Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last Call

As the Supreme Court takes up Arizona's immigration law tomorrow, no matter what SCOTUS decides it may be a moot point in one sense:  a new study finds that the increasing conservative backlash against undocumented immigrants from Mexico has been wildly successful in actually reversing immigration trends and that there's now a net outflow of Mexicans in the US out of the country as jobs and birth rates are down and deportations and border patrols are up.

A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center.

It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent.

“I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over and I don’t think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s,” said Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and co-director of the Mexican Migration Project, which has been gathering data on the subject for 30 years.

Nearly 1.4 million Mexicans moved from the United States to Mexico between 2005 and 2010, double the number who did so a decade earlier. The number of Mexicans who moved to the United States during that period fell to less than half of the 3 million who came between 1995 and 2000.

The trend could have major political consequences, underscoring the delicate dance by the Republican and Democratic parties as they struggle with immigration policies and court the increasingly important Latino vote.

This should finally put to rest the entire "secure the border" nonsense that we've heard from the GOP as an excuse to refuse to consider comprehensive immigration reform, but now of course the debate will shift to whether or not police should simply have to power to round up undocumented immigrants and ship them out.   Certainly the xenophobes in the GOP will insist it's time for mass detainment, but it seems to me that the crackpots in the Republican party have won this battle.  If you were Latino, would you want to live in Arizona or Alabama or Texas right now, given the climate of hatred?  Can you blame them for saying "screw this!" and leaving?

Because that was the point all along.

Fire Walker Chronicles: Inside Job

Yet more evidence that GOP Gov. Scott Walker needs to be given the boot:  since he took office in January 2011, Wisconsin has now seen the worst year over year change in the jobless rate:

It seems that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) might have been overreaching when he promised to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term. While Walker has spent the last twelve months slashing state budgets and busting unions, Wisconsinites have been dealing with the consequences. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Walker’s state saw the largest decrease in jobs over the last year, dropping nearly a full percentage point:
Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 45 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 4 states, and was unchanged in Alabama. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+6.5 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-0.9 percent).
Walker, meanwhile, told Newsmax this week that, “We ultimately saw a net increase in jobs this year.” That is incorrect, unless by ‘we’ he means a group other than Wisconsinites.

Oops.  And surprise, the state's steep austerity measures have put it in dead last among the 50 states in job growth in 2011.  Shocking, I know:  austerity doesn't work.  Imagine that.

Guess what, Wisconsin?  You get to do something about it.

White Russian With A Bite

Apparently Vladimir Putin's boundless ego has summoned A NEW CHALLENGER in the form of an albino killer whale spotted off the coast of Russia.

An all-white, and possibly albino, killer whale has been spotted in seas off eastern Russia, scientists reported Monday, dubbing the adult male "Iceberg."

"In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered," Erich Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project, said in a statement. "The challenge is to keep the ocean healthy so that such surprises are always possible."

The researchers, who are studying killer whales in an area that's also seen as an opportunity for oil development, say Iceberg is the first adult, all-white male orca to have been documented.

Young, all-white orcas have been seen before -- including two in Iceberg's pod -- but none has ever been recorded living into adulthood.

Iceberg and his pod of 12 relatives were first spotted off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

"We have no genetic data" on Iceberg's pod, Hoyt wrote in a blog post Sunday, "but we are hoping to meet them again in summer 2012 and learn more about the phenomenon of white whales, why they occur, what it means and whether Iceberg is a true albino — perhaps we can catch a glimpse of a pink eye — or 'just' one of the most beautiful orcas anyone has ever seen."

No word on if Putin will challenge the orca to a sparring match.  On the other hand, how awesomely deadly is the concept of "pod of albino killer whales" anyway?  "Deep Blue Sea" jokes aside, I'm hoping that Hoyt and his researchers can protect these incredibly rare animals and that they can be documented further.  Russia should be proud of these magnificent cetaceans, dammit.

Also, totally not going to put a massive aquarium of these in my official super villian volcano lair super-spy disposal system.  Nope.


In case you are stinging from a difficult Monday, it could be worse.

Every single Aviva employee arrived at work and read an email letting them know they were fired.

"I am required to remind you of your contractual obligations to the company you are leaving," the email said. "You have an obligation to retain any confidential information pertaining to Aviva Investors operations, systems and clients."
The email ordered them to hand over company property and security passes before leaving the building, and left the staff with one final line:
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and wish you all the best for the future," said the letter. 
The good news is, it was a mistake.  The email was only intended for one employee.  Still, pretty cold.

Breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay of Herrin, Illinois was put in debtors' prison over a $280 medical bill that was sent to her by accident, the Associated Pressreports (h/t The Daily Mail). Even after Lindsay was told she didn't have to pay the bill, it was sent to a collection agency. Eventually state troopers took her from her home in handcuffs. Lindsay ended up having to pay $600 to settle the charges. 

The article tells us this is happening more frequently as people are unable to pay their bills and have exhausted their emergency funds.  Good thing we have Republicans trying to look out for businesses instead of fair pay, huh?

Iowa Wonder How Slutty It Will Get

Good for these ladies! I hope they have a good turnout and bring attention to a good cause.

The University of Iowa's Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance will be holding a protest march starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Dubbed "SlutWalk Iowa City," the group is gathering feminists, college students, victims and advocates to march in order to "challenge the silent underpinnings of a hypersexualized western society, a notion that sexual assault has as much to do with the victim as the assailant," according to a news release.
It's bogus to treat the victim like they deserved the assault by wearing a short skirt or show some cleavage.  That a woman's wardrobe excuses a rapist is unforgivable territory.  It's good to see young women remember and spread that knowledge.  "He couldn't control himself because of her choice in clothing" has actually worked.  

California Rock Concert

The annual Lyrid meteor shower had some extra kick in it this year as northern California was front and center for one heck of a celestial sound test.

A loud boom similar to the sound of an explosion has been heard over much of northern California apparently as a result of an ongoing meteor shower, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The newspaper, citing Stefanie Henry, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento, said the sound had been produced by a meteor apparently breaking up above the Earth, sending the sound reverberating across the area.

The National Weather Service received reports of the sound across northern California early on Sunday, and even as far south as Orange County, the report said.

Though the peak of the shower was Saturday evening, beams of light will likely still be visible for several days, The LA Times said.

It appears as if one meteor broke up close enough to the Earth's atmosphere to set off a sonic boom in NorCal, which was heard all the way out in neighboring Nevada.  Heck of a light show too out in the high desert last weekend.

No word if anyone got superpowers from any meteor fragments, though.

The Myth of "In The Tank"

The cries of "The LIE-beral Media is in the tank for Obama!" have been loud and long since 2008, but it seems like every time somebody takes an objective look at it, nothing could be further from the truth.  The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has been keeping a weekly tab on positive, negative, and neutral coverage for the GOP candidates and President Obama since the beginning of the year, and the numbers are pretty grim for POTUS.

With friends like these, who needs negative campaign ads? While a friendly press in the tank for President Obama may fit nicely into the right’s narrative of liberal bias in the press, a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that of all the presidential candidates during this election cycle, President Obama has had the least favorable coverage by the news media. Since January, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has actually enjoyed twice as much positive coverage as President Obama.

That's kind of a problem.  Now granted, some of the GOP candidates got more negative coverage than the President did.  But every week so far, the President has been last in percentage of positive news he's gotten.  In fact, several weeks out of the year so far the percentage of positive news coverage in the single digits.  Even Howard Kurtz has noticed.

Overall, it was no contest. From Jan. 2 through April 15, Romney’s coverage was 39 percent positive, 32 percent negative, and 29 percent neutral, the researchers found. Obama’s coverage was 18 percent positive, 34 percent negative, and 34 percent neutral. That means Romney’s depiction by the media was more than twice as positive as the president’s. So much for liberal bias.

Funny how that works.  The media is relentlessly blase' about the President's accomplishments if not outright hostile towards him, while they are in love with Mitt Romney.  But please, let's continue to blame the President for not talking up his accomplishments more and not using the bully pulpit, when the media either doesn't care or is openly disdainful of the man.


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