28 February 2008

Virtual vs. Physical

FoxNews reports that the virtual fence that is supposed to protect parts of the border where physical barriers and agents won’t be built or assigned is going to be late – three years late. Homeland security officials said that the virtual fence “doesn't meet contract requirements for detecting border intrusions and some of its technology will have to [be] replaced by this summer.” The FoxNews piece also says that “Critics say contractor Boeing Corp. never consulted border agents before engineering the system.”

There’s a lot to be said about having real, physical barriers to real, physical people trying to cross a real, physical border. There’s also a lot to be said for relying on proven technology (concrete, steel barriers, eyeballs) instead of unproven, developmental technologies like those I suspect make up the virtual fence. One has to wonder if the virtual fence is, somewhere in the subconscious of bureaucrats, a way to depersonalize and dehumanize a human problem. Is it possible – or probable - that through the virtual fence counting crossings will be like making widgets and border enforcement will mean just digitally recording, classifying, labeling and storing “incidents” for later review by someone at some unknown time? That seems to me to be the wrong path for border enforcement.

Like all things, technology has limits. Recognizing limits and adjusting for them is important in any endeavor. Border enforcement is no different.

27 February 2008

Coherent Thought and Complete Sentences

This past week, I had an enlightening (for me) confrontation with a student who seemed unable – or unwilling – to distinguish between complete sentences and run-on sentences in his writing. In the end, he claimed that he did not care if he failed my freshman English class because, in his words, “after two years as a freshman, you all have to pass me anyways.” To this I responded, “Oh no, Sparky,” (I did, in fact, call him Sparky). “You’ll stay a freshman until you get enough credits to become a sophomore or you turn 21. At that age, you’ll be kicked out.”

This young student is not alone in his lack of understand of himself, the language he is supposed to speak and write in, and his situation in the limited world of secondary education. His inability to form complete sentences (and thus complete thoughts) shows an inability to apply logic and to know where one thing ends and another begins. It is also a symptom of an ingrained distaste for sustained mental effort that comes from “after two years, you’ll pass me anyway.”

I would say that somewhere between 25 and 30 percent of my students have trouble, or lack the desire to, form clear, coherent sentences on their own, without direction. Techniques, if they can be called that, for using punctuation range from complete abstention (the never-ending, page-long run-on sentence) to random insertion of periods and commas designed to give the appearance of competence.

There appears to be three causes for this malady. First and foremost, students who fail to form complete thoughts on a regular basis are just too intellectually lazy to care about using punctuation. As a result, their thoughts are confused and jumbled both in their writing and, one would have to assume, in their heads. This first reason is most common, from my experience, in students of fairly high ability. Unfortunately for them, their lack of diligence will hurt them down the road. As their education goes on, more complex ideas will require them to focus their thoughts more. They will be short on practice required to deal with complex ideas.

The second reason students fail to form complete thoughts is that, for some reason or another, they’ve come to believe that their written words should look just like their spoken words and their unrefined thoughts. This may come from too many free-writing sessions in school coupled with a lack of revising and editing. Essentially, students believe that anything written is good, longer writing is better, and word count equals deep thought. Many students have not been taught the difference between formal writing and free-writing, and revising and editing (the most painful part of writing) is left by the wayside. The result is the erroneous belief that all words on the page are of equal value regardless of their coherence. This, just like lack of punctuation, will result in students being ill equipped to tackle complex ideas.
Third and last is the toughest to tackle from a teacher’s point of view. Some students are convinced that they simply do not need to learn how to compose sentences, how to think coherently, or how to argue verbally or in writing. They are convinced that anyone who critiques their ability – or lack thereof – is “offending” them. They are perpetual toddlers, consistently touching the hot stove after being told not to. The scary thing is that no matter how many times they get burned, they always go back to the stove. They are the ones who believe that eventually they will not be burned, that they will be passed on to a higher grade. They are the ones who claim all sorts of external reasons for their failure (teachers, unfair work, principals, other students, racism, sexism…the list is endless). They are the ones who will never get to more complex ideas and who will continually believe that the universe is centered on them. It is no surprise that these same students are the ones who cause the most disruption in the classroom and in the school. They refuse to learn on a regular basis – and it is, of course, someone else’s fault. Unfortunately for the rest of the students, these students who refuse to learn also feel they have a right to come to school and are entitled to a diploma.

So at the end of this little rant, what’s the point? Perhaps that laziness is a learned trait and breaking students from that habit is a painful and necessary thing. Perhaps that the struggle against chosen ignorance is a serious fight and that more folks need to join the side against ignorance born of the confused self because teachers cannot win that fight alone. Perhaps that constant vigilance against lax thought (and writing) may feel like a losing battle, but that my rant leaves 70 percent of students out of the picture – which is a good thing. Perhaps – and I know this is going to offend some – the bottom of the bottom, those who are there by choice, deserve to be left behind. In fact, they demand it.

23 February 2008

Another Small Sign of a “Do-Little”

In the Democrat debate on Thursday night (which I admit I didn’t watch), Senator Obama claimed that some troops being sent to Afghanistan “didn’t have enough ammunition; they didn’t have enough Humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander-in-chief.” He was told this by a captain in the Army, who “later told FOX News that in fact he and his platoon were fighting near the Pakistan border with only three Humvees, one of which had no doors and no roof.” The captain reportedly told Mr. Obama his story in 2003.

Which leads me to this question for the would-be president: in the last five years, what has he done about this claim, which appears to be of utmost importance now that he’s running for Commander in Chief? What has he done in the past five years to address this captain’s complaint? If this captain is one of Mr. Obama’s constituents, wasn’t it Mr. Obama’s job as a senator to take up the cause of his constituency?

My guess is that Mr. Obama did nothing and would have continued to do nothing about this story. The only reason that it is coming out is that he is 1) beginning his national campaign against John McCain, and 2) covering his previous anti-war and anti-military (though I’m sure he “supports the troops” and all) rhetoric so as to appeal to more centrist voters.

It’s a sham, though, and should be easy to see through. Mr. Obama, if he really cared about this captain and the plight of his troops, should have done more five years ago, or four, or now, or now, to fix the problem. That he didn’t speaks more to his character and “vision” than all of his soaring, hopeful speeches.

21 February 2008

More Words That Matter

Michelle Obama claims that she is now “for the first time in [her] adult lifetime, [she is] really proud of my country.” She’s 44 years old. A lot has happened in her adult lifetime. I’m only in my mid-thirties and there’s plenty I’m proud of. But we’re told that her words don’t really matter, that she’s only the wife of the Democrat’s possible nominee, that what she really meant was (insert glib sound-bite here). I think I’ll take her at her word; she really is only proud of America as it may, in November, now become her country.

Sharon Stone does an interview with Al Hyat and proclaims “I feel sad when I realize how much truth is being changed or obscured in the American media.” I feel sad, too. It’s amazing what gets air time and print space in the media. I feel sad, too, that “truth is being changed” and “obscured”. But somehow I don’t think that Mrs. Stone and I are talking from the same point of view. Hers, I think, would advocate the “America is bad, bad, bad” perspective.

Now, this last bit is an approximation – I’m still trying to get a good link on this, but I watched it on local news last night. (The whole speech can be seen here - free subscription required.) Senator Obama, speaking is Dallas yesterday, said that we need to stop putting our young men in jail and start putting them to work. Funny, but I thought that people essentially put themselves in jail by making one or a series of bad choices. Am I to believe that the senator wants to empty the jails? I know that’s hyperbole, but just what inmates would the senator have on the streets? Does he believe that thieves should be put to work because if they had jobs, they wouldn’t steal? Or addicts should be given jobs so that they wouldn’t steal to support their habit? Or did he really mean putting them to work while they’re in jail? Perhaps I’ve taken the bait of trying to gain some sort of substantive position out of an Obama speech.

I think words do matter (and I know that others have said that sort of thing before…so I’m not plagiarizing here). But I tend to agree with Karl Rove, who opined today in the Wall Street Journal, that Senator Obama’s “words are merely a means to hide a left-leaning agenda behind the cloak of centrist rhetoric.” Indeed.

19 February 2008

Thoughts on Government and Learning

Just a couple of quick items to tie together this morning. I always read Neal Boortz’s site one day late, so this morning when I read his “Nuze” I found two related thoughts:

So .. we need another theme. May I propose that we call this the "What can my country do for me?" election?

· Give me health care.
· Give me prescription drugs.
· Make them raise my salary.
· Make them bring my job back.
· Give me lifetime job security.
· Pay my heating bill
· Make my gasoline cheaper
· Pay for my kid's college education
· Give me a comfortable retirement
· Give me free transportation

Just listen to these candidates. They never talk about freedom. They never talk about self-reliance.

(and)

This alert came from a listeners. He was reading "The Bad Boy of Baltimore" a biography of H.L. Mencken by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers. On page 409 of that book he finds the following:


"By the mid-1930's, thanks to the New Deal, all that self-reliance had changed, prompting Mencken to declare: 'There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them.' Despite the billions spent on an individual, 'he can be lifted transiently but always slips back again.' Thus, the New Deal had been 'the most stupendous digenetic enterprise ever undertaken by man.... We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time. The effects of that doctrine are bound to be disastrous soon or
late.

'When someone asked, "And what, Mr. Mencken, would you do about the unemployed?" He looked up with a bland expression. "We could start by taking away their vote," he said, deadpan. Mencken was not surprised when the majority disagreed. "There can be nothing even remotely approaching a rational solution of the fundamental national problems until we face them in a realistic spirit," he later reflected, and that was impossible so long as educated Americans remained responsive "to the Roosevelt buncombe."

Then I read an article from the New York Times (I know…but it seemed like a reasonable read) called “Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?” While the end of that article was not something I would buy into (Ms. Jacoby's views at the end of the article are far too "progressive" for me...she sounds like one of the academics whose education has caused conscious mental regression), what I thought was important to take away from it was the same: a seemingly wide spread desire for dependence on anyone other than the self. At the beginning of the article, there is a reference to "happiness" and its effects on Americans. But this "happiness" is really comfort, or lack of discomfort, not happiness in the Aristotelian meaning. Comfort "happiness" is a way to remain childish, and leads to other like behaviors. Rejecting learning and reason – the easy way to remain dependent – is a simple way to ensure that one is always dependent on someone or something. Mr. Boortz would argue that the keeper is increasingly the government. I would tend to agree, and will even more so if either Senator Clinton or Obama becomes president.

The question then is what to do about the drive to dependence. Mr. Boortz, not prone to the dramatic when it comes to the subject, wrote on Monday, “I'm really sorry to say this, but this nation is in trouble ... much like a beautiful home infested with mold. The mold just relentlessly spreads with no abatement in site. How long before we have to tear things down and rebuild?” Maybe a more appropriate analogy would be a house built on a foundation that has shifted significantly. (But that doesn’t quite get it right, either.) I’m not so sure that tearing the house down is a good option, but something has got to be done to fix the house. The possible irony here is how many folks think the same thing…and want the federal government to take action?

16 February 2008

“Take On” All Money-Makers

Senator Hillary Clinton listed a slew of institutions she’d “take on” if she were to become president. She (using the first person plural pronoun) claims that she’ll take on the following: oil companies, credit card companies, insurance companies, drug companies, Wall Street, and student loan providers. All of them, voters are to believe, are either making too much money or cheating Americans out of a better way of life. Senator Clinton’s solution – the standard Democrat response – is more government confiscation and regulation. Free markets be damned.

My favorite inclusion on her list is the student loan. If there is one self-inflicted, emotional response generating, haven’t heard this before aspect of the list, it’s the idea that somehow super-predatory student loan companies are hobbling young people everywhere by forcing student loans upon them.

The college myth – founded on the idea that the American cream equals a higher salary – is admittedly pushed by just about all facets of our society, to the point where students who really have no business going to college many times end of there anyway. It is, after all, the way to the American dream, after the singer/model/sports star route fails. Going to college, then, is a must.

So Senator Clinton would hammer on these predatory student loan companies, presumably for offering money to pay for the very thing that so many people push as the panacea of today’s American dream. The backdrop here is that college must be for everyone, it must be affordable without financial pain for the individual, and it must lead to a better life. A college education, I submit, either does not or should not necessarily do any of the three. For many, it is another empty promise and extension of adolescence that is simply not needed. Student loan companies – of which the federal government is the biggest – subsidize these things.

Somehow I doubt Senator Clinton wants to “take on” student loan companies or any of the other evils listed above. She really just wants to demonize targets with her Edwards-esque populism. It’s empty.

13 February 2008

The Price of Job Growth

The going rate for “job creation” by the federal government appears to be $30,000 each. That’s according to Senator Barak Obama’s plan, as reported today. $210 billion to create 7 million jobs over 10 years. And Senator Obama claims, “This agenda is paid for.”

I am more than a little skeptical. 2 million of those jobs are supposed to be (mostly) construction jobs. Since those jobs are supposed to be created over the next 10 years – or between 2010 and 2020 – it seems more sensible to judge the state of the economy and if the construction industry is still hurting before dropping $60 billion on the matter. Of course, that doesn’t sell on the campaign trail, so the billions must be promised, reality be damned.

Senator Obama is also pledging “$150 billion to create 5 million so-called "green collar" jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.” Just what would constitute a “green collar” job is unclear, but I’m not sure that there are 5 million of them waiting to be created by the federal government. In private industry, maybe. But 5 million “green collar” wearers running around in 2020 is more than a little scary for me, the run-of-the-mill “climate change” denier (albeit sincere conservationist of a sort).

All of this talk about federal job creation, money pumping and “stimulus” makes my head spin. At some point, folks need to remember, be reminded, and have plastered in front of their faces that the US has a free-market economy, not a centralized, state controlled economy. If that notion is too obscure, then here’s a question: can the federal government create 7 million jobs for the low, low price of $30,000 each?

12 February 2008

Be Wary of the Supporters

I had to search around and find the actual link to believe it, but here it is. If you care to, you'll only have to watch the first few (15-ish) seconds of the news story. One of the campaign offices for Senator Barack Obama has a Cuban flag with Che Guevara's face emblazoned on it right behind a desk of a campaign worker. (If the video goes away, here's a shot of it, and another blog shot of it.)

Now, some might think it's nit-picking or taking a pot shot at Sen. Obama. But when folks support two people at the same time - in this case Guevara and Sen. Obama - one should ask why. Taking the easy way out by saying that it's just one worker or that it's the "t-shirt" variety Che is wrong, I think.

10 February 2008

Prejudice and Preconceived Ideas - Dalrymple

Being a book snob myself, I don’t like to push books too much. However, one book that I think every thinking person would like is In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas by Theodore Dalrymple. It’s fairly short (126 pages), quite easily read, and has a number of really important ideas in it. What’s more, the ideas in the book reflect directly on our (Westerners’) current social climate and culture. After reading Dr. Dalrymple’s book, there is little wonder why our children are where they are: lack of prejudice against things out of the norm, social rebellion for its own sake, and suspension of moral judgment have created a brave new world indeed. But that’s the subject of a longer post.

Why I Avoid the Movies

Yesterday, my wife and I went to see Juno. Quite a good movie, I think. It’s a solid story with a level, sometimes uncomfortable, of honesty. There is also the fact that the message is far from the standard “what is right for me” theme. The protagonist chooses the more difficult road – not aborting her baby – in order to do the right thing for the baby.

I’m thankful that I made it through the previews to watch Juno. The previews reminded me why I don’t go to the movies much anymore. The trash spewed out of Hollywood is simply astounding. The capper yesterday of a full twenty minutes of previews was one for some waste of digital “film” called Stop Loss. It features – since I think the whole movie was shown in the preview – a country boy who has served a tour in Iraq and is ready to be discharged only to find out that he is being involuntarily retained. This is known, really, as being “stop lossed”. Of course, for dramatic effect, he finds this out as he’s ready to sign his discharge papers (or what he thinks are his discharge papers). And then there’s the standard “how can I run from this situation” plot, with obligatory references to Vietnam (Canadian passport and running north to escape Uncle Sam). It’s simply preposterous.

While I realize that there are folks who are stop lossed, I have to default to the fact that they signed up for it. I signed up for it, too…twice. I’ve been stop lossed – though admittedly, I allowed it to happen by not pushing my departure until the stop loss order came through for folks in my military specialty.

What digs at me about the movie Stop Loss is that it feels dishonest. Things simply don’t work the why they are portrayed in the preview. However, for millions of Americans, particularly young Americans, this movie may be the only information they ever get about stop loss, and it is tripe.

But I suppose for those who make a movie, honesty isn’t important, drama is. Not that there’s enough drama in more mirror-of-life productions. The shocking (and probably shockingly false) must be more entertaining, more meaningful than the depiction of the extraordinary and not uncommon drama contained in real life. For every Juno, a dozen or more Stop Loss-type movies will be made. I can only hope that the latter lose money hand over fist, because that’s the only message film makers might understand.

08 February 2008

Sharia in the West: Not With a Bang

It has been reported in This is London and the Times Online that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has said publically that the UK accepting or incorporating Sharia (Islamic law), or at least parts of it, are “inevitable.” In doing so, according to the Times, he used phrases like “plural jurisdiction” and “constructive accommodation,” though “extreme punishments” under Sharia should not be allowed.

Maybe it’s just me, but “plural jurisdiction” sounds like “pick your law” to me. It is one nation under two rules of law, which can’t be good for the whole. I would tend to agree with Culture Secretary Andrew Burnham, who said,

"You cannot run two systems of law alongside each other. That in my view would be a recipe for chaos, social chaos. British law has to be based on British values. If people choose to live in this country, they choose to abide by that law and that law alone.”
But I have to wonder what a Culture Secretary is, what he does, and if part of this whole “accommodating” thing, however constructive, stems at least in part from that bureaucratic being.

The most effective way to break a state, I think, is to fracture it from the inside. Clearly divided social groups which do not follow the same rules, the same laws, appears to be a powerful way to split, and ultimately shatter, a nation. From a Western point of view, just the concept of creating division is counterintuitive. Throughout Western civilization and over many years, there has been a push for equality and for equal treatment. That a group would want to be “separate but equal” doesn’t quite make sense.

Or it doesn’t until the motives of those who want it are taken into account. Giving Sharia parity with national law is a tool to divide. The purpose, I must conclude, is to break the nation as it is – whatever nation that is. The result will not be a plural equalities or blissful accommodations. Like Mr. Brunham, those who push Sharia realize that there can be only one law of the land. We Westerners must keep ours for all of those who live within our respective borders or we will watch our laws and our culture fade before our eyes.

07 February 2008

Governor Romney Out

This was a bit of a shocker today. Gov. Romney dropped out of the race today and gave, from what I saw of it, a very good speech while doing so. It made me wonder if he’s tagged for the undercard on the GOP side.

As many others have said, this is probably a good thing for the Republicans. The divisions on the GOP side need some time and smoothing between now and the convention. The less Republicans tear at each other, the better. The more Republicans work on a broadly based platform built on a sound conservative foundation (a Reaganesque coalition?), the better.

04 February 2008

Website Leaking Iraq ROE

Over the past seven years, there appears to be a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to leak and publish classified material. Today’s case in point, from a story in the International Herald Tribune, has to do with old rules of engagement being published on a website known as Wikileaks. The site apparently published rules of engagement (ROE) for Iraq from 2005. The headline resulting from the post is that US troops were allowed to engage the enemy even if that fight took US troops into Iran or Syria.

For the casual observer, what are known as pursuit rules may seem like a big deal. For those who have read military ROE before, it is recognized as detailing a required subject. All ROE should be able to, to the maximum extent possible, answer for endless iterations of the question “What do I do if…?” While engaging the enemy, troops need to act, not wonder. Good ROE provides ready answers to “what do I do” questions.

One of those touchy questions is what to do if the enemy tries to find safe haven in a “third” country (in this case, the US and Iraq being the first two). This question must be addressed in ROE, so the fact that it is addressed in the 2005 Iraq ROE is not a big deal. If it weren’t, then it would be a problem.

What the headline from the IHT seems to want readers to focus on, that “Cross-border chases from Iraq [are] O.K.”, is to miss the point. They are only “o.k.” in “hot pursuit,” meaning that breaking off contact with the enemy would put US or Coalition troops in danger. This is not willy-nilly running at the enemy where ever he is. This ROE addresses what to do if an extended fight takes US troops elsewhere. In short, there’s nothing strange about it.

What is strange is the inability for the anonymous folks at Wikileaks to understand that some things are secret for a reason. If the enemy knows US ROE, then it can change tactics to take advantage of that ROE. In other words, no ROE is perfect, a perfect net of all situations, times and places. Given enough thought, the enemy can “break” ROE. This would put US troops in danger, and needlessly so.

The front page at Wikileaks says, “We protect your identity while maximizing political impact.” I’m disheartened by the fact that Wikileaks believes the identity of leakers is more important than the lives of US troops, let alone Iraqis. The IHT article says that the site’s “goal in disclosing secret documents is to reveal "unethical behavior" by governments and corporations.” I counter that what Wikileaks does in unethical. Not only that, it is illegal.

The leaking of classified documents has become almost commonplace in our country. From Sandy Berger to Wikileaks to the New York Times, classified information has been leaked, and with little or no repercussions. It’s time for that to end.

Dissecting the 'Change' Mantra

Originally posted on the American Thinker website.

We need change in America. That's the message that every politician seems to push. They are all "agents of change". Each one of them believes that the brand of change he or she pushes is the kind of change that the electorate not only wants but desperately needs. The country is falling apart, you see, and if there isn't change soon (and by soon, I mean sometime after January 2009), then... well, let's just not consider it. It might be more of the same.

After all, the country is in obviously dire straits. Unemployment is... never mind. Inflation? No, not really. There's a recession... looming... maybe. But really, we are all hurting. Or at least those people the media shows us. And it needs to be soon. Just as soon as (insert candidate name here) is elected.

Fear of change

But behind the calls for change is a genuine fear of change. The economy, for instance, cannot be allowed ebb and flow; it must remain constant. Or better yet, it must grow at a quicker and quicker pace. Home values can't change, if change means a decrease in value. Again, constancy dictates ever rising home values. Anything less than constant positive movement in these areas is a world-stopping crisis, and we're to believe that something must be done to stop the change.

The grand daddy of all fear of change issues is global warming, a.k.a. "climate change". Some folks fear the well-established fact that global climate actually changes. They simply can't accept that the earth gets warmer and colder because of forces much greater than humans and our CO2 emissions. Some folks believe this so much that they're willing to do whatever it takes to "save the world", even if staving off what may or may not be CO2-induced wrecks lives, economies and countries. Those changes are excusable only because they would be committed in the pursuit of "saving the world". Climate change's messianic vision trumps human suffering in the abstract.

So we're asked to believe in change, to vote for change, to know that change is needed. But what we're more than likely going to get is less change on important issues, issues that can really influence our future for the better. Universal health care, extended unemployment benefits and other nanny state initiatives are only good so long as the money flows through them. Both Senators Clinton and Obama seem to have rallied around the idea America should trust them to institute change, just trust them. In doing so, they have given the GOP candidate (whoever that may be) a chance to substantively differentiate himself from his Democrat counterpart in the general election.

Real change for the better

The GOP should spend time between now and the closing of the convention discussing and developing reform frameworks on issues that can positively affect the nation in the next four to eight years. There is little doubt about how foreign policy might be conducted in a Republican White House should the GOP win. Domestic policy, on the other hand, needs to be addressed. A non-exhaustive list of important domestic change issues should include public school reform and decentralization, stopping and reversing illegal immigration, Social Security privatization, ending legislative earmarks, tort reform, and re-embracing the Constitution.

So while the GOP focuses on choosing a ticket the first week of September, it could (and should) emerge from the convention with a platform that calls for change, addressing domestic issues in as much detail as possible. Doing so will give the GOP ticket defendable, concrete specifics with which to counter the Democrat mantra of "change" for the simple sake of changing because they are "change agents".

The "change" chant has the demonstrated ability to stir a great deal of emotion and energy in this presidential election. Given the eight months between now and the general election, a GOP ticket based on a detailed, conservative domestic reform platform can trump the nanny state change platform that can be expected from the Democrats.

01 February 2008

Newsspeak at the Debate

The insistence of both Senators Obama and Clinton on not using the term "illegal immigrant" during last night's CNN debate was quite maddening. It is as if illigal immigrants have not committed a crime by entering the country without permission. And it's not that the two Democrat candidates can explain that away...they simply side-step it as if it did not exist.

Instead, both continually called them "undocumented workers" who are being "exploited" by companies. Both insinuate that these companies are evil - what with their profits and their desire to hire efficient workers at the lowest cost permissable. (Note: I'm not defending the companies too much here, but as a group, they are not as evil as one would be lead to believe.) And in the end, according to the two Senators, it's the desire for a better life, so they say, that really pulls people to America.

Both would have us embrace "undocumented workers" because after all there will be fines paid (or waived), folks will learn English (or not), and then we can just forget about the whole legality of the matter (which they already have).

Say what you will about Senator McCain and his "comprehensive" immigration reform (which was not good legislation), but even he has realized that the electorate doesn't believe anyone in government who promises to fix the whole problem at once. The two remaining Democrat candidates haven't seen that light, and any plan they propse will end, I fell, in amnesty, open borders and 20 million more illegal immigrants in the not so distant future.