Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is Illegal Immigration the Ol' Switcheroo

I am not sure how on-target some conservative talk radio hosts are these days as they discuss the new Arizona illegal immigration law. Seem they think it is giving the Democrats an out. Instead of hammering on the current and main liberal Achilles' heels -- Obamacare, massive deficit spending, and terrible economic policies.

Seems they blame Arizonans for switching the focus from where it is suppose to be and giving the Democrats an out. There is some truth in this. But they must remember that all politics are local.

Here in AZ, we have serious issues that impact the safety and economic solvency of the cities, counties and state. How does one tell someone that they should not fear for their daughter's safety -- that kidnapping will not happen or is very unlikely?

There is no serious border security here in AZ. They try but it is a sieve. They should come down here and see for themselves. The hired drug exports can easily carry backpacks laden with drugs, cache them on private or public lands, and await for pick-up. If anyone discovers them, they have no problem shooting them dead.

Those opposed to the plan feel that we must protect those that are here legally from being harassed. There is no proof that that will occur.

What is going on in America -- in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas -- is an invasion of our country. Austere times require austere solutions. The federal government is not doing it job. The states and its citizens must take matters into their own hands if those that are suppose to do it refuse.

Yea, it might switch the debate from one set of problems that is ruining us financially but it is being directed at a problem that threatens our national and personal safety and security.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finger Rock Canyon

Finger Rock Canyon on the southwest corner of the Santa Catalina Mountains is a hike that mandates a bit of determination. It starts off easy in a pretty lower Sonoran environment but after a mile or so, the climb begins. And that climb is steady. I've been up worse but this hike should be considered strenuous.

The things a hiker must be aware of is that it is non-stop uphill. It is sun-drenched. There is no water (for a 75 degree F sunny day, this was still a one gallon hike). And it is one thing getting to the top, to Mt. Kimball (few do), but you must get back down.

This is the mountain hiker's dilemma: is it harder going up, with a full pack, plenty of water, or coming down after exerting so much energy getting up? Those with bad knees and ankles will not like this decent.

If you want to see the southern canyons of the Santa Catalina Mountains, you will see fewer hikers, even fewer past the saddle at around mile 3.5. It is a nice albeit hard hike.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Arizona Immigration Enforcement Bill

I love this take-charge attitude of Arizona politicians. Arizona passed an immigration enforcement bill that 70 percent of likely Arizona voters support. It is impacting Arizona (all states for that matter) and costing the state for the services these people access.

The federal government is not doing its immigration enforcement job. Obama's rebuttal even acknowledges the federal government's poor showing with border security, despite him calling the action "misguided".

In a typical Democrat response, President Obama called the Arizona bill "misguided" and instructed the Justice Department to examine it to see if it's legal. Opponents see it as a civil rights issue. What real rights do those here illegally actually have? Consider the pro-illegal positions:

-- "A thousand people a day are being deported. A thousand families being destroyed. And this comes at a very high moral and financial cost to this nation." They put themselves and their families in this situation. We are a nation of laws. We can't accept some and ignore others.

-- The law sends "a clear message that Arizona is unfriendly to undocumented aliens." And what's wrong with that?

-- It "launches Arizona into a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions." Overreaction!

-- "Police in Arizona already treat migrants worse than animals. There is already a hunt for migrants, and now it will be open season under the cover of a law." If this was the case, why do they risk the treatment? A bigger problem is not how we treat illegals but with their cesspool countries.

The law enforcement officers are not going to set up road blocks like the DHS Border Patrol does today. Nor are they going to question every Hispanic and ask for their papers. They are going to do what police have done for decades: act on probable cause.

I love being considered misguided by Obama and those that favor his politics. Obama and those that love his politics get real uncomfortable with those that do not goose-step to his diatribe and rhetoric.

Control the borders and remove those here illegally and we will have less crime, lower taxes (or expenditures to service the illegals), safer neighborhoods, shorter lines in the emergency rooms, and smaller classrooms. If you are here legally, then welcome. This is the America I want to live it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Entitlement: Prolonged Cancelled Flight Insurance

It is an unfortunate situation for those people whose travel to/from Europe was impacted by the massive flight cancellations due to the Icelandic volcano.

Many were unable to return to work, incurred large hotel and restaurant charges, missed college classes and exams, left children at home with baby sitters, nannies or relatives, etc.

Some feel it is their employers or their government's responsibility to help them cover those expenses. Apparently, if you are away on holiday and cannot return home to your job, the employer is not required to pay you for those missed days. but if they ask you to use your vacation accrual, they may be opening themselves to a health and safety legal rebuttal. Camping out in an airport lounge is not 'rest and recreation' and is not vacation.

As people become more and more socialistic, their justification for entitlements changes. To them, there is no such thing as fair play. To them, it is only fair if they receive compensation for their unfortunate situation, regardless of who pays.

The government or the employer owes them They can care less that that money comes from the taxpayers or customers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nature's Impact on Global Warming

There is a billboard in my town that reads:

GLOBAL WARMING
[_] STICK HEAD IN SAND or [_] DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

I do appreciate grass root efforts to make the world a better place. Being a good steward of the land is the right thing to do. Not polluting, using electricity, natural gas and water wisely, and giving people the option of buying better mileage cars are good things.

However, it is unreasonable to assume that if man did everything in his power to not use energy, to make extremely efficient machines, and to eliminate all "unnatural" waste, will eliminate global warming.

The politics of global warming is all about control and business opportunities. The beneficiaries are some politicians and entrepreneurs, but mostly big business (the very thing the environmentalists hate). These businesses don't care about making the world a better place -- if it happens, great. It is about votes and money. They leverage the grass root groups for their selfish purposes.

As the volcano in Iceland continues to spew forth ash in Europe and lands northward, it has created an enormous impact to the environment. But because it is nature, that's okay. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano is causing economic damage the world over, especially in Europe. I feel for those trying to travel to/from Europe, especially those being forced to pay for more days in hotels and restaurants.

True to their cause, environmentalists should like the fact that fewer jets are being flown which means less fuel is being consumed and less emissions are being added to the environment. This is man made and the volcano is nature. This is core to the environmental religious beliefs -- doctrine that is false and pernicious.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Night Belongs to Ubaldo Jimenez and the Rockies

Rockies beat the Braves, 4-0. The line was:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
COL (6-5) 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
ATL (6-5) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

But the story was Ubaldo Jimenez who threw the first no hitter in Rockie history. Besides 6 walks, he was able to get the job done, helped by one spectacular play by center fielder Dexter Fowler.

Congrats Jimenez and the Rockies.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Presidential Power Getting Too Great

One of the many beautiful things the Constitution of the USA does is separate and balance the power of the three federal branches of government -- Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. However, over the past couple of decades, that balance appears to be changing. The President is being given an expanded role.

It became apparent with Bill Clinton, continued with George W. Bush, and has gotten out of control with Barack Obama.

The president is not a king. We do not have a parliamentary system nor a prime minister. His role (and his administration) is to enforce the law, not make it. That's Congress' job.

It is the Congress that has the role of laying and collecting taxes, paying the debts, provides for defense and general welfare, borrow money, regulate commerce, establish rules of naturalization, coin and regulate money, promote progress in science and arts, support and maintain an army and navy, declare war.

The President is given the power to make treaties, nominate and appoint judges, ambassadors, other public ministers and officers but with the advice and consent of the Senate and in some cases a vote.

So when a president says he is going to do this and that, it often comes with a caveat: the Senate must approve.

What we see happening today, and this has been escalated to levels of concern with Obama, is that he is making these edicts as if he were a king.

As the federal government takes more and more control over are lives, we are seeing mandates from the "king" just because he thinks they are good ideas.

Just in the past couple of years, we have seen, and will continue to see, these edicts taking place in the banking, insurance, manufacturing and health care industries.

This should be a concern for the legislative and judicial branches. But they are not looking too interested.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Classic College Basketball Final

That was a classic college basketball final. Bulter, the underdog, was favored by the masses, though certainly not Vegas. But they played their hearts out. Duke beat them in just about every statistical category. Butler probably should never have had a chance to win it. But they did enough to take a final shot that if it would have went in, would have won.

I am anti-big school-little school hype. That is fodder for the media. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. That is why we play the game.

It will go down as Duke 61, Butler 59. But that score does not tell the story. That game was great, regardless of the histories of the team, leagues and coaches.

Play Ball

April 4th, Yankees at Red Sox under the lights, April 5th for everyone else. These games count after a month of spring training.

Hope and optimism abound, unless you are from Kansas City, Oakland, Toronto, Baltimore, Pittsburgh... The sad thing about baseball is that there are a large number of teams that really have no chance of winning their divisions. The distribution of wealth in MLB is huge.

It amazes me that so many fans pay the high prices for tickets, soda, dogs, beer, parking and souvenirs for teams that will lose way more than they will win. Seems to be one of the biggest cons going. Sure we like the game but there ought to be a limit on what people are willing to pay for entertainment.

Minor league ball is more enjoyable for the family and the casual fans. It is priced closer to what is reasonable. Major league ball is provided at major league prices. If we are pouring that much money into athletes and their games, this recession is not that severe.

I consider myself a serious fan. I play Fantasy MLB, watch the MLB Network, and have a subscription to MLB gameday audio (now called At Bat). I'll go to a few games this year like I always do. As I don't live in a MLB town, I'll have to travel to do so. I will buy scalped seats, never paying full price. I limit my food and beverage intake to $10-15 (per person). I never buy souvenirs or programs.

I love baseball but don't like the greedy side of the business.

Regardless, let's play ball.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He Is Risen

As I think of holidays and their significance, Easter, for the Christian world, is second to none.

The life of Jesus, his teachings, his example, his establishment of his organization surrounding that 'final' weekend 2000 years ago. His atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane and his cruel suffering during the time leading up to and through the Crucifixion are brought into perspective that Easter morning. For when the angel said to the two Mary's:
Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is arisen (Matt 28:5-6).
People may wonder why the LDS Church does not use the cross as part of it symbolism. The answer is simple, we worship a living Christ. He is not dead, he is risen. He is alive and leads his church today, just like he did in the meridian of time.

Today, during the 180th General Conference, we heard touching testimony of the Savior and his redeeming love and manifestations from President's Uchtdorf and Monson.

Easter is a special time; a day I love and cherish.

See the two minute video He Lives: Testimonies of Jesus Christ .

Galiuro Mountains, Tortilla Trail, Powers Garden

A day off work is not missed. When one is living temporarily away from one's family, one needs to stay busy. For me, it is bike ride or hike Arizona. Friday and Saturday, I spent it in the Galiuro Mountains, two hours east of Tucson.

My goal was to visit Powers Garden, to see hat the Powers family set up for themselves over a hundred years ago. I got there via the Tortilla Trail (trail #254) from the Deer Creek trail head (not the Deer Creek Cabin as some guidebooks suggest.)

I started out at around noon after driving from Tucson. I made a route mistake about 1.5 mile into the hike. There was a trail junction and the signs were poorly displayed. I ended up going about 2 miles out of my way, towards Kennedy Peak. I got back on course when I found a trail marker pointing toward Mud Spring (not much going on there). The hike ended up being around 12 miles, one way for me. I arrived at the Powers Garden Trail / Rattlesnake Canyon at around 6:30 (a 6.25 hour hike).

Until that point, I did not see a soul. However, I ran into a group of LDS scouts from Central, AZ. One of the boys was working on his eagle project (fixing the barbed wire fence in the Powers Garden pasture). I had a good visit with a couple of their leaders. They invited me to stay in the cabins with them (first come, first served). I elected not to, opting for my original plan to do it alone. The Powers Garden area has two cabins and a shed. The cabins have beds with mattresses. I wish I would have taken them up on the bunk offer because my body is not what it used to be; that was one rough night sleep.

The trail head began at 5000. Climbed about 1400 feet over 5 miles to Topout Divide. It then dropped to around 5800 feet for a mile or so and then when up to 6100 feet before descending into Horse Canyon. After around 1.5 miles, the Tortilla Trail met the Powers Garden/Rattlesnake Trail. I needed to cross quite a few creeks but nothing significant until Rattlesnake Creek. Even then, I did not get wet.

This hike is challenging. Only a super fit person should attempt this route in one day. It is harder than it appears. Knowing where I made my navigation mistake, I was able to cut off quite a bit of time on the return trip, as it took me less than 5 hours.

I ran into a group of 4 hikers with fanny packs about noon. They were only 2 miles into the hike and they thought they were going to go there an back before dark. Not likely. I hope they realized their folly and turned around.

The trail was rough, due to LOTS or rocks and horse hoof imprints that were etched in the soil a few weeks ago when the conditions were very muddy.

I thought Horse Canyon was amazing. Not spectacular but quaint. It was made by a low volume stream with a number of small waterfalls.

This hike is tough but worth every sweating step.

video

Tortilla Trail, 6100 feet, above Horse Canyon

video

Tortilla Trail, 6400 feet, Topout Divide

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Larger NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

It is looking like the NCAA is moving forward with an expanded men's basketball tournament, from 65 teams to 96. At first, my reaction was "come on." But after thinking about it, this seems inevitable.

It is all about money. More games mean more money. Many more teams will get in, especially those good bubble teams even though they would have lost in the first or second round anyway.

The drawbacks are that it renders the regular season less meaningful, just like the NBA and NHL. They will hope to have only teams with winning records make the tournament, but there will be teams from major conferences that have overall winning records but losing records within their conference.

I like the fact that the top teams will get byes and that the tournament will still occur within three weeks.
The first-round games for the 64 non-bye teams would take place on Thursday and Friday, with the winners playing the top eight seeds in each region on Saturday and Sunday. Winners on Saturday would likely play again on Tuesday, and the Sunday winners on Wednesday. Those winners would then move on to the regionals, playing alternate days starting on Thursday.
They will probably need extra host sites. I also wonder if CBS or any single network can cover the entire tournament by itself? On the good side, we get to eliminate that useless Tuesday play-in game for the 64th entry and apparently it will engulf the now irrelevant NIT.