EppsNet Archive: California

NYT Misrepresents California’s Affirmative Action Results

 

In reporting on yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold a Michigan ban on the use of racial preferences in admissions to public universities, the New York Times looks at results in other states that have banned racial preferences. Here’s what the Times says about my state, California, which voted to ban racial preferences in UC admissions in 1998: Hispanic and black enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles dropped sharply after voters approved a statewide ban on affirmative action. Those numbers have not recovered, even as the state’s Hispanic population has grown. That is a misleading analysis for a couple of reasons: One: Affirmative action was banned at all UC campuses, not just Berkeley and UCLA. Ignoring all the other campuses allows the Times to say that black and Hispanic enrollment “dropped sharply” when there was actually only a 2 percent decline in… Read more →

Japan, Day 4: Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa, Imperial Palace, Odaiba, Christmas

 

Tsukiji Fish Market The Tsukiji Market (Tsukiji shijo), supervised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market (Tokyo-to Chuo Oroshiuri Shijo) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo. There are two distinct sections of the market as a whole. The “inner market” (jonai-shijo) is the licensed wholesale market, where the auctions and most of the processing of the fish take place, and where licensed wholesale dealers (approximately 900 of them) operate small stalls. The “outer market” (jogai-shijo) is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops that sell Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies, groceries, and seafood, and many restaurants, especially sushi restaurants. — Wikipedia There’s a temple near the market. We met these girls, who spoke a… Read more →

ObamaCare Winners and Losers

 

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama. Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law. Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four. . . . Covered California spokesman Dana Howard maintained that in public presentations the exchange has always made clear that there will be winners and losers under Obamacare. . . . “Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t… Read more →

Voting is Overrated

 

In California back in 1979 I helped to get the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate, Ed Clark, on the ballot. Since then, I’ve had nothing to do with politics, which I’ve come to regard as unseemly. That others can be enthusiastic about this or that politician surprises me in the same way that it might surprise me to learn that there is such a thing as an official streptococcus fan club with a list of dues-paying members. And although I can’t claim never to have voted, I can at least say that I would hate to ever have to admit voting for any of the people I voted for. All things considered I’d much rather exercise what Herbert Spencer calls my "Right to Ignore the State." — George Selgin Read more →

Banning Racial Preferences in California Helped Everyone

 

When racial preferences were banned by the voters in California, there were dire predictions that this would mean the virtual disappearance of black and Hispanic students from the University of California system. What in fact happened was a 2% decline in their enrollment in the University of California system as a whole, but an increase in the number of black and Hispanic students graduating, including an increase of 55% in the number graduating in four years and an increase of 63% in the number graduating in four years with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Instead of the predicted drastic decline in enrollment in the system as a whole, there was a drastic redistribution of black and Hispanic students within the University of California system. Their enrollment dropped at the two most elite campuses, Berkeley and UCLA — by 42% at the former and 33% at the latter.… Read more →

Dogged by Protesters

 

Obama dogged by protesters on bay visit — SFGate Dogged by protesters?! If he ever comes to Orange County, he’ll be PROTESTED BY DOGS! My owner pays so many taxes that there’s hardly any money left for pug treats! 🙁 — Lightning Read more →

Occam Has Mislaid His Razor

 

Silicon Valley Discriminates Against Women, Even If They’re Better — PBS NewsHour An academic says that Silicon Valley is “not a meritocracy.” He doesn’t offer any evidence to support that. He just looked around and noticed more men than women in the high-tech workforce. The fact that there are more members of Group A doing X than there are members of Group B doing X is not evidence that members of Group B are being discriminated against in their efforts to do X. In particular, he says that only 3 percent of tech firms in the Valley were founded by women, as though founding a tech firm is a fun thing that everyone should want to do. Founding a startup is an ultra-high-risk activity that requires insane amounts of time and sacrifice. Do you want to have friends? A social life? Do you have a family? Do you want to… Read more →

Thousand Oaks

 

“Do you know how to get there?” “No. Did you bring the map?” “No.” “Didn’t you say before we left that you’d printed a map?” “I said I printed it but I didn’t say I was going to bring it along.” “Oh . . . well, we can call when we get out there. I know how to get to Thousand Oaks, I just don’t remember how to get to their house.” “Do you know the offramp from the freeway?” “Yes.” “So it can’t be too complicated then. I saw on the map it was just lefts and rights.” “Uh, isn’t any route to anywhere just lefts and rights?” Read more →

Thomas Jefferson on Why Your Health Insurance Premium is Going Up

 

Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. — Despite New Health Law, Some See Sharp Rise in Premiums – NYTimes.com That headline should not read “DESPITE new health law,” it should read “BECAUSE OF new health law.” But we were going to get things for free! We were promised better things at a lower cost! In my day, most of the citizens were farmers or merchants or tradesmen. They lived by their hands and their wits. They had horse sense and they knew when they were being sold a bill of goods. Of course, that was before television. Americans today are unfortunately rather stupid. Most of them don’t know anything about economics, science, history, government… Read more →

No Surprises in Berkeley

 

Final election counts are in for Berkeley, CA, the most liberal city in America. Let’s start with the presidential election, where Mitt Romney was able to edge out Jill Stein for second place: Barack Obama, Democrat – 90.3% Mitt Romney, Republican – 4.6% Jill Stein, Green Party – 3.2% California ballot proposition results included: Proposition 30, a measure to increase state income tax rates for the wealthy – 90.7% Yes (passed statewide at 54.6%) Proposition 34, to abolish the death penalty in California – 86% Yes (lost statewide 52% to 48%) Proposition 37, requiring labeling of genetically engineered food – 92.4% Yes (lost statewide 52% to 48%) Read more →

Summary of Campaign Spending on California Ballot Propositions

 

I found this table from Ballotpedia rather interesting. It shows how much money has been donated to each side of the California ballot propositions. Proposition Donations in favor Donations against Proposition 30 $67,100,000 $53,400,000 Proposition 31 $4,400,000 $573,700 Proposition 32 $60,500,000 $73,300,000 Proposition 33 $17,100,000 $275,700 Proposition 34 $7,400,000 $391,900 Proposition 35 $3,700,000 $0 Proposition 36 $2,700,000 $119,900 Proposition 37 $8,700,000 $45,600,000 Proposition 38 $47,800,000 $42,300 Proposition 39 $31,400,000 $45,000 Proposition 40 $601,100 $2,300,000   Read more →

HW’s Election Previews: Proposition 37

 

From the Offical Voter Information Guide: Requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as “natural.” Provides exemptions. Fiscal Impact: Increased annual state costs from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million to regulate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Additional, but likely not significant, governmental costs to address violations under the measure. Notice this phrase: “Provides exemptions.” In other words, the statute requires certain things and prohibits certain other things — except when it doesn’t. Not that it matters because $1 million a year isn’t going to buy you a lot of enforcement anyway. Who wrote this proposition, Dr. Evil? Prop 37 is supported by people who hate freedom and having to think for themselves. Read more →

Poems I’ve Read Recently and Liked

 

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry as part of the Modern & Contemporary American Poetry class on Coursera. One of the things I like about the class is that the video lessons are done a little differently than other Coursera classes I’ve taken. Rather than recorded lectures, the videos consist of the instructor, Al Filreis, leading a small group of Penn students in close readings of selected poems. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites so far: I dwell in Possibility by Emily Dickinson Tell all the Truth but tell it slant by Emily Dickinson The Brain within its Groove by Emily Dickinson Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams This Is Just To Say by Willim Carlos Williams A Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsburg Lines for an Abortionist’s Office by Ruth Lechlitner Incident by Countee Cullen These next two, both by Richard Wilbur, I want to single out as being particularly… Read more →

Lodi

 

We stopped for gas in Lodi a couple of days ago on the way back from Berkeley and I can’t get the damn song out of my head . . . If I only had a dollar for every song I’ve sung For every tiiiime I had to plaaaay while people sat there drunk . . . Read more →

It’s a Seller’s Job Market in IT Right Now, Especially for Agile

 

I recently concluded a 3-month job search. As part of my networking, I met a number of unemployed people in other fields who were having trouble not only getting jobs, but even getting interviews. I talked to a lot of people and averaged about an interview a day, including phone interviews, mostly for development manager jobs. For every development manager job, there are multiple development jobs, so if you’re a developer, your situation is even better than mine was. I live in Southern California, but the demand is not just local. I had multiple contacts from companies outside the SoCal area that can’t find qualified candidates. I’ve been working again for over two months, I no longer have an active résumé on job boards, and I still get emails and calls every day from recruiters all over the country. Agile and Scrum are in demand The situation with Agile and… Read more →

Goin’ to Bangalore

 

I’m spending a couple of weeks in Bangalore at the end of the month. Travel is the most depressing thing in the world, beating out listening to other people talk about their travels. Bangalore has been called the Silicon Valley of Asia. It’s like the Silicon Valley here in California, but with monkeys and malaria. My boss has cautioned me to drink only the bottled water from the hotel, never the bottled water at the office. “They refill the bottles at the office with their own water,” he said. “The hotel will give you two bottles a day, but I tipped the staff a dollar a day and they left extra bottles in my room. That’s a lot of money over there.” I’m seriously thinking about tipping two dollars a day just to see what the heck happens . . . Read more →

Derrick Williams

 

My boy saw Derrick Williams out and about the other night . . . Williams is from La Mirada (like me!), so it wouldn’t be unusual to spot him in the SoCal area. “You’re Derrick Williams, right?” the boy said. “No, that’s not me,” Williams replied. Williams was cleverly disguised in an Arizona basketball hoodie and Minnesota Timberwolves sweatpants. Oh, and he’s 6-foot-8. Read more →

David Foster Wallace’s Last House

 

Via Curbed LA on the occasion of what would have been DFW’s 50th birthday today. What a depressing abode! I’m ready to drive out there right now and hang myself . . . Read more →

Underrepresented Minorities in the UC

 

The University of California is prohibited by law from considering race in the admissions process, but they are allowed to identify certain ethnic groups as “underrepresented minorities.” Here are some freshman enrollment numbers at UC Berkeley for Fall 2011. The first four groups on the list are considered underrepresented; the others aren’t. Ethnicity 2011 Fall African American/Black 130 Mexican American/Chicano 325 Other Hispanic/Latino 150 Native American/Alaskan Native 33 Pacific Islander 11 Chinese 936 Filipino 108 Japanese 68 Korean 250 Other Asian 45 South Asian 324 Vietnamese 142 Read more →

Don’t Check Asian

 

Asian kids are putting a different race on their college applications to boost their chances of getting into the top schools. Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white. — Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’ – Yahoo! News That’s a rather modest strategy. Identifying yourself as white does give you a little bit of a boost but to really improve the odds, I’d advise everyone to go ahead and check the Black or Hispanic box. Or Eskimo. Eskimos are kind of Asian-looking. Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have… Read more →

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