Thursday, September 29, 2011

Go along to get along, ladies

A post where OneSTDV asserted that women, credulous creatures that they be, are largely to blame for the medical industrial complex and social hypochondria (his phrases) made me wonder what the GSS has to tell us about sex differences on questions relating to the willingness to speak openly without regard to the sacred cows that may be impaled as a consequence, personal health, and what Half Sigma deems the Gaia Cult. I didn't make the time to investigate at the time. Ah well, better late than never.

When it comes to rocking the boat by making provocative statements, women are more inclined towards biting their tongues for the sake of social harmony than men are. The GSS posed the following question: "Some people think that it's important to stand up for your own opinion even if it makes others around you uncomfortable. Others think that it's better to keep your views to yourself if they would make others around you uncomfortable. Which position comes closer to your view?" While 44.2% of women said it was better to keep views to oneself, only 35.4% of men did.

Parenthetically, ideals and actions are not in perfect alignment here. A slim majority of women and a sizable majority of men claim to think it is better for a person to be honest than accommodating, yet the people who actually put this into practice when the issue is something combustible like racial differences in intelligence constitute a tiny minority, at least when in public.

Gauging sex differences in susceptibility to what OneSTDV describes as Big Pharma's attempt to scare people into taking psychiatric drugs for a motley mix of symptoms including headaches, insomnia, fatigue, backache, dizziness, lightheadedness, and low appetite that might be symptomatic of depression is a little tricky because what the survey provides in width, it lacks in depth. It is rare for the questions to reach the necessary level of complexity.

I found one that comes reasonably close to getting after what we want, though. It asks respondents how likely they would be to take doctor-prescribed psychiatric medication because they are feeling depressed, having trouble falling asleep and concentrating, and feeling worthless. Among men, 40.8% reported being either somewhat or very likely to take the drug, while 48.6% of women did.

As for the Gaia Cult, most of the iconoclastic views are held by men, as 38.1% of them agree or strongly agree with the statement that "many of the claims about environmental threats are exaggerated," compared to 28.1% of women.

This is hardly a novelty. Men are consistently more skeptical of sacred claims than women are, and Gaia worship is vying with diversity for becoming the official religion of the Western world. To determine what a society holds sacred, simply find out what is utterly closed to questioning of any kind. It's not Christianity, which is certainly not above reproach. By branding CAGW skeptics the new racists, Al Gore is opening the divine door to both the Gaia Cult and diversity by grouping together those who question the holiness of either of them.

GSS variables used: SEX(1)(2), STANDUP(1-2), GRNEXAGG, PSYCMED3

Monday, September 26, 2011

Graph of federal tax liabilities by income quintile

In a post where he presents a table from the CBO showing the share of federal tax liabilities by income quintile in the US from the beginning of the 21st century to a few years into the future, Randall Parker points out how much taxes would have to increase on the top 20% of income earners to close the 2012 federal deficit:
How much would taxes have to increase on the top 20% to balance the budget? For 2012 the projection is for $2.627 trillion total revenue, $3.729 trillion total expenditures, and $1.01 trillion deficit (and I think it will be worse than that due to Peak Oil Recession II). Well, if the top 20% really pay 63.1% of total federal taxes (see table above 2012 column) then they are paying 0.631*$2.637 trillion or $1.66 trillion. Their total taxes paid would have to rise about 66% in order to close the federal budget deficit.
Making the same calculation for the other 80% of the population, we find that their collective tax contributions would have to increase 104%--that is, more than double--to close the single year deficit. That, of course, wouldn't get us out of the financial hell hole (of debt) the country is in, it would just mean we'd momentarily set the shovel down. And, in actuality, such enormous increases in tax liabilities would lead to shrinkage in the private sector, lower incomes, and thus a smaller economic base to tax from.

Randall also comments on how little the tax burden has shifted by income over a decade and a half. Even more apparent than the table he presents makes it, the following graph shows the stasis:

So, the top 20% does most of the vast majority of the heavy lifting. Those in the second quintile from the top, in the 60%-80% range, pull their own weight, and the bottom 60% are dragged along by those earning more than they do.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Homo nest invaded

In an interesting article on Obama's "evolving" position on same-sex marriage, Jack Cashill describes how the progressive left's feelings towards homosexuals has similarly evolved since the Stonewall Riots that putatively got the gay ball rolling. The New York Daily News, providing me with yet another example* of why it can be so much fun to revel in print media from the past before the vise of political correctness had become as suffocatingly tight as it is today, headlined the incident "Homo Nest Invaded, Queen Bees are Stinging Mad". The Village Voice called it the "Great Faggot Rebellion".

I have a hazy conception of the gay rights movement coming a couple of decades after the civil rights movement, sometime during the eighties as AIDS exploded onto the scene and provided homosexuals with the perfect vehicle to ride to Victimhood. People my grandparents' age do not show sufficient sensitivity to the concerns of either Negroes or sodomites. People my parents' age are better when it comes to blacks and Hispanics, but they don't take queers seriously enough. My generation treats African-Americans, Latinos, gays, and lesbians with more civility. Even we still have a long way to go though, of course!

So when did gay rights enter the American lexicon? Google's Ngram viewer gives some idea:

The phrase was almost non-existent until the late sixties (the Stonewall Riots occurred in 1969). It blew up in the mid-eighties before periodically cresting a decade later at the time the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted. After descending a bit, its ascent has resumed. With the legalization of same-sex marriage across much of the US a seeming inevitability sometime in the near future, the growth trend will likely continue.

* My dad, who is a professor of marketing, collects magazines and newspapers from 40s, 50s, and 60s. Flipping through them always brings a chuckle, albeit one tainted by melancholy. Aw, the way we was.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Planeswalker points

The following contains a discussion relating to the the world of M:TG, the card game. For the vast majority of readers it will consequently be of no interest, so if you are among them, please don't waste your time.


Wizards of the Coast had made no secret of the company's desire to change the worldwide DCI rating system that will be getting scrapped in the coming weeks. The new "Planeswalker points" system that will replace it is already running live, with retroactive calculations for all previous playing history having been made.

To put it bluntly, I'm extremely disappointed by the new system. The original DCI rating system simply copied the Elo rating system used in a host of other one-on-one competitions, most prominently in chess. The higher your rating relative to your opponent, the more less you standed to gain and the more you stand to lose in matching up against him.

The problem, as WoTC (officially) saw it, was that this kept professional players away from all but the biggest events--with a rating of 2000+, a loss to 95% of active players meant a rating dive equivalent to the full k-value of the event in question, while a win meant only a single point increase in rating. An FNM event in which a top player went X-0-1 led to a drop in that player's rating. Since suffciently high ratings are the key to tournament invitations and coveted Grand Prix byes, top players didn't mingle competitively with the masses.

There is a solution to this problem within the framework of the old rating system--merely allow players to create multiple DCI accounts. If the fear of proliferation getting out of hand (ie people ditching their new accounts after a couple of poor event showings) is an issue, limit it to two per person--one for competitive play, the other for experimentation, themes, or the like. This would allow pros to play more casually as frequently as they wanted to without having to be concerned about inadvertently knocking themselves out of pro tour contention.

More realistically, WoTC made the change because the old rating system essentially rewarded people for garnering a high winning percentage, while the new system rewards them for everything--not just winning, but also simply for playing. And the old system, of course, punished people for losing. The new system doesn't. At all. Points are simply gained, never lost.

What does this mean? The more a person plays, the 'better' a player he becomes. A person who goes to four tournaments in a week, ending at 2-3 and failing to make the top 8 cut in each of them has a higher rating than the guy who goes to one tournament the same week and cruises to a 7-0 finish, no splits. If a rating system is supposed to be a proxy for a player's abilities--as it was under the old system--this new system is patently absurd.

The monetary benefit for WoTC and participating event hosts is obvious. Players are going to have to grind* away to qualify for professional events, but these events will be filling up with people who play often, not necessarily people who play well (and believe me, while there is some overlap between the two, they are definitely not synonymous).

My take is especially caustic because I'm exactly the kind of M:TG player who loses the most from this rating remodel. The frequency of my play is pretty low, averaging an event or two every couple weeks. But I'm a competitve rogue player, having steadily maintained an 1800+ rating for the two years I've been back in the game, always keeping me in the top 5% of players. So I've always been on the cusp of professional play (though I've yet to actually pursue it because of time commitments and my stubborn refusal to ever sleeve up a top-tier build). That will no longer be the case. Unless I devote what I deem an inordinate amount of time to sanctioned events, my high win percentage won't get me there.

* "Grind" is a fitting verb here, as the new points system parrots MMOs, with levels and associated ranks ranging from "prodigy" at the low end to "archmage" at the high end. It doesn't matter how good your play is, if your character isn't--er, if you aren't--sufficiently leveled, there is nothing you can do to "win". The stigma of M:TG being more-or-less the same as Dungeons and Dragons, though obviously incorrect--M:TG being much more closely related to poker than to D&D--is not getting any easier to answer for.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Black-white and Hispanic-white incarceration rate ratios by state

In the previous post, an updated visualization of black-white incarceration rate ratios by state was provided. I have no good reason as to why a corresponding table was not included to go along with that, so here it is:

1. Iowa
2. Vermont
3. New Jersey
4. Connecticut
5. Wisconsin
6. New Mexico
7. North Dakota
8. South Dakota
9. Rhode Island
10. New York
11. Wyoming
12. New Hampshire
13. Pennsylvania
13. Utah
15. Minnesota
16. Illinois
17. Nebraska
18. Montana
19. Massachusetts
20. Maine
21. Kansas
22. Colorado
23. California
24. Washington
25. Ohio
26. Delaware
27. Virginia
28. Oregon
29. Arizona
29. West Virginia
31. Michigan
32. Maryland
33. Indiana
34. North Carolina
35. Missouri
36. Kentucky
37. Texas
38. Louisiana
39. Nevada
40. South Carolina
41. Florida
42. Oklahoma
43. Alaska
44. Idaho
45. Tennessee
46. Arkansas
47. Alabama
48. Mississippi
49. Georgia
50. Hawaii

The proximity-to-the-Canadian-border phenomenon is detectable. It's plausible to think that to some extent this is a consequence of whites behaving better the further north we go, while blacks are blacks, wherever they are. I'm skeptical, though, because it's not just whites who fare better as we head north--blacks do so as well, and the latitude-performance correlation is virtually identical for both races.

When Steve ran the numbers, he found a vigorous correlation of .62 between the 1997 black-white incarceration rate ratio and Kerry's share of the 2004 vote. As La Griffe du Lion has explained, this is largely attributable to stricter sentencing for criminal activity in red states than in blue states.

That remains the case with the fresher data, although the relationship has weakened. The correlation between the 2005 black-white rate ratio and McCain's share of the 2008 vote is .34 (p=.02). If red states were full of racist whites who wanted to irrationally throw large numbers of blacks in jail and blue states full of SWPLs who did not, we'd expect the correlation to run in the opposite direction. When it comes to closing the jail gap, red states do a better job of it than blue states do.

Fortunately for community organizers and activists everywhere, there is a silver lining in the (disgraceful!) nationwide trend towards tougher sentencing laws that has more people in the US behind bars now than ever before--the jail gap narrowed between 1997 and 2005 in a full 45 states. In only five lily white (and thus racist!) places--Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming--did it widen.

As someone who is keenly aware of the Hispanic tidal wave crashing onto our shores from the Gulf of Mexico and the southern end of our coastal border with the Pacific ocean, I would be remiss not to present a table showing Hispanic-white incarceration rate ratios by state. Unfortunately, data were not available in eleven states--AL, KS, ME, MD, MN, NM, NC, SD, VT, WI, and WY--that apparently do not inquire about (or at least publicly report on) whether or not prisoners are Hispanic:

1. Connecticut
2. Massachusetts
3. Pennsylvania
4. New York
5. New Hampshire
6. New Jersey
7. Rhode Island
8. North Dakota
9. Nebraska
10. Iowa
11. Idaho
12. Utah
13. Colorado
14. Montana
15. Illinois
16. Arizona
17. Ohio
18. Delaware
19. California
20. Kentucky
21. Washington
22. Indiana
23. Texas
24. Virginia
25. Mississippi
25. Missouri
27. Tennessee
27. South Carolina
29. Oregon
30. Oklahoma
31. Nevada
32. Michigan
33. Georgia
34. Alaska
35. Florida
36. Arkansas
37. West Virginia
38. Louisiana
39. Hawaii

As Peter explained in the comments of a previous post, Puerto Ricans (virtually all of whom are Hispanic) in the US are heavily concentrated in the Northeast and fare especially poorly among Hispanic immigrants and their descendants in the US. That is clearly evident above, as the Northeast takes all the top spots.

Florida's Cuban population, while no longer constituting a majority of the state's Hispanics still comprises a sizable chunk of it, presumably makes the state look great on this ranking.

Hawaii's combination of a large military presence and relatively unintelligent whites help to place it at the very bottom of the list. Accounting for the fact that the Aloha state's Asian/PI population is distinctly less prosperous than Asians in the US as a whole, it's probably the most racially egalitarian state in the country.

The biggest surprise to me is Nevada, where Hispanics and whites are incarcerated at almost identical rates. Excepting New Mexico for which data are unavailable, Hispanics in the border states predictably all end up in jail more frequently than whites in those states do. Any ideas as to why Nevada bucks this trend? Michigan is also unexpected.

Excluding Alaska (there are Hispanics in Alaska? Yes, though fewer than 40,000 of them), the rest of the states where Hispanics are better behaved than whites are in the South, where whites are more prone to criminal activity than they are in the Midwest, Northeast, or Old Northwest.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Black-white ratios on TANF usage and incarceration rates

The indispensable Steve Sailer made the following suggestion in the comments of the recent post that looked at black and Hispanic TANF utilization rates by state:
There's a bias in these ratios depending on how large a percentage blacks make up of the whole state. For example, if Mississippi is, say, 40% black, then the maximum possible ratio for Mississippi would be 2.50 (100%/40%), while if Idaho is 1% black, then the mathematically maximum possible ratio would be 100.00. (Indeed, the ratio in Mississippi is only 2.22.)

I think it's better to compare blacks to whites than blacks to the entire population, even though there's still the problem of whites differing between states (e.g., CN v. WV).
That's a great point. The problem is even greater when attempting comparisons of white TANF utilization rates to the extent that it is almost impossible to do meaningfully, which is why it was not attempted in the original post.

There's a way around this, though, by calculating utilization rates for blacks and comparing them to utilization rates for whites in the same state. So if in Mississippi for example, blacks represent 95% of total TANF usage (2.38 in the table), and the remaining 60% of the population that is white (for argument's sake--those aren't exact figures) contributes the remaining 5% of TANF usage for a value of .08 in the original table. Dividing the black by the white figures yields 29.8, a figure for which a higher value indicates relatively higher black TANF utilization while 'adjusting' for the absolute sizes of each state's black and white populations.

Why I didn't think of this before is unimportant. Go brush up a little on your vocabulary, and it'll make more sense.

Anyway, the following table ranks states by the level of black representation among TANF beneficiaries relative to the percentage of the total population that is black (black TANF % / black population %) divided by the level of white representation among TANF beneficiaries relative to the percentage of the total population that is white (white TANF % / white population %), expressed as an index in which 1.00 would represent exactly equal utilization rates by race, while index scores higher than that indicate what might be thought of loosely as the slavery tax multiple:

1. Wisconsin
2. North Dakota
3. Minnesota
4. New Jersey
5. South Dakota
6. Pennsylvania
7. Nebraska
8. Illinois
9. Iowa
10. Michigan
11. Maryland
12. Nevada
13. Connecticut
14. Idaho
15. Indiana
16. Delaware
17. Arizona
18. Louisiana
19. Arkansas
20. Mississippi
21. New York
22. Utah
23. Wyoming
24. Texas
25. Kansas
26. Virginia
27. Montana
28. Maine
29. Oklahoma
30. Oregon
31. California
32. Ohio
33. North Carolina
34. Alabama
35. Massachusetts
36. Florida
37. Tennessee
38. South Carolina
39. Missouri
40. Georgia
41. Vermont
42. Rhode Island
43. Washington
44. Alaska
45. New Hampshire
46. New Mexico
47. Kentucky
48. West Virginia
49. Colorado
50. Hawaii

Black Mississippians looked pretty good in the original table, but as Steve noted, it was more of a statistical artifact of the useful but limiting method I originally employed. This method turns out similar results (the two correlate at .68), but they are more useful, and a few states where the black population is particularly large, like Mississippi and Louisiana, shift upwards quite a bit.

An accompanying visualization is available here (Adobe/Java required).

Several years ago, Steve wrote an article entitled "Mapping the Unmentionable: Race and Crime", where he looked at the ratio of black and white imprisonment rates by state based on data from 1997. Surprisingly, moderately liberal states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, were where the black-white imprisonment gap was the widest, while being narrowest in the South.

If the purported racism of conservative whites manifested itself in incarceration patterns, we'd expect the black-white ratios to be the largest in the South and the smallest in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, almost exactly the opposite of what Steve found to actually be the case.

A more plausible explanation might be that softer sentencing standards in blue states (Steve found a correlation of .62 between Kerry's share of the 2004 vote and the size of the black-white imprisonment ratio) leads to a greater black-white incarceration ratio than stricter sentencing standards in red states do. To comprehend why, imagine a 'draconian' state in which the slightest legal infraction lands a person in the slammer. A full 90% of blacks might spend time behind bars in a state like this, but so would half of that state's whites, producing a ratio of only 1.8. On the other end of the extreme, imagine a do-as-you-please state where the only thing that carries a jail sentence is murder. Blacks are seven times more likely to commit murder than whites are, so in this state, the ratio is 7.0. [Addition: A commenter mentions La Griffe du Lion's 2006 discussion and explanation for why this occurs, more-or-less validating what I was getting at in a much fuller and more convincing way.]

Comparing the table above with the maps in Steve's article, the two seemed to me to trend in a similar direction--states where blacks milk the welfare system a lot more than whites do also appear to be states where blacks get thrown in jail a lot more than whites do, while in states where black and white welfare use is more equitable, the incarceration rates are similarly more equitable.

Fortunately, I was able to track down fresher data from 2005 on state level imprisonment rates by race. The correlation between the black-white TANF utilization ratio and the black-white incarceration rate ratio is .46 (p = .00). That's a reasonably strong relationship for seemingly unrelated social science data sets.

The motto for Wisconsin's blacks: On the dole or in the cell. If you're looking for a more positive example of black behavior, check out the great state of Hawaii. That shouldn't be too surprising. After all, the tropical paradise has become known for producing brothas of presidential timber! Halfrican and from one of the most racially equitable states in the country--no wonder he's forever insecure in his blackness!

For those interested in the material covered in Steve's article, here's an updated visualization of the black-white imprisonment ratio by state.

Also, if you haven't already, check out Steve's reflections on the material at hand.

* There are no data available for Wyoming and New Mexico in the 2005 data, so for those states I substituted 1997 figures, adjusted for the nationwide increase in the incarceration rate over the eight year period.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Diversity is Strength! It's also ... inequality

I'll justify ripping off VDare's recurrent article naming theme by segueing into congratulating the site for getting a much needed aesthetic makeover, and I'll even do so upon discovering that this humble blog has apparently been dropped from VDare's roll as, I hope, an incidental consequence of the revamp. Anyway, I wanted to publish a few odds-and-ends correlations, so instead of cramming them all into the title, I'll just filch it.

At its essence, to celebrate diversity in the contemporary West is to celebrate the portion of the population that is non-white. Contingent upon context, it might also refer to the portion of the population that is non-heterosexual, non-Christian, non-Western European, etc. But in its most recognizable form, diversity is basically synonymous with non-whiteness.

Using that as the definition, the correlation between diversity and income inequality (as measured by the gini coefficient) at the state level in the US is .43 (p = .00).

More than that (much more than that, actually), though, diversity is also poor academic performance. The correlation between NAEP science and math test scores (that I used to estimate average state IQ numbers) and diversity is a vigorous .77 (p = .00).

Parenthetically, one of my earliest recollections of the formation of a personal partisan leaning was after my dad outlined for me the basic differences between the two major parties. I concluded something to the effect of "So, if people are happy and do well, Republicans should do well, too. If they're unhappy and struggling, Democrats should do well." Relative equality isn't sufficient for happiness, but it's probably necessary. And red states are modestly more egalitarian than blue states are--the correlation between McCain's share of the vote and inequality is an inverse .31 (p = .02).

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Black TANF utilization by state

In a column for Taki's Mag, John Derbyshire highlighted an interesting table from the Department of Health and Human Services showing the state-level distributions of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by race. The piece considers the so-called "slavery tax" and whether it is something we can--or should--continue to pay (or collect--though "pay" is the far more accurate verb to describe Derb readers), and the table's relevance comes from his making the point that as soon as one starts delving into the subject of welfare, race inevitably becomes an issue:
As soon as you start to look at the numbers, though, you come up against the race issue. Here are the 2007-08 TANF tables—that’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal program—broken up by state and race. So for example, in the state of Maryland, which is 30 percent black, 80 percent of TANF-receiving families are black.
Aside from the table naturally catching my attention, I wondered if the Derb fished for and then used an especially startling example of black overrepresentation to make his point. Less than one-third of the population but four-fifths of the active TANF cases? That certainly makes blacks look bad!

The following table ranks states by the level of black representation among TANF beneficiaries relative to the percentage of the total population that is black (black TANF % / black population %), expressed as an index in which 1.00 represents exactly proportional usage, anything less than 1 indicates lower utilization and anything greater than 1 indicates disproportionately high utilization:

1) Wisconsin
2) Minnesota
3) Nebraska
4) Idaho
5) Iowa
6) North Dakota
7) Maine
8) Utah
8) Wyoming
10) Oregon
11) Pennsylvania
12) Vermont
13) Indiana
14) Kansas
15) Nevada
16) Michigan
17) Illinois
18) Oklahoma
19) New Jersey
20) New Hampshire
21) Ohio
22) Arkansas
23) Arizona
24) Missouri
25) Connecticut
26) Alaska
26) Kentucky
28) Montana
28) Tennessee
30) Washington
31) Delaware
32) Massachusetts
32) South Dakota
34) Florida
34) West Virginia
36) Virginia
37) California
38) North Carolina
39) Maryland
40) Alabama
41) New York
42) Georgia
43) Louisiana
43) South Carolina
45) Texas
46) Colorado
47) Mississippi
48) Rhode Island
49) New Mexico
50) Hawaii

A visualization of the black data is available here.

Rather than cherry pick a state that made blacks look especially bad, the Derb chose from near the bottom of the list, a state that is closer to racial parity in TANF usage than the country as a whole is. He wasn't trying to pull any punches--in fact, he probably just randomly selected a state that where the figures happened to be round and easily comprehended.

With the exception of Hawaii (where many blacks are in the military and are consequently relatively intelligent and prosperous), blacks receive a disproportionately large share of TANF benefits in every state in the country.

The upper Midwest is the nation's most racially unbalanced region, with blacks using welfare at rates far higher than non-blacks. The South, in contrast, is its most balanced. It is often argued that as a place becomes less white, white support for welfare programs that come to increasingly transfer white wealth not from affluent whites to poor whites but from affluent and middle class whites to non-whites will decrease. This by no means debunks that argument, but it is worth noting that the rankings don't shake out the way such an argument might predict, with whites in states where blacks receive especially disproportionate amounts of welfare benefits voting more strongly Republican than they do in states where welfare benefits are more equally distributed. There is no correlation between the two.

And TANF utilization relative to population share for Hispanics:

1) Massachusetts
2) Connecticut
3) Pennsylvania
4) Minnesota
5) New York
6) Nebraska
7) New Hampshire
8) Rhode Island
9) Arizona
10) Utah
11) Idaho
12) Wyoming
13) Washington
14) New Jersey
15) New Mexico
16) Texas
17) North Dakota
18) Wisconsin
19) California
20) Iowa
21) Indiana
22) Montana
23) Colorado
24) Oregon
25) Vermont
26) Kansas
27) Missouri
28) Ohio
29) Michigan
30) Nevada
31) Oklahoma
32) Delaware
33) Alaska
34) Maine
35) Hawaii
36) Florida
37) North Carolina
38) Virginia
39) Illinois
40) Arkansas
41) Tennessee
42) West Virginia
43) Louisiana
44) Kentucky
45) South Dakota
46) Alabama
47) Georgia
48) Mississippi
49) South Carolina
50) Maryland

A visualization of the Hispanic data is available here.

Not surprisingly, Hispanics in states with small black populations appear to be especially heavily welfare users. That's because in these states, their TANF utilization is being compared mostly to white TANF utilization rates, whereas in the South, Hispanics are being compared to a black-white mix, and consequently look less disproportionate (and actually quite admirable in many places). Looking at the preceding table, it's not surprising why Arizona has a restrictionist reputation--that Alabama does so as well is less predictable.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


With the long-time leader of Libya apparently taking precarious refuge in Algeria, his time in the limelight of Western media is nearing its end. When he's captured and then again as legal proceedings of some form progress against him (and the nature of those proceedings is contingent upon who ends up nabbing him), he'll momentarily be back in the news, but the peak of his media fame is surely in the past.

As a sendoff, I decided to delve into the very overdone subject of the romanized spelling of his name. There are several pieces that categorize the various spellings different media outlets have adopted over the years, but it's a little difficult to quantify New York Times does it this way, Fox News does it this way. So, here is a graph that tracks the six most common spellings of his surname in books published in the US over the last four decades (click on the image to enlarge it):

1) Qaddafi
2) Gaddafi
3) Qadhafi
4) Gadhafi
5) Kadafi (which appears to me the most phonetically intuitive spelling)
6) Gathafi

"Qaddafi" is the variant used most commonly by the federal government, while news media generally prefer to use "G" rather than "Q" to begin the name (probably because some number of English majors end up as journalists, and failing to follow a "Q" up with an "A" is perceived by them to be of poor form!).