The Corner

Sweet Home Alabama

I’m in Alabama, at the invitation of John O’Sullivan’s lovely bride, and thoroughly enjoying this fair state (at least the northern part of it), which I had never visited before. Some tidbits:

* I was speaking in Huntsville today, where it seems like every other building is named after rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, and I was reminded of a great quote from the movie Ice Station Zebra, where British spy Patrick McGoohan explains the mystery behind the movie to American sub captain Rock Hudson: “The Russians put our camera made by our German scientists and your film made by your German scientists into their satellite made by their German scientists.”

* At lunch I met a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator, who’s uncannily effective, down to the mannerisms and the high-pitched voice. He said he did his shtick for John McCain at a lunch in New York last year, and afterwards he and several others expressed to McCain their dissatisfaction with his views on several issues, including immigration. McCain did not take it well. Imagine that — “Bull Moose” McCain being reprimanded by T.R. himself! I wish I’d been there.

* I visited the immigration section at the Etowah County Detention Center, where ICE contracts with the local sheriff’s department to house illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. While I suppose they could have been snowing me, there was no dog-and-pony show and the place seemed very well run — probably better than an INS detention center I’d visited some years ago in California. But two things struck me — first, the open-borders advocates constantly whining about illegals being housed in county jails have it all wrong. Their implication is that the poor illegals will be subjected to the brutal treatment of retrograde Southern sheriffs, but it’s actually the other way around — it’s the standards in the non-immigration portions of such jails which are pulled up by the presence of the immigration detainees. And the reason for that is the second observation — illegal aliens have more rights, required under ICE rules, than American prisoners. Just more evidence that in certain situations, illegal aliens are a de facto “protected class” under the law.

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