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Small town America's war on the undocumented

Immigration - Illegal Immigrants - Labor - Families and Family Life - Illinois - Carpentersville - New York Times

This is by Alex Kotlowitz, who wrote some tremendous books about poverty, race and education in the St. Louis area.

It’s in places like Carpentersville where we may be witnessing the opening of a deep and profound fissure in the American landscape. Over the past two years, more than 40 local and state governments have passed ordinances and legislation aimed at making life miserable for illegal immigrants in the hope that they’ll have no choice but to return to their countries of origin. Deportation by attrition, some call it. One of the first ordinances was passed in Hazleton, Pa., and was meant to bar illegal immigrants from living and working there. It served as a model for many local officials across the country, including Sigwalt and Humpfer. On July 26, a federal judge struck down Hazleton’s ordinance, but the town’s mayor, Lou Barletta, plans to appeal the decision. “This battle is far from over,” he declared the day of the ruling. States and towns have looked for other ways to crack down on illegal immigrants. Last month, Prince William County in northern Virginia passed a resolution trying to curb illegal immigrants’ access to public services. Waukegan, another Illinois town, has voted to apply for a federal program that would allow its police to begin deportation charges against those who are here illegally. A week after the Senate failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Arizona’s governor, Janet Napolitano, signed into law an act penalizing businesses that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. “One of the practical effects of this failure” to enact national immigration reform, Napolitano wrote to the Congressional leadership, “is that Arizona, and states across the nation, must now continue to address this escalating problem on their own.” Admittedly, the constitutionality of many of these new laws is still in question, and some of the state bills and local ordinances simply duplicate what’s already in force nationally. But with Congress’s inability to reach an agreement on an immigration bill, the debate will continue among local officials like those in Carpentersville, where the wrangling often seems less about illegal immigration than it does about whether new immigrants are assimilating quickly enough, if at all. In Carpentersville, the rancor has turned neighbor against neighbor. Once you scrape away the acid rhetoric, though, there’s much people actually agree on — but given the ugliness of the taunts and assertions, it’s unlikely that will ever emerge.

Warren Ellis, adrift in America, hates CNN

SuicideGirls > News > Culture > The Sunday Hangover with Warren Ellis

Back from the States, where I found myself once again quite horrified by the news provision over there. The newsgathering widget on my handheld computer blew up, and the hotel TV system didn’t pipe in BBC News 24, so, given the time constraints of my working schedule, I found myself reliant on the likes of CNN to find out what was going on in the world. And, my God. Apparently nothing happened that entire week outside of Lindsay Lohan – who I’m told is an actress, though I’ve never seen anything she’s been in – evidently necking a crate of Thunderbird and leaping into a truck filled with cocaine and dead babies in an attempt to run down and/or deliver vigilante justice to her ex-assistant and her mother. Or something. The rolling half-hour “specials” that replaced anything that appeared to be actual news dissected this thing so many ways that, really, I have no idea what happened the fateful night that Ms Lohan cracked the crust of stale, blood-flecked coke off her crotch and said to her soon-to-be-ex-assistant while snorting cough medicine up into her forebrain, “shove your arm up there, girl. I want to come on your elbow.” Because the very rich are not like you and me.

Actually, that might not have happened. The awesome newsgathering power of the mighty CNN tried so many scenarios on the simple fact that some sandwich-dodging crazy actress (newsflash; all actressses are crazy. Also, the sky is blue) who likes a bit of chas went apeshit at her assistant that the actual facts were totally lost.

Which makes it, in its way, the perfect object lesson of American news. Given the time, CNN and their kin can present the news in such a way that it makes no sense to anyone, and increases no-one’s understanding of current events and the times they live in. I spent nine days in America this time, and it felt like I was in a bottle lost on the tide. I’m still catching up on what happened in the world over those nine days. All I know about that time is that Lindsay Lohan is the Road Warrior and the Space Shuttle can be flown while shitfaced. And the only reaction I can muster to nine days of American news is: I hope to God they didn’t pack Head Start on those Shuttle flights.

We have CNN and MSNBC blaring in our lunch room at work, so I tend to soak up a bit of it every day. I'm always shocked at how little news there is, and how when they do attempt to deliver some news it's garbled, and wrong, and full of lies. And then a bridge falls down and people die, and they spend entire days endlessly talking about it, without any new information. It's painful to even call what this is "news."

Inside the world of girls' autism

Autism - Mental Health and Disorders - Brain Development -...