Radio Kill the Immigration Bill

  • Via Think Progress, a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that Talk Radio played a significant part in killing Immigration Reform.  In the second quarter, Immigration was the #1 topic on conservative talk radio.

    If media attention translates into political pressure, the argument
    that talk radio helped kill the immigration bill in Congress has some
    support in the data. Thanks to energetic opposition from Rush Limbaugh,
    Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, immigration
    was the biggest topic, at 16%, on conservative talk radio in the second
    quarter. (Liberal radio hosts were much quieter.) In the media overall
    immigration was the fourth-biggest story of the quarter, tripling its
    level from the first three months of the year.

  • Republic of T alerts us to an interesting project dedicated to ensuring accurate and up to date information on hate crimes in Wikipedia.  For many, Wikipedia is a first-source on topics with which we are unfamiliar.  Terrance's project is an interesting way to influence the debate online.  It's particularly interesting in the flurry of activity we've seen lately by corporations, government agencies, and even news organizations to distort the information on Wikipedia for financial or political gain.
  • Bush is planning to enact strict rules on the SCHIP program that will deny millions of children health care coverage.
  • The Washington Post has an interesting article today on the rift in black churches over gay unions.
  • To the surprise of no one, Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo is exploiting the recent shootings in Newark to drive up anti-immigrant sentiment.
  • Jack and Jill  Politics has an interesting piece asking if Russell Simmons and Diddy can be further drawn into supporting progressive causes.

Robert Putnam Speaks Out On Diversity

  • Over at Open Left, Jennifer Fernandez Ancona interviews Robert Putnam about his new research on social capital, which conservative activists are distorting to support their agenda:

    "We are going to become more diverse, and it's great, with lots of
    long-term benefits," Putnam said. "But in the short term, adjusting to
    diversity is not a simple matter."

    The latter part of his statement is what much of the traditional media
    - egged on by right-wing conservatives who have distorted the findings
    to fit their nativist, anti-immigrant agenda - has focused on. But
    Putnam said there is a lot for progressives to learn from the data.

    The core of the research shows that people who live in more diverse
    neighborhoods tend to "hunker down." It's not the same as conflict,
    Putnam said, but it's a phenomenon of everyone pulling in and trusting
    each other less. It's true for everyone, he said - all racial groups,
    rich and poor, younger people as well as older folks. "It means you
    volunteer less, give to charity less, have fewer friends and are less
    likely to work on community projects," Putnam said. "The only things
    that go up are protests/marches, and TV watching." The statistical
    analysis Putnam and his team conducted did take into account outside
    factors like economics and the different nature of cities and suburbs.
    Through it all, he still found a higher correlation of diversity and
    "hunkering down."

    Which brings Putnam to the progressive opportunity to help nurture
    these increasingly diverse neighborhoods and communities for long-term
    social change.

  • Immigration News Daily has two important stories today.  The first notes that Hazelton, whose anti-immigration ordinances were struck down as unconstitutional, is set to give it another try.  The second notes that Elvira Arellano, the immigrant who had sanctuary in a Chicago church for almost 1 year, was deported to Mexico this weekend when she was arrested outside an LA Church where she was campaigning for immigration reform.
  • Finally, The Progressive State's Network sent out an excellent newsletter on health care disparities today.  The Opportunity Agenda's work on hospital closures in NYC merited a mention.  You can read the whole newsletter here.

Economic Opportunity Hot in the Primary States

The ONE Campaign has conducted a poll of likely Iowa Caucus-goers, and the results are extremely encouraging for those working on issues of economic opportunity and mobility:

More than nine in ten Iowa Democrats (93%) agree it is in keeping
with the country’s values and history of compassion to lead an effort
to solve some of the most serious problems facing the world’s poorest
people. The ONE Poll–Iowa also found that more than eight in ten
Democrats (86%) agree that reducing poverty, treating
preventable diseases and improving education in poor countries will help make the world safer and the United States more secure.

When it comes to addressing these issues, more than eight in ten
Democrats (82%) would be more likely to vote for a candidate who
supports reducing by half the number of the people who live in extreme
global poverty and suffer from hunger.

The poll found that 30% of Iowa caucus-goers favor John Edwards for
president in 2008. Hillary Clinton is favored by 22% of Democrats,
Barack Obama by 18% and Bill Richardson by 13%.


Texans Say No To Border Fence - Hands Across El Rio

  • Marissa Trevino of Latina Lista moonlights at FireDogLake with this excellent post about Texans who oppose the Border Fence and what they're doing about it (some very cool activism, it turns out).
  • The Chicago Tribune profiles Elvira Arellano, who some are calling the immigrant community's Rosa Parks.
  • Time, meanwhile, profiles two immigrant children threatened with deportation, and how their friends - using social networking sites and a little help from the Florida Immigration Coalition - kept them in-country and fighting for passage of the DREAM Act.

A Desegregation Hero

Our Executive Director, Alan Jenkins, has a new article up at Tom Paine in which he recounts a party honoring Judge Robert L. Carter and the implications of the recent Supreme Court cases in two voluntary school integration cases.

Last week I had the privilege of attending a tribute to a genuine American hero. The event honored Judge Robert L. Carter,
a prime architect of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation
cases, a distinguished jurist, and a constitutional visionary. He
turned 90 this year and marked his 35th year as federal district court
judge sitting in New York City.

The evening's hosts were Theodore Shaw of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Professor Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute,
and renowned defense attorney Ted Wells. The crowd included a
remarkable assemblage of civil rights lawyers and luminaries, from
prominent figures like Lani Guinier and Derrick Bell to lesser-known
legal stars like Norman Chachkin and Judith Reed who, collectively,
have helped to transform American society through the lens of our
Constitution and laws.

The timing of the event was apt, as it came just weeks after the
Supreme Court's decision in voluntary school integration cases from
Louisville, Ky. and Seattle, Wash. The Court split 4-1-4, with Justice
Anthony M. Kennedy's controlling opinion endorsing affirmative efforts
to promote integration while narrowing the ways in which race may be
considered in doing so.


The New Anti-Immigration Talking Point?

Update: And on cue, Newt Gingrich is already deploying the talking point.

As I'm sure many readers are aware, there was a horrible tragedy in Newark New Jersey this week, where four college students were gunned down.  The perpetrator looks to be an individual who entered the country illegally.  Unfortunately, this tragedy may be the latest talking point in the anti-immigration movement's arsenal. 

Strangely, this reminds me of a fight between Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, of all people:

I cringe to say it, but Geraldo is dead right.  There's no causal relationship between the perpetrator's immigration status and the crime committed.  Murder is murder, and immigration status has nothing to do with it. 

How can we counter what will surely be an attempt by anti-immigration advocates to exploit this for their political ends?


Republican YouTube Debate and Race

A number of media outlets are reporting that the Republican version of the YouTube debate is back on and will take place in November.  The Democratic Debate didn't do a good job in dealing with race, maybe this one will be better.  Pop + Politics has already pulled out a couple questions that might make for an interesting evening:


Blogosphere Diversity and the Effectiveness of Internet Action

Blogosphere Diversity remains the topic du jour this Monday (unless you want to talk about the upcoming Rove resignation), though there are a number of other important posts to read as well:

  • Angry Black Woman ponders the effectiveness of blogging as a way to help eliminate racism.  Is blogging so much talk, or is it another form of doing
  • At ColorLines, Daisy Hernandez asks if you can iChat your way to Social Change, in an excellent piece about media consumption habits and activism among people of color.
  • The Field Negro weighs in on this issue as well, with a lot of more about diversity in the blogosphere and the larger conversation that is (at times very indelicately) taking place.
  • Linda Seger at Huffington Post adds gender discrimination into the mix.
  • JaninSanFran wrrites about the danger of anecdotes in media reporting - an interesting piece on how personal stories can frame or misframe an issue.
  • Jack and Jill Politics has an excellent post about health care equity and access vs. quality of care.
  • Finally, Facing South continues its coverage of the Jena 6.

America Needs Immigrants

Our friends at the New York Immigration Coalition have a video up on YouTube about why Immigrants are important to America:


Alien Absconders and the Downside of Diversity

Two thoroughly ridiculous, yet important, pieces to check out today:

  • The New York Times reports on plans by President Bush to crack-down on undocumented workers.  It's yet another consequence of the failure to pass comprehensive reform - we're now stuck with piecemeal "solutions" that often reflect the desire to punish immigrants without offering any real, workable solutions to our broken immigration system.  On the language tip, I hope that the Right makes a habit of switching from their typical "illegal alien" to John Cornyn's neologism: "alien absconder," which sound both non threatening and highly ridiculous.  I'd laugh if the consequences weren't so high for so many.
  • In another story thoroughly deserving of some serious pushback from progressives, Robert Putnam, famous for his description of "the decline of social capital" in his book Bowling Alone, has released the results of a new study, and the findings are likely to result in an unfortunate PR boon to conservatives. In the study, Putnam describes what he calls "the downside of diversity."  Shorter version: mixed race communities have lower social capital.  People vote less, trust their neighbors less, etc.  The conservative response will be simple: "We told you so." (Putnam is already getting accolades from the likes of David Duke).

    Here's the thing - the findings aren't quite so easily interpreted.  Here's why:

    • Even if true, diversity is still offers it's own positive values (which Putnam does mention).  The findings only underscore the need for us to work harder to overcome our prejudices and erase the negative aspects that are in fact to be expected in a country still struggling with race.
    • The findings  essentially boil down to this - stable neigborhoods (dominated by one race/ethnic group) have tighter social bonds while neighborhoods in transition don't.  That's not surprising, and when the neighborhoods stabilize again (one hopes in a diverse mix), social capital will again rise.
    • Putnam is only sampling Americans, who have a long history of racial tension.  These findings may not hold in other places with less divisive racial history.

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