Saturday, April 01, 2006

Putting A Human Face On Tragedy

I've been reading transcripts and listening to edited tapes of the calls to 911 on September 11.

The overwhelming feeling I've noticed is compassion. It would be easy to get angry at the frustrating delays. The first time I heard the Hanley tape the other day, I was infuriated by the fact it took the fire dispatch eight rings to pick up, until I realized what I'm about to speak to in this article.
Transcripts show despair, chaos


March 31, 2006, 3:08 PM EST

The tapes and transcripts are stark reminders of the chaos and confusion of the day.

Even with the callers' portions of the conversations redacted, the panic and hopelessness are often apparent.

"I have a call from a lady at the Bank of New York states that World Trade," one police operator said to another.

"Yeah, we got that already," came the reply.

"OK, she states on the northwest side there is a woman, an unidentified person, hanging from the top of the building, One World Trade Center," the first operator said.

At first, some callers didn't seem to realize what had happened. One woman reported a car on fire at the corner of Albany and West streets at 8:58 a.m.

"Have you looked up towards the top of the Trade Center recently?" the dispatcher asked. After the caller replied, he continued: "That's probably what it's from. We will take care of it."
On reading it, it sounds harsh, cruel even, the way the dispatch operators are speaking to people, condescendingly.

And yet, maybe it's my acting training, but the panic apparent in those people's words (never mind their voices) speaks to the freezing unknown of that day. As we were all stricken with paralysis and shock, so too were these people, inundated with phone calls of people about to die, who knew, just knew, they were about to die, and were looking for some reassurance.

Listen to the calls here.

So imagine you're on the other end of those calls, hundreds of them, interspersed between people pointing out what you already know: the Trade Center Towers are lit up with the fires of thousands of gallons of jet fuel, smoke billowing, people falling. In the end, you have to choose between doing your job or going insane with panic. And you didn't have the opportunity to stand around and watch, try to make sense of what was happening. It just happened, and you had ot keep going.

Ever been in a car crash? I've been in several, some of them pretty serious. Your mind either focuses and "goes away." I've experienced both sensations. My most vivid memory is the time I nearly got thrown into a concrete barrier at 50 miles an hour, but for the grace of God and a steering wheel that didn't break until after the car stopped completely. I had such a tight grip on it that I stumbled out the door, two pieces of the wheel in my hands. All I remember about the collision was "Steer the direction you want to go, Carl."

I can only imagine what would have happened if that hadn't kicked in, if instead, I put my hands to my face and prayed to God while the car slammed into the wall, throwing me clear. I guess I'd be an interesting smear on that wall to this day.

So I sympathize with those dispatchers, as nasty as some of them read:
Sounds of helplessness and despair from 911 tapes

"It's an awful thing. Awful, awful, awful thing to call somebody and tell them you're going to die," one police operator, who had just finished talking to a group trapped on the 83rd floor of south tower, told another operator at 9:53 a.m. "I hope they're all alive because they sound like they went -- they passed out because they were breathing hard, like snoring, like they're unconscious."

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Friday, March 31, 2006

We Report, You Decide want to understand right wing media?

Which one of these stories showed up in the Pox News organ, the New York Post? You tell me: (photos as published in the street copy of the paper)


March 28, 2006 -- ACTOR Alec Baldwin stormed out of WABC's talk-radio studios Sunday night after a vicious verbal battle with Sean Hannity.
The activist actor, who was road-testing his own potential talk show, called Hannity a "no-talent whore" and an "incredibly ignorant boob from Long Island.

Hannity called Baldwin - a favorite punching-bag for conservatives - on the air just as he was beginning his show, and that's when the fur started to fly.

"At first I thought this was a joke," Baldwin told his co-host, Brian Whitman.

Hannity, furious that Baldwin allegedly broke a promise to appear on his show before Whitman's, wasted no time ripping into the liberal activist.

"Welcome to WABC, considering you were supposed to come on my program last week and you didn't show. What happened?" Hannity demanded.

"Why would I want to come on with a no-talent, former-construction-worker hack like you?" Baldwin answered.

"Are you the reckless, third-rate Hollywood actor who said our vice-president, while we're at war, is a terrorist? Are you the guy?" Hannity asked.

"No wonder you didn't come on my program and defend it, you gutless coward."

Baldwin, who refused to answer pointed questions about several political statements, told Hannity he had no problem appearing with Hannity's Fox News Channel colleague, Bill O'Reilly.

"Now, O'Reilly's show I did because O'Reilly has talent," Baldwin said, falling silent.

"I challenge you [to] come on my program, to say on my program that our president is a mass murderer. You don't have the courage," Hannity said.

"You won't talk to Sean?" Whitman pleaded.

"What's the point? What's there to say? Let's do to Sean what Sean would do to a caller. Sean, are you done, honey? Best of luck, Sean, you no-talent whore," Baldwin taunted.

"Coward," Hannity responded.

The fiery exchange continued until WABC's yappy Mark Levin, who'd also called in, asked Baldwin why ex-wife Kim Basinger is "so p--ed off at you."

At that point Baldwin bolted from the studio, cutting his planned two-hour audition in half.

How Hannity talked his way
onto Broadway


Since Sean Hannity broadcasts every afternoon on WABC (770 AM) and every night on the Fox News Channel, you'd think he might spend Sunday night, say, relaxing with "The Sopranos."
You'd think wrong. When Hannity's sometime nemesis Alec Baldwin came on Brian Whitman's WABC show as a guest Sunday, there was Hannity - along with fellow WABC host Mark Levin - to mix it up with him.

"Sean didn't have to be there," said WABC program director Phil Boyce. "But that's what he does. He's never 'off.' He felt Baldwin needed to be challenged, and since Baldwin wouldn't come on his show, this was the place to do it."

There's a reason, says Boyce, that Hannity has become one of stars to break out of the crowded talk-host pack - so much so, that this evening he's doing a one-man one-nighter on Broadway.

"Sean is driven to succeed like no one I've ever known," says Boyce. "There may be people out there who have as much talent, but no one who works harder or has more focus."

Boyce says he saw those qualities when he brought Hannity to WABC in 1997. Today he's on more than 500 stations, with Talkers magazine estimating that in an average week, more than 12.5million people tune him in. Among radio hosts, he trails only Rush Limbaugh.

The "Hannity and Colmes Show" is an anchor at Fox News, he's written several best-selling books, and of course he has acquired both admirers and detractors.

Critics call him a Republican mouthpiece, a repetitive megaphone for party talking points. His fans, while noting that he's criticized President Bush several times lately, say his sharp tongue is just what Democrats and liberals deserve.

It is his fans, in any case, who will pack the New Amsterdam Theater tonight for an event with an ironic media-celebrity twist.

Where some radio stations bring in actors or music stars to do radio, WABC is taking a radio star to a theater - just as it did in October with Limbaugh.

"It's a chance for our most loyal listeners to meet the family," says Boyce. "Radio's a very intimate medium, and I'm sure that's one reason Sean still loves it."

Once upon a time, notes Boyce, Hannity drove across the country with all his possessions in his car so he could do a talk show in Huntsville, Ala.

Today, he's more apt to be having a long and cordial chat with the governor of California or fellow media giant Howard Stern - or, as on Sunday, sparring with a "Hollywood liberal."

In fact, says Boyce, WABC first expected Baldwin would guest on Hannity's own show last Thursday.

"Alec had expressed interest in talk radio," says Boyce. "I felt he should go on Sean's show first, for three reasons: to clear the air, because it would be good radio and so we could see how he'd do.

"His agent told us he would do it. But then he said Sunday he would never have agreed to it. So we just don't know."

Baldwin declined Whitman's invitation to stay an extra hour Sunday, so that discussion also ended unresolved - except it did prove, says Boyce, that Hannity is as comfortable in a verbal street fight as he will be at tonight's Broadway lovefest.
By the way, Hannity really DID have a one-night stand on Broadway, and no, it didn't involve paying a series of leather-clad men to spank him.

The reviews? Lemme check the papers.....

*crickets chirping*

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Let's Get With It People!

(Hat Tip To Blondesense Liz)

You can get involved in the Feingold censure movement here: Million Phone March. Call your Senators and Representative. Or you can even e-mail them right from that site! Takes five minutes. Let them know how you feel about the rape of the Constitution.

Putting Out The Fire With Gasoline

President Bush has used this trope consistently to defend the exit strategy (such as it is) in Iraq:
It's the Iraqis' fight. Ultimately, the Iraqis are going to have to determine their future. They made their decision politically; they voted. And these troops that we're training are going to have to stand up and defend their democracy. We got work, by the way, in '06 to make sure the police are trained as adequately as the military, the army. It's their choice to make. And I like to put it this way: As they stand up, we'll stand down.
Problem. It probably won't work.

Stephen Biddle, Senior Defense Fellow for the Council of Foreign Relations, is the award-winning author of Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle. A former Associate Professor and Elihu Root Chair of Military Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, he currently examines U.S. defense policy and strategy for the War College.

Hardly a bleeding heart liberal or Islamofascist, you'll agree.

Biddle writes the following in his essay, Seeing Baghdad, Thinking Saigon:
Contentious as the current debate over Iraq is, all sides seem to make the crucial assumption that to succeed there the United States must fight the Vietnam War again -- but this time the right way. The Bush administration is relying on an updated playbook from the Nixon administration. Pro-war commentators argue that Washington should switch to a defensive approach to counterinsurgency, which they feel might have worked wonders a generation ago. According to the antiwar movement, the struggle is already over, because, as it did in Vietnam, Washington has lost hearts and minds in Iraq, and so the United States should withdraw.

But if the debate in Washington is Vietnam redux, the war in Iraq is not. The current struggle is not a Maoist "people's war" of national liberation; it is a communal civil war with very different dynamics. Although it is being fought at low intensity for now, it could easily escalate if Americans and Iraqis make the wrong choices.

Unfortunately, many of the policies dominating the debate are ill adapted to the war being fought. Turning over the responsibility for fighting the insurgents to local forces, in particular, is likely to make matters worse. Such a policy might have made sense in Vietnam, but in Iraq it threatens to exacerbate the communal tensions that underlie the conflict and undermine the power-sharing negotiations needed to end it. Washington must stop shifting the responsibility for the country's security to others and instead threaten to manipulate the military balance of power among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds in order to force them to come to a durable compromise. Only once an agreement is reached should Washington consider devolving significant military power and authority to local forces.
(emphasis added)

Indeed. In Viet Nam, you had a unified people: they all hated us, but didn't hate each other. In Iraq, you have what amounts to tribal factions whose animosity predates not only Saddam, not only the British occupations of 1941 and pre-1932, but stretch all the way back to Muhammad himself, the 7th century CE. Add to that the fact that they hate us as well, and you have a stand-off at a high stakes poker table, with no one prepared to team up to help the other (least of all us, although we may be forced to choose sides now.) Or as Biddle puts it:
In such situations, even the government is typically an instrument of one communal group, and its opponents champion the rights of their subgroup over those of others. These conflicts do not revolve around ideas, because no pool of uncommitted citizens is waiting to be swayed by ideology. (Albanian Kosovars, Bosnian Muslims, and Rwandan Tutsis knew whose side they were on.) The fight is about group survival, not about the superiority of one party's ideology or one side's ability to deliver better governance.[...]

If the war in Iraq were chiefly a class-based or nationalist war, the violence would run along national, class, or ideological lines. It does not. Many commentators consider the insurgents to be nationalists opposing the U.S. occupation. Yet there is almost no antioccupation violence in Shiite or Kurdish provinces; only in the Sunni Triangle are some Sunni "nationalists" raising arms against U.S. troops, whom they see as defenders of a Shiite- and Kurdish-dominated government. Defense of sect and ethnic group, not resistance to foreign occupation, accounts for most of the anti-American violence. Class and ideology do not matter much either: little of the violence pits poor Shiites or poor Sunnis against their richer brethren, and there is little evidence that theocrats are killing secularists of their own ethnic group. Nor has the type of ideological battle typical of a nationalist war emerged in Iraq. This should come as no surprise: the insurgents are not competing for Shiite hearts and minds; they are fighting for Sunni self-interest, and hardly need a manifesto to rally supporters.[....]

Although Sadr may still have a political future, so far he has failed to spur a broad-based Shiite uprising against either the U.S. occupation or the Shiite-dominated government. Some Iraqi Shiites do resent the U.S. occupation, and nationalism does feed anti-American violence. But nationalism is only a secondary factor in the war, and its main effect is to magnify the virulence of the Sunnis' violence in what is fundamentally a communal civil war.
A clever President, then, would co-opt the Sunnis. Not appease, co-opt. Subtle difference, but one where the US holds all the cards.

Too bad we don't have a clever President.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Drowning Polar Bears

In my search for the follow up details on the Stivers' story below, I came across a couple of very timely items that when I thought about it, my gut told me is a nexus of information that I needed to pass along, despite a very full day. So I decided to compose this piece:
Millions of gallons of raw sewage diverted into Hawaii canal

March 29, 2006 2:18 AM

A state Health Department spokesman says, for the most part, the current's been taking the sewage straight out to sea, but he adds, "that could change." There's also concern about possible damage to coral reefs and other marine life.

The 42-inch sewer main cracked open last Friday after heavy rain flooded an aging sewer system.
OK, now, couple that with this article from this week's Time Magazine:
Residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast don't have to be reminded that water can be a killer. You can usually evacuate people ahead of a major storm, but you can't evacuate infrastructure. "Thirteen of the 20 largest cities in the world happen to be located at sea level," says Dr. Cindy Parker of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md. That means that where people are most at risk from floods, so are hospitals and water-treatment plants. As we have seen in New Orleans, the health effects of losing those facilities persist long after the water has receded.

Another predicted consequence of global warming is heavier downpours, leading to more floods. The immediate hazard is drowning, but the larger issue is water quality. To take just one example, more than 700 U.S. cities--most of them older communities in the Northeast, Northwest and Great Lakes area--have sewer systems that regularly overflow into water supplies during heavy rainstorms, mixing dirty and clean water and sometimes requiring mandatory boiling to make contaminated tap water safe. A heavy rainfall preceded the majority of waterborne-disease outbreaks in the U.S. over the past 60 years, says Dr. Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
So what's that article all about?

Not water quality, but how global warming affects all of us, even those who believe that things will actually get better with the elimination of cold winters.

In fact, Time published an entire issue devoted to global warming. Ten years too late, in my book, but an issue nonetheless, and I urge you to go get a copy and read it.

It seems that even the nutcases on the right are getting the message. Hell, WALMART is going green now! Believe it or not, what we thought would take generations to happen is happening today. Right now. In front of our eyes. Even Al Gore couldn't have in his wildest dreams imagine it would be such a sudden change, but it's here.

It's a very even-handed discussion of the facets of the global warming crisis, from what's at stake to what we as individuals can do about the problem.

For example, do you know what your carbon footprint is? How much carbon you use in a year? Do you take steps to "pay back" to the environment for your waste products, by planting trees and taking steps to minimize your carbon footprint?

Time tells you where you can go to find that out (so will I. It's

Oh...drowning polar bears...well, it seems that the Arctic ice cap is deteriorating so badly that polar bears, normally very strong swimmers, get so tired swimming from the now-more distant ice floes that they end up drowning in the very water that sustains their food supply.

Please read this issue.

Remember The Stivers?

You might remember the family who sat around in their stranded trailer for 17 days while watching TV reports about the search for them, and how once they realized no one was coming the finally got off their fat asses and tried to get help?

Now comes this:
Couple Whose Family Was Stranded Arrested

Associated Press Writer

March 29, 2006, 5:09 AM EST

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The joy of a couple's rescue from the snowy mountains of southwest Oregon turned sour after they were arrested on drug charges in Washington state, authorities said.

Elbert and Becky Higginbotham were arrested Tuesday after they were stopped without incident near the coastal city of Long Beach, Wash., a Pacific County dispatcher said. The Higginbothams were in the same motor home where they spent 17 snowbound days this month.

Their rescue last week attracted national attention. Arizona authorities recognized the Higginbothams as a couple who had been caught with methamphetamine and a shotgun and then reneged on a promise to cooperate with investigators and disappeared.

Gary Butler, sheriff of Arizona's Navajo County, said he had arranged with authorities in southern Oregon to detain the Higginbothams and have them sent back to his state, where warrants were issued last week. But the couple went missing again Sunday.

Butler said the couple had probably faced probation on the drug charges but now could spend time in jail for felony flight.
They seemed like such good Christians, too!
Higginbotham’s mother, Mary Higginbotham, 76, of Payson, Ariz., said her son bought the motor home two or three months ago after selling some property.

“He came by on Feb. 8, my birthday, and said he was leaving from Oregon,” she said. She followed the search in the news but didn’t hear from him again until Tuesday.

“There were a lot of prayers all over the United States going for him,” she said. “The Lord came through for us.”
How did I end the piece I wrote when this story first came up?

Oh. Yeah.
I hate being right all the time.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Topic For Discussion

Posted by Missouri Mule
Why is it do you suppose that we try to rationalize with the irrational?
Is it just me or is that not an act of futility?
Have at it, folks! I know my readers are amongst the most literate and eloquent folks in the world. This is a fascinating discussion going on at Blondesense. Thanks, MoMu!

Hm. Think This Story Might Be Why Card's Resignation Was Announced This Morning?

Radioactive Matter Gets Into U.S. in Test

Associated Press Writer

March 28, 2006, 6:30 AM EST

WASHINGTON -- Installing radiation detectors at U.S. entry points is taking too long and costing too much, says a congressional watchdog agency whose undercover investigators breached security by slipping nuclear material into the United States.

In a test last year, the small amounts of cesium-137, which is used in industrial gauges, triggered radiation alarms in Texas and Washington state. The material was enough to make two small "dirty bombs," officials said, yet U.S. customs agents permitted the investigators to enter the United States because they were tricked with counterfeit documents.

The Bush administration says that within 45 days it will give U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents the tools they need to verify such documents in the future.
Let's assume that test happened on December 31, 2005. That was 87 days ago, plus a further 45 days. So this administration has known about this for almost a hundred days AND is willing to wait another month and a half before it does anything about it? August 6 PDB, anyone?

But wait! There's more!
Senators were to grill administration officials on security problems identified during the Government Accounting Office's undercover operation during a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

In a series of reports, the GAO, which is the investigative arm of Congress, found that the Homeland Security Department's goal of installing 3,034 radiation detectors by September 2009 across the United States -- at border crossings, seaports, airports and mail facilities -- was "unlikely."

Investigators also said the government probably will spend $342 million more than it expects to complete the job, given its current costs and pace. Between October 2000 and October 2005, they said, the government spent about $286 million installing radiation monitors inside the United States.
The gang that couldn't shoot straight is also the gang that can't spend straight, apparently. Oh. Wait. Let's see what really happened in the tests, shall we?
To test security at U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, GAO investigators last year represented themselves as employees of a fake company and obtained cesium-137.

They attempted to cross into the United States with the substance -- enough to possibly create two crude radiological bombs that could spread radiation if spread by the blast of a conventional explosive.

When stopped, the investigators presented counterfeit shipping papers and NRC documents that allegedly permitted them to receive, acquire, possess and transfer radioactive substances.

Investigators found that customs agents weren't able to check whether a person caught with radioactive materials was permitted to possess the materials under a government-issued license.

"Unless nuclear smugglers in possession of faked license documents raised suspicions in some other way, CBP officers could follow agency guidelines yet unwittingly allow them to enter the country with their illegal nuclear cargo," a report said. It described this problem as "a significant gap" in the nation's safety procedures.

Vayl Oxford, who heads the Homeland Security Department's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, said the substance could have been used in a radiological weapon with limited effects.
God bless the GAO, the last bastion of Clintonian restraint (the Comptroller General is a fifteen year appointee, so no worries about Bush firing him!).

Think about it: no way to check whether someone with enough radioactive material for two dirty bombs, that could potentially kill thousands if not tens of thousands of people not from detonation, but from panic, and all the DHS can say is "Well, it wouldn't kill that many people..."

Thumbsucking is an art raised to the highest level in the Bush administration. I can almost picture Vayl Oxford sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, saying "Kmart sucks."


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Monday, March 27, 2006

Yah. Oops!

Ruling Shi'ites demand Iraq regain security control

By Omar al-Ibadi
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's ruling Shi'ite alliance on Monday urged U.S. forces to return control of security to Iraqis after what it called the cold-blooded killing of unarmed people in a Baghdad mosque during a U.S.-Iraqi raid.

It made the demand as angry Shi'ites buried those killed in Sunday's operation by Iraqi special forces backed by U.S. advisers. The U.S. military has denied targeting a mosque.

In northern Iraq, a suicide bomber killed 40 army recruits after walking into an Iraqi base near the restive city of Mosul.[....]

The bombing in the north occurred between Mosul and Tal Afar, a town U.S. President George W. Bush has recently held up as an example of security progress in Iraq.
Hm, no wonder they're a little upset. We attacked a mosque, killed unarmed civilians, and...all in the town that just last week Bush claimed was settled and secure.
See, if you're a resident of Tal Afar today, this is what you're going to see: You see that the terrorist who once exercised brutal control over every aspect of your city has been killed or captured, or driven out, or put on the run. You see your children going to school and playing safely in the streets. You see the electricity and water service restored throughout the city. You see a police force that better reflects the ethnic and religious diversity of the communities they patrol. You see markets opening, and you hear the sound of construction equipment as buildings go up and homes are remade. In short, you see a city that is coming back to life.
No, in short where you're just occupied by a brand new buncha terrorists.

How many times do these assholes have to be wrong before they're thrown out? Why is it that the Republicans in Congress, instead of rebelling against immigration policy, aren't holding Bush's feet to the fire about Iraq? Isn't THAT where the lion's share of our resources, our tax dollars, are going?

When will these asses be held accountable?

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bush On PeeOns....

Bush said securing borders was a top priority of immigration reform but invoked the country's history as "a nation of immigrants."

"As we debate the immigration issue, we must remember there are hardworking individuals, doing jobs that Americans will not do, who are contributing to the economic vitality of our country," Bush said.
That about sums up the entire Bush family outlook on labor: "doing jobs that Americans will not do," meaning if you work hard and sacrifice much for your family, you're a sap (a point Carville and Begala go to great pains to make in "Take It Back," mentioned below). Much better to sit back and reap the benefits of capital appreciation, and let legality and salaries trickle down on the help.

Y'know, the immigration debate is such a non-issue, aside from the border security concern, that it rates a little below gay marriage and slightly higher than what our national fruit should be (I think it's the cherry, but I couldn't tell you for sure.)

Immigration is the backbone of this country. Immigrants and their descendants have created the great dynasties of wealth: the Kennedys, for one. The Rockefellers, Roosevelts, hell, even the Bushes, came to this country with little, and made themselves what they are: our nobility. I'd lay odds that among those four names, there are several shady immigration scenarios that contributed to there presence here in the States. Given the Bush family criminal history, you have to know which family I'm thinking snuck under the ropes.

Sad commentary on the President, then, that he wants to legislate who comes in next, like the guy who finally gets into Studio 54 and then begs the bouncers to close the rope line behind him.

As always, Bush takes the wimp route: let's let those who are here already stay, work at menial jobs, and then they have to leave and get back in line to come here permanently. I call bullshit on that. That's pure exploitation, but that's what Republicans are all about.

It's not like "guest workers," are going to be terrorists. And if they are, they're here already and as 9-11 so clearly points out, the Bushies couldn't keep an eye on terrorists, either in this country or not, if you painted a big fucking arrow in the sky that followed them around like on a Google map.

Or have the lessons of Tora Bora been lost on us?

I propose this: nothing. Things are fine the way they are. The only thing we need to do is to learn how to distinguish between terrorists and people looking to feed their families back home. I think we can figure that out, with a Democratic Congress and President, because clearly these guys are too scared to try on their own.

Illegal immigration shouldn't be punished by anything more than rounding them up as they cross the borders (sorry for the impersonal "they" here) and carting them back across the line, and alerting the authorities in Mexico and Canada to what happened.

Yes. Canada. Although I usually cross the border into Canada at checkpoints, I know many places in New York State and across the upper Midwest, Plains, and Northwest, where towns straddle the border and the coffee shop is in America but the bus depot is in Canada, or some such arrangement that one can drive or even walk from one nation to another not only unchallenged, but not even observed.

You think Al Qaeda doesn't know this? Or in our bigotry, are we only assuming that because they come from a desert region that somehow they're blood is too thin to handle a Canadian winter day?

Afghanistan: temperature range -2 to 90 F. Iraq: temperature range 38 to 120. Neither of those sounds particularly tropical in winter, do they?

So which is worse? The fact that a bunch of Holy Roller white guys are trying to stuff our jails with undocumented workers because the fastest growing industry in America is detention (you could look it up), or that the Holy Roller President has to look on in terror as his party slips away from him further and further? Hell, even at the height of the Lewinski affair, Clinton could count on Democratic votes on legislation AND could hold his nose and work with the opposition to enact new laws to his liking!

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