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Friday, March 25, 2005

Nebraska Legislature Mulls Pay Increase

The Journal Star reports on a proposal to double the salaries of lawmakers in Nebraska's Unicameral. [Those from out of the area may not be aware that Nebraska has a single legislative body, unlike the other 49 states.]
"For the first time in 17 years, state senators appear ready to ask their bosses -- Nebraska voters -- for a raise. On Thursday, they gave first-round approval to putting a constitutional amendment before voters that would hike their annual salary from $12,000 to $24,000.

The measure passed on a 31-9 vote and will need 30 votes at final reading to go before voters during a general election; 40 votes are needed for a special or primary election."
You'll note that a constitutional amendment will be needed to raise their salaries, which is obviously a big reason that the pay is so modest in the first place. Given the squeeze on state finances over the past several years and the cuts that entailed in spending, we wonder what the legislature has been smoking. It's hard to imagine this getting approved by the voters.
"From 1972 until 1982, voters turned down five separate measures that would have increased salaries or allowed senators to do so. Until the amendment was approved in 1988, boosting pay to $1,000 a month, senators earned $400 a month."
The Lincoln Journal Star editorialized at the time in favor of one of those five (defeated) raise measures, saying higher pay was needed to attract "professional politicians." They weren't trying to be funny; it just came out that way.

Considering the results, we've often wondered if the legislators should be paid at all. The monthly salary is a bit misleading, as the Unicameral is not in session the whole year. The article also lists the states with highest and lowest salaries for their legislators:
"States that pay lawmakers the highest annual salaries*:
California: $99,000
Michigan: $79,650
New York: $79,500
Pennsylvania: $66,203
Illinois: $55,788

The lowest*:
New Hampshire: $100
South Dakota: $6,000
Texas: $7,200
Mississippi: $10,000
South Carolina: $10,400

*Figures don't include retirement plans or benefits
Source: The Detroit News"
From what we know of the above states, if there is any correlation of government quality with the salary numbers, it's an inverse correlation. We certainly prefer Nebraska's government over New York's, Michigan's or California's.

Bunny Theater for Easter

Angry Alien Productions has a series of re-enactment of classic movies, each in 30-seconds, each by bunnies. Our personal favorite is The Exorcist, but they also have Alien, Jaws, The Shining, Titanic and It's a Wonderful Life.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Same to You, Buster

A guest post from our brother:
I had the opportunity last night to view the PBS Show Buster on New Hampshire Public Television. For those of you not familiar with this installment in the current culture wars in our country, Buster is a cartoon rabbit who goes around the country meeting children from different parts of the country and different cultural backgrounds. When Buster visited Vermont during maple sugar season he introduced us to some children who have 2 mommies, and make maple syrup and cheese. Our nation's Education Secretary, Margaret Spellings, strenuously objected to this story, and threatened to pull funding for the series.

I think probably what I found most disturbing about the show was the fact that it depicts maple syrup making as, somehow, normal and ok. I agree with many people who feel that it is just wrong to expose our impressionable little ones to this sort of degenerate maple syrup making. I wanted to see this travesty with my own eyes, and I must say it opened my eyes. I believe people have the right in our country to make whatever kind of syrup they like, real maple, boysenberry, or even maple flavored, in the privacy of their own homes, but our society cannot and should not condone this sort of activity being forced onto our children. I can't say how grateful I am to have a 'God-and-maple-syrup' fearing President and Education Secretary who can protect us from the slow erosion of our nation's moral values by these deviant Maple syrup makers.
We don't feel quite as strongly about this as he does, but we agree that the Buster kerfuffle is a bit silly.

Bobby Fischer Redux

Bobby has left Japan for Iceland:
"Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer flew out of Japan, where he had been detained since July, en route to Iceland after Tokyo decided not to deport him to the United States where he faces prison, an airport official said.

[...]

Former chess champion Bobby Fischer leaves New Tokyo International Airport in Narita. Fischer flew out of Japan, where he had been detained since July, en route to Iceland after Tokyo decided not to deport him to the United States where he faces prison. [AFP]

Fischer, 62, played his most famous match in 1972 in Iceland, defeating the Soviet world champion Boris Spassky in a Cold War drama.

But he soon ran afoul of US authorities with his angry anti-American and anti-Jewish views. He faces 10 years in prison for playing a rematch against Spassky in 1992 in Yugoslavia in defiance of US sanctions imposed over the Balkan wars"
In our previous post about Fischer, we mentioned our friend who was at the 1972 match in Reykjavik. After reading that our friend, "Mel Stool," sent us this message about those days:
I was at games 11-12-13. Also I just verified my indirect claim to fame in "Fischer-Spassky" The Chess Match of the Century" by Richard Roberts, Bantam Books, 1972. on p. 110 Fischer's post- 12th game angry letter to match referee Lothar Schmid is excerpted:

"The exhibition hall was not designed for a chess match and it has little accoustical treatment of the type required for such an event. Hence special precautions are most necessary, one of which is the removal of at least seven rows of seats closest to the stage. The spectators are so close and so noisy and the accoustics are so poor that I can hear them opening candy wrappers and I hear bits of conversation as well as coughing, laughing and so on."

(Note: I was in the first row for game 12. I may have coughed at some point. I don't recall laughing. I do remember several times Bobby going over to the referee, waving his arms and Schmid would punch a button that would turn on a big flashing "Silence" sign in the front of the hall. I had no idea I might be responsible in part for his fury until I returned home).
We can attest that Mr. Stool made these claims to contemporaneously, including mentioning that he had unwrapped a candybar as quietly as he could while in the auditorium. We think it's important to get key facts like this into the historical record for future generations.

Japanese Television

If you think Fear Factor is bad, you should see this show. Clearly, the Japanese are years ahead of us in the realm of game shows.

Nobel for Sistani?

We make an effort to read Thomas Friedman's column whenever possible, although we don't always agree with him. He's a sensible guy, particularly considering where he works. This week he has a suggestion for the Nobel Prize Committee:
As we approach the season of the Nobel Peace Prize, I would like to nominate the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for this year's medal. I'm serious."
Indeed he is serious, and he makes a good case based on Sistani's words and deeds since the fall of Saddam. There is no denying that Sistani has been a powerful, moderating force on the Shiite population, channeling the pent up anger into the political process and away from violence.

Ali at Free Iraqi has his doubts about Sistani's motives and whether the clerics will be able/willing to resist temptation to try to direct the government towards a Shiite theocracy. In Ali's view, the coalition of religious parties is already showing signs of undue, behind the scenes influence, and he expects it to get worse.

Our view is that so far Sistani's influence has been overwhelmingly positive for Iraqi democracy, so in that sense we agree with Friedman. However, it is way too soon to to be handing out Nobel Peace Prizes here. That's how you end up with winners like Arafat and Le Duc Tho. Even waiting for situations to clarify doesn't always prevent Nobel-embarassment (e.g. past winners Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, and The UN Peacekeeping Forces).

This year, President Karzai of Afghanistan is our choice. We're still waiting for our ballot. Sistani and several other Iraqis may ultimately be fine candidates for a future Peace Prize. If the liberation of the Middle East succeeds, George W. Bush may turn out to be the most deserving person to never get a Peace Prize, nosing out Ronald Reagan.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Goodbye, Terri

Nearly all hope is gone that a federal court will stop Michael Schiavo from having his brain-damaged wife starved to death. James Taranto of OpinionJournal hits the nail squarely on the head in describing the actions of the federal bench:
"Whatever else one may say about the 11th Circuit's ruling in Schiavo v. Schiavo (link in PDF), it is not a work of judicial activism. Quite the opposite, it is a caricature of judicial restraint. The court bent over backward to construe the statute, and its duty in hearing the appeal, as narrowly as possible in an effort to frustrate Congress's intent. Call it judicial passive-aggression."
The rest of the article is equally on target.

There is a lively debate about the case at The Corner (National Review Online).

Here is a link to a page disputing many of the "facts" about the case as we have heard them in the media. (Hat tip: Grizzly Mama)

Kathleen Parker
has this to say:
Even granting Michael Schiavo the benefit of the doubt, however, his insistence that Terri be starved to death when her parents want to care for her borders on the bizarre. Speaking as a parent, imagining some future spouse trying to arrange my child's death puts me in mind of a mama grizzly, whose company would be far preferable to mine should the little outlaw prevail. (Note to self: Clip column for rehearsal dinner toast).
We can certainly see the appropriateness of stopping artificial "life support" operations on a loved one who is suffering and near death. Terri Schiavo was neither before the feeding tube was removed. She is not comatose. Some doctors, believe she is not in a "persistent vegatative state" and that her condition could improve. All agree she could have lived for many years (absent the decision to starve her).

If something drastic like this is appropriate for a patient, then all family members should agree that this is the case. Obviously, Terri's parents don't agree that what remains of her life is not worth having. Who can blame them for that? While they may be wrong about her chances for recovery, they certainly know more about her case than any of the rest of us.

Michael Schaivo is wrong. He may sincerely believe that he is doing the right thing, but he is not. With such a fundamental disagreement with Terri's parents on how to proceed, the only honorable course is to step aside and allow them to take over. The emotional investment of a parent in a child dwarfs that in a spouse of a few years. See Kathleen Parker above, and we know exactly how she feels.

This may be perfectly legal, but it is not right.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Looking around our Network Neighborhood, we are pleased to have found a few fellow sailors on internet prairie schooners, i.e. other bloggers here on sands of the Great American Desert.

We have previously mentioned Plains Feeder, where PTG covers the Omaha metro area like a blanket. For example, he has written an excellent series of posts about Omaha's plans to annex the town of Elkhorn and Elkhorn's plans to block that. For your reference Omaha is about a day's ride from here in the buckboard, if the creek doesn't rise. It is through PTG that we became aware of the other Nebraska bloggers.

The dean of Nebraska bloggers, Ryne McClaren, generously mentioned us today. He is the first to refer to us as "DLMSY" to our knowledge. His current blog (on TypePad) has been going since June, 2004, and his Blogger site (now inactive) goes back to June, 2002. He writes a lot, (and well) covering sports as well as politics and society. Like your humble hosts here, he's a small-L-libertarian.

North Platte journalist, Frank Graham, has a blog he calls Frankly Speaking. He writes mostly about local issues and the media. PTG has pointers to some fine work by Frank covering a recent court decision on a North Platte development project.

UPDATE: Lots more Omaha blogs can be found via this link.
UPDATE2: A similar site for Nebraska blogs is here.

Fun with Logs

It's fun to poke around in the log files to see where visitors are coming from. In the past few days we have had one hit from Jordan and one from Iran. We'd like to think that word of our blogging prowess has spread far and wide, but that's apparently not what drew them here.

From the referring links it seems they came here looking for pictures of Arab or Iranian "actrees," based on the advice of search engines. We're reasonably sure there are no pictures of "actrees" on the site, but feel free to look around if you think we might be wrong about that.

Chances are it is our picture of the McKelvie National Forest that attracted the search engines. There is a second tree in the picture. Look closely.

Blogging needs more diversity!

That's the message Newsweek brings us in the latest issue. Here's the opening paragraph of the article:

At a recent Harvard conference on bloggers and the media, the most pungent statement came from cyberspace. Rebecca MacKinnon, writing about the conference as it happened, got a response on the "comments" space of her blog from someone concerned that if the voices of bloggers overwhelm those of traditional media, "we will throw out some of the best ... journalism of the 21st century." The comment was from Keith Jenkins, an African-American blogger who is also an editor at The Washington Post Magazine [a sister publication of NEWSWEEK]. "It has taken 'mainstream media' a very long time to get to [the] point of inclusion," Jenkins wrote. "My fear is that the overwhelmingly white and male American blogosphere ... will return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one."
To be fair, Newsweek itself is not claiming this, an accusation that wouldn't be all that surprising coming from an "old media" source, and they do mention that the blogosphere is effectively a market system, ensuring that only the best rise to the top. Still, if one reads the paragraph quoted above, what Keith Jenkins is saying here, is that a medium in which anyone can participate at extremely low costs (or free), will propagate discrimination. Of course, he is also an editor for the Washington Post which may help explain his apparent fear of internet journalism.

The best part of the article though, is when the author suggests that the blogosphere organize itself to solve the "diversity crisis."

P.S. I'm not even going to touch Jenkins' line about traditional media having "some of the best...journalism of the 21st century."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Ali on Lebanon

He normally writes very serious stuff, but he has a sharp wit when he wants to use it. This passage from Free Iraqi had us laughing out loud. It seems the pro-Syrian faction was "celebrating" Syrian withdrawal. Ali explains how this is perfectly logical:
"And yes the Syrian government and its supporters in Syria and Lebanon (well they're supporters since they're showing in their rallies!) do celebrate the Syrian withdrawal too, as it's a victory for Syria and her historic leadership. I know it sounds strange to most westerns but you're all just not smart enough to understand that, as your minds have been corrupted for a long time with this democracy thing that does not leave a decent place for legendary heroes. While we, Arabs understand perfectly that it's a victory for Asad just like the 1st Gulf war was a victory for Saddam and the 1967 war was a victory for Nasir [Nassar].

You see, the six days war was not part of the Israeli Arab conflict, nor the 1st Gulf War aimed to liberate Kuwait, otherwise both would've been victories for Israel and the international alliance respectively and therefore they would've been defeats for Nasir and Saddam as well as other Arab governments. The truth is that these wars aimed only to topple Nasir and Saddam and since that didn't happen then we can justifiably say that both historic, legendary leaders actually won in those wars, and since Nasir was the whole Egypt and Saddam was the whole Iraq then these were victories for Egypt and Iraq! Simple, isn't it?"

Student Strike in Basra

Ali at Free Iraqi writes about a surprising development in the Iraqi city of Basra in the Shiite south:
"Thousands of students in Basra University demonstrated Yesterday against 'terrorism'. Al Basra University announced a general strike until the demands of the students are met. From Al Qabas Kuwaiti newspaper (Arabic). The rally was not against the terrorism carried by the Salafi/Jihadists but against the terrorist activities of the religious parties in Basra and mainly the Sadirsts.

The Sadirists and representatives of some radical religious parties have appointed themselves as guardians on the people of Basra and many other southern governorates with She'at majority especially after their lists got the majority of the votes there in both local elections and national ones. Their armed followers appointed themselves as guards in all colleges, hospitals and government institute watching everyone and making sure no one violates their Shre'a. They filled these places with their leaders' pictures and their symbols, challenging anyone who objects to their actions saying that they represent the Marjiyia in Najaf and that they have the support of Sistani."
This peaceful rejection of local theocratic rule is a very positive sign, according to Ali, and an indication of political growth in the country. The chains of Saddam's regime were broken by the US-led invasion, but the electoral ascendance of the Shiite religous parties is troubling. The fact that the students are no longer accepting religious domination indicates that people are realizing that trading the old chains for new ones is no bargain.

Past events have shown that Ali has a far better grasp of what is going on in Iraq and the significance of it than we can get on our network news reports or off the newswires.

If Only It Were True...

We would become UN fans, if this ScrappleFace article were actually true. Yes, it's satire, but what a force for good the UN could be, if only it was nothing like it is now. We can dream, anyway.
"Annan Reform Report Calls for 'UN-Mitigated Freedom'
by Scott Ott

(2005-03-21) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today unveiled a 63-page proposal for revamping the scandal-plagued world body. The proposal, to be considered at a summit in New York in September, calls for ejecting non-free nations and reducing the U.N. staff to six persons.

The following is an excerpt from the executive summary of Mr. Annan's report, titled 'UN-Mitigated Freedom'...

-- All nations must immediately re-apply for membership, which will not be granted unless the applicant provides for its people freedom of religion and expression, an electoral process open to all and a free-market economy."
There's much more, so read the rest.

Unfortunately, it's about as likely to happen as Osama Bin Laden converting to Christianity. Actually OBL's conversion is much more probable, now that we think about it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Terri Schiavo

Over at Plains Feeder ptg writes about the case with concern about the rights of the family and whether government intervention is ultimately the right thing. I also have some mixed feelings about the whole situation. The Peggy Noonan article I linked to previously makes a strong case for blocking the removal of the feeding tube. Today Catherine Johnson, guest blogging at Roger L. Simon's blog also speaks eloquently from the same side.

Personally, I know that I wouldn't want to live, if the part of me that makes it me is gone forever. I know I can trust my wife and sons to make the right decision, if it comes down to that. That decision for me would be to hold on as long as there is hope, but when that is gone to let go.

In this case, though, the husband is for killing her off and the rest of the family objects. There is no written record of Terri's wishes. This is profoundly troubling. If Michael Schiavo isn't able to convince the rest of her family that this is what she would have wanted, he should walk away. Divorce her if necessary, but, as Noonan said, his relentless quest to kill her is "creepy."

So I do come down on the side of allowing the family to go to court, even federal court, to contest the decision to kill her.

Returning frog to pocket. We are done.

Two from ScrappleFace

ScrappleFace (by Scott Ott) is a comedy, fake news site. Here are excerpts from a couple of recent posts that tickled our fancy.
Annan: Suicide Bombers Deserve Prison:
"(2005-03-20) -- In his first major move against world terrorism, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is prepared to propose that suicide bombers face lengthy jail terms, along with other sweeping reforms designed to restore the organization's tarnished image.

'If you blow yourself up and kill innocent civilians, my plan calls for 10-to-20 years in a medium-security prison,' said Mr. Annan. 'This sends a message that civilized nations have limited patience, and virtually no tolerance, for terrorism.'"
Right-to-Starve Added to Feminism's Victories
(2005-03-19) -- The National Organization for Women (NOW) today held a jubilant news conference to celebrate the latest advance in women's rights -- the right to have your estranged husband choose to end your life.

"First, it was women's suffrage -- the right to vote -- then abortion, the right to privacy," said an unnamed NOW spokesman. "Finally, a man has led the way in freeing us from the antiquated bigotry that has kept our former husbands from choosing a slow, painful death for us."

The NOW source said the court-ordered removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, based on the testimony of Michael Schiavo alone has "opened a world of opportunities for women to freely die at the hands of the men they love."
Plenty more where those came from.

GWB and Hitler

We have been appalled at the easy tendency of the President's opponents here and abroad to launch into outrageous comparisons to Hitler and Nazi Germany. A few years ago this sort of rhetorical excess would have been immediately recognized as such, and no responsible person would condone it. These days it's just par for the course, with Democratic notables such as Sen. Robert Bryd and former VP Al Gore among the offenders. Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online takes aim at this disgusting trend and takes no prisoners:
"In fact, what do Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all have in common? The same thing that unites Fidel Castro, the European street, the Iranians, and North Koreans: an evocation of some aspects of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany to deprecate President Bush in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At first glance, all this wild rhetoric is preposterous. Hitler hijacked an elected government and turned it into a fascist tyranny. He destroyed European democracy. His minions persecuted Christians, gassed over six million Jews, and created an entire fascistic creed predicated on anti-Semitism and the myth of a superior Aryan race.

Whatever one thinks of Bush's Iraqi campaign, the president obtained congressional approval to invade and pledged $87 billion to rebuild the country. He freely weathered mass street demonstrations and a hostile global media, successfully defended his Afghan and Iraq reconstructions through a grueling campaign and three presidential debates, and won a national plebiscite on his tenure.

In a world that is almost uniformly opposed to the democratic Jewish state, Israel has no better friend than Bush, who in turn is a believer in, not a tormentor of, Christianity. Afghanistan and Iraq, with 50 million freed, have elected governments, not American proconsuls, and there is a movement in the Middle East toward greater democratization -- with no guarantee that such elected governments will not be anti-American. No president has been more adamantly against cloning, euthanasia, abortion, or anything that smacks of the use of science to predetermine super-genes or to do away with the elderly, feeble, or unborn.

So what gives with this crazy popular analogy -- one that on a typical Internet Google search of "Bush" + "Hitler" yields about 1,350,000 matches?

[...]

Is there a danger to all this? Plenty. The slander not only brings a president down to the level of an evil murderer, but — as worried Jewish leaders have pointed out — elevates the architect of genocide to the level of an American president. Do the ghosts of six million that were incinerated — or, for that matter, the tens of millions who were killed to promote or stop Hitler’s madness — count for so little that they can be so promiscuously induced when one wishes to object to stopping the filibuster of senatorial nominations or to ignore the objection of Europeans in removing the fascistic Saddam Hussein?

There is something profoundly immoral for a latte-sipping, upscale Westerner of the postmodern age flippantly evoking Hitler when we think of the countless souls lost to the historical record who were systematically starved and gassed in the factories of death of the Third Reich."
Read the rest.

Democracy in Iraq

There are a number of excellent blogs by Iraqis living in Iraq. On his blog, Democracy in Iraq, one such Iraqi blogger, Husayn, recently gave his thoughts looking back on the 2 year anniversary of the US-led invasion. Was it worth it?
"Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I dont care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.

Before March 20, 2003, we were in a dungeon. We did not see the light. Saddam Hussain was crushing Iraq's spirit slowly, we longed for his end, but knew we could not challenge him, or his diabolical seed who would no doubt follow him and continue his generation of hell on Earth.

Since then, we now have hope. Hope is not a tangible thing, but it is something, it is more than being blinded by darkness, by being stuck in a mental pit without any future.

Hope has been the greatest product of the last two years. No doubt, many have died, many have died by accident or due to crimes. But their sacrifices are not, and will not be for nothing. I refuse to let it be, and my countrymen stand with me.

Our cities are smoking, our graveyards full, and terrorists in our midst. But we are not defeated. We are not down, we are not regretful. We are not going to surrender. For all that the two years have brought, the greatest thign they have given us is a future, and a view of the finish line.

Iraqis see the finish line, the finish line of freedom and democracy and a functioning nation. We can smell it, taste it, and like a sprinter, one who has broken his legs, but who has a heart full of passion, we will crawl there no matter what the cost. No matter what we must endure, we have realized what we can become, and that is the biggest result of the last two years.

Noone can take that from us. Not the terrorists, not those who want to question the good of the removal of Saddam, not those who want to reduce our glory for politics, none.

We have been brought from darkness to light. And not only has the future been made better for Iraq, but the martyrs of our nation, their blood is watering the roots of democracy across the world. We are watching our neighbors come closer to the light, and this only pushes us more, and makes us stronger in our burning desire to reach the finish line, to realize the dream that our people have had for so long."
This is just a small part of Husayn's excellent post. You will definitely want to read the rest.

Assault on Academic Freedom at CU

A professor at the University of Colorado is being fired for his views. No, we aren't talking about Ward "of the Court" Churchill. Churchill's brand of unpopular views are quite popular in the the PC world of academia these days.

As the Denver Post reports, however, Dr. Phil Mitchell's views are so nasty that expressing them is obviously grounds for dismissal. No, he didn't call the 911 victims "Nazis" or say they deserved to die. His views are worse:
"As a conservative, and even worse, a ghastly evangelical Christian, Mitchell wondered how he lasted this long.

'I've had enough. I am clearly being closed out for political or religious reasons,' Mitchell says. 'I am one of the top-rated professors in the history of the department.'

Wei [William Wei, director of the Sewall Academic Program], hardly a conservative, says that in his perspective, 'Phil is a great person, a good teacher and highly regarded by his students.'

Faculty course questionnaires confirm what students think of him. You'll be hard-pressed to find anything but an A+.

But it's never been easy.

Mitchell taught at the Hallett Diversity Program for 24 straight semesters. That is, until he made the colossal error of actually presenting a (gasp!) diverse opinion, quoting respected conservative black intellectual Thomas Sowell in a discussion about affirmative action.

Sitting 5 feet from a pink triangle that read 'Hate-Free Zone,' the progressive head of the department berated Mitchell, calling him a racist.

'That would have come as a surprise to my black children,' explains Mitchell, who has nine kids, as of last count, two of them adopted African-Americans.

Then, Mitchell had the audacity to use a book on liberal Protestantism in the late 19th century. So repulsed by the word 'god' was one student, she complained, and the department chair fired him without a meeting, he said."
More forced conformity in the name of diversity. At one time we felt some sympathy for CU and the taxpayers of Colorado. We now think they are reaping what they have sown.

U.S. needs to watch extremists, Fox says

There are lots of reasons to be wary of extremists, with the hole in lower Manhattan being the most obvious. There is also the memorial at the site of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Those are not the kind of extremists that worry Mexico's President Vincente Fox, though. He's concerned with a different type of threat:
U.S. needs to watch extremists, Fox says: "MEXICO CITY - Anti-immigrant sentiment appears to be growing in the United States, Mexican President Vicente Fox said Wednesday, and he urged U.S. officials to act quickly to control movements such as the 950-member-strong Minuteman Project on the Mexico-Arizona border.
[...]
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission recently issued a warning about several new grass-roots movements inspired by Arizona's Proposition 200. Other Mexican officials have cited the Minuteman Project, a plan by activists to patrol the border during April, as a sign of rising extremism.
[...]
'We totally reject the idea of these migrant-hunting groups,' Fox said. 'We will use the law, international law and even U.S. law to make sure that these types of groups, which are a minority . . . will not have any opportunity to progress.'

Organizers of the Minuteman Project say they have signed up more than 950 volunteers, including 30 pilots with aircraft, to patrol the border for 30 days beginning April 1. The activists say they will notify the Border Patrol if they see border crossers and will not confront them directly.

Minuteman co-organizer Chris Simcox said participants are exercising their constitutional rights.

'Vicente Fox can rant and rave all he wants, but he obviously doesn't understand what a democracy means,' Simcox said. 'We have been working within the law."
Fox has publicly stated that the illegal aliens passing daily across our southern border are "not illegal," based on the fact that they are seeking work and work is available. Perhaps he believes that, as long as Mexico gives permission for them to leave, the US has no right to refuse them entry.

The US needs to have a public discussion and debate about the ludicrous state of our border security. Among the general public there is wide, bipartisan support for improvement, but political leadership has been sorely lacking. The potential for political demagoguery is high, and no one wants to be labeled anti-immigrant or anti-Hispanic. Meanwhile, everyone ignores the elephant in the room.

The caravans bringing illegal migrants seeking work also provide a convenient opening for terrorists, now that legal entry has become more difficult. The networks here geared to serving the need of illegal migrants for false papers are also here to serve these new, deadly customers.

The key to breaking the political logjam may very well be someone like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the well-known "Northeastern Moderate from NY. " In her march toward the the 2008 presidential race she is seeking ways to demonstrate this new moderation, yet her leftist bona fides protect her from attack from the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party," as Howard Dean has named them. What better way than to get to the right of GWB on a critical, visible issue that crosses part lines like this?

Immigration is beneficial to the US and to the immigrants, but Americans have the right to demand sensible immigration laws and a policy that actually enforces them. The status quo is dangerous and makes a mockery of the legal immigration process.