Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Undocumented Love

As a heartless conservative, the gaping maw known as my soul contains a limitless capacity to hate. I hate school bus drivers who expect me to help pay for their $800,000 mortgages.

I hate third world dictators who, in the process of destroying their own country, feel the need to lecture us about the benefits of socialism.

I hate anti-war protestors who came out every week to protest the War then suddenly stop the day Barack Obama took office. These on-again off-again protestors just prove that no matter what slogan they have scrawled on their picket signs, their hearts they will always bear the motto: Say No to War, Unless a Democrat is President.

Don't think for one moment that just because conservatives find it easy to hate some groups of people brainless liberals, in contrast, poop rainbows. Liberals just prefer to mask their hatred behind politically correct euphemisms. Their hatred for rich people is called "re-distribution of wealth." Their hatred for white males is called "racial equality." Their hatred for rational, science based public policy is called "global warming."

Despite all the prevalence of hate on both sides of the aisle, there is just one group of people I cannot hate no matter how much Sean Hannity and Michael Savage tell me to: Illegal Immigrants. Be ye Mexican, Colombian, Guatemalan, El Salvadoran or, heaven forbid, Canadian, I just can't hate you.

I will tell you what I do love though: America. I love her culture, her form of government, her seemingly endless sea of hotdogs and hamburgers. Were I not born in America, I would swim any river, cross any desert or participate in any mail-order husband program it take to get here.

I just cannot condemn illegal immigrants for doing exactly what I would do if I were in their place.

Many of the arguments against illegal immigration reek of petty ignorance and outright xenophobia. I once worked for a small, white, upper-middle-class municipality. One day we got a call from a woman who wanted to report that she had seen two Mexicans driving a truck down her street. They were weren't speeding, or running down old ladies with their 1984 Ford F-150, they just happened to have the audacity to be caught driving while Mexican. Since this experience, it has been hard for me to oppose immigration with any degree of passion when I know I am lining up on the same side of the aisle as that ignorant bigot.

Most of the contentious arguments hurled into the sphere of public dialogue by anti-immigrant activists crumble quickly under the light of truth; none more so than the idea that "immigrants don't pay taxes."

The list of taxes and fees everyone in America pays, legal and illegal alike, is legion. Sales tax, property tax, gas tax, car registration fees, parking tickets, moving violations, code violations, hotel occupancy taxes, social security contributions, storm water fees, library late card fees, heck, we even have fees-in-lieu of taxes. Believe me, I work for the government, I know my taxes.

About the only taxes illegal immigrants don't pay are income taxes. However, I have a newsflash, unless these immigrants are making over $45,000 a year they wouldn't be paying those taxes anyways. In fact, thanks to Earned Income Credit (created by none other than Ronald Reagan) if these illegal immigrants were filing their taxes, the government would be paying them. These millions of people operating under the radar without filing their taxes and thereby qualifying for EIC, saves this country billions of dollars a year.

Just because I do not hate illegal immigrants does not mean that I love them either. While I may love the food, music and occasional rockin' mullet some of these immigrants bring with them, that does not mean I can completely ignore the costs that come with crossing our border illegally.

While immigrants do pay their taxes, they also come with inordinately high expense. The way illegal immigrants utilize hospital emergency rooms as their primary care physician has bankrupted many a hospital. The disproportionate reliance of illegal immigrants on our countries generous social services has placed a grave burden on federal, state and local governments. Too many people getting into a lifeboat just sinks is for everyone.

Also, in a post 9-11 world, we must be very cognizant of the threat posed by porous American borders. You just can't expect to keep your house safe with an open door. While I am sympathetic to the desires of most immigrants to simply make a better life for themselves, we must realize that it only takes one bad apple to ruin the pie.

So in short, I am pro-immigrant, but I am also pro-border security. The recent wave of drug-fueled violence just passed our southern border should be reason enough to build whatever crocodile-filled moat it takes to protect our borders and end illegal crossings.

While there was much about President Bush's domestic policy that left me wanting more (or in most cases less; as in less pork, less unfunded mandates and less prescription benefits for old people). But there was one thing he had right: the Guest Worker Program.

In a capitalistic society, any time you have a company who wants to hire people and people who want to be hired, it is the role of the government to get them together. An efficient government can act like an economic E-harmony of sorts. If we have low skilled labor that wishes to work low-skilled American jobs, we should find a way to make the match.

The Guest Worker Program did just that. It allowed people seeking jobs to enter our country legally and provided our employers with the cheap labor upon which they had grown dependent. It allows the government to know who is here and reject individuals we determine are unsafe or unwilling to abide by the rules. While some of the other portions of the comprehensive immigration reform gave me pause, the Guest Worker Program was a no brainer. It gives us all the benefits of immigration while significantly decreasing its costs.

Congress, however, threw out the Guest Worker Program because there were other portions of the bill they could not agree on. In typical partisan fashion, Congress attempted to replace the plumbing in the whole house rather than just fix the leaky faucet. In the end congress managed to do what illegal immigrants could not: become the one group everybody hates.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Twin Speak

As the Average Joel, I am average in many ways. Average height, average weight, average Madden Football abilities (the true measure of a man). But in one area I am anything but average. In fact there is one area in which I exceed all others: making babies.

While this may come as news to some of you, most will not be surprised: My wife is pregnant. Considering I already have three children, being pregnant with yet another child barely elicits even a congratulatory hug, or at the very least, an at-a-boy butt slap. This laissez-faire attitude has pretty much dominated my entire approach to this last pregnancy, even more so than the incessant puking from my wife. The only thing that made this trip down maternity lane any different then the previous pregnancies (aside from before mentioned puking) was the semi-satisfied smile that dominated my face at knowing this was going to be the last one. The last child who would ever need diaper changes. The last child that I will ever have to lull to sleep in the middle of the night. (Okay, lets be fair, the last child MY WIFE will ever have to lull to sleep in the middle). The last child I will ever have to fight with because I had the audacity to choose the red Sippy cup instead of the green one even though their both the same FREAKING SIPPY CUP!

Then, on Thursday, my entirely calm demeanor towards this pregnancy changed. With one swoosh of the ultrasound wand my worst fears were realized. Our sweet little baby was healthy, happy and growing just right. Oh.. and so was the other one.

Thats right: Twins

As we have begun spreading the news around about the double trouble brewing in my wife's womb, we have received mostly one of two reactions. The first reaction is good natured disbelief, along the lines of "No Way!" "Are you serious?" and "Surely thou dost jest most capricious zephyr!"

The other reaction tends to be a commentary on the Michael Phelps like fortitude of my- how do I put this delicately- man seed. As my mom so tastefully put it, "Your boys can swim, bud!" Of course, considering my wife is as fertile as a Tennessee Valley, I hardly deserve all the credit.

In fact, all the credit really belongs to my wife. You see, my wife has a very tight relationship with the man upstairs. And no, I am not talking about the creepy hermit living in our attic, I am talking about God. For example, there was a moment in time where we had a mouse living in our van. Apparently all the Craisins and goldfish our children had strewn about the car were enough to support another sentient being. To be fair, there are probably enough cracker crumbs in our car support an entire third-world army. But try as we might, we could not get rid of this mouse. No bait was too tempting to lure him into our many well placed traps. Until, finally, my wife prayed to catch this mouse. What should happen? Sure enough, the next morning, there was our little stow away, finally caught in a trap.

Well, unbeknownsed to me, my wife had been going behind my back and praying for twins. We always knew we wanted five kids, but we also knew that my wife could only handle four pregnancies. The answer to the riddle was for my wife to ask Heavenly Father for twins.

Well, ask and ye shall receive.

Of course like any other husband, I greeted this news of my wife's secret supplications with a feeling of betrayal. I am not bothered by the fact that she asked for twins, I am bothered by the fact that she did not ask for a million dollars. I mean, if she is that tight with the Big Guy, would it have hurt her to ask?

In some ways I am almost disturbed by my wife's powers. It is like I am married to a Genie in a Bottle. I am afraid now that if I upset my wife, I will wake up with a shark head, gorilla arms and kangaroo legs. Forget to take out the trash and I could be the worlds first Shorrillaroo.

These twins also reveal another disturbing force controlling my life: Baseball. Le 'me' splain. I have been to five professional baseball games in my life: Two San Francisco Giants games, one Houston Astros game and two Minnesota Twins games. As it turns out, I have two boys that, especially as babies, could easily be classified as Giants, one little girl who has her head firmly planted in the clouds, much like an Astro and now Twins. Coincidence? I think not. Considering how hard it is to get our current kids to keep their clothes on, I am just glad I never went to an Expos game.

All kidding aside, I am honest-to-goodness excited about the prospect of twins. While the image of me trying to keep two rambunctious twins quiet in church has become my new vision of hell, I can't help but be happy about the two little additions to the family. I mean, just think of the tax benefits?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

All Your Lungs Are Belong to Us!

My Lungs are slowly destroying the planet. Every time I breath, my lungs take life-affirming oxygen and turn it into earth-burning carbon dioxide. The fact that my lungs can convert something so innocent and healthy into something couch-jumpingly evil has me convinced my lungs are full of miniature-Scientologists.

That is why I have decided to adapt a sedentary life style. If every breath I take slowly destroys the earth, than each calorie I leave un-burned helps heal the world. That's right, I am decreasing my carbon-footprint one elevator, escalator and moving side-walk ride at a time. At least that is what Al Gore would have me do and he should know; he is a world renowned expert on exuding hot air. It is simply a matter of time before the government begins to impose strict exercise taxes on anyone would have the audacity to pollute the environment with the air from their lungs just so they can stay slim and healthy.

While you may be surprised to discover, based on all that you have heard lately, carbon is actually a good thing. Are we not carbon based life forms? (The only exception being Rosie O'donell who is, I believe, the worlds first Twinkie-based life form) What does it take, then, to turn the building block of life into a planet-destroying villain that we all must eradicate? It takes the same thing Dr. Atkins relied on when he convinced people bacon was healthier than bread. Faith.

Faith is the building block of modern environmentalism. It is faith that allows global warming-Chicken Littles to take specious scientific data and turn it into sky-is-falling fact. It is faith that allows people to continue their belief in Global Warming orthodoxy even when it snows three inches in Las Vegas.

Reliance on faith is not the only similarity between the green movement and religion. In fact, the two are completely indistinguishable. Global Warming has all the basic tenets of any religion. For scripture it has Michael Mann's Hockey Stick. For Prophets it has Al Gore. Sin comes in the form of carbon emissions and forgiveness in the form of carbon-neutrality. The global warming movement even has apocalyptic warnings to rival anything found in the book of Revelations. While it took several centuries for Christianity to begin selling indulgences, the green movement managed, in only a few decades, to start selling them in the form of "carbon off-sets".

Needless to say, I am what the true-green believers have labeled a "Global Warming skeptic," much in the same way Christopher Columbus was labeled a "flat-earth skeptic" by the predominant religion of his time. There are fundamental question about Global Warming that, for me, have yet to be answered by empirical data.

First and foremost, is the globe actually heating up? If the globe is heating up, is it just the cyclical nature of global temperature which we know for a fact was even higher during the medieval ages despite the auspicious lack of SUV's?

How can global warming be held responsible for making things too hot, too cold, too wet and too dry all at the same time? It seems there is no climatic anomaly that cannot be laid at the feet of global warming.

If the earth is heating, how can we be sure it is our fault? Recent global-warming on Mars indicates that either the sun is to blame or the Martians have all managed to switch over to a Prius.

Is global-warming really a bad thing? Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't a warmer planet lead to increased evaporation, additional rain fall, longer summers and better overall growing conditions? If you are interested at all in eating, like I am, how can we be sure a warmer planet is the doomsday world the media likes to portray it to be. Did you know that despite the supposed melting glaciers and ice caps, world sea levels have not increased since 1979? There goes my chance at Nevada beach front property.

Is increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing Global Warming, or being by caused by Global Warming. If you learn anything in an entry level statistics class it is that correlation is not always causation. Did you know that every year the sale of ice cream increases at the same time the national murder rate increases? Does this mean ice cream causes murder? No, it is called summer time and most murders and ice cream sales happen to take place during those three balmy months.

While my heartless conservativism can be blamed for many things, such as my desire to punch innocent puppies and deny free bus passes to war widows, when it comes to my inability to baptize myself in the Church of Global Warming, being conservative has nothing to do with it.

On issues of energy usage and pollution there is little about the global warming movement with which I disagree. I believe we should have very strict minimum MPG standards for every new car sold in America. I believe we need to get away from coal powered electric plants and rely more on renewable sources of energy like wind, geothermal and especially nuclear. I believe that American industries should have tight pollution controls put in place. Much of the changes being advocated by Green theists I fully endorse and support.

But using an unproven theory like Global Warming to push matters of public policy only polarizes the electorate. All of us see the looming energy crisis that will occur if we don't get a handle on our addiction to oil. No one, conservative or liberal, can argue with the need to stop sending so much of our money to terrorist-supporting oil barons. We have reason enough to begin seeking alternative energy solutions without green zealots smacking us over the head with the Gospel according to Gore.

Concerning global warming, we all need to take a long deep breath no matter how many polar bears it kills.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

If Only He’d Been Given Tact

An ornamental desk pen holder constructed from the wood of the 19th century anti-slaving ship the HMS Gannet. A framed commission of the HMS Resolute, the same ship from which President Obama's desk was created. A first edition set of the Churchill biography penned by Sir Martin Gilbert. For the girls, two outfits from the high-end British clothing store Topshop and six unreleased children's stories found only in Britain. These are the gifts presented to President Obama on their first official meeting as heads of state by our most important ally, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom.

How did President Obama reciprocate such a meaningful and symbolic gesture? By presenting him with a box set of 25 classic American films on DVD and two replica Marine One helicopters found easily in the White House gift shop. That's right, he matches Prime Minister Brown's gift of such tremendous symbolic significance with two HotWheels and a handful of movies you can find in the $5 bin at Wal-mart. Can we assume that when the Prime Minister of Australia comes for a visit, he can expect oven mitts and a Jell-o mold?

Calling Obama's gift a diplomatic blunder is like calling the sinking of the Titanic a nautical oopsie. It's not like our relationship with the United Kingdom is an important one; they have only participated along aside us in every major global confrontation since World War I.

While President Obama is said to be displaying his new pen holder with pride, Prime Minister Brown is clearly less keen on his thoughtless stocking stuffers; he refuses to even comment on the gift he was given by President Obama. The story itself had to confirmed with sources inside the Whitehouse.

Oh well, this is nothing a $25 gift certificate to Chili's can't fix, right Mr. President?