President Bush went to Yuma, Ariz., last week to renew his push for large-scale immigration reform. Visiting a new Border Patrol station on April 9, Bush said that a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship for illegals should accompany enforcement efforts, and he predicted that the Democratic Congress would pass a bill with those elements before the end of the year: "I think the atmosphere up there is good right now."
The atmosphere south of the border, meanwhile, continued to be conflicted. Over 80 percent of Mexicans oppose a U.S. border fence, according to polls, and many feel that Americans use them as scapegoats for their problems. But many are determined to cross into the United States illegally and enter what they recognize as a land of opportunity.
Under pressure from left-wing bloggers, the top three Democratic presidential candidates last week said they would not participate in a fall debate co-sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards said Fox isn't an appropriate host for the Sept. 23 event. Said an Edwards spokesman: "We believe there's just no reason for Democrats to give Fox a platform to advance the right-wing agenda while pretending they're objective." Fox pointed out that Edwards has appeared as a guest on the network more than 30 times without complaint.
CBS Radio last week said it would suspend talk-show host Don Imus' show for two weeks amid controversy over his racial slur concerning the virtue of eight Rutgers University female basketball players. He later apologized for his "stupid, idiotic mistake" and claimed to be "a good person." MSNBC decided to drop its simulcast of the show after Staples, Sprint Nextel, and other prominent companies said they would pull their advertising from the show. "At some point, you have to say enough is enough," NBC News President Steve Capus said. "A nerve was touched. The voices I heard loudest were the people here at NBC News." Rutgers officials, meanwhile, defended their players' honor: "These young ladies are the best this nation has to offer," said coach C. Vivian Stringer, "and we are so very fortunate to have them here at Rutgers University."
Kansas last week became the first state in the nation to authorize state-owned casinos. Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on April 11 signed into law a controversial bill that would bring four privately run but government-owned casinos to Kansas City, Dodge City, southeast Kansas, and the Wichita area. Legal challenges could delay or derail the opening of the casinos, though, with opponents arguing that state ownership of casinos violates the Kansas constitution.
As part of an effort to reduce a growing trade deficit with China, the Bush administration announced on April 9 that it would file two new cases with the World Trade Organization. U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said Beijing doesn't do enough to enforce copyrights and trademarks on U.S. cultural products and unfairly restricts the sale of American books, movies, and music-practices that reportedly cost U.S. industries billions. The U.S. trade deficit with China reached $232.5 billion last year.
Popular cartoonist and outspoken Christian Johnny Hart died in his home on April 7 at the age of 76. Hart, creator of "B.C." and "The Wizard of Id," began drawing cartoons for Pacific Stars and Stripes while in the Air Force during the early 1950s. He started freelancing his cartoons to magazines while working in the art department at General Electric, where he created "B.C." His strips appeared in 1,300 newspapers, reaching 100 million readers. In the 1990s Hart generated controversy by including Christian messages in cartoons around the Christmas and Easter holidays ("A hole in the media's soul," April 20, 1996). Some newspapers would not run such cartoons, and the Los Angeles Times once moved a "B.C." cartoon to the religion page. Hart reportedly died at his drawing table after having a stroke.