Democrats, Pro-Globalization-Republicans Fight for Immigration Reform

Props to Red State for passing on the good news that the Democratic majority in Congress, joined by pro-globalizatoin Republicans, are fighting to provide an “earned path to citizenship” for agricultural workers who are currently in the country illegally. Obviously a comprehensive immigration proposal (such as McCain-Kennedy) would be preferable, but due to the know-nothingness of Congressional republicans and political cowardice of Barack Obama (who vaguely supported the legislation while not being involve in the negotiations that could actually have gotten it passed) that’s not currently feasible.

It looks like the Democrats and amnesty-loving Republicans slipped the AG Jobs bill into the Senate emergency supplemental appropriations bill during committee markup today. This bill relates to giving amnesty to illegal aliens who work as migrant workers.

Early intelligence reports that it probably has provisions similar to the last AG Jobs bill that was considered – including amnesty provisions. It was supposedly a Feinstein/ Craig amendment and was accepted with a vote of 17 – 12.

If Harry Reid offers this version of the supplemental as a substitute to the House version, he will block out all other senators from any opportunity to strip this Ag Jobs provision, which will ultimately keep potential amnesty provisions in the war funding bill.

The doom-and-gloom tone of Red State is typical of the know-nothing right, which is as hostile to immigration as the know-nothing left is to trade.

Abu Muqawama

As those with some basic knowledge of Lebanese politics, but apparently not Abu Muqawama, know, Lebanese politics is currently divided between a Sunni-Catholic coalition (supported by Saudi Arabia and France) and a large Shia party (Hezbollah, supported by Iran). Sunni and Catholic Lebanese are more integrated into the global economy and form much of the Lebanese middle class, while the Shia form much of the underclass and like Iran battle globalization and its consequences.

Thus, the Sunni-Catholic government is progressive in the most important way imaginable: they are on the side of economic development.

abu muqawama: Future TV
Did Tom Friedman really just describe Future TV as “progressive”? Really? Progressive in, uh, what way? Because it has the word “future” in its name?

Abu Muqawama thought Hizbollah shutting the station down was just as cowardly and thuggish as anyone, but let’s be honest — Future TV and al-Mustaqbal newspaper are sectarian propaganda organs for March 14th and the Hariri family.

Friedman then went on to say that Hizbollah shut down Future TV so that its “propaganda machine could dominate the airwaves.” Are you kidding me? Is that the way it works in Lebanon, Tom? Have you been back since 1984? There are only two news stations there now, huh? Did LBC fold up shop and emigrate to France? And are al-Arabiyya and al-Jazeera unavailable?

To paragraph Abu, stupid stuff like this in the first three paragraphs of a blog post column is enough to make those who us speak in the first-person-plural quit reading. So if Abu Muqawama said anything smart in the rest of the column, let us know.

Chinese Philanthropy

Every time I am in China, I am asked by Chinese what I think of China, and what could China change? The expected answer is the class-based society, human rights, or some other transient issues. But the answer I give is this: China needs a civil society. Civil society dampers social trouble by providing a response mechanism that is independent of the government. Without a civil society, a corrupt government and an unexepected tragedy can more easily interact to produce a revolution or a revolt. A civil society makes it less likely.

Thus, this good news from China, courtesy of Stephen DeAngelis and Bradd Hayes:

Enterprise Resilience Management Blog: Globalization and Giving — the Rise of Chinese Philanthropy
With the death toll from China’s recent massive earthquake expected to rise to nearly 50,000 people, the world has offered and Chinese leaders have accepted outside assistance. Western experts, for example, are monitoring some Chinese nuclear plants for damage that might have been created during the temblor. Other forms of aid from rescue units to money are also pouring in. One unexpected source of funds has been from the Chinese people themselves [“Chinese Open Wallets for Quake Aid,” by Maureen Fan, Washington Post, 16 May 2008]. That may not sound surprising to outsiders (after all, who doesn’t want to help when they see neighbors in need?), but as the article’s sub-title explains, individual giving is rare “in a Society Long Under Sole Care of the State.” This is not the first large natural disaster that has occurred since the Communists came to power, so why are the Chinese people opening their wallets in record numbers? Because, thanks to globalization, they can.

The Revolutions of 1848 struck most of Europe and even extended into South America. But Canada, England, and the United States were spaired. One reason is that the English speaking countries (except for famine Ireland) possessed civil societies that could channel public agitation to dampen social problems.

When the bad times come, and they will come, China must be ready. From the Olympic Torch /314 fiasco to charity for earthquake victims, the lessons are being learned and the preparations are being made.


The Races of the Ancients

Genetics is fascinating. The study of population structure — those nations and races that make of humanity — has been infinitely improved by careful analysis of our genes. DNA has replaced the imprecise tools of facial features, skin color, and linguistics as the best tool for understanding the group-level diversity we see today. It was once thought (at least 10 years ago, when I came upon the theory) than the Ashkenazi Jews were an inbred German population, given their Germanic language (Yiddish) and looks that were taken to be exaggerations of European features. It is now generally accepted that the Rhinelander Jews are a Southeast European/Levantine population that at one time were more numerous than “white” Europeans.

Genetics continues to look at these subpopulations — races, you might say — deeply. Now comes an article on two ancient races, that existed for half of humanity’s history — entirely on the African continent:

Mitochondrial Eve And Humanity’s 100,000 Year Genetic Divide | Scientific Blogging
The human race was divided into two separate groups within Africa for as much as half of its existence, says a Tel Aviv University mathematician. Climate change, reduction in populations and harsh conditions may have caused and maintained the separation.

Dr. Saharon Rosset, from the School of Mathematical Sciences at Tel Aviv University, worked with team leader Doron Behar from the Rambam Medical Center to analyze African DNA. Their goal was to study obscure population patterns from hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Rosset, who crunched numbers and did the essential statistical analysis for the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project, said the team was trying to understand the timing and dynamics of the split into at least two separate groups.

Recent data suggests that Eastern Africa went through a series of massive droughts between 90,000 and 135,000 years ago. It is possible that this climate shift contributed to the population splits. What is surprising is the length of time the populations were separate — for as much as half of our entire history as a species.

Dr. Spencer Wells, director of the Genographic Project and Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, said, “This new study illustrates the extraordinary power of genetics to reveal insights into some of the key events in our species’ history. Tiny bands of early humans, forced apart by harsh environmental conditions, coming back from the brink to reunite and populate the world. Truly an epic drama, written in our DNA.”

While much of this research is conducted because of scientific curiosity, the engine that keeps it going is pharmaceuticals. There’s big money in genes, in changing how they express themselves and even changing which ones are in a body. As we resurrect long-dead plants and animals, it will be fascinating to see how many “extinct genes” rise again through gene therapy and modern medicine.