Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Religion of peace update

The Middle East Media Research Institute reports:
In video footage posted December 15, 2011 on the Internet, Sheikh Nader Tamimi, mufti of the Jordan-based Palestine Liberation Army, stated "The Americans and Zionists will end up in the garbage bin of history" and added, addressing the West: "Either you pay the jizya poll tax, or else we will bring the sword to your necks"
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here.

Via GatewayPundit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Universities are still racist

Asians reportedly are hiding their ethnicity when applying to colleges and universities. The discrimination that they face is documented, as Rich Lowry writes at National Review:
In 2005 the Center for Equal Opportunity, a think tank opposed to racial preferences, looked at males applying to the University of Michigan from within the state who had no parental connection to the school. If the applicant had a 1240 SAT score and a 3.2 GPA, he had a 92 percent chance of admission if black and 88 percent if Latino. If white, he had only a 14 percent chance, and if Asian, a 10 percent chance.
Forty years ago, When a liberal talked about "affirmative action," what he meant was "keep the Jews out." Now, when a liberals says "affirmative action," he means "keep the Asians out."

RELATED: A Democrat official attacks New Mexico's Hispanic Republican Governor Susana Martinez with racist remark.

PREVIOUSLY on racism:
Occupy Portland protesters hurl racist taunts an African American
Democrat: "Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men"
The subtleties of White Privilege
Racist cupcakes
Is witch doctor image racist?
Obama ally: "I hate white people...."
“You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”
"The city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."
A prominent black politician says the white incumbent cannot properly represent black voters.
San Franciscans discriminate against blacks.
"He's not black and he can't represent me, that's just the bottom line."

AP: Obamacare increasingly unpopular

The AP reports on an AP-GfK poll:
The poll found unpopularity for last year's health care reform bill, one of Obama's major accomplishments. About half of the respondents oppose the health care law and support for it dipped to 29 percent from 36 percent in June. Just 15 percent said the federal government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance.

Even among Democrats, the health care law has tepid support. Fifty percent of Democrats supported the health care law, compared with 59 percent of Democrats last June. Only about a quarter of independents back the law.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lies, Damned Lies, and Graphs used by Liberals

The left is currently excited about income inequality. To support their outrage, they show graphs such as this one which comes from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. It shows the share of wages received by the top 1% of earners:
After you recover from from shock at the unfair growth in income by the top 1%, notice that the above graph, as is typical of other examples, such as this, this, and this, begins at the year 1979. Why is that? If you guessed that the left chooses it because the 1970s was the historical low point for income reported by the rich, you would be right. Below is a plot, from Inequality.org, of the top-1%'s total pre-tax income, a more inclusive measure than the wage income plotted above. It covers the years 1913, when the income tax was introduced, through 2008:

Unlike the truncated graphs typically preferred by liberals, this one shows the income of top-1% has its ups and downs. Furthermore, the most recent data, for the year 2009, as reported by the NY Times (not included above), shows that the top-1%'s share of total income has dropped back to 17%. Contrary to the Occupy narrative, that number is certainly not high by historical standards.

Why is it that the income of the top-1% fluctuates so widely? One reason is that much of that income is related to stock markets and capital gains. That would be why there was a peak in the late 1990's (the dot-com boom) and in the late 1920's. Another factor is the income tax code. When marginal tax rates are high, tax shelters are popular and it is likely that much income is hidden. This would explain, for example, the long-term dip in income in the 1970s.

Whenever you see a graph purporting to show some trend, check whether it shows all the data available or just some period selected for its propaganda value.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Intellectuals and dumb ideas

Intellectuals are often associated with great ideas and also with some truly awful ideas. This has led to the observation, often attributed to George Orwell, that "some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual can believe them." The question, of course, is why is so. I think that Frank Fleming explains it well:

The main problem may be confusing “simple” with “dumb.”

If something is simple, then dumb people will believe it. And if dumb people believe something, then soon some conclude that smart people should believe something else. There’s a flaw in that philosophy.

Why shouldn’t you touch a hot stove? There’s no complex, smart answer to that. You’ll get roughly the same answer from Stephen Hawking you’d get from Forrest Gump: It’s hot, and it will hurt.

But say you were going to argue that you should touch a hot stove. That would have to be a very complex answer, since it defies basic logic. And some people could run with that, talking in detail about pain receptors and the brain’s reaction to stimulus, and come up with a very smart-sounding argument on why touching a hot stove is a great idea.

Others will go further and mock all those ignorant people in the flyover states for their irrational fear of hot stoves and announce, “The most enlightened thing to do is to press one’s face against a hot stove.” Those people are what we call intellectuals.

Hat tip: Instapundit.
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