Didn't sound to me as if Bustamante was skirting the immigration issue! .... The Warm Bath of Concern: A more accurate summary of Teresa Watanabe's Times piece would have been "Immigration Debate Has Moved Left as Latinos Fulfill Glorious Demographic Destiny," or perhaps "Why Nobody's an Anti-Immigrant Racist Anymore." But Times hed writers prefer the muffled pundit tone, in keeping with the paper's unstated motto, "Why Be Interesting?" ... Even if Watanabe's thesis is correct, it would have been nice if she'd acknowledged what had actually happened in the real world during the previous week. Weintraub somehow managed. Instead, Watanabe quotes an expert saying "It's not politically correct to talk about illegal immigration"--a day or so after Schwarzenegger talked about illegal immigration.... 1:01 P.M.
Monday, September 8, 2003
Your Papers, Please! The legitimate argument in favor of giving illegal immigrants driver's licenses is that it would require them to know how to drive and allow them to buy state-mandated insurance. The legitimate argument against it is that driver's licenses function as I.D. and having them would allow illegals to do more or less anything in American society--resulting in a de facto amnesty and increased security risk. Why isn't the obvious solution this: Separate the two functions. 1) Have a national identity cardthat serves the I.D. function. (This seems like an unfortunate post-9/11 necessity anyway.) 2) Then let illegals get their driver's licenses--it won't do them that much good, since they won't have the crucial identity card. But it will require them to pass a driving test (and let them get insurance). ... Do you think support for the license would then diminish in the Latino activist community? ... Do you think it would be a good idea for an Austrian whose father was a Nazi to make this somewhat authoritarian and un-American proposal? ... Update: damnun absque injuria proposes instead a two-tier license scheme, with a differently-colored license for those who hadn't proven "to the DMV's satisfaction that [they] are here lawfully." I don't know if that would work. The off-color license would practically be a neon sign announcing "I am an illegal immigrant." Who would ever apply for it? ... 11:06 P.M.
Bad news for bloggers: Blogging, in my book, is the best way for writers to chase A.J. Liebling's alleged goal of being better than everyone who was faster than he was and faster than everyone who was better than he was. The speed of Internet posting is simply a huge leg up when it comes to pursuing this Liebling Optimality. Unfortunately, the fastest and most prolific good writer I know, Gregg Easterbrook, now has a blog. He's funny too. Yecch. ... The best hope for the rest of us: He has a family, and surely needs to spend hours and hours on long, revenue-producing books and print pieces. (Some of his paid Web work is also complex and distracting.) Please help Gregg's children go to college and do not give him any unnecessary encouragement in his new venture. ... 9:40 P.M.
"Austin was in play!" 1) Read Dahlia Lithwick's excellent, accessible account of the Supreme Court arguments on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and then 2) read Rick Hasen's comments (which will now not seem so technical), and you will have a pretty good idea of how it went today. ... It's all up to that miserable hack Justice O'Connor. ... Complaint: Nobody seems to single out for separate discussion the worst provision in the McCain-Feingold law, the notorious Wellstone Amendment, which would ban clear political speech by incorporated non-profit advocacy groups like the ACLU and Sierra Club at the very moment when it might actually be effective, namely right before an election. 9:12 P.M.
Some observers felt that Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent scandal-dispelling kiss was less than Gore-like in its depth and passion. You make the call! ... 4:02 P.M.
News from the Field: According to reliable campaign scuttlebutt, the new Field Poll will give the lie to the surprising and widely-disbelieved LAT poll that showed Gray Davis on the verge of beating the recall and Bustamante with a significant lead. ... Stay tuned. ... Update: Drudge has the exact numbers. Note to Field Poll: Sue him! ... Upshot: Bad news for conservative Tom McClintock. He's still way behind, appears to be throwing the race to Bustamante. Dropout pressure will be intense. ... LAT spin: "Our poll was a crock." No, wait. That wasn't the LAT spin. Here it is: "[A]n independent poll showed Gov. Gray Davis gaining some ground in his bid to remain in office." (He went from losing by 21 points to losing by 15 points. The Times had him within 5 points.) ... Weintraub notes that Latinos (unlike blacks) are pro-recall and surprisingly Arnold-friendly. Meanwhile, Bustamante's "negatives" are ominously high. ...3:53 P.M.
Hugh Hewitt wants the press to show if California's Democratic legislature really has gone wild with wacky, irresponsible ideas. Jill Stewart delivers the goods on three seemingly misguided bills from Sacramento: 1) The health care mandate; 2) The secret "sacred sites;" and 3) Worker's comp reform (or non-reform). ... 2:11 A.M.
More Spun Gold! One of the MEChA supporters quoted by the L.A. Times's Matea Gold in her defense of the controversial Chicano organization was Ralph de Unamuno, identified by Gold as "a UCLA graduate student who served as an advisor to the university's chapter." In Gold's piece, de Unamuno calls anti-MEChA charges "extremely slanderous," and adds: