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Sunday, August 29, 2004

In the daily fishwrap

Today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram was full of interesting tidbits:
  1. In a continuing degradation of the English language, which likely has unintended consequences elsewhere, California's legislature passed a law allowing the state to grant driver's licenses to ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, as long as they pass a criminal background check. (story)

    Over the past decade more and more things have become what I term "optionally illegal," where the state decides whether behavior is truly worthy of prosecution. This has led to certain behaviors being treated less unacecceptable by society, such as adultery, lying under oath, murder, drug use, drunk driving, domestic violence, and so forth. What happens over time is that behavior that violates specific laws becomes "less" illegal, at least for certain individuals, and respect for the law is eroded.

    The lessons seems to be that illegal immigrants, at least in California, will not be deported or otherwise punished for violating the laws of the United States. I favor immigration, but if there are laws on the books then please enforce those laws. Otherwise society will continue to lose respect for the law, and the state. It is bad enough that we seem to generally fail to instill in American-born citizens a strong respect for the law and what it implies for personal behavior. It is worse that we are rewarding immigrants for disrespecting the law by the very means by which they get to this country.

  2. A long article on who gets to use the term "African-American" - American born descendents of slaves or those Africans who have immigrated to the United States. Black Africans often use the term African-American but the locals are arguing that only American descendents of African slaves get to use the term. Again, I ask whether words mean anything anymore. (story)

    Remember this? From CNN: Officials disciplined students who papered their nearly all-white high school with posters advocating a white student from South Africa for the school's "Distinguished African American Student Award." I am sure that the students in this nearly-all-white high school knew that the award's intentions were to award a black American. But the not-so-subtle point they were making, arguably, is that hyphenated American terms have less and less meaning in today's America, except for a select few groups.

    I am Polish-German-American, my daughter is now Polish-German-English-Flemish-American? Or is she just an American?

  3. Randy Galloway's commentary on the value of hosting the Cowboys suggests that Irving is still trying to figure out a way to keep the team in their town, ostensibly because of the all the tremendous publicity hosting the team provides the city. The last story published on anything dealing with Irving and a stadium deal was on August 5, 2004, and that story mentions that Irving city council agreed to talk with the county of Dallas about a stadium deal IF the Arlington proposal fails. This doesn't seem like the behavior of a city council dreading the loss of the Cowboys.

    The main reason Mr. Galloway suggests Arlington should build the stadium is that the Cowboys are consistently high draws for nation-wide television audience. This, in turn, is supposed to present Arlington to the world. However, Dallas Cowboy games presented on television today show the skyline of Dallas not the "skyline" of Irving. Arlington doesn't even have a skyline, unless you count the BankAmerica building, or perhaps the College of Business and Pickard Hall on the campus of UTA. So, what will the Monday Night Football programming crew want to show the folks of America? The skyline of Dallas, the skyline of Fort Worth (perhaps) or the skyline of Arlington? Will the folks at MNF extol the virtues of the bedroom community that graciously increased the value of the Cowboys franchise by about $300m? I doubt it.

    In the end, this is less a benefit to Arlington than many believe.

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