• bailouts,  Funny,  Immigration,  Obama,  Religion,  Russia

    Thursday link roundup

    • Church Sign Wars – very good
    • What Russia Wants – written by my old Boss at Cato
    • The path to citizenship – it makes illegal immigration much more understandable
    • Making money twice – a very good read
    • Julian Sanchez put it very well with

      we’re perpetually told the fundamental cause of the ongoing meltdown is Wall Street “greed,” as though that somehow counted as an explanation. How, pray, would we describe it if mortgage lenders had rejected many more applications from lower-income folks, on the grounds that they were poor risks? Well, greed, of course. Pretty much whatever they did, they’d be doing because they expected it to maximize their profit; the issue is their judgement, not their motives. Or put another way: The problem isn’t that people were greedy, it’s that they weren’t very good at being greedy.

    • Ron Paul fades into further irrelevance
    • More Bailout – Yglesias posits what is hopefully a liberal dilemma

      Simply put, if congressional Democrats manage to acquiesce in a plan that spends $700 billion on a bailout while doing nothing for average working people and giving the taxpayer virtually no upside in a way that guarantees that even electoral victory would give an Obama administration no resources with which to implement a progressive domestic agenda in 2009 then everyone’s going to have to give serious consideration to becoming a pretty hard-core libertarian.

    • A nice article on Obama’s community organizing days – notices the lack of anything measurable.
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  • Cycling,  Economics,  Immigration

    Finally, a problem we can blame on the Mexicans

    It’s not a major problem, but from some reason they (Mexicans) bicycle approaching traffic, which is the way it’s done in Mexico, but not in America. This endangers the cyclist as the amount of time between perception and action is dramatically reduced for both parties, which means that they have less time to avoid each other. It’s particularly bad at night. Also the Tullock Effect is reduced as avoidance is not the clear responsibility of either party.

    I saw three people doing it yesterday.

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  • Diversity,  Immigration,  Society

    We’re entering the age of the Loner!

    I came across this article on diversity and society somewhere on the City Journal. To quote:

    Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.

    Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”

    In the 41 sites Putnam studied in the U.S., he found that the more diverse the neighborhood, the less residents trust neighbors. This proved true in communities large and small, from big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Boston to tiny Yakima, Washington, rural South Dakota, and the mountains of West Virginia. In diverse San Francisco and Los Angeles, about 30 percent of people say that they trust neighbors a lot. In ethnically homogeneous communities in the Dakotas, the figure is 70 percent to 80 percent.

    It all makes sense, the more diverse, the less one has in common with one’s neighbors. The less one has in common, the fewer common goals, the more group competition and the payoff for community action is less. Therefore, you get less of it.

    This would explain why people tend to live near people a lot like them. It would be upsetting to people who think we should all live in neatly arranged boxes supporting the “community” goals instead of our own individual ones. I think there’s lots of hugging in those boxes too.

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  • Immigration

    Immigration solved!

    It would seem that Mexican women are having fewer babies. I’m always skeptical about stats from poor counties, but it is interesting. Immigration is one area where the demographic argument is compelling and probably correct. I’ve come to find the “Western Civilization is doomed due to low birth rates” argument viable.

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  • America,  BigThink,  Immigration

    An interesting article from Zakaria

    It meanders a bit, but Fareed Zakaria makes a good case for optimism in this Newsweek article. One bit that caught my eye was

    To recover its place in the world, America first needs to recover its confidence. For those who look at the future and see challenges, competition and threats, keep in mind that this new world has been forming over the last 20 years, and the United States has forged ahead amid all the turmoil. In 1980, the U.S. share of global GDP was 20 percent. Today it is 29 percent.

    It’s a staggering thought. 20% is a huge chunk relative to population, and for that to increase is massive. It’s an interesting tidbit.

    We should be more confident; America has never been strong because of political leadership, but the average person here has room to excel. 15 million illegal immigrants can’t be wrong!

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  • Economics,  Immigration

    A good post on immigration

    From Kerry Howley in Reason

    The greatest distortion for Chadian farmers is not American cotton subsidies, writes Pritchett, but that “farmers from Chad have to farm in Chad—and not farm in France, Poland, or Canada.”

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  • Immigration,  Iraq,  Lou Dobbs,  Media

    Lou Dobbs is the perfect man of the age

    By repeating the dumber parts of the conventional wisdom in a solemn tone he continues to be taken seriously. Case in point, his newest column (he drags down the whole franchise IMHO) A call to the faithful. It’s an adventure in the non sequitur. While lauding the separation of church and state he points to examples of church based groups having opinions on matters of pure politics, i.e. Iraq and immigration.

    Neither of those are religious matters. If they were trying to implement Sharia, force church attendance, establish a state religion or mandate that government personnel had to be of a particular sect, or any sect, that would be one thing. But these are either pro/anti war choices, or pro/anti amnesty choices, which have no inherent religious significance. Religious people may care a lot about them of course, but so can a lot of people. He then quotes Romans 13, with

    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

    In a democracy, the governing authority is the people, and the above verse would seem to encourage public participation in the process. Dobbs would seem to want separation of people and state.

  • Fever Swamp,  Immigration

    Lou Dobbs continues his fight against the brown peril…

    This time with verbal jousting against America’s other adulterous, Catholic mayor Gavin Newsom. It produced this little gem

    Dobbs, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration who hosts an opinionated evening news hour, criticized San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on Monday, saying he and immigrant protection advocates “might as well work for Hermann Goering. I mean, they’re running so much propaganda, trying to confuse the debate, the national dialogue, by talking about immigrants rather than illegal aliens and legal immigrants. It’s mindless beyond belief.

    Never mind that Goebbels was the propaganda minister, (Goering commanded the Luftwaffe), and never mind that the source of the gripe is that Newsom is refusing to allow local police to enforce immigration law. Never mind that the appropriate German/Nazi comparison to draw (if one must be drawn, Godwin’s law must be obeyed) is to Admiral Canaris (who helped hundreds of Jews escape the Nazis while he headed the Abwehr).

    But don’t think of that, just think of the huge social advances if we brought back dueling. Huge swathes of hacks, apparachiks and fashionable non-conformists would be removed from the gene pool at no cost to the taxpayer. Still others, when forced to put up or shut up, would shut up (or at least try).

    We could finally resolve all the pointless debates; is illegal immigration a huge problem that we’re not going to do anything about, or is it a charitable endeavor that we’re not going to do anything about. We would finally know!

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  • Biz,  Economics,  Immigration,  Robots,  Tech,  Torture

    Quick Monday rapid fire – fun addition

    • On the matter of remittances by immigrants to foreign countries

      Moreover, remittances are far more likely to make their way to people who actually need them. American aid tends to be received by governments, which in most third world countries are not especially honest. So the majority of American foreign aid never makes it to actual poor people in the developing world. In contrast, Latino immigrants are wiring money directly to their mothers. They know exactly who’s getting the money, and they’d hear about it if the government stole it from them. It probably even has foreign policy benefits, as the remitters are likely to have a generally positive impression of America and to transmit that impression along with their remittances.

      And the best part about all this is that it doesn’t cost us a dime! All we have to do is let them scrub our toilets and pick our strawberries. We get lower prices on the goods and services we buy and we get the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing we’re helping to alleviate Latin American poverty. It’s such an incredible win-win arrangement that I find it rather depressing that it’s considered controversial in American politics. Increased immigration is a cause that should unite liberals (with their concern for social justice) and conservatives (with their belief in hard work and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, that’s not how the issue has played out in the real world.

      Very well put.

    • Gun toting robots!
    • From the mouths of ad executives
    • An original knife holder
    • Easily the best use of Flash I’ve seen in months
    • Quotes from Jim Webb, the Marine veteran and aspiring Democratic Senator from Virginia. Though nothing beats him saying “I wouldn’t walk across the street to watch Jane Fonda slash her wrists.”
    • A FoxNews empolyee gets waterboarded, sadly it’s not their web designers (their site gets worse by the day, though, still no Lou Dobbs, happily)
    • Iron Man is about to be real!
    • This looks quite interesting
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