Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Immigration, Border Security and Some Other Stuff

Border Patrol and Immigration

Janet Napolitano has announced that the Department of Homeland Security has cancelled the ‘virtual fence’ project along our 2000 mile southern border. The fence, started under President Bush with an estimated cost of $672 million, has been delayed time and time again by technical glitches, problems with installation in rough terrain and remote areas and mismanagement so typical on government contracts (you’d think after all this time and all these problems that the Federal Government should be expert by now at managing contracts –but no).

The Secretary says that a new plan involving different technologies applied to different sections of the border will be more efficient and less costly. Unfortunately, in typical government political tradition, the new plan is still under development and won’t be finished or announced for a year. In the meantime she says our Border Patrol is better manned than at any time in it’s history and is confiscating more illegal drugs and weapons than ever. Of course, my first reaction to that is to point out that there are still vast areas of our country so dangerous from drug dealers, arms traffickers and those smuggling immigrants across the border and preying on them like wolves preying on sheep, that the Federal government has put up signs warning U.S. Citizens they should not venture into or enjoy those areas.

This past year we had a lively debate regarding border security and immigration. I was encouraged and felt we were making progress towards working out a solution. President Obama even sent 1,200 National Guards troops south to assist in the effort. Then politics, the November elections and the economy got in the way and the public became concerned with other issues. That is a shame because the violence in Mexico has increased to unbelievable levels and has already begun spilling across the border. This is an issue that must be addressed a lot sooner than a year from now.


Commission to Recommend Allowing Women in Combat Units

I see an article indicating that the U.S. Army is about to make a decision which in my opinion is way over due. An advisory panel is ready to recommend allowing female troops to serve in combat units without any restrictions, calling the current prohibition an out-of-date idea that unnecessarily discriminates against women. Something I could not agree with more.

If approved, the move would open front-line posts to military women for the first time. Until now, either U.S. law or Pentagon policy has prohibited female troops from serving in any unit whose primary mission is direct ground combat, although they may serve in combat support roles. Where, by the way, they have been proving they are just as capable as their male counterparts and don’t raise any more personal or personnel problems.

The Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by Congress two years ago, issued the recommendation as part of a draft report on diversity in the services. The final report is due to lawmakers this spring, and commission members are meeting this week in Virginia to debate final changes.


World's oldest joke book

A Cambridge academic has uncovered what is believed to be the world's oldest joke book. The third century book of gags from the Roman Empire is written in Greek and entitled Philogelos, which translates as Laughter Lover. 

Professor Mary Beard says it debunks the popular myth that the Romans were 'pompous, toga-wearing bridge builders'. "A lot of the books written during the Roman Empire were written in Greek and although they might not be side-splittingly funny, they do give us a fascinating insight," she told the Daily Telegraph.
Prof Beard, who came across it while researching ancient humour for a book, said the jokes were categorised into themes including 'the absentminded professor' and 'the charlatan prophet'.

"One of my favourite jokes from the book, and probably one of the longest, is about a barber, a professor and a bald man," she added.

Another dating back to 248AD when Rome held what was billed as the 'Millennium Games' - tells the story of a distraught athlete: "Never mind," says a spectator. "You can always try again at the next Millennium Games."

There is also an ancient version of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch. It reads: "A man buys a slave, who dies soon after. When he complains, the slave seller replies, "Well, he didn't die when I owned him"."

Live Long and Prosper....

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