Blog Articles 161–165

About that rule of law…

Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended to read as follows:

’(c) Waiver-

’(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.

’(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court, administrative agency, or other entity shall have jurisdiction—

’(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or

‘(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.’.

HR 418 Sec. 102. Gives the lie to the idea that immigration enforcement is about rule of law. I’m not sure what all it’s about besides power and nativism, but those attempting to codify it certainly don’t seem to think much of the law.

On Freedom and Network Services

I’ve been on app.net for two weeks now. In the excitement about it, people raised the rather legitimate question about why people are excited about it when identi.ca and, more generally, StatusNet have been doing it for years. And there has been general questioning of why people are jumping from one closed service to another. And how only open source services are are real solutions.

I’ll table the questions of relative energy for now. I think that app.net is more likely to succeed than identi.ca has, especially since they’ve already gotten a lot of the types of people that made Twitter fun early on, but that is mostly irrelevant to my primary point here.

In general, I insist upon free/libre software for as much of my computing, especially day-to-day, as possible. Why, then, am I excited about app.net, and do I willingly embrace other services, such as Pinboard, to which I do not have access to the source code?

Many, in their zeal for free software, think that not only software they run, but software they interact with on other servers, needs to have source available, modifiable, and redistributable. This results in things such as the Affero GPL, which requires that administrators who deploy covered software as a user-facing network service make source code available.

Michelle Alexander on class

What is key to America’s understanding of class is the persistent belief—despite all evidence to the contrary—that anyone, with the proper discipline and drive, can move from a lower class to a higher class. We recognize that mobility may be difficult, but the key to our collective self-image is the assumption that mobility is always possible, so failure to move up reflects on one’s character. By extension, the failure of a race or ethnic group to move up reflects very poorly on the group as a whole.

— Michelle Alexander on discussion (or rather, abject lack thereof) of class in America. From The New Jim Crow (e-book, p. 20).

Flattening the Law to Catch the Terrorists

Having flattened so many laws (and a good many innocents) in pursuit of the terrorist, the American majority is naturally loath to focus its attention on a terrorist who looks, talks, and dresses as they do. It is particularly uncomfortable for those in the country who feel most reflexively safe when “an American” is beside them on a plane, instead of a bearded man with a turban. Watching Oak Creek, that subset of Americans was put in a position to realize that a day prior they’d have identified with the terrorist more than his victims.

And so they quickly looked away.

Why the Reaction Is Different When the Terrorist Is White