Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thank You and Go In Peace

Music and photos of tribute for the WWII veterans who are leaving us everyday; Go to “Before You Go” and have your speakers turned on.

To My Kin, Memorial Day 2006

To my daughters, nephews, grandsons and granddaughter: Tomorrow is Memorial Day. In my home hangs the display of these medals won by your grandfather or great-grandfather respectively. I wonder if you have any concept of what it means to have won them. Dad was doing what so many others did in World War II to defeat fascism in the form of Nazi Germany and Japan; He served in the military and did his part.

Dad was in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. As you can see in the photo, he was a Sergeant. Somewhere, along the line he became a Staff Sergeant. Maybe that happened in Europe. I don’t know.

He was all over Europe and went through the Battle of the Bulge. I don’t know what all happened during those years because he never wanted to talk about it. It could not have been good. His secrets went with him to the grave, and maybe that’s best.

Dad’s generation thought that by defeating Nazi and Japanese fascism that they were making the world safe. And, they did for a short while until Communism rose up and took center stage by enslaving and murdering millions of people. It is ironic that Dad’s generation, which fought so gallantly in World War II and Korea, lost it’s backbone with Vietnam when the feckless portion of my generation rose up in protest and disgraced itself with its shameful treatment of those who served in Vietnam.

Now the world is again threatened by a new brand of fascism; this time it is called Islamo-fascism. I pray that my generation will ultimately come to its senses and understand how utterly wrong we were during the Vietnam era and recognize the Islamic-fascist writing on the wall. So far, the majority of the American citizens appear to understand the greater truth, which is denied by the left.

The left deceived us in Vietnam, and it is trying to do so again. It is up to you, my daughters and nephews, to correct the wrong done by your father’s generation in that you don’t allow it to happen again. If you don’t, my grandchildren and your children will pay the price.

I hope that you will take some time this Memorial Day to reflect upon the sacrifice that your ancestor made on your behalf. But, it’s up to you because we’ve not succeeded in making the world safe for anyone.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fair Use or Theft

Many blogs freely publish works without obtaining permission from the owner or attributing the source. This is especially true of photographs. Whether or not you can use the work of another or how much of the work that you can use is governed by the Fair Use Doctrine. Go here for a discussion about copyright laws.

Michael Yon took one of the most fantastic photos of all time when he captured Major Bieger carrying the lifeless form of little Farah, who had just been killed by an insurgent bomber in a car. A signed copy of that photo hangs on the wall in the entryway of my home. I’d like to post the photo here for you to see it, but to do so would be a violation of a copyright. You can go to either one of the two immediately preceding links to view the photo.

Not long after Michael posted the photo for the first time, I wrote Michael and asked his permission to use the photo in my law enforcement teaching. Michael graciously granted the permission with the understanding that I would not be making money off of his work. I scrupulously adhere to his conditional permission, and I am honored to have been able to include his work in my presentation.

Go here for Michael’s blog on his copyright problems.

Most of the photographs that appear in my blog are taken by me. There are some exceptions, but not many.

California Coastal Range

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Domestically, How are We Doing on National Security?

From the perspective of post-9/11/01, American law enforcement is not doing well enough on national security problems. Let’s put it this way: We are certainly not doing it as well as we are capable of doing it. That’s admittedly a subjective evaluation from a local law enforcement intelligence officer.

Basically until the 9/11/01 attacks, local and state law enforcement was asleep and unaware of the magnitude of a problem not just on the horizon, but already entrenched in our towns and cities. That is especially true of the small and medium size departments, which were not members of a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Large departments, such as the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office, have enjoyed the luxury of holding full membership on the LA JTTF for many years. JTTF members are privy to a large amount of information concerning terrorist organizations and supporters present in the U.S. Unfortunately, that information is only sparingly and occassionaly shared with non-member agencies even though the target individuals often work and live in a non-member’s jurisdiction. And, information that is potentially available from smaller agencies may not ever see the light of day or be passed to a JTTF.

The failure to communicate cross jurisdictionally is based on some real world problems. Any system of vital information sharing is primed for failure, or at least is far less effective, when all the players are not sitting down at the same table. First, and foremost, is the problem that JTTF information is federally classified and access requires an appropriate federal security clearance. Those clearances are not easy to come by and take a long time to acquire after it has been demonstrated that a recipient officer is to become an active participant in an investigation. And, becoming an active investigative participant requires relief from other law enforcement duties. That means increased cost to the local department. Well you might ask, why don’t the local police departments just step up to the bar and do the right thing by demanding membership in a JTTF and fund this vital function? The answer is really quite simple. A majority of the mid-size and smaller local agencies do not have a dedicated intelligence function in their organization. Whether they have an intelligence unit or not, if they are not members of a JTTF they are deprived of the true status of the threat and don’t realize the significance of the need. Consequently, those authorities are liable to look upon an intelligence function as less vital than other traditional law enforcement functions. We might just as well state that ignorance is bliss. Or, perhaps it is a little bit of the “it won’t happen in my backyard,” and if it happens it will be in that big city somewhere else. Not necessarily true. An example is the recent Lodi, CA, case. In essence, the failure of any police department to embrace an intelligence function as a full partner in the national security effort is betting that nothing will happen in their jurisdiction. I do not accept that premise. We have some responsibility to the citizens of jurisdictions other than our own that may be harmed by terrorists currently in our jurisdiction. The 9-11 hijackers lived in smaller jurisdictions while they trained and waited to commit their terrorist acts. History could have been altered if the smaller jurisdictions had been proactively chasing terrorist leads?

The Rand Corporation released a study entitled, “Think Locally, Act Nationally,” examining the problem of the intelligence function. More precisely, the study highlighted the general lack of a non-federal intelligence component. The study is based on 2002 data, and they acknowledge that the results may not reflect in some instances the current status. I am betting that the Rand conclusions are as accurate today as they were in 2002. There is some evidence that as we move away from 9-11 that there is a retreat from the intelligence function. The study stated:

Virtually everyone agrees that the U.S. war on terrorism should involve local police departments and state law enforcement agencies. Nonetheless, such efforts have been spotty, incomplete, and devoid of a coordinated national strategy.

…we found the paucity of local capacity for intelligence analysis to be striking. Only the very largest police departments have any analytic capacity at all.

… the bulk of local intelligence activity is now concentrated among larger police agencies that typically pay for the work themselves, receiving little or no explicit federal support.

In fact, the federal government today is showing less interest in providing such support than it once did.
Local agencies must begin to think nationally, and the federal government must orchestrate a truly national intelligence effort encompassing as active partners all law enforcement. To do otherwise is irresponsible.

There you have it folks. Many of your local law enforcement agencies are not doing the job that they should relative to national security. And, the federal government is not taking an adequate lead in solving the problem. That’s my opinion; maybe it’s yours as well. Let’s start being a squeaky wheel before we are reduced to crying for our losses.

Monday, May 22, 2006

“The About to Bite Us War”

Michael Yon is sounding the alarm about the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban are coming alive in the countryside, and they are going to have money to burn. Actually they will first convert the money to weapons, and then they will start the burning. Michael writes:

The money from the massive opium harvest in 2006 will buy weapons and influence that will be used against us in the spring of 2007.
Is anyone listening? Actually there are other journalists saying much the same thing. It’s just not at the top of the MSM must play list. Go to Michael’s blog “Hiatus Corpus” for informative and interesting links.

(The title of this blog is borrowed from Michael’s piece.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

GOP Revolution is Underway

GOP incumbents are losing in the primaries. Read about it at California Political News.

The civil war over values and agendas can not be won unless the GOP represents the will of the base. The blood letting is necessary, so let the purge begin to clear the way for a new crop of politicians. To do any less cedes our country to the liberal agenda.

Murtha Served Well, Now It’s Time to Go

John Murtha served his country well as a U.S. Marine during Vietnam. I thank him for his service. But, his continual attacks on our military suggest that perhaps advancing age has played a cruel trick on this old warrior.

Sometimes it seems as if older men lose the steel in their backbones, and they forsake the ideals of their youth. Some might say “nay” and proclaim that the old warrior has attained wisdom. I disagree. I think it is more likely that they are worn down, facing the shortness of their mortality, and simply can no longer stand tall in the face of real adversity.

It is time for Murtha to retire from public life.

Russ Vaughn has a piece on the topic entitled “Send this Old Warhorse to the Barn” at the Mudville Gazzette.

In the Thick of It in Iraq

I’m feeling a little melancholy tonight as I write and sip a glass of cabernet sauvignon by Catacula Lake Winery. This bottle is special as it was a gift from Jay and Di on the occasion of my last birthday. Jay and Di find that wine to be a favorite, and a fine wine it is. That was a day of surprises as my wife pulled-off a surprise birthday party, and friend’s gathered to help celebrate. Jay could not be here, of course, because he is deployed in Iraq. You may recall that I wrote about Jay in pieces entitled, “Thanks to Those Who Carry Our Water,” and “Iraqi Soldiers Standing Up.” Anyway, I got another surprise when Jay called from Iraq and wished me a happy birthday. That was great, but I sure wish he had been here instead.

It is extremely important that the American people get the straight information from Iraq. There are no better sources of true information than from the boots on the ground. I asked Jay to write about his experiences in order that we can all be better informed. Enclosed below is a letter from Jay. He asked me to edit his work for him, and I have done so sparingly. I’ve added a comma here, a period there, and an occasional word for clarity, but nothing substantial, except as noted in the text. Here’s Jay’s letter:

Hi All,
I am sorry that I am worse at this e-mail writing than letter writing. So, I hope no one takes offense to my writing a "to all" email to bring everyone up to date. Busy is an understatement for this place. The AlAnbar (SVS-the largest province in Iraq and due west of Baghdad and Fallajuah) is the hot spot these days. But, at least the time flies when were busy. A few incidents induced me to write and let you know what's really going on.
We have been out of the wire almost every day, and we had a big op that was a success. But, success has a weird definition here. We established a new COP (Combat Out Post) in the north of AlAnbar/Jeezera, which gives us a presence in the bad guys back yard. They are not real happy to have us there. The elevated danger comes from the COP being so far away from re-enforcements. So of ourse, we were attacked and mortared. Regrettably we had 16 WIA and one KIA. Two guys from our team were medically evacuated back to the states with shrapnel wounds. They won't be coming back. Things have calmed down a little since we got some positive payback on the insurgent mortar crew. Just getting through each day is a victory here in Habbaniyah (SVS-city in AlAnbar.) Most days we just have "close calls" including mortar and small arms fire. It’s getting really old, and thankfully most of us have been unharmed. Good thing the insurgents are lousy shots (knock on wood,) and of course we are better at tactics. It's the damn IED's that take the toll on our teams. They are really hard to counter, and detection usually depends on luck or a local telling us about them. The locals are more afraid of the insurgents then they are of us. So, getting information from them is hard for us and dangerous for them.

Our Hummers can take most of the hits from the IED's. It's the walking patrols where we get hammered by those damn things. My team (at HQ) has it better off than some. We have three teams in the field every day, and my team only has to go out about 4 or 5 days a week. As for our mission (??) of being advisers, we usually do that while on patrol. I keep telling them that I'm a truck driver, but no one listens.The living conditions here are getting better everyday. We have pretty good power from a huge generator, and enough water for showers at least twice a week. The food is good, thanks to the Army, and we get over to their chow hall a few times a week. Most meals are Iraqi chicken and rice lamb stew (?) and flat bread. Chow is not an issue. We have a microwave. Life is good! All the care packages keep me well stocked with everything I need and more. Thank you all. I am just sorry I can't reciprocate as I would like.

It really sounds worse than it is, but everyone over here is in danger. I just want you to know what's going on because you just never know what can happen. We all are well trained at what we are doing. So, just wish us luck, and I will see you in 8 short months. Hey, we are already 1/3 of the way through this deployment. I will get a couple weeks leave this summer, but I'm not sure when.

I will attempt to update everyone more often, and feel free to forward my emails if I leave someone out. I worry about telling some people things they don't want to hear. So, I hope this e-mail finds all of you in good health and spirits. All is well here, and I will try to keep in touch more often. But, as you all know by now, I'm not very good at keeping in touch. I will try harder. Again, thank you to everyone for the cards letters and emails. It's what keeps us going over here. We all share everything from candy to love letters.

So, hopefully this will bring you up to date. I will avoid telling you all the drama and bad news in future emails. I'm sure you don't want to hear it anyway.
I will talk to you soon.

Thanks. Hugs and Love to all.
Thank you, Jay. But, please leave the drama and bad stuff in your e-mails. We need to hear the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Here’s to you, Jay. Mighty fine wine.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mt.Soledad, San Diego

United 93 Provokes Sublimated Emotions

Some things happen in history which have an extra emotional punch, and you can remember where you were and what you were doing when the event occurred. For me that first happened with the assassination of President Kennedy. I was in a high school gymnasium at a pep rally on Nov. 22, 1963.

Where were you and what were were you doing when the first plane hit the World Trade Center? How about the second plane into the World Trade Center? The first plane struck the WTC at 8:46 A.M., New York time. It was still dark on the West Coast, and I became aware of the incident a few minutes later when my daughter called and stated that she had just seen the news on the television. I took no particular notice of the event other than acknowledging a tragedy, kissed my wife goodbye and bid her a safe trip as she drove to work. A few minutes later, she called to advise me that a second plane had hit the WTC. I knew immediately that the crashes were not coincidences and that terrorism was in-play. I just had no idea of the players. I proceeded to a local coffee shop where I watched the drama unfold until the Pentagon was struck. It was then that the full realization swept over me that this country was under attack by a determined enemy. The rest of the day became a whirlwind of telephone calls and meetings trying to determine, with very little evidence, if the threat would migrate to the West Coast. Even after United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, a source of mine on the Federal level advised that an airplane originally heading toward Los Angeles was missing. City officials wanted to know what it was likely to target if it made its way to Southern California. Of greater concern was whether or not airplanes taking off from West Coast airports were going to be hijacked. Law enforcement agencies all over the country were trying to cope and reach out to contacts in other agencies. All the while, the rescue work had begun in Pennsylvania, Washington and New York. I had no time to neither reflect emotionally on all that was happening nor appreciate that which must be occurring with the FAA and military as they struggled to understand what was happening and to fashion a response. I also did not get in touch emotionally with the actual hijackings of the airplanes and the terror of the crew and passengers. I knew intellectually, but I must have sublimated the emotions as a coping mechanism to function analytically on 9/11/01 and the following weeks. Somehow the emotional connection did not occur until today when I saw the film “United 93.”

I wrote in a previous blog that Beverly Hills High School students should be seeing “United 93” instead of Al Gore’s global warming film. I said so because it is important to understand the threat of Islamo-fascism is far greater than any potential threat of global warming. I now realize that the movie “United 93” is far more than just that understanding. We must recognize the essential difference between our culture and the Islamo-fascist culture, which is intent on the killing of all of us. Our culture is one of life and survival. Theirs is one of death.

All of the four planes were hijacked and that means that all of the crews and passengers where attacked, terrorized, and ultimately killed. Some passengers of Untied 93 initially assumed that the hijackers would make demands and negotiate the release of the airplane and passengers. That must have been the thinking of the crews and passengers of the three prior planes that struck the WTC and the Pentagon. That was a reasonable assumption since the world had not yet witnessed mass murderers with a deliberate intent to die with the victims on such a large scale. The passengers and crew of United 93 had the advantage of learning about the three prior planes, and they correctly deduced that the intent of the hijackers was death to all. While there was little probability that the insurrection of the passengers and crew could succeed in wresting control of the airplane back from the hijackers, they did what had to be done and derailed the intent of the hijackers. That is the true American spirit.

Turn off your TV, get off your couch, forget about your sports team and your Hollywood idol, and go see “United 93.” Connect with the emotions and begin to understand what is happening in the world. Stand-up like a true American, and demand that our government get on a dedicated long-term war footing and face the Islamo-fascist threat. If you don’t have the backbone to stand-up, God help us if you win the next elections.

Mexico is No Friend of Ours

Do you remember that trip to Cancun or Acapulco where you had so much fun? The Mexican people were so nice to you. I remember a scientific collection trip deep into the heart of Mexico. The people in the little villages were hospitable and friendly. What a nice bunch of people with our basic Judeo-Christian values. Hard working folks interested in doing the best that they can for their families, and interested in improving their economic lot.

Why are they leaving their own country and coming to the U.S. in a virtual tsunami wave? Because, Mexico, with huge natural resources, is a third world nation corrupt to the core. Mexico can not exist without the cash received from the U.S., and the money sent back by their citizens is the number one cash crop. The Mexican citizens are literally farming the U.S. economy to fund Mexico.

OK, I can buy the motivation of the people argument. But, is Mexico, the country, a friend of the U.S. like President George W. Bush is so fond of stating? Retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent David J Stoddard says they are not our friend:

Mexico is NOT a friend of the United States. Since 1848 Mexicans have resented the United States. During World War I Mexico allowed German Spies to operate freely in Mexico to spy on the U.S. During World War II Mexico allowed the Axis powers to spy on the U.S. from Mexico. During the Cold War Mexico allowed spies hostile to the U.S. to operate freely. The attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 was cheered and applauded all across Mexico. Today Mexican school children are taught that the U.S. stole California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. If you don't believe it, check out some Mexican textbooks written for their schoolchildren.
Stoddard wrote an open letter to Sen. Frist on the subject of “…propaganda and myths circulating about illegal aliens.” Go here to read his posting of the letter.

Stoddard’s revelation about Mexican textbooks puts a new slant on the entire “Reconquista” issue. I’ve taken pot shots at the Reconquista crowd on these pages, but until now I’ve never taken them very seriously, even though they are a leftist organ. I’ve looked at them as a vile minority without much significance. That might not be the case. They could be the activists representing the tip of the iceberg of what is fomenting in Mexico.

Michelle Malkin posted that Los Angeles KTTV-LA television reporter Tony Valdez was interviewed on a LA local radio show and that:

Valdez rants about 1846, invokes “manifest destiny” as a rationale for supporting the sabotage of our immigration laws, recycles the “We didn’t cross the borders” nonsense…
Michelle posted that he said, “You took this country. You killed people in order to take this country for yourselves.”

There are tremendous leftist pressures in Mexico. Couple that with immense governmental corruption and crushing poverty and you have a recipe for revolution. With an immense Mexican population in the U.S., it is alarming to think of the potential consequences of a Mexican revolution with people dedicated to the Reconquista agenda. The Reconquista crowd is already in this country, and the movement could become a National Security issue in the future.

We do have a need for imported agricultural labor, and I support a guest worker program. We do not need imported labor in the trades, where they take the jobs of Americans and depress wages and benefits. We do not need illegal alien families living in poverty, and we don’t need them sucking up our social services. Guest worker does not mean prospective citizen, and it does not mean bringing your family or having a family in this country.

I say build the wall, militarize the border, prosecute U.S. employers who hire illegal aliens, create a guest worker program, start the deportation of illegal aliens, and seriously examine the value to this country for each alien applying for citizenship.

Mexico is showing its true colors by: a need to parasitize the U.S. economy by exporting its poverty; corruption, which facilitates drug trafficking; its flirtation with leftist policies; and an obsession with historical conflict, which resulted in the loss of territory. Mexico is no friend of the U.S.!

Friday, May 19, 2006


California Coastal Range.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Under Attack by Fiction and Science

There is quite the controversy about the fictional film Da Vinci Code, which is purported to challenge the authority of current Christian thinking. A segment of Christianity is apparently taking umbrage with the film. That’s understandable because so many uneducated people are now getting their “education” from agenda driven cinema instead of solidly researched literature and schooling.

Science, which may not be acquitting itself so well with the global warming issue, is making some Christians, who take the Bible literally, quite uncomfortable with scientific revelations about the relationship of man and other primates.

Based upon DNA studies, science is now stating that it appears as if the evolution of man and apes took a rather long time in separation due to interbreeding. Man bred with animals? See the reference here.

Also, scientists now claim that monkeys can talk by stringing words together into sentences. That was thought to be an exclusive human trait.

A recent study has shown that apes engage in planning activity. They will select a tool to accomplish a task and then save the favored tool for the same use at a later time. That’s a far cry from Darwin’s tool user observations.

Step by step the scientific community is reporting discoveries which are in conflict with the some foundational religious views. That, undoubtedly, is causing a great amount of angst. Whether or not certain Christian views are in conflict with scientific discoveries is immaterial. The great contribution of the Judeo-Christian tradition is a life enhancing value system, no matter how man came to be.

USS Oriskany Death and Rebirth

The USS Oriskany, an 888-foot aircraft carrier, was begun to be built1944 and she was commissioned in 1950. During her long service, many thousands of Americans called her home and many a pilot gave thanks to be able to return to safety by going wheels down on her grand flight deck.

The USS Oriskany was decommissioned in 1975. Time has done what neither accident nor foe could do by sending this battleship to the bottom of the sea. The USS Oriskany has become the first battleship deliberately sunk to become an artificial reef off the coast of Florida. In a sense, she has triumphed over death to be reborn as a haven and breeding ground for countless marine animals and plants.

The photo is of a plane from the USS Oriskany, which is now displayed on the USS Midway in San Diego.

Update 5/22/06: Go here for photos of the sinking.

Confused Liberal Educators Lead Students Astray

A science teacher at Beverly Hills High School has arranged to transport 1500 students in gas guzzling, smog spewing buses, which apparently contribute to environmental warming, to a theater where they can watch the debut of Al Gore’s new global warming movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Wouldn’t you think that she could find some environmentally friendly way to get to the theater, like maybe walk or ride a bicycle? And, they get to skip a day of school to do it.

Talk about misaligned priorities. The Beverly Hills High School administrators are apparently convinced that further liberal indoctrination is necessary about the supposed doom of environmental warming.

Without getting into a debate on the merits of the global warming controversy, suffice it to say that it was not all that long ago that learned scientists and august scientific bodies were shouting about the impending ice age that was about to descend upon us. That was just after we were convinced that the world was on the verge of starving to death due to overpopulation. Now were all going to cook on a giant rotisserie. Pardon me, but these scientists don’t have a sterling track record when it comes to predicting macro events.

A trailer for Al’s movie states that, "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb…” That may prove to be the only thing accurate in the movie. Only, it is Islamo-fascism that is ticking and not an environmental catastrophe from global warming.

If the Beverly Hills school administrators understood today’s dangers, they would send their students to see “Flight 93.” But, you can’t tell these myopic people anything because they see the world through liberal lenses.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Diploma or Competence?

What is the function of the public education system? Is it to produce an educated student, who is productive and capable of competing in society, or is it to handout a diploma to the student who has completed the high school coarse work but still failed to be a competent student? Silly me, I thought it was the former. But, not according to Massachusetts’ New Bedford School Committee.

The New Bedford School Committee has thumbed its nose at the state required Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test.

In a unanimous vote, the committee said students who meet all other requirements deserve a diploma, not the demeaning certificate of attendance that state law now says must be conferred on anyone who fails one or both of the English and math tests.

New Bedford must be plagued with a school system that can’t produce competent students from disadvantaged schools. So unlike California, which had not until recently required schools of certain subgroups to perform at the same level as schools for moderate and upper income white students, New Bedford is going to issue a diploma to substandard students anyway.

It has been more than a decade since the Commonwealth began its concerted effort to reform public education. Billions of dollars and a generation of students later, MCAS has not been the great equalizer. Urban schools in low-income neighborhoods still are disproportionately represented among schools with failing scores. Why? And why is the proper response to withhold high school diplomas from the very population that needs the credential most?

What do you want to bet that in Massachusetts the phrase used in the quoted paragraph above, “Urban schools in low-income neighborhoods,” is code for racial minorities?

There are two conclusions from the New Bedford story: the New Bedford School Committee is racist; and the New Bedford School Committee is willing to give incompetent students credentials that they did not earn. That means that the school district is lying to the failing student, who is not in a position to compete effectively with students who have mastered math and English skills. In essence, the school authorities are lying to both the incompetent students and the prospective employers.

Personal responsibility and individual productivity are not highly valued concepts in the socialized mindset. And, why should we expect anything different? After all, there is always the government to take care of the non-productive, entitlement crowd.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Pres. Bush on Illegal Immigration

The President’s speech was a measured approach to a tidal wave of dissent from the Republican base. If all that the President said was actually initiated, Pres. Bush just might save the party from dissolution. If it was just so much hot air to calm the faithful, the Republican will suffer the consequences. The President better have been serious, and he better have done his homework to assure that he can deliver on his program with the partnership of the congress.

I am not all that optimistic. Not addressed in the speech is the issue of children born in this country to illegal aliens. Are the children or are they not entitled to be U.S. citizens based upon their place of birth.

Another problem is the concept that illegal aliens could earn the right to citizenship, but that they must stand in-line behind aliens who play by the rules. How realistic is that idea? Legally applying aliens wait in-line for years to become citizens. How long would 12 million illegals be forced to stand in-line?

The lynch pin to the illegal alien problem is sanctions on employers who hire illegals. Drying up the job availability for illegal aliens is the only sure way to stop the influx and stem the flow.

The really big question is whether the President is serious and whether or not he has the political capital to make it happen.

Bellyache by the Irresponsible

The law says that if you are getting federal education aid, you can not use illegal drugs. If you do, you lose the aid. That’s pretty simple to understand.

Predictably, along comes an assortment of people who think that it is unfair because it is “double jeopardy” if the person has been convicted of the crime. No it is not “double jeopardy.” You are not convicted twice for the same crime. It is a civil consequence for an unacceptable behavior that is judged to be contrary to the effort to produce productive citizens through higher education with public funds.

In this article on the subject, an opponent to the law explains argues:

"This law doesn't deter drug use. It deters education," said Adam Wolf, an attorney with the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project in Santa Cruz. "Funding education is one of the smartest uses of tax dollars.

There is no surprise that opposition to the law springs from Santa Cruz, CA. The area is a hotbed of leftist radicalism and illegal drug use.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Step Forward and Do Your Part

There are many worth causes, charity wise. And, there are no people greater than Americans when it comes to reaching into their pockets to help someone less fortunate than themselves.

A charity event new to me addresses tuberous sclerosis complex which strikes children. Read what the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance has to say:

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs, primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. You will see it referred to both as tuberous sclerosis (TS) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The term TSC is used in scientific literature to distinguish tuberous sclerosis from Tourette's syndrome.

The true prevalence of TSC is unknown, but its incidence has recently been estimated to be 1 in 6,000 live births. This means approximately 50,000 individuals in the United States and more than 1 million worldwide have TSC. It occurs in both sexes and in all races and ethnic groups.

Because TSC is a genetic disorder, it is not contagious. It is the result of a genetic mutation over which a parent has no control. It is often first recognized in children who have two neurological symptoms—epileptic seizures and/or varying degrees of mental handicap. However, the clinical symptoms of TSC vary greatly and may often not appear until later in life. There are presently no cures and there is no way to predict how severely or mildly an individual may be affected by TSC.

Here’s a great way to connect with your family. Get involved in a charity walk like the one’s given by TSA. Go to the events calendar for a list of walks.

In Southern California, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is proud to join the TSA in hosting the “Step Forward to Cure Tuberous Sclerosis” 5 K Walk on Sunday, June 25, 2006.

Go to the website to register for the LA walk, or any of the TSA walks.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Institutionalized Educational Prejudice

Large metropolitan areas in California, especially along the coast, make up a majority of the population, and those voters are traditionally much more liberal than the remainder of the state. That assertion is easily confirmed by an examination of political party voting patterns. Thus, liberalism dominates California politics to such an extent that California is often referred to as the People’s Republic of California. The liberal agenda is well demonstrated in the administration of the failing public education system.

In the U.S., English and math skills are accepted objective criteria to measure the educational competency of students. And accordingly, individual schools are rated based upon the aggregate competency of its students. Please note that multiculturalism, diversity, tolerance, sex education, social responsibility, leftist politics, and gay and lesbian accomplishments are not included in the objective measurements. The latter subject matter was just approved by the California Senate. Whether the requirement to specifically include homosexual contributions in history text books survives the rest of the legislative process remains to be seen. Significantly, no California Republican lawmaker voted for the proposed law. What does that tell you about Democrats?

Several years ago, Californians did authorize a law requiring that high school seniors must pass a standardized exit exam in order to receive a high school diploma. That law is set to go into effect this year. Predictably, parents of students who are failing the exit exam test have sued claiming discrimination. See my post, “High School Exit Exams.”

Now it seems that the California State Board of Education has recognized that their plans to improve the educational competency of students have failed. That recognition highlights liberal prejudice and an acknowledgement of the futility of expecting the educational system to reverse the corrosive effects of the socialized entitlement environment from which lower achieving students hail. Unlike Pres. George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program that requires all students to meet grade-level proficiency, the California State Board of Education set-up a system which required whites to meet a higher educational standard than other enumerated racial, English learner, and lower socio-economic subgroups.

In California, the recognized student subgroups are: black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Filipino, Hispanic or Latino, Pacific Islander, White, English learner, socio-economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities.
… students who make up a significant subgroup such as black or English-as-a-second-language students only had to meet 80 percent of the goal set for their white peers.

The California State Board of Education is now scrapping their program, which blatantly prejudges individuals in the enumerated subgroups. That program told those individuals, and the world, that they are not capable of competing on a level field with moderate and upper socio-economic whites. Good intentions not withstanding, the liberal pandering and emoting is nothing more than elitist prejudice leading to balkanization and disengagement by the enumerated subgroups. I’m glad to see that the Board of Education is waking up to at least their failure, even if they don’t recognize their prejudice.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Understanding the Enemy

The world is engaged in a world war of which the majority of the world no doubt has little understanding of the profound significance. That majority does not include the approximately one billion Muslims, especially the fervent fundamentalists. They know very well the significance of the Islamofascist agenda.

I believe that the there is one American who innately understands the Islamofascist threat. How he got that understanding is a mystery to me and maybe to you as well. He has not done superbly on many important topics, but he hit his stride when responding to the attacks on 9/11/2001. He is the man that we need for this time in our history. I am speaking, of course, of Pres. George W. Bush. I shutter to think what would have happened to us and what we would be enduring if John Kerry had become President. And, I’m frightened at the prospect of the Democrats taking the Presidency and Congress in 2008. And, if they do it is likely that we will again have a Clinton in the White House. And, this is one is a mean spirited, dyed in the wool leftist.

It is important for the American public to become conversant in the nuances of competing religions and competition between philosophies of fascism and freedom. To do any less leaves us vulnerable to making ill-informed decisions in the defense of our way of life.

Begin or add to your education about the differences between Islam and Christianity by studying an interesting article entitled, “Were Jesus and Muhammad sinless?” We must know what makes our enemies tick if we hope to effectively counter their intention to kill and subjugate us.

Hat Tip to Goat at The Barnyard.

High School Exit Exams

The degree to which we educate our young to be productive members of society is dependent upon a variety of factors. It is generally agreed that the California educational system is defective in respect to the large number of youth that matriculate without sufficient skills. Those are subjective valuations based upon objective testing. Whether or not the objective skills tested are germane to the goal is a matter for another discussion. Suffice it to say that a few years ago, Californians passed a law wherein high school students must pass an exit exam in order to receive a high school diploma. Now some people are upset and have sued because their children have not passed the exit exam. A judge is considering the merits of ruling the law unconstitutional because all students don’t receive an “equal” educational opportunity.

The educational system certainly is partially to blame for the problem with so much of the school time dedicated to multicultural and other liberal agenda that detracts from the primary purpose of delivering students with the necessary skills to be competitive and successful in life. If you can’t read, write or speak clearly, you will not be competitive. If you can not think intelligently, you will not be competitive. But, despite the shortcomings of the educational system, it is not the primary reason for student academic failure. The primary responsibility lies with the parents. If the parents deliver a defective product in terms of a prospective student and do not actively engage with the child in the continual learning process, you can’t expect the educational system to overcome the deficit. It is absurd to expect the educational system to make the proverbial “silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

There is a considerable segment of the entitlement crowd that is unfit to be parents. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, my wife witnessed that stark fact first in the elementary school system in Central California and subsequently among the families of Head Start students in Southern Illinois. She had latch key children who came to school with no breakfast or perhaps at most a cold potato. Children that were locked out of their houses when they returned from school while the single parent mother was off plying her trade as a prostitute. In one home visit, the mother advised to ignore the dead dog on the couch and explained that she had not yet had the chance to throw it out. The latter example is extreme, but not that far out. What miracles can you expect of a child from that type of environment no matter what schooling opportunities are offered?

It seems that the key issue for Alameda County Judge Robert Freedman is whether or not all children are provided with access to the same quality of education; read “equality.” Equality is a European foundational concept, and it is not so in the U.S. where our foundational philosophy is liberty. The concept of equality seems laudable, but it is a pipe dream because nothing is ever equal. The most we can hope for is an approximation of equality of opportunity. After that it is up to the individual to make the most of his natural talents, drives and learned abilities.

Judge Freedman noted that the harm to students who do not receive a diploma is serious. That must be because the receipt of a diploma is valuable. But, it’s value is diminished by awarding it to those who do not meet the standard. Therefore, you do a greater harm to the majority who properly earned the diploma by degrading its value. You do the underachiever no favor by awarding an unearned diploma because the act gives false hopes.

Once again, a great social problem is rooted in the failure to recognize the necessity of personal responsibility both on the part of the parents, who shirk parental responsibility, and the student, who is responsible for his own educational progress. The old saying is true, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

If parents don’t instill, by example, the desire to be educated, it is not likely to happen.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Iraqi Soldiers Standing Up

The Iraqi soldiers are beginning to standup to the challenge of the fight in their homeland. That’s the opinion of U.S. Marine Master Sgt. Jay Lillefloren.

The bond formed by the combat action and rigorous training has begun to slowly blur the line between Iraqi soldier and U.S. Marine…

The Iraqis are forming a solidified, independent army with the support of the American advisors, said Lillefloren. He added that as the Iraqis take a more significant roll in the fight, they continue to see themselves as working right alongside the Americans instead of the supporting role they had earlier in their development.

Lillefloren is the head of a Military Transition Team charged with the training of Iraqi forces. You can believe the contrary message delivered by the MSM and America’s defeatists or you can believe this U.S. Marine. I choose Lillefloren because he is an honest and honorable man. I know that to be true because he is a friend of mine.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Panamint Range, Death Valley

These photos were taken from Highway 190 last Thursday on the Western slope of the Panamint Range leading to Death Valley.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Afghanistan Devolving?

Reports are beginning to come in about the resurgence of the Taliban in the countryside of Afghanistan. This from Afghanistan:

Building on a winter campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations and the knowledge that American troops are leaving, the Taliban appear to be moving their insurgency into a new phase, flooding the rural areas of southern Afghanistan with weapons and men.

Each spring with the arrival of warmer weather, the fighting season here starts up, but the scale of the militants' presence and their sheer brazenness have alarmed Afghans and foreign officials far more than in previous years.
If that is not bad enough, this article reports that NATO is not trusted to carry on the fight against the Islamofascists as U.S. troops are replaced:

…NATO peacekeepers, who have repeatedly stated that they are not going to fight terrorists,…
Unsure of the strength and commitment to fight of the incoming NATO forces — with British, Canadian, Dutch and Australian contingents — Afghan provincial officials, who stand first in the Taliban's firing line, have demanded that Mr. Karzai provide them with hundreds more police officers and weapons.

Is NATO becoming as ineffectual as the United Nations’ peace keeping forces?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Down Mexico Way

(Originally published by Russ Vaughn some time ago and still germane today.)

Down Mexico Way

Try crossing our southern border; try going the other way,
To enter Mexico illegally for an extended, unlawful stay.
Ignore immigration quotas, all their visas and their fees,
And quietly slip their border, anytime you damn well please.
Just sneak in past the policía, ignoring Mexican laws;
You’ve a desperate need to improve your lot; you have a righteous cause.
With Evil Bush in power now, destroying your liberal order,
You’ve a right to seek asylum, to trespass their northern border.

Once there, speak English only and demand it in their schools;
Forget assimilation; make Mexicanos change their rules.
What right do these Latinos have to make you learn their lingo?
Tell those churlish campesinos¹ you’ve the right to remain a gringo.
Move right on in, live your own way, ignore their cultural norms,
And demand the use of English on all their official forms.
Free healthcare is, of course, your right; let poor peones² pay,
For bilingual health providers throughout your border-bending stay.

Be sure to have a baby just as quickly as you can;
A citizen in the family helps legitimize your clan.
Then have another three or four, or maybe six or eight;
Don’t worry how you’ll feed them, just demand help from the state.
Paisanos³ paying taxes may resent your reckless breeding,
And protest loudly to their states about your gringo kids they’re feeding;
“But it’s just our way,” is your excuse, “Brought from our Yanquí land.”
How dare they question gringo ways they’ll never understand?

So defend your Anglo ethos; yield not your Yanquí essence;
And demand a driver’s license to legitimize your presence.
Just so you know what you’ve done wrong in case of policía stops,
Insist the Federales must teach English to all cops.
Make Mexicans accept your ways, make them your pliant fools; Demand a Yanquí culture course be taught in all their schools.
So what you paid no taxes; when you’re an old gringo who will care?
File for your Seguridad Social, after all, you’re due your share.

If all this sounds preposterous, an irrational expectation,
Dems are demanding it for Illegals now in our multicultural nation.

Russ Vaughn

¹Rube, hick, unsophisticated person
²Laborer, worker

Poppies & Heroin, Lifeblood of Afghanistan

Michael Yon is reporting from Afghanistan where opium producing poppies account for more revenue than all other crops. Read Dasht-e-Margo, Desert of Death.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fair Weather Americans

A big anti-war demonstration in NY City and the media tell us that in attendance were Cindy Sheehan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Susan Sarandon. It’s no surprise that the three were there since they often are present to support their personal agendas by turning their backs on Americans making sacrifices. And, it is really not a surprise that tens of thousands joined them. We’ve seen them before in the 60’s, and at that time the movement was stimulated, nurtured and manipulated by Communist sympathizers.

There is no reason to expect that there would be any less demonstrators today since the Fair Weather American segment of society has not shifted its position toward traditional American values.

I expect that when America is dramatically attacked again in the style of 9/11/01, Americans will once again rally to the flag and do what must done. But until that time, America will continue to have a growing rot from within as the country evolves toward larger government and greater entitlement programs.