Quake hits California

No reports of major damage or casualties, but an earthquake hit Baja California, near the Mexico border.  The quake was felt throughout southern California.  It registered 6.9 on the Richter scale.  The one that devastated Haiti was 7.0. See Strong 6.9 quake jolts Baja California, Mexico – washingtonpost.com.

Can any of you out there give us a report?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Catherine

    I don’t live in California, but I have a friend who does. Her response on this?

    “You know how in the movie Independence Day when the woman says, ‘Go back to sleep, it’s not even a four pointer? THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.”

    Apparently around LA it wasn’t a big deal at all. But that’s just a secondhand story.

  • Catherine

    I don’t live in California, but I have a friend who does. Her response on this?

    “You know how in the movie Independence Day when the woman says, ‘Go back to sleep, it’s not even a four pointer? THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.”

    Apparently around LA it wasn’t a big deal at all. But that’s just a secondhand story.

  • Paul

    I live in LA and would say that what Catherine’s heard is a pretty fair assessment. In fact, I had no idea it was so strong until I read about it in the news since weaker earthquakes with closer epicenters have felt stronger. What was most interesting to me was this. At the time of the earthquake, I happened to be talking to an aunt of mine on the phone. After I told her that the earthquake had stopped, she said, “This Easter! There aren’t supposed to be earthquakes!”

  • Paul

    I live in LA and would say that what Catherine’s heard is a pretty fair assessment. In fact, I had no idea it was so strong until I read about it in the news since weaker earthquakes with closer epicenters have felt stronger. What was most interesting to me was this. At the time of the earthquake, I happened to be talking to an aunt of mine on the phone. After I told her that the earthquake had stopped, she said, “This Easter! There aren’t supposed to be earthquakes!”

  • EGK

    No earthquakes at Easter? See Matthew 28:2. The earth has a long memory!

  • EGK

    No earthquakes at Easter? See Matthew 28:2. The earth has a long memory!

  • Paul

    Exactly. What I meant to write there in the quotes was “This is Easter! There aren’t supposed to be earthquakes!” Anyhow, I pointed out to her that there was an earthquake on the first Easter, but instead of acknowledging it or responding to it she brought up something else to talk about.

  • Paul

    Exactly. What I meant to write there in the quotes was “This is Easter! There aren’t supposed to be earthquakes!” Anyhow, I pointed out to her that there was an earthquake on the first Easter, but instead of acknowledging it or responding to it she brought up something else to talk about.

  • DonS

    We live in south Orange County, about halfway between L.A. and San Diego. We had a number of family members over for Easter, and noticed the quake as we were standing in the kitchen talking. It started slowly and then started rolling a bit more intensely. It seemed to stop after about 10 seconds, then started again, much more noticeably, about 10 seconds after that, and then continued for some additional 45 seconds. This is extremely long in earthquake time. Because it was rolling, rather than sharp thrusts, we knew it was pretty far away (it turns out it was about 200 miles), so we walked into the back yard. The water was sloshing out of the pool, and we have a light on a pole for lighting a sport court, which was shaking violently. Chandeliers, etc. were also rocking pretty significantly. Normally, such an event gets the adrenaline going, but this motion was different and not particularly frightening. Definitely changed the course of the conversation and afternoon, however, as we spent the next hour or so watching the news.

    The sad thing is that we know the news reports that will come out of Mexicali, a huge city filled with barrios and people living in extreme poverty, will get much worse as the week progresses and the damage is revealed.

  • DonS

    We live in south Orange County, about halfway between L.A. and San Diego. We had a number of family members over for Easter, and noticed the quake as we were standing in the kitchen talking. It started slowly and then started rolling a bit more intensely. It seemed to stop after about 10 seconds, then started again, much more noticeably, about 10 seconds after that, and then continued for some additional 45 seconds. This is extremely long in earthquake time. Because it was rolling, rather than sharp thrusts, we knew it was pretty far away (it turns out it was about 200 miles), so we walked into the back yard. The water was sloshing out of the pool, and we have a light on a pole for lighting a sport court, which was shaking violently. Chandeliers, etc. were also rocking pretty significantly. Normally, such an event gets the adrenaline going, but this motion was different and not particularly frightening. Definitely changed the course of the conversation and afternoon, however, as we spent the next hour or so watching the news.

    The sad thing is that we know the news reports that will come out of Mexicali, a huge city filled with barrios and people living in extreme poverty, will get much worse as the week progresses and the damage is revealed.

  • Andy

    Mexicali’s actually a fairly prosperous city, but it’s true that in the surrounding rural villages you won’t find many private backyard pools and sport courts.

  • Andy

    Mexicali’s actually a fairly prosperous city, but it’s true that in the surrounding rural villages you won’t find many private backyard pools and sport courts.

  • DonS

    Andy, I have spent time in ministry in Mexicali. There are prosperous areas of Mexicali, just as in other border cities in Mexico. Mexico is a country of great contrast between rich and poor, with no middle class, to speak of. However, most of the Mexicali metropolitan area is extremely poor, populated with barrios comprised of shantys built with whatever materials are available, dirt roads, and children forced to beg from visitors, as is typical in such border cities. Building codes are lax or non-existent, and the government is corrupt. Reports are beginning to filter out of the affected area of widespread building collapse and trapped people. There is, no doubt, much suffering going on and extensive relief efforts will be necessary. Pray.

  • DonS

    Andy, I have spent time in ministry in Mexicali. There are prosperous areas of Mexicali, just as in other border cities in Mexico. Mexico is a country of great contrast between rich and poor, with no middle class, to speak of. However, most of the Mexicali metropolitan area is extremely poor, populated with barrios comprised of shantys built with whatever materials are available, dirt roads, and children forced to beg from visitors, as is typical in such border cities. Building codes are lax or non-existent, and the government is corrupt. Reports are beginning to filter out of the affected area of widespread building collapse and trapped people. There is, no doubt, much suffering going on and extensive relief efforts will be necessary. Pray.

  • Andy

    DonS, the truth is, Mexicali is one of the most properous cities in Mexico. That’s not to minimize both the earthquake damage or the extent of the surrounding poverty, which is indeed extreme, especially by Orange Co. standards.

  • Andy

    DonS, the truth is, Mexicali is one of the most properous cities in Mexico. That’s not to minimize both the earthquake damage or the extent of the surrounding poverty, which is indeed extreme, especially by Orange Co. standards.

  • DonS

    Andy, agreed, but prosperity is a relative thing. It is still an extremely poor city, by U.S. standards (not just Orange County, whatever your point is there), with most of the residents of the metropolitan are living in serious poverty. So I guess I’m not sure what your point is, or whether you are trying to be deliberately contentious.

  • DonS

    Andy, agreed, but prosperity is a relative thing. It is still an extremely poor city, by U.S. standards (not just Orange County, whatever your point is there), with most of the residents of the metropolitan are living in serious poverty. So I guess I’m not sure what your point is, or whether you are trying to be deliberately contentious.

  • Andy

    A mild correction to your description of Mexicali was in order.

  • Andy

    A mild correction to your description of Mexicali was in order.

  • DonS

    Andy: Uh-huh. Except that my initial description was perfectly accurate.

  • DonS

    Andy: Uh-huh. Except that my initial description was perfectly accurate.

  • Andy

    It’s hard to believe you were ever in Mexicali.

  • Andy

    It’s hard to believe you were ever in Mexicali.

  • DonS

    What, exactly, is your problem, Andy? Are you seriously arguing that Mexicali is not impoverished? I have participated on ministry trips there through Azusa Pacific University’s Easter week outreach program on several occasions. How about you?

  • DonS

    What, exactly, is your problem, Andy? Are you seriously arguing that Mexicali is not impoverished? I have participated on ministry trips there through Azusa Pacific University’s Easter week outreach program on several occasions. How about you?

  • DonS

    By way of update, news reports today, while showing severe damage to Mexicali and the U.S. counterpart city, Calexico, seem to indicate that the city was spared catastrophic damage because of the distance of the temblor from the city (about 40 miles), and because the direction of propagation of the most serious shock waves was in unpopulated desert. That is a praise, and was apparently responsible for much lower death and injury totals than were initially expected.

  • DonS

    By way of update, news reports today, while showing severe damage to Mexicali and the U.S. counterpart city, Calexico, seem to indicate that the city was spared catastrophic damage because of the distance of the temblor from the city (about 40 miles), and because the direction of propagation of the most serious shock waves was in unpopulated desert. That is a praise, and was apparently responsible for much lower death and injury totals than were initially expected.

  • Andy

    DonS, I noted only that you comments show that you don’t appear to be well acquainted with the Mexicali area. But thanks for the news update.

  • Andy

    DonS, I noted only that you comments show that you don’t appear to be well acquainted with the Mexicali area. But thanks for the news update.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hey guys, is it possible you’re talking about different things? DonS seems focused entirely on the outlying cities surrounding Mexicali, while Andy seems to be talking about Mexicali proper.

    That said, Don, your claim (@7) that Mexico has “no middle class to speak of” strikes me as a bit hyperbolic, to say the least. Here’s a BusinessWeek article from 2006 that says that “nearly 40% of all Mexican households” at that time were considered middle-class. And I’ll back that up with my own observations in Monterrey (NL) in the mid-90s.

    None of which should detract from the poverty that is in Mexico, or the effects of this earthquake.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hey guys, is it possible you’re talking about different things? DonS seems focused entirely on the outlying cities surrounding Mexicali, while Andy seems to be talking about Mexicali proper.

    That said, Don, your claim (@7) that Mexico has “no middle class to speak of” strikes me as a bit hyperbolic, to say the least. Here’s a BusinessWeek article from 2006 that says that “nearly 40% of all Mexican households” at that time were considered middle-class. And I’ll back that up with my own observations in Monterrey (NL) in the mid-90s.

    None of which should detract from the poverty that is in Mexico, or the effects of this earthquake.

  • DonS

    Andy: As I asked previously, on what basis did you assume that I am not well acquainted with the Mexicali area (I asked you this already)? Moreover, what is the point of your petty contentiousness regarding this issue? Do you find something fundamentally wrong with my assertion that Mexicali is an impoverished city and many (most) of its buildings are substandard? The focus should be on Mexicali, not a purposeless discussion concerning the relative poverty of Mexicali vs. other Mexican cities, don’t you think? I wasn’t intending to give a dissertation concerning its economic status, but rather indicate my personal observations concerning its substandard living conditions and lack of building codes.

  • DonS

    Andy: As I asked previously, on what basis did you assume that I am not well acquainted with the Mexicali area (I asked you this already)? Moreover, what is the point of your petty contentiousness regarding this issue? Do you find something fundamentally wrong with my assertion that Mexicali is an impoverished city and many (most) of its buildings are substandard? The focus should be on Mexicali, not a purposeless discussion concerning the relative poverty of Mexicali vs. other Mexican cities, don’t you think? I wasn’t intending to give a dissertation concerning its economic status, but rather indicate my personal observations concerning its substandard living conditions and lack of building codes.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 16: See my post 15 above. My comments, which were anecdotal in nature, based on personal observation, were concerning the entire metro area, not merely the downtown, nor merely the surrounding communities. As compared to the U.S., Mexico seems to lack a middle class, though I will allow that the Business Week article is no doubt correct. But, it’s all relative. The poor in B.C. squat in shanties built of one-piece garage doors, cardboard, and other assorted scrap materials. The middle class typically have simple wooden or cinderblock homes, typically 1-3 rooms or so, often without indoor plumbing. Many of these homes were originally constructed by U.S. relief organizations. In all but the very wealthy neighborhoods, building codes are non-existent or unenforced.

    I guess what perplexes me is Andy’s notion that, somehow, Mexicali is “prosperous”. Or, that this arcane assertion was worth making, in the face of the current suffering which has been visited upon that city. Which point your last sentence makes very well.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 16: See my post 15 above. My comments, which were anecdotal in nature, based on personal observation, were concerning the entire metro area, not merely the downtown, nor merely the surrounding communities. As compared to the U.S., Mexico seems to lack a middle class, though I will allow that the Business Week article is no doubt correct. But, it’s all relative. The poor in B.C. squat in shanties built of one-piece garage doors, cardboard, and other assorted scrap materials. The middle class typically have simple wooden or cinderblock homes, typically 1-3 rooms or so, often without indoor plumbing. Many of these homes were originally constructed by U.S. relief organizations. In all but the very wealthy neighborhoods, building codes are non-existent or unenforced.

    I guess what perplexes me is Andy’s notion that, somehow, Mexicali is “prosperous”. Or, that this arcane assertion was worth making, in the face of the current suffering which has been visited upon that city. Which point your last sentence makes very well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, Don (@18), while I’m not familiar with the city itself (nor do I know the degree to which Andy might be), but lots of people seem to think Mexicali is “prosperous”:

    “Mexicali, a prosperous industrial city and busy border crossing.”[1]

    “Mexicali is an important city for agriculture and industry in Mexico and represents one of the fastest growing and most prosperous cities in Mexico.”[2]

    “Mexicali, home to roughly a million people, is a prosperous city and a busy border crossing with the United States.”[3]

    “Mexicali is considered among the most prosperous cities in Mexico, although US tourists can observe the level of poverty in rural villages surrounding the modern, upper-middle class enclave of Mexicali proper.”[4]

    I don’t think our comments here are going to do anything for the city one way or another, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth making — or making as accurate as possible — in this context.

    [1] reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6331CO20100405
    [2] mexicalibaja.com
    [3] csmonitor.com/World/2010/0404/Mexicali-earthquake-Major-7.2-quake-hits-US-Mexico-border
    [4] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexicali

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, Don (@18), while I’m not familiar with the city itself (nor do I know the degree to which Andy might be), but lots of people seem to think Mexicali is “prosperous”:

    “Mexicali, a prosperous industrial city and busy border crossing.”[1]

    “Mexicali is an important city for agriculture and industry in Mexico and represents one of the fastest growing and most prosperous cities in Mexico.”[2]

    “Mexicali, home to roughly a million people, is a prosperous city and a busy border crossing with the United States.”[3]

    “Mexicali is considered among the most prosperous cities in Mexico, although US tourists can observe the level of poverty in rural villages surrounding the modern, upper-middle class enclave of Mexicali proper.”[4]

    I don’t think our comments here are going to do anything for the city one way or another, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth making — or making as accurate as possible — in this context.

    [1] reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6331CO20100405
    [2] mexicalibaja.com
    [3] csmonitor.com/World/2010/0404/Mexicali-earthquake-Major-7.2-quake-hits-US-Mexico-border
    [4] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexicali

  • DonS

    Again, tODD, they think that Mexicali is “prosperous” by Mexican standards. That is a far cry from being “prosperous” by developed world standards. I can report, as an eye witness, that the vast number of those living in Mexicali live in what would be considered grinding poverty by U.S. standards.

  • DonS

    Again, tODD, they think that Mexicali is “prosperous” by Mexican standards. That is a far cry from being “prosperous” by developed world standards. I can report, as an eye witness, that the vast number of those living in Mexicali live in what would be considered grinding poverty by U.S. standards.

  • Andy

    DonS, you insist on describing Mexico in partronizing, ugly-American language. Now Mexicali and Mexico are not part of the “developed world”?

  • Andy

    DonS, you insist on describing Mexico in partronizing, ugly-American language. Now Mexicali and Mexico are not part of the “developed world”?

  • DonS

    Ahhh, Andy reveals his agenda. Why, exactly, is it patronizing, “ugly”, or “American” to truthfully describe the economic status of a country? Shall we merely bury our heads in the sand, trust the Wikipedia report that Mexicali is “prosperous”, and go on our merry way, assuming that everything will be all right?

    Mexico is not a first world country. You are the first one I am aware of who has disputed that. Its people were the victims, for some 70 years, of single-party, corrupt, near-totalitarian rule, where those holding the levers of governmental power and their cronies in the oligarchic quasi-nationalized business community got very rich at the expense of the vast majority of the people. Things haven’t gotten much better since, and the druglord wars of recent years, together with the passport requirements, have worsened tourism, which is a lifeblood of the B.C. economy. The horrible economy is why it is estimated that some 10 million of its people have immigrated illegally into this country to try to find work to support their families. That is why nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed. The basic needs of the people are endless and acute. When we build houses for the migrant laborers of Colonia Vicente Guerrero, a small rural town about three hours below the B.C. border, we cannot tie into power, sewer, or city water, because there isn’t any! A large plurality of the population has no indoor plumbing. Visit the orphanages in Tijuana or the Boys Prison in Mexicali, as I have, and realize the impact grinding poverty and absent daddies in the fields of California and Arizona have on an entire population. And then tell me they are “prosperous” and everything is fine.

  • DonS

    Ahhh, Andy reveals his agenda. Why, exactly, is it patronizing, “ugly”, or “American” to truthfully describe the economic status of a country? Shall we merely bury our heads in the sand, trust the Wikipedia report that Mexicali is “prosperous”, and go on our merry way, assuming that everything will be all right?

    Mexico is not a first world country. You are the first one I am aware of who has disputed that. Its people were the victims, for some 70 years, of single-party, corrupt, near-totalitarian rule, where those holding the levers of governmental power and their cronies in the oligarchic quasi-nationalized business community got very rich at the expense of the vast majority of the people. Things haven’t gotten much better since, and the druglord wars of recent years, together with the passport requirements, have worsened tourism, which is a lifeblood of the B.C. economy. The horrible economy is why it is estimated that some 10 million of its people have immigrated illegally into this country to try to find work to support their families. That is why nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed. The basic needs of the people are endless and acute. When we build houses for the migrant laborers of Colonia Vicente Guerrero, a small rural town about three hours below the B.C. border, we cannot tie into power, sewer, or city water, because there isn’t any! A large plurality of the population has no indoor plumbing. Visit the orphanages in Tijuana or the Boys Prison in Mexicali, as I have, and realize the impact grinding poverty and absent daddies in the fields of California and Arizona have on an entire population. And then tell me they are “prosperous” and everything is fine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, I’m sorry, but you sound like you think you know everything about Mexico because of your mission trips. I’ve traveled enough (including on a mission trip to Mexico) to know that one rarely truly learns about a country in a week, but I’m puzzled why you think that mission trips are a way to learn about a country or region, in the first place. I mean, you’re traveling to areas that are in need of help (the less-well-off places, by definition), in a border region, no less. This is the equivalent of trying to learn about the U.S. solely by traveling with Habitat for Humanity. There are parts of LA one could travel to and easily come away with a different idea of life in the US than most of us have.

    Now, I won’t quibble with your saying that Mexico isn’t part of the “developed world”, although I will note that there’s not actually a definition or standard for that term. The World Bank classifies Mexico as “upper-middle income” (as compared to “high income” for the US, Canada, and Western Europe). Mexico is also classified as a “newly industrialized country”, along with South Africa, Philippines, and Turkey. It has a Human Development Index of 0.854 (out of 1.0, ranking it #53 out of 182 countries in 2007; #43 Poland had 0.880, for reference).

    It does have problems with income inequality, yes. The CIA World Fact Book notes that Mexico has a Gini index of 48.2 (where complete income equality is 0, on a scale of 0-100), ranking it the 28th worst in terms of inequality. But you should also consider that the United States has a Gini index of 45.0! Things aren’t much better here in that regard.

    You say that “nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed”, but the CIA World Fact Book says Mexico’s unemployment is 5.6% (same as Japan), while “underemployment may be as high as 25%”. Again, you do seem to exaggerate.

    Also, one can easily find proof on Flickr that there is, in fact, power and city water in Colonia Vicente Guerrero. In fact, you can find pictures of people on mission trips installing toilets. Not to mention an awful lot of power lines. I believe that the places you went didn’t have those.

    But this seems part of a pattern in which you try to draw overly broad conclusions based on your own (narrow) experiences. (Cf. your previous claim about the middle class in Mexico.)

    I mean, you have no problem brushing aside a Wikipedia article (because hey, it’s Wikipedia; we only trust it when it bolsters our own ideas, right?). But oddly, you didn’t mention the Christian Science Monitor or Reuters pieces that also called Mexicali “prosperous” (there are other such articles out there, too). I don’t doubt that where you went in or near Mexicali was sad. But I wonder if it defines Mexicali proper, anymore than [pick your favorite bad LA neighborhood] defines LA.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, I’m sorry, but you sound like you think you know everything about Mexico because of your mission trips. I’ve traveled enough (including on a mission trip to Mexico) to know that one rarely truly learns about a country in a week, but I’m puzzled why you think that mission trips are a way to learn about a country or region, in the first place. I mean, you’re traveling to areas that are in need of help (the less-well-off places, by definition), in a border region, no less. This is the equivalent of trying to learn about the U.S. solely by traveling with Habitat for Humanity. There are parts of LA one could travel to and easily come away with a different idea of life in the US than most of us have.

    Now, I won’t quibble with your saying that Mexico isn’t part of the “developed world”, although I will note that there’s not actually a definition or standard for that term. The World Bank classifies Mexico as “upper-middle income” (as compared to “high income” for the US, Canada, and Western Europe). Mexico is also classified as a “newly industrialized country”, along with South Africa, Philippines, and Turkey. It has a Human Development Index of 0.854 (out of 1.0, ranking it #53 out of 182 countries in 2007; #43 Poland had 0.880, for reference).

    It does have problems with income inequality, yes. The CIA World Fact Book notes that Mexico has a Gini index of 48.2 (where complete income equality is 0, on a scale of 0-100), ranking it the 28th worst in terms of inequality. But you should also consider that the United States has a Gini index of 45.0! Things aren’t much better here in that regard.

    You say that “nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed”, but the CIA World Fact Book says Mexico’s unemployment is 5.6% (same as Japan), while “underemployment may be as high as 25%”. Again, you do seem to exaggerate.

    Also, one can easily find proof on Flickr that there is, in fact, power and city water in Colonia Vicente Guerrero. In fact, you can find pictures of people on mission trips installing toilets. Not to mention an awful lot of power lines. I believe that the places you went didn’t have those.

    But this seems part of a pattern in which you try to draw overly broad conclusions based on your own (narrow) experiences. (Cf. your previous claim about the middle class in Mexico.)

    I mean, you have no problem brushing aside a Wikipedia article (because hey, it’s Wikipedia; we only trust it when it bolsters our own ideas, right?). But oddly, you didn’t mention the Christian Science Monitor or Reuters pieces that also called Mexicali “prosperous” (there are other such articles out there, too). I don’t doubt that where you went in or near Mexicali was sad. But I wonder if it defines Mexicali proper, anymore than [pick your favorite bad LA neighborhood] defines LA.

  • DonS

    tODD: Sigh…..

    Let’s recap. This whole string started because I made a comment that Mexicali is a large city filled with barrios and people living in extreme poverty. Because of this, I feared that we would discover much suffering as news came out during the week of damage because of the earthquake. Is there anything about that original statement with which you disagree? Whether or not Mexicali is “fairly prosperous” by Mexican standards, you surely don’t deny its large impoverished population, do you?

    You know what’s funny, is that Andy keeps saying that to him it’s obvious I haven’t been to Mexicali, while, on the complete opposite hand, you now assert that being there is of no import, because I still am unqualified to state my observations that Mexicali is filled with barrios and poor people. Because, you know, when I go on a mission trip, I get dropped right into the target neighborhood. I don’t drive through the city to get there, or anything. And I keep my eyes closed, so as not to observe anything.

    Hmm, where in my comment did I say that NO ONE in Colonia Vicente Guerrera had power or running water? NO WHERE. When we go there we stay in the home of a missionary who has both. Sheesh.

    Posh on this thread and its hijacking by those who enjoy being contentious for the sake of being contentious.

  • DonS

    tODD: Sigh…..

    Let’s recap. This whole string started because I made a comment that Mexicali is a large city filled with barrios and people living in extreme poverty. Because of this, I feared that we would discover much suffering as news came out during the week of damage because of the earthquake. Is there anything about that original statement with which you disagree? Whether or not Mexicali is “fairly prosperous” by Mexican standards, you surely don’t deny its large impoverished population, do you?

    You know what’s funny, is that Andy keeps saying that to him it’s obvious I haven’t been to Mexicali, while, on the complete opposite hand, you now assert that being there is of no import, because I still am unqualified to state my observations that Mexicali is filled with barrios and poor people. Because, you know, when I go on a mission trip, I get dropped right into the target neighborhood. I don’t drive through the city to get there, or anything. And I keep my eyes closed, so as not to observe anything.

    Hmm, where in my comment did I say that NO ONE in Colonia Vicente Guerrera had power or running water? NO WHERE. When we go there we stay in the home of a missionary who has both. Sheesh.

    Posh on this thread and its hijacking by those who enjoy being contentious for the sake of being contentious.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@24), read your own sentence again: “When we build houses for the migrant laborers of Colonia Vicente Guerrero, a small rural town about three hours below the B.C. border, we cannot tie into power, sewer, or city water, because there isn’t any!” What do you think that reads like? I’m pretty certain the average person would read that as saying: “there isn’t any power, sewer, or city water in Colonia Vicente Guerrero”. I understand now that wasn’t your intent.

    And while you may want me to be saying that you are “unqualified to state my observations that Mexicali is filled with barrios and poor people” because of your mission-trip experiences, that is not what I said. Here is what I said (@23): “Don, I’m sorry, but you sound like you think you know everything about Mexico because of your mission trips.”

    And I still believe that. You tried to tell me (@7) that “Mexico is a country of great contrast between rich and poor, with no middle class, to speak of.” But that’s not really so, as you now acknowledge (@18, sort of; you amended your claim to “Mexico seems to lack a middle class”; well, yes, “seems” to you, at least). What’s more, the disparity between rich and poor there isn’t much different from what we have here in the U.S. You also claimed (@22) that “nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed.” Which, again, is quite an exaggeration over the World Fact Book estimate of up to 30% un/underemployment. You also said that a “large plurality of the population has no indoor plumbing”, which is a curious use of the word “plurality”, but never mind that. Best I can find, 64% of the country’s households had indoor plumbing back in 1990. And, given that it was 51% back in 1980, I kind of have to imagine that 20 years after 1990, the number is rather higher than 64% now.

    Yes, things are still worse in Mexico than in the U.S., on average. And in some areas, they are remarkably worse. This earthquake didn’t help any of that. But I don’t see what purpose your incorrect or overexaggerated statements serve. You’re overplaying your hand. You can call me “contentious for the sake of being contentious” if you want, though I know you wouldn’t tolerate such baseless, judgmental language being lobbed your way. I guess I value correctness more than you do, though.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@24), read your own sentence again: “When we build houses for the migrant laborers of Colonia Vicente Guerrero, a small rural town about three hours below the B.C. border, we cannot tie into power, sewer, or city water, because there isn’t any!” What do you think that reads like? I’m pretty certain the average person would read that as saying: “there isn’t any power, sewer, or city water in Colonia Vicente Guerrero”. I understand now that wasn’t your intent.

    And while you may want me to be saying that you are “unqualified to state my observations that Mexicali is filled with barrios and poor people” because of your mission-trip experiences, that is not what I said. Here is what I said (@23): “Don, I’m sorry, but you sound like you think you know everything about Mexico because of your mission trips.”

    And I still believe that. You tried to tell me (@7) that “Mexico is a country of great contrast between rich and poor, with no middle class, to speak of.” But that’s not really so, as you now acknowledge (@18, sort of; you amended your claim to “Mexico seems to lack a middle class”; well, yes, “seems” to you, at least). What’s more, the disparity between rich and poor there isn’t much different from what we have here in the U.S. You also claimed (@22) that “nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed.” Which, again, is quite an exaggeration over the World Fact Book estimate of up to 30% un/underemployment. You also said that a “large plurality of the population has no indoor plumbing”, which is a curious use of the word “plurality”, but never mind that. Best I can find, 64% of the country’s households had indoor plumbing back in 1990. And, given that it was 51% back in 1980, I kind of have to imagine that 20 years after 1990, the number is rather higher than 64% now.

    Yes, things are still worse in Mexico than in the U.S., on average. And in some areas, they are remarkably worse. This earthquake didn’t help any of that. But I don’t see what purpose your incorrect or overexaggerated statements serve. You’re overplaying your hand. You can call me “contentious for the sake of being contentious” if you want, though I know you wouldn’t tolerate such baseless, judgmental language being lobbed your way. I guess I value correctness more than you do, though.

  • DonS

    tODD : It reads like this — there is no power, water, or sewer for the migrant laborers of VCG. And they are a substantial population in and around that town.

    This is not a debate about Mexico’s economic status. It is a discussion of the earthquake which Mexicali suffered. I was not “playing a hand”. I was, rather, expressing a concern. I believe that concern was valid, based on my personal knowledge of the area. And yes, I agree that there is a place for factual precision and accuracy. But whether 51% or 64% of the population has indoor plumbing (or maybe it’s 70% by now), the fact is that any of those numbers evidence an impoverished population, which suffers disproportionately when confronted with natural disasters like this. They don’t care about the CIA World Factbook (5.6% unemployment and 30% underemployment is a crock, by the way — if those numbers were right Americans would be flooding Mexico looking for work), or any of the other wonkish tools people might use to deny the poverty or needs that exist.

  • DonS

    tODD : It reads like this — there is no power, water, or sewer for the migrant laborers of VCG. And they are a substantial population in and around that town.

    This is not a debate about Mexico’s economic status. It is a discussion of the earthquake which Mexicali suffered. I was not “playing a hand”. I was, rather, expressing a concern. I believe that concern was valid, based on my personal knowledge of the area. And yes, I agree that there is a place for factual precision and accuracy. But whether 51% or 64% of the population has indoor plumbing (or maybe it’s 70% by now), the fact is that any of those numbers evidence an impoverished population, which suffers disproportionately when confronted with natural disasters like this. They don’t care about the CIA World Factbook (5.6% unemployment and 30% underemployment is a crock, by the way — if those numbers were right Americans would be flooding Mexico looking for work), or any of the other wonkish tools people might use to deny the poverty or needs that exist.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@26), I’m not trying to “deny the poverty or needs that exist” — I have already noted it in previous comments (@16), which you yourself noted (@18). I am, however, questioning your expertise on Mexico as a whole, outside of the areas you have traveled to on mission trips.

    You say, “this is not a debate about Mexico’s economic status,” and yet you yourself keep making claims about Mexico’s economic status. You just don’t seem to like having the errors in your claims pointed out to you.

    I mean, if these “facts” you keep throwing out aren’t important, why do you keep throwing them out? If it’s important enough for you to claim that “large plurality of the population has no indoor plumbing”, isn’t it important enough that your claim actually be true and not just something you made up? Do you know what the actual percentage is? I don’t. Mexico’s last census data is from 2000, but my Spanish isn’t up to par to surf their site for the official data. The one article I found noted that the indoor plumbing rates looked like this over the decades: 41.4% (1970), 50.7% (1980), 63.6% (1990). If you think that pattern leads to there being only 70% of households with indoor plumbing in 2010, two decades after the last data point, you’re either bad with statistical trends, or you have more information on the topic than I do. I kind of have to doubt the latter, at this point.

    After all, you glibly sneer at statistics from the CIA World Fact Book as “a crock” and merely “wonkish tools” — but what actual facts do you offer to bolster your claim? Nothing but … speculation! After all, you’ve traveled there! What does the CIA know? of course, I could point at any number of other Web sites that also make similar claims (Reuters said Mexico’s unemployment fell to 5.43% in February), but apparently, it wouldn’t matter. Facts do not get in the way of your preconceived notions. Facts are for wonks!

    If you don’t want it pointed out when you apparently make things up, then either don’t make things up, or make them up more correctly. Or make claims that are not easily proven false. But don’t blame me for responding to claims that you make and then tell me what I should be discussing. Or, you know, you could admit when you’re wrong.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@26), I’m not trying to “deny the poverty or needs that exist” — I have already noted it in previous comments (@16), which you yourself noted (@18). I am, however, questioning your expertise on Mexico as a whole, outside of the areas you have traveled to on mission trips.

    You say, “this is not a debate about Mexico’s economic status,” and yet you yourself keep making claims about Mexico’s economic status. You just don’t seem to like having the errors in your claims pointed out to you.

    I mean, if these “facts” you keep throwing out aren’t important, why do you keep throwing them out? If it’s important enough for you to claim that “large plurality of the population has no indoor plumbing”, isn’t it important enough that your claim actually be true and not just something you made up? Do you know what the actual percentage is? I don’t. Mexico’s last census data is from 2000, but my Spanish isn’t up to par to surf their site for the official data. The one article I found noted that the indoor plumbing rates looked like this over the decades: 41.4% (1970), 50.7% (1980), 63.6% (1990). If you think that pattern leads to there being only 70% of households with indoor plumbing in 2010, two decades after the last data point, you’re either bad with statistical trends, or you have more information on the topic than I do. I kind of have to doubt the latter, at this point.

    After all, you glibly sneer at statistics from the CIA World Fact Book as “a crock” and merely “wonkish tools” — but what actual facts do you offer to bolster your claim? Nothing but … speculation! After all, you’ve traveled there! What does the CIA know? of course, I could point at any number of other Web sites that also make similar claims (Reuters said Mexico’s unemployment fell to 5.43% in February), but apparently, it wouldn’t matter. Facts do not get in the way of your preconceived notions. Facts are for wonks!

    If you don’t want it pointed out when you apparently make things up, then either don’t make things up, or make them up more correctly. Or make claims that are not easily proven false. But don’t blame me for responding to claims that you make and then tell me what I should be discussing. Or, you know, you could admit when you’re wrong.

  • DonS

    tODD: “I am, however, questioning your expertise on Mexico as a whole, outside of the areas you have traveled to on mission trips”

    Fine. I never claimed to be an expert on Mexico. And my comment was directed to an area I have traveled to on mission trips. The only point I was tryng to make was that Mexicali has a lot of poor people who were likely to be suffering.

    As to the rest of it, let’s save it for a future thread on the economy of Mexico, when I am sure we will all appreciate your compulsive citation of interesting trivia.

  • DonS

    tODD: “I am, however, questioning your expertise on Mexico as a whole, outside of the areas you have traveled to on mission trips”

    Fine. I never claimed to be an expert on Mexico. And my comment was directed to an area I have traveled to on mission trips. The only point I was tryng to make was that Mexicali has a lot of poor people who were likely to be suffering.

    As to the rest of it, let’s save it for a future thread on the economy of Mexico, when I am sure we will all appreciate your compulsive citation of interesting trivia.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Again, Don (@28), you’ll note that it was your “trivia” on Mexico’s economic condition to which I was replying. So it strikes me as fairly rich that you’d make a snide remark to me about that. I wasn’t the one tossing out (incorrect) factoids about Mexico’s middle class unemployment levels, and indoor plumbing, all somehow in the service of the more reasonable statement that “Mexicali has a lot of poor people who were likely to be suffering.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Again, Don (@28), you’ll note that it was your “trivia” on Mexico’s economic condition to which I was replying. So it strikes me as fairly rich that you’d make a snide remark to me about that. I wasn’t the one tossing out (incorrect) factoids about Mexico’s middle class unemployment levels, and indoor plumbing, all somehow in the service of the more reasonable statement that “Mexicali has a lot of poor people who were likely to be suffering.”

  • DonS

    tODD, you blithely insist that I “toss out” incorrect factoids, based on data which you must know cannot be accurate. The official unemployment rate in California is currently about 12%. Even during the boom times, it never dropped below about 6%. Yet, you are insisting to me that Mexico’s unemployment rate is below even California’s boom time rate, because the CIA World Fact Book tells you so. Why, then, pray tell, do Mexican immigrants flow into California to find work if Mexico is such a glorious employment mecca, having an unemployment rate which is only 1% above what is considered to constitute full employment? Shouldn’t we poor Californians be sneaking into Mexico to find work, instead?

    When you see data which is obviously incorrect, and does not correspond to any reasonable person’s observation concerning the relative poverty of two countries, you need to question that data, not merely blindly accept it. I suspect a large part of the answer is the issue of the so-called “discouraged worker”. For example, in California, it is estimated that the true unemployment rate is some 17-18% because of folks that are so discouraged that they have quit looking for work. These folks are not counted in the official unemployment figures. I suspect that there are a huge number of discouraged workers in Mexico, and that the figures you are “tossing around” are not really worth the paper they are written on, except as a comparative measure between time periods. In other words, the data may have value, but not for the purposes for which you are attempting to use it.

  • DonS

    tODD, you blithely insist that I “toss out” incorrect factoids, based on data which you must know cannot be accurate. The official unemployment rate in California is currently about 12%. Even during the boom times, it never dropped below about 6%. Yet, you are insisting to me that Mexico’s unemployment rate is below even California’s boom time rate, because the CIA World Fact Book tells you so. Why, then, pray tell, do Mexican immigrants flow into California to find work if Mexico is such a glorious employment mecca, having an unemployment rate which is only 1% above what is considered to constitute full employment? Shouldn’t we poor Californians be sneaking into Mexico to find work, instead?

    When you see data which is obviously incorrect, and does not correspond to any reasonable person’s observation concerning the relative poverty of two countries, you need to question that data, not merely blindly accept it. I suspect a large part of the answer is the issue of the so-called “discouraged worker”. For example, in California, it is estimated that the true unemployment rate is some 17-18% because of folks that are so discouraged that they have quit looking for work. These folks are not counted in the official unemployment figures. I suspect that there are a huge number of discouraged workers in Mexico, and that the figures you are “tossing around” are not really worth the paper they are written on, except as a comparative measure between time periods. In other words, the data may have value, but not for the purposes for which you are attempting to use it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@30), I find it remarkable that, after all that’s gone on in this thread, you still insist on making things up, over and against any actual data sources or facts. You’ve done that a lot in this thread, and I’ve showed you your errors, but you apparently wish to persist in this state. I’ll tell you this: it doesn’t make me think highly of your reasoning process.

    I mean, you have no supporting evidence except your assumption, which is highly simplistic. Do you truly think that the only thing that accounts for immigration rates is unemployment numbers? The situations in California and Mexico are different in any multitude of ways — this has been one of your sustained points here, you know — and it is ridiculous to ignore all of them except the unemployment rate.

    If the CIA is wrong (and Reuters, and any number of news sources you have no problem whatsoever dismissing with a wave of your hand), then convince me with facts, not speculation and assumptions. Point me to someone who might have a clue in this area who also thinks that the World Fact Book’s numbers are wrong. Point to anything other than your own guesses.

    I mean, you’re a lawyer! I shouldn’t have to explain to you how to make your case. You wouldn’t walk into a courtroom (whether or not you typically do in your job) with as flimsy a case as you’re trying to make now.

    It’d be one thing if I myself had pulled some employment number out of my arse, and you replied with some reasonable speculation (as above). I’d have to say, “Well, he seems to know more than I do.” But when you’re trying to override the CIA World Fact Book, claiming it’s a “crock” just because you think so, you’re going to have to work a little harder to convince me. Because I can’t think of a reason why the CIA would just make crap up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@30), I find it remarkable that, after all that’s gone on in this thread, you still insist on making things up, over and against any actual data sources or facts. You’ve done that a lot in this thread, and I’ve showed you your errors, but you apparently wish to persist in this state. I’ll tell you this: it doesn’t make me think highly of your reasoning process.

    I mean, you have no supporting evidence except your assumption, which is highly simplistic. Do you truly think that the only thing that accounts for immigration rates is unemployment numbers? The situations in California and Mexico are different in any multitude of ways — this has been one of your sustained points here, you know — and it is ridiculous to ignore all of them except the unemployment rate.

    If the CIA is wrong (and Reuters, and any number of news sources you have no problem whatsoever dismissing with a wave of your hand), then convince me with facts, not speculation and assumptions. Point me to someone who might have a clue in this area who also thinks that the World Fact Book’s numbers are wrong. Point to anything other than your own guesses.

    I mean, you’re a lawyer! I shouldn’t have to explain to you how to make your case. You wouldn’t walk into a courtroom (whether or not you typically do in your job) with as flimsy a case as you’re trying to make now.

    It’d be one thing if I myself had pulled some employment number out of my arse, and you replied with some reasonable speculation (as above). I’d have to say, “Well, he seems to know more than I do.” But when you’re trying to override the CIA World Fact Book, claiming it’s a “crock” just because you think so, you’re going to have to work a little harder to convince me. Because I can’t think of a reason why the CIA would just make crap up.

  • DonS

    Sigh. tODD, since when did you become such a big CIA fan?

    Let’s start at square one, slowly. You do understand, do you not, that a country’s official unemployment rate is NOT its real unemployment rate? Because discouraged workers are not counted. So, hopefully we can agree that Mexico’s rate is NOT 5.6%. It’s something higher than that.

    As evidence, read this article: http://www.wharton.universia.net/index.cfm?fa=viewfeature&id=1026&language=english

    As you will see, it references the phrase “the unemployment rate among ‘economically active’ people”. This is confirmation of my point — governments cannot measure folks who are not looking for work in the official economy, because they don’t know whether they are truly unemployed or whether they have no interest in being employed.

    Now, notice what else the article says. Mexico has NO unemployment insurance. Consequently, it has a large underground economy. So, this tells us two things. First, it tells us that no one really knows what the heck the unemployment rate is in Mexico. We’re all guessing, and the most reliable indicator is that the country appears to be very poor. Second, unemployment rates are typically measured in three ways. A) number of people applying for unemployment insurance; B) official payroll figures; C) surveys. Obviously, Mexico can use neither A nor B (no unemployment insurance and large underground economy), so they are probably relying largely on survey evidence. Um, that doesn’t work so well when a large percentage of your population has no phone, electricity, or running water. Might it be that you are missing the very people who lack employment? Hmmmm?

    Also, take into account that a large percentage of those Mexicans working are actually working in the U.S. illegally. Guess what — they are still residents of Mexico and are probably identified, if at all, as being employed in Mexico. This factor would tend to dramatically lower the official unemployment rate, don’t you think?

    So, here’s the bottom line. Even in the U.S., the official unemployment rate is a crap number. It’s not real — it substantially understates the real unemployment rate because it does not measure discouraged workers not actively seeking work. The disparity between the official rate and the real rate worsens during a recession, because of the substantial number of discouraged workers. It is a useful measure, because it shows comparatives over periods of time or between U.S. regions, but it cannot be relied on in the absolute. Even more so, for the reasons above, the official unemployment rate in Mexico is a crap number. You have misused it, terribly.

    By the way, your data also does not account for the typically much higher unemployment rate in Mexican border areas, to which this thread is directed.

  • DonS

    Sigh. tODD, since when did you become such a big CIA fan?

    Let’s start at square one, slowly. You do understand, do you not, that a country’s official unemployment rate is NOT its real unemployment rate? Because discouraged workers are not counted. So, hopefully we can agree that Mexico’s rate is NOT 5.6%. It’s something higher than that.

    As evidence, read this article: http://www.wharton.universia.net/index.cfm?fa=viewfeature&id=1026&language=english

    As you will see, it references the phrase “the unemployment rate among ‘economically active’ people”. This is confirmation of my point — governments cannot measure folks who are not looking for work in the official economy, because they don’t know whether they are truly unemployed or whether they have no interest in being employed.

    Now, notice what else the article says. Mexico has NO unemployment insurance. Consequently, it has a large underground economy. So, this tells us two things. First, it tells us that no one really knows what the heck the unemployment rate is in Mexico. We’re all guessing, and the most reliable indicator is that the country appears to be very poor. Second, unemployment rates are typically measured in three ways. A) number of people applying for unemployment insurance; B) official payroll figures; C) surveys. Obviously, Mexico can use neither A nor B (no unemployment insurance and large underground economy), so they are probably relying largely on survey evidence. Um, that doesn’t work so well when a large percentage of your population has no phone, electricity, or running water. Might it be that you are missing the very people who lack employment? Hmmmm?

    Also, take into account that a large percentage of those Mexicans working are actually working in the U.S. illegally. Guess what — they are still residents of Mexico and are probably identified, if at all, as being employed in Mexico. This factor would tend to dramatically lower the official unemployment rate, don’t you think?

    So, here’s the bottom line. Even in the U.S., the official unemployment rate is a crap number. It’s not real — it substantially understates the real unemployment rate because it does not measure discouraged workers not actively seeking work. The disparity between the official rate and the real rate worsens during a recession, because of the substantial number of discouraged workers. It is a useful measure, because it shows comparatives over periods of time or between U.S. regions, but it cannot be relied on in the absolute. Even more so, for the reasons above, the official unemployment rate in Mexico is a crap number. You have misused it, terribly.

    By the way, your data also does not account for the typically much higher unemployment rate in Mexican border areas, to which this thread is directed.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@32), I don’t have many opinions either way about the CIA, as such. I am, however — and have been for a long time — a fan of not making crap up. And when it comes to unemployment figures, I have reason to believe that the CIA’s sources know more about the topic than do you.

    Sure, all unemployment figures are estimates. As are most government figures, or possibly most figures everywhere. Is your assertion that we should therefore throw out all statistics (perhaps in favor of argument solely from personal experience)? No, because that would be ridiculous.

    Look, Don, you continue to rely on your assumptions and not facts. This continues to fail to impress me. How does INEGI collect unemployment data? You have no idea. But you have a guess! And that guess tells you that all of INEGI’s data is a “crock” and that your assumptions are more reliable. Would you try this at a trial? Really?

    If it’s important to you (and remember, please: you brought this up), then why don’t you find out how INEGI does its data collection, rather than guessing?

    Anyhow, the article you cite (I’ll leave aside for now the question of why you trust that site, but not any that I cite) doesn’t actually question Mexico’s low unemployment rate: “Mexico’s unemployment rates are relatively low compared with other Latin American countries.” It merely notes that this low unemployment rate can likely be explained due to an underground economy, to which “all indicators point”.

    Anyhow, it’s patently ridiculous for you to say that “the official unemployment rate in Mexico is a crap number. You have misused it, terribly.” Um, I’m using this number, which is based on some statistics somewhere (though neither you nor I know what those are), to rebut your completely fabricated guess (@22) that “nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed”. How is that “misusing” it? Your guess is completely unfounded. Their rate is, yes, an estimate (the World Fact Book notes this, as they do with an estimate of underemployment) but the sum of these two estimates is still significantly lower than what you assume it is.

    As for what “this thread is directed” towards, please do read your own paragraph (@22, the 2nd one that starts with “Mexico is not a first world country” and goes on to make lots of claims about the entire country). You’re the one making these arguments about Mexico as a whole, remember? Middle class? Indoor plumbing? Unemployment?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@32), I don’t have many opinions either way about the CIA, as such. I am, however — and have been for a long time — a fan of not making crap up. And when it comes to unemployment figures, I have reason to believe that the CIA’s sources know more about the topic than do you.

    Sure, all unemployment figures are estimates. As are most government figures, or possibly most figures everywhere. Is your assertion that we should therefore throw out all statistics (perhaps in favor of argument solely from personal experience)? No, because that would be ridiculous.

    Look, Don, you continue to rely on your assumptions and not facts. This continues to fail to impress me. How does INEGI collect unemployment data? You have no idea. But you have a guess! And that guess tells you that all of INEGI’s data is a “crock” and that your assumptions are more reliable. Would you try this at a trial? Really?

    If it’s important to you (and remember, please: you brought this up), then why don’t you find out how INEGI does its data collection, rather than guessing?

    Anyhow, the article you cite (I’ll leave aside for now the question of why you trust that site, but not any that I cite) doesn’t actually question Mexico’s low unemployment rate: “Mexico’s unemployment rates are relatively low compared with other Latin American countries.” It merely notes that this low unemployment rate can likely be explained due to an underground economy, to which “all indicators point”.

    Anyhow, it’s patently ridiculous for you to say that “the official unemployment rate in Mexico is a crap number. You have misused it, terribly.” Um, I’m using this number, which is based on some statistics somewhere (though neither you nor I know what those are), to rebut your completely fabricated guess (@22) that “nearly half of the population is unemployed or underemployed”. How is that “misusing” it? Your guess is completely unfounded. Their rate is, yes, an estimate (the World Fact Book notes this, as they do with an estimate of underemployment) but the sum of these two estimates is still significantly lower than what you assume it is.

    As for what “this thread is directed” towards, please do read your own paragraph (@22, the 2nd one that starts with “Mexico is not a first world country” and goes on to make lots of claims about the entire country). You’re the one making these arguments about Mexico as a whole, remember? Middle class? Indoor plumbing? Unemployment?

  • DonS

    tODD, I want to take a step back. I hope you’ll join me. I’m looking back through this thread, and I’m thinking “how did we get here”? What in the heck are we arguing about? Our last few posts to one another are so contentious, yet I don’t think we, at heart, disagree. And, because of the nature of the earthquake, and the way it propagated, away from Mexicali proper and through unpopulated desert, the underlying issue is, in a sense, moot.

    Anyway, to summarize, my original beef wasn’t with you, it was with Andy. For all I know, he’s a troll, and he has long since departed the thread. I don’t think you disagreed with my original sentiment concerning Mexicali, and the potential for much damage and suffering because of its poverty. I mean, regardless of whether it is prosperous by Mexican standards, it certainly is not prosperous by U.S. standards, and there are a lot of poor people there living in very substandard housing. My objection to him was his opaqueness as to his own qualifications for challenging my comments, and his accusation that I had never been there and didn’t know what I was talking about. Probably a pride issue on my part, and I should have just dropped it as the ravings of a troll, in retrospect.

    Now, as to the issue at hand. In your post @ 33, you did not acknowledge, at least, my point that official unemployment figures are always low because they don’t include discouraged workers. But, I suspect that you will acknowledge it, because it is indisputable. You can Google that one. What I said, for example, about California is correct. Recent estimates of actual unemployment rates in CA range between about 17 and 20%, even though the official rate is about 12%, because of this factor. So, we know that the Mexican unemployment rate is considerably above the official rate, just for this factor alone.

    So, let’s use 10% as a figure for the actual unemployment rate in Baja Mexico. I suspect this is quite low, as that would only be half of CA’s rate, but that will suffice. So, if 10% are unemployed, and the estimated 25% are underemployed, we are looking at a total of 35%. I’d say this is a minimum, especially in this economy, and especially in a border region. So, when I said “nearly half are unemployed or underemployed”, you can argue that is a higher than warranted figure, but it was not ridiculously higher than warranted.

    As for our sources, perhaps we can agree that neither of us really know how our respective sources arrived at their data or conclusions. On my end, I will acknowledge that, though I suspect the official unemployment numbers you cite are quite low, for reasons stated above, ad nauseum, they are not “crap”. They are, no doubt, based on actual attempts to gather legitimate data, and they have validity, at least as time period and regional comparatives. So maybe we should just let this one go.

  • DonS

    tODD, I want to take a step back. I hope you’ll join me. I’m looking back through this thread, and I’m thinking “how did we get here”? What in the heck are we arguing about? Our last few posts to one another are so contentious, yet I don’t think we, at heart, disagree. And, because of the nature of the earthquake, and the way it propagated, away from Mexicali proper and through unpopulated desert, the underlying issue is, in a sense, moot.

    Anyway, to summarize, my original beef wasn’t with you, it was with Andy. For all I know, he’s a troll, and he has long since departed the thread. I don’t think you disagreed with my original sentiment concerning Mexicali, and the potential for much damage and suffering because of its poverty. I mean, regardless of whether it is prosperous by Mexican standards, it certainly is not prosperous by U.S. standards, and there are a lot of poor people there living in very substandard housing. My objection to him was his opaqueness as to his own qualifications for challenging my comments, and his accusation that I had never been there and didn’t know what I was talking about. Probably a pride issue on my part, and I should have just dropped it as the ravings of a troll, in retrospect.

    Now, as to the issue at hand. In your post @ 33, you did not acknowledge, at least, my point that official unemployment figures are always low because they don’t include discouraged workers. But, I suspect that you will acknowledge it, because it is indisputable. You can Google that one. What I said, for example, about California is correct. Recent estimates of actual unemployment rates in CA range between about 17 and 20%, even though the official rate is about 12%, because of this factor. So, we know that the Mexican unemployment rate is considerably above the official rate, just for this factor alone.

    So, let’s use 10% as a figure for the actual unemployment rate in Baja Mexico. I suspect this is quite low, as that would only be half of CA’s rate, but that will suffice. So, if 10% are unemployed, and the estimated 25% are underemployed, we are looking at a total of 35%. I’d say this is a minimum, especially in this economy, and especially in a border region. So, when I said “nearly half are unemployed or underemployed”, you can argue that is a higher than warranted figure, but it was not ridiculously higher than warranted.

    As for our sources, perhaps we can agree that neither of us really know how our respective sources arrived at their data or conclusions. On my end, I will acknowledge that, though I suspect the official unemployment numbers you cite are quite low, for reasons stated above, ad nauseum, they are not “crap”. They are, no doubt, based on actual attempts to gather legitimate data, and they have validity, at least as time period and regional comparatives. So maybe we should just let this one go.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@34), I can’t really join with you in calling Andy a “troll”. Ultimately, you’re judging his intents with that label, and I don’t think you have the ability or the right to do so. I don’t know what Andy does or doesn’t know about Mexicali, whether he’s been there or not. I haven’t. But I do think his points seemed valid — there yet exists a disparity between the picture you paint of Mexicali and the picture painted (at least in part) by many other sources. I must admit that I still wonder if you’re all talking about the same thing (as in @16). After all, I could visit East LA or Compton, and you could visit Beverly Hills, and we’d obviously come away with different impressions of the area. And nobody (including Andy) is denying that there is poverty surrounding Mexicali.

    As a point of clarification, you said I “did not acknowledge [your] point that official unemployment figures are always low because they don’t include discouraged workers,” but I did say that “all unemployment figures are estimates.” And I wasn’t being flippant. Yours is, I think, a meaningless clarification. It’s like noting that official temperatures at the airport tend to run high from those at my house*. Yes, but it’s still cold, is the point.

    And, of course, I have to ask how one arrives at an “estimate of actual unemployment rates.” Seems about as useful as an estimate of how many people the Census failed to count: How do they know?

    Anyhow, all that said, I appreciate your suggestion to “take a step back”. By which I assume you referred to attitude — yours and mine. I, certainly, was getting a little bit hot-headed, at least internally. I have no idea how I actually read to you, or if this comment reads differently. That’s part of the problem with such communication.

    Also, I agree that we have identified the areas of disagreement. And our limitations in furthering our arguments. As such, I don’t think I have anything more to say on the matter.

    *I don’t know if this is true. Please, please, don’t turn this into a global warming discussion. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@34), I can’t really join with you in calling Andy a “troll”. Ultimately, you’re judging his intents with that label, and I don’t think you have the ability or the right to do so. I don’t know what Andy does or doesn’t know about Mexicali, whether he’s been there or not. I haven’t. But I do think his points seemed valid — there yet exists a disparity between the picture you paint of Mexicali and the picture painted (at least in part) by many other sources. I must admit that I still wonder if you’re all talking about the same thing (as in @16). After all, I could visit East LA or Compton, and you could visit Beverly Hills, and we’d obviously come away with different impressions of the area. And nobody (including Andy) is denying that there is poverty surrounding Mexicali.

    As a point of clarification, you said I “did not acknowledge [your] point that official unemployment figures are always low because they don’t include discouraged workers,” but I did say that “all unemployment figures are estimates.” And I wasn’t being flippant. Yours is, I think, a meaningless clarification. It’s like noting that official temperatures at the airport tend to run high from those at my house*. Yes, but it’s still cold, is the point.

    And, of course, I have to ask how one arrives at an “estimate of actual unemployment rates.” Seems about as useful as an estimate of how many people the Census failed to count: How do they know?

    Anyhow, all that said, I appreciate your suggestion to “take a step back”. By which I assume you referred to attitude — yours and mine. I, certainly, was getting a little bit hot-headed, at least internally. I have no idea how I actually read to you, or if this comment reads differently. That’s part of the problem with such communication.

    Also, I agree that we have identified the areas of disagreement. And our limitations in furthering our arguments. As such, I don’t think I have anything more to say on the matter.

    *I don’t know if this is true. Please, please, don’t turn this into a global warming discussion. :)

  • DonS

    No worries, tODD :-). I’m ready to put this thread to bed. Glad we agree, at least on that!

  • DonS

    No worries, tODD :-). I’m ready to put this thread to bed. Glad we agree, at least on that!

  • Geoff

    For what it’s worth, I was in Mexicali during the quake and found the experience wild–especially for one who comes from Michigan. I was serving as a translator for our Church’s high school mission trip (and yes, DonS, we went through APU). As for poverty, the villages we supported consist chiefly of houses constructed out of spare wood shipping palates, men who earn $3-5 a day, and little to no access to any form of health care beyond the family. The downtown was hit harder by the quake than the surrounding (impoverished) villages, causing some of the main roads to split (leaving about a foot drop between them), a bridge or two to collapse, and a few buildings needing extra support by wood beams. In the villages it felt like we were on a large boat in a heavy wind storm–but, in the Mexicali valley, there’s no water anywhere in sight! Hindsight made the experience very cool, especially since there was little damage and harm–even for a 7.2 as it was later calculated.

  • Geoff

    For what it’s worth, I was in Mexicali during the quake and found the experience wild–especially for one who comes from Michigan. I was serving as a translator for our Church’s high school mission trip (and yes, DonS, we went through APU). As for poverty, the villages we supported consist chiefly of houses constructed out of spare wood shipping palates, men who earn $3-5 a day, and little to no access to any form of health care beyond the family. The downtown was hit harder by the quake than the surrounding (impoverished) villages, causing some of the main roads to split (leaving about a foot drop between them), a bridge or two to collapse, and a few buildings needing extra support by wood beams. In the villages it felt like we were on a large boat in a heavy wind storm–but, in the Mexicali valley, there’s no water anywhere in sight! Hindsight made the experience very cool, especially since there was little damage and harm–even for a 7.2 as it was later calculated.

  • DonS

    Thanks for sharing that, Geoff. My APU experience goes back some 20-25 years now, but the poverty of the valley is still vivid to me. When I was back in the city a few years ago, it didn’t seem as if that much had changed. One year, I drove the van for a singing group that was traveling from church to church during the outreach, and we traveled along the same main highway each day from camp. On day one, I noticed a dead white horse lying on the side of the road, an unusual sight, to say the least. By day six, that horse was still there, though its legs were much straighter and, shall we say, there had been considerable deterioration.

    Our local paper did a number of interviews and stories on the APU teams that were there during and after the quake. What an opportunity for ministry and outreach, beyond what you ever could have imagined! Bless you for going and ministering there — you will definitely never forget that experience!

  • DonS

    Thanks for sharing that, Geoff. My APU experience goes back some 20-25 years now, but the poverty of the valley is still vivid to me. When I was back in the city a few years ago, it didn’t seem as if that much had changed. One year, I drove the van for a singing group that was traveling from church to church during the outreach, and we traveled along the same main highway each day from camp. On day one, I noticed a dead white horse lying on the side of the road, an unusual sight, to say the least. By day six, that horse was still there, though its legs were much straighter and, shall we say, there had been considerable deterioration.

    Our local paper did a number of interviews and stories on the APU teams that were there during and after the quake. What an opportunity for ministry and outreach, beyond what you ever could have imagined! Bless you for going and ministering there — you will definitely never forget that experience!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X