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Journal Should Provide Information, Not Political Opinions
I began reading this article ("Business License Revocation: Is This What Tennessee Needs?" July 2008 Tenn. Bar Journal) in order to try to determine what the new Tennessee law provided. The deeper I got into the article the more it became clear it was primarily a political opinion piece by two attorneys. I read the Bar Journal to become better informed on different areas of the law, not to read the political opinions of lawyers regarding illegal aliens.
I do not agree with the premise that employers are being punished for "their efforts to survive and sustain their business" because that implies that, without illegal workers, businesses can not survive. I do not think these writers should be giving their personal opinions about what they believe is the employer's responsibility to determine immigration status. The authors complain about anti-immigration sentiments, potentially, by state agencies. All of the people I know who talk about this issue are not "anti-immigration" but anti-illegal immigration.
Further, I am somewhat amused by the discussion concerning government employees having too much discretion regarding this issue. I can only wonder if the authors feel the same way about a myriad of other state and federal agencies that exert substantial discretion and where, in my opinion, it is clear personal opinions affect how a law is enforced and violations investigated. I doubt they are so troubled about possible bureaucratic excesses in most other areas.
I disagree with the premise that illegal aliens in the work force are "undeniably entrenched" in the American way of life or that there is a "shortage of workers" and that the states should not "meddle" in the immigration debate. One of the footnotes even indicates illegal aliens pay taxes simply by the way they live in the United States, i.e., purchasing goods and services. I only wish I could pay all of my taxes in that manner.
The real thrust of the article comes at the end where it says that we should "welcome the influx of foreign workers who contribute to our rich culture. We are, after all, a nation born of immigrants." Maybe they forgot the word "legal" before immigrants but I doubt it.
I could debate the article throughout but the bottom line is I do not believe this article, with all of the personal opinions contained therein, was beneficial to my knowledge of the Tennessee Statute. I have my political opinions and others have their opinions. I do not want to read that in the Bar Journal except in the book review section.
— Roger W. Hudson, Murfreesboro
The following two letters were written to Journal columnist Bill Haltom about his August 2008 column, "Let Us Now Praise Real Lawyers."
Bill: Thank you so much for your article. It obviously came from the heart and hit me in the same place. I get so tired of being referred to as a blood sucker, when the majority of my time is spent pro bono helping people with little problems in my office or on the phone for no pay whatsoever. I shudder to think what they would do if we gave up this profession. Of course we get no recognition for it, just recognition for how much money we charge or make. They also never talk about what we do to promote the profession (teaching CLE, writing, etc.) or what we do to promote the community (working for homeless agencies, raising money for charities, etc.).
I don't need too many pats on the head (like the one you just gave me), but I am really tired of the constant kicks in the rump. Keep up the good work. You made my day!
— Tony Seaton, Johnson City
Bill, you have written many humorous and entertaining articles under the title "But Seriously Folks." This one is your best ever and should be required reading for the citizens of Tennessee and not just members of the Tennessee Bar Association.
— Timothy A. Priest, Knoxville
In the Mac versus PC debate ("Mac or PC: Here's How to Decide Which Is Best for You" July 2008 Tenn. Bar Journal), here's my recommendation: Keep the PC, but replace Windows with Ubuntu Linux as the operating system. It can be downloaded free at www.ubuntu.com.
In 2005, my wife and I bought a Mac G5. Windows and its "performed an illegal act" messages had been annoying me for a decade and so I had great expectations for the G5, but I was disappointed.
My admittedly idiosyncratic opinion: Mac's operating system is a prima donna which makes simple tasks (like deleting a file) more complicated than necessary. A lot of people swear by their Macs but very quickly I began swearing at ours.
The people I've met who love their Macs passionately seem to be involved in composing music or graphic arts. Fine. But buying a Mac for business office purposes seems to me as logical as hiring Picasso to paint the outside of a barn.
But maybe I'm wrong. My wife has no problem with the Mac and my teenage daughter loves it. Every time I rant about the G5 my daughter insists that I just don't know how to use it properly.
My 25-year-old son just removed Windows Vista from his new laptop and installed Ubuntu Linux, which he loves. I plan to follow suit.
— Keltner Locke, Brentwood