Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Films (2009)

I didn't have much time in 2009 to watch movies, but I did get to squeeze in a few. Some of them were excellent, some were good, some were okay, and some were awful. Here's a list with an asterisk denoting my opinion of them. No asterisk means I don't recommend it:

Minority Report**, Dark Knight*** (again), War Dance**, Wall-E***, Traitor**, Secondhand Lions*, Lions for Lambs*, Arranged***, The Counterfeiters***, American Carol, Doubt***, Tell No One**, Quantum of Solace*, Slumdog Millionaire***, Sense and Sensibility***, Unbreakable*, Signs*, Taken***, Gran Torino***, Ray***, John Q. Public**, Equilibrium**, Namesake**, Boondock Saints, State of Play**


Giving Jobs Away

Pat Buchanan wonders why, if we're really serious about improving job prospects for the unemployed, we allow immigrants to continue flowing into the country at a rate of 125,000 a month:

In the last year, 1.5 million new immigrants have come to take up residence and been issued work permits. Probably twice as many jobs have been taken by these folks as the 650,000 the Obamaites claim were saved or created by their $787 billion stimulus package. How do Democrats justify this?

How can they justify bringing in another 1.5 million immigrants in 2010 and another 1.5 million in 2011, when 25 million Americans that they're supposed to represent are unemployed or underemployed?

As for illegal aliens, it is estimated that 8 million still hold jobs in the United States. Endlessly we are told that these hardworking folks are just doing jobs that Americans refuse to do.

But Middle American News has taken a look at the Census Bureau data. In almost all the occupations to which unskilled and semi-skilled illegal aliens gravitate, native-born Americans hold most of the jobs.

U.S. citizens account for well over half of all housekeepers, maids, taxi drivers and chauffeurs in the U.S., almost two-thirds of all the butchers, meat processors and ground maintenance and construction workers, and three-fourths of all porters, bellhops and janitors.

We are told that many if not most of these are "dead-end jobs" Americans do not want or will not take. Yet, how can that be true when American citizens are already doing most of these jobs?

USA Today found that, invariably, when U.S. authorities raid a plant site where hundreds of illegals are working, and send them packing, hundreds of Americans show up and apply for the jobs. Is this not as it should be, if we are looking out for our own people first? And isn't that what a family does, or should do?

Why, then, is the Obama administration cutting back on jobsite raids and inspections? Why is the administration talking of moving in 2010 to legalize the status of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the United States?

Two weeks ago, The Washington Post, focusing on unemployment among young African-American males, wrote, "Joblessness for 16- to 24-year-old black men has reached Great Depression proportions - 34.5 percent in October, more than three times the rate for the general U.S. population."

More than one-third of all young black males are unemployed.

Nor is it only working-class Americans who are being shouldered aside by the annual flood tide of immigrants.

As Jerry Woodruff, editor of Middle American News, writes: "Immigrants are taking good, high-paying jobs from highly skilled Americans. The Census Bureau found that 34 percent of all software engineers ... are immigrants. Yet, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers reports that 48,000 U.S. software engineers are unemployed."

Buchanan's metaphor of a family taking care of its own is apt. By continuing to allow immigration, especially illegal immigration, into this country during a time of high joblessness we are like a parent who takes food and medicine from his own child to give it to others. That is arguably compassionate if one's own children have enough, but it's perverse in an economy in which so many of one's own children are facing destitution.

Buchanan suggests renewed legal pressure on those who employ illegal aliens and an immediate moratorium on all immigration until unemployment drops to under 6%. Until the Obama administration takes steps like these, Buchanan avers, they can not persuasively argue that they're really concerned about Americans out of work.

It's a good column.


Best Science Videos of 2009

New Scientist has a reprise of the best science videos of 2009. They include video of robotic insects and penguins, plasma ejections from the sun and a simulation of what it would be like to fall into a black hole. Pretty cool: