Dazzling Knowledge

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We Need Immigrants

A couple of thoughts have really crystallized for me recently on the immigration issue. The first is the response to: "But they broke the law!" Really? What law? I'm not asking a rhetorical question. I'd like them to answer. What I find to be the case is that the most ardent critics of immigration really have no idea what the laws on immigration are. If these laws are so improtant that the people breaking them represent an existential threat to the nation, then you would think that people might know what the laws are. Is any immigration legal anymore? How much? From where? Does the religion or skin color of the immigrant matter? Does it matter which U.S. state they enter? What is the difference between an H1-B visa and an H2-B visa? Most critics of immigration have no idea what the answers are, only what demagogues have shouted. They are all for legal immigration, of course, just not illegal immigration. Of course, whatever that means.
Also, I believe that we should have legal immigration to this country. I think most people agree with me on this basic point. Then we have to ask the following questions, among others: How many? From where? What jobs will they do? What skills do they need? Does it matter if they have family here already? Will they go back home? If so, when? In which states will they work? Given that we want and need immigrants, these are all legitimate questions. There are two sources of answers. One is the free market, which will determine the availability of jobs and housing and opportunities on the basis of mutually beneficial exchange and the freedom of association. The other option is for a bunch of beaurocrats in Washington to decide the answers to everything and determine the magical difference between legal and illegal. I invite conservatives who support free markets, but oppose immigration, to consider which option they prefer.

Here's another excerpt from an Isegoria post:

Immigrants, Our Country Needs Them, Nick Schultz interviews British economist Philippe Legrain, who's new book, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them, just came out:

Schulz: Lots of folks in the US say something to the effect of "I have no problem with legal immigrants, it's illegal immigrants that are the problem." What do you make of that argument?

Legrain: I think the argument is back to front. Illegal immigrants are not the problem, they are the symptom of the real problem: immigration restrictions that are economically stupid, politically unsustainable and morally wrong. Far from protecting society, immigration controls undermine law and order, just as Prohibition did more damage to America than drinking ever has.

That immigrants are in the US illegally is a sign not of moral turpitude but of misguided government intervention in the labor market: since employers cannot obtain visas for foreigners to come work legally, immigrants have no choice but to come illegally instead. These generally hard-working and enterprising people's only crime is wanting to work hard to earn a better life for themselves and their children - the epitome of the American Dream. Without them, America would grind to a halt. Who would do construction work, clean dishes, hospitals and hotel rooms, and look after Americans' young kids and elderly parents?

In any case, even if you think the federal government should be banning immigration from poorer countries, it cannot enforce the law without turning the land of the free into a police state. That is something which no true American patriot would want. If only for pragmatic reasons, then, opponents of immigration should accept the case for looser controls and regularizing the status of the 12 million or so illegal immigrants.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meanwhile, in Superbug News...

A Yahoo! News article on the rise of new forms of resistant strep infections.

A vaccine that has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious
illnesses in children is having an unfortunate effect: promoting new superbugs
that cause ear infections.
Prevnar prevents seven strains responsible for most cases of pneumonia,
meningitis and deadly bloodstream infections. But dozens more strep strains
exist, and some have flourished and become impervious to antibiotics since the
vaccine combats the more common strains.
But it is a unique vaccine because it covers only seven of the 90-odd
strains of the germ. By contrast, measles is caused by one type of virus.
Booster shots are needed for chickenpox, mumps and measles because immunity
wanes, not because the germ changed.
Prevnar, however, is losing its punch because strains not covered by the
vaccine are filling the biological niche that the vaccine strains used to
occupy, and they are causing disease.
One strain in particular, called 19A, is big trouble. A new subtype of it
caused ear infections in the nine Rochester children, ages 6 months to 18
months, that were resistant to all pediatric medications, said Dr. Michael
Pichichero, a microbiologist at the University of Rochester Medical
The children had been unsuccessfully treated with two or more antibiotics,
including high-dose amoxicillin and multiple shots of another drug. Many needed
surgery to place ear tubes to drain the infection, and some recovered only after
treatment with a newer, powerful antibiotic whose safety in children has not
been established.

I have been following this issue, of course. We expected these new variants to arise eventually. Unfortunately, while we hoped to get 10 to 20 years of effectiveness from these vaccines, it's closer to 10 to 20 months. Scientifically, it's interesting. From a humanist standpoint, it's scary.

via Isegoria.

This Agnostic Says God May Or May Not Be Available For Comment

Nebraskans, your tax dollars at work:
State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he's trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.

Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused "fearsome floods ... horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes."

He's seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.
Good luck with that. While I wholeheartedly support his stand against frivolous lawsuits, I can't help but wonder if this gesture, paid for with the involuntarily-surrendered income of a mostly God-fearing state, won't somehow... you know, backfire.

Furthermore, why on Earth would anyone try to sue God? There's a reason he made the Jews his chosen people: Unlimited access to some of the world's best legal resources. Thank you and good night!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Perversion For Profit -- And Fun!

There's an ages-old broadcaster named George Putnam. Maybe you've heard of him; if not, you may at least have heard of his 1965 film, "Perversion For Profit." Never have the puritanical fears of mid-20th century American been voiced with such eloquence, not to mention a deep, sonorous baritone.

But sadly, some non-God-fearing (possibly Communist) sicko has twisted the brilliantly-expressed moral outrage of Putnam's original screed, and created this abomination, which regretfully I display for your disgust and revulsion. Enjoy! (Warning: naughty bits censored but still NSFW.)

You can check out Mr. Putnam's original version on YouTube.

When satisfied (not in that way, you libertine!), give a listen to Tom Lehrer's contemporary musical retort.

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