Category Archives: Scams

Guns Go Missing From Secured US Luggage

Carrying a gun is still allowed on domestic airline flights (depending upon where in the US you are flying), but weapons must be locked and contained within checked luggage.

There is a growing threat in weapons being stolen after security checks across the country, and an even bigger threat to all of us is in the obvious ability of a TSA-hired and supervised handler to pass a gun to the highest bidder boarding the cabin.

I’m rather distressed to learn that the Department of Homeland Security and TSA have logged more than 100 handguns stolen from secured checked luggage since 911 and who knows how many other guns stolen are not on their database.

Patterico has an enlightening post shedding light on the thievery

Is it safe to fly? And can flying in an ever-escalating terrorist-threatened world ever be made safe without turning air travel into such a debilitating ordeal that it’s simply no longer worth the hassle?

Personally, I would appreciate severe focus by DHS and TSA here.

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Part 2: The Weekly Digest of Illegal Immigration in America

PREFACE: This is a recurring weekly compendium of acts and issues inherent to the matters surrounding illegal immigration in the United States.  Quite simply, the following are items of interest to me and which I feel merit further perusal by American citizens.  For the record, clearly know and understand that I am NOT anti-Hispanic or anti-immigration, but am sick, tired and damned well highly frustrated at our elected officials in Washington who are selling our nation’s future for personal gain and a hopeful new future voter base.  Despite laws enacted and funding remitted, practically NOTHING has been done to seal our wide open borders to the South AND to the North, nor has anything yet been done to end the menace and financial drain of continuing illegal immigration into our sovereign nation.

This Summer, unprecedented numbers of American citizens made their voices clearly heard in opposition of the proposed 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act and, as the result, the bill died a horrible death.  Americans do not want amnesty handed to some near 20 million illegal alien criminals, who broke the law being here in the first place.  We demanded the government fulfill its promises and laws and BUILD THAT FENCE, which they have not.  We demanded the government fulfill its promises and laws and end illegal immigration and punish those who would hinder those measures, which it has only just now decided selectively to do.  Will employers be forced to end illegal hiring practices of undocumented workers?  Will the overwhelming disaster to our nation’s crops, restaurants, hotels and lawn services come to pass?  Will Americans face huge escalation in prices as a result of pulling a false economy into the light of legality?  Will Americans tire of the struggle and forget why we were enraged by amnesty and free rides to illegal aliens in the first place?

This weekly entry is my attempt to see that the latter won’t happen.

During the week of August 13-19, 2007.

Malos Muchachos

A quick and grossly incomplete scan of the previous week’s bad boys includes the following criminals of interest:

“He tore an entire family apart.”  Juan Felix Salinas, 42, illegal alien from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, was drunk at three times the legal limit, speeding like a bat out of Hell and dashing in and out of lanes dodging Houston traffic last Saturday night when his van slammed into the back of a Toyota Corolla on the East Freeway.  Within seconds, the Toyota caught fire.  Despite the best efforts of several citizens, who tried to fight the fire with extinguishers while trying desperately to free the family trapped inside, Tenisha Williams, 26, her new husband S.J. Williams, and Tenisha’s two-year-old son Xavier Brown all burned to death.  Tenisha and Shermery were married on 07-07-07 and the young family was on their way home from having seen a movie.  Juan has a rap sheet of drunken and violent behavior, most recently including a March 31 domestic violence charge for which he was free on bond by Jacinto City, Texas.  Juan is on hold by ICE pending three expected charges of intoxicated manslaughter.

Meanwhile, in Virginia Beach, Virginia in a case Bill O’Reilly hammered upon, illegal alien from Mexico Alfredo Ramos, 22, has pleaded “I’m guilty, judge, of all the charges” and now faces up to 40 years in prison for the March 30 drunk driving deaths of Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16.  Ramos, driving 65 in a 45, slammed into the teens’ car stopped at a city stop light.  During the seven years Ramos has been living illegally in the US, he has racked up quite a few drunk driving charges.  Sentencing is scheduled for November 5.

In Marshalltown, Iowa, about an hour northeast of Des Moines, the Feds have charged a meatpacker labor union official leading the members over at the Swift plant for not only harboring illegal aliens, but for teaching them how to falsify identities and protect them down the road.   Braulio Pereyra-Gabino, 58, a naturalized American hailing from Argentina also likes to share his life’s lessons learned while living in America as an illegal alien, along with a host of employment tactics he learned during the 1996 and recent raids of illegal aliens at the Swift plant.

Two married couples from India happen to own a couple of run-down motels in Harlingen, Texas.   Following an ICE undercover investigation, the four have pleaded guilty in Harlingen, Texas for harboring and abetting the smuggling of a short ton of illegal aliens from Mexico in their two motels.  Joining the four Bhaktas in smuggling and harboring is illegal alien Domingo Santibanez of Mexico, who admitted to sneaking the illegals across the US-Mexico border for their $400 a nite luxury stays with ten to a room.  Normally, the Bhaktas only charge $40 to stay in their A/C-deprived, no ice and unplugged coke machine rat nests.

Five construction workers were resting for a few moments, sitting on a guard rail on Route 29 near Burtonsville, Maryland and protected by their work trucks.  And along came Manuel De Jesus Gonzalez-Geronimo, 31, illegal alien from Guatemala, who hit one of the parked trucks sparking a chain reaction causing another truck to crash into the men and that killed one man instantly, killed another who died in the hospital, and seriously injured three others.  Manuel deserted his wrecked van at the scene and fled on foot, then turned himself in a tad bit later to authorities.

Texas Border Patrol agents finally caught a supremo-evil illegal alien the whole country has been searching for more than a decade when they grabbed Yong Orellana Bonilla, 33, trying to sneak past them along some railroad tracks in Sarita (tiny little town between Corpus Christi and Harlingen along the coast).  Back in 1997, Bonilla and his pal, illegal alien Salramon Gonzales, kidnapped, tortured and repeated raped two other men they tied up in their apartment in Dunn, North Carolina (near Fayetteville) and finally succeeded in killing one man by rape-led strangulation.  Bonilla and Gonzales fled, but Gonzales was finally found in 2001, was convicted of murder and kidnapping in 2002, and is now serving a 39 year sentence in a North Carolina penn.  Bonilla has been skipping all around the US with stolen identities and a myriad of aliases…until now.

The Texas family of Dani Countryman learned this week that the 15-year-old’s murderer, illegal alien Alejandro Rivera Gamboa, less than NINE MONTHS BEFORE HE MURDERED DANI had pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge and was clearly known to be an illegal alien by the Oregon courts.  In the plea agreement, Gamboa signed the following statement:  “I understand that if I am not a citizen of the United States, a criminal conviction could cause me to be deported, denied United States citizenship, or refused the right to re-enter the United States.”  I wonder how that judge is sleeping lately, since no one bothered to call ICE at all.

VERIZON and at least one of its subcontractors are in hot water in Western Pennsylvania, after quite a few illegal aliens have been discovered working on fiber optic installations.  Plum city officials have killed 27 work permits to Verizon, suspending all fiber optic work in the area to the elated delight of the fair citizens of the borough.

A 52-year-old illegal alien from Mexico, Ruben Hernandez-Juarez, was arrested in Indiantown, Florida and charged with sexual battery on a child after molesting a 6-year-old boy.

While trying to outrun and escape police near San Isidro, California, a stolen truck full of illegal aliens collided with another vehicle killing one illegal alien, sending four more illegals to the hospital with injuries, and two more illegals scattered into the brush and escaped the scene.  It is yet unknown whether the coyote was nabbed in the mele.  Our prayers to the family of local resident Alicia Fuentes, who was killed at the scene when the truck of illegals slammed into her car.  Alicia was driving her sister to the Post Office at the time.  Residents in the area say human smuggling is commonplace in their area.

One of three National Guardsman stationed along the Texas-Mexico border accused of corruption has pleaded guilty in a Laredo federal court for transporting and conspiracy to transport more than 100 illegal aliens into the US.  Jose Rodrigo Torres, 24, admitted to hiding illegals inside government vehicles and bypassing border checkpoints, all while in uniform and on duty.  Also arrested were Guard Sgt. Julio Cesar Pacheco and Sgt. Clarence Hodge, Jr., along with Pacheco’s sister and brother-in-law.  All four of these pleaded not guilty at their arraignments earlier this year.

Sleep Vail County in Colorado is experiencing a “drastic increase” in violent crimes, thanks to illegal aliens there.

An illegal alien, who has already been deported TWICE, has been arrested for fondling an 8-year-old girl in Huron, Pennsylvania.   Lucio Sanchez-Martinez, 32, just walked right into the girl’s apartment, laid down on her bed where she was sleeping, and began rubbing her thigh.  According to the police report, the girl notified her father of what had just happened, when the perp left.  “The father found Sanchez-Martinez and said Sanchez-Martinez threw a punch at him, according to the police report. The father told police he ducked the punch, then punched Sanchez-Martinez in the face and threw him down a flight of stairs. Sanchez-Martinez suffered slight injuries, but the father was not charged in the incident.”  Sanchez-Martinez will also face charges for illegally entering the residence.

Three illegal aliens are in custody in Brewster, New York on various sexual offense charges.  Sergio Antonio Martinez-Garza, 32 from Guatemala, has been accused of sexually fondling and abusing two girls, ages 10 and 11.  Meanwhile, Pedro Sagastume, 21, and Jeremiaz Perez, 22, have been accused of the statutory rape two girls, ages 13 and 15, in the men’s apartment.

Loco Politicos

Hmmm…  Is Worcester, Massachusetts planning on becoming the latest “Sanctuary City” in the United States to harbor and protect illegal aliens???

The US Census Bureau is asking federal authorities to suspend any and all “raids” and investigations of illegal aliens and their activities nationwide prior to their conducting the 2010 census of our population.  The federal government “informally” did so, by the way, before, during and immediately after population counts were taken in 2000.

A huge fire is building down in New Orleans, where a class-action suit has been filed by several subcontractors working on post-Katrina rebuilding efforts citing flagrant abuses by other subcontractors using illegal alien workers, paying them illegally low wages and thereby causing hundreds of legal workers to be out-bid for jobs by out-of-town, “fly-by-night” contractors skirting labor laws.  “They’re paying cash money with no matching Social Security, no benefits, no taxes, no workmen’s comp,” said the head of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.  Nearly 40% of LEGAL painters, electricians, plumbers, and construction laborers are out of work.  “The biggest lie in town is that we have no workers,” said Barry Kaufman, business manager for the Laborers’ International Union of North America’s Uptown New Orleans chapter.

No!  Say it ain’t so! Is there massive corruption in the Department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services???  In a confidential report from 2006 obtained by the Washington Times’ Sara Carter, USCIS agents have allegedly aided Islamic extremists in ID fraud, while some others are accused of committing crimes for personal gain…like the agent in Harlingen, TX who sold immigration documents for $10,000 each to 20 illegal aliens.

Did you know the new Bush plan to enforce the immigration laws already on the books also extends to illegal alien prostitutes as a recognized employment group?  Chertoff gives them 90 days to “resolve any discrepancies between social security numbers they provide to undercover police and the official records of the Social Security Administration.”   About two dozen protesters turn out in West Chester, Pennsylvania over the last weekend to decry the attack against illegal alien prostitutes.  Money quote came from “a criminal justice professor named Juan” who explained, “It’s almost impossible to find a white chick who will do a Dirty Sanchez. Let’s face it, illegal-immigrant prostitutes can’t be choosers. They’ll do the dirty jobs that other prostitutes won’t do, and they’ll do them for less money.”  Trust me, this article linked above is a MUST READ.  I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a while!!!

Even as President Bush is withdrawing half of the National Guard Troops right now that he sent to the US-Mexico border in 2006 to help build fences, the Border Patrol is now desperately seeking volunteers to help them meet the President’s goal of finishing 70 miles of fencing by fiscal year end of September 30.  The Border Patrol sector chiefs said their fence-building efforts are going to fall short.  Just one more little dittie that reinforces why so many (like me) believe Bush was never, ever serious about building that fence, hum?

I’m admittedly torn as to where to log this one:  Crazy Politicians or the Very Stupid.  Florida’s  21st Congressional District should be looking for a replacement for their REPUBLICAN Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.  Hot Air is hosting a video of Balart’s speech before last month’s national convention of La Raza that chaps my royal laurels, as Rep. Balart panders to the Latino crowd.  Skip ahead to the five minute mark:  “I just want to leave you with one thought:  For the Hispanic community in the United States, and not only for the interests of our children and their children, for the interests of our entire Hispanic community…and also for the National interest and the national success of the great United States of America, it is important that we emphasize the Spanish language and that we keep the Spanish language and that we transmit than emphasis to our children and to our grandchildren.”  (Then he warbles a repeat of the same statement in Spanish.)  Doesn’t this wacko realize that the Democrats claim to have all dibs on Hispanic voters these days and in those to come…?

The Great State of Utah is requesting the Federal Government refund them up to $85 Million dollars per year for their costs of educating illegal alien children.  A recent state audit of Utah’s elementary, secondary and high school populations revealed between 10,714 and 16,667 illegal alien students were provided a free education during the 2006-2007 school year.

Adopting McCain’s bite-back tactic of suggesting Romney’s Immigration Plan is to “get out his small-varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his yard,” Blithering Dunderhead Mitt Romney skewered Mega-Idiot Rudy Giuliani for creating the nation’s greatest sanctuary city for illegal aliens.  Rudy, ever the panderer, offers a press release citing example after example of how he has complained to the Federal Government during the last 25 years.  So, since McCain is thankfully out of the picture, who do you think will do a better job of keeping his word if elected President: Mitt or Rudy?  I vote Fred.  😉

Later in the week, Rudy was caught with his pants down around his pandering ankles.  On April 14, Rudy presents this quote, “We can end illegal immigration.  I promise you, we can end illegal immigration.”  (Applause)  Hillary’s pals dug up a Mayor Rudy speech before Harvard nearly eleven years ago:  “We’re never, ever going to be able to totally control immigration into a country that is as large as ours that has borders as diverse as the borders of the United States….We just have to accept that if we want to be the kind of country that we are.”  Yep, HotAir has the video for you to watch and hear for yourself.

In New Haven, Connecticut, two Latino immigration rights groups have filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security for the raids there earlier this summer than netted 30 illegal aliens.  Hilariously, their primary claim is that the raids were performed in retaliation for the city’s new ID card program open to all residents, legal or illegal.  At least, they’re not claiming false imprisonment or that ICE failed to do its job.

A hornet’s nest has been stirred up in Spring Valley, New York after the city’s mayor hired a raft of illegal aliens from a day laborer hangout to work on a city public works project in July.  Further, the mayor, George Darden, has hired illegal aliens to work for him personally, including one used recently to haul away some furniture.  A 76-year-old resident, Odell Cureton, is spearheading a petition demanding state and federal  investigations into the village’s illegal alien hiring practices, since local ones apparently have chosen to look the other way.  Now the village officials are considering implementing new policies to “comply with federal and state immigration and labor laws.”

Henceforward, any companies wishing to do business with the government of Anne Arundel County in Maryland must sign an affidavit swearing they do not hire illegal aliens.  “Any company that is complying with federal law and not hiring illegal immigrants will have nothing to be concerned about,” said County Executive John Leopold, who issued the executive order this week.  Unfortunately, federal law prohibits the county from investigating whether an employer hires illegals or not, and this order will rely upon ICE bringing any violations to their attention.

A Louisville, Tennessee apartment management company has notified its residents that they will evict anyone in their Lakeview Apartments who are illegal aliens.  Expect intervention on this one, since the management company only offered residents two weeks’ notice, instead of the federally-mandated 30 days for an eviction and furthermore must be due to nonpayment, destruction or illegal activity.  The company cited its concerns over violation of occupancy fire codes, since they have no idea who and how many people are living in the apartments, and also fear being accused of harboring illegal aliens down the road.

Muy Estúpido

In the northeast suburb of Chicago called Carpentersville Village, local Latinos are protesting a town council move to require all vehicles stopped by police with unlicensed drivers and/or carrying no auto liability insurance be towed and impounded. The village is about 40% Hispanic and local wackos decry the impoundment measure as an “anti-immigrant” movement designed to oppress their community.  City officials see the measure as a means of cracking down on recent escalation of their already high rates of drunk driving and drivers without licenses and insurance.  The village has tabled discussion on a proposed ordinance that would punish businesses who hire illegal aliens and the landlords who rent to them until the US Supreme Court concludes its review of the Hazelton, PA ordinance under attack by the ACLU.

Remember Elvira Arellano, one of our more prominent poster children for illegal alien sanctuaries?  She celebrated one year on August 15 for evading deportation behind the sanctuary veil of Chicago’s Aldalbertos United Methodist Church, where she has been living with her 8-year-old anchor son and never venturing outside.  Now Elvira has decided to make her way to Washington to assist in congressional lobbying efforts for immigration reform slated for September 12.  As stated, she likely will not fly…

 Muy Buenos!

The Hispanic anti-illegal alien group You Don’t Speak for Me” is headed to Newark, New Jersey for a rally this Sunday and they plan to talk about crimes committed by illegal aliens in the US, not the least of which was the massacre there of three college-bound young people.  Among their statistics collected are that 12 US citizens are MURDERED DAILY by illegal aliens and another 13 are KILLED ACCIDENTALLY EACH DAY by illegal alien drunk drivers and in other accidents spawned by illegal aliens.  See the group’s website here.

The First Weekly Digest of Illegal Immigration in America

(Please note:  This post was originally published on August 13, but was overwritten when I posted my new week’s offering.  I apologize if some of the links no longer are functional, although all seem to work just fine to me…)

Beginning today and continuing weekly (such is the goal), I will be logging various crimes committed by our illustrious 12-20 million illegal aliens in the United States, as well as actions taken by local communities and our government to address the immigration issues before our nation.  If anything catches my interest on a broad scale, you’ll find it here in brief (or brief for me, at least).

Malos Muchachos

A quick and incomplete scan of the previous week’s bad boys includes the following criminals of interest:

Let us begin with those four young people in Newark, NJ, all bright young people headed for Delaware State University, who became victims of a random execution-style attack in which three were murdered and one was critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head.  All they were doing at the time was pulling into a school parking lot to play music and “hang out” together.  A 15-year-old gang thug was quickly arrested and a search launched for one of his accomplices.  Thirty-one-year-old Jose Carranza, an illegal alien from Peru with two pending trials (one for aggravated assault in a local bar last year and another for the rape of a girl no older than 9) was identified by the only survivor of the schoolyard murders.  Since turning himself in to authorities, Carranza has been joined by another 15-year-old gang thug under arrest, with at least two more to come.  Police now believe Mr. Carranza was the pack leader of this highly violent gang of Hispanic teenagers and the four students stopped on “their turf,” with the four lined up against the wall for execution in retaliation.  Very little info is available out there for a 24-year-old illegal alien from Nicaragua also sought in this executionJustine Levine, guest blogging for Paterico has an interesting report about Rodolfo Godinez (a/k/a Rodolfo Gomez).

In South Carolina, mother of 16-year-old Ben Leonard and 22-year-old Megan Hughes, who were killed with their friend Jennifer Carter, 18, in a head-on collision by habitual drunk driver Pastor Rios Sanchez, illegal alien from Mexico, vows to fight the unbelievable joke of a plea deal being offered him by local prosecutors.  The Sanchez case has become one of the most prominent stories of drunk driving deaths caused by illegal aliens in the US.

Kaufman, Texas continues to mourn the attempted rape and strangulation death of 15-year-old Dani Countryman, who was killed during a “going away party” the night before she was to return home from a month-long visit with her older sister in Portland, Oregon.  The two men arrested for her death, one of whom tried to rape Dani during the party while the other one strangled her with his boot, were Alejandro Rivera Gamboa, 24, and his cousin Gilberto Arellano Gamboa, 23.  Both are illegal aliens from Mexico.  Alejandro has been arrested on four DUI charges since 2000…but always released from jail due to illegal alien overcrowding.  The apartment complex where Dani was murdered is a well-known hangout for thugs who enjoy smoking their cigs and scratching their tattoos.  The latter articles raises a large number of questions surrounding this tragedy, notably the tragedy of Dani’s life leading up to her death.

An Hispanic illegal alien was convicted in Federal Court last week for running a brothel and prostitution ring in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota suburbs.  He was preying upon illegal alien girls and women to provide his (ahem) services over the course of a year and a half.

A 75-year-old illegal alien from Peru stole purses from two women in Stamford, Connecticut, then contacted them a week later and offered to sell their stuff back to them for $300 each.  Manuel Arbulu Gonzalez has a rap sheet going back to 1967, when he was busted in Miami on narcotics charges.  He has stayed happy as a Florida clam in the US for more than 40 years…

Marvin Hernandez, 27, an illegal alien long sought by ICE for deportation to Mexico, grabbed a 14-year-old Portsmouth, NH girl floating on an innertube at a local public wave pool and groped her TWICE, forcing his hand through her bikini bottoms.  He now faces sexual assault charges.

Jose Gonzalez, the 32-year-old owner of Tarrasco Steel in Jackson, MS, has been arrested following a massive ICE investigation for hiring a multitude of illegal aliens from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, moreover falsifying Federal I-9 forms verifying their employability and using stolen or fraudulent social security numbers for their verification.  Tarrasco has provided steel rebar and installations on a myriad of bridges constructed all across the Gulf Coast area.  An ICE raid of bridges under construction back in late March netted nearly 100 illegal aliens from several different construction firms.

Hilario Soto-Hernandez escaped punishment and was deported to Mexico in 2003 after repeatedly molesting his girlfriend’s 7-year-old daughter for more than six months. But he again swam the Rio Grande and returned to Fort Worth, Texas…a tipster alerted the local Crime Stoppers program and ICE of his reappearance last week.  He now faces up to 20 years in jail for sneaking back over our border.

Jose C. Rivera, an illegal alien from Mexico, has a rap sheet truly a mile long, all accumulated since 2000.  Rivera was awaiting deportation in Atlanta, when North Carolina authorities tracked him down following his brutal rapes of three Charlotte women.  Money quote from the lead paragraph of this editorial on Friday, August 10:  “If you’re furious to learn that a convicted felon and illegal immigrant was deported and walked back into the United States — only to be accused of committing multiple rapes in Charlotte — you should be. Just be sure to direct your anger at the right source.”

Loco Politicos

Last week, Americans were thrilled to hear President Bush and Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff vow to begin enforcing the many illegal immigration, employment and social security fraud laws long on the books they should have been enforcing all along, despite the administration’s warning that doing so is likely to present huge problems for our nation’s economy.  I’m glad to see the efforts, while others believe our President is merely calling “America’s bluff” by stepping up enforcement of illegal immigration and hiring of same.  Is our President deliberately trying to ”so thoroughly scare the public with the consequences that there will be a popular groundswell for amnesty ?  Is our President really thinking, “be careful what you wish for?”  Hiring illegal workers has been illegal for more than 20 years, but employers were never held liable when social security numbers were stolen or were even returned on the SSA’s “no-match” lists.  Somewhere near two-thirds of the 12-20 million illegal alien workers in the US are “on the books” employees, using either stolen or mis-matched identities.  California Senator Diane Feinstein predicts a “catastrophe” in her state’s $32 Billion agricultural industry.  Other states with the heaviest reliance upon migrant/low-skill agricultural workers include Texas, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Illinois.  The regional impact of the new employment verification and sanction enforcements to go into effect within 30 days is expected to be substantial, perhaps seen as soon as within six months, and trickle into other low-wage industries, including household help, food packing and manufacturing, construction, hotel and food services where scrutiny is likely to be focused.  Regardless of whether one believes this new push on old laws is another Bush attempt at forcing amnesty when we all through up our hands at the financial hardship enforcing illegal immigration and hirings imposes, I feel this is a GOOD first step and one long in coming.  Now, about that border fence…

Hmmm…  A Missouri Republican House member has pleaded guilty to two counts of federal immigration fraud.  Nathan Cooper, who made his pre-political fortune as an immigration attorney, founded dummy corporations, used those companies to secure fraudulent VISAS to be used by other dummy companies in hiring illegals, deceived ICE about the immigration status of his clients’ workers and a few other tricks designed to provide needed workers to a large number of clients, including two large trucking companies in search of “qualified” drivers.  “Cooper developed a scheme to convince the government to issue improper visas and otherwise to impede the lawful operation of the H2B visa program in a number of ways,” a news release issued by the federal prosecutor’s office in St. Louis said. (H/T:  Dan Stein Report.)

Muy Estúpido

Hold onto your hat:  a Japanese firm will begin offering a free download of a new video game next month that will allow players to “step into the shoes of foreigners who run afoul of the U.S. immigration system.”  Only in America, folks.

A Comprehensive Betrayal of America

I don’t even remember the last time so many in America rose up in opposition to anything, and certainly not against a bill that is touted as “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”  But such is the case today in a battle we collectively exhaled in relief at its demise a week ago and must today restart the engines to return its destruction.

At no time can I recall proposed legislation so complex, so cumbersome, so SECRETIVE in its creation.  And at no time can I recall the huge level of distrust in our government held by just about everyone, regardless of political ideology.  We were all thrilled to see President Bush sign the Secure Fence Act of 2006 last October…just in time for November election praise.  Today we share disgust that practically NONE of the 700-mile fence has been built.

What in the world would allow America to have faith that any new legislation would actually be acted upon?  Personally, my level of faith is ZILCH.

Both Republicans and Democrats find a myriad of faults in this Senate bill that has allied Sen. Ted Kennedy with Sen. John McCain, et al, and President Bush.  (Democrats want a more “family friendly” bill; Republicans want just the opposite, want illegals to return home and return LEGALLY, and to actually build that secured border.)  So have most lobby groups representing the “interests” of illegal aliens, the vast preponderance of whom are Hispanics.  Heck, even LULAC voted unanimously in opposition to this Senate bill.   So has the business community, especially technology employers who find this bill crippling.

Speaking of H1B Visas, you should check out just who is obtaining all of those carefully allotted H1B’s right now.  Five of the top ten employers are Indian outsourcing firms under congressional query to explain their overabundance, and they are netting nearly 1/4 of those granted annually.  Our newly revived Senate bill would more than double the numbers available.

So our President waltzes into a meeting Monday at the Republican’s regular roundtable luncheon and tries to stir up support.  He failed, despite having a “cordial” lunch among friends.  Then on Tuesday, he offers a carrot:  $4.4 Billion dollars in emergency funding for that unbuilt fence.  I find it highly interesting that President Bush didn’t feel the need to either fund last year’s Secure Fence Act, or to offer this same funding at the beginning of this very proposed bill before the Senate. 

Michelle Malkin has a must-read dissection of The $4.4 Billion Grand Ruse on her site that I nearly spit my coffee reading this morning.  And, bless her brilliant and unwaivering soul, she has an even greater eyeopener in Kill The Bill, Part Deux that exposes Trent Lott for the McCain-driven traitor that he is and offers the creme de la creme of our President’s remarks made just this very morning before the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast.  Bush is dead-set on giving amnesty to more than 12 million illegal criminals and for the life of me, I don’t understand why.

By the by, if you didn’t catch Michelle spanking Geraldo last night on The O’Reilly Factor,  HotAir has the replays.  I was so proud of Michelle, I could have adopted her.  😉  She was cool, factual, unfluffable and made Geraldo reveal himself as the racist maligner of facts he has certainly become.

Last night, behind closed doors once more, Sen. Harry Reid agrees to bring the bill back to the floor, but with a lot of catches.

“…

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a staunch opponent of the bill, criticized both his party leaders and Democrats over what he said is a “rigged” process to bring the bill back to the floor.

“The only amendments that could be brought up are ones they wanted or they all agreed to kill,” DeMint said. “It certainly is not the tradition of the Senate to have a group of people deciding which amendments could be offered.

Do yourself a favor and read why and HOW this outrageous S.B. 1348 will cost we American taxpayers AT LEAST $2.6 TRILLION and has more loopholes to exonerate illegal alien criminals hiding in our shadows with amnesty.

Money quote for the day from today’s Wall Street Journal article on page A3:

“And Republicans privately fear they may be sticking out their necks to help the president, only to see the bill die in the House.”

Indeed.  If my two Senators (Hutchison and Cornyn) continue their exemplary work, I’ll be volunteering on their re-election campaigns to come.

Here’s a speculative list of just how key senators may vote on cloture of this bill to once more attempt to limit debate and throw the issue being closed doors.  Isn’t it ironic that the Senate otherwise has a tradition of unlimited debate on any issue?  I guess they feel immigration is a subject much too important to allow an angry constituency to watch, hear and react to.

Give your children an important Father’s Day gift, since they will inherit this immigration nightmare:  Call your Senators and request they vote “NO” for cloture.  Cloture, in reality, equals amnesty.  Personally, I’ll be adding the request to FIRST build that damned fence and once I see it done, I’ll be happy to support “pathways to citizenship” and consider any new immigration reform bills to FOLLOW.

Find Your Elected Officials by Zip Code and send them an email, fax or phone call.  Is their phone line busy?  Don’t forget about the dedicated hotline provided by the Hispanic “Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform” of 800-882-2005.  If you need a refresher on how to get through the system with the speed of lightening, re-read The Pro-Amnesty Hotline courtesy of our pals at HotAir.

This Senate bill is a disgrace and is a comprehensive betrayal of America, it’s constitution, its sovereignty, its many millions of LEGAL immigrants, its entire citizenry, and our entire set of values as a lawful nation.

Talk is cheap.  SHOW ME that fence!

Progeny At What Price?

Allow me to begin here by thanking my favorite blogger, Jane, for tipping me off to the recent births of two sets of sextuplets in Arizona and Minnesota.  I read her post It’s a Uterus, Mrs. Masche, Not a Clown Car last Friday and preached over the canning jars all weekend.  I strongly recommend you read it, too. 

Some may view these births as a miracle, but like Jane, I do not.  I happen to personally know well the opposite is true.  If you happen to view technological advances in infertility as progress, I’m here to tell you it comes at a huge price.  At the very least, the incredible escalation we are witnessing in large multiple births is medically unethical;  at the top of the spectrum is its undeniable virtual effect of child abuse.

On the surface, the stories of the Morrisons and Masches sextuplets born in the last few days sounds wonderful and glorious.  You can’t help but be elated at what appears to be nothing less than a miracle that finally allowed both women to have their own children. 

Brianna Morrison, 24, tried to conceive naturally for a whole year, then sought a fertility clinic recommended to them by members of their church.  She went through two cycles of Clomid injections that failed (Chlomiphene citrate, the most commonly used drug — typically administered as a pill — to increase the production of eggs and stimulate their release) and then was given Follistim (Follitropin beta, a relatively new synthetic hormone (injected in concert with hCG hormones) to stimulate egg production and used when Clomid fails). 

Within a matter of a few weeks, the Morrisons learned Brianna’s ovaries had released ten eggs, four of which were not viable, and six that had fertilized.  Without fertility drugs, human ovaries release one egg, or in exceptionally, unbelievably rare instances two.

Mrs. Morrison was dealt Follistim’s greatest side-effect of all:  Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  Google that one.

During Brianna’s pregnancy, she took a myriad of medications to prevent miscarriage as well as to help (basically force) her body to handle the enormous nutritional and physiological strains during gestation of an unnatural number of fetuses.  In the last three months or so of her five-and-a-half-month pregnancy, she was confined to bed rest and had 24-hour nursing care to monitor the health of Brianna and her fetuses and dispense medication.

As is the norm in large multiple births, Brianna’s infants were extremely premature as she was only able to carry them for 22 weeks — the EARLIEST gestational age in which infants are considered to have any chance for survival, although that chance at most generous is considered to be a mere 10%. 

Most hospitals have a policy against resuscitation of 22-week infants, since survival without profound disabilities is so rare.  In fact, nationwide, almost all 22-week infants are recommended hospice care.  Did you know that?  It’s true.  The average human gestation — without obstetric complication — is 40 weeks (calculated from the first day of one’s last menses).  With thanks to huge technological leaps made in medical care of premature infants in the last decade, babies are generally considered “full term” at 37 weeks and have every likelihood of survival without having any developmental defects.

Just before midnight on Sunday, June 10, Brianna gave birth to four sons and two daughters.  All six remain in critical condition in Minneapolis’ Childrens Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU).  The largest infant weighed merely 19 ounces (appx. 539 grams) and the smallest a terrifying 11 ounces (appx. 312 grams). 

Ten hours later down in Phoenix, Jenny Masche, 32, gave birth by Caesarian section to three boys and three girls also premature, but which she was miraculously able to carry to 30 weeks gestation. That eight weeks’ difference in the two gestations was profound and resulted in much stronger, much better developed infants to the Masches.  The largest weighed three pounds (appx. 1361 grams), but the five smaller babies required ventilation.  All  are now breathing on their own two days post delivery.

Jenny and her husband tried for years to conceive and she did, although she suffered two miscarriages.  Last year, the couple sought fertility therapy through the nation’s leading fertility clinic, Nevada Fertility CARES Wellness Center in Las Vegas.  Jenny was given ovulation stimulation drugs, presumably Clomid, and likely hCG injections.  Then, when the timing was just right, she was artificially inseminated.

Jenny’s ovulation stimulation drugs caused many eggs to be released at once.  Six eggs were fertilized. And the rest, as they say, is history.  Jenny’s babies will hopefully be released from the hospital to head home in six to eight weeks, but no one is dare speculating on when Brianna’s sextuplets will go home…the bare minimum of time likely months.

It all seems wonderful, “miraculous.”  I’m a mother and I know these two families are elated!  Of course they are!  And I wish them every joy and blessing God gives to parents.  But when the cameras quickly fade away from these sensational, spectacular births of twelve infants, these families will face nearly insurmountable challenges ahead.

The very least of problems ahead are the medical costs.  In 1994, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a comprehensive report on NICU care costs averaged across the U.S.  Back then, NICU-only costs per day to care for an infant with a gestational age of less than 24 weeks was $2,346.  Per day.  For an infant born between 30 and 32 weeks, the cost was less than half at $945.  Per day.

Then, the average cost nationwide of NICU care alone for a very low birth weight baby under 750 grams was $89,946.  Today, the hospital costs alone of treating very low birth weight infants (under 1500 grams) is over $1,000,000 per child, per hospital stay from its birth until the child is finally developed enough to be released.  That does not factor in costs of doctors, medicines, lost wages, prenatal care (which has been staggering for these families) or the huge sums reaped by the fertility clinics and their staffs.

All US health insurance carriers have lifetime maximums in benefits they will pay and typically cap benefits at $1,000,000.  You’ve got a cap — check the fine print in your explanation of benefits, or just call the number on the back of your card and ask.  At the most conservative speculation, these babies (especially the Morrison’s) will exhaust their allowed medical benefits long before they reach their first birthday.

The March of Dimes has been beating the drum about prematurity for more than 20 years.  I strongly encourage you to poke all around their site and learn why it is the Number 1 killer of infants and the Number 1 problem in Obstetrics.  The information they offer freely is amazing and 100% dead-on accurate.  Learn, people.  Thanks to fertility endeavors, this problem of large multiple births is growing by leaps and bounds.

Also very least of problems ahead are the costs of diapers (both families are soliciting donations), food (both families are soliciting donations), and once comfortable homes now found to be overwhelmingly small (both families are soliciting donations).

Way, way down on the list is the sheer number of PEOPLE who will be required to care for these children once home.  Fortunately, both families have church families who are volunteering.  That is a sincere blessing that cannot be understated.  But even with all the help in the world, the physical and mental exhaustion of merely taking basic care of six infants will be profound to both sets of parents for many years ahead.

The money necessary to support these families over the two decades ahead, regardless of instant presentations of free college tuitions and corporate sponsorships of free food and diapers, is meaningless.

The real cost — an actual crime in my mind — is to be found in the physiological and mental tragedies that have likely been inflicted upon these children, all because their parents were determined to force nature to provide them with their own genetic progeny and, once done, refused the immediate medical advice to terminate some of the fetuses (called “selective reduction) to allow others to achieve a survivable, healthy gestational age.

Unfortunately, the actual level and number of defects and, at very least, learning disabilities will not be revealed before these children reach about eight years in age.

I’m very biased on the subjects of fertility clinics, their inherent prematurities produced in births in quadruplets and greater and, therefore, their inherent and often exceptional birth defects.  For nearly a decade of my life, I was a pediatric nurse and manager of a pediatric firm with three providers.  I know billings, I know codings, I know health insurance and I know intimately the problems in medical care of low birth weight babies and their common birth defects.

For the Morrison sextuplets, so exceptionally small and young at birth, the risks are tremendous.  Those afflictions EXPECTED include:

Intracranial hemorrhaging.  Grade 1 or 2 bleeds are exceptionally common in extremely premature infants and Grade 3 or 4 bleeds provide profound learning disabilities and hydrocephalus.  Grade 1 or 2 bleeds occur in about 1/3 of babies born before 26 weeks, although there are medications that can be administered to the mother prior to birth to help lessen the chance and severity.  Coming through this is Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus.

Feeding problems requiring nasogastric tube feedings for more than 8 weeks (most babies require nasogastric feeding if born sooner than 35 gestational weeks).  Since preemie newborns have underdeveloped gastrointestinal systems too immature to absorb nutrients, the most premature cannot even digest breast milk at first.

Necrotising enterocolitis (gut problems needing medical/surgical treatment).  See above.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis.  This cardiac disorder causes profound breathing difficulties.  In the womb during development, an artery called the ductus arteriosis is kept wide open by a hormone called prostaglandin E that allows blood to be diverted from the developing lungs directly into the baby’s aorta, since babies do not breath until birth.  At full term, prostaglandin E levels have fallen dramatically and have caused this duct to close, helping the fetus’ lungs to receive blood to finalize their development and function properly in preparation for breathing on their own.

Anemia.  Preemies usually have significantly reduced levels of hemoglobin and require transfusions.

Retinopathy (an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina caused because the infant’s vascular system in the eye hasn’t fully developed.)  Retinopathy causes serious vision impairments.

Chronic lung disease requiring ventilation (extra oxygen) for more than 8 weeks.  And the longer an infant is on a respirator, the greater the risk it will develop Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia.  (Because immature lungs sometimes cannot withstand the constant pressure of the respirator.)

A very, very high risk of developing Pneumonia and sepsis.

A very, very high risk of developing a myriad of infections.  This is one major reason why preemies are placed in incubators and thereby isolated.

Another major reason for placing preemies into incubators is because preemies are born with almost no body fat and immature skin and are incapable of maintaining body heat until they reach the age of near-term.

Presence of recurrent Apnea/Bradychardia for the first seven weeks of life.

A very high likelihood of an IQ below 85

A 99% likelihood of being small in growth throughout life.

A 99% likelihood of having future need for full or part-time special education.

A 99% likelihood for special therapy with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

A 95% chance of Jaundice needing phototherapy to protect an immature liver.

Last on the short list, but not least:  Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  Preemies have a much higher risk.

Yes, survival today is possible for babies born at 22 weeks, but these preemies may face a lifetime of health problems.  I’ve already mentioned Cerebral Palsy and hydrocephalus, but must also add seizures, lasting neurological problems and, at very least, developmental delays.  The lucky, miraculous children suffer only with vision problems or mild developmental delays.

Not all preemies (by definition at younger than 37 gestational weeks) have medical or developmental problems.  By 28 weeks, the risk of serious complications is much, much lower.  And for babies born after 32 weeks, most medical problems are very short-term.

So, while the media reports the fantasticness of these two large multiple births, my focus is on the children themselves and the medical and mental challenges ahead of them that won’t be fully know for years.  Strides in overcoming infertility have been amazing, but don’t think for a second that they come without a staggering price sometimes.  And let me assure you the fertility clinics, doctors and medicine giants bear no liability whatsoever in any defects or disabilities these children may develop as the result of their interventions in nature.  You should see the disclaimers patients must sign prior to treatment or even consultation!

The miracle in these families did not come at conception.  Not God, but Man engineered these large litters that a human was never designed by God to birth.   The real miracle, I pray, will come from God in exempting all of these twelve children from a likelihood of lifetime disabilities that Man cannot prevent and is quite limited in an ability to effectively treat.

May God richly bless those who have long understood the intangible costs of forcing your own genetic progeny is potentially too high and turned, instead, to adopting a growing population of parentless children.

UPDATE:  6/13/07, 10:00 AM: “There’s a small amount of room for hope that at least one of the babies might survive,” says an Iowa pediatrician, professor at the UofI, and one of the most knowledgeable regarding low birth weight births in this country. What a tragedy.

UPDATE: 6/14/07 5:00 PM: “Another set of sextuplets are on the way near Tampa. The family hopes to take the fetuses to 28 weeks for delivery in mid-August.On the opposite coast, meet Brian and Gracie Soldani, who are also expecting sextuplets this Summer. Presently at 16-17 weeks gestation, Gracie is under hospital care and hopes to gestate to 32 weeks — the LONGEST time a woman has ever been able to carry six fetuses.

UPDATE: 6/17/07 7:00 AM: Three of the Morrison infants have died in the last week.

UPDATE:  7/30/07 8:36 AM:  Only one Morrison infant has survived to date and remains in critical condition.   The Masche infants, born at 30 weeks’ gestation, are doing much, much better with four infants now home.

The Nearing End of the Bottomless Pit

I have no doubt whatsoever that we are witnessing the end of all we hold dear in this country.  I can thank the bipartisan “leaders” of our government for trying to bring the end as quickly as possible.

Years and years of turning a blind eye to illegal aliens sneaking over en masse and year and years of footing the bills for their free healthcare, education and birth of their predominantly illegitemate offsping of “anchor babies” is going to bring a huge comeuppance to America.  Because of our arrogance, because of our apathy, because of our trust in elected officials, we are certainly due.  In short, I don’t believe it will be long at all before we turn into the third world nation that so many loud, liberal idiots have worked so hard for us to achieve.

As my grandmother so aptly said all of her life, “If you lay down with dogs, you rise up with fleas.”  And those itchy, pesky bites are now festered, with gangrene setting in with a vengeance.

Thanks to two decades of selective blindness, the illegal aliens have become the largest “Entitlement Group” in the US…seconded now only by our homegrown impoverished, many of whom are still screaming about how the government betrayed them after Katrina.  Unfortunately, those folks haven’t awakened to their newest reality:  entitlement competition.  And their share is going to be significantly reduced in short order.

Enter “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, also know as Senate Bill 2611, currently under comprehensive amendment alteration on the Senate floor.  By the time our illustrious Senators get finished with this bill, We The (Legal) People will be facing additional TRILLIONS of dollars in taxed responsibility for people who have committed crime after crime to live here, but their first in illegally entering this country to begin with.

Not only does our government want to forgive them for the BILLIONS in taxes they have refused to pay and hidden from, but by granting them the A-to-Z Visas, as newly endowed citizens, they will be entitled to BILLIONS MORE in taxpayer funds, right now only granted to them through social services and the entitlements available to their anchor babies.  And it will take a lot longer than the quoted three generations of their progeny to even begin to meet the costs for legalizing and sustaining them in the decades ahead.

Call it “amnesty,” call it a “pardon,” call it “compassion,” I don’t care.  All I care about is that the legalization of millions in an incomprehensibly short amount of time is going to bankrupt Social Security, Medicare, Medicade and destroy our shool systems all across this land.

The only “comprehensive” thing about SB2611 is its comprehensive stupidity, the comprehensive deriliction of duty of those in Congress who support it, its comprehensive compromise of our national security, and its comprehensive, unprecedented, unsurvivable economic and beauracratic nightmares ahead.

Well done, idiots.  Watch the presidential wannabes scatter to the four winds to try and develop vote-getting soundbites in the days ahead…  Then see for yourself whose votes really matter to them.

I know I am in good company in stating how wholly disgusted I am with Washington and the last two decades of people I have helped to elect.  Those in power today have sent me the resounding message that they believe their future in retaining their “power” relies in their ability to convert criminals into a voter base.  But “Entitled Ones” tend not to vote, but merely “expect.”  Our liberal leaders are determined to pardon all of these illegal aliens, regardless of how much they damage our future in the global marketplace or the level of life we have enjoyed as a nation hertofore.  Screw the folks whose salaries have been skyrocketing DOWN over the last ten years.  Who cares?  Well, I do for one.

I reel from the depths of Washington’s callous disregard for how I and the vast majority of American citizens have respected and followed our laws, moreover those from foreign lands, who have followed the rules toward legal citizenship.  Congress and my president, it seems, are spitting upon us all.   The question as to why baffles me.  Does any reasonable person (not a member of LULAC or La Reza) actually believe this bill offers any solution whatsoever to the crisis our nation faces because it has refused to do anything to stem illegal immigration in the last two decades?  In fact, I find no group or periodical, think tank, or individual that believes this bill is acceptable.  In fact, no matter where I’ve looked or who I’ve read, everyone  actually finds this bill hugely detrimental.

I’ve heard ad nauseum how illegal aliens occupy jobs that American citizens refuse to hold.  That premise, while wholly false, is the battleground for granting some 12-20 illegal aliens a pardon.  We must have an unskilled labor force!  If we get rid of the illegal aliens, our agricultural, food service, construction and hospitality industries will implode!

Give me a break!  All Congress has done over the last two decades in ignoring the costs of illegal aliens and their lives in the “shadows” was to shore-up an absolutely FASLE ECONOMY in this country.  And we taxpayers have footed the bill and shall continue to do so.  We enjoy paying $25 a week to have our yards half-mowed, but if illegal aliens aren’t around to do it for us, we may just be forced to get off of our arses and mow them ourselves.  Food shortages?  I haven’t seen any anywhere, but I have seen hundreds of annual examples of how our food is poisoned…yet another failure by our government among so many others.

If our future depends upon this country being able to guarantee an unskilled, cheap labor force, we are headed to Hell in a handbasket.  That’s Mexico’s well-known model of unsuccess.  And those numbers of supporters of “rights” for illegal aliens not only know that, but want that to be our reality. 

But wait a minute!  If business is fearing its ability to supply its cheap labor force in the future, isn’t that an indication that salaries should be going up?  Supply and demand, right?  No…not if you grant amnesty to your current illegal force of underpaid workers.  Ask Oracle, IBM, EDS, EMC and a little dot com I once helmed called Visilinx and hundreds like it about this bill and they will scream how it will erradicate their ability to hire SKILLED labor from foreign, educated pools currently being done through H-1B visas.  Let this bill go to pass, and they can kiss programmers goodbye.  Instead of hiring the brightest the world has to offer (and while they still find value in coming to the US at all), these big boys will be forced to select their employees from a point-based pool.  Whether or not the intellect, skills or education is there is irrelevant.  That’s what they’ll have to choose from:  Dumbed-down labor.  Period.

Even the groups stridently seeking amnesty for illegal aliens are balking at this bill.  The fines and “going back and forth” across the border will put undue stress upon and lead to the demise of the Mexican family.  Right.  Actually, the libs fear not having enough Entitled folks to vote for them, unless the spouse, children, brothers, sisters and grandparents come in, too.

What absolutely astounds me is that those who crafted this bill behind closed doors and those like John McCain, who wanted to rush through a vote before it could be analyzed and debated (how un-American is that??), actually believe the US can enforce this overwhelming legislation when it has never been able to control the 12-20 million illegal aliens who rushed over since the mid-1980s.  That is so absurd, it defies comedy.

And what about the 700+ miles of fence LAST YEAR’s LAW was supposed to build along the US-Mexico Border?  Oh, that’s right.  This new, “improved” bill will cut the mileage in half.  Funding it will remain optional…

If this doesn’t send the message to Mohammed to join Juan  and Juanita crossing the Rio Grande to come on in where the water is warm, nothing will.

John McCain is a disgrace, just like his buddy “The Honorable” Senator Teddy Kennedy.  And I beseach every one of you to watch how your Senator votes on this matter.  Anyone who votes in favor of this bill, I will actively pursue toward defeat.

Of course, that’s the real reason why Harry Reid and McCain and others wanted to railroad this bill in lieu of due process:  so that illegal immigration is not part of the 2008 Presidential or Congressional election debates.

This week’s antics have certainly inspired a short ton of debate for many months to come.

Write your Senators.  Write them now and write them often.  Demand that they:

1.  Enforce current law against employing illegal aliens.  If a business can’t employ illegal aliens, illegal aliens will deport themselves en masse.  No work, no play.

2. Do not grant amnesty or pardons to illegal aliens.  And for God’s sake, don’t allow their fraudulent tax debts to be forgiven…unless, of course, yours and mine can be forgiven, too.

3. Make any “guest worker” program just that, and remove entitlements to welfare and any other taxpayer-funded entitlements.   Do not allow a “guest worker” to become a citizen without following current laws and procedures for same…like everyone else who wants to become a citizen.

4. Eliminate birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens, as well as the thousands of entitlements given to these children, who are sucking our every resource dry.

5. Reduce the number of legal permanent residence visas based on kinship and increase the number of visas allocated to high-skilled workers.

6.  Stop ignoring the will of the majority of American citizens and DO YOUR JOBS!

Find an easy way of contacting our President and our local Senators and Congressmen by zipcode lookup at Congress.org.  You can even find your state leadership through this portal.

Want to do a few hours of enlightening reading on the cost effects of low-skilled immigrants to US Taxpayers?  Read this annotated report from the Heritage Foundation Here!  The foundation has enough qualified information to scare anyone into reality in their Amnesty and Continued Low Skill Immigration Will Substantially Raise Welfare Costs and Poverty.

Curious about some of those amendments headed to the Senate floor?  Here’s a very preliminary list that will make you ill at The Hill’s Imperfect Measure Faces a Tsunami of Amendments.

Heads up, Hazelton!  Farmer’s Branch led the nation a couple of weeks ago in its citizens voting 2 to 1 in favor of requiring no apartments or homes be provided to illegal aliens without verification of their immigration status.  But LULAC found themselves a nice liberal Federal judge, who has placed a temporary injunction on their vote, hoping the matter will be overturned in court.    The bottom of line of the judge:  Congress will not, but you cannot!  Read the Dallas Morning News article here, with a link to the .pdf of the Judge’s order of temporary injunction.

Hopefully, judges in Pennsylvania will not find themselves capable of blocking the newly formed national coalition called “State Legislators for Legal Immigration”, that also plans on picking up the slack from a defunct and greed-ridden government.  See more about this at Crosswalk’s State Legislators Call for End to ‘Illegal Alien Invasion.

In the words of my father, “The only lesson Mankind has ever learned from History is that Man never learned a damned thing from History.

Yep.  No kidding.

Roadside Vegetable Stands: Homegrown Scams?

 

Human ignorance – as well as greed – knows no bounds.”  How painfully true.  The ignorance has been mine, by the way…

 

If you’ve read any of my recent diatribes on the safety of our food supply in the United States, you may have formed the opinion that I am something of a highly alarmed purist.  I am.  I firmly believe in the adage that you are what you eat and I further strongly hold the belief that we are suffering a slow death by food poisoning at the hands of a most beleaguered and complacent government, as well as a nefarious underbelly of criminal activity coming from home and certainly abroad.

 

If you’ve read any of my recent diatribes, you know I strongly support local farmers and seek them out at every opportunity to provide me with fresh fruits and vegetables, so that I can spend untold hours canning them for future consumption.  I am, indeed, a “control freak” and derive a huge amount of pleasure in hand-selecting and hand-preserving the foods I want to provide for my family.  I love to eat and I love to cook.  So perhaps it’s easy to understand why canning and food preservation has long been a hobby of mine and one I enjoy immensely.  But with today’s reality of unsafe commercially available fruits and vegetables, my hobby has become a necessity in my world.

 

I have declared the harvest season of 2007 to be my own Year of the Canner and I have great plans for the months ahead.  With the first Brandywine tomato fruit appearing on my single patio plant, I find the call of Spring to be yelling for me to get started!  Shine up the water bath, Sheila – the Maters have arrived!

 

As my fiancé and I set out upon a journey toward Tulsa last Wednesday, excitement was in the air!  I had a copy of the WSJ to read aloud along the way (which to limited extent prevents me from being as bad of a back seat driver as my mother), and my handy-dandy notebook was nearby to record my findings during the drive.  Tops on my radar were farmer’s markets and roadside stands I just knew would be found around a myriad of corners, bursting forth with delicious homegrown finds.

 

I made judicious notes as to their precise locations for the return drive home.  All along the drive and during our stay in Tulsa, I reiterated my need and intent to Tom to purchase a truckload full of juicy homegrown tomatoes to can into sauces and salsas and jars upon jars of beautiful whole tomatoes for the Winter ahead.

 

God bless this man for his limitless patience.  😉

 

There are seven roadside vegetable stands between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Plano, Texas along US Highways 75 and 69, and Tom and I stopped at all but one on our way home on Friday.  Our resounding common opinion of same in the aftermath?  Scams abound.

 

Instead of finding basket after basket of juicy, flavorful, homegrown tomatoes, we reaped bushels in tremendous disappointment in the quality of the tomatoes available and discovered what we believe is a scam, this time preying upon idiots like me determined to pay any price for homegrown food.

 

Being an opportunist is not a crime in the US, yet I believe the hoax found at each stop along the way to be very much a crime.  These stands have lost any business from me forever and I encourage you to be very careful where you spend your food funds, too.  If you don’t know for a certainty where and how vegetables and fruits are grown, don’t buy them.

 

These seven stands hold a lot in common.  They are identical in looks and ambiance, possessing that wholesome decrepit white-washed charm that draws me in like a fly to…well…a freshly sliced tomato.  Secondly, they were each manned by people who not only had no information about what they were selling, but really couldn’t care less about selling their stuff to us anyway.  Not one of them offered us a purchase-ensuring taste of our tomato heaven ahead.

 

Thirdly, ALL of their tomatoes and peaches were identical, were commercially-grown, were tasteless, smell-less, mealy and hard as rocks.  Next was the fact that each of the seven stands sold completely identical foods and honeys, without variation.  And the final Coup de Gras is that some of the folks at these stands downright lied to us and represented their overtly commercial tomatoes as “homegrown.”

 

With complete sincerity and authority, I tell you that there is NO local produce to be found in the following vegetable stands.  They import their stuff at the lowest possible price, tell you it’s “homegrown” and sell it for egregiously expensive amounts.

 

I hereby present the EHeavenlyGads List of the Seven Vegetable Stands NOT to Stop At Between Tulsa and Dallas:

 

Southbound Stop No. 1:  a roadside stand called “Preston Produce” in Preston, OK.  The first stop just “looked right” to me.  The place even had a sagging roof and a highly tattooed young woman standing guard over their wares.  The place had tomatoes and peaches and a short ton of jars of “Pure Red River Honey” produced by J&S Produce of Calera, OK.

 

This gal, we would soon discover, was the only honest roadside food vendor along the drive.  The tomatoes, she said, had just arrived by truck from Florida from some commercial grower down there.  She didn’t know who, but they had a lot.  The peaches were from Texas somewhere.  Upon inspection (and after finally convincing her to give us a bite), the tomatoes were mealy and utterly flavorless.  The tomatoes from Albertson’s tasted better than these! They were obviously picked green, as is the commercial requirement for long transports, and were as hard as baseballs.  Five bucks for five tomatoes was the going rate.  Egads!  A buck a piece for a tomato that tastes a lot worse than the $.79 per pound maters I can find in my local supermarket?  Hell, no!

 

To prevent complete dismay, we purchased a jar of the honey with its gold label stuck askew.  Five bucks for a 16-ounce jar covered in dust. While I haven’t tasted the honey yet, I’ve bought it before.  It’s nothing terribly special and much better stuff is around, but with the honey bee crisis, I though it advantageous to grab a jar while I could.

 

I was unable to properly communicate my disgust with the tomatoes to Tom, who ended up buying five of the egregiously overpriced baseballs, too.  This wonderful man was still caught up in my hype to buy a truckload of tomatoes and I know he just thought we’d better get started fast!  Nevertheless, a short communication back in the truck illuminated my desire to buy quality over quantity.  I wanted homegrown, or nothing at all.

 

Again, God bless this man for his limitless patience…

 

Southbound Stop No. 2:  a roadside stand in Okmulge, immediately south of 6th Street on the southbound side.  This decrepit building had the added charm of squeeking floors.  They had the same going rate of $5 for 5 tomatoes that were also identical to the first ones we saw:  pink, mealy and hard as baseballs, with no tomato scent whatsoever.  Tom took the lead and asked the middle-aged gal behind the counter where their tomatoes came from.  She immediately said “Florida” with a smile, but was quickly “corrected” by a fellow off to the side, who claimed to have just brought the crop back from East Texas.  All homegrown, he said.  (Beware of Stand Scam Boy!)   They did have some lovely looking Celebrity and Big Boy plants for sale at in half quart pots for $5 a piece, and the same exact jars of honey.  But as admirers of heirloom tomatoes, we weren’t in the market for plants or more of the same honey, so off we went.

 

This fellow became the object of lengthy discussions back in the truck.  He said all the things we wanted to hear.  “Yep, they’re homegrown.  Yep, they’re good.  Yep, they’re fresh.”  And thus began an inkling of suspicion that we were smelling a scam going on…people claiming to offer “homegrown” vegetables, who in reality, were trying to make a buck off of unsuspecting folks.    After all, I and we DO know the difference between commercial tomatoes and the REAL ones lovingly grown and nurtured.

 

One point Tom made at this point was profound.  People who grow their own tomatoes, especially, are inherently proud of their crops, because they are not the easiest of vegetables to grow.  These folks can answer ever conceivable question you may have on their variety, any problems they had with insects and the like, what they used to fix various challenges during growth, how long ago they were picked, etc., etc.  And they can’t WAIT to slice off a bite so you can taste just how wonderful their tomatoes are!

 

The same thing rings true among quilters and cattle growers and soap makers and hooch brewers.  They are always proud to show the fruits of their hard labors and more than happy to talk your ears off about every step of the process.  Get me started on my candymaking and you’ll understand what I mean.

 

Not here, though.  Not from Stand Scam Boy, who probably made sure Middle-Aged Gal NEVER told potential customers who followed us that the tomatoes came from Florida again….

 

Southbound Stop No. 3:  a roadside vegetable stand in Savanna, Oklahoma, immediately south of McAlester and right across the street from the Finish Line gasoline and convenience store stop.  Same decrepit white-washed house.  Same pink, mealy, hard-as-baseballs tomatoes selling for $5 for a basket of five.  Same exact lack of information, other than the tomatoes just came by truck from Florida (or
East Texas or somewhere).  They had the same exact jars of “Pure Red River Honey” selling for $5 a piece, too, as well as hard-as-rocks and scentless peaches they claimed were from Mexia.  Pretty impatients, though…

 

Southbound Stop No. 4:  a roadside stand in Stringtown, called the Stringtown Fruit Stand.  Yep, the same falling-down, white-washed ambiance with Florida commercial-grown tomatoes selling at $5 for a basket of five, although these folks blatantly claimed these were all homegrown.  They also claimed to have brought their peaches from Mexia, but they were also hard and totally scentless.  Lots and lots of jars of “Pure Red River Honey” from Calera, though.

 

By the way and for the record, growing delicious, juicy peaches is just as much a religion in Texas as it is in Georgia.  And if you ever have the opportunity to taste one freshly plucked from a tree in Mexia, or from Wise County, you will immediately understand how I know these peaches along the road did NOT come from Mexia.

 

At this point, Tom and I were becoming a bit suspicious that there is one semi making rounds of all of these roadside stands selling them their allotment of commercial tomatoes and likely commercial peaches.  Heck, could all of these stands be owned by the same folks…maybe from the same commercial grower supplying them??  What are the odds that we would run into Stand Scam Boy’s mother in an identical stand down the road?

 

Southbound Non-Stop No. 5:  a roadside stand between Stringtown and Atoka on the northbound side.  This identical decrepit white-washed stand brought a raised-eyebrow exchange of glances between Tom and I, because it had a lady in her 70s who came to watch over us (not greet us).  Surely someone reminiscent of my mother would be selling homegrown tomatoes!  Well, Hell no.  She had the same $5 for five tomato baskets as everyone else so far, and they were pink, mealy and hard.  She didn’t know where “they” got the tomatoes and peaches, but they arrived on a big truck just the day or so before.  And she also sported the very same jars of honey as everyone else, also selling for $5 a piece.

 

She even resembled Stand Scam Boy a little.  You could see the resemblance in their eyes…

 

Southbound Stop No. 6 was supposed to be a roadside stand in Atoka about a mile south of 13th Street on the Northbound side.  I don’t know where I saw this one on the drive up, because it was no where to be found on the drive home.  Must have been a mirage.

 

Southbound Stop No. 7:  a roadside stand just south of Calera on the northbound side of US 75.  In this decrepit, white-washed falling-down stand, we were greeted (sort of) by a woman in her 60s.  Her tomatoes, she claimed, were homegrown beauties from East Texas and the peaches just plucked from trees in Mexia.  Hmm…  $5 for a basket of five that were pink, mealy, but not quite as “pretty” as the others (their only redeeming feature, in my book).

 

Tom noticed large boxes beneath the shelf of basketed tomatoes hailing from Florida and each full to the top with even less ripe tomatoes than those in baskets.  This lady, a quicker wit, declared that the boxes are all reused.  (Really?  These we saw were all brand spanking new.  Not a smudge, dent or damp spot in sight.)  And while the boxes say the tomatoes are a product of a Florida commercial grower, she said that’s not true.  (Yeah, right.)  The tomatoes were definitely from East Texas, she declared.

 

I don’t think so, Scooter!  But we bought a basket anyway, since these had at least an ever-so-slight scent of tomatoes.  We passed on her “Mexia peaches” and the ever-ready supply of jars of “Pure Red River Honey” found in every place we had stopped.

 

Mind you now, that I have nothing whatsoever against tomatoes grown in Florida, or peaches either.  However, it totally ticks me off to find stand after stand hawking commercially-grown vegetables and fruits as “homegrown.”  To me, that is nothing less than fraud.  It’s lying and the intent is definitely to deceive the buyer.  After all, if you knew these tomatoes were commercially-grown at all, moreover imported across several states at the beginning of our own tomato harvest season, would you buy them?

 

It now would not surprise either Tom or I to uncover a single truck making its rounds up US 75 from stand to stand delivering the commercial fruits and vegetables that the stands turn around and fraudulently represent as “homegrown.”  That’s despicable, but certainly a likely reality in this world.  It’s merely a way for folks to make a buck, and they don’t care how.

 

Caveat emptor, boys and girls…!  Think those roadside stands are as wholesome as they appear?  Think again.  And that’s a real shame for those honorable folks who do sell their vegetables in that manner.   I know the good guys are out there somewhere, but I can authoritatively decree that they are NOT along the roadways between Plano and Tulsa that I have identified above.

 

So, where does one find REAL homegrown fruits and vegetables around cities these days?  Short of growing your own, it takes a little digging to find them, pardon the pun.

 

In the Dallas area, the only really reliable organic grocer is Whole Foods.  At least they demand exacting standards from their providers, who are as local as possible, and enforce bans upon a whole long nasty list of chemicals and pesticides found commonly in our commercial vegetable and fruit supplies in the other grocers.  But you will pay a premium, let me assure you.

 

Another recommended option for everyone is to find a “Certified” Farmer’s Market.  Every state and the USDA itself provide a list of those available in your area.

 

A fantastic site that lists markets and farms nationally is at http://www.localharvest.org

 

The USDA has a national database of certified markets and organic growers at http://www.ams.usda.gov and you can click on your state to find those nearby.

 

If you are so blessed as to live in the Great Nation of Texas, see http://www.picktexas.com and click on the links at the top of the page to find local farmers selling at a market near you, or who invite you to pick your own at their farms.

 

With luck, diligence and a lot of prayers, perhaps 2007 will be my Year of the Canner after all.

 

And you can be absolutely assured that I will be stopping at Conrad Farms in Bixby the next time we head for Tulsa.  They grow every vegetable they sell on their farm and they have been doing so for a long, long time.  Read about the Conrad family here:  http://www.conradfarmsmarket.com/History.html and then poke around their site.  I can’t wait to get there in person!