Friday, May 19, 2006

Equal Treatment & Cutting In Line

I've been called a lot of bad things: bitchy, insensitive, repulsive, etc. "Ignorant" is a rare treat. But I'm pretty thick-skinned. After all, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.

Including me. I may not be as informed as some, but I do actually take some small amount of time to research as much as time allows on a subject before forming an opinion. I don't know that such would qualify me as "ignorant."

I promised myself that I wouldn't post before June 1, but then I received this in my inbox, and I figured that I could use this opportunity to learn how to type with one hand.

Let me say that in no way do I believe that illegal immigrants should be "punished" unless they have committed a crime. Hopping a border isn't a crime in my book. Unfortunately, identity theft, fraud, and tax evasion are. But hey, you have to take the bad with the good. If you go into another country, you have to abide by that country's laws just as much as you expect to receive the benefits of being in that country.

What I DID say, however, was that I believed that illegal immigrants should not be given amnesty, and as such, what I consider to be special treatment. Yet, as many are demanding "equal treatment" they are actually demanding SPECIAL treatment over those who have been waiting for citizenship for years.

Two of the men my husband works with are legal immigrants from Kuwait and Nigeria. Ask them if they believe whether or not amnesty should be given, and they'll both likely answer "NO." Why? Because they had to go through the process, and they believe that he process instills a greater pride and respect for being able to call themselves an American. Was the life that they lived in their old countries any better than what those who are demanding amnesty experienced? Of course not! Do they have any fewer innocent children? Of course not! The difference is that they waited their turn.

Imagine that you, like Carlos, are waiting in line for the most fabulous theme park ride ever created. You've been standing in that line for years. Just as you get close to the front, some group of over a million people decide to cut in line in front of you. You will now have to wait even longer. What's worse, the group that cut in line didn't even bother to pass the medical screening that everyone else had to pass in order to make sure that they could safely ride this ride. How would that make you feel? You would probably be as pissed as the many LEGAL immigrants that are opposed to amnesty.

I responded to the person so confident in his own "facts" that he posted anonymously. (I'd love to see how he backs up his "facts" when it's apparently so easy to track tax records that were filed under false documentation. I base my beliefs on the hope that the people coming to this country are brighter than he gives them credit for.) Here's what I had to say:

"Now that I think about it, I've reconsidered. I think that illegal immigrants SHOULD be given amnesty... So long as they get a signed letter from every person who has been waiting to obtain legal citizenship saying that they don't mind this person jumping in front of them in line.

That sounds fair, doesn't it?"

Now I require this action because I believe that those wishing to obtain citizenship are my equals and should be treated as such. I believe that anything less than this would be an insult to these fine people because, as such, it would imply that they are somehow inferior to me and all legal immigrants and that they require special treatment as a result.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Go Time

Well, I just got back from the doctor's office this morning, and I'm scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. As a result, I can safely say that I won't have the questionaires ready before the primaries. That being said, this will be my last post here for at least a couple of weeks. My husband may post in a few days with all of the vital stats, like weight, length, etc.

Look for new postings after June 1.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Carlos Mencia Philosophy

I love Carlos Mencia. Let me say it again. I love Carlos Mencia. Why do I love Carlos Mencia? Carlos Mencia is one of those rare people who say what everyone else is thinking but doesn't have the testicular fortitude to say themselves, and he makes it funny.

Those who consider themselves sensitive regarding ethnic and gender stereotypes should beware. Carlos doesn't pull any punches. Even the mentally challenged and physically handicapped aren't safe when it comes to Carlos. White people are never safe. And just because he is Hispanic doesn't mean that he gives any amount of sympathy to his own demographic. Carlos Mencia is an equal opportunity heckler, and that's the way it should be. Nobody, and I mean nobody, gets special treatment.

Carlos usually talks about how people who demand equality don't necessarily want to be treated equal. They want to be treated better. In his recent visit to Birmingham (and his recently televised stand up routine), he talked about an experience in an amusement park where he'd waited for hours to get onto a particular ride. Just as he got to the front of the line, with what appeared to be one seat left just for him, the ride operator shut the gate in front of him to let on a guy in a wheelchair. Carlos, being furious, demanded that the guy have to wait in line like everyone else. Why should he get special treatment just because he was in a wheelchair unless he wanted to admit that he wasn't as good as everyone else there and needed special treatment? The guy in the wheelchair said that Carlos was not better than him, and Carlos quickly replied, "Then get to the back of the line!"

There was, as could be expected, one person in the audience who was shocked by Carlos and his actions toward the man. Then Carlos finished his story.

There was, after all, one seat left-- right next to the guy in the wheelchair. The operator wasn't going to let Carlos on, but Carlos joked that he "pulled the race card," so the operator let him on. During the ride, the guy next to him thanked Carlos. Why? Because everyone else just saw a helpless guy in a wheelchair. Carlos was one of those rare people who wasn't going to give him a break. He was treating him just like anyone else. The guy asked Carlos if he wanted to ride again. Carlos said that he did, but he didn't want to wait in line again. "That's okay," said his new friend, "You're with me now."

After that, they "rode every ride in the park four times" after breaking to the front of the lines.

I'm thinking about this because I have been following the immigration issue. While people consider me to be insensitive to this and similar issues, it's because I have a tendency to follow what I call the "Carlos Mencia Philosophy" regarding people. I think that everyone should be treated equally-- not given special privileges.

Even as a soon-to-be mother, I have no sympathy for women who demand special privileges from their employers and use the mommy excuse. Do I think that a woman should be allowed to use a breast pump at work? Of course. Do I believe that it's your employer's responsibility to provide you with a special place and extra breaks to do it? Nope. Do I think that you should be able to work and raise a family? Of course. Do I believe that your employer should have to bend over backwards to make sure that your working schedule fits around daycare? Nope. Do I believe that you should have the same amount of consideration in promotion and hiring as a man? Of course. Do I believe that your employer should be required to give you that job or that promotion over a more qualified man simply to meet their quota of women and out of fear of a lawsuit? If they were to offer it to me, I wouldn't want it. It's insulting.

Maybe it's the Libertarian coming out in me. I believe in holding people responsible to their own qualifications and actions. It generates a sense of pride in those of us who work hard. It also generates little sympathy for those who can but instead expect for things to just be given to them. Do I believe that you should have a retirement fund? Of course. Do I believe that your failure to plan for retirement requires the government to provide one for you? Look somewhere else for sympathy.

Now let's look at my stance on two of today's issues: Hurricane Katrina and illegal immigration.

Hurricane Katrina: Months after the hurricane tore through New Orleans, some are genuinely working toward getting back on their feet. Then the city made the announcement that public housing was now available to those who were willing to work. Physical inability was one thing, but if you could pick things up and carry them from one spot to another, they had a job for you. On the news, I saw several people who were infuriated by this. How dare they discriminate when offering public housing?! Do I believe that you deserve the opportunity to get back on your feet after a natural disaster? Of course. Do I believe that it's the government's responsibility to make sure that you have a place to live when you refuse to work? Look somewhere else for sympathy. I'm fresh out. I'll admit that there are those who need assistance in their genuine attempt to work hard to get back on their feet, but there are far too many others who are using this situation to acquire sympathy and special treatment. This is where I draw the line.

Illegal Immigration: I highly value my citizenship. I can fully understand why people would want to come here. More power to them. I welcome them with open arms. Do I think that everyone should have an equal opportunity to become a citizen? Of course. Do I believe that the government should have to provide you with services that you haven't paid into? Do I believe that businesses and government branches should start requiring that people learn a different language to cater to you because you didn't bother to learn the language that we already speak? Do I believe that a low-skilled, entry level job should supply you with a better than minimum wage salary and benefits when you don't have the skills or speak the language to work a better job? Do I believe that you should be granted citizenship without having to take the same tests and classes that others have to take simply because you can walk across a border? Once again, you'll have to look for sympathy somewhere else because I'm fresh out.

Those who demand equal treatment will find it from me. Those who demand special treatment will be disappointed.

Justice Is Served

From the BBC: Defiant Moussaoui gets life term

Judging by Moussaoui's reaction to his sentence, it didn't go the way he would have liked. Let me explain.

For a man who didn't want to die, Moussaoui had a funny way of showing it. He has done, and still is doing, everything he can to encourage us to want him dead. Make no mistake, kiddies. This man wants to die, and punishment for a crime should consist of the last thing on earth that you would want to happen.

Moussaoui, crude as he is, does not strike me as someone who is a stupid man. Had he been executed by our government, he would have been a martyr and a hero to those who have declared a jihad against the U.S. It would have further encouraged our enemies. Don't think for one second that Moussaoui didn't realize this.

Don't think for one second that he also didn't realize that drawing out the length of this trial was only focusing our attention toward the past instead of more important matters, like preventing future attacks. Had he been handed a death sentance, there would have been an immediate appeal, which would have drawn out this trial further.

Lastly, Moussaoui knew that had we killed him, it would have been used by our enemies to paint us as a barbaric nation. We kill. We are unforgiving. By opting to instead give him a life sentence, we have shown our enemies that we are bigger than they are. We have mercy. We have restraint. We are not the bloodthirsty wolves that they'd like to paint us as.

In granting Moussaoui his life, we've crippled his cause, even if it was just a little bit.

I'm not a fan of the death penalty. I'm actually against it. How liberal of me, I guess. But my stance on this particular case has nothing to do with my views on the death penalty. For Moussaoui, life is a fate worse than death, and for someone who had a small part in the death of thousands, it was deserved.

Why Colbert Didn't Bomb

I saw this particular piece this morning, and I thought I'd post a link to it. I agree completely with the writer. I found Colbert's performance, by the way, to be just as entertaining as always. Too bad that the person who asked him to speak at this event had apparently never watched his show. Perhaps they'd have better known what to expect.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lemons & Melons For One Gubernatorial Candidate

There are many things that I love about Loretta Nall. One of them has to be her sense of humor. The following was posted on her blog yesterday:

Thanks to political columnist Bob Ingram, Loretta Nall is best known lately for two things -- both of them on her chest. "In 55 years of political writing," Ingram noted in a recent column about a photo of Nall, "that was a first for me -- a picture in my column of a woman displaying cleavage ... [my mother] wouldn't have approved of that picture."

Nall, a well-known medical marijuana activist and the Libertarian Party's 2006 candidate for governor of Alabama, isn't one to pass on an opportunity. "When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade," she says. "When God gives you melons ... well, let's not go there." But going there she is, with a new fundraising campaign designed to capitalize on Ingram's touting of her attributes. To raise money for ballot access, Nall is using Flash animations on her campaign web site. Contributors get a glimpse of the buxom beauty's cleavage or waistline -- and big donors are promised an uncensored view of "the biggest boobs in Alabama politics."

All's fair in love, war and politics, says Nall. "I had to go one of two ways -- don a burqa so that maybe people like Bob Ingram will be willing to talk about my actual platform instead of my anatomy, or go with the flow and use dismissive attacks to my advantage. I don't back down easily. This is, if you'll pardon the expression, tit for tat."

Nall faces Alabama's draconian ballot access restrictions -"the Republicans and Democrats are scared to death of a fair fight," she says -- and must submit 42,000 valid signatures to the Secretary of State by June 6th in order to appear on the ballot with the Democrat and GOP candidates (who face no such hurdle). Her "Flash for Cash" campaign is intended to raise the money required to gather those signatures.

The animations mentioned in this story may be viewed HERE!!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who Votes?

I caught this article this morning and had to comment on one selection in particular:

Marchers standing shoulder-to-shoulder sang and chanted and danced in the streets wearing American flags as capes and bandanas. In most cities, those who rallied wore white to signify peace and solidarity and waved signs reading... "Today we march, tomorrow we vote."

No, no you won't. There are certain criteria that you must meet first, like citizenship, and by your own admission, you don't have that yet. (As retarded as our elected officials may seem at times, they have probably figured that one out.) As a matter of fact, you have failed to follow the laws and processes that we currently have in place to attain citizenship, which shows me exactly how much respect you have for our country, and I in turn have about as much respect for you as a result. The only effort you have legitimately put into becoming a part of this country is to ignore the rules and then demand that the government cater to you anyway.

My grandparents (from Italy) worked hard to become citizens, and they had a sense of accomplishment and pride which resulted from that. If you have no respect for the procedures and laws of a country, you have no respect for that country-- that includes legal citizens and elected officials who seem to assume that the Constitution was written on toilet paper. If you don't respect this country, you don't deserve citizenship and the right to vote. Too many people fought too hard throughout the history of this great nation for the right to vote, including my Native American ancestors, and it shouldn't be trivialized.

Those of us who got here by following the rules are more than just a little put out by the whole false entitlement routine, and the difference is that we CAN and WILL vote. Or at least about 60% of us will.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

"He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday." --Stephen Colbert referring to President George W. Bush while speaking at the Correspondents Dinner Saturday night

Useless Boycotts

Everyone is probably familiar with the infamous email about how we should all boycott a particular gas station chain or how we should not buy gas for one day. In case you've been hiding under a rock, here's a link to the latest writeup. Chances are, you've seen some such version of this email. (If you're like me, and you have family members and friends who will believe and forward just about anything, you should definitely consider checking it out on

My point is this: A one day boycott isn't going to prove or solve anything. In order to be effective, you have to show that you are willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve your goals. In other words, if you don't hurt, they don't hurt.

So I started reading up on the newest "boycott." Turns out, we'll be having a "Day Without Immigrants." And? Why not a week? A month? A year? Because they wouldn't be able to sustain that type of boycott. They would have to make genuine sacrifices to prove their point, and apparently, this isn't a cause that is worth that kind of sacrifice. At least, not to them.

Before I get harpooned as an insensitive jerk, let me explain. Chick-Fil-A makes some of the yummiest chicken salad sandwiches on the face of the planet. That's a factoid that I will argue with anyone. I'm well on my way to some 12-step program because of my addiction. Yet, I've had to go every Sunday without one because Chick-Fil-A is never open on Sundays. But I can go one day without a delicious chicken salad sandwich. In much the same way, many people can go one day without a nanny, one day without a gardener, one day without Mexican food, one day without construction on their home. Stores can go one day without patronage, because chances are, the patrons will return the day after if they haven't already stocked up the day before. One day isn't really that bad.

And I wonder, too... Are they willing to boycott other things that illegal immigrants seem to be taking for granted right now? Will they also be spending a day without showing up at the hospital emergency room to receive free healthcare? Will they refuse police protection should an intruder enter their home? Will they watch their houses burn as they boycott the services of the fire department? Will they boycott the many services that taxpayers, legal immigrants, have spent so much of their hard earned money for? My guess is that they wouldn't. Who would, after all? But these things have just as great an effect on the U.S. economy as the jobs that they work and the money that they spend.

I've heard the argument that, unless illegal immigrants are paid in cash, they pay their taxes when their employer withholds their taxes from a paycheck. That may be true to some extent. However, because of forged documentation that is used, it is far too easy to have too little withheld, and it is impossible to track. Because these people wouldn't file a return, they may not get back a refund, but then they also wouldn't pay anything owed. And an employer is not required to withhold taxes from a paycheck. It's a convenience that many of us take for granted. The responsibility of paying your taxes is yours alone. If you make money, cash or not, you must report it to the IRS.

I have no problems with amnesty. I think we should fix the immigration policies first, but amnesty could be done afterward. But I also think that those given amnesty must be required to prove their lack of criminal record and pay back taxes. It's only fair to the rest of us. Nobody likes a moocher.

And one more thing: Quit screwing around with our national anthem. I don't have any problems with you singing in another language, but when you change the lyrics, that's going too far. The anthem was not adopted because of the tune-- that's just an old British bar song that seemed to fit the lyrics we already had. The lyrics are the important part. They were written by a guy who was being held captive during the war that we fought to become the country that we are-- the country that you say you loved enough to want to become a part of. When you decide that, you decide that you want to take in and appreciate every part of that country, the anthem, the language, the culture, the flag. Sure you can still appreciate where you came from. I love my Italian heritage. But when you wave your old country's flag, refuse to contribute to the tax burden, fail to assimilate into the culture by refusing to learn the language needed to function effectively, and wipe your nether regions with the beloved lyrics of the national anthem... When you appreciate nothing about the adopted culture of your newly adopted homeland other than the perks that you feel the government "owes" you... That isn't adopting a country that you love. That's exploitation of people that you see as suckers, and it doesn't generate much sympathy on my part for your situation.

Then again, if American citizens refuse to positively contribute to society and yet still hold to the belief that the government owes them something, perhaps they've bought into the American way of life far more than we give them credit. Perhaps, before griping, we need to set a better example. You know who you are.

Somewhat Sad, Yet Encouraging

You may have already heard. This weekend, Hollywood offered us a movie based on the events surrounding United flight 93 on September 11, 2001. I haven't seen it yet, but I plan to. Considering that I don't make it to the theater much anymore, I'll probably wait to see it on DVD. It's already saved to my Netflix queue.

Since that fateful day, our country seems to have been in perpetual mourning. For the past four and a half years, we've let the events of that day influence our lives. In some respects, that's a good thing. This was a tragedy-- one that should have never happened. It opened our eyes to our vulnerabilities and, in some cases, our arrogance. It brought us together as a nation.

However, there are some things that I've missed. People used to enjoy life, and I don't see that as much anymore. Politicians all seem to talk about what the terrorists are doing and thinking and plotting.

I noticed the box office numbers last night, and I was surprised at what I saw. The movie based on 9/11 wasn't the number one movie, as I'd expected. Instead, Americans chose to see a Robin Williams comedy. United 93 deserves to be one of those pictures that everyone sees, like Schindler's List and The Passion. These are movies based on events that should not ever be forgotten. But at the same time, I was encouraged to see that Americans seem to want to go back to just enjoying life and getting past our loss. We just want to laugh.

That's a sentiment that I can appreciate.