Sunday, June 24, 2007

So I want an Immigration Bill

Senate Bill www: Titled
Come out, come out, wherever you are

Whereas we may not know you, it is in your and our interest to know you. You do have a name. What is it? You have identifiers including numbers, perhaps a matricula but any government issued number from your government, also your vital statistics: DOB, origin, relatives. We will recognize your status as a resident alien; you owe us a $500 fee. Your status does not give you priority for citizenship. You are subject to deportation if you commit any crimes or are found by a preponderance of evidence to have engaged or conspired to engage in terrorist activities. Crimes includes not paying taxes. You may get a Social Security number. Your retirement is based on the same qualifiers as U.S. citizens, disability retirement is available only for work related injuries. Those not declaring by 1 Nov 2007 will be prioritized for deportation.

Jonathan Rauch and Becker-Posner and 'Jane Galt' have been alluding to or specifying, in various measures, a bill and Glenn Reynolds has been carping about the present one as has Darleen, in Protein Wisdom, reflecting common rants. With a proper designation for 'you' in the above, Senator Mike feels pretty much good to go with the above.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A little apostate music

Cranmer says of the knighthood for Salmon Rushdie that, aside from it making the proper people angry, there was no point to it as Rushdie's books are awful. Don't know that I've heard anyone comment on them otherwise. The New Yorker editor, on terminally important radio (NPR), said that, in regard to one of his books, Rushdie's sister was furious at him for repeating the scene of their father's death as an episode transported into one of his novels. Otherwise it's been radio silence. There is this late breaking report re: the knighthood. Need I remind Cranmer that Knights were those who rode in the face of danger which surely S. Rushdie has done.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Sometimes it seems to me the potential double life of prominent figures has been largely ignored. On the contrary, 2 Samuel 11, a Mass reading for today, reveals the self serving use of power on King David's part. When I think of my own father, I wish that he had had insight that the 'king' might have such a life. People who have been traumatized in an important relationship in their lives tend to choose people with faults I think because they need to persist in their hostility. I don't know if that was a part of it. Along the lines of knowing what the ruler wants, Ann Cooper has a fascinating story passed down in her family. The story is that one of her ancestors carried Queen Elizabeth's message to the effect that Mary Queen of Scots should be killed and she was. That having happened Queen Elizabeth sent forces to arrest her ancestor and he fled to America. Perhaps he was too ready to believe the surface representation of the Queen.

2 Samuel can also be felt as a forgiveness for the Shoah. The authorities in Western culture abandoned the Jews to the forces of the enemy and they were destroyed as Uriah, deliberately put in danger by David, was abandoned and killed. Yet when David sad to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord," Nathan answered David "The Lord on his part has forgiven you your sin, you shall not die."

Friday, June 15, 2007


The Atlantic magazine has a couple of great windows on China this month. J. Fallows shows how China is our industrial back office; Dallas, by the way, is, in part, a financial back office for New York. Interesting is that it has not grown on the Japanese or Korean model, that is the state favoring certain industries or companies. Like Topsy it has just grown as free trade zones were established. So that Japan makes Toyotas but China makes Del, IBM etc laptops. The branding is actually part of our profit and the Chinese pick up the littlest bit. Fallows, in part, covers the activity and career of an Irish business owner in China. Having learned and reported a lot, Fallows closes with asking him to suggest a Chinese government official of any level that might have been useful in facilitating the boom. "I don't know any," is the business man's response. Talk about hands off! But there is still more fascinating detail. The second article is about a 91 year Catholic bishop and his integration of being Chinese, and putting up with the communists, as well as the 'veneration of ancestors' and being Catholic.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Partial Defense of John McCain

No doubt it is inflammatory, but our current stance on the potential new immigration law put me in mind of a commonality between us and some of our opponents in Iraq, not that every jot and tittle of the law is 'for the best.' One reads, 'it's their (the Iraqis) land and how would you feel..' etc.; never mind that they could elect a government which could tell us to leave and we would go. Never mind that a part of our idea is to leave a country with more opportunity, w/o tyrannical oppression of a large part of the populace, a difference from before. Illegal Mexican immigrants would go to San Salvador rather than the U.S if the jobs were better, 'will work for food' as the placard says. And, in this country, we generally want money because we think we can do something with it; that 'something' at times involves the illegals or they wouldn't be here. So we get something for it, the offsets to these benefits are discussed in an Economist blog. So there may be something more psychological than logical about the objections of the Iraqis and ourselves.

And John McCain? Well, he is one of the sponsors of the immigration bill. He also has had the right ideas at the right time about Iraq, our most important public policy issue. More troops earlier is number one. But how about 'McCain-Feingold'? Not that I am for this bill, but if you look at John McCain's history, it becomes less objectionable. When he was a carrier pilot off of VN, he did not have to fly above a certain longitude north, rank had its privilege. He was and is, by those who know this detail, greatly admired for disdaining this privilege and flying anyway. That is how he was shot down and made a prisoner of war. McCain-Feingold protects incumbents from feeling as much that they have to raise a lot of money to run their races, a rank has its privileges deal, something, for him, natural. It is not the end of the world; it can be changed when he is gone.

Monday, June 04, 2007


It was a long ago self that was betrayed. I recall the psychological shock of the Tet offensive. Art Buchwald had a cartoon in which an American in the embassy runs a mimeograph reprinting, 'We're winning,' while saying 'The enemy can't win. They wouldn't know how to run the printing press' risibly making apologists for the American effort ridiculous. Instapundit now cites discussion of the North Vietnamese spy who helped plan the attack on our embassy. He 'helped out' Halberstam, the most celebrated reporter in VN; he aided other reporters and the US and south Vietnamese Army. Did our reporters ever express betrayal as this came out, ever regret for the Americans and Vietnamese killed and betrayed? Sad; alienating.