagram why she hadn’t gone after artists such as Taylor Swift. (Del Rey defended her original post on Thursday, writing, “Don’t … call me racist”; Roman had her New York Times column suspended, a decision of which Teigen did not approve.)

The solution, of course, is — just as all PoC’s must unite against whites — for all women to unite against all men:

… In music, for instance, there’s been so little space at the top for women, and such a dearth of shared power, that artists like Del Rey fall prey to measuring themselves, and other women, against standards instituted by sexist dudes who ran (and still run) the game.

Women who’ve spent even a fraction of their life in a traditional workplace know that it’s exhausting navigating a system that wasn’t meant for you, or worse, that was specifically designed to keep you out.

For example, think how hard Chrissie Teigen had to work to shatter the stereotype that only men could be Sports Illustrated swimsuit models.

We’re held to higher criteria for lower pay, given the grunt work while our male peers are given promotions. The lopsided playing field is no surprise.

Our moms warned us that to get ahead we’d have to work harder, be better and complain less than the guys, at least until we were running things. Then all bets were off. Though they hoped the world might change by the time their daughters entered the workforce, it’s still a man’s world, a reality that bears out in study after study. We fight it, work around it, slog through it — and still we persist.

Along the way, however, expectations for how female colleagues deal with one another have been built on the belief that women generally behave better than men, and that we’re all part of the same gender underclass. Surely we’d all pull in the same upward direction, toward a more equitable tomorrow.

What a lovely idea — if not for racial discrimination, ambition, greed, socioeconomic disparity and everything else that’s part and parcel of a capitalist empire.

The only way to hold together the Coalition of the Diverse is through hating Core Americans, such as Emmanuel Trumpenstein.

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One of the many weird aspects of the pandemic is that two of the real success stories are Australia and Austria, which despite their similar names aren’t particularly similar. One is a small landlocked Northern Hemisphere country in the middle of Europe, sharing a border with Italy. And one is a giant Southern Hemisphere island in the middle of nowhere, but with lots of contact with China. And yet, here are their daily new cases trends:

Which is which?

Answer in the Comments.

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From the Boston Globe book review section:

Battles over borders in ‘One Mighty and Irresistible Tide’
By David M. Shribman Globe Correspondent, Updated May 14, 2020, 2:30 p.m.

For more than four decades beginning in 1924 the United States, for generations the great nation of immigrants and the dream destination for the oppressed, turned from its fabled past, virtually shutting off immigration in a period when vast changes swept through Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The tired and poor were largely kept from our shores by a law that basically locked the American doors to many yearning to breathe free.

All that changed with the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which helped shape the America we now inhabit by transforming the demographics of the country even as the country confronted its exclusionary past during the civil rights era. One of the beneficiaries was the family of Jia Lynn Yang, whose mother from Taiwan and father from Shanghai found a home in the United States and whose devotion and diligence have produced a masterly study of political struggle.

Yang’s “One Mighty and Irresistible Tide” is at base a political story, and it is a uniquely American story, one to celebrate in this period when immigration once again is on the American agenda and when immigrants are targeted as criminals and coronavirus carriers.

This is a story of how Irish Catholic leaders like John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy worked with Jewish political figures like Emanuel Celler and Herbert Lehman and others in what Yang called a “coalition of the powerful and the powerless.” Together they produced a landmark immigration bill that was signed by a Protestant president, Lyndon Johnson, himself marked deeply by his early years teaching Mexican-American schoolchildren in Texas.

The 1924 law was an expression of xenophobia and paranoia,

Which is why the U.S. accomplished nothing in the years after 1924.

… For no American should ignore the last two sentences, perhaps the most thought-provoking of the entire immigration debate:

‘’So what difference is there between us, with our precious papers, and the people at our border who are dying to come in?” she asks, and then provides a three-word answer. “There is none.”

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In the New York Times TV section, veteran iSteve Content Generator Salamishah Tillet, professor of African-American and African studies and creative writing at Rutgers University, Newark where she teaches a class on “Black Rage,” brings us up to date on the important cultural trend in her favorite romance shows:

Interracial Romance, With Black Women as the Stars
In “Insecure,” “Love Is Blind” and “The Lovebirds,” these leading ladies are pushing back against dating bias in the real world.

By Salamishah Tillet
May 22, 2020
Updated 1:34 p.m. ET

… The Molly-Andrew relationship is part of a larger cultural trend in which black women, especially those of medium-to-dark-brown complexions — long positioned at the bottom of the aesthetic and social hierarchy in the United States because of racist standards — are increasingly appearing as leading ladies and romantic ideals in interracial relationships onscreen. In some cases, these are works created by black women themselves, like Rae’s “Insecure.” …

Ultimately, none of these interracial narratives can make up for our country’s violent racial past or the way that history continues to plague us. The trend remains mostly symbolic, with black women still on the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder. Every once in a while, however, these fictionalized romances and reality show couples give us something to cheer for: a happily ever after in which the male partner acknowledges and begins to unravel his own racial privilege, not just out of love, but because it is the right thing to do.

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From the New York Times news section:

The Striking Racial Divide in How Covid-19 Has Hit Nursing Homes
Homes with a significant number of black and Latino residents have been twice as likely to be hit by the coronavirus as those where the population is overwhelmingly white.

May 21, 2020

This article is a collaboration, with reporting by: Robert Gebeloff, Danielle Ivory, Matt Richtel, Mitch Smith and Karen Yourish of The New York Times; Scott Dance of The Baltimore Sun; Jackie Fortiér and Elly Yu of KPCC/LAist; and Molly Parker of The Southern Illinoisan.

Word counts:

White = 11

Black = 32

Latino = 26

But also from the NYT news section:

Detroit Police Arrest Man in Connection With Nursing Home Assault
Both the 20-year-old man who was arrested and the 75-year-old victim were patients of the facility, the police said.

By Derrick Bryson Taylor
May 22, 2020, 12:59 p.m. ET

The Detroit police on Thursday arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with a viral video that showed an assault on a patient at a nursing home, the authorities said.

The 90-second video, which circulated widely on social media this week, shows a young man punching a much older man dozens of times, leaving him battered and bleeding.

The police did not identify either person in the case, but said on Friday that both the younger man and the victim, 75, were patients at a facility on Detroit’s west side.

The incident occurred on May 15, the police said, and the victim was taken to a hospital where he was treated for injuries that were not life threatening.

The person arrested was taken into custody at the nursing home and was transported to the Detroit Detention Center, the police said. It was not immediately clear whether the victim had returned to the nursing home or whether charges would be filed in the case.

Chief James Craig of the Detroit police said in a news conference on Thursday that the nursing home was not aware of the assault until it saw the video. The case remains under investigation, Chief Craig said.

Local news outlets identified the facility as the Westwood Nursing Center. Saif Kasmikha, the managing attorney for Midwest Legal Partners, the firm representing the home, said in a statement on Friday that the man who was arrested was not a long-term resident of the facility.

“He was recently admitted for recovery and rehabilitation purposes on a temporary stay,” Mr. Kasmikha said.

The facility is conducting its own investigation and has been cooperating with the police, he said, adding that the “safety, health, and well-being” of residents remained a top priority for Westwood.

The video also appeared to catch President Trump’s attention as it spread Thursday night. He tweeted, “Is this even possible to believe? Can this be for real? Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?”

Words not seen in second article:

White = zero

Black and/or African American = zero

A reader points out that the elderly victim in the Detroit nursing home video might be a very light skinned black man. After all, how many whites besides Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino still live in Detroit?

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From the New York Times news section:

… But this information is not new: The C.D.C. has been using similar language for months. If anything, the headlines have pulled into sharper focus what we already know about the virus.

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On the Los Angeles Times opinion page, an LAT Editorial Board member writes:

Opinion: Biden says if you’re black and don’t vote for him, you’re not black. He’s right

MAY 22, 20202:03 PM

When the popular black radio host Charlamagne tha God told Joe Biden at the end of a spirited but friendly interview that he needed to come back on his show because “We got more questions,” Biden shot back:

“You got more questions. If you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

Good one, Joe.

As ridiculous as it was to say that to a black radio and TV personality who, among other things, wrote a book he calls a “self-help guide for the hood,” here’s the thing: Biden was right. He just didn’t have the right to say it.

iSteve commenter jon adds:

“… was right. He just didn’t have the right to say it.”

This should be your epitaph, Steve.

From the Babylon Bee:

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A large fraction of discretionary spending in the modern American economy is conspicuous consumption intended to impress other people, especially face to face. For example:

But what if you just aren’t in the mood to drop by the Copacabana with the other goombahs? If you don’t feel comfortable crowding into the Copa, maybe you don’t need to buy a new tux and you don’t need to hand $20 to each servitor with his hand out.

I can imagine my Animal Instincts reviving the day I get my vaccine shot.

But I don’t see me wanting to hit up the Bright Lights, Big City until about then.

What I don’t see is the science of economics having much advice to give in the meantime when the hedonic value I’d get out of a new suit or new car would be considerably below what I’d have expected in 2019.

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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