Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The NYT and IQ again

Ya gotta laugh! Below are the first three paragraphs from an article by Kristoff. He is making his second obeisance before the badly-flawed work of Richard Nisbett on IQ:
In the mosaic of America, three groups that have been unusually successful are Asian-Americans, Jews and West Indian blacks — and in that there may be some lessons for the rest of us.

Asian-Americans are renowned — or notorious — for ruining grade curves in schools across the land, and as a result they constitute about 20 percent of students at Harvard College.

As for Jews, they have received about one-third of all Nobel Prizes in science received by Americans. One survey found that a quarter of Jewish adults in the United States have earned a graduate degree, compared with 6 percent of the population as a whole.

West Indian blacks, those like Colin Powell whose roots are in the Caribbean, are one-third more likely to graduate from college than African-Americans as a whole, and their median household income is almost one-third higher.

Equating "coconuts", as American blacks often call them, with Jews and Asians is one extravagant comparison. It's true that they outperform American-born blacks but that does not say much. They are nowhere up to the Jewish/Chinese/Japanese standard.

Kristoff's basic but ludicrous point is that IQ and achievement generally are all due to working hard at your education and that all three groups he mentions do so. I will leave the Jewish/Asian aspect of that aside for the moment and just concentrate on the "coconuts". Their success is largely a reflection of a strong immigration effect. People who have somehow got themselves out of a Caribbean hellhole such as Jamaica or Haiti and re-established themselves in America are obviously smarter than those who stay behind in their scenic but poor, corrupt and crime-ridden homelands. So they do better in America because they are smarter to start with. They are an environmentally-selected superior subset of their parent population. Most of their success follows from that. The first generation too tend to have better motivation, having grown up in a society lacking welfare payments. It's basically work or starve where they come from. And they do of course tend to pass work-oriented values onto their kids. So attitudes do play SOME part in their success. But there is no sign that they are about to rival Jews in Nobel-prize-quality work!

The rest of Kristoff's article is, as far as I can see, just a rehash of points that I have rebutted already in my previous commentaries on Nisbett. See here, here, here and here

One point I have not seen mentioned before, however, is this doozy:
One large study followed a group of Chinese-Americans who initially did slightly worse on the verbal portion of I.Q. tests than other Americans and the same on math portions. But beginning in grade school, the Chinese outperformed their peers, apparently because they worked harder.

So Chinese pre-schoolers did not speak English well but rapidly caught up and surged ahead once they went to a real school. It has apparently not occurred to Kristoff that the Chinese littlies might have not been good at English or understood their classes at all because they mostly heard Chinese at home!


Now that he's been elected, Obama is a Muslim again

One year ago in June 2008, Floyd produced a television ad which asked the simple question, “Was Barack Obama ever a Muslim?” The Obama campaign came unglued. It earned Floyd prominent placement on a special Obama Web site called “Fight the Smears.” The news media jumped on the bandwagon. Newsweek reported: “Barack Obama has never been Muslim and never practiced Islam. But rumors about his religion intended to frighten some voters persist, and they mostly return to one point of fact: his name.” The Boston Globe wrote: “Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ. His Kenyan paternal grandfather and Indonesian stepfather were Muslim, but he attended secular and Catholic schools and was never a practicing Muslim.” ...

Now all has changed with Barack Obama’s coming out to the Muslim world. Jake Tapper of ABC News reports, “The other day we heard a comment from a White House aide that never would have been uttered during the primaries or general election campaign. During a conference call in preparation for President Obama’s trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said ‘the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to -- or before he’s been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world -- you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father -- obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago.’”

Tapper also reported, “In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many ‘Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them.’”



The Media Fall for Phony 'Jobs' Claims: The Obama Numbers Are Pure Fiction

Mr. Fratto was a colleague of mine in the Bush administration, and as a senior member of the White House communications shop, he knows just how difficult it can be to deal with a press corps skeptical about presidential economic claims. It now appears, however, that Mr. Fratto's problem was that he simply lacked the magic words -- jobs "saved or created."

"Saved or created" has become the signature phrase for Barack Obama as he describes what his stimulus is doing for American jobs. His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs -- and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could "save or create" an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will "save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years."

Mr. Fratto sees a double standard at play. "We would never have used a formula like 'save or create,'" he tells me. "To begin with, the number is pure fiction -- the administration has no way to measure how many jobs are actually being 'saved.' And if we had tried to use something this flimsy, the press would never have let us get away with it."

Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it.




Obama can walk on water: ""I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in Luxembourg gardens. Those days are over for the moment," he added." [The Seine is a river]

China to spur global recovery: "China's stellar growth could help pull the world out of its current economic slump, the head of the World Bank says. With Chinese growth in the first quarter of 2009 exceeding most expectations, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said overnight that China could act as a catalyst for a global economic resurgence. "Any forecast in this environment is hazardous, but I think China is likely to surprise on the upside," the former US trade envoy said, speaking at a conference in Canada. "By and large (China's growth) has not only been a stabilising force, but a force that will pull the system (out of the downturn)." China's meteoric rise as a global economic player has boosted world trade in manufactured goods and provided western companies with an enormous new market for their products and services."

I think Obama just lost the homosexual vote: “The Supreme Court on Monday agreed with the Obama administration and refused to review Pentagon policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. … During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won’t stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.”

Ginsburg delays Chrysler sale : “Chrysler LLC’s planned asset sale to a group led by Italy’s Fiat SpA was delayed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a request for a longer postponement that might scuttle the deal. … A federal appeals court in New York last week allowed the sale, while putting its decision on hold until 4 p.m. today to let opponents including Indiana pension funds seek Supreme Court intervention. Ginsburg’s one-sentence order today said the bankruptcy court orders allowing the sale ‘are stayed pending further order’ of the Supreme Court.”

Democrats declare war on the poor: “Given the abject failure of the War on Poverty — as Ronald Reagan said, ‘Poverty won’ — now Democrats apparently have decided to go right for the heart of the problem, by making war on the poor. That’s the only plausible explanation for S.500, the ‘Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2009,’ introduced earlier this year by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). The bill would limit interest rates in such a way that pawn shop owners say it would drive them out of business. Currently under consideration by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, this legislation could only make sense to someone who (a) knows nothing about pawn shops, and (b) knows nothing about economics.”

SCOTUS moves to curb “perception of bias” in judicial ranks: “The US Supreme Court has established a broad, new constitutional standard requiring judges to step aside in cases involving a perceived probability of judicial bias. The 5-to-4 decision was announced on Monday in a case involving a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. Justice Brent Benjamin had refused to step aside in a case involving a company that spent $3 million to help defeat an incumbent justice, whose seat was filled by Justice Benjamin. The Supreme Court ruled that Benjamin violated the due process rights of the litigants before the West Virginia high court when he declined to recuse himself in that case. The majority justices on the US high court viewed the company’s independent campaign expenditure as a significant factor in Benjamin’s electoral success. They concluded the effort created a perception of a ‘probability of actual bias’ when the company later appeared before Benjamin and the other justices.”

NY Senate goes Republican, aided by two renegade Dems: “Republicans who claimed control of the New York state Senate with help from two Democrats cast their action as a rebellion against a $131.8 billion budget negotiated in secret with coerced support. Democrats immediately challenged the claim and described the action as illegal. Governor David Paterson called it ‘despicable.’ The maneuver, just two weeks before the Legislature’s scheduled June 22 adjournment, leaves in doubt the outcome of bills to allow gay marriage, create a new money-saving pension category for future state and city workers and approve taxes to balance New York City’s budget.”

GM, Amtrak and an increasingly fascist America : “Last week, General Motors finally declared bankruptcy. Many in government thought $20 billion in taxpayer dollars would save the company, but as predicted, it only postponed the inevitable. The government will dump another $30 billion into GM and take a 60 percent controlling interest for it. Public officials are now involving themselves in tactical business decisions such as where GM’s headquarters should move and what kind of cars it will build. The promise that this is temporary and will eventually be profitable is supposed to ease the American people into accepting this arrangement, but it is of little comfort to those who remember similar promises when the American taxpayers bought Amtrak. After three years, government was supposed to be out of the passenger rail business. 40 years and billions of dollars later, the government is still operating Amtrak at a loss, despite the fact that they have created a monopoly by making it illegal to compete with Amtrak. Imagine what they can now do to what is left of the great American auto industry!”

“Are you proud to be white?” Uh, no: “I despise the obsession with race that is forced upon us by the nanny state. I’m always having to fill out these forms that ask my race. Liberals are so fixated on race that they would make a Nazi Gauleiter proud. Nowadays, when I get the chance and I come across some official piece of paper that demands ‘race,’ I put an asterisk in the box and at the bottom or along the margin I write this: ‘No, not so much anymore. I’m too old, fat and out-of-shape to win.’ … The reason this came up is that a fellow just sent me an email asking the question: ‘Are you proud to be white?’ My answer went something like this: ‘No, not particularly. I am proud to be an American. My race is incidental. To think otherwise is to buy into racial collectivism, which I refuse to do.’”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- this time mainly looking at the implications of the recent voting in Britain.


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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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