Migration Mitigation & Flipping The Switch On Smartphones
January 17, 2023
None If By Land And None If By Sea Either
The U.S. is currently facing an immigration crisis. Immigration from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean has spiked recently thanks to increasingly desperate situations in those regions, and President Biden has pushed the nation’s immigration policy in a more conservative direction in response to millions of people fleeing to the U.S. by both land and sea.
Since October of 2022, the U.S. Coast Guard claims that it has intercepted and turned back over 4,900 Cubans trying to reach the U.S. by sea. For comparison, the country saw roughly 6,100 Cuban migrants attempting to reach its shores in the entire year between September 2021 and September 2022. Some residents of Florida have taken to helping migrants by jet ski as they attempt to swim ashore after dangerous journeys often made on makeshift boats. The U.S. has also seen mass migration across its southern border, with 2.8 million people stopped at the border from September 2021 to September 2022, breaking the record set just a year earlier.
It seems Biden is taking Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to heart and is now carrying a big stick. In response to the immigration situation, Biden has moved his border policies increasingly to the right. He’s implemented a “carrot and stick” policy, which cracks down on undocumented immigration into the U.S. while supposedly opening up more avenues for immigrants to get visas. Critics say that the new policy creates barriers that will be hard to overcome for the average immigrant. “The problem is the carrot is not universally accessible,” said one immigration expert. “Legal access to asylum will be limited to those who are the right nationalities, have the right means and support, to apply for parole … The sticks they are offering are restricting access, and that’s not a fair trade.”
Some Good News
- This woman is riding around the world with her German shepherd (CNN)
- Mexico imposes one of world’s strictest anti-smoking laws (ABC)
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It Takes A Village To Fuel A Country
- German energy company RWE has finally cleared out a village to make way for an expansion of its coal mine. On Monday, the last two climate activists were removed from a self-dug tunnel in the hamlet of Luetzerath, their final attempt to prevent the village from being bulldozed. Meanwhile, other protests in the village continued for hours before being stopped by police.
- The expansion to RWE’s Garzweiler coal mine has been a hot topic for Germany. While the government and RWE say they want to expand the mine to secure more domestic sources of energy for Germany, environmentalists and scientists say that investing in coal will undermine the country’s climate goals.
- Luisa Neubauer, a prominent young climate activist who attended the protests with Andrew Tate’s archnemesis Greta Thunberg, called police treatment of protestors a “very shocking experience.” Law enforcement’s operation to remove protestors from the village began on Wednesday, as they chopped down treehouses and bulldozed buildings. According to one co-leader of Germany’s Green Party, the expansion of the mine is part of a compromise to push forward the country’s coal extraction deadline to 2030, and will also spare five other villages from being bulldozed for coal operations. You could call it a sort of village-scale trolley problem, though in this case, the trolley is an outdated fossil fuel sector.
That’s-A Major Arrest
- Italy has scored a huge victory in its ongoing battle against its third-biggest export after pizza and pasta – the mafia. On Monday, the country’s most-wanted mafia boss was arrested at a private hospital in Sicily, where he was undergoing treatment for cancer. The boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, had been on the run since 1993.
- Messina Denaro had been sentenced in absentia to a life term in prison for multiple crimes. In 1992, he was involved in the murders of two of Italy’s most prominent anti-mafia prosecutors, and also played a part in bomb attacks a year later that killed 10 people. His other crimes include numerous murders throughout the 1990s, as well as the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy whose father was prepared to give police evidence against the mafia. The boy was eventually strangled and his body was dissolved in acid.
- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni acknowledged that the arrest was just one step in the right direction for Italy’s fight against organized crime. “We have not won the war, we have not defeated the mafia but this battle was a key battle to win, and it is a heavy blow to organized crime,” she said in a statement following Messina Denaro’s arrest. Currently, the top Italian mafia family is the ‘Ndrangheta, or the Calabrian mafia, and not the Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian crime family to which Messina Denaro belonged.
Additional World News
- Former Afghan lawmaker Mursal Nabizada shot dead at her home in Kabul (CNN)
- Germany summons Iranian ambassador for talks in Berlin (Reuters)
- Israeli forces kill 14-year-old Palestinian boy in West Bank (Guardian)
- Who’s not coming to Davos (Politico)
- Norway naval officer denies negligence in oil tanker collision (Reuters)
- China braces for Covid surge as lunar new year travel rush begins (Guardian)
- Davos 2023: Global recession in 2023 seen as likely in WEF survey (Reuters)
- Ukraine’s first lady: Women bearing the brunt of the war (Politico)
“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller
Ordinary Joe Doesn’t Keep A Logbook
- As calls grow for President Biden to turn over the visitor logs for his Wilmington, Delaware residence, where classified documents were found in his garage, the White House counsel’s office clarified that there are no visitors logs to turn over. The counsel’s office explained that “Like every President across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal” in a statement released Monday.
- They also took the opportunity to point out that Biden was responsible for bringing back White House visitor logs when he took office “after the previous administration ended them.” Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the agency also does not independently maintain visitor logs for Biden’s home in Wilmington.
- It was made public over the weekend that five more classified documents had been found on Thursday. Republicans are eager to get their digs in against the president, leading the charge on ensuring the whole investigation is kept transparent for the American public. (CNN)
Shooting For A Seat In The House
- Republican Solomon Pena, who lost his state house challenge to incumbent Democrat Miguel P. Garcia 74% to 26% in November, was arrested on Monday in relation to a string of shootings at the Albuquerque-area homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two state legislators. Pena was accused of conspiring with and paying four men to carry out the shootings, which mostly caused property damage.
- Police said Pena alleged his crushing defeat was the result of election fraud, which they believe contributed to his motive. He took his fraud theories to three county commissioners and one state senator, who all denied his claims. Some, but not all, of those who ignored him were among those targeted in the shootings. Pena is – surprise, surprise – a big supporter of former President Trump. (NBC)
Additional USA News
- Missing Hurricane Ian victim found dead on sunken sailboat months after storm (NBC)
- The states that celebrate both MLK Day and confederate holidays (Axios)
- John Kerry backs UAE appointment of oil chief to oversee UN climate talks (Guardian)
- Airplane lavatories deliver new hope for the CDC’s variant hunt (Politico)
- How McCarthy’s speaker deals will cause ‘cannibalistic brawl among extremists’ (Guardian)
- Arizona city cuts off a neighborhood’s water supply amid drought (WaPo, $)
- Republican targeting Hunter Biden says: ‘I don’t target individuals’ (Guardian)
What’s Old Is New Again
- Gen Z is continuing its quest to dig up pieces of “vintage” culture. This time, the TikTok generation has moved on from low-rise jeans and disposable cameras and has turned its attention to flip phones. TikTokers and pop culture icons alike have begun powering off their modern pocket-sized computers, turning to utilitarian flip phones to disconnect from the world of social media.
- According to mental health experts, as the usage of smartphones and social media grew around 2012, the rate of depression in teens also grew. A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also showed that teen depression almost doubled from 2004 to 2019, also mirroring the rise of social media usage.
- While some of the turn to flip phones is partially aesthetic – some enjoy the blurry photos produced by cheap phones, as well as the ability to accessorize them – many have begun using their flip phones as part of a shift away from being always online. “We attribute this shift to many smartphone users beginning to recognize they are spending too much time glued to their devices and having a strong desire to disconnect and ‘be fully present’ to improve their quality of social connections,” said Jackie Kates, head of marketing at HMD Global, the company behind Nokia. This idea of a shift towards more ‘real’ connections tracks with the rise of BeReal, an app that has users post real-time, less-curated selfies once a day to…well, be more real.
- One year after volcanic blast, many of Tonga’s reefs lay silent (Reuters)
- Seimone Augustus honored by LSU with statue outside arena (ESPN)
- Kabul’s mannequins are hooded and masked under Taliban rule (NPR)
- It’s now minus 50 in the world’s coldest city (CNN)
- Dallas Zoo monkey enclosure fencing cut on same day as tampering that allowed leopard to escape, police say (CNN)
- Treasure hunters dive for mammoth bones in New York’s East River (Guardian)
- Lawyers Barred by Madison Square Garden Found a Way Back In (NYT, $)