Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Time to Keep Up, Wilmette!

Congratulations to Chicago's Mayor Daley, who is leading an initiative to make all of Chicago a wireless "hot spot!" The goal is to provide inexpensive--or maybe even free--Internet access via wireless.

Currently, if you have a wireless card in your notebook computer, you can get connected at both Daley Plaza and Millenium Park.

Wouldn't it be nice if Wilmette could lead the wireless charge? Ah, one can dream!

Making all of Chicago a "hot spot" might lead to more tech jobs in Chicago. Stopping the export to other states of well trained computer-saavy professionals from the U of I at Urbana-Champaign--who learned their skills with no small imput from Illinois taxpayers--would be a great blessing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Today's Installment of One More Reason to Stay Out of Florida

I'm beginning to think One More Reason to Stay Out of Florida isn't going to be an occasional feature. Today, the news is clear: If the alligator's aren't enough to scare you off, you'll be glad to know that Miami is the worst city in the entire United States for Road Rage. Interested where it's nice to drive? Consider Minneapolis.

Just Say "No" to Fines for Undocumented Mexicans

Looks like we Americans are working our usual problem-solving magic, and starting to make some real progress in coming to terms with the immigration issue. Barack Obama is just plain wrong, however, when he talks about levying fines to put undocumented workers on the path to citizenship. If we, as a country, decide citizenship is best, the idea of making these workers pay back taxes is seductive, though probably unenforceable. Making them learn English, though, is a must, in any event there is a decision that they should stay. And we ought to seriously consider barring forever fugitives from justice under the "catch and release" program.

While there was wrongdoing for these undocumented workers to come to the US in the first place, America is also at fault for leading them to believe they could stay. American citizenship should never, never, never be for sale--and that is just what a fine looks like. It's also wrong to fine economic refugees when they are not well paid. Either we are keeping them or we are not. These fines wouldn't help the national budget much, and they could be impossibly difficult for the workers.

Any talk of a fine should immediately be taken off the table. It really sends a terrible message. With news of profound chaos in Mexico, maybe soon we will have a better understanding of what exactly is happening South of the Border. If the news continues in the current vein, it won't be pretty.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Two More Reasons to Stay Out of Florida

Florida is producing reasons to stay away so quickly, the limiting name of our occasional feature, One More Reason to Stay Out of Florida, may be obsolete. This weekend, two women had to be pried out of the jaws of an alligator.

With the additional two deaths, Florids's death toll this week in the "death by alligator" catagory is up to three.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Wish I could give you a little rose perfume though your computer, but no one has figured out how to do that yet.

Instead, I've arranged a Mother's Day Concert for you, courtesy of Ongaku Records. This is the nicest music website I've come across, and its so easy to use, all you need to do is click. These aren't any little previews, either, in fact they aren't previews at all. There's enough beautiful music there to keep you entertained all afternoon long.

The stunning Bach Partitas (Vol.2), performed by Sergey Schepkin--only one of several selections--surely would please the Master himself. Somehow they manage to sound fabulous through even tinny laptop speakers. How they do that, I don't know, but you are in for a treat!

Photo credit: Worleyx posts his photos on Flicker, where you can see hundreds of pictures of flowers as beautiful as the one above.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

One More Reason to Stay Out of Florida II

This frightening story about an alligator stalking and killing a lady who was jogging in Broward County, Florida is today's reminder that it might be safest never to step foot in the Sunshine State.

Our firstpost introducing this feature is below:
When it gets cold here, thoughts can turn to Florida. If you're a thinking person, it's best to ignore the urge. After all, Florida is the state that gave us Elian Gonzalez and Terri Schiavo. Do you seriously think that state is safe?

Today begins an occasional feature, One More Reason to Stay Away from Florida.

The word is now out that rats "big enough to pick fights with small dogs" are overrunning the Conway Acres neighborhood in Orange County, Florida. These rats, the legacy of Hurricane Charlie, are just one more reason to find somewhere else to warm up. You can read the story and see the video by clicking here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Wilmette Thanks Legislature for HR 1291: Illinois Singing National Anthem in English

The Illinois General Assembly has been busy. Here's a resolution passed Thursday, the quatro de Mayo:

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that in this land of immigrants, as one American nation, we should sing our national anthem together in English; and be it further

RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be delivered to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the President of the U.S. Senate, and each member of the Illinois Congressional delegation.

The entire resolution can be accessed here, with the pdf here.

While our legislature doesn't quite have its facts straight, when it says "different versions of our anthem have been produced in many musical styles, but never before in another language," God bless their diverse little souls for getting the resolution right. Hats off to the sponsors, which include Rep. Michelle Chavez, from Cicero (but born in Jalisco, Mexico), a suburb of Chicago where many people of Mexican heritage live. Her leadership is greatly appreciated.

This is encouraging news, in light of a story related by a friend that her child came home from her Wilmette school the other day wondering why her teacher said that the US should not oil-drill in Alaska. Since we never seem to be able to keep politics out of Wilmette schools, any encouragement we can send to our teachers is a very good thing.

Update: With two pro baseball clubs in Chicago,
it looks like we might need more help from the legislature!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Blogging from Internet Hell

Great, after using a few words of Spanish on this blog, I no longer can access the dashboard of Blogger in English! What is this--the revenge of Anahuac for failure to get with the program?

No, not even a chance to "oprima dos para espanol," Spanish is being served up to me with no means of escape! When I hit "more," in hopes of finding a way out, all I get is help in Spanish.

Is this what is going to happen to all of us? Do you seriously think that I have a clue what "Guardar como Borrador" means?

So if you can send help, would you please leave a comment? If you see something that looks like "commentario," I think that would be the place.

Ayudame! Please!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo
Celebrating a "Day Without a Taco"

Ok, ok. I know you are going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. After all, what's not to like about Mexican Independence? I mean, it's so great that Mexicans risk their lives on a daily basis to celebrate it by dashing over the border. Even Mexicans know that Mexicans Independence hasn't helped much.

Seriously, folks, do you think our guests from Mexico are coming for the weather? I won't bother answering that, but let's make those Cinco de Mayo celebrations saner this year. Here's my suggestions:

1. No tacos. Mexicans not only eat steak, they also like French Cuisine. Honor their independence accordingly.

2. No Dos Equis or Corona. Mexico's great beer is a legacy from German immigrants. So heft a frosty, but make sure it's something from Munich--or maybe St. Louis.

3. No tequila, no margaritas. You think they don't enjoy whiskey in Mexico? Get real. Order a scotch.

4. No Mexican restaurants. Got reservations? Call them up and tell them you'll be showing up manana instead. Wilmette offers plenty of good places to eat.

5. Want to practice your Spanish? Drive on over to White Hen.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

NOTE: Do your part to support "A Day Without A Taco." No Mexican food on May 5, 2006. You can live without it for one day, can't you? No burritos, either. Let your voice be heard and let our guests know that we, too, understand "el boicot." That guy in the big sombrero, pictured above, looks pretty serious, don't you think? He has a point.

Wilmette Green Bay Road Development
Documents and Citizen Comments

If you follow this link: you can find some documents related to the proposed large, very large, new development on Green Bay Road in Wilmette located at the old Ford dealership behind the library and across from Village Hall.

There is also a space to collect comments, although that space is very tiny. While it might be nice to have a say in the matter, I don't know whether citizen comments will be merely noted or actually considered by the Wilmette Village Board or the Wilmette Plan Commission.

If you have a view on the matter, you might want to share them with the powers that be. Remember, although the space is tiny, very tiny, for comments, you could always write them in your word processor and paste them in.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No Room for 50-50 Allegiance

Two variations of the following have shown up in the inbox today, one from a Democrat, the other from a Republican. The thoughts are culled from a letter written by Theodore Roosevelt shortly before his death.

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Shall we start those free, open, and guaranteed ICE-free English lessons in every village and town across America? Shall we insist that the immigrants come out from the shadows, make themselves known to us, and learn how to communicate with us? The debate is not over yet. In the meantime, those who support amnesty could prove that it is their goal to help these persons become Americans by teaching the fundamentals of citizenship.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May Day en Chicago

The earnest young man photographed in downtown Chicago during the May Day parade has something important to say. I thought I would share it with you, although I admit that I am a little puzzled by what he is trying to tell us. To his credit, he has his own message rather than one of those preprinted signs, and it's in English. He gets extra points, too, for holding the American flag just a tad higher than the Mexican one. While the mainstream media is now noticing that radical groups are taking control of the immigrant movement, his serious demeanor reminds us that there are plenty of undocumented immigrants who just want us to understand.

While you would never know it from the photo above, from all accounts the march and rally in Chicago was quite a party. This march seemed to have more to do with celebrating freedom of speech and Chicago's love of parades, however, than rebuilding Anahuac. Sort of like a St. Patrick's Day parade without floats.

Everyone was there, not only Hispanics. The American Indians came sporting feathers. Spokesmen for the undocumented Irish expressed their concerns. Former residents of several African countries could be seen with their flags, as well as a number of well-covered young ladies speaking out for Muslim rights. Plenty of politicians showed up to give speeches at the rally, as well as the Catholic bishop. Perhaps the somewhat Dadaesque flavor of it all was best summed up in the words of one of the rally speakers I heard on live Internet coverage, "Viva Mexico!"

On a troubling note, there was no shortage of signs which read: "Today we March, Tomorrow we Vote." Kind of gives you a new perspective on these--ahem!--"illegal aliens," doesn't it? With all the talk of fake documents, do you think plenty have registered to vote already? Hey, it's Chicago, remember?

Mayor Daley was unable to attend. Clever planning to be on a trip to the Middle East! Protesters in parks and Mayors named Daley don't have a happy history in Chicago. With many of the parade organizers the very same people who gave the current Mayor's father such a terribly hard time during the Days of Rage it was smart for the no-longer Young Mayor Daley to just get out of town.

For some, however, the march might have been labeled as "a day without school." Almost the entire student body from two high schools with principally Hispanic students might have been there--most went missing from classrooms without explanation.

Photo Credit: Araceli Arroyo who posted a number of photos from the march on Flicker under the name of Celikins. Those photos are available under Creative Commons license. Some of those photos are also on her blog where her readers are warned "This work is protected under international copyright laws. Copying, reproducing or distributing this work or any portion thereof constitutes copyright infringement and may be punishable by fine or imprisonment." Ms. Arroyo also has an pictures from the earlier Immigrant's Rights march in Chicago. With photos from Iceland, Paris and Rome, among others, it is unlikely she is an undocumented worker.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Pan-Pan-Pan - No Compran Pan:
Bring a Pan and a Spoon for El Gran Paro

It's here! The General Strike, formerly known by Americans only as an aggravation in foreign travel, has now arrived on our shores with the aim of shutting down America's major cities.I hope everyone remembers to take a sandwich to work today.

In San Francisco, marchers have been told to bring a pan and a spoon, and look for the flag with a pan and a spoon. That doesn't make sense to me, but it also doesn't make any sense why the marchers don't understand what flag they should carry, or learn to sing the Star Spangled Banner in English, or even learn English at all. Forget the American Dream, it's the Mexican Dream or nothing, so it seems.
I imagine these marchers are going to use the pans and spoons to make an awesome noise, which they are starting to do anyway, as more people see the very strange viewpoints they have toward what we are all fond of calling "The American Way."

There is a really sad side to the immirgrant's story, however, which can be pieced together only by extensive reading on dozens of online sources. Apparently, a lot of these undocumented workers would really rather be in Mexico, not here, but their government thinks that exporting poverty over the Rio Grande might be the fast track to improved economic conditions. The people they are sending (or encouraging to send themselves) don't have the education, or the knowledge to know how to solve their problems by staying put. With deteriorating economic conditions we probably wouldn't know how to, either.

Mexico has everything, and nothing going for it. Favorable Climate, huge access to the seas, a wealth of riches in the Earth, abundant land mass. At the same time, it engages in little planning for an improved future, supports wide-spread corruption in the government, and cedes power to an ever-increasing number of criminals engaged in every enterprise known to the lawless.

In one respect, we are no better. Politicians see an enormous number of possible new voters, spread widely throughout the country, and drool. The unions see the potential for revitalizing the union movement and drool. In the meantime, the immigrants, a group which relies principally on word-of-mouth communication for knowledge, is fed an unrelenting menu of bizarre plans for their future ( including detention camps and mass deportations following mass round-ups) by the ultra-left wing groups who thrive on community action and parade planning, and in many respects have it down to a science.

These immigrants are told by many of the organizers that Americans are racist, hate them, and want them gone. Therefore, they must march for their rights. For many of them, sadly enough, that may be the totality of their understanding.