Four weeks to flatten the curve (U.S. keeps the border closed)

From the Biden administration:

In other words… “4 weeks to flatten the curve” (“reduce the spread”).

How is this supposed to work? Can’t anyone come in from Canada or Mexico currently, so long as he/she/ze/they says that he/she/ze/they is seeking asylum? (“The Justice Department Overturns Policy That Limited Asylum For Survivors Of Violence” (NPR, June 16, 2021) says “in effect, restoring the possibility of asylum protections for women fleeing from domestic violence in other countries”, but the law should apply to people with all gender IDs, just as the “Violence Against Women Act” in theory can be used by those who identify as “men”. So if two people live together and say that they hit each other, both should be able to apply for asylum, emigrate to the U.S., and move in together to continue their domestic arrangements.)

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls, June 2019.

From the Cirrus:

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Greeks and Danes don’t want to get rich through low-skill immigration

“As Greece installs ‘sound cannons’ on border, Denmark passes law allowing asylum seekers to be sent overseas” (Washington Post):

A law passed by Denmark’s Parliament on Thursday allows asylum seekers to be sent outside Europe to await the review of their applications.

In Greece, high-tech “sound cannons” are being used to deter migrants from crossing into the European Union from Turkey.

The sound cannons are part of a larger strategy to create a high-tech barrier that will prevent migrants from entering Greece in hopes of seeking asylum. Artificial intelligence will be used to analyze potentially suspicious movement captured by long-range cameras, and the country is also experimenting with using the technology to conduct lie detector tests during interviews with asylum seekers, according to the AP.

In Denmark, attempts to discourage migration have taken on a different form: A law that passed Thursday means asylum seekers can be sent to another country outside Europe while they wait for their cases to be reviewed.

“If you apply for asylum in Denmark, you know that you will be sent back to a country outside Europe, and therefore we hope that people will stop seeking asylum in Denmark,” Rasmus Stoklund, a spokesman for the Danish government, told broadcaster DR, according to Reuters.

Although it’s not yet clear what countries will take in refugees under such an arrangement, Denmark and Rwanda recently signed a memorandum of understanding that has led to speculation that migrants will probably be relocated to Africa.

Denmark, one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, has increasingly taken a hard-line stance on migration in recent years. The Danish Refugee Council said in a statement that sending refugees to a third country was analogous to Australia’s much-criticized policy of housing asylum seekers in offshore camps, and warned that the model has meant that migrants face “physical assault, slow asylum proceedings, lack of access to health care and lack of access to legal assistance.”

From joebiden.com:

Immigration is essential to who we are as a nation, our core values, and our aspirations for our future. … Trump’s policies are also bad for our economy. For generations, immigrants have fortified our most valuable competitive advantage–our spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Research suggests that “the total annual contribution of foreign-born workers is roughly $2 trillion.” Key sectors of the U.S. economy, from agriculture to technology, rely on immigration. Working-age immigrants keep our economy growing, our communities thriving, and country moving forward.

Coming the above two… Greeks and Danes don’t want to be rich. From Denmark, 2019 (“send them back”):

Americans, it seems, also are averse to becoming rich, even those who have faith in wealth-via-low-skill-migration. “U.S. Aid to Central America Hasn’t Slowed Migration. Can Kamala Harris?” (New York Times, June 6):

As vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. led an enormous push to deter people from crossing into the United States by devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to Central America, hoping to make the region more tolerable for the poor — so that fewer would abandon it. Now, as President Biden, he is doubling down on that strategy once again and assigning his own vice president, Kamala Harris, the prickly challenge of carrying out his plan to commit $4 billion in a remarkably similar approach as she travels to the region Sunday. “When I was vice president, I focused on providing the help needed to address these root causes of migration,” Mr. Biden said in a recent speech to Congress. “It helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave. Our plan worked.” But the numbers tell a different story. After years of the United States flooding Central America with aid, migration from the region soared in 2019 and is on the upswing once more.

Here in Guatemala, which has received more than $1.6 billion in American aid over the last decade, poverty rates have risen, malnutrition has become a national crisis, corruption is unbridled and the country is sending more unaccompanied children to the United States than anywhere else in the world.

One, called the Rural Value Chains Project, spent part of its $20 million in American aid building outhouses for potato farmers — many of which were quickly abandoned or torn apart for scrap metal.

Uncle Joe wouldn’t lie to us (unlike you know who!). Thus, since every person from Guatemala who arrives in the U.S. makes us richer, happier (“our core values”), and more hopeful (“our aspirations for the future”), it is odd that we would want to spend $1.6 billion of our hard-earned wages to discourage Guatemalans from coming here.

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Kamala Harris tells migrants not to come to our party

Lately there has been a rash of American victimhood groups demanding that others stop hating them. I wondered how a strategy that would never be tried within a family (“if your brother hates you for breaking his LEGO, just tell him to stop hating you”) could work on a national scale. See “OC Jewish Leaders Speak Out Against Antisemitism After Rise in Hate Crimes”, for example:

Jewish community leaders across the U.S. are speaking out against what they say has been a recent surge in antisemitic attacks. … A Thursday virtual rally saw a host of national Jewish advocacy groups, like the Anti-Defamation League talking about the issue and demanding Congress curb the threat of antisemitism through meaningful policy.

Now it seems that our next president is working this strategy on a global scale… “Harris tells migrants: ‘Do not come, do not come'” (The Hill):

Vice President Harris on Monday pleaded with migrants from Central American countries to stay home in a speech in Guatemala during her first foreign trip.

The vice president was blunt in her message to Central Americans, repeating the line, “Do not come.”

“I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home. At the same time I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States Mexico border: Do not come, do not come,” Harris said.

She said that the U.S. would invest in agricultural businesses and affordable housing and help support entrepreneurs in Guatemala. The White House said that it plans to invest $48 million over four years to boost economic opportunity in Guatemala, according to a fact sheet.

(the country that has an affordable housing shortage of 7 million units will teach the Guatemalans how it is done!)

Given that a migrant is entitled to free housing (“means-tested” public housing), free health care for life (Medicaid), free food (SNAP/EBT), and a free smartphone (Obamaphone), President Harris’s statement could be compared to a party disinvitation of the following form:

Don’t come to our party

Sting is performing by the pool

We ordered a mountain of “essential” marijuana from the finest dispensary in Massachusetts

We also ordered a briefcase full of cocaine, which we expect to similarly transition from “illegal” to “essential” soon.

There will be Château Margaux to drink, mostly 1995 and 2003 vintages

Robert Downey, Jr. and Will Smith should be here by 9:30

We’re not checking for invitations at the door, which will be wide open

But definitely don’t come

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Low skill migrants make the U.S. richer, but will impoverish Spain

“‘Come On In, Boys’: A Wave of the Hand Sets Off Spain-Morocco Migrant Fight” (New York Times):

Spanish officials say Morocco increasingly sees migrants as currency for financial and political gains after it let up to 12,000 flood into a Spanish enclave in North Africa over two days.

Normally, Morocco tightly controls the fenced borders around Ceuta, a six-mile-long peninsula on Morocco’s northern coast that Spain has governed since the 1600s. But now its military was allowing migrants into this toehold of Europe. Over the next two days, as many as 12,000 people flowed over the border to Ceuta in hopes of reaching mainland Spain, engulfing the city of 80,000.

The crisis has laid bare the unique pressure point Morocco has over Spain on migration. Spanish government officials and other experts say Morocco increasingly sees the migrants as a kind of currency and is leveraging its control over them to extract financial and political prizes from Spain.

“It’s not acceptable that a government allows for attacks on their borders” because of disagreements over foreign policy, Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, said on Monday.

Hours after the migrants began pouring into Ceuta, Spain approved 30 million euros, about $37 million, in aid to Morocco for border policing. The transaction was reminiscent of Turkey’s deal with the European Union under which it was paid to stem the flood of migrants onto European shores after the Arab Spring and decades of turmoil in Afghanistan.

The same newspaper has informed us for more than five years that low skill migrants make existing Americans vastly wealthier. Yet it runs an article without expert analysis questioning the assumption that Spain will become poorer with every additional low skill migrant (to the point that it is worth paying Morocco and Turkey to keep migrants away). And, if the brightest minds of American academia and politics are correct about the high value of low skill migrants to a modern economy, why isn’t there a bidding war among EU nations for the 6,000 migrants per day coming into Ceuta?

From 2017 Agadir, a beach resort on the Atlantic coast of Morocco (Ceuta is just inside the Mediterranean).

A map for context, which the NYT does not provide:

Separately, if American economists and Democrats are wrong about the value of low skill migrants, would it be smart for Spain to give up this little corner of Africa? If migrants cross at the rate of 6,000 per day and each migrant costs 1 million EUR in lifetime welfare, the Spanish are getting poorer at the rate of $7.3 billion per day because of their ownership of this city of 80,000 people (i.e., the residents of Ceuta would have to pay taxes at the rate of $91,250 per day each in order to make ownership of the chunk of land financially rational). For comparison, the $4 trillion in coronapanic “stimulus” spending by the U.S. government works out to about $10 billion per day.

Related:

  • “Yes, Immigration Hurts American Workers” (Harvard econ prof shows that low skill migrants actually do make Americans richer… but only those who are already relatively rich, e.g., apartment building owners, restaurant chain owners, government employees, non-profit refugee-industrial complex workers, etc.)

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Is Florida better set up to handle multi-culturalism than the rest of the U.S.?

When I talked to a neighbor in Cambridge, MA regarding our upcoming move to Jupiter, Florida (see Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children) she responded that she wouldn’t want to live anywhere that had privately set up limits on human behavior, e.g., through homeowners’ associations and the covenants and deed restrictions that go with them. She didn’t like the idea that she might not be able to stage a big political demonstration on the street in front of her house (likely illegal in Massachusetts anyway as a violation of one of the governor’s 68 COVID-19 emergency orders).

I found part of the agreement for those who live in Abacoa, a neighborhood within Jupiter. Pit bulls are banned:

Obviously this is not going to increase happiness among those who love pit bulls, but for the average person it might be nice to know that something that is legal under state law won’t happen in one’s neighborhood. (A recent afternoon for a couple of pit bulls: “3-Year-Old Was Playing in Yard for 1st Time With Family When Neighbor’s Dog Attacked, Killing Him”, which notes “a neighbor’s dog escaped an enclosure and attacked them both, killing the young child and leaving his mother severely injured, a source close to the family told NBC New York.”)

My response to the neighbor:

I think Florida’s approach is more sustainable, actually. The U.S. is trending toward a population of 500 million people who have different cultures, languages, expectations, etc. With Chinese-style population density, but without a Chinese-style unified culture and language, we’re going to need more explicit rules if we want people to get along.

If we ever become stupid enough to win a bidding war for a house down there (going to rent at first), it might be burdensome to have to clean up our front yard every evening, but maybe we will come to love the fact that neighbors can’t park ugly boats and RVs in their driveways, keep human-killing dog breeds, be as messy with their yards as we’ve been with ours here in MA, etc. I’ll be sad that I never got to execute on my dream of painting one of the garage doors in a rainbow flag and the other one as a huge BLM banner, but I’ve reached the age where I realize that not all of dreams are attainable.

Readers: What do you think? Does it make sense that a country of 331 million would need more rules than a country of 100 million (the U.S., circa 1920)?

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What infrastructure did we build for the Americans added between 2010 and 2020?

From our Census Bureau:

  • U.S. population on April 1, 2010: 308,745,538
  • U.S. population on April 1, 2020: 331,449,281

That’s an increase of 22,703,743 people (unclear how many of the new undocumented Americans are included in this count by friendly government agents; see “Yale Study Finds Twice as Many Undocumented Immigrants as Previous Estimates”).

22.7 million is roughly the population of Illinois and Michigan combined. Those two states have 563,237 lane-miles of road (source). Were 563,237 lane-miles added between 2010 and 2020 nationwide? Here’s a chart from the U.S. Department of Transporation:

In case you’re wondering why you’re always stuck in traffic, the above chart shows that lane-miles have barely budged since 1980 while vehicle-miles actually traveled have grown by roughly 50 percent. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics offers finer-grained data: 8,542,163 lane-miles in 2009 and 8,785,398 lane-miles in 2019 (243,235 new lane-miles over 10 years, but essentially flat since 2014; the growth over 10 years was only 2.8 percent, less than half the 7.4 percent growth in population).

It is more difficult to get statistics on other elements of infrastructure, e.g., square footage of school buildings, capacity in water and sewer systems, capacity of the electricity grid, etc. But my sense is that none of these are being expanded at the same rate as population.

If roads, schools, water/sewer, electric grid, etc. remain constant while the population grows, doesn’t that mean we’re turning the U.S. circa 2030 into India circa 1990?

Related:

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Book review: Fordlandia

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, by Greg Grandin, is on an always-timely subject: grand plans of rich scientists and technocrats encountering nature and human nature.

The subject of the book is Henry Ford’s attempt to bring the benefits of American management to rubber cultivation in the Brazilian Amazon. The resulting town, Fordlandia, still exists, possibly home to as many as 3,000 people. The endeavor was begun in 1928 based on a foundation of false premises, the worst of which was that rubber prices would rise dramatically. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea, though, even beyond Ford’s offices:

“If the machine, the tractor, can open a breach in the great green wall of the Amazon jungle, if Ford plants millions of rubber trees where there used to be nothing but jungle solitude,” wrote a German daily, “then the romantic history of rubber will have a new chapter. A new and titanic fight between nature and modern man is beginning.” One Brazilian writer predicted that Ford would finally fulfill the prophecy of Alexander von Humboldt, the Prussian naturalist who over a century earlier said that the Amazon was destined to become the “world’s granary.”

Time reported that Ford intended to increase its rubber planting every year “until the whole jungle is industrialized,” cheered on by the forest’s inhabitants: “soon boa constrictors will slip down into the jungle centers; monkeys will set up a great chattering. Black Indians armed with heavy blades will slash down their one-time haunts to make way for future windshield wipers, floor mats, balloon tires.” Ford was bringing “white man’s magic” to the wilderness, the Washington Post wrote, intending to cultivate not only “rubber but the rubber gatherers as well.”

(Humboldt was a genius, but we can’t win them all! See Humboldt Biography: Climate Change Alarmism Not New.)

The city that Ford built was 18 hours by boat, both then and now, from urban civilization.

Why cultivate rubber in the Amazon? The European colonial powers took the rubber tree seeds and set up plantations in Asia, far away from the pests that had evolved along with the trees in the Amazon. Africa was another possibility, in terms of climate, but Ford rejected this idea:

Latex, thought Liebold, the American-born son of German Lutheran parents, should be cultivated “where the people themselves have reached a higher state of civilization.” Ford’s secretary decided that this ruled out Liberia, a country “composed entirely of Negroes whose mentality and intellectual possibilities are quite low.” “Rubber should be grown where it originated,” Liebold concluded. And that meant the Amazon.

How was it done before in the Amazon?

Hevea brasiliensis can grow as high as a hundred feet, standing straight with an average girth, at breast height, of about one meter in diameter. It’s an old species, and during its millennia-long history there likewise evolved an army of insects and fungi that feed off its leaves, as well as mammals that eat its seeds. In its native habitats of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, it best grows wild, just a few trees per acre, far enough apart to keep bugs and blight at bay; would-be planters soon learned that the cultivation of large numbers of rubber trees in close proximity greatly increased the population of rubber’s predators. The extraction and processing of latex, therefore, was based not on developing large plantations or investing in infrastructure but rather on a cumbersome and often violent system of peonage, in which tappers were compelled to spread out through the jungle and collect sap.

Tappers, known as seringueiros, lived scattered along the river, sometimes with their families but often alone, with their huts located at the head of one or two looped rubber trails that ran a few miles, connecting between a hundred and two hundred trees. In the morning, starting before sunrise, when the latex flowed freest through the thin vessels that run up the tree’s bark, the tapper would make his first round, slashing each Hevea with diagonal cuts and then placing tin cans or cups to catch the falling sap. After lunch, and a nap to escape the worst of the heat, the seringueiro made a second round to collect the latex. Back at his hut, he smoked it on a spit over an earthenware oven fired by dampened palm nuts, which produced a toxic smoke that took its toll on tapper lungs, until it formed a black ball of rubber, weighing between seventy and ninety pounds. He then brought the ball to a trading post, handing it over to a merchant either as rent for the trails or to pay off goods purchased on credit.

Americans in the 1920s didn’t have access to as much #Science as we do so they failed to realize that being isolated in an apartment for a year or more is actually the best possible thing for a human …

The workers went months without seeing other human beings, [Carl D. LaRue, a botanist from U. Michigan] said. “The loneliness is appalling.”

Transitioning these lonely natives to the American system would turn them into good Americans:

With a surety of purpose and incuriosity about the world that seems all too familiar, Ford deliberately rejected expert advice and set out to turn the Amazon into the Midwest of his imagination. “What the people of the interior of Brazil need,” he declared at the outset of the project, “is to have their economic life stabilized by fair returns for their labor paid in cash and their mode of living brought up to modern standards in sanitation and in prevention and cure of disease.”

This was a twist on an idea dating back at least to 1850, when Matthew Fontaine Maury, one of the greatest American scientists of his day, proposed transporting the southern plantation economy to the Amazon:

The question Maury asked was whether the Amazon would “be peopled with an imbecile and an indolent people or by a go ahead race that has the energy and enterprise equal to subdue the forest and to develop and bring forth the vast resources that lie hidden there.”

As it turned out, even back in Michigan, Ford had to go to extraordinary lengths to control worker behavior:

But high wages alone were not enough to ensure either factory-floor efficiency or individual responsibility. A better salary could just lead to quicker dissipation through gambling, drinking, and whoring. There was no shortage of temptations in iniquitous Detroit. There were more brothels in the city than churches, and workers often lived crowded in fetid slums, in flophouses that fronted for gambling halls, bars, and opium dens. So Ford conditioned his Five Dollar Day plan with the obligation that workers live a wholesome life.

And to make sure they did, the carmaker dispatched inspectors from his Sociological Department to probe into the most intimate corners of Ford workers’ lives, including their sex lives. Denounced as a system of paternal surveillance as often as it was lauded as a program of civic reform, by 1919 the Sociological Department employed hundreds of agents who spread out over Dearborn and Detroit asking questions, taking notes, and writing up personnel reports. They wanted to know if workers had insurance and how they spent their money and free time. Did they have a bank account? How much debt did they carry? How many times were they married? Did they send money home to the old country? Sociological men came around not just once but two, three, or four times interviewing family members, friends, and landlords to make sure previous reports of probity were accurate. They of course discouraged drinking, smoking, and gambling and encouraged saving, clean living habits, keeping flies off food, maintaining an orderly house, backyard, and front porch, and sleeping in beds. They also frowned on the taking in of boarders since, “next to liquor, dissension in the home is due to people other than the family being there.”

(Henry Ford never imagined groups of unrelated roommates being locked into their apartments for a year or two by state governors!)

Immigrants received additional training:

And though ecumenical in his hiring practices, Ford still charged his Sociological Department with Americanizing immigrants, conditioning ongoing employment on their attending English and civic classes. These courses were intentionally mixed by race and country so as to “impress upon these men that they are, or should be, Americans, and that former racial, national, and linguistic differences are to be forgotten.” Commencement from the Ford school had the graduating workers, regaled in their native dress, singing their national songs and dancing their folk dances and climbing up a ladder to enter a large papier-mâché “melting pot.” On the stage’s backdrop was painted an immigrant steamship, and as Ford teachers stirred the pot with long ladles the new amalgamated Americans emerged in “derby hats, coats, pants, vests, stiff collars, polka-dot ties,” singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Fordlandia project was predicated on a sweetheart import/export tax deal with the Brazilian government that was repudiated by later-elected politicians. Even if the core agricultural ideas had panned out, the world market for rubber and the tax environment in Brazil would likely have caused the project to fail. The local labor force also did not respond as Ford had hoped.

Rather than a midwestern city of virtue springing from the Amazon green, local merchants set up thatched bordellos, bars, and gambling houses, turning Fordlandia into a rain forest boomtown.

Similarly, when Oxholm did manage to shut down a few bordellos and bars, the proprietors simply set up shop on an island just off Fordlandia’s banks, building their brothels on stilts because the island was half wetlands and prone to floods. It was ironically dubbed the “Island of Innocence” since, as Eimar Franco put it, “no one on it was innocent.”

He also had to deal with the employees who had contracted venereal diseases, running at a rate of about nine a month, in the camp’s bordellos.

Once the workers got hold of cash wages, assuming that they didn’t spend it all in the bars and bordellos, they didn’t want to stay on the plantation after they’d earned enough to support themselves and/or their families for a year. The labor force ultimately riots and destroys most of the town, until eventually the Brazilian military shows up.

Why could drive folks in the verdant jungle to a mostly peaceful protest?

Metal roofs lined with asbestos, chosen by Ford engineers to repel the sun’s rays, in fact kept heat in. The “workers’ houses were hotter than the gates of hell,” recalled a priest who ministered in Fordlandia, “because some faraway engineer decided that a metal roof was better than something more traditional like thatch.” They were “galvanized iron bake ovens,” said Carl LaRue, commenting on Fordlandia’s foibles years later. “It is incredible that anyone should build a house like that in the tropics.”

As in the U.S. today, once babies showed up the parents looked for someone else to pay for their care:

Hundreds of babies were born each year in Fordlandia, creating a whole new set of problems for its managers. Amazon residents were used to giving birth at home under the care of a midwife. Ford doctors frowned on the practice, yet did not want to tie up hospital beds for obstetrics. So they didn’t push the issue until a woman died in childbirth in late 1931. From then on, medical and sanitation squads added a new responsibility to their ever growing list, as they checked women for pregnancy and made sure no illicit midwifery was taking place.

Once born, children needed care. Dr. McClure had hopes that Dearborn chemists would soon find a “satisfactory substitute for cow’s milk with soy bean milk” that could be used to feed infants and toddlers. But until then, Fordlandia’s hospital distributed Borden’s Klim, a powdered whole milk, to new mothers. The staff quickly learned that utensils had to be provided as

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Why don’t migrants get COVID vaccines at the border?

“Vaccine Refusal Will Come at a Cost—For All of Us” (Atlantic, owned by someone smart enough to marry rich):

People who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine will have higher health-care costs. The rest of us will foot the bill.

Imagine it’s 2026. A man shows up in an emergency room, wheezing. He’s got pneumonia, and it’s hitting him hard. He tells one of the doctors that he had COVID-19 a few years earlier, in late 2021. He had refused to get vaccinated, and ended up contracting the coronavirus months after most people got their shots. Why did he refuse? Something about politics, or pushing back on government control, or a post he saw on Facebook. He doesn’t really remember. His lungs do, though: By the end of the day, he’s on a ventilator.

You’ll pay for that man’s decisions. So will I. We all will—in insurance premiums, if he has a plan with your provider, or in tax dollars, if the emergency room he goes to is in a public hospital. The vaccine refusers could cost us billions. Maybe more, over the next few decades, with all the complications they could develop. And we can’t do anything about it except hope that more people get their shots than those who say they will right now.

… A new study found that 34 percent of COVID-19 survivors are diagnosed with a neurological or psychological condition within six months of recovering from the initial illness. …

As lockdowns are lifted, [former Obama administration official Kathleen] Sebelius hopes that vaccine passports will create social pressure, which might wear down hesitancy if unvaccinated people are barred from sports games, concerts, and other public events.

So much interesting stuff in here! The CDC estimates that roughly half of Americans have had a COVID infection, so if we accept the above statistic, roughly 17 percent of us are the walking wounded, with new neurological and psychological deficits. The Obama official is excited by the idea that everyone should have to carry some kind of proof of vaccination in order to participate in society. Maybe this will be a smartphone app or a RFID wristband (or my own favorite: RFID neck chip, as proven in dogs). Mx. Sebelius would, presumably, react with horror if someone suggested that one form of ID be required in order to vote, but now a much more onerous task will be imposed on those who wish to shop for groceries at Target.

The Atlantic makes the point that Democrats bear “The White Man’s Burden”. They work hard at their elite/government jobs while the non-whites (Republicans) clog up ICUs and hog ventilators that Democrats fund.

Take up the White Man’s burden—
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain.
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

With enough federal and state orders and restrictions on the non-vaccinated, presumably the recalcitrant can be coerced eventually. But what about a group of people over whom the Feds have a lot of control, i.e., migrants? They no longer try to sneak across the border, but instead run right into the arms of the nearest government worker. Roughly 96 percent of these folks will be here in the U.S. forever. Many of the “children” saying that they’re under 18 have a biological age that is older than 18 and therefore they would easily fall into the emergency use authorization age range for the vaccines that are currently being used (though not “FDA-approved”) in the U.S.

If these folks are going to live in the U.S. forever and they’re going to be on Medicaid or “charity care” forever and we believe that these vaccines will actually reduce long-term health care costs, why not set up vaccine clinics at the detention and processing facilities for migrants (who are not in a “concentration camp” and who are not “kept in cages”, unlike from 2017 through early 2021)?

This could also be a good opportunity prototype a federal vaccine passport. By definition, the migrants are “undocumented” so they need a document-free way of showing that they’ve had the shot that entitles them to walk free amongst the righteous (vaccinated) natives.

The argument can’t be that vaccines are in short supply. See “Nearly 40% of Marines decline COVID-19 vaccine, prompting some Democrats to urge Biden to set mandate for military” (USA Today) for one place where the Feds could get boxes of vaccine vials.

The argument can’t be that the migrant lifestyle prevents infection. See photo below from “Biden administration spending $60 million per week to shelter unaccompanied minors” (Washington Post article, but Texas Tribune photo). Just as the Swedish MD/PhDs predicted, humans don’t bother with the 6′ distance requirement once you give them a paper mask and tell them that #Science says it works.

The argument can’t be that there aren’t enough migrants to make it worth the trouble of setting up a vaccine tent with refrigerator and technician. The above-linked article says “about 22,000 to 26,000 unaccompanied minors will arrive at the border each month and require federal care” (that’s just the minors; there are also plenty of adults).

What is the argument against immediate vaccination for those migrants who want it? That the children are unaccompanied and therefore the feds are unable to get parents to consent? Teenagers can get abortions without parental consent here in Massachusetts. Why not a vaccine that #Science says will save their lives? (Our legislature couldn’t find time to pass a legal framework for all of the restrictions that have been imposed by 66 (so far) executive orders, but in December 2020 they did manage to pass a new abortion law. See “Groundbreaking Massachusetts Abortion Law Repeals Parental Consent for Older Teens” (Ms. Magazine):

Last week, the Massachusetts legislature passed a groundbreaking new law creating an affirmative right to abortion in the state, expanding abortion access after 24 weeks, and removing a parental consent requirement for 16- and 17-year-olds. … We are saying that women and pregnant people should be trusted to make the personal decisions about their body and if, when and how to become pregnant that we know they’re perfectly capable of making and there should not be barriers, especially barriers that disproportionately impact low-income people and people of color.

“women” and “pregnant people” can be trusted, which means that a “man” can be trusted only if he becomes pregnant? So at least young “women” and “pregnant people” among the migrants should be entrusted to make their own decisions about whether to take a non-approved vaccine.)

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Learn Mayan and other less popular languages as a career path?

“Oakland clinic offers Mayan interpreter for COVID-19 vaccinations” (Mercury News):

A new COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Fruitvale neighborhood is offering interpreter services for the Latin Mam or Mayan-speaking community.

This month, La Clinica de La Raza began offering the community-targeted vaccination service at 32 locations across the Bay Area, including ASCEND Elementary School on East 12th Street, where Latinos who speak Mam, K’iche ‘and Q’eqchi’ can get translation help from appointment to inoculation on Thursdays.

The article is illustrated with a photo of a guy who has apparently adapted completely to prevailing American cultural norms (he’s wearing a “WEED; Keep it lit” T-shirt).

Now that the U.S. border is effectively open, especially to those who can credibly claim to be under 18, I wonder if this suggests a good career path for young people: medical interpreter for Mayan and similarly unpopular languages. If folks didn’t learn Spanish when they lived in a predominantly Spanish-speaking nation, why expect them to learn English now that they’re Americans? They’ll be entitled to interpreters whenever they’re taking advantage of public housing, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP/EBT), etc. At least for some of these jobs, certification is required and therefore immigrants themselves may not be able to perform them (also those immigrants may be undocumented and unable to work a W-2 job at a hospital or clinic).

What do folks think? Is learning an obscure language a good career in what is likely to be a growth industry?

(Also, does “Latinos who speak Mam, K’iche ‘and Q’eqchi’” make sense (leaving aside the issue that it should be “Latinx who speak”)? If a person doesn’t speak any language with Latin or Indo-European roots, is he/she/ze/they “Latino” or “Latinx”?

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