Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heavy Snow Keeps Falling in Buffalo Area, Straining Nerves and Roofs - NYTimes.com

Heavy Snow Keeps Falling in Buffalo Area, Straining Nerves and Roofs - NYTimes.com:



 "LANCASTER, N.Y. — Jack Fasanella and Pattie Higgins had not seen another soul, aside from each other, for days."



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Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics - NYTimes.com

Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — All but drowned out by Republicans’ clamorous opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration are some leaders who worry that their party could alienate the fastest-growing group of voters, for 2016 and beyond, if its hottest heads become its face."



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Suffer Little Children by Paul Krugman

The Tenement Museum, on the Lower East Side, is one of my favorite places in New York City. It’s a Civil War-vintage building that housed successive waves of immigrants, and a number of apartments have been restored to look exactly as they did in various eras, from the 1860s to the 1930s (when the building was declared unfit for occupancy). When you tour the museum, you come away with a powerful sense of immigration as a human experience, which — despite plenty of bad times, despite a cultural climate in which Jews, Italians, and others were often portrayed as racially inferior — was overwhelmingly positive.
I get especially choked up about the Baldizzi apartment from 1934. When I described its layout to my parents, both declared, “I grew up in that apartment!” And today’s immigrants are the same, in aspiration and behavior, as my grandparents were — people seeking a better life, and by and large finding it.
That’s why I enthusiastically support President Obama’s new immigration initiative. It’s a simple matter of human decency.
That’s not to say that I, or most progressives, support open borders. You can see one important reason right there in the Baldizzi apartment: the photo of F.D.R. on the wall. The New Deal made America a vastly better place, yet it probably wouldn’t have been possible without the immigration restrictions that went into effect after World War I. For one thing, absent those restrictions, there would have been many claims, justified or not, about people flocking to America to take advantage of welfare programs.
Furthermore, open immigration meant that many of America’s worst-paid workers weren’t citizens and couldn’t vote. Once immigration restrictions were in place, and immigrants already here gained citizenship, this disenfranchised class at the bottom shrank rapidly, helping to create the political conditions for a stronger social safety net. And, yes, low-skill immigration probably has some depressing effect on wages, although the available evidence suggests that the effect is quite small.
So there are some difficult issues in immigration policy. I like to say that if you don’t feel conflicted about these issues, there’s something wrong with you. But one thing you shouldn’t feel conflicted about is the proposition that we should offer decent treatment to children who are already here — and are already Americans in every sense that matters. And that’s what Mr. Obama’s initiative is about.
Who are we talking about? First, there are more than a million young people in this country who came — yes, illegally — as children and have lived here ever since. Second, there are large numbers of children who were born here — which makes them U.S. citizens, with all the same rights you and I have — but whose parents came illegally, and are legally subject to being deported.
What should we do about these people and their families? There are some forces in our political life who want us to bring out the iron fist — to seek out and deport young residents who weren’t born here but have never known another home, to seek out and deport the undocumented parents of American children and force those children either to go into exile or to fend for themselves.
But that isn’t going to happen, partly because, as a nation, we aren’t really that cruel; partly because that kind of crackdown would require something approaching police-state rule; and, largely, I’m sorry to say, because Congress doesn’t want to spend the money that such a plan would require. In practice, undocumented children and the undocumented parents of legal children aren’t going anywhere.

The real question, then, is how we’re going to treat them. Will we continue our current regime of malign neglect, denying them ordinary rights and leaving them under the constant threat of deportation? Or will we treat them as the fellow Americans they already are?
The truth is that sheer self-interest says that we should do the humane thing. Today’s immigrant children are tomorrow’s workers, taxpayers and neighbors. Condemning them to life in the shadows means that they will have less stable home lives than they should, be denied the opportunity to acquire skills and education, contribute less to the economy, and play a less positive role in society. Failure to act is just self-destructive.
But speaking for myself, I don’t care that much about the money, or even the social aspects. What really matters, or should matter, is the humanity. My parents were able to have the lives they did because America, despite all the prejudices of the time, was willing to treat them as people. Offering the same kind of treatment to today’s immigrant children is the practical course of action, but it’s also, crucially, the right thing to do. So let’s applaud the president for doing it.

President, Daring Congress, Moves to Overhaul Immigration - NYTimes.com

President, Daring Congress, Moves to Overhaul Immigration - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants."



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Historic!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

‘Extreme’ Snowstorm Pummels Western New York - NYTimes.com

‘Extreme’ Snowstorm Pummels Western New York - NYTimes.com:



"LANCASTER, N.Y. — A powerful snowstorm has swept across western New York, creating snow drifts as high as houses, trapping people in their homes and forcing hundreds of motorists to abandon their cars on roadways that were quickly buried in the blizzard-like conditions."



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Monday, November 17, 2014

‘Interstellar’: The Cinema of Physicists - NYTimes.com

‘Interstellar’: The Cinema of Physicists - NYTimes.com:



 "The Earth is a dying dust bowl where a blight is destroying all the crops and oxygen. Schoolchildren are being taught that the moon landings were faked to bankrupt the Russians, and NASA is a secret agency consisting of a dozen scientists huddling underground. The Yankees are a barnstorming troupe who play games in cornfields and let ground balls go through their legs."



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Mega-Mergers Popular Again on Wall Street - NYTimes.com

Mega-Mergers Popular Again on Wall Street - NYTimes.com:



 "Stocks are surging, corporate executives are ambitious and debt is cheap. The result is one of the biggest booms ever in mergers and acquisitions."



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NYT Science Video

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tamales in Warrenville!

I'm happy to report that my wife and I, had good tamales this morning!

She didn't even have to cook. We have some entrepreneurial neighbors who did it for us. They mainly sell ice cream, with Michoacan recipes. We don't like Oberweis, we prefer La Super Michoacana. Besides, Mr. Oberweis is good to run for office, and he has the habit of loosing, but he doesn't have a clue on how to speak Spanish, and even less, and how to make tamales, and atole. 

Granted, Mr. Oberweis got to DuPage County before we did. Nevertheless this is a democratic country, and my wife and I, like to have options.

¡Todos Unidos con Tamales Calientitos!

When Government Succeeds - NYTimes.com

When Government Succeeds - NYTimes.com:



 "The great American Ebola freakout of 2014 seems to be over. The disease is still ravaging Africa, and as with any epidemic, there’s always a risk of a renewed outbreak. But there haven’t been any new U.S. cases for a while, and popular anxiety is fading fast."



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Alexander Grothendieck, Math Enigma, Dies at 86 - NYTimes.com

Alexander Grothendieck, Math Enigma, Dies at 86 - NYTimes.com:



"Alexander Grothendieck, whose gift for deep abstraction excavated new ground in the field known as algebraic geometry and supplied a theoretical foundation for the solving of some of the most vexing conundrums of modern mathematics, died on Thursday in Ariège, in the French Pyrenees. He was 86."



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Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico - NYTimes.com

A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico - NYTimes.com:



"MEXICO CITY — The fate of 43 college students missing and presumed killed and burned to ashes in a mass abduction in September has bred ire and indignation in many corners of Mexico."



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Friday, November 14, 2014

Meet Kip Thorne, the Man Who Crafted the Artful Science of ‘Interstellar’ - The Daily Beast

Meet Kip Thorne, the Man Who Crafted the Artful Science of ‘Interstellar’ - The Daily Beast:



"Legendary physicist Kip Thorne responds to Interstellar's critics, praises Anne Hathaway’s ability to geek out, and chats about his bromance with Stephen Hawking."



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Obama’s Moves Defying Label of Lame Duck - NYTimes.com

Obama’s Moves Defying Label of Lame Duck - NYTimes.com:



 "WASHINGTON — President Obama emerged from last week’s midterm election rejected by voters, hobbled politically and doomed to a final two years in office suffering from early lame-duck syndrome. That, at least, was the consensus in both parties. No one seems to have told Mr. Obama."



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China, Coal, Climate - NYTimes.com

China, Coal, Climate - NYTimes.com:



"It’s easy to be cynical about summit meetings. Often they’re just photo ops, and the photos from the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, which had world leaders looking remarkably like the cast of “Star Trek,” were especially cringe-worthy. At best — almost always — they’re just occasions to formally announce agreements already worked out by lower-level officials."



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‘Rosewater,’ Directed by Jon Stewart - NYTimes.com

‘Rosewater,’ Directed by Jon Stewart - NYTimes.com:



 "Among its virtues, “Rosewater,” the directorial debut of Jon Stewart, is an argument for filmmakers to start their trade after they’ve looked beyond the limits of their own horizons. This fictional movie tells the story of the real Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-born journalist living in London who was arrested in Iran while covering the 2009 elections for Newsweek. Accused of being an agent for foreign intelligence organizations, he was thrown into the Evin Prison, where he was interrogated and beaten, partly for the surreal reason that he had appeared on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Mr. Stewart’s interest in the material is obviously personal, but his movie transcends mere self-interest."



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Comet Landing Bumpier Than First Thought - NYTimes.com

Comet Landing Bumpier Than First Thought - NYTimes.com:



 "This historic landing of a spacecraft on a comet on Wednesday turned out to be not one but three landings as the lander hopped across the surface."



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Lower Oil Prices Give a Lift to the American Economy - NYTimes.com

Lower Oil Prices Give a Lift to the American Economy - NYTimes.com:



"American consumers are going to enjoy a more bountiful Christmas this year, thanks in part to a most unlikely source: Saudi Arabia."



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Obama Plans to Avert 5 Million Deportations, Officials Say - NYTimes.com

Obama Plans to Avert 5 Million Deportations, Officials Say - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan."



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