Category Archive 'Unintended Consequences'

13 Mar 2015

Nationwide Levelling Policies Made Harvard Unbeatable at Sports

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HarvardSucks
At The Game in 2004, Yalies tricked Harvard fans into holding up signs creating this message.”

Fred Schwarz explains why SAT compression resulted in Harvard becoming an athletic powerhouse.

Harvard has won or shared the Ivy men’s basketball championship every year since 2010–11. And it isn’t just basketball: Harvard football has won or shared five of the last eight Ivy championships, up from a modest one or two per decade over the league’s first half-century (since 1956). In 1977, during oral argument before the Supreme Court on the momentous Bakke affirmative-action case, the distinguished lawyer Archibald Cox found time to joke about how bad Harvard’s football team was. But now the Crimson dominate the league in the only two sports that most people care about. What happened? The explanation lies in … policies imposed in the 1980s and 1990s, which … give Harvard a significant advantage over the rest of the league in recruiting athletes — and provide a lesson in unintended consequences. …

[The key cause was] the College Board’s decision in 1995 to “recenter” its SAT scoring. This meant that instead of the average score for all SAT takers being somewhere around 400, the board arbitrarily set it at 500 (midway between 200 and 800). Cynics suggested that this was done for political reasons, so the discrepancy between white/Asian SAT takers and others would be less dramatic; in any case, the effect was to crunch together all the good students near the very top of the scale. For example, any SAT Verbal score of 730 or higher from before the recentering would be an 800 today. This means that double 800s are “not that great a distinction any more”; over a decade ago, Harvard was already getting 500 double-800 applicants a year, and rejecting half of them. That’s part of the reason for the insane gauntlet today’s high-school students have to run, with activities, music, volunteer work, and all the rest, trying desperately to distinguish themselves from the herd. When applying to elite colleges today, it’s difficult to make yourself stand out from other very smart kids with your test scores or grades, since everyone has high SATs and straight A’s. More important, though, this compression means that the AI standard that Harvard athletes have to meet is not much higher than that of the rest of the league, whereas before the recentering, there was a significant gap, which gave the less selective schools much more latitude. So: Harvard has the best reputation among American universities and the most money to give out for scholarships, and when another member of the league goes after a talented athletic prospect, regulations prohibit it from sweetening the deal by offering extra money or relaxing its admission standards. That’s why the Crimson have been tearing up the league lately, and will probably continue as long as they want to. Letting colleges compete for students is all to the good, and there’s nothing wrong with a group of educational institutions’ agreeing to put education first. But in this case, as so often happens, when strict regulation meets vigorous competition (with a bit of statistical manipulation thrown in), the result is that the rich only get richer.

01 Jan 2011

Obama Giving It Back to the Indians

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John Bershad mocks a pre-Xmas blog post by Bryan Fisher editorializing on the subject of Barack Obama’s endorsement of one of those UN Declarations of Rights which was rejected by the Bush Administration.

With so many rumors of how President Obama will eventually send this country hurtling into the fiery abyss of Socialist Gay Muslim Hell, you have to forgive us if we missed one. However we don’t want any of our readers to feel left out during any New Year’s Eve “How is Obama going to kill America now?” party games, so we’re circling back to bring you this doozy from earlier in the week: Did you know Obama is going to give away Manhattan to the Indians?! He totally is!

It all started when Obama announced that the United States would support the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People which was adopted in 2007 but opposed by President Bush. The trouble started when people read the Declaration and noticed some suspicious wording in Article 26:

    (1) “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.”

Mr. Bershad neglects quoting the rest of Article 26.

2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Liberal commentators are describing the UN Declaration as not binding, but as we all know, liberal judges have been known to apply “International Law” in surprising ways.

Watch out, homeowner in Fairfield County, Connecticut when an ultra-liberal judge suddenly invalidates two centuries of title transfers and awards thousands of acres in several towns, including your house, to some black guy from Bridgeport who has a smidgeon of Native America ancestry nine generations back and is now claiming to constitute a tribe.

The real winner on the humor front is Joseph Farrah of World Net Daily, who has a blog post titled: “I’ll Take Manhattan.”

It’s about time!

Barack Obama has finally done something right.

I’m always asked by interviewers if I can think of anything Obama has done that is commendable.

Frankly, until now, he’s done nothing but plot ways to steal my wealth. But things are about to change.

Maybe you missed it, but Obama has endorsed a United Nations resolution declaring the rights of indigenous people that could mean large swaths of the U.S. will be returned to native Americans like me.

I’m hereby staking my claim to Manhattan.

Maybe you didn’t know I have native American blood coursing through my veins. I’m more well-known for my Lebanese and Syrian ancestry. But, truth be told, I have a fair amount of Indian heritage on my mother’s side. So this proposed redistribution of wealth is welcome news for me.

Where do I apply? I want to return wampum for Manhattan.

31 Aug 2010

EPA Let the Bedbug Bite

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Another happy democrat party constituent

The Daily Caller links the recent bedbug epidemic in New York City and other Eastern states, just like the Housing crash, to Clinton Administration policies.

While worst in the Northeast and especially New York City, blood-sucking bed bugs [family: Cimicidae] are making a remarkably rapid resurgence worldwide.

Though not known to spread disease, the itchy welts from their bites and the general distress caused by knowing one is being feasted on while asleep prove a nightmare for many victims.

Eradication can take months and cost thousands of dollars. There’s also the stigma — many high-end New York residences, for instance, keep their bed bug infestations secret to avoid embarrassment.

But why are bed bugs back? Though they’ve been sucking humans’ blood since at least ancient Greece, bed bugs became virtually extinct in America following the invention of pesticide DDT.

There were almost no bed bugs in the United States between World War II and the mid-1990s.

Around when bed bugs started their resurgence, Congress passed a major pesticides law in 1996 and the Clinton EPA banned several classes of chemicals that had been effective bed bug killers.

The debate isn’t over long-banned DDT, since modern bed bugs have developed a tolerance for that chemical. But in the pre-1996 regime, experts say, bed bugs were “collateral damage” from broader and more aggressive use of now-banned pesticides like Malathion and Propoxur.

Now some health officials are clamoring to bring those chemicals back to help solve the bed bug “emergency.” Meanwhile, EPA bureaucrats have downplayed the idea and environmentalists are pushing hard against the effort, citing safety concerns.

The issue has led to a standoff between Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, and EPA chief Lisa Jackson, who shot down Strickland’s appeals over the issue in a tersely worded letter in June. …

According to research at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, academic headquarters for studying the six-legged beast, some strains of bed bugs can survive, zombie-like, for up to 16 days after being directly sprayed with currently used pesticides.

If you consider that in most instances insects are intended to die shortly after coming into brief contact with pesticide residue, that’s pretty dramatic.

Meanwhile, tests at the University of Kentucky show the EPA-banned pesticides are still deadly effective at bed bug mass murder.


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