Lewiston, ME: Newsweek screwed up the story

Last Saturday I reported that a Newsweek magazine story on Lewiston, ME credited the large number of Somali immigrants there with the economic boom the city is experiencing.  It made no sense to me and today, thanks to Mars, I see it makes no sense to the citizens of Lewiston either. 

From the Sun-Journal (the local paper!):

LEWISTON – Charles Morrison said he was happy to give a Newsweek reporter plenty of names of local people to talk to about Lewiston’s rebirth.

“It sounded great,” Morrison said. “It sounded like what this community needed, which is good press. That’s not what we got, at least from a local perspective.”

Morrison said he was shocked to see the headline that came from those interviews in Newsweek’s Jan. 26 edition: “The Refugees Who Saved Lewiston: A dying Maine mill town gets a fresh burst of energy.” The article quotes Morrison and Paul Badeau, marketing director for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, in a story that credits the city’s new Somali residents for its economic rebirth.

“We’ve welcomed the Somalis and worked every day to help make them a part of our community,” Morrison said. “But are they the only reason for the transformation? No, not for the changes that are having the biggest impacts locally.”

The article goes on to describe the economic activity that is responsible for improvement in the economy and describes the fear that Newsweek’s sloppy journalism will cause racial tensions to rise again.  Some of the previous bad publicity the town experienced is mentioned too.

I shouldn’t gloat, but I knew there was no way flooding a town with third world refugees was going to bring economic boom times.

As for Newsweek, it is going down the tubes and it’s reporting like this that is pushing it and other mainstream publications over the edge.   The other night, Bernie Goldberg, who has a new book out about the media’s love affair with Obama, told viewers of FOX News that the media was going under for two reasons:  technology (the internet), and the trust factor.    We simply can’t trust them to tell the truth and this Lewiston story is a prime example.

With increased cultural diversity comes the rise of ethnic tribalism

So says Mark Cromer in an opinion piece published in the Washington Times yesterday.    Cromer is a senior fellow at Californians for Population Stabilization.

Using the words of Barack Hussein Obama at Tuesday’s inauguration, Cromer points out that perhaps Obama is not in tune with what is happening in some densely immigrant-populated areas of the country.

…. Mr. Obama offered the now-obligatory tip of the ideological hat to “diversity,” summoning forth a ringing affirmation of the cultural mosaic of America, calling “our patchwork heritage a strength, not a weakness.” Those are powerful words, to be sure, but they belie a harsh reality that is more plainly visible around the country today, perhaps more so than at any other time in our modern history. And that reality is that as cultural diversity has increased in America, so has unvarnished ethnic tribalism.

Although Cromer refers in his article  to the large illegal Mexican immigrant population, those same concerns about the development of ethnic enclaves apply to other large immigrant populations as well.   Here I am thinking of the Somali, little Moghadishus, we are seeing grow in cities like Minneapolis.

Like so many others before him, Mr. Obama evokes the immigrant history* of America in the richest of terms, speaking to what we’re told are our “better angels” when it comes to welcoming the stranger at our door (or the one already in our house). In some respects, it’s a commendable approach that our national leaders must employ to prevent demagoguery and scapegoating.

But his sweeping platitudes become potentially dangerous when they conveniently ignore historical fact, the present reality of illegal immigration and its impact on working Americans. And the fact is that the sustained wave of mass immigration from Mexico differs dramatically in both scope and context from any other large-scale migration to our shores in the nation’s history.

Perhaps our new President is such an ideologue that he just doesn’t see reality, afterall his mentor’s words went right over his head.

Given that Mr. Obama spent two decades in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church — and by his account never heard any racially polarizing rhetoric or brazen ethnocentric appeals from the good pastor at the pulpit — perhaps our new president just isn’t familiar with the deepening cultural divisions that mass immigration is fueling.

* On the issue of immigrant history, see Judy’s post yesterday.  A song from the early 1900’s indicates that all was not sweetness and light with immigrants at that time either.  Immigrants were not assimilating and as the Great Depression deepened, immigration was ground to a near halt giving the early waves of immigrants time to assimilate.   It wasn’t until the Immigration Act of 1965 (Ted Kennedy) that immigration once again began to be out of control.  We had a nearly four decade slowdown before 1965 and maybe it’s time for another moratorium now.

Come to think of it, those voters in Nashville who turned down English as the official language have actually done a great disservice to immigrants in that city by inhibiting assimilation.

English will not be official language in Nashville, TN

Nashville will continue to be a “welcoming,” “cultural mixing pot” reports the New York Times.    (Hat tip:  Blulitespecial)

Nashville voters on Thursday rejected a proposal to make English the city’s official language and largely prevent government workers from communicating in other languages.


Critics said the proposal would tarnish Nashville’s reputation as a cultural mixing pot and drive away immigrants and international businesses.

Big business helped defeat the proposal.   Someone should check how many foreign laborers Mr. Oreck needs to build his vacuum cleaners.

“People here said Nashville is a warm, welcoming and friendly environment that celebrates diversity,” said Tom Oreck, an opponent of the proposal and the chairman of the Oreck Corporation, a vacuum cleaner manufacturer. “If this had passed, it would have sent an isolationist message in a global economy.”

What a bunch of bull.  Studies increasingly show that employment of immigrants is impeded when the immigrants can’t speak English.  Just a couple of days ago I posted on one such study from Bates College in Maine.  Perhaps Mr. Oreck is afraid that if the workers learn English they will demand more of employers or move up to better paying jobs.

I won’t be buying any Oreck vacuum cleaner, that is for sure!

Here is an article from New English Review that will give you some more information on the sort of “melting pot” Nashville is today.   Here are all the posts in which we have mentioned Nashville.

Comments worth noting: Somalis can’t drive

Why do we keep hearing this same complaint from many different parts of the US—Somalis are dangerous drivers!   Now, if this was just from one state, I would conclude that the state’s DMV was just lax and didn’t properly test drivers, but that is not the case.

Here is the latest from reader Vivian (posted at this article on Greeley, CO)

Someone please teach these Somalis how to drive. Almost got creamed last night by one running a red light. And they cut right in front of you without even looking in the mirror. Help us………..

Is this (lousy driving and lack of concern for other drivers) one of those cultural diversity things we are to be tolerant of?   I’m sure there are some diehard advocates of multiculturalism snearing at this complaint, but let me tell you this is the sort of thing that does build resentment against immigrants in small cities and rural communities.