Key takeaways from a battle for power!


"Human nature" all the way down, leading top star experts say:
For our money, Jordan Weissmann nailed the key takeaway from Thursday night's TV debacle.

He presented his key takeaway at Slate.
Beneath a pithy headline, Weissman started with this:
WEISSMAN (6/28/19): Joe Biden Is Old

Early on in Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate, Eric Swalwell, the 38-year-old U.S. congressman from California, decided to take his shot at Joe Biden.
He recalled how, when he was just 6 years old, a politician had come to the California Democratic Convention and said it was time to “pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.”

“That candidate was then-Sen. Joe Biden,” Swalwell said, delivering the punchline to a mix of groans and applause. “Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago. He’s still right today.” Biden, the front-runner heading into the debate, smiled broadly, taking the dig in stride. “I’m still holding onto that torch. I want to make that clear to you,” he said in response. Then [Biden] started reciting a dry, stumbly bit about education policy. It was hard to follow.

In that moment, the whole depressing subtext of the former vice president’s campaign temporarily became text. Biden is old. At 76, he would be the most-senior first-term president in history. But unlike his fellow septuagenarian, Sen. Bernie Sanders, it was impossible to watch Biden debate without noticing just how many steps he seems to have lost.
Just to be clear, Biden is 76 years old today. If he enters the White House in January 2021, he will be 78!

Weissmann continued from where we left off. We think he'd already recorded the one key point from Thursday's food fight, much of which was rather dim-witted, some of which was perhaps conducted in something resembling bad faith.

According to Weissmann, "It was impossible to watch Biden debate without noticing just how many steps he seems to have lost." In truth, that has been our own impression ever since the former veep began campaigning this year.

Entering the White House at 78 seems a bit risky to start with. That said, Biden right now, at 76, seems to have lost several steps from the pol he used to be—and even then, at his best, he was always a "gaffe machine."

A few weeks ago, we said we found it hard to believe that Biden was going to make it. We said that because it seemed to us that he no longer had all his skills and capacities—and even back when he did, he tended to make the incommodious statements on which our press corps likes to feed, with which it likes to play.

We think Weissmann nailed Thursday's key takeaway. In our view, it seems unwise for Biden to be in this race at all. That leaves us looking at the others—at the people who decided to "take their shot" at Biden, whether on Thursday night itself or in its aftermath.

We're speaking here about Candidate Harris, whose ability to win praise for bogus statements and presentations constitutes a giant political asset. At present, she'd be our choice for the nomination, though we're somewhat disinclined to believe a word she says.

(At present, why would we pass over Candidate Warren? We'll visit that point next week, with reference to Kristof's logic.)

We're also speaking here about our mainstream journalists and pundits. They've tended to perform their usual unhelpful role in assessing what happened Thursday night.

Before we continue, we want to thank a set of major anthropologists for helping us see what actually happened that night. "What happened was typical 'human' behavior," these verklempt future experts have told us.

In our view, Weissmann nailed Thursday's key point. Everything else has followed from there.

We expect to discuss these events for several days to come. For today, here are two more possible takeaways to ponder:

Views of mandated busing back then:

Candidate Biden stands accused of opposing mandated busing way back when, in the 1970s. Along the way, he has somehow brought hurt to "a little girl" and to Candidate Swalwell, who was once only 6.

This is supposed to tell us something, though it doesn't mean Biden's a racist!

Biden opposed mandated busing back in the 1970s! In our view, it's fortunate that this doesn't make him a racist, because according to the Washington Post, the vast majority of black Americans were underwhelmed with the practice then too!

Isaac Stanley-Becker did the reporting
for the Washington Post. We can't vouch for his survey numbers, but we also don't find them shocking:
STANLEY-BECKER (6/28/19): The year that Joe Biden entered the Senate, in 1973, Gallup asked Americans whether they thought busing children from one neighborhood to another was the best means of integrating the nation’s public schools.

Five percent of those surveyed said they favored that approach; broken into racial groups, 4 percent of whites and 9 percent of blacks said they supported busing.

Integration? Yes, a majority said. In principle.

But not if it meant compulsory busing.
According to Stanley-Becker, 9 percent of black respondents supported mandated busing as the best route to integration! As for the other 91 percent of black respondents, they presumably weren't racists either, though we'd want to double-check with Harris before settling on any such view.

For details on that 1973 Gallup poll, you can just click here.

We'll note that Stanley-Becker has his thumb on the scale just a tad as he describes what those numbers mean. Given the thrashing Biden is taking, we think those numbers provide a bit of context, the enemy of human stampedes.

Strange absence of busing proposals today:

We're grateful to our major anthropological sources for articulating a key point. According to these disconsolate experts, any discussion of this type will reflect the unimpressive "wiring" of our deeply flawed human brains.

For that reason, such discussions may sometimes tilt toward dumbness. They may even seem to exhibit the occasional act of bad faith.

With those caveats in place, let's proceed with our discussion. Our experts have said that the current public "discussion" has taken this typical form:

Biden should have supported it then—but we don't support it today!

These experts note that the Reverend Sharpton is based in the state of New York, which has "the most segregated schools in the country." They ask when he last proposed mandated busing. We don't quite know what to say.

They note that Candidate Booker, when he was mayor of Newark, joined hands with Governor Christie and billionaire mogul Mark Zuckerberg to "transform" that city's schools, largely by reining in its teachers' fiendish unions. Hundreds of millions of dollars changed hands, but no one ever suggested busing, these rueful experts allege.

As for Candidate Harris, these experts note the current academic profile of the schools she once set out to fix. The profile was compiled a few years ago by Stanford's Professor Reardon:
Average student, in relation to grade level
Berkeley Public Schools, Grades 3-8

White kids: 2.7 years ahead
Black kids: 1.9 years behind
Hispanic kids: 1.1 years behind
According to Professor Reardon, there was a 4.6 year achievement gap between Berkeley's average black and white kids just in grades 3-8!

These experts ask what Candidate Harris has ever suggested doing about that. Also, as a candidate with strong feelings about such matters, what sorts of busing proposals has she brought forward today?

Nicolle Wallace's home town of Orinda is right next door to Berkeley, thee experts further note. Have Wallace and Harris ever joined forces to roll the buses between these two districts? Why not, these scholars ask, rolling their eyes as they do.

At any rate, these fiery pundits and pols today! They say Biden should have supported it then, but they don't propose it today!

For our money, Candidate Biden's missing steps constitute the key takeaway from Thursday night's excitement.

Top anthropologists differ. It was all the "gossip" and all the heavily tribal group "fictions," these rueful scholars have said, citing Professor Harari's account of where our species came from.

Behavior which may exhibit bad faith is quite common, these heralded experts keep saying. They also point to the mandated dumbness which has ruled our public discourse for at least the past forty years.

Eventually, this ubiquitous upper-end dumbness put Donald J. Trump where he is. Scholars say this is "human nature" at work—and these heralded anthropologists don't offer that as high praise!

What's new in Orinda: Wallace grew up and attended public schools right next door to Berkeley. According to the leading authority on Orinda, the town was 0.8% black in 2010 and was, in that sense, approaching a "tipping point."

At any rate, black kids would have a lot of gain from being bused to Orinda. The leading authority describes this recent cultural struggle:
While Orinda is marketed as a quaint and quiet ‘semi-rural’ city just outside of Oakland and Berkeley, there are significant issues with noise and exhaust pollution from leaf blowing. With the "semi-rural" topography of rolling hills, the sound is inescapable as it echoes throughout the neighborhoods. There was an attempt made to ban leaf blowing beginning in 2010 with ”Quiet Orinda”, which was covered in a feature article entitled "Blowback" in The New Yorker magazine. A group of residents sought to ban the use of leaf blowers citing the terrible noise and harmful effects to the environment from the exhaust.

Despite strong citizen support, the Orinda City Council refused to enact a ban on leaf blowers in 2010. The "Quiet Orinda" group attempted to seek a compromise in 2011 but the Council refused to make changes with the Councilwoman Amy Worth telling the San Jose Mercury News, “We spent a significant amount of time reviewing (the leaf blower issue), hearing testimony last year, and I guess my position remains the same...I think we worked very hard several years ago to craft a noise ordinance that sought to seek a compromise between the various perspectives.”
If Berkeley kids could be bused to Orinda, they'd finally have a chance to see our American democracy in action!

We'll guess that Wallace and Harris have tried to arrange for mandated busing, given how strongly they feel about it. But when all the leaf blowers get going at once, it's hard to break through all the noise!

DESEGREGATING THE GOTHAM ONE: Big liberal audience cheers bold stand!

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2019

Coming next, The size of the gaps:
Last evening, on network TV, Candidate Harris took an uncompromising stand in favor of desegregation.

Rather, she took a bold stand in favor of public school desegregation when done in the 1970s. That doesn't mean that she's in favor of any such effort today!

Predictably, the big liberal audience cheered her fearless bold stand. Early this morning, top anthropologists appeared before us, ruefully telling us this:

"This is what the species was like. Anthropologically speaking, this was the best we could do."

As always, these future experts spoke in the past tense when discussing our own human race. They spoke from the years which follow the global conflagration they refer to as Mister Trump's War.

No one favors mandated busing today. Last night, the audience loudly cheered the practice, though only if done in the past!

Top anthropologists shook their heads. This was the shape of their tale:
The top anthropologists' tale:
Every modern performative liberal knows to repeat this mantra:

Our public schools are more segregated today than at any time in the past!

That said, no one favors taking action to address this alleged situation! That's because no one actually cares about black and Hispanic kids, and no one ever has!
We find it hard to believe such claims—until we read the New York Times, or until we see Harris declaim. We love her performance and communication skills—and yet, we fear what may come.

We tend to agree that last night's debate shapes up as a win for Trump. We don't know what the future will bring, but we tend to agree with Joe Scarborough's gloom and despair about what happened last night.

Last night, Harris declared that she's in favor of public school desegregation—as long as it's done in the past.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has been posturing hard in a lonely, ugly, stupid crusade to desegregate the top one percent, even as it engages in total denial about the brutal size of Gotham's achievement gaps.

This has actually begun to look like the best we human beings can do. Next week, we plan to start an informative set of reports. Our topic:

The size of the gaps.

Wallace knows it isn't true!


Would say it anyway:
What sorts of things go through the minds of our top-rated TV stars?

Last Wednesday, Nicolle Wallace gave us a look behind the cable curtain. Six minutes into Deadline: White House, she made an inaccurate, though pleasing, statement. It's a statement she makes all the time:
WALLACE: Joyce Vance, Robert Mueller found that Donald Trump committed crimes, that he committed ten acts of obstruction of justice. Robert Mueller also found that Russia attacked our democracy to help Donald Trump.

These are two really simple truths. These are two—you know, Elizabeth Warren was able to boil them down into a simple sentence. Why can't Democrats?
That's what Wallace said. To watch the full exchange, click here, move ahead to the 6-minute mark.

In fact, Robert Mueller didn't "find that Donald Trump committed ten acts of obstruction of justice." As we noted yesterday, the Mueller report explicitly says this:

Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct.
The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
"This report does not conclude that the President committed a crime" (our emphasis). It doesn't get a lot more explicit than that.

Six minutes into her popular show, George Bush's former number-one spinner had uttered an obvious falsehood. And at this point, the impossible happened:

Ever so gently, after some fluffing, Joyce Vance basically said so! This sort of thing is never done on the Wallace recite-along show:
VANCE: ...I would maybe take issue with the notion that Mueller found ten instances of obstruction. I think he definitely had evidence to support moving forward on four. And so you can see how just doing the top-line explanation there, it takes time.

Being sensible, having good policy, understanding the law, it takes time. So the real challenge for Democrats is getting the attention of the country in something more substantive than a tweet.
You'll note that Vance didn't claim that Mueller himself had made any such findings. She seemed to say that, in her judgment, Mueller had described four events which would be worth pursuing as instances of obstruction.

This sort of thing is never done on the Wallace show. On the Wallace show, Wallace assembles a five-member panel of "some of our favorite reporters and friends." Each favorite takes his or her turn agreeing with whatever Wallace just said, at which point she starts a new topic.

In fact, this sort of thing is rarely done on MSNBC at all. But in response to Vance's statement, Wallace supplied us viewers with a rare look inside. Continuing directly, here's what she said:
WALLACE (continuing directly): I'm going to say something that is going to keep me off Twitter for a week.

When Democrats lose elections, this is why. I mean, what Joyce just said, I'm sure, is accurate. He didn't find ten—

But the opposite of "I can't say crimes weren't committed" is, to a political communicator, "Crimes were committed." And if Democrats don't have the you-know-whats to assert that and let people, let the president's lawyers, go out and say, "Well, he found ten instances where the nexus between an occurrence and a proceeding were not exactly met, but—"

I mean, let Trump explain that a crime wasn't committed in the obstruction section!
We're going to guess that the "you-know-whats" were almost surely cajones. At this point, Wallace threw to Claire McCaskill, who helpfully changed the subject. This let all the favorites move on.

At any rate, Wallace said that she was sure that Vance's statement was accurate. That seemed to mean that she was sure that what she herself had just said was false. Though she'd called it a "simple truth!"

Having said that, so what? Wallace now said that, "as a political communicator," she'd make the false statement anyway and let The Others sort things out. For the record, this helps explain why so many kids are dead at this time in Iraq, if not in the Rio Grande.

Back in 2004, Wallace was charged with convincing the world that John Kerry was the world's biggest flip-flopper.

Inane examples were invented. It was left to our pitiful team to try to sort them out.

She also helped get the rubes out to vote on all those statewide anti-same sex marriage ballot measures. Today, though, she's thoroughly anti-Trump. That makes her our tribe's best friend.

At present, Wallace is working her "political communicator" arts in the anti-Trump world. We liberals love love love the way she plays the game.

Big-brained humans that we are, we can tell that she's on our side. Or so anthropologists say.

Tomorrow: Toobin too! Plus a closer look at Wallace's stated logic

DESEGREGATING THE GOTHAM ONE: The Times just keeps denying those giant gaps!


It does so in various ways:
It's hard to know how to approach Eliza Shapiro June 4 report—the ten millionth front-page report in which she has advanced her newspaper's brave crusade in favor of "desegregating" the Gotham One.

By The One, we mean the one percent of New York City public school kids who will end up at Stuyvesant High, the most selective and most prestigious of Gotham's eight "elite" public high schools.

Due to its status as uber-elite, Stuyvesant seems to be the only high school the New York Times cares about. On June 4, Shapiro published her ten millionth front-page report about a remarkable fact:

Very few black and Hispanic kids score well enough on the citywide admission test to qualify for enrollment at Stuyvesant, or even at the other seven "elite" high schools in Gotham.

It's true that the enrollment figures at those schools are striking. They define a major American problem—a major problem in New York City and across the United States.

That said, Shapiro's reporting also defines a major problem. The well-connected cub reporter is remarkably skilled at a longstanding form of denialism—denial of the size of the achievement gaps which obtain across New York City and across the entire nation.

We've shown you the data a million times; we'll do so again below. That said, you will never see such data in the New York Times, or see such data discussed. The New York Times is deeply committed to denying that our giant achievement gaps actually exist. Denial of this major problem makes life that much easier for our uncaring and hapless upper class.

Shapiro's June 4 front-page report groaned beneath a load of denial techniques. How many ways can an uncaring, upper-class newspaper deny the size of those punishing gaps?

Let us list a few of the ways, scanning Shapiro's report:

Test prep:

Inevitably, we start with Shapiro's trademark form of denial—her ridiculous claim that New York City's achievement and enrollment gaps are caused by "test prep," full stop.

Back in March, she actually made this ludicrous claim on NPR's All Things Considered. In her June 4 report, Shapiro dialed the foolishness back, if only a tad.

Why do New York City's elite high schools enroll so few black and Hispanic kids? Early in her report, Shapiro described the eightfold rise in Gotham's Asian population from 1970 to 2011. Then, she told us this:
SHAPIRO (6/4/19): Much more has changed since New York’s most prized public schools began to look less like the city school system as a whole—and the explosion of test preparation may be the biggest shift.

Many specialized school alumni from the 1970s, '80s and '90s have said they do not remember taking any formal preparation for the entrance exam; a few recalled skimming a Barron's prep book a few weeks before the test.


Today, it is almost unheard-of for a current student to not have prepared for the test—often at the prep centers that have doubled in number in the past decade, to 436 in 2017. For example, Kaplan's most basic offering is eight group prep sessions for $1,000. Some students even take classes summer after summer during middle school.

The fight over how to integrate the specialized schools revolves in part around the ideal role of test prep: Some have argued that the city should expand its current free prep program for low-income students—while others have questioned whether directing middle school students to focus more on standardized tests is sound education policy.
Shapiro dials the foolishness back in that passage. She suggests only that test prep may be the biggest reason for the racial and ethnic enrollment patterns at the only high schools which matter.

That's an improvement over March, when test prep was presented as the only explanation for those startling enrollment patterns. That said, Shapiro has never attempted to answer a basic question:

How much does test prep actually help? How do we know that test prep actually helps at all?

Shapiro simply ignores such questions. Meanwhile, consider this:

In its on-line version of Shapiro's report, you can see that the New York Times has disappeared the passage in which Shapiro noted that New York City's public schools offer free test prep. That fact has been disappeared!

A cynic might think that the disappeared passage undermined the Times' preferred position, in which Gotham's astounding "enrollment gaps" are caused by such externalities as expensive test prep. In fact, there is no test prep for the Naep, and giant achievement gaps are observed all over the country on those federally-administered tests.

Those giant achievement gaps are already present in the first Naep testing, during Grade 4. Those giant gaps aren't caused by test prep—and they're seen all over the nation.

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE):

Ever since the 1960s, we pseudo-liberals have preferred to believe that the nation's achievement gaps are more accidental than real. We've always maintained that they have to result from some easily-remedied type of discrimination.

Way back when, it was racist teachers who were causing the gaps. Today, we like to blame test prep.

Test prep fits this bill! So does the absence or presence of "gifted and talented" programs.

As Shapiro explains away Gotham's stunning enrollment gaps, she moves directly from test prep to GATE. Black and Hispanic kids don't get into Stuyvesant High because they don't have access to GATE programs, she now says:
SHAPIRO (continuing directly): As test prep has become all but a prerequisite over the last decade, advanced academic classes have evaporated for many black and Hispanic students.

When Ademola Oyefeso saw that only a tiny number of black and Hispanic students were admitted into the specialized schools this year, he said he was ''twice mad.'' Mr. Oyefeso, 41, graduated from Brooklyn Tech in 1995 and grew up near the school.

''I was upset for those kids, because that's not the experience I had. And I was mad because, as a parent, I wondered how many black and brown kids were just left on the table because their parents didn't know how to get you into gifted and talented.''

Mr. Oyefeso, like nearly all the other alumni interviewed, attended an academically accelerated middle school. Today, only a few middle schools are considered feeders for specialized schools.
As this passage continues, it isn't just the absence of test prep which keeps black and Hispanic kids out of Stuyvesant High. It's also the unavailability of "gifted and talented" (GATE) programs.

In her typical imprecise way, Shapiro says these programs have "evaporated" for "many" black and Hispanic kids. That said, she never presents any data supporting her implied claim that GATE programs have been cut back for such kids. Instead, she offer this jumbled passage—and as she does, she evades a blindingly obvious point:
SHAPIRO (continuing directly): About ten years ago, former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg attempted to diversify gifted and talented classrooms by eliminating a system in which individual city school districts gave their own tests and replacing it with a citywide standardized exam backfired. But those programs soon shed even more black and Hispanic students.

Last year, there were nearly twice as many students in gifted and talented programs in District 2, which includes Manhattan's mostly white and wealthy Upper East Side and West Village, as there were in the Bronx, the city's poorest borough. Just 36 students in District 7, which includes the overwhelmingly poor and mostly Hispanic South Bronx, were enrolled in the district's sole gifted and talented program for elementary school.

The Bronx has nine gifted and talented programs in total while District 2 alone has eight, even though there are about 30 more schools serving elementary school grades in the Bronx than in Manhattan.

The fate of gifted and talented programs in New York is tied up in the broader question of how to integrate the entire system: Some families are calling for an expansion of gifted programs into every neighborhood, while others say academic tracking inherently leads to segregation and should be eliminated.
"Academic tracking should be eliminated?" Tomorrow, we'll start with that remarkable idea. For now, consider these points:

Nothing in that passage demonstrates Shapiro's implied claim that GATE programs have been cut back for black and Hispanic kids—have perhaps even "evaporated." Instead, Shapiro reports that there are more GATE programs in wealthy, white District 2 than there are in the low-income Bronx.

We're plainly meant to see this as a form of discrimination. In fact, it's obvious why there might be fewer GATE programs in low-income minority neighborhoods—it's because kids in those neighborhoods are on the short end of our nation's giant achievement gaps, from the early grades on.

As a general matter, GATE programs are instituted for kids who are working "above grade level," perhaps substantially so. For whatever reason, schools in the low-income Bronx will often have large numbers of deserving kids who may be years below "grade level" from the early grades on.

Stating the obvious, schools don't typically institute "advanced" academic programs for kids who are struggling badly with "grade level" work. It's also true that District 2 includes some selective, high-powered middle schools which only admit high-achieving fifth graders. You'll never read it in the Times, but the existence of such schools helps explain this claim:

"Today, only a few middle schools are considered feeders for specialized schools."

To the extent that that claim may be true, it's likely true, in large part, because those particular "feeder" schools enroll kids in a selective manner. They admitted the city's top academic performers after fifth grade, and those kids were then exposed to an advanced curriculum, as makes perfect sense.

It's obvious why schools of that type would end up sending a lot of kids to Gotham's "specialized high schools." This sort of thing is a mystery only in the Times.


Shapiro and her low-performing newspaper leave very few stones unturned as they attempt to deny the reality of our enormous achievement gaps.

By rule of law, the enrollment gaps at Stuyvesant High have to stem from some simple-minded form of discrimination. Inevitably, Shapiro began her June 4 pleadings with a complaint about "stereotyping."

At the start of her report, Shapiro quoted black and Hispanic adults who didn't have to compete with all those Asian kids back when they went to Gotham's most elite high schools. In this early passage, one such graduate complains about "stereotyping," even as she poses a question which Shapiro has already answered:
SHAPIRO: In interviews, more than a dozen black and Hispanic students who graduated from New York City's specialized high schools from 1975 to 1995 described the schools as oases for smart children from troubled neighborhoods. But the alumni said they were anguished that since their graduations, the schools have lost nearly all of their black and Hispanic students.

During those decades, Asian enrollment has ballooned while white enrollment has also fallen.
Among the most drastic shifts: Brooklyn Technical High School's black population dropped to 6 percent in 2016 from 51 percent in 1982.

Though the city has designated five other specialized high schools since 2002 in an attempt to integrate the elite schools, even the new schools have seen a drop-off in black and Hispanic enrollment over the last decade. Black and Hispanic students represent 70 percent of the school system, but they currently make up just 10 percent of the specialized schools.

When Ms. Lennon found out in March that only seven black students scored high enough on the specialized school entrance exam to receive an offer to attend Stuyvesant, she logged onto the school's alumni Facebook page. There, she found her own white and Asian classmates arguing that the decline was because black children did not work as hard as other students, or their parents did not care as much as others' did.

''It's not like I'm new to being black—I understand stereotypes exist,'' Ms. Lennon said. But this felt different.

''People are ignoring history,'' she added. ''No one is asking, what has happened?''
"What has happened?" the graduate asks. More specifically, why do Gotham's "specialized high schools" enroll so few black and Hispanic kids at this point in time?

Based on that passage and one which follows, the answer seems fairly obvious. Black and Hispanic kids have been supplanted by an influx of Asian kids whose academic performance is off the charts, in New York City itself but also nationwide.

(Shapiro: "From 1970 to 2011, the number of Asia-born immigrants living in New York City increased about eightfold to 843,000 from 105,000...The Asian population of the specialized schools includes Asian-Americans and Asia-born immigrants.")

Why is Stuyvesant's student body now 74 percent Asian? In the most straightforward sense, it's because our nation's Asian kids blow everybody else away in basic academic performance.

Below, you see some startling statistics from the 2017 Naep. The data display the yawning achievement gaps the virtue-signalers at the Times want to wish away.

These are nationwide statistics. They have nothing to do with test prep centers in District 2. They have nothing to do with the relative absence of GATE programs in the Bronx.

Beyond that, they have nothing to do with "stereotypes." These are basic informational data, and they define a national problem, a giant problem the New York Times keeps trying to deny and disappear:
Average scores, Grade 8 math
Public schools nationwide, 2017 Naep

White kids: 292.16
Black kids: 259.60
Hispanic kids: 268.49
Asian-American kids: 309.52
According to a standard but very rough rule of thumb, a ten-point difference on the Naep scale is roughly equivalent to one academic year.

Applying that very rough rule of thumb, the average Asian kid across the U.S. is something like five years ahead of his black counterpart by the time they're in eighth grade! That is a very rough estimate, but those achievement gaps are huge, and the Naep numbers are little different in New York City.

In the most obvious, straightforward sense, those numbers explain the startling enrollment patterns at Stuyvesant High, the only high school which matters. They also define a national problem, one the "limousine liberals" at the Times are eager to deny and disappear.

Shapiro keeps saying that our nation's giant achievement gaps are basically an illusion. Every time she tells you this, she and her hapless newspaper are throwing the vast majority of Gotham's black and Hispanic kids under a very large bus.

She's telling you a bogus old story. It's a way of avoiding a terrible national problem.

The Times doesn't seem to care about that problem, or about the kids on the short end of that particular stick, or about looking for ways to address it. We pseudo-liberals have been behaving this way for at least the past fifty years.

Tomorrow: The seven percent deception

We're getting conned on The One True Channel!


By Jeremy Bash and others:
We've sometimes told you that we liberals get "propagandized" when we watch MSNBC.

Last night, we watched a discussion of next month's scheduled congressional appearance by Robert Mueller. Speaking with Brian Williams, the perpetually glowering Jeremy Bash made the remarkable highlighted statements:
WILLIAMS (6/25/19): Jeremy Bash, a double question for you. How do the Democrats try to make [Mueller] their witness? And why have staff meet with staff—Mueller's staff, Hill staff—in off-camera executive session?

BASH: [...]

I think there is some new information that Mueller can explain which is, Why did he implicitly state, both in the report and his press conference or his press statement, that the president had committed obstruction of justice?

Now, he stated it as a double negative. You know, "I did not find that the president did not obstruct justice." But what was clearly meant by that is, "I did find that the President probably did obstruct justice, but I couldn't prosecute him because he's the president. Over to you, Congress."

If he just merely explains that in a clear, coherent way, I think he adds to the important record here.
To watch this exchange, click here, move to the 7-minute mark.

In fairness to the glowering Bash, he did include such weasel words as "implicitly" and "probably." That said, has Mueller actually stated or said that President Trump "committed obstruction of justice?"

Well no, he actually hasn't.

Within the past week, we've seen various people make claims like Bash's on MSNBC's various programs. Tomorrow, we'll transcribe a set of remarks by Nicolle Wallace, remarks she made last week.

That said, has Mueller actually stated or said that Trump committed obstruction of justice?

We're sorry, but he actually hasn't. For example, here's a rather definitive statement from the start of Volume II of the Mueller report, the volume which deals with possible obstruction:

Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
Which part of "this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime" doesn't the glowering Bash understand? Is it the part which says "not?"

We saw Joe Scarborough match Bash's statement this very morning. Wallace pleases viewers in this way on a regular basis, omitting the weasel words as she does.

As in the past, so too with this! We liberals are being deceived by our favorite stars on The One True Channel. Corporate news frequently functions this way, as does the "human" mind.

In late night visits to our chambers, anthropologists have repeatedly said that this is the best our species can do. Watching cable, we've started to think that these experts may even be right!

DESEGREGATING THE GOTHAM ONE: The problem begins with de Blasio's plan!


The New York Times takes it from there:
How much is wrong with the New York Times' ongoing attempt to "desegregate" The Gotham One?

Numbers don't go that high! That said, the problem starts with Mayor de Blasio's astoundingly ham-handed proposal concerning admission procedures at Gotham's eight "specialized high schools." For that reason, we start today with a note about Moses, the great lawgiver.

According to the leading authority on the subject
, Moses—who may or may not have existed!—descended from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, though today they're seen more as suggestions.

This "decalogue" has played a key role in the legal and moral formulations of our foundering western world. However, experts agree that no commandment specified the number of kids who had to be admitted each year to Gotham's Stuyvesant High, the most "elite" high school of all.

Nor did Moses specify the number of academically high-powered high schools New York City should operate in the age of de Blasio. No law defines the number of seats which should be available within such high-powered schools.

Reason suggests that there should be as many seats at such high-powered schools as there are kids in New York City who can handle such high-powered work. But alas! Confronted with the obvious fact that Asian-American kids seem to be his city's most accomplished students, the mayor decided to start a racial war concerning ownership of the seats at his eight "elite" schools.

Let's focus on Stuyvesant High, the most selective of these schools and the only public high school the New York Times seems to care about. The story goes like this:

For better or worse, the mayor apparently got it into his head that a wide range of Gotham kids can handle the high-powered curriculum at this highly selective high school. If that's true, that's extremely good news, and everyone should be glad.

But alas! Instead of expanding the number of seats at Stuyvesant High; instead of converting some existing school into a Stuyvesant II, or perhaps a Stuyvesant Annex; instead of opening some large, equivalent high-powered school which would double the number of kids who could be challenged by the Stuyvesant curriculum:

Instead of taking any such steps, the mayor decided to leave the number of seats unchanged, while offering a stunningly ham-handed plan concerning who gets to use them.

So far, none of this is the fault or doing of the New York Times. It isn't the fault of Eliza Shapiro, the well-connected young reporter who has been been assigned the task of proselytizing for the "desegregation" of Stuyvesant High, the only school her Hamptons-based newspaper seems to care about.

It isn't Shapiro's fault that de Blasio hatched a deeply unintelligent, ham-handed plan, one which was sure to start a dispiriting race war. None of this is Shapiro's fault! But on June 4, for the ten millionth time, Shapiro described that plan as part of the Times' latest front-page "news report" in support of its current "desegregation" crusade.

The passage below is thoroughly accurate. Shapiro has done nothing wrong here:
SHAPIRO AND LAI (6/4/19): Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to scrap the decades-old admissions test has sparked an intense backlash and a renewed fight over how to integrate the city’s deeply divided school system.

The mayor’s proposal would replace the exam—currently the sole means of gaining admission to the schools—with a system that offers seats to the top-performing students from every city middle school. If his plan is approved by the State Legislature—an increasingly dim possibility—the specialized schools would be nearly 50 percent black and Hispanic, and Asian students would lose about half their seats.

That would be a significant blow
to the Asian students, most of them poor, who have replaced white students as a majority in the specialized schools...
Under the mayor's ham-handed proposal, Asian kids "would lose about half their seats" in New York City's eight "specialized" high schools.

"That would be a significant blow to the Asian students," Shapiro sensibly noted, while noting that Asian kids now constitute a majority of students in the eight high-powered high schools.

(If anything, Shapiro understated. As we noted yesterday, Asian kids now constitute 74 percent of Stuyvesant High School's student body. According to Shapiro, Asian kids would lose half those seats under de Blasio's plan.)

So far, there's nothing (much) to criticize in Shapiro's reporting. By way of contrast, there's a great deal to wonder about in de Blasio's ham-handed plan.

Plainly, de Blasio believe that there are plenty of kids who could handle the challenging curriculum at Stuyvesant and at the seven other "elite" high schools. His plan would swap a bunch of Asian kids out, replacing them with a bunch of black and Hispanic kids, good kids every one.

At this point, an obvious question arises. Instead of swapping all those kids out, why doesn't the mayor simply create additional seats at these high-powered high schools? Alternately, why doesn't he simply create additional high-powered high schools—schools which would teach the same demanding curriculum to a larger number of kids?

No kids would have to lose any seats. Other capable kids could join! Why in the world didn't the mayor come up with a plan like that?

As soon as this obvious question arises, Shapiro's reporting heads toward the depths. From this point forward, there are a million things wrong with her reporting, but it all boils down to one point:

As we noted yesterday, it all boils down to denialism—to elite denial of the size of our nation's achievement gaps. The liberal world has engaged in this denialism for the past fifty years. It's our way of throwing black and Hispanic kids under the bus, even as we pretend to be piously serving their interests.

It's our way of showing that we don't care about the lives and the interests of such kids. Adding insult to injury, the Times cloaks its massive indifference in the guise of a high-minded "desegregation" crusade.

Starting tomorrow, we'll try to get to the various things Shapiro got wrong in that June 4 report. In our view, her endless reporting on this important topic has been awful.

In fairness, it all starts with that plan.

Tomorrow: The seven percent confusion

How big are the specialized schools? Information plays almost no role in the American discourse. That said, we thought you might like to see the relative size of the eight "specialized high schools" which figure in this amazingly limited "desegregation" campaign.

We've drawn our enrollment figures from the leading authority on these schools. All schools serve kids in grades 9-12.

Some schools are large, some quite small:
Total enrollment, Grades 9-12
Brooklyn Tech: 5935 students
Stuyvesant High: 3387 students
Bronx Science: 2977 students
Staten Island Tech: 1562 students
Brooklyn Latin: 567 students
Math, Science and Engineering at City College: 492 students
Queens High School for the Sciences: 415 students
American Studies at Lehman College: 411 students
That's roughly 16,000 students. By our reckoning, these schools end up serving roughly 4-5 percent of Gotham's public school students, depending on how you parse it.

Those schools are full of excellent kids. So are the rest of the city's high schools.

Stuyvesant, the system's crown jewel, serves roughly one percent.

Elora Mukherjee, back from the border!

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2019

A remarkable act of witness:
Elora Mukherjee is the Jerome L. Greene Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

She's also director of the Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. In that capacity, she recently visited the facility in Clint, Texas, where hundreds of children were being held in squalor.

Mukherjee offered a remarkable witness on last evening's Last Word. No transcripts are available yet—what else is new?—but we'll strongly recommend that you watch, and listen to, every word.

This is a remarkable act of witness. Some people walk among us carrying a powerful aura.

DESEGREGATING THE GOTHAM ONE: The Times extends its brave, lonely stand...

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2019

...on behalf of the top one percent:
On Tuesday morning, June 4, the New York Times extended its lonely fight—its heroic attempt to "desegregate" the New York City One.

By "The One," we mean the top one percent—the approximate percentage of New York City public school kids who will end up at Stuyvesant High, the city's most "elite" public high school.

The New York Times is deeply concerned with those kids, and with nobody else. It wants to see Stuyvesant "integrated," in a manner the paper deems fit.

On June 4, education reporter Eliza Shapiro was exploring this subject again, for perhaps the ten millionth time. She offered her latest front-page report about enrollment patterns at Gotham's eight "specialized high schools," of which Stuyvesant is the second largest and the most prestigious by far.

Back in March, the eight elite schools had sent out their admission offers for next year's freshman class. In her recent June 4 report, for perhaps the ten millionth time, Shapiro described a statistically remarkable state of affairs:

"Black and Hispanic students currently represent 70 percent of the school system, but make up just 10 percent of the enrollment in the specialized schools," Shapiro reported again.

Indeed, "only seven black students...scored high enough on the specialized school entrance exam to receive an offer to attend Stuyvesant [in next year's freshman class]," she further noted in her June 4 report, for perhaps the ten millionth time.

In fairness to the New York Times, those are truly remarkable numbers. To borrow from Norman Rockwell's famous illustration, those numbers define "the [current] problem we all [uncaringly] live with."

Only seven black kids scored high enough on this year's test to get into Stuyvesant High! On its face, that's a stunning statistic, but in the most straightforward sense, the various numbers Shapiro cited aren't especially hard to explain.

Why do so few black and Hispanic kids gain admission to those high-powered high schools? For perhaps the five millionth time, we'll show you the horrific data which help solve that modern-day non-riddle.

The data shown below define a national problem. Beyond that, these are data you'll never see, or see discussed, in the New York Times:
Average scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White kids: 290.71
Black kids: 255.63
Hispanic kids: 263.56
Asian-American kids: 306.03
For all Naep data, start here.

Those data define a problem. They suggest that gigantic "achievement gaps" obtain between average members of those four major groups of New York City kids.

Based on a standard though very rough rule of thumb, those numbers suggest that the average Asian-American eighth-grader in Gotham's public schools could be as much as five academic years ahead of his or her black counterpart in math
as much as five academic years ahead, while still just in the eighth grade!

That's a very rough estimate, but the gaps do seem gigantic. That said, Stuyvesant High wasn't designed to serve the academically "average" Gotham kid. Below, you see the gaps which obtain, on that same math test, among New York City's (academically) talented tenths:
90th percentile scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White kids: 337.79
Black kids: 299.75
Hispanic kids: 309.51
Asian-American kids: 355.63
Presumably, the bulk of kids who would sensibly qualify for an advanced curriculum like Stuyvesant's would be drawn from the top ten percent of performers on a test like the Naep. But alas:

Even at that advanced level, giant achievement gaps seem to obtain in New York City, as they do in the public schools of our nation as a whole.

Among Gotham's Asian-American kids, the talented tenth outperform their white counterparts by a substantial margin. They outperform their black and Hispanic peers by three or four country miles.

In the most straightforward sense, these basic data would seem to explain the enrollment figures currently found in New York City's eight "elite" high schools. Indeed, graphics within Shapiro's June 4 report lay out a few more startling statistics, this time concerning the performance of the city's Asian kids.

Good lord! Though Asian kids number just 16 percent of Gotham public school kids overall, they currently comprise 62 percent of all students at those eight "specialized high schools."

Even more strikingly, they hold an amazing 74 percent of the seats at super-elite Stuyvesant High! They gain those seats through high performance on the specialized high schools' admission test, a performance which could be predicted from their academic achievement overall.

Today, we'll repeat a basic point for the ten millionth time:

On its face, there's nothing surprising about the fact that Asian kids hold so many seats at Stuyvesant High. There's nothing surprising about the low number of seats currently held by black and Hispanic kids, though those numbers invite us to ponder, and to attempt to address, an ongoing national problem.

At the New York Times, poobahs have chosen to pretend that the problem doesn't exist. In effect, the New York Times has decided to function as an achievement gap denier.

Within the past year, Eliza Shapiro has become the queen of the gap deniers. She keeps suggesting, and even saying, that the enrollment gaps at Stuyvesant High are s function of "test prep," nothing more.

On June 4, she wrote about the relative lack of Gifted and Talented Education programs at various low-income schools across New York City. She couldn't seem to imagine why such programs might not make sense in middle schools which mainly serve Gotham's low-income black and Hispanic kids.

She never says a discouraging word about Mayor de Blasio's stunningly stupid and ugly plan to boot the bulk of Asian-American kids out of Stuyvesant High. In her June 4 report, she was somehow able to write a passage like this for perhaps the ten millionth time, without so much as batting an eye or raising an obvious question:
SHAPIRO (6/4/19): Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to scrap the decades-old admissions test has sparked an intense backlash and a renewed fight over how to integrate the city’s deeply divided school system.

The mayor’s proposal would replace the exam—currently the sole means of gaining admission to the schools—with a system that offers seats to the top-performing students from every city middle school.
If his plan is approved by the State Legislature—an increasingly dim possibility—the specialized schools would be nearly 50 percent black and Hispanic, and Asian students would lose about half their seats.
Under the mayor's remarkable plan, those high-performing Asian-American kids would have lost about half their seats! Inevitably, they would have been replaced by kids whose academic achievement levels fell far short of their own. (More on that shortfall tomorrow.)

The mayor's proposal needed approval from the New York state legislature. Last week, the legislature adjourned without choosing to act. For that reason, and for the time being, the current system stands.

Also standing is the persistent denialism of Shapiro and the Times. Her work on this topic constitutes some of the worst upper-end journalism we've ever seen. At the heart of this awful journalism lies denial of the size of those gigantic gaps, even of their existence.

Those gaps define a terrible problem confronting Gotham's black and Hispanic kids and everyone else who's decent. At the Times, they care about the one percent—the black and Hispanic kids who might make it to Stuyvesant High.

They proceed to gloss their lonely stand by pretending that they stand on the ramparts fighting "segregation." As they do, they continue to hide and disappear a vastly larger problem than the highly limited problem they identify.

The Times is concerned with the top one percent. The rest of Gotham's black and Hispanic kids can pretty much go straight to Hades.

The Times keeps pounding this hidden message. When will this conduct stop?

Tomorrow: Just how large are those gaps?

We humans say the darnedest things!

MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2019

Joe Biden "praised segregation!"
For ourselves, we think Joe Biden is basically too old to run for president.

We admire several of his traits. Other traits, perhaps not so much.

That said, he may end up being the Democratic nominee. We can't say that the next political genius has yet emerged from the Democratic field. Meanwhile, have you noticed that Donald J. Trump is running for re-election?

For all these reasons, it would be better if other candidates, along with mainstream media figures, would stop showboating and grandstanding at Biden's expense.

Yesterday, Corey Booker said this on ABC's This Week. And yes, he actually said it:
RADDATZ (6/23/19): Senator Booker, I want to turn back to politics and to Vice President Biden's comments. He said he worked along segregationists in Congress in order to get things done.

You called the comments deeply disappointing, but the two of you spoke privately on Wednesday evening. What was your takeaway from that conversation?

BOOKER: Well, I've said my piece. I have a lot of respect for Joe Biden and a gratitude towards him, and has even more of a responsibility than I have to have—be candid with him, to speak truth to power.

He is a presidential nominee, and to say something—and again, it's not about working across the aisle. If anything, I've made that a hallmark of my time in the Senate to get big things done and legislation passed.

This is about him evoking a terrible power dynamic that he showed a lack of understanding or insensitivity to by invoking this idea that he was called "son" by white segregationists who— Yeah! They see him, in him, their son, but would refer to African American men—

RADDATZ: He said it was taken out of context last night.

BOOKER: I didn't, I didn't understand that. I think—I listened to the full totality of what he was talking about and frankly I heard from many, many African Americans who found the comments hurtful.
Biden was saying that the segregationists in question "saw in him their son?" He was evoking a terrible power dynamic by invoking that?

Does anyone believe that Booker thinks that's what Biden said or meant to evoke or invoke? Does anyone think that Booker still believes some such complicated thing, even after Biden has explained what he meant?

It's very hard to believe that. Meanwhile, we looked back through Dale Russakoff's well-received 2015 book, The Prize, this very morning.

The book paints a picture—not an especially flattering picture—of Booker's long-time partnership with Chris Christie, and with giant corporate funders, to battle the fiendish teachers unions in good old Newark, New Jersey.

It would be easy to demagogue Booker on the basis of such behaviors. Since Booker may end up on the national ticket himself, we would advise going easy on the demagogic stuff.

At any rate, it's hard to believe that Booker really believes that Biden meant to evoke or invoke the power dynamic he cited. At the same time, it's been amusing to watch media members try to explain what it is that Biden said that was offensive or wrong

Many pundits have agreed to go along with the line that Biden said something offensive. That said, here was The Daily Mail's Francesca Chambers, trying to articulate Biden's offense for Howard Kurtz on yesterday's BuzzWatch:
KURTZ (6/23/19): Was the press right to pounce, Francesca, when Biden was talking about people like James Eastland, who believed that the blacks were an inferior race? And he's making the point about cooperation, but it certainly came out as tone deaf.

CHAMBERS: Well, Joe Biden has had this problem, his foot in the mouth disease, as you could call it, for a long time. If you remember back the last time he ran for president, he made some remarks about Barack Obama in the context of race and how articulate that he was. And that became a problem for him then.

So, this is really reminiscent of past comments that he has made. And I think that that is going to continue to be a problem for him in this race.

KURTZ: Right. But overblown by the press or not?

CHAMBERS: This speaks to—but this speaks to the larger problem that Joe Biden has as a candidate, to what [another pundit] was saying, in that it speaks to what his opponents say, Howard, which is that he's a blast from the past, that the Democratic Party needs fresh new leadership, and he's not the right person to go up against Donald Trump. And that is what his opponents are saying.
It seemed to us that Chambers was struggling to articulate what Biden had said that was actually wrong.

In fairness, Kurtz seemed to be having a hard time too. The pair agreed that Biden suffered from "tone deaf foot in the mouth disease." But they didn't quite seem able to say what he had said in the current instance which was offensive or wrong.

We watched pundits battle this nagging problem all weekend long. They wanted to go along with the crowd, but couldn't quite seem to articulate the nature of the current offense.

(We thought NBC's Richard Lui and Mike Memeli took lifetime achievement awards for shameless inarticulate pandering during their joint appearance yesterday with Al Sharpton.)

We're caught here in a version of The Cult of the Offhand Comment. In this particular manifestation of that ancient cultic disorder, everyone is struggling to agree that the front-runner said something wrong. But a Standard Group Version of what he said wrong hasn't yet emerged.

Then too, there are people like CNN's Bakari Sellers, quoted in yesterday's Washington Post. Given our unfortunate wiring, how disingenuous are we humans actually willing and able to be? Sellers was even willing to say this:
WOOTSON (6/23/19): Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state lawmaker who is supporting Harris, said the concept of race goes deeper than the way it’s often portrayed by political pundits.


Biden’s comments, Sellers said, suggest he’s an undisciplined candidate out of touch with a diverse country.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts with Joe Biden,” Sellers said. “When you look at ’84 civil asset forfeiture, the crime bill, busing—which is a huge issue in South Carolina—and his praising segregation, it just shows that Joe Biden is an artifact.” Sellers was referring to Biden’s positions on major pieces of legislation that many activists believe hurt black communities.
Joe Biden was praising segregation! Even with Trump in line for re-election, we humans will sometimes go ahead and make statements like that!

We expect to discuss this matter tonight with several top anthropologists. "Our species ran on gossip and fiction," those disconsolate future experts will almost surely say.

As usual, these gloomy future experts will be speaking in the past tense. It's hard to feel completely certain that these scholars are wrong.

DESEGREGATING THE GOTHAM ONE: Award-winning series of top-notch reports...

MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2019

...will resume tomorrow:
Believe it or not, the word "elite" is on the front page of the New York Times again this very morning.

Needless to say, the Times is discussing New York City's "elite" public schools. Do any others exist?

The New York Times adores elite schools and the one percent who attend them! The paper's hard-copy headlines have looked like this, in the month of June alone:
June 24, 2019
De Blasio's Plan to Scrap Exams For Entry to Elite Schools Fails
Eliza Shapiro and Vivian Wang
page A1, 1627 words

June 18, 2019
Some Students Get Extra Time To Take Elite High School Exam
Kevin Quealy and Eliza Shapiro
page A20, 1137 words

June 6, 2019
'Kids Need a Good Start’: Readers Debate Admissions at Elite N.Y.C. Schools
Aidan Gardiner
page A23, 965 words

June 4, 2019
Diversity Fades at Elite Schools In City: 'What Has Happened?'
Eliza Shapiro and Rebecca Lai
page A1, 1777 words
Also featured, though only on-line, was this "Times Insider" piece by education editor Dodai Stewart:
June 3, 2019
An Editor’s Yearbook Tells a Tale of Race in New York’s Elite Public Schools
Dodai Stewart
999 words
In her self-referential essay, Stewart explained what it was like, back in the day, to be one of "New York’s brainiest" as a student at the Bronx High School of Science, one of the high schools in question.

"For smarty-pants kids, we loved to party," the self-confessed brainiac wrote.

New York City's "elite" public high schools are all the rage at the Times. But go ahead! Just try to find a news report about Gotham's other public high schools—the non-elite schools attended by the vast, overwhelming super-majority of New York City kids.

While you're at it, try to find a news report about the city's non-elite elementary and middle schools. Out of those schools, which the Times ignores, these persistently unreported achievement gaps emerge:
Average scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White kids: 290.71
Black kids: 255.63
Hispanic kids: 263.56
Asian-American kids: 306.03
Those gigantic achievement gaps, which the New York Times never reports, emerge from those undiscussed public schools. The Times devotes no attention to the interests of the roughly one million kids now attending those schools, which sadly aren't "elite."

Most amazingly, the Times keeps suggesting, and has even directly said, that those gaps are an artifact of "test prep," full and complete insane stop. So it has gone as the New York Times uncorks its apparently endless supply of throwback performative virtue.

As usual, Eliza Shapiro is writing today about those "elite" public schools. Early on, the unquestioning but well-connected young scribe clumsily offers us this:
SHAPIRO (6/24/19): Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to scrap the entrance exam attracted national fanfare when it was announced, but it soon collided with stubborn realities.

The mayor, a Democrat, has few friends in Albany, and did not make new ones in his approach to the bill, which some lawmakers dismissed as grandstanding. It touched off the same racial divisions among black, Hispanic and Asian lawmakers as it had among parents in New York City...

Mr. de Blasio and others have argued that the only way to increase the number of black and Hispanic students in the schools is to eliminate the exam. This year, only seven black students received offers to Stuyvesant High School, the most selective of the specialized schools, out of 895 seats.
For the record, roughly one percent of Gotham public school kids end up attending Stuyvesant High. In this morning's report, Shapiro tosses off this amazingly clumsy claim, attributing it to de Blasio:

"The only way to increase the number of black and Hispanic students in the schools is to eliminate the exam."

Even Joe Biden has never said that! If he did, you can be sure that the subsequent grandstanding would be endless, with Donald J. Trump the beneficiary of the endless performative virtue.

(In our view, stock on the gentleman's re-election has been going up this past week.)

Last week, a social engagement interrupted our reports on the way the New York Times has been reporting the need to "desegregate" these "elite" high schools. As the Times keeps beating this drum, it ignores all other public schools and the needs of the kids who attend them.

Our reports will resume tomorrow. The Times' endless series of reports may constitute the worst journalism we've ever seen, though then again possibly not.

Tomorrow: As reported back on June 4

Lewis and Clyburn don't have the first clue!


Rich and McCammond do:
Everybody hates what Joe Biden (can be said to have) said.

Everyone is deeply offended by his vile statement, whatever his statement was.

With this latest outburst of tribal inanity, an old villain has returned to the discourse—"paraphrase abuse." This procedural villain ruled Campaign 2000, eventually sending George Bush to the White House. At present, the villain threatens to dominate Campaign 2020, though in an amended form.

With these basic markers laid down, let's turn to what Kevin Drum said. His judgment may be a tiny tad harsher than ours in one respect, but it's a good place to start.

Drum started by quoting Rep. John Lewis, who had offered a defense of Biden's deeply offensive remarks. The blogger continued from there (headline included):
DRUM (6/21/19): Civil Rights Heroes Lewis and Clyburn Defend Biden


Rep. Jim Clyburn has defended Biden too. Is this just an age thing? Maybe, but under normal circumstances John Lewis’s opinion on race issues is hailed as nearly definitive. Why not this time too?

I’m not thrilled about the prospect of Democrats nominating a candidate of Biden’s age. But I’m also not thrilled with a bunch of Democrats pretending to be outraged that Biden is condoning racism or dog whistling to bigoted whites. It’s only June, and this is already turning into a very ugly primary race.
Are Biden's detractors only pretending to be outraged by his outrageous remarks, whatever those remarks really were?

We'd be slow to voice that definitive judgment. But we'd agree that the highly impressive expressions of virtue concerning the candidate's offensive remarks suggest the possibility of a "very ugly," and perhaps self-destructive, Democratic primary race.

Do we enjoy having Trump as president? If so, let's keep this up!

That said, let's turn to the expressions of outrage—and to the ominous return of an ancient enemy, "paraphrase abuse." In 1999 and 2000, twenty months of such abuse sent George W. Bush to the White House.

In the wake of a failed impeachment, the mainstream press corps hated Bill Clinton. He'd enjoyed ten acts of oral sex without first gaining their permission!

Candidate Gore represented their last shot at Clinton. Result? Every time Gore opened his mouth, the corps invented creative paraphrases of what he'd supposedly said.

Pundits would repeat these invented statements, expressing their outrage and shock. They kept it up right through the first Bush-Gore debate, when they invented two new "lies" the psychiatric basket case had allegedly loosed on the world.

In this way, the tribal behavior known as "paraphrase abuse" (more simply, PA) sent Bush to the White House. That said, this was a type of PA which is technically known as group paraphrase abuse (GPA).

What the heck is GPA? In this tragic form of abuse, all members of a tribe or guild agree to inventively paraphrase their victim in the exact same way.

For example, everyone agrees to say, Al Gore said he invented the Internet! The standard invented paraphrase is repeated again and again.

A slightly more comical form of PA is emerging in the case of Biden. In an outbreak of divergent paraphrase abuse (DPA), each child is permitted to offer his or her unique account of what was allegedly said.

In an outbreak of DPA, everyone agrees to hate what the target said, but everyone paraphrases the hated remarks in his or her own way. Everyone hates what the target said and meant, but no one agrees what that was!

Let's apply these anthropological findings to the subject of Biden's remarks. First, an important point:

As we noted yesterday, no one exactly knows what Candidate Biden said. There is no audio- or videotape of his plainly offensive remarks. There is no full, reliable transcript.

All we have is the brief "pool report" penned by some unnamed reporter. (For the brief text of the pool report, see yesterday's post.) The pool report included a couple of quoted remarks, absent a fuller attempt at context. We can't even be sure the "quotations" are perfectly accurate, but the wider context is largely unaddressed.

A sensible person would start with those understandings—with the awareness that he or she didn't quite know exactly what Biden had said. But within our pseudo-liberal and MSM worlds, the absence of full knowledge will more typically be seen as an interpretive advantage!

This lack of knowledge lets the individual paraphrase the target's remarks in a way he or she finds most pleasing. This brings us to the paraphrase of Biden offered yesterday by Frank Rich.

Yesterday, we suggested that Mayor de Blasio may be the world's dumbest person. We'll admit that we had completely forgotten that Rich is still roaming the earth.

As he proved in the years which followed Campaign 2000, Rich may be the dumbest person of the past fifty years. Yesterday, huffing and blowing in vintage fashion, he paraphrased Biden like this:
RICH (6/21/19): [Biden's] Trump-like refusal to apologize for his tone-deaf remarks about the civility he enjoyed with segregationist colleagues in the Senate shows that he really is clueless. He keeps protesting that he’s not a bigot and that he (mostly) supported civil-rights legislation. True, but that’s changing the subject. His behavior this week reminds us that there are fundamental failures of empathy and historical sophistication that explain why he was flummoxed by the Clarence Thomas–Anita Hill hearings and why he championed the 1994 “tough on crime” law that contributed to the rise of mass incarceration. It’s why, in 2019, he actually considers it an accolade that a viciously racist senator called him “son” instead of “boy.”
As is required by Hard Pundit Law, Rich cited the 1994 crime bill, which was supported by two-thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. Clyburn, and was enabled through a procedural vote by Rep. Lewis.

Beyond that, if the crime bill actually "contributed to the rise of mass incarceration," it did so in the tiniest way, as the data make clear.

Inevitably, Rich started with that. But good God! As he continued, he said that Biden "actually considers it an accolade that a viciously racist senator called him 'son' instead of 'boy.' " Frank Rich was able to draw that insight from his reading of Biden's remarks!

Admittedly, that inference by Rich is spectacularly dumb, heading directly toward stupid. But good lord! Later that day, on Deadline: White House, Alexi McCammond managed to top even Rich!

McCammond is cable TV's latest "It [Young Female Person]." It would be our guess that cable producers love McCammond because she's quite young (University of Chicago, class of 2015) but looks even younger.

(Yes, that's part of the way cable works with respect to the peddling of female flesh. Based on past performance, the liberal world will start to notice this corporate behavior around the year 2050.)

We'll guess that cable loves McCammond for another reason. Partly due to her youth and inexperience, she has absolutely nothing to say. She makes up for this shortfall by being an amazingly earnest reciter of Official Approved Tribal Script, to the extent that she understands it.

Perhaps for these reasons, McCammond appeared on yesterday's Deadline: White House. Her assessment of Biden's remarks was even more clueless than Rich's.

Yes, she actually said these things (click here, advance to the 5-minute mark). McCammond is very young:
MCCAMMOND (6/21/19): At some point, you have to think twice, and maybe three times, about the things that you're saying. And instead of just flat-out refusing to apologize for everything, which seems like a strategy of defiance, and maybe even taking a page from Trump's playbook, why not say, "Yeah! I messed up! I didn't realize, when I said that, the implications and the racial history of calling black men 'boy.' "

And also, that suggests he has so much privilege, by saying "I was called son and not boy," that he doesn't even recognize that I think it's more complex than even the racial aspect.
There's an aspect of privilege that he's not acknowledging when he's trying to serve the entire country and he's running a campaign on saying he will unite everyone, which includes black folks and people with no privilege, instead of being a divider like President Trump. It just surprise me that he thinks it's defiant not to apologize, but he can't own up to the things that he gets wrong.
Let's face it! Even by cable news standards, that was just tragically dumb.

The idea that Biden doesn't "realize the implications and the racial history of calling black men 'boy' " takes us well past merely dumb to the realm of tragically dumb. That particular speculation is so dumb it defies comprehension.

As she continued, the youngster interpreted Biden's remark about having been called "son" in a way which also seems remarkably dumb. It's hard to know exactly what the earnest young pundit actually meant, but she seemed to be saying that Biden failed to acknowledge the "privilege" that allowed him to be called "son" when others were being called "boy."

That also strikes us as an amazingly improbable reading of what Biden felt, thought or meant as he apparently affected a deep Southern drawl to mock the men in question, one of whom he identified as "one of the meanest guys I ever knew." In fairness to the hapless McCammond, she then began assailing Biden with the word "privilege," just like her assistant, associate and adjunct professors always trained her to do.

Given McCammond credit! She recited one emerging Standard Script, in which Biden is accused of taking a page from Trump's playbook by refusing to apologize for his millions of sins. That said, her rumination on Biden's view of "son, not boy" truly defied comprehension. She may have been working from Rich's text at that point. If so, she went him one better.

This was typical mumblespeak on McCammond's part. Why is someone so young and so clueless on a national program at all? (She has even appeared on Meet the Press!)

We've already given you one possible explanation. Reliably, McCammond attempts to say what she thinks Teechur wants to hear said. She often stumbles beyond the actual tribal boundaries, a tendency which is likely overlooked due to her youthful (female) appearance.

(Cable news doesn't book incompetent men of such tender years. The liberal world will notice this type of exploitation by the year 2050.)

No one is able to review a full transcript of Biden's remarks. No one can view a videotape to assess his tone and demeanor.

That said, your press corps is full of novelists, and our array of Democratic hopefuls is straining to eat into Biden's lead in the polls. We think Drum is justified in his concern about an ugly race to come, with hopefuls "pretending" that their attacks are heroic and deeply principled.

For ourselves, we only wish that Lewis and Clyburn would take the time, even once, to sit down with the genius McCammond and get some grounding in the history of racial misconduct. No doubt they wallow in privilege too. The utterly ridiculous McCammond could surely straighten them out!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But as Professor Harari has tried to explain, our human race is quite unimpressive when we split into tribes and guilds and start inventing group "fictions." Also, when our youngsters chase careers, or when our pols chase higher office.

Donald J. Trump is in the White House. With our tribe's unparalleled performative virtue, we liberals may keep him right there.

Fox is laughing at this every night. It's not at all clear that they're wrong.

Biden makes incommodious statement!

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019

Everyone else follows suit:
Candidate Biden has, at least semi-apparently, made his latest incommodious statement.

We introduce a note of uncertainty because no one quite exactly knows what Candidate Biden said. There is no tape of what he said, nor is there a full or reliable transcript.

All we have is the press corps' "pool report." According to Kevin Drum, the pool report said this:
POOL REPORT (6/19/19): Mr. Biden then recalled his time serving in the Senate. “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Mr. Biden said, briefly channeling the late Mississippi senator’s Southern drawl. Mr. Biden said of Mr. Eastland, “He never called me boy, he always called me son.”

Mr. Biden then brought up a deceased Georgia senator, “a guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys. Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
That would be our full account of Biden's incommodious statement. That seems to be all we know concerning what he said.

For the record, Biden pretty much never stops making incommodious statements. He reliably says too much by half.

This empowers everyone else to offer their own incommodious statements—sometimes in ways which suggest journalistic malpractice, sometimes in ways which suggest "performative virtue" tilting toward demagoguery and even stolen valor.

Let's begin with the journalism. Yesterday morning, the New York Times published a remarkable front-page report about Biden's incommodious statement. Amazingly, the paper published a lengthy, front-page report on the topic without quoting a single word Biden reportedly said at the event in question.

As we type, we're looking at the hard-copy report from our edition of yesterday morning's Times. On line, the Times is now presenting an 1800-word version of this report. The on-line version includes some changes and some additions, but still doesn't contain a single word Biden reportedly said.

Presumably, Glueck and Herndon, the Times reporters, actually had the pool report at their disposal. But say hello to the New York Times! Rather than quote a single thing the stumble-prone pol reportedly said, the enterprising youngish reporters quickly set out on their own.

The young reporters set to work, building a framework around the Democratic front-runner's unquoted reported remarks:

They never quoted Biden reportedly saying that Talmadge was "one of the meanest guys I ever knew." But right in their opening paragraph, they began to create a novelized version of what they apparently felt he had said.

In the opening paragraph of our hard-copy report, the reporters say that Biden had "warmly recalled his working relationships in the 1970s with two virulent segregationists" (our emphasis). In paragraph 5, they say Biden had offered "fond recollections of working with two defenders of segregation."

In paragraph 14, they say that Biden had been "extolling his relationships with notorious segregationists." But for all their mood-establishing insertions, they never report that Biden had warmly and fondly described one of these people as "one of the meanest guys I ever knew."

The children's work wasn't yet done. In our hard-copy report, they rush to quote a rather obscure person slamming Candidate Biden hard. Paragraph 6 reads like this:
GLUECK AND HERNDON (6/20/19): “I just really don’t understand for the life of me what the vice president could have been thinking, to bring the names of Mr. Talmadge and the others who are well-known conservative segregationists into any conversation referencing civility,” said Leah Daughtry, a veteran Democratic strategist who ran the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions and is African-American. She added, “He needs to issue an apology immediately.”
The reportorial giants quoted Daughtry early on. In fairness, they also quoted a much better-known black pol who was defending Biden.

That well-known pol was "James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the House Democratic whip." The scribes quoted him in paragraph 33 (sic), 27 paragraphs after the lesser-known Daughtry had left the front-runner for dead. (There were 37 paragraphs total in their lengthy report.)

Again and again, then again and again, the New York Times is one of our most inscrutable newspapers. Even by the Times' weird standards, this front-page report by Glueck and Herndon struck us as rather odd.

Then too, there were the incommodious rebuttal statements made by various pols. For one especially gruesome example, we turn to the front-page report in yesterday's Washington Post.

Just for the record, Viser and Sullivan quoted Biden's reported remarks from their second paragraph on. But they quickly turned to the performative virtue of some other contenders, even perhaps to borderline demagoguery with a hint of stolen valor.

Inevitably, the guy below was worst. His remarks were quoted late in the Post's report:
VISER AND SULLIVAN (6/20/19): New York Mayor Bill de Blasio posted a response on Twitter that featured a photo of him with his wife, who is black, and their two children.

"Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal & that whites were entitled to 'the pursuit of dead n*ggers,' " he wrote.
Biden loved a bunch of guys who wanted my children dead! Thus spake the dumbest mofo who ever fell off the truck—although, on the brighter side, there's a huge amount of obvious virtue there!

Leading anthropologists have told us there will be no way to avoid these endless fights. Biden will keep making incommodious statements, they insist, and the others will all follow suit.

There's little doubt that we're looking ahead to a season of gaffe culture on stilts. If you think Trump can't win re-election behind this, you may be out of your mind.

That said, let's return to the observations of those highly credentialed anthropologists.

"This is the way the brain of this particular species was wired," these disconsolate experts told us last night, speaking in the past tense. As always, they spoke to us from the years which follow the global conflagration they describe as Mister Trump's Performative War.

"Did it start in June 2019?" we cagily asked. Despairingly, these disconsolate scholars glumly refused to respond.

As you may recall: When last we visited the Times' Astead Herndon, he and his editor were covering for Candidate Harris' inaccurate claims about the gender wage gap.

As you may recall, they did so in a way which made it clear that they knew her claims were inaccurate. They said that women are paid less then men though "not for analogous work!"

This is the way the New York Times plays. "It's the best they can do," experts tell us.

DESEGREGATING THE GOTHAM ONE: "Where's the outrage?" one commenter asks!


Thoroughly apt response to New York Times' clueless post:
Back in March, New York City's eight "specialized" high schools sent out their annual admission offers.

Demographically, this year's admission offers were almost exactly the same as they've been in recent years. Here's something else that's true:

On the most obvious, straightforward level, everyone knows why the bulk of these admission offers go to Asian-American and white kids, with black and Hispanic kids receiving far fewer offers.

Sadly enough, this year's numbers weren't surprising at all—and the basic reason for the numbers is completely obvious. But over at the New York Times, the reporting team of Eliza Shapiro and Dodai Stewart (Shapiro's editor) were completely gobsmacked when the data appeared.

Sad! In this "Times Insider" report, Shapiro said that when she and Stewart saw the (fully predictable) numbers, "our jaws dropped." Excitedly, Shapiro then turned to a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" forum to broadcast her amazement and incomprehension.

Shapiro seemed to lack the first clue. This is what she wrote:
SHAPIRO (3/22/19): I’m Eliza Shapiro, an education reporter for the New York Times who reported Monday that only 7 black students were admitted to the next class of New York City’s Stuyvesant High School, one of the most prestigious public schools in the nation. AMA.

How is it possible that out of 5,500 black students who took the high-stakes test to gain entry into New York’s eight elite public high schools, only 190 black students got in? And only 7 of those students got into Stuyvesant, the most prestigious of the schools, which offered admission to 895 students?

Though the number of black and Hispanic students in the schools has been dwindling for decades, this year’s admissions statistics are especially important: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a plan to scrap the specialized high school entrance exam altogether. But he has faced a huge backlash: some alumni of the schools say a system that admits top performers from each city middle school would water down the schools’ academics. And some Asian-American families say they feel the mayor is discriminating against them, under his proposal, the population of Asian students would drop by roughly half at the schools. Stuyvesant is currently 74 percent Asian-American.

This has become one of the biggest fights in New York politics, and has raised the stakes of the debate about affirmative action and the college admissions scandal.

You can read the story here.
Later, Shapiro thanked her Reddit readers "for all the great questions."

At the risk of being unkind, we'll once again state the obvious. On the most straightforward level, everyone knows "how it's possible"—how it's possible "that out of 5,500 black students who took the high-stakes test...only 190 black students got in."

Everyone knows how that's possible—everyone but the eager young scribe the Times has assigned to this topic.

As stated, of course, Shapiro's comment doesn't exactly make sense. In her Reddit post, she failed to compare the percentage of black (and Hispanic) kids who gained admission to these schools with the percentage of such kids in the New York City system as a whole.

That said, Reddit readers seemed to understand that black and Hispanic kids are vastly underrepresented at these eight "elite" schools. The part of this that's hard to fathom is Shapiro's apparent failure to understand why this undesirable situation comes to pass each year.

It's hard to be more clueless than Shapiro seemed to be this day. What explains the gross imbalance in annual admissions to membership among the elite?

We've answered that question again and again. Which part of "brutal achievement gaps" doesn't the Times understand?
Average scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep

White kids: 290.71
Black kids: 255.63
Hispanic kids: 263.56
Asian-American kids: 306.03
By a common though very rough rule of thumb, ten points on the Naep scale is often said to be roughly equivalent to one academic year. There is no "test prep" for the Naep, and achievement gaps like these appear on a national basis, not just in New York City.

Once these basic facts are in place, how hard is it to understand the answer to Shapiro's question?

That said, whatever! As usual, the highly-connected though rather young scribe seemed to lack the first freaking clue about the enrollment patterns at those eight "elite" schools. Meanwhile, she was being assisted by a newly-hired editor who had no apparent background in education reporting, and who had recently answered a profile question like this:
INTERVIEWER (9/17): What is your favorite thing right now?

FUTURE NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR: I love tarot and fortune telling, and just got these Art Oracle cards—you draw one and get some life/work/inspiration advice. Tonight I really wanted to draw a Warhol, a Koons, a Basquiat or an O'Keefe but instead I pulled a William Blake: “Hell is hypocrisy on earth. Vision requires not sight but spirit. Madness in life, genius in death.” Thanks? I suspect soon my favorite thing will be Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty line, which drops later tonight.
There's a whole lot more where that came from. That idea that this person was given this crucial assignment by the Times makes our low-income kid-lovin' blood boil every single time.

At any rate, those were a few of the future education editor's favorite things. Having a clue about public schools didn't appear on the list.

Except to the extent that it may be feigned, the cluelessness of Shapiro and Stewart ranks as a public disgrace. For what it's worth, the cluelessness isn't restricted to Shapiro's apparent incomprehension concerning the basic, straightforward explanation for the enrollment patterns at those "elite" high schools—the only high schools the New York Times seems able to care about.

In her Reddit post—as in all her Times reporting—Shapiro was also rich in incomprehension about the mayor's proposal for those eight elite schools, a proposal which is astoundingly ham-handed, bizarre and unwise. (More on that to come.)

For today, we'll only direct you to this. After Shapiro posted her ask, she was greeted, very quickly, with a very apt reply.

Shapiro wanted to know "how it's possible" that so few black and Hispanic kids gain admission to Stuyvesant High each year. That would be an excellent question, if the answer wasn't already so clear.

At any rate, she e quickly got a straightforward reply from someone less clueless than she. Her respondent wondered about all Gotham's schools and all Gotham's kids, not just the handful of kids admitted to the elite eight.

Here's what the respondent said:

MR. ZIP: Why is there so little outrage at the quality of elementary and middle schools until the stark results of the poor education are laid out in sharp relief in the form of specialized high school results? The demographic makeup of specialized high schools is a SYMPTOM of the root issue, not the actual issue that needs to be addressed.

It seems like cheap politics to allow the mayor/chancellor to claim a diversity victory despite not fixing the actual lack of good education for most black/hispanic students in NYC. What am I missing?
"What am I missing?" this commenter asked. We'd be inclined to say, "Not much."

In truth, we'd be inclined to challenge this commenter on some basic points. He's asking a very good question about how those brutal achievement gaps come to be so large and so daunting, but it isn't as simple as simply suggesting that the schools screwed things up in third grade.

That said, this respondent's basic point of view is entirely apt.

Despite his humble status as a mere Reddit respondent, the commenter understood that there's more to the New York City Public Schools than a tiny number of "elite" schools serving The Gotham One [Percent].

He seemed to know that the vast majority of Gotham's kids will never go to Stuyvesant High or to the other seven. Incredibly, he seemed to think that the lives and interests of the 99 percent count as much as those of The Gotham One! The basic type of understanding cannot be found at the Times.

Shapiro's respondent wanted to know how it is that black and Hispanic kids, on average, get so far "behind." He seemed to think that their lives and interests matter too, not just those of people like Shapiro and Stewart. (Each bears an Ivy pedigree, with a stint at Dalton thrown in.)

The respondent even seemed to see the dumbness, and the possible ugliness, of the mayor's proposal, in which huge numbers of high-performing Asian kids would be denied admission to these highly academic schools so that other kids—kids who would often be much lower-performing—could take their places instead. Now for an obvious question:

If de Blasio feels there are lots of kids who can handle the Stuyvesant curriculum, who doesn't he create additional seats, perhaps opening a Stuyvesant Two? Shapiro never raises this blindingly obvious question.

The Times is sunk in "performative desegregation virtue" pretty much all the way down. The only thing that seems to matter is kicking out one group of kids in the course of admitting another.

We have a visitor today and tomorrow—an old friend from high school! With that in mind, we may not post again until Saturday. For today, we thought it was worth comparing Shapiro's apparently clueless post with that respondent's instant reply.

"Where's the outrage?" the respondent asked. Amazingly, he seemed to think that all Gotham's kids should count!

For ourselves, we're not sure we've ever seen journalism as bad as the work that's being churned by Shapiro and Stewart in the Times' "desegregation" crusade. Nor have we ever seen black and Hispanic kids thrown so completely under the bus—not counting the one percent!

That commenter was asking a very good question. He wondered why Shapiro doesn't seem to care about the 99 percent—doesn't seem to wonder how they got to be on the short end of those brutal achievement gaps in the first place. Of course, that's a major American question—a question which is being ignored all over the country.

Does the New York Times care about the black and Hispanic kids who won't be going to Stuyvesant High? That question occurs to us every time we read Shapiro's work.

We ask it about the New York Times, not about the paper's young scribe and her fortune-teller editor. Can the newspaper focus on all the kids, or just on The Gotham One?

Still coming: Much more to come, though likely not tomorrow