NEWS DAY | Hot enough? / English only in Lino Lakes / More WikiLeaks

Hot enough for you? For the first time in three years, Xcel Energy switched on its hot-weather energy-saver program, reports the Pioneer Press. Today’s 90-degree temps meant “cycling on and off the central air conditioners for hundreds of thousands of Minnesota customers in order to ease the peak demand on its electricity load” between 2 and 6 p.m.

In Minnesota, that affected 325,000 residential customers and 15,000 commercial customers who had signed up for the program, [Xcel spokesperson] Nystuen said.

During an interrupt, Minneapolis-based Xcel cycles air conditioners off and on at 15- to 20-minute intervals.

English only is the new rule in Lino Lakes – more or less. The ordinance passed July 27, a clear anti-immigrant initiative despite its sponsor’s denials, exempts “many areas, including public health, public safety, tourism, ‘the administration of justice,’ and emergencies.” Since Lino Lakes has never translated any public documents, and has never been asked to do so, it’s not clear what the law does apply to, or might apply to in the future.

MPR interviewed a woman in Lino Lakes who had come to the United States from Nicaragua 30 years ago:

“If they [pass] that, it’s going to be like a license to be racist,” Rubino said.

In Minnesota, she said, her conversations in Spanish with her children rub people the wrong way.

“Some people will pass by and say, ‘English only,'” Rubino said. “I’m not bothering anybody. I’m teaching them another language.”

The really crazy part of all this is that anti-immigrant sentiment is being whipped up across the country as the actual number of immigrants is falling and enforcement and arrests of unauthorized immigrants are rising.

If the rising tide of hysteria over immigration is not being driven by increases in the number of immigrants, what is behind it? You don’t have to look far to see the right wing’s twin focus on race and immigration, and the fear-mongering and prejudice on both issues. The Star Tribune quoted Minnesota ACLU’s Chuck Samuelson:

“This is an attempt to get press for an idea that appeals to the nativist instincts of the American population, which goes back a long way. … This is what America does. When you want to create a cause célèbre, you go after immigrants.”

$8.7 billion is missing somewhere in Iraq – sounds like one of those spam e-mail messages, but instead it’s the Pentagon’s non-explanation for missing money, according to the LA Times:

The Defense Department is unable to properly account for $8.7 billion out of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to it between 2004 and 2007, according to a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping during the war.

Of course, assures the Times, there’s no evidence of fraud, just extreme sloppiness in bookkeeping. Right.

More on WikiLeaks on Afghanistan – from Amy Danielson in a New Yorker essay:

[The] Times decided that

“Over all, the documents do not contradict official accounts of the war.”

One should pause there. What does it mean to tell the truth about a war? Is it a lie, technically speaking, for the Administration to say that it has faith in Hamid Karzai’s government and regards him as a legitimate leader—or is it just absurd? Is it a lie to say that we have a plan for Afghanistan that makes any sense at all?

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