Correcting past wrongs

July 31, 2009

John McCain, AZ’s senior senator, has spent a great deal of time seeking a posthumous pardon for heavyweight fighter, Jack Johnson. The first black heavyweight champ was convicted of violating the federal Mann Act in 1913, which prohibited transporting women across state lines for “immoral purposes.”  Johnson’s career was devastated by the year he spent in prison on what are now being exposed as trumped up charges.

That was 96 years ago, when McCain was just a boy, but he is not one to forget.  The lifelong boxing fan has met with some of the boxer’s descendants and has pushed for a pardon since 2004. McCain has been joined in his effort by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and documentary producer Ken Burns.

President George W. Bush declared “Jack Johnson Day,” for five years in a row when he was Governor of Texas. Johnson was a native of Galveston, Texas.

“Rectifying this injustice committed against Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, is long overdue. A posthumous pardon would represent a final vindication to his family, and I hope the president will concur with Congress and swiftly issue a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson,” McCain said.

The Dallas Morning News carries more information here.

We invite you to watch this fascinating video clip.


Now here’s a “no kidding” article if there ever was one

July 31, 2009

The daily’s Business section reports that Arizona’s senior citizens have been slow to enroll in a federal program that encourages them to store their personal medical histories on Google or other commercial Web sites.

They may be older, but we bet few of them are stupid.

Medicare and participating software vendors acknowledge that a small percentage of Arizona’s 800,000 Medicare recipients, less than the estimated 3 percent to 6 percent of consumers nationwide, have signed up for the $2.5 million health-records program introduced in January. Discussion now centers on whether the one-year experiment should continue next year.

The selling point of advocates has been that digitalizing health records makes information more readily available to physicians, potentially alerting them to adverse drug interactions. The records can also remind patients about their own allergies, track past treatments and tests. Somehow people have been able to do this throughout their lifetimes while maintaining their privacy. The trade-off obviously doesn’t have wide appeal.

And tucked into the article is the fact that few doctors use the computerized systems. A New England Journal of Medicine study in 2008 found that just 4 percent of U.S. doctors have a comprehensive digital records system and 13 percent have a basic system.

Arizona‘s seniors are a testament to the adage that age brings wisdom.

What a surprise — another federal program is screeching to a halt

July 31, 2009

“Cash for Clunkers,“ another new federally administered program, siphoning $1 billion taxpayer dollars to implement, has run out of gas in less than a week.

 Purchasers got up to $4,500 for older model, low mileage vehicles when buying a new car with more efficient fuel consumption.

According to a report on New York’s HD TV2, car salesman Rob Beloff said, “People are loving it. It’s wonderful. It’s a great stimulus package.”

But when asked if the government was running the program well, Beloff said, “No. No,” adding,“If they can’t administer a program like this, I’d be a little concerned about my health insurance.”

Good observation, Rob.

Janet hears from Joe

July 31, 2009

Through his attorney Robert Driscoll, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio gives Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano a bit of information regarding the DHS threat to terminate the 287 (g) program. The letter is available here.

The MCSO’s recent  three-day long operation netted 74 arrests including 10 admitted illegal aliens who the Sheriff said should have been arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for immigration violations. Instead, federal officials forced the Sheriff’s Office to release the arrestees back onto the streets and refused custody of the 10 illegal aliens arrested by deputies.

ICE’s refusal to accept custody of these illegal immigrants was in blatant violation of the existing 287G agreement that Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies have operated under since 2007, Arpaio said in his press release.

The Sheriff’s entire press release can be read here.

Hey, not so fast Daniel! They’re coming in as fast as you say they’re leaving

July 30, 2009

It didn’t take long for the facts to expose the underlying misinformation and distortions in reporter Daniel Gonzales’ front page attempt to configure a decline Arizona’s illegal population.

KSAZ FOX 10 News filed this report within hours of  the Arizona Republic’s attempt to convince us that illegals are leaving in record numbers.  We just covered it in our previous post.

A traffic stop for faulty equipment has led to the discovery of nearly 100 undocumented immigrants stuffed inside a refrigerated commercial trailer. A search of the fruit transport trailer revealed 97 illegals from Mexico and Guatemala including adults and children in near freezing conditions of 34 degrees.

 The driver was taken into custody for a misdemeanor warrant.

“This is yet another frightening example of the callous disregard human smugglers have for those who entrust their lives to them,” said the special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”These people were treated like cargo.”

He neglected to mention that the adults were all co-conspirators with their transporting “coyotes,” who are paid handsomely for bringing them into the United States in violation of the law. Sending them home is not punishment.

And why is the driver only charged with a single misdemeanor?

Daniel Gonzales invents yet another amnesty angle

July 30, 2009

Today the daily tells us the same story from yet another slant. In the spirit of raw gamesmanship, they win a point for clever inventiveness. The most recent installment in their ongoing series of configuring new ways to extend “undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship” was saying deportation “broke up families.” Previous to that was we needed the laborers to do the work “that Americans refuse to do.” With businesses closing and more citizens out of work, and gripped by the real fear of losing their homes, that argument doesn’t fly.

The latest tactic in their legalization of illegal aliens bag of tricks jumps out from Page One (where else?) with the headline Illegal populace in Arizona falls by a third, study says.

The concept at play here is that the economic downturn has caused so many illegals to leave, that there is no need to implement any further constraints on such a dwindling population. Reporter Daniel Gonzales even throws a bone to stricter enforcement polices, writing that such measures have succeeded. 

Now, back off, stop the enforcement, implementation of employer sanctions and let’s give these few remaining “migrants” amnesty, is his unwritten comand.

A recent Chicago Tribune article reported that liberal advocates of advancing a path to citizenship are proposing that Congress legalize millions of mostly uneducated illegal workers now in exchange for reducing the number of temporary foreign workers allowed to enter the U.S.  in the future — presumably through the front door, with educational credentials and technical skills.

The idea borders on the outrageous.

Gonzales blames the closing of three Basha’s Food City markets on the Hispanic population decline, oddly neglecting to mention that the locally owned, 77-year-old-chain has closed ten stores — in addition to than those catering to this specific population. Unscrupulous tactics by the thuggish United Food & Commercial Workers Union have cost the company millions in legal fees, damage control and lost business.

Watch for Congressman Jeff Flakes’ buddy Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and other Congressional Hispanic Caucus members to pressure Obama to get the amnesty train rolling. “We’re saying, ‘OK, you took time out for stem-cell research and you’re taking time out for health care,” Gutierrez said. “And our communities expect you to take time out for our issues.”

Democrats don’t want to risk alienating their Latino support base, although the administration is said to prefer waiting until 2011 as it gears up for reelection.

Ah, but we digress. The next installment of the Gonzales tirade will most certainly focus on Sheriff Arpaio.  That’s the routine.  You know the drill by now.

BHO: Sinking like a rock

July 30, 2009

Today’s Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that a scant 28% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way Barack Obama is performing his role as President.

Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove —  giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -12. That’s the lowest rating yet recorded for Obama. Not a good indicator only 6 months into his presidency.

In an irrefutable vote of no confidence, forty-nine percent (49%) now say that America’s best days have come and gone. Just 38% believe they are still to come.  A mere thirty-four percent (34%) say the country is heading in the right direction.

Budget no-go

July 30, 2009

Looking weary and with her hair pulled back in a utilitarian ponytail, Gov. Jan Brewer encountered another stalemate yesterday as the fragile budget negotiations shattered again. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are happy with the plan. Debate resumes today.

The sticking points are the temporary sales-tax increase on which Brewer appears to be staking her political future. The Republican governor is not winning GOP converts to a tax hike during these hard economic times. She wants to forward the issue to the voters, thereby keeping the blood off her hands. Republican legislators aren’t buying the charade.

Democrat spending enthusiasts are balking at the inclusion of future tax cuts, which would be an integral part of the ballot referral. State spending would be frozen at the 2009 level for the next three fiscal years.

Stay tuned. Someone needs to blink today.

A Tale of Two Cities — today

July 30, 2009

As Charles Dickens so aptly put it, in his classic A Tale of Two Cities, “…it was the winter of despair…”

And, so it was in Arizona, starting in the winter of 2008. Revenue shortfalls were wreaking havoc with the state budget, the county budgets, and even the city budgets.

The profligate spending habits of cities like Phoenix were spilling over from year to year. Old habits are hard to break. The people expect all the services and freebies to carry over, just like federal entitlements.

Looking forward with perfect foresight, would the voters have approved spending $1.4 billion on a 15-mile streetcar line, when equal service could already be provided by the Phoenix bus system? How about extracting $200 million from Phoenix taxpayers for an ASU downtown campus building which should have been paid for by all of the state’s taxpayers? Did Phoenix desperately need all the enhancements and improvements in its last bond program, for $880 million?

In stark contrast, and luckily for Scottsdale, after Jim Lane the new Republican Mayor took office six months ago, he and his GOP allies, council members Bob Littlefield, Tony Nelssen and Lisa Borowsky, have turned the Scottsdale City Council into the most fiscally conservative municipal government in Arizona.

Here is just a sampling of the things that the new council majority has done to meet the challenges of this unprecedented economic downturn:

Scottsdale became the first, and likely only, city in Arizona to refuse stimulus funds that would have obligated the city to ongoing future spending. Breaking bad spending habits of the federal government is crucial to budget success.

Scottsdale became the first city in Arizona to file an amicus brief in the CityNorth case supporting the appellate court decision that  subsidies given to the developer violate the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution. Only the Town of Oro Valley has since joined Scottsdale in supporting that anti-subsidy position.

This new Republican majority council  cut the 2009-2010 budget by $14 million beyond  the city manager’s proposal, in order to be prepared for the continuing revenue shortfalls caused by the economic downturn.  

They accomplished this feat without cutting core services. Libraries did not close, nor were police, fire or code enforcement officers taken off the streets. They refused to use gimmicks such as raiding the city’s reserves and contingency funds. Even better, they did this while holding the line on water rate increases and cutting the city’s property-tax rate enough to reduce, not just the rate, but actually the overall amount city residents will pay — a real tax cut!  

Unlike the federal government, where a slowing in the rate of growth of the budget is counted as a cut, Scottsdale’s city spending will actually decrease next fiscal year by at least $63 million. There is also a decrease  in the number of city employees. The new Republican majority on the Scottsdale City Council is making real, permanent reductions in the size of Scottsdale city government, a reflection of the basic value system of the Republican majority.

Cities and towns spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year. While it is important to elect fiscal conservatives to state and national office, the accomplishments in Scottsdale pinpoint the need to elect fiscal conservatives to our municipal offices as well.

Perhaps the City Councils can act as role models for our state legislators

Tolerate everything, stand for nothing

July 29, 2009

So you thought Home Depot was just a do-it-yourselfer’s home and garden shop?

It turns out the giant home improvement retailer has other projects up their collective sleeve — aimed at children.

Read the OneNewsNow report here.