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Archive for November 2008

Where Are They Now? Immigration Reform.

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illegal shmillegal

illegal shmillegal

Conveniently put aside most probably by a pact between Obama and McCain, the I-word was not uttered once during the election campaign. I mean pigs wearing lipstick got about ten thousand times the airtime. John McCain walked away from the sensible immigration reform he championed for fear of losing the base that he’d been so studiously courting. And Obama, as a Democrat saw it as a net vote loser, especially in states like New Mexico and Colorado which were a firewall for his electoral strategy.

And yet it was only a few months ago, that the news was full of stories about marches in Los Angeles, and border fences being built, and extremely irate sheriffs in Mariposa County, Arizona. There was talk of vigilantes and ‘minutemen’, posses to round up the illegals, and nightmarish tales of containers turned coffins. The news cycle is a funny thing. Immigration was just dropped like a hot tamale. Read the rest of this entry »

Recession Is Good For The Environment

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earthbluemarblewestterra

getting kinda hot in here

Houston, and everywhere else in the nation, we have a problem.

In the latest “Direction of Country” Gallup tracking poll, 87% of respondents said we were on the wrong track.

In another recent Gallup poll about the level of environmental concern, 61% said we should be doing more on global warming, and 68% continue to think we should act even if other countries, like China, do less.

Driving less would be one way to improve matters. And yet the recent news from the US Department of Transportation estimates that Americans will drive nearly 80 billion fewer miles in 2008 than we did in 2007 is greeted as a sign the country is on the wrong track, not the right track. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Are They Now? Immigration Reform.

leave a comment »

illegal shmillegal

illegal shmillegal

Conveniently put aside most probably by a pact between Obama and McCain, the I-word was not uttered once during the election campaign. I mean pigs wearing lipstick got about ten thousand times the airtime. John McCain walked away from the sensible immigration reform he championed for fear of losing the base that he’d been so studiously courting. And Obama, as a Democrat saw it as a net vote loser, especially in states like New Mexico and Colorado which were a firewall for his electoral strategy.

And yet it was only a few months ago, that the news was full of stories about marches in Los Angeles, and border fences being built, and extremely irate sheriffs in Mariposa County, Arizona. There was talk of vigilantes and ‘minutemen’, posses to round up the illegals, and nightmarish tales of containers turned coffins. The news cycle is a funny thing. Immigration was just dropped like a hot tamale.

Even after the election, the I-word has hardly been mentioned. And yet immigration reform is a fundamental part of many of the different elements of the Obama platform. At the top of the list is healthcare reform. Illegal immigration represents a major drain on local health resources. Then there’s education, housing, taxation and even military recruitment policy.

The problem has not gone away. The conundrum has not suddenly evaporated. We’re still presented with a set of very unpalatable political choices. Not only are there around 12 million illegal immigrants in this country, but there are millions of American kids who count an undocumented worker as a parent. Do we enforce immigration law, or not? Do we wrench honest, hard working, undocumented workers from the lives they are building here in America, because they ‘broke the law’? Do we separate parents from children? Let’s face facts, forthright enforcement of immigration law is simply not possible.

To begin with, the concept that an undocumented worker is a lawbreaker seems bizarre. Suggesting that coming to America over the Rio Grande is illegal is like saying suicide is illegal. Once you broken the law, there’s nothing you can do to rectify the situation, except going back. And yet that notion of being an outlaw leads direct to the most emotive word in the immigration vocabulary. Amnesty. No account is taken of how law abiding an undocumented worker is in other respects. Once you crossed that border you were branded for life. We have to de-criminalize this problem to drain it of policy-warping emotion. A cool, calculated realpolitik is far more useful.

Language is important. Amnesty is the wrong word. And the reason it is wrong is because amnesty is something you grant when you’re holding all the cards. The US Government does not have the whip hand here. It has very little power at all. There are about forty different reasons why it cannot seek out 12 million people, put them in holding camps, then bus them back to Latin America, and that’s what true enforcement would mean. Any lesser enforcement of immigration law is a sad and selective pin prick.

So let’s put aside wholesale enforcement of immigration law. It’s a non-starter. There’s only one serious alternative. A wholehearted, generous, and honest reckoning with the undocumented workers who live in this country. If they agree to be bound by the duties of US citizenship, the government will forgive any tax liabilities they owe, and life will go on. We must do everything we can to encourage people to come forward. It’s even in our interests to offer tax-free financial and other government inducements as much as many American citizens will loathe this idea, simply because the cost of paying undocumented workers to become citizens is a bargain next to the drain they represent continuing on the black economy as illegal immigrants.Finally, this policy needs to be accompanied by a serious attempt to fence off the southern border of the US. It simply must no longer be porous.

A deadline of probably two years should be set for illegal immigrants to sign up for citizenship. With no exception, any illegal immigrant who remains underground, and there are likely to be a very significant percentage, will henceforth be breaking the law, and be subject to the full force of immigration enforcement. It needs to be made clear that the citizenship of the offspring of illegal immigrants under the age of 18 is conditional on their parents accepting citizenship. If a constitutional amendment is necessary to make this a reality then it has to be drawn up.

In this way, we solve our immigration conundrum. Undocumented workers become citizens with all the duties and responsibilities that entails. Enforcement becomes possible, a powerful border fence becomes a necessity. It is a sweeping but just solution.

At this point that’s the only kind of solution that will work. Janet Napolitano is an excellent choice for Homeland Security, but she’s going to have her work cut out for her.

Recession Is Good For The Environment

leave a comment »

earthbluemarblewestterra

getting kinda hot in here

Houston, and everywhere else in the nation, we have a problem.

In the latest “Direction of Country” Gallup tracking poll, 87% of respondents said we were on the wrong track.

In another recent Gallup poll about the level of environmental concern, 61% said we should be doing more on global warming, and 68% continue to think we should act even if other countries, like China, do less.

Driving less would be one way to improve matters. And yet the recent news from the US Department of Transportation estimates that Americans will drive nearly 80 billion fewer miles in 2008 than we did in 2007 is greeted as a sign the country is on the wrong track, not the right track.

We all know the reason. When the economy is bad, suddenly the environment goes down the list of priorities. Unfortunately, the risk of allowing global warming to increase, (not a dice roll we should be throwing) should trump short-term economic pain. But it doesn’t. We say we really want to stem climate change, even if the bad old Chinese are still pumping out smoke, but when it’s actually happening – we want our cars back.

The cold facts are that if we really want to stop global warming, we have to live more frugally, kind of like we are now in this nasty recession. In short, recessions are green. And if we want to go green for real, we have to get used to living on less, driving less, and buying less. A permanent recession.

When your country produces 25% of the greenhouse gases with 5% of the world’s population, even with all the new green industrial policy that President-elect Obama is going to enact, we’ll still need to make profound sacrifices if we want to reduce the risk of serious climate catastrophe.

Hands up everyone who wants to voluntarily live in a permanent recession to make the world a better place long after we’re dead and gone?

You, sir, at the back, thank you for your support!

The Idea That America Won’t Make Cars. Ridiculous.

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leo4b1

america the proud

The Auto Industry defines America. There is hardly a major part of recent American history that isn’t profoundly influenced by cars, socially, economically, and politically. As the nation debates the future of its manufacturing heart and soul, it’s worth looking back a few decades in the shape of a list of manufacturers and their slogans or ‘taglines’. It wasn’t always the “Big Three”.

The list speaks for itself about the how much the nation’s vibrant multi-faceted, innovative car industry has been laid low in the past few decades.

The name of each manufacturer (and there are many) is followed by their slogan. Full of pathos, a vigorous, often naive optimism,  and an odd polite dignity, they tell of a time when American manufacturing ruled the world. Some of the lines are truly priceless. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

November 29, 2008 at 1:15 pm

The Idea That America Won’t Make Cars. Ridiculous.

leave a comment »

leo4b1

america the proud

The Auto Industry defines America. There is hardly a major part of recent American history that isn’t profoundly influenced by cars, socially, economically, and politically. As the nation debates the future of its manufacturing heart and soul, it’s worth looking back a few decades in the shape of a list of manufacturers and their slogans or ‘taglines’. It wasn’t always the “Big Three”.

The list speaks for itself about the how much the nation’s vibrant multi-faceted, innovative car industry has been laid low in the past few decades.

The name of each manufacturer (and there are many) is followed by their slogan. Full of pathos, a vigorous, often naive optimism,  and an odd polite dignity, they tell of a time when American manufacturing ruled the world. Some of the lines are truly priceless. Enjoy.

  1. Allen: Wonderful Power. The King of the Hill Climbers.
  2. American: Miles of Smiles
  3. Anderson: The Season’s Most Enchanting Car.
  4. Auburn: Once an Owner, Always a Friend
  5. Austin: A Car to Run Around In.
  6. Beggs: Made a Little Better Than Seems Necessary.
  7. Buick: When Better Automobiles Are Built, Buick Will Build Them.
  8. Cadillac: Standard of the World
  9. Cartercar: No Clutch to Slip. No Gears to Strip.
  10. Cole: The World’s Safest Car.
  11. Columbia: Gem of the Highway.
  12. Commonwealth: The Car With the Foundation.
  13. Continental Beacon: The Lowest Priced Full-Sized Car in the World.
  14. Daniels: The Distinguished Car, With Just a Little More Power Than You’ll Ever Need.
  15. De Vaux: A Jewel For Beauty.
  16. Diana: The Easiest Steering Car in America.
  17. Dodge: Dependable.
  18. Dorris: Built Up to a Standard Not Down to a Price.
  19. Driggs: Built With the Precision of Ordinance.
  20. Duesenberg: The World’s Champion Automobile.
  21. Dupont: The Car That Makes an Instant Appeal.
  22. Durant: Just a Real Good Car.
  23. Duryea: A Carriage, Not a Machine.
  24. Elmore: The Car That Has No Valves.
  25. Empire: The Little Aristocrats.
  26. Falcon-Knight: America’s Finest Type of Motor.
  27. Flint: The Sensation Of The Year.
  28. Ford: The Universal Car.
  29. Gas Au Lec: The Simple Car.
  30. Gearless: A Common Sense Car with No Tender or Delicate Parts.
  31. Glide: Ride in a Glide, Then Decide.
  32. Handley-Knight: For the Fine Car Owner Who Drives From Choice.
  33. Hanover: Saves Money Every Mile.
  34. Haynes Apperson: America’s First Car.
  35. Hudson: Look For The White Triangle.
  36. Jackson: No Hill Too Steep, No Sand Too Deep.
  37. Jewett: In All the World, No Car Like This.
  38. King: The Car Of No Regrets.
  39. Kline: The Ace of the Highway.
  40. Leach: The Master Creation of the Year.
  41. Liberty: All The World Loves a Winner.
  42. Lincoln: Get Behind The Wheel.
  43. Malcolm: Easiest Riding Car In The World.
  44. Martin: Little Brother of the Aeroplane.
  45. Maxwell: Perfectly Simple. Simply Perfect.
  46. Maytag: The Hill Climber.
  47. Moore: The World’s Biggest Little Automobile.
  48. Nash: Leads The World in Motor Car Value.
  49. National: The All-Ball Bearing Car.
  50. Oldsmobile: Nothing To Watch But The Road.
  51. Packard: Ask The Man Who Owns One.
  52. Paige: The Most Beautiful Car In America.
  53. Pierce-Arrow: Pride of Its Makers Makes You Proud in Possession.
  54. Pilot: The Car Ahead.
  55. Pope-Toledo: The Quiet, Mile-a-Minute Car.
  56. Reo: The Gold Standard of Value.
  57. Rickenbacker: A Car Worthy Of Its Name.
  58. Roamer: America’s Smartest Car.
  59. Sears: The Businessman’s Car.
  60. Sheridan: The Complete Car.
  61. Star: Worth The Money.
  62. Studebaker: The Automobile With a Reputation Behind It.
  63. Templar: The Superfine Small Car.
  64. Vaughan: Made in the Carolinas.
  65. Westcott: The Car with a Longer Life.

A vibrant, entrepreneurial car Industry was alive and well in this country before the business consolidated after the war. And now it seems the remaining few car conglomeraes have not lived up to the entrepreneurial promise of the past. The question is simple. Can the Industry revive its competitive and innovative spirit of its bygone days, or will it be lost forever?

If the American spirit lives on, the ghosts of these troubled or long gone companies can tell us that the greatness of what once was could be once more. America can be proud again. It just has to be itself.

Written by coolrebel

November 29, 2008 at 5:15 am

Black Friday is Incitement to Mob Frenzy

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Tragedy on Black Friday morning.

The 34-year-old employee, who was not identified, was knocked down by a crowd that broke down the doors of the Wal-Mart at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y., and surged into the store. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 6 a.m.

Who’s responsible for this?

During the election campaign, Palin and McCain were chastised for not stopping people in their crowds from crying racial epithets and worse at Obama. That’s nothing compared to Black Friday. At least nobody got hurt.

But it’s just fine for Walmart, Target, and all the other Crap pushers to prime the crap junkie mob with massive come-ons to buy more cheap stuff. The ads go out, the mob get up at 2 a.m, arrive at the locked doors at the same time, the group mentality gathers pace, adrenaline is running high, there’s a push from the back of the crowd, the mob surges. The doors give way. Everyone rushes in and some poor employee in the wrong place gets trampled to death. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

November 28, 2008 at 10:12 am