I hate to replace brilliant, nonsense-destroying posts with simple entertainment, but this hilarious video from Saturday Night Live deserves your undivided attention.
I hate to replace brilliant, nonsense-destroying posts with simple entertainment, but this hilarious video from Saturday Night Live deserves your undivided attention.
Interesting Quotes from Sociologists
“Sharply rising rates of divorce, unwed mothers, and runaway fathers do not represent ‘alternative life styles’. They are rather patterns of adult behavior with profoundly negative consequences for children.”
–Elaine Kamarck and William Galston, Putting Children First: A Progressive Family Policy for the 1990’s, a publication of the Democratic Leadership Council
“I know of few other bodies of data in which the weight of the evidence is so decisively on one side of the issue: on the whole, for children, two-parent families are preferable . . .If our prevailing views on family structure hinged solely on scholarly evidence, the current debate would never have arisen in the first place.”
– David Popenoe, former Dean of Social Sciences, Rutgers University
“Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents’ race or educational background (italics added), regardless of whether the parents are married when the child is born, and regardless of whether the resident parent remarries.”
–Princeton sociologist Sara McLanahan and the University of Wisconsin’s Gary Sandefur
“We know what the cause of poverty is in this country and, like it or not, it’s divorce and non-wedlock childbearing. We know that for every three divorces, one family ends up below the poverty line. The average woman with dependent children who ends up in poverty stays poor for eight months. The federal government pays for part of that, but states pay the balance. Divorce, by itself, is a major economic issue.”
–Sociology professor Steve Nock of the University of Virginia in a New York Times story
Relevant statistics and academic study conclusions (citations available):
• The poverty rate for children living with cohabiting parents is five times that of children with married parents. The poverty rate for children living with single mothers is seven times that of children with married parents.
• The average married father annually contributes about thirty thousand dollars to the welfare of his children. The annual contribution of a non-custodial father averages about three thousand dollars yearly.
• In 1998, 12% of black children with married parents lived in poverty, BUT 55% of black children with single moms lived in poverty.
• Only 6% of births to women above the poverty line are out of wedlock. To contrast, 44% of births to white women under the poverty line are out of wedlock.
• Children who grow up with only one of their biological parents are three times more likely to have a child out of wedlock, 2.5 times more likely to become teenage mothers, and 1.4 times more likely to be out of school and unemployed.
• Daughters of single parents are 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to have a divorce than daughters of married parents.
• According to a 1994 report in American Economic Review, those who leave welfare because of marriage are the least likely to return.
• “Among married-couple households, the bracket with the largest number of households is $75,000 and over. Among ‘other family groups,’ the bracket with the largest number of households is that under $10,000.”
• Children of two-parent lower income black homes perform better in college than children from single-parent affluent black homes.
• Children who grow up with one parent are twice as likely to drop out of high school than kids with both parents at home.
• Children whose parents are divorced are more likely to exhibit conduct problems, psychological maladjustment, and lower academic achievement.
• Children in two-parent families receive the highest grades in school of any family structure.
• Seventy-two percent of America’s adolescent murderers, 70% of long-term prison inmates, and 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
• Boys raised outside of an intact nuclear family are more than twice as likely as other boys to end up in prison, even controlling for a range of social and economic factors.
• Married women are much less likely to be victims of violent crime than unmarried or divorced women. Only 14.4 married women per 1000 are victimized versus 60.6 never-married women per 1000 and 53.6 divorced or separated women per 1000.
• A cohabiting boyfriend is thirty-three times more likely to abuse a child than a married father who lives with the mother.
• A biological father who cohabits with the mother, but is not married to her, is twenty times more likely to abuse his own child than fathers who are married to the mothers of the child.
• Cohabiting women are more likely to suffer severe violence from their partners than are married women.
• Children without resident fathers are more vulnerable to predators, both sexual and physical, outside the family.
My wife is a big fan of House, M.D., which I agree is an enjoyable program. If memory serves, our own S.T. Karnick gave it a nice review over at NRO.
I was watching this evening when the physician team was treating an African-American death row inmate played by L.L. Cool J. The docs, of course, had to talk about social justice, the death penalty, racism, etc.. Fine with me. One of the docs said he’s against it in principle, but is unbothered when the switch gets pulled. Another, a female doc, said she was against it because it is racially motivated. Her statistical claim was that black murderers are ten times more likely than white killers to get the death penalty.
This is where my eyebrows tilted up. Not quite, lassie. As I recall the cases in law school where the question of racism in death penalty sentencing was considered, the race of the killer turned out to be statistically insignificant. Guess what was signifant? The race of the victim! Killers who murder blacks are less likely to get the death penalty than killers who murder whites. Very interesting. So, if there is racism, it is in the fact that killers of African-American victims should theoretically be less deterred than killers of whites.
Television would be more interesting if writers would take the time to do a little research.
For my part, I kind of agreed with what the African-American doctor character said when confronted with the (as I just established, fallacious) racism charge in death penalty sentencing. If that’s true, “we just need to kill more white folks.” Of course, the show isn’t over and he may be dramatically converted by the end of the episode.
Joseph Knippenberg of Oglethorpe University has been increasing his profile lately, first through the Ashbrook Center’s blog “No Left Turns” and more recently as a columnist for The American Enterprise. Dr. Knippenberg’s recent piece for TAE on the Cobb County textbook controversy shows why his work is becoming better known. He has the unusual knack of actually informing through opinion pieces.
I’d give you a snippet, but it just wouldn’t do justice to the overall argument. As Instapundit likes to say, “Read the whole thing.” You’ll come out understanding religion in the public square a bit better than you did before.
I caught the late show of Narnia last night. Paid full price. Worth it without question.
The unfortunate thing for Narnia is that it will inevitably be compared to Lord of the Rings. It can’t quite stand up to that comparison. The main difference is that the Narnia stories are really intended for children, whereas the LOTR tales are written without an age group in mind. Thus, Narnia doesn’t carry the same terrible feeling of impending doom or massive relief at the escape from doom.
One of the primary factors that makes Narnia so much less threatening is that we see so much of the villain, the evil queen. In LOTR, the ultimate villain is always beyond our grasp. So ancient, dark, and terrible, one can only strive in near blindness to prevail on faith. Here, the Queen is bad, but quite manageable by comparison. Like I say, Narnia is a children’s story. They can’t handle as much. In a way, Narnia is like The Passion of the Christ if you tried to make it endurable for kids. The result is entertaining, beautiful, reverent, and something that adults can enjoy, but is not FOR adults.
My distinction between what is for adults and children would possibly not hold up so well in an age where adults were not as world weary and jaded as we are. I suspect an audience from an earlier time would have all the violence and threat they would need to be pushed to the max by this film. That may be part of why C.S. Lewis wrote for children. They are still impressionable and in a good way.
I feel compelled to note that the wonderfully inventive Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) is now blogging. Check it out, here.
Those who know me are aware that I could never could be called “a man of the left,” but maybe “a man of the heft” would be fitting.
Hitting age 35 while still carrying excess weight has landed me in the doghouse with my doctor. He threw the book at me and I’m now blogging about the experience as a way to stay accountable to dieting.
If anyone is interested in reading about that and maybe contributing their own comments, just slide over to I Might Be a Giant, a new weblog about cutting personal liabilities.
You know Catholics and Evangelicals have ceased hostilities when you read National Review’s list of 15 Unsung Conservatives and find:
Carl F. H. Henry (1913–2003): Billy Graham was the greatest evangelical preacher of the 20th century; one of the greatest evangelical thinkers was Henry. An ordained Baptist minister, he gave the evangelical movement its intellectual heft through his books and, most notably, his editorship of Christianity Today, a magazine that he and Graham founded in 1956 to counteract the influence of the more liberal Christian Century. Although he defended traditional understandings of Scripture, he rejected fundamentalist rigidity and urged evangelicals to engage the wider world rather than to retreat from it — an encouragement that continues to motivate serious Christians to occupy the public square.
CFHH is one my personal heroes, but he wouldn’t have been on the radar of NR twenty years ago. The fact that he is included now shows the religious interpenetration of the two camps and how well Henry’s legacy is wearing.
1. The Value of the GOP in Local Government
I had to go out in the wee hours to get medicine for my infant at a Times Square pharmacy. The trip felt ultra-safe. I could have been walking through Disneyworld. One would not be able to say the same of Atlanta, Houston, or Birmingham. Message to those cities: try electing a Republican mayor every once in a while, even of the nominal type. Might improve your chances of attracting a little tourist revenue.
2. What You Get With Monopolies
We took taxis on a couple of occasions. Both times, one felt as though he were dealing with a mercenary instead of with a businessperson or a service provider. It’s less “where do you want to go” and more “come with me if you want to live.”
New York might consider dropping their system of authorizing only certain taxi services and let everyone compete who is willing to honor safety regulations. The market is captive right now. And it shows.
3. The Democratization of Cuisine
I think it was once the case that you had to travel to great metropolises or abroad to get outstanding food. That is no longer the case. I’ve had the opportunity to dine in a wide variety of locales and it is clear to me that you can get really good food almost anywhere there is a market of reasonable size.
So, the food may not make New York an attraction. What I think will keep NYC flowing with tourists is Broadway. You just cannot get live theatre like that in such abundance and quality wherever you go. Broadway is a fabulous distinctive.
Tom Peters’ team likes to point out how influential he is. I’ve noted before that I have enjoyed reading his books, but his trendiness and political correctness become a little insufferable at times. However, I think when it is all said and done his work will not outlast that of Peter Drucker, who recently died after an amazing career.
Checking out the Peters website recently, I ran across this unsightly bit:
11.28 cover tribute to Peter Drucker, called him … “THE MAN WHO INVENTED MANAGEMENT.” Maybe he “invented” management—highly unlikely, since British trading companies among others have been doing it brilliantly for about half a millennium—but he sure as heck didn’t “invent” leadership. (Nor say much about it, for that matter.)
Not very nice, Mr. Peters, especially when one is talking about the most eminent management theorist of the last half century and the gentleman with whom you like to think of yourself as competing.
This was spurred on by a few lines in a Neal Stephenson novel, probably Cryptonomicon. At one point, Stephenson describes a weed as a stupendous evolutionary badass because it, like every other living thing on earth, was the product of millions of years of winnowing.
So, I carried that thought in my mind for quite some time and my wife, an OB-GYN, tripped a connection. She was talking about the large numbers of women who need C-sections and the many different pregnancy complications that are continually part of her world. I thought, wait a minute, why are there so many faulty child-bearers out there?
After millions of years of winnowing, the trait of having an inadequate cervix, or lack of pushing force, or failure to begin labor should have been bred out long ago. It’s only been the last fifty years or so that we could save women like that. Previously, they and their children would have overwhelmingly met their end in labor . . . and did.
Question for the evolutionists: Why aren’t we blessed with a flock of women bearing babes with maximum efficiency? Why have the bad childbearing traits survived in such great numbers?
I was listening to ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on the radio a couple of days ago when the host started ripping Michael Irvin (late of the Dallas Cowboys) for bringing up Christianity and the problem of generational curses in his discussion of the recent controversy in which he was found with a crack pipe in his car.
Cowherd started in an interesting way. He said that God is not a prop and the Bible should not be used to deflect blame or criticism. Good stuff. Couldn’t agree more.
The slip started to show a little bit as he then proclaimed that if a fellow wants to talk about the Bible, he had better be living it. Don’t sin and talk about the Bible. Whoops. Colin, I think you missed your Sunday school class on that one. In fact, you may have missed the whole point. I don’t know if Irvin is sincere about being a Christian, but the cup is for sinners, Laddie.
It got worse as Colin apparently got nervous and began to assure listeners he’s not very religious (ya kidding bro, I never would have guessed it). Perhaps emboldened by having delivered that disclaimer, the good Cowherd (as opposed to the good Shepherd) provided his own carefully crafted theological opinion clearly informed by a lot of thought. “Religion is like a stream that runs through everything and we can just dip a ladle in and get some refreshment whenever we need it.” This was an odd statement to make after he ripped Irvin and other athletes for bringing up religion whenever they are in trouble. No, that doesn’t sound anything like dipping in a ladle as needed.
I remember years back reading a GQ article where a reporter ditched a college athletic ceremony because he didn’t want to listen to the theological opinions of athletes. Maybe the shoe should be on the other foot and we should just let the athletes keep giving glory to God and have the sports reporters just stick to sports.
One more thing about fancy hotels: they charge you for everything. If I were at the aforementioned Holiday Inn Express, I’d get local calls and high speed internet for free. Here, I pay $12.95 a day to use the internet and make phone calls. Just an observation.
Wandered to the Good Morning America studio window, but they were either on commercial or done because they were talking casually. Didn’t see any of the principals. My wife refers to Katie Couric as “the devil,” because of her cute image combined with occasionally mean interviewing techniques.
Took the kids all around Times Square, but they’re a little young to appreciate it. I’m astounded by the sheer number of Broadway plays and musical productions. There is a musical about everything. I kept expecting to see Fantastic Four: The Musical!
More later . . .
Thanks to a conference my wife is attending, we’re hanging out in Times Square at the Marriott Marquis. This is my second trip to the Big Apple. The first was memorable because I was convinced I would die if I went to New York. I grew up in moderate sized southern towns and everything I knew about New York came from 1970′s and 80′s cop shows. Grimy, corrupt, expensive, randomly violent.
I made that first trip because I was working near Washington, D.C. and my New York friend (one David Chang if he’s monitoring) made it a matter of friendship that I come up for a visit despite my massive misgivings. The short version is that it was 1999, Rudy was in charge, and I found NY to be far less threatening than downtown Atlanta. Aside from paying about $300 worth of road tolls on the drive up, I was enchanted.
On this second trip, I’ve already been reminded of one thing. There is a war between cars, other cars, and pedestrians. David picked us up from the airport and drove us to the heart of Times Square. At various points, I was certain he was going to run into cars that darted in front of him or that he forced his car past. He also came super close to various pedestrians who didn’t budge an inch. In any other American town, I think we would have witnessed tragedy on our ride to the hotel, but not here. Everybody seems to know just how much margin there is for error, but it’s right up to the edge at all times.
The hotel we’re staying in is hideously expensive. On the way over, we discussed the price and location and I said, “The room accommodations will probably be a lot like Holiday Inn Express, Dayton, Ohio.” And whaddya know? They basically are. But Holiday Inn Express is pretty good these days.
I’m now awaiting a letter of thanks from Holiday Inn Express and a threaten to sue unless I remove this post about the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
Finally, a point on multi-culturalism and New York. You know this is a global city when you see a pedecab (modern rickshaw) with a white guy peddling away as an Asian couple whispers sweet nothings to each other in the back seat.