30 March, 2006
My First Cross-Post Ever! Man, does that feel good! It even has the standard Off Colfax fare of parenthetical comments.
Now I'm going to sleep. At least once the Advil kicks in. I have one hell of a headache after writing that one. Which means I probably need to get a different computer chair, as this one kills my neck and upper back when I've been sitting here for over 4 hours straight.
C'est la vie.
29 March, 2006
Seems I've been invited to join an almost brand spanking new group blog called Creative Destruction. You may have noticed it's sudden arrival in the Blogroll here.
I'm probably going to be one of the primary non-progressives on the site, from how things seem to be shaping up so far, but I can get along with anyone. After all, if I can buy Jeff Goldstein a beer, I can literally get along with just about everybody. (Well, it was also quite fun to watch him get falling-down drunk that night. He seriously missed sitting down in a chair by at least 4 feet.)
Now, some of you are probably wondering what that will do for my production levels here. Well, you can't do worse than non-existant, can you? If anything, it might inspire me to do even more posts, about an even wider range of topics, than I've been doing so far to date.
Consider this a rundown post:
The aforementioned Jeff Goldstein has been on the receiving end of a lot of target practice from the left-hand-side these days. Atrios has been leading the charge with the name-calling and, as usual, the more vocal of the strong progressive bloggers have done a lot of "Yeah, me too!" comments. I've already established my views on this sort of thing, so I don't feel like I need to reiterate myself, particularly not twice in four days.
Via Kevin comes this link that seriously made me want to cry. Not from depression or despair, but serious insanity. Apparently the Values Voters, who are apparently only concentrating on their own values and figure the rest of the planet can go away if they don't like it, have declared war on so-called "activist judges" who dare to act in ways that do not fall directly within the VV worldview. Personally, all I see is an attempt to make the United States just as dominated by Biblical law as Afghanistan is dominated by sharia law. And we all know how well that is being recieved here in the States, don't we?
And finally, Andrew Card has resigned as Bush's Chief of Staff. Now, I wasn't a huge fan of his politics, or even his performance, yet I can't help but wonder... Did he jump or was he pushed? I don't have anything substantive to back up this gut-feeling, though. Regardless, he will be off the scope as of April 14th, and my message to Andy is this: GET SOME FRIGGIN' SLEEP! Sheeesh, the guy's been getting into the office at 4:30 in the morning and not leaving until after 9 at night, for crying out loud, and over the past couple of years has been under constant fire from us Democrats, and sporatic fire from his own party, too. I don't know about most of you folks, but I'd be folding under within 3 weeks of that schedule. Let the man rest, and start targeting this Joshua Bolten character (who appears to be an Andy Card clone) instead.
26 March, 2006
From the AP, emphases mine:
Immigration rights advocates more than 500,000 strong marched in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, demanding that Congress abandon attempts to make illegal immigration a felony and to build more walls along the border.
The massive demonstration, by far the biggest of several around the nation in recent days, came as President Bush prodded Republican congressional leaders to give some illegal immigrants a chance to work legally in the U.S. under certain conditions.
Wearing white shirts to symbolize peace, marchers chanted "Mexico!" "USA!" and "Si se puede," an old Mexican-American civil rights shout that means "Yes, we can." They waved the flags of the U.S., Mexico and other countries, and some wore them as capes.
"They say we are criminals. We are not criminals," said Salvador Hernandez, 43, of Los Angeles, a resident alien who came to the United States illegally from El Salvador 14 years ago and worked as truck driver, painter and day laborer.
Elsa Rodriguez, 30, a trained pilot who came to Colorado in 1999 from Mexico to look for work, said she just wants to be considered equal.
"We're like the ancestors who started this country, they came from other countries without documents, too," said the Arvada resident. "They call us lazy and dirty, but we just want to come to work. If you see, we have families, too."
Now, is it just me, or is there not a serious incongruity in the first set of boldface text? A person admits to crossing an international border, without documentation or passing through customs, and claims to not be a criminal? For me, that is the root issue here.
Illegal immigrants are simply that: people who broke the law to get into this country. Their intentions are possibly good: doing it to build a better life for their children and/or sending much needed money to their families in their home countries. These are good things to aspire to, and I will not begrudge them their reasoning. Yet they, in their haste to do so, still broke the law. (Warning: link leads to long file that requires much digging to get anything of substance from.) And thus, logically, they actually are criminals. Criminals with good intent, certainly, but the law does not always recognize the intention behind an action that violates the law. And those it does recognize, such as self-defense for an example, tend to become codified into the law itself.
What else would the expected final result be? Would people actually expect a completely different country to allow non-citizens to recieve absolutely all of the benefits of citizens without actually becoming citizens? Of course not. Not even Mexico has free-ranging rights for non-citizens, so why should people who are not American citizens expect the same from this country? It seems to me that this is among the largest double-standards in the known universe.
And now for the second misconception I boldfaced in the article: that the people who started this country were themselves "without documents" just like modern illegal immigrants. For this, we must naturally delve into the history of this country. Particularly, we must delve into the concept of colony. From the definition as found in the American Heritage dictionary:
A group of emigrants or their descendants who settle in a distant territory but remain subject to or closely associated with the parent country.Got that part? Good. For people who went through the American education system, this is an obvious point to make, yet it is obviously lost on the person quoted in the article.
This country was started off by subjects of the British Crown. The land of the original 13 Colonies was part and parcel of the British Crown, and the people living on it were subjects of King George the Second, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. and it was all considered to be one great big country. (Aside, of course, for certain misunderstandings, misconceptions, and that whole rebellion thing. This has been the history of the American Revolution condensed into 20 words or less, and my high school history teacher rolls over in her grave.) As such, they needed no documentation, just as we need no documentation to move from California to Florida.
(Admittedly, many Native American tribes would consider a vast majority of us to be descended from undocumented immigrants. After all, they were living here at the time, and suddenly all these palefaced strangers show up and start pretending like they own the place. Therefore, I will accept this type of argument from a Tribal member. I'm not too unreasonable.)
For a hypothetical example, what would happen if the State of Alaska was to suddenly declare itself independent from the United States? Would those people currently living in Alaska be considered as being "without documentation"? I doubt it. Of course, it would all depend on what kind of citizenship determinations that they would settle upon in an entirely hypothetical situation such as the one I described.
Indeed, aside from the current situation, there has only been one series of "illegal" immigration that I can think of: the slave trade. After all, I highly doubt that a bunch of African tribal people decided to wait in line to be densely packed into ships, fed only at subsistence levels, whipped, beaten, raped, sold into servitude for the rest of their lives, whipped and beaten some more, and forced to live in what we would now call inhumane conditions until the day they dropped dead. So of course, by modern standards, they must have been "without documentation", right?
Personally, at least two sets of my ancestors came here via Ellis Island. (I haven't researched the geneological records of my mother's side of the family yet. That will be my next big project over the next few years.) They went through the lines. They answered the questions. They watched as other, not-so-fortunate souls boarded a ship to take them back to the countries they came from. They made it through the immigration process.
So why can't you? It takes too long? Fine. So don't get mad when you get called out for jumping the line.
The only illegal immigrants I have any positive viewpoints towards are those who were children when their parents decided to cross the border. They had no choice in the matter and, as such, should be given the benefit of the doubt. The rest of them, however, can wait in line.
It starts over there. Currently, there are a little over 10 million people in front of you, so you might want to take a good book while you wait. If living in America means that much to you, then you should go about it in the right way.
UPDATED 27.03.2006 0329:
NewMexiKen brings up something in the comments that I've heard about before, and I feel it needs mentioning. "Or perhaps we should give California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas back to Mexico." This "original ownership" argument has been brought up before. With these lands, the United States has become a great country. But with these lands, would Mexico have become a great country as well? In the very next sentence, Ken says that they were taken by "military force" which, according to both my memory of various American History classes (Admittedly faulty at best.) and this synopsis provided by HistoryGuy.com, was an expansion of the conflict from when the Republic of Texas declared it's independence from Mexico. (Remember the Alamo?) So shots were already being fired before the American army even got into the conflict. We did not get into that war with the goal of gaining all these territories, but to defend the territorial rights of people who chose to join the United States. Instead, we ended the war by saying "Okay, you give us this or we keep kicking your butts all the way to Honduras." Which, in the resulting Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ended up with the United States paying fifteen million dollars in reparation for that territory.
That and it is a route that is too easily taken into a reductio ad absurdum argument, such as giving Mexico back to the Aztecs, Mayans, and Olmecs. After all, the lands of Mexico were forcefully taken by Spain, weren't they, and wasn't that just as illegal? Which, of course, would next shove the entirety of North, Central, and South American governments back towards the European colonial powers, because our various wars of independence were taking lands by force, who would then have to revert control of those lands to non-Indo-Eurpoean-language-speaking persons. (See? Couldn't resist it, could I.) So unless you speak Nahuatl fluently...
And would moving the current border north a few hundred miles do anything to change the current situation? Seriously, this is a question that begs for an answer to the question: Would the rest of the United States continue to draw illegal immigration should this happen? More likely than not, yes. It has been found that Idaho, Virginia, and North Carolina have their own "undocumented worker" difficulties, and they aren't within the land boundries as determined by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago, are they? The draw is not the land, or the riches, but the way of life (and particularly the opportunities to improve upon said ways of life) that are the draw for illegal immigrants to jump the line.
25 March, 2006
There's one other item I need to link to before falling asleep, this one coming via Joshua Claybourn of In The Agora. After all the folderol regarding Ben Domenech, Mike Krempasky has a post over on RedState about Ben's resignation from the Washington Post's blog division. Here's probably the most pointed comment, and most deserving to those left-hand-side bloggers who vilified the man over the last few days:
You see - before they settled on the attacks on his writing - they spent three days proving that they are the lowest of the low. Charges of racism were born of poor reading comprehension. Threats of violence. Obscene commentary about his mother, his sister, his father. Loathsome, vile, and disgusting - their contempt for civil behavior surpassed only by the emptiness of their own souls. [ . . . ] These are ignoramuses that think portraying an African-American politician as Sambo is appropriate, as long as the critics are liberal and the target is a Republican.Zing.
Attack on the issues at hand, folks. If they are worthy of attack, there is little need to find ammunition someplace else. Always remember that. Regardless of which side of the political aisle we happen to be on, it is a point to blog by.
Just as Ben was brought low by the almost-eternally efficient memory that this internet provides to us, those that go over the edge on their attacks can be brought just as low via the same medium. Just like Mike is reminding us about what happened with Michael Steele in Maryland last November, this wonder of technology has given us a double-edged sword, and one that can (and does with great regularity) bite us in the assets if we're not careful with it.
Regretfully, in today's red-meat-centric blogosphere, such restraint is rarely evident. Regardless of our political viewpoint, those who attack with the greatest venom are those that are held highest in esteem. And for that, we are all brought low.
I do, however, have bad news. Wednesday, I finally gave in to the constant biting pain and visited the emergency room.
The wrist is officially broken from the bad-day episode, if only a hairline fracture of a single bone. Due to this, my typing speed has gone down from it's usual average of 45 words per minute to an anemic 20-25 WPM. After all, it is difficult to type when one has one's right hand in a cast. And, due to me possibly being the only person on this planet that could possibly turn down a prescription for Percoset, the pain level is still quite high whenever I type. Pain has been a constant companion in my life, so my threshold is still quite high. So it is basically a wash.
(Broken bones qualify as something for which I can visit the doctor. Only two other times have I done so: appendicitis and anaphylactic shock.) (Yes, I'm a stubborn bastage.)
Hopefully, blogging will return at the normal rate, or at least a closer approximation thereof, soon.
Just as soon as I can define my "normal rate" of blogging, that is. In the meantime, read this ur-blogging post by Ezra.
12 March, 2006
Islamic websites yesterday posted a "last warning" warning by Rakan Ben Williams, who describes himself as an "al-Qaida undercover soldier" in the U.S., threatening two major operations designed to bring Americans "to your knees."Yup. That'd do it to me. Go and take a peek at the article from MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, for the direct translation. There's too many things in there worth a mention, and I don't want to pull a Protein Wisdom-esque move and copy/paste the whole thing here. I'll wait while you read it, so go ahead and take your time. (Not like I have much choice but to wait. At this point in time, I'm just text on a screen to you, so it's not like I'm actually sitting in your monitor and smoking a virtual cigarette while you get done with that.)
Done? Good. Because I've been afraid of something like this happening for quite a long time now. Just as I said in this comment over on Mr. Avenger's blog, my biggest problem with the invasion of Iraq was that it took attention away from Public Enemy Number One: OBL himself.
Regardless of the varied denials by various Bush administration officials, the basic effect of putting troops into Iraq was the reduction of the troop strength available for the manhunt. Without enough boots on the ground and eyes in the skies, it should be relative child's play to evade the downgraded dragnet. And, should al Queda succeed in their plans, there will be only two places to lay the blame for it happening: Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush.
Osama gets it for, basically, authorizing the thing in the first place. Bush gets it for, basically, being oblivious enough to reality so as to allow Osama the ability to live to the point where he could authorize it, particularly after the "Dead Or Alive" speech.
For complete disclosure, I include myself as one of those who stood up and cheered the President for that speech. And for me, the subsequent misadventures and mistakes relating to the complete disregard for his promise, made to the entire country and not simply his own party, have been one of the most serious betrayals of public trust that any sitting president has ever performed. He has sunk down to the level of Richard Nixon in that regard, and not simply because of that Associated Press poll that was released last Friday. The only difference between the two, much to the chagrin of the people that run the site linked in this sentence, is that Bush has not actually done anything that is actually impeachable. (Damn.)
So if/when/until this ball actually opens, all we can do is hope that this little announcement is actually a hoax, simply one of those loose threads leading to a false lead, rather than the real McCoy. And pray that the people in charge will get their collective heads out by doing something that should have been this nation's highest priority three years ago, namely Osama bin Laden: Dead Or Alive, instead of Regime Change Made Easy.
(Now, if you could please close this window? It's a little drafty in here, and I'm having trouble lighting my cigarette. If you need me, I'll be sitting on your hard drive while working on your taxes.)
10 March, 2006
Yesterday, I filed the Online Freedom of Speech Act as an amendment to the lobbying reform bill.No arguments from me, Dr. Frist. Although I would have felt better if this was not an amendment, but instead a separate bill of it's own, the fact that it has poked its nose into the public sphere is encouraging.
From the earliest days of our republic, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, be they anonymous pamphlets, celebrated essays, or local newspapers, were understood to be fundamental to the practice and defense of liberty.
Ordinary citizens, farmers, ministers, local shop owners, published and circulated their views, often anonymously, to challenge the conventional order, and call their fellow citizens to action.
There are some who, out of fear or shortsightedness, wish to restrict the ability of our modern day-Thomas Paines to express political views on the World Wide Web.
Free speech is the core of our First Amendment. And the Internet represents the most participatory form of mass speech in human history.
As an amateur blogger myself, and soon-to-be private citizen, IÂm committed to ensuring that the extraordinary explosion of political debate in the blogosphere is protected from meddling bureaucrats and regulators in Washington, D.C.
While authoritarian regimes like Communist China struggle to control the information crossing their borders, millions of private citizens, typing away on their home computers, are engaged in millions of discreet and overlapping conversations, exchanging information, and circulating ideas.
Now all I need to do is wait for Thomas to update so I can read the amendment itself. Until then, I reserve comment.
But for now, I feel the need to buy Dr. Frist a beer. Perhaps we can invite him to the next Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash? (No, David. I'm not hinting. Just figure that a move like this would take some serious advance planning.)
[Turn signal: Instapundit]
06 March, 2006
Yays, kudos, and sincere gratitude for everything.
As for the physical damage, my knee and elbow are almost back to 100%. My wrist will take a while longer to finish healing, unfortunately. And due to the fact that it's difficult as everything to keep a bandage on one's own palm, I might end up with a new scar to add to my collection.
And seeing as how it hurts too much to type for long, I'll just post the links of the bits I've found extremely interesting today.
From Jeff Goldstein comes a victory for free speech advocates.
Via Instapundit comes a look at German abortion laws and a pondering on whether they could work here in the States.
And again via Instapundit, some space technology news that made my jaw hit the floor. Unfortunately, I redamaged my wrist when I picked it back up.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a bag of ice. However, I have found a way to keep my wrist wrapped and iced-up while playing Final Fantasy: X-2. So if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go make Yunie, Rikku, and Paine play dress-up. (Hush, you perverts! Not that kind of dress-up! Not like the thought of Rikku in a schoolgirl outfit... Okay, I'll stop there.)
02 March, 2006
And they found a doozy over the last couple of days.
Read the links here and here. Listen to the audio. And I bet you that within 15 minutes, you'll be thinking about the last academic blowhard used to denounce anyone and everyone associated with the Democratic party.
Forewarned is forearmed. Here's your shotgun.
[Turn signal to Gunny Bob Newman]
Wednesday, just after cashing my paycheck, I had my wallet stolen.
I tried to chase the bastage down, but he jumped in a car and drove off. And almost ran me over while doing so.
Don't worry. I'm in one piece. Only thing that's more wrong than usual is a banged-up wrist from when I hit the ground. Other injuries are a minor contusion on my elbow, a cut on my palm, and a bruised knee. So I count myself lucky in that regard.
But the bastage has my rent money, which is due on Monday. Oh, and he also has my credit cards (Now cancelled.) and my driver's license. And, because I also had a job interview (And one that doesn't involve gas stations at that!) earlier that morning, he also has my Social Security card, which means that all the various horror stories involving identity theft might soon happen to me. Probably stupid of me, but there was also a CBI background check involved, and they use that information during the process. Not to mention that, more often than not, I've filled out the W-2 at the end of successful interviews rather than waiting by the phone for the "You've Got Job" call. But without my driver's license, if I land the job, I won't be able to immediately accept it as it involves, you know, driving.
So if I suddenly disappear for a while, even from random comments on the sites on my blogroll, you know what generally happened.
So if you'll excuse me, I need to find a way to keep from getting evicted. And only have until Monday to do it. And I have to go to work this afternoon, too.
But first, I'll go lie in bed and stare at the ceiling until half-past-dawn or so, hoping like hell that a purring cat can relax me the rest of the way into exhausted oblivion. Because I doubt I can sleep any other way.
Very bad day.