Saturday, March 31, 2007
I'm a bit confused. In fact, I'm a lot confused. I remember being told stories by my uncles (and aunt) about World War II. What it was like in the Philippines and in Europe and in the service during that time. Dad was too old for WWII and too young for WWI. Was he mad about that. But that's another story.
Today's (3/31/07) newspaper has an article in it stating that the "Latino" vets from WWII are bothered that their efforts and sacrifices were not prominent in the movie "The War". It's going to be shown on PBS sometime in September. The local American G.I. Forum (a Hispanic vets' organization) chief says it's "disgraceful". OK, I can understand why he may feel slighted, but I have no sympathy with organizations like La Raza and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They were not there. Most of them could not name five important battles, neither in Europe nor the Far East. They were not there, but there grandparents probably were.
Our local PBS affiliate plans to run the documentary and "sandwich" local programs highlighting the actions of Hispanics during the showing (thus effectively interfering with what the film makers are trying to give us) and sucking up to be "politically correct". It's sad to see the vets lowering themselves to this level. Maybe because I learned a fair amount of the history of that war in school and from my relatives.
(Sidebar: I have questioned about half a dozen fairly recent graduates of various high schools here concerning what they learned of WWII in school. Blank looks were the standard response. They mumbled about wars fought long before, but were ignorant of either World Wars. Most of those I questioned were Hispanics.)
I also had the good fortune to spend time in the Philippines when I was in the service. I learned from the Filipino men and women what they and the American troops went through. I heard, many times, that the Filipinos wouldn't object if they became an American possession. But that's another story.
When I was growing up, it was simple. You were either American or you weren't. It was a clear cut dichotomy. If you were a good guy the Americans helped you study for your citizenship. And many immigrants went to the movies constantly. And listened to the radio. And watched American television. They learned English from these activities. And they got high school credits as well as citizenship from their efforts. They became Americans. Not hyphenated Americans, but real, honest to God, Americans. And they took pride in that, as well they should have. It wasn't handed to them on a platter, they had to work to earn it. And they did, and they did, and they did.
I was a little kid, so maybe my recollections are blurred by the years. And very likely not.
I remember a lot of my playmates, though. My family came from German and Dutch stock (Kraut). I played with, and got along fine with kids who were Jewish (Jew). A girl and some boys who were black (Negroes). Boys who were dark skinned (Italian). A red haired girl I loved madly (Irish). Two girls and a boy who had shiny black hair (Mexicans). There were many others, but I do not remember which tribes they came from. If other kids didn't want to get along with us we had a simple solution that worked. We just didn't play with them. The point is this:
WE WERE AMERICANS.
We could not have cared less about where our parents or grandparents came from. There was no such thing as being a hyphenated American. Childhood does have a lot to do with our life and beliefs. Today, I have no time to listen to gripes about "mistreatment" in the past. I'm not interested in the wars our ancients fought with Indians. (They are getting their revenge, however. I leave a deposit of my money when I go to an Indian Casino.) My great, greats didn't own slaves (they came from Wisconsin, never a slave owning state as far as I know.) The Jewish kids and the Italians had parents who loved to feed me goodies. (I spent a fair amount of time in their kitchens.) We didn't talk about religion, either. The Mexican kids taught me about tacos and burritos. (Yum.) Mexico was an exotic place to me. And anything the little red haired girl did or said was hunky-dorey with me.
Growing up as I did, I carry absolutely no guilt about anything that happened in a past I had no input into. I contributed, in writings and cash, to helping correct social injustices, later in my life.
Sometimes I wonder about today's kids. Are they being taught the things that create racial hatred? Where are they learning about it, then? Are they being taught about antique and ancient hatreds in school or at home?
But I guess I'm kind of hard line when it comes to being an American. Please note, I am NOT a German-American.
I, world, am an AMERICAN.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Bill Richardson was a guest on the Colbert Report on the Comedy Channel the other day. Jon Stewart, the host of the show, is well known for his straight faced put ons of pompous personalities. He had a ball with the Governator. Bill said things he should have thought about before he answered, but, like many politicians, he didn't. In fact, he was like a whale sounding. Straight down to the lower depths. Bill made a point about his "qualifications". Both of them. He's qualified, he said, because he's got foreign policy experience. He also pointed out that he had national security experience. The meat was on the table and Jon remarked: "You negotiated with Sadam Hussein, you negotiated with the Taliban, you negotiated with North Korea. Those worked out very well for us." Then Bill Richardson also remarked that we had to have better schools (New Mexico ranks very high in number of drop outs). And he said he wanted to help the middle class. New Mexico is losing its middle class so fast you can almost hear them passing out of existence. Now, other than in the Colbert Report, Bill has come up with "solutions" for the fact that illegal immigrants need to be stopped. Here's a few of his ideas:
- "Most undocumented immigrants come to the United States to work low-wage jobs which few Americans want, such as picking crops or cleaning toilets. Our economy creates demand for at least 400,000 new low-skill illegal immigrants per year, but only about 140,000 are allowed to enter legally." That seems to be a Congressionally mandated number. Our forefathers did not want the county's economy destroyed by horrendous floods of immigrants. Wise men.
- "Yes, we are talking about people who knowingly have broken the law. And they should be held accountable, like all lawbreakers. But we also are talking about people who are economic refugees, and who contribute significantly to America's economic success and to the economic and political stability of their home countries -- with the billions in remittances they send home to their families every year." Ah, I see. We should forgive those who have knowingly broken the law. I suspect that can be expanded to murders, child molesters, drunk drivers, etc., etc. After all, he states that the illegal aliens contribute significantly to our economic success -- by sending billions of American dollars "home" to their families.
- "Al Qaeda took decades to find a way to hit America hard and terrorists are still out there, probing, plotting, and preparing for their next attack. I know that full well from my diplomatic experience. If there's a way for them to get into this country and attack us again they will find it. We need to stop them, and border security is essential to doing so." Of course we all realize that terrorists wouldn't be smart enough to infiltrate or follow the illegals entering America.
- "This is what we should do: immediately put enough National Guard troops at the border to keep it covered until we can secure it with Border Patrol officers. That should take no longer than three years. If it takes another year, let's do it." It seems to me that I've heard about short term "policing" somewhere else. Where was that?
- "Under present conditions, the Mexicans just don't have enough incentive to give us the help we need at the border. Mexico needs to do more to stem the flow. But if we create a reasonable guest worker program and provide a path to legalization for illegal immigrants already here -- there is every reason to expect Mexico to do its part to create more jobs in Mexico and to help us with border security." Oh My God. How stupid I am. We just have to surrender to the illegals, and take the word of the Mexican President, who is closely allied with Venezula's President, that he will do his part. We buy oil from Mexico (at horrble prices and send them millions of dollars regularly. President Calderon has already made it plain that he hates America. And consider that Bill wants to create a path to legalizing the illegal. Does that include shooting and maiming American citizens Bill?
- "As suggested by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a leader on immigration issues, we should implement a system of "informant visas" and cash rewards for aliens who provide law enforcement with information on human traffickers and document forgers." There's a beauty. New Mexico is a beehive of document forgery. And we should also pay illegals for turning on their jackals. While they have family and friends living in gang ridden Mexico. Who will probably want to use jackals to get into the States. Something about this screams that it has not been thought out to a logical conclusion.
I understand there is a place in Washington called "Foggy Bottom". So there is a place in the capitol for you Bill. Somewhere near the White House, I think.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Bush Administration, the One Worlders, the NeoCons, the Military, the Religious Right, a number of other groups really had no idea what we, the American Public, wanted to happen in Iraq.
We did not want what we got. We did not want a dragged out, let's not try to hurt anyone, slow moving, profit making, our tax money spent to fatten corporations war, nor what seems to be becoming an eternal war.
WE WANTED REVENGE. Plain and simple, we wanted these half smart assassins to pay a price that would preclude any further need for our military intervention anywhere in the world. We wanted them to understand that any further acts of terrorism would bring only death, destruction and horror to any country that dared to challenge us. We didn't want incompetent "leadership", nor half baked generals who had to consider what was best for the Industrial Complex, our tax money being thrown down a bottomless pit, our soldiers being maimed and killed because of inadequate and incompetent planning. Simply put, we wanted the results of World War II on a smaller scale.
What we got was another Vietnam, another Korea. But on a much larger scale. Yes, there have been fewer men killed and wounded than in those wars, but we are also fighting a much smaller and more confined war.
The Republicans didn't get it right. Now, the Democrats aren't getting it right. "Surge" isn't the answer. Withdrawal isn't the answer. The only answer that will regain American's trust in their government is all out warfare. A very good general once said that "the purpose of armies is to smash, destroy and bring the enemy to their knees."
I may not be Jewish but it seems to me the Israelis have the answer that will solve our crisis. It seems to work like this: For every weapon you fire at us, we will fire a hundred at you. There will be no mercy. If you hide in populated areas we will retaliate far beyond your capabilities. If you do not hide, the results will be devastating.
It's time, sir. It is time.
There's no particular reason for this picture, I just thought it was hilarious.
Well, wait a minute. It just reminded me of the present administration, Attorney General Gonzales and the eight fired attorneys. Sort of: "If you put your hands in too deeply, they probably are not going to smell nice when you take them out."
Firing United States Attorney David Iglesias is leaving an aroma that is not only unpleasant but very noticeable and confusing.
To make matters worse, he worked here in New Mexico. And the deeper people put their hands into where they shouldn't be, the more it seems to becoming putrid. Two of our Congressional delegates, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM), apparently made phone calls to him concerning sealed indictments involving local Democrats.
I wonder why, and how a sealed indictment could have come to their attention? You don't suppose the AG contacted them, do you?
To add to the confusion, Iglesias was nominated for the job by Senator Pete.
Maybe Party loyalty came into play here. But my question has to be "What inspired, or forced Gonzales to fire him?"
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Our illustrious newspaper, The Albuquerque Journal, has a big photo story on the front page today (3/28/07) purporting to show a "heroine" who supposedly "saved" a newborn in the University Hospital parking lot.
According to a source at the hospital, it ain't true. The woman who is credited with this life saving act, really didn't do anything except find a security officer. The security officer, reacting automatically, radioed into the emergency room, alerting the staff to the situation. The "heroin" was in a state of panic asking what to do. The officer instructed her to use a blanket from the back seat of the car and wrap the baby in it. The officer then turned to the birth mother to see how she was doing. The mother, worn out from the strain of birth, needed to be seated. The security officer saw to that and then returned to the newborn who gave the sign that everyone wants to hear. The baby cried.
Now, the only thing I can think of to explain the actions of the hospital administration (in proclaiming what was basically an onlooker as a "heroine") is that they wanted to play politics and make people feel more secure than they are at University Hospital. Maybe it will help them get more money from our state legislators. Maybe they thought that if it was a security officer who was the heroine, it would reflect badly on their staff. (The "heroine" was too busy carrying on and wringing her hands to be of much use.) The security oficer, who has been trained to handle situations such as this said the actions taken were "almost automatic".
In my opinion, the true story needs to be told and the real heroine needs to be honored.
Shame on you, University Hospital. Shame on you, Albuquerque Journal.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I've got some happy stuff here. A dear friend of ours (call her Jen), who was adopted out when a baby, has been reunited with her birth mother. Jen had been looking for her birth mom for some years (she's in her mid 40's) with no luck. She even hired a private detective who couldn't help.
One day, she was comparing notes with another adoptee who had found her birth parents. The woman recommended an organization that had made the contact after some time and they were happily reunited.
According to Jen, she contacted this outfit and they called her two days later, saying that her birth mother had been looking for her for some time and then they supplied her with the name, address and phone number.
If any of you are looking for birth relatives here is the name: International Soundex Reunion Registry. You can use your favorite search engine to find their web site. I don't guarantee results, but it can't hurt to try them. Good Luck.
Some things just make you want to stick your tongue out. This "stick out" is for our state Senators. New Mexico has a three felony criminal enhancement penalty for certain crimes. Not all crimes.
Apparently, a man who has been involved in three murders (he spent a total of fifteen years in jail for them) was out on parole and has just shot and killed three more people.
He's some kind of gang leader and our sheriff warned that he was extremely dangerous and would kill again if he were released. Our state Senators had a bill, approved by the House, on their agenda that would have added his type of crime to the enhancement penalty. All it needed was for the Senate to vote on it. They wanted to go home on schedule, so nothing happened to it. No discussion. No vote. No action. So he had the opportunity and the will to kill again. He did.
It just seems strange to me that the honorable Senators had time to worry about Albuquerque's red light and speeding cameras, but couldn't find the time to protect the law abiding citizens of this state.
Don't forget, these are the same Senators who have steadfastly refused to take any action on anything, even though our Governator, Bill Richardson, called them back for an extra session.
For my part, I find them culpable in this event.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Dear Dogs and Cats... To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height. Dear Dogs and Cats, The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest. The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run. I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible . I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm. For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required. The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough! To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door: To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets: 1. They live here. You don't. 2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture. ) 3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people. 4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly. Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they: 1. Eat less 2. Don't ask for money all the time 3. Are easier to train 4. Normally come when called 5. Never ask to drive the car 6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends 7. Don't smoke or drink 8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions 9. Don't want to wear your clothes 10. Don't need a "gazillion" dollars for college. And finally, 11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.
DECATUR - David and Eileen Wetzel don't get going in the morning quite as early as they used to. So David Wetzel, 79, was surprised to hear a knock on the door at their eastside home while he was still getting dressed. Two men in suits were standing on his porch. "They showed me their badges and said they were from the Illinois Department of Revenue," Wetzel said. "I said, 'Come in.' Maybe I shouldn't have. " Gary May introduced himself as a special agent. The other man, John Egan, was introduced as his colleague. May gave the Wetzels his card, stating that he is the senior agent in the bureau of criminal investigations."I was afraid," Eileen Wetzel said. "I came out of the bathroom. I thought: Good God, we paid our taxes. The check didn't bounce". "The agents informed the Wetzels that they were interested in their car, a 1986 Volkswagen Golf, that David Wetzel converted to run primarily from vegetable oil but also partly on diesel. Wetzel uses recycled vegetable oil, which he picks up weekly from an organization that uses it for frying food at its dining facility. "They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax," David Wetzel recalled. "Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive." Since the initial visit by the agents on Jan. 4, the Wetzels have been involved in a struggle with the Illinois Department of Revenue. The couple, who live on a fixed income, have been asked to post a $2,500 bond and threatened with felony charges. State legislators have rallied to help the Wetzels. State Sen. Frank Watson, R-Greenville, introduced Senate Bill 267, which would curtail government interference regarding alternative fuels, such as vegetable oil. A public hearing on the bill will be at the state Capitol. "I would agree that the bond is not acceptable, a $2,500 bond," Watson said, adding that David Wetzel should be commended for his innovative efforts. "(His car) gets 46 miles per gallon running on vegetable oil. "We all should be thinking about doing without gasoline if we're trying to end foreign dependency". "I think it's inappropriate of state dollars to send two people to Mr. Wetzel's home to do this. They could have done with a more friendly approach. It could have been done on the phone. To use an intimidation factor on this - who is he harming? "Two revenue agents. You'd think there's a better use of their time," Watson said. The Wetzels, who plan to speak at a Senate hearing in Springfield, recalled how their struggle with the revenue department unfolded. According to the Wetzels, May told them during his January 4 visit that they would have to pay taxes at either the gasoline rate of 19½ cents per gallon or the diesel rate of 21½ cents per gallon. A retired research chemist and food plant manager, Wetzel produced records showing he has used 1,134.6 gallons of vegetable oil from 2002 to 2006. At the higher rate, the tax bill would come to $244.24. "That averages out to $4.07 a month," Wetzel noted, adding he is willing to pay that bill. But the Wetzels discovered that the state had more complicated and costly requirements for them to continue to use their "veggie mobile". David Wetzel was told to contact a revenue official and apply for a license as a "special fuel supplier" and "receiver". After completing a complicated application form designed for businesses, David Wetzel was sent a letter directing him to send in a $2,500 bond. Eileen Wetzel, a former teaching assistant, calculated that the bond, designed to ensure that their "business" pays its taxes, would cover the next 51 years at their present usage rate. A couple of weeks later, David Wetzel received another letter from the revenue department, stating that he "must immediately stop operating as a special fuel supplier and receiver until he receives special fuel supplier and receiver licenses." This threatening letter stated that acting as a supplier and receiver without a license is a Class 3 felony. This class of felonies carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. On the department of revenue's Web site, David Wetzel discovered that the definition of special fuel supplier includes someone who operates a plant with an "active bulk storage capacity of not less than 30,000 gallons". Wetzel also did not fit the definition of a receiver, described as a person who produces, distributes or transports fuel into the state. So Wetzel withdrew his application to become a supplier and receiver. Mike Klemens, spokesman for the department of revenue, explained that Wetzel has to register as a supplier because the law states that is the only way he can pay motor fuel tax. But what if he is not, in fact, a supplier? Then would he instead be exempt from paying the tax?"We are in the process of creating a way to simplify the registration process and self-assess the tax" Klemens said, adding that a rule change may be in place by spring. David Wetzel wonders why hybrid cars, which rely on electricity and gasoline, are not taxed for the portion of travel when they are running on electrical power. He said he wants to be treated equally by the law. David Wetzel, who has been exhibiting his car at energy fairs and universities, views state policies as contradicting stated government aims."You hear the president saying we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Wetzel said. "You hear the governor saying that." State Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, also plans to support legislation favoring alternative fuels. "I'm disappointed that the Illinois Department of Revenue would go after Mr. Wetzel," Flider said. "I don't think it is a situation that merits him being licensed and paying fees."The people at the department of revenue apparently feel they need to regulate him in some way. We want to make sure that he is as free as he can be to use vegetable oil. He's an example of ingenuity. Instead of being whacked on the head, he should be encouraged." The last part of the headline is: AND I'M HERE TO HELP YOU.
Our Governator is upset. Looks like the state Senate is in the attack mode. He's fuming and fussing something terrible. After all, he went to the trouble of calling them back to the Capitol so they could pass some bills he believes would help his Prez run. They've managed to stall him yet again. He must have cut some pork barrel goodies out of the state budget. Maybe they'll fix them for him manana. But it isn't likely. Pretty soon they may try a filibuster. Wouldn't that look good for a guy who wants to be Prez?New Mexico is not exactly a state with a ton of electoral votes, after all. If he can't get the legislature of our cowboys to accede to his wishes, why should he think he can get more sophisticated federal Congress people (I really hate "politically correct" words [why use them, then?-Ed.]) to agree with his policies? There's a warning here. He's no FDR. He's not even a communicator like Reagan. And he definitely is not a Kennedy (he doesn't drink, I've been told). He does, however, have a talent for raising money for politicians. Maybe he's trying for the wrong job.