Monday, February 6, 2012

Don't let your kids play with Daniel Patrick Moynihans

From Jonathan Haidt Decodes the Tribal Psychology of Politi

"Another example Haidt uses to underscore the tribal psychology of political sacredness is the 1960s research of the liberal sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard professor and public-policy expert. In a famous report to President Johnson, Moynihan used the phrase "tangle of pathology" to describe the black family, arguing that some of its problems stemmed from high rates of out-of-wedlock birth, not just from racism. That made Moynihan a pariah; other Harvard professors wouldn't let their kids play with his. As Haidt tells the story, Moynihan committed "the cardinal sin": "blaming the victim, where the victim is one of your sacralized victim groups." He points out that sociologists are now gingerly saying, "He was right.""

The thought of Harvard profs shunning playtime to Moynihan's children is rich for the party of love, tolerance and inclusion. All diversity is welcomed and worshiped except when it becomes a diversity of opinion.

Also this:

To Haidt, the evolution of morality can help make sense of modern political tribes like this one. And in that evolution, the big question is this: How did people come together to build cooperative societies beyond kinship?

Morality is the glue, he answers. Humans are 90-percent chimp, but also 10-percent bee—evolved to bind together for the good of the hive. A big part of Haidt's moral narrative is faith. He lays out the case that religion is an evolutionary adaptation for binding people into groups and enabling those units to better compete against other groups. Through faith, humans developed the "psychology of sacredness," the notion that "some people, objects, days, words, values, and ideas are special, set apart, untouchable, and pure." If people revere the same sacred objects, he writes, they can trust one another and cooperate toward larger goals. But morality also blinds them to arguments from beyond their group.

How much of moral thinking is innate? Haidt sees morality as a "social construction" that varies by time and place. We all live in a "web of shared meanings and values" that become our moral matrix, he writes, and these matrices form what Haidt, quoting the science-fiction writer William Gibson, likens to "a consensual hallucination." But all humans graft their moralities on psychological systems that evolved to serve various needs, like caring for families and punishing cheaters. Building on ideas from the anthropologist Richard Shweder, Haidt and his colleagues synthesize anthropology, evolutionary theory, and psychology to propose six innate moral foundations: care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation.

Thought it was an interesting article, click the link to read it all.

The in-group/out-group and follow the leader dynamic is something to behold in both parties, but I think it is especially present in the left because I am biased for my home team.

I have been thinking lately of the Sierra Club schism back in the 1990s where they ejected immigration concerns from their platform. Then they started castigating restrictionists and labeling them as racists, even long time members who were fellow travelers in the green movement.

Clearly importing lots of third world poverty into our high consuming country might affect our green spaces and our environment. If you believe in global warming, you might want the third world masses to stay in place and consume less than come here and consume more. The people that immigrate to the United States haven't been on the vanguard of the green or preservation movements either. Do newcomers care as much about preservation as the average native, let alone someone in the Sierra Club? Do the newcomers even tend to visit the National Parks? You can see how some of them could have made logical arguments against immigration that were consistent with their beliefs.

A significant faction existed in the Sierra Club that was anti-immigration and pro-population control in the United States. They have been thrown out of the movement. Now days the Sierra Club has bigger things to worry about, like if they are too white. Lately over the weekend I read about the Sierra Club taking money from the natural gas industry to politically combat the coal industry. You have to wonder what they really stand for, if anything.

I do think it is interesting that you could be a leftist and anti-immigration in good standing with plenty of friends and supporters into the 90s and now not so much. The tenants of the religion have changed and if you didn't get with it you were excommunicated. Maybe they won't even let their kids play with yours. Decades later, they may even "gingerly" admit that you were right. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When Night Fell In IndoChina

I haven't posted for awhile. I get this inertia going and it can't stop it. I will try to post at least once a week just to keep this madness going. Not that I get a lot of readers, but I do like the thought of having a blog.

So here is my favorite article on the web on the Vietnam War. I originally found it on the Nixon Library website. I think I got there from a link from the Powerline Blog. Then one day it was gone when they redid the website. I actually contacted them and asked them to put it back up. It took them a little bit to find it but put it up they did. Every so often I go back and read this article. It moved me then, and it still moves me now. The mark of a great article for me is the fact that I still go back to read it.

When Night Fell In Indochina
by Bruce Herschensohn

I am currently reading The Black Book of Communism. Just started actually. It is a big book and I think I will tackle some parts at a time in sections. I think I will read about Vietnam and Indochina and the massacres that happened there.

I think we need to rethink the history of the Vietnam war in respect to how history has played out for the region. We knew how bad communism was. We knew those people would get slaughtered. Get slaughtered they did. We promised them freedom, and we had blood on our hands. Thanks to shoving that history down the memory hole, we have washed that blood off for the next generations of Americans who don't know the history of the Holocaust of Indochina.

History, they say is written after we are all dead. It has been 35 years since the fall of Saigon, and I think it is time to write the real history of what really happened, what was at stake, what we were fighting for and what happened to those people after we left them to fend from themseleves alone.

A quote from the article above:

As the Khmer Rouge prepared to murder at least a million men, women, and children over the next two years, a New York Times editorial noted that further U.S. aid to Cambodia would “only extend Cambodia’s misery.”

Sidney Schanberg wrote directly from Southeast Asia: “I have seen the Khmer Rouge and they are not killing anyone…Wars nourish brutality and sadism and sometimes certain people are executed by the victors but it would be tendentious to forecast such abnormal behavior as a national policy under a communist government once the war is over.”

The situation looked different to our brave allies.

In Cambodia, General Sirik Matak of Phnom Penh wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador John Gunther Dean on April 2, 1975, 15 days before the fall of that city, in which he thanked Ambassador Dean “for your order to transport me towards freedom,” but he said he would not accept the kind offer. “As for you, and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which have chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it…You leave, and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under this sky. But, mark it well that if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad [but] we all are born and must die [one day]. I have only committed this mistake of believing in you [America].”

General Matak was reported to have been executed three days after the fall of Phnom Penh, near the start of the genocide of Cambodians.

I printed this article years ago so that I would never lose it again. I read it at least once a year. Reading it today I still got emotional when I read the passage of the Cambodian General Sirik Matak. He could have had freedom for himself and his family. He choose to stay and fight for his country in vain. He loved his country and his people. He only mistake was actually believing in America. That stings. It hurts. But the wound for America is nothing like the wound for IndoChina. And we have largely whitewashed the pertinent facts of our history of the region out of American history textbooks. I guess their is only enough room for one Holocaust. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Republicans take back the House

Nice to see Steve Chabot back in Cincinnati representing. I have high hopes for John Kasich as Gov, especially when it comes to expanding the Ohio EdChoice school voucher program. I am still committed to vouchers with my heart and soul. Things go slowly but over generations if we take back our schools we can really take back our freedom. So much of the Culture war comes from the government monopoly in education. As long as we have that we will always have the culture wars. It is the belly of the beast as far as I am concerned.

Here is a quote I grabbed from the Corner about Wisconsin Tea Party Republican Ron Johnson:

Ron Johnson is explicit about this. “The reason we’re here,” he says near the end of his speech, in one of his signature lines, “is that we think we’re losing America and we’re a group of people who refuse to let America go without a knock-down fight.” The crowd waves its flags and chants “USA!”

I was a avid Tea Party participant. I went to rallies and even took the family to Washington DC. It has been a great run so far. Now the real challenge begins. Can the people we are sending to Washington carry out the message without getting swallowed by the coruption?

I am not always optimistic about that. But like Ron Johnson I too feel like we are losing America. And if they great lady should fall let it not be said that we let her go down without a fight. And fight we must.

In the name of John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to fight!

In command of Ranger in 1777 and 1778, he operated in British home waters and made audacious raids on England’s shore.In recognition of his exploits, he was placed in command of five French and American vessels. Aboard his flagship, the Bonhomme Richard, Jones led his small squadron in the capture of seven merchantmen off of the Scottish coast. On September 23, 1779, Jones fought one of the bloodiest engagements in naval history. Jones struggled with the 44-gun Royal Navy frigate Serapis, and although his own vessel was burning and sinking, Jones would not accept the British demand for surrender, replying, “I have not yet begun to fight.” More than three hours later, Serapis surrendered and Jones took command.

Long Live The Tea Party Revolution! Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diversity, Sustainability ~ Campus Ideology

Things I read on the web today:

Jay P. Greene directs us to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

From Diversity to Sustainability: How Campus Ideology Is Born

Here is the money shot as quoted by Greene:

I view this changing of the ideological guard with wariness. Diversity was pretty bad; sustainability may be even worse. Both movements subtract from the better purposes of higher education. Diversity authorizes double standards in admissions and hiring, breeds a campus culture of hypocrisy, mismatches students to educational opportunities, fosters ethnic resentments, elevates group identity over individual achievement, and trivializes the curriculum. Of course, those punishments were something that had to be accepted in the spirit of atoning for the original sin of racism.

But for its part, sustainability has the logic of a stampede. We all must run in the same direction for fear of some rumored and largely invisible threat. The real threat is the stampede itself. Sustainability numbers among its advocates some scrupulous scientists and quite a few sober facilities managers who simply want to trim utility bills. But in the main, sustainability is the triumph of hypothesis over evidence. Its scientific grounding is mostly a matter of models and extrapolations and appeals to authority. Evoking imminent and planet-destroying catastrophe, sustainatopians call for radical changes in economic arrangements and social patterns. Higher education is summoned to set aside whatever it is doing to help make this revolution in production, distribution, and consumption a reality.

Sustainability combines some astonishingly radical ideas with mere wackiness. Many sustainability advocates want to replace free markets (a source, as they see it, of unsustainable growth and exploitation) with some kind of pan-national rule with little scope for private property rights. On the other hand, sustainatopians also busy themselves with eliminating trays from cafeterias and attacking the threat of plastic soda straws. Sustainability thus unites vaunting political ambition and comic burlesque. Both are at odds with patient and open-minded intellectual inquiry.

The diversity movement has always been rife with contradictions. Seeking to promote racial equality, it evolved into a system that perpetuates inequalities. But whatever else it is, the diversity movement thirsts to be part of mainstream America. Its ultimate goal is to make diversity a principle of the same standing as freedom and equality in our national life. The sustainability movement, by contrast, has no such affection for the larger culture or loyalty to the American experiment. It dismisses the comforts of American life, including our political freedom, as unworthy extravagance. Sustainability summons us to a supposedly higher good. Personal security, national prosperity, and individual freedom may just have to go as we press on to our low-impact, carbon-free new order. In this sense, it goes beyond promising to redeem us from social iniquity to redeeming us from human nature itself.

Many campus adherents to sustainability may eventually tire of its puritanical preachiness and its unfulfilled prophecies, but for the moment, sustainability has cachet. Diversity, meanwhile, has aged into a static bureaucracy, and diversicrats increasingly spend their energy polishing the spoons…

Unrelated to this post but still amusing is this from Greg Mankiw's Blog:

Barney Frank, Then and Now

You can tell the man has been playing at the highest level of politics for quite a long time. If Barney Frank claims to love his mother, check it out.

David Brooks on some of the real costs of the State Pension Crisis: (H/T Cafe Hayek)

The Paralysis of the State

Over the past few decades, governments have become entwined in a series of arrangements that drain money from productive uses and direct it toward unproductive ones.

New Jersey can’t afford to build its tunnel, but benefits packages for the state’s employees are 41 percent more expensive than those offered by the average Fortune 500 company. These benefits costs are rising by 16 percent a year.

New York City has to strain to finance its schools but must support 10,000 former cops who have retired before age 50.

California can’t afford new water projects, but state cops often receive 90 percent of their salaries when they retire at 50. The average corrections officer there makes $70,000 a year in base salary and $100,000 with overtime (California spends more on its prison system than on its schools).

States across the nation will be paralyzed for the rest of our lives because they face unfunded pension obligations that, if counted accurately, amount to $2 trillion — or $87,000 per plan participant.

All in all, governments can’t promote future prosperity because they are strangling on their own self-indulgence.

New study: State pensions in dire situation

Cincinnati is on the list. The pain is to come:

A new study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Rochester shows that in the not-too-distant future several state-sponsored pensions will fail to provide promised benefits to pension holders.

Five major cities have current pension assets that can only pay for promised benefits through 2020: Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Jacksonville, Fla.; and St. Paul. An additional 18 cities and counties, including New York City; Cook County, Ill.; and Orange County, Calif., will be solvent through 2020 but not past 2025.

Philadelphia has the most immediate cause for concern, as the city can pay existing promises with existing assets through 2015, less than five years from now, the study states.

The study also states that state and local governments are not far from the point where pension promises will impact governments' ability to operate. Once the funds are liquidated, promised pension payments will compete with other programs and erode a large portion of many municipal budgets.

"The fact that there is such a large burden of public employee pensions concentrated in urban metropolitan areas threatens the long-run economic viability of these cites, as residents can potentially move elsewhere to escape the situation," said professor Rauh, associate professor of finance at the Kellogg School who helped author the study, in prepared remarks.

Rauh estimates each household already owes an average of about $14,000 to current and former municipal public employees in the 50 cities and counties that were studied. This figure only represents the unfunded portion of benefits that have already been promised — not future promises. In New York City, San Francisco and Boston, the total is more than $30,000 per household. In Chicago, the total is more than $40,000 per household.

Can't say we didn't see it coming...


What I have been thinking lately:

I should put a post together on this but I am lazy on my little undiscovered blog.

I have a theory of Democrats accusing Republicans of everything that they do.

Lately it is foreign donations, but that is exactly what Obama did when he eased online credit card donations during his campaign. Clinton took the Chinese money as well. I think Democrats accuse Republicans of things because they know they do them so they assume Republicans do them too.

Think about Astroturf. That phrase comes from the left, but who invented it and perfected it? They call the tea party Astroturf and "fake grass roots" because so much of their blather is all faked and they have been doing it for years.

They accuse Republicans or wanting to raid the Social Security trust fund that is already and emptied from their big government spending. They tell people that Republicans want to cut Medicare while passing Obamacare which is destined to cut Medicare. It seems like everything they accuse people of is something that they already have on their own agenda.

I am going to get more examples of this and I encourage anyone to suggest more. Just a passing thought. Sphere: Related Content

Bring Michelle Rhee to Cincinnati!

From the Washington Post: Michelle Rhee resigns as D.C. schools chancellor

She is going to be out of a job. She did good work in Washington DC. Cincinnati Public Schools have been looking for a good leader for years, and they need someone who can take back education from the teachers unions and give it back to the children.

Start the campaign to bring Michelle Rhee to Cincinnati today! Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Entitlement Mentality ~ Obama's Aunt Edition

Malkin: Obama’s Aunt Update: ‘The System Took Advantage of Me’


"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen."

"I didn't take any advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me."

Onyango came to the U.S. from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004.

She stayed in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing, where she remains to this day. She also currently receives $700 per month in disability benefits.

She was granted asylum earlier this year by the same judge who said she could be in danger if she returned to her homeland because of her relationship with the president.

"It's a great country," she said of the U.S. "It's nice to live here. You can do whatever you want when you live here."

"To me, America's dream became America's worst nightmare,"

It's a great country! Hell to the yeah it is compared to Kenya. In Kenya the per capita GDP is $1,000 a year. In America she lives in Boston Public Housing and gets an additional disability check for $700 a month. The disability total is $8,400 a year. The free rent total has to be at least that much subsidy in a big city like Boston. The average rent for a one bedroom in Boston is $1,000. $12,000 in rent and $8,400 in disablity checks is $20,400 per year. The cost of living in Boston is 240% the national average. I bet she gets $400+ per month in foodstamps. That should take us up to $25,000 a year.

But it doesn't end there. She also gets free medical care and somebody paid for her lawyer too. And sending her to trial multiple times had to cost a pretty penny, those resources are not free.

"She was paralyzed for more than three months because of an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome and had to learn to walk again".

Wonder how much three months in the hospital costs? I bet she racked up over $100,000 in hospital bills.

I would estimate that we have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on her in the form of one subsidy or another. Housing, Government Checks, Food Stamps, Health Care and Legal services add up. And I doubt she has ever paid a penny in federal taxes.

The worst part is she isn't even gracious about it. We have some sort of duty to her to giver her all this stuff. She doesn't thank the taxpayer for her "American Nightmare". Talk about the entitlement mentality.

It is enough to make me vomit.


Update: The costs in the United States related to Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been estimated as $110,000 for direct health care

This rental estimate for Boston Housing indicates 1 bedrooms rent in a range between $1,200 & $1,600 per month ($14,400 - $19,200 a year)

And it looks like I was a bit high on the food stamps. She probably gets something in a range of $150 - $200 a month. Who knows what other social services (both public and private) she also takes advantage of.

~ Sphere: Related Content

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Drug Pipeline and the FDA

No RefillsBy Megan McArdle

Over time, critics say, high-profile disasters like Fen-Phen and Vioxx, which killed or seriously harmed some of the people who took them, have encouraged ever-more-stringent review. The number of clinical trials required to support a new-drug application has more than doubled since 1980, while the number of patients needed in each trial has almost tripled. As a result of these and many other factors, the clinical-trial stage now costs more than four times as much, even after adjusting for inflation.


This means that clinical trials have unwanted side effects. Because of their astronomical expense, one drug with a huge market is more commercially desirable than 25 drugs that each treat a less common disease, because only one set of trials is necessary. If you’re targeting a disease that affects relatively few people, one of two things will happen: the drug will be very expensive, or the drug will be shelved because it’s unlikely to earn back its R&D investment.

Tougher safety and efficacy standards may also be keeping good drugs out of the public’s hands. Most people agree that today’s FDA would not have approved aspirin; even penicillin, the miracle drug that helped dramatically extend the human lifespan when introduced in the early 1940s, is questionable. Allergic reactions to penicillin kill a higher percentage of its takers than Vioxx ever did, while the gastrointestinal bleeding produced by aspirin means it probably would have flunked while still in animal testing.

Interesting stuff. We are killing ourselves with regulation.

Here is Milton Friedman on the FDA:

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism


ROBINSON The Food and Drug Administration which regulates everything from the drugs that pharmaceutical companies may put on the market to the ingredients in items we purchase off the grocery store shelves. Let me give you an example- Thalidomide [FRIEDMAN Everybody's favorite example...] Well I may be leading with my chin on this one but I'm going to lead with it anyway. 50's and 60's it is marketed in Europe as a drug to help women get through the nausea that they sometimes experience during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration said it had been inadequately tested in the United States and forbade it to be marketed in this country with the result that thousands of children were born with horrible birth defects in Europe to mothers who had used Thalidomide but that didn't happen to American children, because the FDA had intervened and kept that drug off the market. Thank god for the FDA, right?

FRIEDMAN Wrong [ROBINSON Alright, why?] this is a case in which they did save lives, this was a good case, but suppose they are equally slow in adopting a drug which turns out to be very good and beneficial. How would you ever see the lives that are lost because of that? You're an FDA official, you have a question of whether to approve or disapprove a new drug. If you approve it and it turns out to be a bad drug like Thalidomide, you're in the soup, your name is going to be on every front page [ROBINSON cost me my job, I get hauled up to Congress to testify..] right. On the other hand if you disapprove it, but it turns out to be good, well then later on you approve it four or five years later, nobody's going to complain about the fact that you didn't approve it earlier except those greedy pharmaceutical companies that want make profits at the expense of the public, as everybody will say. So the result is that the pressure on the FDA is always to be late in approving. And there's enormous evidence that they have caused more deaths by late approvals than they have saved by early approval.

ROBINSON So your view is abolish the FDA..

FRIEDMAN Absolutely [ROBINSON And what comes up in its place?] what comes up? It's in the self-interest of pharmaceutical companies not to have these bad things. Do you think the manufacturer of Thalidomide made a profit out of Thalidomide or lost? [ROBINSON I see, ok.] And you have to have..people should be responsible for harm that they do. It should've been possible...[ROBINSON So tort law takes care of a lot of this.] Absolutely, absolutely..
Sphere: Related Content