Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Mary Beth Oliver is a professor of communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University. She has written an amusing article here that cautiously blames the media for the common perception that blacks are more likely to be criminals. The possibility that blacks ARE more inclined to criminality is not of course considered -- despite all the official statistics showing that vastly higher rates of crime among blacks. And blaming the media is about as desperate as you can get. Via my Gun Watch blog, I track crime reports in America at great length and it is usually only the fact that race is NOT identified that tells you a criminal is black! She also makes some comments on stereotypes which suggest that stereotypes are usually false. The academic literature shows the opposite. See here and here. But we can't expect an academic to be influenced by the academic literature can we? Mary Beth obviously prefers her prejudices.

Report from South Africa: It really is as bad as you think. My house in the leafy suburb of Melville resembles a fortress. I live behind a 10ft wall topped with a 10,000 volt electric fence. There are iron bars over all my windows and doors. I have an alarm system of bewildering complexity which not only makes a terrible racket but also summons an “armed response unit” to deal with any intruder (They would probably kill him – but I try not to think about that). I even have infra-red beams in my garden. And I’m not paranoid. This is all standard stuff."

How sad that anybody had to "discover" this: "Playing with your young children is the best way to make them into smart adults, researchers say-beating trendy toys, classes or music as a brain-building strategy for preschoolers. Children's foremost need is a secure relationship with an adult who loves them, said Eric Knudsen of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif. "It's all about playing with your child," he added. A paper appearing in the June 27 advance online issue of the research journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details the findings, by Knudsen and three other members of the U.S. National Scientific Council on the Developing Child."

The ultimate pro-Wal-Mart article: "Wal-Mart is one of the great shining examples of what a market economy can achieve. If I were to give a tour of the United States to visitors from a socialist country, who are used to experiencing chronic shortages of almost everything, Wal-Mart would be one of the first places I would take them. It is a perfect symbol of one of the most remarkable things that we have - an enormous variety of high quality, low cost products that are available to virtually everyone throughout the United States. Wal-Mart stores are indeed impressive sights, housed in gigantic structures, capable of serving many thousands of customers every day. Wal-Mart's most common type of store - the Supercenter - offers customers an indoor, air-conditioned shopping area larger than three football fields. These shopping behemoths provide so much - such a staggeringly huge range of well-made products - that a person could practically live his whole life without having to shop anywhere else. Walk into a Wal-Mart Supercenter and look around; the place is amazing! It boggles the mind to think of the enormous complexity that must be involved in running a store that accomplishes all this, which is truly responsible for an improvement in our standard of living"

Supporting the troops incorrect in Canada: "The annual Canada Day parade in the seaside community of Parksville will have one less float Saturday because a local group opposes what it calls the American-dominated military theme of this year's parade. The decision by parade organizer, the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce, to sell T-shirts with the message Support Our Troops has started an ideological war of words in this normally tranquil tourism and retirement community located about 150 kilometres northeast of Victoria. The decision to sell T-shirts, for $10 each, was made to raise money to offset parade costs and send a message to Canadians serving in the military that people in Parksville were thinking about them on Canada Day, said chamber president Cheryl Dill on Tuesday. But the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities says the T-shirts are an open endorsement of American military policy, which many Canadians do not support even though Canadian troops are stationed in Afghanistan".

American manufacturing dying?: "Someone forgot to tell American manufacturers the bad news. Most of them have enjoyed roaring success of late. Net profits have risen by nearly 9% a year since the recession in 2001 and productivity has been growing even more rapidly than is usual during economic expansions (see chart). The country's various widget-makers, moreover, show no sign of losing their innovative edge. Even in the automotive industry, GM and Delphi are arguably the exceptions. America has hundreds of car-parts makers, most of which are profitably supplying the plants of foreign carmakers such as Toyota and Honda, which this week announced that it will build a new plant in Indiana, to open in 2008. Caterpillar, which drove a harder bargain than GM and Ford did a few years ago with the United Auto Workers union, has since achieved huge gains in efficiency."

If there are any car freaks among my readers, they may be interested to see some more pictures of my recently-acquired 1963 Humber Super Snipe. I have posted some photos here.



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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