Immigration Debate: Plus Ça Change …

I once pointed to an article by Ann Althouse asking "Why is immigration suddenly making everyone crazy?" That was over a year ago. Back then, I also noticed bloggers I admired making obviously bad arguments (here, here, and here) on the issue. I also noted (here, here and here) that the debate bore the hallmarks of Sowell's "conflict" between constrained and unconstrained visions, where (typically) the constrained-vision side views the other side as misguided, while those in thrall to the unconstrained vision view their opponents much more negatively, as stupid, evil, or insane.

You may have noticed that none of these observations actually changed any opinions, let alone make anyone any less vituperative in their debating tactics.

The latest sad data point: as Peggy Noonan noted in her widely-quoted WSJ column last week, the president and his allies have adopted the unconstrained debating tactic:

The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."
Also of note is Michelle Malkin's recent column which made similar points:
Meanwhile, Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald notes the White House continues to attack opponents of the Bush-Kennedy amnesty package as "nativists." Conservative columnist Linda Chavez accused amnesty critics of "not liking Mexicans." Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested enforcement advocates wanted to "execute" illegal aliens. Sen. Lindsay Graham, South Carolina Republican, trashed immigration enforcement proponents as "bigots" in front of the ethnocentric, open-borders group La Raza. Yeah, we're the nativists.

The Heather Mac Donald article to which Michelle refers is here.

The upshot? Don Boudreaux, a blogger I ordinarily greatly admire, posts a letter written to the Washington Times in response to Michelle's column:

The actions of millions of Mexicans who come to America seeking opportunity demonstrate a profound affection for American civilization - a civilization rooted in an openness and optimism that Ms. Malkin and her xenophobic comrades want to replace with a nativist nationalism rooted in ignorance and fear.
Yes, indeedy! That's exactly what Ms. Malkin wants: nativist nationalism rooted in ignorance and fear! So there's no need whatsoever to deal with the actual arguments made by her or her "xenophobic comrades"! Gee, that was easy.

Professor Boudreaux shows a remarkable lack of self-awareness about these reprehensible debating tactics, all the more remarkable because he'd presumably just read an article making a point of how misguided such tactics are.


Last Modified 2017-12-05 2:31 PM EST

The Continuing Adventures of Linux Boy: Fedora 7

Apologies to anyone inconvenienced by our extended outages on Friday, but the blog is now coming to you via the latest version of my Linux distribution, Fedora 7.

Fedora 7 came out May 31. And the call of a new version summons me, much like the tantalizing song of the siren tempts the sailor, sometimes with the same results.

But this turned out OK. Random notes follow.

There is a "live CD" of Fedora 7, but you can't upgrade an existing machine from that, as near as I could tell. (I didn't look very hard, and may have missed it.) The full distribution is available on a 3-Gig DVD image only; no more burning of multiple CDs (good), but … oh, right … this machine only has a CD reader.

Well, no problem, or at least not a big one, to those of us with access to other web servers. I uploaded the DVD image, mounted it, set up a symlink to the mount point in the webroot, and voila, we're off to the races. You still need something to boot your target system with, but the DVD contains a couple of smaller images you can copy to a bootable medium, like a CD or USB stick.

Things were going just swell, when I ran into a sudden and serious stumbling block: the upgrade process refused to continue because it believed the swap partition was invalid. ("Press any key to reboot", it said helpfully.)

After much anguish, I recalled the following caveat from the relase notes:

A change in the way that the linux kernel handles storage devices means that device names like /dev/hdX or /dev/sdX may differ from the values used in earlier releases. Anaconda solves this problem by relying on partition labels. If these labels are not present, then Anaconda presents a warning indicating that partitions need to be labelled and that the upgrade can not proceed.

Well, obviously, that wouldn't apply to the swap partition, right? Wrong, it does. (But, in my slight defense, the error message isn't anything as clear as "You need to label your swap partition, dummy.")

But how do you put a label your swap partition, if it doesn't already have one? A few seconds with the Google reveals: you just use the -L option to mkswap:


# mkswap -L SWAP /dev/hda3

And change the appropriate line in your /etc/fstab:


LABEL=SWAP    swap      swap    defaults 0 0

Restart the upgrade, and we are sailing once again. This time, things ran to completion, and—hooray—everything worked right afterwards.

What of the end result, you ask: was it worth it? Ah, you're missing the point. For a sysadmin:

  1. the focus is on the journey, not the destination;

  2. we're generally pleasantly surprised when anything works at all.

But I'll answer anyway: Fedora 7 is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Many installed packages are in their latest and greatest revisions. (Firefox 2, for example, replaces Firefox 1.5, and that's especially nice.) There's another marginal improvement in font legibility, welcome for my aging eyes. And the undersea-DNA theme from Fedora Core 6 has been replaced with hot air baloons!

But generally, I'm not a professional reviewer, I don't crawl up and down feature lists, and (as noted above), as long as I have a basically-working environment with Perl, a web browser, and terminal windows, I'm pretty satisfied. (And, of course, a working web server for you kind readers.)

Previous adventures of Linux Boy: the Fedora Core 6 Upgrade and the relatively rocky Fedora Core 5 Upgrade.


Last Modified 2012-10-19 1:14 PM EST