I visited Mexico once when I was a little kid. My dad, brothers, sister and I were down in southern
California one summer visiting my uncle who lived in Anaheim, when my dad got this adventurous notion and declared that he’d like to see another country.
So off we went, to the land of awesome burritos and the birthplace of dollar Corona beers.
When we arrived at the border crossing, just south of San Diego, we all thought it was so cool that we were going to be in another country. We were going to be the envy of our classmates, who we’d presumed had never been out of their own neighborhoods, much less the United states. The border guard checked my dad’s driver’s license and in a few quick seconds, we arrived in Tijuana.
My father stopped just inside the border to get his bearings, and almost immediately we were approached by a Mexican fellow who began furiously washing our windshield with a newspaper. Dad tried to politely explain that we didn’t need our windshield washed, but the guy just continued, and when he was done, he held out his hand and smiled. We gave him a dollar, he nodded in thanks, and moved on to the next sucker.
Then came the tour guides. In case you didn’t know, almost everyone at the US/Tijuana border is a tour guide. We had at least four people approach our car, telling us they could take us to see all the sites that their beautiful country had to offer.
All this seemed a little strange to us Americans. When the last of the tour guides left, dad turned the car around and we headed back the United States. We’d seen enough. It was actually kind of scary being in another country for the first time, considering the experience we’d all just had.
This was back in the mid 1980s, when Mexico had a government that could halfway control its citizens. While we were there, we didn’t witness any kidnappings or drug deals. There weren’t gangs of cartel members with AK-47’s trying to carjack us or force us into being mules.
But all that has changed.
If you’ve turned on the news at any time in the last couple years, you know about the drug wars going on south of the US border. Hundreds of innocent people are being killed every week by the cartels, who have almost created a state of anarchy in a once peaceful country.
So what. That’s happening in Mexico, not here.
Nice attitude, Zippy.
But you’re wrong.
According to an article I read on AOL news today, the Mexican drug cartels are invading our country en masse as I write this post. While the government is busy arguing the politics surrounding illegal immigration, Mexican gangsters are growing marijuana in our national parks, and setting up intricate interstate drug trafficking routes that span the country. Drug intelligence officials say that cartels have infiltrated at least 230 cities across the US.
Along with the drugs, these cartels bring cash. Tons of it.
And it’s burning a hole in their collective pocket.
To get rid of some of that blood money, these cartels are hiring American teenagers to be hitmen for them. They’re paying American gangs to be their distribution networks. And they’re buying more guns. Military-issue assault rifles to be exact.
“Holy crap. This is an epidemic. Call out the National Guard! Let’s get some soldiers to the border to stop this RIGHT NOW!”
Hold on there, Rambo. We can’t do that. Most of our troops are overseas fighting for oil, instead of being here at home protecting American citizens. And while the cat’s away, the mice will play.
So, you may be wondering, has Washington even noticed?
Of course they have. Don’t you have any faith in our corrupt political leaders?
They noticed enough to say that according to federal standards, the Mexican cartels’ actions don’t
If over 34,000 dead Mexican citizens, who died because of the violence just beyond our southern border, doesn’t qualify as an emergency, I don’t know what does. And now that crap is migrating north, into our own backyards. Even more of a reason to be alarmed.
Our government isn’t even worried about the cartels per se. They’re only worried about the illegal flow of weapons into Mexico. Well they won’t have to worry about that much any more, because the cartels have obviously found a new home. One with free medical benefits, food stamps, free housing, and more new customers than you can shake a stick at.
I can see only one solution to this problem. And it needs to be implemented immediately.
Bring our troops home and have them seal off the borders. Send our soldiers into Mexico to help quell the violence that will one day overrun our country.
We would be better off helping our neighbors than occupying a country that doesn’t want our assistance.
Heck, it’s even been rumored that Hezbollah, a militant Muslim extremist group, is using Mexican drug smuggling routes to enter the United States.
So where do you think we should focus our efforts?
Ok, all of you commercial watchers and reality show addicts. Whose slogan is that?
I’ll give you a hint. They make light bulbs. And microwaves. Even refrigerators.
Last hint: This company was bailed out by the government with taxpayer money, sent thousands of high-paying jobs overseas, and made $14 billion in profits it 2010.
Oh! Oh! Pick me! I know!
The answer to today’s question is General Electric, more commonly known as G.E. Founded in 1892, the now multi-billion dollar conglomerate produces common household appliances, as well as engines for fighter and commercial jets. They also *ahem* designed the leaking nuclear reactors for the Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant.
As if you didn’t already know that.
“Ok Sonny Jim, since you’re writing about them, they must be inherently evil. What did they do? Help the Nazis? Fund terrorism? Conduct electrical experiments on blind lambs?”
Worse. They took food out of the mouths of millions of Americans. By not paying one red cent in taxes in 2010. In fact, G.E. and its legion of tax lawyers managed to finagle a $3.2 billion tax credit out of the American government last year.
They didn’t pay anything in 2009 either. And it was all perfectly legal.
“What the hell?”
It seems that if you want to avoid paying taxes in America, but still sell your goods to its citizens, all you have to do is hire a bunch of lawyers, then move half of your operations overseas. In effect, they hung around until the going got tough. Right before the recession hit, they laid off 21,000 workers, dumped a bunch of toxic waste, and skipped town.
This is where things get really stupid. After leaving a gaping hole in America’s economy and its workforce, CEO of General Electric Jeffery Immelt, was appointed by president Obama to become our nation’s “job czar”, for lack of a better term. Gee, that wasn’t premeditated or anything.
“Here ya go, Jeff. I know you bailed on America in her time of need, and I’d like to reward you for your cowardly efforts. You think maybe we could get Taiwan to train the Marines, you know, to save a couple bucks?”
Our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves.
I’ve been saying for years that America needs to refer back to the KISS way of doing business (that’s Keep It Simple Stupid for those of you who don’t know). Every corporation and individual should pay a flat percentage when it comes to taxes. There would be no more loopholes or confusing tax law. We could close down the IRS (please keep your applause to a minimum) and retrain the agents to be useful government employees. And extraordinarily wealthy companies like G.E. would be held accountable when April rolled around.
It’s only fair.
They say that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.
Well, only one if you’re rich.
A banana. PB & J. Some chips. Maybe a cookie. And a box of apple juice.
“Hmmm…What are…things you eat for lunch at school when you’re a kid?”
“Oh, I’m sorry Janet. The answer we’re looking for is ‘things you eat for lunch at school when you’re a kid unless you attend Chicago’s Little Village Academy.’ Looks like Sonny Jim takes the lead.”
“In your face, Janet!”
Mocking facial expressions and lewd hand gestures ensue.
Elsa Carmona is the principal of Little Village Academy in Chicago. Along with her teaching degree, Carmona also has a master’s degree in food sciences, an associate’s in human development, and devotes her most of her spare time to the nutrition research program at the Mayo Clinic. She really is quite gifted.
Oh, and she has one more degree. A doctorate in BS from What Gives You The Right university.
It’s in Texas. Google it if you don’t believe me.
No, Ms. Carmona doesn’t have any of the degrees I mentioned. As far as I can tell, she’s just a regular elementary school principal. What she does have though, is quite a high level of audacity. Principal Carmona has banned home-made lunches from her school’s cafeteria.
“Yeah, well stranger things have happened.”
The fact that one principal, in charge of one school, decides that she’s the queen of nutrition and knows more about what’s best for her students than their parents do doesn’t surprise me.
What gets me is that it’s happening in other places too.
A school in Tucson, Arizona won’t let kids bring anything for lunch that contains refined sugar, white flour, or any other kind of processed food. A few schools in New York have banned cupcakes. Schools in numerous locations throughout the country ban their students from eating take-out for lunch.
“They’re only doing this because of the childhood obesity epidemic. Leave them alone…”
No, I don’t think I will.
Childhood obesity starts at home, and that’s where it needs to be dealt with. Rather than banning sack lunches or certain foods from school cafeterias, maybe the district should offer some educational resources for the parents. Or at the very least, if the schools are going to institute a ban like this, they need to be chipping in to help finance these meals.
The bottom line is, schools don’t have the right to tell parents what to feed their kids. Granted, many parents probably need to step it up in the nutrition department. But outlawing cupcakes, and the ‘eat school lunches or go hungry’ mandates infringe on some very basic rights, not only of the parents, but of the students as well.
We need to remember the function of public schools in our society; to teach our children basic academic skills. Schools are not daycares, nor the teachers nursemaids. It is not the responsibility of public schools to raise our kids or monitor what they consume.
Stories like this make me wonder what’s next. Nightly visits from school officials, making sure mom didn’t undercook the chicken? Frisking students for Pixie Stix at the door? Mandatory hypodermic broccoli injections?
I can just see the headlines now.
“NATO Forces Losing Ground As The Great Twinkie Revolt Of 2011 Rages On”
We’re gonna need another federal stimulus package to get through this one.
Political correctness. It’s the bane of our society. People who are politically correct are hyper sensitive about any topic that they encounter, whether it deserves that kind of attention or not. As my grandma would say, they’re worried about something that “doesn’t amount to a hill of beans” when it comes right down to it.
Heck, I remember back in the day, when granny used to….
“C’mon Sonny Jim, step down off the soapbox and get to the point.”
Ah yes. Political correctness.
I have a question for you, my fine reader. Is it possible to be reverse politically correct? Watch this video, and afterwards, I’ll explain what I mean.
After watching this video myself, I believe I’ve come up with a new phenomenon. Since I discovered it, it’s only right that I should be the one to name it. Thus, I christen my new discovery “reverse political correctness”.
As you may or may not know, the dark skinned fellow in the video, Bobby Ghosh, is the deputy international editor of Time magazine. And he has committed the first act of reverse political correctness known to man.
Now, Bobby struck me as a regular politically correct person. I think it’s a job requirement for employment with any modern media outlet these days. Especially if you’re an international deputy editor. Wow, what a title!
But ol’ Bobby Ghosh proved me wrong. In case you missed it, Ghosh goes on record as saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) that burning a Qu’ran is much worse than burning a Bible, because clearly the Qu’ran is written by God, while the Bible is written by men.
Did you see it? Right there. Reverse political correctness!
This truly is a proud day for me.
I’ve already planned on how to spend the money I make from this discovery. But that’s a post for another day…
Of course, I’m being facetious. Reverse political correctness doesn’t really exist. Sadly, double standards do exist, and not in favor of Christians.
When Terry Jones burned a Qu’ran back in March of this year, there was international outrage. Heck, there are still protests being held and people being hurt in the Middle East to this day over the event. The sad thing is that there seems to be more media coverage on the burning of an inanimate object than of the people actually being hurt by the protests.
Apparently it’s ok to say derogatory or ignorant things about Christians or the Bible. And these comments don’t fall in the category of “not being politically correct”. If they did the media would be in a frenzy over the above video, like they are when anyone says anything negative about any other religion/race/lifestyle/etc. that society deems a protected commodity.
Instead, this video had a lousy 2000 views last time I checked. It barely even rated an obscure news article.
In the end, I’d have to say grandma was right. As far as protecting peoples’ rights goes, political correctness hasn’t “amounted to a hill of beans.”
In fact, the protesters in Afghanistan burned more Qu’rans than Terry Jones ever thought of destroying. In protest of burning a Qu’ran.
Figure that one out.
So, like many of you, I too went through an “I’m gonna be a poker star” phase. A phase wherein Rounders was my favorite movie. I played for hours at a time, and my wife hated it. It was a thrill to win a freeroll tournament, beating thousands of other players and raking in a whopping $15. I was on my way to being the next Johnny Chan!
I never deposited any real money though. I was always too chicken. I bet Johnny was in the beginning too.
But today, I found out my “chicken-ness” may have been a good thing.
Apparently the executives for three of the top online poker sites were indicted on fraud and money laundering charges today. Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker are now on the chopping block for allegedly pretending the money that US players deposited was used to make phony purchases from faux vendors that they owned, in order to skirt US banking laws.
Here’s some quick background info. on how the laws of online gambling work in this country.
There’s a little thing called the UIGEA, or Safe Port Act of 2006, which limits online gambling activities. How keeping ocean ports safe has anything to do with internet slot machines, I have no idea, but that’s how we roll here in the States. Anyway, what UIGEA does is disallows US banks to process payments either to or from online gambling sites.
Since 2006, poker lobbyists have argued that poker is a game of skill (I can attest to this), not chance, and therefore should not fall under UIGEA’s guidelines. Many of our nation’s top lawyers agree with this statement, too. But there are people in Congress who don’t. Thus, the LAPD-style, Rodney King-reminiscent arrests today.
That last sentence may or may not be true. I watch a lot of COPS. Clearly, I am easily confused.
This being said, under the law, it’s unclear whether or not it is legal for US citizens to gamble online. It’s still up for debate.
Considering all of the above info., here is where things get a little wonky.
The United States was sued by Antigua in 2007 for violating a World Trade Organization treaty they had with the country, by not allowing people in the US to access their online gambling sites. Antigua said that it wasn’t fair that people in the US could gamble in casinos, but not patronize their businesses by gambling online. Japan and the EU were kinda PO’d about it too, because they also run online gambling websites that people in the US weren’t supposed to access.
Here’s the kicker: Antigua won. The World Trade Organization found that the US had acted illegally.
Yet here we are in 2011, with a failing world economy, and we are actually arresting the people who run the most profitable online poker sites in the world. And these sites are operated off-shore. It’s not like there’s some dude who runs a multi-million dollar online poker site from his mom’s basement in Rhode Island.
I visited each of the three sites, and instead of the homepage, there’s big, bold print from the FBI and DOJ, stating that the domain names had been seized. And anybody who bets online could be arrested too, the notice menacingly conveyed. The FBI and DOJ logos were proudly displayed at the top, you know, to make it official.
I just tried to access the sites again a minute ago, but they’ve been taken offline.
What gives them the right to do that?
“Well, they were laundering money and defrauding banks…”
Nope. I don’t think they were. They didn’t have to. There are plenty of online processors that aren’t based in the US, that processed US credit cards without a second thought. The money was then transferred from them to the poker sites, so the player could fund his/her account.
There is, however, something I forgot to mention.
The government is also suing these three sites for $3 billion.
“And he picked up his hammer and saw.”
The government wouldn’t infringe on the rights of its citizens for mere money. Would it?
It’s not just the money. It’s money and control. It was illegal for them to stop us from patronizing those sites, so they found a way around it. The people who had money in their poker accounts don’t even know if they will get it back.
The government is trying to bluff their way into a settlement, and show us citizens just who has the power to say what’s what. If this case goes to court, the poker boys are gonna win. Antigua did.
And Poker Stars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker have way more money than Antigua.