Heritage Foundation immigration study co-author is an advocate for eugenics


Richwine clearly falls into that category of people Lenin once referred to as “useful idiot”…pity it’s for the wrong reasons and the wrong side of the argument.  Apparently someone appreciates his usefulness.

The Secular Jurist

Robert Rector (center), one of the study's coauthors. (Heritage)

Robert Rector (center), one of the study’s co-authors. (Heritage)

The Heritage Foundation made something of a splash with its study suggesting that immigration reform will cost the public trillions. Past work by one of its co-authors helps put that piece in context.

Jason Richwine is relatively new to the think tank world. He received his PhD in public policy from Harvard in 2009, and joined Heritage after a brief stay at the American Enterprise Institute. Richwine’s doctoral dissertation is titled “IQ and Immigration Policy”; the contents are well summarized in the dissertation abstract:

The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass…

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The Two Marxs


Deterritorial Investigations

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What happens when the person assigned to the prosecution is as fascinated by the accused as he is scandalized by him. It comes about that the prosecutor sets himself to finding a hundred thousand good reasons to prolong the study of the file, that the inquiry becomes meticulous, always more meticulous, that the lawyer submerged in the British Museum in the microscopic analysis of the aberrations of capital is no longer able to detach himself from it, that this swarming of perverse fluxes that is supposed to have produced (dialectically), never stops moving away, escaping him, being put off, and that the submission of petitions is kept waiting interminably.1

-Jean-Francois Lyotard, Libidinal Economy (1974)

The prosecution described here by Lyotard is none other than Karl Marx, the prototypical critical ‘genealogist,’ a character whose spirals through the flows of history and time have far to do with his body as…

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ESA satellite to map and quantify biomass in world’s forests


ESA satellite to map and quantify biomass in world’s forests.

You read this and wonder why nobody has done this before…

Plug into a plant: A new approach to clean energy harvesting


Plug into a plant: A new approach to clean energy harvesting.

Now this has been a fantasy of mine for a few years; I always thought it well beyond the realm of possibility…

While you won’t be running your HDTV off the nearest tree anytime soon, Ramasamy says the technology has the potential to find its way into less power-intensive applications in the not too distant future.

“In the near term, this technology might best be used for remote sensors or other portable electronic equipment that requires less power to run,” he said. “If we are able to leverage technologies like genetic engineering to enhance stability of the plant photosynthetic machineries, I’m very hopeful that this technology will be competitive to traditional solar panels in the future.”

News from David Suzuki & David Suzuki Foundation


This item isn’t particularly new, in that it crops up in the media from time to time, at least since the Bhutan government began consideration of assessing their society in less materialistic ways.

Of course this is an interesting experiment and there are a number of issues which arise depending on how you perceive the government’s perceptions.

At a 1972 international conference in India, a reporter asked Bhutan’s king about his country’s gross national product — a measure of economic activity. His response was semi-facetious: He said Bhutan’s priority was not the GNP but GNHgross national happiness. Bhutan’s government has since taken the concept of GNH seriously and galvanized thinking around the world with the notion that the economy should serve people, not the other way around.

In 2004, Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who became king in late 2006, said, “There cannot be enduring peace, prosperity, equality and brotherhood in this world if our aims are so separate and divergent — if we do not accept that in the end we are people, all alike, sharing the earth among ourselves and also with other sentient beings.”

In July 2011, Bhutan introduced the only resolution it has ever presented at the United Nations. Resolution 65/309 was called “Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development.” The country’s position was “that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” and “that the gross domestic product…does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people.” The General Assembly passed the resolution unanimously.

Michael Gove and ‘correct grammar’: let me explain this slowly | Michael Rosen | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk


Michael Gove and ‘correct grammar’: let me explain this slowly | Michael Rosen | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

In which Michael Rosen gives us all a lesson on how to relate to the egregious and smarmy Mr Gove…  If you’re not familiar with Michael Rosen, he has been a successful writer/poet/broadcaster to and for children his entire career, having recently served a five year term as the Children’s Laureate.

From a purely theoretical standpoint however, I do think that there is no such thing as one single correct grammar. Here’s my argument:

1. All language has grammar, otherwise it wouldn’t be language. Grammar is what gives words sense. We produce language in strings of words, and the means by which they stick together and make sense is grammar. This applies to all language, all dialects – not one particular way of speaking and writing. So grammar is not a matter of being correct or not. It’s a way of describing how all language works. All linguists believe there is grammar, but linguists do not all agree on grammatical terms or categories. Pretending that there is only one correct way to describe language is confusing and untrue.

2. I think we have to assume that Gove is using the phrase “correct grammar” to mean “the grammar of Standard English“.

3. Standard English is a form of writing that has developed, has changed and is still changing. There is not one correct form of Standard English, and to tell children that there is would be to tell them an untruth. To take one simple example, we can write in modern Standard English: “Do you have any wool?” “Have you got any wool?” “Have you any wool?” All three are acceptable forms of Standard English.

4. If there were one “correct grammar”, we wouldn’t be able to explain how and why grammar changes. So, the method by which we ask questions in English changed in the era before Shakespeare. If you listen to journalists and politicians, you’ll hear and read that they show a growing tendency to discuss a plural subject, eg “drugs” or “teenage mothers”, and follow it with a singular verb. It’s as if people have started to give themselves permission to turn these plurals into a title or a topic. What was “incorrect” is becoming “correct”. In other words, the term “correctness” doesn’t help us understand language.

5. Gove thinks that the Guardian’s style guide is evidence that there is a “correct grammar”. He has forgotten that different publishing houses have different style guides. One will demand “alright”, another “all right”. One will demand “can not” and never “cannot” or “can’t”, while others will accept all three. By the way, some members of the elite that Michael Gove mentions didn’t go to university or study grammar. When they want to write in Standard English they hire people to do it for them.

6. A problem that arises from talking about “correct grammar” is that it suggests that all other ways of speaking or writing are incorrect. This consigns the majority to being in error. Gove might be happy with that way of viewing humanity, but I’m not.

7. The immediate consequence of the grammar test introduced into Year 6 is that teachers are buying textbooks that are full of ungrammatical nonsense. Single words separated from sentences are being described as nouns and verbs. Words are only nouns or verbs when they are being used in real language. The word “black” has been frequently used as an adjective, noun or verb, but it is only its use that tells us which. “Up” is only a preposition when it’s used as one. If I “up” my work rate, it won’t be.

8. Michael Gove wants to position me as someone who is against schools teaching grammar. No, I am someone who thinks that the place for grammar teaching is the secondary school, college and university, and that it should be taught on the basis of the evidence that someone like Professor Debra Myhill has produced. In fact, I am so keen on grammar, I have written a mini-course in grammar and put it up on my blog where it is free for all to read and download.

9. It’s bizarre of Michael Gove to accuse me of hindering the acquisition of Standard English. Surely I don’t need to point out that very young children all over the country, many of whom speak local dialects or languages other than English, hear, read and sing We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which is written in Standard English. Many linguists say that the acquisition of Standard English is enhanced by pleasurable learning of poems and songs. What’s more, I have spent thousands of hours in schools in the last 40 years doing writing workshops with children engaging in discussions with them about what kinds of language is appropriate for a particular piece of writing.

10. I think there is one certain way to make life harder for children to acquire Standard English: creating tests that fail hundreds of thousands of children. This is Michael Gove’s contribution to 10- and 11-year-olds’ linguistic skills.

SodaStream “treats us like slaves,” says Palestinian factory worker | The Electronic Intifada


SodaStream “treats us like slaves,” says Palestinian factory worker | The Electronic Intifada.

This makes for fairly grim reading…not for the squeamish.

Amid public uproar, Royal Jordanian forced to disavow sponsorship of Israel tourism conference | The Electronic Intifada


Amid public uproar, Royal Jordanian forced to disavow sponsorship of Israel tourism conference | The Electronic Intifada.

Scandalous as this story is, the name Sheldon Adelson has also returned to haunt us; it was to be hoped the money he wasted on the Romney campaign might have focussed him on less political matters.