August 2010 Archives

Article here.

Things are really getting out of hand in Mexico. Hope it doesn’t wander north somehow… you know, across our border… which remains unprotected.

This article on CNN.com tells that one-fifth of Pakistan is flooded.

But… so what? Pakistan is, you know, like, tiny, right?

Nope. Its area is somewhere between that of Texas and Alaska—actually, about 15% bigger than Texas, our second-largest state. (Alaska is twice Pakistan’s size.)

So how much of Pakistan is flooded? Lest than Wisconsin, but more than Georgia, 62,080 square miles. Nearly two South Carolinas. A little more than Washington, DC, plus Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. Or Kentucky plus West Virginia. Get a map. See how big that is?

It’s big.

For a country which is totally above sea-level, that’s a mind-boggling figure.

Donate to the relief efforts here, remembering that not all of the people of any country hate us. Some are just stuck there, and in this case, are very, very wet.

The original article cites these reasons, summarized for your reading pleasure by Blonde Sagacity:

  1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people

  2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership

  3. Obama fails to inspire

  4. The United States is drowning in debt

  5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat

  6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake

  7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive

  8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration

  9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security

  10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness

The guy who wrote this article is the same Ruben Navarrette Jr. who prompted my reaction to another one of his illogical diatribes. This piece of so-called “reporting” is merely the liberal mainstream media at work, celebrating itself for standing up for something which makes little to no sense to those who don’t have their liberal blinders on.

Let’s take his article apart, shall we? This should be fun.

Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) — It was an ethnic twist on an American classic, the kind of thing that some people consider appealing and others frightening. Pinto beans, diced tomatoes, salsa and jalapenos top a hot dog that’s grilled to perfection.

It’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday night at ground zero in the immigration debate. The hot dog vendor, a woman from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, would normally be doing a brisk business. Her cart is across the street from a popular Latino dance club that used to be frequented by Mexican-Americans but is now normally crammed with Mexican immigrants.

No mas.

Was that Spanish you were trying to use? I’m sure it was, but stick to English, which you haven’t gotten right. You see, I can’t make head or tails out that last paragraph. Is the place normally crammed with Mexican immigrants? Or was it frequented by Mexican-Americans? I can’t tell what the heck is happening across the street from the vendor’s cart. I get the idea, though: she has no customers at 10pm across the street from a dance club. What kind of town is this?!

“The city feels abandoned,” the woman tells me in Spanish. “Everyone has left.”

It sure looks that way during a drive though the city’s predominantly Latino west side, with its abandoned buildings, deserted homes and empty parks.

OK, let’s see, Ruben: How many doors did you knock on to assess how many of those homes were abandoned? How many buildings did you survey? How many were abandoned before April? And at 10pm, I’d expect most lights to be out, and the parks darned-well better be abandoned. Oh, you drove through during the day? Hmm. I’d expect the homeowners to be out working and the parks to be filled with… nobody! They should be working.

Since April, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 to punish illegal immigrants for the sins of the employers who hire them, estimates are that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have left Arizona for a warmer climate in Utah, Colorado, Texas or New Mexico.

Score 1 for Arizona, then, in spite of the gutted law. I’m going to guess that this trend won’t stop until the wave reaches Canada.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down four of the most grotesque and illogical parts of the law, including the requirement that local police attempt to determine the immigration status of individuals they suspect of being in the country illegally and language making it a crime to solicit work.

I’m glad you’re not trying to pass this off as objective reporting. “Grotesque” and “illogical” are hardly objective terms.

I have been watching this drama play out from California. But as someone who lived in Arizona about 10 years ago, I needed a closer look to see what life is like in this desert metropolis now that the law has taken effect — or rather, what’s left of it.

So you visit a Latino section of town and decide that there’s not much left of Phoenix. I’m guessing that the rest of Phoenix is disappointed to hear that pronouncement.

I’m a U.S. citizen; my parents and three of my four grandparents were born in the United States.

Relevance, Ruben, relevance.

When I lived here a decade ago, I was struck by how comfortable Latinos and whites seemed with one another. There was the occasional conflict, but more often there was compromise and cooperation, even on the issue of immigration.

A decade ago, the Obama administration was not in office. Much has changed since then. Obama and his acolyte Nancy Pelosi are hell-bent on spending as much of your tax money—and mine—on feeding, housing, clothing, educating, and treating illegal immigrants as they possibly can. Their solution to avoiding class warfare is to make the illegal immigrants into legal immigrants—merge the classes—at tremendous cost. Arizona’s solution to avoiding class warfare is to enforce the laws as they stand at significantly less cost.

Your world of ten years ago doesn’t exist anymore. It evaporated last November.

Today a heated debate has produced hard feelings. The everyday interactions between Latinos and whites are much more frayed than when I was covering Phoenix as a reporter for The Arizona Republic.

No observations? No data? Oh… wait, here comes some data:

Seventy percent of whites, according to polls, support SB 1070 but 70 percent of Latinos oppose it. Until the judge’s decision, there were many whites who were happy the state was taking action against illegal immigration; now they’re unhappy with the judge’s ruling, meaning almost every group in the state is up in arms for one reason or another.

Weak, at best.

Point one: cite the polls—I hate reporters who don’t cite statistics, but since this is an op-ed piece masquerading as reporting, I’ll give you a pass. Anyway, do these polls include illegal immigrants? I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

Point two: who cares if the people who support the bill are up in arms? Who cares if the people who don’t support the bill are up in arms? Is there anything wrong with that? That’s what a democracy is all about, Ruben: expressing your opinion and voting in support of that opinion. Get used to it. Or, rather, don’t, because the Obama/Pelosi machine will ensure that the only branch of government that counts is the judiciary, and your opinion, and vote, will not be heard.

Point three: you make some very sweeping generalizations. Are they based on observations? Or just your gut feeling?

I ask the hot dog vendor how “los Americanos”—her landlord, the people at the supermarket, etc.—are treating her. “Everyone is different,” she says. “Some are friendly. Others look at you funny, like you’re not welcomed.” I think about my question. Unwittingly, I had invited her to engage in the same kind of racial profiling that most opponents of SB 1070 deplore. She prefers instead to judge people as individuals and not generalize based on stereotypes.

Whew. At least there’s one sensible person involved in this article.

Good for her. I wonder if this woman is available to give seminars to Arizona law enforcement officers who might soon find themselves in need of that skill set.

Woah… wait a minute. You have automatically placed all Arizona law enforcement officers into the role of bigot. Where do you get off doing that? Did you interview any law enforcement officers and report on equally open-minded officers? No, you sure didn’t. It wouldn’t support your story well, would it?

Later, I interviewed a married couple who came to the United States legally but lapsed into illegal status when their visa expired. They should have gone back to Mexico, but they’d already put down roots in Phoenix, where the husband could earn at least 10 times what he could make in Mexico. We talked about how some conservatives insist that illegal immigrants take jobs from U.S. workers.

There’s so much wrong here, it’s not even funny: First, the couple “should have gone back to Mexico.” They are illegally here, and yet somehow, “putting down roots” and “earn[ing] at least 10 times what he could make in Mexico” buys them a pass. Next time I’m pulled over for a traffic violation, I’ll be sure to use that defense. “I’m sorry, officer, but it’s OK because I’ve sped before and my car is fine at these high speeds.”

Second, “some conservatives” should be “some people,” because otherwise you are typecasting and stereotyping just as much as the next guy. I guarantee you can find a liberal who thinks the same thing, but it wouldn’t help your story, would it?

“That’s not true,” says the husband, who’s worked his way up from manual labor to an office job for a jeweler. “Americans are lazy. They don’t want to work.”

But then, he catches himself — and corrects himself.

“I shouldn’t say that,” he says. “They’re not all like that, but some are. They’re spoiled. They think it’s easy to come to the United States legally, and they speak from ignorance.” It’s interesting that even in a state that recently made it legal for police officers to make assumptions and jump to conclusions about who is or isn’t an illegal immigrant, there are illegal immigrants who are fair-minded enough not to make assumptions and jump to conclusions about the rest of us.

Wow. Yet another open-minded person who supports your cause! Wow! Two for two! You’re batting 1.000, Ruben! Next time, interview the guy on the corner with the sign that says, “Will work for food.” See if he doesn’t say, “Los estadounidenses son perezosos.”

The rest of that paragraph is just crap: you characterize the entire state of Arizona as bigots, except some illegal immigrants. Good job.

No matter what Bolton decided, the hot dog vendor is still worried. She thinks a lot of Phoenix police officers and county sheriff deputies, under the command of cartoonish Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, have been champing at the bit for a law like this to give them an excuse to hassle people with brown skin. People like that, she says, won’t let the judge’s ruling get in the way of enforcing a law which they support.

Ah, so she’s not quite as open-minded as you portray her to be. Apparently, your assertion that officers of the law are bigots is shared by her. Well, fair enough, she’s entitled to that opinion. But until the law can actually be tried, and until we can see how it works, there’s really not much point in worrying about it, is there? If you’re not an illegal immigrant, that is.

Since the law took effect, Arpaio’s deputies have raided residences thought to be “drop houses,” where illegal immigrant smugglers harbor their human cargo.

And good for them! After all, immigrant smugglers are often enslaving unwitting illegals. Should they not prosecute this crime because you’re paying attention to their actions? Put another way, do you raise hell because they raid crack houses? And should people ever be in a position to be referred to as “human cargo?” Isn’t that worthy of prosecution?

And stop using the error of omission to distort the truth: deputies also raided residences thought to be “drop houses” before the law took effect, too.

No wonder immigrants are afraid. Those who haven’t left the state are living as shut-ins. They go outside when they have to go to work. Otherwise, they stay behind closed doors.

Since that’s by their choice, tough. Do they really think that if they look/act/do as normal legal citizens do (such as drive to work, do yard work, perhaps take a walk with the kids, fix their cars in their driveways, go to the store) that they will be accosted by police for acting suspiciously? Don’t they think that it’s the people who stand around on street corners for hours a day, doing nothing, who are most likely to be challenged by police? Apparently not, I guess.

Anyway, eventually, when the illegal immigrants are few and far between, the suspicion that someone is here in the US illegally will naturally die down, won’t it? In the meantime, the legal immigrants should be out and about and should enjoy showing up Officer Bob and his ilk when they are hassled for their documentation. Oh, and of course, they should avoid activities which would get Officer Bob’s interest in the first place, just like you and I should.

By the way, I think Officer Bob should ask every suspect of some offense, including me, lilly-white Bill Eccles, for my proof of citizenship (whatever that is), and should not be asked to make a determination which might be misconstrued as “racial profiling.”

There is another kind of racism at play here. You’ve heard how Arizona tried to empower local police to arrest gardeners and housekeepers to crack down on Mexican drug dealers. Baloney. That’s just how the state’s anti-immigrant efforts are packaged for public consumption. The Mexican drug dealer is the Willie Horton of the immigration debate. I get it.

Huh? The state somehow has an anti-immigrant effort? No, there’s no anti-immigrant effort. There’s an anti-illegal-immigrant effort, however, which is what SB1070 is all about. You are confusing your issues, Ruben.

What are nativists supposed to do? Convince Arizonans that the nannies they give their babies to every day are dangerous, that the gardeners to whom they volunteer their security code are a threat. You need drug dealers in this dialogue. Who else are people going to be afraid of?

I’ll just leave this paragraph with a, “Huh?” because I can’t make any sense out of it whatsoever. I’m not sure how nannies and gardeners and drug dealers are relevant to illegal vs. legal status.

Not a hot dog vendor. Think about where that woman was from — Sinaloa. That state is the capital of the Mexican drug trafficking industry. It’s quite simple.

This ought to be good…

If you’re from Sinaloa and you sell drugs, you can live a luxurious life in Mexico. If you sell hot dogs, you work long, hot nights in the desert. Arizonans are ginning up fear of one to rid their state of the other.

So, let me translate Rubenese to English: Sinaloans who come to America are drug dealers. Since that fact hasn’t been brought into the debate by either side—until now—I have to assume that Ruben is ginning up fear of one to get rid of the other.

Or maybe I’m missing something here, so I’ll try again: Illegal immigrants who are from Sinaloa should get a pass just like illegal immigrants who are hot dog vendors or drug dealers. There. I think I got it.

I finish my second hot dog—the best I’ve tasted this side of Coney Island—and pay the bill. Oh, by the way, I ask the woman: “What’s your name?”

Who pays after they eat their hot dogs? This story smells fishy to me. You get your dogs, you pay the vendor. Then you eat them. Strange…

She smiles, looks away and shakes her head. She won’t tell me. She must figure, why take chances? For immigrants, there’s enough of that going on already in this city, where just getting in a car or walking down the street can be a high-stakes gamble.

“She must figure…?” Ruben reads minds. Enough said.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Thank goodness for that. More like him and… well, too late. They’ve already been elected.

I don’t get it. With the new 10-digit dialing we have here in Connecticut, I have to dial an area code plus the usual exchange and number—a total of ten digits, hence the name—even for local calls. But if I’m dialing “long distance,” I have to dial a “1” as well.

If I dial ten digits and the call is “long distance,” then a computer jumps on the line and tells me I should dial a “1” as well.

If I dial a “1” and the call is “local,” then a computer jumps on the line and tells me it is not necessary to dial a “1.”

OK, people, if the computer is smart enough to have told me I should dial a “1” or not dial a “1,” why can’t it just place the frickin’ call?

And who cares if it’s local or long distance anymore? If I am on an unlimited whatever wherever (in the US) calling plan, it doesn’t matter. Can’t the computer figure out to whom it matters and only warn them? For Pete’s sake, the cell phone companies have this figured out. Why can’t my local phone company?

Oh, wait a minute: I have AT&T for both local and cell service. Can we get those departments talking to each other, please?

Stupid computers. They just do what we tell them to.

I just noticed the other day that iTunes now displays episode numbers (not just episode ID’s) in the various video playlists. This is a feature that I’ve asked for a long time. Does anybody know when it showed up?

Does anybody else find it ironic that the distracted driver crackdown is being promoted using the state’s electronic highway signs?

Simulated here for your irony-laden viewing pleasure:

DISTRACTED DRIVING - PHONE IN ONE HAND TICKET IN OTHER

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