Tuesday, May 30, 2006

'Stros Wars: A New Hope?

Breaking news from Newsday.com:
Roger Clemens is making yet another comeback with the Houston Astros, Newsday has learned. An announcement is expected as soon as today.

Clemens, 43, has signed a one-year deal that is believed to be worth about $3.5 million per month, which will probably equate to about $10.5 million for the season, depending on when exactly he returns to action.
Is it true? Can there be real pitching once again at Minute Maid Park? Not so fast, reports the Houston Comical:
Roger Clemens may very well be ready to announce he'll play this season, but Astros owner Drayton McLane and general manager Tim Purpura were still waiting today. [snip]

...McLane and Purpura said they were surprised because they were still waiting for an answer from Clemens' agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks.

"We've been standing by," McLane said. "Tim or I have talked to him every two or three days. They haven't given us a decision. They haven't said a word to us about it. That's complete news to me. We haven't finalized the deal yet nor has he told us. Boy that's total news to us."
Hopefully it's only a breakdown in communications somewhere in the Astros main office. (Like that's never happened before.)

Maybe Papa Clemens can whoop those young'uns in the Houston bullpen back into some semblance of shape, and breathe a little life back into the club.

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Jimmy's Against English

What a surprise, eh? Just last week, President Peanut voiced his opinion on the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens. Now he has left the farm again in opposition to naming English as our official language.
Loony Liberal Carter is against English being the official language of the USA, because the USA has not had an official language before. He ignores that ... in Georgia, English is already the official language of the state. It's bad enough that he embarrasses this state as a former governor turned President, but now he claims the Federal government doing what has been done in his own home state for years is a bad idea.
The Independent Conservative goes to on express a point to the official language debate that many of those crying "racist" do not seem to recognize:
It's a common sense idea, because it prevents the government from having to make translated copies of documents for every language under the sun. And with all the non-English speakers already here in Georgia, we see it never hurt them much. But it does save the state money. As it would everyone if enacted at the federal level.
Here in Texas, we have already experienced this multi-lingual expense. In Harris County at least, all information pertaining to voting — including ballots, multi-media presentations, eSlate voting machine displays, et al — are currently provided in three languages: English, Spanish and Vietnamese. There has been talk in the past of expanding that to include Chinese (Mandarin) and one other European language, either French or German.

To see the multi-language issue gone to an extreme, we have only to look slightly northward. Canada has found itself in an expensive mess, as political activists years ago forced the Canadian government to require all official writings — from government documents to road signs and other public notices — to be displayed in both English and French, even though English is used by the vast majority of the nation's citizens. The one exception is the state of Quebec, which requires signs and notices to be posted in French only — to hell with the rest of the country.


New Rash of Global Warming

Global warming is once again the culprit, according to the latest scientific studies:
Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy.

The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers reported on Monday.

And a carbon dioxide-driven vine produces more of its rash-causing chemical, urushiol, concluded experiments conducted in a forest at Duke University where scientists increased carbon dioxide levels to those expected in 2050.
So if anyone survives the increased storms and devastating floods to be caused by global warming, they better beware — poison ivy is out to get us all!

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When I Grow Up

Last Friday evening, we attended the "graduation ceremony" of my nephew, who has just finished kindergarten at a local Montessori school. The program for the ceremony included a section entitled "When I grow up...", in which each of the soon-to-be first graders wrote a simple sentence describing their dreams for the future.

As would be expected of six-year-olds, the results were a humorous mix of the mundane and the unexpected. Sometimes you can tell right away how much imagination and motivation these future leaders will have. This year's batch of dreamers included the usual suspects:

"I want to be a teacher." — Megan

"I want to be a ballerina." — Emily

"I want to be a veterinarian." — Zoe

"I want to be a doctor." — Nicholas

"I want to be a mom." — Alina

"I want to be an astronaut." — Nicolas

"I want to work at Build-A-Bear and be a nurse." — Olivia

"I want to be a pilot." — Hayden

"I want to be an artist." — Jasmine

"I want to work at the zoo and take care of the animals." — Camryn

"I want to count money, like my mom." — Evan

"I want to be a princess." — Allyson

"I want to be a paleontologist when I grow up." — Isbah
Of course, there is always one dreamer who is ready to reach for the unobtainable, and this class was no exception:

"I want to be a grown-up." — Ernestina
'Attagirl, Ernestina! Reach for the stars!

As the man once said, "Kids say the darnedest things!"

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The Hijacking of Memorial Day

Lone Star Times contributor Owen Courrèges reports this morning on a disgusting new development from the bowels of Louisiana.
If one need proof that I was correct about Memorial Day being hijacked, you need look only to a headline in the New Orleans Times Picayune today: "A SEPARATE GRIEF: Memorial Day takes on new meaning: remembering the victims of Hurricane Katrina."

[Soldiers] only receive one mention in the entire piece — "Memorial Day is meant for soldiers. But in New Orleans on Monday, a city grieved for the dead of the storm."
In today's liberal media-driven culture of anti-military and anti-Americanism, I suppose this should not surprise me. But it does, and it hurts as well. This is far more than simple political correctness. As has previously been done removing the celebration of Christ from Christmas (or Winter Holiday), they are now trying to rewrite the purpose of this special day, on which we honor those brave men and women who have given their lives in the service and protection of our country.

As Owen states:
It is proper and fitting for those New Orleanians who lost family, friends, and loved ones to mourn their passing. Memorial services are wholly appropriate. But I feel it is highly disrespectful to try and hijack Memorial Day for any other purpose besides honoring soldiers who gave their lives, especially when we've seen nearly 2,500 die over the past few years in Iraq.

This is the equivalent of going to a friend's funeral, and using the opportunity to eulogize your mother who died recently, because you’re still broken up about it. It's completely out of place, and you shouldn't be surprised if people resent the act in spite of your own heartfelt loss.
I have to wonder just how many others in New Orleans actually felt that resentment, or expressed it to their city leaders.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

In this place where valor sleeps, we are reminded why America has always gone to war reluctantly: because we know the costs of war.
—Pres. George W. Bush at Arlington Cemetery, May 29, 2006

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Quote of the Day

No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
—Ronald Reagan

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In Memoriam: The Name in the Stone

In honor of Memorial Day, and of his uncle who gave the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, blogger Gerard Van der Leun of American Digest posts this moving story of his family's loss and his own journey to maturity.
...[M]y grandfather rose from his chair and walked to the middle of the hallway. He took a framed photograph off the wall where hung next to a framed gold star. It had been in that place so long that I'd stopped seeing it.

My grandfather walked back to the table and very gently handed me the photograph. It show a smooth-faced handsome young flyer with an open smile. He was dressed in fleece-lined leather flying jacket and leaning casually against the fuselage of a bomber. You could see the clear plastic in the nose of the plane just above his head to his right. On the picture, was the inscription: "Folks, Here's my new office! Gerard."

My grandfather stood behind me as I looked at the picture. "You are not Gerard. You just have his name, but you are not him. That's my son. That's Gerard. If you don't mind, we will continue to call you Jerry in this house. If you do mind, you don't have to come here any more."

Hat-tip: Pat of Brainster's Blog


In Memoriam: Heroes Unaware

In honor of those who have gone before, giving all that we may live in freedom.
Heroes Unaware
by Mark A. Wright

I first saw him on a park bench
I've seen him every day
Sitting in a shady grove
Where my children come to play
Sometimes he feeds the birds and squirrels
Or whittles little toys
Sometimes he just sits and smiles
At the laughing girls and boys
And I never paid him any mind
'Till one day just this year
I noticed that he wore a frown
And on his cheek ... a tear.

Well I asked him why he seemed so down
He looked up, began to say
I lost half my friends 60 years ago today
He told me of the terror
As he fought to reach dry land
By the time the beachhead was secure
Half his friends lay in the sand

That was just in one long day
He fought on for 4 years more
And the 60 years from then to now
Have not dimmed His sights of war

He said they have reunions
Just to keep in touch and share
And for each comrade who has gone on
They leave an empty chair

Well, His park bench has been empty now
About 6 months or so
And if I'd never took the time
Then I never would've known
That sitting on that simple bench
With bread crumbs and little toys
Was a man who gave his all
To guarantee my daily joys

So give thanks to all the men and women
Who're still here or have gone before
And made the highest sacrifice
In both Peace time and in War
Because they bought our freedom
Paid their own blood, sweat, and tears
Then endured the heartache of those empty chairs
For all these years

So please do not ignore them
Or speed by without a care
'Cause you never know
When you might pass by
A hero, unaware

You can find more Memorial Day themed poems, prayers, speeches and essays at this site.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Out of the Storm

As I am sure most of us do, I receive dozens of funny (and some not-so-funny), interesting, and even inspirational emails from friends, relatives and readers every week. Many I get more than once. It is rare that I will post any of those emails here, but this is one that I just felt I should share.

Unfortunately, I have no idea who the original author of this modern-day parable is.
There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays.

His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm community in which they lived. They were to talk about Jesus' birth. She asked him to come, but he refused.

"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!"

So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump.

Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window.

In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter.They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles,blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe. "Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human.
"If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.

He then released it.! His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn — and one-by-one,the other geese followed it to safety. He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the
geese — blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:

"Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"


With Friends Like These

If this doesn't convince skeptics that the president's "immigration reform" bill is bad for our country, I don't know what will.
Former president [Jimmy] Carter, a Democrat and frequent critic of President Bush, sees eye-to-eye with him on immigration.

Carter on Wednesday called the Republican president's commitment to immigration reform "quite admirable," saying he agrees with Bush's support of a system that would eventually grant citizenship to some illegals.
'Nuff said.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Real Brains of Enron

I remember hearing the phrase "the smartest guys in the room" bantered about a few times during the trial of former Enron chiefs Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

I'm not buying it. They were caught and convicted.

On the other hand, this guy has to have been the smartest man in the company:
Lou Pai is the real mystery man in the Enron scandal. A former executive of the energy trading firm, he cashed in an estimated $270 million in stock and left the company before it collapsed, divorced his wife, married an exotic dancer, bought an enormous piece of Colorado, sold it and then disappeared into obscurity.
I have a feeling Lay and Skilling wouldn't mind a little obscurity right about now. Or the exotic dancer, for that matter.

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Down Memory Lane

As most of the nation has by now heard, former Enron CEOs Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling have been found guilty in the jury trial that ended in Houston today. (Sentencing is set for September 11.)
Lay was convicted on all six counts against him in the trial with Skilling. Skilling was convicted on 19 of the 28 counts against him, including one count of insider trading, and acquitted on the remaining nine.
Lay was also convicted of bank fraud and making false statements to banks in a separate trial non-jury trial before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake related to Lay's personal banking.
What many across the country may not be aware of is that Ken Lay was involved in a far more dastardly scheme, years before the 2001 collapse of the energy giant:
...[I]n 1994, [Sheila] Jackson Lee (serving her third term as a member of the Houston City Council) defeated incumbent Congressman Craig Washington in the Democratic primary for the 18th Congressional District of Texas; a victory which assured her the seat itself, as the district is overwhelmingly Democratic. Washington had previously made powerful enemies, namely Houston's downtown power brokers (such as then-Enron Chief Kenneth Lay), by voting against congressional bills favoring NAFTA and NASA...

Irked by [what] they perceived as Washington's overt and aggressive liberalism, Lay and other conservatives first convinced then Councilwoman Jackson Lee to run against Washington, then put their sizable deep pockets behind her and her campaign, even though she was a Democrat.
Get a rope.

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Another Step Backwards

According to Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Senate took another step backwards today in the fight against terrorism.
Senator Chuck Grassley today said the Senate failed to pass an amendment that would help break down the barriers of information sharing between federal agencies. The amendment, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn of Texas, would have allowed the Department of Homeland Security to share information about illegal aliens who receive amnesty if they were connected to national security or criminal investigations. The underlying bill says that if an illegal immigrant applies for amnesty, the federal government cannot use information provided in the application for anything but adjudicating the petition. This provision was one of Grassley's "Top 10 Flaws" that he outlined in a press release Tuesday.

Here is Grassley's statement on the failed vote.

"This provision in the bill is a serious flaw. National security is at risk because some believe that illegal aliens deserve unlimited privacy. But, it ends up handicapping the federal government while it tries to protect the American people. Since September 11, we have made information sharing one of our top priorities. The failure of the Senate to pass the amendment takes us backwards in our fight against terrorism."
Remember that the individuals targeted by this immigration reform bill include all illegal aliens, not just those who have poured over the southern border. This also includes those who have overstayed expired student or work visas.

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Top 10 Flaws with Immigration Reform Bill

As discussed today by Rush Limbaugh, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is standing strong against the Senate's version of the immigration reform bill:
Sen. Chuck Grassley today said the immigration reform bill being debated in the U.S. Senate is riddled with loopholes and flaws. During a speech on the Senate floor, he outlined for the American people nearly 30 flaws within only two sections of the bill.

"I was burned once in 1986 when I voted for amnesty believing that it would solve our problems. Now, we have a 12 million illegal immigrant problem. I'm not getting burned again," Grassley said. "Not only do we have a glide path to citizenship, but it's a glide path with plenty of loopholes that don’t meet the common sense test."
Grassley's Top 10 Flaws with Amnesty and Guest Worker Portions of the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill:
  1. $2,000 fine — Under the bill, an illegal alien can go from illegal to legal by paying a small fine of $2,000. ...
  2. Taxes — ... The bill would treat lawbreakers better than the American people. ...
  3. Security Clearances in 90 days — ... This is a national security concern because Homeland Security will be pressured to complete these checks without doing a thorough job.
  4. Work Requirements — ... [T]he bill ... allows illegal aliens to ask anybody to attest that they have been employed. This invites fraud, and the government cannot realistically investigate all these cases.
  5. Confidentiality — Under the bill, if an illegal alien applies for amnesty, the federal government cannot use information provided in the application for anything but adjudicating the petition. ... This provision severely handicaps national security and criminal investigators. Also, if a federal agent does use information provided by an illegal alien in an application for amnesty the agent would be fined $10,000. This is five times more than the alien has to pay to get amnesty.
  6. Social Security to illegal aliens &mdash Under the bill, illegal aliens are not prohibited from getting credit for the money they've put into the Social Security system if they've worked in the U.S. illegally. ...
  7. Employers get a tax pardon for hiring illegal aliens — ... Businesses that hired illegal workers would now get off scott-free from paying the taxes that they owe the government. ...
  8. Family Members of H-2 Visa Holder need not be healthy — Under the bill, spouses and children of H-2C visa holders are exempt from a requirement proving that they meet certain health standards. ...
  9. Mandatory Departure isn't really Mandatory — Under the bill, the Secretary of Homeland Security may ... waive the departure requirement if it would create substantial hardship for the alien to leave.
  10. No Interview Required — Under the bill, illegal aliens in the 2nd tier who are required to leave the country can re-enter the United States on a visa. However, the bill does not require these individuals ... to be interviewed. ... Today, the State Department requires most applicants to submit to interviews, and waives them only for children and the elderly.
See Sen. Grassley's web site for his complete discussion of each point.

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In Defense of Free Speech

...but only when it fits their purposes.

It will probably come as no surprise to many to hear that the ACLU, that bastion of free speech, is not quite so tolerant when it comes to speech about its own policies and positions.
The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization’s policies and internal administration.

"Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement," the committee that compiled the standards wrote in its proposals.

"Directors should remember that there is always a material prospect that public airing of the disagreement will affect the A.C.L.U. adversely in terms of public support and fund-raising," the proposals state.

Given the organization's longtime commitment to defending free speech, some former board members were shocked by the proposals.
Unfortunately, they may have been the only ones shocked by this news. One former board member remarked, "I can't think of anything more contrary to the reason the A.C.L.U. exists." (Hat-tip: Stop the ACLU)

But the ACLU is not the only one employing double standards on he subject of free speech. The Independent Conservative reports that after weeks of spreading information (and misinformation) and working hard to stir up community and nationwide animosity toward the Duke University Lacrosse Team members accused of raping an "exotic dancer," the NAACP just yesterday reversed course when they announced plans to seek a gag order in the case.
From the group that had no problem running around in the media, now they want to keep the defense out of the media.

Gag order sought in lacrosse case

DURHAM — A lawyer with the state NAACP said the civil rights organization intends to seek a gag order in the Duke lacrosse case, and a journalist who participated in a forum with him on Wednesday said media coverage of the alleged rape may deprive the alleged victim of her legal rights to a fair trial.

Al McSurely, an attorney who chairs the Legal Redress Committee for the state National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he generally respects the defense attorneys in the case as colleagues. But they are violating the State Bar's rules of professional conduct that discourage comments outside court that are likely to prejudice a case, he said.

Of course the NAACP had no problems with information in this case going to the media when it was anything that favored the stripper accuser.
Interestingly enough, political figures such as Jesse Jackson and the NAACP have worked hand in hand with some members of the media to prejudice the case against the defendants. However, as more and more evidence appears to exonerate the accused students, the urgent call is suddenly made to suppress information being distributed to the public.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Race for the Borders

I still do not think the president's plans for Guardsmen on the southern border — defined as "supportive roles only" — is nearly comprehensive enough, but I must admit I am impressed with the swiftness with which the implementation has begun.
The first wave of about 800 National Guard soldiers will head to the U.S-Mexico border as early as next week, including planners and leadership personnel who will stay longer than the planned 21-day missions, the National Guard chief told lawmakers Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum said 200 soldiers are preparing to go to the four border states — California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico — around June 1. He said the initial troops will be part of a longer-term force of project managers who will stay on the job over time to provide continuity in the new border program.
Homeland Security officials again stated that the Guardsmen will be armed for personal defense, but that they "would not do significant law enforcement duties"; rather, their supportive role would be to provide "engineering, road and fence building, transportation, logistics and surveillance and reconnaissance" for Border Patrol agents. I trust, however, that they their deployment orders would allow them to "defend themselves" if encountering any armed Mexican military incursions.

UPDATE: Paul McHale, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, gave the following report to members of the House Armed Services Committee today:
"This limited, temporary deployment will not adversely affect operational readiness or DoD's ability to conduct the global war on terrorism, nor hinder the National Guard's ability or capacity to aid their states in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency," Paul McHale, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, said in his prepared remarks. The maximum 6,000 National Guard members to support the mission represent just 2 percent of the Guard force, Blum noted. That number, even when added to the 71,000 National Guard members currently deployed in support of the war on terror, "still leaves a pretty robust inventory of over 350,000 citizen soldiers" to respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters, he said.

McHale told committee members the border-security mission will track closely with the counternarcotics mission the National Guard has been conducting along the southwest border for more than two decades. "The difference is the size of the force, and the commitment of resources will be far greater than anything we have done in the past," he said.

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Black Republicans Stand Strong - UPDATED

UPDATED: Added new link to FOX News feature on Lynn Swann.

Black Republican candidates seem to be doing well in this year's anti-incumbent fervor:

Lynn Swann to take on incumbent in Pennsylvania gubernatorial race

Kenneth Blackwell wins GOP nomination for Ohio governor

Michael S. Steele stands strong in bid for U.S. Senate seat

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Racial Profiling on the Border

Once again, political correctness runs amok:
Worried about possible racial profiling in El Paso County, a South Texas lawmaker has asked Gov. Rick Perry to specify how the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition is permitted to spend nearly $10 million in border security grant money. [snip]

[Sen. Juan] Hinojosa expressed concern that people are being detained in both the roadblocks and the raids on a hunch that they "look" illegal. He said some residents have even complained that they were asked for a Social Security card as a tactic to figure out whether they were illegal immigrants.
This is almost as ridiculous a complaint as those who railed against the government when Arab males were being searched at airports in an attempt to detect radical Islamic terrorists.

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What's Good for the Ganso

When it comes to the subject of U.S. policies on illegal immigration, you have to wonder just how sly this Fox really is:
Kicking off a four-day, three-state tour [of the United States], Mexican President Vicente Fox said Tuesday that his nation wants to be part of the solution in the immigration debate, not the problem. [snip]

Earlier in the day, at a lunchtime speech to about 500 business, civic and religious leaders, Fox stressed the need for greater cooperation between his country and the U.S. on such issues as trade, energy and security.
According to Fox's official spokesman,
... one purpose of the trip is "to promote the immigration reform that is now being discussed in the United States Senate."
In recent months, the Mexican president has decried the exploitation of and discrimination against those of his countrymen who are in our country illegally, constantly pressuring the U.S. Congress and President Bush to move America "closer toward the [Mexican] government's goal of 'legalization for everyone' who works in the United States." Now he is pushing that agenda harder than ever as he speaks across our own nation, with plans to address a special session of Congress in Washington today.

Interestingly enough, what is good for the goose apparently is not quite so important for the gander:
"Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies 'xenophobic,' Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory. In the United States, only two posts -- the presidency and vice presidency -- are reserved for the native born. In Mexico, [nonnatives] are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalized citizens."

"Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the Congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships ... And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for 'native-born Mexicans.' Recently, the Mexican government has gone even further. Since at least 2003, it has encouraged cities to ban [nonnatives] from such local jobs as firefighters, police and judges."
And while amnesty proponents and the American media so often denounce opponents as having racist intentions toward those who have been pouring over our borders in recent years, this AP report also documents a seemingly racial undertone among the citizens of Mexico, targeted at those who enter their own country illegally.
Speaking of the hundreds of thousands of Central Americans who enter Mexico each year, chauffeur Arnulfo Hernandez, 57, said: "The ones who want to reach the United States, we should send them up there. But the ones who want to stay here, it's usually for bad reasons, because they want to steal or do drugs."
J. Michael Waller, of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, documents that the Mexican goes even farther in its double standards on immigrants [PDF format]:
In brief, the Mexican Constitution states that:
  • Immigrants and foreign visitors are banned from public political discourse.
  • Immigrants and foreigners are denied certain basic property rights.
  • Immigrants are denied equal employment rights.
  • Immigrants and naturalized citizens will never be treated as real Mexican citizens.
  • Immigrants and naturalized citizens are not to be trusted in public service.
  • Immigrants and naturalized citizens may never become members of the clergy.
  • Private citizens may make citizens arrests of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants) and hand them to the authorities.
  • Immigrants may be expelled from Mexico for any reason and without due process.
Fortunately, American lawmakers do not rely on foreign law in enacting the laws of our own nation. Unfortunately, however, it appears they are beginning to listen to the will and whim of foreign leaders in determining exactly what those laws should be.

Under the Table, Above the Law

Sometimes I just have to shake my head in wonderment.

If you or I happened to be observed by police in the middle of the night, "traveling at a high rate of speed in a construction zone and also swerving into the wrong lane of travel" with no headlights on, and then failed to stop when pursued by the officers until "finally stopping after colliding head-on with a vehicle barrier" — I would dare to speculate that we would be promptly cuffed, charged and carted off to spend the rest of the night in the local hoosegow. Unless our name happened to be Rep. Patrick Kennedy, in which case we would be offered a ride back home with no charges, no breathalyzer test, and a free "Get Out of Trouble" card issued by the national media the next morning. (Lucky for us, Capitol Police spokesmen have reassured the nation that "the Capitol Police remain committed to impartial and fair enforcement of laws and impartial and fair treatment of all citizens.")

If you or I happened to slug a uniformed policeman who was in the course of performing his sworn duty, I would expect we would quickly find ourselves face down on the ground with a knee in the small of our back and a loaded gun or two pointed in our general direction, and at the very least would be serving a few hundred hours of community service as punishment for our actions. Unless our name happened to be Rep. Cynthia McKinney, in which case we would play the race card against the actions of the white cop and then offer a half-baked apology. ("I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all and I regret its escalation and I apologize.") Oh, and don't forget the "Get Out of Jail Free" card, courtesy of the U.S. Constitution.

If you or I happened to have been caught taking illegal — or, at the very least, unethical — campaign contribution funds, we would have found ourselves indicted by Ronnie Earle or some other prosecutorial office. Unless our name happened to be Senate minority leader Harry Reid, in which case we would hit the weekend political shows decrying the "culture of corruption" of our political enemies; or Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Speaker Dennis Hastert, Sen. Tom Daschle, Rep. Richard Gephardt, or one of dozens of others who either made a show of giving the money back or simply flew under the radar hoping that only the bigger fish would be fried.

If you or I happened to be caught — on video, no less — taking $100,000 in cash bribes, I am sure we would have found our houses and offices being searched and ourselves under indictment. Unless our name happened to be Rep. William Jefferson, in which case ... well, okay, he did have his house and office searched by FBI agents, who found $90,000 of that cash hidden away in Jefferson's freezer. On the other hand, the man is claiming innocence and has no plans to resign from his seat on the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee, and has every intention of continuing his run for reelection to the House in his home state of Louisiana. Jefferson even found a sort of support in his troubles from an unlikely source: the Republican Congressional leadership, who are very vocally taking exception to the FBI raids.
Republican leaders, who previously sought to focus attention on the Jefferson case as a counterpoint to their party's own ethical scandals, said they are disturbed by the raid. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said that he is "very concerned" about the incident and that Senate and House counsels will review it.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) expressed alarm at the raid. [snip]

"Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night, crossing this Separation of Powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress," he said. "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years."
I find it hard to believe that the founding fathers, who were sick and tired of the abuse of power and legal exemptions and immunities exploited by the English ruling class over the Americans and the common man, intended for those very same sorts of privileges to be used and abused by our own "citizen legislators." As they once said,
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...
Perhaps this November it will be time to alter this government in the best way possible, by voting to rid ourselves of some of these incumbents who seem to have forgotten that their job is to serve and protect the people of this great nation, rather than to be served and rewarded by the taxpayers who elected them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Deep Thoughts from the Deep Woods

Over the past couple of weeks I have really enjoyed reading the Lufkin-based blog of The Pine Blogger, the newest contributor to join the ranks of Lone Star Times. This Friday morning post is just one great example of the thoughts of this East Texas blogger, and it puts into words the feelings and frustration that many of us often feel when confronted by liberals or the unapologetic bias of the American media:
Because of my Christian faith, I often struggle with how far to take my blogging and opinions.

I have been called a "proselytizing bigot" because I believe the Bible calls for marriage to be between a man and a woman.

I have been asked how I reconcile Jesus' teachings concerning loving and helping one another when I want this country to enforce its immigration laws.

I have been told several times that it's "un-Christian" of me to criticize Cynthia Hall Clements' opinion columns that bash conservatives and the religious right.

Does being a Christian mean "sitting down, shutting up, and letting everyone walk all over you?"
Unfortunately — at least in the eyes of the mainstream media and much of the rest of the world — that is all too often exactly what it means.

Separation of God and Change

The principal of Liberty Elementary School in Colleysville, Texas, had a difficult decision to make. Run the risk of offending a small handful of people, or change the image on the school's yearbook. He did the second, but not quite in the way you might think:
The cover of the Keller ISD school's annual depicts the 2005 Liberty Nickel — complete with the face of Thomas Jefferson — but the words "In God We Trust" are missing.

Instead, the $16 yearbook contains a sticker with the credo and directions on how to apply it to the cover if the owner chooses.
Apparently school administrators were much more worried about political correctness than they were about manipulating the image of U.S. currency.

Aren't you glad we have such fine examples and role models shaping the minds of our children?

Hat-tip: The Pine Blogger

Friday, May 19, 2006

Black Republicans Stand Strong

Black Republican candidates seem to be doing well in this year's anti-incumbent fervor:

Lynn Swann to take on incumbent in Pennsylvania gubernatorial race

Kenneth Blackwell wins GOP nomination for Ohio governor

Michael S. Steele stands strong in bid for U.S. Senate seat

HPD Mobile Crime Unit Pays Off

The Houston Police Department's new mobile crime unit, known as U-Net (for Unified Neighborhood Enhancement Team) is making a real impact on neighborhood crime. For example, just last night it was parked...
... across the street from an apartment complex where three shotgun-carrying robbers held up three men at 3:30 a.m. One of the men was beaten.

The crime victims spotted the mobile police unit and ran there for help.

U-Net had only been parked in that location for about 12 hours when the crime happened. [snip]

The gunmen got away with jewelry, money and a car stereo.
Apparently the fact that the highly visible HPD-RV was sitting just outside did not make much of an impact on the perpetrators, and the officers on duty inside the unit somehow failed to notice the "three shotgun-carrying robbers" nearby.

The big money quote from the news report:
The mobile unit was launched as a high-profile deterrent to crime in high-crime areas.
I hope HPD kept the receipt.

Hat-tip: Owen Courreges of LST

Debunking the Da Vinci Code

With the new movie being released nationwide this weekend, The Da Vinci Code is the hot topic once again. KSEV's Edd Hendee spoke in length this morning about the movie and its lies and mistruths. His guests for the hour long segment were a professor (I am afraid I did not get her name) from the University of St. Thomas and pastor Ben Young of Second Baptist Church, who provided the following excellent review that was posted on Lone Star Times this morning:
Was Jesus Married?
No. There is neither biblical nor extra-biblical evidence, including the Gnostic writings, that Jesus was married. Both conservative and liberal scholars as well as historians agree that Jesus was celibate. And even if Jesus had been married, it would not in any way have negated his deity.

Who Was Mary Magdalene?
Jesus cast seven demons out of her when he first met her. From that moment on, she was a devoted follower of Christ and, along with a few other women, helped support his ministry. Mary was an eyewitness to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and was the first person Christ appeared to after the resurrection. Nowhere in the bible or in any other historical references is she referred to as his wife or as having any special relationship to Jesus other than as one of his devoted followers.

Did Constantine invent the deity of Christ?
No. The New Testament disciples worshiped Jesus as divine. The early church worshiped Jesus as divine. The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus was ancient history (250 years old) by the time Constantine was in power.

Did early Christians worship Jesus as divine?
Yes. History records that the early church recognized and worshiped Jesus as fully God and fully man. This truth is well recorded in the works of the early church fathers. To name a few: Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian, and Irenaeus.

Is the New Testament Reliable?
Yes. The New Testament books are well documented and historically verifiable. They are both internally and externally reliable. Each of the books was linked to eyewitness accounts of apostles. They all date back to the first century, with the very latest book having been written within only 60 years of Christ’s life. In such a short amount of time, there would be many still alive to refute or verify the claims. To put it into perspective, think WWII. There are still many people alive who can check the facts on that war because they were there. The truth of the matter is, many books in the New Testament were written a mere 30 years from Christ’s life. We’re talking Watergate now. Information in the gospels has also been cross-referenced with secular historical accounts, and the gospels have proven consistent and reliable.

Is the premise of The Da Vinci Code self-contradictory?
Yes. Dan Brown’s two main points actually contradict each other. His conclusion is that we should worship Mary Magdalene, whom he refers to as the "sacred feminine" because she was married to Jesus, he claims. However, his earlier argument was that Jesus was not divine. If Jesus was not divine, then why would we worship Mary Magdalene for being married to a regular guy, Jesus the carpenter?

Good Resources
Breaking the Da Vinci Code by Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Prophecy or Publicity?

I recently heard an excellent sermon by Dr Ed Young, pastor of Houston's Second Baptist Church, in which he talked about the prophets of the Bible and self-proclaimed modern prophets. Dr Young made an excellent point that, according to God's Word, true prophets are accurate 100% of the time, while it only takes one "miss" to expose a false prophet. He also warned of using the phrase, "God told me..." God prompts, leads, guides and directs us in many ways; but it is very rare that God speaks directly to his human creations in that "still small voice" with which he directed his chosen prophets.

So I must admit that I look on this bit of news with more than a little trepidation:
In another in a series of notable pronouncements, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coastline this year. [snip]

Robertson said the revelations about this year's weather came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."
Rev. Robertson is certainly not the first to predict hurricanes and massive storms this year, and I expect there are few who would question such expectations after the hard-hitting hurricane seasons of the past few summers. But to maintain that such predictions were received directly from God is — in my humble opinion — to swim in very perilous waters.

This has always been one of the biggest problems that I have with televangelists claiming to have received special messages from God, or "hearing" their viewers' prayer requests as they pray online. Many of them deal in generalities that are seemingly designed to be either self-fulfilling or impossible to contradict: "God sent/is sending a storm to punish New Orleans/America/this world," or "I hear the woman praying for healing in her marriage."

Be careful where you seek the truth. God's true Word is always the best place to start.

UPDATE: Welcome to Houston Chronicle (chron.com) readers, and thank you to Mr. Silverman for the link! Please feel free to peruse the rest of The Texas Songbird while you are here. Enjoy!

A Soldier's Perspective

I try to scan through my list of favorite blogs on a weekly basis when at all possible, just to see what some of my favorite bloggers are reporting and writing about. One of these, A Soldier's Perspective, is quickly becoming more of a daily read. Blogger CJ has recently opened his site to allow other soldiers and marines the ability to post about their experiences. In his own words, he has transformed the site "into a multi-soldier, multi-marine forum."

One example of the quality blogging coming from this site is this narrative, originally written by Lt Col Mike Strobl, of his recent duty as a casualty escort. I dare you to try to keep a dry eye as you read the Colonel's report.
Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn't know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.

Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. The military provides a uniformed escort for all casualties to ensure they are delivered safely to the next of kin and are treated with dignity and respect along the way.

Thankfully, I hadn't been called on to be an escort since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. The first few weeks of April, however, had been a tough month for the Marines. On the Monday after Easter I was reviewing Department of Defense press releases when I saw that a Private First Class Chance Phelps was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The press release listed his hometown — the same town I'm from. I notified our Battalion adjutant and told him that, should the duty to escort PFC Phelps fall to our Battalion, I would take him.

[Continue reading "Taking Chance"]
It is a long read, but well worth the time. I would suggest making A Soldier's Perspective one of your regular sources for news and information, from the soldiers' perspective.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You've Been Warmed: The Storms Are Coming

As "An Inconvenient Truth" — former Vice President Al Gore's new movie about climate change — gets ready to debut across the nation, global warming is once again a hot news topic everywhere you look. A new report by the Earth Institute at Columbia University warns of dire consequences in the coming months and years.

New York at high risk of flooding from climate change

[A] recently published study by researchers from The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the International Institute for Environment and Development suggests that as much as 10 percent of the world's population is vulnerable. In particular, the authors have found that many large cities face risks posed by rising sea level and increased storm intensity. [snip]

Ten percent of the world's population lives in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters (33 feet) above sea level, reports Balk and her colleagues. Although they only comprise about 2.2 percent of the world's land area, these low-elevation coastal zones (LECZs) are home to 600 million people. In addition, about 360 million people in LECZs live in urban areas which means that more people will be exposed to hazards such as sea-level rise and storm surges — phenomena that are expected to worsen as a result of global warming.
And some scientists are once again pointing an accusing finger at human civilization for the woes of the planet.

Experts: Global warming behind 2005 hurricanes

The record Atlantic hurricane season last year can be attributed to global warming, several top experts, including a leading U.S. government storm researcher, said on Monday.

"The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now," said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Holland told a packed hall at the American Meteorological Society's 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology that the wind and warmer water conditions that fuel storms that form in the Caribbean are "increasingly due to greenhouse gases. There seems to be no other conclusion you can logically draw."
Of course, as we have seen so many times in the past, one man's "no other conclusion you can logically draw" is another scientist's "I haven't the foggiest notion where you are coming up with that!" Scientists in the United Kingdom are reporting that "climate change might have little to do with anything humans have done." And science writer Tom DeWeese documents that there are plenty of scientists and experts whose research contradicts Holland's assertions.

You hear it everywhere. Global Warming is a fact. It is here. It is now unstoppable. The Polar Ice Cap is melting. Polar Bears are endangered. Greenland is actually turning green! Hurricanes are blowing with more force. Tornadoes are growing in numbers. Water levels are increasing, threatening to flood New York City. Human existence is threatened. And, of course, the deserts are starting to burn. We are assured that scientists are in near total agreement with the assessment. [snip]

Global Warming has become a euphemism for a political agenda. There is Socialism, Capitalism and Global Warmingism. It has become a religion run by fanatics reminiscent of the leaders of the darkest days of the Inquisition that nearly destroyed civil society only a few hundred years ago. We are not to question the great god of Global Warming. Those who do are separated from civil society and labeled as heretics.

So how can anyone question the decrees handed down from the Ivory Towers to the unwashed masses? Answer: every religion has its heretics.

The simple truth is there is no scientific consensus on Global Warming. In fact, as the media frenzy screams global warming, there are a growing number of scientists who are expressing their doubts.
The truth about the hurricanes is that during the past 35 years, the average number of "significant" tropical cyclones in the southern regions, including the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Indian Ocean, is about 28.5 storms per year. The breakdown by decade is: 1970s - 32.9; 1980s- 27.8; 1990s - 29.1; and the 2000s, so far - 25.0 It is interesting to note that so far in the 2000s the numbers are actually below average. Even if one calculates just the last ten years it only amounts to 28.5 — well within the average.

The fact is, researchers are now looking into Hurricane Katrina to determine its true strength. It is currently listed as a category 4 storm. But will probably be downgraded to a category 3. It is important to remember that the disaster of New Orleans was a result of bad government not taking care of the levies. There was relatively little actual hurricane damage.
And speaking of hurricanes, Colorado State University's Dr William Gray predicts another busy hurricane season this year. Or maybe not. But probably so.

The Colorado State University team led by Dr. William Gray, a pioneer in forecasting storm probabilities, said it expected 17 named storms to form in the Atlantic basin during the six-month season, which officially begins on June 1.

Nine of the storms will strengthen into hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 mph, the team said, reaffirming an early prediction made in December and updated to include current trends like the La Nina weather phenomenon, cool Pacific waters and an abnormally warm Atlantic. [snip]

Gray's predictions are valued by companies but their accuracy can be difficult to gauge because they are revised regularly as a season progresses.

The Colorado State team, for example, initially predicted 13 storms for 2005 and raised the forecast in May last year to 15. It wasn't until August 5 — almost halfway through the season — that Gray increased the prediction to 20 storms. In the event, 2005 saw a record 27 named storms, of which 15 became hurricanes.

On a side note, humans have at least been cleared of culpability in these tragic events, all of which scientists link directly to global warming:

So if humans are not to blame for all this global warming, I wonder what could be the cause?

A tip of the hat to Pat of Brainster's Blog for some of the links.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Just a Reminder

...to those who continue to call for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. We did that once before, now we are back. This guy says it better than I ever could:
Sadr City is what Luke Stricklin sings about in his song "American by God's Amazing Grace." Imagine having to patrol this. Imagine having to live in this. Imagine trying to raise children in this. I feel a lot like Luke does. Let's do this right, finish the job, and leave it orderly so our sons don't have to come back over here to finish what Saddam started back in the 1980s and we are trying to clean up now.

Sure, we have slums in America but the difference is that anyone in an American slum can get out and rise above it by simply obeying the rules and working hard enough. These people will never have that kind of opportunity if we pull up and leave now. This job is half over. Just like any major project, the toughest part is the back side of the bell curve. We are well into it.

The Wild Kingdom

But They ARE Criminals

If there are two things that bother me the other side of the debate on the illegal immigration issue, they are: (1) the constant claim by "undocument workers" (read illegal aliens) that "we are not criminals," and (2) the inevitable comparison made between the plight of illegal immigrants and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

This morning on the radio, I heard the "we are not criminals" quote three times on different news broadcasts, so I was already "stewing in my juices" (as Pops likes to say) a little by the time I got to work. When I checked email, the very first note I read was from longtime reader Daffyd Sperling, who from time to time makes it his mission to find items in the news that he thinks will provoke me. Today, he is batting 1.000.

This morning's Sacremento Bee reports on newly proposed laws being considered in San Bernardino, California, that would far outshine any reforms the national government will even consider.
A proposal that would impose sweeping restrictions on the ability of illegal immigrants to live and work in the city will be put before voters after the City Council refused to adopt it.

The proposal would prohibit landlords from renting to undocumented people, force day laborers to prove legal residency to work, ban taxpayer-funded day-labor centers, mandate that city business be in English and deny permits to businesses hiring illegal immigrants.
Impressive, to say the least, especially coming from the Left Coast and an area where "nearly half of residents are Hispanics." Note that the article does not distinguish between legal, voting residents and illegals. But might be expected, the writer feels obligated to play the whine card:
Councilman Rikke Van Johnson cited his upbringing in Alabama as he denounced the measure.

"In Alabama, you knew who the Klan were. They openly paraded around in sheets," Johnson said. "In California, racism has taken on a more covert approach. Here they wear suits, they have Web sites and they use initiatives to spread their message of hate."

Roberto Arreola, 30, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, addressed the council before the decision.

"We are not criminals and it doesn't make sense for the city to pass a law against us," said Arreola, speaking in Spanish with a translator.
What these people do not seem to understand is that they are criminals, or at the very least lawbreakers. They are in this country illegally! The only reason states and cities are even considering such "sweeping restrictions" is because for years now the federal government has refused to enforce laws that are already on the books.

And I will never understand the claims of widespread racial discrimination such as this city councilman is making. I expect that San Bernardino, as do cities across this country, has plenty of examples of Hispanic American citizens that have succeeded in business and the community. No one is proposing that American citizens of Hispanic descent should be discriminated against or treated as second class citizens; or if some extremists are, they are few and far between, and their views are not supported by the general populace. These laws and restrictions are aimed not at a racial group, but a group of lawbreakers — people who have shown a total disrespect and disregard for our country's laws.

And while I do not remember ever hearing of blacks donning white sheets and joining with the cross-burners back in the 1960s and before, I have heard, seen and even met example after example of Hispanics — both those who were born and raised in America and others who have become citizens through the legal naturalization process — who have joined their voices in opposing both the unstemmed influx of illegal immigrants and the idea of granting amnesty to those already here.

UPDATE: I had thought this was an original piece from the Sacramento Bee; it turns out it is actually an Associated Press article picked up across the country, including by the Washington Post. — Songbird, 9:38 am, 5/16/2006

Monday, May 15, 2006

Living in a Dream World

Except that this dream is just too horrible to even consider...

"I'm not a real president, but I played one on TV."

Pic of the Day

Click image for Yahoo! slideshow
Just a little too close for comfort...

Austin Caters to Illegals

According to some family members living in the Austin area — who, by the way, lean politically much to the left of center — a large majority of Austin citizens still are not very happy with the city's open-arm policy of "undocumented workers" (read illegal aliens). Even the residents of this liberal bastion seem to understand what our so-called "conservative" leadership does not.

In Austin's case, one of the biggest complaints locals have is over the city-sponsored "day labor center," which serves as a sort of headquarter for day laborers — the vast majority of whom are reportedly illegal aliens — to meet up with potential short term employers. The center is taking up thousands of dollars of the city's already swollen budget, and residents around the existing center (and the nearby Home Depot that serves as an alternative gathering place) are not happy with the people it draws into their neighborhood.
The city spends about $253,000 a year to lease the property and staff the current day labor center, [Health and Human Services Directory David] Lurie said. The converted bus station averages 150 to 200 workers per day, with 60 percent to 70 percent getting jobs, he said. [...snip...]

Workers have complained about the bureaucracy of the center, where jobs are assigned through a lottery system, and many have bypassed it to wait for work near the Home Depot at I-35 and St. Johns Avenue, bringing complaints from nearby residents.
So city leaders have finally come up with a solution for the growing problem: build a second center!
City of Austin officials are looking on the south side of town for a site for a second day labor center.

"When the first day labor center opened, we always envisioned it as a start, but we were never going to have just one site," Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald said.
When I got into the office this morning, I was met with a phone message and two emails from my cousins Marcus and Anthony, who both live in Austin. Apparently the report of the new center was the talk of the town this weekend, and the talk is already beginning to get ugly.

On a side note, I found it very interesting that the Austin-American Statesman article never once makes reference to the fact that these day labor centers are used primarily by illegal immigrants, referring instead simply to "workers." Apparently this newspaper shares the view of our own Houston Comical that as long as they do not say or report on it, then it must not be true.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

White Supremacy in the Democratic Party

Racial hate-mongering is alive and well in the Democratic Party, and anyone who thought Senator Robert Byrd (former Exalted Cyclops of the KKK) was an anomaly should probably check out this man:
A Democratic candidate for Alabama attorney general denies the Holocaust occurred and said Friday he will speak this weekend in New Jersey to a "pro-white" organization that is widely viewed as being racist.

Larry Darby concedes his views are radical, but he said they should help him win wide support among Alabama voters as he tries to "reawaken white racial awareness" with his campaign against Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson.


Darby, founder of the Atheist Law Center and a longtime supporter of separation of church and state, ... also has publicly advocated legalizing drugs and shooting all illegal immigrants.
In their defense, Alabama Democratic Party officials began looking into the candidate just last week (although Darby has been campaigning long enough that an April poll showed him trailing the other Democratic Primary candidate by only nine percentage points). The big money quote from state Democratic Chairman Joe Turnham:
While the party supports the free-speech rights of any candidate, Turnham said some of Darby's views appear to be in "a realm of thought that is unacceptable."

"We have Holocaust survivors and families of Holocaust survivors here in Alabama, and many of them are members of the Democratic Party," said Turnham.

Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit

Kick 'im When He's Down

One of my favorite weekly reads, the Anchoress, has sworn off writing and reading about politics, at least for the summer. But in her "farewell address" on the subject, she says a mouthful!
I just have to ask all of you people — on every side — who have decided that immigration is one man's burden, and that every good thing President Bush has done is to be negated because he hasn't snapped his fingers and done what YOU think is the solution to the immigration problem...what did Clinton do about immigration, what did Bush 41 do? What did St. Reagan do? What did Carter do? What has any president, congressperson or senator done about immigration for the last 30 years, except kick the issue down the road for someone else to deal with?

Reagan, if you remember, was the amnesty president. Clinton was the "borders? What's borders, everyone is our pal" president.

Lots of bills that were ignored by past presidents, particularly during our "vacation from history," have come due on Dubya's watch. The whole world seems to be coming due on his watch, and damn him for not handling everything perfectly. What a loser, eh? And it's easy to kick a guy when he's down, isn't it?
While I have to admit that I am not pleased with President Bush's outspoken reluctance to deal with this issue the way I want him to deal with it, the lady has a point! And she goes on to list and detail several of those points that have "come due." A very good read, as always, from Our Lady of Conservatism.

Racial Discrimination by Georgia Police

FOX News yesterday highlighted an interesting story of racial discrimination — with a twist — by Georgia's Dekalb County police.
Police union officials released an audio recording Thursday purportedly containing the voice of [Assistant Police Chief] R.P. Flemister, who is black.

On the tape, Flemister is heard asking someone: "Have you ever thought about why I ain't promoted them nine on the list right now ... because seven of them are white."
As The Independent Conservative points out, this is an area where you would expect people to have a heightened awareness of and lower tolerance for such inequality.
Dekalb County, Georgia is mostly Cynthia McKinney's US House Congressional District. (Georgia’s 4th Congressional District.) Given this is the home of such a “freedom fighter”, who “stands against racism”, “stands against discrimination” and “stands against racial profiling”. You would think people in her district would never discriminate against anyone. OK, I’m being sarcastic. In reality, the actions of lower level officials in Dekalb County are simply a reflection of the higher level representatives, elected by a majority of voters in that county. Oh but let a Black person cry racism and they will ensure there are lights and cameras on the scene! Protest marches and candlelight vigils, demanding everyone resign and be charged with Civil Rights violations. When a White is the victim, silence!
Interestingly enough, none of the usual suspects (including Ms. McKinney, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Joseph Lowery, et al) have jumped in front of the cameras to decry this bigotry. In fact, the only county official raising an outcry is the lone white Republican on the seven member Board of Commissioners.

On a side note, I must commend FOX News for not using the label of "reverse discrimination" that is so often applied to such stories. Racial discrimination is the same, no matter what color the perpetrator or victim happen to be. True reverse discrimination is in reality the reverse, or the lack, of discrimination. And in spite of the racial baiters, true reverse discrimination is continuing to break out and flourish all over this great nation.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.
—Ronald Reagan

In Poor Taste

It is that time of year again. The NBA play-offs are in full swing, and O.J. Simpson and his white Ford Bronco are back in the news.
In a scene from his new candid-camera program "Juiced," O.J. Simpson pulls a prank involving the infamous white Bronco, drawing criticism from the family of a man he was accused of killing.

As part of the pay-per-view show, Simpson pretends to sell the Bronco at a used car lot and boasts to a prospective buyer that he made the vehicle famous, according to a segment aired Thursday on "Inside Edition."

"It was good for me - it helped me get away," Simpson said, referring to the slow-speed, televised police chase that preceded his 1994 arrest on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
Once again, the Juice flaunts his poor taste for all the nation to see. Does he not realize that such a stunt can only feed the pain that still lingers from that vicious act twelve years ago? Every time Simpson's name is mentioned I, like so many Houston Rockets fans, still feel the agony of having to watch that excruciating "chase" scene that preempted the Rocket's drive to the NBA Finals. That memory still burns in the deep, dark recesses of my mind.

Just think how the families of Simpson's real victims must feel.

New Hope on the Illegal Immigration Front

As the Minutemen rallied today near the U.S. Capitol, they were joined by a man who just might light a new ray of hope in the hearts of American citizens fearing for their country. According to a FOX News report:
John Clark, a congressional liaison for the American Immigration Control Foundation, a nonprofit research and education group, told supporters near the Capitol that illegal immigrants marching in the streets "should be rounded up and deported." There have been mass protests throughout the country in recent weeks in opposition to tougher illegal immigration enforcement.

"We have to get this under control," Clark said. "This is the occupation of the United States of America by a foreign country. We have to put a stop to it."
Many may remember the clandestine Mr. Clark from his previous exploits battling the drug trade in Baltimore, rescuing downed American soldiers from the jungles of Columbia, working under cover for the CIA in both Russia and China, and leading the world's first and foremost international anti-terrorism unit. If he says he will put a stop to illegal immigration, you can bet it will happen.

And don't be surprised to see Jack Bauer getting involved as soon as he wraps up the Russian mob and those responsible for Palmer's assassination.

Bush Making Moves Toward the Borders?

This morning during my drive in to work, I listened to KSEV's Edd Hendee talk with Congressman John Culberson about the president's stand on illegal immigration. Rep. Culberson said that he and the entire Texas Republican delegation have met with a number of White House staff, culminating in a meeting yesterday morning with Carl Rove, to express Texans' outrage over the lack of leadership and involvement by the president on this critical issue. He told Hendee's listeners that "the president has woken up and has heard our message" and is (finally) making moves in the right direction to deal with the influx of illegal aliens across our borders.

One of the things they were told yesterday by Rove, and which was reported this morning by the Associated Press, was that President Bush has asked the Pentagon to find a way to legally use the military to secure the border with Mexico.
In back-to-back moves this week, the Pentagon began exploring ways to lend support at the southern border, while the House on Thursday voted to allow the Homeland Security Department in limited cases to use soldiers in that region.

At the Pentagon, Paul McHale, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, asked officials to offer options for the use of military resources and troops — particularly the National Guard — along the border with Mexico, according to defense officials familiar with the discussions.


"The Texas delegation is very concerned about the border and are pushing urgency," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who joined other Texas Republicans in a meeting with Rove this week. He said Rove was "very forthright" about border projects that Homeland Security is starting up, its current projects and what the needs are.

Rep. Ken Marchant, R-Texas, who also attended the meeting, said the lawmakers left "very encouraged."
According to a FOX News this morning, Congress is actively pursuing this same goal:
The House voted 252-171 to allow Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to assign military personnel under certain circumstances to help the Homeland Security Department perform border security.
Culberson also mentioned that he asked Rove about the reports of Mexican army incursions and stories of armed Mexican mercenaries entrenched on U.S. hilltops just inside the border, using satellite communications to relay Border Patrol movements to smugglers and coyotes. When Rove initially scoffed at the notions as silly rumors, Culberson said he pulled out the U.S. Border Patrol-issued wallet card he received from a USBP agent detailing what to do when confronting an incursion by armed Mexican military personnel. According to Rep. Culberson, that ended the conversion rather quickly.

When asked about this week's media reports about the Border Patrol tipping off the Mexican government about the locations and activities of Minutemen volunteers, Culberson's mood darkened noticeably. He told Hendee this was one of many questionable Homeland Security practices and issues that were being investigated, and he expected Congressional hearings would be started soon on a whole host of problems. According to Culberson, "The deeper you dig into Homeland Security, the worse it gets."

UPDATE: Media outlets are reporting that President Bush has scheduled an address to the nation for tonight at 9:00 pm (CDT):
Amid a clamor over illegal immigration, President George W. Bush will make his case for a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration law on Monday night in a prime-time Oval Office address, the White House announced on Friday.

UPDATE #2: Okay, so the real day and time of the president's address is Monday at 7:00 pm (CDT). Apparently I need a refresher course in second grade math and reading...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

If We Only Nude Then

Faith and Action is a nonprofit Christian organization whose mission is "to reintroduce the Word of God into the public debate surrounding legislation and policy matters." Based in Washington DC, Faith and Action has been on the front lines of many of the recent political battles over such issues as the Marriage Amendment and displaying the Ten Commandments on public property.

I recently received the following note from Rev. Rob Schenck, President of Faith and Action:
In just a few weeks, Faith and Action will install a beautiful sculpture of the Ten Commandments in front of our Ministry Center across the street from the US Supreme Court.

Why is this a great challenge? Because the liberal left-leaning District of Columbia government (separate from the federal government) doesn't want us to install this sculpture. They say the Ten Commandments will offend federal workers — including some of the Supreme Court justices across the street!

When I pointed out that a building near our ministry center has a life-sized nude statue in front of it, a District of Columbia official said if I were installing a nude statue it wouldn't be a problem! Nude statues don't concern anyone, he claimed, but the Ten Commandments may offend many people!
This statue is to be installed on private property in front of the organization's headquarters, yet they have already been threatened with bureaucratic red tape and even possible lawsuits from the politically correct police.

There is something very, very wrong in this nation right now.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Two Faces of the Mainstream Media

Face #1:
Representative Patrick Kennedy, son of famed teetotaler Edward Kennedy, held a press conference today (click to see the video) to explain the bizarre circumstances behind his auto accident early Thursday morning. As did his father before him, Kennedy seems to have weathered the storm and gained sympathy in the eyes of the media with his confession of addiction and depression.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said Friday that he will enter a rehabilitation program after crashing his car on Capitol Hill a day earlier.

"I know that I need help," the Rhode Island Democrat said at an afternoon press conference, detailing what he called a long-term struggle with depression and addiction.

"I struggle every day with this disease, as do millions of Americans," Kennedy said.
In spite of the circumstances surrounding the incident, Kennedy was driven home without taking a breathalyzer test, and no charges are pending.

The report said that when [Capitol Police Sgt. Kenneth] Weaver approached Kennedy, he noticed that his "eyes were red and watery, speech was slightly slurred, and upon exiting his vehicle, his balance was unsure."


[Officers on the scene were instructed] to drive Kennedy home. His car had been damaged, police said.

"I think he was extended a courtesy by virtue of his position," union President Lou Cannon told CNN.
A life of privilege and position has served this family well.

Face #2:
Last week, a deal was made between conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and prosecutors in West Palm Beach, Florida. Back in 2003, authorities began investigating Limbaugh on charges of doctor shopping and prescription drug addition, predicated by allegations printed in the National Enquirer. CNN has this to say about the matter:

Limbaugh was booked on a single charge that was filed Friday, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Jail. He left about an hour later, after Limbaugh was photographed and fingerprinted and he posted $3,000 bail, Barbera said.

The radio giant's agreement to enter a diversionary program ends a three-year state investigation that began after Limbaugh publicly acknowledged being addicted to pain medication and entered a rehabilitation program. (Watch to see who was the 'winner' in this deal-- 3:54)


Before his own problems became public, Limbaugh had decried drug use and abuse and mocked President Clinton for saying he had not inhaled when he tried marijuana. He often made the case that drug crimes deserve punishment.


Limbaugh reported five years ago that he had lost most of his hearing because of an autoimmune inner-ear disease. He had surgery to have an electronic device placed in his skull to restore his hearing. But research shows that abusing opiate-based painkillers also can cause profound hearing loss.
Media reports this week seemed extremely disappointed that Limbaugh will not be rotting in prison.