ARIZONA

You know all that unprecedented violence on the border? According to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, it’s pretty wildly overblown:

. . . the entire premise of the Arizona immigration law is a fallacy. . . .

Last year gave us death panels and granny killings, but compared with the nonsense justifying the immigration crackdown, the health-care debate was an evening at the Oxford Union Society.

Two months ago, the Arizona Republic published an exhaustive report that found that, according to statistics from the FBI and Arizona police agencies, crime in Arizona border towns has been “essentially flat for the past decade.” For example, “In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Last year, despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes.” The Pima County sheriff reported that “the border has never been more secure.”

FBI statistics show violent crime rates in all of the border states are lower than they were a decade ago — yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is “the worst I have ever seen.” President Obama justifiably asserted last week that “the southern border is more secure today than any time in the past 20 years,” yet Rush Limbaugh judged the president to be “fit for the psycho ward” on the basis of that remark.

. . . there is McCain — second only to [Governor Jan] Brewer in wrecking Arizona tourism — telling NBC, ABC and CNN that Phoenix is the “No. 2 kidnapping capital of the world,” behind only Mexico City. “False,” judged Politifact . . .

Next, there’s Brewer’s claim that “the majority” of people immigrating illegally “are coming here and they’re bringing drugs, and they’re doing drop houses and they’re extorting people and they’re terrorizing the families. That is the truth.” No, it isn’t. The Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector has apprehended more than 170,000 undocumented immigrants since Oct. 1, but only about 1,100 drug prosecutions have been filed in Arizona in that time.

. . . Brewer . . . should screw her head back on and start telling Americans the truth.

MASSACHUSETTS

You’ve doubtless seen that Judge Joseph Tauro, a 79-year-old Nixon appointee, could find no rational basis for the Federal government to deny married gay couples the same benefits as any other couples. “Equal rights under the law,” and all that fundamental American stuff.

The implications of his ruling on actual flesh-and-blood people?

Herb Burtis lost his spouse, John, after 60 years together [reports GLAD]. Now, his already limited income is severely reduced because the federal government denies him the $700 a month that would come with Social Security survivor benefits.

Judge Tauro saw that getting rid of DOMA will make a real difference in Herb’s life, and in the lives of so many families.

“An end to DOMA would mean I could add my spouse to the family health plan I’m already paying for,” says plaintiff Nancy Gill. “The extra cost of Marcelle’s health insurance is money we could really use in raising our two children. I’m gratified that Judge Tauro understood that, and also saw that it’s not right for the federal government to tell us – and our children – that we aren’t equal.”

☞ It’s fine for religious orders to discriminate – as they widely did in supporting slavery, in supporting the miscegenation laws under which Justice and Mrs. Clarence Thomas would not have been permitted to marry, and in supporting the subjugation of women. Separation of church and state is also fundamentally American. But the government? The government should not discriminate.

Democrats overwhelmingly get that. (Here’s one – making a speech not to be missed.)

Republicans eventually will.

Some, like Laura Bush, Cindy McCain, and – Lord help us – Dick Cheney, already do.

THE MILKY WAY

Dick Theriault: “Skeptical Matt from Friday’s column can rest easy. The pictures are real, gleaned from many sources (not all from Hubble). The suspect Slide #28 is a composite, derived from hundreds, maybe thousands of other pictures that helped define the structure of our galaxy. Hubble doesn’t ‘fly out and shoot back at the galaxy.’ We’re pretty far out toward the edge of one arm of the galaxy, so it’s able to get pretty complete pictures of the whole as seen from the edge. What Hubble DOES do is get pictures of other complete galaxies, which help us understand the structure of our own. Matt might get some understanding of pictures of the Milky Way from this. (Number 29 is a graphic representation, not a photo, of a black hole; and #30 is an actual photo of a very distant galaxy structured like ours. The slide show contains photos and graphics, and needs to be viewed with understanding, not expectation of literal accuracy.) Richard Vroman is right about the Astronomy Picture of the Day. It is always awesome, whether from Hubble or some other source, and though Matt may find it hard to accept, the pictures give a pretty good idea of our relative place in the scheme of things.”

 

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