December 11, 2004

Safire's Replacement on the NYT Op-Ed Page

Jack Shafer in Slate writes about who might take over William Safire's slot on the New York Times op-ed page when William Safire shortly retires:

Safire's impending departure prompted New York magazine to handicap the field for his replacement, tossing out the names of David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, Christopher Caldwell, Richard Brookhiser, Fred Barnes, and Robert Kagan. But the leading candidate, the magazine said, was John Tierney, who has already visited four stations of the cross at the Times as a metro reporter, feature writer, city columnist, and Washington reporter. Tierney's good humor, kinetic prose style, contrarian nature, wide-ranging interests, and rumored ability to attend congressional hearings would make him a fine replacement for Safire. I also like that he's a libertarian or, at the very least, a fellow traveler.

Tierney would be a great choice. Shafer goes on:

Without disparaging the Tierney nomination, here are a few candidates who have a demonstrated ability to report and would drive respectable opinion crazy:

Heather Mac Donald: A non-practicing lawyer (the best kind), Mac Donald flings dead cats into the temple of liberalism from her sinecure at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative-libertarian stink tank. Unlike Safire, she isn't on a first-name basis with Ariel Sharon and doesn't write about foreign policy, so we wouldn't be getting a one-for-one replacement. But she outwings Safire by such a margin on domestic issues that she makes him look like a McGovernite. I'd love to see the Times' liberal readers squirm as they read her heavily reported pieces on racial profiling (for it), cops (she loves them), illegal immigration (against it), graffiti "artists" (they're vandals), domestic security (loves the Patriot Act), crime ("Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens"), privacy (who cares?), and welfare (must you ask?). Conservative Mac Donald could match liberal Paul Krugman cannonball for cannonball. Sulzberger wouldn't have to worry about offending the sensitive types in the Washington bureau by hiring Mac Donald because she lives in New York City and would happily work out of the newspaper's Times Square offices and offend the sensitive types there.

Heather would be a great choice too,. So, I'd be shocked if either got the nod. (And not shocked, SHOCKED, just plain shocked.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Marriage Gap

My sequel to "Baby Gap" will be up on VDARE late Sunday night. It's hot stuff ... if you are interested in understanding what drives the blue-red gap in election results. I've now found a demographic factor that correlates even better with Bush's share of the vote by state than total lifetime fertility of white women does. (It's not a terribly different factor than fertility, so don't expect a huge surprise.)

When you put the new mystery factor together with fertility in a simple multiple regression model, you get an r-squared of 88%, which is bizarrely high. That means that if you have just these two demographic measures for each state (in fact, those just for the white residents, weirdly enough), you can come up with a model where only 12% of the variation in Bush's share is unaccounted for. And it worked almost as well in 2000.

Think about all the reasons that pundits gave for why Bush or Kerry would do well in a particular state -- the strength of the state's economy, whether or not the candidates platforms would be good or local interests, the popularity of Gov. Schwarzenegger in California or the unpopularity of the scandal plagued GOP in Illinois, or the number of visits the candidates paid to the state, or yada yada yada. All trivial, accounting in sum for 12% of the variation, compared to the two big demographic factors that nobody mentioned. Granted, they are still very important, but you can see why all the campaign resources were poured into the small number of battleground states where the demographic factors put them on the cusp.

Most strangely, the racial makeup of the state doesn't much matter in this model. Because blacks gave 88% of their vote to Kerry, while whites gave him only 41%, common sense says that the percentage of voters in a state who are black would play an important role in determining Bush's share of the vote. Yet, you can get to an r-squared of 88% without inputting the black share of the state's voters. Remarkably, how large a share of the state's populace is black apparently influences the state's white fertility and the white mystery demographic factor enough to account for the varying black influences on the state's voting outcome. (I will, however, eventually input each state's racial makeup and see if that makes the model even more accurate. But the fewer factors in a model the better, on the whole. You want to make it as simple as possible, but no simpler, as Einstein might have of said.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

In defense of Underperformin' Norman Mineta:

My airline expert writes:

I still do not see what is so irrational about what the no-racial-profiling policy has, in practice, turned out to be in air travel. In practice, it means we don't check only Arabs. The TSA, airport and, especially, the airline people, are not crazy or suicidal. They are going to check very closely any unknown Arab passenger. And then they are going to do a thorough check on a randomly selected old DAR lady in a wheel chair or a retired Marine general with a walker to 1) avoid having it look like racial profiling and 2) prevent the Arab from feeling too bad about the search. As in, "see, we're all in this together."

Given the choices, is that so bad? You get the security benefit of the Arab check, but maintain some atmosphere of fairness and shared minor sacrifice. We do have an interest in not unnecessarily ticking off the law-abiding Arabs. There is an efficiency cost, but, hell, it's a government program. There is the annoyed big-shot cost, but a lot of them need a little annoyance.

There are a lot of other places, for example drug traffic on I-95, where trying to avoid looking for the obvious ethnic suspects does impose big and unnecessary costs, in either money or lost arrests. But air travel is so unique, in its various aspects, that I think a little benign dishonesty is not so intolerable.

By the way, the popular phrase "Underperformin' Norman Mineta" was invented a couple of years ago by John Derbyshire, but the Bush Administration appears to be impervious to witticisms, as shown by Bush's re-appointment of Mineta.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Secretary of Transportation

Underperformin' Norman Mineta asked to stay in Cabinet by Bush! The architect of the system of airport security system whereby a 94-year-old retired Marine Corp general and former Montana governor is given the third degree because his Congressional Medal of Honor set off the metal detector while security workers are banned from giving extra attention to Arabs will be back as Secretary of Transportation, one of only three Cabinet officers to serve since the beginning of Bush's first term.

It's widely believed that because Mineta was interned as a lad during WWII, he refuses to incorporate ethnic profiling in airport security.

Mineta said Thursday that his childhood experience had nothing to do with his position. He was simply following the lead of Bush, who declared shortly after the attacks that Arab Americans would not be targeted, and the advice of security professionals, who said racial profiling was not effective.

And at age 73, he's not exactly going to get any better at his job. All this makes him Bush's kind of Cabinet Secretary!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

War Nerd on Kashmir

The War Nerd on the highest battlefield in the world -- Gary Brecher reviews the 1999 fighting at 18,000 feet in Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The topic sounds as thin as the air, but, as usual, Brecher finds something important to say about it:

In tactical terms, Kargil meant very little. The battlefield was one of the least-valuable bits of real estate on the planet. If it had fallen, nothing would have changed down on the hot flatlands where the Indians and Pakistanis actually live.

But war these days isn't about tactical victory. It's about morale, and propaganda. In those terms, Kargil was a huge, huge victory for India and a big defeat for Pakistan. It did more for Indian nationalism than cricket, and that's saying a lot. It's damn hard finding anything everybody in India can rally behind. Almost everything there is the exclusive property of one particular tribe, or religion, or caste. Remember, India nearly tore itself apart twelve years ago over whether the Muslims or the Hindus had a right to build a shrine on some extra-special piece of holy turf in Ayodhya.

And that's where losing 400 men in a high-profile, harmless little war like Kargil comes in handy. Those websites I mentioned list the names of every single Indian soldier killed up there. When you consider how many Indians die every day, with nobody giving a damn at all, it's pretty amazing that these 400 dead guys get so much adoring press.

When you look at the list of names, you see why. Some of the names are obviously Sikhs (Sikhs love armies), but there are plenty of Hindu names, Muslim names -- for all I know there are Zoroastrian names in there too. It's a chance to sob together over those dead integrated units -- like those good old corny WW II movies where every platoon has this melting-pot roll call: "OK, lissen up, Bernstein, deNapoli, O'Brien, Kowalski, and Running Bear!" And naturally the most harmless ethnic sidekick in the platoon gets killed and everybody cries, and feels patriotic. I haven't even seen the Bollywood movie they made out of Kargil but I'm willing to bet it has a scene like that in it.

By losing 400 men up there where there are no mosques, Hindu temples, Untouchables or sacred cows, India got a huge nation-building boost at zero cost -- a strategic victory out of a minor skirmish. [More...]

The War Nerd writes war reviews for the same reason I write movie reviews: because thinking hard about anything can teach you a little more about how the world works.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Hispanic Vote

"NRO Rebunks Bush’s Hispanic Share Myth" -- My new column is up. An excerpt:

National Review Online ran an article yesterday (Dec. 8th, 2004) by Richard Nadler entitled "Bush’s 'Real' Hispanic Numbers: Debunking the debunkers."

It’s supposed to be an attack on my interpretation of the 2004 presidential election results. But a close reading shows that it largely supports my contention: the President's unlimited open borders plan would both be bad for the Republican Party (by importing more future Democrats than Republicans) and would not make the GOP more popular with current Hispanic voters...

The simplest model of white, Hispanic, and black voting behavior is that voters (at least those who are less than well-to-do and are family-oriented) are on average torn between the Democrats' tax-and-spend policies and the Republicans' family values stances. The poorest ethnic group of voters, blacks, feels they can't afford to waste their vote on semi-symbolic family values issues when they need direct help on bread-and-butter issues. In contrast, the wealthiest ethnic group of voters, whites, can afford to vote for Republicans—both because some are so wealthy that GOP policies like eliminating the inheritance tax are in their self-interest; and because, for the majority, they can afford to vote for family values.

Hispanic voters fall in the middle. Hispanics, overall, are quite poor. But those who are citizens and regular voters tend to be a little better off than blacks, and somewhat more upwardly mobile. They are tempted by the GOP's family values rhetoric. But a large majority feel their pocketbooks demand they vote Democratic.

This suggests that Hispanics are most likely to become Republican voters when, on average, they aren't so poor. The most straightforward way to raise Hispanic average incomes is to stop taking in so many extremely poor Hispanics from south of the border.

(This also has the secondary effect of cutting out the depressing effect on Hispanic wages of the constant arrival of what Marx called "the reserve army of the unemployed" from Mexico.) [More...]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Oceans' Twelve"

An excerpt from my review in the Jan. 3, 2004 American Conservative (available in full to electronic subscribers on Saturday)

Today ought to be a new golden age of movies. Special effects, cinematography, and sound are all steadily progressing. Audiences can now absorb more rapid editing. Budgets are bigger than ever, averaging $64 million in 2003, so sets and costumes are better than ever. Able character actors are everywhere, and today's big stars have broader skills than their glamorous but repetitious predecessors.

Still, judging from 2004's festival of ineptitude, Hollywood is drifting ever farther from consistent competence. The weak links have been halfbaked scripts. Would-be screenwriters throng workshops, so there should be abundant talent available. Sadly, writers and the producers who hire them have worked themselves into self-defeating ruts.

Most remakes fail because producers commission updatings of over-achieving films, such as Frank Sinatra's "The Manchurian Candidate," where everything clicked. In promising contrast, Sinatra's "Ocean's 11" was a notorious under-achiever. The Rat Pack signed on to play WWII commandos reuniting to knock over five Las Vegas casinos so they could film during the day and croon in the stage shows at night. But they forgot to schedule any snooze time, so they sleepwalked through their roles.

Still, the core concept of an action-comedy caper showcasing male camaraderie was appealing. After Ted Griffin penned a sharp new script for "Oceans Eleven," veteran producer Jerry Weintraub and ace director Steven Soderbergh, an Oscar-winner for "Traffic," had little trouble assembling a killer cast. "Ocean's Eleven" was one of the biggest hits of 2001 with adult audiences, who appreciated its 1940s Howard Hawks feel.

The visual chemistry of the gang's leaders was memorable because Brad Pitt exemplifies the scruffy, boyish-looking stars of post-Sixties pop culture, while George Clooney, who is only three years older but appears to hail from an earlier generation, is a throwback to Clark Gable's era of glamour, when actors tried to look like grown men.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Across Difficult Country

An Acquired Taste: The new blog "Across Difficult Country" is hard to describe: perhaps, you could try to imagine Jorge Luis Borges, the War Nerd, and Manhattan Transfer teaming up to impersonate a travel writer. Not work safe, not libel safe, not sanity safe. But funny.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Ahmad Chalabi

"The Neocon's Man in Iraq:" I finally put up my never-before-online July 5, 2004 American Conservative article about why the neocons fell so disastrously in love with Ahmed Chalabi.

One of the many conundrums revolving around Ahmed Chalabi, that International Man of Mystery, is why so many neoconservatives took seriously his assertions that he was devoted to democracy. In the Wall Street Journal, for example, Seth Lipsky extolled the convicted embezzler as a "democratic visionary." Why did it never occur to them that Chalabi might simply be blowing smoke? More broadly, why hadn't it dawned upon the neocons that their obsession with this kind of ideological declaration is outdated?

Hadn't liberals been embarrassed by megalomaniacal Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutionaries who orated passionately about democracy while they were hiding in the hills, but once in power quickly came to feel: "Hey, we didn't spend all those years in the jungle living on fried iguanas just to be voted out in some maricon election." Hadn't conservatives been burned by the thuggish Jonas Savimbi, the Angolan rebel who said all the right things about elections and free enterprise, but whose murderous behavior seemed to be based on the personal philosophy that: "I am the biggest Big Man, and therefore anyone who gets in the way deserves to step on one of my landmines."

Last February, an Oxford Research survey found that only 0.2 percent of Iraqis consider Chalabi the "leader they trust the most." Yet, the neocons long assumed that a majority in Iraq would vote for a man on the lam from a sentence of 22 years in neighboring Jordan for fraud in the collapse of the Chalabi family's Petra Bank. While the assembled intellects at the American Enterprise Institute might buy Chalabi's rationalization that Saddam framed him, what mattered is that the common people in Jordan, some of whom lost their life savings, didn't. From Jordan, Chalabi's reputation as "Ahmed-the-Thief" filtered into Iraq.

What does Chalabi really want? The simplest guess is that he wants what too many ambitious Iraqis want these days: to be a trillionaire. [More...]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons

I finally started the new novel about a freshwoman at a Duke-like university. I had some trepidation since the quality of Wolfe's writing fell off so drastically in the last 100 pages of A Man in Full after the masterful body of the book, presumably due to Wolfe's coronary bypass surgery and his subsequent depression. But Wolfe seems in fine form, not ascending the heights of his amazing "In the Breeding Barn" chapter in A Man in Full, but quite serviceable so far.

And his exultation over finding this great topic -- student life in a modern university -- that nobody important had touched is palpable. A dozen years ago when date rape was a hot topic, I did some research to write a debunking article, but found that naive little me was in over my head, so nothing came of it. One thing I discovered was that the girls most likely to be abused are freshmen living away from home for the first time who want to party with football and basketball players and the top fraternities, but who don't belong to a sorority. Sorority girls, in contrast, have sisters to look out for them when they get drunk and traditions of behavior that can protect them to some extent. Poor Charlotte Simmons, from a hillbilly village in the Blue Ridge mountains, appears to fit this model of a girl headed for trouble.

Also, having a teenage girl for the main character solves Wolfe's old problem that while his fascination with and knowledge of fashion and decorating is hugely important to his books, in the manly men he normally writes about, it always seems a little, ahem, gay. Back in the 1960s, Wolfe wrote some brilliant essays about young women, but in the 1970s he became obsessed with physical courage (e.g., The Right Stuff) and lost touch with his ability to write about women, leading to the rather underdeveloped female characters in his two novels. I haven't read enough to see if he's back in touch with his feminine side, but he seems to be off to a good start.

Here's John Derbyshire's NRO article on the book.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 10, 2004

The "Natalist Movement" Explained:

David Brooks' NYT column on "natalism" left me scratching my head: "It's strange that having enough babies to keep the species going needs its own name. What's next? 'Breathingism?'"

The term "natalist" goes back at least to 19th Century France, where the government was correctly worried that the low birth rate of the French was going to put them at a disadvantage on the battlefield against the more fecund Germans. The French government has implemented "pro-natalist" policies ever since. But, obviously, there is virtually nothing in the way of an organized natalist "Movement" in the U.S., as there was in 3rd Republic France. Instead, there is a lot of lower-case movement around the country as people call up moving vans and move to places they hope are better suited for what they want out of life. And it turns out that feelings about having babies are one of the more important sorting mechanisms for where people live and how they vote.

A reader explains:

David Brooks comes up with the word for two reasons: publicity and Internet searching.

People may well forget that you identified the relationship first. Especially since you noticed the white aspect of it. But Brooks has labeled it.

You identified a phenomenon. Brooks identified a "movement". "Movements" get press.

Expect Time or Newsweek to talk about the "natalist movement" if your meme has legs (leggy memes, hmmm).

Since Brooks is the one who identified it and gave it a name, however, he is likely to be the one who gets the press when someone performs a Lexis/Nexis or Internet search on "natalism". I can just see him jockeying for position at an editorial meeting, trying to get play for "The New Natalist Movement", and a front-page byline for himself.

As we both know, Brooks is twisting the truth a bit. There is no natalist movement. There is no natalist organization. There is no natalist consciousness. Some folks just like to make babies. That fact, however, is a commonplace, and commonplaces don't sell papers. "The New Natalist Movement" does, however. And David Brooks is the Faith Popcorn of the movement. He will get the credit as the one who first spotted "the movement" in the wild. In his paper will get credit for cracking the story first.

You are not quite old enough, but I remember "The Movement", which to most outsiders was a bunch of college kids smoking dope, dropping out, doing acid, and screwing like bunnies. The guy who labeled it "The Movement" probably got a fair amount of press and bylines.

Hell, if Morris Dees tried to drum up money to get rid of a handful of redneck cranks living in the sticks of Idaho, he wouldn't have gotten a dime. He gets millions, though, for haranguing folks about "The Militia Movement" and "The White Identity Movement".

To satisfy your curiosity, do a search right now for "natalist" on Google. Track the word each day for the next month. See how many times "Brooks" appears in conjunction with "natalist". See how many times "Sailer" appears in conjunction with "natalist". The results would be interesting.

In my corporate career, I was a good marketing researcher but a lousy marketer. Obviously, nothing much has changed.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 9, 2004

Garance Franke-Ruta vs. Steve Sailer

Anti-Sailerism: There's a classic example of anti-Sailerism over at TAPPED, the blog of The American Prospect by somebody named Garance Franke-Ruta who is in a deep tizzy that David Brooks polluted the pages of the New York Times by citing my "Baby Gap" article.

The defining characteristic of anti-Sailerist diatribes is multitudinous quotations from my writings with no attempt at refutation of the truth of any of them -- the reader is simply supposed to be shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would dare write such politically incorrect things.

Sometimes, Franke-Ruta can't even be bothered to quote out of context. I particularly liked that my concluding paragraph was quoted in full:

"Nobody noticed that the famous blue-red gap was a white baby gap because the subject of white fertility is considered disreputable. But I believe the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking. At least, it’s certainly more interesting."

Obviously, by contending that the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking, I've condemned myself by my own words in the minds of all of polite society. No refutation of my shocking faux pas is needed.

Everyone can instantly see how much better the world was back when it basked in reputable ignorance on the question of what drives the red-blue divide.

Franke-Ruta seems to be convinced that I drew a correlation between Bush's share of the vote by state and the total fertility of white women by state because I am a racist. No, I did it because I am interested in the facts. I of course also looked at the correlation of Bush's share and the total fertility of all the women in the state, but the r-squared of that nonracial correlation was only 37%, compared to 74% for the correlation between Bush's share and white fertility. For Franke-Ruta's benefit, let me point out that 74% is twice as big as 37%. As for explaining to her what an r-squared is, well, ...

The reality is that white fertility correlates with Bush's share of the vote better than total fertility or nonwhite fertility does.

By the way, last weekend I found another demographic factor that correlates even better with Bush's share of the vote. It correlates strongly with fertility, of course, but a simple two factor multiple regression model of white total fertility and the new mystery factor has an astonishing r-squared of 87% with Bush's share. I'll try to write it up for this weekend. Franke-Ruta will be even more aghast.

If you want to see some completely apoplectic reactions, check out Atrios. I hope nobody had a stroke. Not a lot of members of the reality-based community there. As far as I can tell, just members of the hate-based community.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Garance Franke-Ruta Accused of Racism!

Amusingly, Franke-Ruta has herself (himself?) been accused, at vast length, of racism by a civil rights activist organization, who objected intensely to an article she wrote for The American Prospect. (This was discovered by the blog Across Difficult Country.)

To read the original indictment of Franke-Ruta's purported racism, go here and scan down to "Special Report: In Attack on Hispanics, American Prospect's Garance Franke-Ruta Is Accused of Journalistic Fraud." I must confess that my eyes glazed over while reading about Franke-Ruta's and The American Prospect's alleged high crimes and insensitivities against Latinos. What I saw of it before nodding off seemed no more persuasive than what she wrote about me.

On the other hand, as Across Difficult Country asks, why should the benefit of the doubt be extended to Franke-Ruta if she won't extend it to me? Good question. It's often those who live in the glassiest houses who are most inclined to throw stones to distract from the fragility of their own abodes.

Well, it being the Christmas season, I shall give Franke-Ruta the benefit of the doubt anyway.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 7, 2004

Jim Tharpe vs. Southern Poverty Law Center

Scam Watch -- By the way, the Southern Poverty Law Center is on the official Scam Watch of See Ken Silverstein's Harper's article "The Church of Morris Dees: How the Southern Poverty Law Center profits from intolerance" for the basics on Morris Dees' money machine. And here's leftist Alexander Cockburn's column on the SPLC's money-hungry machinations.

Lately, as Morris's moneymaking ambitions have expanded, he has turned to attacking people of the quality of Richard Lamm, the Democratic former three term governor of Colorado. I'm proud to be on Gov. Lamm's side of the ethical chasm between him and Mr. Dees, a member of the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame.

Here's something important I hadn't seen before: the revealing statement of Jim Tharpe, the Deputy Metro Editor of the Atlanta Constitution, which he made during a Harvard panel discussion about his experience editing a massive Pulitzer-finalist investigative series on the Southern Poverty Law Center during his days at the Montgomery Advertiser:

I’d never done any reporting on nonprofits, I thought they were all good guys, they were mom-and-pop, bake-sale, raise-money-for-the-local-fire-department type operations. I had no idea how sophisticated they were, how much money they raised, and how little access you have to them as a reporter, some of which has already been covered here.

Summary of Findings

Our series was published in 1995 after three years of very brutal research under the threat of lawsuit the entire time.

Our findings were essentially these:

The [Southern Poverty Law] center was building up a huge surplus. It was 50-something million at that time; it’s now approaching 100 million, but they’ve never spent more than 31 percent of the money they were bringing in on programs, and sometimes they spent as little as 18 percent. Most nonprofits spend about 75 percent on programs.

A sampling of their donors showed that they had no idea of the center’s wealth. The charity watchdog groups, the few that are in existence, had consistently criticized the center, even though nobody had reported that.

There was a problem with black employees at what was the nation’s richest civil rights organization; there were no blacks in the top management positions. Twelve out of the 13 black current and former employees we contacted cited racism at the center, which was a shocker to me. As of 1995, the center had hired only two black attorneys in its entire history.

Questionable Fundraising

We also found some questionable fundraising tactics. One of the most celebrated cases the center handled was the case of a young black man, Michael Donald, who was killed by Klansmen in Mobile, Alabama, and his body suspended from a tree, a very grotesque killing. The state tried the people responsible for the murder and several of them ended up on death row, a couple ended up getting life in prison.

The center, after that part of the case took place, sued the Klan organization to which they belonged and won a $7 million verdict. It was a very celebrated verdict in this country. The problem was the people who killed this kid didn’t have any money. What they really got out of it was a $51,000 building that went to the mother of Michael Donald. What the C enter got and what we reported was they raised $9 million in two years using the Donald case, including a mailing with the body of Michael Donald as part of it.

The top center officials, I think the top three, got $350,000 in salaries during that time, and Morris got a movie out of it, a TV movie of the week. I think it was called, "The Morris Dees Story." [Actually, "Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story" with, appropriately enough, Corbin Bernsen (who played sleazy lawyer Arnie Becker on "LA Law") as Morris.]

As I said, being the editor on this series really raised my eyebrows. I never knew anything about nonprofits before this. I thought we would have complete access to their financial records; we didn’t. We had access to 990’s, which Doug mentioned earlier, which tell you very little, but they are a good starting point.

Organizations Monitor Nonprofits

I also learned that there are organizations out there that monitor nonprofits. A couple of these that might be worth your time are the National Charities Information Bureau, the American Institute of Philanthropy, and the Charities Division of the Better Business Bureau. They have rather loose guidelines, I think, for the way nonprofits operated, and even with those guidelines, they had blasted the center repeatedly for spending too little on programs, for the number of minorities in management positions, just very basic stuff that they’d been criticized for but nobody had reported.

The relationship with sources on this story was pretty interesting, because like I said, most of these people were our friends, and as somebody mentioned earlier, these were the disillusioned faithful. They were people who didn’t resign. As I said, most of their jobs simply ran out, but they left the center very disillusioned and very willing to talk about it, although most of them wanted to talk off the record.

That presented a number of problems for us. We did not publish anything in the series unless it was attributed to somebody, but we went beyond that. I think if we had stuck with that tack as the only thing we did in the series, we would have ended up with people at the center could have easily dismissed as disgruntled employees.

By looking at 990’s, what few financial records we did have available, we were able to corroborate much of that information, many of the allegations they had made, the fact that the center didn’t spend very much of its money that it took in on programs, the fact that some of the top people at the center were paid very high salaries, the fact that there weren’t minorities in management positions at the center.

If I had advice for anybody looking into a nonprofit it would be this: It’s the most tenacious story. You have to be more tenacious in your pursuit of these things than anything else I’ve ever been a part of. These guys threatened us with a lawsuit from the moment we asked to look at their financial records.

They were very friendly and cooperative, up until the point where we said, "We want to see the checks you write," and they turned over their 990’s and said, "Come look at these." We said, "We don’t want to see those, we know what those are and we’ve seen them. We actually want to see the checks you write," and they said, "Well, there’s 23,000 checks we’ve written over two years, you don’t possibly have time to look through all those," and we said, "Yes, we do, and we’ll hire an auditor to do it."

First Threats, Eventually No Response to Questions

At that point, they hired an independent attorney. They’re all lawyers, you’ve got to understand. They hired an attorney who began first by threatening me, then my editor, and then the publisher. "And you better be careful of the questions you ask and the stories you come up with," and they would cite the libel law to us. So we were under threat of lawsuit for two years, basically, during the research phase of the series.

They initially would answer our questions in person, as long as they could tape-record it. After we asked about finances, they wanted the questions written down and sent to them in advance, and then finally they said, "We’re tired of you guys, we’re not answering anything else," and they completely cut us off.

We published the series over eight days in 1994, and it had very little effect, actually. I think the center now raises more money than it ever has. [Laughter]

The story really didn’t get out of Montgomery and that’s a real problem. The center’s donors are not in Montgomery; the center’s donors are in the Northeast and on the West Coast. So the story pretty much was contained in Montgomery where it got a shrug-of-the-shoulders reaction. We really didn’t get much reaction at all, I’m sad to say.

One of our editorial writers had an interesting comment on it. I think he stole it from somebody else, but his comment was this: "They came to do good and they’ve done quite well for themselves, and they’ve done even better since the series was published." I’m not sure what the lesson in that is, but don’t assume because a nonprofit has a sterling reputation it’s not worth looking into, and don’t assume when you start looking into it that it’s going to be easy to get the information, because it’s not.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Roe Effect

James Taranto claims that he knew all about the relationship between white fertility and Republican voting. See, it's the Roe Effect -- future Democrats get aborted, he says.

The only problem with this popular idea is that there's little evidence that abortion has a big effect on white fertility -- a 2000 Rand Corporation study found:

The white TFR where abortion is legal and Medicaid funding for the procedure available is estimated to be 1.81. Ending Medicaid funding would increase the TFR for whites by 2 percent. Klerman estimates that making abortion illegal would increase white fertility by an additional 3 percent, still below replacement levels.

If abortion wasn't convenient, people would have a lot fewer unwanted pregnancies. They really aren't all that hard to avoid.

It makes you wonder what the point of legalized abortion is if the great majority of aborted fetuses wouldn't have been conceived without abortion being legalized.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


-- David Brooks writes:

There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is 'natalism.'

It's strange that having enough babies to keep the species going needs its own name. What's next? "Breathingism?"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Sailer and Brooks' New Red-Diaper Babies

My "Baby Gap" article makes the New York Times:

The New Red-Diaper Babies

Published: December 7, 2004

There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is "natalism."

All across the industrialized world, birthrates are falling - in Western Europe, in Canada and in many regions of the United States. People are marrying later and having fewer kids. But spread around this country, and concentrated in certain areas, the natalists defy these trends.

They are having three, four or more kids. Their personal identity is defined by parenthood. They are more spiritually, emotionally and physically invested in their homes than in any other sphere of life, having concluded that parenthood is the most enriching and elevating thing they can do. Very often they have sacrificed pleasures like sophisticated movies, restaurant dining and foreign travel, let alone competitive careers and disposable income, for the sake of their parental calling.

In a world that often makes it hard to raise large families, many are willing to move to find places that are congenial to natalist values. The fastest-growing regions of the country tend to have the highest concentrations of children. Young families move away from what they perceive as disorder, vulgarity and danger and move to places like Douglas County in Colorado (which is the fastest-growing county in the country and has one of the highest concentrations of kids). Some people see these exurbs as sprawling, materialistic wastelands, but many natalists see them as clean, orderly and affordable places where they can nurture children.

If you wanted a one-sentence explanation for the explosive growth of far-flung suburbs, it would be that when people get money, one of the first things they do is use it to try to protect their children from bad influences.

So there are significant fertility inequalities across regions. People on the Great Plains and in the Southwest are much more fertile than people in New England or on the Pacific coast.

You can see surprising political correlations. As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates. [More...]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 6, 2004

"Baby Gap" vs. "Parent Trap"

-- Here's the New Republic's article "Parent Trap" by my neighbor Joel Kotkin and William Frey. Fairly similar, although they didn't come up with the killer statistics that I did about Bush carrying 25 of the top 26 states because they look at overall fertility rather than white fertility, which is the key variable. The average number of babies per white woman in a state accounts for 74% of the variation in Bush's share, but the fertility for all women only accounts for 37%.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Kinsey -- John Zmirak has a long review of the new movie and the real life man, which I haven't seen yet. For strong stomachs...

I've long resented Dr. Kinsey because he gives a bad name to sex researchers. The unanswered question about his life is whether he became a sex researcher because he was an omnisexual pervert or did he become an omnisexual pervert because he was a sex researcher. In either case, his life story was bad for the reputation of a legitimate and important field.

By the way, before conducting the big sex study of 4,300 people published in the book "Sex in America" (which turned out to be the anti-Kinsey Report, showing that married couples were having the most and best sex ... with each other, and a lot of other not very lascivious findings), the U. of Chicago researchers put a lot of work into finding out the best kind of interviewers. They found an overwhelming preference among all segments of society for being interviewed about intimate matters by middle-aged white ladies. Kinsey, instead, hired enthusiastic young men, who used their jobs as an excuse to run amok.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

December 5, 2004

Life Has Been Dreary without the Salinas Brothers in the News

Brother of ex-Presidente murdered in Mexico:

Enrique Salinas, the youngest brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, was found dead in a car on the outskirts of Mexico City on Monday, with a plastic bag tied over his head in an apparent murder, officials said. Authorities said there indications that Salinas had been killed as part of an attempt to extort him or get information out of him. "Generally, if you put a bag over someone's head, you're often not trying to kill them, but rather extort them or get some information out of them," said Alfonso Navarrete Prida, the attorney general of the State of Mexico, which abuts Mexico City and where the body was found.

Do you get the feeling that this attorney general sounds like he has first-hand experience with putting plastic bags over people's heads?

Ah, the Salinas family... Life has been dreary without them in the news. If you want to read about the exploits of Carlos and his brother Raul (a.k.a., "Mr. 10%," for his demand that all contracts with the Mexican government include a 10% kickback to the Salinas family), here's my VDARE article.

The Salinases were great friends of the Bushes. For example, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush vacationed three times with his family on Raul's ranch, perhaps to further educate young George P. on how Presidential relatives should behave. Raul is now doing 27 years in the slammer for having his ex-brother-in-law, the PRI chairman, murdered. Raul's wife was arrested in Switzerland while trying to remove $94 million in cash from their safe deposit box.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Debunking the Hispanic 44% Exit Poll

New column at left on my vindication by AP and NBC over the exit poll's inflated share of Hispanics for Bush.

I've been on a hot streak since mid-October with four quantitative scoops:

1. Kerry's IQ

2. Debunking the Blue-Red State IQ hoax

3. Showing the baby gap correlates with the Blue-Red gap

4. Debunking the inflated exit poll


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Maureen Dowd's latest menopausal hot flash:

I've never said this out loud before, but I can't stand Christmas. Everyone in my family loves it except me, and they can't fathom why I get the mullygrubs, as a Southern friend of mine used to call a low-level depression, from Thanksgiving straight through New Year.

"You're weird," my mom says. This from a woman who once left up our Christmas tree until April 3, and who listens to a radio station that plays carols 24/7 all month.

My equally demonic sister has a whole collection of rodents dressed in holiday clothes that she puts up around her house... My mom and sister both blissfully sat through "It's a Wonderful Life" again on Thanksgiving weekend, while even hearing a mere snatch of that movie makes me want to scarf down a fistful of antidepressants - and join all the other women in America who are on a holiday high - except our family doctor is a Scrooge about designer drugs, leaving me to self-medicate as Clarence gets his wings with extra brandy in the eggnog.

I've given a lot of thought to why others' season of joy is my season of doom ... I think it has to do with how stressed out my mom and sister would get on Christmas Day when I was little. I remember them snapping at me; they seemed tense because of all the aprons to be sashed and potatoes to be mashed. (In our traditional Irish household, women slaved and men were waited on.)

It might be exacerbated by the stress I feel when I think of all the money I've spent on lavishing boyfriends with presents over the years, guys who are now living with other women who are enjoying my lovingly picked out presents which I'm no doubt still paying for in credit card interest charges.

Much of the appeal of feminism, like a lot of other 20th Century intellectuals' fads like Freudianism, consists of trying to persuade others to become as unhappy as you are. Nothing drives liberals crazier than seeing their less intelligent relatives grow up to be happier than they are. The great curse of Maureen's life is that she was the smart one in the family, the one who believed what smart people were supposed to believe, while her brothers and sisters believed all the politically conservative, socially traditional stuff that dumb people believe. Unfortunately, just like they predicted, they ended up happier than her.

Fortunately, she has her bully pulpit from which to try to lure others into her mistakes. It won't maker her any happier, but it will make her feel more fashionable.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Barry Bonds' Batting by Age

Barry Bonds told the grand jury he unwittingly used Balco's steroids -- Sure, Barry, whatever you say.

Here's Barry's batting performance by age (as of July 1), using the Baseball Reference's single best hitting statistic, Adjusted OPS. The average hitter is a 100. To reach 200 for a single season is out of the reach of most Hall of Famers (Hank Aaron and Willie Mays never did it). As you can see, Barry reached his first peak, achieving 205 and 206, in 1992-93 when he was 27 and 28, which is the typical peak age for a ballplayer. He then declined slowly, as is conventional, to a still outstanding 162 at age 34 in 1999. The next year he bounced back up to 191, which is a little suspicious but hardly impossible for somebody who was already one of the top 20 or so greatest ballplayers of all time, and arguably top 10. Then, from the age of 36 through 39 he went on a four-year tear averaging 257, which is better than Babe Ruth's single best season (1920) of 255, when he was 25. Ted Williams had a 233 when he was 38 but his surrounding seasons weren't too close to that. Bonds' last four seasons include the three best offensive seasons in the history of baseball. That just ain't natural.

age Avg=100
21 103
22 114
23 147
24 125
25 170
26 161
27 205
28 206
29 182
30 168
31 186
32 170
33 177
34 162
35 191
36 262
37 275
38 231
39 260

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


As I said just before the voting, the election was all about accountability. If you wanted more of what we got over the last four years, then vote for Mr. Bush. The President clearly agrees with my analysis that the voters have ringingly endorsed unaccountability, and he appears determined to give the public what it voted for, in spades. He just re-hired that author of countless mistakes, Donald Rumsfeld (my favorite: equating looting with freedom in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq conquest, instead of ordering our victorious troops to shoot looters).

But, you are probably saying, Rumsfeld is an amateur in the screw-up department compared to the #3 man at the Pentagon, Douglas Feith. So, what will be the fate of Sergeant Snafu? Well, Newsday reports, "Feith was reported earlier this week to have told his staff he was staying."

A reader writes:

Bush can't be so stupid as to think Iraq is a victory much less a political plus. Thus, he is simply practicing the old "we all hang together or separately" tactic. If he fired the Neocons and their tool (Rummy) they would turn on him and he'd be finished. So, he needs them to "cover up" the disaster that is Iraq.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The election's over, so the FBI is back to chasing spies:

The FBI conducted a "massive" 6 hour raid on the headquarters of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday, after a long hiatus in pursuing Neocongate presumably mandated by the Bush administration while the election was going on. You've got to admire the patriots in the FBI who keep pushing this investigation even though 95% of the politicians in Washington want this case to vanish.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Baby Gap on The American Conservative

The full text of my important article on "The Baby Gap" is now up on the American Conservative website.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

1973: The demise of the shotgun wedding

Here's a new Census Bureau graph on the increasing median age of first marriages. Graphs like this are misleading because by starting in 1950, they don't show that the immediate post-War decades were anomalous. Before WWII, the average age of first marriages had been higher, but after the War, the abundance of union jobs paying a living wage to very young men allowed the age of first marriage to hit an all-time low. In general, Europe has been a fairly late marriage civilization (compared to the Chinese or Indians) since pre-Christian times.

The age of first marriage for women crept upward after 1960, perhaps due to increasing levels of higher education for women. But the marriage age for men had stayed right at 23 until about 1973, after which it shot upwards for about two decades before stabilizing at around 27. Indeed, if I had to guess the very day the average age of marriage for men started to rise, I'd put my money on Jan. 22, 1973, the day the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade.

There's a lot of other evidence that what we think of as The Sexual Revolution of the Sixties didn't actually happen on a mass scale until about 1973. And the likeliest single reason it happened then is Roe v. Wade.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Economics of the Music Industry

More on the Decline of Rock: A reader writes:

My personal theory about the decline of rock-- record company profits are not perfectly correlated with record sales. If a group becomes too popular (say Led Zeppelin circa 1976) they can get a better deal for themselves and reduce the margins of the companies. Ergo, record companies pursue a series of disposable acts rather than nurture those of the highest quality. (Nothing wrong with it, just smart business.) Disco, boy bands, and rap are producer driven and hence ideal forms for the record execs. The Clash, Stones, and Grateful Dead are bad investments.

The Clash used to drive their record label nuts by insisting on lower than usual suggested retail prices for their records.

I don't know enough about the music industry to say if this is true, but this economic logic has almost killed off the sit-com, with reality TV starring amateurs replacing it. The supporting cast of Seinfeld showed just how much leverage even lesser stars had when they got paid about $22 million apiece for the final season. Supposedly, NBC offered Jerry Seinfeld personally $5 million per episode or $110 million to do one additional season (on top of the $66 million in salaries the other three would split, showing the top-rated show would still be profitable even if it paid out $176 million in salaries annually), but he turned it down, saying he had enough money. (Jason Alexander claims Seinfeld has made a billion dollars total in royalties on his ownership of the show.) Likewise, the six member cast of Friends made about a million dollars apiece per episode or $132 million per year (or $143 million if Jennifer Aniston really did get an additional $500,000 per episode.

Or, you can hire some attractive but anonymous exhibitionists each year for your reality series and promise [portentuous pause, in the manner of Dr. Evil threatening world leaders] one million dollars to the winner!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

East African Running Genes

No Surprise, Again: "Endurance running is in east Africans' genes" says the New Scientist. Christopher Orlet has more in the American Spectator.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Jason Giambi and Steroids

No surprise: The New York Yankee's slugging (but now sick) first baseman Jason Giambi is revealed by the San Francisco Chronicle to be a steroid user.

Last summer, I pointed out that the much acclaimed philosophical revolution in baseball player evaluations pioneered by author Bill James and first put into practice by Oakland general manager Billy Beane (under whom Giambi suddenly leapt to superstardom) had a downside: it particularly valued the kind of accomplishments (homeruns and walks) that could be significantly boosted by taking steroids.

"Sabremetricians" have long derided the bestowing of the 2001 American League MVP award on Seattle's singles-hitter Ichiro Suzuki instead of Giambi. From a statistical point of view, this critique was flawless, but from the perspective of the health of baseball, it was all wrong: Giambi was obviously just another steroid abusing Mark McGwire clone, while Ichiro was a unique talent.

This year, Giambi's health broke down, quite possibly because of steroid and human growth hormone abuse, while Ichiro, at age 30 broke George Sisler's ancient record for most hits in a season.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Correlation of Presidential Votes by State

An extraordinary change in politics: I've discovered something I am almost flabbergasted by concerning how much Presidential politics has changed since the 1950s.

I've mentioned before how stable the election results by state and by demographic group were from 2000 to 2004. Bush's share of the vote in 2004 by state correlated at the 0.98 level with his performance in 2000. What that means is that if you spent November in a cave and just surfaced today and asked "What happened in the election?" you could be 96% (that's 0.98 squared) accurate in guessing Bush's share in each state with just three kinds of information: his 2000 performance, his new intercept (start Bush off 3.9 percentage points higher), and his new slope (for each 10 percentage points his 2000 share goes up per state, his 2004 share goes up 9.77 percentage points). For example, if he earned a 50% share in a particular state last time, you would expect him to earn 52.7 points this time (3.9 + (5 * 9.77).

So, how does the stability from 2000 to 2004 compare to elections in the past? The impact of third party candidates makes it somewhat difficult to compare seemingly similar pairs of elections, such as the President's father's campaigns in 1988 and 1992. The correlation of Bush41's share in 1988 to 1992 on a state-by-state basis was only .83 (71%), but, perhaps, the intervention of Ross Perot, who captured 19% of the vote, had something to do with that.

The cleanest comparison to 2000 and 2004 is the 1952 and 1956 elections, which twice in a row matched up Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. You would think that the results would have been almost identical from 1952 to 1956, but they correlated only at the 0.78 level, meaning you could only be 61% accurate at plotting Eisenhower's 1956 results knowing his 1952 results and Eisenhower's intercept and slope for 1956. In other words, there was hugely more shifting at the state level between 1952 and 1956 than between 2000 and 2004.

Eisenhower's overall share grew 2.3 points from 1952 to 1956, only a little less than Bush's improvement from 2000 to 2004, but Ike's share fell in 19 of 48 states. In contrast, Bush lost share in only 2 of 51 states (although this may change slightly as final vote counts come in).

Were voters in 1956 much more sensitive to the actual policies advocated by the candidates, and how they would affect their states, and thus more likely to change their votes as both candidates altered their stance on issues to try to appeal more broadly? In contrast, did voters in 2004 vote not so much on the issues as on which (relatively unchanging) part of society they wished to affirm their membership in?

By the way, the correlation between Eisenhower's share by states in 1952 and Bush's in 2004 is -0.01, or utterly random.

Here are the r-squareds for state-by-state correlations for the last eight elections. For 1992 and 1996, I've laid out the correlations both with the GOP candidate by himself and with the GOP candidate plus Perot (i.e., the non-Democratic share of the vote). There seems to be an upward trend over time for elections to become more stable, although 1984 to 1988 was 88%, which is low only compared to 2000 to 2004 (96%). The 1992 and 1996 elections were somewhat perturbed by Perot and by Clinton, who had a certain amount of Southern appeal.

R-Sqd 1984 1988 1992 1992 1996 1996 2000

Reagan Bush Bush Bush Dole Dole Bush

+ Perot
1988 Bush 88%

1992 Bush 59% 71%

1992 Bush+Perot 84% 68% 53%

1996 Dole 68% 68% 75% 67%

1996 Dole+Perot 77% 70% 66% 83% 93%

2000 Bush 70% 64% 66% 68% 89% 93%
2004 Bush 72% 66% 72% 69% 88% 91% 96%


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer