27 August, 2007

Who Would Jesus Deport?

Elvira Arellano was arrested and deported by ICE agents at around 2pm PST on Monday, August 20. The Trib did a thorough piece on it. I've been following this story since she sought sanctuary at Adalberto Methodist Church in Humboldt Park. I think that this issue throws the entire immigration debate into sharp relief. This particular situation is catalytic for pundits on all sides of the issue (and there are definitely more than 2 sides...which is in part why we have no comprehensive legislation as of yet). It is an issue of sovereignty. Our a priori conceptions of nation-statehood and humanity come directly into play. Those more inclined to weigh human life over the wishes of the overarching political organization tend to support Elvira, while those who believe strongly in the priority of laws (existing for the purpose of order, privilege, etc) generally condemn her actions. It's the classic divide between a belief in the flourishing of all peoples and the belief that discipline is the foundational element of governance. The difficulty in this for me is my history of political thought. I have fully thrown myself into both camps and the result is a deep empathy that prevents me from crossing the Rubicon.

As a Christian, I must remember that my allegiance does not lie by default with a nation-state. My first duty is not to a construct of man. In the larger picture, borders and quotas and laws help the functioning of the whole, but I do not take issue with their existence (while less than ideal), I disagree with the present methods and policies that divide families unnecessarily. My Christian identity allows me to disconnect myself from the tyranny of paradigm.  One could argue she is protesting an unjust system of laws designed to protect the interests of those in power. Cynicism in this process runs both ways. Weighing the options, I think that what she is doing is noble.

While looking at different perspectives on this issue, I ran across the following videos.

The first: Glenn Beck

linked from Diggers Realm

and the second: Tribute to Elvira Arellano and her son Saul

from Elvira's Song.

"Everyone knew it was probably a question of when, not if. It just makes me feel really sad because she knows she's looking at time in prison."
        -Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
I met that guy during Wheaton in Chicago. He was holding a press conference on the first of the ICE actions in Chicago. The irony here is that I wanted to meet Elvira, but I went to LA instead...where she was arrested.

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24 August, 2007

You know you want this

This may be superfluous, but I find myself strangely attracted to it. What a bargain! You get a harddrive AND the compleat New Yorker. Housewarming Present? Happy 23rd?

Free Engraving!

In other news, Wired has a great story on the new Cyberwar that just exploded in Estonia. I used to picture myself as a hacker, when I barely knew a thing really. The piece gives us luddites (by comparison) a view into the l334(elite) hacker world.

21 August, 2007


I used to live here. (Christianity Today Article on Emmaus and John Green)

Virtual Virus Runs Amok in WoW (Scientists and Epidemiologists want to study the players' reactions as a case study for an actual pandemic)

Andrew is in Japan. (We went to church/school together)

25% of Americans read no books last year. (It's the end of our society...)

Chávez Spills on London: Cheap Oil for Expertise. (Would this have happened with Chicago if Daley had accepted the oil offer?

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20 August, 2007

Rock Star Economics

This isn't exactly the forefront of news right now, but I've wanted to talk about it for a while; African Debt Relief/Live Aid/Make Poverty History. I am increasingly uncomfortable with the entire concert buzzed hype. Stephen Marshall has a great post on the whole topic. When the whole G-8 Debt forgiveness campaign came out, I was young, idealistic and convinced that imperialistic debt was Africa's main economic problem. I remember celebrating with a near-sighted xanga post when the G8 promised to cancel that debt. Apparently, I understood the complex economic issues with the same aplomb as highly popular music stars who hire other people to manage their money. We listened to the musicians because they related to us, they made themselves accessible and hip. They used language we could understand and never wore 3 piece suits. It turns out there are strings attached to accepting this debt relief. Not only are the nations expected to remove tariffs that protect their markets, but they are encouraged to privatize their electric, water, transportation and many of their natural resources. Nothing about democracy or stable ownership laws are mentioned. There is nothing designed to make these countries more stable or predictable, increasing trading confidence. I suppose one cannot expect the largest money movers in the world to simply roll over to "popular sentiment." They still plan to make their money somehow.

Here's not the first lesson I should learn from this: Don't trust celebrities.

18 August, 2007

P to the ASA, D to the ENA

At the drop of a Dodgers Hat, I flew to LA on Wednesday. I'm staying with Rudy Carrasco and helping out around Harambee. I will be acting as his Shadow for 2 more weeks, trying to get a handle on what it takes to be him. It has been two years since my last moment up here and everyone grew up. Kids I taught are on Junior Staff now, babies are walking, Jeremiah is still the same height, Karl got a new car, Flo got married (to Curtis), and of the corner store only a burned first floor hulk remains. It is wonderful to be back and things seem so different. It may be that I have learned a thing or two in 2 years and my perspective is more nuanced than before...or maybe it's just life.

I have been driving to the airport a lot. Perhaps the secret to navigating the intricate maze of LA freeways will be granted to me from on high at some point. I finally got to drive down the 110 South at 4 am. That's a dream I had from before I could drive. This time was in a minivan; not quite the road-hugging coupe I'd pictured but it still had great pickup.

This marks the end of my post-grad shiftless independence. From working out here, I go directly into 35-40 hours a week at a responsible job. It's nice to mark the end of an era. For the first time that I can remember, I am not shopping for binders and pens. I am very happy to be out of Chicago for the return-to-school rush. I won't be around for the mass pilgrimage back to the 'ol alma mater.

Rudy and I were in his office working, or trying to, and he was playing music off his computer. All of a sudden Abba's "Dancing Queen" escaped his carefully tuned mac. In a fit of embarrassment, he quickly switched to "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC, but the damage was done. I decided to 'out' him on my blog. Nothing personal man, I just figured I needed a funny anecdote to convince people I was actually here. My most embarrassing song: Honkytonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins.