Monday, July 31, 2006

Sacraments on Saturdays

Sure, there are other big problems in the world today, but one that deserves its fair share of attention was recently addressed by Micah Hart in the Chicago Sports Review. Yep:

I am putting my foot down. There is an ever-growing crisis in this country, a problem of intolerance that gets stronger by the day. People are planning too many weddings without regard for the welfare of an important demographic -- the sports fan.

I know what you are going to say. You think a wedding should be about the happy couple, and they should choose the time that suits them best.

Wrong.

I am tired of having to miss my favorite games every year just because someone I know fell hopelessly in love in the preceding 12 months.

Heh. Hart gives three simple rules for engaged couples to follow: No getting married during college football season. No getting married during March Madness. No getting married during the Super Bowl. I have to say these are nice, common-sense rules, ones that I agree should be followed if at all possible. (Personally, I object less to March Madness weddings in theory, but given that's during Lent, Catholic weddings at least should usually not be happening then anyway.) In setting the date for our own wedding, my fiance and I originally were thinking to hold it this October 14 -- that being the date of Notre Dame's only bye week the whole fall. This is serious business. No games may be missed in ordinary times, still less during this new, great, Weis era. We did manage to persuade our priest of the importance of this date, and he was willing to politely humor us in our funny American football fanaticism (he's Swedish). In the event, we ended up having to push back until late winter -- but we're still avoiding playoffs and the Super Bowl. Well, my fiance is optimistic about da Bears this season . . .

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Experience over hope

Heather MacDonald has a very thought-provoking article in this quarter's City Journal, "Seeing Today's Immigrants Straight." The article offers a set of conservative principles to remind "open-border" conservatives (like the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal) why amnesty for today's mass of illegal immigrants would be a bad idea for America. In the course of setting these out, she presents a picture of the primarily Hispanic illegal immigrants that is harsher than the open-border advocates or immigration optimists (the latter of which I, like the President, might count myself among) like to admit to.

If someone proposed a program to boost the number of Americans who lack a high school diploma, have children out of wedlock, sell drugs, steal, or use welfare, he’d be deemed mad. Yet liberalized immigration rules would do just that. The illegitimacy rate among Hispanics is high and rising faster than that of other ethnic groups; their dropout rate is the highest in the country; Hispanic children are joining gangs at younger and younger ages. Academic achievement is abysmal.

Conservatives pride themselves on reality-based thinking that rejects utopian theories in favor of facts on the ground. Yet when it comes to immigration, they cling, against all contrary evidence, to the myth of the redeeming power of Hispanic family values, the Hispanic work ethic, and Hispanic virtue. Even more fanciful is the claim that it is immigrants’ children who constitute the real value to American society. The children of today’s Hispanic immigrants, in fact, are in considerable trouble.

The experience of people who don't want to follow the law, don't necessarily want to build lives here, don't have the types of family structures or values that really help keep their kids out of jail and in school, don't want to learn English, don't want to assimilate, is having negative effects on American society sociologically and economically. For some reason, it's a harder reality to acknowledge in light of my familiarity with other types of immigrant experiences, but what MacDonald points out is only too apparent. I find myself coming around to the view that the immigration laws (as convoluted and in need of reform as they can be) simply must be enforced as relates to illegal immigrants here. In particular for the Mexicans who have no intention of staying here except for being able to work freely, it seems the best place to start is with enforcement of the employment laws.

Sighs of relief

Congratulations to Anthony Rickey and all the other law graduates who have just survived the bar exam. That is definitely an accomplishment in itself! :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

The whole package

It's details like this that can make even pro-kid people like me (with four siblings, ten years of baby-sitting experience, and hopes to have multiple kids of my own) grimace:
Laurie Kramer, professor of applied family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has found that, on average, sibs between 3 and 7 years old engage in some kind of conflict 3.5 times an hour. Kids in the 2-to-4 age group top out at 6.3--or more than one clash every 10 minutes, according to a Canadian study.

Even if you take the resolute stance of "Work it out yourselves -- I don't want to hear about it," which obviates a lot of issues, that still works out to a lot of whining, crying, and yelling. It's a good thing most kids can be cute.