Monthly Archive for June, 2006

Quote Of The Day

“President Bush, like Ronald Reagan before him and innumerable others who are out of favor among liberals, has repeatedly been depicted as such a mental lightweight that he is not in the same league with brilliant guys like Al Gore and John Kerry. The fact is that George W. Bush and John Kerry both went to Yale, where Bush had a higher grade-point average. Bush also scored higher than Kerry on intelligence tests that both took in the military. Gore went to Harvard, where he finished in the bottom fifth of his class two years in a row. Grades and test scores are not everything. But they are something — and those who are convinced that their guys are way smarter have no hard facts at all to back up this widely and fervently believed notion. The cold fact is that anyone who spouts the liberal line is likely to be depicted as sophisticated, if not brilliant, and anyone who opposes it is likely to be considered dull, if not stupid, in the liberal media”. —Thomas Sowell, discussing a new book titled, “Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies” by Gregory Jackson, in which several liberal myths are debunked

How Racial Preferences Backfire

Stuart Taylor Jr., writing in the Monday, June 19, 2006 National Review, reports on what affirmative action for lawyers results in:

Most — if not all — of the nation’s leading law firms seek to become more diverse by using “very large hiring preferences” for African-Americans and smaller preferences for Hispanics. So most of their newly hired minority lawyers have relatively weak academic records that would have brought rejection had they been white.

But these preferences are at best a mixed blessing — and are often a curse — for their recipients. After a year or two on the job, most minority associates at big firms get less desirable assignments and less training than their white counterparts. Many become discouraged and embittered. Young black lawyers leave big firms “at two or three times the rate of whites.”

These problems plague minority lawyers precisely because of the racial preferences that got most of them hired. By lowering the big firms’ usual hiring standards, large preferences bring “disparities in expectations and performance that ultimately hurt the intended beneficiaries.”
These are among the conclusions copiously documented by Richard Sander, a UCLA law professor, in a 66-page article soon to be published in the North Carolina Law Review. It is laden with meticulous statistical analyses of six publicly available data sets, including surveys of thousands of law students and lawyers at various stages in their lives and careers.

Sander’s blockbuster article, “The Racial Paradox of the Corporate Law Firm,” rejects the conventional wisdom that racism explains why most young black lawyers in large firms do not fare well, and why barely 1 percent of big-firm partners — compared with 8 percent of new hires — are black.

The paradox, Sander says, is that “aggressive racial preferences at the law-school and law-firm level tend to undermine in some ways the careers of young attorneys and … contribute to … the failure of the underlying goal of this whole process — the integration of elite firms at the partnership level.”

Continue reading ‘How Racial Preferences Backfire’

Quote Of The Day

“In truth, there is only one way to regard a minimum wage law: it is compulsory unemployment, period. The law says: it is illegal, and therefore criminal, for anyone to hire anyone else below the level of X dollars an hour. This means, plainly and simply, that a large number of free and voluntary wage contracts are now outlawed and hence that there will be a large amount of unemployment. Remember that the minimum wage law provides no jobs; it only outlaws them; and outlawed jobs are the inevitable result. If the minimum wage is, in short, raised from $3.35 to $4.55 an hour, the consequence is to disemploy, permanently, those who would have been hired at rates in between these two rates. Since the demand curve for any sort of labor (as for any factor of production) is set by the perceived marginal productivity of that labor, this means that the people who will be disemployed and devastated by this prohibition will be precisely the “marginal” (lowest wage) workers, e.g. blacks and teenagers, the very workers whom the advocates of the minimum wage are claiming to foster and protect”. Ludwig von Mises institute

The Unshakeable Faith of the Left

Observer, a friend of mine who is familiar to long time readers of my blog, wrote this good article titled, “The Unshakeable Faith of the Left” on ‘Institutional Racism’ and the general unshakable philosophy of the left. The full article is posted below:

Many of us “minorities” are expected to bow and acquiesce to a faith that is said to be the cause of most, if not all, of our collective societal woes. Many of us, since early childhood, have been steeply indoctrinated into a belief of perpetual victim hood. It is preached to us that “white-America” largely, if not entirely, is to blame for the cultural malaise, of which too many of us currently suffer. The preachers of this faith come from all walks of life. They are students, community activists, lawyers, actors, judges, politicians, scholars, and even e-activists. This fervent belief, of ingrained societal racism, is the faith of “institutional racism” (I.R.).

It’s difficult to get a consensus from these preachers on just what exactly constitutes institutional racism. But here are a few definitions I found:

* Institutional racism refers to the complex of institutional arrangements and choices that restrict the life chances and choices of a socially defined racial group in comparison with those of the dominate group.

* Institutional racism can be defined as those established laws, customs, and practices which systematically reflect and produce racial inequalities in American society.

* Racism can mean culturally sanctioned beliefs which, regardless of the intentions involved…justify policies and institutional priorities that perpetuate racial inequality.

These definitions are vague, but one thing is sure, preachers and believers alike hold onto to them tightly; much like a Catholic airline passenger would clutch onto a cross dangling from his or her neck while plummeting uncontrollably towards the earth.

Racism has traditionally referred to the irrational belief held by individuals in innate racially biological differences, which results in a further belief that one race is superior to some, or all, other races. Racism has been used as a rationale and a justification to concoct and implement social policy and laws steeped in bigotry; and this racist rationale has also greatly influenced societal mores. But institutional racism departs from traditional definition of racism and creates a new meaning. As author Dinesh DSouza notes, institutional racism (I.R.)is seen by its believers as “an invisible hand, which operates through the structures of society to thwart” the progress of minorities. That is, it is seen as an impersonal force built into society’s legal, political, criminal, and scholastic institutions, protecting whites and their “white-privilege” status from the clutches of capable minorities. What are examples of institutional racism?

Clear-cut examples are often difficult to produce, but many true believers point to inequalities in lending practices and criminal sentencing.

Sentences imposed on minority criminals are often touted by believers as conclusive proof of their faith (although it is a mystery to me why we should be so concerned with those individuals who brutalize us- minorities tend to victimize other minorities). Very often we’ll hear the faithful incredulity ask a non-believer: “How can you say there is no such thing as institutional racism?” Disgusted they note that: “White criminals get lighter sentences than minority criminals!” While the flock finds it shocking and disconcerting to believe that minority criminals will be locked away from their community for a greater period of time than their white counterparts, I find it cause for celebration. I mean after all, I, my friends, and relatives don’t live among many whites. However, I would find that a tad troubling if judges were systematically imposing harsher sentences on criminals of color simply because of their race. That would, of course, be potent and persuasive evidence of racism practiced institutionally-wide.

Now the faithful never need convincing, but they are acutely aware that all are not believers. Consequently, they know they need some evidence to support their belief to the non-believers or those who aren’t yet convinced. And one of the faithful offered me his proof. He cited this passage from a study:

“In 1986, the year Congress enacted federal mandatory drug sentences, the average federal drug sentence for African Americans was 11 percent higher than for whites. Four years later, the average federal drug sentence for African Americans was 49 percent higher.”

This, he said, was “likely” evidence systematic discrimination on the basis of race in the criminal justice system. This paragraph was all he needed to conclude that his belief was likely supported by the evidence of racial inequality in drug sentences. I imagine that many believers in institutional racism point to this in the same way that many Christians would point to a spider webbing a web that resembles a crucifix or the Virgin Mary as proof of the Christian deity. Of course, this piece of evidence goes a long way (much further than Charlotte-web like spider) in supporting their social hypothesis of I.R. Or does it?

Well, there seems to be much missing from this paragraph, in my opinion, if it is to convince a non-partisan mind of systematic discrimination on the basis of race. We need to further control, refine, and qualify those criminals being sentenced. For example: How many African Americans are repeat offenders as opposed to their white criminal counterparts? Were the higher African American sentences a result of peripheral crimes (not committed by whites) related to drugs? And so on.

I imagine that true believer in I.R. find these questions to pesky irritants, much like a devout Christian being asked: “How is it biologically possible for a virgin to carry to term and give birth to a human child; or How could one man possibly fit onto his boat and then distribute all over the world all the various animals of the earth? Despite the discomfort that these questions bring, they are important questions that must be reasonably answered before we can conclusively or even conclude that I.R. likely exists in the criminal justice system.

What about lending practices? One I.R. believer wrote that “black and Latino mortgage loan applications were 60 percent more likely to be turn down compared to white applicants.” This, she felt, was incontrovertible evidence of institutional racism. However, I pointed out to her that, loan applications turned down at a higher rate for Blacks and Latinos than for whites was not conclusive proof of discrimination on the basis of race. And that maybe there is something far less insidious than racism that caused these loans applications to be rejected; perhaps something very reasonable and something that doesn’t fit into the “America’s institutions are racists” outlook.

To help support my contention I turned to the economist Thomas Sowell. He pointed out and documented in his book, The Quest for Cosmic Justice, minority home applicants tended to have “…larger debt burdens, poorer credit histories, sought loans covering a higher percentage of the value of the properties in question, and were also more likely to seek to finance multiple-dwelling units rather than single-family homes, the former being a more risky investment.” All reasonable reasons to deny a loan.

He also pointed out what he termed “Aha! statistics.” That is, people will search for statistics that fit their agenda or political goal, but they will gloss over and omit other statistics that indicate an alternate conclusion. He writes of statistics that illustrated Blacks were more likely to be rejected for loans than their white counterparts that ignited a social scandal in 1993:

The Washington Post declared that a “racially biased system of home lending exists,” and numerous other publications, politicians, and activists joined in the chorus of denunciation. However, the very same set of statistics showed that white applicants were turned down a higher percentage of the time than Asian Americans. Yet these statistics brought no “Aha!” – no claim that whites were being discriminated against in favor of Asian Americans – because this was not part of the prevailing vision.

If one concluded that Blacks are the victims of racial discrimination in this instance based on the numbers, they would also have to conclude that whites also were victims of racism; that would be, of course, an incredibly silly and absurd charge. However, I.R. believers react to evidence that contradicts their belief much like Dracula to a cross. Mr. Sowell correctly points out, “numbers are accepted as evidence when they agree with preconceptions, but not when they don’t.” Of course, that behavior is what one expects of people of faith, and not of science.

Historian Howard Zinn noted that historians and sociologists often “grandiosely” refer to themselves as social-scientists. Indeed, the study of people and peoples is somewhat referred to pejoratively as a “soft” science. And if social scientists are to be taken seriously than we (amateur and professional alike) have to treat the conclusions of the believers of institutional racism (the Left) as social hypotheses to be tested and questioned and not as social axioms simply to be unquestionably believed.

If you choose to commit heresy, and go against the belief in institutional racism prepare yourself to be labeled a heretic (sell-out/closet racist). However, knowing that blind faith to baseless claims has stymied human progress (Galileo’s imprisonment by superstitious religious zealots) should give you pause to think of the good you are doing and give you the strength to continue on. Ask yourself: “Is it better for us to wallow in ignorance, hurling pejoratives upon those who dare to question the veracity and ‘sanctity’ of the doctrine of institutional racism; or is the questioning of findings, which claim to support I.R. existence, a noble endeavor in the goal to find what truly is at the root of the malaise we minorities collectively find ourselves? We can go on looking outward- blaming others for our collective failures, or we can try to fix our problems by looking inward.

Quote Of The Day

“Most people agree that Marx’s predictions about capitalism turned out to be dead wrong. What most people don’t know is that Marx was an out and out racist and anti-Semite. He didn’t think much of Mexicans. Concerning the annexation of California after the Mexican-American War, Marx wrote: “Without violence nothing is ever accomplished in history.” Then he asks, “Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?” Friedrich Engels, Marx’s co-author of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” added, “In America we have witnessed the conquest of Mexico and have rejoiced at it. It is to the interest of its own development that Mexico will be placed under the tutelage of the United States.” Much of Marx’s ideas can be found in a book written by former communist Nathaniel Weyl, titled “Karl Marx, Racist” (1979)”. —Walter Williams, Professor of economics at George Mason University

How Wal-Mart Helps Small Business

Many people have the false impression that Wal-Mart is a destroyer of small businesses and is so large of a company that no small business can compete.

Not so says the Detroit News Online:
Continue reading ‘How Wal-Mart Helps Small Business’

Quote Of The Day

“There are some issues where the views I hold are outside the mainstream. However, among economists, both on the left and the right, essentially everyone who looks at entitlement spending agrees that it would be helpful and appropriate to raise the age of government dependency. Yet we are told that this simple, common-sense solution is politically impossible”. —Economist Arnold Kling, writing about the need to raise the age of retirement benefits

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Is Doing Things

From the Wall Street Journal:

So the California teacher unions aren’t all powerful after all. Yesterday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called in his political chits with fellow Democrats in the state legislature, where he had once served as Assembly Speaker, and secured a deal giving him substantial control over the troubled Los Angeles Unified School District, which covers not only Los Angeles but portions of 26 other cities.

The mayor would effectively gain veto power over the selection of a new superintendent to replace outgoing incumbent Roy Romer, a former Democratic governor of Colorado. That new official would be vested with new powers over $7.4 billion in spending along with new power to write contracts. Those powers are now handled by a local school board that has traditionally been nominated by union apparatchiks elected in low-turnout elections.

In a sort of pilot program for a full takeover of L.A. schools, the mayor would also take direct charge of three inner-city Los Angeles high schools and the middle and elementary schools that send them students. A report this week by a nonpartisan education group estimated that only 38% of L.A. Unified students graduate on time.

The mayor didn’t get all that he wanted in assuming control over the school district. Other cities, such as Chicago and New York, have gone much further in trying to foster public accountability by transferring authority over schools to a single elected official. But the change represents the first crack in the total domination of L.A. public schools by unions that are adamantly opposed to almost all reform.

Mayor Villaraigosa, a former union organizer, says time is running out for kids currently in the system. “I get a knot in my throat when I go to schools, some of the low-performing schools in the city,” he told reporters yesterday. “Because in the eyes of these kids, I see myself. I see a young kid that dropped out of high school, a kid that people gave up on. I believe that we can’t give up on these kids. I believe we have to have higher expectations.”

I am not sure this is going to do much good but it sounds promising and is worth keeping a close eye on. In the meantime, I think Mayor Villaraigosa deserves credit for standing up to the special interest groups and doing what he thinks is right…bravo Mayor Villaraigosa!

When You Think All Backbone Is Lost

The Republicans go and do something right:

Bid to increase minimum wage nixed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate refused Wednesday to raise the minimum wage, rejecting an election-year proposal from Democrats for the first increase in nearly a decade.

The vote was 52-46, eight short of the 60 needed.

“I don’t think the Republicans get it,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who backed a proposal for a three-step increase in the current wage floor to $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum wage has been fixed at $5.15 an hour since 1997.

Republican critics said the minimum wage was a job killer, not the boon to low-wage workers portrayed by Democrats.

“This is a classic debate between two different philosophies. One philosophy believes in the marketplace, competition and entrepreneurship, and the second is a philosophy that says government knows best,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia. He said France and Germany have high minimum wages but also high unemployment.

But Kennedy and other advocates of an increase said minimum wage workers have been without a raise since 1997.

Underscoring the political context of the debate, he said if Democrats win the Senate this November, a minimum wage increase will be one of the first pieces of legislation to be considered.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Isn’t it telling how Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson listed factual, empirical reasons to be against the minimum wage yet Kennedy and ‘other advocates’ dodged his argument and simply reiterated their point? The reason is that the economics of the minimum wage are clearly on the Republican side, yet Democrats know that many voters are economically ignorant, so they would rather play on that ignorance for more political votes, even though playing on that ignorance results in more job losses and a lower standard of living for those very voters.

The reason that the minimum wage is one of the last few remaining price controls is precisely because it carries so much political support, even though its results are clearly opposite of what the voters intend. For more on how the minimum wage harms workers, and especially low skilled minority workers, go here, here, here and here.

HP In Chicago

I have finals today and tomorrow and a few hours after my last final tomorrow I hop on a plane to Chicago to attend my twin cousins baptism. So blogging will be light, and won’t resume until after I get back on June 24th.

Also, in case any of my readers live in the Chicago area, feel free to shoot me an email, maybe we can meet up for some food or drinks while I am up there.

Latino Assimilation

The American Immigration Law Foundation finds:

Latinos experience substantial socioeconomic progress across generations compared to both their immigrant forefathers and native Anglos. But this fact is lost in statistical portraits of the Latino population which don’t distinguish between the large number of newcomers and those who have been in the United States for generations. Advocates of restrictive immigration policies often use such aggregate statistics to make the dubious claim that Latinos are unable or unwilling to advance like the European immigrants of a century ago.

The report could be found here. In addition, Duke University provides a report by James P Smith here.

Quote Of The Day

“As for dividing Americans, who came up with the idea of radically altering the most ancient of all social institutions in the first place? Until the last few years, every civilization known to man has defined marriage as between people of opposite sex. To charge with “divisiveness” those who would do nothing more than resist a radical overturning of that norm is a sign of either gross partisanship or serious dimwittedness”. —Charles Krauthammer

European Racism

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Although players of color have graced Europe’s top leagues since the 1970s, and there’s hardly a championship team anywhere without some Brazilian or African imports, an astonishing level of racism persists among some fans and even coaches.

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin, for example, recently complained that the influx of foreign players deprived his compatriots of role models: “Let them learn from [our players] and not some Zumba-Bumba whom they took off a tree, gave two bananas and now he plays in the Ukrainian league.”

Then there was Spain’s coach, Luis Aragones, caught on TV telling striker Jose Antonio Reyes that he was better than his French Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry. Except Aragones didn’t say Henry’s name; he used a vicious racial epithet.

In Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe, black players regularly suffer racial abuse in the form of ape noises and bananas thrown from the stands.

Although the penalties aren’t always as strong as they ought to be, FIFA, the sport’s governing body, has made combating racism a priority.

The full article can be found here.

Update: An ESPN special of the whole thing here.

Quote Of The Day

“While in alliance with the Nazis, the Soviets claimed, as usual, to be “liberating” the countries they invaded. The reality was quite different. Most shockingly, during Stalin’s alliance with Hitler, almost two million Poles were deported to Siberia. Hitler’s double-cross was the only reason the Polish deportees didn’t all die in Soviet slave labor camps; in his desperation, Stalin allowed many to leave the Soviet Union via Persia to fight for the West. The upshot is that there are many witnesses to the Soviets’ atrocities toward the Poles. Lately a lot of them – and their surviving relatives – have been contacting me. They’re known as the Kresy Siberia Group, and make it their goal to educate the world about what really happened to them. It’s a tale that deserves to be heard for its own sake. But to understand what happened to Poland between 1939 and 1941 also puts all of twentieth century history in perspective. The Big Story of the century wasn’t a left-versus-right struggle, or a struggle of moderation versus extremism. It was a struggle of cosmetically different totalitarian socialisms to enslave the world. They fought freer countries to subjugate them; they fought each other out of lust for power. I’m still amazed that things didn’t turn out far worse”. —Bryan Caplan, in a post titled, The Misconception of the Twentieth Century

Thousands of Latino Parents and Leaders are Demanding School Choice

I am a member of Hispanic CREO, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to improve educational outcomes for Latino children by empowering parents through parental choice. They emailed me this and asked me to post it on my website:

Thousands of Latino Parents and Leaders are Demanding School Choice

Parents and Latino leaders across the nation are calling on education and political leaders to give Hispanic children greater choice in education. El Grito del Pueblo, a document released by the group last week, has already garnered thousands of signatures. “This national ‘grito’ (shout) is about harnessing the power of hundreds of thousands of American Latinos into one voice on one issue: education,” said Rebeca Nieves Huffman, Hispanic CREO President. People can sign the document by going to www.justicebychoice.org.

The events of the last month have shown the powerful voice of the Hispanic community as millions gathered across the nation to express their views on the immigration issue. According to Robert Aguirre, Chairman of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, the goal of El Grito is to create a social and political movement. “This Grito will unite a huge mass of Latinos in a single voice for the common cause of social justice by education reform,” he added. Over 3,500 people have already signed the document.

In the United States, one out of seven Americans is Hispanic. Latinos are now the largest, fastest growing, and youngest ethnic group in the U.S. “Nevertheless,” says Huffman, “Latino children are often not well served by the typical public school system. Many Latino children are stuck in low performing public schools and parents need other options. Those options might include other public schools, charter schools, or private schools through tax credits or vouchers.”

According to the latest statistics, 56 percent of Hispanic fourth graders read at below the “Basic” level as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The term “Basic” describes the ability to read English material at grade level. Research shows that children who fail to master literacy by the fourth grade will likely fall farther and farther behind each year. Unable to read their own textbooks and with no hope of attending college, many of these children drop out before graduating from high school. Revealingly, the Hispanic high school drop-out rate is 48 percent while the national drop-out rate for Black students is 44 percent and only 22 percent for White students.

“Decades of poor results and minority gaps have proven a one-size-fit-all approach to schools is not good for students,” Huffman said. “Parents know their children best and they need the power to decide what school atmosphere is best for their family.”

El Grito includes the following statement: “By our collective action, led by Hispanic Americans, we call on everyone to support the empowerment of families by school choice so as to enable all children to access a quality education and reach their full potential.” The document also contains details of how the current educational system fails to provide a basic education to Latino children.

I encourage all of my readers to go to Justice By Choice and sign the petition and to do what they can to support Hispanic CREO.

Quote Of The Day

“Over the last decade, at matches in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica, U.S. players have been pelted with everything from batteries and coins to screws and saliva. In one match, former coach Steve Sampson said his players were bombed with bags of urine and animal blood. In the mid-90s, defender Paul Caligiuri was treated for welts on his back after being sprayed with a chemical substance, presumably acid”. —ESPN, discussing the increasing hate US national soccer team is expected to face