Is the Bush administration's Kabuki appease-the-right pre-semi-amnesty show of force on the border already ending? The National Guard's border deployment
has been a success, according to the administration and the Border Patrol, which say the number of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally has fallen dramatically. [ North County Times]
The administraiton's natural reaction to the success of this deployment is, of course, to ... reduce the deployment! 'It was working, so we stopped it!'... There are several possible explanations for this seemingly perverse, risky move: 1) The guardsmen are needed in Iraq and Afghanistan; 2) The Bushies cynically think conservatives won't notice and will stay appeased while Congress passes "comprehensive" reform; 3) The Bushies think they don't need conservatives to pass "comprehensive" reform; 4) The Bushies have given up on "comprehensive" reform; 5) It was working, so they stopped it. Specifically, the reduced flow of illegal immigrants was forcing employers to raise wages to attract unskilled workers. Can't have that. Employers didn't like it, and the GOP is the party of employers. ... It's overdetermined! ... P.S.: My guess is a mix of 1, 2, and 5. ... 11:05 P.M. link
Saturday, Ap ril 14, 2007
L.A.'s Answer to Joel Klein:LAT's Bob Sipchen reports on the latest Los Angeles charter school blowup, in which the city's school board appears to have tried to block charters in black/Latino South Central L.A. that many parents seem to want. Not surprisingly, the local NEA-affiliated union is implicated! Surprisingly, it'snot the usual "union kills charters" story. It's more a "charter entrepreneur tries to work from within with support of new superintendent and learns his lesson" story. ... The moral would seem to be that changing the school system from within is like changing L.A. Times from within: it's hard, almost impossibly hard, much harder than letting market-like competition put the dinosaur-like institution out of business as customers go elsewhere. (Sorry, Bob!) "Exit" beats "voice." It usually does. It's easier to stop going to a restaurant than to talk the chef into learning how to cook. ... 9:00 P.M.
Does this Chicago Tribune story really debunk the idea, which Katie Couric (or whoever!) put on her blog, that Barack Obama "grew up praying in a mosque"? I don't think so, despite Media Matters' and Eat the Press' outrage at Couric. Young Obama seems to have only gone to the mosque with his stepfather "occasionally." OK! Occasionally. That's within the bounds of what Couric (or ghost-Couric) said. (Was Obama praying anywhere else? How many kids only go to church "occasionally" and still label themselves Christian?)... P.S.: It doesn't bother me that Obama went to a mosque as a kid! I'm with the liberals who see it as a potential asset. It does bother me that Dem press watchdogs seem to be straining to brand anyone who mentions it (i.e. "Couric") as a smear artist. Even if he went to a mosque only twice, and his Muslim father was a swingin' free-spirited half-animist Muslim father, that's still an unusual background for a presidential candidate. Obama has to figure out a way to effectively deal with it himself--which won't be by claiming 'that's all been debunked' when it hasn't. ... P.P.S.: And, yes, it's also troubling that CBS panicked and changed Couric's blog (rendering it near-senseless, as ETP points out). If that's the post-Imus world--corporate news even blander than before, bland as school textbooks--I'm not enthusiastic. But it will be good for the blogs.** ...
**-Maybe this post-Imus arrangement is inherent in the technology of the Web. 1) The Web lets individuals express themselves to the world in a way that's very difficult to suppress. But 2) the Web also makes it much easier to organize campaigns to pressure those media institutions--i.e. CBS and NBC--that can be pressured via their advertisers. Therefore, as the Web takes hold, individual blogs become freer and wilder while big, advertiser-supported MSM outlets head in the opposite direction, becoming even more controlled and anodyne. Just a theory. Maybe even a numbingly obvious theory. But for a while there it looked as if the MSM was going to get more loosey-goosey like everyone else. ... 6:27 P.M.
Sell!**General Motors is apparently delaying production of its desperately-needed rear-wheel-drive cars. According to Car and Driver, GM product macher Bob Lutz
outlined a series of rear-drive projects that have been put on hold until the auto maker knows how strict the proposed new corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) regulations will be.
Mounting casualties so far include migrating the next Chevy Impala to the Global RWD Architecture (formerly known as Zeta), an ultra Cadillac based on the 2003 Sixteen concept, potential plans for a rear-drive Cadillac DTS, and work on the smaller Global Small RWD Architecture to produce a baby Caddy.
GM seems to persist in thinking the market for rear-drive cars consist mainly of tire-burning, horsepower-mad car nuts--hence Lutz's pathetic attempt to buy off the buffs with a souped up Corvette. But, as I've argued, rear-drive is cheap fun for everyone, including non-buffs, including staid middle class parents driving to football practice and the mall. And there's no reason a rear-drive car can't be reasonably economical (look at the smaller BMWs). They can even be hybrids, no? ... Can't they design the cars so they'll take both an optional big engine and a small engine--the usual practice--and then adjust the mix as CAFE requires? It seems like another factor must be at work: a) GM is pressuring Congress on CAFE; b) GM's L.A. Times-like bureaucracy is dug-in on front-drive; or c) the Zeta cars suck ... [via Autoblog]