Archive for September, 2016

No matter how much you try, the numbers tell their tale

Equality is often put as a highest value and any perceived inequality is presumed to be a matter of oppression. When groups are involved, the accusations of some ‘ism’ comes to the fore. The Bell Curve is one example of numbers telling one tale but desires demanding another. That was race. Gender is another one. Mark Perry says that the 2016 SAT test results confirm pattern that’s persisted for 45 years — high school boys are better at math than girls. Five tales of the numbers are described.

Bottom Line: Even though female high school students are better prepared academically than their male classmates on many different measures of academic success, both overall and for mathematics specifically, female high school students score significantly lower on the SAT math test, and the +30-point differences in test scores favoring males has persisted for several generations and exists across all ethnic groups.

Despite the persistent, statistically significant differences in math performance by gender on the math SAT test that have continued for close to a half century, we hear statements like this: “There just aren’t gender differences anymore in math performance,”

Further, the fact that women are underrepresented in STEM occupations and hold only 26% of STEM jobs according to a 2013 Department of Commerce report certainly isn’t because female students are being discouraged from studying math and science in high school. In fact, the evidence shows that females are excelling in math and science in high school – they outnumber males in AP/Honors math and science courses, and are more likely than their male counterparts to take four years of math and science courses.

Further, compared to boys, high school girls get better grades on average, and are far more likely to graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes, and are much more likely than boys to attend and graduate from college and go on to graduate schools. By all objective measures, girls have essentially all of the necessary ingredients that should result in greater representation in STEM fields like engineering and computer science except perhaps for one: a huge, statistically significant and persistent 30-point gender gap on the SAT math test in favor of boys that has persisted for more than 40 years. If there are some inherent gender differences for mathematical ability, as the huge and persistent gender differences for the math SAT test suggests, closing the STEM gender degree and job gaps may be a futile attempt in socially engineering an unnatural and unachievable outcome.

In other words, girls take the classes, get better grades, and still don’t test as well. That is why the testing is under assault. The axiom is that there are no differences between genders and that has driven a lot of push to remedy supposed imposed gender bias that must have been the cause of observed disparities. That axiom is not one subject to test or reality and the result is a lot of misplaced expenditure and effort. The efforts to force equality are having implications that may be causing more harm than good.

If you think something needs fixing, the first thing to do is to get a good grip on reality and make sure you understand it properly.

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An example for why it’s often argument rather than debate, gun control edition

Herschel Smith takes apart a proposition that Self Defense Is A Shaky Basis For Gun Ownership Rights as argued by “David DeGrazia who is a professor of philosophy at George Washington University.”

DeGrazia takes the idea of self defense as his theme: “There is no absolute right to self-defense; the right is qualified or limited. When the limits to this right are in view, the ground beneath gun ownership rights appears shakier.” Smith deconstructs this argument but the title of his piece also indicates that there is another right at play as well. It is the right of property ownership. On the matter of the right of self defense, Smith says “Regular readers know the true foundation of the Western principle of self defense, and it extends beyond mere self defense. The basis for this principle is found in the Decalogue.” That means the Ten Commandments and, specifically, the implications in the “shall not murder”

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless. “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.” I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries. Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them. God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse. He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.

This goes deep into philosophy which might be appropriate in response to a professor of philosophy. On another level, though, one only has to consider the matter of intellectual integrity. DeGrazia starts out with a proposition concerning an “absolute right.” That means a complex issue of self defense with many factors has been converted to a binary argument. That is a logical fallacy as the basis for the position.

The philosophy can be educational when properly founded and Smith illustrates just what properly founded means in a philosophical discussion. The matter of integrity can be a less laborious means to determine quality of argument and that is something you can use to determine who has the upper hand here.

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Some talk sense, some understand what is being said, some just don’t

Mike Ditka weighs in: ‘I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick’.

“I think it’s a problem — anybody who disrespects this country and the flag,” Mr. Ditka said. “If they don’t like the country, they don’t like our flag, get the hell out.

“I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity,” he added. “Now, if they don’t want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything. But this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now, if you don’t work, that’s a different problem.”

Then you’ve got Kelly Riddell on The apoplectic liberals — “The media is failing, they argue, because it can’t convince the public that Trump is Lucifer.”

Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wrote the media shouldn’t be treating Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump the same — that there’s a so-called “false-equivalence.”

One you see, is a reasonable, but flawed politician. The other is a monster who will take down the Republic.

The media’s also been there to push crazy liberal-conspiracy theories, and to shoot down reasonable Republican ones.

The other factor at play — something that Mr. Trump’s supporters seem to understand, but the press and its fact-checkers simply don’t get — is that Mr. Trump deals in hyperbole.

Perhaps the media should stop preaching from their podiums, and actually start seeing the world through other people’s eyes — however imperfect they consider those eyes to be. For that’s the first step in understanding, and it’s been the press’s biggest failure this election cycle.

Thomas C. Stewart is wondering When ‘deplorables’ took back their country — “Will Donald Trump lead a second Jacksonian Revolution?”

We know that like Andrew Jackson, Mr. Trump can be brusque, strong-willed and single-minded. But isn’t that just the kind of man it takes to really shake things up in Washington? If it takes a little spilled liquor, smashed china and muddy carpets to put the people back in charge, I say bring them on.

so go read the Washington Times for yourself. Awareness is there and maybe some might rub off on you. There are things to think about. That basket of irredeemable deplorables are humans, too, and some are becoming aware that shoving the feelings and thoughts of others off the stage might have consequences.

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Get rid of the (modern) humans

Ken Cuccinelli describes how government is Grinding westerners under the federal boot — “The national monument designation is a backdoor land grab.”

In areas designated national monuments, productive activities are heavily restricted or even banned. These are precisely the sorts of restrictions that federal agencies have been prevented from imposing through traditional means.

These national monument designations are just regulation by another means. Though couched in the flowery language of conservation, monument designations are about the raw exercise of presidential power, seizing control of land without regard to the impact on the affected states and citizens.

Feudalism was abolished in Europe hundreds of years ago. The Obama administration should learn from history and abandon its neo-feudalism in the West.

It’s another way to take stewardship of the land away from the people and into the hands of an elite that is often driven by anything but the survival and health of humanity.

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Blinded by fantasy: Snowden

The heroes many put on a pedestal these days should make one wonder. The old values of integrity, honesty, courage, and so forth don’t seem to matter much. Instead, it is a reverence for the tantrum against perceived or imagined ‘bad things.’ That can range from those who think a $20 million salary represents racial oppression and honor Chavez and Castro to those that engage in treason and sedition. Lynn Westmoreland is a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Georgia, describes Edward Snowden’s gambit — “It continues to threaten U.S. security and endanger the lives of innocents.”

Mr. Snowden’s pose as a privacy advocate could be a real reflection of his values or it could be nothing more than an elaborate cover for his criminal behavior. His actions certainly are inconsistent with a man concerned about privacy. Mr. Snowden stole the credentials of his coworkers and used them to rifle through their personal files, accessing the files of human resource managers that had nothing to do with spy programs. And he gathered personally identifiable information of thousands of intelligence community employees, exposing them to our nation’s adversaries. These are not the actions of a dedicated patriot scouring for evidence of government maleficence.

So what were his motivations? The fact is that Edward Snowden began stealing classified information shortly after a workplace argument and subsequent reprimand by management. The evidence suggests that Mr. Snowden is a disgruntled man driven by narcissism and reckless disregard for those he was hired to protect. However, it is difficult to know the whole truth until he returns to the United States to face prosecution.

Trust is something that is hard earned and seldom recovered when lost. Trust is a cornerstone of a healthy and vibrant society. From Snowden to Clinton, trust doesn’t appear to hold much value and their followers show that many just don’t care or don’t know why it might be worth something.

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Powerline connecting the dots – people who can’t think

The Powerline blog hits three current stories that connect dots, illustrate a theme, and provide some sense to nonsense. First, Hinderaker explains why he thinks Trump will win.

At one point, when I was opposing Trump during the GOP primaries, I said to the press: Stop attacking Trump! Liberal reporters often began with a valid point, but their hysterical hatred for Trump caused them to go too far, making arguments that were patently unfair and unsustainable. Therefore, the more they attacked Trump the more his support grew. The same thing is happening now: most Americans have a pretty good sense of fair play, and they know that Trump is being treated badly by the establishment–a group for whom most Americans have no great affection.

Then Johnson picks up a comment about a Clinton and Kain book and sets the stage:

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine claim the authorship of the campaign manifesto Stronger Together, released in paperback by Simon and Schuster on September 6.

The book isn’t doing well commercially. Who wants to pay to read a party platform, even at a paperback price lower if it were published in hardcover? I’m holding out for the post-election remainder price.

At InstaPundit yesterday Glenn Reynolds mentioned the “amusing” reviews the book has garnered at Amazon. Could the “reviews” represent a groundswell of revulsion of the kind reflected in the famous Boston Globe editorial decrying “Mush from the wimp” in March 1980? I should like to think so.

Despite what he says, the commenter is not in the target market for Clinton’s manifesto. He knows too much. His memory is too good. He is too well informed.

The comment (at the link) is satire and its impact is a measure of what you know about the Clinton scandal history.

Then its another Hinderaker comment about three violent attacks where the authorities struggle vainly to support the view that they are independent and have nothing to do with Islamic terrorism or any other commonality.

Three stories have hit the news almost simultaneously; consider the features they have in common. In Philadelphia, a 25-year-old man named Nicholas Glenn walked up to a police car and started firing on the two officers inside. He then shot four civilians, one of whom died, before being cornered and killed by police officers. Glenn left behind a letter “in which he expressed hatred toward police and probation officers.”

In New York, a Palestinian named Akram Joudeh was picked up two months ago while screaming “Allahu akbar” outside a Brooklyn synagogue. He was ordered deported, and was in Midtown on Thursday appealing his deportation notice when he started attacking bystanders with a meat cleaver.

This morning, a “suspicious backpack” was discovered shortly before the race was to begin, causing organizers to cancel the event. Not long thereafter, a pipe bomb exploded in a garbage can along the route

Yeah, maybe not organized and ideologically based terrorism but it is the same fundamental issue that has NFL players playing games with the national anthem and others whose ‘free speech’ is based on ignorance and indoctrination from false propaganda. The lack of intellectual integrity is on parade. Maybe there is pushback. We will see.

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Morally straight

Robert Knight says Goodbye, political correctness — “There is scouting life beyond the Boy Scouts of America.” The BSA has been a target for the modern left with pressure to include, support, condone, and even honor those who engage in what traditionally has not been considered moral behavior.

Trail Life, for which Mrs. Garibay was an adviser, took off rapidly. In the first year or two, half of the troops comprised former Scout troops sponsored by churches or home schoolers that broke away after the Scouts chose political correctness over being “morally straight.”

I asked Mr. Hancock what really sets Trail Life apart from other youth organizations, and he said, “We were forged in the fires of the cultural struggle, and we will not bend or bow.”

He noted that his son, who earned his Eagle badge just before the Scouts caved, had not renewed his membership. In response to a BSA letter asking why, he sent a three-word reply: “You weren’t brave.”

There is opposition to the destruction of social mores. It will need bravery. And courage, And fortitude. What they are up against is not going down gently.

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Foolish and ignorant. Or an alternative.

Bruce V. Sones provides a comparison and contrast in Choosing Tillman or Kaepernick — “Recent events point to one who was the real hero and patriot.”

As I began reading the Colin Kaepernick article in the sports section of Monday’s Columbia Daily Tribune it provoked me to ask myself the question: Are you a Tillman or a Kaepernick? I am speaking, of course, of Pat Tillman and Colin Kaepernick. Both men heard our national anthem and each had a different reaction. Mr. Tillman ran to the sound of the drums and Mr. Kaepernick ran from the sound of the drums. I thought about the differences.

As I read the article further I marveled at the magnitude of how much press I had heard or seen on the Colin Kaepernick story over the past couple of days. I felt saddened our sports events are no longer a place for us to go to get away from the daily grind and our sports figures are no longer sports heroes but are social tools of our political wings and the media.

As I laid the paper down I realized Colin Kaepernick, by sitting through the national anthem, is doing what he should be doing. He does not deserve to stand for our national anthem. He is uninformed and his actions do nothing to make America better but do everything to continue the false narrative of his new teammates, the agitators.

UNR still has Kaepernick on a pedestal and there’s even a display at the airport. It should be an embarrassment to hold up as hero one who shows that the education he received at the university was so flawed and so poor.

Are you a Tillman or a Kaepernick?” Are you one who builds a society and defends it or are you one who tries to destroy it and steps aside when it comes to actually doing something for the poor, the oppressed, and the ignorant? Do you see what you advocate such as in Cuba or Venezuela or other places where the heroes you put on your T shirt have held sway? Is intellectual integrity and social responsibility anywhere on your set of desired values?

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Factions and success in the small vs failure in the large

Richard Fernandez discusses ideas in the Federalist Papers that are visible in modern politics. Successful Failures is about survival of the fittest in the jungle with the local tribe as not necessarily being best for the health of the jungle as a whole. It is about factions, poisonous leaders, ruling elites, and informal networks.

The paradox that Putin exemplifies is that while factions breed formidable conspirators, they also create poisonous leaders. They succeed in themselves but cause the society around them to fail. That is because they dispense a favoritism which is ultimately ruinous for the nation. The result is a self-vetoing enterprise. Marian Tupy observed that Chile began to succeed at the moment when its junta began to allow economic freedom while Venezuela started to fail by going the other way. But few ruling elites have the sense to get themselves out of the way. Usually they have to be shoved aside.

The question is whether Madison’s defenses failed and the factions are inside the wire. America for a long time beat the odds but recently things have taken a turn for the worse. It is no accident that many of America’s troubles have coincided with the growth of identity politics, special interest groups, foreign lobbying and corruption. If so they have spread their poison and created an American version of the “informal networks” that proved so fatal in other countries, as Madison feared.

Moreover, the American factional system operates in the worst possible way. The Clinton Foundation and private email scandal is a portrait of venality without competence. The peculiar characteristics of American factionalism have bred something singular; a phenomenon at once cunning yet stupid, both corrupt and inept.

It is the freedom of the individual that is the source of accountability. If the group, the tribe, the faction becomes large enough to suppress or inhibit that freedom yet small enough for Putin like successes, then danger lurks.

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