Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"It's a good day to die."

The Courier ran a story on the judge's release of documents in the James Ray sweat-lodge case, so I figured it would be interested in what's in those documents. So far, nothing.

The AP has some fascinating bits in a story today datelined Prescott. WaPo has it, and I saw others yesterday. Why doesn't the Courier?

Update, midnight:
The story shows up for Wednesday, a few grafs longer than the WaPo version, with stuff added from the affadavits, which are fascinating.

Editorial: Benefit denials may help budget

Let's do a little parsing, just for fun. The unnamed Courier editor:

"The federal government's continuing refusal to do anything about illegal immigration ..."
The editor apparently misses how much money and effort our government really does spend on border control and immigration enforcement. It's huge, of course, but the editor calls it "nothing." This indicates a certain cavalier attitude toward the truth.
"The American people are fed up with the problem and are not going to wait forever for the federal government to act,"
... meaning that a small group of people having a nice greasy breakfast with the editor are fed up and will do nothing but complain about it, giving the Republicans an issue to run candidates on. They won't do anything about it because a) they can't, as they showed when they were in power, b) it would interfere with the very large corporate interests that pull the strings on the right, and c) complaining rather than doing what they say they want gives them a continuing campaign issue, where attempting it would immediately prove their incompetence and short-sightedness.
"In 2004 Arizona voters approved an initiative to deny state benefits to illegal immigrants, but Attorney General Terry Goddard interpreted the law narrowly to apply to only a few categories of benefits."
Of course, implies the editor, the state's most senior law-enforcement official could not possibly have made the correct interpretation, as one might infer from the lack of a countervailing court judgment. He's a Democrat, after all. Instead,
"the Arizona Legislature expanded the list of government benefits illegals may not receive,"
rather than demand that Goddard do as they told him to do, because they're really kindly people who wouldn't want to offend.
"The latest legislation also requires that people applying for benefits must provide at least one form of identification, including a birth certificate or passport, and sign an affidavit saying their documents are authentic."
We can be confident that this will be so scary to holders of false IDs that they'll turn themselves in.
"That quickly raised hackles with Democratic legislators who rely heavily on Hispanic voters"
... since the jackboots will only be checking the papers of Hispanics, right? No, the law says the bureaucrats have to check everyone's papers, which might bother legislators who care about such things. Republicans apparently don't.
"... and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns filed an unsuccessful suit challenging the constitutionality of the benefit restrictions."
Everyone knows that the League is just a bunch of namby-pamby immigrant-huggers. Mesa, for example.
"800 people seeking benefits have not been able to prove their lawful presence in the country."
or perhaps just couldn't find or buy their papers. How many people applied for benefits in that time, editor, just to put things in perspective?
"... the state should not be handing out money to non-citizens here illegally."
And it doesn't, since AG Goddard has been enforcing the ban on the narrow class of welfare programs that are the only ones that "hand out money." The editor fails to understand that "public benefit" is a really broad and vague category, and includes many things we take for granted. Municipalities fairly want to know how much hassle and expense they have to put out and how many of their citizens they have to piss off to keep a few people from getting such benefits, even where the evidence is slim to none that there's any significant loss related to illegals.
"The declining economy and the employer sanctions law clearly have pushed illegal immigrants off to other states."
The illegals are moving on because there aren't enough jobs here, and that by far has been the most effective factor in reducing immigration both legal and otherwise -- economic disaster. That should tell us all something very important.

How much of the state's money would the editor spend to support this Republican political theatre? I gotta wonder.

Sheriff's K9 unit nabs 2 men and 7 pounds of cocaine

Over the past week or so I've been hearing about how the state wants to remove convicted illegals from our prisons and send them back to their home countries before they've finished their sentences.

So that's in the back of my mind as I read this story, of two drug mules caught on the way to parts unknown with a few pounds of coke under the back seat.

There's no indication that these guys are illegal immigrants, that's not the issue. Rather, they're apparently from New Mexico and Colorado, and in all likelihood they fully intended to get back there with their booty. Yavapai County just happens to be on the way.

But they were caught here and if convicted they will serve their sentences here. At our expense. Even though we can be pretty confident that they would have done nothing in Arizona more obnoxious than speeding.

We're generally happy to dump the expense of Mexican perps back on Mexico. Would it not be similarly just to dump New Mexican perps back on New Mexico, for example? The logic ought to hold.

I'd like to see more followup coverage on these guys -- whether they're convicted, whether there are outstanding charges elsewhere, where and for how long they're incarcerated, when they get out, and where they go afterward. Follow the story and we all learn more about how our justice system works and what this sort of bust costs us.

Update, Wednesday: Must be something in the air, I just heard on the radio about a move toward forcing prisoners to pay for their incarceration. Debtor's prison, here we come!

Victim of the court system?


Looks like the editors thought they had few inches of human-interest in this story of a guy getting arrested on a littering charge that had already been dismissed. Pretty funny.

So Linda ran with that, but the story as published neglects to give any other perspective of what is clearly a rancorous neighborhood feud. The story encourages the reader to judge on the basis of nothing but this guy's story.

So readers are doing exactly that, as seen in the comments. They're judging the protagonist, the deputies, the judge, the unnamed neighbors, the postal system, the town of D-H, and society at large, charging anything that strikes their imaginations. All on the basis of reporting that would embarrass a first-year journo student.

The reader might reasonably ask how this story came to the Courier in the first place. Given what it covers, we can reasonably infer it was a phone call from Mr Waters or his attorney. Didn't that raise a red flag at the editor's desk? I gather not.