The American “shock jock” radio host Michael Savage, who was included on a Home Office list of 16 people banned from entering the country, last night urged his listeners to boycott Britain. He told his audience that Americans should not travel to Britain or buy British goods, and delivered a personal message to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, who made the decision to include him on the list of unwanted foreigners: “Unless you remove my name forthwith, unless you admit you made a mistake, I will bring a major libel suit against you personally and I will win.”
Mr Savage opened fire on the Home Secretary on the conservative news website WorldNetDaily, where he said that his message to her and the British people was: “Shame on you. Shame that you’ve fallen to such a low level.”
“It’s interesting to me that here I am, a talk show host who does not advocate violence, who advocates patriotic traditional values — borders, language, culture — who is now on a list banned in England.
“What does that say about the Government of England? It says more about them than it says about me.” Mr Savage, 67, said that he had no plans to travel to Britain, which he last visited more than 20 years ago, and joked to the San Francisco Chronicle: “My first thought was, damn, there goes the summer trip where I planned to have my dental work done. [Britain's dental care is so bad that some Britons have been forced to pull out their own teeth with pliers] My second thought was, darn, there goes my visit to the restaurants of England for their great cuisine.” [British food preparation can be unbelievably bad]
Yesterday the Home Office faced further criticism as it emerged that most of the 15 other people on the list had not attempted to visit Britain either.
Appearing alongside Mr Savage on the list are Yunis al-Astal, the Hamas MP, and the Jewish extremist Mike Guzovsky, two leaders of a violent Russian skinhead gang, the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Stephen “Don” Black and the neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe.
Two of them are serving 20-year jail sentences in Russia, and a Home Office spokesman admitted that people placed on the list had not necessarily intended or sought to come to Britain. He said that Ms Smith placed people on the list after receiving submissions from officials.
Last night, in an apparent attempt to counter Mr Savage’s criticism, one of Mrs Smith’s aides released a series of quotes from the DJ as proof of his history of making “outrageous and deeply offensive remarks”.
Listed among Mr Savage’s statements was the view that “children’s minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia”, and he told listeners that they faced a choice with regard to Muslims as to whether “we disappear or we die. Or would you rather they (Muslims) disappear and they die?”
Mark Stephens, of the London law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, said: “He would seem to have a very good case. The people on the list who have been banned are supposed to be advocating extreme violence and so to put him into that category is clearly defamatory.”
They're still attacking a beautiful Christian lady
Miss California Carrie Prejean could be stripped of her title after organisers say she breached her contract by keeping topless photos secret. In April Ms Prejean made headlines at the Miss USA beauty pageant with her outspoken opposition to gay marriage, which she says cost her that title. Ms Prejean says the publication of the pictures were an attempt to silence her for "defending traditional marriages".
A spokesman for the pageant said her disqualification was being discussed. Apart from not being up front over the semi-nude pictures which appeared on an internet site, organisers of the Miss California USA pageant say Carrie Prejean also breached her contract by appearing unauthorised in commercials.
Ms Prejean said in a statement she posed for the photos which show her topless but with her arm covering most of her breast when she was 17, hoping to become a lingerie model. She described the publication of the pictures as an attempt to "openly mock me for my Christian faith". "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos," she said.
Roger Neat, a spokesman for the Miss California USA pageant, said organisers and lawyers were "going over the legalities and clearly she breached her contract". Talks with the runner-up in the Miss California competition were being held, to discuss "the possible next steps".
During the Miss USA pageant last month Carrie Prejean said she believed that "a marriage should be between a man and a woman". Last week Ms Prejean announced that she would star in new $1.5m ad campaign funded by the National Organization for Marriage, a group that is opposed to same-sex marriage.
Steve Sailer comments on the latest shilly-shallying about IQ
In "The Case for Colorblindness in the Age of Genetics," William Saletan responds to a John McWhorter post in The New Republic entitled "Lions and Sailers and Bears, Oh My!--Why Saletan Thinks We Should Keep the Black-White Performance Gap Under Wraps."Saletan writes:
McWhorter casually dismisses the less-intelligence theory and its blogger-advocate Steve Sailer, with whom I tangled yesterday. Why? Because McWhorter is confident that his alternative theory, based on language, can explain racial gaps in test scores. In his commentary on the New Haven case, McWhorter lays out the theory: Working-class blacks and whites communicate orally rather than in writing, and they're unfamiliar with the art of answering direct questions. I'm sure there's truth in this theory. But McWhorter offers no quantitative evidence for it. Nor does it address some of the most difficult evidence presented by proponents of the genetic theory: whites outscoring blacks even when the class factor skews the other way. In his rebuttal to my original article on the NAEP data, for instance, Sailer notes:
Here's the 2007 8th grade Reading scores broken down by race and income. White kids whose parents are so poor that they are eligible for the National School Lunch Program outscore affluent black kids by four points and affluent Hispanic kids by one point. The gap between poor whites and poor blacks is 19 points, and the gap among not poor whites and not poor blacks is 21 points. That's what you normally get—sizable racial gaps anyway you slice it.
Is Sailer a nice guy? No. Does he display an unhealthy interest in categorizing people by race or ethnicity? Yes. But the problem here isn't Sailer, James Watson, Charles Murray, or anybody else you feel like dismissing as a racist. [Whew! I dodged a bullet there. For a moment I thought he was going to lump me in with not only Charles Murray and James D. Watson, but also with Francis Crick, Arthur Jensen, William D. Hamilton, Ronald A. Fisher, Francis Galton, and Charles Darwin. Please don't throw me in that briar patch!] The problem is the evidence these people quote. Condemnation won't make it go away.
Don't get me wrong. Genetic and environmental explanations aren't mutually exclusive. In the case of IQ, everybody accepts environmental factors, and there's plenty of evidence and argument against the hereditarian view. But that's just one battle in a larger war. Beyond the march of test scores, there's the onslaught of genetic research. We've already identified genes that correlate with traits and vary in prevalence between ethnic groups. Are you confident that intelligence will turn out to be exempt from this list? Confident enough to leave no backup plan, no understanding of equality that can withstand a partial role for heredity? Confident enough to keep tallying and reporting test scores by race? And if intelligence turns out not to vary genetically between groups, do you imagine that we'll get just as lucky with every other significant mental trait?
If you want to know why I keep writing about this subject, Mr. McWhorter, there's your answer. No, I don't care about the merit badge. I'm staring over your shoulder at an oncoming train. It starts with genomic differentiation of populations around the world, and that's just the locomotive. If you turn around and look, you'll see that the first few cars are already in view: genes that affect mental traits, genes that affect abilities, and variations between populations in the prevalence of these genes. No genetically distinguishable population will be spared. We're sitting in the path of this train, tied to the tracks by a literalist conception of equality that can't accept hereditary differences between group averages. I suggest we free ourselves.
Under these circumstances, do I think gaps between average white and black test scores should "shed less than positive light on black people"? No, I don't. Each of us should be judged by his own performance, not by a stereotype. Genetic variation between averages doesn't alter that moral truth. Nor does it give anyone an excuse.
Okay, but that's not how Barack Obama thinks, nor is it how the federal government think. For decades, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has enforced the Four-Fifths Rule:
"A selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths (4/5) (or eighty percent) of the rate for the group with the highest rate will generally be regarded by the Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact, while a greater than four-fifths rate will generally not be regarded by Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact."
In other words, if 50 percent of whites pass the test, 40 percent or more of each minority group must pass the test, or the burden of proof is on the employer to vindicate the selection process. This can be so expensive and uncertain that many employers just impose hiring and promotion quotas upon themselves.
The four-fifths rule is as the heart of the Ricci fireman's case.Really, Mr. Saletan should take up his argument with Mr. Obama.
NY: The Least Free State
A new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Freedom in the 50 States, is the most comprehensive effort to date to rank the states on how their public policies influence "individual freedom in the economic, social and personal spheres." It includes dozens of variables, from social and personal freedoms (such as parents' right to educate their own children) to regulatory freedom (such as the degree of occupational licensing requirements) to fiscal liberty (as measured, for instance, by states' debt burdens, which represent a constraint on future generations). Finishing dead last in the study's freedom index is New York State.
New York earns that dubious distinction "by a wide margin," the study reports. Businesses operating in the state won't be astonished to hear that its economic freedom is poor, thanks to a tentacular bureaucratic regulatory regime, a civil justice system that favors plaintiffs over defendants, and high taxes and crushing per-capita government debt. But New York's citizens, who like to consider themselves enlightened and socially permissive, might be surprised at how low their state ranks on the study's index of personal freedom--third from the bottom. That's because in New York, personal freedoms are often narrowly defined as liberties that Albany politicians deem suitable for citizens to enjoy. Otherwise, state policy is extremely restrictive. The study notes, for instance, that while New York has liberal gambling laws, regulations on home schooling are extensive, eminent-domain laws are confiscatory, and mandates on health insurance limit New Yorkers' choices.
What are the consequences of New Yorkers' lack of freedom? The best way to judge is to look at the collective condition of the states with the worst rankings. Joining New York at the bottom of the index is New Jersey, in 49th place, followed by Rhode Island and California. Together, New York, New Jersey, and California face some $65 billion in budget deficits in 2009, amounting to more than two-thirds of the budget gaps faced by all 50 states. These states' stratospheric spending and taxes have stifled economic growth and left them scarily unprepared for the economic downturn.
Job growth has been lousy, too. New Jersey has just completed a decade of virtually no private-sector job gains, even during the boom years that preceded today's steep recession. Meantime, Rhode Island's unemployment rate is the third-highest in the country, followed by California's. The bottom-ranking states have also gained reputations as the places that citizens most want to flee. California, New Jersey, and New York (and Rhode Island, too, relative to its small population) have among the highest levels in the country of domestic out-migration--that is, leaving one state for another.
What a contrast with the study's freest states: New Hampshire, Colorado, South Dakota, Idaho, and Texas. All have unemployment rates at or below the national average (New Hampshire's is 5.1 percent, or 3 points below the nation's, according to February's Labor Department statistics). Every one of these states is also a net winner in terms of domestic migration, with far more U.S. citizens entering than leaving.
The Mercatus study makes clear that what ails New York cannot be boiled down to any one of its curbs on freedom, whether it's a high income-tax rate, restrictions on development, or a bureaucratic licensing regime. Rather, New York suffers from the vise grip that Albany's politicians have on life in general. Reform, therefore, won't be as simple as cutting a tax or eliminating a regulation. New York needs fundamental change that makes the state democratic again, and it needs reform candidates willing to push for that change.
Such candidates would battle to remove the right of legislative redistricting from state lawmakers--who protect themselves when they draw voting districts so that 98 percent of them get reelected--and give it to a nonpartisan commission, charged with redrawing districts to make them competitive again, as states like Iowa and Arizona have done. A reform agenda might also include instituting term limits to eliminate Albany's lifetime sinecures, as well as adding greater transparency to state and local government operations by making expenditures and contracts available in greater detail online, so that citizens can see firsthand how their tax dollars get spent.
Undemocratic and unfree countries often restrict the flow of their businesses to other, more appealing, places. Since New York State doesn't have that option, its long decline will continue--unless it has a new birth of freedom.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.