Monday, October 31, 2005

The Man Has Redeemed Himself

GW was wussing out by nominating Harriet Miers to the SCOTUS. I'm sure she is very talented and accomplished. Knowing Bush's track record on judicial nominations, she was probably "The One". The only issue that most conservatives have is that she has no track record as a judge, which makes everybody squeamish because they've been burned before (See Justice Souter). Now, GW has gone to the other end of the spectrum, he has nominated somebody with a well known track record, judge Samuel Alito. You know that he's a great judge because the Democrats are screaming bloody murder about him being an "extremist".

I am pleased with the President's choice. I wanted to see a good dust-up in congress. The more time they spend arguing over this, the less time they have to reach into our pockets and curb our rights. That segues nicely with the next topic. Yes, it does.

The reason that we should like judges like Scalia and Alito is that they follow the intent and letter of the constitution. Things like abortion should never have gone to the Supreme Court. Abortion is THE issue that has raised hackles against Alito. Prevent Parenthood has already called for his rejection. Nobody really cares so much about other issues, coming from the left. On the right, we want a constitutional originalist. The fact that he is not pro-abortion is the icing on the cake. I say that this issue should never have gone to the Supreme Court because there is no article or amendment in the U.S. Constitution that addresses abortion. All powers NOT enumerated by the constitution are reserved for the states. Abortion should be a state issue. We may well end up having states where abortion is legal and others where it isn't. That should be for us to decide locally.

This is where I agree with the Supreme Court on their recent decision with respect to Eminent Domain. This is something that the states should handle, and they have. Many conservatives believe that the decision was one in which our rights were eroded. I believe that the decision empowered state and local officials to make the decision for themselves.

So, a judge who sticks to what is in the Constitution is a brake on the runaway enthusiasm of the lawyers in Congress. Remember, it is not government that gives us our rights. The Constitution is not a document that gives us any rights. Our rights come from God. The Constitution is a document that LIMITS government's powers. All the rights that the lawyers in congress tell us that they want to give us is a bunch of spin. They can ensure our rights be not meddling with them. This also applies to the lawyers on the Supreme Court. Judicial activism is not a Constitutional authority for the SCOTUS. If the brakes give out on the them, we have nothing to stop the U.S. Government from meddling in anything. Every law made somehow always ends up limiting our freedom, even the ones that "guarantee" our freedoms. Those are the worst because in order to exercise our freedom, we need to do this, and fill out this form, and pay this fee, and get this certification, and on and on. My right to bear arms, for instance, requires a background check, a permit, a course, and who knows what else. It's a right that I can't exercise freely. I'm sure you can think of other rights that aren't.

I look forward to the bloody battle in Congress to get judge Alito confirmed. It is reassuring that GW is doing something we asked him to do when we voted for him. Let's keep this government from granting us any more rights by limiting the government to doing what is in the constitution. So, from the bottom of my heart, "Thank you, Mr. President".

Sunday, October 30, 2005

No Excuses for Texas

I was just reading Steve Urquhart's blog. He proposed some changes that the Utah Education Monopoly could make to improve education in that state rather than the union's effort to get more money. The teachers think that by spending more money students will learn better.

He proposed some things that the Utah Education Monopoly should rally behind if they really care about students. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently interviewed on a similar issue. The unions talked about tenure, pay raises, benefits, and other topics. According to Arnold, they never once mentioned what was good for students. Steve's suggestions are these:

1. Increased pay for the best teachers.
2. Increased performance in math for grades 4-6.
3. Increased ability to terminate the worst teachers.
4. Increased pay for starting teachers.
5. School choice.

Obviously, the Education Monopoly of Utah won't support these things.

My problem with the Education Monopoly is as follows. Essentially, public schools take our money and put out poor quality. They take more and more money with the same or worse results. When we call them on it, they respond that they need more money. They need more money because kids can't think on an empty stomach, kids can't learn in hot classrooms, kids can't learn if a teacher does not have an overhead projector, kids can't learn if they don't have books, kids can't learn if their self-esteem is low, kids can't learn if they don't get enough sleep, kids can't learn if they don't get rewards, kids don't learn if this or that. There is no end to the things that prevent kids from learning. Here is a novel idea, kids can't learn if a teacher isn't cut out for the job. If the teacher can't perform, get rid of the teacher and hire somebody who will.

I am upset about the TAAKS. This isn't the Education Monopoly's fault, it's George Bush's. Here is my problem with that. The TAAKS has minimum standards that students should meet to pass to the next grade. I repeat, minimum. Teachers put a lot of time and effort teaching kids how to meet a minimum. Principals and school districts require teachers to set this time aside to prepare for the test. Rather than teach kids more than is necessary for the test, they aim for the minimum. GW talks about the soft bigotry of low expectations. The TAAKS merely guarantees it, except that it establishes an acceptable low level. If GW could run for president again, I'd vote for him again. The TAAKS, however, is his most glorious brain fart as governor. I wish the TAAKS would die.

I would support school choice. Actually, I do support school choice. As I think about the model, I am discovering some logistical and other problems. So, I need to think about school choice a little more. The whole problem that I am finding is related to the economic concept of scarcity. Schools can only accept so many students. Obviously, top schools would want top students in order to maintain their reputation as top schools. If you recruit only the best and the brightest, you will undoubtedly BE the best and the brightest as an organization. What about the slow and the challenged? Where do they go? Who will teach them if their best isn't good enough for the best or second or third best schools? What motivation do you have as a teacher if the deck is stacked against you with "challenged" students? Maybe I misunderstand how school choice is supposed to work. I'll look into the issue.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I'm Against It!

There is some cheating going on about Proposition 2. You've probably heard the news about how a former legislator is heading a group opposing the proposition with deceptive recorded phone calls. The opposition line is "Don't risk it, vote against it". It reminds me of Horse Feathers, a Marx Brothers movie (reminds me of the Dems in Congress too).

I don't know what they have to say,
it makes no difference anyway -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I'm against it!

Your proposition may be good,
but let's have one thing understood -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
I'm against it!

I'm opposed to it.
On general principles I'm opposed to it.

For months before my son was born,
I used to yell from night to morn -
"Whatever it is, I'm against it!"
And I've kept yelling since I first commenced it,
"I'm against it!"

You can also see UT-Pan American peppered with signs with the same cryptic message "Don't risk it, vote against it." They don't tell you what "it" is. The whole campaign is based on the premise that the proposition is flawed and will end up changing traditional marriage. Of course, this is a bunch of horse feathers. The campaigners have no interest in preserving traditional marriage. They simply want to leave the door open for gay marriage. If they have to lie, obfuscate, deceive, or mislead to attain that effect, it's being done. The AG Greg Abbott had to step in and rule against the deceptive phone campaign.

I was reading an article that claims that the issue has traction with the under 30 crowd. Amendments usually get votes from an average age of 58, it states in the same paragraph. Much opposition comes from under 30. I used to be 30 or younger as of a year ago. I'm 31 now. Let me tell you about the under 30 crowd. They don't vote. Sure, you'll have the occasional voter in their twenties. As a core constituency, under 30s are a waste of campaign resources. They talk a good game, but they don't vote. What happened in the last presidential election with all the Hollywood stars, musicians, and other celebrities siding with John Kerry? The celebs were going to "Rock the Vote" to get young people to vote Democrat. If you listened to MTV, you would have thought you were listening to a campaign arm for the Kerry people. Did the youth show up? No. It was a waste of time and money.

Gen X, my people, and Gen Y don't buy into the marketing. We tend to be a bit more cynical. We'll go to the concert to hear music. We don't care what Ashton Kutcher thinks, we just like to see him act like a dumbass. I liked one Dixie Chicks song, "Landslide". Then the fat one decides to disrespect the President. Laura Ingraham says it best, "Shut up and sing". I could go on about some of the nitwit entertainers out there like Bruce Springsteen, Kanye West, Barbara Streisand, Leonardo Dicaprio, Donald Sutherland, Cameron Diaz, and many others. If you hear the dribble they speak when they talk about politics, you feel embarrassed FOR them. Who the heck cares what they think? Just entertain us. Take my money and perform. To quote Kurt Cobain, "here we are now, entertain us".

So, not only are the opponents of Proposition 2 wasting their time on a skimpy voter base, they are misleading the very same voter base. That's real genius.

What you should do.

You should vote for Proposition 2. The reason for this is that it only formalizes what already is. To be dramatic, it's like a Proposition that requires the State of Texas to recognize male children as "boys" and females as "girls". Similarly, this proposition codifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. It rules out any other variations of the concept and rules out any laws that result in similar recognition. In English, it means it can't be a marriage between a man and a man, a man and a goat, a man and his two roomates. In addition, also in English, there can't be a "civil union" type of status or recognition because it results in something similar to marriage. If you are against the proposition, don't worry. This is just for an amendment. The Texas Constitution can be reamended if sometime in the future Texans decide that we simply can't continue civilization without the ability to marry our livestock, a friend of the same gender, or group marriages. If future Texans decide that these types of unions are absolutely necessary for the good of Texas families, you'll see legislators running to Austin to propose the next amendment. In the meantime, let the pro-family crowd have their way. Or, are you anti-family?
Listen to Rio Grande Valley news as recorded live.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Leave them alone

People are up in arms because oil companies are reporting record profits. Leave them alone. We are paying high prices for gasoline because of legislators. They have regulated refineries so much that oil companies won't build new refineries. There is plenty of oil, but little capacity to refine it. It's funny that Congress acts like the oil companies are some kind of monster that just cropped up. They created them! Just leave the oil companies alone. These record profits don't just disappear never to be seen again. The money gets paid out in dividends, capital gains, salaries, bonuses, and capital expenditures. With the United States being such a financial powerhouse, the money will come back to us. Corporations don't just "pocket" money. The money gets paid out. Consequently, it gets spent or invested. It is my hope that oil companies will use some money to lobby for relaxed refinery legislation. If law makers really want to reduce gas prices, they'd reduce the taxes on gasoline and other fuels. For every 10 cents an oil company makes, the government makes 50. Don't worry about the oil companies. Worry about the lawmakers.


DiCaprio is a Moron.

Geez, these educators

This is an issue that I have with the whole Education monopoly and specifically a few people. I applaud Arnold Schwarzenegger for his work on reforming education in California. I think that Texas could use a little reform too. Here are my issues with education in Texas.

The first point is that people who go through the Education department rarely pass their EXCET. We've all heard, "those who can do. Those who can't, teach. (Those who can't teach, teach gym)." Most of the people who go through the education department at UTPA tend to embody this saying. They don't pass the EXCET! On the other hand, people who go through other majors: business, biology, math, and whatever, have no problem getting certified. How is this possible? Why does't UTPA do something to fix the problem? They should do it as a matter of pride.

Next issue. The TAKS test. I think I have GW to thank for this. The TAKS is such a colossal waste of time. Teachers spend a lot of time teaching kids how to pass the damn test. They don't just educate kids like they should. Learning builds on previous learning and from prior context. For example, if I teach you what a fruit is, I can then proceed to teach you the different types of fruit. The same with education. Yet, teachers spend so much time teaching kids specifically how to pass the test rather than just building on older lessons. Once you know what a fruit is, exposing you to different types of fruit won't allow you to forget what a fruit is. Don't tell anybody this, schools are now beginning to seek people with majors OTHER THAN education. They want fresh blood and fresh perspectives, not somebody who has been indoctrinated in failing practices. Teachers, you know that professionals can usually walk in, go through alternative certifiation, and pass the EXCET on the first try. Don't even try to deny it.

This brings up a situation that happened to my wife when she visited our daughter's principal at Leal Elementary in Mission, Tx to find out if after-school tutoring is required. Our daughter brings home straight A's, usually. Once in a while she will slack and bring home a B. She's the top reader in the entire school, including grade levels above her. Just today she read through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in about an hour and a half. She read through the last Harry Potter book on one Saturday, the day after it was released. In addition, she scores in the 99 percentile on her tests. So, this principal, who knows who she is. Her name is Tien, which is Chinese for "sky". She stands out and he knows her by name. My wife asked if the tutoring was really necessary. He tells her that it's to ensure that she'll pass the test. So my wife asks if it's mandatory. He tells her it's recommended. She reminds this guy that it's Tien Mata. He tells her that she should stay to make sure that she passes the TAKS. She reminds him that this is Tien Mata, is it really necessary. So, he tells my wife that if we don't want her to stay after school, we can provide a written request that she go home after classes are over. Then, he has the gall to tell her that not staying after school will probably affect her TAKS score. Such arrogance! If it weren't a crime to touch him, I'd go bitch slap the principal. Geez these educators. Go Arnold!

Here's another thing that gets my goat. Teachers complaining about pay! Yes, you heard me right. I can write about this because my wife is a teacher. Do you know why teachers are broke all the time? Cashflow management. Teachers graduate and start making $30k in their first year. $30k! It's not a huge windfall, but it's enough to provide a decent life and, if managed right, make a teacher wealthy. What kills teachers is financing cost. They'll get the $80k home with a 30 year mortgage that will end up costing them $170k. They finance $20k for the car over 5 years, which costs $40k. Of course, there is also the student loan payment, the ballet classes for the princess, little league for jr, and weekend trips to San Antonio and Austin. Living the high life is what kills teachers. They want to keep up with the Jones's. I have news for teachers. The Jones's are broke. If you are a teacher, go to and get your act together.

This segues well into the next issue, merit. Why do teachers get an annual pay raise? Just because the have not quit or because they did a good job in educating? It's for not quitting. Whether they teach little Johnny or not does not matter. There is no meritocracy built in to education. It's all based on how long a teacher stays. There are many stories of principals wanting to fire teachers, except that it would cost the district more money to fire the teacher than to allow them to continue doing a lousy job. There are so many stories of good teachers leaving the public school system because lousy teachers earn more simply because they can work the system better. I can identify with this. I've worked with people who have advanced ahead of me because they lie and cheat. This isn't to say that teachers lie and cheat. I merely want to reenforce the fact that many good teachers stop teaching because merit doesn't matter.

I have more issues. Most of them with specific teachers, so I won't go into that here. Just keep in mind that legislators give teachers far more consideration than they probably deserve. Yes, I said it! You were thinking it, but don't have the guts to say it. Get rid of the TAKS, don't worry about teacher pay raises, and institute some meritocracy into the education field.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blame game misses point on Hidalgo jail overcrowding

I wrote this comment on Grits for Breakfast.
One challenge that Hidalgo County judges face is the proximity to Mexico. Many of the inmates would flee to Mexico and skip the trial altogether. This is not necessarily bad, once they skip their court date, they would have warrants out for their arrest. So long as they stay in Mexico, we would not spend money on incarceration or trials, unless they choose to come back. Perhaps the county can evaluate who the best flight risks to Mexico are and release them on personal bond. If they stay in Mexico, we save space and money. If they come back, we save space and money until they are convicted.

I should also add that finger pointing is common here in the Rio Grande Valley. First and foremost, it is imperative for the older officials to avoid all blame. The new crop of officials coming up are not exactly immune to this, but are more professional about dealing with problems. I think this is a legacy of our old political system. Local government used to have to accept whatever employee base there was in the Rio Grande Valley. This opened the door for compadre politics, which we still see happening with judges down here. If you knew somebody or had a relative working in goverment, you could get a job. Now, local government is requiring Associate's and Bachelor's degrees for certain jobs. On top of that, prior experience requirements are creeping in. Hidalgo County's Head Start, for example, is now requiring new teachers to have Bachelor's degrees. They used to only require child care certification. Then they were asking for Associate's degrees. Now, you need a minimum of an Associates and a Bachelor's degree is preferred. Things will get better.

To sum it up, Rio Grande Valley politics is historically unprofessional. Local governments used whatever workforce there was, including nepotism. With the rise in college graduates, local government has a better labor pool to replace the employees carried over from the past. As these old employees change jobs or retire, our local governments will become more professional. In the meantime, there will be finger pointing first and solutions later.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rio Grande Valley Politics: A Warning from Mexico

Rio Grande Valley Politics: A Warning from Mexico

Wow! I agree with this guy. Usually leftists blame America first. It seems however, that this person is not a self-hating American. I've known plenty of people who have been beaten and neglected in Mexican prisons. There are countless stories of judiciales abusing their positions. It is known that reporters critical of the government are often killed. I know many Mexicans who tell me about life back home. The only thing I can conclude is that the Mexican Government does its best to keep the poor in their present economic condition.

To sum it up, Mexican civil rights suck.... a lot!

Rio Grande Valley Politics: Constitutional Crisis Again?

Rio Grande Valley Politics: Constitutional Crisis Again?

Aw, geez. The lady wasn't undercover, so even if it was leaked, it wasn't illegal. What will happen here is the same thing that happened to Martha Stewart. She wasn't guilty of securites fraud; but, she was guilty of covering up. At most, Rove will be in trouble for covering up, maybe. What he is accused, and the Libby fellow, of doing wasn't even illegal. Plame was not undercover or doing any covert operations. There was no cover to blow. Same thing that the press did with hurricane Katrina, make crap up, is going to happen here.

POLITICO: Say It Ain't So Chris, not Molly Beth Malcom

POLITICO: Say It Ain't So Chris, not Molly Beth Malcom

Rush Limbaugh has this theory that the Democrats are the only party that rewards failure. If somebody fails at something, you give them a higher and more powerful position. Donna Brazil, Beth Malcolm, and many others who have undermined the Democratic Party. Dems should follow the lead of Hillary Clinton. Go towards the center rather than veering to the left. Conservatives can and will say with pride that they are conservatives. Liberals will hem and haw before arguing that labels are not important; they never state that they are liberals (unless they are not in or running for office) because they know that nobody will vote for them.

Dos Centavos is having a field day with Tom Delay's bogus indictment. There will be such disappointment when Delay is off the hook. A DA who goes grand jury shopping? A judge who is a regular contributor to Dem causes and organizations? It will make headlines for a while but won't amount to anything.

A CAPITOL BLOG: Brownsville Herald: In December, Lawmakers to See Increase in Their Pensions

A CAPITOL BLOG: Brownsville Herald: In December, Lawmakers to See Increase in Their Pensions

First thing that comes to mind is that, of course Judges will bring overwhelming evidence for a pay raise. First, all judges are attorneys. Because they are attorneys, all judges are above average with the English language and logic. Being attorneys, they are trained to make an argument on their own or a client's behalf. It would not be so difficult for a judge to find evidence that points towards getting a pay raise. I would be skeptical of a judge arguing for a pay raise. Second, a judge, if he's any good as an attorney, will continue in private practice. If he chooses to be a judge, it is for love of the law and the prestige of being a judge. In addition, as shown by the new Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, if you love the law, you will be a great lawyer and a great judge. The pay increase comes by being good at what you do. If you stand out and do a great job, you will be noticed and appointed to higher offices. As a great attorney, as John Roberts is, your prospects in private practice will far outperform your pay as a judge. This guy made a lot more money as an attorney than he will make as a Supreme Court Justice. Going back to Texas judges, they should get raises, sure. Everybody deserves a cost of living adjustment. I think that such action should be expected. However, judges should not expect pay raises to the level where the pay will "attract or retain" judges. Get over it. They either like being judges or they like money. They ought to be mutually exclusive. From the point of view of a poor Mexican making $12K a year, I don't see why they are bitching about their meager $100k per year.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Winter Visitors

We know that our Winter visitors are coming. It occurred to me that this annual migration is not new. When taking philosophy courses, I often read a bit of the biographies of the writers. It seems that the Rio Grande Valley, Florida, and other states in the southern United States aren't the only ones who had annual influxes of people. People have travelled south for the winter for ages. Many Europeans would travel to the southern coasts of France, Spain, and to Italy for milder winters whenever their health required. Back in those days, I imagine people rode by carriage or by horse to their Winter refuges. On top of that, they would have to travel through different countries and learn some languages on the way. If you are a Winter Texan, you are fortunate that you don't have to learn Spanish. It would be helpful, but not necessary.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Huevos con frijoles

I stopped by Circle K the other day for my morning taco. Normally, I will have their Q Taco or chicharron con chile taco. I saw that one of their pans had huevos con frijoles, egg and beans. That took me back to the days when my family and I worked in the fields. Those were our breakfast and lunch tacos. We worked in the onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, orange, grapefruit, and lemon amongst other things. When we were saving up money and simply trying to survive, Mom would make tacos with egg and beans. They don't taste bad. They are actually rather tasty. Even when they are cold, these are good tacos. My mom would wake up at 6 AM and start making our tacos for the day. They were always alternately stacked on a square of aluminum foil with a paper towel. She would make a few packs of tacos to last us through the day. We did this in Hereford, Tx; Wautoma, Wild Rose, Waupaca, and Berlin, WI; and here in the Rio Grande Valley. Eating a bean and egg taco brought back some nice memories. I like ethnic food.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Beautiful Weather

If you live up north somewhere, you won't understand this. The Rio Grande Valley is starting to have beautiful weather again. My favorite time of year here in the RGV is the Fall. This is the season when we have 80 and 90 degree weather. In other parts of the country, this is probably hot weather. After a Summer of 100+ degree weather every day, a 95 degree day is glorious. If the temperature starts dipping below 80, as in the 70's or lower, we all start breaking out sweaters and jackets. Our comfort level is a bit hotter than other parts of the country. If you move here and live here long enough, even with our mild Winters, you too will grow accustomed to hotter weather.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Listen to Rio Grande Valley news as recorded live.

Shares and Chirts

There are some people here in the Rio Grande Valley who have trouble with the SH and CH sounds when speaking. Words like chair, chalk, chain, or other words starting with ch become shair, shalk, and shain. Words that start with sh, like shower, show, and my name, Shaine will be butchered into chower, chow, and Chaine. I never could figure this out. I can't offer an explanation. It's just the way some people speak here in the valley.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 is Back Online

I was able to resolve some problems that I had with and have brought the site back online. Obviously, it's outdated. So, I'll be posting reunion information as soon as it comes in. I'll also be adding any announcements I find in the newspapers. Submissions are welcome.

Monday, October 10, 2005

One Confused Mexican

As a Mexican-American, I can't come to grips with the whole illegal immigration issue. It causes some mixed emotion and thinking. On the one hand, it should be stopped. On the other hand, it does bring good things. I'll give more details on both. I'll also go into what the real problem is and why it won't be solved. With any luck, this will confuse the hell out of you too.

Illegal Immigration Should be Stopped

There is always some ignorant Mexican who points out, "you want to stop illegals? How do you think you got here?" There used to be a brazero program that allowed Mexicans to cross into the U.S. to work. Believe it or not, Mexicans used to be able to come across the border without the need for a visa or other requirements like we have today. My grandparents on my father's side are from Texas. My dad was born in Uvalde. My grandparents on my mother's side were Mexican. They both came over to Texas to work under the worker program. My grandfather returned to Mexico, my grandmother stayed. She continued to work in the fields as a migrant worker. My mother was born in Donna. She was also a migrant, obviously. My grandmother found whatever means she had to legalize her status in the U.S. It took her years and plenty of money to get it done. That's how I'm here. I too was a migrant. I worked alongside plenty of illegals in my youth, both here and up north. When my family was too poor to make ends meet, we lived in Reynosa. I think my family and I paid our dues as Mexicans. I should not have to point this out. Yet, there is always some Aztlan asshole who questions my understanding of what it's like to be Mexican. Expletive withheld.

So, having said that, we should not have illegal immigrants. My father's side of the family, as far as I can tell, were already here. My mother's side of the family, came to this country and got naturalized. Before dying here, my grandmother even went so far as to become a citizen. She was able, with a lot of sacrifice, time, and effort, to be a legal immigrant. She was a single mother in a foreign land who spoke only Spanish. If she could do it, other immigrants can certainly come to the U.S. legally too.

My reasons for wanting to stop illegal immigration are several. First, Congress decided that people who fill out certain papers, pay certain fees, and jump through certain hoops can become resident aliens and eventually citizens. This is law. If persons circumvent the law, they are doing something illegal. By the way, by law, people, including us citizens, are required to enter into the United States via a designated gateway. If you cross the river or climb through the fence separating Mexico and the U.S., you are breaking the law and are subject to prosecution. Of course, the injustice is that it only applies to citizens. Illegals cross often and are merely detained, processed, and deported so that they can try again. If you are a citizen and cross into the U.S. illegally, you're screwed. That's the basis of the first reason that illegal immigration should be stopped. Congress went through the trouble of defining who should cross where and how. Anything outside of that is illegal. Illegal aliens are already starting off on the wrong foot. They are breaking a law. Why have the damn law if it is insignificant?

The second reason for opposing illegal immigration is that the people who come over have no chance to live the American dream. Illegals can't get credit, can't vote, can't demand higher wages, can't invest for retirement, and generally live with no sigificance. So, I oppose illegal immigration out of compassion. I want immigrants to be able to participate in things like voting, saving for retirement, home ownership, the freedom to walk without fear of deportation, and the ability to demand better wages with the freedom to change jobs if necessary. Often the Aztlan jerks believe that allowing unfettered immigration is compassionate. How is that when it condemns the immigrants to live like fugitives? They would argue that there should be no law making these people illegal. You know, there are many things that should not be, but are. This is not Utopia. In my opinion, I should be paid about $70k per year because people earning that much often report that they are happy with their lives. In the real world, I make $15k. Big difference between what ought to be and what is. BIG! If we stop people from coming over illegally, they can come over legally and can actually benefit from the things the rest of us do. It's not a wishful thought, it's a fact. No fear of being deported, the freedom to seek a better paying job, the freedom to borrow for a mortgage, the freedom to fight an employer who abuses his workers, and so much more. It's more compassionate to want more for these people in the long-run rather than letting them come over illegally for a fast buck and a lifetime of poverty. Yes, their compassion shines like a lit fart.

Another reason for opposing illegal immigration is that we don't know who is crossing. It would be great if we could limit illegal immigration to poor "campesinos" looking to help their families back home. The sad truth is that we can't. Any literate person can pick up the newspaper and find articles about the Marasalvatrucha 13 gang entering the country. Recently, members of this gang killed their coyote. OK. So these Central Americans look like Mexicans. I personally have met, chauferred and dumped CHINESE mojados. People like Raza Unida, MALDEF, and all the other pseudo-Mexicans pretend that the gangsters, drug dealers, and other criminals are not coming over. There is an old Mexican saying about "luz en la calle, y obscuridad en la casa". This refers to those people who go all out to help strangers, but don't lift a finger for their own family. That's what these hispanic groups are. They stick up for non-Americans and screw us over. If we could control the quality of illegals, maybe I'd give it a fair shake.

For every MS-13 gang member that comes over, you know that there will be drug dealing and murders. They don't come over for some multi-cultural exchange. They are here to help bring down our country. The Chinese mojados? Come on! If Chinese, who don't look Mexican in the least, can come over the border, what chance do we have against anti-American muslims who sort of look Mexican? So, in order to help those few Mexicans who are seeking a better life, these pseudo Mexicans are willing to screw the rest of us over. The bad guys that come over with the poor campesinos kill our family members. They sell drugs to our kids. And, someday, they may explode a dirty bomb where we live. That's very compassionate for the illegals, but terrible for your own people in America.

You "compassionate" people know where you can stick your compassion. My Mexican upbringing tells me that I need to look out for my own first. My own are the people of this country, which include LEGAL immigrants who had enough respect for our country to do things right. You put my family at risk when you allow criminals to cross the border. That is not acceptable. Please accept my sincerest F-U, you and your misguided compassion. We should seal the border now.

Why Immigrants are Good

Illegal immigration is actually good for business. I mean this seriously. You see, Congress created the minimum wage. There are also labor laws. If you are earning minimum wage, your employer is essentially telling you, "if I could pay you less, I would". You can keep a lot of money by paying your employees less than minimum wage and avoiding labor laws. Illegal immigrants are perfect for this. Many of our wealthy people here got that way because they charged the market price for their work but cut costs by hiring illegals. They will work for less than minimum and they won't complain about work conditions. Americans won't do many jobs that illegals will do. I worked in the fields up in Wisconsin and here in Texas. In all my experience, I saw plenty of mojados but not black or white people. I didn't see any asians either. In the Rio Grande Valley, our illegal population is the cause of so many inexpensive goods and services. Why do you think that your $200,000 is able to buy so much house? In other parts of the country, $200,000 is a starter home. So, in some respects, illegals raise our comparative standard of living.

Legal immigration has more benefits. There are a couple books out there. One is The Millionaire Next Door, the other is The Millionaire Mind. I don't remember the author, look it up on Amazon. Anyway, their survey data show that a large portion of first generation millionaires are immigrants. They figure that this is because immigrants, who are used to hustling back in their home countries bring that mindset to the states. And, they hustle themselves into good money. Our own people, on the other hand, are taught to go to college and get a job (from an immigrant, probably). Our young are not taught to be entrepreneurial. We are taught to look to others for our good fortune. Roberty Kiyosaki spells this out well in Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Sadly, many immigrants bring jobs to Americans, who seek jobs. However, these are legal immigrants. The illegal ones do have entrepreneurial spirit; I know several. But, they really can't take that spirit anywhere. They are here illegally. If they get too big, they get deported.

Immigration could also help our country with the looming collapse of Social Insecurity. As you may be aware, when Baby Boomers begin to retire, they will be cashing in their Social Security money, and cashing out retirement plans. On top of that, our precious Baby Boomers will be using the prescription drug benefit and Medicare. With more young,imported blood entering the country and paying payroll taxes, the more solvent the Social Security system will be. God help me, I agree with President Clinton on this. Even so, notice the difference. Only legal immigrants can help us in this way. Illegal immigrants don't pay an income tax and actually cost the country money for indigent care and other "free" services.

Legal immigrants bring jobs and become milionaires, whereas illegals take jobs and stay poor. Legal immigrants can also help your country in the looming financial crisis. If we force all immigrants to come over legally, isn't that better for them AND us? But I guess that's not compassionate.

Why Nothing Will Happen

There are two reasons why nothing will happen regarding illegal immigration. The first reason is Democrats. The second reason is Republicans.

With respect to Democrats, they will oppose anything that George Bush proposes and supports. The guy can't get any credit. They criticize him because he does something and they criticize him if he doesn't. Notice nothing significant has come out of the Democrat camp. If GW comes up with an idea, they could propose their own version. You don't see that happen. What often happens is that they oppose his idea simply because it's his. If he toughens things up on the border, he's a racist. If he doesn't do anything, which he isn't, he's not doing enough to ensure our safety. Groucho Marx has a song, "I don't care what it is, whatever it is, I'm against it!" That's the theme song for modern Democrats.

With Republicans, we have no luck as far as sealing the border either. If Bill Clinton was the first black president, George W. Bush is the first Hispanic president. Of course, the press, more than 80% Democrat according to a poll of journalists, won't give him that distinction. Republicans have gained ground by increased support by Hispanics, thanks largely to GW. Of course, Republicans are loathe to bite the hand that they imagine feeds them. I only hear Newt Gingrich proposing anything and warning the Republicans that their inaction will come back to bite them. Of course, he doesn't have an elected office and constituents. The Republicans can't seem to get over the fact that they will get bad press regardless of what they do. They also forget that they are the majority in Congress. They always cave whenever Dems start calling them bigoted, Christian (the press has made it an insult to be called Christian these days), homophobes. Spineless wonders.

So there you have it. What is a person to think about immigration? By all ways that I see it, legal immigration is the best solution. We should seal the border and improve the legal immigration process. Legal immigrants do provide vital spirit and taxable income. Illegal immigration has its benefits for those willing to take advantage of the resource. For the rest of us, illegal immigration is a danger because of the inherent lack of quality control. We can't guarantee that only hard working Mexicans will come over. We also get criminals, drug dealers, and perhaps even terrorists. I see an upside from immigration, so long as it is legal. The downside of illegal immigration is too great to continue our current lack of action. My slogan, if I ran for office, would be "Mojados No! Inmigrantes Si!" Of course, I'd never get elected. Although our culture here doesn't consider "mojado" derogatory, merely a description of legal status, the English translation is considered bad. There goes my chance at office.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

republican? democrat? southern republican?

I saw this in one of the Yahoo groups to which I subscribe. It's funny as heck. Thought I would share it.

Here is a little test that will help you decide.

Question: How do you tell the difference between
Democrats, Republicans And Southern Republicans?

The answer can be found by posing the following

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife
and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist
with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes
with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises
the knife, and charges at you. You are
carrying a Glock cal 40, and you are an expert shot.
You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your

What do you do?


Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the

What does my wife think?

What about the kids?

Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock
the knife out of his hand?

Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?

Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be
content just to wound me?

If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my
family get away while he was stabbing me?

Why is this street so deserted?

Republican's Answer:



Southern Republican's Answer:

BANG! click.....(sounds of reloading).

BANG! click

Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the
Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?"

Saturday, October 08, 2005

T-Mobile Prepaid Hurricane Help

I was suprised to learn that T-Mobile has stepped up to help with hurricane Katrina. My wife uses T-Mobile prepaid. We both use prepaid phones in order to avoid the contracts. Well, I noticed that after she refilled her phone the last time with a $50 card, she received over 900 minutes, which happens with $100 refills. Not only that, my father-in-law, whom I gave a prepaid, and my wife's cousin, had more minutes than what they refilled last. I though it was some promotion. I have a crapload of night and weekend minutes on my Virgin prepaid service, so I called T-Mobile To Go prepaid customer service to find out what happened.

The T-Mobile To Go customer service rep checked into it for me and she told me that prepaid customers in Texas automatically topped up when they fell below their last refill level. This was something that T-Mobile did to help their customers who may have been impacted by the hurricane. Fortunately we were not affected by Rita. Yet, we still got free minutes. That's great news. In addition, I got the following from the T-Mobile website:

T-Mobile customers who wish to donate to the American Red Cross can easily do so
by Text Messaging 2HELP. Through the Text 2HELP campaign, customers of
participating wireless carriers can send a text message to “2HELP” (24357)
containing the message “HELP” and a $5 tax-deductible donation will be made to
relief efforts. Donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited
from prepaid account balances. The Text 2HELP campaign will continue through
October 31, 2005.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I Have Fire Ants, Dammit!

If there is one reason why anybody should not move to the Rio Grande Valley, it's because of fire ants. We used to have, when I was a kid, lots of these little orange ants that smell funny when you kill them. Those you can avoid simply by putting food, particularly sugary food, on a dish sitting in water. I used to play with the big red ants. We'd pick them up and put them in bottles or other containers for an ant farm. Those we never really tried to kill. You just knew to stay away from their mound.

As I have grown up, I've seen more and more fire ants. These are vicious little ants with an painful sting. If you accidentally get some on you, they all sting immediately. You can't get them off fast enough. If they sting long enough, their sting becomes a watery pustule on the skin. God help you if you get them under your clothes. There is no way you will strip down in time to avoid some serious pain.

Well, I have them in my apartment. We had them before. The recent rains have got them out of the ground and foraging up here on the second story. They are coming out of the electrical outlets and some cracks under the kitchen counter. Earlier this year we treated with Amdro, which got rid of them. When I saw them crawling all over last night's leftovers, I took off to Wal-Mart to buy the ant bait. If I have ants, the lady downstairs probably has them too. So, I'll stop by and give her some bait later.

If you do decide to move to the RGV, Amdro or other fire ant baits are the best way to kill them. If you spray, you only kill the worker ants that are foraging. More will come. It will be a neverending battle. If you bait them, it takes a couple days of ants crawling around the kitchen, or wherever you have them. The bait kills them all, including the queen. If you get reinfested, it's a new colony, not the one you killed.

For more information about fire ants, go to

Monday, October 03, 2005

KURV Has the Dave Ramsey Show

One of the better things that our local talk radio station, KURV, has brought to the audience is the Dave Ramsey Show. The show is played at 9 PM. If you miss the show, one of the better things that Dave Ramsey does is that he provides the show in mp3 format for free if you miss it.

Dave Ramsey provides atypical advice on financial success. His biggest emphasis is living debt free. He's crazy about NOT using credit cards or borrowing any money for any reason. If you really MUST borrow, he recommends a 15 year fixed-rate mortgage. That's all. As a result of this advice, you never have to worry about a credit rating because you won't need to borrow. Essentially, whatever money you would have used to make payments on debt can be used to invest. Dave repeatedly states that you should live like nobody else so that later you can live like nobody else. Meaning, you can retire rich rather than in debt. Best of all, Dave has a system to help people climb out of financial problems.

KURV has done a great public service.

PSJA Class of 1986 Reunion

The following came from the PSJA Class of 86 Yahoo Group.

rikk_escamilla wrote:
Thursday, October 20, 2005
- 6:00 pm Parade/Bonfire
- Social hosted by Manny and Ada Gonzlaez
(at their house following parade/bonfire email me
if you will be attending)

Friday, October 21, 2005
- 8:30 am Breakfast @ Junction Cafe (on your own)
- 1:30 pm Tea at PSJA High School
- 2:30 pm Pep Rally at PSJA High School
- 7:00 pm Game PSJA Stadium vs Edinburg Bobcats
- Social hosted by Lisa Cantu
(at her house please email me if you will be attending)

Saturday, October 22, 2005
County Inn & Suites
- 6:30 - 8:00 pm Pictures Individuals
- 7:00 - 8:00 pm Dinner
- 8:00 - 8:30 pm Group Picture
- 8:30 - 12:00 am Dance with a DJ

Sunday, October 23, 2005
- 1:00 - 3:00 Family Day at JAGZ (on your own)
Time to hang out and say good-bye


Friday July 7, 2006 -MIXER- Valley Greyhound Park-Harlingen, Tx
Saturday July 8, 2006-DINNER-Louie's Back Yard-S. Padre Island, Tx

$75.00 per person
$150.00 per couple

Mail Money To: HHS Class of 1986
P.O. Box 530983
Harlingen, Tx 78553

You can also log into the alumni page at Harlingen High School.

If anybody needs to contact a committee member please let me know
and I can direct you to one.



Sunday, October 02, 2005

Pan Dulce and Coffee

This week's Rio Grande Valley food custom is Pan Dulce and coffee. You will probably not see a panaderia outside of the RGV. Even here, they are losing their appeal because Wal-Mart and other grocery stores are picking up that customer base. Panaderia means bakery. If you live outside of the RGV, you may see packaged Mexican breads and pastries. These are OK, because our culture is getting out there. Unfortunately, they never taste as good as the fresh stuff. So, let me give you some details about the custom.

In Mexico, people don't always just wake up, have breakfast, and go to work. Many people, like farmers here, wake up early, and have some prep time before breakfast. Now, this mostly happens on weekends. People wake up, they have a desayuno before almuerzo. Desayuno, directly translated, means breakfast. Being "en ayunas" means that the person is fasting. The desayuno varies from region to region. In Guanajuato, where my mother's side of family originates, they will have bread with atole and coffee or chocolate. The atole is a starch ... drink? Kind of like oatmeal, but instead of oats they use cornstarch. You can find flavored versions under the Maizena brand. Most people buy it flavorless. Depending on how much you have to spend, you may only have the atole and bread.

In the Rio Grande Valley, we don't do maizena. We just have bread and coffee or chocolate. The breads are generally conchas, cuernos, empanadas, marranitos, cake, eclairs, cookies, doughnuts, and some other varieties. Conchas are a bun with baked frosting on top. They are supposed to resemble seashells. Cuernos are a croissant-shaped bread. The main difference is that cuernos are not as soft and are generally covered in sugar and or have baked frosting. Empanadas may be the most well-known. They are a round bread that is folded in half with a filling inside. The filling is usually pumpkin; but, it can also be pineapple, cajeta, or some other sweet filling. Marranitos are along the same lines of gingerbread. They are a dark, flat bread made with molasses, no ginger, in the shape of a pig. The cake is self explanatory. You can usually buy it by the square. The rest of the pan dulce could easily be American items.

Typically, you drive by the panaderia and buy your pieces of pan dulce. They usually have a large tray and tongs that you use to make your selections. When you check out, they will count the pieces and charge you accordingly. It used to be that panaderos would drive around the neighborhood in the evenings, like ice cream vendors in the summer, and people would run out and stop him to buy bread. Now with city ordinances prohibiting street vending you don't see that part of our culture anymore. You have to live in a neighborhood outside city limits to maybe see this. Panaderos usually drove around in the evenings.

Going back over the previous paragraphs, I may have given the impression that pan dulce is only eaten in the mornings. Sorry, it's more of a snack before, between, or after meals. In the morning, before almuerzo, you'd have a piece of pan dulce to carry you over until the morning meal is ready. Later in the day, you may have a piece of pan dulce if somebody came over to visit or you feel a little hungry between lunch and supper. You may also have a piece of pan dulce after dinner as a dessert. There are more occasions that call for pan dulce. You may see it at funerals or other family crises. You may also see it at celebrations. You will most definitely see pan dulce on really cold days, which rarely happen in the Rio Grande Valley.

Pan dulce, as mentioned earlier, is accompanied by a hot drink. Typically, we have coffee. Even the kids will drink coffee. Mexicans are not squeamish about giving coffee to kids. You may also have pan dulce with canela, also known as cinnamon tea, or hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is not the usual Hershey's syrup or Nesquick. Mexican chocolate is sold in rock hard tablets that need to be chopped and boiled for an eternity before it is ready to drink. Mexican chocolate tends to leave sediment on the bottom of your cup. It is possible to drink other hot beverages with pan dulce, but not commonly. The only exception is cold milk. Hey, sometimes you're in a hurry.

Pan dulce is not one of the Mexican customs that my family and I carry. We'll have the stuff on special occasions, such as really cold weather. Typically, we eat pan dulce once every couple of months or less. We live less than a mile from De Alba's bakery and even closer to Wal-Mart, so access is not an issue. Our families, my wife's and mine, have a history of obesity and diabetes. We don't very much care to have either one of these conditions, so we stock up on the vegetables instead. We do eat stuff like barbacoa and menudo, causes of heart and circulatory diseases. My thinking is that cholesterol causes one type of disease. Obesity can cause diabetes and heart disease. In addition, there are complications of these diseases such as blindness, congestive heart failure, loss of limbs, heart attacks, joint problems, and back problems. It's just easier to avoid obesity altogether by skipping the refined sugars, starches, and flours in pan dulce. The occasional piece is OK. Regular consumption, as many Mexican families in the Rio Grande Valley do, is not for us. Still, it's a part of the local culture, so I am sharing this with you today.
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