Video of the day

This is pure awesomeness:

On the immigration proposal

1) Wow.  Amazing what losing an election overwhelmingly among the fastest growing segment of the population can do to ideological purity.  Republicans are completely caving on this.  On the one hand, it bothers me that it is such naked electoral calculation.  On the other, however you get there, it’s clearly the right step policy-wise.  And nice to see that elections have consequences.

2) Sure, this is the Senate, and there may be some question as to whether the GOP House will go along.  But they will.  Please, Sean Hannity has already given his seal of approval out of fear of ever winning a national election again.  If Fox News is onboard with reform, which they will be, so will be plenty enough Republican legislators.

3) On that note, I like Chait’s post that the Republicans have basically adopted the agenda Krauthammer suggested right after the election– compromise on immigration and stay hard right on everything else.   Of course, Krauthammer is wrong.

4) Yglesias points out that even on some of the obvious bi-partisan low-hanging fruit, the outlines right now fall foolishly short.

 It will provide for automatic green cards to “immigrants who have received a PhD or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university.”

If I have any big complaint, it’s that the bill is oddly timid on the less controversial high-skill piece. What’s the fear of America being overrun by foreign economists, lawyers, doctors, and other skilled professionals who don’t have STEM advanced degrees? For that matter, what’s wrong with foreign-born STEM workers who did their graduate work in the United Kingdom or Canada or France or India or Japan? And do skilled STEM workers really all have to have advanced degrees? Where’s Bill Gates’ PhD? I feel confident we can do better on this front.

When first reading this, I though, well, this would’ve sure helped my Canadian friends who struggled for years and years to get green cards despite the husband having a PhD in biochemistry and a career in pharmaceutical drug design.   Then I read Yglesias point and realized my friend’s PhD is actually from Simon Fraser in Canada.  As Yglesias points out– truly moronic.  We”ll take the PhD from Southwestern Arkansas but not the one from Oxford?

5) This may indeed help Republicans with Hispanic voters, but not nearly as much as they think.  First, I really think the issue is largely symbolic to Latinos.  As long as Republicans use rhetoric that demeans Hispanic immigrants and culture, regardless of the policy, Latinos will not support Republicans.  The GOP needs to clean up it’s way of thinking, not just change how it votes in Congress and state legislatures.  But beyond that, great post by Jamelle Bouie on the fact that Hispanics are simply far more liberal across today’s key issues than your average voter:

Latinos have been a reliable Democratic constituency for more than thirty years — Walter Mondale won 66 percent of Latinos, Michael Dukakis won 70 percent, and on average, Democratic presidential candidates finish with 63.5 percent support from Hispanic voters…

The reason is straightforward: Latinos are more liberal than the median voter. According to the most recent Pew poll on these questions (released last year), 75 percent of Hispanics say they support bigger government with more services, compared to 41 percent of the general population. Fifty-one percent say abortion should be legal, and 59 percent say “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” There just isn’t much appetite among Latinos for the traditional small government approach of the GOP. Comprehensive immigration reform may reduce hostility towards the Republican Party, but it won’t increase vote share.

I think those Mondale and Dukakis figures are really telling.  The truth is that GWB was quite an anomaly among national Republicans in his appeal to Latino voters that, given our bias towards recent history, makes it easy to forget the above facts.   Rubio would presumably be another anomaly.  But just that, an anomaly– not a start of a major new trend of Hispanic voters being truly available to the GOP.

On-line advertising fail

Been reading up on immigration.  Post coming soon.  But just had to comment on this absurd ad I just received:



Seriously?!  All the great algorithms now that keep showing me the DVD player I’ve got in my Amazon cart and haven’t pulled the trigger on (my wife has something to say about that, if she’s reading this), political websites, etc., and I get a horrible ad to meet local single girls.  I’m going to assume this is not targeted, but goes to all readers of this article, in which case 1) The Hill needs to re-think their advertising and 2) the single girls people need to re-think their advertising.  Dumb all around.

Photo of the day

National Geographic’s photo of the day, today.  All National Geographic photos of the day this month are on the “Animals” theme.  Lots of wonderful photos.  You should check them all out.

Picture of a family of alligators in Texas

Alligators, Texas

Photograph by Nuwan Samaranayake, Your Shot

This is a photograph of two baby alligators on the mother alligator’s head. The photograph was taken at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas. This nature park is well known for its huge alligator population.

Women in combat

So, I should’ve written something about women in combat before, but, nothing I read quite inspired me to do so.  Until the Kathleen Parker column about how it is such a bad idea:

This is a terrible idea for reasons too numerous to list in this space, which forces me to recommend my 2008 book, “Save the Males,” in which I devote a chapter to the issue. The most salient point happens to be a feminist argument: Women, because of their inferior physical capacities and greater vulnerabilities upon capture, have a diminished opportunity for survival.

More on this, but first let’s be clear. Arguments against women in direct combat have nothing to do with courage, skill, patriotism or dedication. Most women are equal to most men in all these categories and are superior to men in many other areas, as our educational graduation rates at every level indicate. Women also tend to excel as sharpshooters and pilots.

But ground combat is one area in which women, through quirks of biology and human nature, are not equal to men — a difference that should be celebrated rather than rationalized as incorrect…

The fallacy is that because men and women are equal under the law, they are equal in all endeavors and should have all access to the same opportunities. This is true except when the opportunity requires certain characteristics. Fact: Females have only half the upper-body strength as males — no small point in the field.

Further to the fallacy is the operating assumption that military service is just another job. The rules of civil society do not apply to the military, which is a top-down organization in which the rules are created to maximize efficiency in killing enemies. It is not just another job that can be managed with the human resources department’s Manual on Diversity and Sensitivity.

If I’m understanding what DoD has said, Parker is just flat out wrong in her presumptions.  Women in combat units are going to have to meet the same standards as the men.  Therefore, it matters not one wit that the average woman has half the upper body strength of the average man. A woman in an infantry, etc., unit is going to have way more upper-body strength than the average man– she’ll need to have the minimum that the Army has already designated for men in that role.  Also, fair to say that the average woman is less aggressive than the average man.  Suffice it to say that the type of woman who volunteers for duty in a combat unit is probably not lacking in aggression.

My understanding is that very few women actually want front-line combat jobs and that while many (though far from all) join the military for the warrior ethos, the vast majority of women do so for far more pragmatic reasons.  That said, a woman who has the physical and psychological toughness to join a Marine Recon unit, or something similar, is going to be an incredibly kick-ass woman who you don’t want to be against on the battlefield.  I think that when all is said and done this won’t be a very big deal because there won’t actually be all that many women who want front-line combat positions.  But I strongly suspect that the ones that A) are physically capable; and B) want to do this, will make extremely excellent soldiers that will only strengthen our fighting forces.

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