Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mother emailed to ask why I haven't written about Belinda Stronach's candidacy for the newly re-united Conservative Party of Canada. My steadily waning interest in Canadian politics notwithstanding, Ms. Stronach's candidacy has fallen below my radar largely because I don't know anything about her, aside from the fact that she's the daughter of one of Canada's few successful, billionaire entrepreneurs. After perusing her campaign website, I didn't glean much more about her; she's a little sketchy on the issues and seems to have only a vague vision for the future direction of the party. Then again, it's early in the leadership race, so she still has time to formulate a more cogent plan.

Judging from the site's "Photo Gallery", I can safely say that Belinda does have a slim chance of becoming Canada's first "MILF" Prime Minister.

[There, Mom. You happy?]

It's been a long time since I posted a 'PETA Watch' news item: A Swedish veterinary organization is calling attention to the country's growing number of sexual assaults on animals.

No word yet on Swedish cable regulators' plans to reclassify Animal Planet as a pornography channel.

Like I said a few weeks ago, I agree with the President's new immigration proposal in principle, but I have serious reservations about its lax enforcement guidelines. Despite the plan's flaws, it is far more sensible than the idiotic reforms unveiled by the Democrats yesterday.

The Bush plan essentially boils down to a prolonged, delayed form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, which in most cases would require them to return to their home countries for a brief period of time before re-entering the US legally under a guest worker program, with an option to apply for permanent residence. In contrast, the Democrats' plan is an immediate amnesty program, much like the disastrous reforms of 1986 that led to the mushrooming migration problem currently plaguing the country. It calls for establishing permanent residency for illegal aliens who've been in the US for an as yet unspecified period of time, curtailing certain types of deportation orders, offering in-state tuition to illegal aliens who wish to attend college, and allowing permanent residents to sponsor relatives who already reside here illegally. In a nutshell, this is the mother lode of giveaways for illegals.

If moderates thought the President's plan was a tad on the generous side, what makes the Democrats think they can win votes by having a Fire Sale? Are they that desperate to corral another minority constituency? On a personal note, why did I spend the last 5 years dutifully following the immigration laws as a legal resident alien? I could have just slipped into the country undetected, then waited for the Democrats to give me a green card.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

So, how does a liberal blowhard deal with a pesky heckler? By physically assaulting him, of course.

Al Franken, the former SNL comedy writer turned liberal satirist, was irritated by heckling at a Howard Dean rally yesterday. In response, Franken bodyslammed a taunting demonstrator, knocking the man to the ground. Ironically, Franken told reporters that he was just doing his part to preserve free speech.

No word yet on whether the protester will be filing assault charges against the comedian.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Where was that tight 4-way race in Iowa all the news outlets and pundits were telling us to expect the last few days? Where was the guaranteed Howard Dean victory they all predicted just a few short weeks ago? Where was it, I ask?

Iowans offered up plenty of "surprises" last night. Kerry surged up from near death. Edwards popped up out of nowhere. Gephardt was stiffed by his union cronies. Dean got trounced by 20 points, then gave a truly bizarre speech to his faithful, complete with what can only be described as feral howling. According to Drudge, "his face became red, his gestures sharp and angry. For a few moments, it appeared Dean had slipped into an unnatural state."

I'm still holding out some faint glimmer of hope that Howlin' Howard will still ultimately win the nomination, but it doesn't look good. Unless he can rebound strongly in New Hampshire, then hold his head above water in Arizona and the South, I think he'll be toast. Andrew Sullivan opined that Dean's candidacy suffered the kiss of death with Al Gore's endorsement. I think he might be proven right.

Friday, January 09, 2004

The wife brought home a 2-year old Beagle/Italian Greyhound mix last night. I read the literature the Humane Society provided along with the mutt on "Pet Separation Anxiety", a condition many animals experience when adjusting to new surroundings after getting dumped by their old masters. The list of symptoms disturbs me. If this thing shits in my house, I'm going to freak out.

Hot on the heals of the Madonna endorsement, several recent polls have hit the news suggesting Gen. Wesley Clark is gaining some ground in the Presidential race, and benefiting from mounting doubts over Howard Dean's electability. I still regard Dean as the dream candidate to face Bush in November, but I wouldn't quibble if the Dems swoon for the Four-Star Phony come primary season.

An article by National Review's Jay Nordlinger tears Phony a new one today. In it, Jay highlights the growing volume of loony, paranoid rhetoric Phony's been using on the stump with increasing frequency, not to mention a fantastic collection of stunning policy flip-flops, conflicting statements and logical contortions. Here's a sample:

The general has told us, "I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in occupying countries to extract their natural resources. I think you buy them on the world market." Because, as you all know, the United States is in Iraq to extract their oil, and not buy it on the world market. You did know that, didn't you? Haven't you read your Noam Chomsky, or the speeches of Wesley Clark?

Clark is almost never "credited" with being as flaky and offensive as he is. He repeatedly charges President Bush with personal culpability in the death of 3,000 people on September 11. He completely exonerates the Clinton administration, saying that it had no time to do anything about al Qaeda (seriously). He claims that the Iraq war was a great diversion from our alleged failures against al Qaeda, and that this diversion was the trick of "neocons." (The general has gotten with the lingo.)

Check out Clark: "I suspect [Bush's] advisers said, 'Now, Mr. President, you know, there's no guarantee we could ever get [bin Laden]. You know, it's, you know, you ought to go somewhere, you know, go somewhere easy, do something easy like taking care of Saddam Hussein, and he's probably connected . . .'"

Wait a second: Saddam was supposed to be easy? What happened to quagmire?

Like I said, I wouldn't quibble if...

Thursday, January 08, 2004

There's a massive firestorm of discontentment over the President new immigration proposal. As a legal resident alien living in Arizona, one of the border states that's been inundated by thousands of illegal immigrants flooding in from Mexico, I think I can speak to the issue with some degree of personal experience to draw upon. I've been careful to reserve judgment of the plan until I reviewed the details. From what I've seen so far, I'm not impressed.

I'm not opposed to guest worker programs, as I am a direct benefactor of one established by the NAFTA agreement. In fact, I believe the program offered by the White House is, in principle, a good one. Employers offering jobs that Americans are unwilling or unable to fill should have the means to seek workers elsewhere. This is a central tenet of solid economic policy, particularly in a free trade environment. However, there are two major problems with the plan, which will ultimately be its undoing if it is eventually passed by Congress in its current form.

First, the penalties for illegal aliens currently residing in the US who stand to benefit from the program are paltry, to say the least. In a nutshell, an alien would have 60 days or so to sign up as a guest worker, prove they have a bonafide employment offer, then pay a $1500 fine for having crossed into the US illegally. They would then be allowed to sponsor family members to join them in the US, and be free to apply for permanent residency for themselves and their family. In other words, the price for violating the law is an option to buy into a streamlined amnesty program for you and your family for $1500. If this seems more like a reward than a penalty, you are correct. A law that offers a defacto reward for illegal behavior will do little to stem the tide of illegal immigration. In fact, it's quite possible to encourage such behavior.

Curiously, for other would-be immigration violators, the penalties for attempted immigration fraud are swift and brutal. For example, as a NAFTA treaty alien, I had to submit my application for employment annually, which included my education and work credentials, passport details, a carefully worded letter from my employer, and a certified promise to leave the US once my employment was terminated. If the immigration officer reviewing my application suspected I was less than truthful in any portion of my application, I would be denied entry into the country. If the officer also perceived that I had some sort of intention of establishing residency, I would also be banned from entering the US for anywhere from 5 years to life, without appeal. Do those people who've been barred from entry to the US for even the most benign infractions get the $1500 amnesty option under the proposed immigration plan, as well? From what I've read, the answer is no, they do not. So, why should one group of people who have committed immigration fraud be rewarded, while others would still be subject to the stiff penalties of existing laws? How does this make sense, exactly?

The second problem with the Bush proposal is the complete lack of enhanced enforcement of border security, along with the vague talk of stiffening penalties for businesses and individuals who employ illegal labor. With respect to security, if people are able to breach the border easily without regard for existing laws, what good is another law? How would its enactment alone halt the waves of illegal immigrants coming into the country? As for employers, why would a firm that uses illegal labor offer jobs under the new guest worker program? Why would they open themselves up to mandatory compliance with minimum wage laws and workers' compensation statutes? Why would they want to begin making matching contributions to Social Security and Medicare? Without strict enforcement initiatives on both fronts, the proposed law is powerless to achieve the level of compliance that is necessary to make the guest worker program viable.

I'm hoping Congress addresses the glaring inequity and laxity inherent in the President's proposal over the next several months. Passing such an initiative in its current form would undoubtedly be a disaster, with myriad unintended consequences.

STOP THE PRESSES! Madonna has formally endorsed Wesley Clark for the Democratic nomination.

Glory be, the Material Girl has anointed the good General with her favor! Word of this divine news will surely spread to the minions, ensuring landslide primary victories for Clark in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Oh, what a tremendously happy day for Wesley! This is as good as a thumbs up from Jesus himself, it is!

Does this mean if the Four-Star Phony pulls off a miracle and wins the big prize in November, Madonna will relocate back to America? Will she then drop the faux British accent? Just wondering...