Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Broader Inquiry into Affirmative Action

A Broader Inquiry into Affirmative Action

The June 11, 2008 Insider Higher Education reports on how a single student's complaint about racial discrimination has morphed into a larger examination of policies at Princeton. Liberals should be rightly terrified, since racism is at the core of what calls itself liberalism today:
A complaint by an Asian American student that racial bias blocked his admission to Princeton University has been expanded by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights into a broader “compliance review” of the issues involved beyond his case.
The complaint, filed in 2006, has been viewed as significant by critics of affirmative action who argue — as does the rejected applicant — that highly competitive colleges’ commitment to diversity results in differential standards for members of different groups, with Asian American applicants held to tougher standards. Many college officials — most of whom strongly support affirmative action — have dismissed the applicant’s complaint as sour grapes, noting that Princeton each year rejects thousands of well qualified applicants of every racial and ethnic group.
The Education Department, responding to an inquiry, acknowledged the shift of the investigation from focusing on one complaint to Princeton’s entire admissions system and its treatment of Asian-American applicants. A department spokesman stressed that converting the investigation did not mean that officials had come to any conclusions about the original complaint. But at the very least, the shift suggests that the government does not view the complaint as frivolous. OCR regularly shuts down complaint investigations, concluding that no violation of the law took place, and the agency has limited resources for compliance reviews. Compliance reviews cover much more ground than any single complaint, tend to take place on issues that the department believes are important, and are sometimes used to nudge other colleges to change policies when they see how one college fared in a review.

The student who filed the original complaint against Princeton, Jian Li, arguably landed well after his rejection: He enrolled at Yale University. Li’s complaint stated that he received 800s on the mathematics, critical reading and writing parts of the SAT, that he graduated in the top 1 percent of his high school class, that he completed nine Advanced Placement classes by the time he finished high school, and that he had been active in extracurricular activities as well — serving as a delegate at Boys State, working in Costa Rica, etc. While Li left the ethnicity question blank on his application (as Princeton allows), he said that other questions that he was required to answer — his name, his mother’s and father’s names, his first language (Chinese), and the language spoken in his home (Chinese) — all made his ethnicity clear.


Li is pointing to research by two Princeton scholars, published in Social Science Quarterly, that looked at admissions decisions at elite colleges. The scholars found that without affirmative action, the acceptance rate for African American candidates would be likely to fall by nearly two-thirds, from 33.7 percent to 12.2 percent, while the acceptance rate for Hispanic applicants probably would be cut in half, from 26.8 percent to 12.9 percent. While white admit rates would stay steady, Asian students would be big winners under such a system. Their admission rate in a race-neutral system would go to 23.4 percent, from 17.6 percent. And their share of a class of admitted students would rise to 31.5 percent, from 23.7 percent.
The complaint and the allegations of anti-Asian bias have been sensitive at Princeton and elsewhere. Princeton, like other elite colleges, changed admissions policies in the 1920s as the number of Jewish applicants appeared poised to rise, and adopted an emphasis on “character” that scholars say was used to minimize non-Protestant enrollments. While Princeton has long abandoned such policies, some Asian American students see similarities between the treatment of Jewish applicants then and Asian applicants today. Many guidance counselors at high schools with many top Asian American students report that their Asian American applicants appear to need significantly higher SAT scores or grades to win admission to highly competitive colleges than do members of other ethnic or racial groups.
Yup. You see, it is easier to accept blacks and Hispanics who are below standard into college--and then wait for them to drop out, because they haven't been adequately prepared for a school like Princeton--than to face that there is something terribly broken in black and Hispanic culture that causes so many to be unprepared. It isn't just bad schools; a lot of Asian-Americans are in lousy public schools, too. It isn't that American culture has a long racist past involving blacks, but not Asians. As one of the comments on that article points out:
If America is such a racist country that these sorts of race-based rules are necessary, then why are Asians actually harmed by affirmative action? Is it because racists actually “like” Asians and would otherwise try to preferentially admit them to college? When did that sea change occur? Or is it the racists who write the SAT’s have succeeded in culturally slanting the test to advantage Asians? Isn’t this the implication of Princeton’s policies? If affirmative action is meant to undo the pernicious effect of wide-spread racism, then Princeton’s policies suggest that Asians are the beneficiaries of racism, not the victims of it.
Didn’t we fight, not one, not two, but three near-genocidal wars against Asians in the last century (aka, WW2, Korea, Vietnam)? When was the last time we fought a war against a sub-Saharan African country? To suggest that there is little or no anti-Asian bias in our inherently racist America seems to me frightfully naive.
The fact is that liberals don't want to confront the reality that two subcultures that liberalism has devoted much of the last four decades to helping are in deep trouble with respect to education--while Asian-Americans, who have been largely ignored by liberalism, is doing just fine.

UPDATE: I received the following remarks from someone who works for the government in St. Paul, Minnesota:

Saint Paul, Minnesota, became home to a large Hmong community who escaped Southeast Asia after the Vietnam war. We also have a significant black population, although as a Northern state, we never had slavery or Jim Crow. Pretty much everybody else are white European Christians.
The Hmong population lives among the black population in Frogtown, the low-rent part of the city. Their kids go to St. Paul Central together. So who are the top students every year? Hmong girls, followed by Hmong boys, followed by everybody else. The black kids not only don't rank highly, they frequently fail to finish school at all.
It's not a difference in student-teacher ratios. It's not inner-city versus suburb. It's not vestiges of slavery or racism. These kids sit side by side in class and on the bus, it's the home life that's different.
The amazing cultural difference goes deeper than honor students.  Second-generation Asian kids parents speak Hmong at home so the kids frequently are bi-lingual but have very little accent in English, having grown up here.  Black kids grow up speaking English in Minnesota but with a thick Black accent that sounds as if they just fell off the turnip truck from Georgia.  How is that possible?  They sit next to each other in the same school, live in the same neighborhood, play on the same playgrounds, but the Asian kids speak like white kids and the black kids don't.  It makes a world of difference when you're applying for a job in predominantly white society.

The difference also is reflected in employment.  Asian girls (I suppose they're technically women by years of age but they all look like little girls to somebody as old as me) are bank tellers and check-out clerks everywhere . . . they're the next generation of managers-in-training, you can just tell by their attitude.  Black employees are the next generation of fry cooks, which you also can tell by their attitude.  When they're working. I have no data to prove it but strongly suspect the teenage pregnancy stats for black girls are far, far worse than for Asian girls.

There are virtually no black businesses along University Avenue in Frogtown (two BBQ joints is all I can think of).  There must be five dozen Asian businesses in that same stretch - grocery stores, restaurants and tailors.  And I know the Asian businesses are not legacy businesses handed down for generations, or built upon the success of their ancestors, because their ancestors came here after the Vietnam War ended.  Their success wasn't built on the backs of slaves - the last slave to pass through Minnesota was Dred Scott himself and our setting him free touched off the Civil War.  Asian immigrants arrived here with fewer worldly possessions than Georgia immigrants and without English, to boot, but look at them now.

The Asians here are entrepreneurs in the strictest sense of the word.  It takes a special kind of person to step off a bus half way around the world from home, start a family and business, and make both thrive.  Why is it common in the Asian community but not in the black community?  I truly don't get it.
This is hardly the first person to notice that there is something terribly, terribly broken going on in black ghetto culture that doesn't seem to hold back Asians who have, if anything, more going against them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Those Curious Campaign Contributions to Obama

Those Curious Campaign Contributions to Obama

Here's a longer article which shows that many of these clearly false contributions were made in small chunks--small enough to fall below the $200 level where individual contributors have to be identified in reports:
More than half of the whopping $426.9 million Barack Obama has raised has come from small donors whose names the Obama campaign won't disclose.
And questions have arisen about millions more in foreign donations the Obama campaign has received that apparently have not been vetted as legitimate.

The McCain camp and the Republican National Committee had $94 million, because of an influx of $84 million in public money.
But Obama easily could outpace McCain by $50 million to $100 million or more in new donations before Election Day, thanks to a legion of small contributors whose names and addresses have been kept secret.
Unlike the McCain campaign, which has made its complete donor database available online, the Obama campaign has not identified donors for nearly half the amount he has raised, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).
Federal law does not require the campaigns to identify donors who give less than $200 during the election cycle. However, it does require that campaigns calculate running totals for each donor and report them once they go beyond the $200 mark.
Surprisingly, the great majority of Obama donors never break the $200 threshold.
“Contributions that come under $200 aggregated per person are not listed,” said Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the FEC. “They don’t appear anywhere, so there’s no way of knowing who they are.”
The FEC breakdown of the Obama campaign has identified a staggering $222.7 million as coming from contributions of $200 or less. Only $39.6 million of that amount comes from donors the Obama campaign has identified.
It is the largest pool of unidentified money that has ever flooded into the U.S. election system, before or after the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms of 2002.
Biersack would not comment on whether the FEC was investigating the huge amount of cash that has come into Obama’s coffers with no public reporting.
But Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for CRP, a campaign-finance watchdog group, dismissed the scale of the unreported money.
“We feel comfortable that it isn’t the $20 donations that are corrupting a campaign,” he told Newsmax.
But those small donations have added up to more than $200 million, all of it from unknown and unreported donors.
Some of these small contributions are clearly unlawful, exceeding the maximum allowed contribution by an individual, and made in small chunks to avoid reporting:
In a letter dated June 25, 2008, the FEC asked the Obama campaign to verify a series of $25 donations from a contributor identified as “Will, Good” from Austin, Texas.
Mr. Good Will listed his employer as “Loving” and his profession as “You.”
A Newsmax analysis of the 1.4 million individual contributions in the latest master file for the Obama campaign discovered 1,000 separate entries for Mr. Good Will, most of them for $25.
In total, Mr. Good Will gave $17,375.
Following this and subsequent FEC requests, campaign records show that 330 contributions from Mr. Good Will were credited back to a credit card. But the most recent report, filed on Sept. 20, showed a net cumulative balance of $8,950 — still well over the $4,600 limit.
There can be no doubt that the Obama campaign noticed these contributions, since Obama’s Sept. 20 report specified that Good Will’s cumulative contributions since the beginning of the campaign were $9,375.
In an e-mailed response to a query from Newsmax, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt pledged that the campaign would return the donations. But given the slowness with which the campaign has responded to earlier FEC queries, there’s no guarantee that the money will be returned before the Nov. 4 election.
Similarly, a donor identified as “Pro, Doodad,” from “Nando, NY,” gave $19,500 in 786 separate donations, most of them for $25. For most of these donations, Mr. Doodad Pro listed his employer as “Loving” and his profession as “You,” just as Good Will had done.
But in some of them, he didn’t even go this far, apparently picking letters at random to fill in the blanks on the credit card donation form. In these cases, he said he was employed by “VCX” and that his profession was “VCVC.”
Far more worrisome is that there are lots of overseas contributions--and some are clearly unlawful:
The FEC has compiled a separate database of potentially questionable overseas donations that contains more than 11,500 contributions totaling $33.8 million. More than 520 listed their “state” as “IR,” often an abbreviation for Iran. Another 63 listed it as “UK,” the United Kingdom.
More than 1,400 of the overseas entries clearly were U.S. diplomats or military personnel, who gave an APO address overseas. Their total contributions came to just $201,680.
But others came from places as far afield as Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa, Beijing, Fallujah, Florence, Italy, and a wide selection of towns and cities in France.
Until recently, the Obama Web site allowed a contributor to select the country where he resided from the entire membership of the United Nations, including such friendly places as North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Unlike McCain’s or Sen. Hillary Clinton’s online donation pages, the Obama site did not ask for proof of citizenship until just recently. Clinton’s presidential campaign required U.S. citizens living abroad to actually fax a copy of their passport before a donation would be accepted.
With such lax vetting of foreign contributions, the Obama campaign may have indirectly contributed to questionable fundraising by foreigners.
In July and August, the head of the Nigeria’s stock market held a series of pro-Obama fundraisers in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. The events attracted local Nigerian business owners.
At one event, a table for eight at one fundraising dinner went for $16,800. Nigerian press reports claimed sponsors raked in an estimated $900,000.
The sponsors said the fundraisers were held to help Nigerians attend the Democratic convention in Denver. But the Nigerian press expressed skepticism of that claim, and the Nigerian public anti-fraud commission is now investigating the matter.
Concerns about foreign fundraising have been raised by other anecdotal accounts of illegal activities.
In June, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave a public speech praising Obama, claiming foreign nationals were donating to his campaign.
“All the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa applauded this man,” the Libyan leader said. “They welcomed him and prayed for him and for his success, and they may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him to win the American presidency..."
Though Gadhafi asserted that fundraising from Arab and African nations were “legitimate,” the fact is that U.S. federal law bans any foreigner from donating to a U.S. election campaign.
The rise of the Internet and use of credit cards have made it easier for foreign nationals to donate to American campaigns, especially if they claim their donation is less than $200.
Campaign spokesman LaBolt cited several measures that the campaign has adopted to “root out fraud,” including a requirement that anyone attending an Obama fundraising event overseas present a valid U.S. passport, and a new requirement that overseas contributors must provide a passport number when donating online.
But what about the contributions already made? The interest alone on some of these unlawful contributions has doubtless given Obama a leg up. What may finally make public campaign financing happen--assuming that Obama's foreign supporters don't successfully buy this election--is that it may be the only way to stop al Qaeda from getting the most malleable president that money can buy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

Excuses, Excuses

A reader pointed me to an article in the February 7, 2009 Flint (Mich.) Journal about Genesee County's remarkable increase in justifiable homicides:
He knocked on the door, ready to confront the man he believed had broken into his apartment.

It would be the second time that night that the two men had quarreled, and this time, Jerome A. Washington, 40, showed up with what looked like a gun. It was just a plastic toy.

Washington was fatally shot April 23 by the man who said he feared for his life and also had a gun -- a real one.
His death was ruled a justifiable homicide -- one of at least seven in Genesee County last year, a dramatic increase from previous years. An eighth slaying is expected to be classified as justifiable pending review from the prosecutor's office.
But then article starts interviewing the relatives of criminals that died, and the whining starts:
"I don't feel like someone should be able to take someone's life with a gun, and they still get to face some freedom," said Washington's grandmother Eula Smith. "It just doesn't add up. I don't believe he did go there to start any problems."
I understand that someone is grieving because a relative went down a path of either gross criminality or incredible stupidity. One of the whiners tells us:
When you ask Joyce Dye about her brother, there's a slight pause.

The Flint woman had only three short weeks to get reacquainted with Paul Lee Jr. before he was killed. He was fatally shot June 13 as he tried to rob LT's Clothing and Accessories on Clio Road.

He'd only recently been released from prison after serving 20 years. It was a stupid mistake, Dye acknowledged -- but did he deserve to die? She doesn't think so.

She believes her brother's death -- and his life -- were written off in part because of his past criminal history. Lee went to prison in 1986 for second-degree murder.

"(The store owner) didn't have to shoot him eight times to knock him down," Dye said. "It's just goofy. That's the hard part, that nobody faced charges in his death."

For the families who have lost someone, all they hear is that the loved one's life means less. And many times, families say it's because that person had a criminal past.
Uh, no, not because Lee had a criminal past, but a criminal present. He was shot because he was committing a robbery--a crime where violence, or the threat of violence, is used to force someone to give up something of value. Lee made the decision that someone else's life was worth less than the contents of a cash register. Applying the transitive rule tells us that since:

Victim's life worth less than cash register contents


Lee's life is worth less than Victim's life

Lee's life is clearly of the lowest value--because Lee chose to make that equation.

There's a lot of denial going on in some of these cases, which doesn't surprise me:
States vary in their laws for justified homicides, with some requiring that a person being threatened try to flee first.

Leyton said that once he is given the police report, several senior prosecutors review the case, then meet to discuss whether charges should be filed.

"None of the cases we decided in the past year were difficult decisions," he said. "They were all quite clear."

Not to the families of the people who were killed, though. Many of them echo the same worry -- that the deaths of their loved ones weren't taken seriously because of criminal pasts.

Paul Lee's mother, Alice Rawls, said that because her son was on parole from a shooting, she believes police and prosecutors didn't give his death a second glance.

Rawls of Grand Blanc Township remains convinced that her son was set up by someone angry about a previous shooting that landed him in prison more than 20 years ago.

She said Lee was getting his life back on track and was up for a promotion at work.

"He was a very smart person," she said. "They just wrote him off because of his criminal history."
Which is more likely? That the same bad pattern that sent him to prison for shooting someone before was being repeated? Or that he was "set up" and then the prosecutor wasn't smart enough to figure this out?

Of course, here's the clueless academic:
Richard Moran, a criminology professor at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., attributes the increase to laws that make it easier to rule a death justifiable homicide.

"Under the guise of being able to protect oneself, we have kind of given a license to go out and kill people any time you feel threatened," Moran said.

Previous laws on the books protected those who had to kill someone because they were in immediate danger, Moran said, and the new laws give "cultural support for killing other people."
What has changed is that a lot of people that used to be victims now are allowed to defend themselves with a gun, both because permits are now available, and because Michigan no longer requires you to cower in fear and run when attacked. What used to be a victim is now a victor.

I'm sick of hearing criminal next of kin whine about how unfair all this is. I understand that there are justifiable homicides that make you say, "This didn't need to happen." Over at the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog, I occasionally post news items that are legally correct, but you just want to cry and say, "You fools! This didn't need to escalate to this level!"

But of the seven justifiable homicides summarized in the sidebar article, there is only one that might be even slightly in this category--and it appears that the woman who started a knife fight died because the other woman also had a knife. The others are not "there was a little misunderstanding" or a minor dispute that was escalated:
Stevens, 46, was shot in the abdomen during a fight March 15 with his 72-year-old housemate. In less than a month, prosecutors ruled Stevens' death a justified homicide, saying he attacked his housemate, striking him with a glass beer mug and pushing him down the stairs.
Jerome A. Washington: Washington, 40, was found dead from a gunshot wound inside a Lapeer Road home about 1:15 a.m. April 23. Police said that earlier in the night at a nearby party store, he'd had words with the man who shot him, but both parties left before the quarrel escalated. Later that night, Washington showed up at the other man's apartment with a plastic gun that resembled a real gun and was fatally shot. The shooter told police he had felt threatened.
Going looking for someone that is not a threat to you any longer, and then threatening him with what appears to be deadly force. That's a no-brainer. That also describes what Washington apparently was.

Cordero Jones: Jones, 21, was fatally shot in the early morning hours of May 8 in what officials said was a shoot-out when he entered a home with the intent to rob someone.
No sympathy at all.

Raymond Blount: It was nearly 4 p.m. May 17 when police said Blount popped out of a closet in his ex-girlfriend's home, armed with a knife. Another man in the house, armed with a handgun, confronted Blount, chased him out of the house and shot him. Police said they couldn't prove whether Blount was shot inside the home before being chased outside. The ex-girlfriend was cut on a finger by Blount's knife and was treated at a local hospital.
How much clearer does it need to be?

Paul Lee Jr.: Lee had been out of prison for only about seven months before he was fatally shot June 13 during an attempted armed robbery of a Clio Road store. Police said Lee went into LT's Clothing and Accessories with a handgun but was stopped by the store owner, who wrestled with him for the gun. The store owner was shot in the hand before he grabbed his own gun and shot Lee several times.
Too stupid to live.

Perry D. Manuel Jr.: Manuel, 28, was at a party when he shot at another man, grazing his face with a bullet, police said. Officials said the two men met up a short time later, and again Manuel was armed. Prosecutor David Leyton said the shooter feared that Manuel was going to shoot at him again, so he shot first, killing Manuel.
Maybe strictly not necessary, but Manuel had an option to not get shot--don't run around shooting people.