Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama and relationships

You don’t have to poke around the Obama website very much before you encounter his campaign talking about “bringing people together” and “bipartisanship” and working on consensus.

Barack is the great leader who will sit down with our former enemies and walk out allies.

Or so he says.

How did he do when it came to Reverend Wright and managing that relationship? Here was his former pastor going out of control and damaging his campaign. How did Obama deal with that?

Well, first of all, he ignored it. That worked for several months before Hillary picked it up as a weapon.

Then he was forced to face the music. There was no deniability on this one. Anyone with a computer could see Jeremiah on the fringes of the way black churches operate.

So, Obama went out there and tried to make lemonade. His message was one of loyalty to his preacher. Noble thought, that. He should have defended his grandmother as well, but she wasn’t likely to cause him trouble.

And he gave a nice discourse on race in America. I’m told that many people liked it.

Well, Reverend Wright went on a pre-book deal tour this week and made headlines for two days. His message was the same as always. This time Obama did a 180 and spoke out against Wright. He got specific and disagreed with his message. And he very openly ended the relationship.

The words of JFKs press secretary Pierre Salinger come to mind: “Quit when you’re still behind.” That quote was concerning a much simpler issue in the Kennedy White House where the press was being critical of spending for an elaborate party. Salinger tried to defend what Kennedy had done but could see that it was a losing battle.

Obama didn’t see the fallout from this one. He kept digging the hole deeper instead of calling an end to it.

So, let’s say Barack wins in November. He’s got to deal with North Korea’s Kim Il-sung or Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He won’t have three tries to get it right. He may not even get in the door to work his relationship magic.

If he has this much trouble with his own pastor, how will he ever manage our enemies?

Watch him! He's got a lab coat!

University politics are in a class by themselves. As Columbia University’s Wallace Sayre (now deceased) remarked: “Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.” And he added, “They’re the most vicious because the fighting is over issues decided five years earlier.”

But this one might be a real fight because significant GRANT MONEY is at stake.

There is a professor at Colorado State by the name of William Gray. For the past 25 years he has been internationally known for his hurricane predictions. In fact, Gray has personally trained 70 of the scientists who work for the National Hurricane Center.

Suddenly, Gray has lost his help from Colorado State. It is just too time consuming for the public relations office to help with inquiries and forecast releases. They will no longer service Gray’s work.

So, why the cold shoulder all of a sudden after 25 years of distinguished notoriety?

Well, Dr. Gray is not on board with the global warming bunch. In fact, he’s a rather vocal critic of it. He says things like global warming advocates are “brainwashing our children” and that the scientists involved are “medicine men.”

He’s pretty blunt when he says, “I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people.”

So, with the ivory tower swaying the other way, Colorado State would rather not issue press releases with the name “William Gray” anywhere on them.

They are still publishing the forecasts but using the name of his younger, less-vocal colleague, Phil Klotzbach.

Who says life in the lab is dull?

Schumpeter’s Observation: “Any theory can be made to fit any facts by means of appropriate additional assumptions.”

Comprehensive Immigration reform...

…Mexican Style
There are changes afoot in Mexico’s immigration laws. As it stands now, an illegal alien discovered in Mexico is subject to a minimum of one and a half years in jail with a possibility of up to six years.

The new law fines illegals from $540 to $2,400 (that’s US dollars, folks…not pesos) and removes the draconian prison sentence.

It has passed both houses and now goes to the president for signature.

However, there is another type of punishment not addressed by this new legislation. You see, getting arrested in Mexico is a different experience. According to the AP story, “Immigrants here, mostly Central Americans trying to reach the U.S., are often robbed, mistreated and subject to extortion by bandits and even police.”

I’m not sure what you can do about that problem.

But activists are pleased that Mexico is softening their stand on illegals. It is really hard for them to run around the United States demanding fair treatment of illegals here when their own laws are so harsh.

Gee, I wonder how that $2,000 fine arrangement is going to work out? I would think the Guatemalan illegals would have trouble raising that kind of cash. I suppose if you don’t pay they put you in prison for five years.

But if it works, we ought to try it. Forget the revenue from red light cameras. With a municipal bounty on their heads, local police would have an incentive to pick them up.

Funny, they didn't mention anything about citizenship for babies, free emergency room care, college tuition for their young adults, family unification, public defenders, k-12 education...

Nope. Just going from jail time to a fine. The Mexican government has a ways to go if they are going to match our perks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ruben Navarrette on racism

Ruben Navarrette is a self-proclaimed Mexican-American, middle-ground commentator. And he offends me.

It must be a campaign to wind up the masses in preparation for the May Day protests this year. Perhaps there is some concern that people won’t show up because they got what they want in a presidential candidate. They can’t lose.

Or maybe he's jealous of all the mileage Reverend Wright is getting these days on the topic of race in the United States. ("Me, too!! Me, too!! Daddy, watch me!!!")

Whatever the reason Ruben has proclaimed that the immigration debate has taken on an ugly, racist tone. This is a normal metastasizing that has come about because the majority of Latino activists have refused to excise the tumor of illegal aliens. They insist on solidarity. Standing that close to the target, they are prone to become a target themselves.

No one is talking about specifics here. They simply “feel” this discrimination against all brown people.

One can theorize about the reason for this solidarity. May I suggest:
1) Half of the foreign-born currently alive in the United States either are or once were illegal aliens themselves. They don’t want to be hypocrites and claim the American Dream for themselves while denying it to others.
2) There are three million anchor babies alive today.
3) The problem is close to home for Latinos. They know someone close to them with a vested interest in amnesty.
4) The barn is not empty in Mexico and Latin America. They aren’t finished yet.

Ruben is no more “middle-ground” than I am. His only olive branch to conservatives is his statement that amnesty is going to cost the illegals something. They can’t expect it for free. How magnanimous of you, Mr. Navarrette!

Now, to his top ten list (shown in RED below) about racism directed at all Hispanics:
*The hypocrisy of “Help Wanted” and “Keep Out. (Save it for your business friends. The citizens want our economy back, not imported goods and labor.)
*The debate went from anti-illegal to anti-Mexican. (I don’t get it. Has anyone talked about deporting the legal ones? Are we changing the quotas?)
*Politicians are being opportunists. (From where I sit, that isn’t true. I wish it were. The problem is that too many elected officials lack the courage to stand up to the Latino activists. He certainly can’t complain about the presidential candidates; they are all pro-amnesty.)
*He says “Build a Wall” and “Deport all Illegals” is too simplistic. (I agree. There is the wall, workplace raids, new hire verification, more screening by local police, code enforcement to check overcrowding, fugitive round-ups, increased deportation capacity…It will take years to re-enthrone a deterrent effect.)
*He mocks those who think Mexico will help us when they receive $25 billion a year in remittances. (He’s missing the point. Our question is directed to Washington: Why do we encourage Calderon and praise him when diplomatic relations ought to be at stake because of his version of “boat people”.)
*He says Hispanics are being profiled and all of them considered illegal. (He needs to realize that people are tired of newspapers and police who have ignored the details, allowing the problem to get this bad. We want to know who is illegal and stop sweeping this important piece of information under the rug.)
*He doesn’t like the meanness, referring to what he calls “Nazi-produced Internet video games” where players can shoot illegals crossing the border. (His name-calling is interesting but such games are hardly mainstream.)
*His next point is “amnesia” about grandpa being an immigrant himself. (Like others, he’s putting my ancestors in the same boat as illegal aliens. The point of his essay is to condemn those who lump illegals with all Mexicans. Look in the mirror, Ruben.)
*”Stop us before we hire you again.” He calls it buck-passing. (We’re as sick of U S employers as he is. By the way, Ruben, take a good look at who owns the landscape and roofing companies. Our SBA loans to Hispanic businessmen has paid off. They are among the worst when it comes to hiring illegals. At what point do they stop being Hispanics and start being those businesses you are criticizing?)
*The double standard of despising illegals but embracing the employers. (He’s making the same point again. Over and over the people are telling Washington to crack down on employers and give the jobs back to citizens. The fallacy of it being “too expensive” to hire legal workers has been exposed.)

What’s happening is that Latino activists are finally seeing that there is a cost associated with solidarity. America is tired of the disrespect being shown by illegal aliens. Anyone who takes sides with the illegals is subject to criticism. Stop aiding and abetting or stop complaining.

Firepower at IHOP

The Mexican government has an American soldier in prison down in Juarez on weapons charges. Juarez is across the border from El Paso.

The soldier is Army Spc. Richard Raymond Medina Torres, currently at Fort Hood Texas. He is a helicopter mechanic and did a tour in Iraq.

On his way to visit is mother in Fresno he took a wrong turn and ended up on the Mexican side. Reports say he made a U-turn but was stopped by Mexican border patrol. When they searched his trunk they found an AR-15 and a pistol.

Believe it or not, Mexico has some very strict gun control laws.

Off to jail he went.

His story is that he was going to park his car and walk across to the Mexican side for a nice breakfast, then walk back to his car and head for Fresno.

I’m OK with the story to a point, but it’s a bit hard to believe that the guy didn’t know he was entering Mexico.

I haven’t crossed the border since 9/11 so this process may be out of date. It used to be that you would pass into Mexico, then they would signal certain cars to pull over for inspection. It was sort of a random thing. Daily border crossers would take bets as to whether or not they would be stopped. It was SOP to pop the trunk.

The second problem I have with the story is the AR-15. He says he had owned it for years and had the papers for it, which leads me to believe it is the civilian model, probably semi-automatic. But if he’s had it for a long time or has modified it, it could be quite a weapon.

Either way, what is he doing carrying it around in his trunk? He was going to California to boot. (Mexico is a bad place to be caught with a weapon like that. California is almost as bad.) Why is this guy driving around with hardware like that?

This prison is pretty bad they say. His family is trying to get him out. I say we offer them a case of 12 BlackBerries as an even trade.

One thing’s for sure…I bet Medina is wishing he had taken I-40!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I still can't believe it

I didn’t even need to open the paper this morning. There on the front page, above the fold, right below the masthead, was the headline:
Judge says woman lacks good character
Deportation looms over woman acquitted of toddler's murder

First of all, you Latino advocates can all go back to sleep…She’s Malasian.

Now, I’ll give you the timeline of events in the case:
Late 1980s” – She comes here on a diplomatic visa as an employee of the Malasian government.
1994 – She went out of status, violating the terms of her visa (presumably, she no longer worked for the Malasian government).
January 11, 1996 – Deportation proceedings began.
October 3, 1998 – A 15-month-old girl died while in her care at her home day care center. The autopsy confirmed shaken-baby syndrome and confirmed that the symptoms would have presented themselves within minutes of the injury.
February 6, 2003 – A DuPage County judge acquitted her of the charges, citing conflicting testimony from medical experts.
January 2006 – All appeals with the Immigration courts (at the Circuit Courts as well) have been exhausted and she is ordered to leave the country.
November 27, 2007 – The date she was ordered by the judge to report for deportation. She was a no-show, which makes her one of the 600,000 fugitive absconders running around the country.
March 6, 2008 – Immigration picks her up and takes her into custody. She has appealed again. (Why they are allowing it, I do not know.) As for the delay in sending her home, they are waiting for travel documents. One would think this would be a simple step, but I guess not.

So, can anyone explain to me why she is still here? And why we are spending tax money for incarceration and appeals? And why this is front page news?

Well, maybe her legal eagle can shed some light on the case. Here’s a quote from the Daily Herald story: “In deciding whether to suspend her deportation, the immigration judge found Baraz lacked "good moral character." Her immigration attorney, Matthew Bernstein, of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, is challenging the ruling.
"Unfortunately, because of the criminal charge, she's not the most sympathetic candidate," Bernstein said. "The judge certainly pointed to the death of this child as a very important factor when he made the decision that she was not a person of good moral character."
Though so-called "hearsay" evidence is admissible in such immigration proceedings, Bernstein argues that the evidence used against Baraz wasn't probative or fair.
For example, the judge cited the criminal case despite Baraz's acquittal. He noted her insurer's six-figure settlement. He also considered state child-welfare agency reports regarding injuries of other children while at Baraz's day care but, Bernstein said, he was not allowed to cross-examine anyone.
Bernstein has asked the 7th District appeals court for a new immigration hearing regarding suspending deportation. Justices can only rule on whether there was an error in the law or the due process violation claim.
"In exercising his discretion, the judge took into account evidence that should never have been submitted," Bernstein said. "Regardless of which side of the immigration debate you are on, if you're going to have a system, that system needs to be fair and it needs to be administered with basic due process that we as a country believe in." (end of quote)

I’m not sure I see the lack of due process lawyer Bernstein is talk about. Do you?

What's your take on immigration?

Here are some links to various organizations with the courage to speak up on “comprehensive immigration reform.” The term itself implies some sort of path to legalization and in most cases more generous quotas for work visas and family unification.

Many institutions have not declared an official position and claim to be neutral. That is a topic for another day.

Below are links to institutions/organizations/candidates who are willing to put in writing where they stand:

League of Women Voters:

The group spent two years studying the immigration issue, with all sorts of local discussions and input at the national level. As an aside, during a local candidate forum leading up to the November 2006 elections, they asked for questions from the audience. Most of them were about immigration and they announced that they would only ask two immigration-related questions and spend the rest of the time with other issues. So much for “majority rules.” It’s their forum; they can do as they please.
They are also opposed to photo ID for voters. They also urge laws to fight global warming. And they are in favor of universal health care.

American Legion:

League of United Latin American Citizens:

Of local note, JoAnn Armenta used to be the chapter president. She is now on the library board in Elgin and is a reporter for El Conquistador (The Conquerer) newspaper. Veronica Noland, wife of state senator Mike Noland, is the current LULAC chapter president.

La Raza (NCLR):

Service Employees International Union (SEIU):

National Education Association (NEA):
You will need to scroll down to “New Business Item 50” where they endorse Sanctuarty Cities.
The NEA spent $9.2 million in 2007 lobbying in Washington, an increase of 464%. They are NOT the largest lobbyist in Washington.

Candidate McCain:

Candidate Clinton:

Candidate Obama:

Thank you for at least telling us where you stand.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blackberry caper update

You’ll recall the Mexican official named “Rafael” who scooped up seven Blackberry PDAs at the New Orleans NAFTA meeting. (See my blog “No es de nosotros” below.)

Well, we have a couple more news source updates that give us a follow-up on our pal and what happened to him once he got back home.

According to the L A Times his name is Rafael Quintero Curiel from Presidente Calderon’s press office. (Maybe he’s one of those folks who believes any coverage, even negative coverage, is better than nothing.)

Well, Rafael was fired from his job over the incident. But the reports don’t add up. Some say he was gathering up the PDAs because he thought they belonged to the Mexican delegation. Others seem to think he had a touch of larceny, or perhaps even espionage.

For example, here what the Associated Press reported: “In a letter sent to Mexican newspapers and broadcasters, Quintero Curiel said he had picked up the phones because he thought they had been left behind. He said that as he rushed to the airport, he had given them to a driver to take back to the hotel to hand them over to management.”

That’s a little different than the L A Times report that said, “…the Secret Service caught up with him at the airport, where he "said it was purely accidental, gave [the BlackBerrys] back, claimed diplomatic immunity and left New Orleans with the Mexican delegation.”

So, did he send them back to the hotel on his own, or did the Secret Service confront him at the airport?

Why would he have to claim diplomatic immunity? And why was he fired when he got back home?

The White House is giving non-answers like, “It is under investigation” and “We don’t know if the devices contained any sensitive information.” Heck, the White House isn’t even saying how many devices were stolen, only “a couple.”

Maybe Rafael can open a pawn shop now that he is officially unemployed.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

How's that again?

The faster ones can walk to school!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Big bites

Rev. Jeremiah Wright spoke out about his sermons and what they have done to the Obama campaign during a Bill Moyers-PBS program.

I’m having trouble swallowing his characterization that his comments were “taken like a sound bite for a political purpose.” Those were pretty big sound bites, Reverend. You railed on for several minutes criticizing whites in America and claiming that we somehow deserved it when terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center.

You see, a sound bite in my opinion is taking a phrase or two out of context to distort the original meaning.

Here’s an example.

My statement: “It is ludicrous to believe that George Bush has done a good job enforcing immigration laws during his presidency. The statistics do not support such a notion. In fact, Clinton did a much better job over his eight years than Bush did.”

The sound bite: “George Bush has done a good job enforcing immigration laws during his presidency.”

Do you get it, Reverend?

When you go on for six minutes about your hatred for whites past and present, that isn’t a sound bite; that’s your message.

Now, do those sermons represent your entire body of work? No. You’ve served in the military. You’ve given counsel and comfort to all sorts of people over the years. You’ve given many other Sunday sermons that are a benefit to those who heard them.

But please don’t be so foolish as to tell us that you didn’t mean those things. They weren’t sound bites and they weren’t misunderstood.

Then again, isn't that you with Bill Clinton in 1998, just hours before the Kenneth Starr's report regarding the Monica Lewinski scandal. (photo courtesy of the Obama campaign)

I wonder if there are any photos of Wright at McCain?

Politics is a funny business.

Reid is at it again

Maybe it has something to do with the warmer weather in Washington DC. Whatever it is, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has started using procedural tricks once again.

Last year he tried “clay pigeons” and “rule 14” to push through amnesty for illegals with a minimum of press exposure and debate on the topic.

Well, Harry is trying to invoke “rule 14” once again, this time over legislation on Medicaid rules. Rule 14 allows a bill to bypass committee and go right to a vote, with Mr. Reid controlling if, and when it is put on the schedule.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This Medicaid bill might be the right thing to do. What I don’t like is when someone like Reid derails the process in an effort to get his way. This manipulation of the rules prevents adequate exploration and exposure of the issue.

We need a more transparent government, not one that:
*plays with last-minute earmarks that have nothing to do with the body of the bill and
*imposes rules changes for the sake of controlling the outcome.

You had a bad day

“Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day”

Daniel Powter (or is it Pouter?)

(I think maybe Powter's always having a bad hair day because he's wearing that goofy woolen cap in EVERY photo.)

A catchy tune I admit, but your bad day probably can’t compare to this story:
Illegal Aliens Rear End Homeland Security Vehicle
January 29th, 2008 @ 4:22pm KTAR
by Jayme West/KTAR Newsroom
Normally, a non-injury rear-end collision wouldn't warrant a news story. But in an ironic twist, this crash involved a van full of illegal immigrants which slammed into an SUV owned by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the Chrysler van was heading west Tuesday morning when it was involved in a three-vehicle chain-reaction crash near the Elliot Road off-ramp. Harold Sanders with DPS said, "the 11 illegal immigrants inside the van were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

There were no reports of any injuries, despite the fact that the van was overloaded.
The passengers inside could have been moving targets for other vehicular danger. "The van was not designed to hold 11 people," Sanders said. "That's based on the amount of seat positions. I believe there were only two or three passenger seats."
(end of story)

Now THAT is a bad day!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Immigrant Scapegoats" - Jason Riley

On the Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal today is a piece by Jason L. Riley, a member of the editorial board.

His message is that during a recession we sometimes beat up on “immigrants” as the cause of the problem. He says that is wrong-headed thinking.

Well, first of all, he doesn’t ever call them “illegal aliens”, “illegals”, “undocumented”, or even “unauthorized.” He just uses “immigrants” and “foreign migrants.” He does say that some groups are “blaming Latinos” but fails to clarify who he is talking about.

Then he goes on to explain that these foreign workers are valuable to our economy because they allow the workforce to be flexible. People can change jobs and production can expand because we have this hidden workforce in our pocket when we borrow workers from other countries.

So, if that is his theory, why does he complain when people want to invoke that flexibility and withdraw job opportunities from foreign workers in times of economic downturn? That’s his whole point, isn’t it – flexibility? He criticizes California Congressman George Miller for saying, “The H-2B program needs to be reformed to protect the U. S. worker.”

Why isn’t that flexibility? Times are tough; we need to protect our own; we’re going to cut the quotas to help the American worker. Riley doesn’t explain; he just says that’s bad.

He then invokes France as a model of what we will become if we adopt protectionist policies. May I suggest that France’s problems have more to do with socialism than with their immigration policy? One need only look at our own nation from 1925-1965 to see what can happen when capitalism and a rational approach to immigration are combined.

But what do you expect from a guy who is putting out a book entitled, “Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders”?

Right below Jason’s Pablum is a piece by Governor Janet Napolitano (D-Arizona) who blasts Washington for promising to pay for illegal aliens in prison but pays only a small portion, leaving her state to pay the other $500 MILLION a year.

And she’s not too happy about the Real ID requirements imposed on the states without federal aid. This program is an $11 BILLION unfunded mandate.

And she’s on a roll when she explains that the feds cut crime-fighting grants by 67%.

I wonder if Mr. Riley considers the social impact (and costs to taxpayers) of his open borders philosophy? All he needs to do is read Napolitano’s piece to get a glimpse of the problem.

No es de nosotros

There is a great scene in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” At one point they decide to go straight and get a job guarding the payroll from the bank to the mine in Bolivia.

When they are ambushed by some bandidos Butch (Paul Newman) tries talk to them in Spanish. He tries to explain to the robbers that the money doesn’t belong to them saying, “No es de nosotros,” (It isn’t ours).

The robbers laugh and reply, “Si, es de nosotros,” (Right. It is OURS.)

I thought of that little bit of dialog when I read what happened at the end of the Three Amigos NAFTA summit in New Orleans. The United States, Canada, and Mexico sent their top leaders to talk about how great the alliance is. Bush, Harper and Calderon were working hard to explain how NAFTA is a blessing to us all. (That IS hard work!)

At the end of the meetings yesterday all these diplomats were gathering up their cell phones and Blackberries. (It is standard protocol to leave all such devices outside the meeting rooms during the conferences.)

So, everyone is heading for the airport to catch planes back home and seven Blackberries are missing from members of the United States delegation. A quick check of the surveillance video shows that “Rafael” from the Mexican delegation scooped them up on his way out the door.

The Secret Service stopped Rafael at the airport and made him return them. He said he picked them up by mistake. (You must be REALLY important to carry SEVEN Blackberries.)

No son de nosotros.”

Si, son nuestros, Rafael.”

I can hear Bush now. “You can steal our jobs, schools, and hospitals. But keep your hands off our PDAs!”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Global Cooling???

NASA astronaut Phil Chapman wrote in The Australian today that deep space sensors are detecting near zero sunspot activity after some pretty signficant spots and flares over the past few years.

He says it could mean a significant cooling trend. He also says it could explain what has happened to global warming in the recent past.

Those who have been dealing in carbon credits and footprints have poo-pooed Chapman, saying sunspot activity has negligible effect on climate. They claim La Nina is the cause of the recent cool down.

I'm thinking both sides are selling junk science, but it is interesting to see the reaction of the Al Gore set and the media. It is hard to consider another theory once you've invested yourself in global warming.

Over at the UN Bolivia's President was showing his stripes, much to the delight of the libs of the world. President Evo Morales, the keynote speaker at a forum on Indigenous People, said: "If we want to save our planet earth, to save life, to save mankind, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system.”

And he's not too keen on bio-fuels because they take corn out of the mouths of babies and put it in our gas tanks.

Oh, and the United States owes Bolivia some money for the pain and suffering as a result.

Here's what a UN Radio reporter said:
President Morales called for an end to "unbridled industrial development, extraction of natural resources, excessive consumption of goods and accumulation of waste". He also demanded that trillions of dollars spent on wars be directed to repair damage done to the earth. (end of quote)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Our local paper has a program they call “Newspaper in Education”. The idea is that they supply copies of the paper to classrooms in the area so students can study current events. Lately they’ve changed their billing and automatically added $1 to my invoice. In the fine print is tells me to deduct the $1 from my payment if I choose not to participate.

It used to be that I could check a box on my invoice and add a dollar. I suppose this new way will net them more donations since you have to figure out what they are doing to you and opt out of the program.

No wonder they have to trick you into donating. Take a look at the global warming article they published last Sunday specifically for “Newspaper in Education” use. You will note that they are doing quite a snow job on our children. You will also note that the author leaves no room for debate or doubt about her “facts”.

NASA studies the effects of carbon footprints
By Diane K. Fisher Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Published: 4/19/2008 11:41 PM Daily Herald
How big is your footprint? We don't mean your shoe size. More important is your "carbon footprint." Nearly everyone has one.
Do you ride in a car? Use electricity? Heat your house? Eat fresh strawberries flown in from far-away in winter? Use throw-away products such as paper towels?
Of course you do. It's hard not to!
Every one of these habits adds to your carbon footprint­on the sky. The carbon in your "footprint" is in the form of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Too much greenhouse gas is bad. These gases cause the atmosphere to act like the glass roof of a greenhouse, letting the sun's energy in during the day, then trapping some of it at night.
The atmosphere cannot cool off enough before the sun comes up again the next day. Over years, the oceans and the land grow warmer and warmer.
Your carbon footprint adds to those of billions of other people's, using millions of cars and trucks and airplanes and factories and refineries and power plants and even recycling plants. These technologies all burn fuels. They all burp carbon gases into the atmosphere.
We all use the products and services these carbon-belching technologies provide. We all have a carbon footprint.
We are all responsible!
To help us learn to fix the problem, NASA studies the atmosphere and its greenhouse pollutants. One mission that is helping is the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, or TES. TES flies with three other instruments on a satellite named Aura.
TES looks down from space through the atmosphere and measures some greenhouse gases all over the world. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder on Aqua also measures greenhouse gases. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will launch in late 2008 to measure carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas.
This information is important. We must understand the problem and tell everyone! That way, we can all work together to shrink our carbon footprints!
Make "Gummy Greenhouse Gases" at
(end of article)

I wonder if the libs ever wonder if they made a mistake in killing the atomic power program in this country.

Now, I’m no fan of sending money to the electric company. That’s why we harp on the kids about closing doors and turning off lights. And we do consolidate our errands. But I am irked by the way junk science is jammed down the throats of our kids in school. And this is a prime example of it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another weird association

Note the two photos below:

One is Adolph Hitler, the other is David Axelrod.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More bad news for Calderon

The other day Mexican thugs commandeered a private plane in Baja. Now this gem from Reynosa.

Reynosa can never been characterized as a tourist hot spot like Cancun. It is cleaner than Tijuana and the food is good. But mostly it is a maquiladora town across the border from McAllen (locals say MACK-allen). McAllen is a pretty clean town for a border town, in part because there are the buffer towns of Pharr and Hidalgo.

Also because there are easier places to cross if you are an illegal.

So, what’s the news from Reynosa? This AP Story from April 18th:

“Mexico's military performed checks on all city police weapons in the border town of Reynosa on Friday after federal officials detained the police chief for questioning about possible links to drug traffickers.

“Reynosa Police Chief Juan Jose Muniz Salinas was whisked off to Mexico City by federal authorities late Thursday for questioning on “evidence that links him to organized crime and fomenting drug trafficking,” the federal attorney general's office said in a statement.

“City officials said soldiers were conducting a routine check of city police weapons in Reynosa, which is near the Texas city of McAllen. Such inspections have been carried out in the past to determine if any of the weapons are unregistered or linked to crimes.

“But Miguel Angel Garcia Ahedo, the city council secretary, said in a news release that the detention had not affected city operations.

“’The city is calm, and we are operating normally with police patrols in all parts of the city, in coordination state and federal authorities,’ he said.

“Federal prosecutors have less than four days to either charge Muniz Salinas, release him or ask a judge to place him under house arrest without formal charges.

“Last month, soldiers arrested nine police officers from Ciudad Juarez, across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas, for allegedly carrying drugs in their patrol cars.

“The Gulf cartel is based in Tamaulipas state, where Reynosa is located.” (end of story)

It looks like the drug lords outbid the salary of another police chief.

Friday, April 18, 2008

He that ruleth over men

I was listening to a song this morning called, “The last words of David.” The text is from 2 Samuel 23: 3-4 in the Old Testament:

They are the words of God, spoken to David: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”

When I read that I felt “bitter” as I contemplated our candidates for president.

We have Mr. Obama, who sounds more like Karl Marx all the time. Here’s what Marx wrote about religion way back in 1843: “Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. … This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
”The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. (Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right)

Then there is Mrs. Clinton. I fear that her moral compass was sold long ago. I am not convinced that she can foster trust among the people who work for her.

As for Mr. McCain, he has worked hard to put distance between himself and the religious right. His target audience is the moderate, the independent, the slightly left. If he wins it will be a textbook case of the lesser of evils.

The scripture is right. None of these can hope to be rulers over men, only politicians. But that is apparently what America wants since the God-fearing candidates are quickly eliminated from the mix.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thugs out in the open

I am still amazed when I see news reports of people defending the presence of illegal aliens. Don’t they realize they are essentially saying, “I approve of people breaking the law.”?

The ones who say, “The immigration laws in this country are broken and they need to be fixed” are one thing. Never mind that they are the same people who are quick to point out that anchor baby laws are on the books and not subject to debate.

But far too many advocates for illegal aliens get all indignant when the laws are enforced. For example, here’s a quote from the Wall Street Journal today. The immigration police (ICE) has been investigating a California garment maker (American Apparel Inc.) to see if they are hiring illegals.

This isn’t a raid on their factory mind you, just a request for their personnel records. So American Apparel reports in their Securities and Exchange Commission filing that as a result of the investigation it “could experience very substantial turnover of employees on short or no notice, which could result in manufacturing and other delays.”

Business is business I guess and some companies are getting so bold as to call themselves victims for getting caught violating the law.

What’s worse is when politicians line up in protest of enforcement. L A Mayor Tony Villaraigosa (who is sooooo progressive that he took on his wife’s last name when he married her, only to cheat on her repeatedly to the point of divorce but still keeps her name) is a prime example of what I mean.

Tony sent a letter to Washington last month telling Immigration to back off because the enforcement is ruining LA’s economy. He wrote, “I am gravely concerned that ICE's current focus on nonexploitative employers in and around the City of Los Angeles could have severe and lasting effects on our local economy.”

If I were Secretary Chertoff I would have written back to Villaraigosa,
“Dear Mr. Mayor:
Please review your oath of office.
Michael Chertoff, Secretary
Homeland Security”

Instead the two will sit down for a meeting in Washington today.

The mayor of Phoenix is getting in the act as well. He’s up in arms that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is out looking for illegals in Maricopa County. He even wrote a letter to U. S. Attorney General Mukasey demanding that the feds look into civil rights violations. (It’s too bad Alberto “I don’t recall” Gonzalez isn’t still running the place. He’d run right over on his way to the next La Raza meeting.)

Unfortunately, these two aren’t the only politicians who defend illegals. We’ve even got some presidential candidates in that category. More Americans need to tell them, “Shame on you!”

And you think you've got problems

Americans are so self-absorbed. We are all worried about gas prices and the mortgage mess. And we seem to hang on every word from the Federal Reserve Board (past and present).

But right now I’m thinkin’ Mexico would gladly trade places with us. Their top three sources of income seem to be in turmoil these days.

#1 Oil – Fighting in the Mexican congress about possible privatization. (They ought to be laughing all the way to the bank with spot prices at $114/bbl.)

#2 Remittances – There are signs the illegal alien free-for-all may be slowing down as a result of the fence, raids on businesses, public sentiment in the US, and hot shot Americans who can no longer afford housemaids and pool boys.

#3 Tourism – You can say Mexico is a safe place to go for vacation, but the headlines just keep telling anther story. It is one thing to witness a drug lord gun battle; quite another to be the victim yourself.

News out of Baja that a family of four (including children ages six and eight) was dumped out of their private plane at gunpoint while trying to take off from Mulege. The plane was registered to a Boise, Idaho company. The family is safe.

Somehow I don’t think this incident will be featured in a travel agent poster. It’s not very neighborly of them, is it?

Count your blessings, folks. It could be worse.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The only good cougar...

Maybe you heard there was a cougar on the loose in the city of Chicago. And the animal lovers are all up in arms that the Chicago Police killed it.

I fully expect some cougar-whisperer to show up on TV and proclaim that she had reviewed the video and determined that the cougar was saying, “Don’t taze me, Bro!” in cougarese just before they shot him.

Critics are saying they should have called in Animal Control to take care of the situation. If I were Animal Control in Chicago I would have taken my sweet time getting there. These folks are OK with rottweilers and raccoons, but I don’t think they see many cougars. If only a Ute were en route…(Sorry, Point-of-the-mountain humor coming through.)

The police were amazed at the speed and agility of this cougar. They can leap 15 feet per bound. And comments from an officer in California explained that when cougars allow themselves to be seen by people it is “game over”. They weren’t exactly tracking him out in the woods somewhere; this was right in the city.

In Utah there is a lawsuit in progress because a family who lost their six-year-old son in a bear attack felt that the government didn’t do enough to prevent the attack. They knew a bear was in the area and they failed to shut down a campground.

Can you imagine “shutting down” an entire neighborhood while they dealt with this cougar? And his path appeared to be several miles long. (The experts are analyzing DNA to determine if this was the same cougar spotted in Wisconsin recently. They theorize that he was born in the Black Hills of South Dakota.) Do you shut down all of Cook County?

It is an interesting exercise to play “What if?” after an event like this. Reporters love to explore another angle to the story. In the end each of us decides if the right thing was done. I say the cops handled it well. No one was attacked; no one was hit by bullets. It was a pretty good day after all.


Some new ideas have surfaced on ways to improve Congress. After all, something needs to be done in Washington. Their approval rating last week was 23%.

So…a couple of ideas. First, there is a commercial on television for cellular phones. It features firefighters in the role of Congressmen, using their walkie-talkie feature phones to get things done. After passing a budget and a clean water bill in about 15 seconds, the fireman at the podium comments about how easy the job is.

The second idea comes from Mexico. As I reported earlier, some Congressmen in Mexico shut down both houses last week to protest the oil policy being discussed. I read yesterday that they are now holding session in alternate locations. They both found small auditoriums a few blocks away and began doing Mexico’s business.

It sort of gives new meaning to the term “roving crap game” doesn’t it?

So, what would happen if the U S Senate started holding sessions away from Washington? It has some real possibilities. For example, if they scheduled it right McCain, Obama, and Clinton could attend and cast their votes while still on the campaign trail.

As it stands they only show up to take shots at General Petraeus.

And a roadshow would increase the likelihood that our Congressmen would actually come in contact with constituents.

Of course, a Congress on the move would make life difficult for the lobbyists. (And the downside of that would be…?)

They really ought to look at some changes up on the Hill. It is hard to imagine they could do any worse.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

An improvement?

What comes to mind when I say, “The Department of Homeland Security”?

Do you think of Katrina and that guy, Brown?

Do you think of temporary housing trailers that were never used? (Good thing, because people are suing Uncle Sam over fermaldehyde gas poisoning.)

Do you think about rolls of duct tape that are supposed to save us from an atomic bomb?

Or maybe the TSA screening lines at the airport? Or the fact that trained people can sneak all sorts of dangerous things past them and on to airplanes?

Do you think about the long delay in getting a passport?

Maybe you think about the No Match Letter program that was long in coming, only to be blocked by lawsuits?

Do you think about border security?

Perhaps you think about ICE (the Immigration Police) and how unprepared they are to deport people who are here illegally?

Homeland Security has their hand in all these functions, and many more. Some key government jobs that fall into their organization chart include The Coast Guard, computer vulnerability, and The Secret Service.

Now, if you are a municipality you probably want Homeland Security to help you with disaster planning. Homeland Security wants you to be their eyes and ears as they look for terrorists.

And neither of you has the time or resources to deal with illegal aliens. Secretary Michael Chertoff minces no words when he tells us that he would rather legalize them all and give them work permits.

So we are left with this huge agency that never has enough money and little desire to enforce immigration laws. And the reality at the local level is that they’ve got plenty to do as well.

It’s a large and thankless task to continue to remind them that illegal aliens constitute a serious problem. Amnesty will increase future flow. Enforcement and border control are sorely needed. We need to keep sending that message.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Postmodern "data"

In our time one wonders if straw man arguments are even possible. After all, the data sets are seldom substantial and lib logic is hard to follow.

(Come to think of it, most conservative and neo-con logic comes up lacking as well. Perhaps the real problem isn’t the logic itself, but the reporting of it in the media.)

So, when a report is talked about in the news I like to go right to the source if I can find it. That way we can drink from to spring as it gushes from the mountain in all its purity.

A case in point is the housing overcrowding study recently publicized by the local media. It was done by a group called “Latinos United” here in the Chicago area.

They start out with U S Census data to explain that overcrowding is a Latino problem. Fine, so far. But then they begin talking to mayors and focus groups. These interviews are what the report calls “semi-structured interviews with elected officials, city planners, housing experts, school officials and academic researchers…”

About a quarter of the way into the report (page 7) the group outlines its goals. The fix is in, folks. Here’s what they are out to prove:
“This report has several goals.
First, we aim to clarify misconceptions about overcrowding by drawing on available empirical research.
Second, we seek to provide new information about overcrowding. We are particularly inter­ested in the voice of the Latino residents who are most likely to experience household over­crowding.
Third, we intend for this report to underscore the need for collaboration among municipalities, local institutions, and regional bodies to incorporate Latinos into their Chi­cago suburban communities.
To this end, we provide policy and practice recommenda­tions that we hope will improve the housing conditions for all overcrowded residents.
Our data is a unique and useful starting point for deriving a new framework to understand housing overcrowding. It is also the first time that such a study has been undertaken in the Chicago region.”

Here’s the warning label you might have missed: “However, this report is exploratory and therefore limited in scope and depth.”

Now, here’s some of their valuable data:
“We determine that overcrowding cannot be solved through more aggressive code enforce­ment.”
(They didn’t say how they concluded that.)

“In fact, in our interviews, respondents often contest­ed the cultural explanation of overcrowding. One social service provider stated that there is nothing cultural about overcrowding. Of her caseload of 30 families in a Chicago sub­urb, 90 percent are Mexican and 75 percent live in overcrowded conditions. She stated that all her clients who are overcrowded have the goal of moving out of overcrowded con­ditions as soon as they can afford to do so. Being Mexican herself, she explained, ‘in our culture you want to live close to family, not on top of family.’”
(Now, that’s a factual way to look at things. The unbiased interviews of selected people of their choosing told them the way things really are.)

“Some of the immigrant respondents we interviewed said that landlords threatened to report them to immigration officials if they complained about being overcharged or subjected to substandard conditions.”

“One mayor inter­viewed for this report said overcrowding is predominantly caused by absentee landlords. He reasons that building owners who do not live in the community are interested primarily in making money. These landlords have mini­mal concern for tenant well-being and neigh­borhood quality of life.”

“Some respondents associated household overcrowding among Latino immigrants with a drain on public services. They associated household overcrowding with school over­crowding and strained resources for social services. Our interviews with social service providers and school officials contradicted this claim, however. The executive director of a large suburban-based nonprofit organiza­tion stated that housing overcrowding among Latino immigrants actually saves money that would otherwise be spent on homeless ser­vices. He explained that instead of a drain on public social service dollars, overcrowding is a protective measure that keeps immigrants from falling into the shelter system.”

“The school superintendent we interviewed stated that the number of overcrowded homes with more than the estimated number of children (about 2.5) is balanced out by the homes occupied by individuals without chil­dren. Another school official explained that school overcrowding is caused by the housing boom in the suburbs, not housing overcrowd­ing. In other words, school overcrowding is a function of the mismatch between new home construction and insufficient schools to ac­commodate the influx of children, not house­hold overcrowding among Latinos.”

“Considered from this angle, household over­crowding among Latinos in the suburbs may not be merely a question of affordable hous­ing, economic need, or cultural preference, but rather an example of how growing diver­sity in the suburbs can result in interpersonal tensions among neighbors. As such, it does not seem to be overcrowding, per se, but the symptoms of overcrowding—parking, noise disturbance, and lawn maintenance—that fuel tensions.”

Now come the recommendations, or “What can be done?” They aren’t asking for much. And I quote…
– Municipalities should address explicitly Latino housing needs in their housing action plan, especially the availability of affordable housing
– Further research is needed to develop a model occupancy ordinance and en­forcement mechanism
– Develop educational materials—in both English and Spanish—to provide basic information about housing codes
– Deconversion of multifamily historic homes back to single-family residences is not recommended if it reduces the availability of affordable housing
– Municipalities can provide neighbor dis­pute mediation services
– Municipalities should take a proactive, long-term approach to appointing La­tinos and Latino immigrants to various city boards and commissions
– Municipal leaders should increase out­reach efforts and work collaboratively with existing institutions to increase civic participation among foreign- and native-born Latinos
– More community-based organizations and ethnic associations are needed that can provide culturally relevant social services for Latinos
– Efforts should be made to increase the level of neighborhood services available to Latinos
(end of quote)

It is clear that this advocacy group and their ivory tower friends do not understand the reality of America; that it is a land of opportunity. That it came about because people did not want to live subject to the rules and regulations of an oppressive empire. That they dreamed of a government that wasn’t a provider, but rather a bare-bones institution that would stay out of their lives.

I’m trying hard not to create a straw man here. Really I am. But I just don’t get it sometimes. The worst of it is that city fathers all over are looking at this report as though it were gospel. What can we do?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Now Chertoff chimes in

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff spoke to reporters last week. His remarks were picked up by the AP and the story showed up here in Illinois with the headline: “Chertoff: Hiring illegal immigrants will cost until law changes”.

It really isn’t a change of position. Essentially he is telling them what he has been saying all along.
1) Personally, he wants a guest worker program that will allow these people to work legally. He also sees no way to send home 12 million people who are here illegally.
2) Congress has not changed the laws, despite his personal efforts to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform.
3) Homeland Security must enforce the law.
4) What is lacking is proof that we can enforce the law, something the American people are clamoring for.

But that position, logical as it is, does not let him (or Bush) off the hook. The statistics clearly show that this administration has done LESS to enforce immigration laws than Bill Clinton did; significantly less.

This recent flurry of enforcement activity is simply a demonstration to the people since their political plan didn’t work.

September 11th taught them nothing.

Chertoff’s enforcement will be high profile, headline-grabbing, irritating stuff. That’s the maximum bang for the buck.

And his statements now are calculated to send a message to the protesters: Don’t give up. Take to the streets. We need you to put pressure on for amnesty.

As I said yesterday, there is a big problem when Homeland Security doesn’t have their heart in enforcement. They are going through the motions here and we all know it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Take your pick

A high ranking official at Homeland Security tells us that al Qaeda has not entered the United States through the Mexican border. At least we don’t know of any such cases.

Charles Allen, undersecretary for intelligence and analysis is the source of this information. He spoke to reporters on Friday.

This is a balancing act you know. Anti-terrorism is the reason for at least some of the fence-building and Border Patrol build-up. So you must choose your words carefully.

Now, Michael Chertoff WANTS to build 670 miles of fence this year. But he doesn’t really want to build the fence or conduct workplace raids. What he really wants is amnesty, and he freely admits it. So does George Bush.

But they can’t have amnesty until they PROVE to the people they can control the borders and enforce the law, something the Bush administration has failed at.

It’s really hard to build a fence without money. And that seems to be a problem right now. But the White House and Homeland Security put on a brave face and go through the motions of enforcement even though their hearts aren’t in it. Strange position, isn’t it?

Then along comes this bozo Charles Allen just before the annual May Day protests and tells everyone that al Queda never used the Mexican border, that the terrorism argument is a straw man in the illegal alien debate.

Now, this report done by the U. S. House of Representatives in the fall of 2006 tells a different story:

I think what Mr. Allen is trying to do is divorce his main issue –terrorism – from the political lightning rod called illegal aliens. I can’t blame him. I only wish he and the reporters could do that without stepping in the middle of our issue!

Since the problem of illegal aliens is a non-issue in the presidential debate, I suppose now is as good a time as any for Allen to tell his side of the story.

Friday, April 11, 2008


News item quoted in its entirety:
Miscommunication leads to botched Salt Lake City robbery
Published: April 11, 2008
An apparent failure to communicate prompted a frustrated would-be robber to leave without getting a dime.

A man walked into Cafe Trio, 680 S. 900 East, just before 10 p.m. Thursday, presented a pink plastic bag to an employee and said "fill the bag," said Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Bedard. The man also threatened the employee by saying, "Don't make me hurt you," according to Bedard.

The employee, however, thought the man said "feel the bag," and reached out a hand and complied.

"You've got to be kidding me," the frustrated robber said, according to Bedard.
The would-be robber at that point gave up and left. He was described as a white man, about 25 years old and standing 5-foot-8. He was last seen wearing a hunter green hat, dark glasses and blue jeans.

Anyone with information on the man can call police at 799-INFO.

© 2008 Deseret News Publishing Company All rights reserved

Pariah, prophet, or just publicity?

News from Detroit that the keynote speaker for their NAACP meeting later this month is none other than Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s favorite preacher.

It is hard to tell their motive for selecting Wright, but the outcome is lots of media attention for the group.

It sort of reminds me of the antics of Dennis Rodman. His kooky behavior always drew some press coverage for himself and the Bulls. The trouble with such icons is that the media monster demands higher doses of dope with each stunt until there is no place else to go.

Remember the movie, “Network”?

Jesse Jackson still draws the cameras to him but no one really believes his indignation any more. He’s sort of like wrestling on TV; everyone knows it is an act, but we watch it anyway.

Speaking of which, I saw The Harlem Globetrotters on TV the other night. I’ve always enjoyed their performance. It is great fun.

But this time the TV producers tried to weave some drama into the show with fake scenes of injured players in the locker room and corrupt referees. It came off as contrived and cheap. Arsenio Hall was one of the announcers. It was awful! Is business that bad for them?

I guess it goes to show you that the vast wasteland can ruin just about anything!

As for the Detroit NAACP cuddling up with Wright, it tells you a great deal about their agenda. Look to the national organization for a reaction. Silence from them is NOT a good sign.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


…is Mexico’s oil company. And I do mean Mexico’s. It is owned by the government. Has been since before World War II. President Calderon used to be the energy minister so he knows all about it.

And oil is #1 in the Mexican economy. More foreign money flows into Mexico from oil sales than any other source. #2 is remittances (and who says slavery is bad?), followed by tourism at #3.

Half of Pemex revenue goes back to the government. It makes up 40% of the money used to run the country. And four out of ten gallons of gasoline sold in Mexico is imported due to the lack of domestic refining capacity. Pemex has a bad habit of living in the present and not planning for manana.

Here’s some data to chew on to help understand why we should care. Here’s the U S crude oil data for January of 2008:
U S crude production: 157,893,000 barrels
Crude imports: 310,010,000 barrels of which these countries supplied…
…60,277,000 from Canada
…45,836,000 from Saudi Arabia
…37,148,000 from Mexico
…36,057,000 from Nigeria
…35,173,000 from Venezuela
…and just for reference 16,824,000 from Iraq
For the record, we import other petroleum products from around the world to the tune of 108,000,000 additional barrels in January.

The data:

The current debate in Mexico City has to do with Pemex and partnerships. Mexican socialism wants to keep the oil business within government but doing so limits their ability to maintain production. They need to invest in exploration and technology. A case in point is deep drilling in the Gulf.

There are companies out there who are willing to bring their oil industry up to speed, but that would weaken Pemex. Partnerships are out of the question. Maybe some sort of fees or contracts will work.

As we found out, even with an oil man in the White House, we’ve got our own troubles. Come to think of it, having oil to sell hasn’t helped alleviate suffering in many countries, has it? Kuwait maybe. Saudi Arabia (at a price). Good old Canada has probably done about as well as anyone in managing that mixed blessing.

Update: The Democratic Revolution Party donned oil rigger hard hats and stormed both houses of the Mexican congress yesterday and shut them down. The slogan is "Mexico is not for sale!" It kinda makes Washington look lame, doesn't it?


A political commentator was wondering recently why politics is shifting so far to the left these days. He said Obama is about as liberal as you can get, Hillary (like Bill) runs close to the middle with a social liberal bent, and McCain is the most left-leaning choice from the Republican field.

What is going on here?

Two words: Motor voter. There was a time when the pool of eligible voters consisted of responsible people who took the time to register to vote and had a legitimate interest in the affairs of this nation. They paid taxes and saw elections as a way to look out for their interests as homeowners and employees.

But for the last two decades the push has been on to register everyone to vote. Al Gore’s Citizenship USA campaign in 1995 was nothing more than an effort to sign up more Hispanic voters.

And there were neighborhood drives and MTV campaigns. When they couldn’t get voters by scouring the ghettos, they turned to the DMV. Now all you have to do is show up for a driver’s license and you are automatically a registered voter.

This change in the voter pool means there are all sorts of people who go to the polls to protect their entitlements rather than regulate taxation. More important than government solvency is the ability to deliver free stuff to the public; the credit card mentality extended to government.

If this little blog makes you feel uncomfortable, you ought to study the discussions our Founding Fathers had regarding voting rights. And it wouldn’t hurt to study the history of women’s suffrage. The right to vote is not a throw away privilege, but at a time when it has been de-valued it explains current political trends.

On a local note, I passed a billboard for John Noverini, a candidate for Circuit Judge. Neither his website homepage nor his billboard would give you any inkling of his party affiliation. Well, he WAS with the GOP and held high party positions over the years. Now he’s a Democrat. He saw a crowded field for the new circuit judge position. Maybe the GOP told him “no”. So he simply switched parties in hopes of getting on the ballot. And the ploy worked. Parties don’t mean a thing any more. But only an educated voter would know (or care) about John’s switch.

Now candidates are packaged like soap flakes or breakfast cereal. There isn’t really a platform to hold to. Pretty ads, celebrity endorsement, digs at the opponent…and lots and lots of cash get people elected. That’s no way to run a country.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A quiz

According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of illegal aliens captured at the border is DOWN by 17% and that means fewer of them are attempting to come here. They suggest that it is primarily because of a slowing economy here in the United States.

They also report that the captures in the Yuma Arizona Sector are down by 76%. The Tucson Sector reports a 12% drop in apprehensions. The Journal suggests that maybe tougher Arizona laws may have put a damper on activity.

So, the quiz: Fewer illegal aliens have attempted to enter the United States because:
a) More Americans are willing to do the jobs they previously wouldn’t do
b) Illegal aliens are afraid of being caught and prosecuted
c) None of the above

I guess I’m more of a “c) None of the above” kind of guy.

My problem with measuring the flow of illegal aliens by extrapolation has to do with the people who are doing the measuring; our own Executive Branch. The Bush Administration has not been forthright with us for the last seven years.

Remember when Judicial Watch had to sue Bush in order to get the results of the Border Patrol survey in January 2004? It took a year and a half to get the data and even then it was incomplete.

It sort of reminds me of the old joke about the business owner who was interviewing accountants. He asked one of them, “What is 2 + 2?” And the shady bean counter asked right back, “What do you want it to be?”

There are so many ways to influence this number. For example, people caught at the border could mean that three illegals made it through…or eight illegals made it through. Or maybe three are caught for every one that made it through. How are you going to know? How do you prove it? There’s a good article in Social Contract about that very subject. Here’s the link:

Now, there is a Border Patrol tactic called “Sitting on Xs” which means that the agents go out to one spot night-after-night and wait for illegals to cross. These might even be rather strategic crossing points.

But there are people who are masters at the crossing game. We call them coyotes; most Mexicans call them polleros. It doesn’t take long for these “tour guides” to know where the agents are waiting. They simply go around them. They find another hole in the border somewhere. It is only a minor inconvenience.

And the police will tell you that an illegal alien who wants to come back, will come back. They are back in the country within hours of deportation if they are motivated. The AVERAGE recidivism of illegal aliens is 29%, based on a 2006 sweep of 2179 fugitives. And these fugitives are the ones who have a criminal history and/or have been through the deportation courts before.

My point is that Bush has his ways to cook the books if he wants it to appear that the flow of illegals has slowed. Armed with this great news our elected officials can now say, “Look, we are stopping them at the border. All the enforcement numbers are UP. We are now hauling employers into court. We are building the fence. Our high-tech systems have been tested. Now…let’s do amnesty.”

When are we going to wake up and tell our Congressmen that we’ll believe their plan is working when we see local evidence? And that could take a while since the feds have been undercounting illegals all along.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Stoli drinkers, unite!

Or…Absolut-ly not.
Word comes from south of the border that Absolut Vodka has pulled an ad intended for Mexican audiences that contained this map: What were they thinking?

Now, if they wanted to do a public service, they should run an ad with this map instead:

Monkey business

“This is not a tree for them to be climbing in like monkeys.”

We will never know exactly what happened because there is no cell phone or surveillance video of the event, but the allegation is that Carpentersville trustee Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski called some African-American children “monkeys” because they were climbing in their own tree, giving the town a bad name in the process. (It takes a village to raise a child and sometimes the villagers disagree.)

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have not ruled on the remark yet so we aren’t sure if it was a racial slur. So far the PC lexicon has only clarified the “n” word, the noose icon, and phrases involving the word “lynch”.

But the mothers of these boys think Linda’s comment was racist. Linda, an Obama delegate, says, “I would have said the same thing if they were Mexican kids.” (Now wait a minute, is she excluding WHITE KIDS from her monkey label?)

I would really like to hang Ramirez-Sliwinski out to dry. She deserves to be run out of town on a rail. She was the one who had to poke her nose into Elgin’s business in November of 2005 when she tried to break up a Minuteman Meeting at the Elgin VFW.

(By the way, for a great position paper on illegal aliens, see the American Legion publication on line. Here’s the link: )

She’s also been Bill Sarto’s partner in defending the presence of illegal aliens in her own town. I think Linda is nothing more than a Latina rabble-rouser who has been spewing racism to forward her own agenda.

BUT…this “monkey” case is NOT the real problem. It is just hyper-sensitive fluff. Where were the headlines when she called fellow trustees racists? Then she meant it. Yet our society takes her to task for calling children monkeys. Something is terribly wrong here.

There is some sweet irony here, however. She’s worried that boys climbing trees on a residential street are creating an image problem. She ought to take a look at her own actions over the past two years! Now THAT is an image problem!

NEWS FLASH! Linda has just resigned as an Obama delegate. No joke. (I could get really raw here and talk about Obama's white grandmother and her opinion of monkeys but it would all be fiction. The truth is strange enough.)

It seems odd to me that she calls fellow trustees and patriots racists and doesn't think twice about it, but the "monkey" comment causes deep reflection and self-banishment from the Democrat Convention. I'll never understand liberals!

NEWS FLASH #2! Linda has announced that she is back as an Obama delegate to the national convention. (The cynic in me says that David Plouffe made a counter-bid to James Carville's $100 a convention vote, but that would be untrue, I hope.) Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH has been invited to enter the debate about the Carpentersville monkey case, but as Roe Conn on WLS said yesterday, there's no money in it. Jackson can't extort money from any business in this case so he won't get involved. Besides, brown on black cases always make the libs uncomfortable.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bush must be beside himself on this one

A Reuters article last Friday revealed that the U S Ambassador to Mexico is warning them that we may need to issue travel caution statements for Ciudad Juarez due to recent violence. D’ya think?

You know the warnings. They come from the State Department and go something like this: Due to conditions in (insert name of country) the United States cannot guarantee the safety of its citizens. Travel is strongly discouraged.

Of course, if things get really bad, the State Department can actually forbid travel to certain countries.

These warning are usually the result of political unrest, kidnapping of Americans, street violence, or attempted coups. Come to think of it, a warning about Mexico is long overdue. Tourism to Baja is way down already. People don’t need Washington to tell them to stay out of dangerous places.

Gangs are running wild, military forces are being sent to fight crime, politicians are being beheaded, anyone with money or power is subject to kidnapping…and to top it off, the police are famous as shake-down artists! What’s not to like about that?

Our President, a former border-state governor, must be spitting nails. I don’t think we have any idea of the number of daily border crossings (legal ones, I mean) at the El Paso/Juarez station. Huge numbers of business executives commute every day. Day trip shoppers (both directions) are common as well. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that in the first seven months of last year 14,129,184 passengers in private vehicles crossed the border at El Paso. THAT’S OVER TWO MILLION PEOPLE A MONTH!

So if Ambassador Garza sends an official warming that could be bad for Bush.

Of course, this might just be Washington fluff. People are staying away already…let’s give the problem an official explanation.

What I meant was...

When: March 13, 2008
Where: The Mexican Consulate in San Diego
What: Some American citizens were protesting outside the consulate, encouraging people to boycott Mexico as a tourist destination. Alberto Lozano of the Mexican Consulate told the protestors: “This has been and will be Mexico.”

Three weeks later Mr. Lozano told newspapers he was referring to the property of the Mexican Consulate, nothing more.

You judge for yourself by watching the You Tube of the confrontation.

Is Lozano a proponent of Aztlan, those who believe that Mexico still owns the Southwestern United States and has a right to couquer it (Reconquista)?

This is not the first time an employee of the Mexican government has tried to grab additional power. Last December Patricia Mariscal, a Mexican Employee driving a vehicle with diplomatic plates, ordered protesters to leave public school property in Capistrano California because they weren’t allowed to take photographs at her Mexican registration drive. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office explained to Patricia that the protesters did indeed have a right to be there. But she was allowed to claim diplmatic immunity to the charge she assaulted one of the protesters.

And during his state of the union address, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said: “I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”

It should come as no surprise that a 2002 Zogby poll of Mexicans revealed that 58% of Mexican citizens believe that the Southwestern United States still belongs to Mexico.

That same attitude is a key element of Harvard’s Samuel Huntington’s thesis that some sort of clash with Mexico is inevitable. Huntington’s six reasons are:
Contiguity – We share a border
Scale – Immigration is dominated by Mexico.
Illegality – Over half of the illegal aliens in the US are from Mexico. More Mexicans come here illegally than through legal channels, despite the dominance of scale above.
Regional Concentration – Mexicans tend to congregate in urban enclaves in Texas, California, Arizona, and Illinois.
Persistence – This problem has gone on for decades and is accelerating as Mexico continues to fail at creating a vibrant economy able to care for its own. ( I might add that the United States has spent BILLIONS in an effort to boost their economy and fight crime.)
Historical presence – Again, the attitude of the majority of Mexicans that the Southwestern United States belongs to them.

Huntington then goes on to explain our attitude of inviting them here by embracing their language and otherwise “greasing the skids” to make them feel welcome.

So, watch for continued arrogance on the part of the Mexican government and the protesters. The way they see it, the undocumented aren’t illegal at all. And our elected officials are too shy to do anything about it. Who will represent us?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Northwest Airlines

There’s all sorts of aviation news these days. ATA and Aloha going belly-up, others raising fares and fees, Southwest too chummy with inspectors, and all sorts of recalls being implemented.

But I’ve just completed a rather intimate encounter with Northworst and I can testify that they have miserably failed Jan Carlsson’s (SAS) “moment of truth.”

The moment of truth is a customer service concept. Essentially it states that when you have contact with a customer you have a chance to impress them or turn them off. The CEO rarely has that opportunity; it is usually the task of the lowest-paid employees.

Companies nowadays have been convinced by the MBAs that you save money by having someone in India take your phone calls or that the lady on the other end of the drive-up window speaker doesn’t need to speak English. They just don’t get the “moment of truth” concept at all.

Back to the story…Did you know that it can take over an hour to de-ice an Airbus 320? You have to work at it, but it is possible. I witnessed it myself. You can’t really blame Northworst for that I suppose.

So, that extra care in de-icing wiped out my connection time in Minneapolis. Sooooo…Northworst was kind enough to book me on a United flight leaving in 30 minutes. Off we rushed to the United gate in the E terminal. For those of you who haven’t been to Minneapolis, allow extra time to run to gates in adjacent terminals because you have to dodge all the golf carts they have using up pedestrian space!

But we made it to the United gate with ten minutes to spare (30 actually, because United was running late as well). Lo and behold, the “reservation” Northworst made wasn’t valid! The flight was over-booked, there was no seat assignment, and the gate agent explained that it was reserved through a code share with US Air which somehow made it void.

I found another Northworst gate and began to explain the problem when they told me I would have to go back out to ticketing. I did that twice more before I said my final goodbye to Minneapolis screening. (See my Homeland Security blog entry).

I discovered that for re-booking it is OK to go to a First Class ticket agent. They don’t like it but they will talk to you. A very nice Asian woman looked at my ticket, then at her screen, and explained to me that there was nothing wrong with my reservation (as though I walked away from the United gate just for entertainment).

I’m not sure she believed me until another passenger told the same story to the ticket agent next to her. Sooooo…she finally booked me for the next open flight, TEN HOURS LATER. She didn’t suggest that I get on a wait list for any of the other flights; she just printed me some boarding passes.
OK, I thought. I still get home in time to get some sleep before work the next day.

So, we went back through security and looked for a quiet gate where they had seats without armrests to allow us to stretch out for the long wait. We had lunch, did some reading, took a nap, read some more, took a nap, had dinner…the time had come to see if we could get on an earlier flight.

So we went to the gate for the 7:30 flight. We were there plenty early and got on the wait list. The flight was going to be a half-hour late but that was OK. We thought we had a stroke of good luck when they called our names and gave us boarding passes.

This was at 6:45. At 7:00 no plane. They moved the departure time to 8:00. At 7:15 they announced that they were going to put us on a different plane, this one coming from San Diego. At 7:30 they announced that the San Diego plane was on the ground and headed for the gate. Five minutes, ten, fifteen…still no plane.

It was snowing and the plows were out but planes were landing and taking off. What happened to the flight from San Diego that had landed and got lost on the way to the gate?

Finally at 7:50 the gate agent announced that our flight had been cancelled due to weather conditions. We were instructed to go back out to the ticket counter to re-book. (I still don’t know what happened to those San Diego passengers. Even if they cancelled the outbound flight, don’t they still need to let the inbound passengers off the plane?)

But I still had an ace to play; I had a seat on the 10:15 pm flight and it was still showing as “on time”. I went down to that gate but the agents wouldn’t talk to me. They had just finished loading another flight and were doing paperwork. And they were talking about their break schedule.

I interrupted them enough to learn that I would need to go back to ticketing just to check. So I called Northworst from my cell phone, sacrificing precious battery power in the process. The automated system told me all about the original itinerary, all of which had passed long ago.

I hit “0” and was told it would be EIGHT MINUTES to get a live person. I learned from the de-icing experience that you multiply by FIVE to get the real airline wait time as opposed to the estimated time.

So off we went to the ticket agent on the other side of TSA screening. I approached the agent, showed her my boarding pass, and was told that my seat assignments for 10:15 were given to someone else the moment they assigned me seats on the 7:30 flight.

She at least realized what they had done to me and made a couple of phone calls to try to get me back on that flight. No such luck; too many stand-by passengers already.

The best she could do was book me on the 7:30 flight the next EVENING. She also said I could come to the airport and go stand-by on earlier flights. (Already I was thinking, “Fool me once…”)

And she gave me a card with a phone number on it to book a room at a discount rate, not a free room, but a discounted one.

I checked the rental cars to see how much it would cost me to DRIVE to Chicago but the cost ($160) plus the weather, the late night, and the six hour drive convinced me to stay the night in Minneapolis.

So I called the discount hotel number and they were actually very efficient. It was 9:00 at night and they picked up right away. They started at the bottom with $65 a night and moved up to $99. I told her the $65 was just fine. She gave me a confirmation number and the phone number of the hotel. The hotel answered the phone right away and we were on the shuttle bus within 15 minutes.

In hindsight, a $65 rate for a Holiday Inn Express isn’t a real bargain. What else are they going to do with a vacant room at 10:00 at night in the winter? I’m thinking it is about the same as

We slept, we went to Mall of America for the day, we ate, and we got on our 7:30 flight. We were only about 30 hours off our original itinerary.

A couple of observations:
1) Northworst had cancelled the 5:00 flight on the first day. I think some of these cancellations are nothing more than accountants deciding it is cheaper not to fly that plane and move people around to other flights. They aren’t comping meals or rooms, so the cancellations cost them nothing. And a certain number of passengers will simply pay for some other way home, either on another carrier or with Hertz. They actually MAKE money when that happens.
2) The most stressful job in aviation is NOT in the control tower; it is the gate agent who must hem and haw and stall and lie to the passengers, then take the brunt of the cursing. They are the ones with ulcers!
3) When using Northworst, always pack your phone charger in your carry-on.

My real regret from the trip was that I wasn’t prepared to locate the Larry Craig bathroom stall. Now that is a piece of history. I learned later that I was in the area several times during our ordeal.

But it just isn’t the same now. They have changed the walls to minimize the space underneath and maximize privacy, probably using federal aviation dollars;)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Perks for perps

There were some interesting pity pieces in the news today. There’s always someone out there willing to help the less fortunate. It gets harder all the time for me to have much sympathy for some folks but the media never tires. They are willing to get out the hanky and violin for just about anyone in the downtrodden category.

The first item is from Mexico. The Mexican government has stepped up to the plate to help the illegal aliens who have been deported to the border towns of Mexico. They are now providing free rides to the interior of Mexico.

My guess is that the tourist trade in Baja suffers when all the deported souls are hanging around Tijuana. I’m not sure how that works since many of the deported folks simply cross into the United States again. They don’t want to go further south. And if they go back home it is a drain on Mexico. Down in Guanajuato they need food, a job, health care…Illegals in the United States receive all of that at no cost to the Mexican Government. And Calderon can depend on them to send money back home. No wonder Mexico insists on them living here!

The AP article I read said that 230,000 Mexicans are deported annually at the San Ysidro station alone. This must be the “catch ‘em and turn ‘em around” crowd, since the fugitive absconder numbers were less than 35,000 nationwide last year.

Then there was a real sad story in the Deseret News about illegal aliens dying alone here in the United States. They told about one of the victims of a van rollover in Southern Utah a year ago. They think he is from Guatemala but no one knows for sure.

Perhaps they should pass a coyote law making it a felony to transport illegals without a complete and accurate passenger manifest.

The story would have been ruined if they had added details like how the accident happened. It was explained in court that Rigoberto Salas-Lopez was driving the van and fondling a female passenger at the same time. Here’s the best the Associated Press could do: “They crossed the Arizona-Utah state line at 3:30 a.m. At some point, the driver drifted out of his lane, overcorrected and lost control of the vehicle, sending it spinning onto its side.”

But to tell all the details about how the arrangements were made, how much was paid to be voluntarily smuggled in, and perhaps what he was running from in his home country would spoil the entire victim angle.

And to tally up the entire cost to the taxpayers of this “accident” would also ruin it. One can only imagine. There were eight fatalities and six survivors. There were the ambulances, the medical bills, clean-up of the accident scene, transportation of the bodies, identification efforts, DNA testing, deportation costs of the survivors, next-of-kin notification, autopsies, storage (nearly a year for the John Doe victim in the story), and burial…not to mention the incarceration and trial of Rigoberto.

You will be pleased to know that people are working on the problem. Baylor University has identified 70 illegal alien corpses since 2003 through a DNA database. (I can smell grant money here.) And Doe Network is a volunteer network set up to help match corpses to missing persons.

Where are the investigative reporters who want to make a name for themselves by exposing this unfunded mandate caused by illegal aliens? Well, they don’t teach that in journalism schools. The undocumented are treated with the greatest of respect in the MSM. And the rule of thumb is that illegals contribute more than they cost society. What a crock!