Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shocker: Women's rights do not bloom in Arab Spring

A recent episode of NPR's Talk of the Nation focused on the consequences of the "Arab Spring" one year out. In response to a caller's question about how the overthrow of ruling regimes has affected women's rights, a correspondent in Egypt replies:
I think it's an extremely important question [AE: I wish reporters like this Garcia-Navarro would be asked why, exactly, is a question like this "extremely important"? Surely there are many other potential consequences of the 'Arab Spring' that are of greater importance to the West than this one is.], and I think, you know, it depends on which country you're looking at, but across the board I think many women who were involved in the revolution, certainly in Libya, certainly in Egypt, they do feel that they - that it hasn't necessarily empowered them.
For one, the "women who were involved in the revolution" don't appear to have much influence over what is replacing the regimes they helped topple:
The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades. ...

A coalition of parties founded by the young leaders of the revolt that unseated Mr. Mubarak won only a few percent of the seats.

Upon news of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, Razib wrote:

Back in the heady days of the Arab Spring some commenters infected by revolutionary fervor would scoff at the purported Islamist sympathies of the people. What this goes to show is that enthusiasm and hope does not translate into reality. If secular liberals in Egypt bow before the principle of popularity, then they accept that it is right and proper that they present their throats to their new overlords. I don’t view this as an apocalypse. It is what it is. But it was predictable.
As are, I suspect, the prospects in Egypt and other Arab Spring countries for what in the Western worldview constitutes women's rights. The WVS probes respondents in participating countries about their feelings on multiple indicators of Western conceptions of women's rights. The following tables show responses from select Western nations and Muslim countries, and to provide a miscellaneous angle, Japan, collected from 2005-2008 (with the exception of the Egyptian response to the question on abortion, which was collected in 2000):

Agree that when jobs are scare, men should
have more right to them than women
Men
Women
United States
8.0%
5.6%
Great Britain
18.2%
14.4%
Canada
14.1%
14.4%
Germany
19.5%
16.3%
France
16.2%
19.8%
Japan
28.7%
25.8%
Malaysia
59.4%
38.7%
Turkey
58.8%
47.7%
Iran
75.1%
63.6%
Iraq
87.4%
80.6%
Egypt
93.1%
84.9%

Men make better business executives
than women do
Men
Women
United States
21.4%
11.7%
Great Britain
25.0%
9.5%
Canada
13.5%
9.4%
Germany
23.9%
10.2%
France
18.4%
10.5%
Japan
45.2%
29.0%
Malaysia
66.5%
42.6%
Turkey
59.5%
47.9%
Iran
85.6%
71.6%
Iraq
n/a
n/a
Egypt
89.2%
82.1%

Men make better political leaders
than women do
Men
Women
United States
27.2%
22.3%
Great Britain
26.2%
13.9%
Canada
20.5%
16.4%
Germany
25.2%
12.9%
France
24.3%
18.3%
Japan
51.9%
37.7%
Malaysia
77.4%
59.2%
Turkey
66.5%
56.2%
Iran
85.3%
71.9%
Iraq
92.2%
88.1%
Egypt
94.7%
90.1%

Approve of single motherhood
Men
Women
United States
49.0%
55.1%
Great Britain
28.9%
37.7%
Canada
44.0%
48.7%
Germany
33.3%
38.3%
France
59.6%
64.8%
Japan
20.6%
22.3%
Malaysia
16.9%
18.0%
Turkey
9.0%
8.0%
Iran
3.0%
2.3%
Iraq
n/an/a
Egypt
1.5%
2.0%

University is more important for
a boy than for a girl
Men
Women
United States
11.4%
4.5%
Great Britain
9.4%
4.5%
Canada
5.6%
4.3%
Germany
19.7%
10.2%
France
8.3%
5.3%
Japan
31.0%
18.8%
Malaysia
56.3%
36.1%
Turkey
22.3%
17.2%
Iran
64.2%
46.9%
Iraq
52.3%
46.0%
Egypt
46.7%
31.8%

Abortion is never justifiable
Men
Women
United States
24.4%
26.6%
Great Britain
20.2%
19.8%
Canada
25.0%
27.0%
Germany
15.0%
15.7%
France
12.8%
14.6%
Japan
15.2%
14.5%
Malaysia
40.7%
45.3%
Turkey
62.7%
61.6%
Iran
61.0%
61.6%
Iraq
83.6%
85.7%
Egypt
61.8%
50.9%

Turkey and Malaysia are considered religiously moderate Islamic countries, yet mainstream public sentiment on the items above (and on a whole host of other social issues) in these places are significantly to the right of the Republican party in the US, and of course public sentiment in more fervently Islamic countries like Iraq, Iran, and Egypt is more conservative still.

By way of example, the question on abortion is on a ten-point scale, with all but one of the possible responses allowing for abortion in at least some cases. The respective table above includes only the percentages of respondents who share Rick Santorum's view that it is never--even in the case of rape--justifiable for a woman to have an abortion. Throughout the Muslim Middle East and North Africa, majorities of both men and women feel the same way the "champion of the extreme anti-choice movement" in the US does.

The impression one gets from listening to major media organs in the US like NPR is that the putative rights of women are being squelched against their wishes. In reality, most women in Egypt don't want what the feminists in the West are selling. Four of five Egyptian women feel that men make better business executives than women do, and nine of ten feel the same way when it comes to political leaders. An overwhelming majority think that the workplace is a man's place before it is a woman's. Almost unanimously, single motherhood is censured. If a mainstream politician in the US were to express an opinion on any of these "women's rights" issues that most Egyptian women hold (and more power to them as far as I'm concerned--it's their country and their lives, not ours), it could easily spell the end of his political career.

WVS variables used: V44(1)(2-3), V59, V61, V62(1-2)(3-4), V63(1-2)(3-4), V204(1)(2-10), GENDER

Sunday, January 29, 2012

GSS on drug use and IQ

Inductivist points to a new article in the journal Intelligence that finds that recreational drug use and alcohol consumption correlate positively with intelligence up to a certain point before trending in opposite directions again at the right end of bell curve, the thought being that openness to experience is a personality trait that tends to be associated with higher IQ, and drug use is a way to open oneself up to more novel experiences.

I'm not sure how strong the correlations are or if the relationship holds for some type of alcohol consumption or recreational drug use versus abstention from all of them, or if the correlation holds in varying degrees for alcohol and each drug considered separately (only the abstract is freely accessible). Based on GSS responses and a United Health Foundation report, alcohol consumption and IQ appear to be positively correlated.

Recreational drug usage is a topic for which the GSS contains a relevant question as well, so why not see if it supports what the journal article found? The percentage of respondents who have ever injected illicit drugs by intelligence grouping*. To allow ample time for experimentation to have occurred, only those aged 30 or older are included. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2002 or later (n = 9,892):

Intelligence
Injected
Real Dumbs
4.0%
Pretty Dumbs
3.9%
Normals
3.5%
Pretty Smarts
3.2%
Really Smarts
2.3%

This doesn't include smoking weed, the most easily attainable and frequent form of recreational drug use in the US. That said, the modest relationship is, in contrast to the article's finding, inversely correlated with intelligence.

I wonder how important the specific drug in question is to detecting a relationship between usage and intelligence. Presumably crack cocaine users tend to be less intelligent than powdered users are (although as crack is a predominately black drug and powdered cocaine a predominately Hispanic one, neither may correlate positively with intelligence). I'd guess that meth use and intelligence, if anything, trend in opposite directions, as the stereotypical methhead is a rustic white prole of the lowest order. PCP, shrooms, LSD, and ecstasy, on the other hand, are fairly prevalent on college campuses. I know people who use or have used all of them, and they're mostly well-adjusted and intelligent folks. I don't have much of an impression one way or the other when it comes to heroin. The Chinese liked it and it seems pretty popular in Europe, but I'm aware of heroin users who are of cut from the same cloth as methheads, too.

Parenthetically, I've never had even the slightest desire to engage in illicit drug use of any kind. I've associated it with being sickly and desperate for as long as I can remember, and always avoided it without issue even during my formative years. On personality tests, I come up around the 40th percentile on openness, so that bit of built-in protection might help a little, too!

GSS variables used: EVIDU, WORDSUM, AGE(30-89)

* Respondents are broken up into five categories that come to roughly resemble a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wholesome Mormons

As someone of a conservative traditionalist bent, I find contemporary Mormonism encouraging. Not for its theological aspects--if I have a spiritual bone in my body, I've yet to find it--but instead for its practical expression. As Jack Cashill memorably said in response to a question about Mormonism's relationship to Christianity at a mock debate in which he played Mitt Romney, "We're socially conservative, baby-making married members of the middle class and we vote overwhelmingly Republican, so why worry about our theology when we're producing those kinds of results?" Of course, to someone who takes the tenets of his religion seriously, that response could come off as supercilious and flippant. Be that as it may, it captures my sentiments pretty well.

A recent report put out by Pew Research entitled "Mormons in America" accentuates my positive feelings. Some highlights:

- Mormons don't see the US as particularly 'structurally unjust'. Excepting perceived discrimination against themselves, Mormons detect less discrimination against every other protected class (and it can hardly be said that the PC aegis shields Mormonism) than the general public does.

- They're more content with the communities they live in than other Americans are. While only 38% of the public rates the communities they live in as "excellent", 52% of Mormons do. Given the high concentration of Mormons in Utah specifically and the Southwest more generally, this isn't especially surprising. The dictionary definition of "community":
A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
Mormons actually live in communities thus defined, rather than in multicultural hodgepodges lacking any sense of unity, where disparate members avoid one another and instead "hunker down", acting as "turtles" retreating into their shells.

- Younger Mormons are more conservative than their elders are, with 68% under the age of 50 identifying as conservative compared to 62% of those aged 50 and older. As the insultingly popular adage "If you're 20 and not a liberal, you have no heart; if you're 40 and a liberal, you have no brain" attests, the opposite is the case among the larger public.

In further contrast with broader American social trends, the more educated a Mormon is, the more religious he tends to be. While 90% of college-educated Mormons say their faith is "very important" to them, only 70% of Mormons with a high school education or less report the same.

- While Mormon positions on so-called hot button social issues like same-sex marriage have been highly publicized, Mormons are stoutly conservative on fiscal issues as well. The following table ranks several major religious traditions in the US by how favorably inclined they are towards pushing for a smaller government that provides fewer social services as opposed to a larger government that provides more social services by taking the percentages of adherents from each tradition who favor "smaller government, fewer services" and subtracting from it the percentages of adherents from that tradition who favor "bigger government, more services":

Religious affiliation
Small gov't score
Mormons
+55
Evangelical white Protestants
+51
Mainline white Protestants
+28
Catholics
+3
Unaffiliated
(4)
Black Protestants
(55)

- While Mormons often find themselves as the butt of jokes about polygamy, by a margin of 86%-2%, American Mormons overwhelmingly reject it as immoral (Gallup polling shows that among the general public, polygamy is similarly rejected as immoral, 91%-7%).

- Mormons take a harder line than the rest of the public does against other degenerate behaviors. The following table shows the percentages of Mormons and of the broader public who assert that the behaviors in question are immoral:

Immoral?
Mormons
Public
Sex between unmarried adults
79%
35%
Abortion
74%
52%
Drinking alcohol
54%
15%
Divorce
25%
29%

Well, if you're only allowed to hit it with your wife, you'd better be able to kick her to the curb if things don't work out. Man is a sexual animal, too.

- Mormons are more family-oriented and less career- and self-oriented than the rest of America is. The following table shows the percentages of Mormons and of the broader public who count the following goals as "one of the most important things in life":

Among the most important things in life
Mormons
Public
Being a good parent
81%
50%
Having a successful marriage
73%
34%
Living a very religious life
55%
20%
Being successful in a high-paying career
7%
9%
Having free time to relax and do the things you want to do
7%
10%

If the nuclear family is the building block of Western civilization, Mormons are better stewards of our venerable occidental traditions than the rest of us are.

- Sometimes pictures speak louder than words. This image is heart-warming in its own right (irrespective of whether or not the guy kneeling in the center is recognized):


Tangentially, in a post at Secular Right last October, Andrew Stuttaford wrote:
To an outsider, at least, Mormonism is clearly a part of the greater Christian family.
And not just to an outsider. Most people in the US feel the same way. By a 51%-32% margin, Americans consider Mormonism to be a "Christian religion".

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Which candidate gets the most beltway dollars?

++Addition++Noah offered some much needed guidance as to what geographic areas constitute "the beltway". Due diligence has now been done. I've cleaned up the FEC zip code areas to better reflect what the post was trying to show (and now more accurately does).

---

We hear plenty of grumbling from the conservative 'grassroots' about those referred to as Washington insiders, beltway conservatives, and the like. Before imploding, in fact, Herman Cain explicitly billed himself as a political outsider who would "bring change to Washington!"

One way to measure insider status is to look at where campaign donations are coming from. Having recently familiarized myself with the FEC's useful website, the following table ranks (current and former) presidential candidates by the percentage of contribution dollars for each campaign that have come from people and organizations inside of Washington DC and also from Montgomery County on the Maryland side and Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria on the Virginia side, where much of the influence and affluence in the nation's capital actually resides:

Presidential candidate
DC dollars
1. Newt Gingrich
4.61%
2. Rick Santorum
3.93%
3. Barack Obama
3.81%
4. Mitt Romney
3.08%
5. Tim Pawlenty
2.23%
6. John Hunstman
2.23%
7. Gary Johnson
1.79%
8. Rick Perry
1.37%
9. Charles 'Buddy' Roemer
1.16%
10. Ron Paul
0.52%
11. Herman Cain
0.34%
12. Michelle Bachmann
0.29%

Indeed, despite his past as a lobbyist, Cain appears to be quite the outsider. Other outcasts in the eyes of the Republican establishment--Bachmann and Paul--round out the rest of the bottom. Gingrich, while not especially popular within DC itself, still appears to have many friends and fans inside the beltway (in addition, of course, to the many enemies he has there). Rick Santorum's beltway share stands out more than anyone other candidate's does--is it due to a strong contingent of "religious right" influence peddlers in DC having gotten behind Santorum? I'm (now!) surprised to find that the percentage of Obama's campaign dollars coming from the seat of federal power is not higher than every single one of his Republican challenger's percentages. Alas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Which presidential candidates do lobbyists like?

Having a little more fun at the FEC website, I calculated the total dollar amounts received by presidential candidate through the end of November 2011 from individuals* who listed "lobbyist" as their occupations:

Presidential candidate
Lobbyist $
1. Rick Perry
$25,500
2. Tim Pawlenty
$11,770
3. Newt Gingrich
$11,500
4. Mitt Romney
$8,000
5. Rick Santorum
$3,000
6. Herman Cain
$2,500
7. Barack Obama
$1,150
8. Jon Hunstman
$500
9. Michelle Bachmann
$250
10. Charles "Buddy" Roemer
$100

Enjoying the influence that the governor of a large state does (or to a lesser extent the recent governor of a middling sized one) helps get the professional special pleaders to open their wallets up. So does having a long history of political consultancy work. Lest one think that being the current POTUS pales in comparison, Obama absolutely cleans up among those occupationally describing themselves as activists, garnering an astounding $36,128 of the $36,515--or 99%--that they have contributed thus far.

The astute reader may notice a conspicuous absence in the table above. Not a single self-described lobbyist has given Ron Paul a dime.

As for the seemingly trivial dollar amounts considered given the weightiness of the position being sought after, beyond rhetorically asking how many readers have made presidential campaign contributions of their own (not many I suspect--I certainly haven't--and we're intellectually vested in and follow this stuff a lot more closely than the general public does), the best I'm able to do is defer to Steve Sailer's reaction to Sheldon Adelson's $5 million dollar donation to a pro-Gingrich political action committee:
Is $5 million really headline news in politics these days? I feel very naive about this because I have no clue what the real deal is, but I've long noticed that when I'm reading stories about the political contributions of heavy hitters like Adelson and Haim Saban, the numbers tossed around about their donations don't seem all that staggering. Now, T. Boone Pickens giving $165 million to get Oklahoma State almost into the BCS title game -- that's significant money. But $5 million sounds like what some used car dealer ponies up to get his college football team's weight room refurbished, not the kind of serious moolah that may determine the course of American history. Reading these articles, I feel like I'm in that scene in Austin Powers where Dr. Evil is defrosted after 30 years and threatens to blow up the world if he's not given "One. Million. Dollars!"
* Consequently, PACs, political parties, and candidates' self-financed contributions are excluded. These excluded sources are, however, modest--some 98% of direct donations to 2012 presidential campaigns have come from individuals.

A Roissy by any other name

Today Roissy (look, if I start writing "Heartiste, the artist formerly known as Roissy", the next time I step onto the field I'll have to expect the divine justice I receive when someone inevitably drubs my faggy ass!) wrote on the comparability of benefits received from marriage and long-term cohabitation, pointing to a previous post here as evidence of what happens when that comparability is ignored. My response follows.

---

My man,

I realize you’re making a rhetorical point, and I even appreciate a little condescension because it points a lot of your readers my way, but I’m certainly aware of your concerns re: the GSS. Here’s the brief post preceding the one you linked to, in response to the assertion that marriage means, as you so eloquently phrase it, “crossed arms and clamped pussies”:

In aggregate, of course, married men get more sex than unmarried men do. But that’s because the latter category is dragged down by men who are unattractive or uninterested in women.

What about those guys who are able to successfully play the field? In addition to variety, do they also enjoy greater frequency? Among those aged 22-36, sexual frequency for married men (4.15) is marginally higher than it is for unmarried men who have racked up double-digit counts (4.10).

Getting married will tend to net you about the same amount of snatch time as a go getter gets. The treasure chest won’t be clamped shut, though your prize won’t glitter as much.

GSS variables used: YEAR(2000-2008), AGE(22-36), SEX(1), MARITAL(1)(2-5), NUMWOMEN(10-250)

I don’t have a dog in the fight, I just like rummaging through the data. But if, instead of writing primarily for and to the benefit of silver-tongued alphas as you do, we think of the above as being relevant to a broader and presumably majority-beta audience, the point that marriage (or long-term commitment, if you prefer–marriage just happens to be the only reliably way to track it in broad-based social surveys of which the GSS is the best of the best) does generally offer men who aren’t adept at playing the field a tolerable sexual lifestyle is at least worth considering.

Your filter, and your subsequent reactions to the things that come in through it, aren’t universally productive upon reception, even if they are perfectly valid for your target audience. By way of analogy, you’re like the entrepreneur who offers tips for the self-employed to make them more successful in their ventures while simultaneously belittling the poor suckers who go work for someone else. But a lot of those corporate cogs don’t have what it takes to run their own businesses and, despite your best advice, are staring down economic ruin if they go the route you prescribe. Many of them will be better off working for someone else. As someone who is grounded in the realities of HBD, it’s difficult for me to conceive it being otherwise.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Intelligence and depression

OneSTDV wonders:
There's some controversy over whether higher intelligence and depression correspond. From reading the "intellectual" sphere, generally defined as people who engage in self-analysis, one would surely conclude that such a correlation exists.
Arriving at this conclusion, unfortunately, demonstrates how problematic relying on a few anecdotal data points to arrive at generalized conceptions often is. On top of a prohibitively small sample size, selection bias is also at work here. Robert Lindsay summarizes the relevant scientific literature as follows:
Careful studies have shown that the high IQ basket case is a myth. Studies of very high IQ types have found that in general, as IQ rises, so does mental health. Why this is is not known.
The GSS shows that the least intelligent are the most likely to view life as being devoid of meaning. It's not difficult to imagine why this is the case, whether one employs a Maslow-esque hierarchy of needs where those of modest intelligence tend to be found near the base and the more intelligent closer to the top, or one simply realizes that those on the left end of the bell curve are generally incapable of thinking abstractly.

OneSTDV contrasts "cloudy skies" depression (which might be defined as feeling blue) from the sort of existential depression that a person is susceptible to if he dwells too much on the "relative scale of humanity in the context of our universe". We've seen evidence that argues against the assertion that existential depression and intelligence are correlated. Propitiously, the GSS also provides an item to gauge the more mundane "cloudy skies" depression. Since 2002, it has asked respondents how often they've experienced mental health problems (which include, but are not limited to, depression) over the last 30 day period. The averages (means), by intelligence grouping* (n = 2,537):

Intelligence
Blue days
Real Dumbs
3.7
Pretty Dumbs
3.7
Normals
4.1
Pretty Smarts
3.4
Really Smarts
3.3

Not much variance in the averages here. About the only thing that might be suggested is that higher intelligence may provide a bit of resistance to melancholy.

GSS variables used: WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10), MNTLHLTH, NIHILISM

* Respondents are broken up into five categories that come to roughly resemble a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Campaign contributions by candidate from US military personnel

Reading Mangan's recent post contrasting the top sources of campaign contributions for the Romney and Paul presidential campaigns, I was surprised to find that the Texas congressman's three largest boosters are the Army, Air Force, and Navy. As Dennis points out, the lists compiled by OpenSecrets.org are comprised of donations from employees, family members, and organizations' political action committees, not from the actual organizations themselves.

Ron Paul is described as the "isolationist" (an absurdly inaccurate term to use in describing a vociferous free trade supporter such as Paul) candidate who wants to reduce the size of the US military's global footprint and substantially cut federal spending on defense. Pundits of the mainstream Republican establishment, who must now bite their tongues when they talk about Paul upon the realization that without Paul's supporters a GOP victory in November is virtually unattainable, have in the past expressed no reservations in labeling him an "anti-American". It's noteworthy, then, that those who actual serve in the US military appear to be among his most ardent supporters.

Mangan's post, however, reveals that Romney's tenth largest contributor has donated nearly five times as much as Paul's largest contributor has. So maybe the military branches are just further down Romney's list but still give more to Mitt and the other candidates than they do to Paul.

To find out whether or not that's the case, I went to the FEC's website and downloaded the entire donor listings for all individuals who listed "Army", "Navy", "Marines", or "Air Force" as their employer or occupation through the end of November 2011 (the latest figures available). The following table ranks all 2012 presidential (current and former) aspirants who have received campaign contributions from members of the US military by the amount of money each has received:

Presidential candidate
$ received
1. Ron Paul
$80,500
2. Barack Obama
$71,492
3. Mitt Romney
$12,700
4. Rick Perry
$7,575
5. Herman Cain
$7,318
6. Michelle Bachmann
$7,157
7. Newt Gingrich
$1,375
8. John Huntsman
$1,250
9. Gary Johnson
$750
9. Rick Santorum
$750
11. Charles 'Buddy' Roemer
$735
12. Thaddeus McCotter
$250
13. Tim Pawlenty
$250

Paul has garnered twice as much in donations for his presidential campaign from military personnel as the rest of the Republican field combined. Even president Obama, who owns the Democratic ticket, comes in below him.

I'd love to hear how Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity would react if questioned about why we should ignore what the "troops on the ground" are saying about the direction of our foreign policy and what needs to be done to change it. Of course we'll hear instead about the need to rally behind someone who supports the military and is strong on defense without a word on how those in the military actually feel about him.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Directions for Republicans on how to take cyanide

The strategy is as simple as it is obvious as it is disingenuous. Continue to urge Republicans to abandon immigration restrictionism and instead Hispander at full bore. It's inevitable that Hispanics are going to continue growing not only in absolute numbers but also as a share of the US population, so best not to do anything to offend them:
Mitt Romney "is done," said DeeDee Blase, founder of Somos Republicans in Arizona. "He'll be lucky to get 8 percent of the Hispanic vote" after saying he would veto legislation that would create a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants and accepting the endorsement of anti-immigration activist Kris Kobach, architect of two of the strongest immigration crackdown laws in the country.

The GOP front-runner, Romney has referred to the legislation — called the DREAM Act — as a handout.
The fact that Hispanics are more concerned about a host of other issues than they are about immigration aside, this putative inevitability is of course evitable with the enforcement of immigration laws and the halting of illegal immigration from across the US-Mexico southern border:
The government projects Hispanics will account for roughly 30 percent of the population by 2050, doubling in size and boosting their political power. Overall, Hispanics traditionally tilt Democrat, meaning the Republican Party is looking at a threat to their future power if they don't work to make inroads with this politically pivotal group now.
Eating low-fat pudding is not the way to lose weight. If the margin on each additional sale is negative, a business can't make up the loss by increasing sales volume. It doesn't strike me as being overly cynical to presume that the leftists who prescribe this strategy for Republicans are fully aware that it will work to relegate the GOP to permanent minority status.

In a stunning display of amnesia, the AP article provides the following:
Some worry that this year's eventual GOP nominee won't fare much better than McCain four years ago — and may fare worse — if candidates don't soften the way they talk about immigration.
McCain, of course, was co-sponsor of the 2007 Senate amnesty bill, relentlessly courted Hispanics and chastised restrictionists in his own party, and barred those who took a tough line on illegal immigration from the 2008 Republican nominating convention. He was the epitome of a Republican Hispanderer, and yet he still got his clock cleaned among Hispanics, 31%-67%. If most Hispanics are "natural Republicans" save for the party's stance on immigration, McCain would've been the perfect pol for them to rally around to mold the GOP in exactly the image they wanted. They did nothing of the sort though, as the list of reasons that Hispanics tend to vote Democratic is a long one, of which immigration is just one (and a relatively unimportant one at that) of many.

As for Romney, I'm feeling vindicated for having promoted him as far back as the 2008 presidential primary season as a relatively hard-line restrictionist on the issue of illegal immigration. Kobach's endorsement is enough to get this guy to surprise himself by doing something other than throwing his vote away on a third party this November and instead supporting Mitt.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2011 NFL regular season wins and stat correlations

With the conference championships teed up for next weekend, here are correlations between several stats and wins during the 2011 NFL regular season. This isn't a sports blog, and I'm not making any audacious claims about being able to provide special insights. Just the raw correlations for entire teams here, next to the same for last year for comparative purposes:

Offense
2011
2010
2009
Team passer rating
.79
.68
.81
Team points scored
.77
.71
.88
Yards gained per pass play
.72
.49
.80
Total yards gained
.63
.49
.77
1st downs
.61
.51
.70
Total yards gained per play
.60
.43
.81
Pass yards gained
.59
.30*
.68
Turnover ratio
.56
.72
.69
Time of possession
.55
.61
.46
3rd down conversion %
.53
.64
.64
QB hits allowed
(.40)
(.31)*
(.53)
Sacks allowed
(.29)*
(.26)*
(.53)
4th down conversion %
.26*
(.05)*
.25*
Rush attempts
.19*
.48
.12*
Pass attempts
.17*
(.06)*
.14*
Yards gained per rush play
(.10)*
(.05)*
(.09)*
Rush yards per game
(.07)*
.35
.04*
Total team penalty yards
.04*
(.08)*
.11*
Offensive penalty yards
(.03)*
(.11)*
.04*
Pass:Run ratio
(.01)*
(.31)
.02*
Special teams



Average net punt
.38
(.08)
.27*
Average yards gained per kick return
.38
.23*
.05*
Average kickoff distance
.26*
.08*
.32
Average kickoff return yards allowed
(.11)*
(.13)*
.15*
Field goal %
.07*
.08*
.03*
Defense



Rushing yards allowed per game
(.60)
(.56)
(.58)
Points allowed per game
(.58)
(.72)
(.68)
Opponent's passer rating
(.56)
(.54)
(.47)
Yards allowed per pass play
(.35)
(.49)
(.57)
4th down conversion % given up
(.33)
.03*
(.30)
Passing yards allowed per game
.28*
(.13)*
(.24)*
3rd down conversion % given up
(.18)*
(.13)*
(.23)*
Sacks made
.15*
.30
.41
Defensive penalty yards
.13*
(.01)*
.14*
1st downs given up per game
(.10)*
(.43)
(.45)
Total yards allowed
(.09)*
(.47)
(.56)
Yards allowed per play
(.09)*
(.32)
(.54)
Yards allowed per rush
(.05)*
(.16*)
(.33)

* not statistically significant at 90% confidence

Quarterbacks are king. Teams that move the ball through the air, win. Teams that can't, don't. The difference between having a play maker with a rifle for an arm like Jay Cutler and a dud like Caleb Hanie is starting off 7-3 and finishing 1-5. Need we even mention Peyton Manning?

The 2011 season felt to this fan more like 2009, which Steve Sailer deemed the year only passing mattered, than it did 2010. Indeed, the correlation with wins and the statistics presented above between the 2011 and 2009 seasons is .84, even more rigorous than the .76 correlation between 2011 and 2010.

OneSTDV, on why the NFL is the most popular sports league in the US:
The NFL is now the ultimate sports behemoth, perhaps as a result of helmets and pads covering up black superstars and whites still dominating the marquee positions of QB and head coach.
I'm unclear as to how strong the relationship between professional sports players' demographics and the popularity among the public of the sports they play is. The NHL and MLS are both a lot whiter than the NFL while remaining far less popular than that football behemoth is. Over the last few decades, the MLB has become increasingly non-black and yet has experienced a long-term decline in popularity not just among blacks but also among whites to such an extent that football, not baseball, now clearly deserves to be referred to as America's favorite pastime. But it's hard to argue that in football's most important position, whites are in fact overrepresented relative to racial composition of the country as a whole.

While assertions that "defenses win championships" inevitably abound during postseason play, the offensive correlations are considerably and consistently stronger*. That total rushing yards allowed--not yards per attempt, but total run yards given up--correlates more strongly with wins than any other defensive stat does says a lot about offensive predominance. When defenses give up a lot of rushing yards in a game, it's often because the opposing team spent a good chunk of the second half on the ground to burn off the clock and avoid costly turnovers while protecting an early lead that the losing team's offense couldn't match.

To argue that offense matters more than defense does might seem like arguing that it only matters how hard your side pulls on the rope in tug-of-war, not how hard the other side does. Yet defenses in the NFL are mostly fungible. Tampa 2 is a bit of an exception, where the outsized importance of the middle linebacker is akin to the quarterback's, albeit to a lesser degree, but the phrase "cookie cutter" gets (over)used so often because it is accurately descriptive. If an offense can move the ball in the air against a standard NFL defense, that team is likely to be found still playing in January.

It's sometimes asserted that special teams are one-third of the game. It's not true in terms of duration and rarely feels like they are as important as downs from scrimmage. The table above confirms that feeling.

Turnovers and penalties? Turnovers, yes. Penalties, not so much. The Colts and Cowboys were the least penalized team in the league this year. The Raiders and Lions were the most penalized (even if penalties don't appear to be significant in the outcome of games, it is telling that the notoriously dirty Raiders and Detroit, which was embarrassingly chippy this season, accumulated the most fouls).

* Of course, especially stout defenses are still helpful. The Ravens and 49ers both have shots at the Super Bowl primarily because of the strength of their defenses (or, in the case of San Francisco, the astounding and league-leading +28 turnover ratio that continued in the upset against New Orleans). To oversimplify, next weekend features the Ravens and 49ers representing defensive primacy and the Giants and Patriots the power of offensive dominance. Should make for some enjoyable spectating!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Self-identified social class membership over time

In an essay adapted from the forthcoming Coming Apart:The State of White America, 1960–2010, Charles Murray writes:
Finally, there is the most lovable of exceptional American qualities: our tradition of insisting that we are part of the middle class, even if we aren’t, and of interacting with our fellow citizens as if we were all middle class.
Murray argues that this phenomenon is ceasing to exist, in what seems to be a natural outgrowth (via HBD chick) of the increasing cognitive stratification that characterizes the contemporary United States, something Murray and Herrnstein famously chronicled in The Bell Curve. Instead of each person viewing himself as being crowded halfway up the ladder alongside everyone else--or, better yet, together flipping the ladder on its side and taking seats next to one another on a long bench of equal height--many more find themselves at the top or bottom ends, the distance in between too wide for either end to see, let alone interact with, the other end.

Murray goes on to statistically detail a divergence between that top and bottom on a host of social indicators. I wondered if Murray's observations might also be detectable in the way that Americans self-identify themselves. The proceeding graph traces the percentages of whites aged 30-49 (to stick with the demographic Murray discusses) by the social class they see themselves belonging to from the early seventies to the present (click to the left of the image for greater resolution):


Overwhelming majorities of Americans think of themselves, in essentially equal numbers, as either working- or middle-class. Small minorities identify at the bottom of the heap or at the upper echelons, again in equal numbers, with a small divergence identifiable in the last few years, presumably due to the 'Great Recession'.

Of course, ideal behaviors and actual behaviors are rarely the same thing. Indeed, we see that on the whole, people have perceived themselves maintaining similar levels of social standing over the last four decades even as the criteria for evaluating said social standing tells a different story. Propositionalism alone isn't enough. It may be a necessary ingredient of American exceptionalism, but it isn't a sufficient one. As Francis Grund observed nearly two centuries ago:
No government could be established on the same principle as that of the United States, with a different code of morals. The American Constitution is remarkable for its simplicity; but it can only suffice a people habitually correct in their actions and would be utterly inadequate to the wants of a different nation.
GSS variables used: CLASS, RACE(1), AGE(30-49)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Changes in positions on social behaviors over time, by country

Thinking about Razib's post at Discover magazine and then responding to Razib's subsequent comments on the same, Parapundit's Randall Parker wonders how stable social values are across countries:
It occurs to me that stability in how countries poll in world values surveys is an argument against the idea that the world is inevitably going to become liberal.
There are changes in wording in most of the survey questions by wave (that is, years in which surveys were conducted), but there is quite a bit of consistent overlap in a section over how justifiable certain "hot button" social behaviors are. The number of countries participating picks up enough in the 1990-1991 wave (before that, the pickings are pretty sparse) to make comparisons to the most recent 2005-2008 wave. This 1990-1991 wave corresponds fairly closely with the "end of history" predicted by Francis Fukuyama, when all countries were predicted to be moving inexorably towards liberal democracy.

The following tables show the mean responses of survey participants by country in the 90-91 wave, the 05-08 wave, and the shift in mean score over that decade and a half time period, by social issue. All questions ask respondents how often they feel the behavior in question is justifiable, with potential answers on a 10-point scale ranging from "never justifiable" (1) to "always justifiable" (10). So the higher the score, the more liberal a country's population is. If a country's values have liberalized (which, in the context of this post, refers to the freedom of the individual to choose to behave however he pleases) over time, the result is a positive number in the last column. Conversely, if the country has become less liberalized, the number will be negative.

There are data for 26 countries in both waves, though Slovenia is not included in any of the proceeding tables*. The WVS is mostly populated by affluent, first-world countries, especially in the earlier waves, so the only Islamic representative is Turkey:

Claiming government benefits
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
1.9
3.6
1.7
Brazil
2.7
2.7
0.0
Bulgaria
1.8
2.2
0.4
Canada
1.9
1.9
0.0
Chile
4.1
4.3
0.2
China
1.7
3.3
1.6
Finland
4.7
2.1
(2.6)
France
3.5
3.1
(0.4)
Great Britain
1.8
2.2
0.4
India
1.8
3.1
1.3
Italy
2.0
1.6
(0.4)
Japan
2.0
2.1
0.1
Mexico
4.9
4.1
(0.8)
Netherlands
1.6
1.5
(0.1)
Norway
1.4
2.1
0.7
Poland
2.1
2.3
0.2
Romania
1.7
2.0
0.3
Russia
2.1
2.8
0.7
South Africa
2.3
2.6
0.3
South Korea
2.2
2.8
0.6
Spain
2.8
2.5
(0.3)
Sweden
1.6
1.9
0.3
Switzerland
1.9
1.5
(0.4)
Turkey
1.5
1.6
0.1
United States
1.9
2.3
0.4

One standard deviation is 2.7 points, so the average Mexican resident is two-thirds of one SD further to the left (that is, at about the 72nd percentile of the US distribution) than the average American is. Yet another argument free market libertarians should employ when clamoring for open borders!

It's in the European welfare states like Finland and France--where liberalism has been normative for the longest--where the most backsliding has taken place. In most countries though, there has been a moderate shift towards liberalism.

Someone accepting a bribe
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
1.1
1.4
0.3
Brazil
1.4
1.9
0.5
Bulgaria
1.5
1.9
0.4
Canada
1.6
1.6
0.0
Chile
1.5
1.7
0.2
China
1.3
1.7
0.4
Finland
1.6
1.6
0.0
France
2.1
2.2
0.1
Great Britain
1.5
1.6
0.1
India
1.4
3.0
1.6
Italy
1.6
1.3
(0.3)
Japan
1.8
1.5
(0.3)
Mexico
2.8
2.4
(0.4)
Netherlands
1.8
1.5
(0.3)
Norway
1.5
1.5
0.0
Poland
1.6
1.4
(0.2)
Romania
2.1
1.4
(0.7)
Russia
1.4
1.8
0.4
South Africa
2.1
2.4
0.3
South Korea
1.8
1.6
(0.2)
Spain
1.5
1.8
0.3
Sweden
1.6
2.0
0.4
Switzerland
1.5
1.5
0.0
Turkey
1.2
1.3
0.1
United States
1.5
1.7
0.2

One SD is 1.6 points. Public positions on bribery have held fairly steady since the collapse of communism, although to the extent that they've moved at all, it's been in a liberal direction everywhere except some of Europe's more corrupt countries, our neighbor to the south, and surprisingly, the Netherlands.

Homosexuality
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
3.0
5.3
2.3
Brazil
2.4
4.2
1.8
Bulgaria
1.8
4.1
2.3
Canada
4.1
5.7
1.6
Chile
1.8
4.9
3.1
China
1.2
1.6
0.4
Finland
4.4
5.9
1.5
France
3.9
6.5
2.6
Great Britain
3.5
5.7
2.2
India
1.2
3.0
1.8
Italy
3.6
3.3
(0.3)
Japan
2.4
4.8
2.4
Mexico
2.9
4.5
1.6
Netherlands
7.2
7.2
0.0
Norway
4.1
7.7
3.6
Poland
1.8
3.1
1.3
Romania
1.5
2.1
0.6
Russia
1.4
2.5
1.1
South Africa
2.3
3.0
0.7
South Korea
1.6
2.8
1.2
Spain
3.4
6.7
3.3
Sweden
4.5
8.4
3.9
Switzerland
4.2
7.3
3.1
Turkey
1.6
1.7
0.1
United States
3.1
4.6
1.5

One SD is 3.5 points. It's not just in the US where the legalization of same-sex marriage appears to be an inevitability. There has been a veritable worldwide shifting in moral perceptions of homosexuality in less than one generation, with the only countries holding the line against a rain of fire and brimstone being the Catholic stronghold of Italy and Muslim Turkey (well, perceptions among the Dutch have remained constant, but are coming from a position that was already very tolerant towards homosexuality). Turkey, along with China, is far less tolerant of homosexuality than the rest of the countries represented are.

Prostitution
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
2.1
4.1
2.0
Brazil
2.0
3.1
1.1
Bulgaria
2.2
3.0
0.8
Canada
3.4
3.3
(0.1)
Chile
1.8
3.5
1.7
China
1.2
1.4
0.2
Finland
4.3
3.1
(1.2)
France
3.2
3.4
0.2
Great Britain
3.1
3.9
0.8
India
1.5
3.1
1.6
Italy
2.5
2.4
(0.1)
Japan
1.9
2.0
0.1
Mexico
3.2
3.9
0.7
Netherlands
5.5
5.6
0.1
Norway
2.1
4.1
2.0
Poland
1.6
2.5
0.9
Romania
1.9
2.1
0.2
Russia
1.8
2.3
0.5
South Africa
2.1
2.5
0.4
South Korea
2.2
2.5
0.3
Spain
2.8
4.6
1.8
Sweden
2.1
3.1
1.0
Switzerland
3.7
5.1
1.4
Turkey
1.7
1.8
0.1
United States
2.4
3.2
0.8

One SD is 2.8 points. The world's oldest profession is seeing many of its modern objectors falling away, as positions on prostitution have become more liberalized in nearly every country surveyed, with Finland the one glaring exception. Again we see that positions in China and Turkey have moved very little over the time period.

Abortion
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
3.4
3.2
(0.2)
Brazil
2.5
2.4
(0.1)
Bulgaria
5.1
5.6
0.5
Canada
4.9
4.7
(0.2)
Chile
1.8
2.6
0.8
China
4.9
2.1
(2.8)
Finland
6.5
5.5
(1.0)
France
5.0
6.5
1.5
Great Britain
4.5
4.9
0.4
India
3.4
3.3
(0.1)
Italy
4.3
3.5
(0.8)
Japan
3.7
4.6
0.9
Mexico
3.8
3.2
(0.6)
Netherlands
5.2
5.5
0.3
Norway
5.0
6.7
1.7
Poland
3.2
3.0
(0.2)
Romania
4.9
3.3
(1.6)
Russia
4.5
4.1
(0.4)
South Africa
2.8
2.6
(0.2)
South Korea
4.2
3.5
(0.7)
Spain
4.1
5.5
1.4
Sweden
5.4
7.8
2.4
Switzerland
3.2
5.5
2.3
Turkey
4.2
2.3
(1.9)
United States
4.0
4.5
0.5

One SD is 3.1 points. As liberalism traipses across the globe, it gets tripped up on the issue of abortion. While many social conservatives in the US despair of what they perceive to be an abandonment of values at home, the moral trajectory of abortion is far less clear than it is of homosexuality.

China, where penalties can still result when an abortion is not undergone by Han who violate the one-child policy, has seen a significant shift towards a more pro-life position as the aberration that is the country's procreation-limiting policy has presumably become more widely understood by the Chinese populous.

Turkey, which has yet to show any liberalizing in sentiment, continues not to show any here.

It's tempting to think that birth dearths in countries where public sentiment has moved away from abortion rights like Russia, Romania, South Korea, and Italy is a result of said decline in fecundity, but there are other nations like Norway, France, and Spain that are well below replacement level fertility yet have nonetheless become more inclined towards abortion over the same period of time.

Divorce
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
5.8
6.5
0.7
Brazil
4.9
5.6
0.7
Bulgaria
4.5
6.4
1.9
Canada
5.6
6.0
0.4
Chile
3.5
6.0
2.5
China
4.8
2.7
(2.1)
Finland
7.2
6.8
(0.4)
France
5.6
6.9
1.3
Great Britain
5.3
6.4
1.1
India
2.7
3.9
1.2
Italy
5.2
5.0
(0.2)
Japan
4.9
6.4
1.5
Mexico
4.8
5.3
0.5
Netherlands
6.1
6.4
0.3
Norway
5.3
7.2
1.9
Poland
4.2
4.7
0.5
Romania
5.0
4.2
(0.8)
Russia
4.8
5.4
0.6
South Africa
3.5
3.9
0.4
South Korea
4.3
4.6
0.3
Spain
5.3
7.1
1.8
Sweden
6.3
8.4
2.1
Switzerland
4.8
6.9
2.1
Turkey
5.0
3.4
(1.6)
United States
4.9
5.8
0.9

One SD is 3.1 points. Most countries have been moving in a liberal direction with two notable--and now familiar--exceptions; Turkey and China. Of course, with one-sixth of the world's population, when China moves one direction, even if the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction, it's tough to sell the change as inexorable on the world stage. What about India and Brazil, two other non-Western and non-East Asian countries with large populations? On abortion, they both have treaded water. On all the other social issues considered thus far, they've shifted in a liberal direction (as have Argentina and Chile, the other two Latin American countries represented in the WVS).

Euthanasia
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
3.2
4.0
0.8
Brazil
2.7
3.5
0.8
Bulgaria
3.5
5.6
2.1
Canada
5.0
5.3
0.3
Chile
2.7
3.7
1.0
China
6.7
3.3
(3.4)
Finland
6.2
5.8
(0.4)
France
5.2
6.8
1.6
Great Britain
4.7
6.1
1.4
India
3.3
3.9
0.6
Italy
3.6
3.9
0.3
Japan
5.3
6.5
1.2
Mexico
4.2
4.3
0.1
Netherlands
5.9
6.3
0.4
Norway
4.2
5.6
1.4
Poland
2.1
3.4
1.3
Romania
3.5
3.0
(0.5)
Russia
3.6
5.3
1.7
South Africa
3.3
3.2
(0.1)
South Korea
n/a
n/a
n/a
Spain
3.9
5.6
1.7
Sweden
5.0
6.7
1.7
Switzerland
5.2
6.6
1.4
Turkey
3.0
2.8
(0.2)
United States
4.2
4.9
0.7

One SD is 3.3 points. On what social conservatives deem "sanctity of life" issues in the US, China has markedly shifted away from a liberal position. Turkey again shows no evidence of liberalization. South Africa, the only sub-Saharan African country represented, has, excepting abortion, become more liberal on all the issues considered thus far. When it comes to euthanasia, however, South Africans, along with the Turks, have not undergone any change in public sentiment.

Suicide
90-91
05-08
Change
Argentina
1.7
2.3
0.6
Brazil
1.4
1.8
0.4
Bulgaria
2.3
2.5
0.2
Canada
2.9
2.8
(0.1)
Chile
1.7
2.3
0.6
China
2.6
1.8
(0.8)
Finland
3.8
3.3
(0.5)
France
3.8
3.8
0.0
Great Britain
3.2
3.8
0.6
India
1.6
3.4
1.8
Italy
2.1
2.1
0.0
Japan
2.7
2.9
0.2
Mexico
3.2
2.6
(0.6)
Netherlands
4.4
3.8
(0.6)
Norway
2.6
3.4
0.8
Poland
2.2
2.3
0.1
Romania
1.9
1.5
(0.4)
Russia
2.2
2.2
0.0
South Africa
2.1
2.4
0.3
South Korea
2.9
2.9
0.0
Spain
2.2
3.1
0.9
Sweden
3.4
4.4
1.0
Switzerland
3.0
4.6
1.6
Turkey
1.7
1.5
(0.2)
United States
2.2
2.8
0.6

One standard deviation is 2.9 points. There hasn't been an enormous amount of change in perceptions of suicide anywhere in the last 15 years, although the ratchet is turning towards liberalism in most countries, with China and Turkey again being notable exceptions.

Most of the data comes from the Westernized world, and there's little to dispute that in the West, the move towards liberalism has been a steady one since the lifting of the iron curtain, in the former Soviet Union as well as free Europe and the US. Only on abortion has Russian opinion moved away from liberalism. In Latin America, India, and to a lesser extent, South Africa, it has been the same story--excepting abortion, all have become more liberal.

China and Turkey, however, have conspicuously not. Turkey is more liberal (or in media parlance, more "moderate") than North Africa, which is in turn more liberal than Egypt and most of the Middle East. I'm certainly not qualified to say whether or not Turkey proxies well for the rest of the Muslim world in terms of liberalization of social mores, and Turkey has notoriously crept away from secularism over the last couple of decades, but it at least suggests that Randall's suspicion that the move towards liberalism is evitable may be accurate. And this century is going to be a Sinitic story much more than the last one was. If the Muslim world, where fertility is still high, and China, where wealth and worldwide influence are on the rise, are not liberalizing, liberalism's future is not too bright.

Parenthetically, this is hardly a novel concept. Pat Buchanan dealt with it in his invaluable The Death of the West, and Steve Sailer added to it in his review of Buchanan's book.

WVS variables used: V201, V202, V203, V204, V205, V206, V207

* There were obviously some errors in coding the Slovenian responses for the 05-08 wave, as I first became aware of a couple of years ago. The data corruption extends beyond the one item I initially noticed it on, as the responses for all of the justification questions are extreme outliers, with virtually every behavior being almost always justifiable if the WVS data are to be trusted (which I'm confident in saying should not be done).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stay awhile, amigo

Apparently reeling a bit from a publicizing of the uptick in deportations that have taken place under the Obama administration, the department of homeland security announced that it will abnegate deportation proceedings against some 215,000 El Salvadorans illegally present in the US through at least late 2013, citing damage from earthquakes--earthquakes that occurred in the Central American country several months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001:
The Obama administration has extended temporary protected status to El Salvadoran nationals through late 2013, shielding them from deportation and forcible return to their home country.

The Department of Homeland Security cites ongoing disruptions from a series of earthquakes in 2001, concluding that "El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals."

The Obama administration's deportation policies have come under scrutiny, just as the president has geared up for his reelection campaign. Despite his support for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship, deportations have soared to new highs under the Obama administration— and the president's approval ratings among Latino voters have flatlined.

El Salvador, which has a monetary standard of living about half that of Mexico, is heavily reliant on remittances from its natives living in the US, which constitute one-sixth's of the country's annual GDP. Fittingly enough, one-sixth of El Salvador's native population also currently lives in the US. Only Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica have larger shares of their populations living stateside:
The protected status designation currently applies to 215,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. illegally and otherwise subject to deportation, and remittances from ex-patriate Salvadorans in the United States help keep that country's economy afloat.
So, it's clear that this de facto amnesty is the right thing for El Salvador. Consequently, it's occurrence must come as no surprise.

What would come as a (pleasant) surprise? A campaign trail denunciation of it, particularly from Mitt Romney, who could use it to shore up support with blue collar whites who might have been taken aback (I guess--that's the media narrative, anyway) by his apology for the creative destruction that makes capitalism work and also to show that he's looking past the primaries and towards next November.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Educated younger Americans don't mind homosexuality much at all

In an intriguing article where he wonders if "disgust homeostasis" is inherent in human nature, the Derb writes:
My impression of educated younger Americans is that they don’t mind homosexuality at all.
That impression is assuredly correct, but TAE's raison d'etre is to validate stereotypes, so please indulge me as I do just that.

The GSS doesn't explicitly ask respondents how they feel about homosexual acts, but support or lack thereof for same-sex marriage provides a pretty good indication of their sentiments. Among those with at least 16 years of education (equivalent to a bachelor's degree or more), aged 24-30, from 2008 and 2010 for contemporary relevance--that is, among contemporary educated younger Americans--63.6% support it, while only 21.5% oppose. Among the broader public, 42.7% support it and 44.4% oppose.

GSS variables used: MARHOMO(1-2)(4-5), AGE(24-30), EDUC(16-20), YEAR(2008-2010)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Racial variation by state

++Addition++Razib explains why the quest for the representative state is doomed to fail.

I should point out that I'm not arguing much of anything in this post but instead have created a list that does just what it is purported to do--show by what amount each state deviates from the national mean when it comes to the racial composition of its population. And yes, I'm aware that Hispanic is technically a linguistic and/or cultural label, not a racial classification, but for all intensive purposes, Hispanics are treated as a distinct racial group in the US as much as Asians are.

---

Andrea Mitchell's highly publicized assertion that Iowa is 'too' white, rural, and evangelical made me wonder which state is the most racially representative of the country as a whole.

The proceeding table is constructed from 2010 census data. I took the absolute differences between each state's (non-Hispanic) white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and other (primarily Native American) population percentages and that of the US as a whole in each of the respective racial categories and then added those values together to come up with a racial variance score for each state. The higher the score, the more divergent a state's racial demographics are from the national mean, the lower the score, the more racially representative the state is of the country it is part of:

State
Variance
1. Illinois
3.8
2. New Jersey
12.0
3. New York
14.2
4. Connecticut
15.0
5. Virginia
17.2
6. Florida
19.2
7. Delaware
20.8
8. North Carolina
21.0
9. Colorado
21.4
10. Rhode Island
25.4
11. Massachusetts
25.8
12. Arkansas
27.2
13. Nevada
28.2
13. Washington
28.2
15. Michigan
29.0
16. Kansas
29.8
16. Kentucky
29.8
18. Oklahoma
31.4
18. South Carolina
31.4
20. Pennsylvania
31.6
21. Tennessee
32.0
22. Arizona
32.8
23. Oregon
33.0
24. Alabama
33.8
25. Missouri
34.6
26. Ohio
34.8
27. Maryland
35.0
28. Utah
35.2
29. Indiana
35.6
30. Georgia
35.8
31. Nebraska
36.8
32. Louisiana
38.8
33. Wisconsin
39.2
34. Minnesota
39.6
35. Alaska
40.2
36. Idaho
41.4
37. Texas
42.6
38. Wyoming
46.4
39. Mississippi
48.8
40. Iowa
50.0
41. New Hampshire
57.2
42. South Dakota
57.6
43. North Dakota
59.0
43. West Virginia
59.0
45. Montana
59.6
46. California
60.0
47. Vermont
61.2
48. Maine
61.4
49. New Mexico
74.2
50. District of Columbia
76.2
51. Hawaii
118.8

Here is a visualization of the table, the lighter the shading, the more racially representative the state is.

My presumption was that the Upper Midwest would be the country's most representative region. It has a small but significant and historically established black population, and while it's not nearly as Hispanic as the Southwest, the brown wave has begun lapping up on its shores. With Illinois at the top of the list with a racial composition that nearly mirrors that of the entire country, that presumption might look pretty impressive. However, excepting Illinois, a big chunk of the other most representative states come from the Northeast (excluding the Northeast's lily white northeastern section!) and Mid-Atlantic.

It comes as little surprise that the seat of our federal government rests in one of the most demographically unrepresentative places in the country.

Iowa (and New Hampshire) are both near the bottom of the list on account of being substantially whiter than the country on the whole. Florida, which holds primary #4 at the end of January, is the first in the nominating process that isn't too something, although it's highly doubtful that we'll hear any major media types suggest that South Carolina, which comes before Florida, is "too black".

Parenthetically, the putative "too evangelical" rap is off the mark, setting aside contentious reactions to the supercilious use of the word "too". The Pew Religious Landscape Survey finds that 24% of Iowans are evangelical, compared to 26% of the US population on the whole. The state is, from a religious perspective, one of the country's most representative.

As for rurality, Iowa comes in as the country's 36th most densely populated. Missouri, at 28th, most closely reflects the US as a whole.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Cardio contingencies

Santa brought me P90X2 for Christmas. I won't actually dive in until next week after I've made the necessary additions to my home gym, but it seems as relevant a time as any to pick a bone with those leveling criticism at cardio workouts as being something that should be avoided. In a post entitled "Why the P90X exercise program is overrated", Vin Miller writes:
Don’t Do the Plyometrics, Kenpo X, or Cardio X Workouts

When proper safety precautions are observed, plyometrics is a great way to improve performance and injury resistance. However, the P90X Plyometrics workout is more of a long calorie burning session than a true plyometrics workout. Along with Kenpo X and Cardio X, these workouts are very similar to aerobics, step, or spin bike classes which means that they’re relatively high in intensity and are a significant physiological burden that can easily wear down the body and require more time to recover from, especially when done on a regular basis.

It's not that Vin Miller's recommendation is necessarily incorrect, it's just that it's not universally applicable. Oddly, he earlier criticizes the program for focusing too much on glamor muscles and not enough on a "truly healthy and balanced lifestyle", yet it is anaerobic work, not aerobic work, that gets the most conspicuous aesthetic results.

If the goal is to build upper body muscle mass, intense cardio is potentially counterproductive, especially when done in long intervals and/or high frequencies. But it's crucial piece of overall conditioning for athletes, and not just for professionals. As a recreational athlete, pullups and pushups aren't going to do me as much good when I'm playing soccer or ultimate frisbee as endurance work will do. Body builders suck at most team sports like basketball and 7-on-7 because all that mass is heavy and demands a lot of oxygen when exerted.

During plyo, Tony Horton states that the workout really helps him step up his game on the court, and it is undoubtedly true--plyometrics makes one a better basketball player.

Vin Miller suggests as an alternative to intense cardio going on a brisk walk or an easy bike ride and getting one's heart rate up in the 55%-75% range. For general health, there probably aren't any negative consequences in getting out there and doing what my 55 year-old mother does each morning, but it's not going to do a thing to help an athlete (which I define here as anyone who pushes his physical capacities to their limits--in addition to playing sports, it also applies to those who figure skate, rock climb, etc). To realize real gains, an athlete needs to push into the 90% range.