Thursday, December 28, 2006

Judge not . . . if you ain't one

And a judge I am this year for The Florida Masochist's Knucklehead of the Year Award. Well . . . one of them anyway. Uh . . . judge, I mean. Not knucklehead.

Voting on category winners was conducted before Christmas and TFM has begun announcing the preliminary results.

And, the winners (so far) are . . .

Organizations, Corporation and Associations
Sports and Entertainment.

Stay tuned to TFM for the results of other categories.

Then, it comes down to the big one. The BIG Winner! Who, I know you're already wondering, will the judges select for the most coveted award of all: KNUCKLEHEAD OF THE YEAR!

With so many overqualified nominees it was a difficult choice to make. But finally, after much thought, I submitted my ballot in this morning.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kicking & Screaming

Herself and Da Kid insist I finally break down and get a cell phone, and I've been kicking and screaming all the way. I don't want one. Except for a few rare instances (the line to the house came down in a storm once, and contractors have chopped through BIG underground cables several times, knocking out phone service not just for me but several thousand homes and businesses) I have never felt the need for one, either.

But what, they ask, would happen now that I'm alone so much if I should fall?

Yes, they actually asked me that question. In two months time it seems in their eyes I've become aged. Extremely infirm. Helpless! Actually, they didn't even wait that long.

My answer to that question was to mimic, "Help! I've fallen and can't get up!" In a more sensible manner, I then explained if I couldn't reach the telephone what makes them think I'd be able get to a cell phone, wherever the hell it was, much less remember what buttons to push to get the damned thing to work, if it was even charged!

That didn't go over too well.

What, they asked next, if my car broke down?

"The same thing I've always done. Hoof it to a phone and call Triple A."

But . . . but, what if they need to get in touch with me?

Call the house.

. . . but what if I'm not home when they call?

Duh! Leave a message on the answering machine?

I have never understood and never will the need to be constantly and instantaneously available to anyone and everyone, nor the apparent need to have anyone and everyone constantly and instantaneously available. Perhaps it's my too many years spent around phones that rang nonstop, that all had to be answered. I enjoyed the feeling each day when I walked out the door of no longer having to serve them, and that feeling only intensified (I'm retired now.) as the years passed.

But no matter where you go they're everywhere: people with their cells permanently glued to their heads. Schroeder and his security blanket? Or perhaps Pavlov's dogs. Instead of being trained to salivate at the sound of a bell, the modern reaction after a peculiar sound is to grab for your cell and yammer into it.

Except it might NOT have been yours going off, but someone else's close by. So after grabbing and staring at it, you beng explaining to who the hell knows who (Maybe your phone?) "It's not me!" Or is it disappointment I see that, "It's not me?"

Hubby had a cell phone because of work that I "inherited." With two months left on the contract and after Da Kid and Herself insisting that I had to have one, I decided to see just how useful one might actually be to me.

During the same two-month period in which I've made three outgoing calls on it, I have received four incoming ones, all voice messages:

1. Herself, but don't ask me why she called the cell rather than the house.

2. The cell provider Hubby had with information — now that the contract was due to expire — on a special savings.

3. See Number 2.

4. See Number 3.

Meanwhile, Da Kid and Herself have been foaming about the ("piece of crap") cell phones they have and their provider, the latter because for each, although their base charge is fairly reasonable, their lives have changed drastically since they signed their contracts almost two years ago.

But, their provider does not allow changes to existing contracts. The only recourse they've had was to sign a new, two-year one . . . with a company that doesn't even provide coverage where Da Kid now works.

Talk about more convincing arguments to avoid them, huh?

Except since Da Kid can't call me (or anyone else for that matter) on his cell phone when he's at work and he's not going to rack up long distance charges on his station's telephone, the telephone bill here since he started working there has been higher than it's ever been. Ever, because of long distance charges to Da Kid when he's at his one-man station.

They did their math. It's far cheaper for them to pay the penalty to get out of their existing contracts rather than continue paying the exorbitant charges they'll each incur for the last two months on them, and go with another company, a far more sensible one, that suits their needs.

Meanwhile, I did my own math.

Yes, folks. I finally found a good reason to have a cell phone. A ton of shared minutes between us that none of us will hardly ever use because mobile-to-mobile is free (and my portion of the monthly charge will be far less than the long distance charges I've been paying) and . . . no roaming charges for them. Da Kid even has reception at his station!

And, if their needs change, the company will modify the existing contract rather than requiring a completely new one.

Herself and Da Kid have their new phones. Fancy ones that do all kinds of stuff. Since all I want to do is talk on the sucker, I chose the most basic of phones available.

Later that night: "Mother? Why did you call me again?"

"Uh, technically I didn't. I'm still going through the operating instructions and doing stuff and this time I pushed a button and said, "CALL," and then just said your name . . . so I didn't call you. Technically, my cell phone called your cell phone. Do you know this thing takes pictures, too?"

In the background I overheard Herself moan, "Dear gawd, I knew this would happen. We've created a monster."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

Today's Blogburst is also available as a Podcast.

The Price of Lettuce
By Nancy Matthis at American Daughter

Federal subsidies do not reduce the COST of food to the taxpayer. They increase it. Likewise, illegal immigration does not reduce the cost of food, or of any other goods and services, to the taxpayer. Illegal immigration also increases those costs.

In fact, illegal immigration increases the citizen's financial burden in exactly the same ways and using the same types of governmental mechanisms as the inefficient and ill-conceived government subsidy programs. Let's just look at the numbers. The available data points come from different years, so our results will not be specific for any single year, but will be representative of the general problem.

Note: This article responds to two comments made by liberals on earlier articles in our Illegal Immigration series.
  1. Joe Budzinski referenced our report on The Crider Case on Nova Townhall Blog. Over there, they play host to a token liberal, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Stay Puft took it upon himself to publish a response, We Can't Ignore Agriculture, featuring Critique of American Daughter.

    " work on very tight profit margins. They can't pay more. If they paid higher rates, the cost of producing a crop would exceed its market value.

    The only way to increase wages in these sorts of jobs would be to increase government subsidies even more (make tax payers pay for the wage increases), or let food prices shoot up (make consumers pay)both of these options seem untenable. In the later case, the negative economic consequences could be more severe than anything brought on by the recent influx of immigrants....

    We need this stuff, but in today's economy it isn't profitable without being propped up with tax dollars. Last year, we put over 16 billion dollars into these subsidies. "
  2. The Word-Drum took a shot at our friend Doyle, when he cross-posted our article Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror on his weblog A Cool Change. As you can see, the fellow who left the comment cannot spell any better than he can do math.
  3. "As a Vegitarian American (Democrat) I resent having to pay the kind of prices for lettuce that would occur if we did something about illegals. It's Bush's fault anyway."
Both of these fellows believe in the incorrect "manna from heaven" theory of government assistance. It is an item of religious faith with liberals that we will deconstruct in the following discussion.

Update -- It is likely that the second comment was meant as a joke. The sad fact is that most liberals are so divorced from reality that it sounded like an authentic liberal response. And we are pretty certain that the first commenter really believes in his logic. As our contributor [Bad Moon Rising] likes to say, "They walk among us. And they vote."

The average expenditure for food per person in the United States in 2005 was $3,452 (source).

The average annual agricultural subsidy in the United States between 1996 and 2002 was $16 billion (source).

The population of the United States recently passed the milestone of 300 million (source).

So, if the value of the agricultural subsidy were applied to reduce the cost of food (it actually is not intended to do that and does not do that, but we'll get to that later) it would amount to a benefit of $53.34 per person.

      $16 billion divided by 300 million = $53.34 per person

      If the subsidy had the effect of benefiting the citizen, it would represent a savings of:

      $53.34 on $3,452 or 1.55%

      But wait just one minute! That $16 billion agricultural subsidy budget did not come, as liberals would have us believe, as manna from heaven. IT CAME OUT OF THAT SAME CITIZEN'S POCKET IN THE FIRST PLACE. Does that mean that he just broke even? No. Not even close.

      In order to implement an agricultural subsidy program, the government had to maintain pro rata segments of
      • the Internal Revenue Service to extract the tax money from that poor hapless citizen

      • the Department of Agriculture to study the situation and distribute the funds

      • the General Accountability Office to audit everyone's books

      • the General Services Administration to provide all those agencies with buildings, utilities, and services

      • the legislative, executive, and judicial arms of government to create, administer, and judge such a program
      Like a bad charity, government provides only fractional benefits in return for the resources it consumes. Our poor taxpayer will be very lucky to pay only a few hundred dollars for his apparent $53.34 benefit. So instead of saving him 1.55% on his food bill, the interference of the government likely costs him an extra three to four percent.

      But that is assuming the government intended to help John Q. And that was never the intention. Agricultural subsidies have traditionally been used to pay farmers to let some of their fields lie fallow, so that overall they produce less, and prices remain high. Another use for subsidy funds has been to buy up the surplus of overproduced commodities and store it in government repositories, again so that prices remain high. These subsidies were originally introduced to buy the farm vote. Nowadays they are earmark payoffs for a few big factory farms, another form of big business.

      Bottom line: John Q. the food consumer is being taxed to provide the funds that government uses to increase his costs.

      The situation with illegal immigration is analogous. As it factors into the price of food, illegal immigration can be viewed as an additional agricultural subsidy administered and financed by government.

      The farmer's cost of food production in the United States amounts to about 20% of the consumer's cost (source). The value of his crop land is determined by the real estate sector. The cost of equipment -- tractors, harvesters, whatever -- evokes names like Case, Caterpillar, John Deere, Massey Ferguson. A tractor is a tractor, a fixed capital cost. To make the case for the lower cost of illegal labor, one has to look at the systems in place for delivering food to the consumer, the other 80% -- including pickers, processors, packers, the employees in fast food chains, etc.

      So will reducing the cost of labor in the food delivery pipeline save John Q. some percentage of his per capita annual food consumption costs?

      80% of $3,452 = $2,762

      Dispassionate analyses of the costs of illegal immigration are hard to find. One scholarly study was completed in 1997 by Dr. Donald Huddle, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Rice University. Based on 1996 data, he estimated the NET cost of illegal immigration to the federal budget at $24.44 billion. Extrapolated to 2006, through increases in the number of illegals and inflation, that becomes at least $70 billion this year (source).

      Most of the organizations advocating for sensible immigration policy use this figure, which represents the cost to the government's budget, and note that this amounts to

      $70 billion / 300 million= $233+ per capita for the US population

      But wait just one minute! That $70 billion illegal alien subsidy budget did not come, as liberals would have us believe, as manna from heaven. IT CAME OUT OF THE US TAXPAYER'S POCKET. It was collected and administered and redistributed by the same inefficient charity -- the US government -- as the other agricultural subsidy. So to wind up with $70 billion in the federal budget to lavish on our law-breaking uninvited guests, our government had to extract many times that amount from us. You remember -- to pay for the IRS, the GAO, the GSA, the USDA, the three branches, and oh yes for pro rata segments of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (remember our bankrupted emergency rooms), Justice (recall the illegals' disproportionately high percentage in the federal pens), etc.

      Now we see that we are approaching a substantial portion of John Q.'s food budget. In fact, it has been estimated that illegal labor reduces the price of a head of lettuce about two cents. You'd have to eat a very great deal of lettuce to make this worthwhile.

      Does anyone make out? Well, if you are the sort who spends a lot on maids to clean your house, gardeners to tend your lawn, perhaps a nanny and a chauffer, maybe yes. For example, if you can save $10 per hour on a maid who works for you one day a week (say $15 per hour instead of $25 per hour), you will save

      $80 x 52 = $4,160 per year

      And if you can shave a similar amount off the wages of a gardener who fine-tunes your boxwood and manicures your grass one day per week (say $25 per hour instead of $35 per hour), you can double your savings.

      These wages are the going rates in the DC suburbs where our lawmakers have their posh dwellings. Throw in the Hispanic nanny who tends the little ones 48 hours per week while you are at work, and this becomes very attractive.

      So the "Tijuana express" IS benefiting the folk who are responsible for keeping the underground railroad running. But let's be honest. This is not about the price of lettuce.

      For an overview of our government's history of disastrous meddling in the agricultural economy, read Agricultural Subsidies in the HighBeam Encyclopedia here.

      Previous articles in our Illegal Immigration series:

      The Crider Case
      Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror
      Going By The Numbers

      This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.


      Sunday, December 17, 2006

      What's Cooking?

      I've never been much of a baker.

      Mom seldom did and Mam-ah's attempts with her (catcher's mitt-sized) handful of this and pinch of that never went anywhere. So, I never learned how and since I don't care that much for sweets, I've really felt little if any inclination to.

      That doesn't mean I haven't tried. Except for chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins, my family long ago expressed the desire that I ("Please!") stop.

      Herself's family always seems to have some tasty baked thing coming out of the oven, and keep insisting I'm really not cursed.

      Anyway, a few weeks ago I again got that wild urge to try to bake something. (It was almost freezing outside and as drafty as this old house is, it gave me an excellent excuse to turn the oven on.) I pulled out the ol' trusty chocolate chip cookie recipe. As usual they turned out strangely shaped but tasty.

      Between Herself taking a bunch to her family, some going to a neighbor and Da Kid taking a ton with him to a station he was filling in at, they were all quickly gone. So, I made more the following Sunday.

      Same thing: gone!

      There was one, to me, one major difference between the two batches. With the second one instead of running around desperately rigging stuff to take the place of the "wire cooling rack" I've never had that I'm supposed to be placing the still-warm cookies on so that they can cool properly, I finally broke down and bought one.

      A set of three, actually, that stacks one rack atop the other, and it cost me (I'm worth it!) a whole ten bucks.

      Week Three was the (Saturday) pound cake, except the loaf pan in the cabinet I used turned out to be the wrong size so it kinda . . . well, I bought the larger one that was the correct size and Sunday's version turned out much better. Sunday night they were both in the refrigerator when I went to bed. Monday morning when I got up after Da Kid left for work, I discovered both had simply disappeared.

      I could have made still more chocolate chip cookies Week Four but I decided to do something really wild. Wild for me, that is. I decided to try making my first-ever batch of peanut butter cookies, and to top it off I didn't make plain peanut butter cookies, either, but the more difficult Peanut Butter Kisses.

      Chill the dough so you can roll it between your palms — like making a bunch of meatballs — and while still hot from the oven, cram a Chocolate Kiss in the middle of each one.)

      After chomping down several Da Kid said they were, "Oatmeal?.


      The next week, Week Four, I went totally nuts but it really wasn't my fault.

      The old mixer had almost lost the battle with the peanut-butter-cookie dough and when one of its beaters (again) fell out before I could eject them, I finally broke down and bought a new mixer.

      Nothing fancy, mind you, but now that I had it I just had to use it on something.

      Besides, Philadelphia Cream Cheese had been on sale and I'd accidentally overbought. Really!

      And then there were these springform pans that had jumped off a shelf at Wal-Mart, insisting that they'd been made only for me and that if I didn't take them home with me immediately, they'd do me serious bodily harm.

      Okay, okay. The truth is I'd bought the cream cheese thinking about making another pound cake but then when I got home and looked at the recipe I realized it's sour cream and NOT cream cheese, and wondering if cream cheese was an ingredient in anything, I began thumbing through the index and . . . cheesecake!


      But, I didn't have enough cream cheese and I'd never even heard of a springform pan before. Next thing I knew, I'm knocked on the floor at Wal-Mart by a three-piece set (ten bucks) of springform pans, and uh, Wal-Mart had Philadelphia Cream Cheese for two cents less than Winn Dixie had had it on sale for, too!

      So anyway, I almost chickened out that Week Five Sunday morning. A cheesecake? From scratch? Me? But what the heck.

      Later Da Kid swiped his finger across the top, tasted what was on his finger and after misidentifying the Peanut Butter Kisses hesitated. Then said, "This tastes like . . . cheesecake?"

      First one sliver disappeared, then the next day a third of what was left. Then half of that, and then it, too, was just gone.

      "Mom, I've never had homemade cheesecake before."

      If I can bake a cheesecake, I now know I can do ANYTHING! exCEpt, then came Week Six.

      Da Kid came in today and seeing the mixer on the counter and the wire cooling racks up said happily, "What are you baking today, Mom?"


      Noticing for the first time what was already on the cooling rack, he did the smart thing.

      He ran.

      My first mistake was thinking somehow magically, for the first time ever, dough wouldn't stick to everything it's not supposed to.

      I followed the recipe's directions exactly. I EVEN spent twenty-two bucks on some stupid thing to roll the dough out on, that dough's not supposed to be able to stick to at all.

      Bullllllll SHIT!

      Let's not even talk about the floured rolling pin, or the spoon OR spatula I used trying to scrape the dough off the twenty-two buck "non-stick" rolling pad, and I don't even want to talk about my hands.


      I don't know anything about food coloring but figured Christmas is coming up. I've got these cookie cutters and wouldn't it just be WONDERFUL if I did these ROLLED cookies in green and red. You know like . . . a Santa here, a snowman there, a Teddy Bear and so on.

      So, I'd already divided the dough like the recipe says I'm supposed to, anyway, and then added drops of red to one bowl and what I thought was green to the other.


      Turns out it's not the color of what's inside the tiny plastic bottle you're supposed to be looking at, but the color of the plastic tops in each one.

      So now I've got two separate bowls of GLOP: one bright yellow and the other the shade of blue I'm sure you'd recognize from seeing moldy bread.

      Screw it.

      I baked ‘em, anyway, as drop cookies. But, if the top of the cookie is done then the bottom turns "crunchy brown;" if the bottom isn't burnt, then the rest of the cookie is . . . uh, "too chewy?" Finger- licking good? Try bordering on RAW!

      If there's one thing to be grateful for, with all the stuff that was stuck to everything that it shouldn't have been, the batch of "60" cookies the recipe says it will make turned out to be far less than half of that number.

      Da Kid, when he finally felt it safe to reappear, said not to worry. When he leaves for work in the morning, he'll take them with him.

      I don't know if he's taking them to the station he's working at tomorrow, or if he's going to pitch them out of his truck's window on the way there.

      He didn't say, and I'm not asking.


      Monday, December 11, 2006

      Guard the Borders Blogburst

      Going By The Numbers
      by Nancy Matthis

      Understanding the impact of illegal immigration does not depend on accepting partisan opinions. It is just the result of doing some simple math.

      In a previous article, Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror, we compared the numbers of United States citizens killed by illegal aliens to the tally of our troops killed in the war on terror. In response to that article, one of our readers wrote asking whether we had seen the video produced by NumbersUSA titled Immigration by the Numbers. He asked, “I wonder how accurate it is?”

      This widely distributed video uses gumballs in a jar to visually demonstrate the impact of numbers that increase exponentially rather than linearly. These are mathematical concepts that are immediately meaningful to folk with a technical background, but may be harder to understand for others. The answer to our reader’s question is that the video IS accurate. It is not based on partisan opinion. It is just a very graphic illustration of an algebraic equation.

      You can view a clip from the video here. Roy Beck of NumbersUSA is not depending on any esoteric data. He’s just doing the math, based on the US Census numbers, which actually grossly UNDERESTIMATE the number of illegals in the United States.

      The gumball video is just a reprise of that old high school science experiment in which you have a population of fruit flies — Drosophila — that doubles with every generation. (The reason they used fruit flies is that drosophila require only a week to ten days to reproduce, and you can easily get the experiment done during a thirteen week class term.)

      You fill the jar 1/8 full with fruit flies. It looks like there is a lot of room left. Next thing you know, the jar is 1/4 full. Then 1/2 full. But not to worry, because there is still half of the whole jar available for them to fly around in. And then — WHOOPS — the jar is jammed full, and they begin to die.

      However, in the video, Roy Beck uses gumballs instead of fruit flies.

      For a population to grow in numbers, more children must be born than the number that are needed to replace the older folk who are dying. If every man and woman pair off monogamously, and we don’t allow for a slight variation due to women who die before childbearing years, simple replacement requires that every woman have two children (one to replace herself and one to replace her man). If every woman had four children during her childbearing years, the population would double every generation like the fruit flies, sans devastating war, terrible famine and pandemic lethal disease like the black plague.

      Mexican immigrant women (legal and illegal) living in the United States have a fertility rate of 3.51 according to the 2002 US census. So their population will not quite double, but it certainly will increase at a very rapid rate. And whereas the educated American population may defer marriage and childbearing until they are adequately prepared to raise a family, the immigrants will produce “anchor babies” as soon as biologically possible, no later than age 18, because we as taxpayers will support them. So our “jar,” the continental United States, will fill up pretty rapidly.

      But mathematically it gets worse, much worse. The parents do not die when the kids are born as the fruit flies do. So now within four years, the 2 parents and their 3.51 kids are all living here. Illegals are coming at the rate of about one million per year from Mexico, according to the latest estimates by border patrol agents. So within four years, each annual increment will have become 2,755,ooo mouths to feed — the original million plus the 1,755,000 children that the 500,000 women in the increment will have produced.

      500,000 x 3.51 = 1,755,000 children per annual increment

      1,000,000 original illegals + 1,755,000 anchor babies = 2,755,000 new faces

      In less than eleven years, that’s 10% of our current population. And please note, this analysis only includes parents who are ILLEGALS. It does not include anchor babies born to parents who are here legally on work visas, and produce offspring for the sole purpose of staying. It also does not include the huge jump in numbers that will occur eighteen years out, when the children of the illegals start reproducing.

      What makes these considerations most galling, however, is the fact that this high birth rate of 3.51 for Mexican women living illegally in the US is evoked by the deep pockets of the American taxpayers. It only occurs in the benevolent social welfare context of the United States. Mexican women living in Mexico have a birth rate of 2.4 children.

      This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.


      Friday, December 08, 2006

      Quotable Quotes

      "The Iraq Survey Group’s findings or rather, recommendations are a joke and could have only come from a group of old people who have been stuck in Washington for too long. The brainpower of the ISG has come up with a new direction for our country and that includes negotiating with countries whose people chant “Death to America” and whose leaders deny the Holocaust and call for Israel to be wiped from the face of the earth. Baker and Hamilton want us to get terrorists supporting countries involved in fighting terrorism!" -- Sergeant T. F. Boggs, U.S. Army Reserve (via Powerline)

      "It seems that the commission charged with preparing a report dealing with the Iraqi question has come up with the inspired solution that the matter should be entrusted to Iran and Syria of all other, after the U.S. washes her hands clean and go home to live in tranquility never to meddle in world affairs again. Of course it is not stated in these terms but rather couched in reasonable sounding phraseology: gradual reduction of troops; involvement of neighboring states such as Iran and Syria to help resolve the problems etc. etc. Well! Well! Well! Iran and Syria above all and by name, too . . . [I]t is not right to burden these poor elderly gentlemen with such hard work; it is rather inhuman; what with the problems of old age, Alzheimer’s disease and all that. One fully understands their inclination towards rest and quiet retreat." -- Alaa, "The Mesopotamian"


      Thursday, December 07, 2006

      Image from the Naval Historical Center.

      Tuesday, December 05, 2006

      Guard the Borders Blogburst

      Today's Blogburst is also available as a Podcast.

      Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror
      by American Daughter

      This past Thanksgiving evening, a United States Marine who was home from Iraq was driving with his date, when another car smashed into theirs and killed them both. The other driver, who was not even injured, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

      On the early broadcast news in Washington, DC this morning (Thursday, November 30th), some stations carried the report of this incident, and described the drunk driver as an “illegal immigrant.” By the time the 7 AM news came on, that version of the story had been quashed.

      The main-stream media versions of the story do not mention the illegal status of the accused driver:

      Driver Accused Of DUI In Crash That Killed Marine Home For Thanksgiving

      COLUMBIA, Md. - A local Marine was killed Thanksgiving night in a crash caused by an alleged drunk driver. Brian Matthews, 21, of Columbia, Md., was driving with a date, 24-year-old Jennifer Bower of Montgomery Village, in his car on Thanksgiving night.

      A driver hit them in Columbia, killing them both.

      Matthews had served in Iraq and was home for Thanksgiving.

      Matthews’ mother says her son had just signed up to be an organ donor and his organs helped save six other people.

      Eduardo Soriano, 25, the driver of the other vehicle, was charged with driving under the influence.

      This additional information comes from a news channel in Baltimore:

      Matthews had served in Ramadi, Iraq, as part of the Fox Company 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment.

      One of his family members said he was the kind of person who would do whatever he could to help others.

      Matthews, who recently trained in the Pacific Ocean, had just celebrated Thanksgiving with his family when he and Bower went out on a date….

      Police said the driver of the other car, 25-year-old Eduardo Soriano, failed to stop at a traffic signal and hit Matthews’ car.

      Soriano wasn’t injured but was charged with driving under the influence. Court documents showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .32. The legal limit is .08.

      Soriano is also charged with two counts of manslaughter while intoxicated and homicide by motor vehicle.

      Matthews graduated from Howard High School in 2003. He was an Eagle Scout.

      According to statistics compiled by US Congressman Steve King (R-5th CD Iowa),

      • 13 Americans are killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals

      • 12 U.S. citizens die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day in crimes

      Do the math.

      [ (12 + 13) x 365 = 9125 ]

      That’s more than nine thousand people killed every year in the United States by illegal aliens.

      By contrast, consider the death toll for US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of the war on terror, as reported last week by the Department of Defense:

      • Total U.S. troop deaths in Iraq as of last week were reported at 2,863.

      • Total U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan during the five years of the Afghan campaign are currently at 289.

      Again, do the math.

      [ (2863 + 289) divided by five years of war = 630 ]

      So illegal aliens in the United States are more than fourteen times as lethal (14.48 actually) as a full scale armed conflict.

      Quod erat demonstrando.

      Our mainstream media outlets are strangely silent about this. Do we hear them constantly beating a drum about THIS civil war? No. Their selective reporting amounts to blatant prevarication.

      This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.


      Saturday, December 02, 2006

      I am Mom

      Da Kid was up and gone long before the sun rose this morning. The note he'd left next to the coffee pot was simple. If I wasn't doing anything later, maybe I'd like to meet him at the ballfield next to his Volunteer Fire Department's main station for a hotdog lunch.

      Today was the town's "Second Annual Christmas Parade and Festival." (They used to do it every year, stopped for some reason, and only started again last year which is why it's the "Second Annual.") Once the parading was done and the trucks put up, members of the VFD were heading over to the ballfield for the Festival ("Games! Live Music! Arts and Crafts! Food!) to run a fund-raising Hot Dog and Sausage Dog Booth.

      I called Da Kid to find out where (the hell) the main station is. I know where three of their stations are, but not what they're known as or even if the "main station" is one of them. Turned out it is, but almost as soon as I hung up he called back.

      Would I do him a favor. A BIG favor. Since I was heading out that way for lunch, anyway, would I mind stopping at a grocery store and picking up some baked beans for them.

      No problem. How many cans?



      Maybe he meant two of the big (Number 10?) industrial-sized cans? No, he said. Two regular ones. Well, maybe four. Uh, maybe three big cans . . . "I don't know."

      In my former life (I'm retired now.) I've helped cook and / or coordinated "feedings" at a homeless shelter several times. That's three hundred to five hundred plates of food for a single meal. I know Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves of bread to feed a multitude, but, I ain't "JC" and neither are any of them. Three dinky cans of baked beans won't feed many people at a booth selling hot dogs and sausage dogs.

      How many portions did they figure, I asked.

      Ten. Maybe . . . 15. Might be 20.

      The baked beans weren't for the public, but for the volunteers at the booth. So, I made a quick stop at Winn Dixie before heading to their booth at the Festival . . .

      ("Thank's, Mom. You're awesome.")

      . . . where it's raining. Hard. And, it had been raining like that on and off most of the morning and was going to stay that way for the rest of the day.

      While many of the other booths seemed empty, the people running them hiding under their tents trying to stay dry, the VFD's booth had had and still had a fairly steady stream of people coming and going all morning not for hot dogs, but because their vehicles had gotten stuck in the mud. By now, though, just about every one has been dragged out and there weren't many people left at the Festival.

      Which was good, since from the start the VFD had been having a problem with their electric hot dog grill. It wouldn't stay on because the generator powering it kept "crapping out." They had enough cooked for them and the sausages on the gas grill that hadn't sold, plus the cans of baked beans I brought.

      I took the opportunity when the rain let up about 45 minutes later, to go back to my car and head home. I had a $9* hot dog and learned an important lesson: Do not assume.

      Just because they know hoses and couplings and really technical stuff involved in fighting fires, and while some are EMTs and Paramedics with amazing knowledge and expertise far beyond what normal folk like you and I have . . . that doesn't mean ONE of them realized until they all began scrambling around looking, that not one had thought about the need for a can opener, a pot to heat the beans in, or any utensils to eat the baked beans with.


      * $6 (cans of not-on-sale baked beans) + $3 ("Mom, all I have is my debit card . . . funnel cake, next booth over.) = $9.