Saturday, July 10, 2010

He says "moat" like it's a bad thing.

Steve Ross on Tennessee Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee McWherter's response to the Arizona kerfuffle:
McWherter stopped short of saying he supported having a similar bill in Tennessee. Further, he didn't place blame on the people who are illegally crossing, but the Federal Government, whose job it is to deal with immigration policy, and the employers who hire illegals.

This is an important distinction. Its one thing to say that the Federal Government has failed in its duty to protect the borders, but quite another to say that we should build a legal moat filled with alligators around the state.

Let me just say right here that, all immigration issues aside, I think a moat filled with alligators around the whole state would be pretty cool. Additionally, digging the moat and stocking it would be a tremendous jobs program, akin to the original TVA, and once you were done, just think of all the sweet, sweet tourist dollars that would pour in when people came to look at the 'gators. Florida has 'gators and look at how much tourist business they get, and they don't even have a moat.

(Cross-posted here, because it's hard coming up with twice the snark every morning.)


og said...

"and they don't even have a moat"


the Atlantic ocean? The Gulf of Mexico? Gators, Sharks, Hurricanes, jellyfish, Cubans?

Not that this isn't FURTHER argument for a moat, mind you.

Anonymous said...

Meh, og beat me to it.
But he forgot the oil...


John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Why do I think that we are witnessing, before our very eyes, the transformation of Tam-gun and snark writer-to Tam, syndicated op-ed columnist?

WaPo would never be the same. Yum.

Ed Skinner said...

Come to Arizona -- and get cheap alligator boots!

Anonymous said...

Would the gators shoot bees out of their jaws?

Shootin' Buddy

Hypnagogue said...

Texas has a moat, and it doesn't seem to work.

staghounds said...

As Mona might say, perhaps it would be an exaggeration to call it a moat.

Also no alligators.

Matt G said...

Hypnagogue, our moat here in Texas will raise a cloud of dust as you walk across it, in lots of places.

Instead of filling the moat with alligators, how about filling it with little lizards that could grow up to become giant mutants capable of destroying Tokyo?

That way, you'd have a Moat 'N Godzi!

Thankyew! I'll be here all week!

Tam said...


Hypnagogue said...

Alligators in the Rio Grande.

Doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

No 'gator-filled moats in FLA you say?

Hit the satellite button on that map, and off to the left there is Lake Okeechobee. The green and black patchwork is mile after mile of muckland (former swampbottom) that for many years supported the "winter vegetable capital of America" but for many more years since has been sugar cane. In the middle along 700 just out from Bryant (home of the giant U.S. Sugar mill) was our remote home from ages 8 to 15 of my yoot. That first Christmas ('62-'63?) I got my Marlin single-shot .22 and spent the next 7 years wandering all those intersecting lines on the map, which are tractor roads alongside...moats. On foot, on horseback (ol' Thunderbolt!), and later on my $75 Honda 50, I covered about a million miles of dank, hot paths where I could try to perfect my trajectory shot at the muck rabbits at the far end of the field. Full of 'gators and about every other small varmint and snake imaginable, they were the shooting galleries of my days and nights.

Funny. Twenty miles to the east is West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Proper; a million folks (and those tourists you spoke of, Tam) living quite metropolitan lives and mostly oblivious to the primordial world right in their same county. It won't be around much longer, though. U.S. Sugar has an agreement with gov to turn over hundreds of thousands of acres to recreate a filtering marsh for the Everglades and the other companies will follow suit eventually with most of the area becoming essentially what it once was. Oh, well, dust to dust. Or rather swamp to swamp.

The moats haven't worked too well as a deterrent to immigrants though; or maybe they have. Not a big Mexican contingent there, but most of the sugar cane is still cut by hand by thousands of Jamaican "guest workers", the sugar business itself is mostly operated by Cubans, and there's a bunch of Haitians there to service the others for drugs and prostitution. Maybe the 'gators palate prefers refried beans to black bean soup or palau creole.

Anyway, the alligator moat idea doesn't work in this part of the (gigglesnort) "tourist mecca", at least for Cubans, Jamaicans, Haitians, and Bubbas (I used to accidentally catch the bastards on my turtle snares; pissed 'em off, but cut the 1/4" nylon rope and turn 'em loose and they'd leave you alone. Unknown as to the Mexicans; they can climb and pick some oranges but they're too little to cut cane and besides, the sugar companies were sticklers for the legal status thing, they don't want to lose that Jamaican guest-worker program, nobody else will do that shit, and machine harvesting is still imperfect. Or maybe the the Mexi's did try to come and the gator moats worked perfectly, but only for bite-sized taco-flavored snacks. Huh.

So, um, I guess no definitive data here as to the effectiveness of your alligator moat system of illegal immigration deterrence. Sorry.


Bubblehead Les. said...

I'm more of a Wall guy myself, You know, Great Wall of China, Hadrian's, that new one separating the West Bank, those are more my style. Less mosquitos that way.

Ed Foster said...

AT: When the local Connecticut kids got too lazy to pick shade tobacco, back in the 70's, they brought in Jamaicans. It's 115 degrees under that net, 100% humidity, and a long day from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. I know, because working it back in high school got me my first car.

Thing is, we skimmed the cream of Jamaica's crop back in the '50's and '60's, some great people, but haven't gotten much but Rastas and 'Bangers since.

They gave up on the Jamaicans about 10-12 years ago, tired of all the machete fights and conventional knifings, the drug busts and AWOLs.

I now share the neighborhood with hundreds of Mexican Indians, sturdy little Mayan types from way down south near Guatemala, from late April to October. Quiet, polite, steady people with total class.

I know firsthand the steaming hell they work in, and am amazed at the crisply irons workshirts and jeans you see every morning, and again when they walk up to the supermarket.

I would cheerfully trade all our bureaucrats, professional welfare recipients, and limosine liberals for them if I could. The Mexicans are far better people than the above mentioned weenies.

But I can't, so why not establish a real guest worker program, and let them go home at the end of the season rather than be forced to hide out and scrounge?

I'm not in favor of citizenship for them, and I'm already on record as wanting to stop all immigration for a generation or two, but an honest Bracero program?

Perhaps especially for the Indians. They have no close family here, and most only speak a very basic Spanish. No where to run to, no where to hide.

Cowboy Blob said...

Oh, great, one Gila Monster falls into the moat and drowns and the enviro-weenies will be all over us. Promise me the moat stretches around between us and CA too, please!

Anonymous said...

Ed: Complete agreement as to guest workers. Tightly control ingress, egress, and taxation (fed's only legit functions), and our economy benefits from their industriousness and their economy benefits from our wealth and need to get things done.

Unfortunately our system of non-control is conducive to the plagues that follow the productive workers: families and all of the (permanent!) inherent costs thereof, and the criminal support system of gangs, dope, prostitution, and scammers.

Take a look at Northern Mexico aka Southern Cali for a glimpse into the future of everywhere else. Their state gov surely doesn't have the inclination (or the cajones) to control it; our fed gov seems to take their model as the ideal (see current events in AZ), and the way things are going in Mexico itself there's about to be a huge new push to get the hell out of there with the preferred destination being my place or yours, and it's not just their industrious little aborigines that will be heading our way.

No, as you and I have both said, the answer into the forseeable future is a total and complete and harshly enforced ban on immigration from everywhere. Then we'll see if we've still got what it takes to hang onto what is ours, while there's still something to hang onto. I personally believe there are still some golden eggs up in there, but we'll never see 'em if we don't address this internal war very very soon, because it has the very real potential to cook our goose good and done.