Send him back to the Phillipines!

Read this.  Seriously.  It’s the first person account of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Vargas outing himself as an illegal immigrant. Truly amazing.  Lots of interesting commentary, I like Yglesias‘ the best:

But of course even though they don’t quite make for as good a sob story, even people who come over here illegally as adults knowing full well what they’re doing ought to be regarded with sympathy. When we look at photos of poverty-stricken people in poor countries, we feel sympathy. When we look at photos of people demonstrating for political freedom in dictatorships, we feel sympathy. And when we look at photos of people sneaking across the border or preventing fake papers, what we ought to feel is sympathy. Sympathy for poor people in poor and misgoverned countries who are trying to take control of their lives and do something about it. The vast majority of people alive in the United States today are descended from people who decided at some point to get out of a bad situation by moving. The fact that we’ve managed to become a society that feels only fear in the face of people wanting to do the same thing our ancestors did — go someplace better to build a better life — is extremely sad.

Libertarian paradise!

This is awesome


Photo of the day

Yesterday in class we were discussing a new program in Georgia that uses probationers to pick cucumbers since there’s aren’t enough illegal immigrants to do it anymore due to crackdowns.  I was pretty surprised that this wasn’t done by machine, so a quick google search took me to this:

Present Invention StateofTheArt Cucumber Harvester

Apparently, this is state-of-the-art cucumber harvesting in Belarus.  A little more searching today and I discovered that Michigan State University actually invented an automated machine in wide-use back in the 1960’s.  Still just love this photo.

Nutrition science of the obvious

So, the latest MSNBC headline on the science of weight gain/loss caught my eye, but then I read this:

Regular consumption of potato chips, French fries and sugared beverages were most to blame for slow and steady weight gain. However, people who ate yogurt, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains either lost weight or gained the least.

Seriously?!  We need a Harvard researcher to tell us that people who eat chips, fries, and coke gain more weight than people who eat yogurt and fruit?  I was really hoping for a little more insight than: eating health is good for your weight and eating poorly is bad for it.  Also, an interview with the researcher asks a surprisingly sharp question:

Q. Yogurt is considered a healthy food, but people who eat it also seem to do better with weight. Could that be a marker for better, healthier lifestyle, or is it something about yogurt?

A. Yogurt was sort of a surprise here. It did come out in all three of the studies that we looked at, that are a part of this report. The yogurt finding does need to be looked at in further detail.

Really, this was a surprise?  Of course yogurt is a marker of a healthier lifestyle.  In fact, it’s pretty obvious that this is not about eating potato chips vs. yogurt per se, but that this clearly speaks to an individual’s overall approach to health and nutrition.

More Huntsman

So, I was starting to skim yet another John Hunstman article in either the Post or the Times today and thinking, “what’s going on here?  We’re talking about a candidate who is polling within the margin of error and is clearly  on record as being far too moderate for the current state of the Republican Party.”  Then it occurred to me… here’s your media bias.  John Huntsman is quite clearly every liberal reporter’s favorite Republican.  A few hours later, I check in on Slate, and voila, Dave Weigel has written the story:

The media create and the media destroy. Jon Huntsman announced his presidential bid to the kind of hype once reserved for a Pink Floyd reunion or a LeBron James signing—six months of giddy speculation kicked off by one interviewin Newsweek. He picked Liberty State Park as the venue for his speech; Politico ran a double-bylined storyabout the park. Huntsman arrived at the park. The reporters outnumbered the supporters, easily…

Huntsman 2012 is a joint production of the political media and the fun wing of the GOP’s consultant class. (His chief strategist is McCain veteran John Weaver, who made a hobby of criticizing McCain’s negative turn in 2008; his adman is Fred Davis, who made sure you knew Christine O’Donnell was not a witch.) There is no Huntsman groundswell. There was no Draft Huntsman movement. One metric to show this: He has about 5,000 Facebook fans. A reasonably busy senator has that many. The wildly ignored 2012 contender Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, has more than 120,000 fans. True, Huntsman’s team cleverly secured a second-place showing in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. When that result came down, my colleague John Dickerson heard only two hands clapping.

Weigel goes on to explain how the national press corp developed their infatuation with Hunstman in 2008-9 when he was about the only Republican playing nice with the new president.  Of course, this is really a matter of centrism or knee-jerk bipartisan bias that actually drives the media, of course, not actually “liberal bias.”

Anyway, so I can forget about Hunstman for a while, Chait explains why he is just so un-electable:

So you had the Republicans assuming a posture of maximal opposition vis a vis Obama in early 2009…  Huntsman was the most forceful dissenter, and he recognized that his dissent put him so far out of step with the party that he shelved his presidential ambitions and accepted an overseas post working for Obama.  Since then, there has been absolutely no dissent whatsoever on the question of Obama. No Republicans is saying they should have cut a deal on stimulus, or health care, or anything. The posture of maximal opposition to Obama is the one single thing upon which the entire party agrees.

The notion that a dissenter against that consensus might win the presidential nomination is not merely a longshot but totally absurd.

As usual, I’d have to say Chait is spot-on on this call.  Thus, it really amazes me the number of professional pundits who keep talking about Hunstman as a serious contender.  I swear, I’ll take one smart blogger over a room full of typical pundits any day.

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