Should really watch C-SPAN more often. I've seen some interesting discussions about civil liberties going on in the last few days.
It sounds like people are starting to wake up, looking past the war propaganda out there these days and starting to really talk about the laws that have been passed, and what might get passed in the future.
I read Michael Moore's book, Stupid White Men, the other day. It's pretty good, pretty funny. I wrote a review of it, though I don't know if it'll show up anywhere.. The book is a bestseller, though, so hopefully this means things are looking up.
I'll be busy tomorrow trying to figure out how to write an OpenGL program in my Computer Graphics course. I really didn't give myself enough time to get it done...
Went to see Michael Moore tonight over in St. Paul. I was worried that he'd been lying about having overflow crowds for his book tour, but there really was a big line out the door of the church he was at, and there were a bunch of people who stayed out in the cold for 3 hours so that they could see him speak for the second time in one evening.
He showed some clips for his movie coming out this fall, Bowling for Columbine. Mostly, he just talked about stuff, but it was very funny, and it was cool to see people come together to talk about things that are supposedly unpopular here in the US at the moment.
Got in line to get into the church just behind the host of Mental Engineering, John Forde (eww.. that page definitely came out of something from Microsoft).. While we were all waiting to get in, someone in the line ahead of him asked, ``Anyone know what it's like inside this place?''
He said, ``No, I haven't been to church for a while,'' and paused.. ``I could tell you what the inside of detox looks like, though.'' That was pretty funny, but kinda not in the way I hoped..
Today's history lesson: Immigrants beware.
Today, Mexican immigrant workers are dying at a rate of one per day. They have an 80% greater chance of dying than native-born Americans, even when doing the same job. Often this is due to negligence in safety and training on the part of employers, though the article says that the strong Mexican work ethic carries part of the blame.
This is another example of history repeating. We're all aware of the fact that black slaves were sometimes worked to death, but other populations have seen similar working conditions. My old high school history teacher once related the story of dock workers in a busy port. When rolling cargo off ships and down ramps, sometimes large and heavy objects had to be moved. When this happened, black slaves would be put at the high end, pulling on the cargo, and Irishmen would be put on the low end, pushing it so it didn't move too quickly. At the time, there was a nearly endless supply of Irish immigrants, so dockmasters had little trouble finding replacements for those, uh, taken out of the workforce. On the other hand, slaves were actually considered to take a real investment of time and money, and therefore were more valuable.
Slavery was not really practiced in the West, per se, although many are aware of Chinese immigrants who were placed in deadly situations while building railroads and other great works during the 19th century (as we all know because of Kung Fu and other movies). Today, businesses merely have another workforce to exploit. They seem to be extremely happy to use Mexicans, who, according to a recent article I read that talked about cheap labor being used at the ski resorts of Colorado, are fairly docile and submissive when it comes to work environments. They tend to not complain about dangerous situations if they feel it will get them in any amount of trouble. That's a pretty nasty combination.
(Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read that article. It may have been something in the New Yorker, since I read a few of them when I went to Kentucky.)
Some workplace inspectors have said that even illegal immigrants have the same rights to workplace safety as Americans do, although this seems to only be loosely enforced and open to interpretation. Michael Moore made a story about that for The Awful Truth about illegal immigrant workers attempting to unionize at a hotel in Minneapolis. I guess I don't know how the story ultimately ended up, but I believe the hotel owner was fined or something for breaking up a meeting the workers were having.
Anyway, I'm sure it's something that will get worse before it gets better.