Archive for November 18th, 2008

The Economic Crisis From Afar

As the Unites States’ economy writhes in death throes before, hopefully, being born anew, Phoenix-like, an interesting side-effect of the crisis is going relatively unreported: Mexican immigrants in this country are giving up on the “land of opportunity” and returning home by the thousands. Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million have already left, and a similar amount are expected to leave in coming months, as the seasonal-labor market winds up for the year.

When this is reported – which is rarely – it is usually mentioned in a mildly racist, slightly xenophobic context, as in this article, which counts the “fading” of immigration as a political “issue”, among other side-effects of the migration, as “sunshine” in these otherwise gloomy times. However, there’s another, even less appealing side to the story: while the exodus may ease the strain on social services in some parts of this country, it could overwhelm such services back in Mexico, as people return to what are, inevitable, some of the poorest parts of that country. Why does this matter? Apparently, the federal government of Mexico denies such a crisis does or will exist, and refuses to provide local or regional aid; the social and political ramifications of such a position are not too difficult to predict. Say what you will about globalization, but a (further) destabilized neighbor to our south benefits nobody – except, perhaps, criminals…

Published in: General, Security | on November 18th, 2008 | Comments Off on The Economic Crisis From Afar

Keeping Up Morale, Navy Style

Join the Navy; get trained in exotic skills, sail to exotic locales, meet exotic foreign people and occasionally try to kill them… and get two months off every winter so you can enjoy the holidays with your family? Huh? Apparently, in a bid to retain the few, the proud, the remaining members of their horribly under-staffed navy, the Australian Navy has given most of its crew the next two months off. Even more mind-boggling, top brass insist that standing down most of the navy, and letting most of the crew go home for two months, “will not impact operations”. Nice work, if you can get it…

I have to suspect that had Sunday’s killer earthquake in Indonesia produced a tsunami, the Aussie seamen might have found their holiday leave canceled. I also have to suspect that Australia might see a slight increase in birth rates between nine and eleven months from now, as bored, idle sailors find solace in timeless forms of distraction. 🙂

Published in: General | on November 18th, 2008 | Comments Off on Keeping Up Morale, Navy Style