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Montco Daily Dose


Asher vs Castor, again (still?)

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March 31, 2007 at 10:02 pm Comments (0)

Re: Casey's Moment of Truth

Dale, but Casey is a conservative Democrat. He was going to be allowed different.

Except on the close issues, then he’d have to vote with the caucus.

Rick was a leader on life-issues. Casey? Looks like he’s a follower.

March 31, 2007 at 11:24 am Comments (0)

Grim Milestones

The media fetish for round numbers continues.

100 dead in Philadelphia this year.

A violent night left two people dead, several injured and the city marked a grim murder milestone.

 

The city’s 100th homicide this year occurred on the 4900 block of Aspen street around 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning.

 

36-year-old, Dwayne Green was shot in the torso and taken to HUP where he was later pronounced dead.

 

Three males were shot, one fatal, on the 2800 block of North Ringold Street in North Philadelphia around 10:00 p.m. Friday night.

March 31, 2007 at 11:14 am Comments (0)

Re: The Truth About Hazelton

Thanks for the response Dale.  My main point, which I think I failed to really hammer out, is that Mayor Lou Barletta is not some racist or isolationist.  He made a wise public policy decisions based on the need of his city. His City was dead and needed new residents, so he welcomed Hispanics with open arms.  Too many illegal immigrants moved to Hazleton, including some illegal Eastern Europeans and Russian, and he had to act.

By “critical mass” I mean the number of illegal immigrants, not Hispanics, became too much for the City to handle.  In a town of more than 25,000 one thousand illegal immigrants is no big deal, but three to five thousand can cause many problems such as an increase in crime and the loss of quality of life, especially among the Hispanics themselves.
I do blame the national government for not securing the borders and having so much red tape that Hispanics cannot wait for the bureaucrats to approve them.

For the record I believe the plurality of Hispanics in Hazleton are Dominican. While Wilkes-Barre’s much smaller Hispanic population is mostly Mexican, and I am almost certain the more established Hispanic population in Re4ading is Puerto Rican.

Finally, I remember that Judy is from Hazleton; Rudy mentioned when he visited Wilkes-Barre during the last Bush Campaign.  I think too many people in NEPA will vote for him just because he has some family ties. They have casted their votes for dumber reasons before. (See the  Luzerne County Commissioner)

March 31, 2007 at 8:31 am Comments (0)

Casey's Moment of Truth

The Inky reports:

Sen. Bob Casey’s first moment of truth in the U.S. Senate is approaching. And the issue is stem-cell research.

 

When he ran last year against Rick Santorum, Casey left no doubt where he stood on the sanctity of life. He was following in his father’s footsteps.

 

That father, a two-term governor of Pennsylvania, never backed down from his pro-life convictions, despite the scorn it sometimes earned him from his Democratic colleagues – or the speaking slot it cost him at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

 

Given his campaign commitment to oppose federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and given the role pro-life Pennsylvanians played in electing him, you would think the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 would be a no-brainer for Casey. Yet, suddenly there is some question about his position.

….

Despite the position candidate Casey took last year, bloggers pushing for embryonic stem-cell funding this year – bloggers including the Daily Kos and Californians for Cure – have listed him as one of the “Swingable Seven,” a group of senators who might be swayed on the issue.

….

Congressional Quarterly Today also reported that Casey “said he was still studying the measure.” Studying it? What part of this issue could Casey have forgotten in the few short months since he was elected? Could he have forgotten he believes life deserves protection from conception? Could he have forgotten taxpayers should not be forced to pay for the taking of what he himself affirms is a human life?

Who would have thought that so soon in his Senate career young Casey would face a defining dilemma: Will he still follow in his father’s footsteps, or trample on his legacy?

Well, what did you expect? Of course he’s “swingable” — He’s a Democrat!

Read the whole thing here.

March 31, 2007 at 7:03 am Comments (0)

Re: The Truth About Hazleton

Bill, nice response to my admittedly provocative post. You point out some important stuff that gets us beyond the common stereotypes that have unfortunately characterized the national debate on immigration.

1) Barletta’s support among Hispanics is important because it reminds us that the recent immigrants are not a homogeneous group.

2) Immigrants are not for the most part partisans in the political wars, although they could easily become such if they perceive one party as being particularly dangerous to their future prospects.

3) They are not ethnically homogeneous. There huge differences among Mexicans, Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, etc. A coherent “Hispanic” or “Latino” identity is something that is imposed upon immigrants in this country.

4) Much is made of the idea that “illegal immigrants” are, by definition, already “criminals.” But that obscures the fact that the vast majority of “illegals” are seeking a stable, legal, and respectable life in America. They by no means support the small criminal element that preys upon them. They are, in other words, no more homogeneous than the legal immigrants. Instead of blanket condemnation we should be trying to work together with immigrants to try to marginalize and control the criminal element.

5) As President Bush has emphasized time and again, Hispanics [both legal and illegal] are, for the most part, conservatives who can be attracted into the ranks of Republicans. Past support for Barletta illustrates this fact. This is a tremendous opportunity that should not be allowed to pass.

6) Hazleton’s future is by no means determined. The WSJ article I linked to below points to Flushing, NY as a community that has been successfully revitalized by immigrants. On the other hand residents of Hazleton can look south to Reading where a community already in decline was plunged into chaos by youth gangs, the drug trade, and a homicide rate twice the national average. Those are the extremes. There are plenty of other cases of communities attempting to deal with an immigrant influx throughout Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It would be interesting to see just how these various communities have approached the problems, what has worked and what hasn’t, and why.

All that being said, there are a couple of points I would question.

I’m not sure what “critical mass” means in this context. Different groups and individuals in different situations would have different judgments on the meaning of that term. It implies a community consensus that doesn’t seem to be there.

Blaming the Federal Government is not going to solve local problems. Basically there are only two things the Feds can do — they can funnel resources into local communities, or they can close the borders to cut off the influx. Both of these alternatives have serious adverse consequences that should be considered.

By the way, Rudy Giuliani’s third wife, Judy, is from Hazleton. Think of it…, a Hazleton girl in the White House.

March 31, 2007 at 3:12 am Comments (0)

Dysfunctional Democrats Disagreeing

Chris Carney claims the recently passed budget he voted for has Middle Class Tax Cuts.

Congressman Christopher P. Carney has delivered on one of
his ardent promises: creating tax cuts for the middle class. “I came to
Congress to balance the budget and create tax cuts for the middle class,”
said Congressman Carney. “My vote today will do just that without raising
taxes.

Patrick Murphy voted against the same budget because it does not have Middle Class Tax Cuts.

Murphy voted this way because he believes that more should be done to get the nation’s fiscal house in order. In this budget, non-defense discretionary spending has increased and the budget does not do enough to guarantee middle class families the tax cuts they deserve.

So who is right who is wrong and who is wrong? I will side with fellow King’s College Alumnus Patrick Murphy on this one. It shows he, like Mike Fitzpatrick, can be independent.  I will give him credit for taking a stand on spending and tax cuts this time around. it is a shame last week he voted to give money for spinach farmers in the Iraq Supplemental Bill.  As for Chris Carney, it does not matter how he votes on anything, because he is toast as long as the GOP does not nominate a creep.

March 31, 2007 at 12:26 am Comments (0)

The Truth About Hazelton

I can no longer resist the urge to give my take on the Hazleton/Immigration Issue. I went o School for four years in Wilkes-Barre and took a class on Hispanic growth in NEPA taught by a former member of Hazleton City Council. It is long so click “more” below to read

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March 30, 2007 at 10:00 pm Comment (1)

Hazleton Redux

Testimony has concluded in the ACLU’s suit against Hazleton’s “Illegal Immigration Relief Act.” A federal judge will hand down his decision in June. It will probably go against the town. In the meantime we can consider some of the things that have come to light regarding the case.

Steve Chapman, writing in Townhall, notes:

The trial… has not shed flattering light on the competence of those who drafted the law. Mayor Lou Barletta said he was compelled to act when a resident was shot to death, allegedly by two illegal immigrants.

But he had trouble explaining why, if illegal immigrants generate crime, they have been implicated in only about 20 of the 8,500 felonies committed in Hazleton in the last six years. ACLU attorney Witold Walczak also pointed out that amid this supposed crime wave, the city has reduced the size of the police force, despite having a budget surplus.

If Hazleton’s illegal immigrants are prone to crime, they’re the exception. Despite the growth of illegal immigration in the last decade, crime rates have dropped sharply across the country. This may not be a coincidence. In every ethnic group, reports a recent study by Ruben Rumbaut and Walter Ewing for the American Immigration Law Foundation, young men born in the U.S. are far more likely to wind up in prison than those who come here later.

In Hazleton, as elsewhere, the main reason Latino foreigners come is to work and stay out of trouble. In fact, those qualities are the same ones that get them accused of stealing jobs. Even those immigrants who work off the books contribute to the economic health of local businesses by buying goods and services. Hazleton has seen an expansion of its tax base.

So it’s too simple to blame all the city’s newfound troubles on illegal immigrants.

Read the whole thing here.
Chapman argues that the anti-immigrant legislation does not reflect prejudice so much as the strain on local resources caused by the sudden influx of thousands of new residents. He calls on the federal government to stem the tide of immigrants.

But then Julia Vitello-Martin, writing in the Wall Street Journal, reports:

Mayor Lou Barletta argued that some 10,000 undocumented immigrants have ruined Hazleton’s quality of life: Violent crime has doubled in the past two years, unreimbursed medical expenses at local hospitals have jumped 60% and the annual school budget for teaching English as a second language has soared to $875,000 from $500. Yet business owners and landlords argued the opposite–that immigrants had revitalized Hazleton’s moribund economy, filling once-vacant apartments and patronizing once-declining businesses. As a result, Hazleton’s budget has been in the black for three years–a far cry from its $1.2 million deficit in 2000.

So apparently the influx has had a beneficial effect on local resources. Ms. Vitullo-Martin notes that this has been a general pattern in other cities that serve as immigrant destinations.

Read it here.

So, if it isn’t an upsurge in crime, or depletion of local resources, then what is left? Sheer prejudice? I think not.

A friend of mine from Hazleton explains:

[T]he thing is not the sheer number of crimes, but the types of crimes that were committed.  Very public ones, very frightening ones.  It was the couple of drive-by shootings and, I think especially, the melees and assaults and alleged rapes in public schools, and the brandishing of guns in playgrounds and malls.  There may  not have been all that many of these events, but their symbolic import is out of all proportion to their actual numbers:  they are the sorts of things that seem to indicate that anarchy is actually engulfing the place.  And the cultural issues matter, too.  It really does matter when people don’t bother to use garbage cans, and befoul neighborhoods that people had once at least tried to keep reasonably clean.  The loud music that makes sleep difficult, the smarmy sexual come-ons to unescorted women on the streets.  They matter.  They aren’t felonies.  In fact, they’re standard operating procedure in the barrios of San Juan.  But they matter.

Indeed they do! Behavior that outrages mainstream middle-class sensibilities is an important element in quality-of-life issues and a clash of cultures can explain a lot of the anti-immigrant reaction, but even this is something of a fantasy.
My friend writes:

I see Hazleton as a place where a lot of ordinary, middle-to-working class people wanted nothing other than to be allowed to live the way they had lived for years.

I’m sure that a lot of people see things that way. However, as Ms. Vitello-Martin, points out — change was already taking place before the immigrant influx. The downtowns of small cities were already hollowing out as businesses and people moved away, and rather than precipitating decline, immigrants were responding to it, flocking to places were property values and rents had already declined to the point where homes were now affordable even to recent arrivals in the country. Immigrants are being blamed for a decline that they did not cause, and to which they may well represent a solution.

So what we are left with is outraged sensibilities, and as my friend pointed out, they do matter. The question is, do they matter more than the aspirations of the newcomers and the economic revitalization they represent?

March 30, 2007 at 8:42 pm Comments (0)

Re: Getting Over Reagan

Alex,

So you’re the one!

That explains a lot.

March 30, 2007 at 7:22 pm Comments (0)

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