Noted here and there:
'Twas a busy weekend. Like so many others, I'm honoring the passing of Buck Owens. I'll admit, I didn't grow up on him -- I first started listening to Buck after he was referenced in a Dwight Yoakam song. This makes me uncool, I know, but I did grow to love that "west coast" country sound of his.
I'm interested to know how many Americans successfully picked George Mason, UCLA, Florida, and LSU in their men's final four. I did pick UCLA correctly, but the other three are stunners. At this point, I'm predicting UCLA over Florida in the final, but wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots beat the Tigers a week from tonight either.
I'm surprised by Oklahoma's loss in the women's tournament -- Courtney Paris just seemed so unstoppably dominant to me. I'm rooting for the Tennessee Vols now. But please, sweet Jesus, not UConn again.
Thanks to Feministe, I learned that this blog has been listed at About.com as one of the "Top Ten Blogs on Civil Liberties and Women's Rights". In addition to Feministe, Feministing, Alas, and The Happy Feminist were selected. Mysteriously, Pandagon was not. The list was put together by writer and activist Tom Head, who says such kind things about this blog that I am going to (as ever, immodestly) repeat them:
Male feminist bloggers want to be Hugo when they grow up. He has both an intuitive understanding of feminist values and an intuitive understanding of how to try to humbly live into those values as a heterosexual white man--dealing as much with the business of day-to-day life, and the day-to-day values and relationships that give it meaning, as he does with policy issues. And with rational humility, but without a hint of self-mortification, he makes it all look easy.
Matilde the chinchilla sends kisses to Tom.
And of course, the big story in Los Angeles wasn't the Bruins beating Memphis. It was the massive demonstration for immigrant rights held on Saturday in downtown. We weren't there; I was on the El Prieto trail when the march began, and was at Pilates class when it ended. (Then again, I only found out about it early Saturday morning before heading out for a run.) I've posted about immigration before, and recommend this piece from Maia at Alas, A Blog. She makes the old point that if capital is going to be free (something NAFTA has accomplished) then labor too must be free. If money can move effortlessly across borders, than human capital must be allowed to do the same. Whatever standard you use, human capital and cash must be treated by the same set of rules.
I'm going to quote what I wrote last year, because my feelings have not changed an iota:
"In general, we Christians are called to follow the laws of the secular state. We are to render obedience to Caesar, save in those instances when Caesar's imperatives conflict directly with God's call to radical, biblical, universal justice. Civil disobedience has a place, after all; I am convinced that Christians are called to be disobedient to the state when the state demands that we treat folks differently based upon their immigration status.
But those of us who hire the undocumented must be very careful not to exploit them financially. After all, giant corporations regularly hire "illegal aliens", not out of biblical compassion but out of a desire to save money by hiring vulnerable, non-union labor. Having hired many, many day laborers over the years to help with everything from moving to landscaping to very minor construction, I've always made sure to pay wages that are well above the minimum. (I've never hired anyone for under $20 an hour, frankly, and I've often paid more. Indeed, I try to pay day laborers what I think I would pay someone whose name I got from the Yellow Pages, though that is often tough to gauge.)
I know that many of the men I've hired are sending money home to Mexico, Central, and South America. Our church has an ongoing, long-term mission project in a small Sinaloa town near the Pacific. On my visits there, I've seen the tremendous good that the money sent home by those working in America has brought about. (When I visited my fiancee's family last year in rural northeastern Colombia, I saw the same enormous benefits that remittances from America had provided.) When I hire a day laborer, and pay him well, I'm not merely enabling him to eat; I'm helping to support an entire community. And as a Christian, I believe I am called to love a Latin American community every bit as much as one here in the United States. Yes, my salary is paid by taxes -- but villages in Mexico and Colombia survive on the money I pay to their sons and daughters here. Is it not contradictory to the gospel to prefer one's own people to those who live abroad? "