URLs du Jour


  • Crazy Rich Asians. A tweet summarizing a recent Forbes article (via Marginal Revolution).

    That's impressive. In a sense.

  • Don't Confuse Us With Facts. Patterico donned his green eyeshade to answer a tough question: Police Shootings Are Said to Be "Disproportionate" for Certain Groups . . . But Disproportionate to What?.

    The Washington Post databasedatabase of police shootings explains that one of the core beliefs behind the creation of the database is the “fact” that police are shooting black people (and Hispanics) at a “disproportionate” rate.

    Although half of the people shot and killed by police are White, Black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of White Americans. Hispanic Americans are also killed by police at a disproportionate rate.

    But why does the Post define what is “disproportionate” by reference to the percentage of black (or Hispanic) Americans in the population at large? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask what percentage of the population that poses a deadly threat to police is black or Hispanic?

    Spoiler up front:

    What if I told you that roughly 34% of unarmed victims of fatal police shootings are black — but 37% of known killers of police are black? Wouldn’t you conclude that police officers are killing unarmed black folks at a slightly lower rate than is justified by the actual threat black people are posing to police officers?

    I think you would.

    And, as you may have guessed, that is the reality in which we live . . . as I am about to show you.

    Click though for his (very detailed) analysis. He seems to be very careful to avoid obvious fallacies, and I'm pretty sure there's not an ounce of racial animus in his body.

  • … But We Can't Send Him Right Now. In a post headlined We Can Send a Man to the Moon . . . Kevin D. Williamson notes a double standard:

    I know there’s a touch of “Get off my lawn!” in these posts, but there is, I think, a radical disconnect at work in a world in which 1) the people in Washington cannot figure out how to fix roads and bridges and conduct ordinary business without sending the nation into unprecedented debt and 2) scientists are using algae protein and magic goggles to partially restore the sight of blind people.

    One of these points to a model of the world that works, and the other points to one that doesn’t.

    Not necessarily in that order.

  • I Went To College To Major In Dishonest Euphemism. George F. Will points out Today’s anti-Asian racism usually disguises itself as ‘diversity’.

    In 1862, when the nation had bigger problems, a California congressman advocated a tariff on a particular rice favored by Chinese immigrants he called people of “vile habits, impossible of assimilation” who “swarm by thousands to our shores, like the frogs of Egypt.” Today’s anti-Asian racism is usually expressed in less sulfurous language — in the progressive patois of a “culture” of “diversity.”

    Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ), a selective STEM magnet school with a national reputation for excellence, has what the school board in suburban Fairfax County, Va., considers a problem: Too many Asian American students excel on the admission test. The current TJ student body is 73 percent Asian American, 17.7 percent White, 3.3 percent Hispanic or Latino, 1 percent Black and 6 percent other. So, the board has decided to eliminate the test. Admissions will be based on a “holistic” assessment of applicants, meaning whatever admissions officials want it to mean.

    And there will be limits on the number of admissions from particular middle schools. The four that usually produce a majority of TJ admissions have higher Asian American populations than most other middle schools. A complaint by some TJ parents says: “By severely limiting the number of students who can be accepted at TJ from [these four] middle schools … future TJ classes will have a radically different racial composition, by design.”

    It's not hard to guess what TJ (and the other institutions using its methods) are really interested in teaching: the most important thing about you is your race.

  • Amtrak Delenda Est. Christian Britschgi notes its efforts to keep a wheezy technology alive: Amtrak Wants $75 Billion To Create More Money-Losing Routes.

    With "Amtrak Joe" at the helm, America's premier passenger rail service is going for broke with the release of its 15-year "Corridor Vision." The company's plan, which was published yesterday, calls for service improvements along 25 existing routes, the creation of another 39, and the expansion of service to 160 new cities across the country.

    To bring this vision into reality, the for-profit Amtrak is asking for $75 billion in new federal funding and the power to enforce the prioritization of its own passenger trains' movement on tracks owned by private freight rail companies.

    "Now is the time to invest in our country's infrastructure and future," said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn in a press release. "New and improved rail service has the ability to change how our country moves and provides cleaner air, less traffic and a more connected country."

    Note that part of the plan is to hobble rail freight, a part of American transportation infrastructure that actually works pretty well.