Links 7/25/10

Since Bob Goodwin decided to take the conservative tack on Post Racial White Flight, I thought I should start the links off with the attack on affirmative action from within the Democratic party. It is not just Republicans who are looking to roll back the civil rights agenda.

The next three links are of this ilk. Is it a coincidence that these issues have come into focus during Obama’s tenure as President?

My take: when the chips are down, people look for someone or something to blame.  For a good example of how xenophobia increases during economic hardship, see my post Mexican Repatriation: The Great Depression and Immigration Policy.

Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege Jim Webb (D-VA), WSJ

Why We Need A Third Party In 2012 The Burning Platform (Hat tip Richard Smith)

Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams kicked out over ‘Colored People’ letter NY Daily News (Hat tip Richard Smith)

Other Links

Docs for Sale: The FDA Advisory Panel on Avandia Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma (Hat tip Francois)

Too Bad Not to Fail: an article by William J. Quirk The American Scholar (Hat tip Patrick)

La crise de la dette souveraine fait une pause… avant de rebondir ailleurs? Coulisses de Bruxelles, UE (Hat tip Bob)

‘World’s oldest champagne’ found on Baltic seabed BBC News (Yves Smith watch – she is in this region right now! Thanks, Bob)

Evil weed in Baltic Sea puts marine life at risk The Independent (Hat tip Bob)

Who Ultimately Pays the Corporate Income Tax? Uwe Reinhardt, Economix (Hat tip Mark Thoma)

España aplica en su examen el mayor ajuste inmobiliario ELPAÍ (Hat tip Diego)

The u.s. middle class is being wiped out here’s the stats to prove it Tech Ticker (Hat Tip craazyman)

Chinese Central Bank Outlines Plan To Ditch The Dollar As The Yuan’s Peg Business Insider (Hat tip Bates)

Floyd Landis: ‘I saw Lance Armstrong using drugs’ ESPN (Can Landis be believed?)

Does Language Influence Culture? WSJ (Great piece, a must-read)

40 Tage ohne Internet und Handy: "Ich spürte ständig ein Phantomvibrieren" FTD

Massenpanik bei der Love Parade: Zahl der Toten steigt auf 19 FTD

The Recalculation Story: A Summary Arnold Kling

There’s a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin’ Frank Rich, NYTimes

Time for New Thinking on Stimulus Bruce Bartlett

Why is the Obama Administration Blaming Environmentalists for Its Failures? Mark Thoma

Shirley Sherrod, Thrown to the Wolves Bob Herbert (Hat tip Down South)

Anomalous Capacity Shrinkage Tim Duy (on why these post 1990 recessions are different; the reason is outsourcing)

France suspend all 23 members of World Cup squad for Norway friendly The Guardian

Antidote du Jour: Bear and Bike (thanks, Desmond)


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About Edward Harrison

I am a banking and finance specialist at the economic consultancy Global Macro Advisors. Previously, I worked at Deutsche Bank, Bain, the Corporate Executive Board and Yahoo. I have a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. As to ideology, I would call myself a libertarian realist - believer in the primacy of markets over a statist approach. However, I am no ideologue who believes that markets can solve all problems. Having lived in a lot of different places, I tend to take a global approach to economics and politics. I started my career as a diplomat in the foreign service and speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French as well as English and can read a number of other European languages. I enjoy a good debate on these issues and I hope you enjoy my blogs. Please do sign up for the Email and RSS feeds on my blog pages. Cheers. Edward


  1. Diego Méndez

    Hi Edward,

    this is the best take on stress tests I’ve seen on the Spanish press:

    This is the key excerpt:

    “Tras revelar la información -y establecer la solvencia del corazón del sistema (BBVA, Santander, La Caixa)-, los tests confirman que hay una serie de bancos y cajas descapitalizados y expuestos al desplome inmobiliario. No se trata solo de los cinco suspensos (los que han quedado por debajo del 6% de capital requerido), sino sobre todo de los aprobados raspados (menos del 6,5%), que ha habido varios. Quizás el más significativo sea la fusión liderada por Caja Madrid y Bancaja (con 6,3% en el escenario adverso), pero también están en el grupo el Banco Pastor, CajaSol, Caja3 (Caja Inmaculada, Badajoz y Círculo Católico de Burgos), Guipuzcoano y Pollença.”

  2. Daveg

    Jim Webb’s piece is a nuanced discussion that deserves a better response than you have provided.

    Currently many government programs and contracts give preference to non-black minorities. It is difficult to justify such policies.

    If you feel you can provide good basis for this type of policy you should do so, rather than making accusations about the motives behind such inquiries.

    1. Edward Harrison Post author

      I wouldn’t have linked to Jimm Webb’s piece if I didn’t think it worthy of reading, Daveg. You didn’t mention any of the other pieces which I also think deserve reading (whether you agree or not).

      The point I am making has nothing to do with Webb’s piece specifically – although I agree with the thrust of much of his comments. It has to do with the psychology of depression. When the chips are down, people take a greater interest in blaming others for problems. From a European context, this is also true. Originally, I had put in a part about the same going on in Europe regarding the Spanish, Greeks, and Germans (with some blaming the Anglo-Saxons and their financiers) but I couldn’t find a link to a previous post I was looking for.

      As for affirmative action, I believe there does need to be an adjustment. What exactly should that adjustment be? In education, for example, I would advocate changing affirmative action to reflect the economic status of the applicant (regardless of race). I ran a piece recently which demonstrated that poor whites are underrepresented at Ivy League colleges. This is part of the issue that Jim Webb speaks to.

  3. bornagaindem

    Sen Webb does a thorough analysis of who the civil rights act was supposed to help- african americans descended from slaves in america -and points out that there are white Americans who suffer the same lack of opportunity and poverty and you suggest this is an attack on affirmative action. This is why we cannot have a real conversation on racism in the US. Because there are people who refuse to acknowledge that the label racism is used as a bludgeon to shut up anyone who opens their mouth. Here , here to Jim Webb for discussing this and for trying to come up with a real solution that moves us away from dividing us by race to the recognition that the programs to help those in poverty and who lack education can bring us together it they are applied fairly.

    It is the same with the immigrant problem – what don’t you understand about the word illegal? I am a legal immigrant and I recognize the problem with “illegal” immigrant- white or brown.

    1. Edward Harrison Post author

      See my response above where I say I agree with much of what Webb says. It IS an attack on affirmative action.

      You say: “This is why we cannot have a real conversation on racism in the US. Because there are people who refuse to acknowledge that the label racism is used as a bludgeon to shut up anyone who opens their mouth.”

      That may be true. Of course I personally never used the word racism. As to the related xenophobia, xenophobia cuts both ways I should add. ‘Outsiders’ like ethnic and religious minorities also become xenophobic and close ranks during a poor economic climate. I do believe what we are going is more anti-outsider legislation and I certainly believe the law in Arizona is in part an outgrowth of xenophobia.

      Whether this particular law is justified is another question. I don’t think it is; my wife thinks it is. In Germany people must have an identification card at all times so there are other advanced societies where this is accepted. I oppose that law on civil libertarian grounds.

      Historically, it is outsiders against whom legislated xenophobia turns in economic downturns. And, if this economic downturn continues, expect to see more anti-immigrant (and anti-affirmative action) laws. Eventually, these laws will move from the justifiable to more extreme measures. Historically, that is how it has played out.

      1. alex

        “Whether this particular law is justified is another question. I don’t think it is; my wife thinks it is.”

        The problem with the Arizona law is not that it seeks to deport illegal aliens who are, as the term suggests, here illegally, but the way that it does it. I oppose it both because of the civil libertarian grounds you cite (no “papers please” for America, thank you) but also because it’s an invitation to racial profiling. “Looking Hispanic” and having a foreign accent are not illegal in the US.

        My fear is that failing to adopt more reasonable measures to reduce the number of illegal aliens working in the US will lead to over-the-top laws like in Arizona. The US government (on whom the primary responsibility rests, not the state governments) has all but ignored this issue for years. Bush’s workplace raids were an excuse to act like Rambo wannabees and unsurprisingly lead to backlash against enforcement. One of the few good things I’ll say about the Obama administration is that they seem to have quietly stepped up enforcement efforts against those employing illegal aliens. Here’s hoping they continue those efforts. Failure to take reasonable measures all too often leads to more extreme measures.

        “expect to see more anti-immigrant … laws”

        What’s an “anti-immigrant” law? Seriously. Is enforcing existing laws against illegal aliens “anti-immigrant”? What about a reduction in our legal immigration quotas or a change in the criteria for legal immigration?

        The problem with the term “anti-immigrant” is that there’s a difference between, on the one hand, having legal immigration quotas, various criteria on who gets a green card, and enforcing those laws, and on the other hand, discriminating against or blaming people who are legal immigrants.

        Calling immigration limits and their enforcement “anti-immigrant” is like calling birth control “anti-child”.

  4. Cynthia

    The Shirley Sherrod story says to me that Obama values war over peace between the races; otherwise, he wouldn’t have had a racial peacemaker like Shirley Sherrod fired from her job. This means that Obama would rather have white plebs and black plebs fighting with each other. Because if the fighting were to stop between these two racial groups of plebs, then they may indeed come together and unite as a single peaceful force, enabling them to harness a larger portion of wealth and power from the plutocrats, both black and white alike. And if this were to happen, Obama would have a harder time sucking up to the plutocrats, thus greatly reducing his chances of walking away from the White House in 2-6 years as a very rich plutocrat himself.

    This story also says to me that Obama places more value on lying than he does on telling the truth; otherwise, he wouldn’t have had a truth-teller like Shirley Sherrod fired from her job. This may explain why he broke most of his campaign promises to the plebs, both black and white alike, which enables him to lie his way into the White House. If Obama never broke these campaign promises, then this would have hindered his ability to use the office of the presidency to make himself richer by helping make the plutocrats even richer.

    So, from this I conclude that Greed is what motivated Obama to throw Sherrod to the wolves!

  5. Ina Deaver

    I think that Webb raises good points, and I was prepared by your intro to be horrified. Instead, he raises something that is very often overlooked in the current policy debate: race may have once been a proxy for poverty, but it is not any more. We need to target the increasingly large lower tier of society for help regardless of their race or country of origin. For that the current affirmative action laws are ill-suited.

    Shirley Sherrod is right: the issue is poverty. That is what I understand Webb to be saying, although I might take issue with some of his points along the way. It is at least an intelligent argument. And there is a difference between wanting to adjust affirmative action so that it continues to meet its goals and seeking to see it ended. I do not see this as an attack on affirmative action, per se.

    As far as xenophobia and scapegoating go, they happen everywhere. And there does tend to be a restricting of what it means to “belong” when people feel threatened. I don’t actually see that in what Webb is saying at all. On the contrary, it is all over talk about who is a “real American” or “true patriot.” To the extent that race/ethnic relations continue to be viewed as a zero-sum game, nothing will improve. I think you do this a disservice lumping it in with those sorts of attacks.

  6. Stick

    In regard to the Webb article… The problem is that race is still very much an issue. There is such a thing as white privilege in the sense that there are certain advantages afforded whites that operate below the surface of popular culture. There is no shortage of studies, for example, which indicate something as simple as having a “black” sounding name or having a degree from an historically black college has a significant impact on the likelihood of receiving a call back for job applications.

    I agree that the big issue is class, but that doesn’t mean that race is no longer relevant. Living in the South as a white male let me assure you that when minorities are not present there is still an assumption among a large number of folks that racially loaded remarks are acceptable, and those who subscribe to that false belief system act on it in ways that are both subtle and overt.

  7. dearieme

    “who actually pays the corporate income tax — the owners of capital or labor — is driven by a number of factors in complicated ways that elude simple intuition.” (1) Why can we assume that customers don’t bear some of the burden? To be more precise, what assumptions are necessary to guarantee this result? How confident can we be that those assumptions apply in practice? (2) Is there any good reason to expect general answers to the question of burden-bearing? Won’t the answer really vary from one company to another, dependent on its circumstances?

  8. Hugh

    Lera Baroditsky is the latest practitioner of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in linguistics. You can get a discussion of some of this here:

    You have to be very, very careful about this stuff, much more careful than Baroditsky seems to be. It can be deeply racist. European colonialism was justified not so much on technological superiority (that was the tool) but on an inherent superiority based on language, religion, and genetic heritage. Language is a necessary part in this mix because during the Dark and Middle Ages large parts of the non-white world were not only more powerful but more advanced than Europe. How to explain that? Well one way was to relate it to the evolution of the European languages over this period as they developed into their current mostly SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) word order. This all got wrapped up in enterprises like the English “White Man’s Burden” and the French “mission civilatrice”. Colonial peoples needed to learn these languages so that they could “think” in a modern world. This is total BS, of course. The problem with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Baroditsky’s reworking of it is that it tends to mistake cultural content for linguistic structure and consequently, makes language a causative agent for what are really historical accidents. The Russians and their words and preceptions of blue is just a rehash of the old, and now discredited example of the Inuits’ multiple words for snow. And you have to ask yourself does the example of the Russian blues even make sense? English has zillions of words and phrases to describe “blue”. We probably have more than the Russians. How come our perception of “blue” isn’t even better than theirs?

    1. Ina Deaver

      Ok, now I’m confused – although I will admit I didn’t finish reading this piece because it bored me. Neither German nor Russian is generally in a “SVO” order. On the contrary, German sentences are constructed “SOV.” Russian is pretty flexible about order, too – as is any language that retains its declensions intact. Only a language that jettisoned declension, and therefore must signal the role of the nouns to the verbs by some other method, must have a strict order to their use in a sentence.

      How is that a great advance?

      1. Hugh

        SVO describes the base syntax of a language. Yes, there can be variation off that base form, elements of the word can be at the end of the phrase.

        It is also important to understand that “free word order” languages aren’t exactly free. There are discourse constraints. While technically any word might appear anywhere, in fact, they don’t. Similarly, discourse structure and various forms of marking allow for flexibility in word order even in languages without a system of declensions. Italian, for example, can be pretty free in its orderings. It is a myth that languages that lose their declensional endings over time must move to a fixed word order. For one thing, it is something of a myth too that they do lose them. Think pronouns and verb markings. It might be more accurate to say that they are redistributed. On top of this, we do not speak in a series of non sequiturs so, as I said before, a lot of potential ambiguity is removed at the discourse level. A sentence that by itself might be ambiguous in its discourse context almost never is.

        1. Hugh

          Sorry, “elements of the word can be at the end of the phrase” should read, “elements of the verb can be at the end of the phrase.”

          1. EmilianoZ


            I’m also confused by what you say. At first you seemed to claim that Europeans deemed their languages superior because of the SVO structure. Then you say that the ordering is not that important. So, on what grounds did they claim superiority? In the mere fact of having a subject, verb and object. Do you know of any language that doesn’t have those?

          2. Ina Deaver

            I don’t doubt that various colonial powers were language snobs, but what I don’t get is the idea that these languages have a common syntax. As Emiliano says, can you think of a language that lacks nouns and verbs? Also, within Europe, various European powers felt vastly superior to other European nations – some of whom shared a language (or close to it). I would guess that the colonial powers dismissed native language as beneath them, but never bothered to become familiar enough with the languages in question to have an inkling of the syntax.

            As a fairly fluent speaker of several of these European languages you speak of, I guess I disagree with the premise of what you are saying. I also suffered through classic Latin in both English and German, and trust me – what we have left of declining nouns in this language is a mere vestigial stub.

          3. Hugh

            Everyone is probably long since gone, but… As shorthand for base syntax, the most common are verb first VSO, verb second SVO, and verb final SOV languages. The verb refers to the conjugated verb. Most European languages fall into the SVO category but their Indo-European precursors were verb final. In the age of colonialism, many Asian languages were verb final. The argument was made that the European languages had evolved further, that the SVO order was inherently more logical, and that colonialism was a natural outcome of this superiority.

            As for the rest, once long ago in one of my other lives, I did a quantitative analysis of syntax in early Romance texts and wrote a 300 page dissertation on how these languages developed from Latin. One of the things I did in that was to show that case endings and word order did not play much of a role in the syntactic shifts to the modern variants.

    2. Ina Deaver

      Also, it’s pretty well understood that, provided you think in words, lacking a word makes it difficult to have the thought. In some languages, a concept is easy to have and communicate and in others that same concept is very hard to have and communicate.

      What is interesting is that not everyone thinks in words, just most of us. That means that some people in every culture will have a very different set of limitations on their thinking than most people have. Variation is beautiful.

    3. EmilianoZ

      Didn’t Nietzsche say that the SVO structure gave us the illusion of “free will”? That would be one of the most fundamental way in which language influences our worldview.

      1. attempter

        Nietzsche said the S-V distinction in terms of the ego/soul delusion was the source of that and many other errors.

        A phrase like “I think”, while probably grammatically necessary, is still realistically nonsensical, since if you take away the predicate, what’s left of the subject? Nothing. There’s no such thing as a metaphysical “subject” which can be extracted from the sum of its characteristic actions. In this case, there’s just “thinking” (to even say, “the process of thinking” would still be committing the same grammatically necessary error; what’s left of this thinking “process” once you separate the act of thinking?).

        IOW there’s really no nouns, just bundles of verbs. The noun is just a cognitive placeholder, an artifical way to organize our perceptions of the verb actions.

  9. EmilianoZ

    Re: Language and culture

    Scientists just discovered what propagandists have always known. LOL!

    More seriously I would really like to know what the Australians aboriginals mentioned in the article do to always know their absolute cardinal directions. And can they manage that in night time as well as in daylight?

  10. scraping_by

    Divide and conquer begins with divide.

    It’s simple to point out that falling out along race lines prevents coming together along economic lines. The most efficient way to accomplish this is through the minds of the masses. Teach the Southern White Trash (my mother’s family, by the way) to repeat, “At least I’m white!” Teach the African Americans to reinterpret all negative feedback as racial assault. Stir and leave to bake.

    Affirmative action was promoted by Nixon, a man not known for his unifying political philosophy. Indeed, it’s been a talking point of the right since its beginning, as Kevin Phillips pointed out in 1969. You can tell it’s useful when your favorite Republican politician blows up on its evils and never does anything to get rid of it.

    The last book I bought for the title alone was Jim Goad’s The Redneck Manifesto. It discussion on affirmative action is much like Sen Webb’s, with the added point of the book’s subtitle: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America’s Scapegoats. The elite will take care of their own, it’s us outsiders who suffer exclusion.

    Shirley Sherrod is right about what it’s all about. Which means that the tea baggers, the corporate right, and the triangulators of the Clinton/Obama crew have to get her out there. If I were paranoid, I’d think about the USDA, which has become the operation wing of corporate agribuisiness, getting together with the right wing media, which is financed by the rich, vs one civil servant. But that’s paranoid.

  11. Hugh

    James Webb is no Shirley Sherrod. When I hear a conservative Southern Democrat with no commitment to social justice I ever heard of talking against affirmative action, I tend to be skeptical. According to the BLS, the current unemployment rate for whites is 8.6% vs. 15.4% for African Americans. So much for affirmative action.

    “Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers.”

    Webb gives himself away early on. Note the substititutions and false equivalences. Webb substitutes WASPs for whites. Then without any evidence he says that for the last 40 years they have been effectively discriminated against, made “a whipping post”. Do you realize how offensive that image is, or how unrealistic? A whipping post is where disobedient slaves were lashed. Webb equates the loss of some of the white South’s stranglehold on power with that. Could anything be more jarring, dishonest, or reprehensible?

    But Webb doesn’t stop there. Because of the civil rights movement, WASP (read white) elites have fallen by the wayside. Really? In whose universe? Just exactly how many African American governors and Senators are there in the South? In the country generally? Sure Obama is an African American but what has he done for African Americans lately? And doesn’t he fall under the heading of a recent immigrant because his father was from Kenya? And what’s up with that? That the legitimacy of one’s citizenship is conditioned by how long one’s family has been in the country. Funny but my copy of the Constitution doesn’t mention this.

    But to return to Webb, I see no dimunition of the power of white elites in this country, whether it is the South or Washington, Wall Street or Main Street. But note how Webb jumps again. Now it’s not just the civil rights movement but diversity itself that is the bogeyman. And suddenly the white elites have morphed into “marginalized” white workers. It is all a mishmash, but the stirring of racial resentment that underlies it is all too clear.

    For anyone who has spent time in the South or paid attention to how politicians “code” racial issues there, the steaming pile of racist horseshit that Webb is peddling is as obvious as it is noxious.

    1. alex

      “the current unemployment rate for whites is 8.6% vs. 15.4% for African Americans”

      But the unemployment rate is higher for people with less education and whose incomes were lower prior to unemployment. Since, on average, black people have a lower education level and lower incomes, the statistic you cite doesn’t tell you whether unemployment is a racial or a class issue (or both).

      If you look at things based strictly on race, you’ll see racial differences. If you look at things based strictly on educational and economic status, you’ll see things in those terms. To get an accurate picture, you have to look at things in terms of race, education, economic status and other factors, such as geography.

      Also, not to defend everything he wrote, but you’ll note that Webb specifically addresses the need to help African Americans.

      1. Hugh

        Webb’s piece does not exist in a vacuum. There is a whole discourse of anti-affirmative action couched in terms of “fairness” and “reasonableness”. But as I tried to show in dissecting that paragraph of Webb, it is anything but. It is common to throw in a few qualifiers just to show that one is not racist but Webb has never been a strong advocate of across the board social justice so when you hear him using that kind of rhetoric, especially in the dicey way he was, the best strategy is to hold on to your wallet.

  12. sean

    ….”When the chips are down, people take a greater interest in blaming others for problems. From a European context, this is also true”…

    I think most people resent illegal immigration and mass legal immigration in times of plenty.Its just their sentiments are repressed because usually on the surface their material well being has not appreciably declined (even though many feel their quality of life is compromised).

    In a recession those people in the lower tiers suffer terribly and compete against foreigners for a smaller piece of the cake whilst the well off hunker down and remain insulated.
    The feeling they were put upon during the good times is greatly exacerbated in a recession.
    Objectively ,for these people no spin can obfuscate the permanent neagtive effects of both legal and illegal immigration.The recession merely confirms their worst fears when the economy was booming when the elites told them they had nothing to fear from immmigration.

    Therefore I would contend the ..’greater interest in blaming others for problems..’ starts in the so called good times much the same way many warned of excessive lending and most people felt under pressure to conform and buy houses for prices many times their true value and intuitively knew they were nt really better off.

    The bottom line ;stop illegal immigration in the good times and adopt an immigration policy beneficial to the host country which is based on evidence and research rather than driven by idealogy.

    1. DownSouth


      But when the chips are down the well off project blame upon the most vulnerable and powerless segments of society, blame that by rights ought to be cast upon them.

      Any fiscal measures which might help to reduce the gross inequalities between the exempt rich and the penalized poor was scrupulously avoided, and Lerma fell back instead on more comfortable expedients, such as the sale of offices and jurisdictions, the extraction of subsidies from the Portuguese Jews, and the manipulation of the Castilian coinage…

      Urgent problems, like the fiscal question in Castile, or the spread of banditry in Catalonia, were quietly shelved in the vain hope that they might in the course of time satisfactorily solve themselves; and the one positive action of the regime of real merit was the signing in 1609 of the Twelve Years’ Truce with the Dutch—-a settlement which Lerma steered through with some skill in the face of considerable opposition, but which was ultimately forced on him by the bankruptcy of the treasury. Otherwise the actions of his Government were ill advised and unfortunate, like the removal of the capital to Valladolid in 1601, which proved so unsatisfactory that it had to return again to Madrid in 1606.

      One action, however, the Government was to push through with a most uncharacteristic resolution: the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain. There was a deliberate significance in the choice of the date on which the decree of expulsion was formally approved by the King—-9 April 1609, the day which also saw the signing of the Twelve Year’ Truce. By the use of skilful timing, the humiliation of peace with the Dutch would be overshadowed by the glory of removing the last trace of Moorish dominance from Spain, and 1609 would be ever memorable as a year not of defeat but of victory.
      –J.H. Elliot, Imperial Spain: 1469-1716

      1. Daveg

        Recessions and bad times ay cause people to focus on things they might otherwise tolerate, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

        Many, including myself, have long been concerned with the high level and low quality of immigration over the last 20 years, with the last 10 being some of the worst.

        Simply put, US immigration policy is horrible, and has been for a long time.

        Combined with nonsensical affirmative-action policies and diversity programs it has been a disaster for the middle class in this country. [Yes, other things have contributed to the fall of the middle class, but this is an important factor.]

        That a recession might be part of the reason others are starting to focus on these bad practices does not make such focus unwarrented.

        Just as recessions expose poorly run business that only can survive in good times, they also expose bad government policies that never made much sense in the first place, but did not receive the scrutiny they deserved when times were fat.

        1. alex

          “US immigration policy is horrible, and has been for a long time”

          How would you change it? That’s not a rhetorical question – I’m interested in your answer.

  13. KAM,_2004-2010

    Wikileaks just published more Afghan war documents. From the wikileaks web site:

    “25th July 2010 5:00 PM EST WikiLeaks has released a document set called the Afghan War Diary (AWD), an extraordinary compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010.

    The reports, while written by soldiers and intelligence officers mainly describing lethal military actions involving the United States military, also include intelligence information, reports of meetings with political figures, and related detail.

    The document collection will shortly be available on a dedicated webpage.

    The reports cover most units from the US Army with the exception of most US Special Forces’ activities. The reports do not generally cover top-secret operations or European and other ISAF Forces operations.

    We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.”

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bear and Bike – the tragic story of how a bear ended up working for peanuts in a circus with a little push by human greed.

    That’s my guess of that title of that photo.

  15. Moopheus

    Bears have kind of short legs relative to their torsos, so I think that bear would be better off with a smaller step-through frame.

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