Discrimination and how to pay for it

While it has a bewildering number of defenses, one of the primary functions of affirmative action is to assist blacks in resource competitions against hispanics. Both groups are disproportionatedly uneducated, but political organization among blacks far outpaces that among hispanics. Therefore, rationally, blacks political activists attempt to reward their supporters by supporting laws, rules, and regulations which assist blacks in getting jobs, contracts, and admissions, while making it harder for hispanics to do so.

It’s thus not surprising that many hispanics are skeptical of Barack Obama:

The Weekly Standard
Napolitano, who describes herself as a “dyed in the wool” Democrat, said she will vote for and support the Democratic nominee in the fall. But she has not seen the type of commitment to Latino issues from Obama that she says she saw in Clinton.

“Unless I see something inherently helpful to our community, I’m going to sit back and see what happens,” Napolitano said. Napolitano and some of her Hispanic colleagues are informally boycotting Obama campaign events aimed at reaching out to Clinton supporters because the candidate himself has not asked for their help.

Obama has stated that he supports affirmative action. This helped him racially polarize the election in which he defeated Hillary Clinton, but has harmed him among latinos. So far, Obama has only vaguely hinted that he might modify the system, from prevent the marginal number of black millionaires from benefiting to shifting some the costs (in terms of unrewarded merit, lost opportunities, discrimination, etc.) to middle-class whites, jews, and asians.

However, Obama has only hinted as a recalibration of affirmative action’s costs. Further, it’s obviously more difficult to change a whole system than to continue a policy of rewarding supporters and punishing their rivals.

View PDFs with Google

Google Docs just keeps getting better and better: it’s long supported OpenDocument, the international standard in data exchange. Now it supports PDF as well:

Upload PDF Files to Google Docs
Update: In less than a day, the feature has been added and you can now upload PDF files, share them and view them online. The PDF viewer is not very advanced, but you can use it to search inside a PDF file, select a block of text (Ctrl C to copy the text) and go to a certain page.

PDF is a great technology, but Adobe Acrobat (the program typically used to view PDFs) is awful. One of the things I miss most about linux is konquerer, the non-Acrobat PDF viewer. Now I have a way on Windows to easily view PDFs withoutAcrobat: Google!

The Weekly Standard: Obama as Bush III

I’ve been writing on how Barack Obama is running for George Bush’s third term for a while now. The Weekly Standard has a slightly different take, but reaches the same conclusion: both Obama and Bush demonstrate a lack of imagination when it comes to Iraq.

The Weekly Standard
Yes, I mean it: McCain should outright accuse Obama of being more like Bush on the war. They may have diametrically opposed positions, but their outlooks are identical in how single minded, inflexible, and (dare I say) dialectical they are. In the midst of a catastrophe back in 2005, Bush went on prime time to say, “My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq — we are winning the war in Iraq.” No matter how violent Iraq got, Bush would not face the facts on the ground. It took him until December 2006 to acknowledge for the first time that we weren’t winning and to adapt.

Bush believed victory was our certain destiny; Obama believed it was defeat. He opposed the surge, saying it could not and would not work–that there was simply no way to curb the violence we had unleashed in going to war. Even after it did work, Obama denied that Iraq was any safer until it was undeniable. Bush and Obama have tunnel vision–only McCain has demonstrated an ability to adapt, to win a war we were losing.

While there is a lot to look forward to in a Third Bush Term, I’d rather have John McCain.