THE TROUBLE THRESHOLD: "Yet, whites are not the top performing group. As the Thernstroms point out, the gap between white and Asian-American student performance is actually wider than the gap between blacks and whites, with Hispanics performing about as poorly as blacks."Among the most intriguing possible reasons for this disparity is an intriguing group difference in the way students measure their family's 'trouble threshold,' according to one study that the Thernstroms cite. The 'trouble … [Read more...]

TACITUS 2004 PREDICTIONS: He did pretty well on his 2003 predictions. Worth a look; plus some interesting posts (and the usual enormous helping of wishful thinking) in the comments section. These prediction things are probably a better test of one's political acumen and general sense of how the world works than they might at first appear.Via Kesher Talk. … [Read more...]

SUING OVER SUBSIDIES: The World Trade Organization's "peace clause," which prevented lawsuits over trade subsidies, expired December 31. KickAAS (Kick All Agricultural Subsidies) is on the case; and here's a piece from The Economist....There are certainly a lot of subsidies to shoot at. The OECD, a club of rich nations, reckons that the agricultural subsidies of its members cost consumers and taxpayers about $230 billion in 2001 alone. The European Union, the United States and Japan were to … [Read more...]

"Where the Three Self churches [a government-sponsored Christian/quasi-Christian movement] are allowed to do what churches in most parts of the world do--counseling and encouraging for church members, visiting and praying for the sick, operating orphanages and homes for the elderly, or explaining Christianity to anyone interested in it--they generally do it very well. Much of it is accomplished through the Amity Foundation, a nonprofit institution established in 1985 to enable North American and … [Read more...]

MORE FODDER FOR MY ANTI-SANTA CAMPAIGN. "It is argued that, if children were told the truth, that it would take the joy and magic out of Christmas. I am living proof, however, that this is not true. I was told by my parents that Santa Claus like Superman; he wasn't real, but sometimes it was fun to pretend like he was. My childhood Christmases were as happy as any other, I suspect." … [Read more...]

"Emmanuel [seminary], it turned out, was unique only in its verdant isolation from the rest of China. Hundreds of other seminaries dotted rural and urban commuities throughout the country. A few weeks later, I visited an underground seminary in a major city in China's southwest. It was one of four apartments being used as seminary colleges. This time, besides having to be in a van with tinted windows, I also had to duck my head down as we drove into the apartment complex. Even Chinese visitors … [Read more...]

NEW QUESTION AT MARRIAGEDEBATE.COM: Is marriage a right?Plus lots more from me and people who disagree with me. … [Read more...]