October 16, 2002

Aliens Among Us

Sorry to burst your bubble, bubba, but our neighbor's to the south are taking over. The Mexican/American border exists in the political mind only, and is currently an inconsequential detail to be ignored by any illegal wishing to cross and steal the fruits of our labors. The third world sees us as the pot of gold, and it's downtrodden masses are more than willing to take advantage of our weakness. Please ignore that rumbling sound - it's only the founding father's spinning in their graves.

OK, already, stop with the bleeding heart "Melting Pot" home for the unwashed masses crap already. What's written in stone at Ellis Island still applies today, and I would be the first to recognize it's importance as a basis for what this country is all about. HOWEVER, I for one would NOT agree that this expressed vision of equal opportunity for immigrants ever was intended to allow ANYONE to circumvent the law of the land and wander in any time they damn well pleased. Illegal immigration was a non-issue until it became a well known fact that we as a nation were not willing or able to put forth the effort required to defend our borders and way of life. One almost senses a fatalistic attitude of "What can we do?" from those with the power to act. The drain on our resources is phenomenal, and our government's reaction reminds me of the boy with his finger in the dike. The millions spent at the border might as well be burned for all the good they do. All the technology and vigilance put into the effort are a complete and utter waste if the only result is to put illegals on a bus and send them home to try again. And try again they will - some spend years before they finally succeed rather than devote their attention to improving their own back yard. It doesn't seem to occur to them that any problems they currently face in their own countries are a result of their own inattention and willingness to take charge of their own circumstances. If their standard of living is lower, the blame falls squarely on the person who looks back at them in the mirror every morning.

My solution? It's not pretty, but it's been proven effective. Prison industry is one of the fastest growing corporate enterprises today. NAFTA established free trade zones, and our business community has been racing across the border to take advantage of the cheap labor. The government has had their hand in prison industry for years, in many cases requiring it's own agencies to purchase their supplies thru these facilities. Take it one step further, and support the creation of prison farms in Mexico to house the deportees rather than turn them back to the local authorities. As with any other crime, increase the penalty for recurring violations, and we've pretty much eliminated half the illegal crossings by taking the repeat offenders out of circulation. The cheap labor rates almost guarantee we save money in the long run, and the local economy gets a boost in the right direction. A goodly part of General Motor's total annual production is there now anyway - maybe we can even get them interested in managing the whole operation. Looks like a win/win solution to me.

Another alternative? You won't like this one, but take a lesson from history. Spain HAD the same problem with illegals crossing the straits from Africa to escape the chaos in their own homelands. They tried the same ineffective tactics our government has tried, with the same results. Their border existed on paper only, and their economy was going right down the tubes trying to cope with the strain. Sound familiar? The Spanish government, with the consent of their citizens, finally said alright, already, and actually began to use their resources effectively. The Coast Guard was put on alert and given orders to fire on and sink any unidentified ships that did not heed their warning to turn around. Within 90 days, the incidence of illegal crossings was cut by 90%. Radical? Yes. Effective? A most positive affirmative. Practical? Indubitably. Humane? Figure the accumulative pain and suffering faced by those trying to take advantage of the current situation, and the ever diminishing resources available to help our own disadvantaged citizens, putting a firm stop to the problem seems humane in every sense.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:03 PM

October 03, 2002

Trojan Horses

Don't get me started on Sports Utility Vehicles ... Oops! Too late...

The government rewards the manufacturers of these amazingly incompetent and dangerous machines by exempting them from the same pollution standards almost any other road vehicle available to John Q Public has to meet. The same safety standards obviously don't apply as evidenced by the approval of lap belts and less effective brakes. The bumblers who design the rigid mount bumpers don't seem to be getting too worked up about impact absorption figuring Joe's family sedan can soak up all the momentum in an accident. With a nod and a wink to the federal inspectors, they proudly display their product with a standard tire to meet the bumper height requirements, and then ship them out the door with rubber that would look ridiculous on a tractor.

- Braking. The average SUV needs approximately 20 more feet than Joe's family sedan to stop safely. That extra car length makes a difference. A side impact from one of these things almost guarantees serious injury and they'll roll right over you taking the roof and your head with it given the right circumstances. The fact that these bohemoths can outweigh a car two to one decreases the survival chances of the innocents around them by an astronomical factor.

- Visibility. Joe's trying to see around something several feel taller and wider than his practical vehicle. Less seen, more surprises. Don't even bother telling me about safe following distance. It may be theoretically possible to maintain the recommended interval, but this is the real world. You leave a hole big enough for safe braking distance to allow for something you can't see happening two vehicles ahead, and someone WILL slide in. Build a safe interval and traffic will increase to defeat it.

- Power and Handling. As a rule, SUVs aren't even living up to expectations off the road, much less on the highway. Those big tires coupled with overloaded suspensions look really kool and sell a lot of units but are a recipe for disaster. The average driver just does not and probably never will have the expertise and superior handling skills necessary to control a vehicle this size in a sudden stop or turn.

- Economy. In order to get satisfactory performance (as in trying to justify the incredible sticker price), these big boys are pushing up to 350 horses and getting 12 miles to the gallon. Get one stuck in rush hour traffic, and you can almost see the world dying around them. Greenpeace should consider going after the auto companies and let the whales take care of themselves for a while.

- Safety. Would you believe shoulder belts are still considered optional equipment in many SUVs? And who hasn't caught a rock in the windshield thrown by one of those mammoth tires sticking a foot out of the wheelwells? Factor in everything else mentioned before and nuff said.

- Add to all this the fact that the insurance on these puppies due to the incredibly high sticker prices and cost of repair could buy may small countries, and you wonder how Mad Avenue can get away with calling an SUV a "practical" vehicle. Someone ought to sue these clowns for false advertising. The "practical" result of all this is the worst the weather gets, the slower they go. After all, wouldn't want to scratch the status symbol, would we ??

The government rewards the manufacturers of these amazingly incompetent and dangerous machines by exempting them from the same pollution standards almost any other road vehicle available to John Q Public has to meet. The same safety standards obviously don't apply as evidenced by the approval of lap belts and less effective brakes. The bumblers who design the rigid mount bumpers don't seem to be getting too worked up about impact absorption figuring Joe's family sedan can soak up all the momentum in an accident. With a nod and a wink to the federal inspectors, they proudly display their product with a standard tire to meet the bumper height requirements, and then ship them out the door with rubber that would look ridiculous on a tractor.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:26 PM

May 13, 2002

The Brady Bunch

Sarah Brady - Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Gun Control Advocate extraordinaire!

She single handedly forced gun control into our lives. No matter which side of the fence you prefer, you have to give her credit for her single-minded perseverance in getting the Brady Bill passed as law. She has proven herself as a role model for this generation when it comes to commitment and sacrifice.

Or has she?

Recently diagnosed with lung cancer, she freely describes herself as a nicotine addict who has tried unsuccessfully to quit smoking on several occasions. When asked if she intends to quit now that the situation is admittedly grim, she lists to the press reporters items on her agenda that are currently more important to her. Apparently, arranging celebrations for the eighth anniversary (what's that … Paper? , Lint?) of the gun law's passage. I find it hard to be sympathetic after hearing her remarks.

During the debates that raged over the issue of gun control after her husband was shot and paralyzed, Sarah Brady steadfastly put forth the premise that we are all responsible to society for our actions. The old cop out "Guns don't kill people" didn't wash with her. She wasn't about to accept that people were capable of policing themselves to a degree, and that further infringements on our personal freedoms were not warranted.


"The decline in gun deaths is proof that gun control laws work. Look where we are today: crime is down to record levels and gun crimes have fallen even faster than crime overall."

"If President Bush is serious about denying weapons to terrorists, and I believe that he is, then he should support our efforts to take this simple step that will solve this problem - by requiring a criminal background check every time a firearm is sold."

"But there is one critical need that Congress has failed to address - weak federal firearm laws that terrorists exploit to stockpile deadly weapons."

- There were 28,874 gun deaths in the United States in 1999, down from 39,595 in 1993, a 27% drop.

- For the same period, deaths related to smoking went from 401,109 to 396,741, a decline of only 1%.

So where are our priorities? Obviously in the wrong place, from the statistics listed above. Progress in the fight against crime is commendable, but where is the same dedication when it comes to attacking the criminal actions of

- The tobacco companies for producing and distributing a product that kills 14 times more people annually.
- Our elected officials for not only allowing this to happen, but obviously supporting the manufacturers in these criminal acts with price supports and vague legislation that allows the continuance of past policy.
- The medical profession and health insurance industry for meekly accepting the status quo.
- The users, addicts, whatever you wish to call them, who seem to be of the opinion that society in general is at fault and responsible for supporting them when they inevitably become a burden.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Tobacco use costs more than $50 billion in direct U.S. medical costs annually. Each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides and fires combined.

Health insurance premiums are out of control, and one of the primary drivers is the increased cost to insurers due to cancer treatments for smokers. It's time we applied the same standards to smoking cessation that the Brady bunch insists be applied to gun advocates, and incidentally, criminals. Approximately 80 percent of adult smokers started smoking before age 18 - let's institute a waiting period in which those of tender age who are considering taking up the habit can see the error of their ways. Let current addicts apply for medical assistance to kick nicotine. We've got special federal funds to save the spotted owl - I'm sure we can all kick in to finance a one-shot smokeout. Upon the expiration of the time limit, rewrite the insurance policies to list smoking in the same category as suicide and other such self-inflicted injuries, with the stipulation that any future medical procedures that are smoking related be denied.

More important issues to address? I think not, once all smokers are made to realize that they, and only they, are accountable for their actions and will in fact be required to pay the price.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:08 PM

January 15, 2002

Recycle This!

We're slowly drowning in our own garbage. Do we care ? Apparently not a whole hell of a lot. Is there anything we can do ? Apparently not a whole hell of a lot. Oh ye of the gullible persuasion, ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do to you. Everytime you make that extra effort to recycle a tin can or two, be mindful of the fact that you've freed up additional landfill space in Michigan to KEEP CANADA CLEAN !!

Huh? What?

A little corporate arithmetic is in order here. Gone are the days of the semi-retired guy making a couple of extra bucks hauling trash with an old beat up pickup truck. Gone even are the days of the local entrapeneur who put together a fleet of trucks to service his local metropolitan area. Welcome to the age of BIG TRASH !! We're talking conglomerates here and hugh piles of money to compensate them for transporting ever greater piles of society's leftovers to someone else's backyard. Consolidation is the name of the game today, where small operators are gobbled up by larger companies who are absorbed by regional corporations who are then buried by the national mega corporation. Damn shame someone can't come up with a process to gobble, absorb, and then bury the trash with the same efficiency.

Recycling is the bane of these monster combines. They've pushed their bottom line to the point that the only way to grow is to handle more and more trash. A local example of the lengths to which these "concerned corporate citizens" will go involved a local news team following some trucks around for a while to see what actually happened to the garbage. Items that had been sorted and placed at the curb for recycling went into the same hopper as the less desirable leftovers, and ultimately ended up in the same hole in the ground. Liquid waste that had been earmarked for special disposal areas was sprayed on corn fields for "fertilizer". MMMMMmmmm, makes you want to go right out and eat a cob today! Where's the government while all this is happening? (Shhhhh ... you'll wake them up ... )

Which brings us back (about time) to the KEEP CANADA CLEAN thing. The battle raging currently in Michigan involves the merger and takeover of local county landfills by these megaslobs. Government has to this point run these dumps with the same amazing level of efficiency with which they approach any undertaking, which is to say, none at all. One would thing privatization would be a good thing, no ? No is the correct answer. The bottom line requires that they now IMPORT GARBAGE to keep the stockholders happy. Ninety percent of Canada is unpopulated, and they're sending half their garbage to Detroit! Who sez it has to make sense, eh?

So next time you set a box of recycling by the curb, feel proud of what you're doing to help our neighbor's to the north. Maybe you can whistle "Oh Canada" when the truck pulls up. I'm sure they'll remember us when we're buried to our knees in old Labatt's bottles and holey tuks. (Yah, heh, and I be da Queen of England too, dontcha know ... )

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:24 PM

December 14, 2000

Supreme Injustice

The election of 2000 pointed out yet again some fairly impeachable flaws in our system of government. When the will of the people can be ignored and a decision made based on the spin of a group of hand-picked shills who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to influence the outcome, there’s something incontrovertibly wrong with business as usual.

It’s difficult to decide who failed most dramatically as the events unfolded. It’s also evidently quite difficult to ignore a disturbing array of connections between the key players in this particular melodrama.

First, you have the Bush camp, who won’t deny, and just as readily not admit, that they did lose the popular vote. Well then, it’s the electoral vote that really counts in a “representative democracy”, right?

- The Governor of the state that put George Bush over the top was Jeb Bush.

- The Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, who bent the rules at will (if not outright breaking them) when establishing the guidelines and eligibility of the vote recounts was George Bush’s campaign chairperson as far back as 1999.

- Fox News was the first to call the election for George Bush. The other networks were either leaning towards Al Gore or holding back, saying it was too close to call. Incidently, a rabid Bush supporter, who just happens to be a cousin of George, was sitting on the election coverage desk at Fox that night. A suspicious mind might come to the conclusion that Rupert Murdoch was trying to stack the deck and get Gore to concede early and let his man have the big chair.

- I suppose I should avoid mentioning that George is Jr to the man who spent many a year as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, running a crack troop of experienced agents with extensive experience in overturning elections and pulling off the occasional third world revolution in their spare time. Some people might make me out to be a conspiracy theorist, so forget I mentioned it. No … really. I’m sure it had nothing to do with it

Then you have the Gore camp, who failed to follow through. They KNEW they had been had, and gave up the fight too soon. Maybe Fox News was right in thinking they could force a concession. Speaking of concessions, here’s a quote from Al Gore’s:

“Some have asked whether I have any regrets and I do have one regret: that I didn't get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed, especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard.”

I’m sorry, did I miss something, Mr. Gore? Seems to me that’s the point – our voices were not heard after all. Maybe you did us a favor bowing out early rather than taking the fight to the streets, but I doubt it. Your presidency would have been different, good or bad, but it would have been YOUR presidency. If nothing else, you would have reaffirmed our collective faith in the electoral process.

The real culprits in this fiasco? The Supreme Court decided the final outcome by upholding (or at least not disallowing) the findings of Bush’s campaign chairman in Florida (AKA: the Secretary of State) who rewrote the rules on the vote recount in the state run by the candidate’s brother. Here’s a fun filled fact often overlooked – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had the deciding vote and didn’t think the fact that his son was a lead attorney with the Bush legal team important enough to recuse himself from the decision.

The Supreme Court's decision not to decide in the matter of who's in charge only reinforces the inalienable truth that our current political system is built with less structural integrity than a house of cards. We find gridlock now extends beyond the Congress and threatens the very roots of our once envied democratic society. I suspect our founding fathers would have been amazed to find that, generations later, otherwise intellegent leaders waste their time and ours attempting to somehow divine their intent concerning issues that did not exist when they lived.

Consensus seems to suggest that the justices in the marble temple were attempting to avoid invalidating the state laws governing elections in a majority of states by refusing to dictate election reform in Florida. By doing so, they leave the solution to future generations. There's always hope that changes will be in place prior to the next election to prevent the same issues from once again derailing the American Dream.

Oh … is it that time again??

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 08:24 AM

July 12, 2000

Just Impeachy

Congress, bless their little black hearts, has somehow managed to attain all new lows in the current session. Gridlock is a way of life, and I assume some feared actually accomplishing something useful thru no fault of their own. Thus the current debacle. Neither party is to blame, no one is really accountable. They simply got bored with doing what they were elected to do and moved on to other business. We the people owe our Senators and Representatives all the respect they never earned and to hell with us if we somehow expect more. I truly believe we get what we deserve, and seeing what we got this time around, I'd really hate to see what comes next.

The buzzword of the day for those of you living in a bubble is IMPEACHMENT. Makes a good 30 second sound bite every 30 seconds or so. Andrew Jackson at least didn't have to put up with the Multitude of Medias trying to scoop each other with the latest rumors. Clinton, Lewinski, the voting public, morality - all have been described as the "victim" in what will eventually be remembered as the most expensive blow job in history. The real victims are TRUTH, HONESTY, and the AMERICAN WAY. These are the things we've lost, and it wasn't Clinton who is the culprit. It's not even something that just happened - it's been coming for a long time. The real assassins of this melodrama are the lawyers who insist on viewing every daily event as an exercise in loopholes and legalese, who thrive and profit on complicating the simplest things beyond any hope of understanding or resolution. Add a double helping of media hounds smelling blood and abandoning any sense of fair play or responsible reporting in search of the GREAT STORY. Add a complacent general public who bask in this drivvle and use it to fill the void between the afternoon soaps and prime time mayhem. Throw in the demogogues and spin doctors for good measure, and it's a safe bet we'll never know what really happened or even care. It's entertainment, in the same vein as roller derby and WCW wrestling - it really doesn't have to have a point is the point. It matters not, history is rewritten to suit the writers, and whatever happens here is sure to be lost in the flood of events that actually mean something to the generations that follow.

Hats off to Larry Flynt, one of the few sane voices heard in the current debate. He reminds me of someone who once said, "Let he who is without sin ,etc. etc..." His offer to buy dirt on those he percieves to be his opponents is simply an extension of the mud-slinging currently practiced in each election by the people screaming the loudest to denounce his actions. Payback's hell, ain't it ?? Even if half of what he's dug up on the principle actors in this little melodrama isn't true, that's probably a better average that what's been said of Clinton and his associates since Monica said "ummmph".

The sad part of this fiasco is the general public is eating it up. What, you say you didn't swallow? The true fault lies within us all. We are all products of our environment, and the environment that sustains the apparent need to drag our country and honor thru the mud is a product of our own general decrepit morals. We've replaced the Bonnie Isle of Britain as the Clown Prince and the Third Estate is having a field day, knowing one day soon, we too may come to our senses and say, enough is enough. It's a safe bet they'll milk it for what it's worth until that day comes. Perhaps someday we will actually elect a Congress whose sole purpose is to attend to the People's agenda. Without the press to feed them, and without them for the Press to feed on, that Congress may attain some level of it's past glory.

As for the lawyers, demogogues and spin doctors ... line em up and shoot every tenth one. If that don't straighten them out, LINE EM UP AGAIN !

( When all is said and done, have we no shame ?? )

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:21 PM

April 27, 1999

Reserved Parking

The Americans with Disabilities Act was an attempt by Congress to provide a basic right of all to equal opportunity under the law. As usual, our great and mighty leaders forgot to read the book and came up with a feeble and ineffective bill that in most cases fails to right the wrongs it was intended to address. Progress has been cosmetic at best. The Act itself is disabled. The broad and generalized language of the statute effectively allows any situation that impairs the ability of an individual, in their or their lawyer's estimation to fully realize their right to whine incessantly about everything and more, as legal grounds to sue. The courts are currently under a state of seige, and the people who really needed the help in the first place are the least helped by the ADA.

When we think of disability, we think of missing limbs, total paralysis, brain damage, and the more serious of life's afflictions. The legal profession once again seized a potential fat cow and the opportunity to make a buck, and are now attempting to expand the definition to include the many inconveniences afforded the biologically imperfect sack of surplus chemicals we know as the human form. A real surprise was the top ten claims currently in vogue, which includes mental disability and lower back pain as the current favorites. The more astute among you may have realized by now these of all percieved problems would of course be the most difficult to refute or disallow. How many courts and juries have approved damages in these case simply because there was no real way to prove merit and allowed compensation based on a reasonable doubt? Current cases in front of the Supreme Court include everything from high blood pressure to to near-sightedness, and the end result will be a bill with no teeth and less, not more, respect and justice for the bonafide impaired. The chances of an actual defendable lawsuit being of benefit to a legitimately disabled individual are exponentially lowered everytime one of these frivilous suits go to the bench. The legal profession wins no matter what the realized benefit by those the Act was meant to assist. As the plot thickens, the rules change, and the technicalities muddy the waters, the profit potential increases and the retainers multiply.

So where do we draw the line? The Supreme Court has at least voiced a reasonable doubt as to the validity of some of the more obvious attempts to take advantage of the protections intended by the ADA. Dissenting opinion states the obvious question ... Where exactly do we draw the line? If near-sightedness or high blood pressure are allowed as valid disabilities, how can we ignore allergies and false teeth? There may come a day when halitosis and body odor are legitimate disabilities requiring special effort and expenditures by employers to rectify any social ills percieved by those who smell bad. I need to know that I am not opening myself up to potential lawsuit any time I have audacity to mention it when one of my fellow co-workers forgets to bathe or use a deodorant, douses themselves with gallons of cheap perfume, or passes gas. Under a broader interpretation of the statutes, this scenario is not totally without merit.

Next time you pass the handicapper parking spaces at your local supermarket, take a private poll and see just who avail's themselves of the opportunity. Chances are pretty good you'll see at least one person whose only obvious problem is obesity trundling back to the car with a load of pizza and ice cream. Contrary to popular opinion, fat is not now and never has been a disability. More times than not, you'll see people who obviously shouldn't be driving in the first place who put the world at risk everytime they climb behind the wheel. Another of my all time favorites is the kid borrowing Daddy's car, and what the hell, we got the plate - might as well use it ...

Before the bleeding hearts start bleeting as they're prone to do, keep in mind I personally qualify for special privileges under the American Disability Act, but would feel dirty using the Act as some of these lowlifes and social misfits have attempted. In my case, it's not necessarily the plastic knee, or the aluminum ankle, or even for that matter the plate in my head (It's the voices, it's the voices ...), so I for one have a vested interest in seeing that the disabled are afforded their just due. I solemnly promise to resist the urge to abuse the process for frivolous purposes, and fully intend to invoke special privilege only as a last resort. Amen.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:19 PM