....LMB: "Memories"....

December 21, 2002

It was 1994, my freshman year at college. A state election was nearly upon us. And one of the most controversial measures was a ballot initiative known as Proposition 187. 187 had three main provisions: 1) cracking down on illegal immigration to the U.S., 2) preventing illegal immigrants from attending public schools, and 3) preventing illegal immigrants from treatment at public health facilities. And, since this is California we're talking about, that didn't mean "all immigrants from all over the world," it referred primarily to the poor latino immigrants who come to the U.S. looking for work, or fleeing from their dictatorships back home.

But I don't think I'll ever forget a single, brief conversation I had on the subject of Proposition 187. Two (white) friends/acquantainces of mine were telling me a bit stridently about their plans to vote in favor of 187, because of all of our tax money that was being spent educating and healing non-citizens. There was a long pause before I made my slow contribution to the discussion.

"I haven't studied the bill that much... But it seems like it's about strongly enforcing the current immigration laws... I'm not really familiar with the state of our immigration laws, so I really can't take a stand on 187 yet."

Then a looooooooooooooong embarassed silence from my pals.

They realized that what I said was just as true about themselves as it was about me. Even though they'd both been enthusiastically explaining their reasons for supporting the bill, they also knew nothing about immigration.

The whole Prop. 187 debate was loud and messy. Basically, the law appealed to the racism in white voters, giving them an acceptable outlet for it: they weren't denying latinos health care out of hostility, they were doing it because it was a drain on the state budget. They weren't denying latino children education because of bigotry, but because it wasn't fair to California taxpayers. Of course, there probably were some voters who made their decision based upon their strong feelings about California's finances, but I suspect that there were many who didn't, or at least many who let their decision-making process get tainted by some of their racial fears.

My thoughts on the issue were pretty simple: kids need to be educated and sick people need doctors, no matter on which side of an imaginary line they were born. Let the kids learn and the injured get treatment on my dime, it's okay with me.

And my pragmatic side wondered how 187 service denial--building a population of young, uneducated immigrants, who might be running around with infections diseases that they couldn't have treated at a clinic--was beneficial to legal California residents.

I bring this up now because of the current detentions of Middle Eastern immigrants. Locking them up or deporting them because "they might be terrorists" is just as "rational" as denying illegal latino immigrants access to the classroom because it's "a drain on the state budget." If you buy into these policies, just ask yourself if you agree because of the logic and outcomes of the policies, or if you agree because it will keep you away from a group of people who's appearance and culture frighten you.

Posted by Jake at 01:59 AM
Comments

Sigh. My forefathers left Europe to avoid religious persecution. Yours left to avoid unemployment. Not really. But the new immigrants are while looking for work, never admit they were cast out of Mexico or that Mexico has no use for them. The USA is the dumping ground for the folks that Mexico cannot serve basic needs. Is this a US issue? No. It is a failure of the Mexican government. The Mexican govenrment serves the needs of the few and reserves the wealth for the leadership.

Sigh. Just blame the US for all the issues. Then the president of Mexico will take a respite at Cancun.

Posted by: Just Cruising at October 3, 2003 12:23 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

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Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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