Monday, January 25, 2010

More politically-correct inability to see the obvious

Both sides of the debate below seem to be assuming that it is upbringing that is responsible for the difference in children's intellectual achievement -- when all the research shows that genetics is the major influence -- with upbringing of negligible importance. Smart people tend to get rich and pass on their smart genes to their children -- and that is all there is to it. The finding is in fact just another confirmation of Charles Murray's well-known scholarly work that showed a strong link between social class and IQ. To be very blunt about it, the poor tend to be dumb and the rich tend to be smart. There are of course exceptions but that is the general tendency that is being detected below

A CHILD’S reading age and ability to count develop a month earlier for every extra £100 a month in family income, according to a government-funded study to be unveiled this week. Gaps in the development of children from different socio-economic backgrounds appear by the age of three and widen until 14. The findings, written by a panel chaired by Professor John Hills, are based on the Millennium Cohort Project which tracks 19,000 youngsters.

It will fuel divisions between Labour and the Tories over the link between a child’s prospects and household income.

Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, said last night: “[The report] provides an incontrovertible basis for us to move beyond inaccurate assertions made by the opposition ... David Cameron says that the differences in child outcomes between a child born in poverty and a child born in wealth are statistically insignificant when both have been raised by confident and able parents. “But what he fails to say is that you can’t separate out good parenting skills from family income. The two are so strongly correlated. So this is an utterly misleading portrayal of the evidence.”

The report says inequalities are exacerbated by differences in the mother’s education, the father’s job and deprivation in the area where they live. Details of how far up the salary scale the effect occurs are expected in the report.



Brain areas linked to mental performance

What? It's not "poverty" that makes you dumb? Once again the data contradict Leftist nostrums. Many of the skills mentioned below are closely linked to IQ. Mental speed and brain size have long been known as correlated with IQ. So the research below confirms a lot in IQ research. Note the confirmation that IQ can't be "trained"

HOW well you play a video game can be predicted by measuring the size of structures in your brain. Researchers have found certain brain centres play a vital role in influencing traits crucial to video game success. The findings could lead to applications for education and treatment of dementia.

The study, published in the scientific journal Cerebral Cortex, adds to evidence that a collection of distinctive tissues deep in the brain influence the ability to refine motor skills, learn, plan, and adapt quickly to a changing environment. "This is the first time that we've been able to take a real-world task like a video game and show that the size of specific brain regions is predictive of performance and learning rates," said University of Pittsburgh psychology professor Kirk Erickson.

The study was done by Pittsburgh University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.

Researchers explored an anomaly between novice and veteran players. Research had shown expert players outperformed novices in areas such as attention and perception. But training novices for endless hours produced no measurable benefit to their cognitive abilities.

The study's authors believed existing differences between individual brains might explain the anomaly. They concentrated on an area known as the striatum. "Our animal work has shown that the striatum is a kind of learning machine - it becomes active during habit formation and skill acquisition," said McGovern Institute investigator Ann Graybiel. "So it made a lot of sense to explore whether the striatum might also be related to the ability to learn in humans."

The researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to analyse brain regions of 39 adults aged between 18-28 who'd spent less than three hours a week playing video games in the previous two years.

Half were asked to focus on maximising their score; the rest were asked to periodically shift priorities, improving skills in one area before moving to something else. Players who had a larger brain "reward centre" did better early on; players whose brain centres for motor skills and adaptation were larger performed best overall.



Democrats now dissatisfied with Obama

At the end of Barack Obama’s worst week since taking power a year ago, the US president’s fortunes look set only to deteriorate over the coming days. Following the shock defeat of the Democratic candidate in Massachusetts on Tuesday, a move that deprived the president of his 60-seat super-majority in the Senate and left his legislative agenda in tatters, Mr Obama has just four days to reboot the system.

The US president had originally delayed next week’s State of the Union address to Congress in the hope he would get his signature healthcare reform bill enacted in time. That prospect, already waning, was killed dead by the voters in Massachusetts. A growing number of Democrats believe the nine-month effort could collapse altogether.

The death of the healthcare effort would rob Mr Obama of what he had hoped would be the centrepiece of his first State of the Union message. “It now looks extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get anything resembling a broad healthcare bill out of Congress,” said Scott Lilley, a senior fellow at the liberal Centre for American Progress, the think-tank that is closest to the White House. “In his State of the Union, Obama has to slim down his ambitions. It should be short and simple and focus on jobs.”

However, even a more modest agenda looks tough for Mr Obama now. Believing their strategy of total opposition was vindicated by the voters last Tuesday, Republicans are in even less of a mood to co-operate with Democrats than before. The difference is that with 41 seats in the Senate they are in a position to block almost anything Mr Obama proposes – including the Wall Street regulatory measures he announced on Thursday.

“Obama has to decide whether he wants to be a transformational president, which looks optimistic at this stage, or merely an effective president,” says Bruce Josten, head of government affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, which has spent tens of millions of dollars opposing healthcare. “My advice would be that he pick up the phone and ask for Bill Clinton’s advice on how to recover from a situation like this.”

Nor can Mr Obama rely on unity within his own party, which has been in disarray, if not panic, since Tuesday. For example, Mr Obama’s more populist tack on Wall Street re-regulation failed to attract endorsement from Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, even though he was present when Mr Obama made the announcement.

Others, such as Tim Johnson, Democratic senator for South Dakota and a senior member of the banking committee, were already opposed to elements of Mr Obama’s regulatory proposals including the plan to establish a consumer financial protection agency.

Worse, most people do not think Mr Obama can even command unity within his own administration on the Wall Street proposals amid growing speculation about whether Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, can survive in his job. Mr Geithner was conspicuously sidelined during Thursday’s announcement by the presence of Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, who lent his name to the push to rein in Wall Street banks.

The speculation about Mr Geithner is only likely to grow. “The Obama proposals were clearly politically motivated and came from the White House not the Treasury,” says a Democratic adviser to the administration, who withheld his name.

Finally, there is increasingly open Democratic disaffection about the way Mr Obama is managing relations with Capitol Hill. Many believe that Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama’s aggressive chief of staff, served Mr Obama badly by persuading the president that his election was a transformational moment in US politics that gave him the opportunity to push through long-cherished Democratic goals, such as healthcare reform.

In fact, exit polls from Mr Obama’s election showed that almost two-thirds of the voters cited the economy as their chief concern, with fewer than one in 10 mentioning healthcare. Mr Emanuel is also perceived to have mishandled the day-to-day logistics of getting healthcare through Congress.

By leaving the scripting of the details of the healthcare bill to Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, the White House openly courted the risk of chaos. Tellingly, in his victory speech in Boston on Tuesday, Scott Brown, the new Republican senator, cited voter disdain for the sight of lots of “old men” on Capitol Hill bickering over healthcare reform at a time when their priority was jobs.

“I haven’t seen Rahm Emanuel except on television,” Jim Pascrell, a Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey, told Politico, the news website, on Friday. “We used to see him a lot; I’d like him to come out from behind his desk and meet with the common folk.”

In short, Mr Obama’s nightmare January could easily slip into a nightmare February. “Unless and until the president changes the way his White House, works, things are going to continue to go badly for him,” says the head of a Democratic think-tank. “Heads still have to roll.”



Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

The Obamabots can't keep their lies straight

White House advisers appearing on the Sunday talk shows gave three different estimates of how many jobs could be credited to President Obama’s Recovery Act. The discrepancy was pointed out by a Republican official in an email to reporters noting that “Three presidential advisers on three different programs [gave] three different descriptions of the trillion-dollar stimulus bill.”

Valerie Jarrett had the most conservative count, saying “the Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs,” while David Axelrod gave the bill the most credit, saying it has “created more than – or saved more than 2 million jobs.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came in between them, saying the plan had “saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”

Their remarks in context:

Axelrod, on CNN’s State of the Union: “But understand that, in this recession that began at the beginning of 2007, we've lost 7 million jobs. Now, the Recovery Act the president passed has created more than — or saved more than 2 million jobs. But against 7 million, you know, that — that is — it is cold comfort to those who still are looking.”

Jarrett, on NBC’s Meet the Press: “The Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs. There are schoolteachers and firemen and— and— teachers all across our country, policemen, who have jobs today because of that recovery act. We're investing in infrastructure. We're investing in public education so that our kids can compete going forth into the next— generation.”

Gibbs, on “Fox News Sunday”: “Well, Chris, let's take for instance the example you just used of the stimulus package. We had four quarters of economic regression in terms of growth, right? Just last quarter, we finally saw the first positive economic job growth in more than a year. Largely as a result of the recovery plan that's put money back into our economy, that saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”




The President of the United States addressed 6th grade students at the Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. For this speech, he brought along teleprompters, Presidential Seal podium, speakers, lighting etc.

What has this Presidency come to, when all the above props are needed to speak with 6th grade students?




Obamabot laments that tea partiers keep Republicans honest: "NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday said the Tea Party movement has made it impossible for President Obama to buy the Republican votes he needs to pass his agenda. Appearing on "Meet the Press," Todd told his fellow panelists, "I think the most striking thing about the minority party that a Republican can't go home, and it's mostly because of this tea party crowd, cannot go home and sell a piece of pork that they got from Washington." In Todd's view, this makes it tough for Obama because "it's not as if he can trade, you know, go and have these trades with a Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe, or let's say Lamar [Alexander]...or something like this, because they're not getting a benefit at home of bringing something back" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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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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