Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Best American Novel

Any literature enthusiasts out there? Powerline is taking a poll on the greatest American novel. They have twenty one nominations and directions for voting here. I am sorry to admit that I have only read about half of them so I don't feel qualified to vote. If I were to vote on the one's I've read, however, I think I'd have to pick Moby Dick first and Uncle Tom's Cabin second. They were both, in different ways, very powerful reads.

No. The Da Vinci Code is not on the list.

A Rogues' Gallery

If Stuart Taylor at National Journal were playing horseshoes almost every sentence of his essay about the Duke lacrosse team would be a ringer:

My rogues' gallery does not (in all probability) include any Duke University lacrosse player. That's because the available evidence leaves me about 85 percent confident that the three members who have been indicted on rape charges are innocent and that the accusation is a lie. (Some evidence was in my April 29 column; some is below.)

The gallery does include more than 90 members of the Duke faculty who have prejudged the case, with some exuding the anti-white racism and disdain for student-athletes that pollutes many college faculties.

The gallery also includes former Princeton University President William Bowen and civil-rights lawyer Julius Chambers. They went out of their way to slime the lacrosse players in a report on the Duke administration's handling of the rape scandal -- a report that is a parody of race-obsessed political correctness.

Many members of the national media have published grossly one-sided accounts of the case while stereotyping the lacrosse players as spoiled, brutish louts and glossing over the accuser's huge credibility problems.

Then there is Mike Nifong, the Durham, NC, district attorney who is prosecuting the case. In addition to the misconduct detailed in my April 29 column, he has shielded his evidence (if any) from public scrutiny while seeking to keep the rape charges hanging over the defendants by delaying any trial until next spring....

....Am I prejudging the case myself? Yes, in that I have not yet seen all of the evidence. And yes, in that there could be an innocent explanation for the recent arrest of the cabbie by rape-case investigators under a two-and-half-year-old, apparently frivolous shoplifting warrant.

But when a petty-tyrant prosecutor has perverted and prolonged the legal process without disclosing his supposed evidence, and when academics and journalists have joined in smearing presumptively innocent young men as racist, sexist brutes -- in the face of much contrary evidence -- it's not too early to offer tentative judgments.

I'll start with Houston Baker, a Duke professor of English and of African and African-American studies. In a public letter dated March 29, he assailed "white ... male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech" and "sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness." He all but pronounced them guilty of "abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white, male privilege loosed amongst us" against a "black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life." And on he raved, oozing that brand of racism which consists of falsely smearing decent people as racists.

If you're interested in this case you should read the rest of Taylor's piece at the link. It's the best single article on this episode that I've seen.

Why We Must Stop Illegal Immigration

The Heritage Foundation has released a study on "low-skill" immigration that concludes that it will substantially raise welfare costs and poverty levels. They recommend the following:

1. The influx of illegal immigrants should be stopped by rigorous border security programs and strong programs to prevent employers from employing illegals.

2. Amnesty and citizenship should not be given to current illegal immigrants. Amnesty has nega�tive fiscal consequences and is manifestly unfair to those who have waited for years to enter the country lawfully. Amnesty would also serve as a magnet, drawing even more future illegal immigration.

3. Any guest worker program should grant tem�porary, not permanent, residence and should not be a pathway to citizenship. A guest worker program should not disproportionately swell the ranks of low-skill workers.

4. Children born to parents who are illegal immi�grants or to future guest workers should not be given citizenship status. Granting citizen�ship automatically confers welfare eligibility and makes it unlikely the parent will ever leave the U.S.

5. The legal immigration system grants lawful permanent residence to some 950,000 per�sons each year. This system should be altered to substantially increase the proportion of new entrants with high levels of education and skills in demand by U.S. firms. Under current law, foreign-born parents and siblings of natu�ralized citizens are given preference for entry visas. The current visa allotments for family members (other than spouses and minor chil�dren) should be eliminated, and quotas for employment- and skill-based entry increased proportionately.

Meanwhile, LaShawn Barber links us to Politics of Prudence which notes that a Columbuia University study found that over a 5-year period it would cost $340 billion to accomodate illegals, but only $206 billion to deport them.

LaShawn also dug up an editorial from the Gulf Times, a Qatar newspaper. Read this excerpt:

The estimated 1.1 million illegal immigrants currently in the nation's public school system cost taxpayers' $9.6 billion every year in an attempt to educate them (despite the illegal immigrant community's epidemic-scale dropout rates). The 2.2 million children of illegal immigrants in America, often referred to as "anchor babies" to ensure the parents can stay, add an additional $20 billion to that tab.

In California, the 2004-05 state budget spent $9,811 per pupil in the classroom. An estimated 425,000 illegal immigrants in the state's classrooms during that period cost taxpayers' more than $4bn - a figure that does not include the "anchor baby" population in the classroom.

More than 40,000 illegal immigrants jammed California's prison system in 2004, costing taxpayers $1.5 billion in tax funds not reimbursed by the federal government.

In one of the cruellest jokes played on the American taxpayers, illegal immigrants are allowed to claim children living back in Mexico and qualify for the earned-income tax credit that traditionally has helped the American poor (my emphasis).

These numbers are just the tip of a fiscal iceberg that government officials have slammed the American ship of state into - and now they are striking up the band and rearranging the deck chairs.

Americans hear the mantra every day that without illegal immigrants working in jobs that citizens are too lazy to do, everything from a clean hotel room to a head of lettuce would skyrocket in price.

A day without a Mexican - the refrain now goes - would literally lead to the collapse of the American economy. To the contrary, a year without the crushing weight of millions of illegal immigrants on communities and their budgets just may save the American working and middle class.

Yet there is precious little discussion of how a family of six Mexican nationals living in Pomona, California, who soak up nearly $40,000 annually in taxpayer funds just to educate their four children, is contributing more back into the economy. Consider even if the primary wage-earner in this family grossed $35,000 annually, a fortune back in Mexico, most of that income is likely to be off-the-books and under-taxed.

But education is only one part of the social services system meant for at-risk and in-need Americans that illegal immigrants have drilled into: heath-care costs and subsidised housing are two other areas where the crushing cost of illegal immigration is destroying the system.

It is arguments like this that have convinced many Republicans that George Bush, whatever his merits in fighting the GWOT, simply cannot be counted on to do the right thing to preserve this nation from the tsunami that is washing across the Rio Grande. Neither can about a dozen Republican senators and virtually all of the Democrats. That's why some are taking it upon themselves to raise the money and undertake the construction of a border fence.

If you'd like to help construct that fence go here.