Friday, August 19

Labor Leader oppose Wal-Mart Plan to Set Up Bank

AFL-CIO labor federation's president, John Sweeney, wrote Federal regulators urging them to block Wal-Mart's plans to set up a bank because of what the labor federation called the chain's "long history of unethical, and often illegal, practices."

As the NY Sun points out, Mr. Sweeney forgot to mention that similar arrangements already exist in both the business and labor sectors. As usual, the pro-union people going on the war path against Wall Mart, while the company simply tries to bring down its costs, make a profit, and provide affordable products.

The NY Sun quoted Wall Mart spokesman, Marty Heires, who said, "The charter of this bank and the focus of this bank are very narrow. What we're seeking to do here is save money on transaction fees for debit, credit, and electronic checking. We can take the money we save by doing that and turn it back to our customers in the form of lower prices."
One of Wal-Mart's competitors, Target Stores, started a Utah-based industrial bank last year. Target Bank issues credit cards to businesses. Target also bought a South Dakota bank that issues consumer credit cards. Wal-Mart, which issues its credit cards through an affiliate of General Electric, has no plans to use the new bank for that purpose, Mr. Heires said.

An upscale department store chain, Nordstrom, also has an "industrial bank" to handle its credit card accounts. Many companies favor that arrangement because it does not bring the entire conglomerate under regular federal supervision.

Mr. Sweeney's letter, which was released yesterday, warns that the proposed Wal-Mart Bank could suffer from "a serious conflict of interest" if the bank made loans to the chain's suppliers. The labor leader did not mention that similar arrangements already exist in both the business and labor sectors. A New York-based bank that regularly loans money to unions is also owned by a hotel and laundry workers union, Unite-Here.

Not all consumer advocates think the idea of a Wal-Mart Bank is inherently suspect.

"It could turn out to be a good thing for consumers ... especially the unbanked or those who are suspicious of banks," said a consumer watchdog, Linda Sherry, according to the MSN Money Web site.
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Jailed Cuban Dissident on a Hunger Strike

The NY Sun is reporting on the hunger strike by Rene Gomez Manzano. Of course, the rest of the media is largly ignoring this. But, today is a different world. We can hope that between the alternative media, and more un-biased reporting by the ethical few, more attention can fall on Castro and his continued human rights violations.
Almost a month after the July 22 crackdown in which Cuba's communist dictator, Fidel Castro, rounded up and jailed over 30 pro-democracy activists, a detainee from the roundup and one of the island's leading dissidents, Rene Gomez Manzano, announced he was on a hunger strike, democracy leaders said yesterday.

While the American government said it had not yet confirmed Mr. Gomez's hunger strike, they denounced the roundup and his ongoing detention.

Donald Rumsfeld accused Hugo Chavez of "anti-social, destabilising behaviour," a threat to regional security

Note the last line of this quote. Francis Harris interprets Rumsfeld statements and his travels through the region as " a message to both regimes that the Bush administration was turning its attention to them." This can only be good news.
Mr Rumsfeld said that the oil-rich Venezuelan strongman and his Cuban ally Fidel Castro, had interfered in the affairs of Bolivia, lending support to a presidential candidate who has fought US efforts to eradicate cocaine production.

Speaking in the Peruvian capital Lima at the end of a regional tour, Mr Rumsfeld said: "There certainly is evidence that both Cuba and Venezuela have been involved in the situation in Bolivia in unhelpful ways."

Dispatching the bluntly-spoken Mr Rumsfeld to the region appeared to be a message to both regimes that the Bush administration was turning its attention to them after being absorbed by the "war on terror".

Kansas, Attorney General Phill Kline Wants Abortion Funding Stopped

News from the AP on the battle for life happening in Kansas. This is a bold move by Attorney General Phill Kline. Let's pray and hope for a positive outcome. Kansas residents may want to keep an eye on this man. He seems to have a strong backbone and a needed boldness in the political arena.
Attorney General Phill Kline goes to court seeking to halt state financing of abortions for Medicaid recipients. A lawsuit filed by Kline in Shawnee County District Court names Governor Sebelius and other state officials.

Kline argues that the use of state money for abortions violates a section of the Kansas Constitution that bans destruction of the lives of "men'' without due process. The lawsuit asks the court to interpret "men'' as meaning all humans at any stage of development. State Medicaid Director Scott Brunner said that from October through last week, the state paid 19-hundred dollars for seven abortions needed by Medicaid recipients. He said the federal-state program pays for abortions only in cases of rape or incest, or if the mother's life is in danger.
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Victory for Life -- Court backs military on abortion coverage

Great news being reported on the Chicago Tribune. Surprisingly, a decision was handed down in favor of life. I find the quote facinating. These days, one could hardly believe such statement would come from a judge--a federal one of all things.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that military medical benefits should cover abortions only when a mother's life is at risk.

The 3-0 ruling by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came in the case of a Navy sailor's wife whose fetus had a fatal birth defect. She had an abortion five months into her pregnancy.

She filed a lawsuit claiming an armed forces health plan owed her $3,000 for the procedure. The government argued that refusing to cover such services "furthers the government's interest in protecting human life in general and promoting respect for life."
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Telesur -- All Chavez all the time

Interesting perspective. I don't agree that Rep. Connie Mack's (R-Fla.) proposed an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2005 is childish. This is a war for the minds of millions of Latinos in South America. They also deserve a chance to know what freedom is all about, to understand that corruption and power-hungry men are at fault and the reason their countries do not prosper and to hope for a true better future. This is a lot more than what Telesur can offer.
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT Telesur, the new satellite TV network funded by the Venezuelan government, will be a runaway success. It is also possible that C-SPAN's gavel-to-gavel coverage of hearings of the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform will someday outdraw reruns of "The Simpsons."

Possible, but not very likely.
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Democrats try to outflank the GOP on immigration.

It seems the Democrats have started to find a voice on an issue. Laura Ingraham had this linked on her site, and her comments are worth reading.
Just as we have been telling you all year long, Democrats are now waking up to the power of the illegal immigration issue. (Okay, except for Howard Dean's typically off-the-mark comment a few weeks back, that the GOP will scapegoat "immigrants" in the next campaign.) Now the proof is in the pudding--it's not enough for Hillary to talk about border enforcement in Iowa, then ignore it altogether at La Raza conventions. And we have seen plenty of Republicans talk about the problem of illegal immigration with no action to back it up. The WSJ's John Fund has an interesting take on the maneuvering.
The truth is that the illegal immigration problem is a problem for all conservatives. Illegal immigration affects security, crime, and the economy. Unlike other, though, I am not advocating reducing the quotas or closing our borders. That would go against the very values on which this nation was founded upon.

First, we need to take steps to help and motivate South and Central American countries to curb corruption. This should be up at the level of human rights issues. After all, if a government cannot provide a secure environment where it's citizens can pursue prosperity and happiness, then these citizens are being denied a human right endowed by their creator. Second, we need to put sanctions in place for those countries that refuse to do anything on their side of the border for the illegal immigration problem. Countries that help control illegal immigration should receive certain benefits and support. Finally, we need to get rid of laws and quotas that prevent a wife to be with his legally immigrated husband, laws that divide hundreds of families, and laws that blindly prevent law abiding, hard working individuals from seeking a better future in America.
The politics of immigration are changing. On Friday Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, declared a "state of emergency" in four New Mexico border counties due to "a chaotic situation involving illegal alien smuggling and illegal drug shipments." His office has pledged $1.5 million for stepped-up law enforcement and also asked Chris Simcox, the president of the volunteer border patrol group Minutemen, for a meeting. Mr. Richardson, a man who wears his ambition for national office on his sleeve, has apparently decided he has to reposition himself on border issues.

He's not the only Democrat to do so. Sen. Hillary Clinton made headlines when she embraced high-tech measures to control the border with Mexico and fines for employers who hire illegal aliens. "Democrats clearly sense frustration on immigration among Bush's base voters and are trying to outflank him rhetorically on the right," says Martha Montelongo, a talk-show hostess in California.

President Bush is vulnerable on immigration. Earlier this summer House Republicans bluntly told him that his proposal to admit guest workers would be dead on arrival unless accompanied by more border enforcement. "All my constituent town meetings want to talk about is immigration and why Washington is still spending so much money," Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas told me. Indeed, 17 of the 37 GOP House and Senate members who responded to a National Journal survey last month identified immigration as the issue "most on the minds" of their constituents. One Republican identified immigration as the issue on which "the mismatch between the federal government's inaction and the realities at home is the greatest."
To the current administration and to the Senators and Legislators, I want to see more action and more results, and less talk and rhetoric.

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Mexico funds staging areas for illegals

This is the last straw! Why is the Mexican government sanctioning illegal immigration. If they want to protect the lives of the hundres of Mexicans trying to illegaly cross the border, perhaps they should consider these options:

1. Crack down on corruption and improve your own economy.
2. Build a fence on the Mexican side, to prevent ilegal exodus of their labor pool.
3. Prosecute illegal immigrants caught and returned to the US.
4. Did I mention doing something about their economy? How about firing corrupt politicians that are bleeding the country dry.

Read it for yourself.
The Mexican staging area for illegal aliens that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson demanded this week be bulldozed is among hundreds of similar sites along the border sponsored and maintained by the Mexican government.

Many of the sites are marked with blue flags and pennants to signal that water is available. Others, such as the Las Chepas site that Mr. Richardson denounced, are a collection of old, mostly abandoned buildings or ranch houses where illegals gather for water and other supplies -- sometimes bartering with smugglers, or "coyotes," for passage north.

Las Chepas, law-enforcement authorities said, also is a center for drug smugglers looking to move marijuana and cocaine into the United States.

Thursday, August 18

Latinos -- Movers and Shakers

This from Hispanic Television Update:
  • The Univision and TeleFutura Television Groups have reorganized their owned-and-operated national sales division geographically, dividing the country into three regions: East, Central and West. As a result, four Univision executives will be promoted to newly created positions. Charlie Stuart was promoted to VP of national sales based in New York; Frank Donaldson was named senior VP of national sales for the East Region; Mike Reid was promoted to senior VP of national sales for the Central Region; and Rosy Marin was tapped as senior VP of national sales for the Western Region.

  • John DeSimone was named VP and general sales manager for Univision's New York station WXTV. For the past year DeSimone served as VP of national sales, New York where he led and co-managed the New York spot team.

  • Efren Padilla was promoted to local sales manger at KDRX, the Telemundo owned-and-operated station in Phoenix, Ariz. Padilla joins KDRX from KWHY-22, Telemundo's independent Spanish language television station in Los Angeles, where he was an Account Manager since 2003.

  • Carlos Mendez is joining Castells & Asociados as executive VP and chief creative officer. Prior to joining Castells, Mendez was executive VP and chief creative officer at Y&R Bravo Group's MD where he led the agency through a major re-engineering and was instrumental in winning the Cingular Wireless, and Kia Motors national accounts.

  • After almost 20 years with Univision, Mexican journalist Maria Antonieta Collins has left vacant her seat as the network's weekend news anchor. Collins opted not to renew her contract with Univison, which expired July 31, to pursue her writing career. Collins, who was also special correspondent for Univision primetime newsmagazine Aquí y Ahora (Here and Now) is about to publish her fifth book, Cómo Lidiar con un Ex — Hombres, Mujeres y Fantasmas del Pasado (How To Deal With an Ex — Men, Women and Ghosts of the Past).

Carolinas, The New Latino South

A Charlotte Observer story (Registration required) reports that the Carolinas and four other Southern states have become the "new settlement areas" for still-surging waves of Latinos- most of them young (median age 27), male (63%), foreign-born (57%) and drawn, like many native-born whites and blacks, by the region's robust economy. The Charlotte Observer cites the results of a recently released report by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center, "The New Latino South"
Besides North Carolina and South Carolina -- states where Latino populations grew by 394 percent and 211 percent, respectively, in the 1990s -- the report also identifies Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama as places newly and rapidly settled by Latinos. The report distinguishes these Southern states from Texas and Florida, the home of large and long-established Hispanic communities.

Relying mostly on U.S. Census numbers, the center's report pays special attention to North Carolina -- the state with the country's fastest-growing Latino population in the 1990s -- and to the Charlotte area. Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, the report's authors say, offer examples of economies that are magnets for the young men, most Mexican, looking for better-paying jobs

English enters into media for Latinos

The Chicago Tribune (registration required) is reporting that advertisers, publishers and cable television networks, eager to reach younger and more affluent U.S. Hispanics, are discovering it is best to speak to them in their own language: English.
Spanish may be the dominant language of Latinos, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country. However, for bilingual, better-educated young Hispanics, English increasingly is the media language of choice.

In response, a new crop of English-language television networks, radio stations and magazines have emerged to offer fresh choices to "acculturated" Latinos, those who maintain their Latin roots but identify closely with the American mainstream.

"Marketers have long been frustrated that there aren't enough media channels to reach bilingual, bicultural Hispanics," said Erika Prosper, strategy director at Garcia 360Communications, an agency based in San Antonio. "It makes sense that when you look at your total Hispanic marketing plan that not 100 percent goes into Spanish-language media."

Wednesday, August 17

TAX MONEY GOES TO CONFERENCE CONDONING SEX & DRUG USE

Alarming expose by Aaron Atwood, assistant editor for CitizenLink. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signed on as a primary sponsor for a conference that promotes promiscuity, unprotected sex and drug use.
[ WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT ]

by Aaron Atwood

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signed on as a primary sponsor of the 1st National Conference on Methamphetamine, HIV and Hepatitis: Science and Response-- a conference with so-called "harm reduction" components.

HHS is providing $3,000 in financial scholarships for rural department employees to attend the conference this weekend. It's also listed on the front of the brochure as a sponsor. But HHS is denying that it ever sponsored the conference.

Many state departments of health are also sponsoring the event.

Oklahoma agreed to participate, then withdrew after learning the details.

Officials at the Oklahoma Department of Health said they felt duped into attending the conference. They said they were unaware of the sexual nature of some of the sessions and pulled out, noting that sponsorship by HHS had them thinking the whole conference was about curbing meth use.

In a letter expressing disappointment and outrage, Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., called on HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt to explain the support for a conference with sessions like "Without Condoms: Harm Reduction, Unprotected Sex, Gay Men and Barebacking;" "Tweaking Tips
for Party Boys" and "Barebacking: A Harm Reduction Approach," all references to unprotected gay sex. He called for Leavitt to file his explanation by Aug. 16. Souder's office had not received any response by midday on Aug. 17.

In response, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sent a scathing letter to Leavitt regarding the Department’s support for the conference and asking for an assessment of costs associated with sponsorship.

A spokeswoman at HHS told CitizenLink told that it being listed as a sponsor was a mistake on the part of the organizers. HHS was not and is not a sponsor.

Luciano Colonna, executive director of the Harm Reduction Project and the conference organizer, said that's simply false.

"They were a sponsor and still are sponsors. If they weren't sponsors, why didn't they just say that nationally when attacked by Souder last week?" he asked. "It has become an odd and strange political fiasco. Frankly, they can have their money back. We'll get by just fine without
the money."

Souder expressed his emotions clearly in the letter dated Aug. 12.

"I find this all to be deeply offensive," he wrote as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. "I am enormously frustrated with your Department for dithering on the meth issue while the rest of America fights an epidemic that is viciously
tearing apart families and communities throughout the country."

Colonna said the two-day conference said conferees range from members of the judiciary and law enforcement to gay advocacy and drug legalization proponents.

"Because it is affecting so many different people we needed to bring many people on board," he told CitizenLink. "We have to give them a forum. One of the things that people take issue with is our message that not everybody is going to respond to treatment and stop doing drugs. We take a more realistic approach."

Shepherd Smith, president of the Institute for Youth Development said that presents a number of problems.

"I think the real tragedy of harm reduction is it's teaching people to reach such a low threshold rather than look for what is the optimal goal for each individual," he said. "It is taking sub-optimal and making it optimal."

Smith said it reflects a lack of belief and a lack of understanding.

"There is lack of belief that people can achieve the optimal situation for themselves in life, that people are capable of overcoming great adversity. People can reject behavior patterns that have been destructive to them," he said. "There is a lack of understanding that people want for themselves, more often, a better condition, and that they are willing to work for it. People aren't helpless."

He said a look down the road shows the problems with the approach.

"The end of this legitimizes things like prostitution," he said. "This other idea that you can't say anything negative because you hurt the self esteem of an individual who is using goes beyond any sense of correcting the problem."

Peter Brandt, senior director of government and public policy at Focus on the Family Action, called the entire conference "very alarming."

"The fact that HHS cannot even be straight about its involvement is even more distressing," he said.

"We were opposed to the nomination of Leavitt as the secretary of HHS to begin with," said Brandt. "His record as the governor of Utah was a great disappointment in the area of sexual health. Now comes this conference.

"Whether Leavitt knew about this conference or not, this conference should represent a strike against Leavitt. If he knew about it -- and he should have, given that it is being held in his home state -- then it is an indication of his lack of judgment and a severe ideological flaw in terms of sound public health. If he did not know about it, it is a sign that he is mismanaging HHS."

TAKE ACTION: Let Secretary Leavitt respectfully know that you oppose HHS sponsoring any event that condones drug use and dangerous sexual practices. You can reach him through the CitizenLink Action Center.

"Copyright (c) 2005, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. This article appeared in CitizenLink Daily Update published (date), a policy and culture information service of Focus on the Family. For more information, see http://www.citizenlink.org."
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Tuesday, August 16

The Greatest Game Ever Played with Shia LaBeouf

Golf lovers prepare to be thrilled; for the rest of us, it's a movie that will introduce you to golf and the love of the game, but more importantly, will remind of what is great about America.

This movie is a classic worth watching a couple times at the theater, and then taking it home for the collection. The script is superb, and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat up to the end. Joshua Flitter as Eddie Lowery steals the screen and provides a little tension relief with his good natured funny lines! Frankly, I felt like he stole the spotlight from LaBeouf, and was the true star of the movie. Shia LaBeouf did a great job in playing the even-tempered, well-mannered and focused Francis Ouimet and made the character and the game believable. The movie keeps you holding your breath with each round, and brings tears to your eyes with an ending that brings the various characters to a solid conclusion.

Shia LaBeouf in Disney's The Greatest Game Ever Played - 2005

The movie will be opening in theaters on September 20th, 2005. Make sure to support good movies and watch it on opening weekend. It is a perfect movie to take the whole family. The movie does what all good movies should do--it stands on a great story, and doesn't detract from it with foul language. This is definitely a family friendly movie. Here is the synopsis from movies.yahoo.com.
An amateur player from a working class family, Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) shocked the golf world when at the 1913 U.S. Open, flanked by his 10-year-old caddie, he defeated his idol, the defending British champion Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane). An unlikely match-up - the ingénue versus the seasoned champ - theirs was the greatest match the sport had ever known. Caught between a world of hardship and a beckoning life of privilege, Francis needed to prove his unfailing will and ability to make it to the tournament. Elias Koteas plays Francis' tough, hardworking father. Newcomer Peyton List is Sarah Wallis, the beautiful young woman, who catches Francis' heart. Joshua Flitter is Eddie Lowery, the pint sized caddie who helps Francis find his way through the troublesome fairways to victory. Watch the trailer for The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
This is the story about the greatest game ever, but the truth is, to me it was about the story of the greatest nation ever. I love how the story weaves the class struggle America faced in its formative years and the contrast between the pompous nobility and the working class American. While the British empire maintained their class distinctions between the so-called nobility and the working class, America fought and progressed towards giving the average man and woman a chance to shine and rise above his or her condition. Albeit, it took us a while to learn this lesson fully, but this process and struggle is the story of our young nation. This movie illustrates the calling of America on the poor and the worthless to come to this great nation and make something of themselves. This is what America is made off.

Let us know make the incredible error of rejecting our historical roots and our open doors to immigrants, as we debate the issues and problems of illegal immigrations. We cannot err in turning our back to those that have for centuries made America what it is--a land of hard work, of possibilities, of dreams and of hope.
Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
America came into the scene of world events, and radically changed the course of history. A rag tag group of farmers fought and sent home packing the great army of the nobility. And then they aspired to start a great nation, based upon the concept of freedom and rights given by the creator--not titles or land purchased with gold. At the height of the British Empire, America became great on the backs of hard working average men and women, and showed the world what dreams where made off. Only in the United States of America can a poor child dream of being a rich man. Only in this country can anyone define who they are with hard work, regardless of where they came from.

In conclusion, The Greatest Game Ever Played is an inspirational movie that will give you hope, and remind you of the dreams that, no matter what, are still within your reach. This is what is great about this country.

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Cindy Sheehan, the Truth and the Lies

This woman is a nut case, and the sooner the left wakes up to this fact, the sooner they can avoide more embarrasment. Allow me to give you a couple samples courtesty of RightWingNews.com.
"And I'm gonna say, "And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for." And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy' I'm gonna say, bullsh*t.

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.'" -- Cindy Sheehan

Her family sent Drudge Report this message:
"The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect." -- Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins
Here is what Cindy had to say. Like I said, someone needs to get this woman some help.
"...my in-laws sent out a press statement disagreeing with me in strong terms; which is totally okay with me, because they barely knew Casey. We have always been on separate sides of the fence politically and I have not spoken to them since the election when they supported the man who is responsible for Casey's death. The thing that matters to me is that our family -- Casey's dad and my other 3 kids are on the same side of the fence that I am." -- Cindy Sheehan

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Most U.S.-born Latinos don't think illegal Hispanics should get drivers licenses

Legislation and government is by the people for the people. Why should we care what foreign born immigrants believe or want about this? This is the way democracy works. If you are a citizen, then you have a say. If not, then you don't. All immigrants should all be under the law. If you come into our country outside of the law--illegaly--then you will find yourself missing out on certain benefits and protection.
A majority of Hispanics born in the United States don't think illegal Hispanic immigrants should be given drivers' licenses, according to a new poll.

Most foreign-born Hispanics disagree, according to the polling for the Pew Hispanic Center.

Six in 10 Hispanics born in this country approve of measures to prohibit illegal immigrants from getting drivers' licenses, while two-thirds born in another country disapprove of such measures.
But wait, there is more! I would think the following quote would really cause Vicente Fox some serious concerns. Personally, it makes me wonder what is going on in this neighbor country of ours that makes so many people want to leave? On the flip side, for all those Anti-American sentiments going on, it sure doesn't seem to be affecting Mexican's admiration and desire to come to the United States.
Almost half of Mexicans, 46 percent, surveyed in May said they would go to the U.S. if they could. About two in five said they would be inclined to go live and work in the U.S. without authorization.

``The desire to migrate is not a phenomenon of the poor and poorly educated,'' Suro said. ``The inclination to migrate is powerful in the middle class in Mexico, even those with college educations say they would go to the United States if they could.''
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The US role in spreading Democracy around the world

One of my readers takes me to task for my claim that Democracy is spreading around the world, on my post about Telesur and the growth of communism in the Southern Continent. Peter asked me to respond to a couple questions, which I gladly will.
Peter () wrote the following:
Democracy is spreading
You say that as if the United States actively supports democracy at home or abroad, but particularly in Latin America. If you believe that, I would appreciate if you would please answer the following questions:

1) Do you believe the United States should interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries, including funding opposition parties, terrorizing the civilian population (including the murder and maiming of innocent civilians), assassinating political leaders, and actively participating in coups, successful and otherwise?
First of all, it appears to me that this question is a smoke screen for blatant anti-American sentiment. I cannot comment on that which I do not have evidence, and I don't really like entertaining conspiracy theories. I'll take these one at a time.

As far as the United States terrorizing civilian populations, I am not sure what you are defining as "terrorizing." What the United States has done for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan is NOT what I call terrorizing.

You should look into what real terrorist do, and if you can't tell the difference between terrorist and the American service men and women, you are only a greater fool than I thought. There is no evidence of intentional, purposeful murdering or maiming of innocent civilians. When such cases have come out, those individuals have been fully prosecuted according to the law.

You have to ask yourself if these is such thing as good and evil in this world. Can you honestly say that Saddam was "good" for his country? Can you not see that removing his regime was an improvement for Iraq? Was it evil of us to remove Hitler from power? Do we not have a responsibility to stop evil when we see it? Do you even believe there is such thing as evil men in this world? So, in response to your questions, yes, I do believe the United States should make a stand before the entire world for justice, democracy and against evil. Sometimes that involved going to war, and sometimes that involves diplomacy.
2) Do you believe it is, in general, permissible/beneficial/etc. for a country to interfere with the domestic affairs of another country?
In general, no. I do not think it is beneficial for the United States to interfere with the domestic affairs of another country, with the important exception of saving innocent lives and protecting the weak. You see, this is what we have the United Nations for. This is why the US went into Afghanistan together with a world coalition, under a United Nations mandate. I also think it is beneficial to our national security and economic prosperity to share and spread the values and benefits of peaceful democracy. We can see this happening in the middle east, and it is my hope we will see more of true, strong and peaceful democracy in Latin America.

CAFTA was a good step forward in this. It will provide opportunities for Central American countries to provide better jobs and economic prosperity to their people. Corruption must still be eliminated. Crime and violence must be stopped. These are all real and serious problems for Central America. But, we are taking steps in the right direction. Chavez considers the values of democracy, free speech and the free press to be a threat to his regime. What is he afraid of? He claims the US is interfering with his domestic affairs. The righteous have nothing to fear, yet dictators like Chavez and Castro have everything to fear. They are paranoid, power-hungry liars who care nothing about their country's population.

That the United States spreads democracy, economic opportunity and the values of freedom does not constitute an interference in a country's domestic affairs. Allow me to remind you what values our great nation, The United States of America, was founded upon.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Governmentt, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
First, the rights we enjoy are not given by the United Nations, or the Federal government--they are endowed by the Creator. These are unalienable rights. Second, the government derives its power from the consent of the governed--the people. Ask the people of Cuba what THEY want for their government? Ask the people of Iraq if they wanted Saddam? Ask the women of Afghanistan if they want the Taliban back in power? Ask the people of Egypt if they would rather not have free elections? Democracy is spreading at the hands of the people.

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Bush administration objects to new .xxx -domain

In the midst of all the miss-information, it seems the truth about the triple-x top-level domain is out. I believe all it will do is increase the exposure and propagation of pornography, domestically and worst yet, internationally.

C|Net is reporting that the Bush administration has objected to the creation of this new .xxx domain, because of concerns about a virtual red-light district reserved exclusively for Internet pornography.

Here is a valid concern by Brazil's United Nation representative that we should take into account.
At a recent United Nations summit on the Internet, Brazil's representative charged that ICANN was not responsive enough to the needs of developing countries: "For those that are still wondering what triple-X means, let's be specific, Mr. Chairman. They are talking about pornography. These are things that go very deep in our values in many of our countries. In my country, Brazil, we are very worried about this kind of decision-making process where they simply decide upon creating such new top-level generic domain names."
Funny how Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., told a federal commission that .xxx was necessary to force adult Webmasters to "abide by the same standard as the proprietor of an X-rated movie theater." But, the fact is that the triple-x domain is a voluntary domain. No one is going to be required to have that domain, and even if they do, so what? How does that help?

It would be much better if the courts would stop interfering with obscenity laws, and allow the people to control it through legislation, as has been tried time and time again. How about this novel idea--enforce current obscenity laws!

Read the rest of the story on news.com

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Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America, Gonzales Makes the List

From Time.com:
From music to politics to business, Hispanics are remaking America. TIME presents 25 titans leading the Latino charge into the 21st century.
The AP reports:
Also among the Time Top 25 Hispanics are Cuban-Irish writer Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Cuban-American Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Mexican-American filmmaker
Robert Rodriguez.

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Scientist Think Body's Own Cells May Solve Embryonic Stem-cell Debate

Robert Lanza, vice president of Advanced Cell Technology recently told MSNBC that new scientific advances in stem-cell research may put to rest the moral debate surrounding embryonic stem-cell research. His group is working on a way to reprogram existing cells to produce fresh cells.

The process, called somatic-cell programming, may prove to be able to tell the cells in your own body to produce fresh heart cells, regenerate nerve cells to heal spinal cord injuries -- even pancreatic cells to cure diabetes.

"Our group, and I know at least two or three others, are playing with different techniques, and it's very clear that something is going on here," Lanza said. "We're definitely getting reprogramming."

His company has often been the epicenter of the controversy over embryonic stem-cell research.

Leon Kass, chairman of the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics, said the research could give scientists new direction in the area of stem-cell research.

"I think that's where the gold is buried," Kass said. "(This is a) most exciting new development."

"Copyright (c) 2005, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. This article appeared in CitizenLink Daily Update published Aug. 15, 2005, a policy and culture information service of Focus on the Family. For more information, see http://www.citizenlink.org."

The Fair Tax is " Family Friendly Tax Reform "

For Latinos that rely on every dollar they make to support their families, this sounds great! I lived in FL for many years, and I will tell you, now that I live in CO, I hate seeing my hard earned income get hit twice--once by the Feds, and a second time by the State. Merrill Bender wrote this over at RedState.org, and it's worth passing on. He does a great job comparing it to Forbes flat tax idea, which I no longer support!
The Fair Tax package eliminates all Personal and Business income taxes, payroll taxes, AMT, and Death taxes. Due to these eliminations, prices will drop 22 to 25% and then the Fair Tax replaces them all with a revenue neutral federal retail sales tax on new products and services. Consumers will pay about the same as they do now.

American business and American labor should take strong note of the fact that exports are not taxed; thus the Fair Tax will provide a boom to American manufacturing because American products will be 22% lower in price for sale overseas. We can't compete with low wage countries but we can compete with lower taxes on business, products and services made in America. The result is a boom to the economy and a boom to better paying manufacturing jobs in America.
Check out the Fair Tax Reform blog and Bender's post titled, Give Every American Family A Raise.

Monday, August 15

Castro's Cuba - Interview with Author Humberto Fontova

Great interview with Humberto Fontova. I have highlighted his thoughts on why Cuba has appeared to be so quiet over the past 50 years. Maybe this also explains the AP story on Castro's birthday and the media bias in general.
RM: How come the scene in Cuba appears to have been so quiet over the past 50 years?

HF: "Appears" is the key word here. And it's because Castro is a master worldwide media manipulator. One of the most ferocious civil wars fought in this hemisphere was actually fought by Cuban freedom-fighters against Fidel's army and it's Soviet advisors. The war lasted from 1959-1966. Raul Castro himself said his army was up against 179 "counterrevolutionary bands." La Guerra Olvidada'"my friend Enrique Encinosa calls it in his book by the same name. Alas, as always, these anti-Communist freedom-fighters fought alone. The Kennedy-Krushcev swindle pulled the rug out from under them. They were slaughtered, much like the Hungarians earlier. No "dauntless crusaders for the truth" (as Columbia journalism schools labels its graduates,) were around to report on THIS war, none to "embed" themselves, etc.--as they had in droves when Castro's "guerrillas"(petty crooks, bored adolescents and winos playing army on week-ends) were in the hills and "fighting" (mostly bribing) Batista's forces. See: http://newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/2/14/174602.shtml

RM: Why does such a large portion of Hollywood defend Castro?

HF: He personifies Anti-Americanism. He's been it's symbol for half a century. Naturally none of those Hollywood idiots realize that Castro was actually put in power by the U.S. (according to Earl Smith U.S. Ambassador to Cuba at the time, the CIA was the most Fidelista of all the U.S. agencies at the time!, closely followed by the State Dept.!) and the U.S. has been protecting Castro against exile attacks since the Kennedy-Krushcev swindle. The "gallant underdog" Castro has actually survived lo these many decades by hiding behind the skirts of the two most powerful nations in human history. Call him a shrewd diplomat for sure, but cut the "David vs Goliath" bit, please. More importantly, Fidel, Raul Che, Camilo and co. were the first hippies--beatniks actually. They burst upon the cultural scene at just the right moment. The "beat generation" was just getting on it's legs. Allen Ginsberg actually spoke at Harvard right before Castro in April 1959. Castro and co. were the first long-hairs, etc. The image stuck despite the most appalling evidence to the contrary. See: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/5/18/145038
Read the full interview here.

Denzel Washington-American Hero

'Why I Serve' points out more of the media bias towards the war on Iraq, and the hurt it does to our soldiers.
While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses.
He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.
The question I have is why does Alec Baldwin, Modonna, Sean Penn and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America crap and this doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the base newspaper in San Antonio....
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Unsung American Hero God Bless You Denzel.........

Tax cuts help the economy!

You have to look at this. Hat tip to Dusty for this one. Read about The Great American Jobs Machine and how enployment in America is higher than at any time in history.


Florida State University Launches First Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication

From Hispanic Wire:
Tallahassee, FL--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--August 15, 2005--Florida State University
announces the official launch of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, the first program of its kind in the U.S., designed to educate professionals to serve the growing Hispanic marketing industry.

The Center is directed by Dr. Felipe Korzenny, one of the country?s preeminent Hispanic marketing experts and an FSU professor of advertising and integrated marketing communication. It provides the nation?s first graduate certificate and undergraduate minor programs, conducts relevant research to further the understanding of the Hispanic market, offers executive seminars, and serves as a knowledge resource about the Hispanic market.

Dr. Korzenny, who founded one of the first multicultural marketing firms prior to joining the FSU faculty, is a top national speaker and is widely considered an expert on Hispanic market strategy and insights, bringing expertise and unique perspective on the Hispanic market to a broad range of industries. Together with co-author Dr. Betty Ann Korzenny, he wrote the new book Hispanic Marketing: A Cultural Perspective, which provides key marketing insights on the cultural aspects of the U.S. Hispanic experience.

The growing Hispanic population is profoundly changing the marketing landscape. Hispanic purchasing power is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2008, according to the Selig Center, and the Hispanic population is conservatively predicted to more than double in size by 2050, reaching 24% of the total U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Hispanic advertising industry is outpacing all other sectors
of advertising growing four times faster and is now more than a $4 billion industry, according to Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.

The Center, which collaborates with the Yankelovich MONITOR Multicultural Marketing Study, and with Cheskin Hispanic research and consulting, offers training at the graduate and undergraduate levels, with a minor for undergraduate students and a certificate for graduate-level students. The coursework has relevance for students from a broad range of disciplines, and a minor and graduate-level certificate may be earned by students regardless of their core area of studies.

The Center gains support from industry to generate marketing knowledge, and industry partnerships help the Center fulfill its mission of both educating professionals and serving as an industry resource.

Castro's Achilles' Heel

Miami Herald is reporting Cuba's aged power plants are causing blackouts that sometimes last more than 12 hours. The story reports all sorts of solutions the Castro government is proposing and doing in attempts to solve the crisis. I have one suggestion--get rid of Castro.
The Achilles' heel to political and economic stability is going to be the power structure -- the electrical power structure,'' said Jorge R. Piñon, a former Amoco oil man who studies energy issues at the University of Miami. ``Electricity is important, in some cases, as important as food.''
While I feel for the Cuban people, this is truly good news. Perhaps this is what it will take to rally the Cuban people against the Castro government. When will Cuba say, "I've had enough!"

Australian Dr. prosecuted for terminating pregnancy

This from News-Medical.net:
President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today that the charging of a doctor in NSW with manslaughter and procuring an unlawful abortion sends a clear warning to all doctors and women that they must fully understand the law in their State and Territory in regard to the termination of pregnancies.
Interesting. I wonder if this sort of thing would start happening if abortion regulation was handed down to the State level? I can hear the left already--it's to confusing to follow laws from State to State. Abortion needs to be regulated from the Federal level. I think a little fear in the good Dr.'s hearts is a good thing for everyone--specially the unborn children.

Justice Sunday II -- The Point of it all

RedState.org was doing some live blogging of Justice Sunday II, and has a great break down of what happened. I particularly liked what Leon points out where two important messages to voters on the Center.
...the event relentlessly pounded home two necessary messages that have appeal to folks in the center: that the fight over the judiciary is not about imposing a set of religious values on everyone - it is about the right to be involved in the political process. This is a message that can appeal to folks who are ambivalent about one message or another that might have been mentioned tonight (abortion, gay marriage, etc.). While folks in the center may not have strong feelings one way or another, they can certainly relate to a message that calls for those issues to be resolved democratically, and not by the courts. This point was pounded home eloquently in numerous ways by numerous speakers.
This is key. It is not so much about the specific issue, but about the proper roll of the courts and the rights of citizens to self-rule. That is what our nation was founded on, and the courts are trying to take that away. Let's not get distracted on disagreements, but focus on the things we can agree on. The courts have overstepped their bounds.
The second point that was pounded home over and over again is that people of faith are free to allow their Christian worldview to inform their political view as well. I more or less took that away as the second major message of the night
Leon wonders about the point of it all:
I came away from this event puzzled a little by the point of it all. It certainly was a grand production, and the lineup of speakers was impressive from a social conservative standpoint, but they were all allotted about a measly four minutes (except for Dobson, who got eight despite not being there). That's just not really enough to get into a point of any substance. So, in consequence, it kind of ended up being a long series of sound bites that more or less sounded the same
To understand the point, you need to look at who the audience was--people of faith that for much to long have been told they could not mix their faith with their civic duties. Christians have been set aside, and have been discouraged from applying their moral values to the public square. The individuals you saw speaking at Justice Sunday are out to tell the church that they need to get involved, cannot remain silent and must engage in accordance to their moral values.

Read the full coverage -- hat tip to RedState.org for an excellent coverage of the event. Check out the links Leon provided.
I'd encourage you to check out their sites for further coverage. Present at the event were: Captain Ed Morrisey, Lance from Red State Rant, Joe from Evangelical Outpost, Jackson Miller (the lone lefty in attendance, despite the fact that others were invited), Bill Hobbs, Beth Woodfin, Trey Jackson, RedState contributor and AlarmingNews blogger Karol Sheinin, and Charmaine Yoest, who in addition to being a great blogger and FRC powerhouse, also lent me her laptop so that I could liveblog.
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AP Iraq Coverage -- Even Editors are complaining

I wrote yesterday about the AP coverage of Fidel Castro's birthday, so I found it interesting that Drudge Report would feature a link to a NY Times story on the poor Iraq coverage. It seems the readers nationwide are complaining to mainstream newspapers, who happen to rely a bit to much on the Associated Press.

Now, for editors (who research shows tend to be left-leaning) to start complaining about the narrow coverage and excessive focus on death tolls by the AP, you know its got to be bad!

Here is my suggestions to the journalism world--create a new independent press wire service that gives a more rounded coverage of world events. The AP has lost it's credibility.

Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

"Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?" the anonymous polemic asks, in part. "Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?"

"Of course we didn't know!" the message concludes. "Our media doesn't tell us!"

Ms. Goudreau's newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context. Like many other journalists, Mr. Silverman had also received a copy of the message.

Ms. Goudreau's query prompted an unusual discussion last month in New York at a regular meeting of editors whose newspapers are members of The Associated Press. Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

Interestingly enough, the story goes into excuses as to why it seems the AP is having such a hard time covering anything besides death tolls. I think its all a big lie. Liberal reporters will go out of their way, and face any danger to expose a story that will make the current Administration look bad. I am sure they can face some danger to get the full stories, the successes and human interest stories, to the readers.
Mr. Silverman said the wire service was covering Iraq "as accurately as we can" while "also trying to keep our people out of harm's way."

"The main obstacle we face," he said, "is the severe limitation on our movement and our ability to get out and report. It's very confining for our staff to go into Baghdad and have to spend most of their time on the fifth floor of the Palestine Hotel," which is home to most of the press corps. The hotel was struck by a tank shell in 2003, killing two journalists.

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Sunday, August 14

Lies About Castro -- Shame on the AP

Here is to mainstream media propaganda. I didn't know Castro kept AP writers on his payroll, though it seems like it. It was so nice of VANESSA ARRINGTON to leave out all the details of Castro's disastrous regime. It was wrong and unethical for her to leave out the facts about the deaths, tortures, and inhumanity being lived out in Cuba today as a result of Castro.

Here is the stupid propaganda AP article. Read it if you want, thought its just a lot of bull __ .
Despite some public dissatisfaction, there was little doubt that Castro remains firmly in control of the last communist state in the Americas and one of only five in the world.

Happy Birthday Fidel Castro -- One Year closer to the end.

For Castro's birthday, I would like to point out a highlight of his life--the Cuban Missle Crisis. It goes to show that for the most part, Castro is still in power more as a result of the stupidity of world leaders, than because he is all that great of a man.

From BabaluBlog.com:
A secret CIA history of the Bay of Pigs has come to light, showing a slew of incompetence, stupidity, betrayal and unseriousness. It's very damning. Worst of all, JFK knew very well that the operation would fail and went ahead and did it anyway. The documents are here and the Miami Herald writeup is here.


Though I realize many of my readers are regular BabaluBlog readers, for those that are not, here are some good blogs to read in celebration of Castro's birthday. Make sure to check out Inthebullpen.com and KillCastro, "whose excellent war blog is must-reading."

Of course, in honor of Castro, I wanted to highlight the true nature of workers rights in Cuba. Hat tip to BabaluBlog on this one.
AVANA, August 11 (José Antonio Fornaris, Cuba Verdad / www.cubanet.org.) - Ileana Pérez Ramírez, who was returned to Cuba June 21 after being seized at sea by the U.S. Coast Guards, has lost her job as a helper in a restaurant.

Lázaro Jorge García, a civil rights advocate in the municipality of Alquízar, said restaurant management arbitrarily changed her job and sent her into the streets with a push cart to sell food. After that, she was fired.

Under an agreement with the United States, rafters caught at sea and returned to Cuba by the Coast Guard have to be returned to their former jobs.

García said the action was taken against Pérez to discourage others from trying to leave the country, since many in Alquízar have already left.

Here is to celebrating one more year closer to the end of Castro's regime. Here is to prayers for the Cuban people--that they would hold on, keep the hope, and keep the fight just one year at a time.