Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thoughts on Immigration

Let's face it: We have an illegal immigration problem, and we're not managing it very well.

Part of the problem is that Mexico and a few other countries to the south have millions in poverty, and they see immigration to the U.S. as a personal, practical solution.  And, for many, it is.  They come here and integrate themselves into the community pretty well over time.

Also, let's face it: a number of businesses or agricultural concerns would have problems in finding people to work for what they pay if it weren't for the illegal immigrants.  That pretty much accounted for why there were so many Spanish-speakers moving into northwest Alabama several years ago.  (You can get darned good tacos in Franklin County now.)  And a few years ago, when the state really cracked down on illegals, it was hard to find people to pick the crops.

But, screw it!  There's something just plain un-American to take advantage of those people because they are willing out of desperation to work for very slim wages.  And, to really load the argument shotgun: it seems to be also un-Christian.  And people who do that just plain suck.

A big part of the problem is the widespread willingness of employers to exploit these people coupled with almost nothing in the way of penalties for their doing so.  Plus they have the ethics of an alligator.

So, here's ol' Elvis's plan to deal with this kind of thing:

1.  Levy hefty fines for each person hired without documentation on the person or company who did the hiring.

2.  If those persons were hired for exploitation wages, then the person who did that spends some time in the cooler.

3.  If child exploitation or prostitution is involved, then send the offender to one of the more nasty prisons.  The Limestone Correction Facility is one.

4.  Develop a program for guest workers, legitimize the process, and make the social safety net available for them too.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alexis de Toqueville on Journalists

In America there is scarcely a hamlet which has not its own newspaper. It may readily be imagined that neither discipline nor unity of design can be communicated to so multifarious a host, and each one is consequently led to fight under his own standard. All the political journals of the United States are arrayed indeed on the side of the administration or against it; but they attack and defend in a thousand different ways. They can not succeed in forming those great currents of opinion which overwhelm the most solid obstacles. This division of the influence of the press produces a variety of other consequences which are scarcely less remarkable. The facility with which journals can be established induces a multitude of individuals to take part in them; but as the extent of competition precludes the possibility of considerable profit, the most distinguished classes of society are rarely led to engage in these undertakings. But such is the number of the public prints that, even if they were a source of wealth, writers of ability could not be found to direct them all. The journalists of the United States are usually placed in a very humble position with a scanty education and a vulgar turn of mind.
But although the press is limited to these resources, its influence in America is immense. It is the power which impels the circulation of political life through all the districts of the vast territory. Its eye is open constantly to detect the secret springs of political designs, and to summon leaders of all parties to the bar of public opinion. It rallies the interest of the community round certain principles, and it draws up the creed which factions adopt; for it affords a means of intercourse between parties which hear, and which address each other without ever having been in immediate contact. When a great number of the organs of the press adopt the same line of conduct, their influence becomes irresistible; and public opinion, when it is perpetually assailed from the same side, eventually yields to the attack. In the United States each separate journal exercises but little authority but the power of the periodical press is only second to that of the people.

From Democracy in America, by Alexis de Toqueville.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Pink Pony Pub

The Pink Pony Pub is a landmark in Gulf Shores, on the Redneck Riviera.

Disrespecting the KKK in Pulaski

The original (post Civil War) Ku Klux Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1865.  Years later, the United Daughters of the Confederacy installed a plaque on the law office where this took place.

The plaque was inscribed "Ku Klux Klan organized in this, the law office of Judge Thomas M. Jones, Dec. 24, 1865".

The residents of Pulaski were not thrilled with this plaque; but could not do anything about it until the building was sold.  Then, the new owner could have kept the plaque or had it taken down.

However, he simply reversed the plaque, effectively sending a message that the community wished sent.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

On a Shingle!

Here's a classic Army recipe: CREAMED BEEF ON TOAST (SOS)

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. sifted flour
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup water
2 tbsp. butter - hell, add more if you want

Brown ground beef in its own fat.  Remove excess fat and save for making roux. Season with salt and pepper.  To make a roux, place 2 tbsp. reserved fat in double broiler or heavy pan.  Slowly add sifted flour, stirring constantly over low heat until thoroughly blended.

Cook for five minutes. Do not brown.

Combine milk and water. Add butter and scald (not burn) in double broiler or heavy pan. Add roux to scalded milk, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Add meat mixture and cook about 10 minutes, or until desired consistency.  Serve on toast. 

Hot sauce is optional.