February 26, 2005

"Hiring Of Norm Chow A Proud Moment For Asians Or Hawaiians"

"Hiring Of Norm Chow A Proud Moment For Asians Or Hawaiians" -- From TheBrushback.com

NASHVILLE, TN--Last week’s hiring of Norm Chow by the Tennessee Titans represents a landmark victory for Asian or Hawaiians or whatever Chow actually is. Few minority groups have publicly praised the hiring, but one thing is for sure: It’s a victory for someone Asian-ish.

“This is another example of the NFL’s commitment to diversity,” commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement released yesterday. “Asians, Hawaiians, or possibly even Samoans have reason to celebrate today. Norm Chow is going to represent one or more of those groups as an assistant coach in the NFL. Someday maybe he will be a head coach, and then we’re really going to have to figure out what he guy is.”

Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said the team was happy to have Chow on board, regardless of his race, color, or creed.

“I’m extremely excited about this hiring,” Fisher told reporters. “Norm has been on our radar for some time now. His innovative play calling and keen eye for detail are qualities that have been missing from our offense the past few seasons. And of course, we here at the Titans are always proud to promote diversity, whether you’re talking about African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hawaiians, Koreans—no, wait, Koreans are Asian, too—Indians, Arabs, or um…I don’t know…Canadians. It’s just really good to have different nationalities in the league for some reason...”

Said one AFC general manager: “I think, for some people, there is a perception that Asians are not adept at coaching football on the professional level. But what if Chow isn’t even Asian? From the looks of him, he could be any number of races. I’m not sure if there is a negative perception of Hawaiians. How about Samoans? Who knows? This is all too confusing for me. Back in my day, everybody was white and race wasn’t even an issue—except for the Irish, those potato-eating savages.”

February 25, 2005

What's Missing from the Oscars

"Hollywood Catches Case of the Oscar Blahs" says the NYT. Basically, nobody is terribly excited about the Best Picture nominees, such as "Finding Neverland," which I snuck out of halfway through to go watch "The Aviator" again.

Message to Hollywood: If you wanted people to be interested in the Oscar broadcast this year, all you had to do was nominate for Best Picture and Best Director a certain low budget subtitled movie in Aramaic and Latin that made $370 million.

I wrote in The American Conservative:

2004 wasn't quite as weak as the Best Picture nominees would suggest. Three of last year's four most impressive directorial achievements failed to win Best Picture or Best Director nods. Zhang Yimou's visually overwhelming "Hero" was ineligible on a technicality. Brad Bird's "The Incredibles" was shunted into the Best Animated Feature category (although he received deserved Best Original Screenplay recognition).

And, of course, the most audacious and triumphant film of 2004, the picture that Quentin Tarantino called "one of the most brilliant visual storytelling movies I've seen since the talkies," Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was turned away out of blatant ethno-religious animus. (Gibson is crying all the way to the bank, no doubt.)

These lapses allowed for a trio of second-raters to contend for Best Picture. "Finding Neverland," the story of how J.M. Barrie came to write Peter Pan, is a snooze, and the Ray Charles biopic "Ray," starring an inspired Jamie Foxx, is less than the sum of its admittedly formidable parts.

Some readers objected because I broke with the media conspiracy covering up the subject of Clint Eastwood's critically-celebrated, but shallow and manipulative "Million Dollar Baby." But I didn't want subscribers unknowingly to encourage attendance by any of their disabled, aged, or infirm loved ones, who might well think they were being advised to hurry up and die.

So, that leaves Alexander Payne's "Sideways" and Martin Scorsese's sympathetic take on Howard Hughes' happier days, "The Aviator." "Sideways" reworks that staple of teen sex comedies, the buddy road trip genre, for grown-ups. It succeeds.

While "Sideways" is an excellent small movie, well worth its $12 million budget, "The Aviator," which cost $112 million, is an excellent huge movie. In basketball, an agile 6-footer always loses to an equally agile 7-footer, and the same deserves to be true in this Best Picture race because "The Aviator" is a blast, almost three hours of quick, intelligent entertainment.

I fear "The Aviator" is a little too quick and too intelligent for most audiences, including Oscar voters. It's a very high bandwidth movie, featuring a huge number of historical characters.

Scorsese works hard to help you keep the story straight. For example, at the movie premiere where Howard Hughes is standing around alone, feeling awkward while his date Katharine Hepburn schmoozes Louie B. Mayer, a new character played by Kate Beckinsale walks past Howard and says to him, "Don't worry, baby, she's just doing her job." As she's walking away and Howard wonders who this beauty is, you can hear a radio announcer in the background excitedly saying that the starlet Ava Gardner is here tonight. And then another character off the distance greets her and repeats her name. So, Scorsese is giving us two chances to figure out who this mystery woman is. Yet, I doubt if that's enough to get through to most movie-goers, especially since 90% of the under-25 half of the potential audience has no idea who Ava Gardner is.

Every so often, Hollywood spends a fortune making a huge, spectacular, expert movie just for the top 5% or 10% of the audience, and ends up losing a bundle. Last year it was Master and Commander and this year it's The Aviator. All I can say is: "Thanks."

Women and Gay Men Both Bad at Map-Reading

Women and Gay Men Both Bad at Map-Reading

Homosexual men share the same relatively poor map reading skills as heterosexual women, according to a study.

Earlier research found men better than women at finding their way around a "virtual reality" maze, relying on geometric cues while women rely more on landmarks. Yesterday Dr Qazi Rahman and colleagues from the University of East London reported in Behavioural Neuroscience that homosexual men used more landmarks during map reading than did heterosexual men, adopting a blend of male and female navigational strategies.

They investigated map reading by 20 heterosexual men, 20 homosexual men, 20 heterosexual women and 20 lesbians. The group memorised routes and was then asked to provide directions on how to get from one place to another.

Amusingly, the Telegraph (mis)titled the article "Gay men share women's talents for map reading." In an era when a President of Harvard quakes in fear of being accused of being insensitive about women's talents, then I guess a lowly headline writer should be forgiven.

Actually, I wouldn't have guessed that gay men are poor on average at map-reading, since some are awfully good at visual skills, such as the recently deceased gay Nazi architect Philip Johnson. In general, it's hard to predict on which traits gay men tend to be more feminine than straight men and on which they tend to be similar, as I pointed out in "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay."

Stephen Jay Gould's Theory of Intelligence Explained

My older son has been reading Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea (If only DD had come up with a D word like "Design" or "Development" instead of "Idea"!). So, he has become interested in the debate between evolutionary psychologists who view intelligence as a multitude of "domain-specific modules" (e.g., the Cheater Detection module) and mainstream psychometricians who emphasize the importance of the g factor for general problem solving ability. (The two models aren't necessarily contradictory; in fact, they are almost certainly complementary, as I wrote in "The Half Full glass.")

My son mentioned that the late Stephen Jay Gould hated the g factor theory, famously denouncing it as the "rotten core" of The Bell Curve. But, he noted, Gould also hated evolutionary psychology. "So, if Gould thought intelligence wasn't general and he also thought it wasn't specific, what else could it be?

Good question.

February 24, 2005

Single-Handedly Reviving the Case for Estrogen Therapy

Hot Flash! Susan Estrich, Dukakis' campaign manager in 1988, has her "Stop the Bias" blog up to further hysterically denounce Michael Kinsley's stewardship of the the LA Times op-ed page. I posted the following helpful comment:

"Dear Susan:

"Since you publicly suggested that Kinsley's Parkinson's disease is rotting his brain, you might be interested in my medical advice for you: the next time you get a hot flash, please, step away from your keyboard and immediately see your doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Sure, it's dangerous for your heart, but your current hysteria is fatal to your reputation. And it's not doing the reputation of women in general any good either."

By the way, isn't it about time Kinsley and Larry Summers teamed up to start The Triple L Society: Liberals who Like Logic. It would be a "No Gurls Allowed Club" for liberal men who enjoy indulging in an occasional syllogism without being shouted down by harpies.

And Nancy Hopkins' Thinks She's Oppressed Dept.

If you have a high speed connection, definitely check out "The Man of the Year" awards.

Hunter S. Thompson vs. the Pope

You'll note that, especially among his fans, there wasn't a lot of sadness over Thompson shooting himself. The unspoken attitude seemed to be that we could now fondly remember his brief era of brilliance without having him around in the flesh to remind us of the embarrassing and interminable second half of his life.

In contrast, the Pope refuses to go into a seemly retirement where his physical pain and decrepitude would be hidden away so as not to disturb our peace of mind. According to an impressive Newsweek article, his attitude is: Suffering is part of life. I'm dealing with it, and it won't kill you to learn to deal with watching other people's inevitable suffering either.

Protocols of the Elders of Patriarchy

Protocols of the Elders of Patriarchy: A reader writes:

"I notice that women make up about half of all law and med students. Does this mean that the patriarchy is keeping the glamour jobs like mechanical engineer for itself, and relegating the girls to low pay, low prestige jobs like lawyer and doctor?"

Exactly. We of the Council of the Elders of Patriarchy have determined that while we can afford to power share with women at minor outposts of power such as the Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard Business School, so long as we hang on to the Harvard Math department, WE SHALL RULE THE WORLD! HA HA HA HA!

A reader adds:

"And prison! Damned if we'll let them get any more of a foothold into our near-monopoly on incarceration. We'll just have to discriminate twice as much if that's what it takes to keep them out of jail."

"We're Different. Get Over It"

Canadians can read my long Larry Summers op-ed in the National Post today (Thursday) on paper:

Not surprisingly, however, by showing weakness, Summers just encouraged the feeding frenzy. The majority of the Harvard faculty (which has most of the power in tenure decisions) remains up in arms against Summers' sexist allegation that they don't actually discriminate much against women. Granted, it makes no logical sense for the professors to flex their feminist credentials by denouncing Summers' chauvinistic claim that they aren't that biased against women, but academic disputes are seldom academic. Instead, they are mostly about money and power.


Invade-the-World-Invite-the-World Personified

Neocon Max Boot explains in the LA Times his latest brainstorm about how to turn the Republic into an Empire:

Uncle Sam Wants Tu: The military could ease its manpower shortage by letting foreigners join up.

I note that there is a pretty big pool of manpower that's not being tapped: everyone on the planet who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident...

The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come. No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world's most precious commodities — U.S. citizenship. Open up recruiting stations from Budapest to Bangkok, Cape Town to Cairo, Montreal to Mexico City. Some might deride those who sign up as mercenaries, but these troops would have significantly different motives than the usual soldier of fortune.

Hey, great idea, Max! It worked like a charm for the Roman Empire in the 5th Century AD.

Last year I wrote, "One main breakdown could be between those who want to hammer the rest of the world into being just like America and those who fear that trying to do that will only end up making America just like the rest of the world." Boot is a particularly sinister exemplar of those whose overweening ambition would just end up making America as God-forsaken as the rest of the world.

Here's a better idea: If we can't find enough American citizens to start more stupid wars, then let's not start them.

February 23, 2005

India vs. China

Is India more of a competitive threat to America's economy than China? You would think that's true considering how many more articles you read about outsourcing a few hundred thousand white collar jobs to Indian than the loss of millions of blue collar jobs to China. A reader offers a different perspective:

The article below fits with the dual paradigm of China and India. This is the model where China dominates "blue collar" trade via manufacturing and India targets "white collar" trade via services. There is only one problem with this theory. It is wrong. The reality is very different. A few notes:

1. China's success in manufacturing trade dwarfs India's results in knowledge industries. China's goods exports are roughly 20 times larger than India's service revenues. There is simply no comparison.

2. China's economic growth has dwarfed that of India. China has sustained 8-10% GDP growth for decades, since the shift to capitalism started. India has only attained similar rates of growth in the last few years. It is not yet clear if India can sustain its growth because of how narrowly based it is. Note that the narrow base in this case is agriculture, not information services. India's recent growth spurt has been rural, not urban.

3. China has created vastly more jobs than India. The migration of Chinese workers from the hinterland to the coastal cities is the largest movement of people in the history of the world, all in the last 20 years. And those Chinese workers aren't living in shantytowns, selling cigarettes, and looking for a real job. By contrast, India's IT sector employs roughly 1 million workers.

4. Many countries have created equal or better educational systems than India. China, with 16 million university students, is only one example. Tawain, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, etc. have all attained higher levels of literacy and higher education than India.

What then can be said about India's quite real successes in knowledge work? Essentially, they are a product of failure. The knowledge industries aren't a failure of course. However, their success is a consequence of the failure of India's economy to "soak up" its college graduates in a broadly based developing economy. For example, Korea produces any number of brilliant engineers. However, in Korea Samsung, Hyundai, LG, SK and a zillion smaller companies provide lucrative employment opportunities for these folks. In India, you either get a job with Wipro, Infosys, etc. or you starve.

To state this directly, India's success in IT is a reflection of India's failure in manufacturing. Why has India failed in manufacturing? There a number of reasons. However, the post-WWII socialist government of India imposed draconian restrictions on private investment, supposedly to protect small scale village producers (look up "homespun" and "License Raj" for some tragic examples). These restrictions have only been very slowly and partially removed. A good article on the subject can be found here. India has also failed to create the physical infrastructure needed for development as a consequence of low national savings and high budget deficits.

It is worth noting, that most (almost all) Indian's agree. They reject the idea that India can develop via services and deeply envy China's success in manufacturing. A common statement is "we must either import China's goods or China's methods". However, India has failed to undertake the reforms needed to make either choice possible.

King of the Blackfellows

King of the Blackfellows: I'm reminded of story in William Manchester's famous Pacific War memoir Goodbye, Darkness, in which, decades after WWII, he visits a Melanesian island where the natives, who called themselves "Blackfellows" had a fervent cargo cult left over from WWII when they witnessed American officers pick up a telephones and call for planes full of desirable cargo. So, the Blackfellows carved wooden phones, hacked landing strips out of the jungle, and even built tall control towers, just like the Seabees had done, but when they called on their wooden phones, frustratingly, no planes full of cargo ever came.

Around 1965, the Blackfellows heard that the #1 man in America at picking up the telephone and giving orders was President Lyndon Baines Johnson, so they somehow scraped together the money and bought LBJ a one-way plane ticket to Melanesia. They sent it to the White House along with a formal invitation to become King of the Blackfellows. Sadly, LBJ never came. Manchester contends that LBJ would have delighted his new subjects, and personally would have enjoyed being King of the Blackfellows far more than he enjoyed the last three years of his Presidency.

New York Times won't print critical letters

I did not know that: A friend writes:

The NY Times is actually (I think) pretty much unique in having an official policy against ever printing a letter that disputes the accuracy of a Times story. Their rather doubtful reasoning is that any inaccuracy should be dealt with through a correction rather than a letter.

I discovered this surprising aspect a few years ago when one of their stories dealing peripherally with some of my own activities mischaracterized me... Naturally, I sent a letter politely pointing out their mistake, thinking there was a reasonable chance it might be published.

Instead, a few days later I was very much surprised to receive a personal call from the reporter involved, who explained their absolute policy against printing correction letters and also the long and complicated steps I'd have to go through to attempt to get a formal correction issued (and since so few corrections are ever issued, it was clear such a result would be a huge black mark against his personal career at the Times). Since the fellow seemed quite apologetic, the mistake had merely been a careless one, and my mention was only peripheral, I gladly let him off the hook.


The best defense is a good offense

Larry Summers as Agent Provocateur? The Ambler writes:

Three years ago, Summers took on the Black Studies scam. That ended with Summers grovelling. Did he learn anything? Not a bit of it. We all know how his dust-up with the bearded ladies will end. Summers could not have done a better job making life worse for white males at Harvard if had been an agent provocateur.

Iraq: 3 ethnic groups don't go into 2 oil regions

Strong analytical article on Iraq from Patrick Cockburn in the UK Independent:

Americans and rebels begin talks on timetable for withdrawal from Iraq

American officials are talking to negotiators from the anti-US resistance in Iraq, whom they have denounced in the past as foreign fighters and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Insurgent leaders and Pentagon officials have confirmed to Time magazine that talks have taken place for the first time in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.

The Sunni guerrillas want a timetable for a US withdrawal, first from Iraqi cities and then from the country as a whole. American officials aim to see if they can drive a wedge between nationalist guerrillas and fanatical Islamist groups.

Abu Marwan, a resistance commander, is quoted as saying that the insurgents want to "fight and negotiate". They are modelling their strategy on that of the IRA and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland. This means creating a united political organisation with a programme opposed to the US occupation.

US military commanders are now dubious about the chances of winning an outright military victory over the Sunni rebels who have a firm core of supporters among the five million-strong Sunni Muslim community. The US military has lost 1,479 dead and 10,740 wounded in Iraq since the invasion began in March 2003.

The talks so far are tentative but they indicate a recognition on the part of the US that it will need a political solution. Those willing to sit down with US diplomats and officials are "nationalists" composed primarily of former military and security officers from Saddam's Hussein's government.

The Iraqi resistance is highly fragmented and regionalised. Groups often only exist in a single city. In guerrilla warfare this may be an advantage since no command structure can be penetrated or disrupted.

The speed with which the insurgents became so effective after the American invasion is explained by many of the fighters being professional soldiers, and their being unemployed after the Iraqi army was dissolved in May 2003.

The Islamist groups, of which the most notorious and heavily publicised is that led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have no intention of talking and have threatened to kill those who do. The cells behind the devastating suicide-bombing campaign are openly sectarian, targeting the Shia Muslim community as they pray or march in religious processions.

The fundamentalist militants believe that Iraq is an ideal location to fight the US. They have local sympathisers and can use the long, open borders with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria which are impossible to police. They are also well financed in a deeply impoverished country.

The slaughter of Shia civilians by suicide bombers has made it very difficult for the resistance to claim that it is a nationalist insurgency representing all Iraqis against the occupation. After six months of suicide bombings orchestrated from Fallujah against young army and police recruits, most Shia Muslims in Baghdad were delighted when the US Marines largely destroyed the city last November.

A problem for the US and the interim Iraqi government is that it is unclear if self-declared leaders of the resistance possess the authority that they claim. No less than 38 Sunni groups have said that they have carried out attacks on US forces. Many have only a shadowy existence.

There are signs that the different groups are trying to combine militarily and politically. Just as the US Marines were storming Fallujah in November the fighters in the largely Sunni Arab city of Mosul united to take it over. When the US Army counter-attacked, they did not stand and fight but melted away. Some nationalist groups in Mosul went out of their way to show that they were not sectarian by freeing a Christian businessman held by kidnappers. But, when the US Army damaged two mosques, another resistance cell responded by blowing up two Christian churches.

The new Iraqi government about to take office after the election on 30 January will be ambivalent about talks between the US and the resistance. A Shia-Kurdish administration is unlikely to have much sympathy with Sunni fanatics and former Baath party officials who persecuted them for years.

The new Iraqi army reflects this political make-up, being reliant on Kurds and Shias. It is too weak to withstand the onslaught of the insurgents without the backing of the US Army. It will therefore be impossible for the US to withdraw as the resistance demands.

As I've been arguing for awhile, probably the best solution would be to split the "nationalist" Sunnis from the small number of foreigners by promising to withdraw, team up with the "nationalist" Sunnis to hunt down and exterminate the outsiders, then skedaddle. (Of course, they aren't real nationalists, they are Sunniists.)

But now democracy is going to get in the way of sensible realpolitik, since the winners in the election like to see Sunnis die, but, as we saw at Fallujah, they don't seem willing to take the risk of killing them themselves, so their attitude toward us seems to be, "Let's you and him fight."

The fundamental problem is that there are three main groups in Iraq but only two oil regions, so somebody is likely to wind up without oil at some point. And since the GDP per capita of Iraq not counting oil is roughly sub-Saharan, well, that encourages each group to try very hard not to wind up the odd man out with no oil.

There may well be a good solution to this chess puzzle, but I haven't figured it out yet.

But, we'd never to listen to somebody who was right!

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter claims U.S. "cooked" Iraqi election results during the two week delay between the elections and revelation of the results, dropping the Shi'ite share from actual 56% to the reported 48%:

Asked by UFPPC's Ted Nation about this shocker, Ritter said an official involved in the manipulation was the source, and that this would soon be reported by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in a major metropolitan magazine -- an obvious allusion to New Yorker reporter Seymour M. Hersh.

I have no evidence on this one way or another, but the much-denounced Ritter has been right before when he was a rare voice speaking the truth that there were no WMDs in Iraq. As I speculated a couple of weeks ago, this wouldn't necessarily be immoral on our part: Sistani might have signed off on lowering his own coalition's share, as Nelson Mandela did in South Africa in 1994 in a statesmanlike gesture.

Imprisonment rates by race by state

New VDARE column: Mapping the Unmentionable: Race & Crime

Republic of Virtue

Not-So-Free Republic: The news that Jim Robinson is once again purging immigration restrictionist voices from what he ironically calls "Free Republic" is no surprise around here. Way back in 2000, my psephological analysis "GOP Future Depends on White Vote" for some reason got VDARE.com permanently banned from the Republic of Jim. And he doesn't let anybody cite iSteve.com either. As a reader says, he should rename it "Republic of Virtue."

Not into Intelligent Design

Ali G visits Wales:

Ali : Check dis. I is now in a coal mine which is where the Wales people used to live, underground. Millions of years ago miners lived under here before they became human beings.

Miner : They never lived here, they just worked here.

Ali : They worked in 'ere? What a crap job.

Only Two Chapters

Josh Marshall offers a correction to my latest VDARE article. In my article on racial and regional differences in crime rates, I said Josh, the author of the popular TalkingPointsMemo.com, had written his Ph.D. dissertation on the link between Southern culture and crime. He points out that only "two chapters of my dissertation are relevant to the discussion of the effect of slaveholding in creating the cultural distinctiveness of the South." My apologies.


By the way, the color gradations of the maps as they appeared on VDARE were made a little cruder to allow faster loading of the page file. If you want to see the originals, here is the

Mapinator graph showing the three ethnic groups' imprisonment ratios using the same yellow to purple color scale for each. You'll be able to see subtle differences between the white imprisonment rates better here. And here are the two maps showing the black to non-Hispanic white imprisonment ratio and the Hispanic to non-Hispanic white imprisonment ratio in red and green.

Valentine's Day with the Creative Class

My Valentine's Day Book Review in the new Washington Examiner:

On St. Valentine's Day, Washington's fancy turns from political strategy to biological imperatives. So how does D.C. rank as a place to find Mr. or Ms. Right?

In Cities and the Creative Class, George Mason University professor Richard Florida doesn't concentrate much on l'amour -- but he does provide ample statistical evidence that the Washington area abounds in eligible singles and in classy places for romantic dates.

The region ranks high in the kinds of people Dr. Florida believes drive prosperity: the well-educated, software programmers, technology entrepreneurs and the like. Plus, Washington offers the arts, culture, and ethnic bistros ideal for dating.

In the District itself, not all the good ones are taken. According to my own research, D.C. residents --of whom only 9 percent voted for President Bush -- were much less likely to be married than the citizens of any state. During the 27 years from age 18-44, the average black woman in D.C. could expect to be married an average of only 3.9 years. This compares to 5.4 years in Pennsylvania, the worst-ranking state.

Likewise, the deeply Democratic 18-44 year old white women of D.C. average merely 7.4 years of marriage -- compared to 12.2 in the bluest state, Massachusetts, and 17 in the reddest state, Utah.

Gary Brecher A-Go-Go

Latest War Nerd Column: "Togo's Lo-Cal Coup" - The War Nerd laments the decline of the African coup.

Black-African coups generally specialized in drama and big talk, not high casualties. Lots of times, the officers planning the coup took advantage of foreign visits by the head of state to stage their pint-size revolution. It was really easy to do that back in the 60s, when Africa was still considered cool, revolutionary and "developing" -- before people realized it was developing like a case of smallpox, not like Singapore.

Back then African dictators were superstars of the commie media, like Che. So when Kwame Nkrumah, the dashiki-wearing dictator of Ghana, went to Hanoi to chill with the revolutionaries in 1966, his officer corps decided to pull off a little revolution. Kwame had no dictatorship to come home to, and ended up one of those depressed ex-dictators who never shut up about their glory days.

Mausoleum of Modern Art

Robert Locke's magisterial review of the new Museum of Modern Art building in NYC, "Mausoleum of Modern Art," and of the entire course of moder art, from the 1/17/05 American Conservative is now online.

He'll never get on the Oscar stage for his acting

Maybe I will watch the Oscars this year - As long as they don't fire Chris Rock from his job as host for saying things like:

"I never watched the Oscars. Come on, it's a fashion show," Rock recently declared. "What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one!"

What will Rock be wearing to the show?

"Nothing against people who aren't straight, but what straight guy that you know cares?

Thinking About Imprisonment

Does Discrimination Cause Imprisonment Difference? One of my most distinguished readers writes:

There have been several studies to test the proposition that the high percentage of blacks in prison is produced by the police over-arresting, or prosecutors over-prosecuting, blacks. This theory is not true, as we can discover by using the National Crime Victimization Survey, which asks victims for the race of their offender in robbery and assault cases. The percentage of blacks involved in these crimes, according to the victims, matches almost exactly the percentage of blacks in prison for those crimes. These studies have been done by, among others, Alfred Blumstein at Carnegie Mellon University.

Chess in Our Iraqi Democracy

What's the deal with Sistani and chess? As you probably know, the Grand Ayatolla bans chess-playing. I figured it was because of the residual idolatry inherent in playing a game with little men, but now, via Colby Cosh, comes word from Sistani that composing and solving chess problems is OK. So, what's the real reason "playing a chess" is verboten?

UPDATE: One cynical reader reminisces:

Having worked in Saudi for three years starting 19XX as a tech rep for XXX, I think the problem with chess is that it requires thinking. The most comment complaint from my young Saudi Arabian Army students was, "Teacher, don't make me use my think." The last thing a Saudi leader wants is thinking.

International Man of Mystery Ahmed Chalabi

Your tax dollars at work: Suspected Iranian agent Ahmed Chalabi is challenging Ayatollah Sistani's brother-in-law Ibrahim Jafari for the post of Prime Minister of Iraq. I've often asked what is the source of Chalabi's appeal to the elites he comes in contact with (whereas commoners who know him only from his record -- embezzling millions in Jordan, lying the U.S. into the War in Error, possibly handing U.S. secrets over to the Iranian intelligence agency, etc. -- generally hold him in contempt). I've hypothesized in the past that Chalabi must somehow possess Rasputin-like sexual magnetism, but that seems unlikely.

The simplest explanation for Chalabi's appeal to insiders points to that $100,000,000 of the U.S. taxpayers' money that the U.S. government has given him over the years, much of which remains unaccounted for. You can make yourself a pretty doggone popular guy in Washington and Baghdad for just a fraction of $100,000,000. But it could turn out to be a very good investment on Chalabi's part, since Iraq's oil reserves are worth trillions.

"Radical" AIDS strategy?

Public Health 101 Finally Considered for AIDS: "Gays Debate Radical Steps to Curb Unsafe Sex" claims the NYT:

While many are calling for a renewed commitment to prevention efforts and free condoms, some veterans of the war on AIDS are advocating an entirely new approach to the spread of unsafe sex, much of which is fueled by a surge in methamphetamine abuse. They want to track down those who knowingly engage in risky behavior and try to stop them before they can infect others.

It is a radical idea, born of desperation, that has been gaining ground in recent months as a growing number of gay men become infected despite warnings about unsafe sex...

Although gay advocates and health care workers are just beginning to talk about how this might be done, it could involve showing up at places where impromptu sex parties happen and confronting the participants. Or it might mean infiltrating Web sites that promote gay hookups and thwarting liaisons involving crystal meth.

Other ideas include collaborating with health officials in tracking down the partners of those newly infected with H.I.V. At the very least, these advocates say, gay men must start taking responsibility for their own, before a resurgent epidemic draws government officials who could use even more aggressive tactics.

There is nothing "radical" about "tracking down the partners of those newly infected" -- that's how governments have handled syphilis for generations, which is one reason syphilis is so much less prevalent than HIV these days. Indeed, the NYT article eventually gets around to admitting that this is "radical" only in the sense that standard operating procedures was not applied to the AIDS epidemic due to the political clout of gays, who valued their own sexual pleasure over not killing other gays.

Whether such ideas gain acceptance, the fact that activists are even thinking about curbing gay sexual freedom is a huge shift.

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, gay men protested attempts to close down bathhouses and strenuously opposed efforts by health officials to trace those infected with the virus. Until now, those advocates, driven by concerns about privacy and the stigma associated with the disease, have successfully fought off efforts to impose a traditional public-health model for tackling the spread of the virus...

Those frustrations were given voice in November by Larry Kramer, the playwright and activist who himself has AIDS, in a widely discussed speech at Cooper Union in which he criticized gay men for their behavior. "You are still murdering each other," he said then. "Please stop with all the generalizations and avoidance excuses gays have used since the beginning to ditch this responsibility for this fact."

Hey, Larry, they can smell fear

More bribes no doubt on the way: "Some of Harvard's Leading Professors Confront Its President," reports the NYT on a Harvard faculty meeting: "

Most speakers took aim at Dr. Summers for what they described as an autocratic management style that has stifled the open debate that is at the core of the university's values.

Huh? As I recall, open debate over why among the best people in the hard sciences, men vastly outnumber women, got stifled awfully fast, and not by Summers but by the forces of political correctness.

Of course, Summers immediately caved in and promised reparations. Expect him to pony up more of other people's money and other people's opportunities to save his job.


Here's a link to Steven Pinker's full article on The New Republic: THE SCIENCE OF DIFFERENCE: Sex Ed:

Anyone who has fled a cluster of men at a party debating the fine points of flat-screen televisions can appreciate that fewer women than men might choose engineering, even in the absence of arbitrary barriers. (As one female social scientist noted in Science Magazine, "Reinventing the curriculum will not make me more interested in learning how my dishwasher works.")

That killer quote is from Patti Hausman, who is fascinated by how so many males are interested in 3-d thinking, something that she says has zero interest for her.

Where the bodies are buried

Whose unexpurgated memoirs would you most like to read? I'd put Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, close to the top of the list. His is a pretty amazing life story -- his mother a part-black servant girl (slave?) impregnated by a prince, yet he rose up from this lowly beginning to become the most successfully manipulative ambassador of his era. I bet he has stories to tell. Sadly, I suspect he'll take them to the grave.

Douglas Feith visits a Muslim democracy

Maybe Muslim Democracy Isn't Such a Hot Idea After All: After endlessly pushing former Israeli Housing (i.e., West Bank Settlement) Minister Natan Sharansky's book about how democracy will save the Muslim world, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page gets around to sending one of their senior writers, Robert L. Pollock, to visit an actual working Muslim democracy, Turkey, and is aghast: "The Sick Man of Europe--Again: Islamism and leftism add up to anti-American madness in Turkey:"

"On a brief visit to Ankara earlier this month with Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, I found a poisonous atmosphere--one in which just about every politician and media outlet (secular and religious) preaches an extreme combination of America- and Jew-hatred that (like the Turkish artists) voluntarily goes far further than anything found in most of the Arab world's state-controlled press. If I hesitate to call it Nazi-like, that's only because Goebbels would probably have rejected much of it as too crude."

National Greatness at work?

Remember the Maine! Remember Hariri! I have no more idea who blew up the ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon than I know who or what blew up the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898. But we got into a war with Spain after the Maine blew up, and we may get into a war with Syria because Hariri got blown up.

Fortunately, look how well the Spanish-American war turned out for us. We idealistically gave Cuba its independence, and the government of Cuba hasn't been a problem for either us or its own people ever since. We didn't give the Philippines their independence, and we only had to kill 200,000 Filipinos to make that stick. And we made Puerto Rico part of the U.S., letting any Puerto Rican move here, and the South Bronx is known worldwide as a synonym for utopia.

The collapse of kids on bikes

The Conservative Case Against Sprawl by law professor Michael Lewyn is a frank discussion of how government policy wrecked the cities.

On a side note, the decline in bicycle riding by kids is one of the unmentioned disasters of our time. Nowadays, I almost never see adolescents on bikes, due to parents' safety concerns about traffic and crime. I got hit by a car while riding when I was 13, but was back on my bike in a couple of days. This increases the chauffeuring burden on mothers, which depresses the birth rate.

Sam Francis, RIP:

A reader writes:

Free Republic pulled the Sam Francis RIP thread there tonight......what a surprise.

"Million Dollar Baby" with Spoiler Alert

Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" -- An excerpt from my review in the Jan. 31st issue of The American Conservative:

Clint Eastwood's sentimental, old-fashioned boxing movie "Million Dollar Baby" arrived accompanied by such a chorus of critical hosannas that, sadly, moviegoers have little chance to discover its modest pleasures for themselves.

Despite Eastwood's limited gifts as a visual artist (which aren't helped by his being such a tightwad of a producer), reviewers worship him as a director because his 25 films are readily analyzable within the auteur theory, that system of intellectualized hero worship espoused by critics to make film history seem less chaotic than it really is.

In "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood directs and stars as a grouchy Irish Catholic widower with the standard-issue heart of gold. Each morning, before checking in at The Hit Pit, the dilapidated L.A. gym he owns, he attends Mass to ask forgiveness for somehow driving away his only daughter.

The film is narrated portentously by the gym's wise and saintly old black janitor, played by -- you guessed it -- Morgan Freeman. This superb actor has long complained that, although he first broke through as a vicious pimp in 1987's "Street Smart," the public now won't let him play anything besides what Richard Brookhiser calls the "Numinous Negro." But he has only himself to blame for taking this role, a near-parody of the overly familiar Morgan Freeman Character.

Then, a perky Irish-American waitress, who is conveniently missing a father, shows up at the gym and asks Eastwood to train her. After some gruff dismissals, Eastwood finally takes her on and turns her into the #1 Contender, but the heartwarming main story is the father-daughter bond they forge.

Willowy starlet Hillary Swank, an Oscar-winner for "Boys Don't Cry," isn't exactly convincing as a boxer (the fight scenes appear to be shown in slightly fast motion to make her look quicker), but her exuberant presence is a delight. We never learn why such a cheerful, attractive lady wants to beat up other women because, when the ham-fisted script by Paul Haggis isn't telegraphing its emotional roundhouse punches, it's leaving much else unexplained.

In reality, women's boxing is a pseudo-feminist trashsport that briefly flourished in the 1990s when impresario Don King noticed that Mike Tyson fans got some kind of weird kick out of preliminary catfights between battling babes...

Female fisticuffs have faded recently due to the supply side problem of finding enough low-cost opponents for the handful of women stars. While the number of male palookas who will fight for next to nothing in the hope of becoming Rocky Balboa is ample, managers needing fresh meat for their female champs to bash frequently have to hire hookers and strippers to take dives -- and working girls don't work for free.

"Million Dollar Baby" simply ignores all this and asks you to believe that women's boxing today is a thriving duplicate of the men's fight game of a half century ago, which allows Eastwood to make a 1955-style boxing movie.

This offers some almost-forgotten payoffs, but Eastwood doesn't have the courage to make a genuinely out-of-fashion film.

Spoiler Alert:

When his protégé gets her neck broken by a dirty fighter, she asks him to kill her rather than make her live as a quadriplegic. His priest explains the Church is utterly opposed to euthanasia, which in a 1955 movie would have been the end of it. If, however, "Million Dollar Baby" had concluded with Eastwood's character helping her to find some new meaning in her life, as Christopher Reeve's wife did for the "Superman" star, the reviewers would have lambasted it as TV movie-fare. So, to the wild applause of the critics, he poisons her.

But the obvious question is left hanging: without his surrogate daughter to care for, what meaning will his life have for him?

Arthur Miller and capitalism

Arthur Miller, RIP: Colby Cosh says it best:

When I think about the man who wrote plays about how capitalism thwarts human aspirations, [got rich off them], and then got married to Marilyn Monroe, I'm afraid about all I can do is giggle.


James Q. Wilson sums it all up:

The great achievement of Western culture since the Enlightenment is to make many of us peer over the wall and grant some respect to people outside it; the great failure of Western culture is to deny that walls are inevitable or important.

Gay Germ Theory

Thrasymachus interviews Greg Cochran about his Gay Germ theory

Tom Tomorrow

Is there a better political cartoonist working these days than Tom Tomorrow? If so, let me know.

"Bride and Prejudice"

"Bride and Prejudice" is a (relatively) high budget Bollywood musical based on Jane Austen's novel, as relocated to contemporary India, by the director of "Bend It Like Beckham." From my review in the March 14th issue of The American Conservative (subscribe here):

Each week in 1930, America's 123 million people bought 90 million movie tickets. There were no televisions, no home air conditioners, and little street crime, so many ladies went to the show most evenings. Hollywood catered to their tastes with countless musicals and love stories.

Today, the average American purchases a ticket less than one-seventh as often, and moviegoers are predominantly male and young. Hollywood therefore specializes, at vast expense, in blowing stuff up.

Foreign film industries can't compete with our $100 million evil-robot-onslaught flicks, but they can make women's movies. The leading supplier to semi-literate Third World ladies is the Indian movie business, Bombay-centered "Bollywood."

India is an apt setting for complicated love stories because it has barely begun the slow transition from arranged marriages to love matches, what Samuel Huntington calls "the Romeo and Juliet revolution." The conflict between a complex social order and true love might be the most compelling and fertile subject in all literature, which is why Jane Austen's novels have been filmed so often. But Westerners now have so much sexual freedom that they dither their lives away, unable to commit because somebody better might always come along. This makes for clever comedy, as "Seinfeld," "Friends," and Bridget Jones's Diary attest, but paltry passion.

In contrast, because the maidens in Bollywood movies, which don't even show kissing, aren't allowed to have sex, they are free to bask in romance.

What's Wrong with Richard Florida on Tolerance, Technology, and Talent

Richard Florida's $35k idea -- George Mason U. professor Richard Florida gets paid up to $35,000 per speech to lecture city officials and civic leaders on how they can turn their dismal burgh into the next Austin or Seattle. Inspired by Florida's three Ts, which say that for a city to make lots of money from Technology depends on attracting Talent which depends on Tolerance, Spokane is intending to officially declare part of its city the Gay District. (Florida measures "tolerance" primarily by the number of gays, but also by artists, immigrants, and "bohemians.) Here's part of my review of Florida's new book Cities and the Creative Class from the new Washington Examiner:

Dr. Florida's much publicized theory, which he developed during the Internet Bubble of the late 1990s, is that an urban region's economic success depends on its tolerance level. He argues, "Diverse, inclusive communities that welcome unconventional people-gays, immigrants, artists, and free-thinking 'bohemians'-are ideal for nurturing the creativity and innovation that characterize the knowledge economy…"

Unfortunately, as a theory of economic development, this book suffers from the same combination of obviousness and obtuseness that plagued Dr. Florida's first paean to "Talent, Technology, and Tolerance," 2002's The Rise of the Creative Class.

Sure, regions with smarter people tend to enjoy higher incomes. But, most high tech centers, such as the Dulles Corridor, develop far out in the suburbs away from the hip parts of town. The nerds who invent the new gizmos and the golf-playing business people who sell them tend to be relatively monogamous and family-oriented, and thus soon wind up in the 'burbs, with their backyards and quality public schools.

And, sure, booms and bohemians tend to correlate, but who really attracts whom to a metroplex? Do the engineers and salesguys actually pursue the gay art dealers and immigrant restaurateurs, or are Dr. Florida's footloose favorites more likely to follow the money generated by the pocket-protector boys?

In the 1970s, for example, Houston suddenly became one of the gayest cities in America, even though Houston was not famously tolerant. No, Houston got (briefly) hip because gays, immigrants, and artistes flocked there because OPEC had raised prices, making Houston's unhip oil companies rich for a decade.

In contrast, famously tolerant New Orleans and Las Vegas ("Sin City") rank today near the bottom of Dr. Florida's talent tables because his kind of folks can't make much money in either. So, he appears to have gotten the arrow of causality mostly backwards.

Lesbian stereotypes confirmed

Where the lesbians are -- Exactly where you thought they'd be, according to Laurie Marhoefer, a lesbian student at Columbia:

But how does one go about meeting and befriending these women? It took me a while to figure it out, but I did, and I'll share. (By the way, the following are also good ways to locate nice lesbians to date.)

Take a class. Anything with the words women, gender, or sexuality in the title will do. Take a class in the women's studies department at Barnard or Columbia. Anything the anthro and sociology departments serves up is usually a good bet, too, or any Barnard class. And any class with a Leftie-political bent, such as History of American Radicals. Try to find a seminar, or a class that will have discussion sections where you will get to interact with your classmates.

Of course, you'll meet the most lesbians in a class on lesbianism. Barnard usually offers an intro to queer theory, and for the past couple of semesters has offered the famed Lesbian Lit class. The Columbia History department has some kind of history of homos class from time to time.

But, what will Dad and Mom say when they tape your grades up on the fridge and sees that you got an A in History of Gays and Lesbians in the 20th Century? Well, in years past the thoughtful Barnard professor who taught Intro to Queer Theory fixed it so that the course name showed up on one's transcript as 'Discourses of Desire.' "Talk about the cure that killed the patient," a friend of mine said. Sure, but it's better than Gender and Deviance (which is on my transcript, by the way. Boy, was it worth it though.)

Join a political organization or club. Some say that gay women have a heightened awareness of oppression because we are oppressed as women and as queers, and in some cases as members of minority ethnic and religious groups in addition. Some say that all the activism is just an excuse to take our shirts off at rallies. But everyone agrees: dykes are political. Chelsea is full of bars and gyms. Park Slope is full of grocery coops and grass roots organizations. I am not making a judgment; believe me, I would much rather be cruised for my nice legs than for my ideological commitments, but there's no way around it.

So, which movements to join? Left wing ones, bozo. There are no log cabin lesbians. I won't insult everyone's intelligence by listing the groups on campus that have a membership consisting largely of queer girls, but here's a hint: many of them are run out of Barnard, and concern themselves with women's issues, but not necessarily or exclusively dyke issues.

I am not suggesting that you try to free Mumia just to meet chicks. Activism must come from the guts! But it also helps you meet chicks. I am just saying.

African Family Structures

The NYT finally tells some truth about Africa: One of my recurring topics is that sub-Saharan family structures tend to be radically different from the Europeans ones that most educated Americans are familiar with (and that African-Americans have tended to be poised in between). The New York Times finally gets around to discussing African family structures because they've figured out how to give the topic a feminist slant in "AIDS and Custom Leave African Families Nothing:"

There are two reasons why 11-year-old Chikumbutso Zuze never sees his three sisters, why he seldom has a full belly, why he sleeps packed sardinelike with six cousins on the dirt floor of his aunt's thatched mud hut.

One is AIDS, which claimed his father in 2000 and his mother in 2001. The other is his father's nephew, a tall, light-complexioned man whom Chikumbutso knows only as Mr. Sululu.

It was Mr. Sululu who came to his village five years ago, after his father died, and commandeered all of the family's belongings - mattresses, chairs and, most important, the family's green Toyota pickup, an almost unimaginable luxury in this, one of the poorest nations on earth. And it was Mr. Sululu who rejected the pleas of the boy's mother, herself dying of AIDS, to leave the truck so that her children would have an inheritance to sustain them after her death.

Instead, Chikumbutso said, he left behind a battery-powered transistor radio.

"I feel very bitter about it," he said, plopped on a wooden bench in 12-by-12-foot hut rented by his maternal aunt and uncle on the outskirts of this town in the lush hills of southern Malawi. "We don't really know why they did all this. We couldn't understand."

Actually, the answer is simple: custom. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa the death of a father automatically entitles his side of the family to claim most, if not all, of the property he leaves behind, even if it leaves his survivors destitute.

In an era when AIDS is claiming about 2.3 million lives a year in sub-Saharan Africa - roughly 80,000 people last year in Malawi alone - disease and stubborn tradition have combined in a terrible synergy, robbing countless mothers and children not only of their loved ones but of everything they own...

The tradition is rooted in the notion that men are the breadwinners and the property of a married couple represents the fruits of the man's labor. Women may tend the goats and plant the corn, but throughout the region's rural communities they are still regarded as one step up from minors, unable to make an economic contribution to the household.

When the husband dies the widow is left essentially to start over, much like a young girl, presumably to search for another husband. Since the children typically remain with the mother, her losses are also theirs.

The degree to which men control household property varies from country to country and tribe to tribe.

In matrilineal tribes, children are considered descendants of the mother, and the family typically lives in the mother's village. Should the husband die, the widow typically keeps the house and land, plus items judged to be women's essentials like pots, pans, kitchen utensils and buckets, according to studies by Women and Law in Southern Africa. Her in-laws collect the more valuable belongings, like bicycles, sewing machines, vehicles and furniture.

Most tribes are patrilineal, meaning that children are considered the father's descendants and men are viewed as the owners of all of the property. Here, a new widow's situation is truly precarious. Her in-laws may allow her continued access to her home as long as she does not remarry. But if she wants to move away, she leaves bereft of all property.

Alternatively she may be forced to marry one of her husband's relatives to keep her property. Or she may simply be driven out altogether.

The NYT's feminist angle isn't terribly illuminating here since this particular case involves a man discriminating against his son in favor of his nephew. So, let me explain the reasons behind this system, since it seems bizarre to us for a man not to want his estate to go to his widow and children. We wouldn't think of providing for our nephews before our children, but in Africa that is not uncommon. Why do Africans act like that?

The U. of Utah anthropologist Henry Harpending, who lived with various African tribes for 42 months, recounts that once, when he was about to set out on a dangerous journey through lion country, his worried hosts asked him, "To whom should we send your property in case you are eaten?

"Uh, to my wife, of course," Henry replied, puzzled.

"To your wife!" the tribespeople exclaimed, aghast. "Why don't you want your property to go to your family instead?"

By "family," they meant Henry's birth family rather than his marriage family.

So, why, relative to the temperate world, is there less paternal investment in tropical Africa and more investment in siblings' children? The simplest explanation is because husband's enjoy less certainty of paternity. That, not coincidentally, is the same reason there is so much AIDS -- because African husbands are less likely to do what it takes to keep their wives sexually faithful, such as working hard to provide for them. So, they get cuckolded a lot. In turn, they don't put much effort into providing for their wives' children, since the odds that they are also their own children are not all that high.

This logic all makes perfect sense, but it goes a long way toward explaining why Africa is so poor.

African-American family structures are of course midway between African and white American norms, on average. Euro-American norms were winning out until the increase in welfare payments to single mothers in the 1960s, at which point monogamous two-parent families began to collapse. Today, about two thirds of African-American babies are illegitimate, although that r ate has stabilized during the more hard-headed past decade.

Kinsely-Estrich Brouhaha

The Kinsley - Estrich fracas: A couple of weeks ago, the LA Times op-ed page, now edited by Michael Kinsley, published an essay by Charlotte Allen of the Independent Women's Forum making the excellent point that there are fewer heavyweight women intellectuals around today than before feminism, with Camille Paglia being probably the only woman worthy of being on the short list of top thinkers of the day. Allen writes:

My point was that we don't have many women public intellectuals these days - the likes of Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Gertrude Stein or the recently deceased Susan Sontag - because most credentialed women nowadays would rather be feminist ideologues than tackle larger issues.

In response, Susan Estrich, who is best known for her dismal management of Michael Dukakis's campaign against George H.W. Bush in 1988, had a good old fashioned hissy fit, accusing Kinsley of sexism.

The new Washington Examiner has the subsequent exchange of emails between Estrich and Kinsley:

Run my letter or else
From: Susan Estrich
To: Kinsley, Michael
Subject: RE: my letter to the editor

I am sending over my letter this morning. It is very, very temperate. It is signed by approximately 50 women, among them some of the most powerful women in town, from Nancy Daly Riordan to Lynne Wasserman to Katherine Spillar to Carol Biondi to Dolores Robinson etc. etc. etc. ... [Personally, I've never ever heard of a single one of the 49 women on her list -- Steve.] Everyone is assuming it will be published on Sunday. I honestly think it will be a bigger deal if you don't publish it, and Drudge and Newsmax and the rest do, than if you simply publish it, and start adding more women from Southern California to your mix (today's tally, 3 men, 1 Washington woman late of Time, no women from Southern California...)

I really do hate to be doing this. I counted e-mail after e-mail that I sent and was totally ignored. I can't tell you how much I wanted to help quietly. If this is what it takes, so be it. My friend Barbara Howar told me she got a call yesterday from Bob Sipchen about writing for the Sunday section and I was delighted. How easy can it be ... That's all. You want thoughtful conservatives ... I have a great conservative former Harvard student who tells me she's been desperate to get a piece published and she gets consistently turned away. She lives in Pasadena ... I've got so many names for you of good women who live right here, care about this community; Carla Sanger, who created LA's BEST, tells me she can't get a piece in; I have women writing to me who have submitted four piece and not gotten the courtesy of a call - and they teach gender studies at UCLA ...

Anyway, the piece runs 500 words, and the signatures another 100. Since I have my own mimeograph machine, I can do a column today... but as I have every day, I would like nothing better than to work with you to declare victory. Otherwise we'll have a new website, www.latimesbias.org up by tomorrow
[As of Sunday, it's still "under construction]...

Sincerely, Susan

Don't try to push me around girlie
From: Kinsley, Michael
To: Susan Estrich

Susan - We don't run letters from 50 people, and we don't succumb to blackmail. So we won't be publishing your letter. I would actually like to run an essay by you in our Outside the Tent column (the one Mickey kicked off a few weeks ago), but even that would look like blackmail if we did it now. So that's out too, for the moment.

I don't want a fight any more than you say you do - and we are both pissed off today. So I suggest we wait a few weeks (say, three) and then let's talk about an Outside the Tent. (It would be subject to the usual editing, of course - but not to dull your point, since the whole purpose of this column is criticism of the Times.) Or if you'd rather write a letter to the editor in two or three weeks, please write it and sign it yourself. You can say in the text that it is endorsed by whatever number of others.

How dare you accuse me of blackmail
From: Susan Estrich
To: Kinsley, Michael

You owe me an apology. NO one tried harder to educate you about Los Angeles, introduce you to key players in the city, bring to your attention, quietly, the issues of gender inequality than I did - and you have the arrogance and audacity to say that you couldn't be bothered reading my emails, spending time in the city where all of us are raising our families ... and then we should stop our efforts because you're "pissed off."

I am not engaged in blackmail, and I find that Suggestion to be highly offensive and insulting, and I am certain the many prominent women who have signed the letter would also agree. Far from being "pissed off," I believe I have conducted myself with admirable restraint because of our past relationship and my honest concerns for your health. I am not aware of any policy against jointly signed letters, nor has one been pointed out to me. You were quite aware of what I was doing, and to spring the policy this morning is bad faith, short and simple.

I was told that in order to have a letter published Sunday, it had to be submitted by today. My suggestion that your publishing it would be better (for you too) than my having to go outside somehow constitutes me blackmailing you is so outlandish that it underscores the question I've been asked repeatedly in recent days, and that does worry me, and should worry you: people are beginning to think that your illness may have affected your brain, your judgment, and your ability to do this job. The fact that you were not in Los Angeles all week hardly helps matters, nor does the fact that you don't return phone calls. You are making things worse for yourself.

My point wasn't blackmail, Michael, it was that if you prefer me to conduct this discussion outside your pages, and make it into an even bigger fight, that makes you look even more afraid and more foolish, and angers every woman who signed a temperate letter that you are now refusing to publish. So be it. I now have powerful businesswomen and community leaders, professors and developers and talent agents and managers and journalists, students at the high school, college and law school level, and teachers involved in this effort. For the young women, I hope it's a lesson in how you can make change happen if you're willing to stand up to people who call you names, and reach out to other women, and not get scared and back down. If you recall, I wrote a book about that, called Sex and Power. It's what I have spent my whole life doing. The older I get, the clearer I am about all of our obligations to make a contribution during the brief time we have on this earth. Add that to the commitment those of us who have signed this letter share towards the community that is our home, where we are raising our children, living our lives, trying to deal with the real problems this city faces (not shrunken female minds), and the idea that I would somehow say STOP now because Michael is pissed off and has offered me some onetime column down the road when he's not mad anymore is just absurd; it would make a mockery of everything I stand for.

Do the right thing for your sake ...

That's it I am taking my ball and going home<]b>
From: Kinsley, Michael
To: Susan Estrich

Susan - Your mischaracterizations of what I wrote to you are farcical, as anyone can plainly see from reading the whole string. But your references to "concern for [my] health" are disgusting. Consider my invitation to write for the Times when things calm down rescinded. John Carroll
[the LAT's editor] agrees.

Larry Summers should hire Kinsley to respond to his feminist critics for him. All of Summers' groveling and apologizing have just made them scent fear and pile on further. At least Kinsley's having fun, although I'm sure he'll give in and set up a hidden gender quota eventually.