Wednesday: Hili dialogue

May 17, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s a Hump Day (“Jum il-ħotba” in Maltese): Wednesday, May 17, 2023, and National Cherry Cobbler Day.

Source (and recipe)

It’s also Dinosaur Day, National Mushroom Hunting Day, National Pino Grigio Day (meh), National Walnut Day, Galician Literature Day, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Norwegian Constitution DayWorld Hypertension Day and World Information Society Day (International)

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the May 17 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: I rarely drink Burgundy because my pockets aren’t deep enough, but occasionally one finds a good bottle that’s reasonably affordable, and by that I mean the price has two digits and is less than $50. And here is one: Aubert Lefas “Les Trois Follots” Pommard 2015.

I had it with a simple meal: a warmed-up crispy baguette with aged Cabot cheddar, and a bowl of sliced tomatoes and dried olives in good olive oil.  When I have a simple meal like that, I often want a fancy wine, and this one was 36 bucks.  It was excellent: full-bodied, redolent of cedar, cherries, and minerals, and with years to go. Reviews are scarce, but here’s part of one from the Chapel Hill Wine Company:

2015 is the finest red wine vintage in Burgundy since 2010, maybe better. It could rival the 2005… which is why small gems like this are in such high demand! Small producer, with no need to submit for reviews… exceptional quality at a ridiculous price.

. . . . The red cherry, rose petal and subtle spice notes should evolve into a beautiful wine. For near term consumption 45 minutes to an hour of decanting is recommended. Pommard has a long reputation for being a bit chunky, but this is made in a bit more of a fruit forward fashion. There is a bit of heft to this Pommard, but the weight of this wine seems to be revolving around the dark cherry fruit more than the oak. Wild mushroom based dishes, duck or sushi would pair perfectly. I like it with rich cheeses like Époisses, Comté or a domestic option like Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery!

If you have the dosh and want to try a tasty but not bank-busting Burgundy, you might essay this one (if you can find it).

Da Nooz:

*According to the Guardian, the court has ruled against fraudster Elizabeth Holmes’s bid to remain free while her conviction is appealed.  (h/t Gravelinspector). She’s going to jail.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes must begin serving her prison sentence while she appeals against her conviction on charges of defrauding investors in her failed blood-testing startup and must jointly pay $452m in restitution to the victims of her crimes, a court in San Francisco has ruled.

Holmes, who rose to fame after claiming Theranos’ small machines could run an array of diagnostic tests with just a few drops of blood, was convicted at trial in San Jose, California, in 2022 and sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison.

She had asked the ninth US circuit court of appeals to pause her sentence on 25 April, two days before she was to report to prison. The court on Tuesday denied her bail application.

The judge will set a new date for Holmes, 39, to leave her current home in the San Diego area and report to prison.

In a separate ruling Judge Edward Davila held Holmes jointly liable for the restitution payments and ordered her to pay the $452m with her former lover and top Theranos lieutenant, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

Justice is done—unless she flees. Her sentence is 11 years, and I now owe a reader $20 because I bet that she’d never be imprisoned. But I won’t pay off until the door of her cell closes behind her. (I don’t trust her to stay in the U.S.)

*Russia must be getting desperate because they’re increasing their missile strikes on Kyiv, strikes that violate international law.

The strikes, which could be heard for over 20 minutes in the capital, were among the most intense in months. The assault “was exceptional in its density — the maximum number of missile attacks in the shortest period of time,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s city military administration, wrote on Telegram.

Ukrainian officials said the barrage offered the latest evidence that Ukraine desperately needs stronger aviation capabilities and more powerful, longer-range weapons.

Ukrainian officials claimed a perfect interception rate, and credited Western-donated Patriot air defense systems with thwarting attacks by the most sophisticated Russian weapons, including the hypersonic Kinzhal, or Dagger, which travels at more than five times the speed of sound. Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force, said Russia expended millions of dollars in high-end missiles in a failed attempt to hit targets in the Kyiv region.

“The enemy is attempting to achieve its goals,” Ihnat said. “Right now it had the goal of striking certain installations in the region of the capital. These could be next to the city, or in the city — we can’t know what the enemy had in mind, because we destroyed everything.”

Ihnat said the Russians fired from numerous locations. “They attacked with missiles from various bases: air, ground, sea,” he said. Russia also attacked the capital overnight with drones, Ihnat and other officials said.

Congrats to the Ukrainians for taking down those hard-to-hit hypersonic missiles. If they didn’t have Western help, Kyiv would be a shambles and the Russians would probably be winning big time. My own view: we should stand with our allies and keep the arms and aid coming. It’s people fighting for freedom, Jake!

*We’re only about two weeks away from June 1, the date when the U.S. debt limit will expire, and although talks between Biden and Republicans continue, not much seems to be happening.

The administration said that President Biden may cancel part of his seven-day foreign trip that starts this week as he and congressional leaders met for pivotal face-to-face talks on Tuesday, with time running out to strike a deal on the federal government’s debt limit.

The government could run out of money to pay its bills in a little over two weeks — a default that economists warned could cost Americans jobs and plunge the country into a recession.

Republicans have said they want to slash federal spending before lifting the debt ceiling. The president has maintained that raising the limit is a responsibility of Congress and should be done without conditions to avoid an economic disaster, even as he has said he is open to separate negotiations over spending.

. . .Neither side in the negotiations said they expected to resolve the monthslong dispute during the meeting. But Republicans and Democrats both privately signaled that they saw the session on Tuesday as a make-or-break moment — much more significant than a similar gathering at the White House a week ago and more urgent as the number of legislative days Congress has left to act dwindles.

The big question, of course, is was a deal made or was it broken. If this is to be resolved by Congress, which could raise the debt ceiling, they have only two weeks to do it. This is a big deal, because defaulting could set off a cascade of horrible economic consequences that could extend far beyond America.

*In the latest Israel-bashing episode of the UN, t least the U.S. isn’t participating by valorizing the Palestinians and calling Israel an apartheid state, though of course that seems to be the main business of the United Nations these days.  On Monday the UN held its first “Nakba event”, marking the 75th anniversary of the egress of Arabs (now called Palestinians) from Israel (this of course is the same day that Israel announced its independence, but nobody celebrates that. From CNN:

The United States and Western nations including the United Kingdom and Germany on Monday skipped an event at the United Nations marking the 75th anniversary of the dispossession of Palestinians after Israel called for a boycott.

The event, the first of its kind to be held by the UN, commemorated the Nakba or “catastrophe” – when roughly 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in what is now Israel. The commemoration was boycotted by Israeli officials, who also urged diplomats of other nations not to participate.

On Sunday, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, sent a letter to other UN ambassadors “deeply urging” them not to take part in what he called a “shameful Nakba event,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by CNN. Erdan said “Such events only serve to demonize Israel and further push away any chance for reconciliation.”

The US and the UK were among 30 countries that voted against a UN General Assembly resolution in December to adopt this year’s commemoration. Erdan said he has managed to convince “a number of countries” to boycott Monday’s event.

The spokesman for the US mission to the UN, Nate Evans, said Monday that the US, along with other countries including Germany and the UK, never planned to attend Monday’s event, because it has “longstanding concerns over anti-Israel bias within the UN system.”

What upset me was that Ukraine, unlike the US, Germany, UK, etc. abstained from the vote to hold the Nakba event, but that’s an exception: they usually vote against Israel in the many UN anti-Israel motions.

*In what appears to be “news” or “news analysis” rather than op-ed, the Wall Street Journal discusses “What everyone—except the U.S.—has learned about immigration.” Apparently the lesson involves increasing legal immigration, and concentrating on skilled workers.

Government actions to attract foreign nationals for skilled and unskilled jobs have spread from Germany to Japan and include countries with longtime immigration restrictions and some with a populist antipathy to streams of foreign workers.

The U.S. remains an outlier. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have arrived through back channels, but the country isn’t openly welcoming more legal workers, despite the tight labor market. That hesitancy carries economic costs, including persistent worker shortages and wage inflation, according to economists and some U.S. officials.

Unemployment is at a record low 4.8% across the 38 largely affluent countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These and other nations report a long list of open positions from truck drivers to baggage handlers to miners.

. . . Beyond being needed to fill pandemic-driven labor shortages, migrant workers are in demand to fill the gap left by retiring baby boomers and declining populations, economists and Western officials say. “The labor forces of richer countries are hollowing out,” said Michael A. Clemens, an economics professor at George Mason University.

Germany is rewriting immigration laws to bring in more college graduates as well as blue-collar workers under a new points-based system. Points will be awarded based on age—younger people receive more—educational qualifications, work experience and German-language competency. Canada announced plans late last year to take in nearly 1.5 million more migrants by 2025. Western Australia recently sent a delegation to the U.K. and Ireland to recruit tens of thousands of workers, including police, mechanics and plumbers.

Well, I’m confused. Letting in more and more immigrants without regard to skills seems to be what constitutes the crisis. Perhaps a return to the original rationale: providing a refuge for those fleeing threats or persecution, rather than simple economic opportunity.

*In his NYT op-ed, John McWhorter, never afraid to be heterodox, asks and answers the question, “Is musicology racist?” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that misicology, which is simply the study of music, should be accused of structural racism and whiteness, but of course McWhorter, a music buff, largely disagrees. (He does, however, say that the movement has had some positive effects in calling attention to neglected black composers.) In one place McWhorter even mentions our “merit” paper, of which he was one of 29 authors, and also Pamela Paul’s NYT column on that paper.

Among the many efforts to decenter whiteness in academia and other left-leaning institutions is one to take on the presumed racist tendencies embodied in musicology. It’s an issue that has nagged at me for years, and one exemplified by a new book, the Hunter College music professor Philip Ewell’s “On Music Theory, and Making Music More Welcoming for Everyone.” Ewell’s book, an expansion of his widely read 2020 article “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” is an impassioned argument that the study of music theory is infected by racism.

. . . Indeed, much of what Ewell recommends seems to entail relaxing requirements and expectations. In this, he joins similar calls in other fields, where sociopolitical intent is elevated over fact-finding, linear reasoning and basic curiosity (as described in this article, which my colleague Pamela Paul discussed two weeks ago and of which I am a co-author). We are encouraged to contemplate a physics without “white” empiricism and a math where getting the correct answer is optional. And here Ewell proposes a credentialed expertise in musicology that does not require the until now customary abilities to play the piano or translate from any foreign language, and where one is allowed, if desired, to get a degree on the basis of beat making or sound recording, which do not require the playing of any instrument.

. . . Ewell is seeking something more revolutionary than this: a complete overhaul of musicology’s focus, procedures and expectations in which much that is designated “white” is treated with skepticism and much that is not is presumptively welcomed — although Ewell offers few concrete examples of what this additional non- “white” material might be.

That’s all I’ll reproduce; I’m just bragging a bit.

*Finally, Chonkosaurus has made the New York Times! That was, as you’ll recall the name given to a giant snapping turtle seen last week sunning herself on a pile of chains in the Chicago River. (She’s called “Chonk” for short.) See below for why they think she’s a lady turtle.

In the video, which was posted on Twitter this month, one of the kayakers, Joey Santore, sounding astonished, cries with an expletive: “Look at the size of that thing!”

Mr. Santore’s friend, Al Scorch, gave the turtle a name befitting such an enormous reptile: Chonkosaurus.

At first, Mr. Santore and Mr. Scorch couldn’t quite make out what was sitting above the water. Then they paddled closer.

Perhaps the most valuable insight came from the men in the video who actually saw Chonkosaurus.

“Holy hell, you look good!” Mr. Santore says in the video. “I’m real proud of you. You’ve been eating healthy?” He asks the turtle if it has heard of liquid salad, and Mr. Scorch later says that Chonkosaurus is “thick but strong.”

Chonkosaurus’s nutritional pursuit does not appear to be completely selfish, however.

Chris Anchor, a senior wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, said that the turtle is female — and most likely “loaded with eggs.”

Oh boy, more snappers in the Chicago River! This just shows how much it’s been cleaned up in recent years. It was a polluted mess when I moved here in 1986.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili admits a flaw!

Hili: I’m trying to be understanding.
A: And?
Hili: I’m poor at it.
In Polish:
Hili: Próbuję być wyrozumiała.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Źle mi to wychodzi.

. . . and a picture of Baby Kulka from Paulina, captioned “Paulina was hunting with her camera” (in Polish: “Paulina polowała z aparatem.”)


From Divy:

From Now That’s Wild:

And a Recursion Cat from FB:

From Masih, multiple instances of civil disobedience by women in Iran. God help them, they’re SHOWING THEIR HAIR!  (sound up)”

I remember this Ricky Gervais clip, and think it was from the Golden Globes. And, yes, it was brilliant:

From Peter. I’d join this great party even though there’s a d*g!

From Malcolm.  I KNOW I’ve posted this before but I never get tired of seeing it.

From Barry, who says, “How nonsensical is this?”

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a family gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, who’s still beavering away in the Crick archives in La Jolla. First, the extremely bizarre slime molds; the tweet links to a popular-science article in Australian Geographic:

Matthew notes, “This is not planned, it is a series of individual spontaneous responses to the first short vid, which then cascade into brilliance.”

Yes, there will be hell to pay. . . .


21 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. A military analyst said on a German news broadcast yesterday that the increased missile attacks on Kyiv were likely to have two goals. The first is to tie up Ukrainian anti-missile defenses so that they cannot be deployed at the front. The second is to try to determine where those defensive systems are currently situated.

    1. A German analyst ought to be well placed to know. The Allied Combined Bombing Offensive against German cities degraded war production and civilian morale only modestly (despite the many thousands of civilians killed) until the targeting shifted to the rail network and synthetic oil industry to prepare for the invasion. But it did force Hitler to keep hundreds of fighter planes, anti-aircraft guns, and radar/communication sets (with their pilots, crews, fuel, and ammunition) committed west of those cities, preventing him from deploying them against the Red Army in the east where they would have been more militarily useful. And the British and American air forces also took to attacking the fighter bases based on debriefs from bomber crews about where the planes attacking them were flying from. Some things never change.

    2. “Die Wunderwaffe” Kinzhal proves to be a flop. Just like the T-14 Armata tank, the SU-57 multi-purpose combat aircraft and the S-400 Triumf before it. Things do not look much better with the Poseidon torpedo, the Awangard hypersonic glide vehicle or the 9M730 Burevestnik cruise missile that Russia has allegedly developed or wants to develop.

      1. Do you think maybe it’s sabotage, even the more subtle variety of promoting incompetent people in corrupt practices? DEI Russian-style? A job for every drunk, and a drunk for every job?

        The National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, has a specimen of a German Me163 Komet piloted rocket-powered interceptor. They had a habit of blowing up shortly after takeoff—corrosive highly reactive fuel and oxidizer. A Canadian Army unit over-ran one of the bases and donated the captured planes to the USAAF. When the intel guys took apart the one that’s now on display they found non-German graffiti scratched into the inside of the fuselage skin and some random nuts and bolts wedged between the fuel tank and the skin, presumably put there by the slave-labourers who built them. If you did the same to CAD blueprints or to a big factory machine tool, or were just drunk when you were figuring out how thick a piece of transmission linkage had to be, you could mess up thousands of manufactured pieces at one go. QC wouldn’t catch it because the guy on the payroll supposed to do it didn’t really exist. The possibilities are endless.

        1. It is not sabotage, but greed and corruption, for one thing. Putin’s cronies have been looting Russian industry for more than 20 years, embezzling billions of rubles that should have gone to weapons development.

          On top of that, under Putin’s pressure, practically all independent defense companies and weapons developers have been merged into one big state corporation, which is easier to control. Under the technocratic leadership of government minions, all innovation and competition among scientists and engineers has been stifled. Whatever the would-be czar orders is developed and built, even if it contradicts military realities or if industrial conditions do not permit it adequately.

    1. On this day:
      1792 – The New York Stock Exchange is formed under the Buttonwood Agreement.

      1859 – Members of the Melbourne Football Club codified the first rules of Australian rules football.

      1863 – Rosalía de Castro publishes Cantares Gallegos, the first book in the Galician language.

      1900 – The children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, is first published in the United States. The first copy is given to the author’s sister.

      1939 – The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers play in the United States’ first televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game in New York City.

      1943 – World War II: Dambuster Raids commence by No. 617 Squadron RAF.

      1954 – The United States Supreme Court hands down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, outlawing racial segregation in public schools.

      1973 – Watergate scandal: Televised hearings begin in the United States Senate.

      1974 – The Troubles: Thirty-three civilians are killed and 300 injured when the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) detonates four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, Republic of Ireland.

      1984 – Prince Charles calls a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”, sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture.

      1990 – The General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases.

      2004 – The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. are performed in the state of Massachusetts.

      1749 – Edward Jenner, English physician and microbiologist (d. 1823).

      1860 – Charlotte Barnum, American mathematician and social activist (d. 1934). [The first woman to receive a Ph.D in mathematics from Yale University.]

      1866 – Erik Satie, French pianist and composer (d. 1925).

      1868 – Horace Elgin Dodge, American businessman, co-founded Dodge (d. 1920).

      1931 – Marshall Applewhite, American cult leader, founded Heaven’s Gate (d. 1997).

      1935 – Dennis Potter, English voice actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1994). [The discovery of a new manuscript, an early version of The Singing Detective was recently announced.]

      1936 – Dennis Hopper, American actor and director (d. 2010).

      1942 – Taj Mahal, American blues singer-songwriter and musician.

      1949 – Bill Bruford, English drummer, songwriter, and producer.

      Death is repose, but the thought of death disturbs all repose:
      1727 – Catherine I of Russia (b. 1684). [And no, the rumour is untrue!]

      1886 – John Deere, American blacksmith and businessman, founded the Deere & Company (b. 1804).

      2012 – Donna Summer, American singer-songwriter (b. 1948).

      2022 – Vangelis, Greek musician, composer (b. 1943).

  2. Biden said many times that he would not negotiate with the Republicans over the debt ceiling. Yet, now he appears to be doing it. If he makes concessions to McCarthy that will result in spending cuts that will fall mostly on the poor, all hell will break loose. It is quite possible that many Democrats will not vote for the “deal,” meaning passage of the bill in the House or Senate will not be at all certain. If a bill passes, in a year or two, when the debt ceiling will be reached again, the Republican extortion will take place once again. In addition, Democratic disgust with Biden could prompt challengers to him in the Democratic primary. All this adds up to is political chaos with the end result far from clear.

    1. Concessions from both parties have to be made. The trick is to make concessions that don’t embitter the voting base of either party, while also allowing each to blame the other side as much as possible.

      1. I disagree. The DP should make no concessions regarding the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is a contrived thing that is contrary to law and precedent in several different ways. It really needs to die and better that it happens right now instead of allowing the RP to continue to hold the economic well being of the US and much of the rest of the world hostage with this charade.

        For a good rundown on why this debt ceiling issue is bogus read this article.

        Six Legal Reasons the Federal Budget Is Its Own ‘Debt Ceiling’ – and ‘Floor’

        I’ve seen some of these reasons written about individually, but this article summarizes all of the reasons in one place.

        If the RP wants a constitutional crisis, as if we haven’t been living through a constant string of them for years now, I say let’s do it. Biden needs to call their bluff. Then they can take it to the SC, and won’t that be interesting. The DP has constantly, for years, conceded to demands from the RP in hostage situations like this. It has never been to our benefit. It’s long past time to stop empowering them

        In any case, it would be foolish to suppose that the current RP would ever deal in any remote semblance of good faith. The planning of any negotiations with them always needs to be based on that fact.

        1. Thanks for the link to the Forbes magazine article. It seems to be a comprehensive explanation of why the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, but I am not a constitutional scholar. If I were Biden, I would have the article vetted by a team of esteemed scholars. Even if they agreed only that two or three of the reasons the debt ceiling is unconstitutional discussed in the article could withstand intense scrutiny that would be more than enough for Biden to ignore the debt ceiling. Of course, the current membership of the Supreme Court means that nothing is guaranteed.

          The debt ceiling needs to be buried with no prospect of it ever being resurrected. We’ll see if Biden has the will to do that.

          1. It should be noted that many of the reasons are rooted in legislation, and long established precedents for how legislation is interpreted, not the Constitution. The Constitutional reasons are important of course, but there’s much more to it.

            I’d be interested to read what Ken’s thoughts about all this are.

  3. Elizabeth Holmes trip to prison is starting to resemble Kristen Wiig’s “Liza Minnelli Tries To Turn Off A Lamp.”

  4. America should implement an immigration point system much like Australia, NZ, Canada and others. (Note, asylees and refugees are addressed via a different system.)

    Here’s what I wrote in 2017 about Canada’s point system…

    Like the United States and other OECD countries, Canada has a substantial foreign-born population. But unlike America, Canada’s immigration policy is rational and intentionally beneficial to the country at large.

    Canada employs a formal, published point system to score and rank potential immigrants. The system includes “factors such as: skills; work experience; language ability; education; and other factors that we know help immigrants prosper once in Canada” (Canadian Visa Bureau 1). It is a 100 point system for which prospects receive the following maximum points: 28 points for language, 25 points for education, 15 for experience, 12 for age (18-35 years old), 10 for arranged employment, 10 for adaptability, and 5 points for having a relative in country as one part of a 10 point maximum subset. Canada’s system is not unique. Other western countries such as Australia, the country with the highest proportion of foreign-born persons, deploys a similar point system.

    It is important to note in the scheme of social identity and group conflict that Canadians consider language ability the most important characteristics that will help an immigrant prosper in Canada. The ability to speak English or French gains the prospective immigrant 28 points, 3 more than education and 13 more than experience. Education and work experience are not unimportant factors. The Canadian government however appears to understand that if one can speak the native language of Canada, the immigrant is far along the path to success in the country.

    The United State does not use a formal point system but it is implied through the prioritization of the family reunification category. While having a family member in country is worth 5 points in Canada, having a family member in the United States is equivalent to scoring 66 points on a 100 point scale. Language skills are the most heavily weighted qualification in the Canadian policy. The American policy does not require English language skills.

    1. Excellent analysis, Jackie. Immigration is not politically contentious in Canada—no party is against it—because it is both legal and economically necessary (not just beneficial). NIMBYism (Save the Greenbelt!) around large cities and to some extent foreign ownership of vacant residences drives up housing costs for all these newcomers by enforcing scarcity. This will have to be fixed. Our population increase is entirely driven by immigration because fertility in Canadian-born women is very low, even those women who are daughters of immigrants from high-fertility countries! It is a treadmill that we daren’t step off. If Canada stops being attractive to industrious immigrants we are sunk.

      Unlike the United States, we are not in the asylum business. If someone walks across the land border with the U.S., he will be turned back into the U.S. as a Safe Third Country that does not generate refugees (no matter who is President.). Draft dodgers and deserters from the U.S. military would not be allowed in today. Someone arriving by air from a country that persecutes would be heard, but we don’t grant visas to visitors from countries with a track record of making asylum claims, so they can’t get on a plane heading to Canada. Catch-22. Once every couple of decades, a small boat crammed full of migrants grounds on one of our seacoasts, presumably dropped off by a large ocean-going snakehead vessel over the horizon. They can make political asylum claims which will be heard by a tribunal with right of appeal if denied. The usual ground for denial would be that the migrant is not being persecuted by his government but wants to better his economic prospects. We already have a queue for that.

      Public tolerance for the great changes in Canadian society being wrought by large-scale legal, invited immigration rests on the perception that the system is fair and beneficial to us* and is not being gamed by bogus asylum claimants who have no language skills or education and are not likely to be worth the trouble of feeding them and giving them free health care. Only a few progressive leftist activists call for open borders and fewer still people listen to them.

      (Canada also accepts a number of UN High Commission refugees that our officials visit in camps around the world to match up with sponsors in Canada, usually churches. They have low employment success and often return home when whatever trouble they were fleeing from settles down.)

      All people legally permitted to remain in Canada by any of these routes including asylum claimants may live permanently, work, enrol in school, receive social benefits, and apply for citizenship.
      * And “us” includes more people each year who were born somewhere else.

      1. If our host will allow me, I’ll share a little more of what I wrote in 2017 because it remains applicable to our situation today.

        America’s approach to English language skills and its accidental immigration policy has had negative consequences when considered in the light of Social Identity Theory. Miami Florida of the 1980s and 1990s provides a cautionary lesson.

        Latinos comprised approximately five percent of the metropolitan Miami population in 1960. By 1994 that percentage was fifty percent of which sixty-six percent were Cubans. The ethnic makeup of these percentages was not the problem. The problem was the process that led to the balkanization of Miami.

        As the Cuban population grew after the 1980 Freedom Flotilla the need to interact with the preexisting white and black population diminished. Economic mobility is one reason immigrants self-assimilate into an existing society. Through self-assimilation immigrants move from lower-paying ethnic occupations into higher-paying employment. However, when a local population of an ethnic group grows large enough to economically function independent of the surrounding ethnicities, that motivation to self-assimilate subsides and may disappear entirely. As Portes so well illustrates, the result was a balkanization of the community where, “parallel social system arise in the same physical space complete with its own status hierarchy, civic institutions and cultural life” (Portes 1994, 8). [Think of Los Angeles of today, 2023.]

        When ethnic solidarity trumps national or community-wide unity as it did in Miami, “parallel social systems arise” and the common good is left to fend for itself. The “common good” is not just a political philosopher’s intangible idea. Community unity and the degree of support for the “common good” is revealed when public goods – goods that benefit an entire community – are funded. Research conducted by Alberto Alesina and others about such provisioning and ethnic divisions illustrates “that the shares of spending on productive public goods – education, roads, sewers and trash pickup – in U. S. cities (metro areas/urban counties) are inversely related to the city’s (metro area’s/county’s) ethnic fragmentation” (Alesina 1). The researchers conclude,

        “that ethnic conflict is an important determinant of local public finances. …When individuals have different preferences, they want to pull fewer resources together for public projects …In cities where ethnic groups are polarized, and where politicians have ethnic constituencies, the share of spending that goes to public goods is low” (Alesina 1)

        While America’s Cuban policies contributed to the fragmentation of Miami, America’s immigration policy became the Freedom Flotilla for other parts of America at it sowed distrust and economic competition between ethnic groups.

        [IMO, our immigration policy contributed to this recent LA City Council political scandal. Per the AP, “The turmoil was triggered in October by a leaked recording of crude, racist comments from a year-old meeting involving de León, then-council President Nury Martinez, labor leader Ron Herrera and then-Councilman Gil Cedillo — all Latino Democrats — in which they plotted to expand their political power at the expense of Black voters during a realignment of council district boundaries.”]

  5. By odd coincidence, I personally know her early investors. They defended her for a long time. Not anymore. The Edison machine could have worked, but in a limited way. Claiming you could run bulk blood tests on a droplet was, and is BS.

    I told this story to my wife. She thought it was quite funny. I mentioned that I had some sympathy for Elizabeth. Her response was

    “You are the only one who does”

    It is not my purpose to argue that she and SBF (of FTX infamy) are innocent. I don’t think they are. However, I do think she and SBF are being used as scapegoats for “the ones that got away”. Who am I referring too? How about Adam Neumann (and his wife) of WeWork infamy.

    A wag I know said that her Board Of Directors was more appropriate for an oil-drilling venture in some foreign country. The directors included

    Riley Bechtel, former Bechtel Group CEO
    David Boies, a founder and the chairman of Boies Schiller Flexner
    William Foege, former director of the CDC
    Richard Kovacevich, former CEO and chairman of Wells Fargo
    Jim Mattis, later U.S. Secretary of Defense
    Fabrizio Bonanni, former executive vice president of Amgen
    Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State
    George Schultz, former Secretary of State

    None of her directors had any blood-testing experience.

    My guess is that she gets out in 2025 or 2026. Is their sexism / chauvinism involved? I would say yes and she will benefit from it.

  6. Bye bye Baritone Barbie!
    Her partner in crime Balwani is already in jail. I wonder why authorities don’t put an ankle bracelet GPS tracker on Holmes, who is obviously a flight risk, so she can’t flee the country. The judge denied her appeal so go and arrest her and cart her off to jail. What are they waiting for?

  7. ” Well, I’m confused. Letting in more and more immigrants without regard to skills seems to be what constitutes the crisis. Perhaps a return to the original rationale: providing a refuge for those fleeing threats or persecution, rather than simple economic opportunity.”

    Of course. I wonder whether people actually believe the policies they are trying to implement or whether they are just a distraction. Skilled workers invited by a company due to labour shortage is a completely separate issue from uncontrolled immigration. Making the former easier will have zero impact on the latter.

    I’m all for people being able to move to a different country legally if they want to; I’ve done so myself and know many who have. Whether it is a good idea to recruit skilled workers from elsewhere is a different question. It means that the poor countries should fund their education then the rich countries siphon them off, though they could arguably do more good for their home country by staying there. And what problem is it supposed to solve? If there is a labour shortage due to too few children or for any other reason, then the immigrants will just increase that trend if they integrate well into society. If they don’t intergrate well, then there are fewer problems. People want to have their cake and eat it too.

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