Thursday, October 27, 2005

Rosa Parks in context

No one covers the history of racial policies worldwide like Thomas Sowell. Here he covers the background of discrimination in public transportation before her famous ride. Such as this:
Far from existing from time immemorial, as many have assumed, racially segregated seating in public transportation began in the South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Those who see government as the solution to social problems may be surprised to learn that it was government which created this problem. Many, if not most, municipal transit systems were privately owned in the 19th century and the private owners of these systems had no incentive to segregate the races.

These owners may have been racists themselves but they were in business to make a profit -- and you don't make a profit by alienating a lot of your customers. There was not enough market demand for Jim Crow seating on municipal transit to bring it about.

It was politics that segregated the races because the incentives of the political process are different from the incentives of the economic process. Both blacks and whites spent money to ride the buses but, after the disenfranchisement of black voters in the late 19th and early 20th century, only whites counted in the political process.

It was not necessary for an overwhelming majority of the white voters to demand racial segregation. If some did and the others didn't care, that was sufficient politically, because what blacks wanted did not count politically after they lost the vote.

The incentives of the economic system and the incentives of the political system were not only different, they clashed. Private owners of streetcar, bus, and railroad companies in the South lobbied against the Jim Crow laws while these laws were being written, challenged them in the courts after the laws were passed, and then dragged their feet in enforcing those laws after they were upheld by the courts.

These tactics delayed the enforcement of Jim Crow seating laws for years in some places. Then company employees began to be arrested for not enforcing such laws and at least one president of a streetcar company was threatened with jail if he didn't comply.

None of this resistance was based on a desire for civil rights for blacks. It was based on a fear of losing money if racial segregation caused black customers to use public transportation less often than they would have in the absence of this affront.

Just as it was not necessary for an overwhelming majority of whites to demand racial segregation through the political system to bring it about, so it was not necessary for an overwhelming majority of blacks to stop riding the streetcars, buses and trains in order to provide incentives for the owners of these transportation systems to feel the loss of money if some blacks used public transportation less than they would have otherwise.

People who decry the fact that businesses are in business "just to make money" seldom understand the implications of what they are saying. You make money by doing what other people want, not what you want.
No, I didn't quote *all* of it, but only out of a nod toward "fair use". Read it all, and when you're finished read every other word he's written.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A dirge from the den

Momma Bear is gone. She's one of countless bloggers I wish I could have met, and I only knew one of her personae (mainly from here).

More here and here (links courtesy of Instapundit).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Acidman's all stars...

...are manning his blog while the ornery ol' cuss dries out here. Check it out - they promise to keep the NSFW pictures below the fold now.

Hang in there, Rob.

Goodbye Rosa Parks

Too bad these things aren't negotiable. I'd gladly trade Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Julian Bond and the entire Congressional Black Caucus to have her back. She was the real thing.

Why must we care?

Astros first W.S. team in 52 years without black player

Is this resulting from discrimination of some sort? No? Then shut up, go away and find something less tiresome to talk about.

Blood for URLs?

Thanks to Chaz for pointing to this, describing how the Internet would be run under the UN.

Go figure

KJ Lopez from National Review likes the latest Rob Schneider movie? Would I lie about something as earthshakingly significant as this? See for yourself.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Selling point

Lately I find myself producing more and more documents with Adobe Acrobat - the familiar .pdf files.

This is just one reason why.

I wonder if this was really an accident?


Editors's mouths are watering worldwide at the prospect of writing about the US's 2000th fatality in Iraq. They can't even bear to wait until it actually happens. So already we're seeing articles like this one, which tells us "Iraq Insurgency Shows No Signs of Slowdown".

Oh, really? How about these reports?
  • the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum and the start of Saddam Hussein's trial four days later passed without major bloodshed and destruction
  • [Iraqi and US officials] also are upbeat about the growing efficiency and number — 200,000 at present — of Iraq's security forces, although some U.S. commanders say the Iraqis need 18 months to two years before they can fight the insurgency unaided.
  • Recent operations in western Iraq, especially in towns along the Euphrates River close to the Syrian border, are said to have been effective in disrupting the insurgents' supply lines and reducing the number of car bombs.
  • Stepped-up security has forced insurgents in recent weeks to largely abandon using car bombs and resort to indirect fire, such as lobbing mortar shells from afar, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said.
  • Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said troops captured more than 300 foreign fighters and killed 100 members of al-Qaida in Iraq the past six months. Other successes include the detention of 600 insurgents in the two weeks before the referendum, said Maj. Gen. William G. Webster, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad.
All those bullets are found further down in the very same article. You have to wonder just what it would take to make this reporter and his editors happy.
But experts contend the fighting could soon begin to take dramatic turns, more heavily influenced by outside events and possibly bringing new factions into the fight.

For example, they say, if Washington and London continue to put pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, Iraq's Shiite neighbor could be tempted to encourage radical Iraqi Shiite factions to stage attacks on U.S. and British forces.
Oh yeah, like they aren't already. It's absurd to think that Iran wouldn't seek influence within Iraq, and the easiest way is through the Shiites.

The article closes by repeating a point mentioned repeatedly earlier in the body:
"As long as there are Americans in Iraq, Islamists will want to go and fight them," said Dia'a Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on Muslim militant groups
OK, except he's too specific. As long as there are *Americans*, Islamists will want to go and fight them. The only answer is to kill the bastards. And I'd rather do it in Iraq with our servicemen and women than in the US with cops and lawyers.

Brendan Loy, weather boy

If you've been following Katrina or other hurricanes and you've been watching blogs, you know where to find the latest info. The Weather Channel? Of course not - see Brendan Loy's blog.

Apparently the Washington Post knows this too - they profile Loy here.