Friday, January 02, 2009

Immigration debate in VA may lead to a film project; in the mean time, tempers flare; stay-at-home moms drive debate; also, a kid's generosity

This morning I found an interesting film project on YouTube, “The 9500 Liberty Project”, which purports to be the world’s first “Interactive Documentary on YouTube”, with link here. The project, setting up a "virtual town hall", will document the angry “debate” on illegal immigration going on in Prince William County, Virginia (particularly around Manassas and Manassas Park), since about 2005. (Some say that the "illegal" part has now dropped off.) The tempers have flared in a number of occasions, over local elections and local officials, even with threats of or even filings of SLAPP suits, and now the idea that illegal immigration and the foreclosure crisis are related (an idea often mentioned in conservative papers like “The Washington Times”).

The grass roots film project looks interesting, and I can see other similar projects could be envisioned, such as one regarding “don’t ask don’t tell.”

The Washington Post today has a front-page article by Kristen Mack, “Pr. William Mothers of Dissension: Stay-at-Home Moms add Politics to Duties”, link here. I couldn’t find the exact blogs (that are supposed to track both sides of the issue, but which the newspaper story did not spell out), but instead found angry retorts and legal controversies when I went searching. You can go to the “BVBL” site (apparently mentioned in the Post article) here and follow the links, but it’s hard to tell what is factual and what is going on. (When I tried the blackvelvetbruecelee blogspot blog mentioned there in two different browsers, it came back encrypted or overlaid, possibly Chinese characters; the visitor can experiment with language translators.) Where is the real debate on the substance of the immigration issue? You can also visit "Help Save Manassas" here. The "anti-bvbl" site seems to be this (link from an April 4, 2008 Post article by Kristen Mack).

There is better news today about human nature. ABC’s “Good Morning America” today (Jan. 2) presented an eleven-year-old boy in Florida who had set up his Red Wagon Foundation to help the homeless. The story (“Kid Holiday Hero Helps Homeless: after 2004 Hurricane Kid Asked How He Could Help, Hasn't Stopped Since” by Morgan Zalkin, Kiran Khalid, and Lee Ferran, link here. This is hard for adults to do when their own lives are not in control.

Update: Jan. 6, 2009

Today, ABC "Good Morning America" ran an undercover experiment in a New Jersey deli: "Confronting Racism in America: Customers React Very Differently When Hispanics Denied Service at N.J. Deli," by Eric Hanan and Yardena Schwartz, link here. The experiment played on the public emotions associated with the illegal immigration issue when day laborers, believed to be illegal (perhaps incorrectly) were not served.

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