In the wake of the amazing and incredibly moving revelation on the part of award-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (who has written for the Washington Post, Huffington, the New Yorker, and many other news outlets) that he has been an undocumented immigrant living illegally and in fear in the U.S. for 18 years, and the hypocritical media firestorm that has erupted around it, I'm reminded that I still haven't finished blogging about the excellent book about immigration myths, "They Take Our Jobs."
A couple months ago I summarized some major points and passages from the first half of the book. Now I'll finish the job:
- "Conquered peoples have historically been more marginalized, and more reluctant to give up their cultural heritage, than voluntary immigrants."
- "From the outside, it may look like Latinos are not learning English. But what's really happening is that as one generation learns English, new Spanish speakers are arriving. At the same time, more Latinos are speaking both languages than has historically been the case for European immigrants. They learn English without giving up the Spanish."
- on the general trend from colonized peoples moving from subsistence production to wage labor, "People who had formerly produced most of what they consume now produced for others and used their wages to consume goods imported from the metropolis."
- "Not surprisingly, people with other options tend to avoid the most onerous ones. Employers then find that they can't fill their positions, and the government helps them to import workers who have fewer options."
- "Colonialism sets up a system in which colonized peoples work for those who colonized them. This system is not erased after direct colonialism ends. Rather, it evolves and develops."
- "Pundits and politicians demand a solution to the immigration 'crisis.'... With so many well-placed voices talking about a crisis, people begin to feel there really is one... Perhaps the pundits and politicians who are spending so much energy whipping up this immigration scare are trying to distract us from some other, more pressing, national - and global - issues."
- "... guest worker programs by their very nature create a group of people who are not full citizens, and who are easily exploited and abused."
- "[P]eople who lived in areas with very few immigrants were much more likely to have negative views of immigrants than people who lived in areas with high concentrations of immigrants [according to a Pew Foundation study]... This suggests that for many people, anti-immigrant sentiments come less from personal experience than from outside sources."
- "Immigration is a humanitarian problem... what is needed is a humanitarian solution - one that redistributes the planet's resources more equitably among its inhabitants, and one that respects and nourishes traditional peasant lifestyles."
- "Population control becomes a method for preserving white dominance."
- "In societies divided between haves and have-nots, the haves often see eliminating the have-nots as the solution to inequality, rather than redistributing resources."
- On border security myths:
FBI stats: in 2000, no international terrorism incidents inside the U.S. 8 domestic terrorism incidents.
In 2001 there were 12 domestic, 1 international (9/11)
- all but 4 of the 9/11 attackers were in the country legally.
A study of 48 "militant Islamic terrorists" who committed crimes in the US found that 36 of them were in the country legally... 17 were either permanent residents or naturalized citizens.
- "There is just no logical relationship between border security and the prevention of terrorism."
- "[C]urbing US military agression would probably be the most effective way to achieve a global reduction in attacks on unarmed civilians."
- On "the rule of law":
"Rosa Parks broke the law when she refused to move to the back of the bus. Harriet Tubman broke the law when she fled slavery and helped to create the Underground Railroad." "The law was designed not to allow certain groups of people to have the rights that others enjoy."
- "What they really want is to be treated like Cubans. Cubans don't need to wade the Rio Grande or walk the Sonoran Desert."
- "People have been moving around the earth every since they stood upright millions of years ago."
- "As long as [neocolonialism] keeps resources unequally distributed in the world, you're going to have people escaping the regions that are deliberately kept poor and violent and seeking freedom in the places where the world's resources have been concentrated: in the countries that have controlled, and been the beneficiaries of, the global economic system that took shape after 1492."
- "Some migrants leave their homelands for fun, adventure, or curiosity. The vast majority, though, leave because they have no alternative. They leave their homes, their families, and their loved ones as a last resort."
- (Chomsky quoting Eduardo Galeano): "The precarious equilibrium of the world depends on the perpetuation of injustice. So that some can consume more, people must continue to consume less. To keep people in their place, the system produces armaments. Incapable of fighting poverty, the system fights the poor."
Lots going on lately on the homebrewing front here, even though it's now full on triple-digit summer in Tucson and too hot to really make beer. I bottled my last batch for awhile a few weeks ago, a Maibock, which turned out mostly pretty great - the exception was caused by the weird method I used - I don't have a way to really lager a whole batch in one fermenter, at least when it's not colder outside, so I split it into gallon jugs each with its own airlock. most of them fit in a cooler with icy water but one I had to put in the fridge. It turns out the 40 degree cold of our fridge is too cold for the yeast to do its job, so that one gallon never really fermented. When I went to bottle, that jug's contents was totally a different color than the others!Consequently, I had to let that jug ferment longer and i think it got a bit contaminated, judging from early tastes so far. oh well, live and learn. the stuff from the other jugs turned out great, i think.
Meanwhile, I've been growing hops since April and they're now doing great. Many vines are now taller than the front of the house, and cones are already forming. This seems fast to me, since harvest time isn't till August or September, but perhaps the alpha acid-laden oils need time to build up in the cones before it's time to pick them.
I've also been fermenting mead (actually a sort of "cyser", since it has a little apple juice in it, but only a half gallon out of the 5-gallon batch) for the last 6 weeks or so). Yesterday I racked the batch into gallon jugs and did different things with some of them, creating sub-batches: added prickly-pear syrup to one, made "braggot" (which is a mead with malt and hops) with 2 other gallons, one pure, and one dry-hopped.
Today i'm starting a batch of "bouza" which is an ancient egyptian beer, from a recipe in the book "Wild Fermentation" by Sander Katz. Bouza is thought to be the original very first beer, probably accidentally created from old wet bread sitting in a dark corner somewhere. I started with wheat berries, some of which I sprouted (malted) and roasted a couple weeks ago. The rest I ground and made into a sourdough bread that I partially baked this morning. The malted wheat and crumbled bread then get put in water to ferment. I'm going to slightly alter Katz's recipe, because his book seems aimed at folks who don't already have experience or equipment for brewing and hence is mostly going for small, fast batches of stuff that's more about trying some historical oddity than about making something that tastes good. So i'm doing a short boil and adding a bit of hops. I can't resist, especially because some reports online conclude that this bouza recipe is just not that tasty. I'll keep you posted later here when I find out how my attempt works out, as well as the above mead experiments. Read more>>>
So yesterday, as you're aware, Brother Camping was proven wrong once again about when the world would end. To commemorate this I put together a little DJ set of relevant music and sound and broadcast it on ustream. While "spinning" I also played some old vhs tapes on a tv and pointed my webcam at the screen in an attempt at improvising some kind of video element without too much preparation. You can watch/listen below, and below that, read the playlist. I like how i managed to make the set tell a little story, introducing the situation, looking at the people going and the people "left behind" from both perspectives, then getting into the nature of evil while also criticizing the assumptions of the Dispensationalists that believe wackos like Harold Camping and others like him throughout history... then examining the armageddon situation as it would continue, and then some final jabs at Christianity and the worst of those who believe it, and finally it all dissolves away and everything is ok... or is it?
Playlist: Read more>>>
I don't usually blog much about my beer brewing, mostly because I'm really new to it still, but back in February I brewed a beer that I'm really pretty pleased with that is also a creative departure from known recipes: a juniper pale ale. Back in December Greta and I collected juniper berries from trees that were heavy with fruit in the Prescott National Forest, on the way from Flagstaff and Prescott. I had heard that people made beer with juniper so when we found ourselves in this forest I decided to benefit from Nature's bounty. A couple months later I looked around for recipes online and found a lot of different opinions on the best way to use juniper, but most folks seemed to model theirs after pale ales. I decided to make a tea from the berries and add it to what is basically a recipe from The Joy of Homebrewing, with different types of hops (I had just bought bulk quantities of Hallertauer and Cascade, so I used those).
You can see the full recipe here: http://hopville.com/recipe/623454/american-pale-ale-recipes/prescott-jun...
It turned out to be a really good beer that people consistently like. Come over and have glass.
from Mexico Solidarity Network: NEW JUAREZ POLICE CHIEF ALREADY SUSPECT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Retired army officer Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola, who was appointed last month to head the Ciudad Juarez police department, was accused this week of "enforced disappearance" in the case of four civilians arrested on March 26. Witnesses told human rights investigators they saw police, dressed in camouflage uniforms belonging to an elite unit that provides body guards for Leyzaola, arrest the four men outside a convenience store. The men have not been heard from since, and police deny they are in custody. Later in the week, federal investigators arrested three of the officers, though little is known about the politically sensitive investigation. The hard-nosed Leyzaola formerly served as police chief in Tijuana where he confronted similar accusations of human rights abuses after reducing murder rates and drug-related violence while reportedly decreasing corruption among police officers. A secret diplomatic cable recently published by Wikileaks accuses Leyaola of destroying one violent drug gang by cutting deals with rivals. He was also accused of participating in and supporting the use of torture, including beating and near-asphyxiation of arrestees and police suspected of being on cartel payrolls. Read more>>>
In the middle of the news-cycle theater piece known as "the possible shutdown," and "budget-cutting," it's good to see some of the border militarization fantasies get checked by monetary obsessions, and the thinkers of rational big business are advocating even more such restraint. (this is really nothing new - smart people at the WSJ have known the stupidities of "closing/securing the border" for quite some time.) Read more>>>
An ancient Chinese curse goes as follows: "May you live in interesting times." In this way we definitely live in interesting times lately.
What do people do in interesting times? In this time of instant communication from all parts of the globe, the interesting and the unfortunate are all available for view by Read more>>>
I learned very early in life that the best way to begin figuring something out, fixing something or answering some question or solving something or just getting anything accomplished at all is to first DEFINE what the problem, question, or goal is. I've never forgotten that but many apparently never learned this in the first place.
Of course another key to life is communication. Always strive to be the very best you can be at communicating whatever it is to the other person or persons. Your level of communication will deterimine your level of sucess at whatever it is you're trying to do that involves other people besides yourself.
Put these 2 basic rules of thumb together and of course that means, when you're trying to get something done, or some problem fixed, or some trouble troubleshot, and you're asking someone else to help you with that, you have to accurately and clearly communicate to them what that problem IS, or if you don't know that yourelf, at least communicate with them clearly enough all the bits and piece so that you and they can help you figure out what the fundamental goal is. Until that other person or persons has a good idea of what your goal is, what problem you're trying to solve, they literally can't help you. They can maybe randomly get you closer to what you're going for, but this will be accidental, and probably frustrating for both parties even after eventual success.
The reason this is important is this: let's say you are asking someone to help you with something but you already have an idea of how to do it, you just need need them to help you execute it. you ask them because they know that area of expertise, they have experience doing this sort of thing, possibly more than you. But what if you're wrong about what it will take to solve the problem? So you ask them to solve it in your wrong way and they either try to do your wrong way, not realizing what you're up to, or they just get confused and they start asking questions in a wild goose chase attempt to figure out why you asked for such a a thing. If you're just started out describing what your problem was, instead of asking them to help you with your incorrect solution, then the other person would have been free to apply their expertise to help you come up with the right answer, quickly and without fuss and frustration. The other thing is that this gives the other person some sense that you respect his expertise and trust him to help you generate a solution, rather than that you look at him as just some unthinking pack animal that you expect some aditional brute force from.
There were 2 things about Obama's speech here in Tucson the other night that I wanted to discuss. Before I start I should say that for the most part I was impressed and satisfied with his performance. Indeed it was one of the best speeches he's ever delivered, I think, and it was, realistically, about the best thing anyone could have wanted.
But one thing really struck me the moment he said it, and another thing he said got me thinking about it a day later. The first was also wisely noticed and commented on yesterday by Michael Chabon in The Atlantic:
as he moved from an invocation of the innocence and immanence of the dead little girl to a call, part admission, part admonishment, part fatherly exhortation, for Americans "to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations," the speech found its true importance, its profundity. To attempt to live up to your children's expectations—to hew to the ideals you espouse and the morals that you lay down for them—is to guarantee a life of constant failure....
When I heard Obama give that part of the speech I was almost outraged Read more>>>
cider experiment tonite: I wanted to solve the problem of how to get hard cider that's not too dry - it's too dry because the yeast eats up pretty much all the sugar and turns it to alcohol, right? My theory is, what if I stop the fermentation early by heating the stuff, hot enough to kill the yeast, but not hot enough to boil off the ethanol (boiling point 178 degrees F). So I tried it. I kept aside about a cup of yeasty cider. heated the rest to about 135 for 30 minutes. let it cool down, then before bottling i mixed it back in with the cup of yeasty stuff so that when i bottled, there'd still be a little fermenting to provide carbonation. but hopefully not *too* much, resulting in exploding bottles... i'll let you know what happens... Read more>>>