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April 25, 2014

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Maybe the fix for the DoS attack is why my comments keep disappearing (into the spam folder?)...

It seems that states are constitutionally allowed to bar preferences based on race in public college admissions without running afoul of the Constitution. Not sure how that was so hard.

First, an old joke. It is the dialog from a TV commercial (for pickles, of all things) that I saw decades ago.

Daddy, daddy, can I have a dog?
No, you can't have a dog.
But you had a dog when you were a kid!
Things were different then.
Well, aren't things different now?
No. They're the same.
Then why can't I have a dog??
Why it has stayed with me, I can't say. But I know what made me remember it: the tail end of the last thread.

Second, has anybody clicked, recently, on "russell" in the "AUTHORS" block?

Third: if I preview this, do the Captcha thing, see the "Your comment has been posted. Post another comment" message as usual, and then never see the comment show up in the thread (as happened a couple of times earlier today) I shall write a strongly worded letter to the kitty.

--TP

Not hard, just hard for some to accept.

Shortly going to have dinner: Corn on the cob, and our own rotisserie chicken. Of all the Ronco products I've seen, I'd have to say the rotisserie is the best. It just works! Only thing it lacks is a temperature adjustment, I've got to get around to doing that hack soon.

We've been using this marinade for some time. For fried, grilled, or rotisserie chicken, it can't be beat. It's fantastic for a Thanksgiving turkey, too! (Just have to marinate several days for it to penetrate.)

This is the best season in the South Carolina Piedmont. The summer heat hasn't set in yet, it's just sunny and comfortable, and the trees in the backyard have leafed out, providing a very pleasant shade. Think I'll be shopping for a hammock soon, it's the only thing the backyard lacks.

Life is good!

Not sure how that was so hard.

Obviously you have not read Sotomayor's dissent. Any other group can lobby for admissions preference, but minorities have to change the state constitution.

Not so hard, eh?

I watched the documentary of the band Rush, _Beyond the Lighted Stage_, last night. They were my favorite band my sophomore and junior years in high school, and seeing the footage of the Moving Pictures tour caused me to have an exceedingly vivid dream about being with the girl I was in love with in those years. So vivid that this morning, more than 30 years later, I woke up missing her tremendously, even though before today I probably hadn't thought of her in years.

got my first tick yesterday. that was a treat.

damn, those things are tenacious.

Not hard, just hard for some to accept.

And for some, with good reason.

So vivid that this morning, more than 30 years later, I woke up missing her tremendously, even though before today I probably hadn't thought of her in years.

Saudade.

If that was meant as a link, russell, it's still broken.

Pulled out of Russell's comment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub4xQQPXc4Q

and I went back in and fixed the link.

"And for some, with good reason."

Doubtless. The people who defended the prior regime of racial discrimination had their reasons, too, and they weren't all persuaded to believe they were wrong, just overcome. Likewise, those who defend the now dying regime of racial discrimination have their reasons, and think they're defending the right.

It's unrealistic to expect the proponents of racial preferences to admit they were wrong. They'll just have to have their capacity to impose them taken away, while everybody gets on with the business of living lives where race doesn't matter.

That's the end game: Skin color mattering as much as hair color, or whether you have freckles. Not perpetual quotas for red heads in the name of 'diversity'.

That's the end game:

we're not anywhere close to the end game.

Skin color not mattering any more will become a less attractive proposition to people with white skin fairly soon.

--TP

And also, it's the goal, not the "endgame". Endgames happen, then are concluded, never to be revisited. I think it's dangerous to pretend that racial discrimination is something that will be wiped out like smallpox or the measles. Or rather, I think it's honest to admit that wiping out racial discrimination would be an awful lot like wiping out smallpox or the measles - only racial discrimination wouldn't perforce need reservoirs to make a surprise comeback...

(Not that I doubt that racial discrimination will always have reservoirs, mind you...)

Brett, I'm going to try that marinade next week on roasted chicken. Thanks for sharing.

"That's the end game: Skin color mattering as much as hair color, or whether you have freckles. Not perpetual quotas for red heads in the name of 'diversity'."

On what planet?

Tell it to the shampoo and hair dye manufacturers, who if they could bring out a cheap, easy to use, skin-lightening product would find vast new markets.

Heck, even Cliven Bundy the other day said he aspired to be the next Rosa Parks because blondes have more fun.

But he may have been talking about Rosa Luxemburg, the other blonde revolutionary.

Brett, I'll bet we could rig you up with blood pressure and other sensing devices and have folks of varying skin and hair color ring your door bell and record and compare the readings as you opened the door and the neighborhood went from good to bad and back again.

Not that you would be any different from me, despite my protests to the contrary. I'll double bet that we could do the same for nearly all the rest of us on this site and get the same spikes in reactive readings according to skin and hair color.

Now sit our butts down in the hiring and admissions chairs and we'll get the same jumpy readings. Throw in age, but don't throw too hard, because our reaction times are slower now and that'll be held against us.

We'll see how we codgers rank in the job race.

Wear some makeup over those freckles. "Those aren't age spots, they're freckles!" Yeah, right, Opie.

Redheads, the "ginga" ones, have a few problems, not of their own making.

From wikipedia, regarding redheads:

"In September 2011, Cryos International, one of the world's largest sperm banks, announced that it would no longer accept donations from red-haired men due to low demand from women seeking artificial insemination.[80]"

The only thing that favors redheads down through history is melanoma.

On the other hand, the redheaded actress Maureen O'Hara goes to the front of the line in my book.

For whomever the line forms, which apparently is not for me. I'd be Quasimodo to her, yet again.

Actually the 22-year-old Maureen O'Hara goes to the head of the line. The now 93 year old actress can cut in somewhere in the middle of the line, but there you go. ;)

As to JakeB's dream ...

.... what is that, I'd like to know? How can something so sweet and intense be so ephemeral and ungraspable in BOTH reality and dream and yet retain its sweetness and intensity?

I have a story of my own, along the same heart-crushing lines and of uncanny timing, with decades transpiring between the first sweet casual reality, and then the dream(s), and ... then .... the second meeting, but it shan't be told here yet, if ever. Maybe if we meet for drinks.

Instead, I give you this, as one of my favorite passages in film. The character Bernstein speaking in "Citizen Kane":

"Bernstein: A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all, but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl."

Not to ruin the moment, but to come full circle back to Brett's comment, remove the white dress (no, don't do that, not before you've met her for Pete's Sake, you cads ;) and the white parasol and replace them with a black dress and a black parasol and that lyricism would have a different, um, complexion, don't you think?

Change the skin color too.

The girl of his dreams turns into the maid of his dreams.

Like Magic Johnson. On the team, but don't bring him to the game.

Yes, things have changed much to the better, but the squirming among the hold-outs as the end game approaches but never ends, even in high places, is impressive to behold.


we're not anywhere close to the end game.

ain't that the truth.

also, LJ, thanks for fixing the "saudade" link.

jakeB's story just seemed like the textbook example of that elusive concept. there isn't a direct english cognate for it: the thing loved is gone, but the love remains, and the loss wells up in our hearts as longing.

all wrapped up in one word.

likewise, the welsh word hiraeth, although that is more for place then for person.

the bittersweetness of memory.

i wish i knew how it would feel to be free.

Thanks for the new words, Russell.

Now I can mix it up a little bit instead of telling people, not that I do tell them very often, that I've spent my life in a state of desperate longing, for what I know not, but it usually takes the shape of woman or landscape.

Proust comes home to roost.

In Welsh, it's called hiraeth.

How many Welshmen does it take to change a lightbulb?

41. One to change the bulb and forty to sing, longingly, about how good the old bulb was.

Apologies to Russell for not realizing he had already mentioned "hiraeth," in a follow-up comment I had read inattentively.

On the other hand, Russell failed to include the obligatory light bulb joke.

no worries dr ngo, it's a word worth repeating. and the joke was likewise not to be missed.

I've heard the joke, but instead of Welsh, it was Virginians. Those of us who live in the "Old Dominion" are quite amused.

Virginians may sigh more, but nobody *sings* about this like the Welsh!

"Not sure how that was so hard."

Please read Sotomayor's dissent and get back to us.

Speaking of missing things ...

Thanks, dr ngo.

ever since the attack, I find I can no long post comments from my home computer for some reason..the comments are posted, but the minute I leave the screen they disappear as if never submitted.

Anybody have an idea as to why this is happening?

As for Ugh and Brett-please to read Sotomayor's dissent and tell us what you think of it.

Thank you.

....currently I have to post from an undisclosed secret location, but I can't drink here, so it cramps whatever style I may have, and I'm not here on weekends.

Maybe it was related to Our Recently Experienced Blip and maybe not, but 3 times last week I posted a comment that never showed up. No big loss.

Still, I have to try one more time to post the dialog from an old, old TV commercial (for pickles, of all things):

Daddy, daddy, can I have a dog?
No, you can't have a dog.
But you had a dog when you were a kid!
Things were different then.
Well, aren't things different now?
No. They're the same.
Then why can't I have a dog??

The little boy in the dialog -- evidently a master logician with a thorough command of what words mean -- may or may not have grown up to become a frequent commenter on this and other blogs.

BTW, is there a reason why "russell" in the "Authors" sidebar links to an ad for comfy shoes?

--TP

Sotomayor's dissent.

BTW, is there a reason why "russell" in the "Authors" sidebar links to an ad for comfy shoes?

LOL! how beautiful is that?

somebody in the shoe biz grabbed a domain name I used to own.

also, not just shoes, but carbide bits, too.

the web's been around long enough now that it's turning into recycled cruft around the edges.

Lost two comments, versions of the same thing, this morning.

You mean the "Turn of your computer. Go outside." (or something very much like that) page is no more? I posted a link to that on FB a couple years ago, stating that it was best website on the internet. It's probably buried too deep on my timeline for anyone to bother at this point, but still ... a gag (if a half-serious one) has died.

heh. in a turn of events that will surprise nobody... Donald Sterling is a registered Republican.

As an open thread, interesting study regarding animal research:

http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2014/04/male-scent-may-compromise-biomedical-research

Men (or more accurately, how they smell), act as significant analgesic on rodents. Long story short, in the presence of male odor, animals become more stressed, reducing the experienced pain.

It's actually kind of an interesting study for those of you that can get past the paywall:

http://www.nature.com/nmeth/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmeth.2935.html

Registered, baptized, or born, you can tell a Republican by his economic theories.

My favorite Sterling bon mot was his assertion that he "feeds" his players. The Kochs and the Waltons almost certainly think the same way: it's not their employees who feed them, it's the other way around. It is this attitude that politicians reinforce when they say "job creators", as if jobs are a gift from "makers" to "takers". Might as well start calling workers "job consumers" and be done with it.

I mean "favorite" in the spirit of Obama's comment that the best way to expose a$$holes is to let them talk. (Okay, I paraphrase.) Even the lame-stream media can sometimes awake from its stupor and acknowledge crap when it's shoved in their faces like a cream pie. Fox News, of course, needs to really step in a hot, steaming pile of Bundy before they come around.

--TP

We live in hope.

bobbyp and the other minions,
I generally keep a window with the typepad dashboard open and when folks get a comment trapped up in the spam filter, I approve it. Don't feel offended, the algorithms within the bowels of Typepad (purposefully chosen metaphor) seem to pick out, at random, a handful of commenters to spambin. For a while, it was Russell, then it was me. Of the regulars, I think only Brett's comments have never found their way there (hmmm.....). It's like of like a really stupid pet that chooses to take a dump in your shoes to get your attention (not Brett, Typepad)

With the blip, nothing was working and I closed that window and forgot about it. Just opened it up to find 25 comments there, like King Tut's treasure. I'll go thru and see what haven't been posted and approve them. Sorry about that.

To add to Russell's point, I just went in to try and figure out how to change it and I've forgotten how to get into changing the actual content, I can just change the modules. All these urls, trapped like bugs in amber...

I agree that Sterling is a horrific human being, etc.

But wasn't he making private statements to someone? Where's the privacy advocacy outrage?

Since I'm lukewarm on "privacy", I'm not taking his side in this at all. But isn't this an example of how private collection and dissemination of data is much more destructive to a person's status and rights, than anything that the NSA has done?

Obviously, this guy isn't speaking truth to power; rather, he's speaking racism to his girlfriend. And I'm not defending him. I'm just asking, as a devil's advocate, where the "privacy" lines are drawn.

I think he certainly demonstrates that the NAACP isn't terribly selective about who they sell awards to, if nothing more.

Thanks for your help, lj, as always.

"... if nothing more."

I liked your chicken recipe better. Do you add shallots and paprika to that meaningless but fraught "nothing" sauce?

sapient:

"Since I'm lukewarm on "privacy", I'm not taking his side in this at all. But isn't this an example of how private collection and dissemination of data is much more destructive to a person's status and rights, than anything that the NSA has done?"

Yes, I'm sick and tired of private collection, dissemination, and theft of personal data at the hands of entrepreneurs, but no doubt this Supreme Court would find "status" to be a protected Constitutional right, as it does in all other areas.

Frankly, I think if the NSA set its sights on outing racist filth in the country, particularly in high, monied places, instead of whatever it is they do, we should reward them a Cabinet Department.

Then have Sarah Death Palin torture the terrorists in the sub-basement over at the Bureau of National Stupidity Standards.

Of course, if the girlfriend's tape is doctored, then the private sphere again proves its efficiency in evil and getting away with it, compared to gummint.

Actually, that would be funny, considering Rush Limbaugh has testified on his show that EVERYONE already knew Sterling to be a notorious racist, not that he ever broke the big news.

Also, a Democrat (NOT!, as cleek reports) and it's all Obama's fault, somehow, anyway, can't think why, except that neither Limbaugh nor Sterling would invite him to the post-game orgies, even after his three-pointers.

But isn't this an example of how private collection and dissemination of data is much more destructive to a person's status and rights, than anything that the NSA has done?

If I'm not mistaken, the question with the NSA has to do with Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

I.e., the question concerns what the government can and cannot do.

There are laws governing private individuals recording private conversations, but the question there is not a constitutional one.

Both touch on privacy, however the issues are not the same.

You mean the "Turn of your computer. Go outside." (or something very much like that) page is no more?

Thus quoth the raven.

You can, however, still turn your computer off and go outside. :)

Yeah but, when I go outside, there are 14 billboards, 22 neon signs, 11 cellphone reminders, and the phenomenon of every pedestrian walking eyes hammered downwards on their smartphone and every driver driving bluetoothed to the gills telling me the exact opposite, "Go back inside. Turn on your computer. You may be missing something."

Something's gotta give.

The not-terribly-selective LA chapter of the NAACP could probably defend its past awards to racist Republican Donald Stirling the same way Brett Bellmore, the not-terribly-selective supporter of neo-Confederate scoff-law Cliven Bundy, might try: WHOCOULDANODE??

--TP

When dealing with individuals (as opposed to the government), your privacy protections are just what they always have been: your faith in the person that you are dealing with. Decades of divorce cases demonstrate that such faith can be misplaced, and there can be big problems when it is.

At most, what has changed is just how easy it is to record someone covertly. But concealed microphones and miniature cameras have been around quite a while. So it is just a matter convenience. Well, that and a change in the culture, which increasingly seems to have a much lower expectation of privacy than it once did.

Both touch on privacy, however the issues are not the same.

Obviously, there isn't a Constitutional issue here. But as a practical matter, the issues are exactly the same: whether people who believe they are having a private conversation with a confidential partner should be deprived of their livelihood (or otherwise be punished) for something they said.

Sure, no reason to discuss it if the only thing anyone is worried about is gubmint. It says something to me that people seem just fine with private anyone breaching expectations of privacy, but freak out about government.

" It says something to me that people seem just fine with private anyone breaching expectations of privacy, but freak out about government. "

Isn't it illegal for someone to tape a private conversation without the other person knowing about it? If so, find the guilty party in this case and prosecute him or her.

Now try that with the government. Try prosecuting the government when they snoop on someone, or blow up the wrong person, or torture people, or send them to prison based on the word of some bounty hunter, etc....

The problem with NSA snooping as opposed to snooping by one's girlfriend (assuming that is who did it--I haven't followed this closely) is that the government could snoop on political opponents, political activists, whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers, etc...

Put another way, yeah, we're all at risk that some private person, a "friend" for instance, could tape us saying something really stupid or embarrassing. It might then end up on Facebook. I don't really expect the government to do that. What I expect from the government, say, is that it might tape MLK having an extracurricular affair and then send him a note urging him to commit suicide. I've also heard (I don't know if there is evidence) that J Edgar Hoover stayed in power because he has something on almost everyone in DC. True or not, the claim illustrates why governmental snooping might be a bigger concern to people in some ways than private snooping, but it depends on the circumstances.

"had something", not "has something". So far as I know, J Edgar Hoover is still dead.

I expect from the government, say, is that it might tape MLK having an extracurricular affair and then send him a note urging him to commit suicide.

Anyone could blackmail someone, or use personal information to embarrass them. Honestly, it is scary that government could abuse its power, but it's equally scary that other people could abuse power or trust. (As to recording people without their knowledge, the law varies from state to state. Not an expert, but I believe that federal law and many states allow recording if one party to the conversation consents. In other words, if the girlfriend recorded the conversation, it was okay under most state laws and federal law.)

The fact is, this scenario would never have come up during the days when the Constitution was drafted, either as a matter of common law or Constitutional law. It seems to me that "expectation of privacy" is hugely diminished if people are allowed to record and publish private conversations without the speaker's consent. But the issue of "expectation of privacy" is a sham: it's really about fear of government.

That said, I'm bringing up the issue not to defend Sterling, who has multiple racist credentials and should have been long gone.

Russell, Countme-in, dr. ngo, thanks for your responses to my comment. Normally I don't post anything so personal, but seeing Andy's memorial tree seems to have zapped my usual psychic shields.

As it happens, I already love Christina Branco (not as much as I loved that girl in high school, though, of course) -- I have owned Murmurios since it was first released here.

It appears that privacy don't have anything to do with this.

http://www.tmz.com/2014/04/28/donald-sterling-v-stiviano-settlement-conversation-book-deal-life-clippers-audio-recordings/

We know Stiviano is extremely upset that the Clippers and Donald Sterling publicly embraced a lawsuit filed by Sterling's wife Shelly against Stivianio, claiming she stole $1.8 million from Donald.

As for why Stiviano taped so many conversations ... as TMZ Sports reported, she told friends the Clippers owner WANTED her to record him and he knew he was being recorded ... partly because he frequently forgot what he said and the tapes refreshed his memory ... at least that's her story.

Donald Johnson: "Isn't it illegal for someone to tape a private conversation without the other person knowing about it?"

Depends on the state. Many (including CA, IIRC) are "one-party consent", so if you are party to the conversation, you give yourself permission to tape.

Others states are "all-party consent", with all kinds of weird exceptions (telemarketers can record you, you can't record them; if you think this is 'fair', you could be a candidate for the GOP state assembly)

interesting...i did not know that.

Yeah but, when I go outside, there are 14 billboards, 22 neon signs, 11 cellphone remindees...

you got a point there.

maybe: "Turn off your browser and look at nature pictures on your screen saver".

Honestly, it is scary that government could abuse its power, but it's equally scary that other people could abuse power or trust.

i'm not really seeing a groundswell of support for people recording and publishing their private conversations with other people.

given that Sterling's conversation, specifically, is now in the public domain, folks find that he is a jerk. that's not the same as some kind of endorsement of everyone's private conversations being recorded and published.

some forms of snooping on private communications are illegal now. if you think more of them should be, i congratulate you.

were i to have my personal druthers, we'd have very strong data privacy laws in this country, as other countries do.

that will interfere with some folks' business models, so i'm not holding my breath.

I've read most of Sotomayor's dissent (and not any of the other opinions). I'd have to read Seattle School District and Hunter to get a better sense of what I think of the case.

The political-process doctrine seems to make sense to a certain extent, but I'm not sure it can/should extend to invalidate the Michigan constitutional amendment in the case.

She states "When the majority reconfigures the political process in a manner that burdens only a racial minority, that alteration triggers strict scrutiny review." (page 5). This seems a higher standard than what she states elsewhere. Is the ban on race-based preferences in college admissions burdensome "only" to racial minorities? What if it is to the advantage of certain racial minorities?

She also notes that the only preferences permissible, with or without the Michigan amendment, are those that pass muster under Grutter in support of diversity in education, but I'm not sure that's bolsters her case.

On page 15 she states what seems to be the 2 prong test from Seattle, in that "governmental action deprives minority groups of equal protection when it (1) has a racial focus, targeting a policy or program that 'inures primarily to the benefit of a minority,'...;* and (2) alters the political process in a manner that uniquely burdens racial minorities' ability to achieve their goals through that process."

I'm not sure this case gets there on either score, especially if we're talking about preferences permissible under Grutter. (she talks about this on page 16-17).

She also states that proponents of the Michigan amendment could have sought their preferred policies through the current process for determining admissions criteria, but instead they changed the rules to get their way. Well, yes. I would ask whether, if the proponents had done that and gotten the Board of Regents to bar consideration of race in admissions altogether, could they have then passed a constitutional amendment?

*The full sentence from Seattle she quotes here is "our cases suggest that desegregation of the public schools, like the Akron open housing ordinance, at bottom inures primarily to the benefit of the minority, and is designed for that purpose."
Again, that seems a fair bit different from permissible post-Grutter admissions criteria intended to promote diversity.

Hey ugh, thanks for your careful reading here.

My take on it is that there isn't that strong of a case to make that passing a law at the state level banning the use of race as a consideration for hiring or university admissions is unconstitutional.

It may be lots of things, but it's probably not unconstitutional.

There are a million other things to say about all of this.

My biggest question is why, halfway through the "25 years" o'connor said it would take for affirmative action to be moot, are black and brown people still being served a crap sandwich on a regular basis?

There are problems the law can solve, and there are problems the law can mitigate somewhat, and there are problems the law can't make a dent in.

I'd put this particular issue in the "mitigate somewhat" category, and IMO there's value in doing that. But I'm not sure folks can claim that the US constitution *requires* that the law do so, or at least rules out folks using the law to, specifically, NOT do that.

I look forward, of course, to this decision ushering in the land of milk and honey, where "everybody gets on with the business of living lives where race doesn't matter".

Willful naivete - isn't that an oxymoron?

"My biggest question is why, halfway through the "25 years" o'connor said it would take for affirmative action to be moot, are black and brown people still being served a crap sandwich on a regular basis?"

Because the programs weren't doing squat to teach them to make their own sandwiches? If what you're doing doesn't work, 12.5 years, 25 years, 250 years, it's still not going to work.

Does this look like affirmative action was doing anything to help? Does this look like recent progress?

Affirmative action wasn't solving a problem. It was papering over it. Disguising it. Children were going to K-12 and not learning, so we graded on a curve. They were leaving 12th grade with diplomas that didn't mean anything, so we rigged college admissions. They were doing lousy in college, so we rigged the grading there. They were leaving college with diplomas that didn't mean anything, so they weren't being hired. So we ordered employers to stop taking competence into account in hiring.

This isn't the creation of real equality, this is a Potempkin equality, a system being phonied up from start to finish to hide the fact that the problem WASN'T getting better.

And the reason it wasn't getting better, is because the root cause was misidentified in the first place. That "lingering effects of racism" everybody talks about? It's not driving while black, or employers discriminating.

It's inner city black culture. And you can paper over the victims that culture all you like, and it's not going to fix a thing.

In short, in the end, affirmative action wasn't something we did to solve a problem. It was something we did instead of solving it.

Why go on making a mistake for another decade or two, just to make O'Conner look good?

It's inner city black culture.

That is a fatuous assertion. Racists have asserted versions of that same BS since the days slavery.

The facts of lingering racism are plainly there for all to see. To deny it is to be willfully and obtusely blind to reality.

Ugh. Thank you for the reply. The fact is, to angle for preferential treatment like other groups may request and/or obtain, minorities have to change the state constitution. The other groups do not have to get over that rather substantial bar.

Please do explain to me how that is not an undue burden deserving higher judicial scrutiny?

If "inner city black culture" is one of the "lingering effects of racism", as Brett affirms, I wonder whether he agrees that another lingering effect of racism is hillbilly redneck confederate culture.

If Brett thinks it's ONLY inner city black kids and NOT redneck hillbilly confederate kids who were "leaving 12th grade with diplomas that didn't mean anything", does he support a "core curriculum" approach for blacks but not whites, or what?

If Brett thinks that "affirmative action ... was something we did instead of" solving a problem, what exactly would he prefer? Affirmative INaction?

How would Brett go about curing the ills of hillbilly redneck confederate "culture"? Or does he think there's no "problem" to be "solved" there?

--TP

Tony,

Brett is claiming that "inner city black culture" is the "root cause" of current observed black poverty rates...as if there had never been any racism in the past to have "lingering effects" in any event because white racism is a variable that has, and perhaps never had, any effect on black society as we observe it today.

It is a truly astounding claim.

And yes, affirmative INaction is his prescription....because all is good, and we are now all equal....as anybody can see (snicker).

Not that Brett is going to pay any attention, but this piece by Jeffrey Toobin may be of interest.

Or this study either.

bobbyp,

Let's ask Brett about the chicken vs egg thing. Which is "inner city black culture" and which is "lingering effect of racism"?

--TP

As demonstrated: Liberals can't do anything about the plight of the black inner city underclass, because you're utterly committed to the pretense that it is imposed from without.

bobbyp: The fact is, to angle for preferential treatment like other groups may request and/or obtain, minorities have to change the state constitution. The other groups do not have to get over that rather substantial bar.

That is the case for racial preferences, yes, the same applies for whites who would like to be preferentially admitted based on their race. Sotomayor talks about legacy admissions, and how that to helps perpetuate past discrimination even in the presence of otherwise nondiscriminatory current admissions policies.

Thus, to a certain extent, legacy admissions serve as a kind of proxy for white preference, although an obviously imperfect one.

So, yes, if anyone would like to have admissions policies at the University of Michigan favor them because of their race, they are going to have to amend the Michigan Constitution. Not so for legacies, athletes, the place where you grew up, etc.

Please do explain to me how that is not an undue burden deserving higher judicial scrutiny?

It is a higher burden. The Supreme Court has long held that for a government to discriminate on the basis of race that it needs to satisfy the "strict scrutiny" standard of review. What seems to be the disconnect in this case is that when the people declare through amending the constitution that the government is not going to discriminate on the basis of race, then that too is somehow subject to strict scrutiny, or at least it is depending on how it goes about it (hence my question above about what would have happened had there been no racial preferences and the Michigan constitution was amended).

Affirmative action wasn't solving a problem. It was papering over it.

I generally agree with this.

It's inner city black culture.

That's the root cause?

Do all the black people live in cities now?

Do any folks other than black folks participate in that dreaded "inner city culture"? What's particularly "black" about "inner city culture"?

Are the problems we usually associate with "inner city culture" unique to the inner city?

How did social dysfunction at such high levels come to be?

Even Charles freaking Murray is starting to figure out that no work + no money + no future leads to a society that is FUBAR, and it has bugger-all to do with skin color.

you're utterly committed to the pretense that it is imposed from without.

Tell us - what is the source of social dysfunction in "the inner city"?

Look at this graph again. It all goes to pieces in the 1950's and 60's. Is it your position that, in the 1950's and 60's, society suddenly became much more racist? Seriously?

No, what did happen about then is something we call, "The war on poverty". A massive expansion of the welfare state.

Here's a suggestion: The initial "lingering effect of racism" was that the black underclass were poor. And the war on poverty damaged the cultural inheritance of poor people. Blacks were just perfectly positioned to take that damage.

But, that's what we're dealing with today: Not the legacy of slavery, or the lingering effects of racism: The damage the war on poverty did to the poor.

An art project meant to stir debate over privacy and security, two adjunct professors have debuted ‘Conversnitch,’ a device that looks like a lamp but is equipped with a recording device that records public conversations and posts snippets to Twitter. The professors have planted the devices in several public areas, and the Conversnitch Twitter account has already sent out about 300 lines from private conversations.
[...]

Devices Planted In NY Are Recording, Live-Tweeting Public Conversations

Brett, make up your damned mind: are you talking about poor people or black people?

Oh, I see: the "war on poverty" hurt poor people in general, and black people just happened to be poor at the time. I wonder why that was, in your color-blind view.

--TP

Ugh,

the same applies for whites who would like to be preferentially admitted based on their race.

At best, a specious example. Whites are the recipients of centuries of capital theft and oppression. To have a white skin in this country is to have privilege. Whites do not need to "seek" preferential treatment. They already have it. To now claim that "the same applies" is, to my way of thinking, pure sophistry. You know, rich, poor, sleeping under bridges, etc.

It is a higher burden.

Admittedly yes. There is no Constitutional prohibition against passing laws banning preferences based on race. On the surface, the initiative appears noble indeed. All are equal, and we should keep it that way. However, in fact, there is racism. There is disparate impact.

If the State Constitution was amended to state that there shall be no sanctioned government preferences for ANYBODY FOR ANY REASON, well then, perhaps it would be OK.

Ask yourself, in all honesty, if such a measure would have passed.

Another thing that about Sotomayor's opinion is the view that to reverse the racial preferences in admissions in place post-Grutter, those wishing to do so had to play by the ex ante rules.

This of course requires answering the question of ex ante to what? And also what the relevant rules are. It seems from her opinion, but not entirely clear, that the time is from when minorities succeeded in putting in place the policies, although perhaps it doesn't matter since the constitutional amendment came after the prior SCOTUS cases. She defines the rules as, I think, the process for determining the admissions criteria and who controls that, which was ultimately (in her view) vested in the Board of Regents who were publicly elected. But it's not clear why that has to be the framing of the rules that were subsequently changed in the middle of the game.

There's also the interesting question of what to do if, for example, a minority group could be shown to have been better off ("better off" as measured by the number of admissions) under the race neutral admissions policy required by the Michigan Constitution.

Asians would likely be generally better off under a race neutral admissions policy.

So it is interesting that Asians have never had a mass movement to overturn admissions policies that take race into account. You will hear complaints, and there are small groups, but on the whole, Asians have never gone in for that. There are a couple of factors related to that, including the diffuse nature of 'Asians', the general tendency among a number of Asian groups towards being a "model minority", a general acceptance of education as a valued goal (from Confucianism for East Asian groups, not sure what is the underlying tendency for South Asian groups), but I believe that there is a sense that Asians are much more aware of how these notions of race neutrality can create huge barriers because it encourages people to leave any racial questions unexamined.

Asians would likely be generally better off under a race neutral admissions policy.

Looking at the precipitous decline in minority admissions since passage, it would follow that whites are also better off.

But, of course, it is entirely race neutral!!!

My ass.

Look at this graph again.

What I see is an approximately five-fold increase in the unwed birth rate for blacks from 1930-2008, an approximately ten-fold increase for whites in that same period, and a rate of increase for Hispanics from 1980 to 2008 that has a steeper slope than that of either blacks or whites over the same period.

The rate of unwed births for blacks is distinctly higher, at any period, than that of either whites or Hispanics.

Why might that be?

Ugh,

But it's not clear why that has to be the framing of the rules that were subsequently changed in the middle of the game.

It most certainly is clear. The rules were changed in a manner that made it significantly harder for minorities to gain preferences that other groups could get by simply lobbying the Board. Minorities cannot get preferences in that same manner. They have to go out and get the state constitution changed.

Not an easy task.

What is so hard about understanding this? I fail to see your point here.

At best, a specious example....To now claim that "the same applies" is, to my way of thinking, pure sophistry. You know, rich, poor, sleeping under bridges, etc.

Yes I hesitated in even noting it, for the whole sleeping under bridges thing, and also as it (sort of) smacks of the arguments in defense of the miscegenation law in Loving v. Virginia as being non-discriminatory because whites were prohibited from marrying blacks just as much as blacks were prohibited from marrying whites.

All are equal, and we should keep it that way. However, in fact, there is racism. There is disparate impact.

Certainly there is disparate impact. It's right there in the graphs at the end of Sotomayor's opinion. The ones for UC Berkeley and LA are particularly striking in more than one way.

If the State Constitution was amended to state that there shall be no sanctioned government preferences for ANYBODY FOR ANY REASON, well then, perhaps it would be OK.

Ask yourself, in all honesty, if such a measure would have passed.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean that if there were no preferences for anything *other than* academic qualifications?

And the war on poverty damaged the cultural inheritance of poor people. Blacks were just perfectly positioned to take that damage.

For the record, I'd like to add that IMO this specific statement is not without merit. I'm not sure exactly where Brett means to go with it, but on its face there's something to it.

Likewise the more or less canonical conservative criticism of well-meaning liberal patronizing of blacks and minorities in general.

None of that excludes or in any way diminishes the reality of racism. Not "lingering" racism, but vibrant vigorous robust racism, right here in River City, today.

Do we really need to cite examples?

And for the record, IMO CharlesWT's comments about "Asians" need to be a little more specific. That's a big continent.

Russell,

What does "the cultural inheritance of poor people" mean? Are you thinking of jazz music, or gun ownership, or what?

--TP

Elvis -- his cultural inheritance in the pelvis area.

Shooting the TV with a gun, if either Little Richard or the Beatles take too many TOP Ten positions from him.

Last month, when it tried to reinstate racial preferences in university admissions, the California state legislature got a lot of pushback from Asian-Americans.

What does "the cultural inheritance of poor people" mean?

What made me think of it was that I just finished reading a friend's book. She's a very light-skinned black woman, very good jazz pianist, her book is basically about digging into her family's history. Her people were *very* accomplished folks, for generations, and the book focuses mostly on her grandfather, who was an assistant secretary of labor and the first black man in a cabinet-level position, and the various kinds of BS he had to wade through during his life.

One thing she discusses, which I found very interesting, was the ways in which many of the black middle-class institutions that had been built up in the context of de jure and de facto segregation were, to a not-small degree, undermined and/or rendered less relevant by some of the initiatives of the civil rights movement.

So, blacks were promised integration and equality, and so to some degree came to rely less on the resources of their own distinct communities, but the full measure of equality never really arrived. So, they found themselves with a half a loaf, in the end.

It's not the major thrust of her book, but it's a theme I've seen elsewhere as well in histories of black culture during the 20th C.

I'm not an expert, my only comment here is that IMO there is something to the claim that both the initiatives of the civil rights and anti-poverty movements were not unalloyed goods for blacks (and others, likely).

Goods for sure, but not unalloyed. Nothing's perfect. It doesn't diminish the value of those things to be candid about their failings and shortcomings.

I'm not black, so there's a limit to the degree to which I feel comfortable speaking for the black community. There is no shortage of folks with a more organic and authentic connection to their issues, and who can be far more eloquent than I could ever be in articulating their point of view.

All I have to say about all of this is that racism is far from dead, and far from irrelevant. It's naive to think otherwise.

Rather unlike Charles to not give a link. I'll help

http://www.american.com/archive/2014/march/asians-are-on-the-losing-end-of-racial-preferences

The historical role of affirmative action in advancing Asian Americans interests may help explain why 60 percent of Asian Americans in California voted against Proposition 209 in 1996. It might also help to explain why the National Asian American Survey found that 72 percent of Asian Americans surveyed nationally and 80 percent of Asian Americans in California supported affirmative action in 2012.

And in so far as Mr. Chen’s partisan aspirations are concerned, a 2009 Gallup Poll found that 61 percent of Asian American voters lean Democratic, exceeding the national average, and 31 percent of Asian Americans identified as liberals (compared with 21 percent of the general public). But Mr. Chen doesn’t just ignore data contrary to his opinion. He also ignores some hard Asian American realities. Chief among them, that the high aggregate level of education among Asian Americans isn’t evenly distributed.

California is home to nearly one million Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans. Of these groups, the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center says,

Prop 209 has maintained or worsened access to higher education. In California, only 15.5 percent of Cambodians, 14.5 percent of Hmong, and 9.6 percent of Laotians have a college degree or higher, compared with 48 percent of Asian American communities in aggregate and 31.3 percent of White communities.

To lump in the political interests vis a vis affirmative action of these less advantaged Asian Americans with conservative groups like 80/20 only worsens their educational disadvantages, while also promoting the dehumanizing and intellectually dishonest notion that all Asians are alike. We aren’t, and a growing majority among us would like conservatives to get over their wishful thinking and come to grips with this fact.

Remarkably enough, the PAC that was opposed to it has some questionable origins

http://wavenewspapers.com/opinion/article_2aef8b7a-b5e0-11e3-bc7f-001a4bcf6878.html

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/archive/2012/05/80-20-initiative-critiques-and-controversies

Goods for sure, but not unalloyed. Nothing's perfect. It doesn't diminish the value of those things to be candid about their failings and shortcomings.

It would be helpful to read the book, maybe, but a more specific explanation of the failings and shortcomings would be welcome.

Nothing's perfect, but in assessing social programs, did they do 90% good and 10% bad? 50-50? Anyway, I think that the movement to overcome the legacy of slavery (the Civil Rights Movement) did so much more good than harm that I'm not sure where it's a good idea to make general statements about its shortcomings. And anti-poverty efforts have been so varied, and so fraught with political compromises, that getting to the root of what was helpful, what was destructive, and why, requires extremely specific analysis, discussion and data.

Giving any kind of kudos to people who oppose those efforts seems misguided to me.

FWIW, the thing to remember about affirmative action is that it was NOT intended to "make up for" racial discrimination in the past. It was intended to address racial discrimination in the present, which persisted and persists in spite of the various laws passed to prevent it.

It's far from perfect, just like every other remedial public initiative is and has been far from perfect.

But the solution to "far from perfect" attempts at mitigating problems is not to pretend the problems don't exist.

If you don't like the kinds of remedial, redistributionist approaches that tend to be government's best available way to address problems like this, the solution is to address the problem itself.

I.e., the root causes.

To say that the issues that continue to beset the black community are all down to "inner city black culture" is stupefyingly simplistic, and ignores not just the "legacy" of racism, but it's present-day reality.

The solution to crap like this is, in fact, dead simple - people should recognize the basic humanity of other people, and treat them with the consideration and respect that they deserve. Ideally, they would have done so for the last 400 years, but unfortunately that horse is long out of the barn. Those folks are all dead. But simply doing so now, today, would go a long way.

The constant and ubiquitous level of suspicion, condescension, and animosity that black and brown people live with in the US is not a thing of the past. And it sure as hell is not caused by "inner city black culture". Or, to the degree that it is, it's due less to reality than to people's paranoid fantasies.

Unfortunately it's outside the scope of the law to change that happen, so we're left with whatever imperfect fixes we can cobble together.

As a practical matter, the SCOTUS ruling will mean that that many fewer minority kids will gain admission to colleges in MI. Conversely, that many more white kids will gain admission. There's an upside for some folks and a downside for others.

Given the reality of life in the US today, the minority kids that do gain admissions will likely have to work a hell of a lot harder, and demonstrate a greater level of focus and discipline, to get there than the white kids will.

Neither result is "fair" for all definitions of fair. Fairness is, basically, not on offer, so we have to choose the versions of not-fair that we find least bad.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean that if there were no preferences for anything *other than* academic qualifications?

Correct. From Atrios:

The thing about affirmative action in this country is that it barely exists. To the extent that it does exist, it's mostly about somebody making sure that some women and minorities are actually considered for jobs. There have been various schemes in universities at various times, but it's hardly universal and the number of minority students who have actually benefited is pretty small. Then there are some civil service (cops, etc.) exam issues and minority contracting provisions mostly at the local level... that's about it.

As for colleges and universities, well, whatever the intent, legacy admissions tip the scales against minority applicants far more than any affirmative action programs tip the scales towards them. Every now and then I'd like those obsessed with the evils of affirmative action to make this point.

Giving any kind of kudos to people who oppose those efforts seems misguided to me.

I'm not sure I was handing out any "kudos".

In any case, if candidly acknowledging negative effects as well as positive ones seems misguided to you, then it's not something you should do.

The book, in case anyone's interested. It's a very interesting read. By all means, pick up a copy, the author will appreciate the attention and the business.

Long story short, the difficulties faced by black and brown people in this country don't find their "root causes" in those communities.

Thanks for the link, russell.

Neither result is "fair" for all definitions of fair. Fairness is, basically, not on offer, so we have to choose the versions of not-fair that we find least bad.

I agree with this.

In any case, if candidly acknowledging negative effects as well as positive ones seems misguided to you, then it's not something you should do.

That's not what I thought seemed misguided. The benefits of a social and political movement designed to remedy blatant racial discrimination and grinding poverty dramatically outweighed the detriments. "Acknowledging" the downsides requires a level of detail (in my opinion) that was missing in the comment I was referring to.

I think it's constructive to discuss the specific shortcomings of particular programs. The effort to overcome the legacy of slavery and racism (which is a disease of our culture) has been a process of trial and error. The process has been incredibly valuable, and goes on, but needs to be adjusted constantly. Part of the larger process is finding out what has succeeded, and what has failed.

Let me explain my theory of the problem in greater detail.

I'd analogize this to population genetics: Entropy rules in genetics, any trait, particularly a complex one, which is not maintained by selective pressure, will degrade over time. Put a population in an environment where some trait, such as color vision, or the ability to digest lactose in adulthood, which was formerly useful, is no longer needed, and that trait will eventually be lost. Only selective pressure holds the relentless errosion of entropy at bay.

I'd say that culture is subject to the same issue: Cultural traits and endowments, such as literacy, or a willingless to study hard, are maintained only by selective pressure. They are maintained by the fact that people exhibiting those traits are more successful at reproducing. Create an environment where reproductive success is decoupled from cultural endowments, and they will be lost.

I believe that is what the war on poverty did to the poor: It put them in an environment where they didn't have to be hard working and studious to reproduce. And, by the inevitable working of evolution and entropy, as applicable to culture as DNA, they are losing those traits. The process only being accelerated by the high rate of single mothers, who, no matter how much this offends you, can not pass on cultural endowments as effectively as a complete family. So, loss of selective pressure, AND a loss of reproductive fidelity.

You can be offended all you like by this, the world does not care if you are offended, it just goes on functioning according to it's own rules whether or not you like them. Entropy rules if it is not fought, and we removed what fought it, and in doing so gave it the opportunity to triumph.

That's the problem, not white racism. And it's not "blaming the victim", because, after all, the poor did not design the welfare state. They were merely subjected to it.

And it's a problem liberals are constitutionally incapable of addressing, or even acknowleging. So you'll go on blaming it on a problem you like, and it will go on not being fixed.

know who else was a really big fan of social Darwinism?

Know the difference between social Darwinism and what I just wrote?

Brett: I believe that is what the war on poverty did to the poor: It put them in an environment where they didn't have to be hard working and studious to reproduce.

Inherited wealth certainly puts people in an environment where they don't have to be hard-working or studious to reproduce. But "entropy" doesn't apply to rich people, I guess.

--TP

Since there is human culture in the sense we use it to day that equation does not hold. It's the poor that reproduce in high numbers with the hope that at least a few will survive and will take care of their parents, while those on top produce far less offspring but invest much more into the individual. Saudi Arabia is an exception not the rule. The old Romans had a word for those whose only wealth was in offspring: proletarians (derive from 'proles'=offspring.
[sarcasm]
But of course the US are the new Rome (entering the age of emperors) where this behaviour is/was encouraged by free handouts, a policy favoured by the populist party (Populares, the Dems of old) and opposed by the Party of the Best (Optimates, the proud ancestors of the GOP) because those rutting-like-rabbits-lowlifes would freely give their votes to those who bribe them with those free handouts. And we all know how it ended: unwashed ne'er-do-wells illegally immigrated by the millions and in the end took over due to the degenerated urban culture being unable to repel them. And I guess Byzantium was lucky to lose Egypt because that by necessity stopped the free food handouts and the scum at the bottom had to begin to work for their livelihood (and the empire lived a few hundred years longer until it got overwhelmed by the raghead hordes).
[/sarcasm].

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