Friday, January 13

An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers

I have added my name to the appeal for integrity from the Republican leadership. Head over to Truth Laid Bear and read the full statement.
We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.
Update: Trackback seems to not be working. Click here to read the appeal.

Wednesday, January 11

Perspective on Cuba and Immigration and the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy

From Human Events Online. Hat Tip to BabaluBlog.

Statistically speaking, escaping Cuba is deadlier than escaping East Germany used to be. More Cubans die in the attempt. Well, thanks to a policy put into place by president Clinton, (and shamefully left in place) some of the lucky few who make it are now sent back.

I know, I know, we've got to control our borders, etc., illegal immigration is out of hand, etc. But just keep this in mind: none of this happened before Castro's glorious takeover. Indeed in the 50's more Americans lived in Cuba than Cubans in the U.S. As a percentage of population, Cuba took in more immigrants in the 20th century than any country in the Western hemisphere--and most of these were from Europe. People used to jump on rafts (primarily from Jamaica, Dominican Republic) trying to get INTO Cuba. People used to be as desperate to enter Cuba as they are now to escape. Escapees from Cuba to the U.S. traditionally qualified for treatment under the Refugee Relief Act passed by the Eisenhower Administration to accept refugees from the totalitarian regimes of East Germany, Czecholslovakia and Hungary. Well, Cuba still suffers from such a regime.

I appreciate the distinction Fontova makes in relation to illegal immigration. Cuban refugees are fleeing for their very lives!

Hispanic Television Media News

This via Hispanic Television Update, from Multichannel News:
The Arizona Republic reports KPNX-TV Phoenix will this week begin a live Spanish-language translation of its evening newscast. Three interpreters will provide simultaneous translation that can be accessed through the SAP audio channel. KPNX is owned by Gannett Co. Inc., and is an affiliate of NBC.
On other news, the New York Times had reactions to the Miami Herald news that "Twentieth Television plans to make over popular Latin telenovelas in English with a North American flavor."
The New York Times reports (registration required) on the varied reactions from bloggers and media buyers to the planned releases of telenovelas. Some are enthusiastic; many are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, and others are downright hostile.
Interesting, but not of any compelling cultural value. Novelas, I think, propagate laziness among the Latino culture. Like I always tell my cousins, novelas make you wish for a life that is unreal, and if not careful, can foster feelings of inadequacy, ungratefulness and wishful thinking. That's just my un-scientific opinion.

One Idea to Tackle the Problem of Latin American Poverty

For those with a missionary mindset, or who want to make a difference in Latin America, here is an idea. Peter Brinkerhoff is doing some interesting work combining micro-loan programs with education, counseling, and spiritual guidance and making a real tangible difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands!
...during his nine months in Kisangani, Peter Brinkerhoff and his little team of newly trained loan officers oversaw the closing of more than 800 such loans, with a total face value of about $50,000. Strict guidelines are in place to monitor repayment procedures, and the 95 percent rate of timely return would make many U.S. banks envious. Best of all, the original $50,000 is not used up, but is constantly available in its entirety for new rounds of equally prudent lending.
This has real potential, without fostering further corruption and providing for real cultural and social change. If more people where doing what Brinkerhoff is doing in Latin America, perhaps less immigrants would feel compelled to enter our country illegally seeking work. This is what I call real solutions. If you are involved in banking, or missionary work, I would encourage you to check out “Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus.

Here is the review by Library Journal:
Bangladesh, a country the size of Florida with a population of over 120 million people, is the home of Grameen Bank, the inspiration of economist Yunus, Bangladesh-born and U.S.-trained. Instead of spending his life as a university economics professor, Yunus decided in the mid-1970s to develop a micro-lending program to help the poorest people of his country. Yunus based the program on his strong belief that the very poor do not need complicated training programs to improve their economic lot. They need money, in the form of loans. This program has empowered thousands of peopleAmany of them womenAand surprised experts in economic development who never believed that the very poor would find the initiative and ability to repay even the smallest ($25-$500) loans. Grameen ("of the village") Bank has developed into an internationally acclaimed and replicated method for assisting the impoverished in Malaysia, the Philippines, Nepal, and even the United States.

Tuesday, January 10

Quote of the Day from the Alito Hearings

Alito is holding on solid, and answering every question. Not that this is enough for Liberals. Here is my quote for the day from Alito, in response to Specter's notions of "super-precedent." Specter is an embarrassment to the party.
In a further blow to Roe, he refused to support Specter's notions of "super-precedent" -- observing that it sounded more like a large box of detergent than a legal principle.
Via CitizenLink.

Online ad spending to reach Hispanics has grown 900%

Via IconCulture:
Since 2002, online ad spending to reach Hispanics has grown 900%, says the Internet Advertising Bureau. Online expenditures now total an estimated $100 million which is more than several traditional media categories, including out-of-home and magazines.
Let's hope some of this means that online business can grow in Latin American countries as well.

Integrity Most Sought-After Word at Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary

From Iconoculture's Research Desk:
What was top of mind for Americans in 2005? The word we were noodling on most? Tsunami? Nope; that was number 6. Filibuster? Number 4. Fact is, among the 7 million people who hit Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, the most sought-after word veered much closer to the heart of our national conscience. According to, we were most curious about "Integrity."

It's not the first time the daily news has sent Americans scrambling for definitions - in 2004, the most popular was "blog." But with integrity, we can't help wondering, were Americans really clueless about the word's meaning, or did they just need a refresher? Or perhaps they thought there were new shades of integrity for politicians, sports heroes and even the media? Contends Merriam Webster president John Morse, "I think the American people have isolated a very important issue for our society to be dealing with" (AP 12.10.05.)

We've seen the quest for integrity driving people's behaviors, too. In fact, it shows up in five of Iconoculture's Macrotrends. We've reported on ethics-seeking business leaders, professional sports teams, and even the CIA struggling to amp their organizational integrity, and move the needle on public perception. With this stir of I-word interest, we're not expecting mass recitations of a dictionary-perfect definition. But when it comes to evaluating people, companies, products, or whatever, we're betting most consumers know integrity when they see it.
And its not relative to people's opinions. Dispite the war against absolutes, most Americans still know what is truly and absolutely right, and what is truly and absolutely wrong. Perhaps the mainstream media should pay attention. They could use a good dose of honesty and integrity.

We are still a family oriented society--I don't care what the media says!

From IconCulture:
A poll asked "How often do you eat dinner with your family?":
• Every night (60%)
• Three to six nights a week (27%)
• Less than once a week (7%)
• Only on weekends (6%)