I'm enmeshed in a goodish bit of challenging and interesting work, which should equal and hopefully not exceed the two days before I leave for south Texas. Fortunately, the miracles of the internet and of laptop computers mean that I can always juggle in a little work effort during a long weekend if I need to do so.
I'm really excited to be heading back to the coast this weekend. We're going to Rockport, the same little coastal bend fishing town we visited during the New Year's.
We'll hike in places where we might see a colorful bird or two. We'll fish from piers and perhaps from one of those boats in which parties are taken asea for a reasonable but relatively nominal charge per head. We'll eat seafood, including the curious seafood boil place with the zydeco music where there are not plates per se, but only butcher paper upon which the drop the boiled plenty. We'll keep our eyes peeled for butterflies, and perhaps, if we are fortunate, a hummingbird or two. Perhaps we'll take a boat to do a dolphin watch.
I've been paging once more through the book "Music Composition for Idiots", which is quite useful if one is longing for diminished sixths (and, frankly, I am pleased that the author even devotes two pages to twelve-tone-composition), but less useful if one's question is "suggest some great quarter note rhythmic sections if I wish to program a sequencer to play a sample of flowing water as if it were a drum". I suppose one would not be experimenting if the book had already solved the question at hand.
I've been following the immigration debate in our legislative bodies with interest and yet with some puzzlement about the right answers amid competing concerns. The entire debate is tinged, and I almost said "ruined", by the needless racism displayed by a palpable minority of the more strident on one side of the issue. Locally, one of our suburbs took it upon itself through some "citizen initiative" to vote to do things to bar illegal immigrants from leasing property. The measures passed were apparently the same types of measures that other courts had already held were matters for the federal government to regulate and not individual munciipalities. The local federal court has already issued an injunction against its enforcement, and that city will no doubt end up with a huge, impressive and entirely avoidable legal bill for passing legislation that was pretty recognizable as flawed and unenforceable.
I wonder if the backers of the measure in the first instance, wild-eyed optimists all (I suspect) managed to mention, above all the anti-immigrant hoopla "oh, by the way, this symbolic gesture will be largely futile and will cost you x hundred thousand dollars and you really should talk to your congresspeople about passing legislation and not taking it upon yourselves this way".
I have a rather simple solution to propose to corporate America. As Mexico is the largest source of undocumented entrants into our country, we might focus on how to get
the Mexican economy to generate jobs. We could work to locate more factories with good jobs (and not maquiladora exploitation) in Mexico. We could solve the problem of our trade imbalance with China by trading much more with Mexico. We could target places like the state of Oaxaca to receive plants, to meet the needs of an impoverished population.
After all, doing business in China is anything but a cakewalk. Despite the mess that the PRI made of the Mexican economy,through decades of mismanagement and corruption, Mexico's business and legal system still are a marvel of simplicity as contrasted with China's.
I imagine a day when Mexico is a nation with twice as many active middle-class consumers as it has now. In this world, the local economies in Mexico generate enough jobs that people do not want to migrate to the United States. Our border regions no longer become
places in which people die in the desert. Our underground jobs economy no longer flourishes.
Such an initiative would not require too much government aid--aggressive tax breaks would probably work. I suspect that we could do wonders for the cost of about three weeks' operations in Iraq.
I suspect that individuals could make a difference, too, through seeking fair-trade-type goods from impoverished parts of Mexico.
Meanwhile, I find the Republican presidential race fascinating. First, three of the active candidates raised their hand that they do not believe in the theory of evolution. I am hopeful that subsequent debates ask questions which grip me, such as whether they believe the earth is round and whether they believe that the earth is more than six thousand years old. A talking-head conservative last night on television disparaged all the right-wing candidates as not conservative enough, and the palpable bite of her tongue as she tried to avoid saying Romney was too LDS for her made her own prejudices as plain as day. Meanwhile, I think many of the left over-reacted a bit to Mr. Falwell's passing, as ghoulish celebration about the passing of the fellow is, to me, a bit beyond the point.
I also think the Democrats are misplaying the war funding bills. I do not wish to see a toehold gained by the right in the coming election over a "fund the troops" issue. Fortunately, thus far in 2007 the public sees Mr. Bush for what he is--if only it had done so two general elections ago.
In a better world, Mr. Bush would be deep-sea fishing in Rockport, Texas, and a more capable administration would be running our government.