Dazzling Knowledge

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why should we curtail immigration?

Via Isegoria:
Why should we curtail immigration? the Economist asks:
How many is too many? Well, the foreign-born population of America peaked around 1890 at about 15%. Looking around me, I see that almost no one seems to be speaking Czech, Italian, Polish or Yiddish, or even English with a crusty Irish brogue, so I presume they were all assimilated adequately.

Currently, America's foreign-born population is about 10%. This suggests that America could increase its immigration by 50% without destroying its prosperity machine. It's harder to gauge in European countries, which have no established tradition of absorbing massive immigration flows. But it seems likely that most countries could take more than they have. Not endless numbers. But enough to make a lot of lives better. Including all of us who love ethnic food.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Battle at Kruger

Wild animal encounter on you tube.

The widening marriage gap

From the Economist:

There is a widening gulf between how the best- and least-educated Americans approach marriage and child-rearing. Among the elite (excluding film stars), the nuclear family is holding up quite well. Only 4% of the children of mothers with college degrees are born out of wedlock. And the divorce rate among college-educated women has plummeted. Of those who first tied the knot between 1975 and 1979, 29% were divorced within ten years. Among those who first married between 1990 and 1994, only 16.5% were.

At the bottom of the education scale, the picture is reversed. Among high-school dropouts, the divorce rate rose from 38% for those who first married in 1975-79 to 46% for those who first married in 1990-94. Among those with a high school diploma but no college, it rose from 35% to 38%. And these figures are only part of the story. Many mothers avoid divorce by never marrying in the first place. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among women who drop out of high school is 15%. Among African-Americans, it is a staggering 67%.

Does this matter? Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, says it does. In her book “Marriage and Caste in America”, she argues that the “marriage gap” is the chief source of the country's notorious and widening inequality. Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock. This makes it more likely that those born near the top or the bottom will stay where they started. America, argues Ms Hymowitz, is turning into “a nation of separate and unequal families”.

Whole thing here.
Hat tip Isegoria.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A great blog post by David Wiegel at Hit and Run, and remember, Kerry still ended up picking this guy. Man, Kerry ran a great campaign in 2004:

Michael Crowley of the New Republic has read Bob Shrum's memoir, and the tear-stained reflections of the man who blew eight presidential campaigns are chock-a-block with dirt on John Edwards. Short version: He's a lightweight. Long version: If you tied cement blocks to his ankles and gave him a medicine ball to carry, then chucked him off one of the Petronas Towers, dude would float.
Shrum went on advising Edwards for several years, including as Edwards was contemplating his vote on the fall 2002 Iraq war resolution. In the one passage of the book already widely leaked, Shrum recounts how he and other political advisers pushed Edwards into a vote for the resolution that Edwards--and, even more so, his wife, Elizabeth--didn't want to cast. The episode didn't make Shrum look great. But the real damage is to Edwards, who comes across as a cipher taking orders from his handlers. As Shrum puts it: "[H]e was the candidate and if he was really against the war it was up to him to stand his ground. He didn't."
Something that wasn't widely leaked:

Kerry had qualms about Edwards from the start, Shrum writes, but grew "even queasier about Edwards after they met. Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else--that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before--and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again."

Edwards is leading in Iowa, as is Mitt Romney on the GOP side (Wayne Allyn Root might be leading on the Libertarian side for all I know), so there's a trend: the guys tipped to win the first presidential contests are the ones best-known for their mall model looks and calvalcade of flip-flops. If there's a difference it's in the sanctimony Edwards brings to his changes of heart. Check out the first passage Crowley quotes, then check out Edwards' statement telling Democrats what to do about funding the war.

Jeff Taylor had some fun with Edwards' Playstation 3 crisis back in November - his original poor-little-rich-populist scandal, before the haircut.

Blogger apologizes to nobody for light blogging

I have decided to return to blogging after hearing complaints of no new posts from BOTH of my readers. An excellent piece on the absurdity of immigration fears that I'll quote at length:

Why are the party faithful so incensed by immigration? When I asked Graham, he quoted from a federal government report on the new arrivals to this country, "largely unskilled laborers" and heavily illiterate: "The new immigration has provoked a widespread feeling of apprehension as to its effect on the economic and social welfare of the country." The report, by the U.S. Immigration Commission, was dated 1911.
When Graham returned to Washington Monday as the immigration debate began, he read the 96-year-old quote into the Senate record to demonstrate that fear of foreigners is not new. This nation of immigrants has greeted successive waves of newcomers with apprehension stoked by demagogues. It has overcome such past xenophobic impulses. But that will be more difficult in an era of Internet bloggers and radio talkers, with the Republican Party in trouble and seeking a unifying issue at the grass roots and with the Democratic Party sensing their adversary's weakness and moving in for the kill.
Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, while probing for the compromise's weak spots in Senate debate Tuesday, warned of "cultural" change resulting from a flood of low-income immigrants. That recalls the 1911 report of the U.S. Immigration Commission asserting that the "proportion of the more serious crimes of homicide, blackmail and robbery . . . is greater among the foreign born," who also refuse to learn the English language.
In reading part of that report into the Senate record, Graham declared that these immigrants who were "ruining America" fathered the "greatest generation." That immigrant wave included my grandfather, a Russian Imperial army veteran working on the John Deere tractor assembly line in Moline, Ill., as an unskilled, undocumented alien who could not speak English. He was an American patriot proud of a son who fought with the U.S. infantry through Africa and Italy in World War II.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Mortal Majority; or, Good Night, Funny Man

My favorite reaction:
"He was committed to preaching God's Word and for that he's earned his reward in heaven…unless, of course, he was completely wrong about everything."

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