Category: Responsibility

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Immigration Case Study

I am a vocal opponent to the Bush Administration plans to turn illegal immigrants into felons. I got to see another administration’s immigration policy in action today.

I’m out of town on business. On the way from the airport the car driver and I got to talking. He’s from Mexico City and has lived in the US for over 20 years. Looks like, at one time, he was an illegal immigrant. He came here as a tourist and never returned. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty that allowed this guy to stay in the country and get out of the factory and do better work. 

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Francis’ People

I am quite surprised by the number of homeless people here in San Francisco, at least in the area around my hotel. I’ve seen more homeless or beggars (for money) in two days than a whole year back in D.C. The number of people is staggering.

Some folks are characters, and they know how to turn coins or greenbacks. One panhandler has an eye for tourists—or at least confused people, of which there are many. He roams Geary street (and perhaps elsewhere) asking bystanders if they need assistance finding something. His hope, I think, is that the help he gives will be returned in favor. He’s friendly and endearing. You want to give him money. 

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Yeah, I’m Angry

Family friends run a construction business. The husband, who is from Central America, sees a fair number of people looking to take advantage of Hispanic business owners and workers. The presumption is Hispanic means illegal immigrant. And if the, uh, American doesn’t pay, there’s nothing the illegal can do. In fact, there often are threats about turning in the Hispanic immigrant to US authorities.

Now, this man is legal. He has a green card and runs an honest business. But he witnesses plenty of discrimination against Hispanics and gets some of it, too. I mention this because, one, it really pisses me off and, two, there is this immigration debate raging on Capitol Hill. 

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No Finder Keeper

My daughter and I fled the house today, down the road to the 7-Eleven. My wife had gone out for the afternoon—and left to fend for our own lunch, we opted for convenience. My daughter got a turkey and cheese sub, while I went for a burrito. But on the way to the convenience store, there was adventure: A lost cell phone.

As we cut across a parking lot towards the 7-Eleven, I spotted a clamshell on the pavement. Well, well, finder’s keepers? Not in my family. Lost is returned. We hoofed over to the building adjacent to the parking lot, asking if someone had lost a cell phone. The folks inside weren’t exactly helpful. I called myself using the lost phone, hoping to get some caller ID. None, except a number with 206 area code, which I recognized as Washington State. 

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Nuclear

This morning, as my daughter and I sat in our aging Volvo stopped in traffic, I saw that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had moved its headquarters to Rockville, Md. The facility is on a section of Rockville Pike (MD 355) that I don’t normally drive. But I do recall construction going on in that area for years. Now I know who is the tenant.

Anyway, the NRC headquarters prompted a discussion with my daughter about nuclear power plants and radiation and the role the regulatory agency plays in trying to ensure nuclear facilities are safe. I gave her the example of Chernobyl and what bad things can happen because of radiation contamination. 

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Be Better Neighbors

Yesterday, I wore my Alienware T-Shirt, with the company’s logo on the front—an alien, of course. For some reason, I got several questions about it. So I said: “Well, this is my illegal alien. He’s afraid of getting sent back to his home planet, and I’m protesting with him.”

There’s truth to what I said. I’m unfavorable to the hardline US legislators are taking with this immigration bill. I just don’t see turning all these immigrants into criminals, or turning them away. As one of the sixth graders pointed out today in the Sunday school class I teach, most Americans are immigrants. And to the Native Americans here 400 hundred years ago, the off-continent settlers were the illegals and, as it turned out, invaders, too. 

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MySpace Isn’t the Problem

Shoot, will people lay off poor MySpace. Today the company hired a new Chief Security Officer, in response to a bunch of news stories about kids online safety. Yesterday, my mom called to make sure that I didn’t miss a Dateline story about the dangers of MySpace. Sorry, Ma. I spent time with my daughter rather than watch about parents that weren’t looking after their kids.

The problem isn’t social networking sites, but unmonitored kids and their uninvolved parents. In December I warned of kids risky, online behavior. But the greater risk is from the parents. C’mon, if kids are posting on public blogs, why should predators be reading them and not the parents? 

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Be Responsible for Your Kids Online

Over the last couple days, I’ve seen an awfully good AP story, by reporter Matt Apuzzo, stir quite a flurry of fallout about kids online safety at blogsites. Matt focuses on MySpace.com, but the problems of too much information disclosure are persistent.

In December posts What Kids Reveal Online and Minimizing Kids’ Online Risks, I explored the dangers of teen blogging and what kids foolishly reveal. 

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‘Live 8’ or Death

Two Saturdays ago, the family hauled off to Tysons Corner Center, so that my wife could shop at the New Balance store and my daughter at the Sketchers there. On a giant flat-panel monitor at the back of the Sketchers played Live 8, particularly Richard Ashcroft’s performance, with Coldplay, of The Verve staple “Bittersweet Symphony”.

The performance stuck with me, as did vague memories of Live 8, which I mostly missed. I certainly shouldn’t have overlooked the concert as much as I did. During summer 2005, I struggled through some logistical problems at work, which greatly distracted from many things that should have been greater priority. Events like Live 8 come `round maybe once in 20 years, if Live AID is any indication.