Friday, July 29

Hollywood disconnect -- Where did all the good movies go?

Hugh wrote a good article on World Magazine. I would love to see these movies, on the condition that they stick to the facts and stick to honoring our soldiers.

Now, here is an idea for an independent film: The Battle of the Bay of Pigs. I know the media won't touch it, but maybe the controversy strategy would work. After all, a reveal of how Kennedy betrayed American soldiers and freedom fighters would be controversial. Or, how about a movie about the Cuban missile crisis, from the perspective of our Cuban men that risked their lives to gather intelligence on what Castro was doing? These would be awesome, good old fashioned, heroic movies!

The summer of '05 continues to be one big stretch of quicksand for Hollywood, as picture after picture disappoints then disappears. Dreamworks' The Island (see "Movie review: The Island"), which cost $124 million, opened to a dismal $12.1 million box office on a weekend that saw all movies in theaters gross 9 percent less than the same period last year (see boxofficemojo.com).

Perhaps studio execs, flummoxed (and even panicked?) by an eroding appeal, should convene a big think and ask what is going on. One speculation: The public knows there's a war going on, but Hollywood doesn't. As we approach the fourth anniversary of 9/11, not a single major motion picture has been released that honors the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are fighting the distant battles, or the terrorist trackers at home.

...

And their shareholders might also ask: Could a movie about Pat Tillman or the battle for Fallujah or the special forces on horseback in Afghanistan or the march to Baghdad do worse than The Island?

Sexist Senate Democrats Oppose John Roberts Based on Abortion -- Oh, ya...They are all Women.

I guess these women's ideas of privacy and their own interpretation of the law is more important than the faithful adherence to the Constitution. What I want to know is why all these Senators seem to think they know more about the Constitution than John Roberts--one of the sharpest legal minds and a Constitutional expert?
Washington,DC (LifeNews.com) -- Seven Democratic women senators on Thursday held a press conference to announce they will press for members of the Judiciary Committee to ask Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to specifically address his views on the issue of abortion.

They also pledged to vote against Roberts if he doesn't back Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized unlimited abortion throughout pregnancy.

"I want to hear a nominee say that the [right to privacy] is the basis for their philosophy," pro-abortion Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell said.

"If an individual says that, then I will be convinced that they truly believe in the right to privacy and will not be a member of the Supreme Court that will unsettle Roe v. Wade," she added.

"For more than 20 years, Sandra Day O'Connor has been an important vote in upholding Roe v. Wade," California Sen. Barbara Boxer said. "Will Judge Roberts be that same important voice?"

Sean Rushton, director of the Committee for Justice, a group that backs Roberts, said the women's views amounted to a litmus test.

"This is a single-issue litmus test that strikes at the heart of an independent judiciary," he told the Washington Times. "It proves that the Democratic Party is increasingly focused solely on the issue of abortion on demand. Their greatest fear is a nonpolitical judge who will read the law as it's written."

In fact, when asked by reporters, none of the seven Democrats said they would vote for Roberts if he said he opposed Roe. Boxer indicated it would be "impossible" for the group to vote for him.

Bolton Recess Appointment not a good idea?

I have to say I am surprised by Political Teens comments against a Bolton appointment. I absolutely do not agree. We are a federation for the exact reason the founding fathers intended--so we would not be ruled by the mob. President Bush was elected, and with that electoral victory came the expectations and trust of the people in him to execute his job accordingly.

It is why Kerry did not win--he cannot be trusted to make the right choices in tough times. Bush's ratings are low because the media has years of experience in manipulating popular opinion, and continue to miss-characterize the war on terror, Iraq, the economy, and so much more. It is unfortunate that our population does not have the wisdom and discerning to see through the lies. Some do and go elsewhere for their news and information--blogs, radio, etc.

It's not about approval ratings, Ian. An appointment would make a statement of Bush's determination to be a leader and his confidence in Bolton for the UN. Bolton is not a perfect man, but our president considers him fit. I do not think a recess appointment would increase American discontent. It will anger the Liberals, but there is nothing that can be done about that. Liberals like being angry. If its not one thing, its another. I do not think Bush should worry about what people think of him, but whether he is doing the right thing for the country. That is what he was elected to do!!

President Bush'’s approval ratings are rather low at the moment and a recess appointment would drag them down further. The last thing the President needs is more discontent with the American people. Bush doesn'’t have to worry about winning another election but he should worry about the way people think of him.

Right now Republicans are in control of the Senate, Congress, and the White House with a mandate. Having to give an appointment with all this power is not a good sign that elected officials “can handle things” to their constituents. Republican Senators did all they can to for Bolton to have an up-or-down vote, but you can’t stop the demand by the Democrats for unnecessary documents (hmm, sound familiar?).

One thing you did get right--the constitutional option should have been put in place. Then we would not be having this discussion in the first place. Why not point the finger at where the proble really lies. A senate that oversteps their bounds, has no respect for the Constitutional mandate of a President to nominate whoever he chooses, and the Senate's historical and Constitutional mandate to approve those nominations.

Bolton is not a criminal or mentally unfit. He has experience. He is qualified. Don't beat around the bush (no pun intended). Blame the Democrats. Blame spineless Republicans that join them in their attention grabbing, childish, hissy-fits.

Mr. President, we want leadership in the UN. You do what you know best.
I really think Bolton shouldn’t represent the United States in the UN unless he is voted in. He wouldn’t be taken seriously by other ambassadors, however Bolton has never been a man that cares about what others think of him. The bottom line is he needs to be confirmed and if that requires the constitutional option to be put in action, then so be it.

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President Bush Proud of House Action to Pass CAFTA-DR Agreement

The White House was really behind this one! Regardless of who directly or indirectly benefits, I do have to agree that this sort of partnership increases US influence in the region. With the rise of Chavez and Castro, and instability in South America, this is important. The timing could not have been better. The idea is to go in and shore up the economy in the region BEFORE tyrants start taking over and making things worst.

Check out the White House list of benefits of CAFTA. We have seen how increased trade with China has opened the population to freedom, the benefits of Internet infrastructure, and more. Let's bring that to Central America, and show the region what is possible with hard work.

I agree: CAFTA will "Promote Freedom And Democracy And Expand Economic Opportunity And Security In Our Hemisphere."

This also from President Bush on CAFTA.
President Proud of House Action to Pass CAFTA-DR Agreement

I am proud that the House of Representatives has acted to advance America's economic and national security interests by passing the CAFTA-DR agreement. CAFTA helps ensure that free trade is fair trade. By lowering trade barriers to American goods in Central American markets to a level now enjoyed by their goods in the U.S., this agreement will level the playing field and help American workers, farmers, and small businesses. The agreement is more than a trade bill; it is a commitment of freedom-loving nations to advance peace and prosperity throughout the Western hemisphere. We have a moral obligation and a vital national security interest in helping the democracies of Central America and the Dominican Republic succeed, and CAFTA furthers that goal. I look forward to signing this important legislation into law.
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Peruvian Government Approves Law 28542, Law to Strengthen the Family

By Josue Sierra

The Peruvian government just approved Law #28542, "“The Law to Strengthen the Family." You can read the original legislation text in Spanish here. Sources indicate that the Peruvian church was involved in lobbying the government in this effort.

The goal of the new legislation is to promote and strength the family as the foundation for society. It includes provisions for programs for judges, teachers, policemen, doctors and medical professionals, among others, to teach them how to strengthen families, a school for parents to teach moms and dads how to be effective in raising their children,and the promotion of family values and principles through educational and mass media materials.

This is great news for Peru, and for South America. It is good to see people of faith in Peru getting involved in their government process. Latino's do not usually have a lot of faith in government or the political process, leaving it mostly to corruption. It is good to see good people doing something about their country, the family, and social values that are fundamental in the social and economic development of Peru.

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Bishop provides CAFTA swing vote, responds to concerns

I found this interesting. It brings up some of the concerns expressed here by Aaron, but at the same time, Bishop identifies some key aspects that made it compelling--mainly the foreign policy aspect of CAFTA. As I have said, not being a lawyer makes it dificult for me to understand the intricacies of this legislation, but it is my hope it does what it has been promised to do.

"This is a referendum on our foreign policy more than it is on our free trade," Bishop said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Bishop was joined with a yea vote by his Utah House colleagues, representatives Chris Cannon, also a Republican, and Democrat Jim Matheson.

The two-page statement outlined Bishop's concerns about the trade agreement and his belief that the agreement is also a fight against communism in Central America controlled by Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

"No other potential trade agreement will have an anti-communist component," he said.

Bishop compared this agreement with others from the past -- he voted against the World Trade Organization and the Australia Trade Agreement -- and those in the future: "I also see no reason to support (Free Trade Area of the Americas)."

However, Bishop said CAFTA is a way for the United States to develop "inter-governmental cooperation."

Some more good points and responses to common concerns:

"In CAFTA, foreign citizens cannot sue an American state. State laws cannot be overturned without state agreement," he said.

"I will note that there will be markets opened to Utah companies, but the studies indicate that the amount of trade Utah does or is projected to do in this region is minimal."

In addressing job concerns, Bishop also said it would be better to purchase something from Central America "with 80 percent of the material produced in the U.S. than a shirt from China with less than 5 percent of the material U.S.-produced."

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Thursday, July 28

Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant

I am half way through Humberto Fontova's book, Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant. I have to say it has been an eye-opener. It's not so much what Castro has done, but the extent that the American elite and MSM has gone in painting a romantic picture of Fidel.

I am deeply saddened by what I have learned of the Cuba of my father and the Cuba of my grandfather, when I consider the pictures, the stories, and the suffering of the Cuba of today--what is left of it. It is the kind of tears that do not come through the eyes, but those that collect in that deepest part of my heart.

While I don't find Fontova's literary style incredibly captivating, he does present a strong collection of evidence that convicts. My only complaint is that at times, it seems like his anger and frustration clouds his intellect--then again, it is understandable.

The one big lesson: Kennedy was worst than Clinton! Could this even be possible? The betrayal, cowardice, and lack of leadership of the Kennedy administration is shameful. The deaths of those Cuban heroes are on his head and on the Democratic party, Hollywood, EU, and all of those who continues to stonewall and look the other way as Fidel tortured, imprisons and murders.

Pick up your own copy
. A must read for every second generation Cuban American!
From the Inside Flap
"Cuba’s own Elvis"—that’s what Dan Rather calls him. Funny name for a man who has threatened the United States with nuclear war, who has made common cause with Islamic terrorists against the United States, and whose people risk death to escape him. But there’s a lot that Hollywood liberals and other Fidel Castro admirers would rather you didn’t know about the dictator of Cuba—like how he imprisoned more people as a percentage of population than Hitler or Stalin; how Fidel’s firing squads killed thousands of Cubans; how Fidel’s subjects would rather inject themselves with AIDS than live under his tyranny. Drawing on a wealth of research—including interviews with former Castro regime officials, anti-Castro freedom fighters, and Castro’s political prisoners—acclaimed author Humberto Fontova reveals the ugly face of the Castro regime. Along the way, he punctures some of the egregious myths about Cuba: · The Motorcycle Bore: The real Che Guevara—not the rebel rock star of T-shirt fame, but a battlefield incompetent, a puritan-Stalinist bore, and the man who sent thousands of innocent Cubans to the firing squads · Communist Economics 101: How Castro took Cuba from being a First World economy that had to turn away European emigrants to a country that even impoverished Haitians won’t emigrate to, with among the highest suicide and abortion rates in the world · The Saddam Hussein Next Door: How Castro has not only had nuclear weapons (and wanted to launch them) but has plotted massive terrorist outrages against the United States · Fidel the anti-black racist and unrepentant Communist—and his long list of useful idiots: from Jesse Jackson to Oliver Stone, George McGovern to Ted Turner, Bill Clinton to Steven Spielberg, to Katie Couric and many others · The Left’s favorite racism: against conservative Cuban-Americans Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant is a stunning exposé of the real Fidel Castro and of the hypocrisy, ignorance, and inexcusable appeasement that makes his liberal admirers notorious.

Why Latin America Is the New India

Business 2.0 has a great story on how Central and South America are becoming the next India for American corporations. This is great news. This should spur the Latin communities to improve their undergraduate and graduate education, specially in technology and sciences.

economically, it will have a great impact, as is evident in India. What I look forward to is Latinos being on the cutting edge of innovation in their home countries.
With its beaches, golf courses, cuba libres, and rock-solid social-security system, it's no wonder that Costa Rica is luring American executives who want an alternative to Indian outsourcing. After sending thousands of technology and call-center jobs to India and the Philippines, major U.S. companies including Dell (DELL) and Procter & Gamble (PG) are now looking to Latin America to meet their outsourcing -- or rather, "nearsourcing" -- needs. Like India before them, Brazil, Nicaragua, Panama, and especially Costa Rica are embracing the trend with business-friendly policies and aggressive marketing. "Costa Rica is moving up very fast," says Ram Mohan, IT manager for P&G, which operates a 1,000-employee center in San José, Costa Rica, to handle financial and infrastructure systems support.

Currently, 24,500 Costa Ricans work in call-center and IT jobs, doing everything from fielding complaints about shampoo to answering questions about insurance. The number of call-center positions alone is expected to double in the next two years, says Federico Cartín, executive director of the nonprofit Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technology. In Latin America as a whole, the number of call-center workstations will hit 730,000 in 2008, up from 336,000 in 2004, according to market-research firm Datamonitor. Brazil is expected to get a big slice of that business, thanks to some of the lowest labor costs in South America. Business promotion agency ProNicaragua expects its homeland to create 3,000 new jobs in the next few years, while Dell already employs 2,000 workers at its Panama call center.

It helps that the scenic shores of Central America are just a five-hour flight from the East Coast, but that's not the only appeal. The region also shares two time zones with the United States -- the better for handling phone calls -- and Costa Rica, in particular, is full of well-educated workers, having abolished its army more than 50 years ago and rechanneled the funds into education, including mandatory English training. Though its progressive labor codes translate into relatively high wages, the "Switzerland of Central America" also boasts an extensive social-security system that makes it easy to perform background checks.

Citizen's Link: QUOTEWORTHY

From Citizenlink.org:
"How often do we hear that our founding compact needs to be a living, breathing document whose meaning changes with the times? Never mind what the words of our Constitution actually say; never mind the clear intent of the Constitution's writers and signers; never mind two hundred years of judicial interpretation; never mind the
centuries-old wisdom of the common law: We are much wiser today than our predecessors. Or so goes the liberal boast. In fact, it is said, we are now able to see just what they were 'getting at' even better than they could -- as if the U.S. Constitution were only a 'nice try' at a plan of government."

--Sen. Rick Santorum

ESPN Deportes La Revista' Debuts Newsstand Issue

From Marketing & Medios: Good to see ESPN doing more to provide valuable content to Latinos, as well as leverage the love for sports among Latinos. Hopefully, this means greater exposure for Latino athletes.
The first issue of Editorial Televisa's ESPN Deportes La Revista hits newsstands this week, with a cover featuring NBA's Emanuel Ginobili, a.k.a. Manu, an Argentine forward for the San Antonio Spurs.

A popular player and spokesman for Gatorade in Argentina, Ginobili is well known in the San Antonio area..

The magazine is part of a branded, Spanish-language effort by Televisa and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN Enterprises to target Spanish-speaking sports fans in the U.S. Other ESPN Deportes-branded initiatives include ESPN Deportes Television, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPN Deportes.com, and ESPN Deportes Wireless, a streaming content program available to subscribers on mobile devices. The magazine's target demographic is Hispanic males ages 18 to 34. Though the initial circulation of 55,000 will be audited, Editorial Televisa plans to print 100,000 total to allow for some newsstand returns, DeCardenas says. The additional number of magazines will not be part of the ABC audit.

Some copies of the magazine, whose first issue will be 100 pages, will also be given away as part of promotions run by ESPN Enterprises parent company, The Walt Disney Corp., which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, says DeCardenas.
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Tancredo and Ultimate Responses and the Necessity of Pragmatism in the War on Terror

Hugh Hewitt has been ranting on Tancredo's words on bombing Meca. I like how Jeff Goldstein puts it into words. I have to agree more with Goldstein, than Hewitt. I called in to Hugh's show, and my comments where that I think sometimes evangelicals who go into politics confuse the role of the church, the role of the individual, and the role of government. While as an individual, I may find the Muslim religion deplorable, and I do believe it is a violent religion, the government's role and communication may need to be different.

Then again, I do think the government needs to keep their options open and the Muslim community needs to know that if they do not take a stand against extremist violent Muslims, they will also suffer repercussions. It is inevitable, regardless of what the US might or might not do.

Here is what Hugh said:
I want to be very clear on this. No responsible American can endorse the idea that the U.S. is in a war with Islam. That is repugnant and wrong, and bloggers and writers and would-be bloggers and writers have to chose sides on this, especially if you are a center-right blogger. The idea that all of Islam is the problem is a fringe opinion. It cannot be welcomed into mainstream thought because it is factually wrong. If Tancredo'’s blunder does not offend you, then you do not understand the GWOT.
Goldstein's comments:
I will offer this one observation, however: it doesn'’t matter to me whether or not the US actually would unleash such hell on Muslim holy sites. What matters to me is that our enemy knows that no military response is ever off the table. The US has done—and continues to do—enough good in this world that it need not constantly strive for the kind of cheap grace that comes from loudly and publicly eschewing pragmatic analysis about our military response options for the sake of placating those who have every reason to fear us.
He also responds and comments on Hugh's comments.
Perhaps. But more likely, what Hewitt is really suggesting is that adopting an official position against Islam is a strategic blunder. And he’s right—for the US to openly declare war on all of Islam is foolish, counterproductive, and doesn’t jibe with the facts on the ground. But being prepared to consider the most devastating response to a most devastating attack—one that, when threatened from a position of power could, in fact, force the mainstream Muslim world to turn on its own extremists out of worry for our potential retaliatory action—is hardly irresponsible.

What is irresponsible is failing to prepare for every contingency by failing to imagine every contingency. And those so outraged by Tancredo’s remarks should remember that the same kind of criticisms were leveled at Herman Kahn, whose On Thermonuclear War—while publicly reviled—was a handbook for pragmatically thinking through Cold War nuclear brinksmanship. The bottom line is, the US has amassed the most powerful military on earth; and it is hardly a sin to admit to that, or to admit to a willingness to consider every option available to us when it comes to waging a war that has been declared and waged against us.
Read the rest and the discussion. Good stuff.

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Four major agricultural companies and a nonprofit organization conspiring to hire and harbor illegal immigrants

This is good to see. Enforcement!! The AP Wire is reporting on a RICO lawsuit brought against these four companies, and a nonprofit.
BOISE, Idaho - Four major agricultural companies and a nonprofit organization were sued Wednesday by an Idaho county that accused them of conspiring to hire and harbor illegal immigrants.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court contends the four companies - Syngenta Seeds, Sorrento Lactalis, Swift Beef Co. and Harris Moran Seed Co. - and the nonprofit Idaho Migrant Council - have violated the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was designed to target the mafia.

Syngenta Seeds is based in Golden Valley, Minn.

Canyon County in southwestern Idaho alleges the businesses are hurting the county by taking part in an "illegal immigrant hiring scheme," and that the undocumented workers use county resources such as indigent medical care, jails and schools.

The lawsuit marks the first time a government entity has used RICO to demand damages from businesses for the costs of allegedly illegal employees, say legal experts including Notre Dame law Professor G. Robert Blakey, one of the authors of the federal law. If the county wins, the payoff could be huge - the federal anti-racketeering act allows damaged parties to collect triple damages.
And here is the best part. Yes! Illegal immigration is NOT a victimless crime. Looking back at the Wilson 4 case, we know that these immigrants end up hurting their children, separating families, and in some cases, death occurs as they attempt to cross the border. The full extent of the law should be brought down on companies that would encourage, promote, or hire illegal immigrants.
"Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. It has cost Canyon County millions of dollars, and we expect to recover it," said Howard Foster, an attorney with the Chicago firm of Johnson & Bell who is representing the county. "I believe Canyon County will open the doors for other municipalities across the country to follow suit."
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Analysts Urge US to Pay More Attention to Latin America

What I want to know is when is the US going to start doing more to promote Democracy in Central and South America. Democracy is hardly democracy when elections are rife with corruption. Democracy is hardly democracy when elected officials abuse the frustrations of the underclass to restrict journalism and manipulate the courts. These are the sort of things happening in countries like Venezuela. Even in more stable nations like Honduras, journalists are bribed, major pubications are owned by presidential candidates, and businesses face huge government barriers born out of corruption and unethical and dubious monopolies.

This from
As Karen Hughes, the incoming undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, begins the task of trying to improve the U.S. image abroad, one area of concern is Latin America. Relations with most countries in this region have been close and friendly, but there are some challenges emerging.

Listen to Flakus report

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Microsoft and National Council of La Raza Unveil Exclusive Affiliate Client-Tracking System -- Privacy Concerns Anyone?

Where are the privacy advocates when you need them? I don't hear the ACLU asking questions? I am not saying this is bad, or good--I don't know all the facts--but its interesting that when it's a liberal organization developing a tracking database, the left stays silent. I personally would not want to be in a NCLR database, regardless of how pretty they paint the picture of all the good things they do.
REDMOND, Wash., July 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) unveiled an exclusive Web-based client-tracking database designed to help a network of more than 300 community-based organizations optimize their services for underserved Hispanic communities. The system, called National Council of La Raza Affiliate Client-Tracking System (NCLR ACTS), will help community-based organizations better utilize limited resources for client-service delivery by minimizing paperwork associated with the client intake and interview process. NCLR ACTS will allow affiliate organizations to collect client demographic data and maintain a comprehensive history of client services.
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FPA Applauds Passage by the House of Representatives of CAFTA-DR

From Hispanic Business:
WASHINGTON, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Commenting on the passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Free Trade Agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR), Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the Food Products Association (FPA), made the following remarks:

"The Food Products Association applauds the House for approving CAFTA-DR. This historic Agreement will provide new market opportunities for U.S. agricultural products, including processed foods and beverages. The countries in the CAFTA-DR region are truly a ready-made market for our country's food exports.

"In addition to the positive economic benefits of CAFTA-DR for the U.S. food products industry, the agreement also establishes a forum for addressing technical and sanitary concerns, which will help ensure the safety of food products in international trade. Moreover, CAFTA-DR will foster economic stability and regional cooperation.

"FPA has actively worked for passage of CAFTA-DR. For our industry, global trade is an essential part of doing business and as the largest trade association serving the processed food and beverage industry in the United States and worldwide, we will continue to help foster an environment, both domestically and abroad, that facilitates trade for processed food and beverage products.
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RedState.org Comments on CAFTA, Lists Democrats who Voted Yea

RedState.org has some good comments on CAFTA.
The Republicans and a few brave Democrats have voted to extend a pro-market, pro-growth trade deal to Central American nations. CAFTA passed by a 217-215 margin in the House which is always more prone to protectionist tendencies than the Senate.
Read the rest. Here is the list of Demcorats who voted yea. Latinos make note. These are the only Democrats that actually did something to change Central America's future.

Roll Call:
  • Bean
  • Cooper
  • Cuellar
  • Dicks
  • Hinojosa
  • Jefferson
  • Matheson
  • Meeks (NY)
  • Ortiz
  • Skelton
  • Snyder
  • Tanner
  • Towns
I have to agree with Adam C.
Kudos to those Democrats who put the country ahead of their party's leadership. It reassuring to see that party doesn't always trump nation to these Democrats
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Judge Coughenour -- How do we protest this judge's idiocy?

Hugh Hewitt has some suggestions for Washington State residents.

First, defeat Washington State's Maria Cantwell and other incumbent Dems in the United States Senate who have obstructed George W. Bush's nominees to the bench. (Dino Rossi, are you listening? Please run.) Yes, this judge was an early Reagan mistake --quite obviously a gimme to a GOP Senator, and an example of how not to conduct judicial appointments. But this president isn't making those sorts of mistakes.

You can start with a contribution to Congressman Mark Kennedy, Republican candidate for the open Senate seat in MN.

Then, if you are feeling the need to make a symbolic statement concerning the judge's absurd decision and even worse reasoning, send an umbrella, the universal symbol of appeasement, to Judge Coughenour, c/o The United States Federal Courthouse, Seattle, Washington.

Maybe he will get five of Chamberlain's props, maybe 50. But each time an umbrella arrives he will know that a citizen reviewed his self-serving sentencing statement and found it the sort of timorous sophistry that encourages more attacks rather than sending any sort of message of resoluteness to the terrorists.

This judge is insane! This is a prime example of judicial overreach. The bench is not a church pulpit on which to preach. The courts have no business mendling into the executive branch's decisions. Far from being a warning, this served as an invitation to global terrorists to come into our country--our out-of-bounds, insane judges will protect you!
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

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Narrow approval for CAFTA

So CAFTA passed. One thing that gives me confidence in CAFTA is the overwhelming opposition to CAFTA by the Democrats. They can be so predictable sometimes. I am no lawyer, so I don't know the specifics of this one, but let it be clear--I am all for free trade and removed barriers and tariffs. If this is what CAFTA does, today is a day to celebrate for Central America.
WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives narrowly approved a controversial trade deal with Central America early today, handing Silicon Valley's high-tech industry and President Bush a major victory after weeks of intense lobbying and deal-making.

Despite that support and the relatively small size of the market, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, struggled to pass in the House, 217-215. The GOP leadership extended the normal 15-minute voting period to an hour as it lobbied for support. The pact passed in the Senate, 54-45, on June 30.

More than 90 percent of House Democrats voted against CAFTA, arguing that it will cost U.S. manufacturing jobs because it is not strong enough on labor and environmental rights in the Central American countries. The vote continued a drop in House Democratic support for controversial trade deals that could hurt the party with the high-tech industry.
Join the ongoing conversation at Technorati:

Wednesday, July 27

Busy night, other more important priorities

Blogging can be very consuming. So, tonight I will be trying to be a good conservative, and will be spending time with my wife, wash the dishes for her, and help out in any way I can.

I should comment: I enjoy being married. It is tons of hard work, sacrifice, and humility--sometimes this is no fun. But, the rewards are well worth it. I am a million times a better man because of my wife. Of course, there is great reward, strength, and security in the companionship and intimacy of being married to one woman, forever. Unlike recent trends, we did swear "till death do us part" and we fully intend to keep our word, so help me God.

Look around at old posts, get into a discussion, and enjoy the read. I'll be back with more comments and news tomorrow. Good Evening.

Readers Comments on CAFTA

Aaron, a reader, posted some comments I found compelling. Like he said, unfortunately, legislations can be horribly long-winded and difficult to understand for someone without a legal background, as myself.

Are there any lawyers among my readers who would respond or comment on CAFTA and clarify?

See my comments on your earlier post. CAFTA is not so much about reducing tariffs as it is about corporate welfare. As a conservative, I assume you are against welfare.

If you are a free trader, then you really should be concerned with CAFTA, which has all sorts of protectionist provisions woven in. Further, as a Latino, you should be concerned about how NAFTA has inflicted severe hardships on Mexico, which has seen poverty rates grow from 43% just prior to NAFTA to 70% today. This in turn has led illegal immigration from Mexico to skyrocket since the enactment of NAFTA.

The impact on Central Americans will be even worse (unless, of course, you are a lucky member of the incestuous business elites which have always worked to maintain strict class barriers). Indigenous communities in Guatemala (which constitute nearly 60% of the population) are particularly vulnerable since they traditionally have relied on subsistence agriculture as a way of life. Over millennia, the Maya have carefully crafted strains of corn that prosper in steep rocky highland soils unsuitable for growing other crops. Subsidized US corn will decimate these communities (as it did in Mexico after NAFTA), leading to increased immigration to the US.

Do not take CAFTA on its face as a piece of free trade legislation, as it is being marketed. As you become more educated about the actual contents of these 2,200 pages of legalese codifying corporate protectionism, I think your conservative principles will lead you to rethink your position. (question: does it take 2,200 pages just to reduce tariffs?? - that in itself should at least give pause)

Welcome LatinoPundit.com Readers

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- Josue

Tuesday, July 26

Shame on the Obstructionist -- John Bolton nomination

I have to agree with Political Teen on this one. I hope that it reflects come 2006 with huge loses for the Democrats.
I would like to see Bolton receive a nomination from the Senate, however the Democrats will not allow it. It is a shame that President Bush has to do this because a selected few just won'’t let go of partisan politics.
It is evident that to the Democrats, ideology and partisan battles are more important than the Constitution, the president's right to nominate his ambassador, and the will of the voters who elected him.

Memo to the Democrats: You lost the election. Deal with it! Ambassador Bolton, go kick some UN butt!

Cuba releases more dissidents, 10 still jailed

The Associated Press is reporting the release of 23 more dissidents. There are still 10 being held against their will. This is Castro's Cuba.
HAVANA · Cuban authorities have freed 23 dissidents detained last week, a leading human rights activist said Monday.

In all, 33 people were detained Friday. Some were released Saturday.

The dissidents had planned to attend a protest outside the French Embassy to press European nations to lobby for Cuban political prisoners.

Among the 10 still jailed is René Gómez Manzano, the dissident attorney who was an organizer of a mass meeting of opposition members earlier this year.

Martha Beatriz Roque, a top Cuban opposition leader known internationally for her organization of a mass meeting of dissidents here in May, was released.

Cuba's government has not commented on Friday's roundup of dissidents.

The detentions were criticized Saturday by the U.S. State Department.

Liberal Malcontents Against CAFTA (Liberals are always against anything good)

Liberal Malcontents wrote:
CAFTA fails to ensure that workers in the participating countries have the rights to organize and bargain collectively, earn a living wage or even prevent child labor.
Well, what about starvation, poverty, lack of opportunities in the first place, or the ability to earn a living--whatever it might be? What do you know of third world countries, where people just want to be able to live. Most are barely surviving.

CAFTA will stimulate their economies of Central American countries. As far as losing jobs here in the US, you would instead advocate higher prices at the register? You would advocate tariffs to protect our inefficient industries that refuse to innovate at the expense of the US tax payer? That's called socialism, and history has proven that it benefits no one!

So, yes, do call your house rep, and tell them to vote YES on CAFTA and make a real difference in the lives of millions of impoverished latinos. Tell them to vote yes, and contribute to the fight against Marxist who are threatening to take over the region again, with the support of the starving underclass, victims of thieves and profiteers.

CAFTA -- What else could a liberal want?

In case you think you have to be a conservative to support CAFTA, think again. This is good for the poor, and like I wrote earlier, it will help protect labor in third world countries. What else could a liberal want?
Great opinion piece in favor of CAFTA by the NYTimes of all newspapers:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005...ion/ edtrade.php
Read the facts about CAFTA before you comment on it. These are some links I can suggest:
From the government:
(A lot of supporting documentation)
http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/CAFT...AFTA/ cafta.html

Read the full text and fact sheets:
http://ita.doc.gov/cafta/index.asp

Hispanic Opinion Tracker--Jennifer Lopez, Thalia, Salma Hayek and Paulina Rubio Top Influencers

Jennifer Lopez, Thalia, Salma Hayek and Paulina Rubio are the top four Hispanic female celebrities who influence the fashion and style of Hispanics, according to a recently released research report from Synovate, which was commissioned by People en Español.
According to the report, called "Hispanic Opinion Tracker," Hispanics love to shop, and are spending almost twice as much per capita as the general population on clothing and accessories.

The study also found that Hispanics are much more likely to pay cash (75% of those polled.) According to the report, only about 15% use credit cards, compared to over 40% for the general market.

This year the "HOT" study took a deeper dive into specific consumer behaviors, focusing on such top advertising sectors as beauty, retail, fashion, automotive, food and health. Other key findings include:
  • Hispanics spent on average $1,992 on clothing and accessories in the last 12 months, compared to $1,153 for the general population
  • Hispanics are over-indexing on usage of beauty products (hair, makeup and skincare)
  • Hispanics are 14% more likely to purchase a new car within the next two years than the general population
  • 26% of Hispanics plan on buying a new home within the next 12 months vs. 9% of the general population
  • Wal-Mart, JC Penney and Sears ranked as the top three stores for Hispanics to shop, with Wal-Mart leading the marketplace at 37%
  • 56% of Hispanics love to shop vs. 39% of the general population

Televisa Cranks Up Heat on Univision

MultiChannel.com is reporting on the ongoing feud between Televisa and Univision. My sources inside Univision tell me it really all started with a petty fight by Televisa, because they felt they where not being treated like partners and where not consulted on a decision. That's how it all started.
Tension between Univision Communications Inc. and Mexican programming partner Grupo Televisa SA, continues to mount.
Televisa — which owns 9.3% of the Univision — has added new charges to a lawsuit against Univision, claiming the U.S. network violated the terms of its programming contract.

Televisa executive VP Alfonso de Angoitia told analysts during the network's second- quarter report conference call that Televisa has added two claims to its $1.5 million lawsuit filed in May over allegedly unpaid back royalties, according to Philip Remek, an analyst at Guzman & Co.

De Angoitia said Univision had altered programs "in ways not permitted" by an agreement over rebroadcasts of soccer games.

He also charged that Univision had violated an agreement to give Televisa unsold ad time. "They have unilaterally refused to broadcast certain Televisa advertising," said de Angoitia.

A Univision spokesperson said in a prepared statement: "The lawsuit is baseless and we intend to vigorously defend against it."

Meanwhile, Televisa and EMI Latin announced an alliance to launch a new music company in Mexico and a U.S. partnership that will give Televisa a new entry into the Latin music market.

Both ventures — Televisa EMI Music in Mexico, and EMI Televisa Music in the U.S. — will be headed by Rodolfo López Negrete, former president of BMG U.S. Latin. The EMI-Televisa venture could put the Mexican network in direct competition with Univision's music division, Univision Music Group.

In 2001, Televisa sold label Fonovisa to Univision as part of a renegotiation of Televisa's long-term accord to supply programming to the U.S. Spanish-language group. According to press reports, Televisa received approximately $235 million in Univision stock and signed a noncompetition accord. The clause expired in April.

THIS is the way to become a US citizen!

Great story linked by Right Wing Nation:
BAGHDAD: A total of 147 foreign-born US military personnel serving in Iraq gathered inside a former Saddam Hussein palace Monday to be granted US citizenship. In a mass ceremony the soldiers, sailors, and airmen, along with one marine and a navy medic, simultaneously raised their right hands and swore to "support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Those sworn in as US citizens came from 46 countries, with the single largest group born in Mexico (27), followed by the Philippines (15), Jamaica (nine) and Nicaragua (eight) and Nigeria (five).

A Church's role in the city -- Broken Stained Glass

JR Briggs is a pastor at Pierced Chapel in Colorado Springs, CO. I have been at services a lot, and the community there at Pierced is amazing. If you want to know more about what a Church should or could be doing in their cities, read it here from someone who is moving in that direction.
what if the churches and para-churches which saturate this city stepped up and got involved? How might this city look differently? (He mentioned that the mayor of Miami has 1,200 faith-based churches and organizations that are actively involved and partnering with the mayor's office to help the city...unbelievable. What if we did that?)

Pierced is going to step up and get involved...

...I wonder if in the midst of our excitement for how churches are growing, if our hearts are breaking with the thousands of other people who are not involved in our churches, or more importantly, involved in a life-altering, category-shattering relationship with the risen savior.

Does my heart for the lost break like Christ's?

If only more pastors where asking themselves this question, and truly considering how congregations could make a difference, perhaps we would have no need for government welfare. Then again, maybe churches do nothing because they have learned to let the government take care of problems (badly).

Check out Broken Stained Glass.

CAFTA and the Democrats -- Don't fight free trade

Great suggestions on what politicians SHOULD be doing for American labor. Say yes to CAFTA, say no to protectionist policies that stick-it to the American tax payer.
If Republicans and Democrats really want to help American workers compete in a global economy, they should be looking elsewhere, to retraining. The textile industry has long been one of the most protected in America. Tariffs on clothing bring in close to half of all tariff revenues per year, while those imports account for only about 6 percent of total imports. Despite all that protection, textile jobs have steadily disappeared.

Instead of trying to turn back time, politicians in Washington should be following the very good example being set by Governor Mark Warner of Virginia. Seeking to stem the job hemorrhage in rural southern Virginia as the region's textile plants were shuttered, Warner started creating one-stop worker-assistance storefronts in depressed rural towns in 2002. Beyond helping laid-off workers navigate the maze of federal trade adjustment assistance and unemployment checks, Warner backed a program to help workers without a high-school diploma get equivalency degrees in 90 days or less.

White House Signals Recess Appointment For John Bolton--Friday Night?

Took him long enough! Congressional aids are telling Reuters that the accouncement could come as early as Friday night, immediately after the Senate is scheduled to adjourn for the monthlong August break.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House signaled on Monday that
President Bush may bypass the Senate and appoint John Bolton, his embattled nominee for U.N. ambassador, to the post temporarily as hope faded for a Senate vote on the nomination.

UPDATE: On my expression, "Took him long enough" as a reader commented, his appointment could not be possible until after the Senate adjourns. Of course, this is correct, but in part, I was mearly expressing frustration at the constant obstruction by the Senate. Just wait until 2006!!

Former teammate Levi Leipheimer, on Lance Armstrong

The way Lance has won six Tours makes the rest of us look more average than we are. It's embarrassing.

Former teammate Levi Leipheimer, on Lance Armstrong's dominating the Tour de France, ESPN the Magazine 7.05

Durbin, Right to Abortion question would disqualify John Roberts

There is no freedom of choice--I have said this way to many times. According to a LifeNews.com report, Sen. Dick Durbin told NBC's "Meet the Press" that if Supreme Court nominee John Roberts doesn't recognize a right to abortion during questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Roberts would "disqualify" himself from getting Durbin's vote.
Asked if President Bush had the same right to appoint pro-life justices that former President Clinton had to appoint abortion advocates, Durbin insisted, "I'm not looking for a litmus test."
So, what do you call that? A Lemon test?
However, asked what he would do if Roberts said he did not find a right to abortion in the Constitution, Durbin told "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, "I wouldn't vote for him. That would disqualify him in my mind."
So, now Durbin knows more about what is in the Constitution and how to interpret? How about this--read it, look up the big words in the dictionary, and leave it at that.

Santorum Won't Run For President in 2008

The more reason to wish he was running for President, but you have to give the man credit for showing character and having his priorities straight.
The Pennsylvania conservative, who recently wrote a book titled "It Takes a Family," said he couldn't imagine putting his family through another campaign after his re-election bid in 2006. Recent state polls show Democrat Bob Casey Jr. leading the two-term incumbent.

"I have six children ages 4-14. And the idea of coming off a race of the intensity that I am engaged in at this point and turning around and running another two-year campaign for president is not something that I believe is in the best interest of my family," Santorum said in an online interview with The Washington Post.

Judge denies bond for Luis Posada Carriles, seeks Bay of Pigs info

What a mess. Does anyone know where I can get more facts on this? I hope this judge is not just trying to drag the CIA in the mud as part of this "the US is evil" mindset.
EL PASO, Texas, July 25 (Reuters) - A U.S. immigration judge denied bail on Monday for an asylum-seeking former CIA operative from Cuba and asked for legal briefs on whether his role in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion was a terrorist act.

Lawyers for Luis Posada Carriles called the request "surprising" because they said if Posada is found to have engaged in terrorism, it would imply the CIA did also.

The CIA backed the ill-fated attempt by 1,300 Cuban exiles, armed with U.S. weapons, to topple Cuban leader Fidel Castro after landing at the bay on Cuba's southern coast.

Posada, 77, has admitted working against Castro and earlier told reporters he was involved in the Bay of Pigs operation, but his lawyers said he was not in the actual invasion.

U.S. National Soccer Team Wins Gold Cup

Go USA!
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter (left) presented the Gold Cup trophy to U.S. National team members, goalkeeper Casey Keller (right) and defender Greg Vanney (far right).

The U.S. defeated Panama in a scoreless final Gold Cup match, 3-1 onpenalty kicks.

CAFTA, Most Democrats in the House resist the agreement

Who can figure them out! Now they are for the underdog, now they are not. Now they support our troops, now they are against the war. If CAFTA does not pass, we are putting our country at further risk of this never-ending flow of illegal immigrants, and giving Marxist leadership a foot up in their battle to regain control in the region.
THE HOUSE is getting ready to vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), a deal that would bind the five nations of Central America plus the Dominican Republic to the U.S. economy. From a commercial standpoint, it's curious that most Democrats in the House resist the agreement: 80 percent of Central American exports already enter the United States without tariffs, so the main effect of the deal will be to open the region to U.S. products. But the political argument for CAFTA is at least as compelling. While the United States has been focusing on terrorism, a new challenge has been brewing in its own hemisphere. House members should consider this challenge before voting to slam the door on Central America's pro-American leaders.

For much of the post-Cold War period, U.S. anxieties in Latin America seemed to be fading. The disintegration of the Soviet Union left Cuba's Fidel Castro without subsidies, undermining his power to buy influence in the region. The peace process in Central America succeeded, ending leftist insurgences in El Salvador and Guatemala and leading to elections in Nicaragua that removed its Marxist leadership. Democracy already had displaced often populist dictatorships across South America; in Mexico, a pro-American, pro-market presidential candidate succeeded against the long-ruling and traditionally leftist Institutional Revolutionary Party. The remaining U.S. problem in Latin America was the drug war. Although the cartels were rich and ruthless, they were not trying to rally Latin Americans behind an anti-Yanqui banner.
The real story is that CAFTA would help the poor. It would enforce labor rights, and create new economic development in the region providing thousands of new jobs and opportunities. Taking into consideration the war on terror, this is important.

All we need it Marxist terrorists in South America gaining strength and popularity. Most importantly, like the Washington Post write, "CAFTA would help not anti-poverty movements but anti-American demagogues, starting with Mr. Chavez."
In the past few years, however, an attempt has been made to revive the political challenge once represented by Mr. Castro. It centers on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who combines Castroite rhetoric with the financial clout of Venezuelan oil. Mr. Chavez has spread his money around the region, sponsoring anti-American and anti-democratic movements and promoting alternatives to U.S. initiatives. To counter the U.S. trade agenda, for example, he has put forward a "Bolivarian Alternative." This has given critics of the United States something to advocate. El Nuevo Diario, a Nicaraguan newspaper that is critical of CAFTA, praised the Bolivarian Alternative recently, asserting that "America is for the Americans, not for the North Americans." In Costa Rica, critics of CAFTA who draw inspiration from Mr. Chavez have made no secret of the fact that they oppose the deal because they oppose the United States.

Most House Democrats don't want to hear this; they claim that CAFTA is opposed by "pro-poor" groups in the region. But this claim is troubling on two levels. First, CAFTA would actually help the poor: It would create 300,000 new jobs in shoes, textiles and apparel; it would create a new mechanism for enforcing labor rights; and a World Bank study has found that the vast majority of poor families in the region would gain from the deal. But second, the defeat of CAFTA would help not anti-poverty movements but anti-American demagogues, starting with Mr. Chavez. For them, the retreat of the United States from partnership with Central America would be a major victory.

Hugo and Fidel bring the news--What a joke!

That is really all that can be said--what a joke. Specially considering the repressions and arrests of dissidents in the last few days. What sort of freedom of press do you think can be expected from these two idiots? Propaganda--that's what!
Cuba hasn't seen any semblance of freedom of the press or freedom of expression since the early 1960s, and Castro last year rounded up a group of 75 independent journalists and sentenced them to prison terms of up to 28 years.

Chavez hasn't gone that far but has enacted ominous laws that penalize media outlets that "offend or show disrespect for the president" or propagate information that might "cause panic or anxiety" among the people. More recently he decreed that half the music aired on radio must be of Venezuelan origin. Ciao, Britney Spears.

Yet, on Sunday, Telesur, a new regional Latin American television network modeled after the wildly successful al-Jazeera makes its debut from studios in Caracas. Venezuela, flush with money from the boom in oil prices, will bankroll 51 percent of the initial $20 million investment. The governments of Cuba, Uruguay and Argentina will provide other funding.

Corruption in Mexico? President lashes out at critics

I don't know what the evidence is, or the facts of this case, but I am all for exposing potential corruption. Knowing how things usually work in Latin America, I would tend to think corruption is probably happening. It's good to know that these elected officials are doing their job, and holding Fox accountable. Maybe then their economy can improve, and they can start providing better opportunities for their own people, instead of encouraging illegal immigration.
Mexican President Vicente Fox berated a trio of legislators for verbally attacking his wife and family, El Universal reported Monday.

Fox said that congresswomen Martha Lucia Micher, Victoria Eugenia Mendez and Yolanda Gonzalez were wasting the public's time and that they "should dedicate themselves to doing what they are supposed to do, and what they are paid to do."

The three lawmakers have accused Mexican first lady Marta Sahagun of overspending taxpayer money on clothing and for using her influence over her husband to help her sons from a previous marriage amass substantial wealth.

The sons of Sahagun have been accused of profiting from government financing for construction projects.

Micher is leading a federal investigation in the influence abuse allegations.

Monday, July 25

Ebonics curriculum, perpetuating black victimhood

From WorldMagBlog:

Two schools in San Bernadino, CA, will participate in a pilot program that incorporates "ebonics" into classroom curricula, the San Bernadino Sun reported last week. The program, school officials say, targets black students, the lowest-achieving group in the district.

"Ebonics is a different language, it's not slang as many believe," said Mary Texeira, a Cal State sociology professor who thinks the program is a good idea. "For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language."

Some black activists disagree. The National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans (NLNCA) this week blasted the program in a statement. "This is a disservice to the black community that will severely limit our children's skills in the job market," said Kevin Martin of Project 21, a non-profit black advocacy group and NLNCA affiliate. "This is a prime example of what people call 'the soft bigotry of low expectations.'"

This is all part of the left's strategy to victimize the African American community and make them dependents of big-government programs. THe left probably figures that if the black community is uneducated, they become easier to manipulate and easier to control. I'm not saying this is a conspiracy, but it sure seems that it would work to their advantage.

Brad posted a comment I think hit it right on!

A great strategy to perpetuate victimhood status and therefore foster the idea that blacks need official spokesmen and un-elected "community advocates". The last thing the civil rights leadership truly wants is to dismantle barriers that "hold blacks down". If all the barriers disappeared and blacks were fully integrated into mainstream productive America why would anyone need NAACP, Urban League etc??

Posted by: Brad at July 25, 2005 12:18 PM
Another way to look at it is that this is all about power. If blacks can be kept marginalized, this would give more power to those who pretend to be the african-american so-called leadership.What if blacks where fully integrated? What if? Good question to ponder.

Concern Mounts Over the Fate Of Jailed Cubans

I'm glad to read that the US is urging other countries to join in condemning these acts. Perhaps they should look into better enforcement of the embargo that keeps Castro in power.

For those who may claim the embargo is killing the Cuban people, get real. The only one that would benefit from a lifting of the embargo would be Castro himself. Nothing would change for the people. The added attention is good for the cause, and reveals Castro's true nature--a power-hungry, maniacal dictator living in his very own fantasy land at the expense of the people.

Let us all hope this is the beginning of the end.
Concern is mounting in America over the fate of 15 Cuban dissidents jailed during a crackdown this weekend on opposition leaders by the island's communist strongman, Fidel Castro. Among the detained are leaders of the historic May 20 pro-democracy gathering in Havana, and some Cuban-American leaders in Washington said yesterday that their imprisonment was evidence that tensions on the island nation are reaching a breaking point.

According to organizers at the Miami based support center for the Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba - an association of 365 independent Cuban civic organizations that, on May 20, held an unprecedented meeting of the island's pro-democracy movement - 29 dissidents were arrested Friday as they prepared to demonstrate in front of the French Embassy in Havana. The detained included the three principal organizers of the May 20 gathering: Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Rene Gomez Manzano, and Felix Bonne Carcasses. All three have been political prisoners during Mr. Castro's regime.

As of yesterday evening, 14 of the 29 dissidents jailed on Friday, including Ms. Roque, had been released, Miami support coordinators said. According to reports from Mr. Gomez's brother, Jorge Gomez Manzano, both Messrs. Gomez and Bonne remained in Cuban facilities without any indication that they would be released. Ms. Roque, 59, was reported to be at home but suffering from low blood pressure and other ailments as a result of her detention.

On Saturday, the American government denounced the crackdown as an act of "deplorable repression," and, in a statement from a deputy spokesman for the State Department, Adam Ereli, urged the Cuban government to "immediately free all of those arrested."

"We urge other countries to join us in condemning these acts," the statement continued.

According to Cuban-American leaders in Congress, condemnation from other countries - particularly E.U. members - will be vital in the efforts to liberate the detainees and bring democracy to Cuba.

Dr. James Dobson to discuss John G. Roberts Nomination on radio program, Tuesday

Dr. James Dobson is extending an invitation through a Focus Action email to a radio discussion on the John Roberts nomination tomorrow. It should be interesting and informative as far as what is on the mind of these evangelical conservative leaders.

The email, in part, reads:
Let me also invite you to tune in to our daily radio broadcast on Tuesday, July 26, when I will discuss the nomination of Judge Roberts with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Princeton University law professor Robert George.
You can hear the broadcast online or through your podcast software at oneplace.com at http://www.oneplace.com/Ministries/Focus_on_the_Family/.

If any of my readers hear the program, I would love to get your comments on it.

This also from that same email from Dr. James Dobson.
Of course, no one can discern with perfect accuracy what lies in the heart - and specifically the philosophy and beliefs - of this nominee. It will not be until future decisions are handed down by the Supreme Court that the ideology of this man, if confirmed, will become evident.

We're all aware of the tragic consequences that have resulted from the David Souter appointment by President George H.W. Bush, who believed at the time that Souter was a social conservative. He has turned out to be a radical liberal who has done great damage to this country. I know Souter has been a source of great embarrassment to former President Bush, who thought he knew the man but didn't. Unfortunately, the extremely liberal influences of Washington, D.C., when combined with a position of enormous power, can often change a person for the worse.

That is why we need to be in prayer that Judge Roberts' true colors will become apparent before a final confirmation decision is reached. For right now, however, the man looks good.

Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics

Interesting research by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Hopefully, this helps dispel racial stereotypes about immigrants. It does not change anything as far as I am concerned in regards to illegal immigration. It does affirm the fact that our economy needs immigrants, and the government should be looking for ways to make it easier to allow educated and hard working immigrants seek work in our country in a legal and secure way.

Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics
June 2005

"Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics," a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center counters the stereotype of undocumented migrants as single males with very little education who perform manual labor in agriculture or construction. The study shows that most of the unauthorized population lives in families, a quarter has at least some college education and that illegal workers can be found in many sectors of the U.S. economy.

Building on previous work that estimated the size and geographic dispersal of the undocumented population, the new report offers a portrait of that population in unprecedented detail by examining family composition, educational attainment, income and employment.

The new study was prepared by Jeffrey S. Passel, a veteran demographer and senior research associate at the Center, using a well-established methodology to analyze data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, which was conducted by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report estimates the number of persons living in families in which the head of the household or the spouse is an unauthorized migrant--13.9 million as of March 2004, including 4.7 million children. Of those individuals, some 3.2 million are US citizens by birth but are living in "mixed status" families in which some members are unauthorized, usually a parent, while others, usually children, are Americans by birthright.

View full report -- Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics.

Dean--Republican Party will scapegoat immigrants in the 2006 election

As usual, Dean is all talk, but I don't see the Democratic party doing any better at coming up with real solutions to the illegal immigration problem and the many other problems that arise from that? And don't tell me more welfare, and free money is a solution.

Throwing more money at a problem does not solve anything. If immigration becomes a subject for the 2006 elections it will be because it is a major problem. Security, economic prosperity, and equal opportunities under the guidance of the law are values that we all have in common--including law-abiding, voting Latinos.

So, bring it on. We are not afraid of talking about the subject. Let's propose real solutions.
PHILADELPHIA -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean predicted Tuesday that the Republican Party will scapegoat immigrants in the 2006 election.

In a speech to an influential Hispanic organization, Dean said that Republican-sponsored immigration legislation and escalating rhetoric on the issue are part of the latest GOP effort to use fear as a political tactic.

Republicans tried to scare people in 2002 by talking about "race quotas" instead of affirmative action and tried to scare people in 2004 by putting ballot initiatives to ban gay marriage in several states, he said.

"In 2006, it's going to immigrants, you wait and see," he told the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization, at its annual convention.

After the speech, Dean told reporters that he didn't think President Bush was a bigot, but that he "doesn't have the guts" to speak up against "the bigots in his own party."

Kerry, Lance Armstrong would make a terrific politician, fears he'd run for the wrong party

What are you worried about Sen Kerry? Actually, I understand. After all, Lance Armstrong has all the characteristics Kerry lacks--focus, discipline, intelligence, strategic abilities, and endurance. Oh, also, he worked for what he has achieved, and earned his money. Most importantly, Armstrong actually knows how to win.

Of course, if Armstrong is going to win, I would expect him to run on the Republican party. But, then again, he is a democrat, and democrats don't win elections. Perhaps Armstrong would best stick to athletics and what he knows best.
AINT-ETIENNE, France -- Sen. John Kerry thinks Lance Armstrong would make a terrific politician _ but fears he'd be running for the other party.

Watching Armstrong during his warmup for Saturday's time trial, the Democrat from Massachusetts listed the Texan's winning qualities.

"What's made him so special at the Tour de France, and as an athlete, is the level of focus, discipline, intelligence, strategic ability, and obviously, his endurance _ his ability to just take it on and go," Kerry said.

Abortion pill deaths puzzle health officials

The primary victims here are the women that are not well-informed. Of course, one cannot expect Planned Parenthood to properly inform women of the dangers of the abortion pill. That would be bad for business. Like I have written before, what ever happened to freedom of choice? The problem is that the denial of necessary information--the lack of freedom to choose--in this case can result in death. Thank goodness for the warning labels, but I think it is to little to late.
LOS ANGELES - Federal health investigators are baffled: Why have four California women died from a bloodstream infection after using a controversial abortion pill?

"On the surface, this appears unusual," said Dr. Marc Fischer, a medical epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "That's why we're investigating."

Two of the deaths -- one this year and one last year -- were reported last week by the Food and Drug Administration. The other two deaths occurred in 2003. All were caused by sepsis, a bloodstream infection, health officials say.

John G. Roberts is not another Souter

It's good to see that the administration is thinking way ahead in this Suprem Court nomination. Barring any surprises, let us hope that Roberts is a steady justice and that he doesn't evolve and move to the left in the years to come. This is a great article from the Weekly Standard that sheds light on the interview process and the issues the president was focusing on.
IN THE DAYS BEFORE PRESIDENT Bush picked a Supreme Court nominee, the White House was gripped by Souter-phobia. Bush and his aides desperately wanted to avert the disaster that befell his father's White House in 1990. The elder Bush, on the advice of his chief of staff John Sununu and Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, picked an unknown judge, David Souter, for the Supreme Court, thinking he was a conservative. Souter turned out to be a flaming liberal, so much so that Senator Ted Kennedy now regrets having voted against confirming him. In naming Souter, Bush had passed over another judge he'd interviewed for the job, a real conservative from Texas named Edith Jones. The reason: Confirmation of Souter looked easier and probably was. For conservatives, however, his elevation to the High Court was a mistake for the ages.

Fear of another Souter led George W. Bush to seek the answer to a single question when he interviewed five potential nominees. All five were deemed to be conservatives. The question was whether they'd be the same 25 years from now as they are today--in other words, just as conservative. The interviews lasted from one hour to nearly two. Bush found John Roberts the most impressive. He decided Roberts would not lurch to the left as Souter had or even drift in that direction as other Supreme Court appointees of Republican presidents have. A White House official said Bush doesn't expect Roberts to "grow in office."

Chavez, Telesur depends on no government, 51 percent controlled by Venezuela

This guy lies through his teeth and expects the world to take his word at face value? When the government owns 51% of the network, how are we expected to believe that the network will report fairly and without bias on crimes committed by the Chavez regime? Of course it depends on governments. I am not sure what sort of unity Chavez speaks of, but if its the same sort of unity that stifles protests, and fosters violence against any who might disagree with his point of view, beware!

This is not unity, it is Stalinist control. Chavez is perhaps a bit more sophisticated than his communist predecessors in that he is being smart by using the media. Let's hope and pray our South American people are smarter than that, and that they ultimately choose freedom, democracy, and security that comes from hard work and individual responsibility.
Caracas - Telesur, the 24-hour television network created by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to counter the "hegemony" of international networks like CNN, hit the airwaves for the first time on Sunday.

The network started broadcasting at 12:00 pm local time (16:00 GMT), kicking off with a ceremony led by Chavez in Caracas and then debuting coverage with a Cuban correspondent in Havana.

"Telesur depends on no government, no line, it is free to pave the way toward integration," said Chavez, who sees the network as a means to foster regional unity in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuban President Fidel Castro was glued to his TV for the start of Telesur programming, Chavez said.

Cuba's National Information Agency announced meanwhile that the Cuban bureau was up and running, with a signal launched from Simon Bolivar Plaza in the historic centre of Havana.
One can already see how they are encouraging instability and civil war for the sake of their own ideologies. This station is going to help distabilize the entire region!
The network has also been criticized in neighbouring Colombia for having included in its promotions, broadcast during a testing period, images of the Colombian anti-government guerilla leader Manuel Marulanda.

Chavez and Izarra have both rejected the criticism, saying Marulanda's image was only included among images of other people and events important in Latin American history.
Sure!! It's just history. How about a historical account of the crimes against humanity, and the countless lives lost at the hands of Marulanda? That would be historical, but somehow, I doubt that show will ever air.

Terror scare rattles city, Police shut Penn Station

From mydailynews.com. These are crazy times we are living. We must fight back, and fight hard, so that our children can live in security and peace.
New York was fear city yesterday as heavily armed police swarmed a double-decker bus packed with tourists in Times Square and later shut down Penn Station after an irate passenger said he had a bomb.

In a dramatic sign of the city's edginess since the London transit bombings, cops evacuated buildings, shut midtown streets and forced about 60 terrified tourists to march off the double-decker bus, with their hands up, in the heart of Broadway.

Cops in riot gear handcuffed a group of apparently harmless South Asian-looking men with British accents after a jittery tour bus worker reported they seemed suspicious.

The men were forced to kneel on the sidewalk, with their hands bound behind their backs, between 50th and 51st Sts. in front of the Winter Garden theater on a sunny summer Sunday with the city packed with tourists.

"People were really scared," said Jill Sully, 29, of Saskatoon, Canada. "There were sharpshooters with guns pointed toward our bus."

"I was scared out of my mind," said another passenger, Amanda Pesanello, 20, of Coventry, R.I. "We don't have things like this in Rhode Island."

Sunday, July 24

MSN Virtual Earth will be up in the morning?

I go out and make a comment about something I usually don't write about, technology, and on that subject is what I get comments on. So, I guess I have to wait until the morning to check out the new MSN Virtual Earth.

Thanks to Mark Law for clarifying the issue on why I couldn't get into Virtual Earth. It made me wonder if Microsoft is keeping a real close eye on the blogsphere and making sure to clarify if anyone says anything about their products. So, do you work for Microsoft Mr. Law? It would actually be sort of eary, but then again, I would do the same if I was them. Good marketing and PR strategy. I would say just make sure your products work. It's always easier that way.
MSN Virtual Earth was only up for a short while so we could complete some testing...then we took it down...check it out in the AM (PST)...

Police chief 'sorry' over death of Jean Charles de Menezes

This is truly a tragic story. I have to ask myself, what else would you expect of a police force that for years have not carried a weapon? I wonder who where these officers that killed Jean Charles, and how long ago had they had weapons training? With the announcement of the re-arming of London bobbies, it would make me nervous.
Met Police chief Sir Ian Blair has apologized to the family of the Brazilian man shot dead by police in south London on Friday.

He said the death of Jean Charles de Menezes was a "tragedy", but admitted more people could be shot as police hunt suspected suicide bombers.

The 27-year-old electrician's family condemned the shooting and said there was no reason to suspect him.

No Enough -- France calls for release of Cuban dissidents

France is trying to save face today by calling for the release of Cuban dissidents. How about they get real, and start putting more pressure on the Castro regime to institute some real reforms towards democracy in the island. Words do nothing in light of the way the French have been turning a blind eye to what Cuba is doing on a daily basis to the Cuban people.
PARIS (Reuters) - France on Sunday called for the immediate release of Cuban dissidents rounded up two days ago prior to a planned protest outside the French embassy in Havana.

The protest was thwarted and Cuban authorities have released three women including dissident leader Martha Beatriz Roque but continue holding other opponents of President Fidel Castro.

"The French authorities are following this situation with the greatest attention so that all those arrested be freed without delay," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.
The French are two face. Maybe this is about money, just like the oil-for-food scandal was. What do the French care about democracy, and liberty? Nothing aparently.

France earlier this month moved to restore full ties with Havana by inviting Cuban government officials to its Bastille Day celebration, a move that disappointed the dissidents.

Online News Consumers Become Own Editors

I love being part of making the news;
NEW YORK - J.D. Lasica used to visit 20 to 30 Web sites for his daily fix of news. Now, he's down to three — yet he consumes more news online than ever. Lasica is among a growing breed of information consumers who use the latest Internet technologies to completely bypass the home pages of news sites and jump directly to articles that interest them.

He can scan some 200 Web journals and traditional news sites — all without actually going out and visiting them.

Online news consumers are increasingly taking charge, getting their news a la carte from a variety of outlets. Rarely do they depend on a single news organization's vision of the day's top stories.

"The old idea of surfers coming to your Web site and coming to your front door, that's going away," said Lasica, a former editor at The Sacramento Bee. "People are going to come in through the side window, through the basement, through the attic, anyway they want to."
There is a lesson here for many of the non-profits out there that are not doing RSS yet. Get your message out by thinking outside the box, or risk losing readers who are no longer even looking for you.

Immigration Rising on Bush's To-Do List

These White House keep doing a lot of talking, but I don't see any walking. The greater problem is that these sort of stories running in the media serve as advertisement for illegals. Come soon, come all, and get in so you can benefit from an amnesty! I'm not saying this is what it is, but it sure sounds like it when they don't give a lot of details, do a lot of talking, and I don't see any enforcement of our current laws! Stop playing politics Mr. President. Do your job.
The effort is designed to help Bush take control of an increasingly contentious debate that has threatened to split the Republican Party and undermine its outreach to Latino voters. Although the White House has not laid out details for a plan, in January 2004 Bush proposed a guest-worker program that would be open to many illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and to prospective workers abroad.
As I have said, fix the legal immigration process first. Make it so the American economy can benefit from all these hard working individuals that are honest, have no criminal background, and are in need of an honest living--if they have entered legally.

This kind of all-encompassing talk of undocumented workers presenting a security threat is nonsense, racists, and all it does is divide our country. There is a difference between the real and present danger of terrorists getting into our country, and the problem of illegal immigration. I understand that this is a problem, and in many ways, that facilitates the entrance of terrorists. But, these individuals, illegal latinos, are not the same as terrorists--with the exception of Latino gang members that keep coming in again and again after deportation. Those need to get the full force of the law for their crimes.
A guest-worker program is favored by many Latinos and by businesses, many of them major GOP donors that depend on a steady flow of workers from Mexico and other countries. The White House effort is aimed at satisfying these groups while promoting tougher border security enforcement. The latter focus is an attempt to mollify a vocal bloc of cultural conservatives in the GOP — some in the House leadership — who argue that undocumented workers present a security threat and take some jobs that could be filled by Americans.
What I want to know is what sort of jobs are they taking away from Americans? What are we so afraid of? A little competition? Maybe that will convince more American youth to stay in school and be hard working, instead of sucking of from mom and dad who don't have the guts to tell them to move out and get a job!

Again, this is different from illegal immigrants that are abused by employers that pay below what is fair simply because they are undocumented. That is why the border security and the immigration mess must be fixed. Lives are at stake.
Referring to the Latino vote, which turned out in larger numbers last year for Bush than in his 2000 campaign, Holt added: "There are great opportunities for Republicans, and also dangers if we don't handle this properly."
The GOP is missing this one. They turned out in large numbers to vote because of the values issue. Moral values! That is moral integrity that translates into a strong government and a strong economy and strong opportunities for a more secure future.

Most legal, voting Latinos, I would bet, are committed to the rule of law, and to border security. They don't want to encourage more illegal immigration. They do want the process to be fair, open, and quick. Mr. President, if you want to unify Latinos, simplify the process for immigrants to enter into this country legally. Specially in the case of those that already have legal relatives in the country. Provide incentives for illegals to return home, and then give them a way to enter the US to find work in a secure, accountable, and cost-effective way.

London, Police Arrest Man, Suspect al-Qaida

A third suspect has been arrested, reports the Associated Press. What I want to know is why must the AP feel the need to insert a quote and re-hash the facts of the unfortunate killing of the Brazilian electrician--In the second paragraph! What does that have to do with this story? Is the intent of the AP to intimidate London authorities into returning to a no-weapons policy, and allow terrorists to have their way?

Mistakes happen. Repeating the story in this sort of off-hand way boils down to foolish bias, and twisting of the facts just in order to manipulate reader's feelings. It was a horrible mistake. Report the story. But, don't mix things up and try to make the authorities look bad over this. The threat and danger is still real, and the authorities must keep working.
LONDON - British police arrested a third man in connection with last week's failed attack against London's transit system and said Sunday they were trying to penetrate what they suspect is an al-Qaida network behind the plot.

Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair expressed deep regret to the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot dead by police on the subway Friday after he was mistaken for a terrorist. Blair called the killing a "tragedy," but defended officers' right to use deadly force against suspected terrorists.

The latest arrest was made Saturday in an area near London's southern Stockwell neighborhood, Tulse Hill, where Menezes had lived and near the subway station where he was killed. The man was arrested "on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism," said a police

Benedict XVI to Meet With Muslims in Cologne

From Zenit.org:
Expressly Asked to Add the Encounter to Agenda

LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is intent on dialoging with Muslim believers during his trip to Cologne for World Youth Day, affirmed the Vatican spokesman.

Speaking today from the Alpine village where the Pope is spending his summer vacation, Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, disclosed that the Bishop of Rome has expressly asked that a meeting with representatives of the Muslim communities of Cologne be added to the program of his trip to Germany in August.

"He really wanted this meeting," Navarro Valls said. "He wanted to introduce it into the trip's program, together with the visit to the synagogue. It is a strong sign. It is a desire to continue the dialogue between the great monotheist religions that make reference to Abraham."

"There is a double continuity in this, not only with John Paul II's line, but with that which extends over 20 centuries of Christianity," the Vatican spokesman stated.

Asked if the Pope was stimulating dialogue with Islam with the same force with which he promotes dialogue with Judaism, Navarro Valls said that it is necessary to wait, before making judgments, as Benedict XVI's pontificate has just begun.

The Pope's meeting with Muslim communities in Germany will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the headquarters of the archbishopric of Cologne.

On Aug. 19, Benedict XVI will make the second visit of a modern Pope to a synagogue when he visits the synagogue of Cologne. John Paul II visited the synagogue of Rome in 1986.