Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018
The U.S. Does Not Have More Homeless People than Other Nations
One writer in the Huffington Post, for example, asks “How Well is American Capitalism Working?” and claims that:
If you ask the 15% of our population living in poverty, their answer is that they can’t find a decent job and they survive on food stamps, food kitchens, clothing handouts, and cheap housing or even homelessness.And a letter writer to the New York Times asked:
As our own United States homeless population grows, the question arises whether the causes of homelessness can be explained by a transition to a harsher and crueler form of capitalism under the Bush-Reagan Administrations or, if not explicable by such a transition, is homelessness simply a necessary component to our present brand of capitalism?This would imply that less “capitalistic” nations — socialist states in Europe, for example — should have lower rates of homelessness. Apparently, however, this is not so.
Cross National DataThe OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) compiles data on a large number of indicators across advanced industrial nations, and this includes data on homelessness.
The data do not show the U.S. having an especially large number of homeless.
For example, they show that 0.18% of the U.S. population to be homeless, as opposed to 0.25% of the population of the United Kingdom, 0.42% of the German population and 0.42% of the French population.
In the supposed socialist utopia of Sweden, 0.36% of the population is homeless, according to this tabulation.
How Do We Define HomelessnessOf course, any cross-national data must be questioned for comparability, and that is the case here.
The most basic definition of homelessness is:
Homelessness counts in most countries include rough sleepers, people living in accommodation for the homeless and in emergency temporary accommodation. . . .This is fair enough. While “sleeping rough” (on a park bench, heating grate or in a subway) most certainly corresponds to our notion of homelessness, sleeping in a shelter where you are usually required to leave every morning does too.
But some nations define “homelessness” much more broadly. Sometimes, it includes the following:
- People living in institutions: Including people who stay longer than needed in health institutions due to lack of housing; and people in penal institutions with no housing available prior to release
- People living in non-conventional dwellings due to lack of housing : where accommodation consists of mobile homes, non-conventional building or temporary structure, and is used due to a lack of housing and is not the person’s usual place of residence
- People living temporarily in conventional housing with family and friends due to lack of housing
And if you have been evicted and are sleeping on the couch at your sister and brother-in-law’s place, you are not homeless, no matter how much you would like your own pad.
More ComparisonsThe OECD document includes a comprehensive list of the definitions of “homelessness” used in each nation, and allows us to make some rough comparisons.
And also note some senseless definitions. In Australia, for example, the “homeless” include:
People living in boarding houses (due to lack of suitable accommodation alternatives); people living in severely crowded dwellings.Perhaps this broad definition is part of the reason Australia has 2.6 times the reported homeless population of the U.S. But it would be hard to argue that Australia has fewer homeless, even taking the different definitions into account.
Much the same analysis would apply to Sweden, which defines “homelessness” more broadly than the U.S, but reports twice as many people as being homeless. And also to Germany, with a broad definition of “homelessness,” but an estimate of 2.3 times as many homeless as the U.S.
But France, for example, defines “homelessness” pretty much the same way the U.S. does, but reports 22% more homeless people.
The United KingdomThe definition “homelessness” in the U.K. is wordy, and apparently quite narrow.
Number of households who after applying for housing assistance are accepted by local authorities as being “Statutory homeless” (i.e. those who are unintentionally homeless and fall into a ‘priority need’ category. Somebody is statutorily homeless if they do not have accommodation that they have a legal right to occupy, which is accessible and physically available to them (and their household) and which it would be reasonable for them to continue to live in. It would not be reasonable for someone to continue to live in their home, for example, if that was likely to lead to violence against them (or a member of their family).It seems unlikely that all (or perhaps even most) people who really are homeless would be among the “Statutory homeless.” Indeed a private organization estimated that in 2017 307,000 people were sleeping rough or in inadequate housing in the U.K. This compares to 57,750 households in the OECD data (but for England alone).
No matter what adjustments are made, the U.K. has at least as many — and probably more — homeless as does the U.S.
ConclusionThe homeless are not victims of capitalism. They are not even victims of structural changes in the economy. They are victims of their own bad behavior, including untreated clinical depression, substance abuse and involvement in criminal activity.
That does not mean they should not be helped, but it does mean they should not be enabled by liberal public policies. Simply providing “affordable housing” is just an enabler — at least, unless there is a set of fairly rigorous conditions attached. Allowing homeless encampments to despoil public streets and green space is another enabler.
Indeed, to help them a fair amount of coercion might be necessary, which would be justified for a population which, left to its own devices, lives a wretched existence.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Los Angeles: New Housing for Homeless Costs $476,000 Per Unit
A Times analysis of the 29 projects [for the homeless] currently approved for funding found their average cost to be more than $476,000 per unit. Two projects will cost more than $650,000 per unit and five more than $550,000.So is the story here how liberal policies in California attract a lot of homeless people, or how inefficient governments can’t accomplish anything at any reasonable cost?
An analysis of state tax credit projects during the year before the bond measure vote found that supportive housing projects in Los Angeles County cost an average of $420,000 per unit.
But the real crux of the problem is the politically incorrect fact that homeless people are seldom merely average folks who have had a run of bad luck. There is a massive incidence of substance abuse among the homeless.
Clinical depression is also common. One scholarly review of the literature notes:
Using standardized measures, researchers consistently find that between 40 percent and 47 percent of homeless men meet criteria for mild to severe depressionThen there is the fact that a large number of homeless people engage in illegal activity. One study of a large sample in the journal Psychiatric Services shows that 28.8% of the ever “ever homeless” in the sample reported having been arrested.
The same study shows that 26.4% of the “ever homeless” has been diagnosed as having depression.
Plenty in this study should engender some sympathy for the homeless: an extremely high number reported they had ever run away, been ordered out of their home by parents, or subjected to parent/caregiver neglect and/or abuse.
But that doesn’t change the fact that what they need is not a very expensive rent free or subsidized pad of their own. Rather, it’s more likely a facility where they will be drug tested, required to take their meds, given regular meals, and the necessary medical and social services. That doesn’t have to be something as draconian as a jail cell. But it does have to be something that doesn’t merely enable bad behavior.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
How to Identify the Racists
Every time I attend a conference of white writers, I have a method for finding out if my colleagues are racist. It consists of uttering stupidities and maintaining absurd theses. If they listen respectfully and, at the end, overwhelm me with applause, there isn’t the slightest doubt: they are filthy racists.Hat tip to Ron McCamy, who responded on Facebook to our post on Ta-Nehisi Coates with this quote.
Friday, May 11, 2018
Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Liberals House Negro
But what would an honest inventory of the problems of the black community show? Kay Hymowitz explains, discussing one of Coates’ articles:
This is not a one-time lapse. Coates’s article is marked by the sin of omission. You might think that an article on the Moynihan report and the black family would mention somewhere that today 72 percent of black children, up from 24 percent when the report was written, are born to unmarried mothers. You might assume that an analyst of the black family would explain that large numbers of those children — far more than mass incarceration can explain, by the way — will have at best erratic relationships with their fathers. You would expect him to show how one of the main reasons fathers fade out of their children’s lives is “multi-partner fertility” — parents who have children by a series of partners — and that multi-partner fertility is particularly widespread among blacks and incarcerated men. He might look at the research suggesting that children living with an unrelated father are more likely to suffer abuse. You would expect him to ponder all of this because there is abundant evidence that boys growing up under these conditions have less self-control than those growing up in more stable families, and most of all, because those boys are far more prone to commit crimes. You would think at least some of this would find its way into the pages of a 17,000-word piece called “The Black Family in an Age of Mass Incarceration,” but you would be wrong.Coates is, to be blunt about it, the liberals house negro. His job it to tell them what they want to hear, in an angry and impassioned voice. And when they can, they will use him to try to guilt or intimidate other whites who might be reticent to admit their “white privilege” or go along with some “diversity” hustle.
Colleges and universities have a lot of people like him. It’s a growth industry.
The “Racist” Photo that Has Been Roiling Marquette
Of the four male students in the photo, only one is apparently a Marquette student. He has been identified, and will presumably face disciplinary proceedings.
But just what does that “racist photo” actually show. Here is the best copy we could find. We have obscured the faces in the photo, but it is uncropped.
|Click on Image to Enlarge|
OK, there is a black doll, and a toy gun. Are they going to shoot the black doll? The doll is wearing sunglasses and a pinstripe vest.
One of the guys is wearing a hoodie. The fellow at the top right seems to be giving a gang sign of some sort.
The gun has “Chuuch” written over it on the photo. The Urban Dictionary says this is a pimp way of saying “amen.”
But “Chuuch” is also a rap from a fellow named Slim Thug. Most of his lyrics do make him sound like a thug, but ironically “Chuuch” is an inspirational song. Some lyrics:
Trying to soar high with them eaglesSo what are these guys doing? Their demeanor toward the black doll does not seem hostile or aggressive at all. It looks for all the world like they are staging some sort of gangsta rap tableau. If this is true, the worst thing they are guilty of is cultural appropriation — which is to say, guilty of nothing at all.
Can’t chill with none of you chickens
I’m tray get rich with my people
Too high to see you haters
Too blessed to play y’all mind
I ain’t got nothing to be mad at
I’m drop head top down
Thank you, God, all the time for helping me live my dreams
And for exposing all of those who wasn't right for my team
I’mma keep receiving this games
If it’s for the better, I’ll change
Only live once, better do it right
I’m trying to leave a legacy, man
If so, they are being a bit silly. And in the racially hyper-sensitive environment of a contemporary university, mailing it to people, and especially allowing it to fall into the hands of a campus grievance monger, is stupid.
But stupid is not racist.
We would love to hear what the guys in the photo say about what they were doing. Presumably, one of them is explaining himself to Marquette officials — assuming he’s still at the university.
Marquette, of course, will conceal what they know, claiming the confidentially of the disciplinary process. If they find out it was a silly goof, and not some racist incident, this confidentiality will allow them to go on denouncing rampant racism on campus, and mounting yet more “diversity” initiatives.
But the blunt truth is: campus bureaucrats, right up to President Lovell, love incidents like this.
Hat Tip: Vicki McKenna first questioned whether the photo was really racist.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Russian Facebook Influence: Coming Down on Both Sides
- First Paratrooper: Which side are we on?
- Second Paratrooper: The CIA is not taking any chances this time. Half of us are for, half of us against!
From the Washington Post:
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released about 3,500 Facebook ads purchased by Russian agents around the 2016 presidential election on issues from immigration to gun control, a reminder of the complexity of the manipulation that Facebook is trying to contain ahead of the midterm elections.You read that right. The Russians were on both sides.
The ads, from mid-2015 to mid-2017, illustrate the extent to which Kremlin-aligned forces sought to stoke social, cultural and political unrest on one of the Web’s most powerful platforms. With the help of Facebook’s targeting tools, they delivered their disinformation to narrow categories of users – from black or gay users to fans of Fox News.
In doing so, Russia’s online army reached at least 146 million people on Facebook and Instagram, its photo-sharing service, with ads and other posts. Sometimes, Russian trolls also tried to fuel rallies and protests, endeavoring at one point in 2016 to pit Beyoncé fans and critics against each other in New York City.
“They sought to harness Americans’ very real frustrations and anger over sensitive political matters in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior,” [Adam] Schiff said in a statement. “The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us.”Note the assumption that this is a terrible problem that needs to be “solved.” The highly partisan Democrat Adam Schiff (along with Facebook) are doing what liberals have long chided conservatives for doing: hyping the sinister, evil machinations of the Red Menace.
For its part, Facebook stressed in a statement: “This will never be a solved problem because we’re up against determined, creative and well-funded adversaries. But we are making steady progress.”
In total, ads purchased by agents tied to the Kremlin-backed IRA reached about 10 million U.S. users around the 2016 presidential election, according to Facebook’s own estimates. But the ads are only part of the story: They sought to hook American voters into clicking “Like” or following Russia-created Facebook profiles and pages, which published organic content, like status updates, videos and other posts, which would later appear in users’ News Feeds.Yes, we know that the sinister Russians scored a major propaganda coup by getting their posts “liked” on Facebook. We can’t imagine the damage that Facebook “likes” will do our republic.
|Click on image to enlarge|
In many cases, the Kremlin-tied ads took multiple sides of the same issue. Accounts like United Muslims of America urged viewers in New York in March 2016 to “stop Islamophobia and the fear of Muslims.” That same account, days later, crafted an open letter in another ad that accused Clinton of failing to support Muslims before the election. And other accounts linked to the IRA sought to target Muslims: One ad highlighted by the House Intelligence Committee called President Barack Obama a “traitor” who had acted as a “pawn in the hands of Arabian Sheikhs.”
For two years, Russian agents proffered similar ads around issues like racism and causes like Black Lives Matter. They relied on Facebook features to target specific categories of users. An IRA-backed account on Instagram aimed a January 2016 ad about “white supremacy” specifically to those whose interests included HuffPost’s “black voices” section.
At times, Russian agents also sought to influence Facebook users’ offline activities: One ad from the IRA-aligned page Black Matters promoted a March 26, 2016, rally against “confederate heritage,” which had 161 people saying they would attend. Another by Heart of Texas urged viewers to “honor your ancestors” and join a rally for the state to secede – a post that had been shared 266 times before Facebook removed Russian-generated content.
On Instagram, one of the IRA’s ads in February 2016 sought to target people believed to be police officers, firefighters and military officers, urging them to appear at a protest of Beyoncé outside of NFL headquarters. At the same time, another account — targeting black users — directed viewers to a pro-Beyoncé protest at the same location. Neither effort appeared to gain any traction, according to data supplied by the social giant to Democratic lawmakers. But it offered one example of the extent to which Russian trolls sought to exploit both sides of major national debates – including football players who knelt during the national anthem to bring attention to issues of racism.
The documents released Thursday also reflect that Russian agents continued advertising on Facebook well after the presidential election. Until August 2017, Russian-aligned pages and profiles advertised their opposition to immigrants, targeting a range of users, including those who appear to like Fox News. They marketed a page called Born Liberal to likely supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the data show, an ad that had more than 49,000 impressions into 2017. Together, the ads affirmed the fears of some lawmakers, including Republicans, that Russian agents have continued to try to influence U.S. politics even after the 2016 election.
ConclusionThe notion that the Russians somehow elected Trump gets no support at all from these ads. It’s true that after Trump because the nominee, the weight of the ads supported Trump and opposed Hillary. This could not have been because the Russians thought Hillary could win.
If they thought that, their analysts should be brought to the U.S. and installed as pundits in every major news organization.
Rather, they wanted to weaken Hillary, whom they viewed as the certain winner.
They, of course, would have nothing to fear from Hillary, associated as she was with the feckless, passive foreign policy of Barack Obama. Trump, on the other hand, they would have viewed as a loose cannon. Who would know what he might do?
But the efforts of a handful of geeks in St. Petersburg were pretty trivial. What defeated Hillary was her own defects as a person and a candidate. And the polarization in American politics is all “Made in the U.S.A.” The Russians’ efforts were not even a drop in the bucket.
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Infrastructure of Political Correctness at Marquette
And what is the reason? Not to provide more scholarship money for students. Not to pay for more faculty lines, so that students can have smaller classes, more attention from faculty and more class choices.
No, a large part is to support a massive infrastructure in political correctness.
For starters, Marquette’s Office of the Provost carries a staff of at least 65 individuals, many of whom are presumably well-compensated, holding titles like vice-provost, vice-president, executive director and dean. Clearly, a number of the functions performed by these individuals are entirely legitimate for the successful administration of the university. But, in some cases, we have our doubts.
For example, one entity under the Provost’s watch is the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Myers created this office in 2015 “to elevate the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion at Marquette.” But, alas, despite a lengthy and lofty strategic plan and numerous initiatives and programs, Marquette is still pretty much all white and evidently, still racist (also here and here). The office’s Hispanic Initiatives include resources for undocumented students, not the least of which are university-funded grants and scholarships for non-citizens. The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion also houses Marquette’s Title IX coordinator who is presumably responsible for selecting the LGBTQ-agenda advancing Title IX vendor employed by the university.
Another entity under the Provost’s office is the Division of Student Affairs. While the division has been around for quite some time, Myers expanded it in 2015 to include a new LGBTQ Resource Center (host of the infamous Pride Prom). Also added to the division in 2015 was the Office of Intercultural Engagement, which, as far as we can tell, is a source of institutional reinforcement and reiteration of the race and LGBTQ agendas on campus, and is not to be confused with the CENTER for Intercultural Engagement which provides still more reinforcement and reiteration of the race and LGBTQ agendas on campus. Lastly, under the Division of Student Affairs is the Office of Residence Life, which championed the introduction of “transgendered bathrooms” at Marquette in 2015 and was recently exposed for forcing Resident Assistants to participate in Leftist “social justice” indoctrination in the student dorms.
Other entities under the Provosts Office include the Office of Community Engagement and Social Responsibility, created in 2016 as “a central clearinghouse for community engagement activities and promotion of the scholarship of engagement.” Got it? As an interesting aside, the Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement, Dan Bergen, serves on the board of directors of the Cream City Foundation, an organization whose mission is to “mobilize philanthropic resources by harnessing the pride, passion, and commitment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies to advance the human rights and respond to the human needs of LGBTQ+ people in Southeastern Wisconsin.” As for what the Office of Community Engagement has actually accomplished in its two years of existence is anybody’s guess; all activities listed on its webpage appear to have already been in motion by 2016.
Marquette’s Center for Teaching and Learning is also under the auspices of the Office of the Provost. This center is charged with teaching Marquette teachers how to teach. It is also charged with teaching non-Catholic and under-catechized faculty and staff about the history and importance of Catholic higher education. The director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, however, is openly homosexual. So much for Catholic teaching.
Also inaugurated by Provost Myers in 2015, but not as part of his office, is the new and improved Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies (to replace the ignominious and disastrous Gender and Sexualities Resource Center). Like the Provost’s LGBTQ Center, Office of Intercultural Engagement and Center for Intercultural Engagement, this center also provides institutional reinforcement and reiteration of race and LGBTQ agendas on campus. (Are we seeing a pattern here?)
We move now to the Office of Mission and Ministry. This office is, presumably, most directly charged with preserving and advancing Marquette’s Catholic identity. And yet, despite some good efforts, through the Office of Mission and Ministry we get: anti-Catholic Marquette Mission Weeks, LGBTQ Glitter Ashes on Ash Wednesday, LGBTQ Masses, LGBTQ+ prayer services, LGBTQ indoctrination from the university’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and a Center for Peacemaking which for nearly ten years has been little more than a training center for progressive political activism.The post summarizes by asking:
In the meantime, however, you and your families better get busy finding those extra tuition dollars.
- How much do all these positions, offices and activities cost and where does the money to pay for them come from?
- What demonstrable value do they bring to the education of students or the betterment of Marquette’s culture as a Catholic, Jesuit university?
- Why does a Catholic university invest so heavily in things that have little to do with/are often contrary to its Catholic identity?
- Why should students not transfer to public colleges and universities which offer the same secularized higher education at half or less the cost?
ConclusionIt’s typical of higher education today that university bureaucrats build a huge bureaucracy dedicated to political correctness. It’s slightly less expected that a large part of that bureaucracy at a “Catholic university” should be engaged in trashing Catholic teaching. But only slightly.
Two things are behind this trend. First, there is the felt need by campus bureaucrats to pander to every politically correct victim group on campus. Such groups will be supported by leftist faculty capable of making noise if the demands are not acceded to.
Secondly, all bureaucrats want to build their little empires. But the faculty are never the “empire” of any bureaucrat — faculty control their own affairs.
So to build an empire, you need lots of “initiatives” and staff to “implement” those “initiatives.”
This quickly leads to whole university offices where most of the staff are involved, not in some useful work, but in pushing political correctness.