Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lemme get a black and put the rest of this $5 on pump three

Reporting on what Justitia would surely regard as a hopeless and deeply unethical persecution prosecution, Jack Cashill writes:
Of note, Curly walked into the store with a couple of bills visible in his hand, likely the bills Martin exited with. Curly took the bills to the counter and bought two cheap cigars, or “blunts” as they are known on the street. The Urban Dictionary defines a “blunt” as a “cigar hollowed out and filled with marijuana.” Its virtue is that it can be smoked in public “somewhat inconspicuously.”
I've known people who smoke cigars as they are, but from personal experience I get the sense that much--if not most--of the time, they are purchased to be hollowed and used to smoke weed. Fortunately, the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health allows me to see beyond the information my own lying eyes provide to me. The percentages of cigar buyers whose most purchased cigar brand is Black and Mild and Swisher Sweet, respectively (these being by far the two most popular cigar brands in the US), who are active marijuana users (defined here as someone who has smoked weed in the last year):

Black and Milds15.5%

I might be able to hang on to the "much", but "most" has to go. A significant minority of cheap cigar buyers are doing so to facilitate their marijuana usage, but most of them merely appreciate the love of a man for a fine Pennsylvanian cigar.

Tangentially, it's my impression that if you're a man and you smoke 100s, there's a good chance you're gay, since 100s are for women (and also that you're a prole, since smoking is for proles). I suspect this tendency is ratcheted up ten-fold if you smoke 120s. Unfortunately, the survey doesn't inquire about sexual orientation or 120s, however, so we'll have to settle with just considering regulars (or kings) and 100s, by sex. The gender breakdown among Marlboro* smokers by cigarette size (rows, not columns, sum to 100%):


Survey variables used: CGR30BR2(404, 423), IRSEX, CIG30MLN(2-3), MRDAYPYR

* The survey only poses this question to respondents who smoke Marlboros. Because it is a relatively masculine brand, the true overall tendencies towards smoking and thus size prefrences are probably shifted towards women in both cases, but by presumably similar degrees. The takeaway here is that indeed women prefer longs more than men do. Beyond image, it's putatively because 100s last longer and are less intense, both of which are qualities more descriptive of female pleasure than they are of male pleasure [/innuendo].

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Good old fashioned family values, on which we used to rely

Pew Research delivers some inspiring Saturday morning reading, of the diversity-is-strength variety:
Never married mothers are significantly younger, disproportionally non-white, and have lower education and income. Close to half of never married mothers in 2011 (46%) are ages 30 and younger, six-in-ten are either black (40%) or Hispanic (24%), and nearly half (49%) have a high school education or less [sic*]. Their median family income was $17,400 in 2011, the lowest among all families with children.
In fidelity to the blog's raison d'etre, let's look at the risk factors among women of becoming never-married single mothers by comparing non-whites to the non-Hispanic white rate of bastard birthing. The following table shows the rates of this strain of alternative family formation (that is, one in which the state and/or extended family serve as substantial providers, since no one is providing for themselves and their spawn on less than $20k a year) relative to the non-Hispanic white rate:

Illegitimacyvs. whites

The Pew figures excluded those aged 65 or older, so I've made the necessary corresponding adjustments using 2010 Census data.

Look, my fellow Republicans, if we stop comparing Hispanics to our own voters and instead compare them to other minorities--which, since we must exclude Asians as they are too inconvenient to think about when we use the term "minority", means blacks--we see that indeed they do display both a penchant for traditional family values and a propensity to vote for the GOP. We need to pass the comprehensive immigration reform now, or, as Bill O'Reilly argues so convincingly, we'll "lose the Hispanic vote and never win another national election, ever!"

It's Marge Simpson's weight loss logic at work: "For low-fat, this pudding is pretty good. Mmm, mmm, I can just feel the pounds melting off."

* This probably should read "less than a high school education", compared to a national high school graduation rate of nearly 80%. As is, it insinuates that 51% of single mothers have gone to college, which, in a country where one-fourth of the population has a bachelor's degree or higher, would be quite 'impressive' (at least from the contemporary education-as-panacea viewpoint).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The obese eat weight loss up

Obesity rates by state:

And google search indices for "weight loss" by the same:

The correlation between the two is a rigorous .77 (p = .00*), a remarkably strong relationship for such a measurement, and at the state level to boot.

Candy man tempting the thoughts of a sweet tooth tortured by weight loss--well, at least it's not for a lack of trying. Or a lack of expressing at least a passing internet interest, anyway. Or even an excess of intelligence. If nothing else, they have the Dream.

Advice gleaned from a longitudinal study with a sample size of one: Cut the carbs, especially sugars and anything wheat-based, then eat to satiation without counting calories, points, or gil. Lift heavy things, and not just with the chest and biceps--get everything involved. Everything. Drink lots of water and don't drink much of anything else. Get seven hours of sleep a night. Have sex three or four times a week (really, moderation is golden here).

* 5.01^-11, more precisely.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hey Zeus, meet Jesus

Forget the bible belt, now we've got the Jesus belt:

From the blurb at BabyNameWizard, "unlike most Christians, who decline to use the name Jesus out of respect, Christians in the Spanish-speaking world commonly bestow it to bring the bearer under the special protection of the son of God."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What's in a name?

I'm interested in setting my child up in the most favorable position I'm able to. Elementary, middle, and high school choices will all be determined by how icy they are because, excluding genetic contributions, our most lasting influence will be contingent upon the kinds of people we surround him/her with.

I'm soliciting advice on naming my firstborn from those who've taken the red-pill. Don't get the wrong impression--I'm not going to be doing much helicoptering, nor will my fiance (who has spent lots of time with my nephew, interacting with him in ways that have been very encouraging). We should do pretty well. But if I can engage in some favorable angling, I'm all for it.

I've come up with a few parameters so far:

- If it's a boy, definitely no androgynous names, not even names that contemporarily still strike people as masculine, like Logan or Drew. With a few (I'm actually only aware of one, though I'd bet there are a handful of others) exceptions, the ratchet moves in only one direction. Names that undergo a sex change start out masculine and end up feminine--Sidney, Lindsey, Shannon, Lauren, etc began as men's names but have subsequently become girls' names. For boys, Steve Sailer suggests going biblical, or at least medieval, so that its gender-certainty is securely moored in history. Sound advice. If it's a girl, well, we may shamelessly contribute to such onomastic disenfranchisement. You've been warned--give your boy a reliably male name.

- Avoidance of the most popular and most obscure. The latter is more important, as it potentially becomes a point of fun for other kids at my own's expense if he's introverted or not particularly popular. If he excels at something (or a host of things!) and is able to parlay that into higher social status, a unique name becomes a boon because it makes him more memorable (Mitt, Barack, Rush, etc) and thus further perpetuates his social advantage, but that's attainable without resorting to something potentially derisible like Moon Unit. Get the potential upside without too much risking the downside. It feels like the sweet spot is somewhere in the range of 100th-500th most popular name given to newborns for a boy, and probably in the 50th-100th for a girl, since consensus and normalness are more important for women than they are for men.

- Grab a name name whose popularity has yet to crest so he doesn't artificially appear older than he actually is. This is more relevant for a boy than for a girl, so that at 28 he could conceivably be guessed at a cool 23 or 24 rather than a creepy 32 or 33 by the 18 year-old girls he'll be chasing if he's his father's son. The opposite might even be the case for a girl, because if she looks ten years your junior but can subconsciously be thought of as only coming five years after you, it might elicit less jealousy and bitterness, respectively, in the men and women she knows.

If I'm overlooking something, do make me aware. Many of you are more experienced in this whole child-rearing thing than I am. 

The top picks at this point are Sydney for daddy's little princess, and Carter or August for the surname's future standard bearer. Personally, I prefer the latter because it's just now beginning its cycle of rebirth--once all the old fogies who bear a name whose popularity peaked around the time they were born all die off and it exits living memory, the phoenix can rise again from the ashes of its great-great-grandparents (think Stella for a female example). Furhter, who doesn't want a son worthy of reverence and admiration? Even now at only 333th most popular, though, it's still perceived as being dangerously close to the perimeter of Moon Unit's territory, so I'm facing a lot of resistance to it. The more pedestrian Carter is an easier sell.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Geography, race, religion, and class

... is a ridiculously audacious title for the post it introduces.

Anyway, previously, Dan commented:
Poor inner city people go to church more than everyone else, and they theoretically believe in marriage. But they don't believe in losing the government checks.
Having read Charles Murray's Coming Apart, that assertion struck me as inaccurate, with the caveat in mind that, as Murray did through most of The Bell Curve, so as to avoid racial confounding, the relevant research includes only whites. I did a quick check of the GSS, confirming what Murray found--affluent people from rural and suburban areas go to church more than poor urban folks do.

However, Dan correctly pointed out that blacks attend worship services at significantly higher rates than whites do.

I ran the same GSS test, this time for whites exclusively and for blacks exclusively and found the same patterns for both racial groups--wealthy suburban and rural blacks go to church more than poor inner-city blacks do, and wealthy suburban and rural whites attend more than poor inner-city whites do. The rub is that poor urban blacks still attend more than wealthy suburban and rural whites do. Here are the averages. The higher the figure, the more frequently the group attends worship services (n = 2,468, one SD = 2.76):

Wealthy country blacks5.64
Poor urban blacks4.12
Wealthy country whites3.59
Poor urban whites3.24

The "wealthy country blacks" row is only comprised of 23 respondents, so take it with caution, but the overall results pass the smell test.

If Dan's in error, it is in the assumption that urban poor = black. While the urban poor are far more likely to be black than the rest of the country is, in absolute terms I don't think blacks comprise an absolute majority of the country's poor city dwellers. As an empirical question, it's tough to get a straight answer because the definitions of "urban" and "poor" aren't standardized, with the idea of "urban" being a lot more expansive at the US Census office than the idea of "ghetto" is in the vernacular.

GSS variables used: RES16(1-4)(6), REALINC(0-30000)(100000-999999), YEAR(2000-2010), ATTEND, RACECEN1(1)(2)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Turned red, blue, purple, so colorful indeed

Think about the worst illness you've ever experienced, the kind of infection that sees you prostrated helplessly in front of the porcelain throne after making seven consecutive offerings to it while you desperately--and unsuccessfully--try to sneak a breath in edgewise, followed by a miserable, aching eternity of darkness in which your thoughts are, almost by necessity, about nothing other than being rid of the curse. If such an existence was your life's sentence, would you have the stomach to go on? What if it were to last, without interruption, for a full month?

These sorts of questions come to my mind whenever I'm mulling over the issue of assisted suicide (and in those mercifully rare times that I contract something so fierce). In answer to the first question, I'm a weak-willed buddhist--all of life is suffering, but I don't want to grit my teeth and bear it--get me out of here! To the second question, though, I like to think I would, and no worse for the wear.

How about if it were to continue for a full year, though? It's not difficult for me to sympathize with those who'd like to dismount from the mortal coil rather than be racked continuously by it as the earth makes it all the way around the sun. Yet if the person in question was someone I cared deeply about, I'd be tempted to compel him to suffer through it even, if he had access to a legally sanctioned, painless, clinically administered suicide escape hatch.

As is the case with so many social issues, I'm a libertarian at a safe distance but more of a sanctity-of-lifer up close. Politically pro-choice, but forever disappointed in a close family member who had an abortion, that's my line of thinking--it's why I prefer sticking to the data over pontificating from a personal perspective.

Andrew Stuttaford isn't so demure. He celebrated a legislative victory for doctor-assisted suicide out of the northeast, curiously remarking:
Vermont may be a lefty sort of place, but occasionally it gets some things right.
I say "curiously" because in the US--Stuttaford's home for the last couple of decades--euthanasia is primarily championed by the left, not the right. The GSS has queried respondents for even longer than Andrew has been on this side of the Atlantic on whether or not they feel a person who has an "incurable disease" has the right to commit suicide. The question is dichotomous, and for contemporary relevance, responses are from 2000 onward. By political orientation, the percentages of people who feel such a person should be able to end his life:


Since we're on the topic, feelings towards pulling the plug, by age range:


One might think that as the prospect of irreversible, painful decline went from theoretically occurring sometime in a young stripling's distant future to suffocating a senescent creature in his bed at the retirement home, the willingness to allow someone to die with dignity would increase. Sounds plausible, but it's not quite the case. Life was cheap in the old republic and it became even cheaper during the imperium. Parallels might be drawn. Shifting from contemporary to historical relevance, the percentages of respondents who expressed comfort with suicide, by year (in defiance of Hegel, images in blogger have become more, not less, buggy over time--click on the image if its bleeding over into the sidebar is driving you to distraction):

When I came into this place, it was still a minority position. No longer, for better or worse.

GSS variables used: AGE, POLVIEWS(1-2)(3-5)(6-7), YEAR, SUICIDE1