Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Congressional Earmarks: A Primer

Congressman Flake (R-AZ) has a great release on his website that talks about Congressional "ear marks" and what can be done to shine the light of day on them.

Read it here.

(H/T: Hugh Hewitt)

Monday, May 22, 2006

On Immigration After a Fence

Suppose that a fence is built that is able to greatly stem the tide of people illegally entering the country. By greatly, I mean at least by half and preferably by an order of magnitude (90% or so). Now what?

Well, here's a few points I'd like to see addressed:
1) untangle the path to a visa
Stories like that of jockey Edgar Prado's mother who had applied for a visa in order to obtain cancer treatment in the US, only to finally receive it the day before she died imply that the system is hopelessly inefficient. (Attacking inefficiency in government is to tilt at a windmill. Heigh-ho, Rocinante!) If it were possible to screen faster and still weed out the criminal element, so much the better. If the frustration at having to wait for years for a visa is eliminated, it should also reduce the need to run pell-mell for the border.

2) If we really need a horde of underpaid laborers from foreign countries, let us create a visa class especially for that. We have visas for skilled workers, such as engineers. Now we'll have one for ditch diggers, too. Who get's to stay longer? I'd say the engineer, since it is far less likely that he'll hurt his back and no longer be able to work.

3) Make sure the line to obtain such a visa begins in the home country only. Granted, embassies effectively are the home country so not everyone is going to high-tail it back to their literal home soil to stand in the line. (A line which should move somewhat faster, provided that (1) can be worked out.)

4) Abolish the minimum wage.
By having a horde of migrant laborers making very little--albeit more than they would have in their home countries--you effectively say "Minimum wage for Our Kind, Dear, but not for you." It would be better to not have a minimum wage at all.

5) Under no circumstances should voting be an option for someone who is here without a visa. Sorry, Democrats: your pool of "victims" to exploit for electoral gain is not going to be replenished by illegal aliens.

6) Take away the employer's "it's too hard" excuse for SSN verification.
The system should take a Social Security Number, a name and a birthdate. The system should return "match" or "no match". An SSN for an "anchor baby" born two years prior won't match the info for the applicant.

7) Come down on employers who still insist on hiring "no match" workers like a ton of bricks.

This still raises further questions:
How do you know if someone has overstaid their visa?
How could it be renewed? Would a trip to the home country be required, or just a hop over to, say, Canada do the trick?
Will we still care about language issues for migrant workers here legally?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Another Open Question

Whatever happened to SARS?

Friday, May 12, 2006

On Voter Fraud

Do you ever hear about voter fraud or "stolen elections" when it comes to something like the Mosquito Abatement District race?

Why do you suppose that is?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Last Days at the Lazy M: Wednesday

I returned to my Chicago-area office for the first time in 4 months yesterday.

My initial reaction was surprise at the paucity of cars in the parking lot. Normally by that time in the morning, I'd have to park in a far distant corner of the lot. Not so yesterday.

Upon entering the building, cubicles that had been occupied in January were vacant now. The tone was muted among the people having conversations in the hallway. Well, except for one.

"What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here," called out someone that I never really liked.

"Good to see you, too," I muttered.

A loose leaf piece of paper was taped to a cube at the top of the row. My name had been removed as occupying the last cube, near the window, though my nameplate still hung there. The monitor was gone, but then again I had told them they could take the PC that had been parked there since I had a laptop. The phones were gone, but they had deactivated my office number months ago.

I kicked around that morning talking to the people who were still going to be working there. The rumor mill had it that another layoff was coming in July. "And it's gonna be bigger."

They are the Left Behind. They're holding on to what they have despite a far-from-certain future. I'd imagine they are looking for work elsewhere as a hedge against the day they get the cryptic looking meeting notice on their calendar. ("Work Discussion" was the title of mine back on April 4.)

I had my exit interview with HR yesterday. It was a briefing, mainly, on what was going to happen to my benefits come the end of this month, the end of next month. How the regular paychecks would continue to come up through the first week in June even though my services were no longer required after Friday, May 12. How I'd get a lump sum represented a large chunk of weeks if I signed the release stating that I wouldn't sue them for wrongful termination.

After speaking with the HR rep, they brought in a gentleman from "Right Services" which is an outplacement firm. I told him that I was living in Maryland now and that starting a discussion about the area. He had attended school first near Baltimore and then at a seminary in the District. I suppose I'll hear from them on Monday, but they weren't able to take any of my contact information yesterday.

After our chat, I went to lunch and then to my parents' home where I'm staying for these couple of days, skipping the mostly empty cubicle farm for the rest of the afternoon. I'm staying away today, too, since there's really nothing I need to do there, and my telecommuter agreement is still in force anyway. If they need me, I can go in, but I doubt it.

Tomorrow, I'll turn in my laptop, secure card and badge. I'll go to lunch and not go back ever again. It's a very liberating feeling, and one that I hope the Left Behind get to feel soon for the sake of their own sanity.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New State Motto for Pennsylvania

"Road Construction Next 162 Miles"

Actually it wasn't that bad of a drive yesterday, since I never had to actually stop for any of the work zones and there were gaps in between them. Maybe this will work better:

"Active When Flashing"

It would fit better on the license plates, no?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Busy Weekend and Travel

This weekend I've had the opportunity to get to know a lot of the people involved with new membership at a big church in the District. Even though there are more than 2500 members on the rolls and over a thousand in attendance on any given Sunday, they still manage to maintain the feeling of a smaller "neighborhood" church.

For that, I'm going to be joining up in a few weeks.

(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for encouraging me to look into it last year.)

I'll be posting a little tomorrow if the mood strikes and then I'll be on the road Tuesday. Next week I finish out my time with my employer of the last 11 and a half years. I'll be driving back on Saturday, resting on Sunday and starting my new gig on Monday.

Posting will continue to be sporadic for the next week or so, but if I manage to get a good rant on, I'll be sure to post it after suitable editing for grammar and punctuation. (Hah! -- Ed.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May 5th

So it is the "Cinco de Mayo" on Friday. After all the scorn for El Gringo on May 1, I can't help but wonder how many of us will be bypassing the local Mexican restaurant in favor of something else.

Maybe the PGA Tour Grill?

Tag: Illegal, Immigration, backlash, Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day's End

Perfect end to a perfect day.


Monday, May 01, 2006

It's May 1...

...the big Communist holiday. Not surprisingly, this is the day that the Stalinist organization "Workers World"--umbrella for "International ANSWER"--has chosen for the illegal immigrant amnesty rallies and general strike.

President Bush likes to remind us "They come to do the jobs that Americans won't do." Except of course when they don't show up. No whining if you're fired on Tuesday, okay?

UPDATE: 1400 EDT: lonewacko.com is compiling a list of supporters of this action here.

UPDATE 2: Beth no está cansada.

UPDATE 3: Atlas has her take here.

UPDATE 4: Dennis Dale at Untethered gets the final word on the Day Without an [Illegal] Immigrant. I believe the message is: "What you do? It ain't that hard."