Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Broken System

At the age of 12, Jose Vargas immigrated to the United States from the Philippians. Here is his story:

The Right’s response, predictably, is that he should go back to where he came from. Oh, and he’s no different than the 9/11 hijackers.

Sooner or later the conservatives in America will have to deal with the illegal immigration problem. And “deport them” so they can come in legally is not a sufficient answer – not the least because it’s fundamentally dishonest. They can't come back, and it's not only because of of the ten year bar on readmission, but because of the backlog behind that.

One report from 2009 explains:
In 2007, the Bush administration estimated that 3.5 million to 4 million people had been approved for family-based immigrant visas, but had not yet received them as a result of annual statutory limits on visa issuance. In 2009, the DOS Immigration Visa Control and Reporting Division revised those estimates up to 4.9 million, and provided a detailed breakdown of the backlog figures.
The 4.9 million figure includes 2.7 million awaiting consulate processing outside the United States and an estimated 2.2 million (many of them on temporary visas) who are in the Untied States awaiting permanent visas. . . . It is likely that a high percentage of persons who have been approved for visas wait in the United States (often in unauthorized status) with their sponsoring family members until their visa numbers become current.

For numbers slightly more recent, we need look no farther than the Department of State’s monthly Visa Bulletin for June 2011. In many of the family entry categories, for example, the waiting list stretches back over a decade:
  • Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: waiting list back to May 2004; for applicants from the Philippines (Vargas' native country) it’s February 1996
  • Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: waiting list back to August 2007; for applicants from the Philippines it’s August 2007
  • Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: waiting list back to April 2003; for applicants from the Philippines it’s June 2000
  • Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: waiting list back to June 2001; for applicants from the Philippines it’s March 1992
  • Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: waiting list back to March 2000; for applicants from the Philippines it’s May 1988
Of course, applicants can and often do apply for lottery admission, since it can be faster than waiting in line. But that program recently canceled the status of 22,000 who were admitted due to a technical glitch.

Being here illegally is in many cases a documentation crime. And in the case of children, it’s one committed by their parents. In any other field, such an oppressive licensing scheme would be condemned. Why not here? Is a ten year bar on reapplication, followed by a ten to twenty year wait to much to ask to make up for a lack of documentation?

And I complain about a visit to DMV.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adam Smith and Farmer Boy

I take it back. Last week when I started Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, I was overwhelmed by the introduction. It was heady and cumbersome-something I hate in books.

However, I am a little further along now, and I take it back-at least so far (I am only as far as chapter 5 in book 1). Smith is brilliant. No wonder he changed the world. He is insightful, clear spoken and not too philosophical.

For example, when he talks about value and the foundation for money, he almost quotes from Almanzo's father in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book Farmer Boy.

It's work, son,” Father said. That's what money is; it's hard work.”

(If you are laughing right now it is because Adam Smith wrote almost 100 years before Almanzo was born, and his dad was likely quoting Adam Smith, not the other way around... that is unless you believe in time travel...)

Anyway, I have to say, that reading the founder of Capitalism himself, I have never been as impressed with the foundation of the system. There have been people who abuse the system, people who write about it and try to make it worse than it is, but Adam Smith's system makes solid sense.

We shall see if the rest of the book is as the first 5 chapters, but at this point I would recommend it, even for high school and advanced middle school students.

The reason I am reading it, and recommend others do as well is because of a conversation I had last weekend in Denver. I was talking with a well spoken Ron Paul fan. This young
man was explaining why the American dollar needed to be abolished as it currently stands.

I was explaining my general thoughts thoughts about money and he told me that my view was Marxist. That threw me off. Marxist?! He didn't quite buy it when I said I was pretty sure that my views were grounded in Adam Smith, but I was unable to speak with authority because I'd only read what other people said about his writings.

So that is why I am reading The Wealth of Nations now. And I can said with confidence that our dollar is not based on Marx, but on the “founder” of Capitalism.

Have you read Laura Ingalls Wilder? If so, what is your favorite quote?
Have you ever been accused of being a Marxist? What did you say?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Strange World of Twitter

I have had some strange people follow me of over the last few years on twitter. First there was the alien worshipers, and today I found a very different set of worshipers following me.

"@imassal is now following you on twitter"

What?! You may have heard of this app. It is iMass, or as they put it, "iMissal is a Catholic mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Some features include the full Liturgical Calendar, Order of Mass, Readings, Video and Verses."

I have come to the conclusion that the internet is a strange and diverse place.

What is the strangest thing you have seen online?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Miscellaneous

Items I ran across this week that are not quite long enough to get their own posts. It's best for everyone if I don't try to combine them into a single coherent line of thought.
  • John Maynard Keynes once famously said, in response to the critique that he had changed his position on a monetary policy, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Is this an attitude we want in our politicians? Or do we let partnership get in the way, permitting favorite candidates to change their minds while not so-favorite candidates are not afforded the same luxury. Or, should we rather consider the motivation in the mind changing?
  • I’ve written before on the recession. Here’s another piece of the puzzle. It seems that in part the current mortgage mess resulted from technological advancement going beyond the scope of the legal structure. Which, of course, means that the legal structure will have to adapt. (Note: one of the biggest culprits for modern tort law is the railroads – their development and spread caused types of damage that the legal system previously hadn’t had to deal with). I wonder where real estate law is going now.
  • Disney’s recent movie Tangled seems to be hitting a nerve with some homeschoolers. Some like it. Others don't. Still others find cause for reflection.
  • When lots of legislation is passed, conservatives tend to long for a do-nothing congress. It looks like that is where the senate has arrived. Is it a good thing? Or merely the next step in not having to go on the record for any positions while the task of making decisions is turned over to the administrative departments?
Before I begin, I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, have been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inhuman Rights

Dr. Mark Mitchell gives a good analysis of the recent UN discussions regarding making internet access a human right. There’s just one more fundamental point that, I think, needs to be made in this discussion.

Declaring internet access a human right takes away from the universality of human rights. Not only are those in areas or countries deprived of this right, but those who have never heard of internet are unable to identify the meaning of this right. Life, liberty, and property are foundational – necessarily dealt with in some way by every society across every era. The same with food, education, support for the elderly, religion, speech, and the list goes on. Internet access? Not so much. It is not rooted in humanity's nature.

It also makes human rights developmental. No longer are human rights something that is connected to being human, it is connected to a particular technological era. Rights theory, at least in its original form, dealt with those things that are inherent in humanity, that every person has a right to by virtue of being human. To deprive them of such is to detract from their humanity. With the advancement of internet access, we can now say that we are more human than any previous generation.

Notice that the actor here is technological advancement, the new grantor of human rights. Declaring internet access, thus, not only waters down the “rights” part, but also gets the “human” part wrong as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From Wednesday's Class

Last week I was teaching a campaigns and elections class for Generation Joshua. The last day of class I agreed to spend the time going over historical ads. It was so popular that I thought I should post it here on the blog.

We started with I like Ike:

Then we went with the Daisy Bomb ad:

No wonder Goldwater lost:

The EVER popular Kennedy song!

Next a Nixon "Hands" ad:

One of the Best Political Ads of all time! Morning in America:

And a Reagan Communism ad, The Bear:

This was Dems response, no wonder it was a landslide:

Nothing quite so striking as a flip flop ad:

Kerry's biggest problem wasn't the flip-flop ad, Swift Boat Vets for Truth changed the political ad world:

Early Obama ad that strongly appeals to voters!

And on the other hand we have the attack ads:

Primaries also tend to have some really fiery ads:

But positive slogan ads seem to be more effective than gun toting shouting:

Ads should also connect with real people:

This is one of my all time favorites:

And I think this is my favorite Democrat ad of the last cycle:

This is probably the worst ad of the last cycle:

A little over the top drama isn't bad:

But this one might be a little over the top:

This ad is a little like a ad for a super hero movie, but I love it!

Finally, some good message ads:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Lawyer

I am taking a professional responsibility course for lawyers this summer which, combined with the two part time jobs I’m working, explains my lack of posting recently. Anyway, this course has given me several post ideas, many of which I hope to be writing about shortly.

In the meantime, I’ve learned lots about lawyer's ethical responsibilities, duties, and the rules rules rules attempting to govern lawyer's actions.

However, upon reflection, most of the expectations can be summarized into three basic laws:
  1. A lawyer may not injure a client or, through inaction, allow a client to come to harm.
  2. A lawyer must obey any orders given to it by client, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A lawyer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Ahh, the consequences of reading Isaac Asimov while taking an ethics course. . .
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...