Immigration anniversary

May 6, 2010

Today is the anniversary* of our nation’s first** law generally governing immigration.

Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants from the United States for 10 years.

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 1 - National Archives

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 1 - National Archives

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 2 - National Archives

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, page 2 - National Archives

____________

*    I note the image says it was approved by President Chester Alan Arthur (who had succeeded to office after President James Garfield was assassinated a year earlier).  The New York Times calls May 6 the anniversary of Congress’s passing the law; if Arthur signed in on May 6, it was probably passed a few days earlier.  May 6 would be the anniversary of its signing into law.

**  The Chinese Exclusion Act was preceded by the Page Act of 1875, which prohibited immigration of “undesirable” people.  Who was undesirable?  “The law classified as undesirable any individual from China who was coming to America to be a contract laborer, any Asian woman who would engage in prostitution, and all people considered to be convicts in their own country.”  It was not applicable to many immigrants.  The Page Act was named after its sponsor, Rep. Horace F. Page of California.


Sources: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, and Trial

November 28, 2009

More than just as tribute to the victims, more than just a disaster story, the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire, and the following events including the trial of the company owners, lay out issues students can see clearly.  I think the event is extremely well documented and adapted for student projects.  In general classroom use, however, the event lays a foundation for student understanding.

A couple of good websites crossed my browser recently, and I hope you know of them.

Cartoon about 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, New York Evening Journal, March 31

1911 cartoon from a New York paper shows the owners dressed in dollar bills, holding shut the door that barred the safe exit of so many women during the fire. Courtesy UMKC Famous Trials site; New York Evening Journal, March 31, 1911

Events around the fire illuminate so much of American history, and of government (which Texas students take in their senior year):

  • Labor issues are obvious to us; the incident provides a dramatic backdrop for the explanation of what unions sought, why workers joined unions, and a sterling example of a company’s clumsy and destructive resistance to resolving the workers’ issues.
  • How many Progressive Era principles were advanced as a result of the aftermath of the fire, and the trial?
  • Effective municipal government, responsive to voters and public opinion, can be discerned in the actions of the City of New York in new fire codes, and action of other governments is clear in the changes to labor laws that resulted.
  • The case provides a dramatic introduction to the workings and, sometimes, misfirings of the justice system.
  • With the writings from the Cornell site, students can climb into the events and put themselves on the site, in the courtroom, and in the minds of the people involved.
  • Newspaper clippings from the period demonstrate the lurid nature of stories, used to sell newspapers — a working example of yellow journalism.
  • Newspapers also provide a glimpse into the workings of the Muckrakers, in the editorial calls for reform.
  • Overall, the stories, the photos, the cartoons, demonstrate the workings of the mass culture mechanisms of the time.

Use the sites in good education, and good health.


Vikings in America, before Columbus!

August 5, 2009

Homeland Defense in the 9th and 10th century European settlements in America - Aardvarchaeology

Homeland Defense in the 9th and 10th century European settlements in America - Aardvarchaeology

Re-enactors in Canada bring alive two periods of Swedish immigration to the Americas, the Viking experiments of the 9th and 10th centuries, and later, in the 19th century.

Story at Aardvarchaeology.

From Aard regular Christina Reid (she started commenting less than a week after the blog opened, bless her heart!), a few pictures from Mid-summer Eve at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre in Burnaby, British Columbia. Tina and her hubby are active in the Reik Félag reenactment group. And her brother is the singer of Viking/Tolkienian metallers Amon Amarth!

How do Canadian public school curricula treat these events?  They are all but completely missing from the normal world history and U.S. history texts we use in Texas — of course, the U.S. history texts generally ignore the other two nations of North America in all contexts.

The town I mostly grew up in, Pleasant Grove, Utah, had been settled in large part by Scandanavians who had joined Mormonism and then migrated to Utah.  Generally looked down upon by English descendants, they rebelled by voting our high school’s mascot as Vikings.  The Christiansens, Fugals, Christesons, Larssons, Andersons, Andersens and others probably would have  enjoyed the idea of a Viking re-enactment.

Those wily Canadians figure out so many ways to have fun and hide learning in the activity.

Young Viking couple in Canada, 9th or 10th century, or 21st century reenactors - image at Aardvarchaeology

Young Viking couple in Canada, 9th or 10th century, or 21st century reenactors - image at Aardvarchaeology


Justice Ginsburg errs, wonderfully

July 8, 2009

David Bernstein writing at the Volokh Conspiracy corrects Justice Ginsburgh.  She told a reporter for the New York Times that she thought nominee Sonia Sotomayor might be, when confirmed, the first justice who didn’t speak English as a first language at home.

Not so fast, Bernstein said.  In a wonderful and fun display of historical knowledge and research, suggests several justices from earlier appointments who spoke something other than English first.

  • Justice Louis Brandeis, German -
    “I’m not sure what language was primarily spoken in the Brandeis household, but I would guess German, based on the following information: Brandeis’s parents were German-speaking immigrants; Brandeis attended a German-language elementary school, the ‘German and English Academy;’ the school was co-founded by his father, suggesting that his father had great fondness for the German language and culture; and Brandeis spent two of his teenage years studying in Germany.”
  • Maybe Justice Arthur Goldberg, Yiddish -
    “It’s also possible that Arthur Goldberg’s parents, immigrants from a shtetl in Ukraine, spoke Yiddish at home.”
  • Justice Felix Frankfurter almost definitely, German -
    ” . . . a commenter points out that Felix Frankfurter’s family didn’t arrive in the U.S. from Vienna until Frankfurter was twelve years old.”
  • Justice Clarence Thomas, Gullah -
    ” . . . I remembered that Justice Thomas’s first language is Gullah, an Afro-English creole dialect”

Thomas spoke Gullah originally?  When we shared a wall on Senate staff (he on John Danforth’s staff, I on Orrin Hatch’s), we also shared lunch on a few occasions, and meetings on energy and environment issues.  I was struck by his great enunciation, the clear way that he used his nearly baritone voice to make English work.  I wonder whether he can still command Gullah — it’s got to be one of the most minority languages on Earth right now.  Fascinating.

Are there other Supreme Court justices who may have spoken a language other than English, first?  Historians?  Got candidates? Justice Warren Burger’s family was of German descent, and in Minnesota, when he was born, it would not have been uncommon for an entire town to have German as its primary language.  I haven’t found anything to suggest that’s the case, though. Justice William J. Brennan’s parents were Irish immigrants, so there is an outside chance they spoke some Gaelic dialect.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we could find another justice who served between 1840 and 1960 with German as a first language.

How about Cardozo, and a Sephardic dialect, or Portuguese?  Any justices of French descent?  Welsh descent?  Readers, help out!


Oh, this will get some attention at the water cooler

May 15, 2009

Scouting is one of the most vulnerable victims of wedge politics and attempts to polarize voters.  Even among veteran Scouts and Scouters, lines tend to get drawn over what the program should be doing.

Today the New York Times headlines a story, “Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and more.

It’s Explorers, a group which has been distanced from Boy Scouts by moving it to BSA’s Learning for Life programs.  These are not traditional Boy Scouts. I suspect that distinction, small as it is, will get blurred quickly.

It will be interesting to watch discussions about Scouts pictured with semi-automatic weapons and bullet-proof vests.

Exploring used to be more closely related to Scouting.  Exploring was for kids 14 years and older.  I belonged to an Explorer Post in Utah that specialized in kayaking (I was more active at the council level at the time), and I had the grand opportunity to work with a large Explorer Post affiliated with AMR Corp. (American Airlines), where some of our Scouts got significant time in aircraft simulators (in the good old days, when such machines had downtime).  It was a great program.

That was then.  Today, 14-21-year-old Scouts can join Venture Crews, which can be co-ed.  The old Exploring program you remember survives today mostly in Venturing.


Cultural geography mystery – What city is this?

November 12, 2008

I know the city, and I think there are barely enough clues here to figure this one out.  Let me say it is not Los Angeles, though the clues may have led one to figure that out.  I wonder if you can figure this out, or if maybe there are several places that fill this particular bill.

A friend notes in a recent e-mail:

Nothing quite like going into the nearest Vons (right across from the street from campus), hearing French spoken by two guys exiting the store, standing behind two German speakers, East German accent in line to be checked out by a clerk whose first language is Chinese, and hearing two guys rattling away in Russian in the next checkout line.  Oh–and this is after having lunch at the Vietnamese Pho/Banh joint in the same strip mall.
Do you know the city?  Or, do you know another city that fits this bill?
Tell us in comments.
________________
Answer is now in comments.

Immigrants learning English: Not so fast

October 22, 2008

Economics fans, pay attention:  Immigrants tend not to learn English when they move to America.  Moreover, they do well without it.

Greg Laden’s got a nice write up of a study on immigrants learning English.  I especially liked this story:

I once met … at a centenary celebration of some kind … the grandchild of a man who moved as a teenager from the old country to southern Wisconsin, ahead of his family, to learn the local customs, farming techniques, and language. After a few years in a small town in Wisconsin, his family arrived to start farming. The young man had indeed learned the local practices, the local farming techniques, and the local language. German. His family, arab speakers from Palestine, were well served by this young man because German was all they needed to get along in the US.

Not what the “English only” crowd wants to hear.

Here’s the citation on the study Greg Laden wrote about:

M. E. Wilkerson, J. Salmons (2008). “GOOD OLD IMMIGRANTS OF YESTERYEAR,” WHO DIDN’T LEARN ENGLISH: GERMANS IN WISCONSIN American Speech, 83 (3), 259-283 DOI: 10.1215/00031283-2008-020 [you'll need a paid subscription for the full text]


‘We don’t got no stinkin’ education. We don’t need no stinkin’ education!’

October 12, 2008

My family’s heritages are migrant and education. By that I mean that moving someplace else for a better life, and getting the kids into better schools, has been a tradition running back at least 6 generations. My paternal grandfather was a seaman in the British merchant marine. He married a woman in Guyana, then moved the family for a job in the stockyards in Kansas City, a better place to raise kids. His children became nurses, politicians, law enforcement officers, successful trucking magnates; his grandchildren are doctors, lawyers, nurses, business executives, and teachers — one Rhodes Scholar. I am second-generation American on my father’s side.

My maternal grandfather was a farmer of great skill. He moved from Provo, Utah, to the frontier town of Manila, Utah, then to Delta, then to Salt Lake City, in a quest for riches from farming. Deciding that wouldn’t work, he took a job with Utah Oil Co., a company that was eventually merged into Standard of Indiana and now, British Petroleum. His children all graduated from high school, except for the daughter lost in infancy. Several went on to college. They became construction company owners, contractors and engineers, railroad engineers, small company entrepreneurs and retailers. His grandchildren are physicians, lawyers, business executives, successful salesman, investors — and a couple of good old boys who scrape by (every family has some). My grandfather was second-generation from pioneers, people who moved their families west in wagons, or if necessary, on foot and pushcart. They were people who fought Indians sometimes, and died in those fights and in the migrations. They left legacies in the towns named after them, and in their records as educators — both my maternal grandparents were schoolteachers early on, many of their cousins were college professors, one a college president.

Education in our family was always viewed as a ladder to personal success, to a good life, if not always a key to economic well-being. Especially in the case of my maternal grandparents, there was great assistance from the Latter-day Saint emphasis on education.

If I had to typify their version of the American dream, certainly a huge part of that dream involved the kids getting educated well beyond their parents, and getting a better life as a result.

Education was a part of the American dream from pre-Revolution days. Foreign visitors often commented that in America the crudest of men read the newspapers and discussed politics with vigor and earnestness absent in other nations. Education was the cornerstone of freedom, in the view of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and as demonstrated by Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington.

Sometime in the 1980s, I think, the tide changed. Certainly the Reagan Revolution had something to do with it. Cuts in Pell Grants, the grants that got thousands of kids into college, were a signal that education was no longer valued as it once was. One by one the federal government stripped away some of the most important building blocks of our modern society, things like the GI Bill, which had provided America with a highly-trained, highly-skilled corps of engineers in the 1950s. Those engineers invented the infrastructure to our nation that now crumbles, and they invented the industrial processes, and sometimes the industries, that we now use daily. Transistors, which make computers possible on the scale we have today, were invented and developed into powerful “cogs” for machines that do what had not even been dreamed of 40 years earlier.

I can’t tell you exactly when the tide turned, but I can tell you when I first realized it had. After staffing the Senate Labor Committee for most of a decade, I escaped to the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, a good place for a budding environmental lawyer to work, I thought at the time. The chairman of the commission was Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander (now senator from Tennessee). Lamar had two big projects in Tennessee that he pinned his hopes for the state upon. Both were influenced in no small part by his work trying to recruit auto manufacturers to build production facilities in Tennessee.

Nissan and Toyota had levelled with him: Tennessee looked good, but for two things. First, there were few good ways to get products like automobiles out of the state to markets they needed to be sold in. Second, Tennessee’s education system wasn’t providing the highly-educated workers the car makers needed to run highly-sophisticated machinery in a fast-moving, just-in-time inventory system that produced high quality products at lowest cost.

Alexander responded with one initiative to build good roads out of Tennessee to major markets. He called that initiative “Good Roads.” He responded to the education needs with a program designed to plug money and support into Tennessee schools to improve education, bolstered by the report of the Excellence in Education Committee in 1983. He called that initiative “Good Schools.” In retrospect, those were good places to focus development efforts. Tennessee got at least one Japanese company to locate a plant there, and snagged the much-desired Saturn production plant of General Motors.

The Commission had some hearings in Tennessee. I was along on one of those hearings, and I was with Alexander when he was met by a Tennessee constituent who just wanted to talk to the governor. Alexander, being from Tennessee, hoping to keep his election chances good, and being a good governor, agreed to give the man and his wife a few minutes — I watched. The constituent complained about all the changes coming to Tennessee. He complained about the costs of the roads, and the costs of improving the schools. He worried about taxes, because, he said, he didn’t make a lot of money. Alexander assured him that his taxes would not rise much if any at all, and that especially the education part of the program would benefit all Tennesseans. “Do you have children?” Alexander asked the man.

He responded that he had two kids, both in their early teens. And then he said something that just stunned me: “You know, I’ve gotten by pretty good with my 8th grade education all these years, and I don’t see why my kids need to have any more than that. I’m not sure we need Good Schools.”

To Lamar Alexander’s everlasting credit — or shame, if you’re very cynical — he didn’t strike the man down. Alexander spent a few more minutes explaining the benefits the man’s children would have from better education, and he closed off telling about his meetings with car company executives who made it clear that they wanted to hire only good students who had graduated from good high schools, and maybe who had enough college that they could do the complex mathematics to run big machines. Alexander asked the man for his name and address, said his opinion was very important to him, and promised to get back in touch.

I suspect Alexander did contact the man later. His office tended to work very well on such matters as constituent contacts.

But I’ll wager he didn’t change the man’s opinion about education.

Sometime in the mid-1980s many Americans began to look on education as unnecessary, as expensive, and as “elitist” in a new, derogatory sense. Instead of education being something blue-collar workers hoped their children would earn, it became something blue collar workers felt oppressed by, somehow.

From that commission, I moved to the U.S. Department of Education, in Bill Bennett’s regime. Over the next few months I observed the same anti-education phenomenon playing out in debates about school reform in dozens of states. Then I got out of government and into private business, where education was demanded, and I only occasionally worried about the drama I had seen.

The past few weeks, especially since the nomination of Sarah Palin, have heightened my fears about the loss of the shared dream of better education for our children. It was part of the American psyche, woven into the fabric of our government from the “Old Deluder Satan” law in Massachusetts, which required towns of any size to set up some kind of school, through the Northwest Ordinances, which set aside sections of every township to be used for the benefit of public education, through the settlement of the west where nearly every town with a kid in it built a school — schools were built in Utah before many pioneers had houses to get them through the winter — through the dramatic rise of public education that helped knock out child labor, and that provided us with truly American armies and navies to get us out on top of two world wars.

Now comes conservative columnist David Brooks to explain how this process has been aided and abetted, if not intended, by the Republican Party, “The Class War Before Palin.”

In 1976, in a close election, Gerald Ford won the entire West Coast along with northeastern states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine. In 1984, Reagan won every state but Minnesota.

But over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.

Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts.

What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect.

It’s a sobering piece. Please read it.

We remain a nation of migrants, a nation that migrates. We remain a nation that desires economic success and is willing to move to get it. Have we lost the good sense to remember that education improves our chances at success? Does Brooks explain the entire motivation for the War on Education?

What do you think?


Query to historians: Material on German-American Internment in WWII?

June 14, 2008

Historians, help me out: What do you know about the internment of German Americans and Italian Americans during World War II?

The website of the German-American Internee Coalition lists several sources, and it has a lengthy set of lesson plans (too much for use in Texas, I fear). Is this information accurate? Has anyone used it in a classroom, and can you tell us your experience? Is there a mention of this in your world history or U.S. history text?

Please respond in comments.

Gate and guard tower at Fort Lincoln, ND, intern site for German-Americans and othersPhoto: At sunset, the gate and guard tower at Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, where German-Americans and Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. From the John Christgau Collection of photos; courtesy the site at the German-American Internee Coalition (GAIC).

Immigrants win Pennsylvania case: Hazleton’s anti-immigrant law struck down

July 26, 2007

News from the Pennsylvania ACLU (watch the right wing blogs explode, especially in Texas when they figure out the Farmers Branch ordinance is based on Hazleton’s ordinance, and that the judge in Pennsylvania used language similar to the TRO language used by the judge in Texas looking at the Farmers Branch ordinance) (text of press release and background from Pennsylvania ACLU):

Judge’s Decision Upholds Fair Treatment for All

“The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public. In that way, all in this nation can be confident of equal justice under its laws.” – Judge Munley’s Lozano v. Hazleton decision, pp. 188-189

In the first trial decision of its kind, a federal court has declared unconstitutional a local ordinance that sought to punish landlords and employers for doing business with undocumented immigrants. The landmark decision in the closely-watched challenge to Hazleton’s anti-immigrant ordinance held that the ordinance cannot be enforced.

ACLU Hazleton logo

“We are grateful the court recognized that municipal laws like those in Hazleton are unconstitutional. The trial record showed that these ordinances are based on propaganda and deception,” said Vic Walczak, Legal Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and a lead attorney in the case. “Hazleton-type laws are designed to make life miserable for millions of immigrants. They promote distrust of all foreigners, including those here legally, and fuel xenophobia and discrimination, especially against Latinos.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Quote of the moment: Immigration and economic growth

July 15, 2007

Immigrants’ Contribution to Economic Growth
“The pace of recent U.S. economic growth would have been impossible without immigration. Since 1990, immigrants have contributed to job growth in three main ways: They fill an increasing share of jobs overall, they take jobs in labor-scarce regions, and they fill the types of jobs native workers often shun. The foreign-born make up only 11.3 percent of the U.S. population and 14 percent of the labor force. But amazingly, the flow of foreign-born is so large that immigrants currently account for a larger share of labor force growth than natives (Chart 1).”

Foreign-born share of U.S. Labor Force and Labor Force Growth; Orrenius, Dallas FRB

Foreign-born share of U.S. Labor Force and Labor Force Growth; Orrenius, Dallas FRB

Foreign-born share of U.S. labor force and labor force growth

Pia M. Orrenius, senior economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Southwest Economy, Issue 6, November/December 2003, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas


Pre-July 4 special: “English only” video insults U.S. flag

June 29, 2007

Okay. I’ve had five or six people send me links to a YouTube video of Ron and Kay Rivoli singing “Press One for English.” Ha. Ha.

It’s a rant about language accommodations. Some Americans, free marketeers for the most part, get all buggy when confronted with a free market in language choices. America is becoming more global, marketing more goods in more places, and getting visited by more people. This growth in commerce brings things like American Airlines’ Spanish language reservations center (Who would have thought? When they can make reservations in Spanish, Spanish speakers buy a lot more airplane tickets.)

And Ron and Kay Rivoli put these fears into a song. Funny.

Can we talk? Can I pick a bone? Ron and Kay Rivoli insult the U.S. flag. They may not mean to do it, they may have done it unthinkingly — but that’s the problem with the whole rant: It’s all unthinking.

Here are the flag insults:

  1. 44 seconds into the video three servicemen are shown saluting the U.S. flag, displayed with the flag of California and the POW-MIA flag. Contrary to the Flag Code and good flag etiquette, the U.S. flag is in the center, rather than to its own right. A center display would be acceptable if the center flag pole were higher than the others — but in this case the U.S. flag’s pole is lower than the other two. Two flag insults at once.
  2. At 2:59 into the video, the flag is shown as cut into an agricultural field of some kind. The Flag Code specifies that the flag is never to be displayed flat. The flag should fly free. Since this flag is cut into a crop on the ground, it cannot be displayed properly. Further, it is generally considered poor etiquette to make representations of the flag out of things other than cloth.

This is all highly ironic. At 1:37 into the video, a scroll of the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote on English as the only language scrolls by. “We have room for but one flag, the American flag,” Roosevelt said (oops — there goes the POW-MIA flag). “We have room but for one language, and that is the English language,” Roosevelt continues.

They use the flag they insult as a model for going for one language? This makes no sense.

Do I pick nits? No, I think that every educated American should know the flag code, and should avoid insult to the U.S. flag at least, if not honor it correctly. I am not pedantic about a lot of things, but this is one.

Ron and Kay Rivoli, you owe America and its flag apologies. Get straight with the flag, before you ask me to insult the traditional languages and free enterprise heritage of our nation. If you want my support, don’t tread on the American flag when you ask it.

The Rivolis owe apologies to the U.S. flag. Will we see it?


Sweep of Civilizations: BBC interactive map

June 28, 2007

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) puts genius into their website — very often, it seems to me.

Go see this interactive map. It shows where civilizations or religions held sway, at a point in history you decide – and then projects forward to show how the group’s influence waxed and waned. Or plot two different groups, side-by-side.

Snapshot of Civilisations is a multi-dimensional picture of human history, where you’re in charge of the timeline.

It uses web technology to reveal the sweep of historical forces and the rise and fall of great empires and ideas over 5000 years in a way that no book could ever do.

And it does it your way. You can customise Civilisations to show you the things that interest you. The best way to understand Civilisations is to have a go.

Great bauble for world geography and world history courses — what sort of a warm-up exercise could you make with this, projecting it from your computer? What sort of homework could be made from this, for the kids to access on their own?

Gee, while you’re there, teachers: Take a look at the interactive quizzes on world religions — this could be a unit all to itself.  Hook up your computer, take the quizzes as a class, on that rainy day when you were supposed to go out to look at the school’s garden and you need a ten-minute, cultural filler that sticks to the state standards.  And look at this multifaith calendar.  You can use it for your daily “this day in history” feature; it’s useful for students doing projects on various religions.  Use some imagination.


Chief victim of global warming today: The U.S.

April 3, 2007

The Earth Policy Institute looks at numbers of people running from the effects of global warming and concludes that the U.S. has more global warming refugees than any other nation today, ironically. The U.S. is also the largest emitter of greenhouse gases blamed for the human component of global warming.

EPI estimates at least 250,000 people fled New Orleans and surrounding areas after Hurricane Katrina, in the single largest migration prompted by the effects of global warming.

In a press release, EPI’s president Lester R. Brown said:

Those of us who track the effects of global warming had assumed that the first large flow of climate refugees would likely be in the South Pacific with the abandonment of Tuvalu or other low-lying islands. We were wrong. The first massive movement of climate refugees has been that of people away from the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in late August 2005, forced a million people from New Orleans and the small towns on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts to move inland either within state or to neighboring states, such as Texas and Arkansas. Although nearly all planned to return, many have not.

Financial markets act as if global warming is a fact, even with a few deniers still hanging on and the Bush administration’s not moving very fast as if it were concerned: Insurance companies refuse to issue new policies for homes for people living in certain hurricane-prone areas.

The market has spoken: Global warming is a problem we need to act against.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Stolen Moments: A green digest.


Kid blogs for human rights, asks that kids be let out of U.S. jails

March 5, 2007

Really.

I can’t gloss this at all, and so far it checks out as presented. Political Teen Tidbits is a blog run by a bright young Texan with a conscience. She’s trying to draw attention to the bizarre cases that keep coming out of Texas’ immigration detention practices.

Political Teen Tidbits thinks we should let the 9-year-old Canadian kid out of jail. Go read the details — what do you think?


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