Keep the Immigrants, Deport the Multiculturalists

Here is an interesting article about illegal immigration and assimilation in the Wall Street Journal. After briefly making the case that most Americans don’t want to see illegal immigrants deported and for the idea that statistics on illegal immigrants often distort reality, the author writes:

If American culture is under assault today, it’s not from immigrants who aren’t assimilating but from liberal elites who reject the concept of assimilation. For multiculturalists, and particularly those in the academy, assimilation is a dirty word. A values-neutral belief system is embraced by some to avoid having to judge one culture as superior or inferior to another. Others reject the assimilationist paradigm outright on the grounds that the U.S. hasn’t always lived up to its ideals. America slaughtered Indians and enslaved blacks, goes the argument, and this wicked history means we have no right to impose a value system on others.

But social conservatives who want to seal the border in response to these left-wing elites are directing their wrath at the wrong people. The problem isn’t the immigrants. The problem is the militant multiculturalists who want to turn America into some loose federation of ethnic and racial groups. The political right should continue to push back against bilingual education advocates, anti-American Chicano Studies professors, Spanish-language ballots, ethnically gerrymandered voting districts, La Raza’s big-government agenda and all the rest. But these problems weren’t created by the women burping our babies and changing linen at our hotels, or by the men picking lettuce in Yuma and building homes in Iowa City.

What do ya’ll think?

Project Vote Smart

Maybe everyone else already knew about this, but I found this great website this morning called Project Vote Smart. They have a lot of helpful information on political candidates. Here are the main pages for the presidential races:

McCain
Obama
Clinton

And here is the information they provide for the candidates’ voting records:

McCain
Obama
Clinton

This kind of information is really helpful because of how difficult it can be to get an “accurate” picture of a candidate from reading print media and watching TV. And for the most part the “debates” are a joke and basically useless for forming an educated opinion of who is the best candidate.

Wife Swap, Faith, and the Need to Balance Conviction and Skepticism

In his recent and, so far, very interesting book Experiments in Ethics, Kwame Anthony Appiah writes:

Now, in real life reasonable people will not hold most of their beliefs with the level of conviction that we call certainty. Most of us, most of the time, will allow that most of what we believe about the world could turn out to be wrong. So our actual reasoning is not from certainties to certainties but from the probable to the probable. (pp.51-52)

I wonder if Appiah is not being a little too charitable here when he says that “most of us, most of the time, will allow that most of what we believe about the world could turn out to be wrong.” I have two reasons for being skeptical. The first comes from occasionally (and even that is embarrassing) watching Wife Swap. They usually manage to find some kind of podunk, redneck family, and some kind of extreme new age, lefty, artsy, hippy kind of family and then swap the wives for two weeks. The first few days the new wives live by the “rules” of the new family, but after that they get to make their own rules for the family to live by, thereby imposing their views on how to do things on the new family. From “occasionally” watching this show it seems to me that people tend to think that they and they alone know how things are, and how things should be done; and they are unwilling, for the most part, to consider that they could either be wrong or that there might be other ways to do things.

But more importantly, the second reason for questioning Appiah’s claim, has to do with the number of Christians, and I imagine at least a good number of Muslims, that accept things on “faith.” Faith in the sense of holding beliefs without reasons supporting those beliefs or in spite of contravening reasons. It seems to me that when faith is involved, and when that faith “infects” all of one’s other beliefs, then there is not a snowcone’s chance in hell that one will be properly rational. And that is very unfortunate, given the importance of rationality and because I don’t see why one cannot be religious or spiritual and still go about it rationally (however, that does not mean that I see how one could be Christian, etc., and still be rational).  And if one denies the importance of rationality, then I’d like to hear the REASONS for doing so.

At the great risk of sounding pedantic as hell, one of the most important things I have learned from studying philosophy is the importance of balancing conviction with skepticism, conviction with the acknowledgment that I may have to revise some, most, or all of my beliefs given appropriate reasons. And that balancing act is not always easy to do; and it can be even harder to get others to realize its importance.

Alrighty then…

This may be old to some of you, but in looking for images for the skull bong post, I came across this one:

So, I’m familiar with the whole mac vs. pc ad campaign, but the above didn’t make too much sense. But with a little research, I found this:

[youtube width="325" height="255"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2-UuIEOcss[/youtube]

and it makes much more sense now.

3 accused of using corpse head to smoke pot

Here is an article about some guys who were arrested for purportedly turning the decapitated skull of a corpse into a bong and smoking pot out of it:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5764886.html

Jones claimed he and his friends used shovels to dig up the body and removed the corpse’s head with a garden tool, Adkins said. Jones also revealed he and the other two boys took the severed head to the juvenile’s home, where they used the skull as a “bong” to smoke marijuana, the officer said.

What the fuck? What the fuck? Where would the carb be on that thing? And did they make it into a water bong or just a pipe like you can do with an apple or coke can? Is this going to spawn a bunch a copycat dildoes who go out and dig up bodies to smoke some weed?

If only I could pwn or teabag the IRS

My wife and I sent our $1200.00 check to the IRS on April 1st. My bank records show that they cashed that check on April 7th. On May 3rd we received a notice from the IRS that we had not paid our taxes and that we owed, after penalties and interest, $1300.00 (I’m rounding up a few dollars).
After being on hold for 30 minutes this morning, I did finally talk to someone (she was very helpful actually) and found out that they had somehow misapplied the payment to 2008 (??!!), instead of applying it to 2007. What the fuck? And whether I agree with the “justification” for it or not, we were looking forward to our economic stimulus check, which won’t be sent out now for another 3 or 4 weeks. Cock-fucking-sucker.