Monthly Archive for July, 2007

Quote Of The Day

“[NY Governor and former Attorney General] Spitzer denies any knowledge of what his closes aide was doing, which seems improbable. But hang on. Even [if] he didn’t know, isn’t this the same guy who wants corporate executives held criminally liable for the mistakes of their underlings, even if they had no knowledge of those mistakes? Isn’t this the guy who wanted to make not knowing about those mistakes a crime in and of itself?” —Radley Balko, on the  current scandal NY Governor  Eliot Spitzer is in

The Path Out Of Poverty

One that is sure to work and not to difficult to follow, given by an old Catallarchy post I am now catching up on:

As inspiring as Howard Gardner’s, Oprah Winfrey’s, and Michael Jordan’s stories are, I don’t think that they’re necessarily good role models. The high-risk strategies for success they adopted paid off for them, but the kind of success they’ve achieved requires extraordinary talent and more than a bit of luck. For every person who succeeds with these strategies, there are dozens, probably hundreds, who fail, often miserably. But we don’t see these people. We just see the tiny minority who succeed, and that hides the shortcomings of these strategies.

Most people, particularly those who have very little in the way of a family safety net to rely on, would be much better served by a more conservative strategy. If you’re fortunate enough to be born in the US today, it’s not hard to make it into the middle class. If you can make it to the age of 25 without having children, getting arrested, or developing drug or alcohol problems, and having graduated from high school and community college or trade school, you’re set. It doesn’t matter who your parents are or how much money they have. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is. If you can do these things, and then show up on time to work every day thereafter, you’ll do all right. If you live below your means and save up some money, you might even become moderately wealthy someday.

This strategy probably won’t make you spectacularly rich, but there’s no surefire way to get spectacularly rich. I’m glad that there are people who take big risks and succeed, but it’s not a strategy I’d recommend to a young person of average ability, and it’s arguably not an optimal strategy even for the gifted. The disproportionate emphasis on superstars keeps kids in the ghetto from seeing the role models they really need to see—the ones who achieve moderate success through a conservative, low-risk strategy.

The full post can be found here.

Quote Of The Day

“Julian Bond opened the NAACP convention yesterday with a speech as banal as it was irrelevant…Bond seems incapable of appreciating the yawning gulf between his vision for the NAACP and the concrete needs of the masses of Black families, who struggle mightily to raise children in communities ravaged by joblessness, bad schools, gang violence, single motherhood, and perhaps most pernicious, hopelessness.  He offers nothing in the sort of a strategy to pragmatically address these challenges.  Instead, he offers stale bromides about the twin obsessions of Bond’s NAACP: government and White folk.  As Bond would have it, Black folk’s capacity to generate solutions to their challenges is apparently limited to petitioning either of these external powers.  And because the Bond NAACP’s approach is so preoccupied with outside forces, he’s left with little but the ad hominem when those forces don’t share his concern for the Black community. Sadly, the NAACP — the grand organization founded by W.E.B. DuBois and which was indispensable to the dismantling of Jim Crow — is now a relic.  We badly need a re-imagined, reinvigorated NAACP.  As long as Julian Bond is at the helm, that new reality is implausible.  Bond must go.” —

Abolish The SAT

So argues, persuasively and surprisingly, Charles Murray here.

Because upper-middle-class families produce most of the smartest kids, there is no way to reform the system (short of disregarding intellectual ability altogether) to prevent their children from coming out on top. We can only make sure that high-ability students from disadvantaged backgrounds realize that the nation’s best colleges yearn for their applications and that their chance of breaking out of their disadvantaged situations has never been better—in short, that the system is not rigged. Now, the widespread belief is that the system is rigged, and the SAT is a major reason for that belief. The most immediate effect of getting rid of the SAT is to remove an extremely large and bright red herring. But there are more good effects.

Quote Of The Day

“America gives a better life to the ordinary guy than does any other country. Let’s be honest: rich people live well everywhere. America’s greatness is that it has extended the benefits of affluence, traditionally available to the very few, to a large segment in society. We live in a nation where “poor” people have TV sets and microwave ovens, where construction workers cheerfully spend $4 on a nonfat latte, where maids drive very nice cars, where plumbers take their families on vacation to the Caribbean. Recently I asked an acquaintance in Bombay why he has been trying so hard to relocate to America. He replied, “I really want to move to a country where the poor people are fat.” — Dinesh D’Souza, in his column “What’s So Great About America?”