May 26, 2012

More SoCal deep pockets

From the L.A. Daily News:
LONG BEACH — A former high school football star whose rape conviction was thrown out this week plans to sue the state, but will not sue the woman who recanted the rape and kidnapping charge she made a decade ago. 
An attorney for Brian Banks, 26, said in news reports that his client will seek $100 from the state for every day he was wrongfully incarcerated.

Only $100 per day? This poor bastard has to be the only honest man in Southern California. (See next posting for comparison).
Banks walked free on Thursday in a dramatic, 30-second hearing in Long Beach Superior Court during which Judge Mark Kim vacated his conviction. Banks spent five years and two months in prison after pleading no contest to forcible rape in 2003. 
His accuser, Wanetta Gibson, was a high school sophomore when she accused Banks, then 17, of raping her in 2002 on the campus of Poly High School. 
She received a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against the Long Beach Unified School District for failing to provide a safe environment. 
School district officials wouldn't comment this week on whether they would seek repayment of the settlement.

I'm sure Wanetta and her mom socked the $1.5 million away in T-bills for a rainy day, so there shouldn't be any trouble recovering the fraudulently obtained funds.
Prosecutors have said they have no plans to charge Gibson, now 24, with making false accusations, saying it would be a tough case to prove. She could not be reached for comment. 
Banks' attorney with the California Innocence Project, Justin Brooks, could not be reached for comment Saturday. 
Brooks told the Los Angeles Times that Banks is entitled to $100 a day for every day he was falsely imprisoned under State Law 4900. 
If successful, the lawsuit against the state of California would net Banks about $188,500. 
Banks, a football standout at Poly, had been heavily recruited by colleges, and had a verbal offer for a scholarship at the University of Southern California. 
He told police he had a consensual sexual encounter with Gibson, a classmate — but always maintained that he did not rape her. He pleaded no contest to forcible rape charges to avoid a possible 41-year-to-life sentence in prison if convicted on all the charges, he said. 
After accepting a plea deal, he served more than five years in prison, and was required to register for life as a sex offender. 
Gibson recanted her story a little more than a year ago after "friending" Banks on Facebook and asked to meet with him. 
"I got on my knees and prayed," Banks said this week after his court hearing. "I asked God to help me play my cards right." 
Gibson refused to tell prosecutors the truth, for fear of having to repay the settlement. But attorneys with the California Innocence Project were eventually able to record her recanting the accusation. [He wore a wire when talking to Wanetta.] 
On Thursday, prosecutors conceded the matter, and the judge immediately vacated Banks' conviction. His record is now wiped clean. 
Banks is training six days a week at a gym in Long Beach, and hopes to revive his chance for a football career.

Long Beach Poly sends about one player per year to the NFL (as many as any high school in the country), so his hopes for a pro career hadn't been just the usual teenage pipedream.

Senile sodomy set-up costs L.A. taxpayers $450k

That gray Japanese robot from outer space on the right preparing to burn down with its flamethrower the beige Los Angeles Cathedral has recently been named The Ramon C. Cortines School of the Visual and Performing Arts. Due to its shape and location right on the 101 Freeway in downtown, the $242 million Ramon C. Cortines School is the most visible public high school in L.A., even more than the $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Schools on Wilshire Blvd.

Which makes the following from the L.A. Daily News even funnier (the details keep piling up as the excerpt goes on):
Los Angeles Unified [School District] will pay $200,000 and give lifetime health benefits to settle a sexual-harassment allegation filed by a facilities executive against retired Superintendent Ramon Cortines, officials said Wednesday. 
Scot Graham, who has worked in the Facilities Division for 12 years and is now director of leasing and asset management, claims that Cortines made unwanted sexual advances during a weekend spent at the superintendent's second home in Kern County in July 2010. 
Graham's attorneys notified the district in March - nearly a year after Cortines retired - that he intended to file a sexual-harassment claim. 
Hoping to avoid potentially expensive litigation, the school board met three times in executive session before voting 4-3 on Tuesday to approve the deal. 
The settlement gives Graham $200,000 cash, plus lifetime health benefits that officials valued at roughly $250,000. In exchange, the 56-year-old Graham agreed to retire from his $150,000-a-year job on May 31. 
During a briefing for reporters, officials released a statement from Cortines that outlined his years-long friendship with Graham and how he'd alerted his buddy to a job opening at the district in 2000. He also admitted to a single incident of consensual sex in 2010, but denied that his advances were inappropriate. 
"As the district's former top staff member, I regret allowing myself to engage in such spontaneous, consensual behavior," said Cortines, 79, who has never beeen married. "However, Mr. Graham had never indicated to me that our interaction was unwelcome."

Is this $450k coming out of retired Superintendent Cortines's pension? If not, what evidence is there that this isn't one Big Gay Collusive Scam?
However, I think it only fair that Cortines be punished by forcing that absurd high school, with its Water Slide of Doom, to continue to bear his name.

Cortines was chancellor of New York City schools in the 1990s. Mayor Rudy Giuliani pressured him into quitting by telling him to not "be so precious." So, now we know what Rudy was hinting at.

P.S. The more I look into this, the more interesting material turns up. But, that will have to wait for another time.

Signs "Girls" Whiteness Crisis Abating

A new article in the NYT, "Seeing HBO’s ‘Girls’ Without Buying a Television," somehow fails to mention that all four girls on Girls are white. Could this be a cultural turning point?

By the way, when is Roissy going to get his own sit-com? 

I don't know that Lena Dunham is directly channelling Roissy's blog, although I would think the odds are at least 50-50. Her characters certainly live in a Roissyesque universe, although perhaps that's because it's Roissy's world and we're all just living in it. (I like to hope that's not 100% true, but what do I know?)

Dunham has an interesting skill set. It's not hard to find young women who claim they will endure any humiliation onscreen to further career ambitions, but Dunham will do it while being overweight, funny, and smart. Plus she learned from her mother, an art photographer of dollhouse scenes, how to light sets and where to place the camera. (That's the point of calling her debut movie Tiny Furniture: her mother's career sounds silly, but helping your mother at a young age on her miniaturized sets is a cheap way to learn part of how to direct. Compare how grown-up looking Tiny Furniture was to, say, the Duplasse Brothers' Puffy Chair.)  

Dunham's character in Tiny Furniture / Girls is self-centered, obnoxious, and sluttish, but the sex lives of young women are so inherently important (this is where the next generation comes from) that there's a trainwreck-like fascination to it.

One key to making a Roissy sit-com work is to film it in Washington D.C., not L.A. or N.Y.C. There is so much money in D.C. these days that it's a now glamor destination for young white people, while also being comically unsexy: "C'mon, just one more drink" "Oh, you're so sweet, but I have to pull together some talking points for the Congresswoman on the helium subsidy."

The main issue with how Roissy could have his own show is that what makes him such an amazing blogger -- his infinite fecundity of lines in response to his acuity of observation, his sheer superiority and the obvious impossibility of mere mortals following in real time such advice as: "If she says X, just make up something that's witty, tailored to her, yet subtly discombobulating, like A, B, or C; but if she says Y, then make up something like D, E, of F; while if she says Z, then ..." -- would also make him insufferable as a major character in a continuing series.

The solution might be to make Roissy a legendary offscreen expert who has condescended to advise via text message three or four hopeless Big Bang Theory-like acolytes / losers in their quests. But in the presence of real live girls, they constantly fumble Roissy's lines to comic and endearing effect.

May 25, 2012

The enigma of Sacha Baron Cohen explained

From The Times of Israel, an article that explains the mystery that has baffled the combined intellectual might of America's film critics. What could possibly motivate Baron Cohen to make fun of Pakistanis, Slavs, Austrians, and Arabs? It's been a complete mystery, but now a few clues are available.
Before ‘The Dictator’ and ‘Borat,’ friends recall, Sacha Baron Cohen was a very nerdy, very funny, Israel-oriented guy 
As the actor/comedian makes his way to Israel for his latest flick, those who knew him way back when share some potent memories 
... He is Sacha Baron Cohen, the Jewish, English and half-Israeli comedian who has created a career out of imagined characters who deftly comment on the political, cultural and social issues of the moment. 
He began his career as the fictional Ali G on “Da Ali G Show,” playing a boorish, uneducated type, and often baffled his celebrity and politician interviewees who didn’t realize he was in character. 
Now he’s a celebrity, married to a fellow — converted — celebrity, actress Isla Fisher, with whom he has two daughters, including one whose name is Elula. For those who knew him when, as a fellow Habonim Dror youth group member or Cambridge student, his current antics are hilarious, sometimes crude, but his success is not altogether surprising. 
“I remember being on the bus during our Habonim Mahane Lomdim trip, and he did this standup bit about lost property at the front of the bus,” said one woman now living in Ra’anana, who attended a three-week seminar with Baron Cohen in Israel when they were graduating high school. “He was really very nerdy, he didn’t hang out with the girls, but we were literally crying from laughter because he was so funny. I remember thinking how talented he was, and very, very smart, a genius, really.”

The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father, “a quirky, smart family,” she added, Cohen grew up in West London and was active throughout high school in Habonim Dror, a Zionist youth group. “He was very Zionist, very involved in Habo,” said the fellow Israel seminar participant, who has known him since they were babies in the same mother-and-baby group. “He wasn’t Mr. Cool Guy.” 
... It was at the University of Cambridge, however, where Baron Cohen read history, that he began his stage career, first as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” a production of the university’s amateur dramatic club. 
“I knew who Sacha was from London, his brother Eran was my age, and they were all in Habo,” said Debbie, who now lives in Israel and played Yente the matchmaker to Baron Cohen’s Tevye. ... 
Of course, not everyone who knew Baron Cohen as a former Habonim, Israel-oriented Jewish nerd realized that he had attained such celebrity status, or that his Israeli roots — and time spent in Israel — has enabled him to use Hebrew as his language of choice, whether playing a sexist Kazakh journalist or Middle Eastern despot.
... Israel is one of the destinations on Baron Cohen’s current publicity tour for “The Dictator,” which will be released here in the next month. No one’s expecting any calls from their former Habonim friend, but as happened when “Borat” played here, his insider Hebrew jokes will meet their ultimate audience.

Why Lorenzo Pagina and Sergio Brino had to found Google in Mexico

From the New York Times on how Romney should attract the Hispanic vote:
What Romney Should Do About Immigration 
... But after those strategic attacks, which included Romney’s awkward “self-deportation” plan for illegal aliens, Romney must execute a creative pivot to the middle to attract moderate voters, especially Hispanic moderates.  ... 
High-skilled immigration: Romney has already endorsed proposals that would allow more highly skilled scientists to enter the United States under temporary visas and to allow foreign students educated here to receive green cards to allow them to stay here and work. However, these proposals have been blocked in Congress by proponents of a broad amnesty that is a non-starter with most Congressional Republicans. Romney should demand passage of the high-skilled agenda before the graduation of the class of 2013 next spring produces another crop of international leaders, educated here in America, needlessly forced to return home to compete against us. If you graduate with an engineering degree from Stanford, we should staple a green card to your diploma.

Like when Lorenzo Pagina and Sergio Brino graduated from Stanford and were about to found Google, but then they got deported back to Mexico. Happens all the time. That why Monterrey is now the technology start-up capital of the Western Hemisphere: because of all the Mexican tech geniuses who got deported from Silicon Valley.

Seriously, how exactly is endorsing more "high-skilled immigration" going to please Mexican-American voters? This proposal would mostly strike Mexican-American voters as pandering to Asians.

Think about it. What's in it for Mexican-descended citizens of the United States? They are already in the U.S. legally. There aren't many high-skilled scientists and engineers in Mexico, and most of those few are happy to stay in Mexico, where life is good for the elite. And, finally, very few Mexican-American citizens have close relatives in Mexico who are highly-skilled, because most Mexican-Americans come from the unskilled classes of Mexico. 

How many East Coast commentators even know any Mexican-American voters?

Claremont McKenna Hoaxes: SAT and Hate

From Charles C. Johnson in City Journal on what we know now about the mostly hushed-up scandal at one of the Claremont Colleges, where the Admissions department fabricated statistics submitted to USNW&R and other guidebooks to keep its Top Ten liberal arts college rating:
From the start, [Claremont McKenna College or CMC] officials played down the scope of Vos’s fabrications. College president Pamela Gann said that [admissions boss Richard] Vos had manipulated only the school’s average SAT scores, and then not by much. But a day after Gann made that claim, the Claremont Port Side, a left-wing student publication, revealed a wider system of manipulation by the admissions office; in some years, some individual SAT scores were simply made up. A report released last month by O’Melveny & Myers, the college’s outside counsel, shows still more deception. Evidently, Vos didn’t merely fake SAT scores; he faked ACT scores, the percentage of students admitted from the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and the college’s overall acceptance rate. Everywhere the investigators from O’Melveny & Myers looked, they uncovered evidence of fraud and manipulation. So after just 18 hours of interviews, they stopped looking. 
It’s probably no coincidence that Vos’s manipulations began soon after the college received a $700,000 grant to expand racial preferences in its admissions. In March 2002, the admissions office changed its policies in accord with a “Campus Diversity Initiative” grant that it received from the James Irvine Foundation. The grant’s conditions called for a 2 percent yearly increase in nonwhite enrollment for three years. CMC also promised to deliver a student body that would be 37 percent nonwhite at the end of the grant’s term. The college went to great lengths to achieve these quotas, preparing “minority brochures” and flying in nonwhite students from around the country to visit. These efforts reached their apex at the same time that the college boosted its minority-outreach efforts through two new programs, QuestBridge and Posse, which continue to grant full scholarships to low-income—mostly black and Hispanic—students at top colleges across the nation. 
Vos was an enthusiastic supporter of racial preferences and a vocal critic of California’s Proposition 209, which in 1996 banned state colleges from admitting students on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex. During his tenure, CMC’s admissions policies led to higher acceptance rates for blacks and Latinos and lower ones for whites and Asians. According to the Claremont Independent in 2006, “statistics provided by the admissions office show that it admitted roughly 45 percent of both black and Hispanic applicants, [versus] 22 percent of the white applicants and 17 percent of Asian applicants.” Given this history, it’s probable that Vos’s preferential policies resulted in lower average SAT scores than he would have liked and led him to make his disastrous fabrications. 

Here's my 2004 American Conservative article "Claremont Hate Hoax."

May 24, 2012

"I Love Lucy" v. "I Love Marilyn"

We've been having some fun posting historical bits and pieces subversive of the increasingly popular interpretation of American history put forward by whiteness experts like Noel Ignatiev: that the Irish, Spaniards, Jews, Italians, and so forth weren't considered white until recently. 

For example, look how the CIA wouldn't allow James Jesus Angleton to join because his mother was Mexican. *

Note that actor Mel Ferrer's acting career was so hampered by discrimination that he had to console himself with being married to Audrey Hepburn.

Look how Jose Ferrer's acting career was so hamstrung by bias against Puerto Ricans that he had to console himself with his Oscar and Tony and with marrying George Clooney's aunt twice, Uta Hagen, and Phyllis Hill.

Look how Danny and Marlo Thomas couldn't get on TV because they're Arabs.

Look how Harvard wouldn't employ George Santayana because he was a Spaniard.

I began with Desi Arnaz's colossal success in "I Love Lucy."

A reader comments:
"And the success of Desi Arnaz doesn't really say much. Louis Armstrong was also popular in the past, but that didn't mean anti-black sentiments and anti-black laws didn't exist."

Yes, but Louis Armstrong didn't star in "I Love Marilyn," in which he played an Afro-American bandleader married to ditzy blonde Marilyn Monroe, who was Armstrong's wife in real life in 1951, in what would almost instantly become the most popular TV show of the 1950s.

Just to be clear: "I Love Marilyn" didn't happen.* And it wouldn't have happened in 1951, no way, no how. Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Rita Hayworth married the Aga Khan. But marrying, say, Louis Armstrong was a no-go in the 1950s.

The bottom line is that discrimination against blacks in American history was radically harsher than against anybody else, with the exception of American Indians (and the discrimination there was quite different, so it's hard to make an apples to apples comparison between blacks and Indians). 

Everybody else wants to claim the glamor of victimhood (heck, Henry Adams, grandson of one President and great-grandson of another, felt discriminated against for not being elected President). These days, everybody wants to associate the historical slights against their group with the glamor of black victimhood, but this rhetorical trick is extremely unfair to blacks.

* I realize that there are a huge number of people who simply don't know enough facts to tell when I'm joking or not, and thus would get confused and disturbed when I switch back and forth between factual and facetious without warning. Fortunately, most of them don't bother trying to read me.

To recount: James Jesus Angleton's mother was Mexican and he was the head of counter-intelligence at the CIA for decades. When Robert De Niro directed a fictionalized biopic of Angleton's life, with Matt Damon as the Angleton character, the whole half-Mexican part was dropped, presumably as being too confusing to modern prejudices, and Damon played the lead as the most boring WASP in the history of boring WASPs.

Mel Ferrer, a moderately successful movie star of Cuban and Irish descent, was married to the exquisite Audrey Hepburn from 1954-1968.

Puerto Rican-born Jose Ferrer (no close relation to Mel) was a prestigious actor, winning the Tony and Oscar for Cyrano de Bergerac after WWII. He married white women five times, including George Clooney's aunt, songstress Rosemary Clooney, twice.

Danny Thomas was a Lebanese-American. He was a huge hit on early TV and his daughter Marlo was the Zoey Deschanel of sit-coms in the late 1960s.

Spain-born George Santayana was a famous Harvard professor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wikipedia says his students at Harvard included "T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, Walter Lippmann, and W. E. B. Du Bois."

Marilyn Monroe was not married to Louis Armstrong.

Abe Foxman speaks

Although the New York Times hasn't yet gotten around to covering the recent pogrom in Tel Aviv against black "illegal infiltrators" (here's video footage of the riot -- not all that violent as far as race riots go), Abraham H. Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, issued the following statement today:
We are seriously concerned about the growing tensions in Israel over the issue of African migrants, and reports of lawlessness and violence committed by and directed against the migrants.  We call on all parties to work to calm the tensions, and welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu's condemnation of the inflammatory comments and the violence and his commitment to resolving this crisis responsibly.

While we recognize the complexity involved in properly addressing this issue, and sympathize with Israeli citizens whose personal security has been compromised by the lawlessness and violence of some migrants, we are disturbed by inflammatory public statements made by certain Israeli officials, some of which has veered into racism. These statements are counterproductive and only serve to further inflame tensions.

The role of Israeli law enforcement officials is vital in ensuring the safety of all, controlling lawlessness and violence and enforcing the rule of law.

It is imperative that reasonable solutions be found to confront these challenges, one that humanly treats the migrants while ensuring the security concerns of Israeli citizens are properly addressed.

A reasonable statement ...

Oddly enough, Foxman's tone regarding violent resistance to immigration in Israel today is more understanding and less harsh than his May 2, 2010 statement regarding nonviolent, democratic, legal resistance to immigration in America:
Arizona Law Endangers America's Immigrant Heritage 
One of the oldest debates in America has been on the issue of what the nation's immigration policy should be. Should it be fair and compassionate? Should it be restrictive? 
In the past, as now, nativism, bigotry and fear of competition from foreign workers dulled the collective American memory of its own immigrant history and democratic ideals. Then, as now, the drums of anti-foreigner slogans are beat in an effort to make the case for a restrictive immigration policy. 
... Today, unfortunately, Kennedy's "spacious society" is being closed in and darkness is enveloping Reagan's "shining city." There is no harmony and peace -- especially in Arizona. Instead, there is hate, fear, and xenophobia. 
Much has been said about Arizona's new law, which requires the police to demand proof of legal residency from residents who arouse suspicion. The police do not need probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed -- anyone who "looks foreign" can be stopped. The law virtually invites the police to harass and intimidate Hispanics and other minorities. Obviously, it discourages minority victims of and witnesses to hate crimes from coming forward and helping local law enforcement solve those crimes. It gives untrained state and local police officers the responsibility for enforcing immigration law even though such responsibilities interfere with their responsibility to keep the peace. The law even encourages people to sue the police if they believe immigration laws are not being enforced. 
Of course, the Arizona law was not enacted in a vacuum. The immigration debate has become a flashpoint for racists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other extremists who blame immigrants for all of our nation's problems. It is a very short distance from that sort of rhetoric to vigilantism. When mainstream figures start expressing the same bigotry, filling the airwaves and the Internet with hateful and incendiary talk, an atmosphere is created for incivility and pernicious legislation is not far behind. 
The Arizona law is probably unconstitutional, and will be challenged in the courts. But all of us have a responsibility to look in the mirror and say -- how could such a mean-spirited measure become law in this country? Do we really want our nation to resemble societies where anyone can be stopped on the streets at any time, at the slightest whim, and be asked for identification papers? 
The Arizona approach to addressing the current immigration crisis is the wrong approach. It happened at a time when our nation is deeply divided along partisan lines. The time has come for Congress to demonstrate bipartisan leadership, condemn xenophobia, and enact comprehensive immigration reform that has an appropriate balance of fairness, compassion, and security.  
Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1950.

Is it really asking too much of Mr. Foxman that he someday attempt to view his fellow citizens in Arizona with some of the same understanding he applies to his fellow ethnics in Israel?

Latest Israel immigration news

From the top of the website of Haaretz, the left of center Israeli newspaper:

May 23, 2012

The Lynching of Desi Arnaz (1917-1951)

A commenter at Slate attempts to explain to Matthew Yglesias the answer to that journalist's question "Why does the census count me as Hispanic?
Latinos/Hispanics are individuals whose descent comes from Latin American countries and Puerto Rico (an American Territory). The white ones, who are the descendants mostly of Spaniards, but also of other Europeans who emigrated to Latin America and Puerto Rico are not considered white by most Americans and are therefore discriminated against by the Anglo (non Hispanic white) majority.

The problem, then, is the all encompassing, prevalent, institutional, personal racism of the Anglo (non Latino white) majority. 

Right. That's what caused the tragic lynching of Desi Arnaz in 1951 during the attempted filming of the first episode of the never-aired "I Love Lucy" series. As fans of Noel Ignatiev no doubt recall, a mob of furious whites in the studio audience, enraged at Arnaz laying his Spanish Cuban hands on the fair Lucille Ball, spontaneously tore the bandleader limb from limb. Historians sometimes speculate that if it weren't for the virulent white prejudice against Spanish Cubans miscegenating with whites, "I Love Lucy" might even have become something of a hit.

Xochitl Hinojosa: DoJ's Aztec Warrior Princess / Spokesmodel

The decision by pundit Matthew Yglesias to list himself officially on the 2010 Census as "Hispanic" has raised interesting questions about our new Hispanic elites.

For example, one striking name that has popped up in the news relentlessly during the Obama Administration is Xochitl Hinojosa, spokesperson for the Department of Justice on civil rights-related matters. Here's just the first page of Google News hits for Xochitl Hinojosa:
Motel pools rush to become compliant with updated ADA‎
"It's under review," said Xochitl Hinojosa, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice. A delay would be good news for businesses ... 
Alabama Women's Prison Inmates Sexually Abused By Guards ...‎
Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an email that the agency is reviewing the allegations. A 2011 Huffington Post ... 
Voting Law's 'Preclearance' Provision Upheld on Appeal‎
Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement that the agency is pleased with the decision. The Voting Rights Act is “a ... 
Anastasio Hernandez Rojas Death: 16 Members Of Congress Call ...‎
When contacted for comment, DOJ spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa told The Huffington Post that the "department's investigation remains ... 
Anastasio Hernandez Rojas Death Sparks Nationwide Call For ...‎
Department of Justice Spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa told The Huffington Post that the "department's investigation remains ongoing," adding, ...  
Appeals court upholds key voting rights provision‎
... department will continue to vigorously defend it against constitutional challenges," said Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa. 
Pool-lift rule confuses hotels‎
“An existing pool must do what is readily achievable” defined as affordable and easy, Department of Justice spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa ... 
Wells Fargo Says DOJ May Seek Penalties in Fair-Lending Inquiry‎
Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment. Last year's lending inquiry, conducted by the Justice Department's ...  
Texas Gets Last Shot for July 9 Trial on Voter Photo Law‎
Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, didn't ... 
Trayvon Martin: FBI Actively Pursuing Hate Crime Charge For ...‎
As previously reported by Newsone, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the department is conducting its own, ...

Let's find out what's on the web about the Obama Administration's face of civil rights enforcement:
"Xochitl and Scarlett were roommates in college. Scarlett was Xochitl's big sister in Alpha Sigma Alpha. They have shared so many good memories of Spring Break, boys, sorority life, and drinking wine in Napa Valley, and look forward to the many more memories to come!"
I don't know what Xochitl majored in at The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, but her sorority big sister Scarlett has a degree in fashion merchandizing.

And here's a photo feature in The Washingtonian entitled The 23 Most Stylish People at Fashion: District:

Xochitl Hinojosa and Annalies Husmann

Xochitl is the daughter of a former Texas judge:
Joining Judge Hinojosa on the Senate floor were his daughters Gina Hinojosa-Donisi, her son Mateo, and Xochitl Hinojosa.
Xochitl's father, attorney Gilberto Hinojosa, is currently a candidate for chair of the Democratic Party of Texas. He even has his own Doonesbury cartoon about him in which Judge Hinojosa denounces Republican efforts to crack down on voter fraud. From Wikipedia's bio of Xochitl's dad:
While living in Washington, DC, Hinojosa worked as a Staff Attorney for the Migrant Legal Action Program, Inc.[citation needed] He later became the Director of the Migrant Division of Colorado Rural Legal Services, Inc., in Denver, Colorado.[citation needed] Upon his return to his native Texas, Hinojosa continued practicing law as the Managing Attorney for the Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc., located in Brownsville, Texas. ...
Hinojosa was elected Cameron County Judge on November 8, 1994. During his administration, international bridges to Mexico were built ... 
On August 11, 2003, Hinojosa appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in support of Senate Bill 1329, which would provide assistance in the relocation of railroads to improve access for commercial traffic passing through Cameron County to and from the international border with Mexico. ... After the bill passed, the Cameron County West Rail Relocation Project was initiated which provided for the construction of a railroad across the Rio Grande River from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, with approximately $21 million in federal funds provided.[3]   ... 
Hinojosa was elected Chairman of the Cameron County Democratic Party on November 12, 2007.[4] One day after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Hinojosa attended the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting held in Washington, DC. On January 23, 2008, he nominated Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee.[1] Thereafter, a unanimous vote made Governor Kaine the new leader of the Democratic Party. 

From Judge Hinojosa's announcement of his candidacy for chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, we have a clear statement of the Hinojosa Strategy:
President Barack Obama borrowed a phrase made famous by a small, humble and unassuming union leader from California by the name of Cesar Chavez: "Yes we can!" Or as Cesar Chavez called to action the once powerless farm workers of California: "Si Se Puede!" YES WE CAN be the Party that elects leaders who will build a stronger, better educated, more innovative and more caring Texas for ALL Texans. ... 
These strategies must primarily focus on achieving a majority by ensuring that, before anything else, the full potential of the Democratic Base is achieved. We will not give away any part of the electorate to the Republicans, but we must recognize that we will only become the majority party in this State when we have done everything possible to turnout the Democratic base at election time. 
Obviously, a key part of that base that is far from achieving its full potential are Latinos. When Latinos, who make up 40 percent of the people in this State and who vote for Democrats over Republicans by two to one margins, are turning out to vote at rates far below other demographic groups, it is difficult for our Party to a achieve a majority in this State. The only way that I believe we can ensure that Latinos are voting at or near normal rates is through a concentrated effort to register, engage, and turnout Latino voters utilizing innovative "boots on the ground" tactics which wisely and effectively use our limited resources. ... 
And we don't have to reinvent the wheel. States, like Colorado, Nevada and California, with far smaller Latino populations, have been able to achieve a Democratic majority with strong Latino mobilization efforts. Yes We Can! And Yes WE Will!

And here is a picture of Gilberto M. Hinojosa, professor of history at Xochitl's alma mater, University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio:
I don't know what the relationship (if any) is between Professor Gilberto M. Hinojosa and the younger Judge Gilberto Hinojosa. (By the way, the President of Mexico's name is Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, but I don't know of any evidence that Xochitl Hinojosa is related to the Mexican President's maternal family.)

A reader comments: "In general, it takes a couple generations of success before Hispanics go all liberal"

Indeed, elderly Professor Hinojosa appears to be a bourgeois Catholic antiquarian (perhaps related to the conservative Cristero movement of Guadalajara out of which emerged Mexican President Calderon Hinojosa's parents, or, perhaps more likely, a Tejano of old family), whose CV is largely lacking in po-mo titles.

Judge Hinojosa is a Hillary Democrat.

Xochitl Hinojosa is one of the leading names of the Obamaite Diversitocracy.

Yes, I know, it sounds like I just made up the Hinojosa family to illustrate what I've been saying for years about the Hispanic activist elites who get quoted so often in the newspapers. But, I'm not making the Hinojosa family up!

I want to come back to an epistemological question raised in Jim Manzi's book Uncontrolled. As a key example in his attack on observational (i.e., non-experimental) social science, Manzi devotes about a half dozen pages to the failure of Steve Levitt's popular Freaknomics theory that abortion-cut-crime.

But I draw a different example from that controversy. Sure, experimenting, when feasible (and, of course, experimenting is not feasible regarding abortions), is good, but, as Yogi Berra said, you can observe a lot just by watching. In particular, the deeper you dig into a subject, the more vivid become the examples, as with the Hinojosas.

With abortion-cut-crime, for instance, Levitt's theory was based on his observation that crime was lower in 1997 than in 1985, so, he reasoned, Roe v. Wade probably had something to do with it.

But then, when Levitt's theory got a big write-up in the Chicago Tribune in the summer of 1999, Greg Cochran downloaded the total number of homicides in America by year, which showed that murder had spiked up between 1985 and 1997. Oh, yeah, the Crack Years! Then I started looking at homicide offending by age group to see the impact of abortion legalization on the not-yet-born and it turned out that the homicide offending rate for the cohort of 14-17 year olds born in the half decade after legalization was almost triple that of the cohort born in the half decade before legalization. And then when I looked at black teens, because blacks had the highest abortion rates in the 1970s, the post-legalization homicide rate for black teens quintupled! And if you looked at the big states that legalized abortion before 1973's Roe v. Wade, California (late 1969) and New York (1970), well, that's where the Crack Wars started: remember West Coast rap v. East Coast rap?

In other words, the more you drill down into Levitt's theory, the more implausible it becomes. It seems more like the dominant effect on crime rates was that the more liberal a state with a lot of blacks had been in the late 1960s and 1970s, the more likely it would have a lot of abortions early and the more likely it would be that its blacks would get into crack dealing and murdering each other on a vast scale earlier in the 1980s-1990s.

In contrast, with the theories that I harp upon -- like my idea that Hispanic ethnic activists are largely self-interested white people trying to set their children up to live expensive lifestyles of drinking wine in Napa Valley and at Washington fashion events by expanding through immigration the number of brown Hispanics whom they can claim to  represent -- the more you drill down into the evidence, the more stereotypical -- and thus funnier -- the details become.

May 22, 2012

"Undocumented workers" in U.S. = "Illegal infiltrators" in Israel

From the Jerusalem Post:
Illegal infiltrators threaten Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic country, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. 
Calling the issue “very grave” and a threat to the “social fabric,” Netanyahu said, “If we do not stop the entry, the problem, there are now 60,000 illegal infiltrators; could easily grow to 600,000 illegal infiltrators. This would inundate the state and, to a considerable degree, cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state.” 
The prime minister spoke of the importance of finishing construction of the Egyptian border fence and working to send away “those [illegal migrants] who are already inside.” 
Netanyahu said the latter will be done in part by punishing employers who hire illegal migrants. 
The growing population of more than 50,000 illegal African migrants has become a hot-button issue, with the weekend editions of all three major Hebrew dailies featuring lead stories relating to the issue. 
A little over three weeks ago, African migrants were targeted in a series of Molotov cocktail attacks in south Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood. In addition, there have been a series of sexual assaults in Tel Aviv over recent weeks that police say were carried out by African migrants. 
Also on Sunday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) repeated his call to jail illegal African migrants, most of whom he said were involved in crime.

Netanyahu is at a peak of popularity and power within Israel at the moment. He recently called for elections, then called them off when a major opposition party, seeing the writing on the wall, agreed to join his coalition as subordinate partners. So, he's dealing from a position of strength here, with his team holding 96 of 120 seats in the Knesset.

Generally speaking, much can be learned from Israel about how an intelligent people govern themselves.

Jim Manzi's "Uncontrolled"

From my book review in Taki's Magazine:
In his impressive first book, Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society, entrepreneur/intellectual Jim Manzi has the makings of an airport best seller in the genre of Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics and Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Indeed, Uncontrolled is far more reliable than those two sometimes-dubious tomes.

Read the whole thing there, where I discuss what, exactly, is wrong with the social sciences.

PISA scores for immigrants

Anatoly Karlin, who is making himself the go-to guy on analyzing the investment implications of international school test scores (a potentially lucrative niche), has a long, fascinating write-up of PISA scores adjusted by immigration status:
One thing that immediately leaps out from above is that just as US scores leap upwards (from 496 to about 525, in line with Australia and Canada) once only whites are considered, so do scores in many European states when only natives are considered (e.g. Germany from 510 to 533; Switzerland from 517 to 542; the Netherlands from 519 to 533). In fact, the Germanic nations equalize with Japan’s 529, Taiwan’s 534, and South Korea’s 541 (the natives of these developed East Asian societies also score a lot higher than their immigrants, but the overall effect on the national average is modest because migrant children are such a small percentage of their school-age populations). In other words, in the worst affected European countries, immigrants are lowering the mean national IQ (converted from PISA scores) by as much as 3 points. 
This might not seem like much, but it is highly significant when bearing in mind the extremely close correlation between national IQ and prosperity. Furthermore, since immigrant population tend to be highly variant – for instance, Britain has a lot of Poles, who are essentially equal to the natives in cognitive capacity (maybe even superior, once you adjust for the fact that it is better-educated Poles who tend to emigrate), and a lot of Pakistanis, who are far below them. This is a good explanation for the general sense of dereliction one sees (and the crime one is likely to experience) when entering Pakistani ghettos in the UK. 
Also note from the graph that there is typically a very high degree of overlap between 1st and 2nd generation immigrant children. The 2nd generation children DO typically perform better, presumably because 1st generation immigrants may frequently have language difficulties and problems with adjusting to a new culture. But the degree of convergence of 2nd generation children to the native mean is modest, despite their transferal to typically far more advanced educational environments. Convergence is almost inconsequential in most European countries like Germany, France, Benelux, Norway, and actually negative in the US (i.e. American 2nd generation immigrant children do worse than the 1st generation).

Matthew Yglesias, Hispanic

Matthew Yglesias writes in Slate:
It’s rare that a Census Bureau press release dominates the front pages, but last week’s headline “Most Children Younger Than 1 Are Minorities, Census Reports” was the thrilling exception. The shortage of white Anglo babies, the press was eager to tell us, was a glimpse of things to come, of America’s future as a majority-minority nation. 
I have my doubts. “A minority,” the census release clarified, “is anyone who is not single-race white and not Hispanic.” It’s not that the census is counting the wrong thing. Rather, I suspect an awful lot of these “minority” babies are going to be white when they grow up. 
When I filled out my 2010 census form I was, like many Americans with Spanish surnames, a bit puzzled. Prompted to ask if I am “of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” I said that I was. But it seems like a bit of a fraud.

Was somebody holding a gun to his head? Or, despite it's moral fraudulence, did it seem like the rationally self-interested thing to do, career-wise? If a media organization wants to put Matthew Yglesias in the Diverse box on their federal reports, it could be embarrassing if he admitted he didn't check Hispanic on the 2010 Census. Or is it just being cooperative? The federal government (which, by the way, has nuclear weapons) goes to an enormous amount of trouble to have people identify themselves as Hispanic (unless, of course, they've just committed a crime), so it might seem like a waste of the taxpayers dollars not to oblige.
My grandfather is José Yglesias, and his parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba. He grew up speaking Spanish at home in the Spanish-dominant community of Ybor City in Tampa, Fla. His books are published (in English) by Arte Público Press as part of their Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic Literature series. It’s right there on the cover. And I am, obviously, a descendant of my own grandfather. So if he’s a pioneer of Hispanic literature, then clearly I am of Hispanic origin.

Back in the real world, though, I’m just another white dude. My three other grandparents are all of Eastern European Jewish extraction. I grew up speaking English at home, though I once took a summer Spanish class at NYU. ... 
As books like How The Irish Became White and How Jews Became White Folks: And What That Says About Race in America make clear, whiteness in America has always been a somewhat elastic concept. 

As you'll recall, heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, whose parents were born in Ireland, was wildly unpopular in the 1880s-1890s because he wasn't considered white, so there was a huge cultural frenzy among American whites to find the Great White Hope title contender who could beat Sullivan and wrest the title back from this nonwhite. Oh, wait ... I seem to be getting John L. Sullivan confused with Jack Johnson. In reality, it says in Wikipedia's bio of Sullivan:
He was the first American sports hero to become a national celebrity and the first American athlete to earn over one million dollars.

Gee, think how much more money he would have made if he were white! Or, perhaps Noel Ignatiev's ideological framework isn't ideal for helping one remember the actual facts of American history.
It’s conceivable that 40 years from now nobody will care about race at all. But if they do still care, it will still be the case that—by definition—whiteness is the racial definition of the sociocultural majority. If the only way for that to happen is to recruit large swathes of the Hispanic and fractionally Asian population into whiteness, then surely it will happen. Indeed, while the Census Bureau has always been very clear that some people are white, others black, and yet others Native American or Indian, the federal government has frequently changed its mind about the rest.

If you examine your history critically, you'll see that the trend before during the liberal mid-20th Century, before the invention of affirmative action in 1969, was toward more people being defined as white by the government. For example, there was no Hispanic or Latino or Mexican or whatever category at all in 1950 and 1960 because LULAC just wanted people descended from a Spanish-speaking cultural background to be considered part of the white majority.

The trend after 1969 was toward fewer being white: e.g., the creation of Hispanic Ethnicity as entitled to preferences and the the transfer of South Asians in 1982 from Caucasian to Asian. I'm not aware of any group switching to non-Hispanic white since the beginning of racial/ethnic preferences over 40 years ago.

Why would they give up these preferences to be just legally unpreferred non-Hispanic whites? The only way that marginal nonwhites will give up the legal privileges of nonwhiteness is for a Republican administration to push through massive changes in government policy that deprive Hispanics and Asians of their legally preferred status. In particular, abolish the entire legal category of Ethnicity, which only currently benefits Hispanics. But, of course, that would be racist, so nobody ever evens mentions the faintest notion of trying to do this. In the Yglesian worldview, all these legally nonwhite people are just supposed to give up their legal privileges on their own accord, so there's no need to worry about, you know, policy.

Mark Ruffalo is chairman of the NAACP? Who knew?

Hulk smash brown paper bag test!

Hey, who lives in Tinley Park?

I keep reading about this incident in a Tinley Park, IL restaurant, in which a bunch of leftist white thugs armed with hammers attacked a small group of diners who say they are part of a "European Heritage" organization. But I keep getting distracted by the thought that I've heard of Tinley Park not that long ago. Who lives in Tinley Park who used to be in the news? 

Oh, yeah, Mr. Officially Not News. The Rev. He Who Must Never Be Mentioned Again lives in a 10,000 square foot house he built in 2008 in a golf course development in Tinley Park. 

Speaking of the man whom all right-thinking folks recently decided must never be spoken of in polite society, former New York Times Magazine chief editor Edward Klein says that the Unmentionable Personage was offered $150,000 hush money by Dr. Eric Whitaker, one of Barack and Michelle Obama's four closest friends. 

As I blogged on April 29, 2008, when The Occluded One had returned from his cruise and derided the honesty of Obama's mellifluous race speech of March 18:
One little-mentioned aspect of Barack Obama's on-going fiasco involving his spiritual mentor is that it makes him look feckless. 
Rev. Wright has been a problem Obama knew he was going to have for, roughly, ever. But what has he done about it, besides giving a 5,000 word speech? Did he switch to a Washington D.C. church when he was elected to the Senate in 2005? Did he persuade Trinity to stop selling Wright's sermons on DVD? Did he provide any sort of narrative about the evolving ideological differences between the young and mature Barack Obamas? 
In contrast, do you remember how in February 2004, Democratic frontrunner John Kerry was rocked by rumors that he was having an adulterous affair with a young woman? You probably don't remember because, although for about a day it looked like it might derail Kerry's victory march through the primaries, the story quickly went away -- when the young lady went away, leaving the country. 
Problem dealt with. 
I have no idea if the rumors about Kerry were true or if the girl's timely departure from America was a coincidence or what. But, let's assume the worst about Kerry: he wrote a big check from the allowance his wife gives him to his mistress in return for making herself scarce. What can you then say about Kerry? 
Well, one thing you can say is that he had a problem and he dealt with it. All else being equal, I'd rather have a President who had a problem and dealt with it than a President who had a problem and failed to deal with it. 
Wright should not have been an unsolvable problem for Obama. Wright likes the spotlight, but he also likes other things. (He drives a Porsche, for example). 
So, Wright likes money. Obama has friends with money. Right there, you have the makings of a deal. (The payoff didn't have to be crass -- just that in return for Wright maintaining a low profile all year, in December 2008 Obama's supporters would start up a charitable foundation for Rev. to run. Obama could have asked Bill and Hill for advice on the fine points of foundations.)

Then, in August 2008, New York magazine reported that Rev. Wright was going to publish a book in October 2008 (as I had predicted on April 2, 2008). Big Trouble.

But, quickly, that news was denied. As I blogged at the time:
Update: Now, Rev. Dr. Wright's daughter says that isn't true. She asserts her father is in an electronically inaccessible region of Ghana and will issue a statement when he emerges from "email hell." 
I must say, the news that Rev. Wright is currently hanging out with Dr. Livingstone and Mr. Kurtz makes Obama look much more Presidential than did the endless Obama-Wright psychodrama of last spring. 

May 21, 2012

Inherent Cracks in the Obama Coalition

The New York Times has finally picked up on that funny story I noticed last month ("George Lucas to show Marin dark side of the Force") about how Mr. Star Wars' neighbors in Marin County, where John McCain got only 20% of the vote in 2008, won't let Lucas build a film studio on a fraction of the eight or so square miles he owns in Marin, so he's decided to erect "low-income housing" there instead. The problem is that Marin is so exquisitely rich, liberal, and environmentally sensitive that you can qualify as low income there while making $88,000 per year, so George probably won't get away with erecting Hunter's Point North as his vengeance. The development will likely wind up being restricted to, say, widowed Marin school teachers or something similarly nonvibrant. 

On the other hand, George might have some domestic motivation to go all the way in trying to bring diversity to Marin. His girlfriend is Mellody Hobson. She is president of Ariel Investments, the money management firm founded by John W. Rogers Jr., former Princeton basketball teammate of and then employer of Craig Robinson, the brother-in-law of Barack Obama, whose Administration has been giving Marin County the evil eye legally for not being diverse enough. 

This little tiff in Marin reminds me that keeping Obama's Coalition of the Diverse together is going to be a full time job, requiring nonstop demonization of the Nondiverse as being divisive in order to distract attention from inevitable internal divisions among the Diverse.

By the way, John W. Rogers was a childhood friend of Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan. A reader explains:
Okay, I think I see what's going on: George Lucas is enabling Arne Duncan to create a network of militarized charter schools to raise a Clone Army of people dumb enough to want to watch George's movies.

By the byway, in this photo, Spike Lee's wife appears adorably nerdetteish. She looks as if she were genuinely thrilled to meet her childhood hero George Lucas.

Comedian Russell Peters: the anti-Sacha Baron Cohen

Russell Peters is a highly successful Canadian-born comedian, now living in L.A. and Las Vegas, whose shtick is to ask immigrants in the audience where they are from and then make fun of their accents (video on Indian accents) and customs (video on why whites should beat their children so the white kids don't feel left out when talking to their nonwhite friends). He loves ethnic stereotypes and is clearly a student of them. Judging from the video I saw of his show in London, nonwhites turn out in huge numbers for him. (Forbes said he made $15 million in 2010, mostly from ticket sales.)

Peters begins the one special of his I've seen talking about how Indian he is, about how he's not white, about how brown he is, presumably to reassure the audience that what is to follow is okay to laugh at. Yet, he certainly doesn't sound Indian. (He sounds like, I dunno, Don Rickles or Rodney Dangerfield in Caddy Shack.) But he apparently hadn't been out in the L.A. sun much before the show I saw (in contrast to the video clips above where he is well-tanned). I was struck by how, when not tanned, he's not terribly Indian looking. He looks like he's from somewhere in between India and England. So, I guessed he must be a Parsi, the Persian ethnicity of Bombay.

But, on's FAQ:
Is Russell Peters your real name?  
Yes it is. My family and I are Anglo-Indian. Anglo-Indians are a community of Indians, from India who were mixed with the British when they occupied India. Both of my parents are Anglo-Indian and both of their parents were Anglo-Indians and so on. Anglo-Indians traditionally always married Anglo-Indians. 
Anglo-Indians are Christian (I'm Catholic, as is my mom and my brother, my dad was Anglican), which also goes back generations. The first language for Anglo-Indians is English and our communities could primarily be found in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. 
This is the question that I get asked the most often and I'm always amazed as to how many Indians, especially the younger ones, don't have a clue about our history. Go ahead and GOOGLE 'Anglo-Indian' and check yourself!

Good advice. The Wikipedia article on Anglo-Indians is pretty interesting:
The first use of the term [Anglo-Indian] was to describe all British people living in India [e.g., Kipling]. This is the definition contained in the Indian Constitution. However in popular usage the term changed to describe Anglo-Indians as people who were of mixed blood descending from the British on the male side and women from the Indian side.[14] People of mixed British and Indian descent were previously referred to as 'Eurasians' but are now more commonly referred to as 'Anglo-Indians'.[15] 
During the British East India Company's rule in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was initially fairly common for British officers and soldiers to take local Indian wives and have Eurasian children, due to a lack of British women in India at the time.[16][17] By the mid-19th century, there were around 40,000 British soldiers, but less than 2,000 British officials present in India.[18] As British females began arriving in British India in large numbers around the early to mid-19th century, mostly as family members of British officers and soldiers, intermarriage became increasingly uncommon among the British in India and was later despised after the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857,[19] after which several anti-miscegenation laws were implemented.[20][21] As a result, Eurasians were neglected by both the British and Indian populations in India. 
Over generations, Anglo-Indians intermarried with other Anglo-Indians to form a community that developed a culture of its own. Anglo-Indian cuisine, dress, speech and religion all served to further segregate Anglo-Indians from the native population. They established a school system focused on the English language and culture and formed social clubs and associations to run functions like their regular dances on occasions like Christmas and Easter.[14] 
... A number of factors fostered a strong sense of community among Anglo-Indians. Their English language school system, their Anglo-centric culture, and their Christian beliefs in particular helped bind them together.[22] ... 
During the independence movement, many Anglo-Indians identified (or were assumed to identify) with British rule, and, therefore, incurred the distrust and hostility of Indian nationalists.[citation needed] Their position at independence was difficult. They felt a loyalty to a British "home" that most had never seen and where they would gain little social acceptance. (Bhowani Junction touches on the identity crisis faced by the Anglo-Indian community during the independence struggle.) They felt insecure in an India that put a premium on participation in the independence movement as a prerequisite for important government positions. 
Most Anglo-Indians left the country in 1947, hoping to make a new life in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations, such as Australia or Canada. The exodus continued through the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1990s most had left with many of the remaining Anglo-Indians still aspiring to leave.[23] 
Like the Parsi community, the Anglo-Indians are essentially urban dwellers. Unlike the Parsis, the mass migrations saw more of the better educated and financially secure Anglo-Indians depart for other Commonwealth nations.

Peters caused a stir while visiting India by saying:
“I hate Bollywood. The films are all garbage, just terrible. It’s my opinion — obviously there are billions who love them. I have never seen a Bollywood film in my life. I have refused to do them earlier and will do so in future,” Peters claimed at a press conference. 
As per few media reports, Peters allegedly also cracked some jokes about Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s mediocre acting skills and even joked about her pregnancy. According to sources, he however retracted his statements on Bachchan later. Whatever the case be, Peters is nonchalant about the angst he seems to have evoked amongst Bollywood fans.

This was not popular with self-appointed offense-takers in India:
The political wings of India also condemned Russell’s alleged statements on Bachchan’s pregnancy. Shalini Thackeray, cine-worker’s union president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) commented, “Bollywood is a vast industry, which churns out more films than anyone else in the world and Peters has no right to talk ugly or disgrace our industry or its actors. His comment on Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan is indeed in a bad taste, but I think his irrelevant comment should not deter or affect an actor of her calibre.” 
A leader from Shiv Sena, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Who is this Russell Peters and why should we entertain him? I think he should be banned in the country if he doesn’t respect our traditions and films.”

Peters was unimpressed:
Standing by his opinion, Peters tweeted, “There is no reason for me to like everything you like, my opinions are just that — my opinions. There are plenty of things I love that you won’t! The fact that my words have upset some of you so much only makes me victorious!”

Intelligent Sandwich Preparation

Tom Doctoroff, head of the J. Walter Thompson ad agency's China office, explains in the WSJ what he's learned from a couple of decades in China:
To win a following among Chinese buyers, brands have to follow three rules. First and most important, products that are consumed in public, directly or indirectly, command huge price premiums relative to goods used in private. The leading mobile phone brands are international. The leading household appliance brands, by contrast, are cheaply priced domestic makers such as TCL, Changhong and Little Swan. According to a study by the U.K.-based retailer B&Q, the average middle-class Chinese spends only $15,000 to fit out a completely bare 1,000-square-foot apartment. 
Luxury items are desired more as status investments than for their inherent beauty or craftsmanship. The Chinese are now the world's most avid luxury shoppers, at least if trips abroad to cities like Hong Kong and Paris are taken into account. ...
Public display is also a critical consideration in how global brands are repositioning themselves to attract Chinese consumers. Despite China's tea culture, Starbucks successfully established itself as a public venue in which professional tribes gather to proclaim their affiliation with the new-generation elite. Both Pizza Hut and Häagen Dazs have built mega-franchises in China rooted in out-of-home consumption. (The $5 carton of vanilla to be eaten at home is a tough sell in China.) 
The second rule is that the benefits of a product should be external, not internal. Even for luxury goods, celebrating individualism—with familiar Western notions like "what I want" and "how I feel"—doesn't work in China. Automobiles need to make a statement about a man on his way up. BMW, for example, has successfully fused its global slogan of the "ultimate driving machine" with a Chinese-style declaration of ambition. 
Sometimes the difference between internal versus external payoffs can be quite subtle. Spas and resorts do better when they promise not only relaxation but also recharged batteries. Infant formulas must promote intelligence, not happiness. Kids aren't taken to Pizza Hut so that they can enjoy pizza; they are rewarded with academic "triumph feasts." Beauty products must help a woman "move forward." Even beer must do something. In Western countries, letting the good times roll is enough; in China, pilsner must bring people together, reinforce trust and promote mutual financial gain. 
Emotional payoffs must be practical, even in matters of the heart. Valentine's Day is almost as dear to the Chinese as the Lunar New Year, but they view it primarily as an opportunity for men to demonstrate their worthiness and commitment. In the U.S., De Beers's slogan, "A Diamond is Forever," glorifies eternal romance. In China, the same tagline connotes obligation, a familial covenant—rock solid, like the stone itself. ... 
Chinese parents are drawn to brands promising "stealthy learning" for their children: intellectual development masked as fun. Disney will succeed more as an educational franchise—its English learning centers are going gangbusters—than as a theme park. McDonald's restaurants, temples of childhood delight in the West, have morphed into scholastic playgrounds in China: Happy Meals include collectible Snoopy figurines wearing costumes from around the world, while the McDonald's website, hosted by Professor Ronald, offers Happy Courses for multiplication. Skippy peanut butter combines "delicious peanut taste" and "intelligent sandwich preparation."

May 20, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg gets married

From my 2010 movie review of The Social Network:
There’s much debate in the press about how realistically the film portrays the tycoon. The obvious answer is that [screenwriter Aaron] Sorkin is projecting onto Zuckerberg his own (perhaps not wholly undeserved) self-loathing over sex, drugs, and ethnicity. 
In Sorkin’s imagination, Silicon Valley looks like Jim Morrison’s Laurel Canyon in 1969, with barely legal stoned groupies swarming over the nerds. (The reality is that Zuckerberg has had the same unspectacular girlfriend, to whom he appears devoted, since he started Facebook. Monogamy is a huge time-saver.)

Gay Marriage in Prisons?

A reader speculates:
It seems to me that one of these days, we're going to run into another collision of "rights", and it will be very interesting. 
Prisoners have the right to marry in every state. 
Gay marriage is legal in several states, and it won't be long until it's legal everywhere in the US. 
So what will happen when two cellmates apply for a marriage license?  On what basis will the prison be able to deny it? 
And couldn't this conceivably lead to bigger, stronger inmates forcing weaker ones into "marriages" against their will?  Will young white prisoners be the new "trophy wife"? 
Have you ever written about this?  I've looked around, and I can't find anything, except a brief NPR piece saying that no one has given it much thought, and no one knows how it will play out, but gay marriage in prison is inevitable.