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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

They Know What I Think?

How is it that black people can always tell what white people are thinking? I've never understood how they do that. More importantly, as in the case to which I've linked below, how do they know what white people are thinking, even though white people don't know they're thinking it?

Well, we find out there's something called a "hidden racial bias." Wouldn't you just know it?

It's there. It doesn't manifest itself. But, by golly, they know it's there.

The amazing story:
A Nation of Cowards?
By Charles M. Blow, New York Times

[A]ccording to a 2003 Gallup poll, two in five of blacks said that they felt discriminated against at least once a month, and one in five felt discriminated against every day. But, a CNN poll from last January found that 72 percent of whites thought that blacks overestimated the amount of discrimination against them, while 82 percent of blacks thought that whites underestimated the amount of discrimination against blacks.

What explains this wide discrepancy? One factor could be that most whites harbor a hidden racial bias that many are unaware of and don’t consciously agree with. [link] [my emphasis]
Oh, okay. I get it. White people and black people think differently because white people don't know what they think.

For the love of God. Is this guy serious?

Must be. He's got a by God Harvard study with accompanying graph to prove it. Here's the graph. You'll need to click on it to enlarge it:

Mr. Blow:
Project Implicit, a virtual laboratory maintained by Harvard, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia, has administered hundreds of thousands of online tests designed to detect hidden racial biases. In tests taken from 2000 to 2006, they found that three-quarters of whites have an implicit pro-white/anti-black bias. (Blacks showed racial biases, too, but unlike whites, they split about evenly between pro-black and pro-white. And, blacks were the most likely of all races to exhibit no bias at all.) In addition, a 2006 study by Harvard researchers published in the journal Psychological Science used these tests to show how this implicit bias is present in white children as young as 6 years old, and how it stays constant into adulthood.
R...e...a...l...l...y.

Outside of the always incontrovertible Harvard studies, how can we best measure this white vs. black bias? Hey, I know. Let's look at the one test where we took a vote. White vs. black; McCain vs. Obama. 2008.

From Politico, November 5, 2008:
The Illinois senator won 43 percent of white voters, 4 percentage points below Carter’s performance in 1976 and equal to what Bill Clinton won in the three-man race of 1996. Republican John McCain won 55 percent of the white vote.
Interesting.

And, though this ain't Harvard, how 'bout we do a graph too:
96% of the black electorate voted for Obama in November. That would be the non-biased black electorate. By the same token, 43% of all you white bastards out there who harbor hidden hatreds of black people voted for the black dude over the white dude (with 54% of young whites - a clear majority - actually voting for Obama). (It is obvious, therefore, that you don't know what you're thinking at any given time).

So. Do we believe Harvard (isn't that in Massachusetts?) "studies"? Or do we go with irrefutable empirical data?

Hey, don't ask me. I don't know what I think. You'll have to ask Charles Blow if you want my opinion.

* Chart courtesy of the New York Times.

Now His Question Becomes Pertinent

R.W. Apple, then-New York Times columnist, famously asked in October, 2001:

"Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam?"

Though preposterous at the time, if Obama treats the war as nothing more than a sideshow, if he starves the effort of funding, if he plans on doing nothing more than holding the American body count down, if he considers it a success if he can simply keep Afghanistan out of the headlines, if he "hopes" that the American press continues to maintain its complete indifference to the war going on there, if our troops and their matériel are considered nothing more than a line-item in the budget, if there is no interest in actually winning, then it will certainly become ...

... another Vietnam:

From the Washington Post, "Obama's First Budget Seeks To Trim Deficit":
President Obama is putting the finishing touches on an ambitious first budget that seeks to cut the federal deficit in half over the next four years, primarily by raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy and by slashing spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials said.
War on the cheap. A not-so-war. A throw-away line in the campaign war. A war they just want to disappear.

Former President George H.W. Bush once said: "There'll be no more Vietnams."

He didn't know Barack Obama.

Consequences Don't Matter

It's the politics revolving around embryonic stem cells that's all-important:
Stem Cells: Ideology Or Science?
Investor's Business Daily editorial

In 2006, stem cell researcher Steven Goldman and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York reported in the journal Nature Medicine that human embryonic stem cells injected into rat brains developed into cells that could lead to tumors.

As Princeton professor Robert George, who sat on President Bush's bioethics panel, told National Review Online, "the tendency of embryonic stem cells to produce tumors makes it unethical to use them in human beings — even in experimental treatments."

Yet just such an experimental treatment was reported Tuesday in the Public Library of Science's journal, PLoS Medicine.

The family of an Israeli boy suffering from a lethal genetic brain disease sought a solution in the form of injections of fetal stem cells. The boy had been taken at age 9 to Russia, where he was injected with neural stem cells, from fetuses, that were expected to grow into new and healthy brain cells. The cells were injected into his brain and spinal cord twice more at ages 10 and 12.

Tragically, within a year of the last injection, teratomas developed in the boy's brain and spinal cord. [link]
So we have the spectacle unfolding in which supporters of embryonic stem cell research try to make the case that the research will someday (could ... would ... should ...) lead to all kinds of breakthroughs in medicine (like making quadriplegics with irreversible spinal injuries get up out of that wheelchair and walk again) while, at the same time, people are dying horrible deaths as the direct result of their very real application.

Have we lost our minds?

Quote of the Day

From New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd:
Though he demonstrated in the campaign that he has a rare gift for inspiring the country with new belief in itself, Mr. Obama has not yet captured either the grit the moment requires or the fury it provokes. He has not explained in a compelling way why Americans who followed the rules need to sacrifice more to help those who flouted the rules.

Yet Obama is oozing empathy compared with his attorney general, who last week called us “a nation of cowards” about race.

Eric Holder, who showed precious little bravery in standing up to Clinton on a pardon for the scoundrel Marc Rich, is wrong. We have just inaugurated a black president who installed a black attorney general.

We need leaders to help us through our crises, not provide us with crude evaluations of our character. And we don’t need sermons from liberal virtuecrats, anymore than from conservative virtuecrats.
"Dark Dark Dark," February 22, 2009

It Didn't Work

The climate changed today:

British Fight Climate Change With Fish and Chips

And it'll change again tomorrow. Fish & chips notwithstanding.

Yes

Can Talk of a Depression Lead to One?

But I've Got Mine Prepared!

Hold the Eulogies, Kennedy Says

Here's Where The 2nd Amendment Fight Goes Next

There are those in this country - all small-minded and reactionary liberals - who now argue that, yeah, the Supreme Court ruled (in District of Columbia v. Heller), that the right to keep and bear arms to be an individual right protected by the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights, but that it applies only to federal law, not to state or local jurisdictions. That should give civil rights watchdogs in Mississippi pause when the legislature there starts passing segregation laws again and they - the watchdogs - go before the Court to argue that the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment applies to their case, only to be told that, sorry, it only impacts federal laws.

In any case, that's where this battle goes next. Does the right to keep and bear arms mean nothing beyond "the federal government cannot deny individuals the right to own a firearm"? Can the entire Bill of Rights be so subverted? So corrupted?

We'll soon find out:
Heller sequels move along
Scotus Blog

On a pace that very likely will put them in the Supreme Court at its next Term, three significant test cases on the scope of the Second Amendment — the “gun rights” Amendment — are moving along in the lower courts. Briefing on the core question of whether state and local governments must obey the Amendment — and thus allow private ownership of handguns, for example — will be completed in the Seventh Circuit Court by mid-March. Argument and a decision by summer appear likely.

The three cases were filed swiftly after the Supreme Court, late last June, declared for the first time that the “right to keep and bear arms” is a personal, individual right — at least to have a gun in one’s own home for self-defense (District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290). The Justices, however, did not then settle whether the Amendment applies to state and local governments, as well as the federal government amd the District of Columbia.

The sequel cases tested handgun bans or controls in the cities of Chicago and Oak Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb. (A California case that also had been filed promptly has been settled.) The Illinois cases were narrowed to the core question of whether the Amendment applied to the states. [link]
Now's a good time to settle this, once and for all. In part because it's an important issue that needs to be settled. But more critical in a practical sense, the Supreme Court isn't going to get any more conservative in outlook than it currently is. Not for a few years anyway.

Even should Ruth Bader Ginsburg die of pancreatic cancer (heaven forbid), or should John Paul Stevens die of old age (ditto) (he's about to turn 89), Obama will never find a more liberal (meaning make-shit-up-as-they-go) replacement for either of them. So the Court will be relatively conservative for a period of time. Which means it's a good time.

Personally, I want to see the genius who has to go before the at-times delightfully acerbic Antonin Scalia and argue that one small portion of our venerated and inviolate Bill of Rights is virtually meaningless (but I guess that's what they've been arguing with regard to the 2nd Amendment for decades now) but the remainder is sacrosanct. I can hear Scalia in response:

"Okay, let's go through the 27 Amendments to the Constitution and decide which have meaning and which are but empty words to be ignored."

So stay tuned. This will be great entertainment. And we have a ringside seat.

This Is Change?

From what to what?

Daniel J. Mitchell:
Obama promised change in Washington, but making government bigger is hardly a new path since spending other people’s money is the favorite pastime of the inside-the-beltway crowd. The Bush administration, for instance, expanded the federal government from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to $3.54 trillion in 2009 (and the majority of the new spending was for non-defense purposes). Now Obama has grabbed the baton and is racing in the same direction. [link]
Bush doubled federal spending (and what do we have to show for it?). Obama has a good start on doubling it again.

"Change"?

More like lunacy.

He's Setting Records Already

He's our first black president.

And he's achieved this:
Investors ... wanted decisive, well-crafted action on the banking crisis. Hence the Dow soared 6.5% Nov. 21 on news that Timothy Geithner, the highly-respected head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, was Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary.

Yet, from Nov. 4, 2008 through Feb. 12, 2009, the DJI overall fell 18% -- a larger drop than during the Sept-Oct plunge. In January, when the Obama plan, promising far greater deficits than the two much smaller “emergency stimulus” plans signed by Pres. George W. Bush in 2008, was unveiled, the market tanked – the worst January performance in 113 years.

113 years. The worst January performance since 1895 (ironically, the year the United States Supreme Court declared the income tax to be unconstitutional.*)

I'm not sure I can take much more of this hope stuff.

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* Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. Look it up. It seems like it's from another world:

"A tax on the rents or income of real estate is a direct tax within the meaning of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States.

"A tax upon income derived from the interest of bonds issued by a municipal corporation is a tax upon the power of the State and its instrumentalities to borrow money, and is consequently repugnant to the Constitution of the United States."

He's Kidding, Right?

Or is he simply this clueless?
Obama's First Budget Seeks To Trim Deficit
By Lori Montgomery and Ceci Connolly, Washington Post Staff Writers

President Obama is putting the finishing touches on an ambitious first budget that seeks to cut the federal deficit in half over the next four years, primarily by raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy and by slashing spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials said.

Yesterday in his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said he is determined to "get exploding deficits under control" and said his budget request is "sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don't, and restoring fiscal discipline."

Reducing the deficit, he said, is critical: "We can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control." [link]
Let me get this straight. He's going to bring about sustained growth by raising taxes on those who create growth, and he's going to cut the deficit after having his three-quarter trillion dollar "stimulus" package passed.

Did anyone check this guy's intelligence quotient before we voted on him?

- - -

Oh, and not only is he going to cut the deficit in half without decreasing spending, he's going to provide a tax cut for America's "typical families" too. Who needs Santa Clause when we've got this guy?