Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Thanks

Take a moment to remember those who gave their lives for the United States, and to remember those who continue to serve. To our soldiers - you have our thanks.

-Peter and Xavier

Monday, May 22, 2006

But what about Canada?

From Donna at NewsHounds:
[Fox News's Shephard] Smith asked [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales what about the border to our north and why the president didn't put troops on the border years ago when it didn't matter to his poll numbers? (Comment: I almost fell off my chair on that question) Gonzales responded that they had been looking at the best way to approach the illegal immigration problem for years and they had ramped up border patrol 30% and funding was up 66% since Bush took office (which is probably due to the 1.9 billion just designated for border security in the last spending budget).

As far as the northern border goes he said they looked at it and decided that the southern border was where their attention should be. Then Smith told him if he was a terrorist he'd just come through Canada. Gonzales said they were working with Canadian officials and they've done a lot but America is just not safe yet. He said we're safer than we were on 9/11 but we're not yet safe. (Comment: Whatever that means)
I love Fox News. Looks like Shepard Smith is on the way out with questions like that (and his on-the-scene Katrina reporting - "this IS the perspective") and Brenda Buttner should do more news ([Wall Street] was “not going to let some puny, little traitor, some leaker who went ahead and compromised our national security, take down this, take down our market, take down our country.”)


Border Patrol: Help Wanted. Kind of.

Speaking of putting the National Guard on the border, weren't there plans to have lots of agents a few years ago? There were, but budget cuts forced the number down by nearly 10,000. Thanks to Kate at Cut to the Chase for the link.

Border Lawsuits?

"If there is a real wave of rights abuses, if we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates," Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez told a Mexico City radio station. He did not offer further details.

I'm sorry, what position in our government does Ernesto hold? And why is he dictating US policy? Oh, that's right, he's in that other country that people are fleeing faster than Cuba.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Good fences make good...

A year ago, I did a post on Mexico objecting to the proposed superfence on our shared border. A lot has changed since then (you may recall a few marches here or there), but the basic arguments for and against open borders remains.

Upon voting for the latest version of the fence, Senator Jefferson Sessions (R-AL) quoted, with no trace of irony, a line from Robert Frost's Mending Wall: "'Good fences make good neighbors.' Fences don’t make bad neighbors."

As David Benjamin observed in Common

If Sessions had actually read the poem, he would've remembered that his quote is a line repeated mindlessly not by the poem's narrator (Frost), but by his neighbor, who is a fool. Frost's neighbor is stuck in his ways and blind to the reality that the fence keeps nothing out and holds nothing in. It is broken by nature, beseiged by hunters, undone by gravity and sabotaged (seemingly) by elves.

The neighbor is oblivious to Frost’s irony, and so Frost every spring -- magnanimously -- accepts the idiot ritual of mending the useless wall and tolerating the other man’s hand-me-down hogwash about good fences making good neighbors.

The moral of the poem is the opposite of Sen. Session’s assertion. It is that "Before I build a wall I'd ask to know/ What I was walling in or walling out,/ And to whom I was like to give offense."

The real reprise of "Mending Wall" is this: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall."

Terri: A year after

A Terri Schaivo column worth reading by Michael Smerconish, of 1210 AM and the Philadelphia Daily News, in the form of a letter to his son, Wilson:

I saved a copy of the church bulletin distributed at Mass today as a keepsake, and I'm writing this letter in the hope that you'll keep it attached to the bulletin as an explanation. You see, my name appears in an insert to the bulletin distributed throughout the archdiocese on the day you received communion, and not in a favorable light.

The situation caught me by surprise. It was unsettling to sit in a pew as we prepared for your special moment only to look at the flier and see my name under the banner of a group called Pro Life Union Inc. They mentioned my name in a story about a recent symposium at Penn.

At the invitation of bio-ethicist Arthur Caplan, I participated and posed questions to experts on the subject of death and dying. But the assertion that I was at Penn to "celebrate" the death of a woman named Terri Schiavo was untrue. I found that characterization offensive. While I refused to let it mar your day, it warrants an explanation...

I never looked at Terri's case in the conventional pro-life vs. pro-choice terms. But as the dispute continued, I began to wonder whether the pro-life agenda was to support "life" even in a situation where someone in a permanent vegetative condition would want otherwise.

Terri Schiavo left this earth in 2005. An autopsy showed that she was in a permanent vegetative state, had been for many years and that the cause of her death was brain damage due to anoxic brain injury. An inquiry by a Florida state's attorney found an absence of any evidence that her initial collapse was caused by criminal actions.

I wish my name had not appeared in the church bulletin on the day of your first communion.

I love our church and the fulfillment it has provided each member of our family. But I am your father first, and I am not about to let this moment pass without providing you with a frame of reference for how your dad views the controversy, even though I recognize it will be inappropriate for you to read this for a number of years.

Let no one tell you that your father celebrated any death. Your old man is supportive of self-determination. In the case of Terri Schiavo, I kept saying, "There but for the grace of God go I."

If that outcome should come my way, I certainly don't want some individual or group, pro-life or pro-choice, imposing their view of end-of-life issues on me, or anyone else.

The fact that one such group would proclaim, in a church bulletin on the day of your First Holy Communion, that I celebrated death by my support of Terri Schiavo's right to determine her own fate, tells me all I need to know about this group's lack of respect for individual rights.

They wanted to call this shot for Terri. Well, please don't ever let them decide for me.

Can't say that any better myself, so I won't.