Sunday, December 30, 2007

Poster Collection: Norman P. Rockwell

Posters of different sizes and for different subjects have also been a popular pastime for many enthusiasts. Those enamored with films go for the very catchy, colorful, and artful movie posters that are seen in movie theatres and malls and which surely easily draw the captive attention of the onlookers. While others more into hero adulation may go for sports posters whether of racing cars and their drivers, professional sportsmen, etc. In short, there are posters and posters for most popular fancies and passions.
As for me, I was fortunate enough to have acquired over time a precious number of them (about 76) all about one subject, poster prints of the the paintings/illustrations of the late artist, Norman P. Rockwell, a very popular symbol of things Americana.

Click to read more.

Friday, December 28, 2007

US Homeowners vs. Current Housing Slump

Imperceptibly we wake up to find that the country-wide housing slump has been with us for a good part of the current year. Media has been diligent in holding this critical issue up front in our collective consciousness especially during these times of escalating political campaigns, first for the upcoming primaries and late next year, for the real thing. We ourselves cannot help but see around town, most any town in the USA, the unavoidable signs of this slump with the ominous for-sale signs strategically planted in front of many shuttered houses, both new and old.

Because we pulsate more than just lifeless numbers in statistics, many of us find ourselves emotionally wallowing in the dreary consequences and in fearful straits of the eventual outcome of this slump. Remember the stats bare that most homeowners have families living with them. And most homeowners, whether under the shadows of a looming default or foreclosure, or those who negotiated their mortgages prior to the housing boom peak, or even those who currently hold their homes free and clear, would invariably be affected by what this lingering slump could inflict on the housing markets in the long run.

For those of us who have been homeowners for a while, we have some calming experiences to lean on in making our personal assessments of the current predicament. In 1990 we also witnessed a similar general housing downturn which lasted for a year or two. But we got over that and by 2005 the housing boom was in full bloom anew, in spite of the unimaginable turn of events in the intervening years – the crashing tech bust in 2000 and the ensuing financial letdown caused by the devastating events of 9/11.

As early as 2005, 68.9% of all housing units in the US were occupied by their owners. And the current housing slump is definitely hitting hardest from within that favored group. Divided racially, Whites (Europeans) hold the highest percentage in homeownership at 75%, while Asians trailed behind at 60%. And it should be noted that the other races are not far behind, both African Americans and Hispanics both registering close to 50%.

Clearly by 2007 homeownership had breached the 70% level and regardless of the eventual outcome it has become a singularly significant accomplishment for families latching on to the American dream.

We can now debate ceaselessly what brought about the many challenges in the housing markets, whose visibly glaring results have been the record defaults and foreclosures and family dislocations. Included in the mixed bag of causes has been the following: the easy money brought on by a host of factors, very lax and lenient lending practices, and the two capital human sins of greed and fraud. And throw in there the inaction and/or delayed responses by federal regulators in trying to stem that fast-rising trend that was heading toward what many adjudge as a speculative bubble.

Hindsight speculations, indiscriminate finger-pointing, or inveterate hand-wringing, and etc. will definitely not amount to much for those who are already in the throes of losing their precious homes many of whom were beneficiaries of sub-prime and other exotic mode of lending. And early corrective actions will benefit even those credit-worthy homeowners who will start to see values in their neighborhoods diminishing because of rushed or pressured sales, or even foreclosure auctions. Thus the cascading loss of equity in homes will begin to dry up a good source of increased consumer spending, a critical factor in continued economic growth.

And we are also learning of the spillover effects of this slump into initially, the support industries complementing housing construction like the flooring, carpet, tiles, and landscaping sectors. And in the long run to consumer confidence and spending. And thus ultimately, the broader economy would be affected.

But on the other side, we can continue to be hopeful and there are many encouraging signs pointing toward this direction. The US economy is still very vibrant and growth-oriented, productivity still at enviable levels. And while the slump in housing lumbers on, the broader economy at least is not beset with other potentially-catastrophic weaknesses that might impact on its ability to deal squarely with the housing slump. Even the recurring fears of a recession are being hotly debated on both sides, so it is still a toss-up as to whether we are experiencing the onset of one or not.

Thus while the housing slump has been with us for a long enough time, the broader economy continues to be on even keel, which is unequivocally a good sign. And already, corrective actions in the real estate markets are being felt. 30-year fixed mortgages are back in style while long-term interest rates continue to be attractive and affordable. True, resets in mortgage interest will continue to be a factor for the ensuing years for most of those loans under variable rates, which some estimate could stagger to a total of 1 trillion dollars worth. Again, we are hopeful the US economy can ride this over, over and above dark predictions such as that we have not seen foreclosures this much and this many, coupled with widespread home prices downswings, since the depression years of the 20’s.


One may wonder what the connection is between Narvik in faraway and cold Norway and the troubled housing slumps in sunny California and Florida. This should explain a bit how extensive the ripples are caused by the latter. And reveals somewhat who the rest of the international players that are involved in all this.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Catching The Spirit

The spirit of the season is definitely catching. One unmistakably notices it in the suddenly-changed behavior of people around us, on top of the pervasive festive decorations around town, which at times may be too garish and/or gaudy for one’s tastes as to be repressively unnoticeable.

But how exactly does one catch it, as most of us are unarguably inclined toward it? I’d thought I’d investigate first hand.

So rising up late yesterday morning with slivers of sunshine cutting through the room in what promised to be a battle royale between the cold nippy morning air registering in the 50’s (F) indoors, against the gathering phalanx of warm sunshine emitted by Mr. Sol, I flopped snugly on the den’s comfy chair facing the PC’s empty stare. Turned the switch on while ambidextrously fingering the CD-player’s remote to bring on some Christmas aural delights from a favored list of singers. Cursorily scanned through holiday greetings from my registered list of list groups and some tagged blogs, aptly serenaded by the soft muffled sounds coming from the CD-player. Then furtively wheeled my eyes through the den, to try and spot any perceptible changes that may have been brought on by imbibing some holiday cheers. No such change. Still saw the same shelf-cabinets with their captive books held stiffly in place. So to the question whether this was the way to catch the holiday spirit, I’d have to answer in the negative.

So dismissively moved on to the other typical chores for the day, which may had have taken on a different spin given that this was the day before Christmas.

The wife announced her desire to be done early with her banking needs before the mad rush during the rest of the holidays. Good, I said thinking this little trip might provide the occasion to see if I could catch the spirit of the season.

Gingerly pushing ourselves outdoors to use the car parked in the driveway, we found that we had comfortably bundled up to handle the low temperature; otherwise it would have been easy to catch the sniffles or a cold. Though the possibility of catching the spirit was also evident out there because the cold nippy atmosphere conjured images of white Christmas, without the white stuff that usually hampered driving trips.

Anyway, our bank is situated on a strip mall anchored by a widely-patronized grocery chain. We observed passersby coming from their parked cars bounced about with quickened steps, buoyed obviously by the slowly warming glow of the creeping sun. The grocery chain had temporarily installed in front a rather huge charcoal-fired barbeque pit loaded with big chunks of beef in differing stages of cooking. The engulfing plume of scented smoke surely must have stirred some cravings from those within reach. Though the parking lot was slowly filling up and abuzz with activity, I wondered whether this was where I could catch the spirit.

But uninspired by the absence of any palpable stirring in my soul, I decided to step aside and walked toward one of the tree-lined streets that bounded the mall. I could only console myself with looking at the bare-branch trees lining the sidewalks and median island. Clearly the flora showing signs of a transitional stage – having shedded, folded up, and hibernated for the winter. Clearly signs of some kind of death, or at least, animated suspension. Clearly too, too gloomy a sight to entice an uplifting change in spirit.

Having done her little banking chores, we quickly got back home. And I quickly dressed down to my biking gear deciding to avail of the warmth of the sun which by now had stretched out to it full splendor during its winter hiatus. So round and round the park I pedaled with half a mind on my biking. The other half focused on the familiar sounds emanating from the trusty iPod’s earbuds. And before I noticed it I had already reached the routine’s limit of 45 minutes of mindless circling around the park. A few minutes more and no lingering memories of the routine stayed on, and sadly, still no change in spirit for me.

After depositing the bike in the shed and getting indoors, the wife announced without skipping a beat her next item in the daily agenda. She wanted to attend the four o’clock Mass to be done with her duty for the holy day of Christmas.

Good, I muttered mentally, another chance to catch the spirit of the season, and in a holy place, too. And in a faith that initiated the celebration of the event which is the reason for the season.

So like clockwork we were on our way to church a few minutes past 3:30 pm. One pass-around and we had found an acceptable parking spot. As usual, the wife had sprung out the vehicle the second the car had stopped. But I seemed glued to my seat, apparently from a host of reasons among which may have been inertia, inability to extricate myself from the comfy confines of the car, etc. But more significantly I found that this particular exercise was problematic. Because two days ago we had been here under similar conditions and for similar purposes. And there was no change of spirit then. So what would make today different? And finally with the wife grudgingly pointing herself toward the church steps, I stayed on to stew and grapple with my predicament.

Gee, it might be getting too late for me to catch the spirit. What should I do?

In what seemed an eternity, finally resolved to do a last recourse effort to deal with it. Took pen and paper and started feverishly to commit to paper all the relevant issues confounding the problem, with the very firm commitment to stay in solitude until this thing was resolved. Not a twitch of a nerve or a muscle, until I had the spirit of the season firmly ensconced in my recalcitrant system.

Another eternity later and Voila! I got it! Eureka!

It was with me all this time. Like the glasses we thought we misplaced but actually are unnoticeably perched above our heads, I missed noticing the many subtle changes that have somehow become part and parcel of daily and everyday living.

Recall the popular piece about the footprints in the sand. What we instinctively believe is missing in us is in actuality already there, for us to discover and make grow.

So, remember in our desperate need to catch the spirit, detach a bit and tarry, it may already be with us.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Reason For The Season

The reason for the season, an oft-repeated phrase thrown out there more like a monkey wrench, serving as timely reminder, and at times subtle but still loving warning, for each Christian approaching these Christmas holidays, or winter holidays as many secularists would like everybody to refer to it.

Observing around one can truly say that we have gone a long way from our ancient understanding and celebration of the true reason for the season. Man’s boundless creativeness and resourcefulness, and throw in there, unparalleled business acumen and entrepreneurship, have heavily candy-coated the recurring holidays so much so as to completely submerge its more mystical meanings. In its place we have collectively anointed the superficial manifestations of materialism and secularism to co-opt its rightful place. Even the very name of Christ-mas has been rigorously challenged in many public spheres.

Credit the Christian churches for doggedly keeping the flame aglow, maintaining the same holy vigil and subdued celebration of this most significant event in Christian history, so profound and shrouded with mystery as to escape the easy discernment of the typical Christian today.

In most Christian practices, this liturgical season continues to be referred to as Advent, coming from the Latin word, adventus, meaning the coming or arrival. And this well-anticipated event has been wrapped around the great mystery of the Incarnation. The taking on flesh of the Word of God, who deigned to become one with us and to dwell amongst us.

And this is the central theme that has been gravely diminished in the citizenry’s secular celebration of these holidays, save for the meager or occasional attendances to church rituals and festivities. Our undivided attention and avid participation in sumptuous food-taking, the mad scramble for exciting gifts, the well-planned vacation getaways, the lemmings-like rush to well-attended games, and etc. have all conspired to remove our hearts and minds from the true reason of the season.

How many present-day Christians have even bothered to learn about the implications and ramifications of that great mystery of the Incarnation? And more importantly, what one’s Faith requires from each member to discern and accept about the Incarnation? And one fears that learning sufficiently about this mystery, one may be well disposed to henceforth treat the holidays with a less than spirited enthusiasm if one cannot learn to accept the boundless leap of faith required of each Christian about the Incarnation.

Regarding this mystery, here is what the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) laid out as its infallible definition:

“We confess that in these latter times the only-begotten Son of God appeared in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation – the distinction of natures not having been taken away by this union.”

Stripped of its archaic language and baring its essentials we come up with the following: In the Incarnation we have One Person, the Son of God, and two natures, one divine and the other human, and these two natures are united in one Person. Of great importance in understanding this then is the clear delineation and distinction between “nature” and “person”.

Admittedly, this is a doctrine not very easy to comprehend, much less swallow, and simply because it is beyond the finite ken of human understanding to fully grasp the preternatural significance of this most unique union in one Person. There is absolutely no model to compare this with. Nothing in the past to even hint of any similarity. But accept we must, if we want to keep our faith; and on a more corporeal level, if we want to continue with our devoted celebration of the recurring holidays we all have become so automatically fond of.

Before you leave maybe in your confused state, ask yourself these questions. Does Christ then have two personalities? If not, where is the human person?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Inner Life Of A Cell

Or for a more comprehensive and narrated version, please view here.

Watch and be magically awed, showing the awesome wonders, powers, and complexities of pure chance. Not.

Hat Tip to Instapundit.

Friday, December 14, 2007

An Uncommon Find

Rummaging through some stored boxes which came from the previous residence, I chanced upon this rather uncommon find, which at first glance looked nothing more than a pendant made of silver.

Upon closer scrutiny, we find that it is the remains of what used to be a Liberty Walking Half-Dollar (minted circa 1916-1947).

To read more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Old Olympic Games Postcards

Because the Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, China, are gearing up just around the corner, it is about time to start thinking things about the games.

The games have had a long history, stretching from ancient to modern times, the last one held less than two years ago in 2006. Starting in 1992, the games were divided into the Summer and the Winter Olympics, though still held every four years but scheduled in such a way that every two years, we have a version of the games. Thus, the last Summer Olympics was held in Athens in 2004 and the last Winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin.

In the 80’s to commemorate the games the International Olympic Committee based in Lausanne, Switzerland, begun printing postcards which showed miniaturized versions of the official posters of the different games. Now the IOC was formally established in 1894 and had is first Summer Olympics in 1896.

To read more.

Article 3: Whether God Exists

Every time such a profound and difficult, though not entirely novel, question is asked, three people easily pop into my mind as the current default authorities who will argue for the negative.

First, I bring the name of Richard Dawkins, British and venerable chairperson at the University of Oxford. Then comes Sam Harris, a forty-something American, who had some kind of an epiphany after an experience with ecstasy, whether it was the real ecstasy mystics aspire for, it was anyway an altered state induced by the drug MDMA popularly known by the same name. And lastly but not least, I think about Christopher Hitchens, a British-American writer/journalist who prefers to refer to himself as antitheist and antireligious. All three are the most visible proponents and believers of atheism, which in common parlance means the non-existence of any god. I am a bit familiar only with Mr. Hitchens because he maintains a frequent and unavoidable presence in American politics and select social circles writing regularly for the magazine, Vanity Fair. And I find core portions of his politics very reasonable and palatable, for my taste. But he still is an avowed atheist, and will not miss any public forum he is invited to advance his belief, or non-belief.

Now, let it be said that atheists as a group are still quite an insignificant minority, with most people still fervently believing that there is God, or a god of various stripes and manifestations. Most if not all religions are predicated on the existence of a Supreme Being that their devotees profess loyalty and fealty to.

But for the majority of us, how many times have we been asked personally how we come to a belief in God? Of course, many of us hide between the catch-all shield of faith to explain away all our esoteric beliefs and dogmas. But believe it or not, belief in the existence of a god does travel beyond, way beyond, just believing because somebody in authority said so. Belief held in faith has or should have some bases of proof, whether scientific or rational and logical.

The three renowned atheists above have their own well-thought and highly-intelligent rationalizations and justifications why to them a god does not exist. And most of us would be awed with their extraordinary intelligence and perspectives as to render many of us unable to completely grasp and discern their erudite narratives. Their gifts of intelligence and insights can at times blind many of us with our simple minds and so-so levels of discernment of things beyond matter and physical reality.

Thus, for many of us, Catholic especially, we seek our understanding of and discernment to the answer to this eternally critical question from a humble source, who lived many centuries ago, in the 1200s, but whose equally-enlightening brilliance and simple grace continue to peal strong, resolute, and still inadequately challenged over the tumultuous ages.

We seek our answers and reliance from a portly Italian Dominican monk who went by the name of Thomas Aquinas, and now suitably honored as the most eminent Father of the Church. From a gratefully enduring Church sustained by his whole body of Thomist philosophy and theology.

Though having lived only for some 50 years, Aquinas was by most standards a very prolific thinker and writer, capping his life-long work with his best known Summa Theologica.

Counted among his seminal work then was his proof of the existence of God, succinctly laid out in his the Five Ways (quinquae viae).

Though hindered by great personal inadequacies, I shall nevertheless try to lay out as simplistically as to be easily understandable and in the least amount of words possible, the 5 proofs presented by Aquinas for the existence of God.

First, his argument of motion. Aquinas, and one is paraphrasing here, observed that some things were in motion and others were not (now we know even better, because everything in nature is in constant motion, from the tiny atom to the entire cosmos). Thus, things have the potentiality for motion and the actuality of motion. Now, to attain the actuality of motion, somebody has to effect that motion, from potentiality to actuality. That something has to first be an actuality before it can effect actuality. If that something is still in potentiality, somebody has to cause it to move. But God is the First Mover because nobody caused him to move.

Second, the nature of efficient cause. Each effect has a cause. Nothing is possible without a cause, an efficient cause. For our very own existence, we cannot attribute it to ourselves since that would imply that we had existed a priori, before we were created to be responsible (as the efficient cause)for our existence. Thus, everything in this world was created by an efficient cause that has not of itself been caused by another efficient cause, or we could go on until infinity assigning efficient causes, until we accept an Uncaused Cause.

Third, possibility and necessity. We find that in nature things are either possible or not. Those that are possible exist for a time, corrupt, and die. Quoting from the translated archaic words of the thinker, “Therefore, not all things are merely possible, but there must exist something already existing. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes.”

Fourth, from the gradation or degrees found in things. Among things and beings we speak about whether they are better, nobler, hotter, heavier, etc. And these gradations are predicated on their resemblance or divergence to something that is the maximum, highest, best, etc. So there must be some highest ideal, standard, great truth, goodness, and every other perfection which must pre-exist everything else.

And finally, the governance and order of the world. This stupendous order must not have come fortuitously, but must have been consciously designed. Especially with regard to things that lack intelligence, something with knowledge and intelligence must have and continue to direct them to their proper ends.

Thus, we spoke in the beginning that even faith in the existence of a god must have some bases in either science or reason and logic, because as Aquinas pondered the existence of God is not self-evident, but can be creditably demonstrated a posteriori. Demonstrated not completely as God knows himself, but to certain demonstrable extent through the “effects” which can be known by us.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Examination Of Conscience

One enduring lesson taught us by Jesuit mentors in school comes under the heading, the examination of conscience. A lesson judged so vital, we had to practice and refine it daily, summarize it weekly, and recall it annually. As daily practice, it came as serious ritual before going to sleep. Apart from night prayers, one sets aside time to introspectively look into how one lived that day, examining what one did and thought and making judgment on whether one’s inner voice had been bothered by things that transpired. And this examination always came with the firm resolve to acknowledge personal responsibility and commit to personal changes in one’s behavior and thought.

As a prelude to the proper reception of the Sacrament of Confession or Penance which was scheduled weekly, one is again asked to review the entire week’s behavior. Then a formal telling to a confessor priest, ending with a promise not to have the same recur, coupled with a firmer resolve for amendment in one’s life

Then annually under a formal gathering called a retreat, which was either open or closed, one again took careful stock of the longer period, assessing one’s progress or retrogression. Open, when done as a group. And closed, when one removed oneself from daily routine, sequestered and isolated oneself, and conducted one-on-one sessions with a spiritual director.

Did this strict regimen make for happier or sadder lives? Personally, I couldn’t say either.

But it did make for a humbler look at life, a more tolerant take on grinding realities, maybe a self-satisfying contentment at how one is living life, or maybe even, a more nonchalant, or better still, a more accepting or disinterested resignation to things outside the scope of one’s effective influence. The last one especially is quite important because without it, life can be most frustrating and hopeless, when one looks at the myriad of things wrong with the world around us and one somehow has no influence or power whatsoever in changing them. Things like widespread corruption in government, consummate evils like terrorism and wars, in your face greedy or self-righteous people, etc. Thus, instead of sowing discontent and disdain by exposing and dwelling on extraneous evils, one finds enough personal demons to do personal combat with, enough to last a lifetime.

But what appears above as a quite mundane exercise has actually a larger and better context, in the realm of spirituality.

This concept of taking personal responsibility under a rigid and persistent self-examination with the resultant and consequent resolve for personal amendment is the fertile soil under which personal spirituality can grow, as propounded by the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola.

And as popularly practiced you find these self-same principles undergirding many successful programs of self-help, including but not limited to those engaged in ridding people of various addictions. Accepting personal responsibility and moving on.

And as one looks around the world of today, it is easy for one to sense that there is great need for this practice.

Hopefully, to reduce the projective hatred of people toward others expressed as acts of terrorism and uncalled for violence, or to curb the heavy and incessant demands by both the governed and the politicians on government to resolve problems of peoples’ poverty, absence of health insurance, lawlessness, etc.

Let’s start with those.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

USA: Land Of Immigrants, truly

As of November 2007, culled from the best data available and most reliable extrapolation possible, there are now 40.5 million immigrants in the US which has a current total population of 301 million. These figures take cognizance of possible undercounts, survey misses, and other special categories like those living in group quarters.

That number includes both legal and illegal immigrants. And immigrants are those who are foreign-born and not citizens of the US at birth.

50% of illegal immigrants are Mexicans and from Central America. While those from South America registered one-third.

Again based on the numbers, illegal immigration contributed 50% of the total current increases in the immigrant population. But as a percentage of total immigrants, their number of 12.4 (adjusted) million constitutes 32.6 %

It should be noted that prior to the 1970s, illegal immigration was quite minimal. And in the intervening years up to the present, at least 4.1 million illegal aliens had their status legalized and received green cards from a couple of amnesty programs in the past.

10.3 million of these immigrants arrived from 2000 to the present, registering the highest number of immigrants in any 7-year period throughout history.

Being the most populous state in the Union, California registered the highest increases in immigrants, giving it almost 10 million immigrants residing within its borders. The state has a total extrapolated population of 36 million. Thus, California alone contributed 27% to the total immigrant population.

As a share of total population, immigrants contribute 12.6%, overhauled only by the years from 1900 to 1920 when total US population was not that much compared to today.

One undeniable fact stands out in all these phenomenal numbers. New immigration is the biggest single factor responsible for all this. And if this trend continues unabated, in 2060 the country will be adding 3.3 million residents to the total population from both immigrants and natives. Right now, the immigrants add about 1 million people each year.

Some pertinent data relating to the old homeland, the Philippines. In a top field of 25 countries of birth of immigrants, the Philippines garnered 4th place with 1.6 million, overtaken by much more populous countries such as Mexico, China, and India. It also showed among the highest for those who elected US citizenship, 60.3%.

On the poverty and near-poverty table, the Philippines placed last in the top field of 25 countries, registering only 4.2%. Doing even better compared to first-world country immigrants from UK, Germany, Japan, Canada, etc.

On educational attainment, Ages 25 to 64, the Philippines again placed better for all the top-25 countries, except for Germany, UK, Canada, and Japan.

All the data above were extracted from a report of the Center For Immigration Studies, which in turn was based largely on the most recent Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the Census Bureau.

Some critical areas of serious concern which cry for our attention.

A good majority of the new immigrants are not only unskilled but have very limited education. This translates in reality to lower incomes and thus more likely for them to avail of government assistance programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and even IRS credits such as in earned income and additional children. And a surprise revelation that even minus valid SS numbers, IRS has ruled that immigrants can still claim the additional children tax credit.

And given the new numbers, it may simply be not right to claim outright that these new immigrants do the jobs that natives do not want. From among a similar group of natives, those with limited skills and education, there are potentially enough of them unemployed and unutilized to take care of all the jobs that these new immigrants are doing at the present time. Maybe it simply requires for them to be incentivized and/or given the proper opportunity and information. Over the years, the numbers of employed coming from this group have been declining.

Talks about giving amnesty and a path to citizenship for the 12 million illegals already here may be a compassionate move to make, but at least our eyes should be opened to the onerous repercussions this is going to have on the economy and the government assistance programs. Given that most of these immigrants are unskilled and with limited education, and thus most likely to tax even more the government programs. Poverty rates will still be high, with many new citizens paying no federal taxes while availing of more government services.

The report from CIS concludes with a very ominous statement:

Setting aside the lower socio-economic status of immigrants, no nation has ever attempted to incorporate nearly 38 million (adjusted: 40m) newcomers into its society.