Friday, January 29, 2010

Enter the Tundra. Oops, That’s Actually Just Boston in the Winter…

A New Blog, Dirty Snow, and Tangents, Both Conversational and Mathematical

Hey guys! I just want to let everyone know that from now on, this blog site will be dedicated (for the most part) to non-political topics. I say “for the most part” because, since I run this blog, I can do anything I want with it. I do not claim to have psychic powers. A lack of psychic powers or tachyon receptors in my head means I am unable to predict which future is most likely to occur, which means I may change my mind and post a political post, especially if I think it is amusing or comical. However, for the most part, any political statements I may want to make or any articles that I write will be posted on my new blog, Be sure to check it out so you can vote Normandin in a few years.

In the meantime, here’s something that someone said that you’re all invited to think about. “Why is the snow so pretty when it’s falling, but so dirty once it hits the ground?” I don’t want you to think about it in terms of snow. After all, it’s dirty when it hits the ground because the ground’s dirty. I do realize that, I’m not a complete moron. But when I read that, I was like, wow… that seems like it should have some deep philosophical meaning. And I pondered it for a total of about 13 seconds while I was eating a turkey sub before deciding to turn my attention to more pressing issues. Like the fact that I was thirsty. Did you know, by the way, that in some countries, like Italy, 13 is a lucky number and 17 is unlucky? Either that or 7 is unlucky… or maybe it’s 3… I don’t remember, but the point is that 13 is considered lucky. How odd. However, this is pretty good scientific evidence that luck doesn’t exist. After all, just as a particle cannot have a spin of both +1/2 and –1/2 at the same time, just as you cannot know the momentum and position of a particle at the same time, just as the Jonas Brothers can’t actually play guitar and sing at the same time (or at separate times, for that matter), just as I cannot fit an entire apple and an entire banana in my mouth at the same time, 13 cannot be lucky and unlucky at the same time. I hope my creative and vivid metaphors helped your understanding of something that probably did not merit 2 lines of explanation.

It seems that I’ve wandered slightly off-topic. I tend to do that. It’s commonly referred to as “going on a tangent.” The reason I believe this phrase is used is because a tangent line touches a circle at a single point, and when one goes on a tangent, it is a completely unrelated topic that actually was related, but only slightly at a single point. How interesting. And look, I’ve done it again. This is actually intentional. I think it makes this more interesting to read. After all, if I just went directly to the point, there would be very little entertainment value in reading this. Which is what I’m aiming for.

So to return to the point on the circle that the tangent line touches, you should all figure out the philosophical meaning behind that phrase. Don’t bother googling it, the statement was an observation, not some wise quote. Although these, of course, are not mutually exclusive. But its being a wise quote is contingent on there actually being a deep philosophical meaning behind it, which I’m not sure there is. But my instincts are telling me that there is, and my instincts also tell me to duck if a knife is thrown at me, not to attempt breathing underwater, and to always, always eat lots of chocolate. So clearly, my instincts are usually correct. So, if they are correct, that means that there is a deep philosophical meaning behind the phrase in Paragraph 2. The question that I ask, just as you would ask if you saw a pink lemur hovering approximately 3 feet and 4 inches off the ground, covered in cheese, with a radiant rainbow xylophone, is: what is it? Then again, maybe you wouldn’t ask that because I just told you exactly what it was. Regardless, ponder the quote. Pondering is good for the mind. Just like water is good for people dying of dehydration.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Illegal Immigration: It’s Illegal

My newest article in The Tech.


Opinion: Illegal Immigration: It’s Illegal

By Ryan Normandin

January 13, 2010

Blue hats are blue. Big trees are big. Do you agree with these statements? How about this one: Illegal immigration is illegal. For some reason, this point has been a contentious issue in the United States over the past few years.

Some argue that allowing illegal immigrants into our country helps our economy. Others contend that illegal immigration takes place because legal immigration is simply too inconvenient. Many point out that all people deserve to have a great life in America; everyone should enjoy our liberties and freedoms, especially when illegals often flee to America from oppressive regimes. Illegals are humans, and we need to be compassionate toward their needs. But the fact remains: Illegal immigration is illegal. And by “illegal,” I mean “against the law.”

Of course, all laws are not right or just. If a law is wrong, it should not be followed and people should fight to repeal it. But our immigration laws exist for very good reasons. They prevent criminals, carriers of infectious disease, and other dangerous individuals from crossing our borders.

The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force concedes that “immigration has … played a major role in the rise and proliferation of Hispanic gangs in the region.” Many of their members are likely illegal immigrants, and while I don’t pretend that every one of these individuals would have been rooted out had they gone through the legal immigration processes, there is no denying that many would have been.

Moving beyond the crime statistics, allow me to address those who argue that illegal immigrants help our economy by taking jobs that no other Americans would want. In a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, there were approximately 8.3 million illegals in the U.S. labor force in 2008. Also in 2008, the number of unemployed Americans jumped past 10 million. There is no doubt that many of those 10 million would be only too willing to take jobs they would have avoided under normal economic circumstances.

Unfortunately, many of those jobs were taken by people who should not even be in the country. In fact, a 1997 study by the American Academy of Sciences found that between 1980 and 1994, the cheap labor of illegal immigrants caused up to a 44 percent decrease in wages among the poorest legal citizens. Since then, the economy has only gotten worse and the unemployment rate has soared. How many of those ten million unemployed would be working if illegal immigrants had not taken the jobs? How many of millions or billions of dollars would American citizens be saved in unemployment benefits?

It makes no sense for taxpayers to pay for unemployment benefits because immigrants who are here illegally are taking jobs, leaving legal citizens unemployed. Not every job filled by an illegal immigrant would be taken if that person was not here, but a very large, very significant portion would be. And if even one more legal citizen is able to provide for his or her family because one less illegal immigrant came here, then it is absolutely worth it.

Some people argue that our immigration system is simply too cumbersome to expect people to follow it. But then murderers, robbers, and other criminals might have a similar attitude towards the law, and that’s no excuse. The vast majority of Americans came to the country through immigration long ago, and many did so risking their lives traveling across the Atlantic Ocean in boats that were crawling with disease. They did so through the long waits and difficult experience of Ellis Island.

They earned their places in American society. Any illegal immigrant who does otherwise is spitting on the graves of those who came here legally and those who perished in the effort. If people come to America to achieve the “American Dream,” the first step is to obey the law. I apologize if the immigration system is “cumbersome,” but Americans have every right to ensure that anyone entering this country is not a terrorist, criminal, or otherwise a threat to American society.

Many people say that we need to be compassionate towards illegal immigrants. I agree. We should be compassionate in our dealings with all types of criminals, but being compassionate and ignoring the law are two different things. Where is our compassion for all those legal citizens who are out of work because of illegal immigrants? How about all the families that have been torn apart by a death at the hand of an illegal immigrant? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2004, there were 6,181,000 traffic accidents that killed 42,636 and injured 2,788,000. If illegal immigrants are responsible for only 5 percent (and by some estimates even more), that is 309,050 accidents, 2,132 deaths, and 139,400 injuries.

In addition, illegal immigrants would be responsible for $11.5 billion of taxpayer money in associated costs. Advocates ask for compassion. How about compassion for the thousands that have lost their lives as a result of illegal immigrants? The fact that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick wants to allow illegals to get drivers licenses and attend college at an in-state tuition rate makes me sick. They should be deported, not rewarded, for their criminal acts.

One final argument is that the fee associated with immigration is too high and the test they have to take expects too much. But if coming to America is really worth it, then that money can be saved and the information necessary studied and learned. Therefore, there is no logical basis for arguing that illegal immigrants in this country should be treated as anything other than criminals. They are a risk to our national security, a risk to the welfare of our people, and an expensive cost to the taxpayers. I have a strong admiration for all those immigrants who had the strength of will to come to America seeking greater liberties and prosperity, and who did it legally to allow their new home to remain safe. Those who come to our country but are not willing to follow our laws are not worthy of admiration, only a ticket back to where they came from.