Friday, April 24, 2009

Self confidence as a boost to educational achievement among bottom-performing blacks

The abstract below appears to be the study some Leftists refer to in their zeal to show that African IQ levels have more potential than is normally apparent. The article is not unreasonable. That blacks at the very bottom rung of educational achievement are there because of low IQ PLUS low motivation is a perfectly straightforward idea that raises no new issues. But is it true? The effects reported below cover only a 2 year time-span -- which is ludicrous for evaluating the effectiveness of the procedure. "Fadeout" of such improvements as the child moves into adulthood is the norm. There is no reason to believe that the procedures reported below will be any different
Recursive Processes in Self-Affirmation: Intervening to Close the Minority Achievement Gap

By Geoffrey L. Cohen et al.

A 2-year follow-up of a randomized field experiment previously reported in Science is presented. A subtle intervention to lessen minority students' psychological threat related to being negatively stereotyped in school was tested in an experiment conducted three times with three independent cohorts (N = 133, 149, and 134). The intervention, a series of brief but structured writing assignments focusing students on a self-affirming value, reduced the racial achievement gap. Over 2 years, the grade point average (GPA) of African Americans was, on average, raised by 0.24 grade points. Low-achieving African Americans were particularly benefited. Their GPA improved, on average, 0.41 points, and their rate of remediation or grade repetition was less (5% versus 18%). Additionally, treated students' self-perceptions showed long-term benefits. Findings suggest that because initial psychological states and performance determine later outcomes by providing a baseline and initial trajectory for a recursive process, apparently small but early alterations in trajectory can have long-term effects. Implications for psychological theory and educational practice are discussed.

Science 17 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5925, pp. 400 - 403


Presidential Poison

His invitation to indict Bush officials will haunt Obama's Presidency -- and make bureaucrats who might otherwise help Obama sit on their hands -- fearful of how a future GOP administration might use this precedent. Once again the man shows that he is a fool

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama's victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials.

"Your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of 'chatter' equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks," wrote Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, in his August 1, 2002 memo. "In light of the information you believe [detainee Abu] Zubaydah has and the high level of threat you believe now exists, you wish to move the interrogations into what you have described as an 'increased pressure phase.'"

So the CIA requests a legal review at a moment of heightened danger, the Justice Department obliges with an exceedingly detailed analysis of the law and interrogation practices -- and, seven years later, Mr. Obama says only the legal advisers who are no longer in government should be investigated. The political convenience of this distinction for Mr. Obama betrays its basic injustice. And by the way, everyone agrees that senior officials, including President Bush, approved these interrogations. Is this President going to put his predecessor in the dock too?

Mr. Obama seemed to understand the peril of such an exercise when he said, before his inauguration, that he wanted to "look forward" and beyond the antiterror debates of the Bush years. As recently as Sunday, Rahm Emanuel said no prosecutions were contemplated and now is not a time for "anger and retribution." Two days later the President disavowed his own chief of staff. Yet nothing had changed except that Mr. Obama's decision last week to release the interrogation memos unleashed a revenge lust on the political left that he refuses to resist.

Just as with the AIG bonuses, he is trying to co-opt his left-wing base by playing to it -- only to encourage it more. Within hours of Mr. Obama's Tuesday comments, Senator Carl Levin piled on with his own accusatory Intelligence Committee report. The demands for a "special counsel" at Justice and a Congressional show trial are louder than ever, and both Europe's left and the U.N. are signaling their desire to file their own charges against former U.S. officials.

Those officials won't be the only ones who suffer if all of this goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used. Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time, says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms. Pelosi worried the CIA wasn't doing enough to stop another attack. By all means, put her under oath.

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he'll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway's political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow. And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and Arlen Specter have hardly been profiles in courage.

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.



A budget worthy of Mr Bean

Britain is making large financial mistakes too -- driving out its most productive industries via the usual destructiveness of kneejerk Leftist ideas. High British taxes have already driven a lot of large firms out of Britain so what has the Labour government just done? Put up taxes even more! "Give more British jobs to foreigners" seems to be the motto

Alistair Darling has saved the economy. Unfortunately the economy he has saved is the wrong one. In true Mr Bean fashion, yesterday’s Budget saved the economies of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Jersey, Hong Kong and other low-tax jurisdictions (polite society no longer describes them as tax havens), which only three weeks ago his boss Gordon Brown had boasted of closing down. As for the British economy, one can only sigh in disbelief. To cram so much bad news and so many policy blunders into an hour-long speech was quite an achievement.

To understand all these statements, let us start by focusing on just one figure, the only figure that really meant anything in the Budget speech and the only one that Mr Cameron studiously failed to mention amid all his ritual fulmination against zillions of pounds in borrowing and scandalously inaccurate Treasury forecasts. This figure was 50 per cent, the new tax rate on the rich....

First, the announcement of any significant tax increase, at a time when the Chancellor was trying to restore business confidence and boost housing and consumption, went completely against the logic of efforts of the Government’s faith in fiscal stimulus. Mr Darling’s biggest mistake in the PreBudget Report (PBR) was to negate the benefits of his VAT cut by preannouncing a big increase in income tax and national insurance, but instead of learning from this mistake he decided to repeat it....

In different circumstances, when global finance was booming, when Britain boasted of its light-touch business-friendly regulation, when law firms and multinational companies were willing to pay telephone-number salaries to retain London staff, a Labour government might have been able to impose a 63 per cent tax on senior employees (which is what the marginal tax rate will amount to once income tax and national insurance are combined) without displacing significant amounts of business....

But this is no longer the case. Global finance and multinational businesses are in a period of ruthless restructuring and cost reduction. The same is true of all the ancillary activities such as law, accountancy, architecture, advertising, management consultancy, design and so on, which ultimately depend on their proximity to the decision makers in globalised business and finance.

In the past few years, the difference between the 50 per cent of income left after tax and national insurance in Britain and the 70 per cent left to most residents in Switzerland might not have been enough to motivate many corporate relocations. But in today’s more cost-conscious environment, banks and multinational companies will be sorely tempted by the near-doubling of net pay that they can achieve for their employees simply by moving out of Britain before Mr Darling’s new taxes and national insurance charges are imposed.

The result is likely to be a substantial shift of global businesses from Britain, at precisely the time when London needs to restore its credentials as the leading global centre for finance and business services.... Moreover, it appears on the basis of postwar experience that most of the industries in which Britain has comparative advantage – not just banking and business services, but also pharmaceuticals, energy, electronic technology, entertainment and design – are dependent on workers who are both highly paid and internationally mobile.

It is likely, therefore, that banks and hedge funds will not be the only businesses encouraged to move out of Britain – pharmaceutical and oil companies, architects and designers may be just as motivated by the prospect of paying much lower tax in other business centres, whether in Europe, America or the Far East.




Ann Coulter's mother has just passed away and Ann has written a beautiful eulogy to her here.

Obama intelligence official says interrogation provided 'high value information': "President Barack Obama's top intelligence official sent a memo to his staff saying "high value information" was obtained during interrogations using controversial techniques. The document from Admiral Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, was issued last week on the same day as the White House released secret Bush administration legal memos authorising the use of methods that Mr Obama has described as torture. But a condensed version provided to the press omitted the detail about the value of the information – a move that has incensed Mr Obama's critics and opened him up to accusations of manipulation for political purposes. Adml Blair's original note to his staff last Thursday said "high value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organisation that was attacking this country". The memo is an embarrassment for Mr Obama because the conclusion reached by Adml Blair, who oversees the CIA and 15 other US intelligence agencies or departments, undermines a central plank of the White House argument – that the harsh techniques did not work."

We've got it all wrong on fishing strategy, says EU: "Europe’s fishing industry is on the brink of suicide and several species are in danger of extinction after 25 years of policy failure,the European Commission said yesterday. Officials admitted five key failings in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy as they prepared to tear up the idea of a centrally dictated strategy. They launched the search for an alternative, saying that much of the responsibility for fishing must be returned to EU member states. One key failing that has led to the near-extinction of stocks of cod, bluefin tuna and anchovy is the “deep-rooted problem” of fleet overcapacity, with campaign groups arguing for a 40 per cent cut in the EU’s 90,000 vessels. Its admission that Europe’s controversial fisheries policy had failed was broadly welcomed by the fishing industry. The Commission said that 88 per cent of EU stocks were overfished, compared with only 25 per cent worldwide."

Right on! "Police officers should wear name tags on their uniforms and those who deliberately hide their identity could be sacked, Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said today. The police has come under severe criticism for its handling of the G20 protests and Sir Paul, Britain's most senior policeman, said he wants officers to be more easily identifiable to the public. He also made it clear though that he wanted his senior officers to take a more robust approach in supervising the rank and file officers to ensure they could both be praised and have problem areas identified."


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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