19 March 2011


IMMIGRATION. It is rare that I find myself on the same side of an issue with the business community, since capitalism as it is practiced in America too often equates with corporate greed, and with the consumer receiving the least value for the most money. Once in a while, however, the stars align and the business world comes to grips with social/economic reality.

Such was the case in the Arizona legislature this week, as reported by Richard A. Oppel, Jr. According to Oppel, "Arizona established itself over the past year as the most aggressive state in cracking down on illegal immigrants, gaining so much momentum with its efforts that several other states vowed to follow suit. But the harsh realities of economics appear to have intruded, and Arizona may be looking to shed the image of hard-line anti-immigration pioneer.

"In an abrupt change of course, Arizona legislators rejected new anti-immigration measures on Thursday, in what is widely seen as capitulation from business executives and an admission that the state's tough stance has resulted in a chilling of the normally robust tourism and convention industry .... Opponents of the five bills said that the state's image had been hit hard, and that it did not make sense to pass new measures while the state had already put itself so far out in front of other states and the federal government on the issue -- at a cost to tourism and other industries."

Gee, ya think? Anyone with the slightest understanding of local, national and international commerce realizes that in the U.S., migrant workers from Latin American countries (documented or not) play a vital role in manufacturing, agriculture, service industries within our borders, as well as financially shoring up their families at home. Immigrant workers are overwhelmingly traditional in their family values and work ethic, and to this observer are a welcome component in American society, whether as temporary workers or as permanent citizens.

Arizona's rabidly xenophobic anti-immigration laws have been a black eye not only on the state's image, but on the nation's image at well. The most recent legislative developments demonstrate a fundamental truth in effecting social change -- if you want to get someone's attention, hit them in the wallet. I'm pleased that at least a few people within the Arizona political establishment have seen the light of pragmatism, even if their social conscience may remain less than fully functioning.

BELL 407AH. Bell Helicopter has announced the first qualified, armed/weaponized commercial helicopter, the Bell 407AH (also available in fully military configuration). I'm thinking yeah, this is just what the world needs, more individuals and corporations running around with high-tech weaponry. We've had too many instances of private mercenary companies running amok in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Is it really a good idea to have private corporations flying choppers with features which include "multiple weapons and surveillance packages including Mini-guns, rocket pods, FLIR and NVG capabilities"?

The reported missions for which this model is intended include Corporate, HEMS, Oil & Gas, and Parapublic (whatever that means) applications.

The world is dangerous enough with heavily armed military, police, and criminal weaponry. Is there a truly valid justification for private enterprise to be flying around armed with Mini-guns and rocket pods in what can only be called attack helicopters? I'm just sayin'.

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