Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Immigrants and Illegal Aliens: My New Perspective

Yeah, I'll get to the Bristol stuff later, but it seems that while I was out of the loop, having a completely wonderful time by the way, illegal immigrants already in this country have been actively protesting attempts to curb their rapid growth by strengthening our borders.

How quaint.

You know, up until today, I took a fairly moderate position on illegal immigration. I acknowledged that it was a crime, but that the solution involved a two pronged approach, easing legal immigration restrictions while discouraging illegal immigration. However, after reading about what has gone on over the weekend, the protests and the violence, I've changed my mind. Somehow, these folks (the illegals) have come to believe that they have a right to be in America, even though they crossed the border illegally, and that's just flat out wrong. That erroneous belief changes the illegals from a nuisance to be minimized to a threat that must be removed. If a nation does not have a right to defend its borders, then it is no longer a nation.

Now, if you believe that America does not have the right to determine who is allowed to immigrate and who is not, then you might as well stop reading this, because you'll disagree with everything I've got to say. Spend the time practicing your Spanish because it will certainly come in handy if your side prevails. (And that's not a racist comment, just an accurate reflection of what inevitably occurs when a decadent culture comes up against a young vibrant one. And if we decide that our borders aren't worth defending, then we most certainly are a decadent culture.)

Let's start basic and work our way up. A nation is defined by its borders. Now some may argue that it's the laws or mores that define the nation, but they really define the character or culture of the nation. After all, those laws and cultural mores stop at the borders. The borders aren't just lines on a map; they are an expression of a nation's willingness and ability to defend its beliefs, its laws, and its culture against other cultures, other beliefs, other nations. By definition, a border recognizes and mediates an adversarial situation. While we co-operate across borders, and trade, and so on, the existence of the border is a recognition that a different belief systems hold sway on either side of the border. If this weren't so, the border would fade away.

Now, if the border defines the nation, then the nation clearly has a right to determine who crosses those borders, otherwise, the border is a meaningless fiction, totally irrelevant in any practical matter.

Given that a nation has the right to determine who crosses, then it must also have the right to enforce that determination, to keep out those who are not welcome, to capture and return those who slip through, and to punish any who seek to violate the border. Without the ability to defend the border, it once again becomes meaningless. Remember, the border isn't just a line on a map, it represents the collision point of two cultures. A strong border prevents that collision from causing damage; a weak border does just the opposite. Unrestrained, the clash of cultures can become violent, damaging both sides, and leading to escalating problems. The border may begin to shift, leading to increased tensions and more violence.

WHile it is clear that a strong border reduces the chances for violence, there are those within the US who will say that any attempt to strengthen our borders is racist. When asked why, they will say because most of those stopped at the border, or returned after crossing illegally are of another race. This argument is silly. They are not being deported because of their race; they are being deported because they are here illegally. Race is irrelevant. Now, if these folks screaming racism could show that members of a particular race are being deported out of proportion to their contribution to the total pool of illegal aliens, then they might have a case, but I am unaware of any such claims. As long as illegal aliens are being deported because of their immigration status, racism is nothing more than attempt to divert atttention from the truth.

Now then, nothing I've written has changed since this weekend, so why has my position changed? The same forces are at work; borders work the same; illegal aliens are the same people as they were Friday. Why the change?

Well, on Friday, I believed that those people in this country illegally knew that they didn't have a right to be here, that they had slipped through the cracks of a faulty system. Now, I find out that instead, they believe that the border shouldn't exist, that they have every right to be here. Think about that for a minute. Just over 3% of the US population, and by some estimates 11% of the work force, is here illegally, and many if not most of them believe they have a right to be here, no matter what the laws say.

Really think about that for a minute. What is the correct term to use for millions of people crossing a border to take what they want in defiance of the laws and customs of the land they've entered?

I'll give you a hint; it isn't immigration.

Invasion seems more like it.

Yeah yeah, I know, I'm being overly dramatic; this isn't an armed invasion; Mexico is not looking to capture the US.

Except, if you read history, you find example after example of invasions that look a lot like this. There are no armies marching to conquer anything, just a steady flood of people crossing the border and taking up residence in a new land. If you think about it, Europeans who settled the US did exactly that, displacing the former residents, who lacked the means to defend their borders.

We have the means; the question is, do we have the will?

And now you know why my position has changed, and why I said earlier that if you believe our borders are not worth defending, then it's time for you to study Spanish. Nations survive only so long as their citizens are willing to defend them; those whose citizens become weak and decadent will not fall to a conquering army, but will collapse from rot within.

Now, I don't know about y'all, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I still believe that America is worth preserving. Despite the signs of decadence rampant in our culture, I still believe that America stands for something unique on this planet, and it would be a dman shame to see it fall apart. Because I believe that, I stand against the invaders, even though they come unarmed, looking only for work, and a place to raise a family, not because of their race, but because of their disregard for the laws and customs that make America what it is.

That, by the way, is the key difference between immigrants and invaders and why this has nothing to do with race. A person who immigrates to the US in full compliance with the laws, bringing his strength, his will to succeed, his drive to make a life for himself and his family, this person strengthens our nation, regardlss of his race. The guy who sneaks in, who works to circumvent the law, who seeks to succeed in spite of the law, he weakens us, again regardless of his race.

So, damn me for a racist if you must, call me a hardliner or a xenophobe if you like. I now believe that all people in America illegally must be deported. I believe that our borders must be adequately defended, which I define as reducing the current flood of illegals to a trickle. (True story. A renter of one of our apartments was picked up by police for a traffic violation, A routine check found that he was in the US illegally and he was deported. He was back in East Tennessee within three weeks. It only took that long because he visited family in Texas for two weeks before coming back.)I belive that companies who knowingly hire illegal aliens should be punished for doing so, and that punishment should be more than a slap on the wrist. In short, I believe that the strict bill passed by the House, criminalizing illegal entry and aiding illegal entry, and the hiring of illegal aliens, is the way to go. A guest worker program, while desirable, will have to wait until after we get our borders under control.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Going to Bristol, Baby!

No more posting this week, or over the weekend unless I manage to hijack a telvision production company's wifi hotspot cause I'm Bristol bound!

Yep, we'll be camping out in the 30 degree weather, eating some good food, sleeping all day, partying all night, listening to some good tunes, meeting new friends from all over the country, and just generally doing what folks do when they all get together in the middle of a big field and hang out for 3 or 4 days.

Oh yeah, I hear something about a race going on as well.

A good time will be had by all, and I plan on nringing you all good pictures and stories, even if I have to make some up.

See you Tuesday.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

From the Haze of Sleep Deprivation

As I proofread the entry below, I noticed through foggy contacts a mistake that maybe wasn't so mistaken after all. I misspelled government.

But I like my new spelling better.

So, henceforth and from now on, in honor of that pathetically whiny guy during the Clinton-Dole Town Hall debate who wanted to know what the Federal government was going to do to take care of him, the Federal Government shall be known as the Federal Givernment.

It fits.

Posted by Rich
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John Hawkins’ 24 in 24:  My Take and My List

John Hawkins over at Right Wing News posted a quick list of 24 items he'd like to see changed in the American political landscape. His ideas are...well, interesting to say the least. His list, with my thougts in italics:
  1. Amend the Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
    No. The Federal government has no business getting involved in marriage. The States only have the right to regulate the financial/corporate aspects; the number/sexual orientations of the participants is none of the State's business.
  2. Term limits: Four 2 year terms in the House and two 6 year terms in the Senate.
    Sure. It won't accomplish much. Presidents are term limited; I haven't noticed a huge disparity in quality between recent presidents and the Congress.
  3. A Balanced Budget Amendment of some sort.
    Absolutely. This should be part of the Constitution, as long as it is crafted to allow for emergencies.
  4. The Supreme Court would be banned from considering foreign law to interpret the Constitution.
    This should go without saying, but since it must be said, it must be in the Constitution. While some may say it won't do any good, that the Justices will be still be free to consider whatever they want in their deliberations, it will force them to find some grounding in the US Constitution for their rulings. Of course, for a group of people who are capable of interpreting "shall not be infringed" as an open door to restrict, remove, and outright ban some firearms, that shouldn't prove to be too difficult a task.
  5. A Constitutional Amendment banning desecration of the American flag.
    Absolutely not. Free speech must be defended, most particularly political speech, and even more particularly, political speech that offends the status quo. Otherwise, the First Amendment is meaningless.
  6. A bill that would build a fence between the US and Mexico, crack down on people employing illegals, prevent all government services from going to illegals, and put an end to dual citizenship.
    Worthless. Illegal immigration will not stop as long as we have work that needs doing, and Mexico has workers that want to do it. Building a fence is not the answer; building a program that will allow the US to meet their labor needs with legal foreign workers is.
  7. Overturn Roe v. Wade.
    Yes. Not for Pro life reasons, but because this should never have been decided in the courts in the first place. This should be decided at the State level.
  8. Institute a flat tax with a minimum level below which nothing needs to be paid.
    Yes. Right now, the tax code is used both to generate revenue and as a social engineering tool. A flat tax with a floor at twice the poverty level or so is not regressive, and will not hurt those who are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, it will reaffirm the value of work by allowing those who work hard to keep what they earn.
  9. Institute a loser pays system where in most cases, the loser of a lawsuit has to pay the legal fees of the winner
    As much as I would like to say yes to this, we all know what would happen. This gives too much power to the well heeled client, who can intimidate poor plaintiffs, dragging out proceedings forever, racking up mountainous legal fees. I can bet that as soon as this passed, the instant reaction would be to require each litigant to post a bond in the expected amount of the legal fees. Yes, the system now allows the little guy to file frivolous suits that are settled because it's cheaper than fighting, taking advantage of the wealthy corporations. But that is preferable to allowing the powerful to take advantage of the powerless.
  10. Allow any business to fire employees for joining a union if they so choose.
    No. Simply joining a union is not grounds for dismissal. Firing should be performance based; layoffs should be economically justified. Simple affiliation with a group isn't enough. By the same token however, closed shops should be outlawed. Nobody should be forced to join an organization simply to be able to work.
  11. All parents would be provided school vouchers that could be used at the public or private school of their choice as long as it met minimal standards.
    No. The Federal government should not be involved in education at all. Again, this is a State issue.
  12. Health Care reform bill which would include, Tort reform, streamlining the regulations that make bringing a new drug to market so slow and expensive, health care savings accounts, and allowing health insurance companies from anywhere in America to compete for business in any state.
    Needs more detail, particularly on the tort reform, and drug regulations. The combination of the two could be very bad. Rush a drug to market, kill a few hundred people who can no longer sue for dmages because of the tort reform.

    Not good.

  13. Drill Anwr.
  14. Change the rules so it takes the support of a supermajority in Congress to raise taxes.
  15. Support Social Security reform including private accounts, raising the age limit incrementally until it reaches 70 by 2030, permanently tying the age limit to the average lifespan of Americans, & indexing Social Security payments to prices, instead of wages.
    Some yes, some no. Extending retirement age, OK. To 70? Nope, too far.
  16. Completely dump the Medicare Prescription Drug Reform.
    And replace it? Or not?
  17. Declare Affirmative Action to be Unconstitutional.
    I never understood the whole concept of eliminating racism by legalizing racial profiling, but that's the federal government for you.
  18. Rewrite Sarbanes-Oxley to make it much less burdensome to businesses.
    I'm going to skip this one, 'cause I have no idea what it means, and I have to go to bed soon.
  19. Get rid of the minimum wage entirely.
    Federal, yep. States set it according to their needs.
  20. Set up non-partisan commissions in every state to create non-gerrymandered districts.
    What is non-partisan? Does it actually exist?
  21. Set up simple and basic campaign finance laws that allow any American to contribute as much as they wish to any candidate or organization, as long as their identities are revealed.
    Nope. That way lies oligarchy. Instead, outlaw corporate giving entirely; limit individual contributions to parties (soft money), allow unlimited giving to candidates; remove all restrictions on advertising
  22. Overturn Kelo.
    Yep. Provate property is just that.
  23. Have the Supreme Court correctly interpret the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.
    Yep. Freedom of religion, not from religion. On the flip side, that means that all religions, even the crackpot ones made up by mediocre science fiction writers on a bet have equal standing under the law.
  24. Allow organ donations from willing (and deceased) owners to go forward without the consent of family members.
    If documented by the deceased, sure. And by more than a casual remark made during a TV show.

OK, now it's my turn. I don't know how many I'll come up with, but let's just see what happens.
  1. End the war on drugs. Legalize them all. Not only will the crime rate drop immediately, but we'll also eliminate a huge source of income for organized crime, which is always a good thing. However, make it clear that those who abuse the drugs are not entitled to government assistance to get cleaned up, nor will addiction be considered as an excuse for criminal acts.
  2. Rescind all blue laws. What people do in the privacy of their bedrooms, or rented motel rooms, is not business of the State or Federal goverment. If the right to privacy covers killing a fetus, then it certainly covers hanky panky in the bedroom. Or the kitchen.
  3. Revamp the Department of Homeland Security. Split the functions into two organizations, Domestic Defense, and Disaster Assistance.
  4. Revamp the FCC. I'd say abolish, but that's not practical. There are some functions of broadcasting that do need Federal control, but controlling content isn't one of them.Content control should be limited to the channel selector on your TV set.
  5. Congress must append to every new Bill the specific Constitutional reference that empowers them to make the legislation.
  6. The President should have a line item veto, subject to Consgressional override similar to the standard veto.
  7. Executive orders should be subject to judicial revue, but only on their constitutionality.
  8. Establish a flat national tax based on consumption rather than wages. Exempt spending on food, clothing, housing, and medical care up to a limit equal to twice the poverty level. At that point, tax everything but food.
  9. EPA regulations must show a positive cost-benefit analysis. The cure cannot be worse than the disease.
  10. Civil Service pay raises, including Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court Justices, should be linked to military pay raises. If the guy in the trenches has to make do with 2.5%, then so should the rest of the Federal government.
  11. The US should stop propping up the UN, and withdraw from that corrupt, ineffectual den of weasels. Additionally, no US troops will ever wear the colors of another government.
  12. Repeal McCain-Feingold, the DCMA, the Patriot Act, and all other legislation that needlessly abridges our rights as recognized under the Constitution.
  13. Open the gates of legal immigration; allow those that need jobs to fill the vacancies in our economy. Closing the borders will stop the flow of illegals about as effectively as Prohibition stopped the flow of booze. As long as the demand is there, it will be met.
  14. Revise House and Senate rules to prevent attaching unrelated bills to "must pass" bills.
  15. Require Congress critters to actually read any bill they vote "Yes" on.

Ok, enough. I have to get up in a few hours.

I wonder if this list will make any sense when I read it tomorrow.

Posted by Rich
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Light Blogging Week

Between acting like I have a real job (I'm running some corporate training programs this week, and am having to go into an actual office and stuff) and getting ready for Bristol this weekend, blogging time has been severely restricted.

My apologies.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, March 17, 2006

Very Sleepy; Must Sleep Now

I couldn't sleep last night, which figures because I had to get up a 4:45 to drive to Oak Ridge and teach a class on Rigging for nine hours.

Now I'm looking at a 2 monitor spread on my desk that would be awesome for playing a flight slim, or doing CAD/CAM work. The only problem is only one of the monitors is real.

I'm typing this post on the middle one, so if you see this, let me know, and I'll junk the other two monitors.

But I'm not going to leave you empty handed. Barry wrote a great bit that you should go read, if you haven't already. As for me, I'm waving B and E goodbye.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Reef Update

Last week, I posted some pictures of my aquarium that I had taken last December. Here are some more current ones.
As you can see, there are a couple of new residents.

Posted by Rich
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Vols Win 63-61 Against Winthrop

As billed when the matchups were first announced, Winthrop gave the Vols almost all they could handle, but in the end a long arcing 2 point shot by Chris Lofton gave the Vols the win.

I heard a lot of folks say befor the game that Winthrop was very good, much better than their seeding suggested, and they showed it today. It was nice to see the Vols win a close one again, after the last few games.

Unfortunately for the Vols, their next game is against another team whose seed is misleading, Wichita State.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Will the Real GWB Please Stand Up?

For several years now, the left has been telling us that Bush is a conservative extremist, out of touch with mainstream America.

Yet now his polling numbers are falling, in no small part because he's losing support from the far right. They're unhappy with many parts of his administration, especially his weakness on illegal immigration and border security, and the record growth in federal spending, particularly social spending, ie the Medicare drug benefit.

Could it be that George W. Bush has been a moderate conservative all along, and that it's only been leftist rhetoric that made him seem otherwise? Let's see.

Strong on defenseX
Favors tax cutsX
Expands medicareX
Favors amnesty for illegal aliensX
Record expansion of the federal governmentX
Promotes energy independanceX
but primarily through expanding
domestic oil production

Hmmm. I know these are general principles, and you can argue that I'm being overly broad, but it still hardly looks like the record of a rabid right winger, now does it?

Posted by Rich
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Tennessee Follows South Dakota’s Lead

Sen. David Fowler has introduced an amendment to the State Constitution that would specify that the Constitution does not women the right to an abortion. Say Uncle finds it odd that an amendment would be needed to specifically rule out a certain interpretation. Given that some folks have tried to "interpret" the 2nd Amendment as forbidding the people to keep and bear arms, this attitude is puzzling.

Here's the thing. Sen Fowler has proposed an amendment based on his own beliefs and the beliefs of his constituents. That's the way representative government works. His proposal was passed on first reading by a majority of his colleagues, who believe that the majority of their constituents also agree.

So far so good.

Now then, folks who disagree are going to raise a ruckus, lobbying their representatives to vote against or stall a vote on the proposal in the House. Again, that's representative government at it's finest.

Having read the State Constitution twice now (By the way, did you know that it is illegal for a professed atheist to hold office in Tennessee? It is.), I've got a good handle on how this whole Amendment process goes down.

First, you have to introduce the amendment in both legislative branches. Both branches must approve the legislation. Then, during the next general assembly, which gives the people plenty of time to replace congress critters who voted against their wishes, the amendment must pass both houses by a 2/3 majority. After that, it can be placed before the people of the state during the next governor's race, and it must pass by a simple majority of those who vote for governor.

So, this is a two year process at a minimum. It's very tough to change the Constitution, and rightfully so. The point is that Sen. Fowler has taken the first step in a long drawn out process because he believes it's the right thing to do. Those who oppose him also believe that they're doing the right thing.

So can we keep the character assasination out of it, please?

Sen. Fowler is not a cruel, evil man for wanting to make abortions illegal. He honestly and sincerely believes that abortion is murder. By the same token, NARAL, PP, and the pro-choice side are not evil, cruel, heartless baby killers. They either believe that a fetus is not a person (a weak argument) or that authorizing the state to interfere in a pregnancy grants too much power to the state (a much stronger argument). Both sides have a good case to back up their side of the fight. Calling each other names, telling lies, and distorting the truth distracts from the process, rather than advancing it. Polling data from both sides shows one thing very clearly; this is a conversation that we've been putting off for decades now, ever since the SCOTUS issued Roe v Wade.

How do I feel about abortion?

Personally, I'm against it. I know as a scientific fact that a new organism is created at conception. The DNA no longer matches the mother, therefore, the fetus is not tissue from the mother; it is it's own being. But is it a person? Today, the assignment of personhood is based on supposition and philosophy, not science, and has beome a matter of law, rather than fact, divorced from any scientific basis. We try to pin it down with terms like self-awareness, and autonomy, but since it's very difficult to assign just when those traits are evident in living beings, much less a developing fetus, it more or less comes down to somebody's best guess. Personally, I'm uncomfortable with the government getting to decide what a person is and isn't; that's a lot of power and they don't have a really good track record to date.(cf slavery) Particularly when that decision is based on a guess.

So I default back to science. If an embryo is a new organism at conception, then it is also a new person at that time, since that is the only clear point of demarcation available to science.

However, the problem with eliminating abortion is that if you give the government the right to compel birth then you're also giving it the right to restrict birth as well. Check out China. Once again, that's way too much power for the federal government to have, or the state governments for that matter. Now some may argue that making abortion illegal is not the same as compelling birth, that there are other options, but for all practical purposes, they're wrong. So, as a matter of public policy, it would seem that I should fall into the pro-choice camp.

But I can't.

If a fetus is a new person, then abortion is murder, and murder is and should be a crime.

So where does that leave me? I don't like either answer. Either we give the government the power to decide just what a person is, or we give it the power to determine our reproductive choices. That's a lose-lose if you ask me.

I look to a cultural solution, rather than a judicial or legislative one. What others have given lip service to, I think should be the true approach. We should work to create a society where abortion fades away because it is no longer necessary.

The first step is education. Parents need to teach their children that sex isn't a game; it isn't just about feeling good, and it can have life altering circumstances, of which pregnancy is only one. Parents also need to teach kids about responisibility, and that the choices we make carry consequences, and killing a baby is not an appropriate way to deal with those consequences.

Second, we need to enable our cildren to make responsible choices. I'm a single dad, which means I've had to have several awkward conversations with my daughters, one of which dealt with the need for contraception. All my girls know that if they decide to become active sexually, I will take them to the OB/GYN so they can go on the pill, or whichever method of contraception is right for them. I don't think this is encouraging them to be active, but to be responsible when they decide to be active. My sons know that if they decide to be active, to use condoms. But I've also tried to teach all of them that despite all precautions, pregnancy can happen, and that it is a potential consequence of being active. I've also tried to teach them that abortion is a way to avoid taking responsibility for the choices they made. Finally, I've let them all know that, should one of them get pregnant, that I will support them and their child, making sure that they can still have a full life, just different.

Third, we need to offer viable options for pregnant mothers other than abortion. This is one area that I'm happy to say has seen tremendous improvement. Years ago, the pro-choice crowd correctly pointed out that the pro-life folks were woefully inadequate in this area, so they took action to correct it. The pro-life movement is far more accepting of contraception than they used to be, although there is still room for improvement, and they've strengthened their commitment to supporting adoption and providing services and support for single mothers, particularly teens. This kind of support is vital to any effort to minimize the demand for abortion.

Finally, and here is where I'm going to strike sparks with countless folks, our culture needs to become much less accepting of abortion as a method of contraception. As I mentioned earlier, the choices we make have consequences, and killing a baby to avoid those consequences is wrong. The time to choose is not after the baby is conceived, but before you have sex. If you choose to have sex and you or your partner become pregnant, you are now a parent. It isn't a choice; it's a consequence of a choice you already made. Avoiding the consequence by killing the fetus is just flat out wrong.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, March 10, 2006

Post Season Slump Persists; Pearl Stumped

It cost Jerry Green his job.

Once agan, the Vols are one and done in the SEC tournament, despite entering as the top seed in the East, and playing a team they swept during the regular season. For all his success during the regular season, Coach Bruse Pearl can';t seem to solve the riddle that has cost former Tennessee coaches their jobs; how to win a post season game.

That could be the lede (Why do newspapers spell things funny? Why lede instead of lead?) on tomorrow's sports pages. I hope it won't be.

It overlooks and diminishes just how much this team has accomplished this season. The Vols were a consensus pick to finish in the bottom of the East, with a losing record. They went 15-16 in the regular season last year, and lost their top scorer to graduation. They are undersized, without a true center. They brought in a new coach, with a new system. Nobody expected anything from them.

But they won the SEC East, sweeping Florida, beating Texas, beating Kentucky at Rupp, and earning a bye into the SEC tournament.

So they lost to South Carolina. So what? South Carolina also swept the Gators, and are a very strong team in their own right. As the saying goes, it's very difficult to beat a good team three times in a season.

Yeah, I'm disappointed; I wanted the chance to avenge earlier losses. But that's the cool thing about this season, the fact that I thought it was possible to avenge those losses. I don't care what happens in the NCAA tournament either. Yeah, I want to win a few games, and so the Vols can show that the season wasn't a fluke, but even if they go one and out there, this has still been a great season. Basketball is fun again at Rocky Top, even when the guys are playing.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

What’s an Aquarium Without any Fish?

A reef.


Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is NOT a Good Thing:House committee attempts to block sale

You think the world is against us now, just wait. If Congress continues along this path and blocks the ports deal, including an override of a Bush veto, then everyone who has been saying that the war on terror is actually a war against Islam will be proved correct.

In what the future may see as irony of epic proportions, that is, if there is a future, the proof will come by the actions not of the men who started the war, but at the hands of those who opposed it.

It's simply amazing. After weeks of scrutiny, the only reason for not allowing the deal to go forward is still that the UAE is an Arab nation filled with Muslims. Apparently, that's good enough for the majority of the House, as well as most Americans. Democrats are hoping to ride this issue into control of the House this fall, and apparently Republicans are afraid they just might succeed, so, showing all the spine of a beached jellyfish, they're collapsing faster than the dot com bubble, leading to such idiotic statements as this from California Republican Jerry Lewis:
This is a national security issue...[This legislation will] keep America's ports in American hands.

Hey, Jerry! The ports weren't in American hands before the sale! They were run by the Brits, who, like the UAE, have Islamic fundamentalists amount their population. As for security, the contracts DP World are buying do not include port security!


Of course, he's not the only brainless idiot. Here's Bill Young, republican rep from Florida:
One of the most vulnerable situations facing America is our ports of entry. Whoever's responsible for those ports of entry should be American.

Once again, Billy boy, the ports weren't under American control before the sale of the company!

What a mess. Because of politics, what should be an ordinary business deal, one with, according to every security agency's review, little or no impact on national security, has become a disaster that will have a major negative impact on our foreign relations for years to come.

And don't think I'm giving all the blame to Democrats who saw an opening and took it, and the Republicans who are caving. The short sighted and tone deaf members of the Bush administration who failed to foresee this reaction and pre-emptively defuse the situation carry at least half the blame.

Now I know a lot of folks reading this disagree with me here, and think the deal should be killed. I'm going to ask all of you to do one simple thing. Find one piece of evidence, one hard fact that links a member of the UAE government or the corporate board of DP World with terrorism or terrorist groups, and I'll concede there is reason to examine the deal more closely. The fact that terrorist money flowed (Note the past tense. The UAE has tightened their banking system, co-operating fully with the US.) through the UAE doesn not constitute such a link, since banks all over the world were used to funnel terrorist funds. Now, a member of the UAE banking commission taking gifts from known terrorists, that would be a hard link.

That's all I ask. One documented hard link. Failing that, then opposition to the deal remains based on racism and fear.

And that's not a basis for sound foreign policy.

Posted by Rich
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Is There a Third Party Window Opening?

I was at a party a little while back, and I heard somebody say that they were expecting big changes coming out of the 2006 election cycle. He said something like, "The Republicans have peaked. They're over."

He's half right. The Republican party has peaked and is beginning to slide into rampant big government authoritarianism. The problem with his analysis is that the Democratic party is showing no signs of hitting bottom, much less rebounding. Not only has Dean spent them broke, but they can't even manage to come up with a coherent platform other than, "We aren't Republicans," and that's not enough.

Compounding the problem for the 2008 Presidential election cycle is the fact that the primary system plays to the extremist segments of both parties, resulting in polarizing candidates who have a very difficult time reaching to the moderates. As John Hawkins points out in his assessment of a Giuliani Presidential run, much of the Republican base feel that Bush is too centrist, and will work for a candidate somewhere to the right of him. This could spell disaster for the Republicans, except for the fact that the Democrats are headed down the same road, as the extreme left has control of the party, and will certainly back a candidate to the left of Kerry.

It may seem nonsensical now, but as Hillary positions herself more to the center, Al Gore may actually become an attractive candidate for the extreme left.

For argument's sake, let's say that Hillary gets the nod for the Democrats, and Frist gets it for the Republicans. That creates a tremendous amount of space between them for a true centrist candidate, one that runs as a fiscal and defense conservative and social liberal.

Think of some of the tickets that kind of triangulation could produce; can you picture McCain and Lieberman on the same ticket? How about Giuliani and either of them?

Yeah, I know, third parties can't win. But I'll tell you something. When I voted for Bush the first time, it wasn't because I thought he'd make an excellent President, but because he was the best of a bad choice. Had there been a credible third party candidate, I would have happily given him/her my vote.

And I don't think I'm alone on that.

Now, I will not talk about politics again for at least 4 months.

The final sentence of the preceding statement is not meant to be taken literally. Mr Hailey reserves the right to write about politics anytime he so chooses. The above statement was made for effect only, and should not be taken as a sign of intent or a binding promise. In fact, forget he wrote it. It was 2AM after a long hard day, and he wasn't thinking straight.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Rev Ends the Sermon

Donald Sensing announces he's going on hiatus for awhile.

That's too bad; he'll be missed.

But I bet he'll be back.

Posted by Rich
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