Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The 2007 Immigration Bill

I have thought, multiple times over a period of months, to write about the immigration issue and this year's immigration bill. But the problem with that, especially with any thought of writing about the immigration bill, is that it's not clear what's actually in the bill.

A lot of folks have had a lot to say about what's in the immigration bill currently being considered in the Senate. And a lot of what's being said conflicts — not just in interpretation or implications of provisions, but in the basic facts of what the bill provides. Time and again, one senator would make a claim and another would make an absolutely contradictory claim. One would say the bill would allow imprisoned felons to get Z visas and citizenship, for example, while another would say those individuals were absolutely precluded from Z visas and from any consideration for U.S. citizenship. Obviously, I thought, at least one of them was lying. But now I'm not so sure, as the bill has apparently been being extensively modified and rewritten, even today — even tonight. Under such conditions, no senator can know just what is (and isn't) in the bill this afternoon, or this evening, or what was in it this morning. The same is true of the bill's amendments. So the senators are making different assumptions, relying on what they've been told by people they trust. The senators may not be lying, but they may well have been lied to.

That being the case, I cannot either support or oppose this bill based on what's in it. But I have decided I must oppose it.

The reason I've come down on the side against this bill is procedural. This bill has been brought up, and is being pushed through the Senate, in a unique manner. It has not been handled like any normal bill. There have been no committee hearings, no committee debate, and no committee amendments. Normally, this substantial and comprehensive a bill would be considered by multiple subcommittees and committees; this bill has been considered by none. Normally, a bill comes to the Senate floor in relatively final form; this bill is barely through its first draft, and the few amendments being allowed haven't yet been completed — even though they are being voted on. Harry Reid, the majority leader, is making senators vote on amendments and a final bill they haven't (and could not have) seen or read. That violates every normal principle and procedure of "the world's greatest deliberative body." The key question is why, and I don't see any possible answer that's good for this country or its people.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three Quotations

"Captain" Ed Morrissey comments on reactions to the study showing how lopsided newsrooms are in their viewpoints:

From campus speech codes to the BCRA [Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a.k.a. McCain-Feingold] to forcing journalists into political darkness, it seems that America has fallen in love with top-down solutions to hide political differences. Wouldn't sunlight be easier, more effective, and far less costly?

And here's something from an editorial on the National Review Online on the Supreme Court's decision in the Wisconsin Right to Life case:

The Washington Post, a longtime cheerleader for campaign-finance regulation, conceded that the specific advertisements involved in the case were “anodyne” but argued that it was nonetheless better to ban them than to take the risk that sham issue ads would also run: “Yesterday’s ruling reopens a dangerous loophole.”

That dangerous loophole is otherwise known as the First Amendment. If that amendment means anything, it has to mean that government should err on the side of tolerating more speech rather than less. If the power of judicial review means anything, it has to mean that the federal judiciary will not enforce laws that violate that principle. If the pursuit of campaign-finance “reform” ineluctably leads its advocates to regard free speech as a loophole, maybe they should reconsider whether it is such a good idea.

On a little different subject, but still on the subject of Americans' rights, James Taranto of the Opinion Journal web site writes on “The Truth About Guantanamo” — as opposed to what the primary networks and newspapers have been telling us. He notes that the Associated Press (and others) want the terrorists held there to simply be released. But the courts have consistently ruled that Prisoners of War can be held for the duration of their conflicts, and that these prisoners don't qualify for the rights of POWs. He questions why the AP (and others) want to give terrorists and other unlawful enemy combatants more rights than legitimate soldiers. Taranto's conclusion:

By keeping terrorists out of America, Guantanamo protects Americans' physical safety. By keeping them out of our justice system, it also protects our freedom.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Islamist Depravity

The Taliban, upstanding leaders of the Religion of PeaceTM that they are, are using six year old children as human bombs in their quest to commit mass murder.

“They placed explosives on a six-year-old boy and told him to walk up to the Afghan police or army and push the button,” said Captain Michael Cormier, the company commander who intercepted the child, in a statement. “Fortunately, the boy did not understand and asked patrolling officers why he had this vest on.”
The British soldiers defused the vest. The child's name and present location have not been released.

What can one possibly say about this? I cannot even begin to comprehend this level of subhuman behavior. The best I can do is quote:

The depravity of Islamists has no bounds. Remember that.

I Didn't Know ...

I didn't know Muslims had ritual butt washings. But apparently they do. Note the captions on a couple of the pictures posted on Michelle Malkin's site:

Masked Muslim moral police force a man wearing clothes deemed un-Islamic to suck on a plastic container Iranians use to wash their bottoms.

The Iranian morality police arrest the infidel after forcing him to drink from the toilet watering cans hanging around his neck.

Note that the Iranian "police" are enforcing their "morality" on people who are not conceivably subject to Islamic law, much less their extremist interpretation.

Here's a simple, less egregious example:

Whipped for wearing a soccer shirt.

This picture, like the others posted by several "new media" folks, are official pictures formally released by FARS and ISNA, the Iranian "news" agencies. I also note that, in these and other pictures, the "police" are all masked — which says to me these people know what they are doing is very wrong and, at some level, they are ashamed of what they are doing. Just like criminals the world over. And yet, from the pictures, they seem proud to be abusing innocent people. So why are they hiding behind masks?

More on this at Gateway Pundit, Captains Quarters, and Ali Eteraz. Ali Eteraz says this is all part of the Iranian government's intimidation and misdirection efforts designed to keep Iranians from protesting the fact that Iran's economy has been so mismanaged, that it is in so deep a hole, that this oil-rich nation must ration gasoline to its population.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Views of Iran

Jay Nordlinger had a spectacular Impromptus column a week ago (June 13. In one piece of it, he related something he saw at the “Davos in the Desert” conference not long ago:

Well, at this conference, I witnessed a spectacular outburst from a Palestinian journalist, directed at an Iranian official. The Palestinian pointed out that Iran was acting as the enemy of the Arabs, sowing murder and chaos in Iraq, Lebanon, and the PA [the Palestinian Authority] — arming and training Iraqi militias, Hezbollah, and Hamas.
And what kind of murder and chaos is Iran sowing? And how effective is Iran being at their chosen method of warfare? Nordlinger quotes from an article by Victor Davis Hanson:
not only can “a suicide bomber with a $100 vest” destroy “$1 million worth of electrical infrastructure.” In a “gruesome equation,” he can “cast the American engineers into the role of the incompetent or sinister by their failure to repair and rebuild faster than an illiterate can destroy.”
And that, in a nutshell, is the problem we face in asymmetrical warfare — especially when major elements of our own population refuse to recognize we're in a war at all.

Nordlinger provides a fitting summation: “It is worth bearing in mind: Israel and the United States aren’t the only countries that fear and hate the Iranian regime. And those who fear and hate that regime the most, of course, are Iranian citizens themselves.”

Iran has declared war on us — the United States and the West. Can't we at least take them at their word on this?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Twenty Years Ago

It was twenty years ago this week — on June 12, 1987 — that Ronald Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall and issued his most famous challenge: “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” The Wall came down just two years later. Now only a small piece remains, which the German government is trying its best to preserve as a remembrance and a memorial.

It wasn’t supposed to happen. The State Department and the National Security Council both objected, saying it was both useless and needlessly provocative. Of course, they were wrong. Reagan knew it and kept the line in the speech, knowing it was the right thing to say. Eventually, we all knew it, too.

Red Light Cameras

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez has been a big proponent of red light cameras. Mayor Marty said the automated system would enable the city's police officers to concentrate more on crime fighting rather than traffic control. He said having these dealt with administratively would avoid clogging the courts. And they wouldn't perturb the Motor Vehicle Division, either, since the city had no power to cause points to be assessed against drivers licenses. Mayor Marty said the hefty fines ($100, $250, and $500 as compared to a fine of about $20 for this offence on a real traffic ticket) would be a deterrent that would cause infractions to drop and accidents to fall. Mayor Marty said this measure was a safety issue.

Opponents objected to the level of the fines, to the lack of due process, to the city usurping state authority, and to the imposition of this new "cash cow" revenue source for the city. They were also concerned that the city would shorten the yellow lights, as had been done in other cities, to increase the city's cash take regardless of its effect on safety. There was also concern that the company that processes the tickets has a positive incentive to maximize the number of tickets to maximize it's take (and, coincidentally, that of the city as well). Mayor Marty, the city traffic engineer, and others assured everyone this was about safety rather than money, and the city certainly would not be so dishonest as to monkey with the yellow light timings.

Albuquerque radio station KKOB AM's afternoon host Jim Villanucci has now taken up the cause of the red light cameras. After hearing primarily from proponents for so long, how we're hearing some reality. Now we hear in instance after instance how administrative abuse has replaced judicial review, with city administrative officers berating truthful appellants as liars and routinely upholding erroneous citations. It has also developed that citations have been regularly issued and upheld against cars that did enter the intersection after the light turned red, but did so legitimately under the control of a right turn green arrow. The city absolutely denied this ever happened — right up until confronted with video proof on Albuquerque television station KOAT. And that's the good part of the news.

Now it develops that accidents are not down at the intersections with the red light cameras, as the city has been insisting. The actual statistics show that accidents are up at all or nearly all — at some, the accident rate has doubled since the red light cameras started working. And people are out timing the length of the yellow lights, finding that many have been reduced from 4 seconds to less than 3. On KKOB radio last week, the city engineer claimed these signals all had their yellow lights set for a 4 second timing, and challenged his interviewer (Jim Villanucci) to time them himself. Even during that interview, people were calling in reporting their measurement of yellow light times under 3 seconds. The next day Albuquerqueans observed city workers changing the yellow light times from under 3 seconds to the 4 seconds the city traffic engineer had falsely said they were set at — and they got pictures and video of the city workers making the changes.

In other words, it looks like everything the city and its mayor have said on this subject has been a bunch of lies.

This shouldn't be a surprise. A number of studies (some of these, for example) have shown red light cameras do not increase safety or reduce accidents. What does reduce accidents is increasing the length of the yellow light. Indeed, one study cited by Villanucci said increasing the length of the yellow light by 1.5 seconds (to 5.5 seconds) reduced red light violations and accidents by more than 90 percent.

But Albuquerque and Mayor Marty don't care about that. They're really just in the program for the revenue.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Paul McCartney

Bob Clark, the morning host on KKOB Radio in Albuquerque, has a young son. And that son came in all excited at something he'd just learned.

"Dad, did you know Paul McCartney was a musician before he married Heather Mills?"

"Yeah, he was in a band called Wings."

And I bet he had no idea why his father was laughing so hard!

Sunday, June 3, 2007


There's a reason the Vikings called it Greenland.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

We've Got To Negotiate

We're constantly being told we're losing in Iraq, particularly by the primary newspapers and television networks. These same folks continue on to say "... and we've got to negotiate directly with Iran and Syria."

Funny how those same folks are the ones who decline to report stories about Iraqis turning on al Qaeda (under its many names and guises) and taking — asking — help from U.S. military forces there to help protect their people from the foreign mercenaries.

It also seems to me that the call for us to negotiate directly with Iran and Syria is a direct acknowledgment that those two countries are the current participants in Iraq (the ones providing arms and funds and direction, and most of the manpower) and the violence there is a proxy war rather than a civil war.

Now if they'd just be honest enough to admit it, ....