How will SCOTUS decision affect corporate media?

In 2004, the United Church of Christ produced a television commercial promoting its inclusive approach to organized faith. The ad showed two nightclub-style bouncers guarding the rope line of a church as they denied entry to a gay male couple, several people of color, and a man in a wheelchair. By contrast, a white family of four had no problems getting through.

"Jesus didn't turn people away" was the ad's tagline, but CBS did, turning down the commercial which was intended for broadcast during that year's Super Bowl. The 30-second spot apparently violated the network's policy of "prohibiting advocacy ads, even ones that carry an 'implicit' endorsement for a side in a public debate."

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Looking forward to immigration reform and how it will benefit the U.S. economy by $1.5 trillion

From Restore Fairness blog

Do we need more evidence of the fact that Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) will benefit the country? For those that are unconvinced, the new report brought out by the Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center should help point our how crucial CIR is to the future of the U.S. economy.

The report "Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform" concludes that immigration reform would have a positive ripple effect which would in turn boost the economy. According to the National Immigration Forum

"The program would have economic ripple effects that would, when compared to the alternative policy of mass deportation promoted by immigrant restrictions, have a net economic benefit of as much as $4.1 trillion for the U.S. economy over 10 years."

Some of the consequences of reform include raised worker's wages which subsequently "raise the wage floor" for everyone,  a willingness to invest, more income, more spending and more taxes - all of which will result in growth of gross domestic product by approximately $1.5 trillion over a ten-year period. The figure comes from findings of surveys conducted after the passing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 which granted legal status to 3 million immigrants. Research shows that those undocumented immigrants who were legalized as per the IRCA (which was also implemented during an economic recession similar to the present one) went on to better jobs and higher wages. Many further invested in higher education which increased their skill level and socio-economic mobility, positively impacting the economy. Where the IRCA failed was in creating a flexible policy for future immigration, leading to the present situation in which the government spends large amounts of resources on an inefficient and costly system of enforcement.

In a recent CNN article, the author of the report Hinojosa-Ojeda who belongs to the North American Integration and Development Center at UCLA states,

"The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically since the early 1990s despite equally dramatic increases in the amount of money the federal government spends on immigration enforcement...The U.S. Border Patrol says its annual budget has increased by 714 percent since 1992, from $326.2 million in fiscal year 1992 to $2.7 billion in fiscal 2009."

In addition to being expensive, it is evident that the current enforcement-only policy of the government is inefficient, and has led to a damaging of the economy. The current policy seems to be heading towards a scenario of "mass deportation", which the report analyzes as one of three avenues through which the government can approach immigration policy. The other two scenarios are "comprehensive immigration reform" and a "program for temporary workers". While mass deportation would cause a loss of $2.6 trillion in gross domestic product over a 10 year period, the worker program would lead to a gain of $792 billion. Full legalization of existing immigrants along with new, flexible legal limits on permanent and temporary immigration is the best scenario, leading to $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product growth over the next ten years.

Hinojosa-Ojeda explains his calculation for "full legalization",

"All immigrant workers in this scenario have full labor rights, which results in higher wages - and higher worker productivity - for all workers in industries where large numbers of immigrants are employed. As wage and productivity levels rise, the U.S. economy's demand for new immigrant workers actually declines over time as the market shrinks for easily exploited, low-wage workers...The higher earning power of newly legalized workers translates into an increase in the net personal income of $30 to $36 billion, which would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue. Moreover, an increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs..."

The report demonstrates that the economic argument can no longer be used as an excuse to avoid immigration reform, and poses a stiff challenge to the mythical notion that legalizing undocumented workers will increase unemployment. Instead it helps to drive home the pressing need for the government to enact comprehensive immigration reform. In an article by New American Media, Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council, says,

"I think there are two very important things about this report. One certainly is that it shines a spotlight on the potential for a very large impact on our economy in a time when we need it. Even in Washington D.C., $1.5 trillion is a lot of money. But the report also reminds us of where the focus of an immigration reform effort ought to be, and that is about how do we provide benefits to the American economy and to the American worker."

Momentum for immigration reform is building in 2010. On December 15th, Rep. Gutierrez unveiled CIR ASAP in the House, a historical bill that outlines progressive solutions to our immigration policy crisis, and early this year, Sen. Schumer is expected to introduce a bill in the Senate. You can do your bit to urge Congress to support immigration reform leading to a healthier economy and more due process and human rights for all.

Lou Dobbs to resign from CNN after pressure by advocacy groups

After facing intense pressure for his anti-immigration rhetoric, Lou Dobbs announced his resignation last night to his viewers. He will be replaced by John King.

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Lou Dobbs Quits CNN

Former business analyst-turned-birther and immigration fear monger Lou Dobbs has announced that he is leaving CNN to focus on punditry rather than hard news, effective immediately. Today was his last broadcast.

The only downside to this news is that it sounds like it was Dobbs' decision, not CNN's. One wishes they had fired him months ago rather than waiting for him to leave on his own terms. Oh, well. It's still a step in the right direction for the network that likes to consider itself about hard news rather than punditry. It's one thing to allow a hateful windbag like Dobbs airtime; it's another thing entirely to mislabel it as trustworthy "news." Now if they would only cover the stories that matter... one step at a time, I suppose. From Yahoo! News:

Dobbs said the decision came after many months of discussion with CNN U.S. President Jon Klein. Dobbs said he wanted to concentrate on his role as a commentator and on advocacy journalism...

His resignation was hailed by activists who were seeking his ouster.

"Our contention all along was that Lou Dobbs -- who has a long history of spreading lies and conspiracy theories about immigrants and Latinos -- does not belong on the most trusted name in news," said Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org. "We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has the legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate."

Tom Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the leading Latino legal organization, said, "I think the Latino community can and should celebrate that Lou Dobbs is no longer on CNN." ...

A decision on who will replace Dobbs is expected to be announced on Thursday.

How long do you think it will be before he joins Fox News and becomes as unhinged as Beck? If Dobbs does indeed make such a move, we can expect his ratings to rise, but at least he'll be stuck preaching to the choir and won't be seen as an actual journalist anymore. Any bets as to his replacement?

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Birds of a Feather

The more I am involved in local politics and neighborhood issues the more I am coming to realize that most people tend to seek out those who share their already held beliefs and look for reinforcement versus critical analysis. Have we become a country that is so entrenched in ideology that facts have become nonessential to rational discussion? My fear is that we have become a nation of intellectually lazy people who would rather have their news and facts spoon fed to them by the likes of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. It appears that the more technology we incorporate into our society the less many of us read, study, and work to understand the nuisances of different issues. Instead of witnessing accurate and factual discussions we have become spectators to a drunken family brawl, where facts are replaced with family indignation.

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