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Saturday, May 03, 2014

[OTP - May 2014] House stadium funding package advances with Cuban baseball player provision

A bill that would enable professional sports franchises to compete for sales tax subsidies cleared a major hurdle Friday, winning overwhelming support in the Florida House.

The tax breaks would be available to professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams, as well as professional rodeos and NASCAR-sponsored events.

But baseball teams would have to stay on the bench — unless Major League Baseball changes its rules about Cuban baseball players.

Lawmakers added the stipulation in response to media reports that Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig had been held hostage by human traffickers while trying to establish residency in Mexico in 2012.

Under Major League Baseball rules, players from Cuba must live in another country before they can become free agents. Cuban players who come directly to the United States are forced into the amateur draft, which limits their salaries.

“Major League Baseball [has] inadvertently created a market for human smuggling and the unequal treatment of Cuban baseball players,” said Rep. José Félix Díaz, R-Miami, who introduced the provision with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. “We’re not going to give away our taxpayer dollars until this ill is corrected.”

In response, the MLB issued the following statement: “While the sponsors of the bill in Florida blame MLB policies for the role of human smugglers, they do not provide any support for their premise that Cuban players must rely on traffickers to defect to countries other than the U.S. such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic, but would not need the assistance of traffickers to reach U.S. soil.”

 

Tripon Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:38 AM | 4455 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics

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   2301. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4708485)
Looking for plotholes in fantasy works is a fool's game. They're myths; of course there are plotholes. If you look for plotholes, you'll find them. And you'll never enjoy fantasy.

Besides, the whole issue of "plothole" is shot with, uh, holes. Practically anything is a "plothole" if you want it to be.
   2302. zenbitz Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4708497)
Orr's review of Wade is quite good - I think he explains actual genetics quite a bit better than me in the first part of the review.

If Wade has little or no hard evidence for his evolutionary thesis, how does he hope to convince his readers to take it seriously?


My Mom would say "Well, he wrote a book saying Ashkenazi Jews are smart. Who do you think buys books?"

I would finally like to point out that it's quite possible for someone to write an interesting book about Genes, Race, and recent Evolution WITHOUT making outlandish and unsupported claims. Possibly even attempting to slay the "Tabula Rasa" (Tabula Raza?) dragon...

But no one would buy it.

   2303. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4708501)
I feel duty bound to report the latest polling news, even if it makes some here sad. Only Half of Young Obama Voters Are Prepared To Vote Democratic:
In case there was any doubt that the youth vote could hurt Democrats in 2014, the following two charts should just about kill it. The data below come from Democratic pollster Paul Harstad, who conducted a survey of young voters for the Youth Engagement Fund and Project New America. It looks in-depth at what motivates young voters -- specifically, millennials aged 18 to 31 -- to vote, and to vote Democratic.
. . .
Only half of young people who voted for Obama say there is even a chance that they'll vote in 2014 and that their vote would be for Democrats. Only 30 percent of young people who voted for Obama in 2012 say that they will "definitely" vote for a Democrat for Congress in 2014, and only another 7 percent say they will "probably" vote for Democrats. The remaining 13 percent are "iffy."

While millennials voted for Obama 63 percent to 33 percent in 2012 -- a 30-point margin -- they are significantly less Democratic-leaning heading into the 2014 election. These numbers actually look a lot like they did four years ago. While young voters favored Obama by 34 points in 2008, they tilted in Democrats' favor by just 16 points in 2010 -- about half the margin. This poll suggests Obama's margin will drop from 30 points in 2012 to around 15 points in 2014 -- again, about half the margin.

There are some pie charts at the link that probably won't copy well here, but I'm sure folks get the gist - fewer young voters will turn out in 2014, and the Democrats share of their vote will be significantly smaller than in 2008 or 2012.
   2304. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4708507)
The Heroes is Abercrombie's finest work IMO, a must-read if you liked the First Law.


I'll second that, I just re-read it again and it holds up. It's his best (and also, least "gimmicky").
   2305. Publius Publicola Posted: May 16, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4708511)
The Party of Stupid is at it again:
Marco Rubio demanded people look at the science on abortion. So we did.
"Science is settled," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Sean Hannity on Wednesday. Rubio wasn't talking about climate change (as anyone who's been paying attention this week might guess) but rather "that human life begins at conception."

Rubio's comments were predicated on his recent remarks that downplayed the role of humans in causing climate change. In response, critics repeatedly noted that the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that humans are to blame. That clearly annoyed Rubio. (You can listen to his comments here.)

"All these people always wag their finger at me about 'science' and 'settled science.'," he told Hannity. "Let me give you a bit of settled science that they'll never admit to. Science is settled, it's not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception. So I hope the next time that someone wags their finger about science, they'll ask one of these leaders on the left: 'Do you agree with the consensus of scientists that say that human life begins at conception?' I'd like to see someone ask that question."

We reached out to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an association comprised of a large majority of the nation's ob-gyns. The organization's executive vice president and CEO, Hal C Lawrence, III, MD, offered his response to Rubio.

Government agencies and American medical organizations agree that the scientific definition of pregnancy and the legal definition of pregnancy are the same: pregnancy begins upon the implantation of a fertilized egg into the lining of a woman’s uterus. This typically takes place, if at all, between 5 and 9 days after fertilization of the egg – which itself can take place over the course of several days following sexual intercourse.

In other words: Consensus exists (if not unanimously), and the consensus is that uterine implantation is the moment at which pregnancy begins.
   2306. Greg K Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:27 PM (#4708530)
Orr's review of Wade is quite good - I think he explains actual genetics quite a bit better than me in the first part of the review.

That's reassurnig. Reading Orr's review was the first time I felt I had a handle on what was going on.
   2307. Swoboda is freedom Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4708533)
Are you guys going to get together for a Cones of Dunshire game?
   2308. tshipman Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:52 PM (#4708539)
Noah Smith has a great take on the Wade book:

Basically, academic racism has a problem, and that problem is overfitting.

Here's how academic racism generally works. Suppose you see two groups that have an observable difference: for example, suppose you note that Hungary has a higher per capita income than Romania. Now you have a data point. To explain that data point, you come up with a theory: the Hungarian race is more industrious than the Romanian race. But suppose you notice that Romanians generally do better at gymnastics than Hungarians. To explain that second data point, you come up with a new piece of theory: The Romanian race must have some genes for gymnastics that the Hungarian race lacks.

You can keep doing this. Any time you see different average outcomes between two different groups, you can assume that there is a genetic basis for the difference. You can also tell "just-so stories" to back up each new assumption - for example, you might talk about how Hungarians are descended from steppe nomads who had to be industrious to survive, etc. etc. As new data arrive, you make more assumptions and more stories to explain them. Irish people used to be poor and are now rich? They must have been breeding for richness genes! Korea used to be poorer than Japan and is now just as rich? Their genes must be more suited to the modern economy! For every racial outcome, there is a just-so story about why it happened. Read an academic-racist blog, like Steve Sailer's, and you will very quickly see that this kind of thinking is pervasive and rampant.

There's just one little problem with this strategy. Each new assumption that you make adds a parameter to your model. You're overfitting the data - building a theory that can explain everything but predict nothing. Another way to put this is that your model has a "K=N" problem - the number of parameters in your model is equal to the number of observations. If you use some sort of goodness-of-fit criterion that penalizes you for adding more parameters, you'll find that your model is useless (no matter how true or false it happens to be!). This is one form of a more general scientific error known as "testing hypotheses suggested by the data", or "post-hoc reasoning". It's a mistake that is by no means unique to academic racism, but instead is common in many scientific disciplines (cough cough, sociobiology, cough cough).
   2309. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4708540)
From The National Journal - For Democrats, VA Problems Pose A Real Threat:
The political peril for the president comes from more than just the absence of Democratic defenders, the bipartisan nature of the outrage, and the widespread anger at mistreatment of veterans. It also threatens to once again raise questions about the competence of the administration to run the government after the botched rollout of the Obamacare website, questions the administration believes it has finally quieted.

The VA issue is also likely to revive accusations that Obama does not demand accountability in his government. As he did when there were demands that he fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the Obamacare website issues, the president is now resisting calls to fire VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Developing.
   2310. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 09:13 PM (#4708546)
The Heroes is Abercrombie's finest work IMO, a must-read if you liked the First Law

I ordered a used copy on Amazon for like $6 with shipping.

I've heard that about him, but never found his subject matter interesting enough to jump in.

Check out the first book in the Mistborn series (The Final Empire). You'll know within 100 pages or so if you find the system compelling enough. The plot isn't anything special, but he builds a nice world with a brilliant magic system, and his fights read like kung-fu movies with magic. If you need to have very fleshed-out characters as opposed to useful, cosmetically-interesting-enough archetypes, give it a pass.

I feel like the Mistborn books read like an action movie with a good enough story to make you care and a lot of love given to the tech. (In this case, the "tech" is the magic called Allomancy.)

If you like cohesive "science" you'd probably enjoy Bakker

A particular series? Which book should I start with?
   2311. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 09:17 PM (#4708548)
The dreamy wafting style over so many hundreds of pages wears on me as well. I do like the prose, but not the style, if that makes sense.

Absolutely. I think I would love to read a short story by Gene Wolfe, but I just don't have the patience to glide through a whole book.
   2312. CrosbyBird Posted: May 16, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4708550)
Looking for plotholes in fantasy works is a fool's game. They're myths; of course there are plotholes. If you look for plotholes, you'll find them. And you'll never enjoy fantasy.

I care quite a bit about a work being logically consistent within the rules it sets. Some books really break down and it takes me right out of enjoying them.
   2313. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4708553)
If you like cohesive "science" you'd probably enjoy Bakker


I'd also recommend Rothfuss for that.
   2314. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 16, 2014 at 09:42 PM (#4708555)
Way behind, but from 2172:
Following the rejection, Bengtsson said: "The problem we now have in the climate community is that some scientists are mixing up their scientific role with that of a climate activist."

Bengtsson said he was also forced to step down from the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic think-tank, after he was subjected to "McCarthy" style pressure from other scientists.

It's a bit rich for somebody who was part of a climate sceptic think-tank, to go around complaining about other people being activists...
   2315. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4708557)
I care quite a bit about a work being logically consistent within the rules it sets. Some books really break down and it takes me right out of enjoying them
.

I can't disagree with this. It's just that "logical consistency" can apply to a nearly infinite number of possible scenarios. It depends on each individual's assumptions and expectations regarding what a character's "natural" reaction ought to be.
   2316. OCF Posted: May 16, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4708581)
Just got finished watching the Jeopardy "Tournament of the Decades". (Spoiler alert.) Final round came down to Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, and it was close. The final clue: the two U.S. Secretaries of State who never married, 160 years apart. The long-ago one was Buchanan; everyone got that. The recent one was Condi Rice. Jennings lost the tournament by writing down "Albright."

Ken Jennings lurks here?
   2317. Lassus Posted: May 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4708587)
That is bizarre. While reading the question, I immediately thought "Rice", I cannot fathom how Jennings wouldn't have known that. I would have been lost on Buchanan.
   2318. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 16, 2014 at 11:50 PM (#4708598)
This seems like [yet another] problem - ObamaCare Payouts May Be Wrong:
The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors, according to internal documents and three people familiar with the situation.

The problem means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people are receiving bigger subsidies than they deserve. They are part of a large group of Americans who listed incomes on their insurance applications that differ significantly — either too low or too high — from those on file with the Internal Revenue Service, documents show.

The government has identified these discrepancies but is stuck at the moment. Under federal rules, consumers are notified if there is a problem with their application and asked to upload or mail in pay stubs or other proof of their income. Only a fraction have done so, according to the documents. And, even when they have, the federal computer system at the heart of the insurance marketplace cannot match this proof with the application because that capability has yet to be built, according to the three individuals.

RTFA. Seems like subsidies are being done on the honor system, at best. What could go wrong?

   2319. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 16, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4708599)
RTFA. Seems like subsidies are being done on the honor system, at best. What could go wrong?

Sounds just like tens of millions of unaudited tax returns to me. Does that make you want to increase the IRS's budget a hundredfold and start auditing everybody?
   2320. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4708603)
Seems fairly obvious that the ObamaCare website was never "fixed", they just patched together a front-end sign-up process, but subsidy calculations and insurer payment processing were never completed. More from the article linked in #2318:
Of the various technical problems that remain with HealthCare.gov, the difficulty in straightening out discrepancies affects an especially large number of consumers. Of the roughly 8 million Americans who signed up for coverage this year under the health-care law, about 5.5 million are in the federal insurance exchange. And according to the internal documents, more than half of them — about 3 million people — have an application containing at least one kind of inconsistency. These inconsistencies have arisen as the information listed on their applications has been cross-checked, via a newly built federal data hub, with the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies, as well as incarceration, IRS and immigration records.

If more than half of the enrollees have have application issues, the application process is seriously flawed. Keep in mind that this is an article spoon fed to the Washington Post on a Friday evening, an obvious ploy to reduce news coverage, especially the national TV news broadcasts. The real story could be even worse.
   2321. caprules Posted: May 17, 2014 at 02:03 AM (#4708621)
Funny, I'm sitting here vaguely taking in comments on George RR Martin, whose work I've never been able to get into more than a paragraph of


A good friend of mine just loved the work and kept telling me I had to read it. I put the first book down 3 times over a few months before I finally just plowed through it and then I was hooked. The first 3 books really are enjoyable.
   2322. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 17, 2014 at 02:19 AM (#4708622)
Seems fairly obvious that the ObamaCare website was never "fixed"....
I'm sure it'll get addressed in the coming decades, as it's going to be around for at least that long.
   2323. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 17, 2014 at 02:21 AM (#4708623)
A good friend of mine just loved the work and kept telling me I had to read it. I put the first book down 3 times over a few months before I finally just plowed through it and then I was hooked. The first 3 books really are enjoyable.
The first three, and the fifth. (The fifth isn't as good as the first three, but it was enjoyable.) The series has done a much better job of moving the story along, though leaving out all the Ironborn stuff is problematic. I hope they get to that stuff, otherwise the series is going to basically leave out enormous chunks of the book, and end up telling a whole different story.
   2324. Lassus Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:54 AM (#4708632)
Clapper, you start out slow and then grind to a halt with #2320. Maybe you should abandon this page and start over on 25.


The series has done a much better job of moving the story along, though leaving out all the Ironborn stuff is problematic. I hope they get to that stuff, otherwise the series is going to basically leave out enormous chunks of the book, and end up telling a whole different story.

My guess is that next season is all Ironborn all the time (so to speak). I know it will be easy to go off the rails, but the adaptation is going pretty brilliantly so far,
   2325. CrosbyBird Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:47 AM (#4708635)
I'd also recommend Rothfuss for that.

Oh, I'm up to date with that series, which is excellent so far.
   2326. Lassus Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:14 AM (#4708638)
Oh, I'm up to date with that series, which is excellent so far.

Be prepared for a long wait - from his blog's FAQ:
When will book 3 be out?

Rest assured, as I promised for book 2, when there is news about book 3, I will pass it along. I don’t glean joy from withholding information; when there’s news, I’ll tell you.

However, there's apparently a companion novella coming out in November. This interview was just last week.

Book 3, though, I wouldn't hold your breath.
   2327. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4708650)
Thanks for posting links to those reviews (#2298), Andy!

As others have noted, they're very sharp. Both Orr and Allen bring up this contention of Wade's:

“One indication of {...} a genetic effect is that, if institutions were purely cultural, it should be easy to transfer an institution from one society to another.”


As if cultures were just going to blithely adopt the practices of other cultures without conscious resistance. But for better or worse, rational or irrational reasons, cultures often do resist new cultural practices. On a daily basis here we see get-off-my-lawn sportswriters resisting sabermetrics. Do they have some kind of gene for this?
   2328. The Good Face Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4708669)
Check out the first book in the Mistborn series (The Final Empire). You'll know within 100 pages or so if you find the system compelling enough. The plot isn't anything special, but he builds a nice world with a brilliant magic system, and his fights read like kung-fu movies with magic. If you need to have very fleshed-out characters as opposed to useful, cosmetically-interesting-enough archetypes, give it a pass.


Eh, I generally don't like books with cardboard archetype characters. I can handle weak characterization if there's some other outstanding element that makes the book interesting, Wolfe for example is weak at characterization, but if it's just conventional fantasy with conventional character archetypes, I'll probably pass.

If you like cohesive "science" you'd probably enjoy Bakker

A particular series? Which book should I start with?


His Second Apocalypse series is what you want. Two trilogies, the final book of which should come out in early 2015. Start with "The Darkness That Comes Before". Be patient and give it at least 100 pages; it's a slow burn that gets better with repeated readings, and there's a lot going on under the surface.
   2329. Mefisto Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4708672)
I will say this in defense of GRRM: there actually is a lot of information being conveyed in the seemingly endless books 4 and 5. I missed a lot of that when I read them because I got to the point of skimming them, only to realize later that I should have read more carefully. Still, he could use an editor. Badly.
   2330. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4708680)
My Mom would say "Well, he wrote a book saying Ashkenazi Jews are smart. Who do you think buys books?"

I always find this a hugely bizarre example to pick for a "genetic" advantage.

There is such an overwhelming cultural explanation for Jewish academic success (for 1900 years Jews have been required to read, study and analyze their Scripture while Christians generally had their Scripture read to them, and explicated, by Priests and Ministers) that it is very odd you'd go to the genetic answer first.
   2331. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4708683)
There is such an overwhelming cultural explanation for Jewish academic success (for 1900 years Jews have been required to read, study and analyze their Scripture while Christians generally had their Scripture read to them, and explicated, by Priests and Ministers) that it is very odd you'd go to the genetic answer first.

Sure, but I don't think that was the point of what Zenbitz's mom was trying to say, which was that Wade was just trying to flatter his biggest customer base.
   2332. The Good Face Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4708684)
Here's how academic racism generally works. Suppose you see two groups that have an observable difference: for example, suppose you note that Hungary has a higher per capita income than Romania. Now you have a data point. To explain that data point, you come up with a theory: the Hungarian race is more industrious than the Romanian race. But suppose you notice that Romanians generally do better at gymnastics than Hungarians. To explain that second data point, you come up with a new piece of theory: The Romanian race must have some genes for gymnastics that the Hungarian race lacks.


The thing that makes this a terrible analogy is that the Romanians "doing better at gymnastics" (as measured by gym competitions) is not necessarily a good measure of the entire population, but a means of selecting from that average.

If there were nationally administered tests of gymnastic ability, and the national average, considering all persons, in Romania was better than Hungary, then yes, you'd have a sound basis for beginning to pursue a theory about how this was genetic in basis. But of course, this by itself would not generally be enough to make it worth the effort. What would make it worth the effort, would be if we had huge heritability studies within populations indicating that gymnastic ability and practice and focus was strongly, strongly predicted by parental genetics. And we have that for most of the interesting traits which "academic racism" (heh) generally builds theories for. General general intelligence variables, broad behavioral elements, etc.

Smith misunderstands the basis of the observations that lead to theories of genetic population differences - a) they come on the back of these differences being demonstrated to exist in randomly selected subsets of the population groups and b) they are made on the basis of sound evidence that these differences are genetic within population groups (and that therefore it is more complicated to NOT assume that the differences between such groups are genetic).
   2333. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4708689)
Sure, but I don't think that was the point of what Zenbitz's mom was trying to say, which was that Wade was just trying to flatter his biggest customer base.

Yeah, I get that. I'm just saying that it's such a bizarre choice as an example, that it serves to confirm her "pandering" hypothesis.
   2334. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4708693)
And we have that for most of the interesting traits which "academic racism" (heh) generally builds theories for. General general intelligence variables, broad behavioral elements, etc.

Actually, we don't. We only have data on observed academic performance. There's no way to accurately parse raw intelligence from having been taught to think "academically" and taught to take tests.

It's also most likely that there are at least 5 or 6 (or more) different types of intelligence, rather than one general intelligence.
   2335. Morty Causa Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4708718)
Dawkins has yet to weigh in, as far as I know, but others have, including Pinker, E.O. Wilson, and Jerry Coyne have. Pinker in only a tweet, Wilson in a blurb for the book. Coyne admits there are races; he doesn't think, at this point, that it can be shown that it is culturally dispositive. Wilson's blurb comment: “Nicholas Wade combines the virtues of truth without fear and the celebration of genetic diversity as a strength of humanity, thereby creating a forum appropriate to the twenty-first century.” Pinker's tweet: "Disagree w much of Wade (goes beyond data, gets some wrong) but he explodes race-is-only-a-social-construction myth." Pinker's caveat, though, is clearly taken note of by Wade. Often in his book. And these guys, btw, are not just talking about superficial physical features. It wasn't so long ago, that this was vigorously denied. The position that differences can't matter because it's too upsetting is not only a clown stance; it's an intellectual non-starter. The only questions to be answered are how it matters.

:Many links under the rubric "Reality of Race".

Another interview with Wade, hot off the grill.

A thesis of the book is that social institutions rest on human social behavior, which is shaped by evolution. Institutions have a large cultural component, so it’s hard to know at present how important evolution has been. But I think we should look out for it in all major social transitions, such as the foraging-settler transition, the escape from tribalism, and the Industrial Revolution, and if one accepts that the natural selection has been active here then all major societies probably have been shaped by evolution to some extent.


If evolution creates physical organs (duh) from which mental traits and features emanate, and thus has to play a role in shaping behavior, and no one now denies that it does, then evolution has to have had an effect on social institutions and cultures, because that's what makes cultures and institutions. And if cultures are different, there has to be an explanation that goes beyond circular self-referential cultural explanations. What remains to be explained (although it is getting more precise, and Wade's book is an attempt at that) is what those distinguishing biological effects across cultures and their peoples are. The explanation has to start somewhere. It will get more detailed and precise. You can whistle pass the graveyard all you want.

   2336. Morty Causa Posted: May 17, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4708728)


The Last Acceptable Prejudice--don't lie, you know you do.

(I think Ball Four Bouton mentions this. And nothing has changed.)
   2337. Morty Causa Posted: May 17, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4708733)
There is such an overwhelming cultural explanation for Jewish academic success (for 1900 years Jews have been required to read, study and analyze their Scripture while Christians generally had their Scripture read to them, and explicated, by Priests and Ministers) that it is very odd you'd go to the genetic answer first.

The point being made by Wade here is that culture is part of the environmental pressure that the individual has to react to in a Darwinian fashion. For instance, if the Ashkenazi had a culture that fostered learning, and gave privilege to the learned, like marriage upscale maybe, then smart genes will tend to get perpetuated. If another culture doesn't do that, plus, say, it takes its smartest types and turns them into eunuchs (Catholic priests) who don't propagate, then that, too, creates a tendency.

Or we can assume, like some here, that everything and anything, except unexamined preconceptions and proclivities, mean nothing. A new universal philosophical principle is born: Nothing here to see, move along.

   2338. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 17, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4708758)
The Last Acceptable Prejudice--don't lie, you know you do.

(I think Ball Four Bouton mentions this. And nothing has changed.)

Morty, if you want to ditch that last remaining prejudice, you should spend less time in academia and more time in pool rooms, where talent is the great leveler of both racial and social classes. The photo in that link reminded me of many a road player I used to see BITD in North Carolina rooms, and trust me, we city boys from DC and Durham never looked down upon them in any way, barefoot or not.
   2339. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4708763)
Morty, all you're doing is making stronger assertions, not addressing the critiques. What's specifically incorrect about Allen Orr's critique of Wade? "Clown stance, bro" is not an answer :)

if cultures are different, there has to be an explanation that goes beyond circular self-referential cultural explanations

Not true in small things, obviously: unless a "circle counterclockwise" gene evolved rapidly in the US, producing baseball by contrast to the "run back and forth" gene that produced cricket in England. So why would it be true of "the Industrial Revolution," however one defines that? Seriously, you might as well say that there has to be a divine explanation.

Give me actual evidence of the involvement of natural selection in cultural traits or historical developments, instead of just-so stories, and I will listen. I can foresee a time when accumulated specific evidence might lead me to agree. But this ain't the time.
   2340. Greg K Posted: May 17, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4708771)
Not sure if I've read this many reviews of a book, nevermind one I haven't read myself yet.

It sounds like there is a first section which is essentially scientific journalism, relaying recent genetic research for a broader lay audience. Which appears to be uncontroversial, even among Wade's critics.

Then a second part which attempts to take the lessons of the lit review and apply them to history. From what I've read this is the guts of the book and more speculation than anything else (which Wade recognizes). Presenting possibilities without much evidence. Which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing, so long as the reader keeps in mind that it is speculation. I think it's useful to be aware of all the possibilities, but I liked one reviewer's idea (Orr maybe?) that "This is speculation" should be written atop every page in the second half.
   2341. Morty Causa Posted: May 17, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4708803)
I am particularly curious to see what Pinker and Dawkins will say about Wade's book. Pinker stood up for Larry Summer's against the PC Erinyes, and Dawkins stood by James Watson (maybe Pinker did, too).

Wade knew he was placing himself in an impossible situation. It’s a no-win situation. He was never going to satisfy those who will not see social roles in anything but a superficial cultural sense. The only thing that would have made them happy is if he had said nothing at all. The response to this book is the creationist-science moment of those social constructionists. It redounds with the trappings of climate change denialists and a sort of creationist mindset. The old time religion is good enough for them—and, dammit, it better be good enough for you.

But, If he is going to engage the topic at all, he can’t address it strictly in socially neutral terms—in scientific and academic terms—and leave it at that.. He has to acknowledge that he sees and understands the social ramifications, now and as they came to be expressed in the past. If he doesn’t, he’ll be accused of being sneaky, of trying to engage in sleight of hand. And that would be worse. So, he begins by forthrightly discussing those social ramifications, the terrible history that requires we always be watchful and wary. Of course, that is taken as nothing more than an insincere attempt to apply salve. See: there’s no way he could win.

So what was he supposed to do? How was he to approach the subject? His book is in three parts. He carefully and extensively recites a cautionary history of the evils of racism. He then explains the science, which no one really objects to except in quibbles. Then he shows how history bears out his thesis as it applies to society and culture. At this point, he emphasizes over and over that he is speculating; of course, that’s what books on pop science do. He wasn’t simply writing scientific abstract. That’s been done. However, he strains to be clear that. It’s only the beginning of a discussion. He issues disclaimers and qualifications throughout. And he cites his sources.

But, of course, it’s never enough when it comes to race and the conventional wisdom. If you can’t toe the line, STFU. Hey, man, it’s, like, just his opinion. You can have yours. (We await it with bated breath.) Hopefully, it will be as well documented and argued.

   2342. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 17, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4708807)
More on Harry Reid (D-Nev) and Senate Democrats violation of Senate traditions - Harry Reid Wants A No Surprise Senate:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to decide what Senate floor amendments Republicans can offer to guard against “gotcha” votes that could cost Democrats their majority. Republicans complain the change is a departure from the traditions of the Senate, once dubbed the greatest deliberative body in the world, for the majority party to pick what members of the minority may debate and discuss.

“In the old Senate, the majority leader didn't tell, A, the minority how many votes they could have, and, B, by the way, pick them for them,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) grumbled to reporters during a recent press conference. Republicans say Reid’s tight rein on the debate is especially galling because he won’t allow votes on germane amendments. Earlier this month, he rejected several GOP amendments to an energy efficiency bill that were all relevant to energy policy.
. . .
Democrats worry McConnell could split their caucus by forcing votes on broad tax policy instead of the basket of expired niche tax provisions the pending bill addresses. Reid does not want to vote on a proposal to repeal Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, even though the proposal has strong support in the Democratic caucus. That could put him and his colleagues on the slippery slope of reviewing all the tax increases in ObamaCare.

Former Sen. Olympia Snowe, a centrist Republican from Maine, said in her final years in the Senate, Reid went so far as to rewrite the amendments Republicans offered. “Reid was redesigning Republican amendments. He not only decided which amendments would be offered by might rewrite them,” Snowe said in an interview.

The unprecedented blocking of minority party amendments is the hallmark of Reid's tenure as Majority Leader. Those whining about GOP filibusters in response to such tactics need to remember that the Senate, unlike the House, has traditionally offered the minority party the opportunity to amend legislation on the floor. Having abused the Senate Rules to advance their own political agenda, Democrats certainly will be in no position to object if a future GOP Senate uses the rules to its own partisan advantage.

   2343. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4708828)

More affirmative action for Julian Castro:

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro Is Said to Be HUD Pick in Cabinet Reshuffling

You know the Dems' Latino bench is thin when a ceremonial mayor goes from nobody to convention keynote speaker to Cabinet secretary in less than two years.

Obama didn't deliver on that post-racial society he promised, but he's sure fostering the post-accomplishment era that continues apace.
   2344. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4708839)
Joe, what exactly would you see as a qualification for the exalted office of HUD Secretary? Most Republican HUD secretaries have been lawyers or businesspeople with far less experience in urban government and politics than Castro. (Jack Kemp would be the notable exception.) Several of the Democrats have been mayors (Moon Landrieu, Henry Cisneros) with CVs resembling Castro's. Are you shocked, shocked to see the office go to a minority candidate from a region and state that his party would like to cultivate? Clearly the Republicans never, ever appoint Cabinet secretaries with things like that in mind :-D
   2345. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4708845)
Joe, what exactly would you see as a qualification for the exalted office of HUD Secretary? Most Republican HUD secretaries have been lawyers or businesspeople with far less experience in urban government and politics than Castro.

Given that Castro is a ceremonial mayor who gets paid the whopping sum of $3,000 per year (compared to $355,000 per year for the woman who actually runs San Antonio), I'd like to see the list of GOP HUD secretaries with "far less experience in urban government" than Castro.

Are you shocked, shocked to see the office go to a minority candidate from a region and state that his party would like to cultivate?

I'm not shocked — I'm amused. It's funny that the party that gets almost three-fourths of the Latino vote has so few Latinos in elected office that it needs to tap a ceremonial mayor as keynote speaker and Cabinet secretary in order to phony up a potential 2016 VP candidate.
   2346. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4708850)
Are you shocked, shocked to see the office go to a minority candidate from a region and state that his party would like to cultivate? Clearly the Republicans never, ever appoint Cabinet secretaries with things like that in mind :-D

Not to mention Supreme Court justices.
   2347. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4708851)
No kidding, they have a city manager in San Antonio? I'm amazed. Do you have any idea what impact Castro has had on that city, and its politics? You act as if he's some sort of cipher; I'm sorry, he's simply your basic rising politician. This is kind of how America has always worked.
   2348. CrosbyBird Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4708852)
Eh, I generally don't like books with cardboard archetype characters. I can handle weak characterization if there's some other outstanding element that makes the book interesting, Wolfe for example is weak at characterization, but if it's just conventional fantasy with conventional character archetypes, I'll probably pass.

Oh, there's an outstanding element. The magic system is brilliant.

I suppose it depends how much you geek out on that sort of thing. I would say it has a different feel than conventional fantasy but it's more beer-and-pretzels prose than high art. To me, that's not an insult (hey, sometimes beer and pretzels are fantastic) but I like to give a well-balanced recommendation.

Which Bakker book should I start with?
   2349. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4708854)
No kidding, they have a city manager in San Antonio? I'm amazed. Do you have any idea what impact Castro has had on that city, and its politics?

We went through this when Castro spoke at the convention. Perhaps you could list some or all of Castro's amazing achievements in San Antonio for us. Unless he's added some since 2012, it will be a very short list.

You act as if he's some sort of cipher; I'm sorry, he's simply your basic rising politician. This is kind of how America has always worked.

LOL. Please list some ceremonial mayors who gave keynote speeches at a national political convention and/or were elevated to Cabinet secretary. As with your comments re: Wade's book, all you're doing is hand-waving.
   2350. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4708858)
I'd like to see the list of GOP HUD secretaries with "far less experience in urban government" than Castro.


Start with Steven Preston. Investment banker and head of the SBA before becoming HUD Sec.
   2351. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4708859)
Start with Steven Preston. Investment banker and head of the SBA before becoming HUD Sec.

You think a former head of the SBA had less experience with government than a ceremonial mayor? Funny.
   2352. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4708865)
You think a former head of the SBA had less experience with government than a ceremonial mayor? Funny.


Yes, because you don't seem to understand what a ceremonial mayor is. He is a full fledged member of the city council. Under the city council/city manager system of government, the council gives direction to the manager. And Castro has been a city councilman since 2001. So, yeah, a councilman for a major metropolitan area trumps a few years at the SBA.
   2353. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4708867)
Yes, because you don't seem to understand what a ceremonial mayor is. He is a full fledged member of the city council. Under the city council/city manager system of government, the council gives direction to the manager. And Castro has been a city councilman since 2001. So, yeah, a councilman for a major metropolitan area trumps a few years at the SBA.

LOL. BBTF liberals have raised hand-waving to an art form.

When the entire city council, added together, makes less than 1 percent (!) of what the city manager makes, it should clue you in as to who's doing the heavy lifting, management-wise.
   2354. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4708873)
HUD secretaries Pierce (Reagan), Hills (Ford), and Lynn (Nixon) had no city government experience at all; they were lawyers or had been on the federal-official track. Of course, the Republicans have to draw from those ranks because they have so few actual mayors to pick :)

Castro's main initiatives in San Antonio have been to expand access to education, particularly at the pre-K level. (I can imagine the derision this will provoke, because why are we trying to help Them by throwing money at education. Sigh.) He's also been involved in comprehensive city planning, which is a thankless but hugely valuable task. San Antonio is a very successful city; that's why he's a star.

In any case, do you think that city-manager systems are dictatorships? Whatever they pay the mayor and council in such cities, those officials are elected, face the voters, and have to approve and authorize everything done by the manager. (Coke to Misirlou.)

It's just an article of faith in some circles that minority Democrats can't, by definition, have any actual credentials. Even if they have credentials, they're somehow explained away. Again, sigh.
   2355. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4708875)
Oh, I'm up to date with that series, which is excellent so far.


Have you read Cook's "Black Company" series?

Both the original trilogy and the subsequent books are very, very good.
   2356. CrosbyBird Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4708877)
Have you read Cook's "Black Company" series?

Nope. Added to the list.

I was a big fan of "Lies of Locke Lamora."
   2357. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4708878)
Just like when three adjuncts taken together make a tenth what one of the tenured professors makes, that shows who's doing the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching, eh, Joe?
   2358. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4708882)
It's true, the city manager does far more heavy lifting than the council. the council merely sets the agenda and goals while the manager carries it out. And hires and fires the manager. Regardless of the pay, 14 years a city councilman for a city of over 1,000,000 is a good bit of urban experience. I think Joe and/or his right wing blogs latched on to the title "ceremonial" and ran with it without grasping its meaning.
   2359. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4708883)
HUD secretaries Pierce (Reagan), Hills (Ford), and Lynn (Nixon) had no city government experience at all; they were lawyers or had been on the federal-official track. Of course, the Republicans have to draw from those ranks because they have so few actual mayors to pick :)

Putting aside that examples from 30 or 40 years ago don't seem that impressive, one would expect the GOP to treat HUD as a low priority. But it's kind of sad that the Dems, for whom HUD is supposedly a major priority, can't find anyone better-qualified than Julian Castro, a ceremonial mayor with no actual management experience.

Castro's main initiatives in San Antonio have been to expand access to education, particularly at the pre-K level. (I can imagine the derision this will provoke, because why are we trying to help Them by throwing money at education. Sigh.)

How does expanding pre-K relate to his new job at HUD?

He's also been involved in comprehensive city planning, which is a thankless but hugely valuable task.

Any accomplishments to list, or does being "involved" now qualify as such?

San Antonio is a very successful city; that's why he's a star.

LOL. This is a 2012 overview of Julian Castro's record in San Antonio. It's not impressive.

It's just an article of faith in some circles that minority Democrats can't, by definition, have any actual credentials. Even if they have credentials, they're somehow explained away. Again, sigh.

Still LOL. Are you going to get around to listing any of these big "credentials" and accomplishments, or do we just need to take your word for it? If Castro is so impressive, how come he's the $3,000-per-year ceremonial mayor rather than the $355,000-per-year city manager? It sounds like the latter should be the one in the running for HUD secretary.
   2360. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4708884)
Just like when three adjuncts taken together make a tenth what one of the tenured professors makes, that shows who's doing the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching, eh, Joe?

Anyone who thinks a random city councilor is more important to a city than the city manager is delusional. The same is probably true for adjuncts vs. tenured professors, although the gap is probably smaller.
   2361. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4708886)
Nope. Added to the list.


Excellent! Make sure to check back in with what you think of it!

[edit] For "The Heroes" as well ...
   2362. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4708887)
Anyone who thinks a random city councilor is more important to a city than the city manager is delusional.


My how you have moved the goalposts to cover up your initial ignorance. You went from "I'd like to see the list of GOP HUD secretaries with "far less experience in urban government" than Castro." because you had no idea Castro was a 14 year city councilman (one of only 10 in San Antonio), to "Anyone who thinks a random city councilor is more important to a city than the city manager is delusional. " No one thinks the latter, but everyone, including you, thinks 14 years a city councilman qualifies as experience in urban government.
   2363. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4708888)
My how you have moved the goalposts to cover up your initial ignorance. You went from "I'd like to see the list of GOP HUD secretaries with "far less experience in urban government" than Castro." because you had no idea Castro was a 14 year city councilman (one of only 10 in San Antonio), to "Anyone who thinks a random city councilor is more important to a city than the city manager is delusional. " No one thinks the latter, but everyone, including you, thinks 14 years a city councilman qualifies as experience in urban government.

Huh? I was well aware that Castro was a 14-year council member and was rightfully dismissive of it for purposes of this discussion. Since when are volunteer city council members (and $3,000-per-year ceremonial mayors) on the short list for Cabinet positions, let alone nominated for such jobs? Go peddle this silliness at YouTube or Daily Kos.

If Obama nominates some Latino member of a school board to be secretary of education, BBTF's liberals will tell us that's how things have always worked. LOL.
   2364. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4708889)
Huh? I was well aware that Castro was a 14-year council member


No you weren't. There's no way you would have stepped in a mess of #### like this if you had. It's clear you latched onto the word "ceremonial" and ran with it, as if he were King or Norway or something without understanding its meaning in this context.
   2365. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4708890)
No you weren't. There's no way you would have stepped in a mess of #### like this if you had. It's clear you latched onto the word "ceremonial" and ran with it, as if he were King or Norway or something without understanding its meaning in this context.

Ha ha. You're a mindreader now, huh?

I read Castro's Wikipedia page before posting #2343. That's where I got the "more affirmative action" lede.* Nice try, though.


(* Castro is both a big beneficiary and a big proponent of affirmative action.)
   2366. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4708891)
If Obama nominates some Latino member of a school board to be secretary of education, BBTF's liberals will tell us that's how things have always worked. LOL.


Don't even go there.

Margaret Spellings


"Margaret Spellings earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Houston in 1979 and worked in an education reform commission under Texas Governor William P. Clements and as associate executive director for the Texas Association of School Boards. Before her appointment to George W. Bush's presidential administration, Spellings was the political director for Bush's first gubernatorial campaign in 1994, and later became a senior advisor to Bush during his term as Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000."

   2367. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4708892)
Don't even go there.

Margaret Spellings

Man, you're really bad at this. Spellings wasn't remotely analogous to the "member of a school board" example I mentioned, as your own quote shows.
   2368. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4708893)
Perhaps Julian Castro will make political hay at HUD, but not many have made much of the job, and I'm sure everyone remembers the last Democratic San Antonio Mayor who went to HUD crashed and burned when it came out that he was paying off a mistress and lied about it to the FBI. Given that Democrats efforts to "turn Texas blue", or even purple, appear to be going backwards this year, Castro may not have any other path toward advancement.
   2369. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4708894)
Perhaps Julian Castro will make political hay at HUD, but not many have made much of the job, and I'm sure everyone remembers the last Democratic San Antonio Mayor who went to HUD crashed and burned when it came out that he was paying off a mistress and lied about it to the FBI. Given that Democrats efforts to "turn Texas blue", or even purple, appear to be going backwards this year, Castro may not have any other path toward advancement.

From the Times article, it seems like the main reason Castro is being tapped for HUD is to bolster his (very thin) résumé for 2016.

"Hey, let's hand a $46,000,000,000 budget to a guy with zero management experience, so we can portray him as a viable VP candidate two years from now."

And to think people scoff at SBB's claims that we're a country in decline.
   2370. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4708896)
I read Castro's Wikipedia page before posting #2343. That's where I got the "more affirmative action" lede.


See, that's how I know you didn't know. No where on Castro's wiki page does it mention the mayor is also a city councilman. Since my city operates the same way, I figured SAT was similar, so I did more research. All Castro's wiki page says is that he won election to the city council in 2001. He ran for mayor and lost in 2005. He ran for mayor and won in 2009, and was re-elected in 2011 and 2013. You have to either know, or do additional research to understand the mayor is also a councilman.
   2371. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4708899)
Spellings wasn't remotely analogous to the "member of a school board" example I mentioned, as your own quote shows.


You're right, she was merely a political hack.

Worked in an education reform commission
Associate executive director of association of school boards (sounds like a lobbying group or a think tank)
political director for Bush's first gubernatorial campaign
and
senior advisor to Bush during his term as Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000."

a 14 year member of the san Antonio school board would be far more qualified.

   2372. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4708900)
See, that's how I know you didn't know. No where on Castro's wiki page does it mention the mayor is also a city councilman. Since my city operates the same way, I figured SAT was similar, so I did more research. All Castro's wiki page says is that he won election to the city council in 2001. He ran for mayor and lost in 2005. He ran for mayor and won in 2009, and was re-elected in 2011 and 2013. You have to either know, or do additional research to understand the mayor is also a councilman.

This is sad. I'm starting to feel bad for you.

The link I posted in #2345 plainly states that Castro attends council meetings.

***
a 14 year member of the san Antonio school board would be far more qualified.

In your obvious desperation to salvage a "gotcha" out of this mess of words you've posted, you're making an increasing fool of yourself.

In what universe is a random school board member "more qualified" than the associate executive director of this organization?
   2373. zenbitz Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4708901)
So now we have YC ######## about democrats in congress using parliamentary procedures to stymie Republicans, and Joe whining about democrats using minority tokenism for political gain...

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
   2374. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4708903)
We had Joyce Brothers as a commencement speaker (1995, Lehigh). I remember calls for them to change speakers for fear that it was such a nondescript and uninspired choice that people would fall asleep during her remarks.

But how silly the people "protesting" these speakers are. People who protest these speakers generally are either (1) bratty, spoiled, and "privileged" students on the left, aware of just enough about Vietnam to think that the protests of that era can be recreated in this one, and (2) self-important teachers - again on the left - who either are re-living the Vietnam era of their youth or who are guilt-ridden for not going to that war themselves.
   2375. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4708904)
But how silly the people "protesting" these speakers are. People who protest these speakers generally are either (1) bratty, spoiled, and "privileged" students on the left, aware of just enough about Vietnam to think that the protests of that era can be recreated in this one, and (2) self-important teachers - again on the left - who either are re-living the Vietnam era of their youth or who are guilt-ridden for not going to that war themselves.

Indeed. The protestations from 'formerly dp' and 'robinred' have been entertaining, though. I guess, in their world, it's perfectly acceptable to extend public invitations and then rescind them.
   2376. zenbitz Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4708905)
Wade's work is hardly commendable because he "explodes myths" for the first part of his book, then just makes up his own.

Probably what is hanging him up (assuming he is even sincere) is there is likely some selection like process acting at the social organization level. But that process is not likely to have a strong genetic basis.

And this is akin to EO Wilson's work on Amy's, so of course he is a supporter.
   2377. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4708907)
The link I posted in #2345 plainly states that Castro attends council meetings.


No it doesn't.
   2378. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4708908)
No it doesn't.

Yikes ...

San Antonio’s Mayor Julián Castro receives an annual stipend of just $3,000, plus $20 for every Council meeting attended, of which there are usually about two a month, except in July. City Council members receive no extra pay beyond the $20 per meeting fee, according to the city clerk’s office.
   2379. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4708910)
Yikes ...


My apologies. I misread #2345 for #2343, where you also posted a link. Still, that quote is far from definitive that the mayor is a full fledged voting member of the council. It just says he gets paid to attend council meetings. Anyone can attend a council meeting. Nontheless, I'll concede the point, but I still think you are way over the top claiming that a 14 year city council member had little to no urban government experience.
   2380. The Good Face Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4708911)
Which Bakker book should I start with?


Start with The Darkness That Comes Before.
   2381. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4708913)

Start with The Darkness That Comes Before.


Done.
   2382. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4708915)
Nontheless, I'll concede the point, but I still think you are way over the top claiming that a 14 year city council member had little to no urban government experience.

The "little to no urban government experience" was BDC's way of elevating Castro to the same level as some former GOP HUD secretaries, such as the former SBA head.

The simple fact is, people currently working as ceremonial mayors or as unpaid council members have never been thought of as viable candidates to be elevated to the Cabinet. If Castro was some white guy making $3,000 per year as ceremonial mayor of a struggling city, he'd be getting the Harriet Miers treatment, but, instead, Castro is a "rising star" despite no actual accomplishments of note.

Castro and his patron in the White House are living embodiments of the affirmative-action, post-achievement society liberals have crafted for us. All style and "diversity"; no experience or accomplishments.
   2383. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4708917)
Or the Mike "Brownie" Brown treatment.
   2384. bobm Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4708918)
Interesting old profile of Castro...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/magazine/09Mayor-t.html

Paradoxically, Julián Castro’s appeal to fellow Hispanic voters may be limited by his own assimilation. Although he pronounces his name “HOO-lee-un,” he doesn’t really speak Spanish — a fact he isn’t eager to advertise. La Raza put a high premium on the mother tongue, but Rosie Castro spoke English to her sons, and Julián studied Latin and Japanese in school, while Joaquín studied Latin and German. A lack of Spanish fluency isn’t unusual in San Antonio, especially among Castro’s generation, but in the immigrant barrios of Houston and the colonias south of Interstate 10 down to the border, Spanish is the first and often only language. A Mexican-American with statewide political aspirations needs to be able to do more than pronounce his name correctly. Early in his administration, Castro assigned his chief of staff, Robbie Greenblum — a Jewish lawyer from the border town of Laredo whose own Spanish is impeccable — to discreetly find him a tutor. Rosie Castro’s son is now being taught Spanish by a woman named Marta Bronstein. Greenblum met her in shul.

IT’S NOT CLEAR what Castro can accomplish as mayor. His executive clout is limited. The daily business of San Antonio is conducted by a professional city manager. The mayor’s power derives from being the senior elected official in the city and his role as chairman of the City Council, the body that wields ultimately authority over municipal affairs. He gets an office, a car and driver, a secretary, police protection and the same per-meeting stipend paid to other members of the council. Some of his predecessors have treated the mayoralty as a part-time job, but Castro is at his desk every day. [...]

“Would you accept a cabinet position?” I asked. That was the route taken by Cisneros.

“Not likely, no,” Castro said in a way that suggested he had been considering it.

I asked what that left: “President?”

“It is way too early to be thinking about that,” Castro said.
   2385. GregD Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4708919)
Fun to see JoeK arguing for higher salaries for politicians. Clearly if San Antonio raised its salary for its mayor dramatically, Joe would be much more supportive.
   2386. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4708920)
Or the Mike "Brownie" Brown treatment.

I thought the lesson of the "Heckuva job, Brownie" thing was the importance of hiring people with extensive relevant subject-matter expertise and management experience, but maybe it was just an opportunity for liberals and the media to bash Bush.

***
Fun to see JoeK arguing for higher salaries for politicians. Clearly if San Antonio raised its salary for its mayor dramatically, Joe would be much more supportive.

I've always argued for higher pay for politicians, but this is a non sequitur. So long as San Antonio maintains a council/city manager form of government, Castro would be little more than a ceremonial mayor whether his pay is $3,000 or $300,000.
   2387. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4708925)
the importance of hiring people with extensive relevant subject-matter expertise and management experience,


To me, 14 years a city councilman of a city with over 1,000,000 qualifies. Maybe not on the management side, but surely on the subject matter expertise. You keep saying "ceremonial mayor" as if it negates 14 years a city councilman, with 5 years as head of the city council, but it doesn't.
   2388. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4708929)
To me, 14 years a city councilman of a city with over 1,000,000 qualifies. Maybe not on the management side, but surely on the subject matter expertise.

Well, it appears every former president of the U.S. disagreed with your assessment. Can anyone name a ceremonial mayor or volunteer council member who was elevated to the Cabinet, or even seriously discussed as a candidate?

You keep saying "ceremonial mayor" as if it negates 14 years a city councilman, with 5 years as head of the city council, but it doesn't.

The council members are part-time volunteers who get $20 per meeting. Doing that for a decade makes one qualified to run HUD? Please.
   2389. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4708934)
So now we have YC ######## about democrats in congress using parliamentary procedures to stymie Republicans . . .

Barring minority party amendments isn't standard Senate procedure. At least not under Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, Bob Byrd, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Trent Lott, Tom, Daschle & Bill Frist. Not so for Harry Reid, but he may have to live under some less favorable rules pretty soon.
   2390. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4708940)
From the Times article, it seems like the main reason Castro is being tapped for HUD is to bolster his (very thin) résumé for 2016.

Maybe more to get the buzz from Castro being "under consideration", as it would be rather surprising to actually select a VP candidate with no foreign policy experience, no real executive experience, who never held a state-wide office, never served in Congress, and never even served in the state legislature. It'd be handing the GOP a pretty big advantage, but one can hope.
   2391. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 17, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4708941)
as it would be rather surprising to actually select a VP candidate with no foreign policy experience, no real executive experience, who never held a state-wide office, never served in Congress, and never even served in the state legislature. It'd be handing the GOP a pretty big advantage, but one can hope.

I agree, in principle, but if a charlatan like Barack Obama can be elected president — twice! — then the old conventional wisdoms about experience and qualifications might be irrelevant.
   2392. BDC Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4708958)
Can anyone name a ceremonial mayor or volunteer council member who was elevated to the Cabinet, or even seriously discussed as a candidate?

Henry Cisneros of the same city? How soon we forget. But of course he had no achievements either, by definition, since even being President for four years doesn't seem to have qualified Obama for re-election. Joe, you just seem chapped that minorities can get elected to office and become popular on the national stage. Democracy must be a terrible thing to put up with :)

OTOH, I am considering changing my handle to Ceremonial Poster. So there's been a bright side to this exchange.
   2393. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4708963)
Can anyone name a ceremonial mayor or volunteer council member who was elevated to the Cabinet, or even seriously discussed as a candidate?

Henry Cisneros of the same city.

How did that work out?
   2394. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 17, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4708965)
Henry Cisneros of the same city.

How did that work out?


pretty damned good. Why do you ask? Unless you want to argue that only unqualified candidates lie about extramarital affairs during thier confirmation hearings.
   2395. Lassus Posted: May 17, 2014 at 10:12 PM (#4708971)
Soooo let's see on this page so far...

Reid sucks, Democrats suck, Obama sucks, Julian sucks, liberal students suck, Cisneros sucked.

You lads are doing a damn fine job talking up your conservative leaders who are going to carry us forward out of this suck. Nice to see that kind of focus.
   2396. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4708983)
Soooo let's see on this page so far...

Reid sucks, Democrats suck, Obama sucks, Julian sucks, liberal students suck, Cisneros sucked.

You lads are doing a damn fine job talking up your conservative leaders who are going to carry us forward out of this suck. Nice to see that kind of focus.


Which is all the more amusing when you consider that Joe thinks that Ted Cruz might be our next president!

(Yeah, right after Clive Bundy.)
   2397. GregD Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4708984)
What's interesting to me is how badly conservatives undermine their arguments about qualifications by insisting every single democrat is unqualified. Elena Kagan, Sotomayor, Obama, Hillary every democrat is always equally unqualified. It is almost as if some lens other rationality were at work....
   2398. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 17, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4708989)
From the Department of Duh, Religion Branch:

Americans Claim to Attend Church Much More Than They Do

In recent years, poll after poll has found more Americans who do not identify with a religious tradition, and many denominations show evidence of decline. And yet, Americans continue to report high levels of belief and participation — more than 90 percent of Americans say they believe in God or a universal spirit, and nearly 40 percent report weekly attendance at a worship service, numbers that have remained relatively unchanged for decades.

What’s going on? A new study, released Saturday, suggests that the gradual secularization of the nation has not eliminated the perceived social desirability of going to church, and the result is that Americans exaggerate their religious behavior. That exaggeration is more pronounced among some groups — Catholics, mainline Protestants and, strikingly, the unaffiliated, meaning that even people willing to say they don’t belong to a religious tradition still feel compelled to exaggerate their attendance at worship services....


We'll probably have a transgendered president before we'll ever see an admitted atheist even nominated by a major party. It really is just about the last taboo in public political life.

   2399. Morty Causa Posted: May 18, 2014 at 12:05 AM (#4708993)
Yeah, but it's all that guy Dawkins's fault for making such a big deal about it. If he'd shut up, our betters would treat us atheists just peachy keen. Hadn't they done that before he started all that ####?
   2400. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 18, 2014 at 12:05 AM (#4708994)
You lads are doing a damn fine job talking up your conservative leaders who are going to carry us forward out of this suck. Nice to see that kind of focus.

Hopefully it didn't detract from the discussion of popular fiction. For some reason a lot of the non-conservatives here don't seem interested in actually discussing the current political developments.
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