Sunday Linkage

Here are some of the more interesting tidbits I came across during the past few days.

It seems that our horrible economy has some benefits – According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the illegal immigration population has declined by as much as 11% and is partly driven at least by the poor economy. Apparently the recession that doesn’t meet the so-called definition of a recession is making it hard even for illegals to find employment.

Barack Obama isn’t the only one cleaning web sites – A few days after John McCain satirized Barack Obama’s “celebrity” persona by running an ad that included images of “D-Listers” Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, he was busted for scrubbing his own website of references to his celebrity from an earlier appearance on Letterman.

Woman scorned – Missouri state Sen. Chris Koster must have really pissed off his ex-wife. His run for Attorney General is about to get slammed with $187,500 worth of television ads opposed to his candidacy that are being run by a local group called Missourians for Honest Leadership. What is his ex-wife’s involvement? She just so happened to donate $200,000 to that same group.

Airline irony? – Many people were actually gullible enough to believe that because most airlines were now charging extra for checking baggage that their bags would arrive at their destinations at the same time they did. Of course they were wrong.

Clueless on Faux news – Fox talking head Newt Gingrich recently ripped Barack Obama’s comment on how we could save energy by properly inflating our tires.

GINGRICH: He has a position that’s frankly ludicrous. We saw him yesterday. He suggested if we all inflated our tires, that we would solve the problem. Think about it. You ought to take that clip. I think that clip is far more devastating than today because it’s loony toons.

Well guess what Newt, many estimates state that if we all kept our tires inflated to their recommended pressure, we would save 800,000 barrels per day in oil consumption immediately. That just happens to be 4 x’s the 200,000 barrels a day we would see 10 years from now with John McCain’s offshore drilling plan. Doh!

And finally for some local flavor – Argus Leader editor Randell Beck tells us this morning of some lessons he learned during his 7 years as editor with one sticking out prominently. Don’t get too fancy. Gee I wonder what taught him that lesson?

Enjoy your Sunday.

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What Must Obama Think About Us?

Ken Blanchard asks that question in response to a speech given by Barack Obama recently in San Francisco. The text from the offending portion of the speech is below.

[T]he truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Now I will not go into his religion and gun remarks as those are 2 subjects near and dear to many South Dakotans, and any disparaging remarks on those subjects are sure to alienate many. What I want to discuss is the anti-immigration bitterness and abandonment feelings that Obama discusses and Professor Blanchard takes exception to

What are the symptoms of that pathology, from which we in the Dakotas surely suffer? Anti-immigration and anti-trade sentiment, we learn. Now one might have thought that a person could want the immigration laws of the United States to be enforced without for that being called a dysfunctional personality. And as for anti-trade sentiment, apparently someone with an ivy-league education, from a boom town like Chicago, can suffer from it, as it is a major plank in Obama’s platform.

I would submit that while Obama’s remarks from a South Dakotan’s perspective might cause one to take pause, someone from small towns in rust belt states can surely relate. Remember Obama is looking towards the next primary in Pennsylvania which happens to be one of these rust belt states

I was born and raised in one such town in Northern Ohio. Our economy revolved around manufacturing with a large Ford plant, an even larger Steel Foundry, and a shipbuilding facility that made up the brunt of the decent jobs in the area. During the mid to late 70’s, all 3 industries took a major hit. Many of my friends parents lost their jobs when these industries either closed up shop or re-organized and couldn’t find anything close to what they lost. For years politicians promised that their government would help and for years they didn’t. With that background you would expect many to get frustrated and angry at anyone or anything they feel helped contribute to their situation. In other words cheap labor from illegal immigration and unfair trade agreements forged with other countries.

These are the people Obama was addressing in his speech and Pennsylvania has plenty of listeners.

So when Blanchard asks what must Obama think about us? I would have to answer, right now he probably doesn’t think much about us at all. He is a politician only worried about his next contest. In May right before our primary I am sure Senator Obama will be all over agricultural and tourism issues that will have many rust belt residents asking the same questions as Prof Blanchard asks now.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Obama is now backpedaling from his guns and religion comments in response to the uproar that has ensued.

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The Definition of Irony

It seems that one of the companies hired by our government to build the useless border fence on our southern border with Mexico has their own illegal alien problem.

A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company’s work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.

As Alanis Morissette would say, “Isn’t it Ironic”.

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That Didn't Take Long

Only several months removed from President Bush’s speech promising a major overhaul of the immigration policies in the US, the GOP has decided that it isn’t a political winner for them and will instead focus on other issues.

With Congress reconvening Tuesday after an August break, Republicans in the House and Senate say they will focus on Pentagon and domestic security spending bills, port security legislation and measures that would authorize the administration’s terror surveillance program and create military tribunals to try terror suspects.

“We Republicans believe that we have no choice in the war against terror and the only way to do it is to continue to take them head-on whether it is in Iraq or elsewhere,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the majority leader.

A final decision on what do about immigration policy awaits a meeting this week of senior Republicans. But key lawmakers and aides who set the Congressional agenda say they now believe it would be politically risky to try to advance an immigration measure that would showcase party divisions and need to be completed in the 19 days Congress is scheduled to meet before breaking for the election.

I would bet this decision is based on what they are seeing around the country where huge pro immigration rallies aren’t translating into increased Hispanic voter registrations.

Even in Los Angeles, where a 500,000-strong protest in March foreshadowed demonstrations across the United States, an increase in new registrations before the June primary was more trickle than torrent in a county of nearly 4 million voters.

Protest organizers — principally unions, Hispanic advocacy groups and the Roman Catholic Church — acknowledge that it has been hard to translate street activism into ballot box clout, though they insist their goal of 1 million new voters by 2008 is reachable.

The cynic in me has to laugh as who would have thought rallies made up largely of illegal immigrants would lead to increased voter registration as one of the few rights the illegals have yet to gain is the ability to vote but what it does show is the GOP’s continued willingness to keep stirring the pot with conservative voters while doing nothing to fix the problems that face the country.

So now that the Labor Day weekend has come and gone and election silly season starts in earnest, we can expect the GOP to continue their campaign of rhetoric against the Democrats while not actually accomplishing anything where it matters. In other words business as usual…

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Local Governments Attempting To Do What The Federal Government Has Yet To Do

With the Federal Government’s failure to come up with any viable immigration reform package, local governments are deciding to take the lead on their own.

The latest city to fight back against illegal immigrants is Hazleton, PA.

Last month, in a raucous meeting, the mayor and City Council passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. (Barletta wore a bulletproof vest because, he says, Hazleton is menaced by a surge in crime committed by illegal immigrants.) The act imposes a $1,000-per-day fine on any landlord who rents to an illegal immigrant, and it revokes for five years the business license of any employer who hires one.

The act also declares English to be the city’s official language. Employees are forbidden to translate documents into another language without official authorization.

Whether or not you agree with what the Mayor of Hazleton has done, the lack of movement on this issue by Congress is just going to result in more cases like this.

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