Archives for May 2005
The Minutemen and illegal immigrants in Arizona at France2 news
Last evening’s France2 news had a report, Arizona: Desert of Death (17 minutes into the broadcast. See for yourself). The report started by mentioning that over 100,000 people cross the border in the area beween Nogales and Douglas, Arizona, and that over 100,000 are arrested and returned, while the camera showed a few men being loaded into a Border Patrol van. The reporter interviewed two older women, and showed them, along with men, in campers, trucks, and SUVs watching the borders. There was a close-up of one gun in a holster, “even when they claim they are non-violent”.
Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project stated that their job is to notify the (American) Border Patrol, and that the Patrol are the ones apprehending and returning the illegals. Mr Gilchrist pointed out in a map that, now that the Minutemen are watching that area, the illegals are trying to cross from areas west of the location being watched.
Then the interesting (for me) part: Officer Hilario Olmos in charge of Grupo Beta in Mexico, was interviewed as a counterpart to the Minutemen. Officer Olmos who also patrols the border, only on the Mexican side, wears an orange shirt with the words “Protección a Imigrantes” (Protection to Immigrants) emblazoned on its back. His job is basically to make sure that the people who are waiting to cross realize it won’t take them three hours to cross the desert, but three days, and that they carry water and are prepared for a trip that long. He also checks on those who are ill or injured, who were sheltered in a shed. The coyotes openly (but not in the presence of Officer Olmos) loaded vans in the area, undeterred. The France2 reporter stated that the coyotes charge $3,000 per person — while the camera showed a fully-loaded van just taking off with at least a dozen men that would be transported to the border.
The report went on to contrast that with the Border Patrol office, with TV monitors.
At the end of the report American Border Patrol officer Jose Maheda stated that this is a violent border, and he felt the Minutemen were taking great risks to make a political point.
On a separate subject, but still on the same newscast, the pro-EU Constitution campaign’s casting an ever-widening net. The same France2 broadcast reported from Martinique — looks like they’re working their way north from French Guiana. This morning Drudge links to French in disarray as they admit EU treaty vote is lost
Good news from Cuba
Only 10 days ago, in the province of Holguín, Cuban human-rights activists reported that the locals came to the aid of dissidents being beaten by police. “The town of Antilla poured out by the hundreds in protest to the abuse and they took us to the hospital,” according to one of the victims cited by the well- connected Cuban exile group Directorio. One witness reported that the protesters outnumbered the Castro loyalists.
Good news indeed.
But instrumentalising life in this way, bringing an individual into being solely to benefit other individuals, is utterly inimical to the deepest belief of our civilisation that every human life deserves equal dignity and respect.
Last year the WSJ asked, What Funding Ban?.
There continues to be an overwhelming amount of misinformation and propaganda on the subject. Today’s WSJ explains:
So what’s happened, research-wise, since 2001? Given the rhetoric of some of the President’s critics, you might think the answer is nothing. In fact, federal funding for all forms of stem-cell research (including adult and umbilical stem cells) has nearly doubled, to $566 million from $306 million. The federal government has also made 22 fully developed embryonic stem-cell lines available to researchers, although researchers complain of bureaucratic bottlenecks at the National Institutes of Health.
At the state level, Californians passed Proposition 71, which commits $3 billion over 10 years for stem-cell research. New Jersey is building a $380 million Stem Cell Institute. The Massachusetts Legislature has passed a bill authorizing stem-cell research by a veto-proof margin, and similar legislation is in the works in Connecticut and Wisconsin.
Then there’s the private sector. According to Navigant Consulting, the U.S. stem-cell therapeutics market will generate revenues of $3.6 billion by 2015. Some 70 companies are now doing stem-cell research, with Geron, ES Cell International and Advanced Cell Technologies being leaders in embryonic research. Clinical trials using embryonic stem-cell technologies for spinal cord injuries are due to begin sometime next year.
. . .
All of which is to say that if embryonic stem-cell researchers can get this far within the regime Mr. Bush imposed in 2001, then surely they can go further without additional federal help. The same goes for the $79 million the President and his allies in Congress are proposing to spend on umbilical cord stem-cell research. Here, too, the government is spending tax dollars to subsidize a private sector that already has every incentive to invest.
To me and to many, embryonic stem cell research is a moral issue. I’m glad the WSJ is discussing it in light of the facts.
The notion that these embryos are “discarded” or “surplus” arises from another of the developments of recent years, fertilization outside the womb. Once the mother-in-intent is satisfied that the baby in her belly will grow to term, what use has she for the “extra” embryos that were created to assure her of at least one viable one? Are they nothing but refuse? Can’t we “get some use out of them?”
Time was, the answer would have been obvious and universally understood: This is wrong. It’s as wrong as cannibalism, or kidnapping, or tearing the organs out of one living, breathing man to save the life of another. It requires that Smith’s life be demoted beneath Jones’s in importance, deeming it a means instead of an end in itself, without Smith having committed a crime. This cannot be justified without either declassifying Smith as human, or stripping humans categorically of the right to life.
Update Andrew Sullivan concurs.
Many thanks to Ken
for his kind words
Writing about NJ taxes won’t get me an installanche or a TV guest appearance
but write I do, along with others.
Enlighten NJ has a post on how a NJ Democrat Discovers ‘Soak The Rich’ Tax Policy Is Bad For New Jersey. Enlighten also has several posts on Corzine’s ‘Fundamental Reorganization of Health Care’ For New Jersey. New Jersey Thorugh A Pinhole has a list of posts on Corzine.
Along with Enlighten, SmadaNek’s Ken Adams did some simple arithmetic and realizes that Corzine Care comes at a price — a huge price. In the billions. In the comments section, Enlighten NJ asks, “Do you ever get the idea we’re the only ones that care?”. Trust me, I do.
NJ property taxes are a national scandal. Take a look at this graph from the NY Times:
The local newspaper tells us more increases are in the works: Princeton Township Committee OKs budgetSpending reduced; tax rate increased about 10 percent. In addtion to its $29.8 million budget, the Township continues to approve bond issues for what would otherwise be routine infrastructure maintenance, such as $1 million bond for rebuilding 1.5 miles of road on Snowden Lane. Now here comes the punch line:
Debt service consumes 22 percent of the total budget
Expect that number to increase: The Town Topics says the tax hike is 6.5 cents over last year’s total. Debt service itself may be 22% of the total budget for now, but it’s increasing at a much larger rate:
Ms. Shaddow said one of the largest increases in this year’s budget is debt service, which contributed about three cents to the increase.
3 divided by 6.5 = 46%, folks.
If you want to fool yourself into believing that the Township is the exception, I refer you to one sentence in both the Packet’s and Town Topic’s articles: The six-and-a-half-cent hike is commensurate with increases in other Mercer County municipalities.
Leave it to Arthur to come up with profound thoughts on the Sith
It’s true that the price of liberty is the eternal vigilance, but for the left the price of the eternal vigilance, in turn, has been the eternal paranoia, and the eternal tendency to see its own government as a greater threat to America and the world than any of the actual, existing, reality-based totalitarian tyrants that have ever roamed the earth. One can have reasonable discussion about the growth in size and reach of the government over the past two centuries, but the left’s role in this debate has always been a boy who cried empire. Thus (to is critics) the United States seems to be perpetually on the verge of tumbling into tyranny (the Civil War, the Gilded Age corporatization, World War One, News Deal, World War Two, Vietnam, the war on terror, or generally whenever the Republicans are in the White House), but somehow it never does (except to some of these critics, for whom it already had).
Lucas might feel he’s quite cool to have dreamed up the concept of “Star Wars” around the time of the Vietnam War as a cutting-edge commentary on the political trajectory of the United States; he might feel he’s even cooler to have dreamed out a concept that still resonates (at least with him and the left) decades later. To everyone else, the never-ending carping about the slide into tyranny might sound dated, silly and self-absorbed, while the world outside of Hollywood witnesses the procession of real-life Evil Empires and their minor clones.