Along the Tracks

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
 

Tracks reach the station



After 4 1/2 years, Along the Tracks has reached a new destination.

Readers have undoubtedly noted the increasing periods between posts here, and most probably also recognize the reason: NorthwestOhio.net and its blog, Newshound, take up most of my time and eat up most of my writing.

I kept this blog active for the past year to hold my quick thoughts on national and world issues, as opposed to Newshound, which has been focused on local and state news. Unfortunately, a separation on the web results in a separation in the mind, and often I do not get over to Tracks to update, even though I often have some thoughts to post.

In the meantime, NorthwestOhio.net has grown by leaps and bounds. I recently hired a full-time salesperson to spearhead the business side, and now plan to devote even more of my time to the success of Northwest Ohio's New Media pioneer. To make NorthwestOhio.net a full-service site competitive and complementary with other news outlets, I need to include more national/world issues and commentary. Therefore, from this point forward, all my blog posting will be done at the Newshound. National/world-issue posts will be placed inside their own category, to simplify searching for those commentaries for my many, many loyal readers who have followed Along the Tracks all these years.

I wish to thank you, the reader, for your support and strongly encourage you to bookmark Newshound, where you can continue to enjoy (or be upset by, as the case may be) the rantings of this small-town Ohio country editor.


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Saturday, July 15, 2006
 

Crank up the worry dial


Israel reportedly has identified the mode of attack on one of its ships in the Mediterranean off Lebanon. It was not a drone aircraft, as originally thought. It was an Iranian surface-to-ship missile which requires a certain amount of technical expertise. Israel is accusing Iran of direct involvement in this new war with Hezbollah.

The pieces are all in place for a response against Iranian soil by Israel.

The "Archduke Ferdinand" comparison is looking quite apt right now, as diplomats struggle to catch up with events and get the fighting to stop. A key to any ceasefire is both sides wanting at least a momentary break in fighting. Unfortunately, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran want to press forward. All Israel can really do is respond forcefully - anything else invites even bolder moves by Syria, Iran and their proxies.

I would say the next 48 hours will tell the tale of whether this flareup can be halted or at least held in check - or if it becomes a full-fledged, muti-nation Mideast War.

The United States military, of course, sits right in the middle, still battling to secure Iraq.

Anxious times ....


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Friday, May 05, 2006
 

Allegations "absurd" - unfortunately


A government official labeled claims "absurd" that the CIA was transporting large numbers of captured terrorists over European soil on secret flights.

This was said in defense of the CIA. I'd call it an indictment.

Of course, the idea that the CIA has the competence to capture enough al Qaeda jihadists to fill several jets is patently absurd. The idea that the CIA could secretly take off from, fly over or land at European airports enmeshed in EU red tape is equally absurd. The idea that anti-Bush and anti-war elements inside the CIA (e.g., Mary McCarthy) wouldn't betray their job oath and their country to momentarily embarrass the president and win a book contract is similarly absurd.

Then again, if the flights were really happening, it would be another sign we are serious about winning the war on terrorism.

Now I'm really convinced they aren't happening.


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Monday, May 01, 2006
 

A Day without Illegal Immigrants



While the mainstream media unsurprisingly focused on the “negative” aspects to the economy and the country of “A Day without (Illegal) Immigrants,” U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado pointed out some of the positives for his home state and a few other spots around the country.

I discovered his column, courtesy of National Review, while researching this post. Below, I’ve expanded the concept to five national benefits which would be accrued in a true “Day without Illegal Immigrants.”

*$192 million saved in social service costs (based on $70 billion annual amount as estimated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform).

*5.8 million new job openings (Center for Immigration Studies).

*$6.62 per hour average wage increase for citizens and legal alien workers at jobs presently dominated by illegal immigrants(based on CIS and FAIR statistics, subtracting average hourly wage of illegal immigrants [$5.45 per hour] from average hourly wage of native-born Americans with less than a high school education [$12.07 per hour]).

*0.4 fewer students per teacher in America’s classrooms, not counting natural-born children of illegal immigrants (FAIR, Center for Education Reform and U.S. Census Bureau).

*100,000 fewer inmates in state prisons (FAIR).

My record of supporting legal immigration is long and strong. My latest suggested compromise even called for a process which would greatly expand immigration from Latin America and allow present illegal immigrants to get back into America legally – after they went to their home countries and registered. I don’t blame illegal immigrants from Mexico or anywhere else wanting a better life for their families – but wrong is wrong. Let’s give them a proper way to come back legally.

In the meantime, let’s bring the hammer down on employers who won’t pay wages high enough to entice American workers – an argument which is extremely unconvincing to start with. How’s this: A $1 million fine per violation for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant. That would threaten to bankrupt many smaller businesses. I would point out their present criminal labor practices threaten to bankrupt a number of municipalities and states. Fair’s fair.

Finally, let’s build a new six-lane interstate along the U.S.-Mexican border from Brownsville to San Diego. Put a 25-foot-tall fence on either side. The traffic and the state patrol cruisers would largely end the illegals coming in from the south, and a beefed-up immigration enforcement presence could do the rest.

The highway would benefit not only U.S. commerce but also economic activity on the Mexican side of the border – allowing the people looking to support their families much better prospects.

Looking up at that “Day without Illegal Immigrants” list, I see a year’s savings in social costs would pay for the highway and fence.
Sounds like a good deal to me.


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Friday, April 28, 2006
 

Powerful testimonial for 'United 93'



I really want to see 'United 93.' That story of heroism has moved me more than anything else in the years since 9/11. The timing, frankly, would only be better if it had been released sooner.

I hope this urgent reminder of who our enemy is - and how true American patriots respond - has not come to late for our distracted, wavering nation.

The Wall Street Journal has a testimonial praising the movie. David Beamer, father of hero Todd Beamer, sent chills down my spine with his words. Go read it now.


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Monday, April 24, 2006
 

Osama declares war yet again



In his latest tape, Osama bin Laden declares war on United Nations peacekeepers who might be sent to intervene in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Since this is only the 10,000th time the al Qaeda leader has “declared war” on this or that particular nation, ethnic group, religion, Islamic faction, political organization or business, I won’t hold my breath waiting for all those who want us to “live in peace” with the chief murderer of 9/11 to suddenly change their minds and join in the fight.

Darfur has seen nearly 200,000 innocent villagers killed and over a million driven from their homes. Why?

Because they are black.

The Sudanese government and its paramilitary “janjaweed” militias are Arab racists on jihad, killing primarily other Muslims in the name of Islam. The world has allowed this horrific violence to continue for nearly three years now, unwilling to put any soldiers between the guns and helicopters of the attackers and the unarmed and now homeless black families in Darfur.

The Bush administration has led the call for international action on this issue, as with many others which are part of the war on Islamic militants. Most of the world has turned away. The U.S., of course, is rather occupied with Iraq, Afghanistan and the increasing threat of Iran. So instead of “going it alone,” Bush has sought an international solution.
Unfortunately, as soon as countries like France, Canada, Germany and Belgium are called upon to protect lives, they dither, delay and block. More civilians die.

A “peacekeeping” breakthrough finally appears near for Darfur. Will bin Laden’s threat awaken these lethargic allies to the global menace of Islamic fascism – or will it scare them away from involvement yet again?


(0) comments
 
In his latest tape, Osama bin Laden declares war on United Nations peacekeepers who might be sent to intervene in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Since this is only the 10,000th time the al Qaeda leader has “declared war” on this or that particular nation, ethnic group, religion, Islamic faction, political organization or business, I won’t hold my breath waiting for all those who want us to “live in peace” with the chief murderer of 9/11 to suddenly change their minds and join in the fight.

Darfur has seen nearly 200,000 innocent villagers killed and over a million driven from their homes. Why?

Because they are black.

The Sudanese government and its paramilitary “janjaweed” militias are Arab racists on jihad, killing primarily other Muslims in the name of Islam. The world has allowed this horrific violence to continue for nearly three years now, unwilling to put any soldiers between the guns and helicopters of the attackers and the unarmed and now homeless black families in Darfur.

The Bush administration has led the call for international action on this issue, as with many others which are part of the war on Islamic militants. Most of the world has turned away. The U.S., of course, is rather occupied with Iraq, Afghanistan and the increasing threat of Iran. So instead of “going it alone,” Bush has sought an international solution.
Unfortunately, as soon as countries like France, Canada, Germany and Belgium are called upon to protect lives, they dither, delay and block. More civilians die.

A “peacekeeping” breakthrough finally appears near for Darfur. Will bin Laden’s threat awaken these lethargic allies to the global menace of Islamic fascism – or will it scare them away from involvement yet again?


(0) comments
Friday, April 07, 2006
 

10 listings for jobs Americans (apparently) won’t do



With the president and politicians from both sides of the aisle telling us we need illegal immigrants to do the jobs Americans won’t do, I decided to put together some employment listings to help along the process.

* Wanted: Congress person who refuses to hold special private meetings on policy or legislation with anyone who is not a constituent.

* Opening available in a major media outlet for a journalist willing to investigate and report stories based on something more than his or her prejudices.

* Needed: Anti-war foreign policy analyst with a practical alternative to offer.

* Rare opportunity: Our major newspaper chain is seeking an executive editor willing to defend the rights of a free press in the face of intimidation by Islamic fundamentalists.

* Serious inquiries only: Looking for a business negotiator for our labor contracts. Must only commit our company to retirement benefits we can actually afford to meet, rather than count on the government to bail us out when the bill comes due.

* Do you like a challenge? Become our union’s chief negotiator. We need someone who recognizes the limitations of the companies with which we contract and won’t sell out our younger members with pie-in-the-sky retirement promises we all know will never be kept.

* The U.S. government is seeking top quality managers with emergency experience and a logistics background to maintain preparedness in case of manmade or natural disasters.

* Wanted: Someone to tell President George W. Bush when he is wrong. This is a cabinet-level position.

* Looking for a political strategist who isn’t constantly attempting to cobble together a special interest group to mine for donations and votes.

* Needed: A competent, dedicated law enforcement officer to lead the department with the responsibility to protect and defend our nation’s borders and its immigration laws.

Other listings for jobs Americans won’t do may be added to the comments below.


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