No, you’re not “exempt”, cop

These lawless police are going to be learning some very hard lessons if they don’t get themselves under control. They appear to think they can act with impunity simply because they wear badges. They are wrong. They are very, very wrong.

Grisham says he supports the police. He shouldn’t. In the USA, the police are the enemy of the people. They are the bad guys and the servants of evil. They are not your grandfather’s keeper of the peace, they are lawless enforcers.


Preach, preacher, saith the choir

Why the Grasshopper Generation is the most hated generation:

Pity the baby boomers, blamed in their youth for every ill and excess of American society and now, in their dotage, for threatening to sink the economy and perhaps Western civilization itself.

The revival of The Great Gatsby serves as a reminder that continuing to blame boomers even in their old age was not a foregone conclusion. The young people of the 1920s were as controversial to their older contemporaries as their counterparts in the 1960s and 1970s. They were called flappers (less commonly “sheiks,” in the case of men), or Bright Young Things in England. The cartoons of John Held, Jr. have memorialized their hair styles, bobbed for women, slicked back for men — the Beatles cuts and Afros of their own time. But the gilded youth of that earlier age, having enjoyed bootleg liquor and cigarettes rather than stronger substances, were allowed to make a discreet transition to middle age and then little old lady and gentleman status without the medical clucking or cultural sneers of journalists. They vanished back into the multitude while the so-called Boomers seem destined to be hounded to death. Why?

I can think of a few reasons:

  1. They ruined American society.  Even the acts for which they can’t be held responsible, such as the 1965 Immigration Act, they resolutely supported.
  2. They are, to the extent that one can categorize an entire generation, short-sighted and selfish.  It is astonishing to compare the lack of interest my parents’ generation has in its grandchildren to the dedication that my grandparents’ generation showed to us. 
  3. They are obnoxious.  As PJ O’Rourke once pointed out, the Baby Boomers still clinging to their teenage music and styles would have been like his parents wearing zoot suits in their old age.
  4. They bankrupted the country and their families.  No generation was given larger inheritances by its parents’ generation.  And it is quite likely that most Boomers will leave nothing behind. 
  5. They were given wealth, peace, and power, and instead of being grateful for it, they scorned the traditions of their forefathers and squandered what they were given.

The ills of an entire generation cannot be placed at the feet of every single one of its members.  But neither can any individual member reasonably pretend the rightful anger that following generations will be directing at the Baby Boomers as a whole is unjustified.


Intelligence and reaction times

I tend to share Steve Sailer’s doubts about Michael Woodley et al’s paper on how reaction times are slower now than when Galton first measured them:

“It was an era of glorious scientific discovery. And the reason for the Victorians unprecedented success is simple – they were ‘substantially cleverer’ than us.  Researchers compared reaction times – a reliable indicator of general
intelligence – since the late 1800s to the present day and found our
fleetness of mind is diminishing. They claim our slowing reflexes suggest we are less smart than our
ancestors, with a loss of 1.23 IQ points per decade or 14 IQ points
since Victorian times. While an average man in 1889 had a reaction time of 183 milliseconds, this has slowed to 253ms in 2004. They found the same case with women, whose speed deteriorated from 188 to 261ms in the same period.” 

Back in the 1990s, I read up on Arthur Jensen’s research on his reaction
time experiments, and … I don’t know. It seemed very, very
complicated, even more complicated than reading Jensen on IQ.

How about me? I’m a reasonably intelligent person. Do I have good reaction times? In general, I’d say no.

I’m more than a bit dubious about this correlation between reaction time and intelligence myself.  While on the one hand, I am highly intelligent and have excellent reaction times – I’m a former NCAA D1 100m sprinter and can still outsprint most men 15 years younger –  on the other, I remember the sprinters against whom I ran.  Let’s just say many of them were not likely to be confused with rocket scientists.

Then again, I have no problem believing that the Victorian English were considerably brighter, on average, than the modern American.  A simple comparison of popular novels, then and now, should suffice to prove that.


The gatekeepers strike again

I’d previously made some allusions to the interest of a European publisher in putting out the Arts of Dark and Light series in audiobook and paperback next year, however, after being informed this morning that the publisher changed their mind about publishing it, it has become clear that I have reached the point where I am officially unpublishable by conventional publishers.  C’est la vie.

It’s the usual political gatekeeping of course.  I was told that some of my public statements would make it hard for them to defend the decision to publish with me, despite how much they liked the first book in the series.  The annoying thing is that this is the SECOND time this has happened with this particular publisher; I was assured that this time, my idiosyncratic opinions would not be an issue….

What it comes down to in the end is that I haven’t sold enough books or built enough of a readership to be deemed worth the criticism that comes with my level of notoriety.  The risk/reward balance is too high. Orson Scott Card’s views are every bit as offensive to the gatekeepers as mine are, but Tor Books isn’t about to stop publishing their bestselling author on that basis.  At a mere one million pageviews per month and paltry sales of around 12,000 ebooks annually, the controversy that comes with my name simply isn’t worth it to the publishers.  Now, once I reach 5 million pageviews, I expect they’ll suddenly start sniffing around again.  At 10 million and a top 100 Amazon rank in the Fantasy category, even the most liberal gatekeeper will magically cease to have any problem with my public statements.

Will it take a while for me to get there?  Sure.  But I will.  Fortunately, this is precisely the “that which does not kill me makes me stronger” sort of thing that gives me the motivation to surmount my natural laziness and get things done.  Whether I’ll still see any benefit to working with conventional publishers is a question I’ll consider when the situation arises. In the meantime, my first order of business is to find a reader for the audiobooks I will be publishing next year.  My second order of business will be to begin finding authors who would like to publish electronically through in-game stores with direct access to millions of players.  And my third order of business will be to formally announce the new games we are presently developing.

I would have preferred to take the easy way and turn the book distribution aspects over to a publisher so that I could focus entirely on the writing and game development.  But that’s no longer an option for me due to the political correctness that pervades the publishing industry throughout the English-speaking world.  Since the traditional channels are closed, I’ll simply have to create new ones.  Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.

I’m not whining or complaining; this is the path I chose.  I’m not looking for sympathy or support.  And I’m not upset with the publishers; they are certainly free to make their own choices and render themselves increasingly irrelevant to various demographics if they like. Yes, it’s certainly irritating to AGAIN find out that a publisher who knows perfectly well how controversial I am when they start talking to me, and who assures me that my notoriety isn’t a problem, ends up getting cold feet before the deal closes.  (Or, in two cases, AFTER it closes.) Still, other than being a minor waste of time, it’s not an actual problem. I’m only irritated with myself because I should have known better; Spacebunny was openly skeptical from the start.

But this isn’t merely a problem for me. The suspicions that publishers have a political agenda and refuse to publish writers solely due to their politically incorrect views are well-founded and are based in absolute, well-documented fact.  Most writers won’t talk about this because they hold out hopes for one day being allowed through the gates and they don’t want to burn any bridges.  However, one advantage of discovering one has already inadvertently nuked all the bridges is that one has carte blanche to speak the truths that would otherwise remain unspoken.

To quote Standout Author Sarah Hoyt: “Like most pioneers, you’re being forced onto it by circumstances and
by the status quo becoming untenable.  But it doesn’t mean you can’t
take the opportunity to build something better. Now go and do it.”

And that is exactly what I intend to do.


The 157 visits of IRSgate

I think the time has arrived to officially tack -gate onto the growing Obama IRS scandal:

Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet. Shulman’s extensive access to the White House first came to light during his testimony last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Shulman gave assorted answers when asked why he had visited the White House 118 times during the period that the IRS was targeting tea party and conservative nonprofits for extra scrutiny and delays on their tax-exempt applications.

By contrast, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson only visited the White House once during four years of service in the George W. Bush administration and compared the IRS’s remoteness from the president to “Siberia.” But the scope of Shulman’s White House visits — which strongly suggests coordination by White House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents — is even more striking in comparison to the publicly recorded access of cabinet members….

Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama’s friend and loyal lieutenant, logged 62 publicly known White House visits, not even half as many as Shulman’s 157. Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, to whom Shulman reported, clocked in at just 48 publicly known visits. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earned a cool 43 public visits, and current Secretary of State John Kerry logged 49 known White House visits in the same timeframe, when he was still a U.S. senator.

Even the mainstream media isn’t buying the “Obama didn’t know anything” line any longer.  And the fact that many of the most liberal institutions are now refusing to attend the Attorney General’s off-the-record meeting tends to indicate the severity of the threat to the administration.


Is turnabout not fair play?

Setting aside the absurd and provably unscientific attempt of many vaccine advocates to blame whooping cough deaths on vaccine critics, it is informative to see the difference in the way the media covers the death of a child killed by an infectious disease versus the way it covers the death of a child killed by a reaction to a vaccine:

On March 9, 2009, four-week-old Dana McCaffery’s heart stopped after whooping cough left her tiny lungs unable to breathe…. Little did they know then that Dana’s death from whooping cough, and the media coverage that followed, came to represent a very inconvenient truth to the anti-vaccination lobby – and thus began an extraordinary campaign against this grieving family.

The McCafferys are today breaking their silence on the cyber bullying,the anonymous letters and the cruelty of some members of the anti-vaccination movement.

The couple has been accused of being on the payroll of drug companies; they have had their daughter’s death questioned and mocked; they have even been told to “harden the f . . . up” by an opponent of vaccination.

“The venom directed at us has just been torture and it’s been frightening, abhorrent and insensitive in the extreme,” says Toni, who has not had the strength to talk about this until now.

First, let’s do what the Australian Telegraph article failed to do and address the facts.  The child’s death from whooping cough was not likely the result of anti-vaccination campaigns or unvaccinated children.  The increased incidence of whooping cough in the United States, and therefore the death of Dana McCaffery, is primarily due to the reduced effectiveness of the current pertussis DTaP vaccine, which replaced the more effective, but less safe DTP vaccine in the 1990s.

As evidence, I again cite Science magazine to prove that the scientists, unlike the vaccine advocates, believe that it is the vaccines and not the anti-vaccination campaign that is responsible for what is described as “the return of the disease”.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, has exploded in the United States in recent years. A new study confirms what scientists have suspected for some time: The return of the disease is caused by the introduction of new, safer vaccines 2 decades ago. Although they have far fewer side effects, the new shots don’t offer long-lived protection the way older vaccines do.

Pertussis bacteria colonize the upper airways, causing a severe cough and shortness of breath that can be fatal in babies. The disease seemed to have mostly disappeared from the United States by the late 1970s—in fact, scientists believe, it continued to spread, undiagnosed, among adults—but over the past 2 decades the disease has bounced back with a vengeance, with strong outbreaks among school-aged children in 2010 and last year, when the United States reported 40,000 cases. Many European countries have also seen increases.

Researchers have long suspected that new vaccines might have something to do with it….  Physicians at Kaiser Permanente of Northern California compared the protective effects of these vaccines with the old ones when included in a four-dose series of shots called DTP (for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), given to children before the age of 2. They studied children born between 1994 and 1999, years in which Kaiser Permanente gradually introduced the new vaccines. As a result, some children had received only the old-style shots, some only the new ones, and some a mixture of both. Of the 1037 children included in the main part of the study, 138 got pertussis during a massive epidemic in California in 2010 to 2011.

Children who had received only the acellular vaccine were more than 5.6 times more likely to get sick than those who received the old, whole-cell vaccine, the team will report next month in Pediatrics. Those receiving one or more of each type had an intermediate risk.

The results confirm other recent research. In August, a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that acellular vaccine-vaccinated children in Australia were six times more likely to get sick than those receiving the old vaccine. And a study of another California population, published online in March by Clinical Infectious Diseases, showed an eightfold increased risk of illness associated with the new vaccine.

“We’re now finding out that the acellular vaccine’s doesn’t offer protection for as long,” says the first author of the new study, pediatrician Nicola Klein. “It does work well in the short term. But there was definitely a tradeoff in phasing out the whole-cell vaccine.”

Now, it is certainly impolitic to criticize, even by implication, grieving parents.  But that impolity and lack of respect for parental grief has been an aspect of the vaccine debate for years thanks to the vaccine advocates viciously attacking parents who have lost children to vaccine reactions.  Moreover, the media’s dishonest reaction to the McCaffery child’s death, including the linked Telegraph article, demonstrates that the vaccine critics were entirely correct to express their doubts about the child’s death and attempt to get more detailed information on it.

As the head of the Australian Vaccination Network stated: “To my mind, while an entire community of conscientious objectors
were being victimised by the government and the media and being blamed
for the death of a child who was too young to be vaccinated, I had every
right to ask for this information.”

The complaints of the mother, “they were just tearing apart everything we had just witnessed and lived through”, are totally misplaced.  She lost her right to private grief the moment that she permitted her child’s death to be used as pro-vaccine attack propaganda.

Every family, the McCafferys included, have the right to private grief so long as their grief remains private.  It does not have a right to use their grief as propaganda without expecting skepticism and criticism, much less to hide behind the emotional rhetoric of their child’s death to avoid legitimate, science-based criticism of their spurious attacks on vaccine skeptics.

And it is the height of hypocrisy for pro-vaccine advocates to object to the use of their very arguments against parents actively campaigning for vaccines:

Like the McCafferys, he went public to raise awareness about vaccination. In 2010 he did three television interviews and he left his phone number with each network for other parents to get in touch.  Soon after, he received a call from a woman who claimed she was from the AVN. He does not recall her name.

She accused him of doing the community a disservice, saying he should not be promoting immunisation.

“Then she went on saying my son was obviously weak and the weakest of the herd are not meant to survive, I should just get over it,” he says. Kokegei was gobsmacked. “I didn’t think someone could be that cold, to belittle what happened to my son in such a heartless way,” he says.

And yet, is this not the very argument that pro-vaccine arguments implicitly make when they argue that it is worth permitting some children to die in the interest of herd immunity?  For every sob story the vaccine advocates have to offer, the anti-vaccine advocates can cite a dozen that are equally rhetorically effective.  And they will never be won over, because all the statistical studies in the world will never convince a parent who has seen, with his own eyes, an infant scream and slump unconscious in immediate reaction to a vaccine injection.


The scientific consensus is clear

Of course, it also happens to be totally incorrect:

Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee, said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame.  Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

I just like to get these things down before the scientists start whitewashing the record again.


Academia needs women!

Or the survival of the university system is at risk!  Although I don’t quite see how either more or less female professors is going to stop universities from being able to overcharge indebted young men and women for useless degrees.  Stickwick, who is herself a female academic with a PhD, has a few thoughts:

Thought you might find this interesting, if only for the way people are trying to spin this old news.

Truth: Few PhD candidates, male or female, want to pursue an academic career once they get a taste of the life in graduate school.

Spin: Women are being driven out of academia!! The survival of academia is threatened!!!

By their third year in grad school, only 21% of men in grad school say they want to pursue an academic career. The number drops to 12% for
women, and it’s for the usual reasons — women see academia as very competitive and requiring a lot of personal sacrifice. There’s nothing
new here; but the spin is very silly. What I find preposterous, besides the notion that academia cannot survive without women, is the claim th academia is in any way threatened by the fact that relatively few people want academic careers. The last thing we need right now is more PhDs. I have friends who are on their third post-docs, because they can’t even find jobs at small liberal arts universities.

For every job offered at a halfway good institution, there are literally hundreds of applicants. On top of this, there is very little grant money available; soft-money people everywhere are scrambling to find any funding at all. Universities are cutting every position they possibly can. It makes no sense for the author of this article to claim that academia is in any way threatened by a smaller applicant pool.

What I find amusing is this claim by the author of the article: “We will not survive because we have no reason to believe we are attracting the best and the brightest.”  But the fact is that the universities stopped doing that the moment they openly announced their intention to employ more women and minorities while at the same time blackballing Christians and political conservatives.  The best and the brightest at my university’s economics department were me and the White Buffalo.  He was the departmental award winner while I was permitted to do three independent studies with my professors rather than bothering with classes. And I’ve now published more books on economics than most of my professors had.  But neither of us ever considered, for a moment, an academic career, nor were we ever encouraged to pursue one.

The fundamental problem for the Left is that it is not possible to simultaneously pursue both equality and excellence.


Mailvox: media and social science

CL puts my “Black is the Absence of Color” media theory to the test:

Testing your theory: when the media fails to
mention the of race of those involved in an incident, it usually means
the perpetrators are black.

No mention of race.
2. Article at WOKV.com:
sample: “Police tell Action News several smaller fights quickly
escalated and became a large brawl involving about 30 people.”
No mention of race.
What do we find?  A group of blacks fighting at the beach gathering.
Will continue testing….

Never let it be said that we are not devoted to the scientific method here at Vox Popoli.  Of course, for anyone who once lived within a short drive of Sawgrass, there was no need for science.  To know who was responsible, the only thing required was the mere mention of Jax Beach.


100k martyrs annually

Don’t think the world has progressed past Christian persecution:

A top Vatican official has said around 100,000 Christians are killed
every year for reasons linked to their faith and pointed to the Middle
East, Africa and Asia as the biggest problem areas.

Monsignor
Silvano Maria Tomasi was quoted by Vatican radio on Tuesday as saying
that the figures were “shocking” and “incredible”.

Tomasi said
Christians were also forced to leave their homes and see their churches
destroyed in some parts of the world, and were often subjected to rapes,
kidnappings and discrimination. The Vatican official made particular reference to the kidnapping of two Orthodox bishops near Aleppo in Syria last month.

Unless new Charles Martels arise, secular and pagan persecution will eventually come to infest what was once Christendom just as it plagues much of the rest of the world.  The world always hates and fears what it cannot control. 

Christendom and the West were established by Christians willing to fight for their faith.  While there is room to discuss the theological correctness of their efforts, those who will give up their faith rather than die for it or fight for it have no place in the discussion.