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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tentative Statement of Thought 

Over the past few months my brain has been toying with some thoughts on how to solve the illegal immigration problem. I just put some thoughts down in response to a post by DJ Drummond (the person who brought Major General Bennett C. Landreneau to my attention). Before I share my thoughts, I'll quote from Drummond. (For more, including his thoughts on the amnesty granted to Jean Lafitte, read his complete post.)

To my mind, the issue has four fronts, which must all be addressed. There is no reasonable argument against building a barrier to border crossings, call it a wall, fence, or whatever....

The second front is to enforce the laws already on the books....

The third front is to arrange agreements with Mexico and other nations to stop encouraging or [e]nabling illegal entry....

The fourth front is to decide what to do with the twelve-to-twenty million illegal aliens already here in the United States....

The answer to me seems to be a graduated amnesty program. First, let me be very clear that an amnesty is unacceptable if it includes automatic citizenship, or which treats the illegal in a manner superior to the persons who obey the law. To some degree, this would mean improving the opportunity for legal immigrants, but also by clearly naming the limit for an amnesty.

If citizenship is not on the table then, what good is the amnesty? Plenty, actually. It seems to me that now would be a good time for Congress to consider that a resident does not, and should not, enjoy anything like the status of the citizen. A higher income tax rate for residents, no voting privilege of course, automatically stiffer penalties for any criminal conviction on American soil, and additional fees for the use of educational or medical facilities, would create a significant and reasonable advantage for someone to pursue citizenship, which should be strictly enforced on a code advancing American national interests. The resident would still enjoy advantages over the non-resident, such as a right to work and the government should create a sort of Social Security/Medicare program, where the resident could pay a tax just as citizens do (albeit at a higher rate), and have a system for his own return down the road if he stays permanently, and again there is a strong incentive to become a full citizen....

Sharpen the definitions of ‘citizen’ and ‘resident’, make clear that we welcome all sorts of legal immigrants but must protect our borders and enforce our laws, and offer the chance to start over for people who leave politely and immediately. And make very, very clear that anyone who remains here against the law after than point may expect a stronger and more determined, coordinated response at all levels.

I responded as follows:

I believe that ANY benefits conferred for residency, even if they do not involve citizenship, would continue to entice people to cross the border. I'm still mulling in my head what the best solution would be, but these two thoughts are running through my mind:

1. There's no way that we can arrest and deport 12 million people, but there's no way we can process 12 million guest workers either. So the way to get illegals to leave is to have them leave on their own. Stepping up interior enforcement is one way to do this. As a first step, Bush should build up his enforcement capabilities to the level that Clinton was enforcing the law. Once he reaches that level, perhaps he could double it. With increased enforcement, many illegals will leave of their own accord.

2. Secondly, if illegals never leave their country in the first place, then we don't have a problem. I'm not talking about a wall (although I support that notion) - I'm talking about basic economics. In California, there are people that complain that our minimum wage (higher than the national minimum wage) is not a "living wage." How would those people feel if they knew that Mexico's minimum wage is less than six dollars...a day? You'd think that this grave injustice would anger people, but apparently it hasn't. If the U.S. stopped doing business with Mexico until their minimum wage was raised to a "living" level, perhaps that would help to reduce the flow of people up north. Yes, the economic experts believe that such a move would be catastrophic, but if people truly believe in free international markets, then you shouldn't have wildly divergent wages just a few feet away from each other. Either the U.S. will reduce its minimum wage to five dollars a day, or Mexico will raise theirs. One way or another, it will eventually happen.

P.S. I documented some of the debate about raising the Mexican minimum wage here.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(0) comments links to this post


I've previously talked about how Mexico does not allow illegal immigrants into THEIR country. Of course, this raises the question - why would anyone want to live in Mexico? You could certainly retire to various places in Mexico, but you wouldn't want to work there with the failure of the Mexican government to adopt a living wage.

But perhaps a recent Mexican law change may attract some illegal immigrants.

[W]e should see illegal immigration of American citizens over the Mexican border any day now. Immigration officials will be on the look out for Rikki Williams, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. UK Insiders have also said that Keith Richards already plans to winter there with Kate Moss in the coming year.


Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by the Mexican Congress.

The measure given final passage by senators late on Thursday allows police to focus on their battle against major drug dealers, the government says, and President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law....

Under the legislation, police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine....

The legal changes will also decriminalize the possession of limited quantities of other drugs, including LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, amphetamines and peyote -- a psychotropic cactus found in Mexico's northern deserts.

However, one blogger notes:

Man it's going to be tough as nails coming back from Mexico from now on!!

Uh...no it isn't. The border is kinda sorta porous, you see...

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(0) comments links to this post

Friday, April 28, 2006

On Watching, or Not Watching, Your Language 

In the midst of all the brouhaha about illegal entry into this country, the ability of terrorists to penetrate this country, business needs for low-cost (slave?) labor, and the like, the entire immigration debate has been derailed by a true non-issue.

A Spanish language version of the [U.S.] national anthem was released Friday by a British music producer, Adam Kidron, who said he wanted to honor America's immigrants.

When the president was asked at a Rose Garden question-and-answer session whether the anthem should be sung in Spanish, he replied: "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."


I don't think that the language in which one sings the National Anthem is the place at which you need to draw a line in the sand. Frankly, I don't care if it's sung in English or Spanish or Korean or Russian or whatever...or if it's not sung at all.

And I don't care if you're singing the Mexican or Chinese or Uzbek anthem in your spare time.

Now if you decide that skipping school is a wise thing - there I have a problem.

The California Senate, controlled by Democrats, approved a resolution on a party-line vote supporting the May 1 "Great American Boycott 2006," which supporters say will serve as a warning to Congress to avoid punitive immigration changes.

Organizers say the workplace boycott will show just how vital immigrants are to America's major cities and the nation's economy. Large numbers of students are also expected to participate.

"These immigrants are fighting to embrace this nation," said Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-Van Nuys. "What a good time this is..."

May 1. Hmm.

"...when people can express their anger, their frustration, desires, hopes and dreams, all for the purpose of becoming American. That's a good thing."

Republicans voted unanimously against the resolution, saying it encourages lawlessness.

"The Legislature should not be encouraging students to leave school," said Southern California Sen. Dave Cox. "And it's irresponsible to recommend to people they leave their jobs, especially when many can lose those jobs, whether they obtained them illegally or not."

This week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an immigrant from Austria, also implored people to avoid the boycott.

Not all Democrats backed the resolution to support the boycott. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, refused to take up the Senate resolution and allowed his chamber's own resolution, which would have called on Congress to support immigrants' rights, to die....

Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, who wrote the resolution, said the boycott will be part of history that will one day be recounted in classrooms across the country.

"It's one day out of 365, out of their lives, for immigrants to peacefully tell the country that we matter, we want justice," she said.

One day out of 365. And that day has James Hudnall wondering:

May Day!

International ANSWER is behind a lot of these massive immigration protests. We all know what they’re about. While claiming to be anti-war, anti-racism, they are in fact a Marxist group which supports some of the worst regimes extant. Now they’re calling for what amounts to a strike to try to hurt our economy....

Why is May first significant? It’s the date celebrated by Communists and Labor Groups (which are usually run by leftists).

But May Day is not celebrated by all labor groups (emphasis mine):

Labor Day is a national legal holiday that is over 100 years old. Over the years, it has evolved from a purely labor union celebration into a general "last fling of summer" festival.

It grew out of a celebration and parade in honor of the working class by the Knights of Labor in 1882 in New York. In 1884, the Knights held a large parade in New York City celebrating the working class. The parade was held on the first Monday in September. The Knights passed a resolution to hold all future parades on the same day, designated by them as Labor Day.

The Socialist Party held a similar celebration of the working class on May 1. This date eventually became known as May Day, and was celebrated by Socialists and Communists in commemoration of the working man. In the U.S., the first Monday in September was selected to reject any identification with Communism.

Back to the opposition to a Spanish-language national anthem. This identifies the key issue for some people:

Don't attack precious symbols of national unity and expect anything but a massive political backlash. I'm a good liberal but I love my country and consider this "Nuestro Himno" a secular blasphemy.

A "blasphemy" against a "symbol of national unity"? Even though one tries to deflect the intent by preceding the word "blasphemy" with the word "secular," it still sounds like a very religious opposition.

This blog has hit on civil religion again. The National Anthem is NOT an anthem to God. The other six billion people who sing some other national anthem are not excluded from the Kingdom of God. And the Kingdom of God is not the Kingdom of America.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(1) comments links to this post

Thursday, April 27, 2006


From Reuters:

Pro-immigration activists say a nationwide boycott and marches planned for May 1 will flood Americas's streets with millions of Latinos to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants and shake the ground under Congress as it tackles reform.

But while such a massive turnout could make for the largest protests since the civil rights era of the 1960s, not all Latinos, nor their leaders, were comfortable with such militancy -- fearing a backlash in Middle America....

Immigration has split Congress, the Republican Party and public opinion. Conservatives want the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to be classified as felons and a fence built along the Mexican border.

Others, including President George W. Bush, want a guest worker program and a path to citizenship. Most agree some reform is needed to stem the flow of poor to the world's biggest economy....

Minneapolis-based agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. said it will close seven meatpacking plants so workers can participate.

In New York, leaders of the May 1 Coalition said a growing number of businesses had pledged to close and allow their workers to attend a rally in Manhattan's Union Square....

Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles archdiocese, who has emerged as an outspoken champion of immigrant rights -- even calling on priests to defy laws aimed at those who would help illegals -- has lobbied against a walkout.

"Personally I believe we can make May 1st a 'win-win' day here in Southern California," Mahony said in a statement. "Go to work, go to school, and then join thousands of us at a major rally afterward."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the son of a Mexican immigrant who has long fought for immigrant rights, has taken a low profile on the issue. A Villaraigosa spokeswoman said the mayor expects protesters to be "lawful and respectful" and wants children to stay in school.

But let's look at Cargill. More about Cargill from the Fort Morgan Times:

Cargill Meat Solutions will shift production from Monday, May 1, to this Saturday, April 29, to support employees who want to participate in a national day of action for immigrants and their supporters.

"It was very clear to us that immigration reform is a very emotional issue," said company spokesman Mark Klein.

Cargill's Fort Morgan plant can process up to 4,500 head of cattle a day, and about 70 percent of its 1,900 employees are Latino.

After absenteeism to attend April 10 rallies slowed production at a Dodge City, Kan., Cargill plant, company officials and employees held discussions on upcoming rallies, Klein said....

A corporate decision was made to shift production from Monday to Saturday at Fort Morgan and four other beef plants, the one in Dodge City, one in Nebraska and two in Texas, Klein said.

Also, pork plants in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Beardstown, Ill., will be closed Monday; there will be no Saturday production at those plants because pork demand is down following the Easter holidays, he added....

A major concern for Latinos is House Bill 4437, which would make it a felony to be an illegal immigrant.

The bill provides no earned legalization process and no additional tools for employers to verify employment eligibility, Klein said.

Cargill favors legislation that would provide a legalization process and more verification tools, he added.

"The notion that you can just remove 11 million people (a figure from a Pew Hispanic Center computer-generated model) is absurd," Klein said. "Those people are here because the immigration system doesn't work."

There need to be rational solutions, he added, and making people felons is not one of them.

So it's no surprise that Cargill has made a target list of companies that support illegal aliens. From a comment in The Stein Report:

The below letter is one I compiled to my Senators and Rep. My senators are Cornyn and Hutchinson my rep. is Burgess. The letter below only asks that we enforce current unenforced laws. It was written with the help of the website wehirealiens.com. Feel free to cut and paste the alleged hirers of illegal aliens and e-mail and fax them to your congresscritters.

Since the Senate wants the illegals to come out of the "SHADOWS" so bad here is a list of the SHADOWS. These companies are all national and flaunt the law. Just a notice of investigation should demagnetize these shadows. Also you should give these "SHADOWS" the know how of Basic Pilot the same time you are informing them of investigation. This will definately demagntize the "SHADOWS". The law to enforce is already in place! This "AMNESTY" or "GUEST WORKERS" scheme that John and Teddy McKennedy have cooked up is just another excuse for cheap labor and open borders. Isn't it great that we don't need any more laws. Simply go after the "SHADOWS". Here is a list to start from.

24 Hour Fitness
5 & Diner
99 Cent Store
A%H manufacturing
ABCO systems of NJ http://www.abcosystems.net/
ace telecommunications
Acme http://acmemarkets.com
Advanced Cleanroom Microclean Corporation- Janet Ford http://www.advcleanroom.com/index.html
Advanced Drainage Systems
AFE Industries http://www.afeindustries.com/
Ahead, Inc http://www.aheadweb.com/
Albertsons http://www.albertsons.com
Allstar Landscaping
Aluminite of Ohio
American Apparel http://www.americanapparel.net
Anthony International
Applebee's Restaurant http://www.applebees.com
ArthroCare http://www.arthrocare.com
Atelier Zavier Fine Draperies
Axcess Staffing Report Employer!
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill http://Bajafresh.com
Bar-S http://www.bar-s.com
Best Western Hotel
Big Lots Discount Retail http://www.biglots.com
Blue Cop Jean Factory
Blue Water Environmental http://www.bluewaterenvironmental.com
Bravo Development Inc Brickman http://www.brickmangroup.com
Brickman Group http://www.brickmangroup.com
Brookfield Homes
Burger King National http://www.bk.com/
Cagles keystone foods LLC
california family fitness californiafamilyfitness.com
California Pizza Kitchen http://www.cpk.com
cargill meat packing
Cargill, Inc. National http://www.cargill.com/
Carls Jr.
Catalina Graphic Films / GMI http://www.catalinagraphicfilms.com/index.html
Cedarwood Nursery http://www.tnnursery.com/Cedarwood/Retail/index.shtml
Centon National http://www.centon.com
Champion Safe Co. http://www.championsafe.com
Cheesecake Factory
cholestech http://www.cholestech.com
Cici's Pizza Evansville,IN National http://cicispizza.com
Cintas Corp.
Cintex Homes http://www.centex.com/
Coach USA
Coast Cafe at Embassy Suites La Jolla National embassysuiteslajolla.com
Contour AeroSpace http://www.contouraerospace.com/
Cree, Inc. http://www.cree.com
Crossland Construction http://www.crosslandconstruction.com
DCX-CHOL Enterprises (Newvac Electronics Div.) http://www.newvac.com/contact.html
Dell, Inc
Department of Defense http://www.defenselink.mil/
Department of the Air Force
Department of the Army
Department of the Navy
DeRoyal http://www.deroyal.com
Doubletree Golf Resort http://www.hiltonworldwide.com/en/ww/company_info/employment.jhtml
Edwards Wood Products http://www.ewpi.com/
El Rodeo / Mi Hacienda Inc
Embassy Vacation Resort http://secure.sunterra.com/US/rs-l3.aspx?resort=EVM
Empire Carpet National www.empiretoday.com
Enramex-Arturo Fernandez Gallegos
First Operations,LLP.
Flying J Truckstops
Fortune Plastics http://www.fortuneplastics.com/
Freedman Seating http://www.freedmanseating.com
Funai Corporation http://www.funai-corp.com
Gale Insulation www.mascocontractorservices.com
General Aluminum http://www.gactx.com
Global Employment Solutions https://www.gesnetwork.com/aboutgloballocations.aspx
Gold Kist Poultry Broiler Agency
Golden Corral National http://www.goldencorral.net/
goldpoint lodging and realty company
Great Dane Trailers
Green Giant/ Seneca
griffin ind/bakeryfeeds http://griffinind.com
Harris Moran Seed Company
Heatherwood Apartments
Hehr International http://www.hehr-international.com/contacts.htm
Herschend Family Entertainment
hickory springs HICKORYSPRINGS.COM
Holiday Inn Express http://www.seaworldhi.com/
Home Depot http://www.homedepot.com
J. Alexander's Restaurant http://jalexanders.com
Jack In The Box
Jason's Deli
Jean Petit Poultry, Inc.
JMR Electronics, Inc. http://www.jmr.com/
John W McDougall, Co
Judy Goldfinger
Kansas Dept. of Motor Vehicles
KB Home http://www.kbhome.com
Kiwi Carpet Cleaning http://www.kiwiservices.com
Koch Foods http://www.kochfoods.com
Korozu(Calsonic) kroehler manufactoring
La Madeleine French Bakery & Restaurant http://www.lamadeleine.com
Land Of Myth And Not http://www.landofmyth.com
Leggett and Platt
LG Electronics
LVI Services http://www.lviservices.com
Mall of America http://www.mallofamerica.com
Manchu Wok www.manchuwok.com
Manhattan Bagel-Blimpie-TCBY
Marriott Vacation Club
Mericam Farm/Jan Jelsma
Merry Maids http://www.merrymaids.com
Mobile Modular Management Corp. http://www.mobilemodularrents.com/
Mountaire Farms http://www.mountaire.com/home.html
Mowhawk Industries, Inc. http://www.mohawkind.com/
N.A.L.D '' Eddie Hakim
National Beef Packing l
Nordqiust sign http://www.nordquistsign.com/
Office Depot http://www.officedepot.com
Palace Construction www.palaceconst.com
Pardee Homes
Pep Boys
Pilgrim's Pride Corporation http://pilgrimspride.com
Precision Fiber
Quantum Business Engineering http://www.quantumbe.com/email.html
Quiznos http://www.quiznos.com
Radisson http://www.radisson.com/
Richard Leeds Intl
RND Enterprises
Round Table Pizza
Sage Landscaping
Sam’s Café National http://www.sams-cafe.com/
SAP Andina Caribe National http://www.sap.com/andeancarib
Shear Metal Production
Silverline Windows http://www.silverlinewindow.com/indexFlash.cfm
smithfield foods
Solo Cup Company http://www.solocup.com/
Sorrento Cheese http://www.sorrentocheese.com
Southwest POS http://southwestpos.com
Spears Manufacturing http://www.spearsmfg.com/
Super D/Phanthom Distribution http://www.sdcd.com
Sweet Sue Kitchens
Swift Beef Company http://www.swiftbrands.com
Syngenta Seeds http://www.syngenta-us.com
Taco Bell
Target http://www.target.com/
The Finish Line http://www.finishline.com
the hayes co./fence co. http://www.hayesco.com/
The Maids International http://www.maids.com/default.aspx
The Shaw Group Inc http://http://www.shawgrp.com/
The Wellmark Company, L.L.C.
TIMCO http://www.TIMCO.aero
TNT Logistics
Toll Brothers INC. http://www.tollbrothers.com
Top Heavy Clothing
trinity marine
TruGreen Landcare
Tyson http://www.tyson.com
U.S Forest Service http://www.fs.fed.us/
U.S. LAWNS http://USLAWNS.com
Universal Form Clamp Co. http://www.universalformclamp.com/index.php?src=
US Marine Corps
USPS National http://www.usps.com
Valley Thrift Store (Vietnam Veterans of America) http://www.vva.com
Vandor inc., Lyon Co.
Volt Services Group http://jobs.volt.com
Wabash National http://www.wabashnational.com
Waffle House Unit No. 1373
Walmart National http://www.walmart.com
Waste Management http://wm.com
Wells Fargo Bank
Wendy's http://www.wendys.com/
Wenke Sunbelt Greenhouses
Williams Construction Company
Wyatt Resources INC http://www.wyattresources.com
Peco http://www.pecofoods.com
Mallory Construction Inc.
elephant bar restaurant
J.A.T. Constuction, Inc
RAR Landscaping http://www.raroutdoorservices.com/
Behr Process(Behr Paints
Molded Acoustical Products http://www.mapeaston.com
miscellaneous Specialties
Tex http://www.texadelphia.com/

Posted by: Continue the Fight on April 13, 2006 01:09 PM

And look what 60 Minutes turned up on Cargill. And here's Mark Klein again, the Ludo Cremers of the meatpacking industry:

If you ever go out looking for the American heartland, when you get to Schuyler, Neb., you’ll know you’ve found it....

Eighty percent of the first graders at Schuyler Grade School are Hispanic. But that wasn't always the case. Back in 1985, there wasn’t a single Hispanic student at this school. Today, Schuyler is moving to a different beat – and that’s fine with Schuyler’s mayor, Dave Reinecke.

"What would you rather have, if you were living here in Schuyler?" asks Reinecke. "Would you rather have growth, or would you wanna pick and choose where they came from?"

This town of 5,000 is home to so many immigrants because of the Cargill Meatpacking Plant on the edge of town. Eighty percent of the plant’s 2,100 workers are Hispanic. But this is not your typical story about making it in America.

Ivan Hernandez and Juan Marino of Mexico have worked at the plant under false identities. They can’t show their faces because they’re in the United States illegally. And, they say, they’re hardly the only ones.

"I think if the immigration services raided any of the meat plants in the area, I think all the plants would be left with practically no workers," says Hernandez, who adds that 40 percent of the workers at the Cargill plant are here illegally.

It's a number that is disputed by Mark Klein, Cargill's public relations officer. "I don’t think it’s possible," says Klein.

"How many would you estimate are what we call ‘illegal immigrants?’" asks Simon.

"I have no reason to suspect that any of them are," says Klein.

To get a job with a company like Cargill, you need papers. 60 Minutes Wednesday sent two staffers - production assistant Ignacio Garcia, and cameraman Ray Bribiesca - to Nebraska to find a man known in Schuyler’s Hispanic community for peddling documents.

Posing as illegal immigrants looking for work at the Cargill plant, Garcia and Bribiesca went undercover and found their man, bar owner Michael Cuba.

Garcia asked how much he’d have to pay for a Social Security card and a birth certificate. Cuba said the price was $1,300 for both. Garcia wanted to know if the Social Security card would be authentic. Cuba said yes. Then, Garcia and Bribiesca told Cuba they’d come back in 48 hours with the money.

Schuyler’s police chief, Lenny Hiltner, knows that stolen identities are being sold around town. How? By the phone calls he gets all the time from angry Americans. "And that ranges from the city of Schuyler to Texas to California," says Hiltner. "Victims that have had their identity stolen, and have found that they’re either wanted in Nebraska...."

"In other words, a guy sitting in a Texas finds out that he’s wanted for a crime in Nebraska, then calls you, realizing that somebody has stolen his identity?" asks Simon.

"Correct," says Hiltner....

And incidentally, 60 Minutes tackles the issue of the jobs that Americans don't want:

Many American towns have been kept alive by the wave of illegal immigrants. But this has given American businesses little incentive to raise wages on the low end of the scale. And many will tell you that illegal immigrants are only doing the jobs Americans don’t want.

"They are taking jobs that Americans will not take at that wage. Let me give you an example. Janitors in Century City and Beverly Hills, 10 years ago, were all making $11 an hour," says [Los Angeles talk show host Terry]Anderson. "All of those companies got rid of the Americans, broke the union, brought in illegal aliens from Mexico and El Salvador. Paid them five bucks an hour. You gonna tell me those black janitors don’t still want those $11 jobs? Sure they do. They would probably be $15 jobs now. But guess what happened? They weren’t gonna take ‘em at $4 and $5 an hour."

But if you have concerns, contact Cargill:

Corporate Headquarters Call Us
1-800-CARGILL (227-4455)

Mailing Address
Cargill, Inc.
PO Box 9300
Minneapolis, MN

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(3) comments links to this post

Evolution of the Disco Ball 

Great minds think alike. At the same time that I was writing something with every 70's cliche I could find, Jennifer was writing about disco balls in the 80's:

I bought my first tape that year, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My friend Stacy had a mini disco ball in her room, and we would turn off the lights, start up the disco ball and dance to Thriller.

Well, I've written about disco balls before - namely, the use of a disco ball in Devo's video for "Disco Dancer."

Others of us are living in the past. Take Isabel:

Last Saturday Tom and I went to my friend Cecilia's Pump Up The Volume party. She and some of her friends got someone's work loft; rented lights, speakers and a disco ball; and put on an 80s party. Hearing the song Tainted Love brought me all the way back to the Santiago club, Blondie, where I did most of my 80s dancing in the 90s.

People seemed really nice at the party. A good crowd of Quebexicans, as Tom likes to call us. EVEN THOUGH WE'RE NOT MEXICAN...! :) Chilequebes is a good alternative, although more nation-specific.

And Mike and Paul are taking the essentials with them when they move to New York:

Well in my last post I mention that we are moving to NYC - well we are moving to Queens which is only a few stops from Manhattan. Paul has a couple of high-falooten jobs out there and I graduate soon with my Economics degree so where better to do finance stuff than The City. I just hope I don’t personally cause the second great depression. (If you know how I spend money you would understand this! - I actually own a disco ball for the kitchen, it makes it so much more fun to cook.)

If you're too young to know what I'm talking about, turn to Wikipedia:

A disco ball, mirror ball, or ball mirror is a roughly spherical structure that reflects light directed at it in many directions, producing a complicated and hard-to-anticipate display. Its surface consists of hundreds or thousands of facets, nearly all of approximately the same shape and size, and each having a mirrored outer surface. Usually it is mounted well above the heads of the people present, suspended from a device that causes it to rotate steadily on a vertical axis so that stationary viewers experience beams of light flashing over them.

Wikipedia led me to National Products, Inc.:

National Products manufactured mirror balls and related lighting-effect products. With installations from Madison Square Gardens to America West Arena (Phoenix), National Products Inc. has manufactured disco balls and lighting effect products for professional sports arenas, theatrical shows, trade shows and nightclubs for over 50 years.

Their list price for a 12" disco ball is $99 (but this does not appear to include the ceiling turner motor). A 48" disco ball will set you back $2,500.

And Devo isn't the only artist inspired by this device. Take Who Da Funk featuring Jessica Eve with "Shiny Disco Balls."

Too bad that people worried about energy consumption aren't looking at the possibilities:

A disco ball powered computer. Using technology first dabbled with in the late seventies I was able to harness the unbelievable power of the disco ball. Instead of using its energy to make people do stupid things in ugly clothes I was able to redirect its incredible power for the better good of mankind.

The only peripheral required is a specially designed power supply, which not only provides the electricity but also gathers the disco ball's powerful, encrypted signals.

Close up of power supply. This computer is operating in these pictures. No, I'm not kidding.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Egads - The Surfer Movie 

I gotta write my movie script.

Not that I'm any good at writing movie scripts. Heck, even simple dialogue is challenging. And I can't spin a story like The Hot Librarian or Inland Empress WHO IS THREATENING TO LEAVE US DANG IT.

Excuse me, let me recover.

So perhaps, instead of writing an entire script, I should write an abstract or a pitch or whatever the heck they call it. But even this is challenging, since I want to write a movie with a surfing backdrop. I have three strikes against me concerning this:
  • I have never gotten near a surfboard in the water. This in itself isn't necessarily debiliating - Brian Wilson never surfed until the 1970s - but it does pose some challenges.

  • I did not grow up in a surfing area. Thus my command of the lingo is non-existent.

  • The use of the word "lingo" in the last bullet should have clued you in to the third issue. I am 44 years old. Thus, any attempt to write appealing dialogue will be atrociously warped by my cluelessness about the proper...lingo.

But I'll probably go ahead and try anyway. I have the basic story. Girl and Other Girl hang around the beach a lot, where Girl gets all dreamy over Surfer. Boy and Other Boy are respectively interested in Girl and Other Girl, but Girl won't give Boy the time of day because he's not a hot surfer like Surfer. But Surfer is full of himself and doesn't give Girl the time of day. In fact, Surfer has issues (I haven't decided whether he has a fear of people, or a Howard Hughes clean fetish) and his dialogue shouldn't be hard to write, because I figure he probably won't say much of anything. In the end, Girl realizes that Boy is better than Surfer, and they hang together (not necessarily hanging ten or hanging five or whatever you call it).

So let's see if I can do this. I'll just write a sample scene from the first half of the movie. I'll also try to write in some product placements so the film will make some money even if my writing stinks. I hope this sounds somewhat modern and Californian:

OTHER GIRL: Wanna Coke?
GIRL: Sure, but could you get my a Baskin Robbins ice cream also?
OTHER GIRL: Sure. Lemme - Egads! Trouble!

[BOY and OTHER BOY walk up with Steve Martin arrows through their heads.]

GIRL: Like, WHAT are you guys doing?
BOY: We are -
OTHER GIRL: That's so funny I forgot to laugh.
GIRL: People are staring at us! Take those things off!
OTHER GIRL: Let's just go and get that Coke and Baskin Robbins.
GIRL: Hey! Look!

[SURFER walks up from the water.]

GIRL [smiling]: Uh, hi.

[SURFER keeps on walking.]

OTHER GIRL [quickly]: How's the water this morning?
SURFER: Gnarly.

[SURFER walks to his Datsun 280Z.]

GIRL: Why won't he talk to me?
BOY: He doesn't talk to anybody.
GIRL: Oh, go away!
OTHER GIRL: Come on, the Baskin Robbins is waiting for you.

Uh...at least the term "gnarly" wasn't a 70's term. I think I made it to the 80's with that one.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Strength in weakness 

Nazis and others who believe in the strength and might of man hate weakness and suffering and death. It unnerves them. It's not right.

Traditional masculine qualities played a very important role in Nazi rhetoric, so of course Nazi Christians preferred a masculine Christianity over a feminine one. True Christianity, they claimed, was manly and hard, not feminine and weak. Adolf Hitler described Jesus, “my Lord and Savior,” as “a fighter.” His Jesus, and the Jesus of German Christians generally, was a militant warrior fighting for God, not a suffering servant accepting punishment for the sins of the world.

But you don't have to be a Nazi to be unnerved by death. Our whole society is based upon life and health and things like that, and sickness and death are bad and signs of failure.

John 9:1-3 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

In response to a post that I wrote at Word Search (yes, I've joined an online Bible study) regarding Jesus mourning for the death of John the Baptist, Chris responded, in part:

If his grief was totally private, it would have not been documented in the gospel here. So, am I reading too much into this, or could it be, in fact, that Jesus made an outward appearance of grief, but knew full well on the inside that God’s “will be done” is always good… even in death.

Food for thought I guess. Like the person who blogged about thanking God for their cancer. http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/gerv/archives/2006/04/thank_god_for_cancer.html

Thank God for cancer? Why?

It seems entirely perverse to consider cancer as a blessing from God, but the more I think about it, the more I realise he's right. God does bless me, and also other people, through my illness....

The possibility that in ten years one might be dead concentrates the mind wonderfully - both on not wasting a minute of any day, but also on looking forward to the wonderful eternity that awaits....

[T]he scars the operations have left me with have been the trigger for countless great conversations where I am able to testify to the grace and kindness of God in my life, and encourage other people to turn from their rebellion and experience that grace for themselves.

So, perhaps incredibly to some, I have come to believe that my cancer was designed specifically for me by God, and to thank him for it.

These words were preceded by a quote taken from John Piper. Here's some text from Piper's original post:

It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it....

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7)....The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

Is it possible to find anything more diametrically opposed to these thoughts than prosperity gospel-like stuff? For example:

Are you ready for a life that is filled with abundance, health, peace, joy, and love? The keys to manifesting these blessings into your life are closer than you think. They are right inside of you....

You will learn how to use the spiritual force of faith combined with the power of Divine Promises to create a life of prosperity and well being.

God wants you to prosper and be in good health....

How To Plant A Garden Of Faith And Harvest A Bushel Of Blessings E-book

In this delightful new e-book you will learn about the power of Divine Promises, where to find them and how to plant them as seeds in your garden of faith. You will design a faith garden that will generate the exact blessings you need, eliminate any sense of lack you may currently be experiencing, and transform your life into a reflection of God's "Divine Design" for you.

As you read this e-book you will be undertaking a journey of transformation. You will discover how to tap into the power of faith to assist you in every aspect of your life. You will explore how to access the blessings that God has already prepared for you.

As you till the soil of your spiritual heart center, you will eliminate the old religious myths that block your ability to activate the power of faith and add positive beliefs that create a life filled with harmony, abundance, and joy. You will learn how to tend you garden diligently as you use the tools of faith to produce a wondrous life for you and your family.

Ungodly claptrap.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Religious Freedom and Undocumented Religious Workers in Mexico 

Did you do what I told you to do?

If you did, then you saw this statement:

I'll be their first full-time pastor, but can't be called pastor because it's against the law.

I asked about this:

What is the legal restriction on being called a pastor?

J. A. Gillmartin responded:

Apparently it is a holdover from the days when the Mexican leaders at the national and state levels were more or less unofficial Catholic appointees.

I'm told there is something in the Mexico Constitution to the effect that only nationals can be clergy.

I am officially a missionary to Norte-Americanos in San Carlos.

I tried to perform a search on this topic, but didn't succeed. Here's what I did find, courtesy of (then) Colin Powell's Crack Team of Whatevers:

There are a number of foreign religious workers present in the country. According to statistics from the Secretariat of Government's Under Secretariat of Religious Affairs, 58,460 individuals entered the country and registered as ministers with the Government between November 1992 and May 15, 2003. Ministers are defined in this context as any person to whom a registered religious organization has conferred the title.

There are currently 6,619 religious associations registered with the Federal Government, of which a vast majority are Protestant evangelical and non-Protestant Christian. Non-Christian groups represent a very small percentage of registered associations. A wide variety of Christian foreign missionary groups operate in the country....

In order to operate legally, religious associations must register with the Under Secretariat of Religious Affairs of the Federal Secretariat of Government (SSAR). Although the Government rejects applications because of incomplete documentation, the registration process is routine. The latest statistics available show an estimated 6,619 religious associations are registered. During the period covered by this report, the SSAR registered 17 associations. In addition, 116 applications either awaited further supporting documentation or were not in compliance with registration criteria at the end of the period covered by this report.

To be registered as a religious association, a group must articulate its fundamental doctrines and religious beliefs, must not be organized primarily to make money, and must not promote acts physically harmful or dangerous to its members. Religious groups must be registered to apply for official building permits, to receive tax exemptions, and to hold religious meetings outside of their places of worship....

The existing situation of religious freedom reflects the historic tensions between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern state. Consequently, severe restrictions on the rights of the Church and members of the clergy were written into the country's present Constitution. In 1992 the Government reestablished diplomatic relations with the Holy See and lifted almost all restrictions on the Catholic Church. This latter action included granting all religious groups legal status, conceding them limited property rights, and lifting restrictions on the number of priests in the country. However, the law continues to mandate a strict separation of church and state....

Religious associations must notify the Government of their intent to hold a religious meeting outside of a licensed place of worship. The Government received 6,009 such notifications during the period from June 2002 to May 2003. In October 2002, a Jehovah's Witnesses gathering drew almost 90,000 followers to the Aztec Stadium in a three-day celebration of their faith. One thousand one hundred followers were baptized into the faith during the celebration.

The Government requires religious groups to apply for a permit to construct new buildings or to convert existing buildings into new churches. The latest statistics available show that the Government granted permits for 726 buildings between June 1, 2001, and May 31, 2002. In the cases of 576 pending applications, the SSAR has requested additional information. The information required ranges from technical data about the building in question, to proof that a building's owner consents to its conversion into a religious facility. Religious groups report no difficulty in obtaining government permission for these activities....

The Constitution bars members of the clergy from holding public office, advocating partisan political views, supporting political candidates, or opposing the laws or institutions of the State. However, on May 25, representatives of the political party Mexico Possible brought a complaint before the Federal Elections Institute (IFE) accusing the Bishop of Cuernavaca (Morelos State) of violating article 130 of the Constitution and article 404 of the Penal Code. Both articles state that religious ministers cannot call for their followers to vote for or against a political party. While the Bishop did not call for voting specifically against Mexico Possible, he did say that it was a sin to vote in favor of candidates who favor homosexuality and a woman's right to choose, platforms that Mexico Possible espouses. Representatives for Mexico Possible are also considering lodging complaints against the Bishops of Queretaro, Tlaxcala, and Acapulco (Guerrero) for similar violations. The Under Secretariat for Religious Affairs is debating whether or not the Bishops violated the Religious Associations law, and a public discussion ensued on whether or not there should be reforms to article 130 of the Constitution. The Bishops are subject to a fine of up to 20,000 minimum salary days (equivalent to approximately 80,000 USD) under the Religious Associations law and a fine of up to 500 minimum salary days (approximately 2,000 USD) under the Federal Penal Code.

To visit the country for religious purposes, foreign religious workers must secure government permission. Though the Federal Government limits the number of visas each religious group is allowed, the application procedure is essentially a routine and fairly uncomplicated process. The Government has granted 41,742 such visas since 1994, including 7,812 between June 1, 2001 and April 30, 2003.

According to the Religious Associations law, religious groups may not own or administer broadcast radio or television stations; however, the Catholic Church owns and operates a national cable television channel. Government permission is required to transmit religious programming on broadcast radio or television, and permission is granted routinely. Between June 1, 2002, and May 30, 2003, the authorities approved 12,906 transmissions.

Any building for religious purposes constructed pursuant to a permit after 1992 is the property of the religious association that built it. All religious buildings erected before 1992 are "national patrimony" and owned by the State. According to the latest statistics available from the Secretariat of Government, there were 90,879 buildings dedicated to religious activities as of July 31, 2001. Of those, 80,846 were property of the State and 10,033 belonged to religious groups.

Here's what Azusa Pacific University has to say. (By the way, I once helped to build a home in Tecate under APU auspices.)

1. What does Mexican Law say about foreign ministers?

In 1993, a new Law for Religious Associations and Public Cult came out in Mexico, stating that every Church had to be registered as a Religious Association. When they register they are assigned an A.R. number, which is a registration code for the Mexican Churches.

According to this law, the only way a foreigner can perform religious activities in Mexico is by obtaining an FM-3. This license is obtained through the legal invitation of a Registered Religious Association in Mexico with an A.R. number. The Mexican Pastor must complete the paperwork and turn it in at the Immigration Office in Mexico.

2. What is an FM-3?

This license is required for people not of Mexican citizenship, granting permission to perform activities in Mexico (i.e. Religious, scientific, artistic, athletic competitions, etc.). The visa will be good for the duration of the trip. You may request an extension if you want to come back some time during the year.
This visa requires the written invitation of a Mexican church registered with an A.R. number, a letter of acceptance from your church, copies of your passport, and the Mexican pastor’s signature on the application form at Religious Affairs office in Mexico....

7. What are the penalties for performing religious activities without an FM-3?

Penalties could range from deportation from the country, a fine of up to $10,000, or time in prison for up to 3 years. This law has not been enforced in all areas of Mexico, but we know of cases in the State of Baja California where this law has been enforced and penalties have been attributed to individuals performing religious activities without an FM-3.

And here's what Baptist Mid-Missions says:

Recent changes in the Constitution concerning religious associations allow foreign missionaries to pastor and teach in local churches as well as in Bible institutes and seminaries. These changes have given more liberty for the work of the gospel than ever before.

CAM International:

For years no foreign missionaries were officially permitted in Mexico. In 1992, constitutional changes led to the thawing of relations between the Catholic church and the State and promoted fair treatment of religious minorities. These monumental changes confirmed and expanded religious freedom in Mexico.

Today, registered evangelical churches have the legal right to evangelize, to establish new churches, to purchase and own property, to hire pastors and staff, and to invite foreign missionaries to minister with them. Foreign workers related to these registered churches can obtain missionary visas which can be renewed annually without leaving the country.

Never before in the history of Mexico has there been more freedom to evangelize and plant churches.

So, are you ready to drop in on J. A. Gillmartin? Listen to the line for tourists:

San Carlos is located in the wonderful Sea of Cortez in the state of Sonora, Mexico, only 320 miles south of TucsonArizona, U.S.A., 230 miles from the border (Nogales).

San Carlos is a quiet and secure town located in the Sonora Desert with the most impressive diversity of natural beauties:

The wonderful views of the "Sierra Madre" mountains with the saguaro cactus, the sparkling blue waters of the Sea of Cortez and the most amazing sunsets. You'll feel like you're in Paradise!

To get to Guaymas-San Carlos from any airport in the United States or Canada, there are flights from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and flights from L.A. (LAX) airport to the Guaymas International airport (GYM ). There are also several daily flights to Hermosillo the state capital of Sonora, which is just a one hour drive from Guaymas-San Carlos.

Driving to San Carlos is only five hour trip from Tucson on 4 lane highways the entire way. After crossing the border at Nogales and your are only four hours away from San Carlos.

But J. A. Gillmartin has some pastoral competition from a famous movie actor and Lakers fan (unless this is the pastor he replaced):

Chapel by the Sea is a relatively new Christian fellowship in San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas Sonora Mexico. It is multi-denominational and pastored by Jack Nicholson.

We do not have a building to meet in presently, but the church in the plaza in which the Catholic Church meets has opened their doors to us.

There is also a San Carlos Community Church, which according to the website is pastored by Dale Lilly. (Don't know what basketball team he supports.) This church has a number of activities:

Bible Studies:

Tuesdays : 7:30 A.M. - 8:30 A.M. "Dust to Glory" - Dr. R.C. Sproul - Dave Veenbas
1:30 Bible Study - Sue Marsten
10:00 A.M. - "Names of God" - M. Hicks.
8:30 A.M. Men's Breakfast & study - Topical Christian discussion.
7:30 P.M. Couples Bible Study - Rus Graves Home


Wednesday: 8:00 AM "The Mountain Movers" - Ladies' prayer group
8:00 AM "Pulling to the Rock" - Men's Prayer group
7:00 PM Couples Bible Study - Pastor Dale @ Church

Monthly Fellowship Events : (All Church & Visitors)

Sunset Beach weenie Roast, (Fire & Food)
Church Potluck @ Church
Goodie Coffee Fellowship (After Church - BIWEEKLY)

I'm not sure which of these churches (if either) was visited in January 2000:

In our home state we call them Winter Texans. This morning we see the Mexican equivalent: a large community of North Americans spending their winters in the warmth of San Carlos. The parking lot of the nondenominational church makes me wonder which country we are in; license plates display Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, Alberta, British Columbia, … but not Sonora. The happy chattering of attendees greeting close friends drowns out the organ prelude to the service. Becci, an enthusiastic song leader, quiets the group and, later in the morning, contributes a stirring solo that to me was the highlight of the service.

Speaking of music, ther's Christie Forester:

Christie Forester was born in Ambon, Indonesia where her parents, RB and Avelone Caveness were missionaries. At twelve, she was her father's church pianist and although classically trained, seized every opportunity to create her own music ... much to her piano teachers' chagrin. After living in Singapore for many years, Christie returned to the United States where she married Walter Forester and completed her Ph.D. in Learning Disabilities.

Christie currently lives in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico where she met her producer, Leslie Sahlen. Proceeds from the Special Limited Edition CD, Heartsong Volume 1, go to support the EMS Service, RESCATE of San Carlos. Solely supported by donations, RESCATE provides 24-hour emergency medical and ambulance service for residents and visitors to the fishing village on the shores of the Sea of Cortez.

But at least there are two Wal Marts in Hermosillo. And there's a McDonalds in Guaymas with wi-fi. The important stuff.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Read the linked post 

Yes, read it. Talk about pastoral challenges.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Why we need an(other) illegal alien president 

Here's part of what President George W. Bush said yesterday in Irvine, California (from whitehouse.gov; emphasis mine):

Now, the problem we have is you got some person out there in central Texas needing a worker, and he can't find a worker, an American. So he says, look, anybody help me find somebody, I got something to do. This economy is growing, see -- 4.7 unemployment rate nationwide. Pretty good numbers. And people are having trouble finding work that Americans won't do. And that's a fact of life. And so he says, why don't you send somebody over to help me?

This caused CNN to ask the question:

Are there really jobs that Americans just won't do?

Several people say yes:

Pete Haran, vice president of New Jersey-based landscaper Lipinski Landscaping, has relied on the guest worker program, which grants temporary work visas, for the past 10 years....

"Before the H2B program I was spending thousands on ads trying to hire people," said Haran. "College students don't even want to do that kind of work, and I kind of blame the parents," Haran said....

"The situation on the ground looks the way it does because we've had a broken immigration system for years," said Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations at the American Nursery & Landscape Association.

"We estimate right now that 70 percent of the labor force working in this industry lacks proper immigration status. The idea that we can work without these people is just crazy," Regelbrugge said, referring to the immigration debate in Congress....

"To say the current program falls short is an understatement. The current system is not serving anyone's purposes except for smugglers and unscrupulous employers," according to John Gay, vice president for government affairs at the National Restaurant Association, which represents restaurant chains.

"We don't have people here to do the jobs that need to be done," said Laura Reiff, co-chair of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition and co-chair of the Business Immigration Group at Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation's largest law firms.

Some say no:

"I do think in many respects that argument is a little overblown," said Jon Dougherty, a policy analyst with Freedom Alliance, a conservative nonprofit foundation. He argues that the problem, instead, is that the influx of immigrants has depressed wages and made it too difficult for many Americans to compete with undocumented workers willing to work for less pay.

"It bothers me that people will pay immigrants below-market wages because it undercuts American employment and it exploits immigrants," Dougherty said. "Americans will not do jobs they cannot afford to do," he argues, because "the wages have been depressed so much, it's not really worth it."

But, he believes, "for the right money people will work at any job."

There's been a lot of talk about the specific jobs that Americans supposedly won't do - agricultural workers, construction workers, restaurant employees, and others. But there is another job that Americans won't do. Here are some parts [1] [2] [3] of the job description (emphasis mine):

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America....

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices....

Yet we apparently can't find an American to do this job (emphasis mine):

Evidence of an absence of a border is not limited to the presence of millions of illegal aliens in the United States. There have been 216 incursions into the USA by the Mexican Military over the past ten years. Our Border Patrol Agents and US Park Rangers have been shot at, wounded and killed by gunfire from Mexico. Two-dozen border tunnels have been discovered since the 9/11 attacks. Copies of the Koran have been found in the Arizona desert. The lack of control over our border is a problem too serious and too large for the federal government to ignore - or so one would think.

In spite of an increase in news coverage on the “border” and illegal immigration, no meaningful or decisive action has taken place - Congress and the President have abdicated their most fundamental constitutional duty.

Yes, there is plenty of grandstanding, artful double- talk, and impressive dog-and-pony border operations put on for the media. All of this is aimed at soothing an increasingly frustrated citizenry. Meanwhile the invasion of illegal aliens continues.

Decades of dereliction of duty by our federal government has permitted this crisis to swell and its consequences to spread far beyond border states to places like New Jersey, Tennessee, and Illinois. Border Patrol Agents have done their best to protect us with the equipment, manpower and restrictive rules of engagement given to them. The culpability lies with the federal government’s lack of priority, support and resolve. They have cheapened the efforts and sacrifice of our brave lawmen. They have left the United States vulnerable, particularly in light of what has been coined “the new normal” post 9/11 era. It is easier to cross the border than it is to board an airplane.

So, if you have a job that Americans won't do, then what should you do about it? Remember what our President said in Irvine yesterday:

Now, the problem we have is you got some person out there in central Texas needing a worker, and he can't find a worker, an American. So he says, look, anybody help me find somebody, I got something to do. This economy is growing, see -- 4.7 unemployment rate nationwide. Pretty good numbers. And people are having trouble finding work that Americans won't do. And that's a fact of life. And so he says, why don't you send somebody over to help me?

The proposal of an illegal alien President is not something original to me. From bestandworst.com:

Mexicans in California are holding a boycott because ILLEGAL ALIEN MEXICANS will NOT be getting drivers licenses....What next, voting rights? how about an ILLEGAL ALIEN for President? Think how politically correct it would be.

From ezinearticles.com:

As the percentage of illegal immigration increases make mandatory representation by percentage in Congress and why don't we have an illegal alien President too, I mean that is really unfair, we are such bigots I swear; those poor darlings.

And we already have one announced candidate:

I could study law and polit(r)ic(k)s and run for president of the US--problem is that they might realize that I'm not a white, ivy league, polo playing, super-rich American. But I think the country could do well with an illegal alien president from Jamaica [no, my platform will not be based on legalizing pot...Jamaicans aren't all about weed you know!].

And if we appoint an illegal alien President, we can potentially save a lot of money. As of 2001, the Presidential salary was set at $400,000. I suspect that we can get an illegal alien President to work for $25,000 - the salary paid to Andrew Johnson and his predecessors, all the way back to George Washington. A nice budget savings - when will the Republicans and Democrats come out in its support?

By the way, we may have had an illegal alien President already:

Some historians believe that President Andrew Jackson was not born in the United States. He always claimed to have been born in the Carolinas in 1767. But there have always been rumors that Jackson was actually born at sea on the trip over from Ireland (based on incongruities in the time line of his life that he pushed when he was running for office). If Jackson was born at sea, that would make him foreign born and constitutionally forbidden from being President.


Some scholars believe Andrew Jackson was born at sea in 1755, not 1767, and thus was not eligible to be president of the United States, a somewhat moot point. However, to this day, at least two states, North Carolina, and South Carolina, claim his birthplace, about a mile apart.


I subsequently found another post on this topic. From Senor's Tales of Yankee Power:

...[I]n looking over the potential candidates for the 2008 Presidential election, it seems very few Americans want the job.

And so I think the perfect solution to this situation is to elect an illegal alien to be our next president. Illegal aliens do the work that Americans don't want to do. And an illegal alien president will do the work that an American president doesn't want to do, like straigten out Social Security and Medicare, get us out of Iraq, creat[e] jobs for the middle class, and balance the budget....

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Visiting Christian Teens, Protecting Superheroes, Visiting Heraty Law, and Discussing Body Parts and Fluids 


Normally when I write one of my long blog posts, I start at a certain point and work my way forward. This time I'm going to work my way backwards.

There has been long involved discussions about how Christians should and should not conform to the world. If I celebrate July 4th, am I compromising my faith? If I refuse to dance, am I limiting my ability to witness? Think about these topics while reading this article excerpt:

An Alabama church holds a "Fear Factor" youth ministry event, where teens swallow goldfish and try to escape a locked coffin to learn how to overcome fear in their lives. Actor Stephen Baldwin sheds his bad-boy image, finds God, and starts a group called Livin' It, which encourages young people to skateboard for the Lord. Dozens of Christian rock festivals across the country draw millions of revelers to events that rival the bawdy Lollapolooza....

"The day of the Christian kid being viewed as a nerd are long gone," said Bill Graening, the director of the Alive Festival, a three-day Christian music festival held each summer in Ohio that draws up to 20,000 people a day....

Wendy Schuman, an editor at Beliefnet.com, says that faith is a lot more nuanced for many teens than it is for their elders, especially when it comes to hot-button topics like abortion and homosexuality. "They don't always tow the party line," she said. "They can't see Christian faith quite as monolithic as it might seem. There's a huge middle ground."

But Machlan admits that some teens "latch on to Christianity … like it's a fad."

"It's an alternative to partying, so there is a way out for kids who don't want to be in the party scene but want cool friends," she said. "It's a safe environment, there's the relaxation of knowing there's not going to be those pressures of drugs, alcohol, sex."

This is taken from an ABC News story "For More Teens, Jesus Is Way Cool." (We'll eventually return to that thought.)

I guess these teens aren't staying at home at night and reading comic books.

Comic books? Let's look at what can kill superheroes such as Superman and Batman. Some people might think that they can best be killed by Kryptonite, guns, or sharp twigs. But actually, there's something that's even more deadly:

Anybody of any importance in Superman’s life has the initials L.L. His best friend as a kid and archenemy as an adult was Lex Luther; his high-school sweetheart was Lana Lang; the love of his life in college was Lori Lemaris; his romantic interest on the planet Krypton was Lyla Lerrol; and his wife is Lois Lane. It seems fitting, then, that Superman’s legal protector in the real world is 54-year-old Lillian Laserson, senior vice president and general counsel of DC Comics Inc.

Laserson didn’t get the job as head lawyer of the New York-based publisher because her initials are L.L. She got it because she is, as one of her colleagues put it, “a damn good lawyer.” But the L.L. connection certainly didn’t hurt....

DC is going to need Laserson’s legal skills in the coming years. The family of one of the original creators of Superman filed a request in 1998 to regain control of 50 percent of the copyright to the character; the family of the other creator recently asked DC to return the remaining portion by 2013. That means that by 2013, the company may no longer own the copyright to one of the most recognized heroes in American pop culture.

The kryptonite that is draining DC of its most prized intellectual property is a number of amendments to the Copyright Act. When Congress extended the life of copyrights in 1976 and 1998, it also gave creators and their heirs an opportunity to regain ownership of older copyrights. The idea was to allow them to profit from these extensions and also rectify any bad deals they may have entered into. In the comic book industry, many creators during the Golden Age of comics (1930–1950) assigned their copyrights to publishers for next to nothing. The creators of Superman—Jerry Siegel (the writer) and Joe Shuster (the artist)—fall into that category. In 1938 the two handed over the Superman copyright to the predecessor of DC for $130....

Although DC is a fairly litigation-free organization, the suits the company does get involved in seem to attract a lot of media attention. For instance, in 1996 Johnny and Edgar Winter, two albino blues musicians from Texas, sued DC after the company published a 1995 comic-book miniseries titled “Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such.”

The comic featured two villains, the Autumn Brothers, who were hunted down and killed by Hex, a disfigured gunslinger. The creators of the two characters were fans of the two musicians and decided to use them as the inspiration for their villains. The Winters weren’t happy, and for good reason. The Autumns, both of whom were albinos, looked strikingly similar to the Winters with just a few “minor” differences. For one, the villains were half human and half worm—the offspring of a woman who was raped by as supernatural worm creature. In addition, both had green tentacles dangling from their chests. The Winters sued for, among other things, defamation, invasion of privacy, appropriation of their names and likenesses and intentional infliction of emotional distress. DC wasn’t impressed....

In 1997 Jerry Siegel’s wife and daughter shocked the comic book world when they filed a notice of termination of transfer with the Copyright Office. The termination allows them to regain Siegel’s portion of the Superman copyright for the remaining 19 years of its life....

Siegel died in 1996 of heart failure. He had led a pretty tough life, and was nearly destitute in the early 1970s. Shuster, who died of heart failure in July 1992, wasn’t much better off....Fortunately, the two didn’t die dirt poor. In 1978, DC allegedly began paying the Superman creators $10,000 each a year as well as medical payments, but not out of the goodness of the executives’ hearts. Right before the release of the first Superman movie in 1978, a huge outcry erupted about the plight of Shuster and Siegel. To quell the bad press, DC decided not only to offer them a pension and benefits, but also to give them a “created by” credit in the Superman comics....

[I]n 1998, the second amendment to the Copyright Act—the Sonny Bono Copyright Termination Extension Act...allowed the author’s executor to file notice—as well as his or her administrator or personal representative—in the absence of a widower, children or grandchildren. So in November 2003, Shuster’s nephew, Mark Warren Peary, filed a notice to terminate. That termination will become effective in October 2013 (because Peary missed the first deadline, he will only will get 20 years).

But Laserson isn't the only person who has protected the Man of Steel:

John...did an externship in the legal department of DC Comics, where he helped defend the rights of Superman, Batman, and many other beleaguered superheroes.

This describes the work of John, a lawyer at Heraty Law in New York City, which has a web page which states the following:

Heraty Law is a firm specializing in serving the needs of small businesses and professionals in the music, entertainment, and fashion industries....

We draft and negotiate contracts, form LLCs and other business entities, consult on business issues, advise clients of their legal rights, and help companies organize and define themselves. Click here to look at the services we can offer you. We offer our clients our collective expertise and experience to help them learn, grow, and realize their goals. We pride ourselves on providing quality legal representation to those who would otherwise not have access to it....

I learned about Heraty Law in this Wikipedia entry:

External links and references

Heraty Hall website (John's legal practice)

The Wikipedia entry is devoted to Mr. Hall, whom you may have heard of for one of two reasons (emphasis mine):

John S. Hall is the founder of King Missile (Dog Fly Religion), King Missile, and King Missile III. After a couple of years of pounding away in the lower east side poetry scene, Mr. Hall formed King Missile (Dog Fly Religion) in 1986 to liven up his spoken word performances. From 1987-1991 he recorded three albums with that band, as well as a solo album, for the Shimmy Disc label, making a mark on the college radio charts with a number of spoken-word-with-music hits, including "Wuss," "Take Stuff From Work,""The Sandbox," "Rock and Roll Will Never Die," and "Jesus Was Way Cool." Although none of this went unnoticed by the major labels, John is fond of saying, "'Jesus' got me signed to Atlantic Records."

John recorded three more albums with King Missile for Atlantic, including 1992's "Happy Hour," which spawned the Beavis & Butt-head faves "Detachable Penis," and "Martin Scorsese." A new album, entitled The Body Has a Head, was released in September 2004.

I was familiar with Detachable Penis, but was not familiar with "Jesus is Way Cool" until I read this entry in Chris' blog.

I've found a cure for the blogger's theological headache!

Humor. It works every time. But dose it carefully and mix with some simplicity, and a dash of honesty.

Mix carefully, and apply liberally.

Chris then reproduces the lyrics to the song - here's a sample:

If you were blind or lame
You just went to Jesus
And he would put his hands on you
And you would be healed
That's so cool
He could've played guitar better than Hendrix
He could've told the future
He could've baked the most delicious cake in the world
He could've scored more goals than Wayne Gretzky
He could've danced better than Barishnikov
Jesus could have been funnier than any comedian you can think of
Jesus was way cool

But Hall is obviously not part of that group that we Lutherans call "Reformed":

He told people to eat his body and drink his blood
That's so cool

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Still Need to Read 

Gra Nomad Wanderings. Heard about it here.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Blasts from the Past (rhymes with yellow) 

From KOER:

[Me] When will you be five?

[Leonard Stob Jr.] ON MY BIRTHDAY.

And the previously referenced Alienware computer is working fine now.

As is fboweb.com, as described here.

But my brain was somewhere else in the year of 99:

Several years ago I thought it would be funny if the local Cleveland
sportscaster (whoever he/he is) got dressed up in a native headdress
and shouted "Indian fever!" on the first of April. Then the Indians
got Hershiser and became successful, so the joke wasn't that funny
any more.

Do you like to run over twigs in that scooter?

What do you expect in alt.non.sequitur? Several years later:

I was in a Barnes & Noble this weekend and was surprised when I ran across a book by Rick Warren...on how to study the Bible. It isn't necessarily what I expected from him, but if he's encouraging people to turn to the Bible, I certainly can't fault that.

But watch out what you encourage:

P.S. We want more pictures of twigs.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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I should have known this, but I didn't. I knew that the Spice Girls were a manufactured pop group, but I didn't know that they rejected the manufacturer Emphasis mine.

If all of the invented personalities makes Spice Girls seem manufactured, that's because they are to a certain extent. Every member of the group was active in England's theatrical, film, and modeling circuit, and they all responded to an advertisement requesting five "lively girls" for a musical group in the summer of 1993. The manager who placed the ad chose all five members of Spice Girls, yet the women rejected his plans for their career and set out on their own two months after forming. For the next two years, the Girls fought to get a record contract, since most record labels insisted that the band pick one member as a clear leader, which is something the group refused.

Eventually, Spice Girls signed a contract to Virgin Records, but they were without a manager, which made recording a debut album nearly impossible. All five members moved into a house and went on the dole as they searched for a manager. By the end of 1995, the group had signed with Annie Lennox's manager Simon Fuller, and began writing songs with Elliot Kennedy. "Wannabe," Spice Girls' first single, was released in the summer of 1996....

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Blog Applications 

Over the weekend I heard of two ways in which blogs can be used.

Application One

One way was discussed at a meeting of foreign exchange student advisory volunteers, talking about the issue of an exchange student adjusting to the environment of the foreign country he or she is visiting. If the exchange student continuously contacts family and friends "back home," then the exchange student may have problems adjusting to the new home. In some cases the people "back home" may assume that things are the same with the exchange student, not realizing that the exchange student is at a different school with different friends and different experiences.

One suggestion floating around was that the exchange student advise his or her "back home" friends that there would be no direct contact and e-mails, since the exchange student was busy in the foreign country. Instead the exchange student would start a blog to update the people back home.

After some searching, I found such a blog, from Christopherus Ray'onaldo. Here's the first entry, from last September:

This is a blog from an exchange student. I'm from Indonesia. For 1 year(2005-2006) I live in TX,USA. I have a very good family. I have 2 brother. My big brother live in Netherlands now. My little brother still 3 years old. He is so funny. I'm very interested in computer. I wish I can be a computer programmer. I wrote this blog because my brother told me to write a blog and his blog is nice(only in his post about poem). You can check my brother blog at http://andrewchris.blogspot.com. That's all I can say. Have a great day ^O^.

Later that same day, he wrote to all of his Indonesian friends - in Indonesian. He'd continue to post occasionally, and wrote this in early November:

Just want to post something :D

Hmm..... like my title said i just want to post something but i don't know what is it :D

Last day i went to cinema. I went with my host brother but only me can get the ticket. Because it's the last ticket. I watched Chicken Little. It was fun and cool movie. There is an education behind the movie. It said that you must be honest and keep close to your family. Never lie to your family.

He has continued to post, and often posts about heartache. I don't know if he always does this, or whether he was going through the struggles that are inherent at the beginning of an exchange year, when you're thrown into a new culture and everything is weird. In many cases for North American and European students who leave home in the fall, the worst time is during the Christmas holiday season. Here's what Christopher wrote in mid-December:

No Matter what.......

4 months had gone
7 months will be gone
You are my friend
Even a great f[r]iend
Can't change it

Fight make nothing
Love make everything
Even earth are shaking
Even mountains trembling
You are still my friend
No matter what

Christopher, 13-12-2005

This poem is for my AFS Friends...... Happy Day all....

By January, he was saying: "Man my Indonesian Language is getting worst. But my english is getting better^^." (By the time he goes home, he initially may only want to speak in English, as he grieves over the loss of his new country.)

By March 2006, Christopher was finding inspiration via YouTube:

The song above is called "Mama" by Spice Girl. Just listen to it. It really touched me. Thx mama for loving so much.

(This is an old 1996 song; information here. Posh, did your mother teach you to go around in a bikini top when all of your other friends are dressed more conservatively?)

Application Two

I discovered the second application for a blog after reading this entry from Annika:

Please remember Gcotharn's mom in your prayers....[I]t's a sad thing that has happened in his family. I hope his mom will have a full recovery.

I clicked on the supplied link and read this entry dated Wednesday, April 19:

My mother is fighting for her life. She lost consciousness on Monday evening at approximately 9:00 pm. Cat scans pointed to two aneurysm, located behind her right eye, and 1 1/2 centimeters apart. One had leaked blood into her brain....

I read some of the other details, then checked the blog (The End Zone) to see if there was a subsequent update. I found this:

Mom is still deep in the woods, and will be for weeks. However, she has made tremendous progress since the incident occurred last Monday night. It is exciting to watch. I've started a blog to update friends and relatives about her progress:


It's difficult to express how much I appreciate the outpouring of love and support for Mom, and also the prayers sent up on her behalf. Thank you....

I'm sure that a lot of people set up limited blogs for temporary purposes. The only thing to remember when you do this, however, is that if you delete the blog, some spammer may grab the domain because of its popularity. That's what happened with the old Random Picture, Random Story blog (needless to say, I'm not providing a link).

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

On the Eternal Mother 

Reading too much about DaVinci and all that, you begin to wonder if there are parallels between the female non-Hebrew pantheon (Ishtar, Aphrodite, etc.) and the Mormon concept of an Eternal Mother.

First, it's important to note that Mormon interpretation is based upon the current head of the church, and teachings go in and out:

The Mormon concept of a "heavenly mother" is refereed to in a hymn by church leader Eliza R. Snow, and remains an officially approved doctrine. One verse of the hymn entitled "Oh, My Father!" reads as follows:

"In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare.
Truth is reason: truth eternal
tells me I've a mother there."...

The Mormon church...has taught the existence of an "eternal mother" from the earliest days. This doctrine is tied in with their beliefs that we all existed as "spirit children" in the spirit world with a heavenly "father" and "mother" before being sent to earth to take on a body. Apparently the "eternal mother" is not to be "worshipped"....The "eternal mother" is not talked much about in the Mormon church these days. In fact, recently there was a scandal at Brigham Young University, when the governing body fired English Professor Gail Houston, for reportedly encouraging praying to the Mother in Heaven.

Later the essay notes (emphasis from the original essay):

So, is there actually any evidence whatsoever that there is a 'mother goddess' or even a 'heavenly mother' who bears spirit children?

Of course there isn't. Not in the Bible, not even in the Mormons' own Book of Mormon. And there are many Biblical references to prove there is only one God.

What does Barry Bickmore, the author of 'Restoring the Ancient Church' (FAIR, Inc, Ben Lomond, CA, 1999) say? Not very much, actually. He tries to build a case for ancient goddess worship by the Hebrews on page 339 of his book, by referring to Jeremiah 44, a passage which is actually about the TRUE God condemning the worship of the pagan goddess Ishtar!

Well, let's look at Jeremiah 44, starting here:

Jeremiah 44:15-18 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

15 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, [a] said to Jeremiah, 16 "We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD! 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine."


Jeremiah 44:15 Hebrew in Egypt and Pathros

Jeremiah is not enthused about the practice:

Jeremiah 44:24-28 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women, "Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah in Egypt. 25 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have shown by your actions what you promised when you said, 'We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.'

"Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! 26 But hear the word of the LORD, all Jews living in Egypt: 'I swear by my great name,' says the LORD, 'that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, "As surely as the Sovereign LORD lives." 27 For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28 Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand—mine or theirs.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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