Fred Bauer writes at National Review on a part of comprehensive immigration reform that isn't getting the notoriety it deserves, the guest worker program:
After Mitt Romney’s defeat in November 2012, many on the right, including Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), came to the conclusion that the Republican party needed to become a party of middle-class restoration, economic opportunity, and upward mobility. This conclusion has been complemented by a growing recognition that the stagnation of opportunity and the undermining of the middle class pose serious threats to the future of small-government conservatism.
If that is the case, a guest-worker program could cause big problems for the GOP. Many of the institutions that would be central for administering this program are premised on the notion of bureaucratic control of the free market. The regulatory structure of a guest-worker program, combined with birthright citizenship, could place millions more in legal and cultural gray areas. And the expansion of such programs could put further pressure on the incomes and employment prospects of both native-born citizens and permanent residents. This guest-worker bill could at once deter Americans from working in the fields of the future and make life even harder for those at the economic margins. The precise details of the Gang of Eight’s guest-worker program clearly need more explication, but there might also be a broader theoretical difficulty with a Republican embrace of it.
Class divisions are hardening in America, and the reasons may go deeper than the economic. Earlier in April, the New York Times reported on the lifelong effects of the simple act of talking to your baby. One of the most important changes of our time has been the trend since about 1980 of upper-class families to invest more time in their children even as lower-class families have invested less.
Children whose families were on welfare heard about 600 words per hour. Working-class children heard 1,200 words per hour, and children from professional families heard 2,100 words. By age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family. And the disparity mattered: the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.
Hart and Risley later wrote that children’s level of language development starts to level off when it matches that of their parents — so a language deficit is passed down through generations. They found that parents talk much more to girls than to boys (perhaps because girls are more sociable, or because it is Mom who does most of the care, and parents talk more to children of their gender). This might explain why young, poor boys have particular trouble in school.
The doctor who led the United States to Osama bin Laden's lair still languishes in a Pakistani prison - a shocking revelation of the Pakistan government's true orientation and of America's diplomatic weakness. Newsweek offers a powerful report on the enraging case of Dr. Shakeel Afridi. Don't miss it.
Add "being swallowed by a hippo" to the list of things to avoid in Africa:
I reached over to grab his outstretched hand but as our fingers were about to touch, I was engulfed in darkness. There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.
I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.
I wriggled as hard as I could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, I managed to escape. I swam towards Evans, but the hippo struck again, dragging me back under the surface. I'd never heard of a hippo attacking repeatedly like this, but he clearly wanted me dead.
The most important article of the weekend was Byron York's astute analysis of election results to debunk the promise that immigration reform will save the Republican party. Read the article in full to absorb the news in all its starkness:
In 2012, President Obama famously won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote to Mitt Romney's 27 percent. If all other factors remained the same, how large a percentage of the Hispanic vote would Romney have had to win to capture the White House? …
According to the Times' calculator, Romney would have had to win 73 percent of the Hispanic vote to prevail in 2012. Which suggests that Romney, and Republicans, had bigger problems than Hispanic voters.
The most serious of those problems was that Romney was not able to connect with white voters who were so turned off by the campaign that they abandoned the GOP and in many cases stayed away from the polls altogether. Recent reports suggest as many as 5 million white voters simply stayed home on Election Day. If they had voted at the same rate they did in 2004, even with the demographic changes since then, Romney would have won. Likewise, the white vote is so large that an improvement of 4 points -- going from 60 percent to 64 percent of those whites who did vote -- would have won the race for Romney.
Turkey's trend toward Islamic law threatens not only religious freedom, but the artistic heritage of Europe.
From the Art Newspaper:
One of the most important monuments of late Byzantium, the 13th-century Church of Hagia Sophia in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, which is now a museum, will be converted into a mosque, after a legal battle that has dramatic implications for other major historical sites in Turkey.
Many in Turkey believe that the Church of Hagia Sophia is a stalking horse for the possible re-conversion of its more famous namesake in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia Museum (Ayasofya Müzesi).
On immigration, liberal and conservative elites are united—and wrong.
TWENTY YEARS ago the leaders of Europe agreed on a bold step: a new currency called the euro. They promised that the euro would improve life for everybody—and denounced all opposition as ignorant, xenophobic, and backward. Their words gained extra plausibility because many of the opponents of the euro really were ignorant, xenophobic, and backward.
The great unspoken question in the immigration debate is whether this “living in America” wage premium is a benefit to be cherished or a problem to be overcome. To a startling extent, political leaders agree: the wage premium is the problem—and immigration is the answer. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty)
Yet the backward critics were right, and the enlightened proponents were wrong. And so it is with the immigration debate in the United States.
Nothing unifies the American elite like immigration. From Barack Obama to Paul Ryan, from the editorial board of The New York Times to that of The Wall Street Journal, from the offices of Facebook to those of Goldman Sachs, everybody who counts more or less agrees.
To read WEB DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk in near proximity to Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery is a disorienting experience. Up From Slavery is a book written in a direct style, using a simple vocabulary and homely humor. Yet on every page, an alert reader is conscious of the author's artifice: of the careful self-presentation, of the tight control of every word, of the "oh the story I could tell" omissions, of the steely self-disciplined smile. If Booker T. Washington was not literally the inspiration for Paul Dunbar's great line, "We wear the mask that smiles and lies," his memory certainly lurks there.
DuBois on the other hand writes in a style as self-consciously literary as that of Marcel Proust. Classical allusions, poetical turns of phrase, antique diction, recondite words. Yet there is no doubt that when you read him, you are meeting the man himself. Not for him the false compliments paid by Washington to the "pleasantness" of race relations in the South of 1900. He has no false compliments for anyone, including the Southern "black folks" that this highly educated Northern man - whose ancestors had lived in freedom for more than 130 years - first met when he voyaged more than 1,000 miles to attend Tennessee's Fisk University.
Washington and DuBois are remembered as opponents in a great debate, fulfilling dialectical roles for later generations much like those filled by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Dudley Randall formalized the stereotype in a 1954 poem:
Imagine a game where opponents identify immigrant groups, earn political favors from them by helping them to settle in their new county, and then translate that political capital into votes on election day.
A description of modern day immigration reform? Nope. This is the premise of the board game Tammany Hall (recently re-published by Pandasaurus Games.)
Tammany Hall casts you in the role of a 19th century New York politician who seeks to use the city’s growing immigrant population to achieve political supremacy. (The game is focused on the city from around 1850 till 1870). The game captures the aesthetics of the era effectively with the game board being a wonderful S.A. Mitchell map of New York City and by using classic Thomas Nast cartoons to illustrate the various city offices.
My National Post column: how anti-Israel wishful thinking masquerades as dispassionate analysis.
The gas-rich state of Qatar is supposedly making a bid to host the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), now based in Montreal.
As nothing-burger stories go, this one is a Whopper.
Let’s remember, please, that two years ago Singapore made a bid to host the ICAO. Singapore is a true aviation hub, unlike Qatar. Yet Singapore’s bid went nowhere. The ICAO Council — its functional board of directors — is heavily tilted to major aviation nations, almost all of which want to leave the ICAO where it is.
Massachusetts Republicans might have found their next Scott Brown.
While the thought of a Republican winning the seat seemed like nothing more than a GOP pipe dream four months ago, Gabriel Gomez might just have what it takes to beat out Democratic nominee Ed Markey.
The people of Massachusetts are taking notice of this up-and-comer: in an Emerson College Poll that was released yesterday, Markey is up by only 6 points, which is certainly a manageable deficit for Gomez. A Public Policy Polling survey released today puts that margin even smaller, at about 4 points. Even better, Gomez is leading Markey among independents by a margin of around 20 percentage points.
From Tom Gross's Mideast dispatch, news from Iran of an important new breakthrough in our understanding of seismic phenomena.
WOMEN TO BLAME FOR EARTHQUAKES, SAYS TOP IRANIAN CLERIC
A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.
Iran is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.
Bad things happen to people who investigate former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
Gunmen on Friday killed a Pakistani prosecutor who had been investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Assailants opened fire on the prosecutor, Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, as he drove to work from his home in a suburb of the capital, Islamabad, for a court hearing in which the former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, faces charges in relation to Ms. Bhutto’s death in 2007.
It’s been quite the week for Greece’s neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. On Thursday, Golden Dawn MP Giorgos Germenis snuck into an event with the intention of harming Athens mayor, Giogos Kaminis. At one point, Germenis tried to punch Kaminis, but instead ended up punching a 12-year old girl in the forehead. The party has denied that Germenis touched the young girl.
This attack comes after Mayor Kaminis shut down a soup kitchen that Golden Dawn had set up in order to hand out traditional Orthodox Easter food to ethnic Greek Citizens.
Kaminis had banned any such events in the city's main square, and vowed Wednesday not to allow the "soup kitchen of hate" to take place.
Ted Cruz is brilliantly positioning himself to run in 2016 as the true leader of the party's conservative wing: a Spanish-surnamed Princeton grad and Harvard lawyer who checks all the ideological boxes, who stood apart from the Gang of Eight immigration deal and by the general weirdness of the Paul family's conspiracy-mongering.
Yet … there is something about him that even the hardest-liners just cannot accept. First Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post and now today Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal have each thrown their full weight at the Texas senator.
The dishonest part is the way in which today's self-anointed arbiters of "conservatism" cast these disputes over strategy in ideological terms. The vast majority of today's Republicans are in fact ardent defenders of the Second Amendment, passionate about repealing ObamaCare, in favor of lower taxes. The big disagreements are over how best to accomplish these aims.