Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Sicko" and debating a "free" socialized health care system

Roger L. Simon points to "a liberal college kid's" review of the new Michael Moore film, "Sicko." Be sure to read the comments, which contribute a pretty good debate on the subjects of documentaries, "free" socialized health care, and personal experiences with same. Our country is just beginning the public debate on this subject that will have a huge impact on the next Presidential election (and vice versa).

I liked this comment by Larry J:

Having lived [with] government[-run] health care while in the military, I want no part of having bureaucrats deciding issues about my health. You may argue that insurance companies are just as bad but you'd be mistaken - you can fire an insurance company that gives poor service. Try firing a bureaucrat. It's damned near impossible.

Finally, there's nothing "progressive" about letting government bureaucrats take over 1/6th of the US economy. They already spend several hundred billion dollars a year on Medicare and Medicaid (serving less than 20% of the population) and have made a royal mess of it. What makes anyone in their right mind believe they could manage health care for everyone when they've proven unable to do it for Medicare? Will forcing everyone under government control suddenly make them competent?

And this one by Erik, after describing a frightening scenario of dealing with the Canadian health care system:
If you want socialized healthcare, then you need to realize that politicians will decide what kind of healthcare you do get, and when you will get it. And if you will need to pay "fees" for the privelege...

Just think of it as giving your wallet to some stranger on the street, and ask him to decide over your healthcare...

Time for all Americans to start informing themselves on what a Democrat-style socialized health care system would really involve. It is too important to just leave it to the politicians to decide.

For more info: Freemarketcure.com offers an opposing viewpoint to "Sicko." Check it out.


UPDATE: Countering Michael Moore's view: Michelle Malkin has a round-up of important links. Be sure and read the comments. And don't miss this site of real Cuban health care.

How about: No more money spent supporting Michael Moore's lies and socialist propaganda? Just say no to his distorted and biased films.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Illegal aliens: your free ride will soon be over

There are millions of illegal aliens of all "races," nationalities, and faiths at large within the borders of the United States right now. No one knows how many. More are still coming here and staying here every day. They blend into our vast, tolerant, multiethnic society and disappear, insofar as usually no one is rude or nosy or diligent enough to challenge them, even when they happen to fall into local law enforcement's lap. Because that's what Americans are like when they're left alone to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness: they believe in live and let live.

Our government, bloated and inefficient, has no idea of who each and every one of these illegal residents are, or what each and every one of them wants here. Instead of limiting and monitoring their access, tracking their whereabouts and/or deporting them, as other countries do, our government and our people have for the last 20 years relied on the illegal aliens to exhibit basic human decency. We as a people have trusted them, since 1986 when we all but stopped policing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws, to be peaceable people--as peaceable and tolerant and kind and trusting as we Americans ourselves are.

For the most part these illegal aliens have been peaceable. For the most part, they have been invisible, decent, quiet, trustworthy people, not to mention reliable, strong, and hardworking. It is true that in many cases the only laws they broke were crossing the border, staying here illegally, and then using forged or stolen papers to get work.

They were the lucky ones. They benefited from a vast, wonderful, wild and crazy free ride. It might not have been an easy life, not comfortable, or ideal, but it was their chosen path, an alternative adventure they sacrificed to grasp at, and they grabbed that brass ring and got their free ride, including being able to raise their children or sustain their extended families, all on the strong backs of the hitherto mostly oblivious American taxpayers.

That legendary free ride is slowly coming to an end.

If you are an illegal alien (of any race or nationality) who came to America to earn money, steal money, mooch services or an education, or to just jump ahead of the line of millions of foreigners who want to live the American dream, it's time for you to recognize the writing on the wall. The door is closing and if you don't leave voluntarily while you can, you will eventually be caught. You had a great deal while it lasted. Your time to "live in the shadows," come and go here beneath the legal radar, earn a bundle and send it home, have and raise your children on U.S. soil, without legal accountability or consequences is finally, if slowly, reaching its end.

Because you broke our nation's laws to get here or stay here, you will have to pay the penalties, whatever they will turn out to be. To expect there to be no penalties, no consequences, or an unlimited free ride forever is unrealistic and unfair to the American people who have sheltered and tolerated you. Yes, many of you may have worked hard and honestly for your money here. But many of you did not; many of you have damaged the people and the country that let you in. And so have the American taxpayers worked hard and, without consenting to do so, have been supporting you, your families, and your millions of fellow illegal immigrants in so many ways.

The fact that the "comprehensive immigration reform bill" was defeated in the Senate means that amnesty will not be coming your way anytime soon. But the fact that the bill was defeated does not mean that nothing will be done about illegal aliens. It is clear that the American citizens are finally clamoring for accountability now, and their government will have to listen to them. They want secure borders, and working immigration law enforcement. The open doors you found and came through will be inexorably closing now, one by one. The American people want and expect their government to provide the kind of efficient, thorough national security and immigration control that other modern countries provide without fuss for the protection of their own citizens and sovereignty.

And so your free ride will soon be over.

Now is the time to cash in your chips and make your plans for the next stage of your life. Begin to consolidate. Take your earnings, your savings, your acquired skills, your education, your accumulated wealth and investments, your human capital, and your friends' addresses and phone numbers back home with you. Use the smarts and the leg-up you got from America to look out and provide for yourselves and your families in the coming years.

Just remember this:

To the hardened illegal alien criminals--the murders, the rapists, the burglars, the terrorists, the child molesters, the gangsters, the drug runners, the reconquistas, the identity thieves, and all the lesser unassimilated, disrespectful ingrates, fanatics, and leeches--we say good riddance.

And to the lesser lawbreakers we wish you good luck with the rest of your lives, for which we do not feel responsible, having given you an extended helping hand for as long as you were uninvitedly among us. Good luck, and feel free to get in line with the legal immigrants waiting their turn. And whenever you should choose to feel sorry for yourselves and consider the glass of your circumstances half-empty instead of half-full, just remember who's really the one to blame for the end of your free ride.

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Racism has nothing to do with pointing out your proposed legislation is an unworkable, fraudulent piece of trash...

But our Senators in favor of "comprehensive immigration reform" (i.e. not necessarily effectively or swiftly securing the borders, not stemming more than 13-25% of illegal immigration, and granting a path to citizenship for lawbreakers and linejumpers) are not above dragging race into the debate to muddy the water and attempt to tar those who object to specifics of their legislation:

“There’s racism in this debate,” Mr. Graham said. “Nobody likes to talk about it, but a very small percentage of people involved in this debate really have racial and bigoted remarks. The tone that we create around these debates, whether it be rhetoric in a union hall or rhetoric on talk radio, it can take people who are on the fence and push them over emotionally.”

Harry Reid on the Senate floor this morning (via Michelle Malkin): “Mr. President, my skin is real white.” He points out that Obama is black. He points to a Hispanic. “But my skin is American skin.”

This is pretty shocking stuff--it is the lowest form of Kabuki theater. But I guess Harry Reid is himself one of those people Lindsey Graham warned us about: throwing around racial remarks to 'push people over emotionally' instead of dealing with any of the hard truths of the border security the American people are demanding and the merits and flaws of the legislation at hand.

Sure is sad to see grown men acting like that in the Senate.


People who throw around the race card like Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid should grow up and try to deal with the problems at hand.

As Jeff Sessions said on the Senate floor after the vote, Americans "are not mean-spirited, but they are concerned about a lawful system of immigration."

Thank-you.

And though Ted Kennedy after the vote said, "It is now clear that we are not going to complete our work on immigration reform..." and Senator Feinstein said it would be highly unlikely..."in the next few years to fix the existing system," nevertheless Senator DeMint, who was instrumental in killing the "comprehensive" Kennedy-Bush abomination, says simplty "we'll proceed with the security and enforcement aspects of this bill, and that will pave the way of how we solve some of the other problems."

Thank-you.

It's clear to see who are the spoiled, obstructionist babies (actually pandering to special interests and lobbyists) who would rather stomp their feet and act out for the cameras--and who are the adults representing the needs of the American citizens, and are still willing to work to try to fix our serious national problems.

UPDATE: "Now what?"

UPDATE: Build the fence:
The first thing to do here is come down solidly on the side of securing the U.S. borders. No ancillary issues. No extras thrown in. Build the fence. Stop the invasion. Once the flood of illegals stops the American people will be more than willing to sit back and engage in a rational and reasoned conversation dealing with the illegals who are already here.



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Turned out to be a good day after all

I've been busy recently with house guests, followed by a day at the local waterpark with my kids, so I have laid off the blogging. Which is not to say I haven't been following the news. The best news today is that the "comprehensive" abomination of so-called "immigration reform" in the Senate was just defeated. Thank-you Lord.

Now, can you hardworking, responsive Senators please quickly move on to passing a simple, non-comprehensive bill that will secure our borders? Since everyone in the Senate in the past weeks of debate swore they all agreed to that. (And we believe them, don't we?)

Another pleasure of the day: listening to Mark Steyn on Laura Ingraham's talk radio show this morning. A guy with wit, humor, and good taste, who makes sense. That's one immigrant who's contributed a heck of a lot to America. Thank-you for choosing to make the U.S. your home, Mark. And Laura, GREAT job with the immigration thing, and running America, and all that.

And speaking of conservatives and media, the other subject besides "immigration" that's been arousing the conservatives in the land recently is the returning specter of the "The Fairness Doctrine." Ace puts it so well:

Without talk radio, would there have been any debate on this amnesty abomination at all?

Who would have given fair coverage to the position favored by at least 70% o[f] Americans? ...

Surely there would have been no debate in the Senate, whose establishment tried to shut down all discussion and force the thing through after a week's consideration before the bill could even be read, let alone digested, and let alone weighed in on by consituents.

And the media gushingly praised those engaging in dissent-crus[h]ing manueverings....

"Fairness" doctrine -- right. What they mean is they think it's unfair they don't have complete monopoly over the media-political culture in this country, and they want it back.

They were able to do so many great things for America in the old days, without all the fuss and bother of the riff-raff commenting upon what was supposedly being done in our interests but against our wishes.

[My bold.]

He is right. And in fact, there are so many great voices blogging and broadcasting sense these days that I don't really even need to lift a finger! But the bad news on the Fairness Doctrine front, as Neal Boortz pointed out on his radio show, is that all it takes is a Democrat President appointing a pro-Fairness Doctrine appointee to the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine provisions in effect prior to 1985 can again be enforced, without any action having to be taken by Congress whatsoever. Some in Congress are now considering a pre-emptive strike on that scenario, and are drafting legislation that would codify the FCC’s 1985 decision to abandon the Fairness Doctrine.

Finally, this grand news: The Supreme Court has ruled that race-based public school assignments are invalid! Finally institutionalized racism (judging people by the color of their skin, and treating them by group identity instead of as individuals) is beginning to be rolled back out of our public schools. The obscene fraud of basing "diversity" on skin color alone is being brought to light. This is good news for our schools, our children, our country.

UPDATE: Glen and Fred say it's been a good day for America, too.

UPDATE: Ace writes a good piece on "Talk Radio running America." Made me laugh.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

What bias?

Ace of Spades covers the disparity in how the mainstream news media cover the current Iraq offensive vs. how an independent journalist covers it. You decide.


Speaking of independents, here's a filmmaker forging a new path to distribution of the film all the open minds of Big Academia don't want you to see. My suggestion is every college and university should screen this movie for all incoming freshmen during Orientation Week. Whaddyathink?

Maybe better yet, all high schools should show it to all graduating seniors.

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Talk radio and the "marketplace of ideas"

Bookworm has posted a wonderfully well-written riff touching on the appeal of conservative talk radio (can you tell I agree with her on that?).

Just yesterday I spent a couple of idle moments wondering yet again why I persist in so enjoying listening to conservative talk-radio shows (despite the annoying commercial interruptions and the occasional lapses into stupid silliness, irrelevance, or vulgarity) and why I invariably soon tire or sour on listening to anything on the more genteel and sophisticated-sounding NPR these days. (For the record, I cycle around among "blowhards"--as my husband calls them--Rush, Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt when driving, walking, ironing, or supervising the kids at the pool.)


All I could come up with was it had something to do with the active play of ideas, the embrace of debate and persuasive, logical argument that other radio entertainment just can't or won't attempt to engage in. Bookworm has put into words precisely why conservative talk radio appeals to so many as entertainment for sentient adults with critical and inquiring minds. As she writes,

From Rush it was a hop, skip and a jump to my favorite radio personality, Dennis Prager, the man I consider the most logical, humane, liberal, rational spokesman around. Again, Prager is able to be precisely this because the long, open format of talk radio allows him both to expand upon and, even more importantly, to defend his ideas. It didn’t take me long to discover Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. By then I realized that the blinkered world that is NPR can be very informative, but that it is not a marketplace of ideas. Every story is carefully constructed so as to advance a conclusion, but that advocacy is hidden from the credulous liberal audience. Nothing is challenged; no fresh air is allowed; and most importantly, no alternate views are given free voice. Instead, opposing views are limited to 10 or 15 second bites that are immediately rebutted in the static format of a 6 minute radio story.


So true. Unfortunately I can't get Dennis Prager's show here, but having listened to him once (while I was washing venetian blinds with Spic N Span), I wish I could.

I too have grown very disgusted with NPR in the last few years. The opinion sound bytes by Daniel Schorr just sent me over the top, yelling at the radio (and rhetorically wailing to my liberal friends): "Where is NPR's alternative viewpoint to that recurring leftist?" How refreshing it would be if the hypocritically so-called PUBLIC radio station actually attempted to balance its biased worldview by offering equal time for opining by a regularly featured conservative "blowhard:": Rush Limbaugh, Thomas Sowell, Heather MacDonald, John McWhorter...! How refreshing it would be if the PUBLIC radio station actually trusted its listening audience to handle unfiltered alternative ideas and to think and decide for itself. Instead, it creates a comforting bubble, leaving the other half of the world outside.

A person has to have attained a certain level of education and experience, has to have been around the block a few times, to have the wherewithal to start yelling back at NPR (or NBC, ABC, CBS news interviews and news reports, as I do too), and saying "That's just wrong! That's illogical! What about / Why don't you ask [fill in the blank, with the questions they never ask that I would ask, and would LOVE to hear the answers to]." Younger people, the less educated, and those just not interested in critical thinking can still swallow the NPR-MSM presentations whole and not choke or start feeling claustrophobic. Folks like me and Bookworm either grow up (or old) or learn to or want to discern better. They want more bang, more interest, more ideas for their buck, their precious listening time.

Rush Limbaugh and the raft of smart, articulate conservative talk radio hosts who follow in his footsteps today have done the country a huge service by helping adult Americans who voluntarily wish to do so understand in a public forum the meanings and implications of political, philosophical, religious, and economic ideas--and they have guided them to claiming the confidence to articulate and advocate for their convictions in the media, in education, and in politics and government. The emphasis here is on "voluntary." Nobody twists your arm to listen to Limbaugh; nobody forces you or anybody else to agree with these "blowhards" and their conservative ideas. They don't require taxpayer dollars or private contributions, and they don't pay radio stations to run their shows--their shows profit the stations. What conservative talk radio does is inform, entertain, and persuade via a fair and public airing of ideas through debate. They appeal to your working brain. It is truly a laissez-faire "marketplace of ideas" when you listen to commercial conservative talk radio.

And happily, I don't think this tide of information and debate is going to be turned back soon by any "Fairness Doctrine" that the leftists (or the Trent Lott Republicans) in Congress can attempt to come up with. "The loud people" now supposedly "running America" that so disturb Trent Lott, for example, are no more than involved and informed citizens actively participating in the political process. And that there are more of them, better informed--what a beautiful sea change that is.

Bookworm sums up:

... liberals are right to fear talk radio because, on[c]e ideas are removed from the rigidly orchestrated framework that is the MSM and NPR, and get full airing and debate, liberal ideas don’t smell so good any more.

Too true. And I believe the cat is too far out of the bag and the majority of Americans now understands this. The majority of Americans believes in free speech, unfettered public debate, persuasion over force. Any attempt to squelch public debate, even if tarted up as a "Fairness Doctrine" or falsely labeled as "hate speech," will these days be soon generally recognized for what it is--a grab for enforced power over the individual American mind. And the leftists have few tools to bring about their aims besides intimidation, attempting to appropriate the force of government to effect their bidding, and a talent for calling people names.

So far the success of conservative talk radio, the expanding market of conservative thinkers and writers, and the freewheeling internet blogosphere imply that the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" will be one attempted fraud destined to fail.

But only as long as we keep talking and debating! If that means I've become a blowhard, so be it.

UPDATE: Not all conservative talk radio hosts are worth listening to. I share Betsy's opinions of Michael Savage and of the great Brian Lamb of C-SPAN. But I will defend the goodness, the imperative, of all of these voices being allowed to speak, debate, rub up against one another. It's all educational and vital for the thinking American public. As Betsy points to here, "Good arguments are no bad thing."

UPDATE: And as Mark Steyn points out on the Hugh Hewitt show, it is not good arguments that the Democrats are after:

KJ: ...And I’ve been sitting here feeling, I don’t know, a little assaulted lately. They want to talk about talk radio all the time, but I don’t hear the advocates of the Fairness Doctrine discussing the same thing for our mainstream media. Who’s going to monitor all of these television news programs to make sure that there’s not a left wing turn? And the newspapers?

[Mark Steyn]: No, that’s what’s so crazy about it, is that the left in this country allow themselves to present themselves as impartial. There was a thing today that turned out that when someone rifled through the campaign finance records, that nine out of ten journalists in the United States donate, when they make campaign donations, to the Democratic Party....

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Breaking the law to make more bucks is still illegal

The debate about illegal immigration, illegal aliens at large among us, and our porous national borders and innumerable bureaucratic backlogs continues to rage daily in the blogosphere and on talk radio. It seems that when the bipartisan Senate "immigration reform" legislation was brought forward into the light of the media, the dam finally broke and ordinary Americans from across the land, asked for their opinions, have finally found a voice and an outlet for their continuing outpouring of outrage at current conditions (conditions which many of our politicians seem curiously insulated from). Twenty years of our government's benign neglect in failing to enforce our immigration and deportation laws and border security, including the last few years since 9/11--the most egregious security lapse of all--have resulted in a true mess.

Were the cheaper lettuce and plucked chickens worth the costs of millions of illegal aliens among us?
Each year roughly 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants enter and take up residence in the U.S. This immi­grant flow is disproportionately poorly educated because illegal immigration primarily attracts low-skill workers and the legal immigration system favors kinship ties over skill levels. As a result there are currently 4.5 million low-skill immigrant households in the U.S., containing 15.9 million persons, roughly 5 percent of the U.S. population. At each age level, low-skill immigrant households receive substantially more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. Overall, low-skill immigrant households impose a net cost of $89 billion per year on U.S. taxpayers....

Was the cheaper yardwork and housing construction worth this? or this? or this?

And how can you put a price tag on the erosion of the rule of law in our country? The consequences are dire, but unfortunately remain merely academic for too many in office.

And here is another cost our country has to bear for suffering illegal aliens pouring across our border: the resurgence of tuberculosis.

Nice image, to think of TB-infected illegal aliens coughing on your cheap chicken as they pluck it.

It is no surprise to discover one of the groups that is lobbying for a "comprehensive" immigration reform package, linking border security to "guest worker" programs (sometimes called "holding border security hostage"). The chief poster boy is President Bush, and the lobbyists are businesses who employ illegal aliens (the latter being sometimes more comfortingly referred to as mere "immigrants"):
As the issue heats up on Capitol Hill, similar business coalitions in several states — representing farms, hotels, restaurants, construction companies, manufacturing industries, landscaping firms and others — are joining forces to send a message that their livelihood depends on immigrant workers.

In Texas and Arizona, business coalitions are running television ads that show business people in construction, hotel management and restaurants saying, "I need workers." The spots also feature a woman in a kitchen with a grocery bag who says: "If I want fresh vegetables, beef and dairy products, I guess farmers need workers, too."

Does anyone besides me see the fallacy here? I.e. how did America ever eat before we had illegal aliens here to pick our fresh vegetables for us? I.e. don't American businesses believe in the reality of supply and demand? I.e. you supply higher wages and you get more and better workers?

A similar business group in Arizona includes about 100 business owners, trade associations and chambers of commerce. The coalition — Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform — has shown strong support for the efforts of Arizona's two GOP senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, to help craft immigration legislation.

Another business coalition was launched earlier this month in Colorado and businesses in Oklahoma and Florida also have similar organizations.

Tamar Jacoby, an immigration expert with the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said the state business groups are "hugely important" to the effort to change the nation's immigration laws.

It makes a big difference to have a restaurant owner from a lawmaker's district visit his office and talk about not being able to open a second restaurant because of a lack of workers, said Jacoby, who helped some of the coalitions get started.

"I think that is one of the most effective ways to sway members," she said.

No doubt; it's been working for 20 years since the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty bill went into effect.

I think it is time to stand up and say to such lobbyists and businesses (and I urge our Senators and Representatives to do this too--come on, folks, it's your job to be leaders):

If you have to hire illegal aliens to stay in business, maybe your business should fail.

If you are knowingly employing illegal aliens, maybe you should be revamping your business plan instead of lobbying Congress.

If you can't afford to pay for someone to take care of Grandma or mow the lawn who isn't here legally, maybe you should think about other solutions besides evading U.S. law and abetting illegal immigration.

And to Congress and President Bush I say: instead of making deals with lobbyists dependent on cheap, illegal labor, maybe you should be sending some effective law enforcement officials over to prosecute these companies who invite, hire, and make profits from exploiting the status of, illegal aliens.

It is time to call for accountability of those politicians who turn a blind eye to illegal hiring practices.

The bottom line is there are not-so-hidden costs to all of these higher (illegal) profits (some of which end up in politicians' coffers) made by these few businesses, and to the lower costs of goods and services we've been "enjoying." All Americans (except the politicians, evidently) end up paying these widespread, unbidden bills.

Breaking the law to make an underhanded buck has always been and is still illegal, unethical, and immoral. It is not good for any individuals, legal or illegal workers, or anybody else. If it were, then why don't we ALL cheat on our taxes, collude to commit identity fraud, drive without insurance, and do anything else we can do to "increase our profits?"


UPDATE: Mark Steyn's take: This is not an immigration issue, it's a template on how to subvert national sovereignty.

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How we civilians can support our troops

Today's suggestions: Grim at the military blog Blackfive has been facilitating a "write an email of support to a Marine" program recently. If you have ever felt gratitude or awe for the men who serve on our behalf, here is your chance to thank one of them personally (via Michelle Malkin).

Send your e-mail of support to:

RCT-6lettersfromh@gcemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil

Lisa offers a sample message.

Meanwhile, the redoubtable Frankie Mayo is concentrating on getting air-conditioners to our soldiers again. I just hit the Paypal button--can't enjoy my own a/c this summer without contributing to the soldiers' greater need.

There are so many ways and venues for U.S. civilians to support the men and women who lay their lives on the line on our behalf. Anyone who whines about how we are "not being asked to sacrifice for this war" and so hasn't found ways to contribute, hasn't got the sense or the honor (or the Googling ability) of a slug. You can give till it hurts (figuratively) and you don't need a personal invitation from Uncle Sam.


UPDATE on the email project from Michelle Malkin.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Music to my ears

Michelle Malkin gives us the news: The House Immigration Reform Caucus has gotten the message and House lawmakers are finally doing the right thing on immigration/border security:

“We decided to take action today rather than wait for the Senate to pass an amnesty bill the American people clearly do not want,” Bilbray said. “There is no reason why Congress shouldn’t take immediate action to secure our borders, strengthen our immigration laws, implement true interior enforcement and establish a working employer verification system.”...

Omigod, somebody pinch me.

“The immigration status quo is intolerable. Not because our immigration laws are broken, but because they are not vigorously enforced,” Smith said. “Immigration enforcement has failed primarily because Administrations for 20 years have not enforced sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Our resolution calls on the Administration to enforce employer sanctions systematically, not just sporadically.”

The bill also reforms the H-2A Visa program to allow for a market-based number of temporary agricultural workers each year. The legislation does not provide amnesty, or the legalization of aliens illegally residing in the United States, and would make English our nation’s official language.

“By reforming the H-2A program we already have in place, we can better enforce our immigration laws while ensuring American farmers have the workforce they need,” King said.

Furthermore, House Republican leaders have introduced a resolution calling for the enforcement of all immigration laws points out a number of current laws that are not fully enforced. This includes implementing both the entry and exit portions of the U.S. VISIT program, enforcing the employer sanctions that were enacted as part of the “Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986,” and increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, detention beds, and immigration investigators.

Bilbray added, “The practice of rewarding illegal behavior and ignoring current immigration laws must come to an end. No one believes that you can grant an amnesty first and enforce the law second. What part of illegal is hard to understand?”

Wasn't I just saying that these past few weeks? Oh yeah, that's right, me and lot of others. Guess somebody in Washington is listening. Take that, you Senate clowns.

I suppose it would be churlish to say "It's about time." So I won't.

Meanwhile, over at Hot Air one of the commenters sez:

If you can’t run a business unless you hire illegals, then perhaps your business should fail.

Well duh. You know, we could all just cheat on our taxes and thereby fatten our profits too. But most of us understand what "illegal" means and why it's not good for us, or for the country, or for an exploited underclass to indulge in it, even if we can get away with it and make big fat bucks. Why am I not surprised that people with the moral I.Q. of Ted Kennedy are the last to figure that out?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Amnesty or homeland security? Mercy for some or justice for all?

President Bush expressed his sentiments about the Senate immigration legislation at a National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast this morning (via Michelle Malkin):

Left for dead a week ago, legislation to strengthen border security while bestowing legal status on millions of illegal immigrants is showing signs of life. President Bush said on Friday it's time for Congress to act.

"Each day our nation fails to act, the problem only grows worse," the president said at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. "I will continue to work closely with members of both parties, to get past our differences, and pass a bill I can sign this year."


I would like to see if he would decline to sign a simpler, more straightforward and more urgently-needed bill than the "comprehensive immigration reform" misbegotten mishmash with loopholes, choking points, and sticking points galore; one that would instead just provide FIRST and solely for national border and port security and enforcement of the current immigration laws. Would President Bush dare to veto such a simpler homeland security bill just because it wouldn't deliver further immigration reform in the same package?

Would he dare to continue holding the security of our national borders hostage until he gets the amnesty/guest worker programs for illegal aliens he's demanding?

I would like to find out the answer to that question. I hope those in the Senate who are listening to the will of the majority of the U.S. citizens demanding simple and factual border security and enforcement of our laws will hang tough with that as a first priority and insist on a bill that provides for that, and just that. Let's see who would dare to veto that and then still say "Something must be done!" Show us where you really stand, Congress. We're not falling for your rhetoric. And we're also wise to your tricks of voting for security measures like fences, and then not authorizing the funds--or authorizing the funds, but then not appropriating them! Or having the funds and then not letting them be used for what you promised.

Unfortunately I can see who not only would veto such a simple, straightforward bill, but I can also see who won't even give it a chance to be brought forward and voted on. That would be Harry Reid and the rest of the pro-Amnesty, pro "comprehensive" Senators, Republicans and Democrats, who are holding our national security hostage for political gains under the guise of being merciful to a special interest group: "undocumented Americans."

And unfortunately there are plenty of people in the U.S. who agree with such disingenuous tripe, including my own church, which seeks through wishful thinking and slight of semantic hand to make no distinctions between the differing moral issues involving immigration reform for legal aliens and curtailing the invasion by illegal aliens (thinking that by expressing the sentiment "there is no such thing as an illegal person" everyone will ignore the reality that people committing illegal acts both sin and commit crimes with consequences hurting others).

Perhaps President Bush, as a Methodist, is sincerely seeking to do what his spiritual advisors suggest: making no distinction between legal and illegal "sojourners" or "migrants" by ignoring those who break our laws, and elevating their status above that of all the legal immigrants who wait their turn in line and respect our laws. But such displaced mercy is a clear injustice to those who must pay the price.

I think it could debatably be a legitimate stance for a bishop or a minister, or a private individual to find a blanket moral equivalence among all "sojourners" including those who break our laws (certainly every individual is equal in the sight of God), but I find it sadly disappointing, and even perhaps a reprehensible stance in a public servant who has a sworn duty to uphold the laws of the United States which after all, are meant to protect our nation of millions of equally precious individuals and deliver justice for all.

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan writes a beautiful essay on all of this. A portion:

A little love would go a long way right now. We should stop putting newcomers in constant jeopardy by blithely importing ever-newer immigrants who'll work for ever lower wages. The ones here will never get a sure foot on the next rung that way.

We should close the border, pause, absorb what we have, and set ourselves to "patriating" the newcomers who are here. The young of AmeriCorps might help teach them English. Those reaching retirement age, who happen to be the last people in America who were taught and know American history, could help them learn the story of our country. We could, as a nation, set our minds to this.

We shouldn't be disheartened. So much good could be done once a Great Pause begins, once the alarm is abated.

What will we do about the 12 million here? Nothing radical. We're not really a radical people, Americans.

Having no borders--that's radical.

Saying, to the American people, in essence, Back my big bill or I will not close the borders, is radical.

Insisting on "all or nothing at all" is radical.

Leaving your country wide open in the age of terror is radical.

She understands and expresses well how the American people in toto are not anti-immigrant, are not racists, are not unkind or even being unmerciful, when they wish to end illegal immigration first and then broaden, regularize and make fairer legal immigration. I, for one, refuse to be tarred a racist or a bad guy for expecting my government to do its job protecting me, my family, my community, and my country in a competent, and thorough manner.

Comprehensive border security for everyone in the U.S., that's what I want. And that is an ultimately merciful and a just aim.

UPDATE: David Frum (via Power Line) expresses how a lot of Americans feel about amnesty and when (if ever) it might someday be appropriate.

UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer agrees: if we all want border security, where's the simple fence?

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

New HPV vaccination leaves a trail of adverse effects, three deaths

This is a troubling development:

(Washington, DC) -- Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released documents obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, detailing 1,637 reports of adverse reactions to the vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV), Gardasil. Three deaths were related to the vaccine. One physician’s assistant reported that a female patient “died of a blood clot three hours after getting the Gardasil vaccine.” Two other reports, on girls 12 and 19, reported deaths relating to heart problems and/or blood clotting.

As of May 11, 2007, the 1,637 adverse vaccination reactions reported to the FDA via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) included 371 serious reactions. Of the 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to fetal abnormities.

Side effects published by Merck & Co. warn the public about potential pain, fever, nausea, dizziness and itching after receiving the vaccine. Indeed, 77% of the adverse reactions reported are typical side effects to vaccinations. But other more serious side effects reported include paralysis, Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and seizures.

“The FDA adverse event reports on the HPV vaccine read like a catalog of horrors,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton....


This is an especially grave situation in light that many U.S. states are considering requiring this vaccination for all girls entering public middle schools (this is already the law in Texas). This seems to me to be (like the case of fluorescent compact light bulbs) another case of a manufacturer persuading lawmakers (with big payoffs?) to rush prematurely into legislating untried products with incompletely known effects and consequences, using U.S. citizens as guinea pigs.

Personally, I was reluctant even to have my children vaccinated with the chicken pox vaccine, on the grounds that it was still too new and there was not enough known yet about it. One pediatrician I admitted this to huffily asked me where I'd gotten my medical degree (meaning, how dare I question his authority on this--and that was the last he ever saw of me or my children). Other pediatricians shared my sense of caution and, like me, did not see the urgent need for my children to receive the vaccine. I managed to pass on the varicella vaccinations for several years, but finally my choice was taken from me and my children were forced by our state to receive the chicken pox vaccination in order to remain in their public schools. At the time I submitted, I was told that the vaccine was completely safe, preferrable to catching chicken pox the old-fashioned way, and that the vaccine would be effective for 10 to 20 or more years. This year my school district is demanding my children be re-vaccinated with it every five years, since new results of the vaccine's failures to prevent the contraction of chicken pox have come to light. Now I worry that my children will contract the disease (in more serious form) as adults, since no one seems to know how effective or long-lasting the vaccinations are.

What are the effects and consequences (not to mention the costs) of having to get this vaccination every five years for life?

Am I the only parent who sees a structural, systemic problem here? With the worst blow being that my choice as a parent and my informed decisions about such vaccinations for my own children being nullified by politicians?

This editorial outlines some of the moral hazards involved when doctors, drug manufacturers and legislators all stand to benefit by scratching each others' backs' and combining forces to force parents under penalty of law to accept vaccinations for their children--an ever-growing long list of vaccinations, many with short track records, it seems.

And this article describes how one of the HPV vaccine researchers says it should not be used on young girls.

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March for America this Saturday

Some ideas for banners I would carry:

  • Secure our ports and borders first!
  • Enforce our current immigration laws!
  • No rush to Amnesty for illegals!
  • Congress, Bush, & Homeland Security: We don't trust you!
  • I'm not a bigot, loudmouth, or racist, I just want our borders secure and our laws enforced!
  • No secure borders = no deal!
  • Congress/Bush: What part of "ILLEGAL" do you not understand?
  • Justice for LEGAL IMMIGRANTS, justice for U.S. CITIZENS
  • Where's the fence?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I don't want these in my house

Instapundit points to more information from Popular Mechanics on the new compact fluorescent bulbs that are so popular among the save-the-earth conservation types (and no doubt among the manufacturers of the compact fluorescent bulbs). I still don't like this:

How much mercury is contained in a CFL?
Each bulb contains an average of 5 milligrams of mercury, “which is just enough to cover a ballpoint pen tip,” says Leslie, associate director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer. “Though it’s nothing to laugh at, unless you wipe up mercury [without gloves] and then lick your hand, you’re probably going to be okay.”

Yeah, that's funny, Leslie. I'm glad she's so cavalier about it. I like how she says you're "probably" going to be okay. Wasn't it not too long ago parents were all up in arms about tiny trace amounts of mercury in vaccinations possibly causing autism in children? (Or would that be "probably?")

Meanwhile, here's the recommended cleanup procedure if one of these bulbs gets broken inside your home:
What is the proper way to handle a broken CFL?
Open the windows and let the room air out for 15 to 30 minutes, then remove as much material as possible without a vacuum cleaner. Using disposable gloves, scoop the glass onto a piece of cardboard and wipe the area with a wet paper towel. For smaller pieces of glass and powder, use duct tape to pull up the fragments and wash your hands after cleaning up the debris.

I think not. I've got kids in my home. Given the choice, I'll keep the old incandescent bulbs for as long as the government allows me to. I'm still not convinced for myself that in my case the purported* savings and conservation benefits are worth the possible risk to my kids (and myself)--not to mention all the lesser problems of quality and brightness of light. Fact is, these new twisty bulbs don't even fit in many of my light fixtures.

*purported savings--I have little trust the whole thing has been studied adequately or thoroughly yet. I distrust these rush-to-judgment fads. What about proper disposal and recycling, including the extra gasoline expended in returning these bulbs? What about mishandling of these items in landfills and watersheds? How many people would actually recycle the bulbs and how many would just toss 'em in the garbage? What about the Peltzman Effect? I'd bet the stats coming out pushing these mercury bulbs don't take any of these factors realistically into account.

We don't need new legislation to secure our borders

The President met with Republican Senators yesterday to try to persuade the holdouts to vote for the immigration bill that's gotten so much (but not enough) debate in the Senate these past few weeks. Evidently he didn't change too many minds (via Instapundit):

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, also appearing on CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday, said, "I think the president is wrong to push this piece of legislation so hard after we've demonstrated the flaws that are in it. He needs to back off. He needs to help us write a better bill and not push a bill that so many of us can't support." ...

After lunch with Bush, Sessions told CNN he believes the bill has "serious flaws."

"I said we ought to back off and look at this thing carefully and analytically, because just passing a bill is not the solution to our problem," he said.

"If the president is not committed to actual aggressive enforcement and if we don't have a bill that will work, then we haven't done anything."

As examples, Sessions said, the Congressional Budget Office predicted only a 13 percent reduction in the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States if the bill passes, and the office would expect an increase in legal immigration.

So that's the $64,000 question, isn't it: IS the president committed to actual aggressive enforcement or isn't he? Does he really want to secure our national borders or doesn't he? Does he really want to enforce our immigration laws or doesn't he? Does he really want to find and deport alien criminals or doesn't he?

I think it's pretty clear that for whatever reasons of his own (which so many of us cannot fathom), he doesn't. Given the reality that our borders are not secure and our tracking of people who come, go, and live illegal inside our country is still not under control in these almost six years since 9/11, President Bush is not serious about these matters and does not consider them priorities.

On the same day, nine U.S. Senators wrote a letter to President Bush pointing out that border security and immigration control of illegal aliens can already be achieved without additional legislation (via Michelle Malkin):

Today, nine U.S. Senators wrote a letter to President Bush urging him to fulfill the border security provisions listed in the Senate immigration bill whether the legislation passes or not. Each border security trigger in the bill can be implemented under current law without any need for new legislation from Congress. The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

We respectfully ask that your Administration enforce the border security laws that have already been authorized by Congress regardless of whether the Senate passes the immigration reform bill. The bill assumes that several critical border security benchmarks can be achieved within 18 months. These security triggers are already authorized under current law and can be completed without the immigration bill. We believe these enforcement measures are vital and should not wait until Congress passes additional immigration reforms.

Securing the border is the best way to restore trust with the American people and facilitate future improvements of our immigration policy.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R – South Carolina), Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma), Mike Enzi (R – Wyoming), David Vitter (R – Louisiana), Jim Inhofe (R – Oklahoma), Jim Bunning (R – Kentucky), Charles Grassley (R – Iowa), John Ensign (R – Nevada) and Jeff Sessions (R – Alabama).

###

The Senate immigration bill calls for the following security benchmarks to be completed as a “trigger” before other parts of the bill go into effect. Bill proponents claim these provisions can be implemented within 18 months. All of them can be implemented under current law...

Read the rest, as it details all the concrete enforcement acts that can be done.

Seems to me the ball is in President Bush's court to prove to the American people he is serious about securing our borders and protecting the American people as he swore to do. And as Senators Chambliss and Isakson pointed out yesterday, the President alone can fund this and make it happen.

The charade is over, Mr. President. Your bluff has been called. Do your job.


UPDATE: A slightly different take on what's motivating Chambliss and Isakson. Read the comments.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"They have no trust that the United States Government will enforce the laws"

Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia hear what the people of their state (and most of the nation) are saying, and deliver it straight up in a letter to President George Bush:

...Although the Senate’s effort to reform our nation’s immigration laws through the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 is stalled, illegal immigration remains our nation’s number one domestic issue. We therefore believe it is incumbent upon us and our colleagues to tackle this issue and not leave this problem for future generations to solve.

As we travel around Georgia and continue to hear from our constituents, the message from a majority of Georgians is that they have no trust that the United States Government will enforce the laws contained in this new legislation and secure the border first. This lack of trust is rooted in the mistakes made in 1986 and the continued chaos surrounding our immigration laws. Understandably, the lack of credibility the federal government has on this issue gives merit to the skepticism of many about future immigration reform.

We believe the way to build greater support for immigration reform in the United States Senate and among the American public is to regain the trust in the ability of the federal government to responsibly administer immigration programs and enforce immigration laws. There is bipartisan agreement that we need to secure our borders first, and we believe this approach will serve as a platform towards addressing the other issues surrounding immigration reform.

To that end, we believe that you and your administration could alleviate many of the fears of our constituents by calling for an emergency supplemental bill to fully fund the border and interior security initiatives contained in legislation currently pending in the Senate, as well as any outstanding existing authorizations. Such a move would show your commitment to securing the border first and to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into our nation. It will also work towards restoring the credibility of the federal government on this critical issue. ... [my bold]


Think President Bush can hear that?

If not, why not?


BACKGROUND: The Georgia Senators' previous contributions to the proposed legislation included the "security triggers," and no automatic rubber stamping of support for the bill.

Michelle Malkin posts an overview of what happened.


UPDATE: Thomas Sowell rightly describes the legislation as "Bipartisan Betrayal"--
...The grand fraud of all is the claim that we must have "comprehensive" immigration reform -- that is, simultaneously deal with border control and the legal status of illegal immigrants already here.

There is no logical reason why these two issues must be dealt with together, though there are political reasons why elected officials want to do so. Passing border laws described as "tough" gives Congress political cover when they legalize the illegals....

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why not deport the criminals?

Michelle Malkin once again advocates that we as a nation when dealing with illegal aliens should deport the criminals first. Sure, isn't that a no-brainer? She links to Patterico who gives a lot of background to support this, including details of many sad stories of crimes committed by illegal aliens who should have been deported long earlier.


Stories like these outline a widespread miscarriage of justice in the United States, perpetuated by lawmakers not doing their jobs.

The incompetency and/or ineffectiveness of our customs and border security and Homeland Security policies and people is egregious, beyond belief. The "immigration reform" legislation recently debated in the Senate did not realistically grapple with any of this. If other countries can secure their own borders and know who and where the aliens in their countries are--why can't the U.S.?

Meanwhile, thousands more illegal aliens (many of them gangsters, drug runners, muderers, and other violent miscreants) continue to pour across our borders every day, resulting in even more draining of American taxpayer dollars.

Part of the problem is that some communities, along with the Feds, still don't want to step up and do their sworn duty by enforcing the laws. See a map of the worse sanctuary communities here. Other communities that want their laws enforced get nearly zero assistance from the Feds in deporting known criminals:

Roswell, GA police chief Edwin Williams daily faxes a list of inmates suspected of being illegal immigrants (or where citizenship status is unclear). He claims to have sent some 1,396 names in the first nine months of 2006 alone, and estimates having sent around 10,000 names over the years. Of those reported this year, only three have been picked up by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement officials.... [see chart]

Why do our Senate and House lawmakers not focus on effectively deporting criminals when they get together to enact "comprehensive immigration reform?" That, along with securing the borders and enforcing existing laws, should be a major first priority.

When the Feds can't even manage to do these essential jobs for the good of the country, nobody trusts them to run any bright new programs (like a Z Visa or a guest worker program or a "pathway to citizenship" for illegals) honestly or effectively.

If Washington really wants immigration reform, it needs to step back from the recent defeat of the "immigration bill," start over, and take care of a few simple, screaming problems first:

  • 1. Secure the national borders, north and south (get your no-fly and flagged passport policies working and fund and build that fence you promised, for starters!)
  • 2. Enforce existing laws (including prosecuting employers of illegals AND illegal aliens using fraudulent i.d.)
  • 3. Start catching and deporting the criminals (no more catch and release!). Provide the necessary funding, equipment, and staff.
  • 4. Eliminate the backlogs of legal applicants wanting in, as well as the backlog of those illegal aliens being deported.

Washington, you have been letting us down for years. It's called "dereliction of duty." You have a job to do right now just cleaning house and rising up from a standard of abysmal failure. What was tolerated before 9/11 can no longer be allowed to continue.

When our government can truthfully verify to the American people that these four priorities have been effectively met, then we'll know our "leaders" in Washington are serious. Then we'll talk.

Instead, we've just witnessed a messy process of "compromise" and shameless pandering for political and personal gain in the Senate that went nowhere and solved nothing. Start over and this time, do your jobs or prepare to be thrown out of office and replaced by real leaders who will tackle these problems.


Postscript after the failure of the legislation: Ace is riled and is starting a grassroots 'dump Lindsey Graham movement:'

Seems to me the only people offering a detailed summary of the bill were its critics. The bill's supporters, it seems, thought we were all too stupid to appreciate the nuances contained within.

And so they substituted name-calling for persuasion. "Trust us," was their argument.

Meanwhile, the Communist/racist La Voz de Aztlan is advocating more "civil disobedience," taking to the streets, and "strengthening the Immigrant Sanctuary effort." Looks like the Unitarians and other faith-based "social justice" groups are happy to help in the socialist "resistance" to the rule of law. Thanks for appreciating and upholding traditional American values that made this country great, guys.

And my favorite: here's a creative use of the sanctimonious sanctuary cities. I love American ingenuity and humor!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Would President Obama be on a Muslim hit list?

It's odd--I have been thinking all by my little self about Barack Obama's early Muslim roots and how under some interpretations of Islam, his subsequently leaving Islam (and becoming a Christian) qualifies as apostasy and that is by some considered a reason to kill him. Just as I sat down to blog about this, I find that Thomas Lifson at American Thinker has on this very day beat me to it and expressed the conundrum much more eloquently than I could:

According to Islamic scripture, one born to a Muslim father is a Muslim. Forever. Because according to Muslim law and tradition, the penalty for leaving the faith is death.

Today, Barack Obama proclaims his adherence to the Christian faith. This would seem to make him a potential target for death, according to at least the more militant adherents of Sharia law. Apostasy is a capital offense in several Muslim countries....
Lifson is correct in pointing out that Obama should and must address this subject during his Presidential campaign, as the ramifications would certainly affect all of us and his Presidency were he to be elected. I want to know how he thinks his ability to lead the country would be affected by his being a "marked man" in the eyes of millions of Muslims around the world (fundamentalists both here and abroad in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, etc.).

I've also been wondering why Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, is more qualified to be President than, say, just for one example, the senior Senator from Illinois?

Taking notes from the older generation

The ever-effervescent James Lileks, our contemporary Mark Twain, has a new blog going at the Minnesota newspaper where he works, and has there pointed out this story about a couple of graying grandfatherly types subduing a disruptive fellow passenger on an airflight to Boston:

Hayden, a 65-year-old former police commander, had enlisted a gray-haired gentleman sitting next to him to assist. The man turned out to be a former US Marine.

"I had looked around the plane for help, and all the younger guys had averted their eyes. When I asked the guy next to me if he was up to it, all he said was, 'Retired captain. USMC.' I said, 'You'll do,' " Hayden recalled. "So, basically, a couple of grandfathers took care of the situation."

I especially liked Hayden's wife's reaction to her husband's courageous actions:

Hayden's wife of 42 years, Katie, who was also on the flight, was less impressed. Even as her husband struggled with the agitated passenger, she barely looked up from "The Richest Man in Babylon," the book she was reading.

"The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading," Katie Hayden said. "Bob's been shot at. He's been stabbed. He's taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn't know how the book would end."

The older generation is not done teaching us whimpy pikers how to deal with life yet. In the meantime, I've got to put The Richest Man in Babylon on my summer reading list. That's gotta be one powerfully absorbing book.

UPDATE on the story from Power Line.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A non-racist looks at the Hispanic problem

I returned home from my out-of-town trip to find this very right-on essay by Ann Coulter, "A Green Card in Every Pot." I agree with almost all of her points, including her accurate observation that there is absolutely no will or even much interest in this country to encourage assimilation of legal immigrants (as, of course, there is little will or ability evident on the part of the Feds to track and deport illegal immigrants, no matter what the American public demands).

In the early 1900's, along with that prior swell of mostly illiterate and low-skilled immigrants from Central Europe and elsewhere, there were active programs in the U.S. to "Americanize" immigrants by teaching them English and helping them learn, understand, appreciate, and join our culture and its values. Such programs were carried on by churches and local communities. "Americanization Exercises," the concluding graduation-like ceremonies, were happy days for communities and especially for the immigrants themselves. Those foreigners were proud to at last be able to call themselves "Americans," having worked hard for the distinct privilege, the honor.

Where do we see such Americanization processes now? We can't even call our current problems of non-assimilating foreigners (whether legal or illegal) inside our borders "the Hispanic problem," as once more-frank communities labeled their "Indian problem" or their "Polish problem" while actively working to solve them.

The current "immigration reform" legislation in the Senate stipulates that new would-be immigrants must learn English before they can be granted citizenship. This is a pathetic joke on the part of the Senate. If the Feds aren't willing now to track down illegal aliens who have crashed our borders and deport them, why should we American citizens ever, in our wildest dreams, believe that the Feds will be willing to track down applicants, test them, accurately determine whether or not they have "learned" English, and then if they have not, turn down their applications and deport them then?

I can just see the human interest sob stories now. Who do these Senators think they're kidding?

We have a Hispanic problem in the U.S. and it is not racist to say so when trying to solve it. And it is not out of line to say that the Senate is not really trying to solve it as much as it is trying to make political hay out of it at the expense of the country's wellbeing.

For shame!

UPDATE: LaShawn Barber has a few words to say about the "Culture of Illegal Aliens" too. And Peggy Noonan gets it exactly right: "If they'd really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border."

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The 1960's as viewed from today

I've just returned from a fast family trip to Dallas, Texas (and I have to say "sorry" to those who wondered why my blog was not progressing much over these last few days). I have never spent time in the Dallas area before and was favorably impressed by our brief visit there. Despite the lack of the kind of lovely Western arid desert landscape you can find a bit more to the west or to the south in Texas, Dallas is still part of the Big Sky Country I love, and we saw some fascinating cloud displays as a series of extreme thunderstorms passed over us.

One of the highlights of our trip was braving the downtown traffic to go see the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, a museum set up on the floor of the former Texas School Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald was holed up when he shot President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The museum accurately recreates the way things were back in those days (I was in fourth grade at the time) and what it was like during those terrible days in November when the nation learned its President had been assassinated. The museum was crowded with visitors while we were there, all carefully studying the exhibits, looking at the photos, watching the film clips.

I had not thought of the Kennedy assassination in years, but as I stood there in the crowds reliving the experience, I was surprised at how vividly it all came back, and how strong those feelings still were. I realized that those people my age and older standing with me were experiencing the same feelings. It is true that anyone who lived through those days in November 1963 will always, as long as they live, remember that shared national tragedy in a way that others cannot.

To my son, who is 16, it was all academic. But it was he who wanted to visit the museum because he is a current fan of "The X-Files" (a TV show of the 1990's which he watches on DVDs), which incorporated a JFK assassination conspiracy into one episode. The museum itself offers much information on the many conspiracy theories surrounding JFK's death, along with a large FBI scale model of the entire crime scene. My son and I both found the museum very informative and fascinating. After our visit inside the museum, we all browsed in the gift shop at the exit (where my son bought a facsimili Dallas Times Herald headlining the assassination), and then we went outside and took pictures of ourselves on the "grassy knoll" at my son's request. If the "X-Files" hadn't incorporated the JFK assassination into a script as a plot-point, I am sure my son would have had no interest whatsoever in visiting the museum. But since it did, now he's learned something about U.S. history beyond the conspiracy theories.

I was shocked to discover as we hit the museum that my daughter, age 11, just graduated from fifth grade into middle school as a "Presidential Honor Scholar," had never heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated. His was just another name on the long list of dead Presidents she'd run past (we have a poster of them all on our dining room door). She studied the museum's big blown-up photos carefully, especially the earliest ones of Jack and his parents and many Kennedy siblings, of Jack and Jackie's wedding, and of John-John and Caroline cavorting around the White House). She asked a lot of questions about those, and about the photos from the Kennedys' arrival in Dallas that fatal day, but she didn't want to get into the gory details of the assassination itself (understandable).

She was especially intrigued by the real teletype machine and the paper from it conveying the first garbled news of Kennedy's shooting to the AP wireservice. She had a hard time understanding how it worked (how does paper come over a telephone wire?), or maybe I had a hard time explaining a clunky teletype machine to a kid who's adept at Webkinz chat and Google searches. She was amazed to discover that another man had killed Lee Harvey Oswald right on TV (that is amazing by today's standards, isn't it?). All of those events of November 1963 were fresh news to her. And she had just finished up 5th grade by taking part in a big "Decades" project, where everyone in her class had to choose a decade, from the 1950's to the 1990's, a deliver a comprehensive report, complete with costumes, props, and bibliographies. But while every schoolchild in America knows about the hippies, the assassination of President Kennedy is a well-kept secret, evidently. (Or maybe she was just absent that day.)

One thing I do know--parents need to supplement their childrens' educations by (for example) taking them to museums. That is, if they really care about the quality and quantity of what's being put into their kids' heads by their schools. Go to a museum with your kids and you'll find out more about what they've learned in school and what they haven't.

And speaking of hippies, they are certainly viewed as 1960's icons and fashion statements these days by elementary school kids. History has turned them into warm, fuzzy, lovable kooks with funky-fun clothes and hair. But Betsy points out they are still among us in their unvarnished true state, and even former real hippies can't love 'em the way media-drenched American kids are encouraged to do.

When you get as old as I am now and you start to see the past you lived through now distorted daily by selective amnesia, educational laxity, neglect, wiles, or ignorance, it makes you jest a touch testy. In fact, it makes you wanna blog.

I could tell all you young whippersnappers a thing or two. You have no idea what it was REALLY like back in the old days.

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