Sunday, April 30, 2006

Do the Math, this Boycott is costing TAX DOLLARS

In the recent boycott/protest in Dallas, it was estimated that the cost of the safety and welfare personnel was $400,000. Yes, that is one dollar for every person that protested. Read ONE TAXPAYER DOLLAR because that is where the money comes from. Tomorrow, if the powers of La Raza and LULAC have their ways, millions will walk out of schools and businesses and march. For schools, this means lower attendance which affects how states compensate the very same schools that are already education students who are here illegally for FREE. That is MORE TAXPAYER DOLLARS. For cities and towns it means, overtime for EMT's, police and traffic patrols. In times such as these when municipalities are having to cut services, this means that due to this march of people who are here illegally, more TAXPAYER DOLLARS will end up being used for that and not for such things as fire, ambulance, disaster, theft, crime and domestic disturbances, which in turn will drive up the crime stats. There are those who say that the Illegal Immigrants pay into taxes for services they don't recieve. I say, HOGWASH. Every time their children get free meals at school, free innoculations at the local clinic or medical services at the county hospital which is supported by TAXPAYER DOLLARS, they are using and abusing a system in which they do not participate as a full partner. I have even heard it said that if they were not being paid under the table and therefore exempt from taxes that the rest of us pay as a matter of fact, they would not do the jobs they do. I have no issue with those who come here legally, but I think the bar needs to be set high, as it was for my grandfather and grandmother so here goes-
-Learn English-believe it or not it's part of LULAC's charter. They believed then that economic empowerment came with learning English. Why that has changed I don't know, but the rules still apply.
-Pay your fair share. Expect to pay taxes not just on purchases, but on your income as well.
-Support the programs you are getting for free by insisting that you children attend school and make progress. Be part of the solution.
-Don't do things that cripple an economic system that has made it possible for you to work for far more than you would in your native country. That is known as killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg. It's foolish on too many levels to name.
-Don't just send money home. Save some, plan a future that involves something other than just sitting around. The idea of working for ten years to retire for forty is silly and will only result in failure down the road. If not here, then back home, because economies change and have a way of imploding when they aren't controlled, and Mexico is ripe for a bout of inflation.

Fred Fry International: Offshore America Off-Limits to Oil Drilling

Fred Fry International: Offshore America Off-Limits to Oil Drilling

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Current Observations on Immigration

In watching the news lately I have observed a few things. First of all, there seems to be a certain uneasiness on the part of mainstream news to take obvious sides in the immigration debate. I find that fascinating in that usually their bias one way or the other is pretty transparent. I also did a little bit of research and found out some surprising details. Did you know that in LULAC's Charter, there is a mandate to LEARN ENGLISH???? Look it up. It's right there in black and white. So obviously some of the earlier immigrants discovered that acquisition of the English language would further empower them. Following that thought, what does the consistent application of bilingualism, which marginalizes English into a secondary language, seek to create in the students? Could it be that some of the people in power in the Latino community desire that their followers be ignorant of the REAL ISSUES? I know that Americans can't vote in Mexico, yet that is what is being suggested here right now. There's also a great deal of talk about how the "first illegal immigrants were Austin, Houston, Bowie and Travis...." which isn't true anyway since the Mexican government wanted someone else to live in the border areas to cushion their cities from Indian attacks from the north. And plus, there's just one little issue, within Mexico many people pride themselves on their "Spanish Heritage". Spain is a EUROPEAN NATION. Cortez came and slaughtered the innocent Aztecs. So doesn't that make at least some of the more Spanish Mexicans, European invaders right up there with Columbs (Italian), LaFitte (French) and DeVaca (oops, Spanish again....). This total nonsense of Mexico claiming that the American west was "stolen" is nothing more that saber-rattling conjecture. If Mexico had had the army and the wealth to maintain their hold on the section from California to Louisiana, they would have it still. Once again, to hit the specific points against unchecked immigration with such travel no one would
  • Have a way to check the legality of people entering or leaving a nation making terrorism even more possible.
  • Be able to prevent the spread of serious and formerly dormant communicable diseases from infected persons.
  • Be able to maintain a decent salary due to the undercutting by black market economies.
  • Be able to travel into Mexico because this system supports the governments corruption and strengthens the hold drug cartels have on border towns on either side of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is using the US as a way to provide their citizens with free healthcare, education and safety-all things that Mexico should be doing for its people by itself. We are the safety valve that keeps corruption in power. The way to cleanse Mexico is to shut the borders, prevent the unchecked flow of hard currency from the US into Mexico, stop providing services without documentation.

I wonder if the leaders of the Monday scheduled walkouts have considered what would happen if all the Mexicans walked out and business went on as usual? What then compadre? Maybe the US citizens, which already work more hours than the rest of the free world, would just do like always and suck it up and keep on working. The people I feel sorry for are those here legally who must answer for the stupidity of those that fall in line with politicians that have more of an interest in posing for CNN than in solving problems. If the Dems were so excited about solving this issue, why did they shut down the bill?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gotta Keep Em Separated...religion and the state university

As a somewhat conservative person, I do appreciate that freedom OF religion doesn't mean freedom FROM religion. But I do draw the line at abuse. And I see signs that things are going towards that in many sectors to a large degree. I am a Catholic as are my husband and children. We live our faith but allow others to make their own choices which I think is fair. We also happen to live in the shiny beltbuckle of the Bible Belt, sporting the former largest Baptist Church-now demoted to number two by the renovated facility in Houston. While most of these people are harmless, there are a number that are not only harmful, but downright offensive with their attitudes. Case in point would be the issue between my daughter and her dorm hall director. The hall director is a Conservative Baptist Christian American in that order. Her staff meetings became prayer sessions and her Girl's Night Out became Bible Study. On the surface, these aren't harmful, except that my daughter chose not to attend due to a class conflict and a general uneasy feeling. So all the women on the staff were expected to go to church, the same church, the hall director's church. When my daughter didn't show up, their were cold shoulders tossed and catty jibes. This is a STATE university. Also, as part of their "Christian" duty no doubt, girls were expected to babysit the hall director's baby. When anyone balked, their rating went down. My daughter's wing won hall of the year for the past two years, yet when she tried to switch dorms for next fall due to the pressure to conform, her rating mysteriously went down and she didn't get a bid to work. Despite being RA of the year. Despite having the highest GPA on staff. Despite working while sick, handling everything from drunk coeds to fights. And all because of the vindictive hypocrisy of her hall director. I don't begrudge anyone a chance to worship as long as it doesn't impact me, but more and more religion is being used as a hammer to pressure public institutions to bend to the will of a religious minority. This isn't the first time we have had a run in with a well-meaning alleged Christian. While in elementary the head of the local Baptist Sunday School's daughter told my child she was going to hell. When I approached the mother that such things were certainly not kind, she agreed but then SAID THE SAME THING TO ME! What kind of "church" teaches such vile opinions to children? We point fingers at groups such as the Taliban and AlQuada that preach a sermon of hatred and worship death, but when someone in charge uses their misplaced authority to keep a college student from working-losing them their income and their residence, then something is VERY VERY WRONG. My daughter is tired of fighting the fight and wants to finish out the term and go away, but if things went down the way I think they did, then there are some serious lies in her employment record, and they need to be cleared up before she signs off on anything. Has anyone else dealt with such things at a STATE UNIVERSITY???? Now at Baylor or Abilene Christian, I could possibly see it, but that is the very reason she chose a STATE UNIVERSITY.....seriously.

A very interesting blog...

I highly recommend this stuff. Especially the haiku, but don't be decieved...

The Trouble with Colleges

It used to be that a college diploma was a tacit agreement that you were a success and could expect good things in life. A generation ago, just getting through high school was a miracle in some parts of this country. Now the broad based assumption is that "everyone should go to college." I want to tell you that the conventional wisdom is dead wrong. Everyone does NOT belong in college although in certain corners it is expected and some segments of society feel they are entitled to admission. Let me say a couple of things here....I think we are fooling ourselves and our kids if we let them pass through high school assuming that they belong in college. Not everyone is capable of what should be a rigorous level of academic achievement. But a couple of things are happening that I find troubling. First of all, unless you are poor, or a minority, or disabled, it has become increasingly difficult to afford a conventional four year college. I know kids, my daughter for one, who have high school records of AP classes and high grades along with college class GPA's of 3.8, who file requests for scholarships and aid, and get NOTHING. I also know of athletes who really can barely function in high school classes, who are getting four year free rides. What is wrong with this picture. We don't support the kids who will probably be running things in ten years, but we do fund kids who have maybe a 2% chance of playing their game professionally? What message does this send? Believe me the kids know.

Another issue is that colleges and universities have become so isolated from the rest of us that they often create issues and barriers to the average student where none existed before. What should be their responsibility, such as lecturing, counseling, teaching and advising, is seen as drudge work to be done under duress and then with little accuracy or understanding on the huge financial burden every mistake means. When a kid is told to take a class, buys the overpriced textbook (which can't be sold back because a new version is coming.....!!!!) and then finds that due to lack of information the class won't apply to the degree plan or even worse, prevents them from taking needed classes in a timely fashion, there should be some professional repercussions against the advisor. I have seen this happen twice now to my daughter. Remember her, the one with the 3.8 GPA. She works her tail off, but due to the silly way that class hours are assigned, she won't graduate for another two years. While our current state governor wants there to be limits and penalties for students that take longer than four years in college, I wonder how in the world he thinks average families and average kids are going to do that without mortgaging the family home? My kids both work full time. Despite requests, jobs on campus go to those who are connected (i.e. politically connected kiss-ups and perky Greeks) while the rest of the kids work two or three jobs to live at subsistence level. My son currently has $55 left over at the end of the month. And with gas going up, that will be swallowed quickly.
Something has GOT to change. We are sending kids to school who have no intention of doing anything other than wasting money and simply getting wasted in general. The kids who are trying to do the right thing are either in debt up to their eyeballs with college loans or they are struggling just to eat once a day. When is someone going to stop caring so much about those who don't even care and give some support to the kids who are doing the right thing?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Why Hasn't Mexico Stepped Up to the Plate Rather than Up to the Table?

One thing that I have not seen in the media, is the opinion of WHY so many people seek to leave their homeland and come here. I think it has a great deal to do with Mexico's abdication of responsibility in regards to the safety and welfare of the majority of its population. In all candor, I can't say I would do any differently if faced with the graft-ridden government that claims to function on behalf of the Mexican people. I think on Vicente Fox's part there is a certain amount of cultural grandstanding which has led to the two-fold issue of playing the race card and making a claim upon the "return of Atzlan". Both of these should be non-starters, but the media gives those views play without asking what Mexico has done for its own people.
I work with a very well-educated lady from Mexico City, and the kids she is seeing at the high school level are not only unable to read and speak English, but are largely illiterate in Spanish. English is a minor hurdle because if the child is fluent in Spanish, there are ways to reach common ground and common goals. But if the student is illiterate in their own tongue, they have the double whammy of ignorance of their own language and inability to reach understanding of the language that will provide them economic gain. Mexico is relying on the U.S. to provide education and health care and other services because it chooses NOT to provide those things. Add to that the millions of dollars of U.S. currency that flow into Mexico keeping its economy afloat, and there is no reason for Mexico to even try to enforce its borders.
We must change that. We need to make it costly to employ undocumented workers, more expensive to send money out of the country and harder to obtain services without documentation. Even France, that bastion of the politically correct and socially progressive, makes people have some sort of proof of entitlement before giving services. I don't think it is too much to expect at least a minimal adherence to our laws and standards.
It's galling to have someone break the law by entering illegally, using bogus Social Security numbers and avoid paying their share of the burden and then having that same person DEMAND that their views be catered to. It's an insult to the millions who have come here before LEGALLY and those who wait patiently to do the same.

Friday, April 14, 2006

What Do You Believe?

Faith is an iffy sort of thing. Faith is what keeps us waking up in the morning and allows us to sleep at night. But faith is very different than religion. Faith is the core belief in something or someone more powerful than yourself. Religion is the social trappings of faith as interpreted by man. I like to think that I have faith, in God, in my Family, in myself. But I don't consider myself religious. Not any more. I used to be very religious. Mass on Sunday, fasting, teaching CCD the works. But at some point between the disdain of certain Bible Belt Religions and the truly tragic problems in my own church, I just don't feel like I belong. I go when my Mom comes to town. I go on holidays, but there's not a real connection. I wish I had that. I wish that my kids had felt more connected to something spiritual growing up. But the Catholic Church didn't offer much for teenagers when my kids were in high school. Their friends went off to church camp and choir and other activities, but for our kids there was just this void. They were neither fish nor fowl. Other kids would ask them if they were Christian, claiming that our status was questionable in the eyes of some denominations. My daughter had even been told she was going to hell, by a Sunday School Teacher's daughter. Is this really what was meant by The Word? That we would belittle and betray each other but fool ourselves into thinking we were "saved" simply because we said the right words and showed up every Sunday? Shouldn't there be more to faith than that? I am discouraged with the world. I am not a person that seeks people to dislike, but I see and hear so much of what my Mom calls "meanness". It's as if only our skin color and our car model determines our fate in life. I have tried to raise my kids to seek the truth behind the person, but honestly, they have had a hard time finding people that they can trust. I dont' know who to trust any more. Sometimes it seems like I am bearing the world on my shoulders. I wish my trust was stronger or that I didn't need such clear truth in order to follow. But sadly, I am just not that willing to trust. I've been hurt too much and I am just so afraid that everything I know is wrong. Maybe it's just a bad time of day, or a bad time of year. Or a bad time to be alive. I just need something to change. I need the world to change because fear is an awful tyrant to live with. And faith is fragile at best.

Monday, April 03, 2006

April 10th

For years I have hated my birthday due to its unfortunate association with Hitler. So many incidents of violence and sheet blind stupidity have occurred on my birthday that it makes me concerned about other days as well. One of them comes up next Monday. There have been rumors of mass protests by Hispanic students in our city. Let me tell you why that is a bad idea. Anyone who has been at an unchaperoned teen party can recall the mayhem that ensues and the menace that remains. Imagine that time 100. So you have these kids, some of whom have never been downtown before and don't know the ropes. They could be nice kids, but you have to assume that when a day out of school is involved, that there are some not so nice kids involved as well. I looked at the film clips of recent rallies and sure there were a few bright kids who knew the issues and could articulate them for the media circus. But for every one of them there were ten others waving flags, shouting epithets and generally behaving like uncontrolled unsupervised teenagers. The sad thing is that if someone gets hurt, the schools will be the first to be blamed. The worst case scenario is that gang members, and yes they were there, you can see them dress like a bunch of identical twin thugs throughout the crowds, will come armed. It doesn't take much to set off some of these people. And if you get the wrong two gangs in the middle of a crowd you could end up with a massacre. There was nothing really "peaceful" about these rallies. There is nothing "peaceful" about breaking the law and then demanding arbitration as if you are special. Lots and lots and lots of people are waiting all over the world to come to the US. They pay their dues, file their papers, learn the language and wait while others break the laws, overload the educational and social welfare system and generally take without returning anything meaningful to society. Spare me the one about "jobs Americans don't want" because I guarantee that if the jobs are there, somewhere an American is doing them. The deal is that illegal immigrants are crossing over, breaking laws and employers use that as justification to pay lower under the table black market wages, which siphon down to Mexico and help keep their lame economy afloat. If the people who came here had stayed and force meaningful change in Mexico City, then the citizens of that nation would have no reason to leave. But I don't understand leaving a nation that has abandoned its people econmically, and then putting down and insulting the nation that you snuck into through these protests. If you think these kids know the score consider this-
Students at Turner HS in Carrollton left school to march to Carrollton City Hall. They walked up Josey to the next high school, Newman Smith. Those students couldn't leave due to a lockdown. So the Turner kids kept walking, until they reached a parking lot at the nearby Target. They were lost. They had walked RIGHT PAST THE CITY HALL on Josey and didn't have a clue. And these are the people we are supposed to support as cutting edge politicians? Please......

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Favorite Mystery Writers

I read according to mood. I started reading mysteries while cloistered at my grandparents house in Enid, Oklahoma-better known as "The Land That Time Forgot". Anyway, I found myself wading through mysteries and I have found a group that I enjoy. Hopefully you will as well. Post a comment if you have any questions....

1. Anything by Tony Hillerman-He's the tops, he's the Tower of Pisa...etc.
2. Anything by Dorthy Sayers, but for God's sake read them in order......
3. Steven Saylor-He's a former University of Texas Classic professor that has a series based in Ancient Rome. Good Stuff, although my favorite book deals with the missing years of O. Henry called "A Twist at the End". Anyone who loves Austin, has been to Austin or has heard of Austin should read it.
4. Leslie Davis-Similar stuff to Saylor. Sad to say her American publisher dropped her before I got the last book, but when I emailed her, she responded that there was a new publisher in the works, so hopefully, her books will be back at Borders soon.
5. Nevada Barr-It's a vacation in a national park with a mystery thrown in . Fun.
6.Jessican Speart-Sort a poor womans' Nevada Barr. Similar stuff.
7. J. A. Jance-Really strong writing, although I prefer her woman sheriff protaganist to the private eye. Great reads, they will keep your attention.
8. Leslie Glass-Her main character is intriguing, once again introducing a culture unknown to most of us. Good plots, great flow, good stuff.
9. Barbara Hambly-Interesting main character, a free man of color who is trained as a doctor, but resides in New Orleans sometime prior to the Civil War from the sounds of it. Interesting takes on New Orleans and on history.
10. Elizabeth George-Terrific and well detailed British writing in the great footsteps of Dorthy Sayers.
11. Faye Kellerman-With all due respects to her husband, her work at incorporating a very interesting and mostly unknown culture within the framework of a Los Angeles Police story, is breathtaking.
12. Rick Riordan-San Antonio is probably one of my favorite towns. Riordan lends a knowledgeable hand to the the Golden Triangle that exists between Austin and SA. Good stuff.
13. Laura Lippman-Based in Baltinmore, this is a good series. I have kind of lost track, but I will see what the bookstore has for me the next time I go.

Ironic how there are thirteen authors....oh well. Let me know what you think, or better yet, since I read obsessively and end up reading EVERYTHING an author has in no time, give me ideas for others to read.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

El Norte

I've been swamped for awhile so my blog has suffered. Not that anyone is reading this, but apologies anyway. I am baffled about the whole immigration issue. Being from Texas, I can tell you that Hispanics have contributed in ways both positive and negative. I don't think anyone really minds that people are crossing the border to seek a better life because the United States is a nation of immigrants-and yes that includes even the Native Americans who came from ancestors who crossed the Bering Land Bridge. I think what many people resent, and I include myself in this group, is the impression that the people who have broken OUR LAWS and crossed illegally feel totally entitled to do this. Similar attitudes towards Mexican laws are not tolerated south of the border, yet there is this sense of impunity, that they are owed, which grates on the nerves of many who have struggled just as hard to live from day to day.

Part of the problem is Mexico itself. Anyone who has followed the border war that exists between the Mexican government and the Drug Cartels is very aware that this is a corrupt government that appears more interested in sustaining the power at elite levels than addressing the needs for the vast poverty striken levels of the Mexican population. For a long time, desperate people have sought to come to the US to seek better pay. Much of that money returns to Mexico and in turn keeps a turgid Mexican economy from taking a dive. If you talk to any citizen,teacher, hospital, mayor or police officer along our border to the south, you will hear endless accounts of desperate poverty. Who can blame them for wanting to escape? But then again, by leaving their own country, they also give that nation a pass to continue the same old, tired systems that have offered so little to its citizens. El Norte, The United States, has become the safety valve that prevents the pressure cooker that is Mexico from exploding. So on that level, while I don't blame them for leaving, it does little to improve the conditions that exist in their native land.

The rest of the problem is that the pie isn't growing bigger. By that I mean, our resources are finite in amounts, and when countless number legally and illegally come to our country, they must contribute in a meaningful way to further our national goals. What is happening instead is that the willingness to work off the books for lower wages, is weakening the minimum wage and preventing those who were born, educated and live here from getting the entry level jobs that they need to break the cycles of poverty. This has been an issue in Florida for quite awhile, where young African American males are shut out of a job market in which Hispanics and bilingual are the rule. Should a person be REQUIRED to speak Spanish in the United States? While it is good to have more than one language, the strength of a nation is based on shared culture and shared goals. I don't know that a person who lives in this country for decades, but still doesn't speak or understand English could be considered a full participant in the American Experience. This is a different mindset than previous immigrants expressed. In the early twentieth century, ethnic Germans, Poles, Italians and Irish learned English and with that joined the rest of the melting pot. Right now, many of the immigrants from India, Asia and the Middle East work hard to move out of ESL classes and into the American Dream and are doing it in record numbers. Compare that with the huge numbers of students that linger in bilingual classes from Kindergarten through high school and never master the language enough to move past that level. There is no reason for them to learn when TV channels, media and even the government enable their unwillingness to become part of the bigger picture. And it's that resistance we saw on display during the student protests. (Incidentally, lest you think those were spontaneous and such, there were some big money sources promoting this internet campaign such as George Soros, and others of the same political views....)

I am not particularly offended by the protestors flying the Mexican flag. It is their national flag after all. I am however, deeply offended by the burning of the flag and the confrontation of the one girl who had and American flag. I guess in part I really don't understand. Mexicans leave a country that takes their taxes but doesn't support them for the United States, they take jobs for lower wages eroding the minimum wage and keeping OUR CITIZENS out of work, they get social and educational services for which they do not pay the same level of taxes, they send much of the money home in American dollars which is hard currency and floats the Mexican economy due to the exchange rate, and then they BURN THE US FLAG????? That's almost a declaration of way socially. The reasons that borders exist is because that is the limit of a nation's laws. Cross the border, new set of laws, it's as simple as that. So why is it that specifically Mexicans think they can come here, break our laws and get away with it? And they do on a daily basis. Just this week, a serial rapist caught in Ft. Worth, gang style killings along Webb Chapel Extension, a variety of drug and gang related crimes that fill our jails, make our streets unsafe and end up costing us more money. Perhaps if Mexico had a better grasp of their own problems, we would not inherit so many of them, but it's been estimated that 30% of the felons in prison in our state are from across the border. I don't know if they were career criminals before they cross the Rio Grande, but I do know that once you break one law, it is much easier to break more.

The only solution I can come up with is this-make a STRINGENT legal alien worker policy that sets PERMANENT limits on how long someone can stay with a work visa and ENFORCE IT. Build a wall all along the border and staff it with kids in a Civial Corps and pay the kids in college credits and scholarships to state schools. Make the rules stick and fine and/or jail those people, workers and company owners alike, who break them.