Monday, July 31, 2006

that old analog cell phone that you love may cost you more...

BRUCE MEYERSON, AP Business Writer--

about 4.7 million Cingular wireless scribers with older phones will have to pay five dollars extra each month as the company tries to prod them to get new handsets.
" The new fee, which will generate $23.5 million a month for Cingular, adds to a confusing array of surcharges and government taxes that, regardless of the wireless company, can boost the average cellular bill by up to 50 percent from the advertised rate. "
sound familiar?

Cingular as well as other cellular companies are required by the FCC to keep providing analog service until early 2008 so long as it's still as customers with analog phones.
A federal lawsuit in July was filed claiming Cingular promised to provide uninterrupted service to AT&T wireless customers however degraded their phone reception in order to persuade them to sign new contracts.
" On Monday, Cingular issued a statement to AP saying that with the number of analog and TDMA users dwindling, "the per-customer cost of using that network is increasing considerably. That‘s why we made a decision to impose this charge." "

Sunday, July 30, 2006

if you are here illegally, just leave and you'll be allowed to return legally with the new George "W" visas

FAIR - Federation for American Immigration Reform--Pence-Hutchison “Compromise” Induces Illegal Aliens to Leave By Letting Them All Stay
"Washington, DC—In a desperate effort to “get something done” on immigration before the end of the congressional session, two normally sober members of Congress have hatched a plan that is vague on details when it comes to securing America’s borders and protecting American workers, while containing specific promises to millions of illegal aliens. The plan offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) would require that the President certify that America’s borders are secure, triggering the onset of a massive new guest worker program that would allow nearly all of the illegal aliens living in the U.S. to leave the country and return almost immediately with newly created “W” visas. "

in addition, the plan would authorize the issuance of an additional 200,000 "W" visas each year contingent upon the Department of Labor certification of worker shortages in various sectors of the labor market.

Under the plan, illegal aliens would be allowed to work in the US for up to 12 years after which they could apply for citizenship.
" “Under this plan, the people who are living and working in the U.S. illegally at the time that the President certifies that the borders are under control, will be assured of being rewarded with W visas.” “Let’s try to follow the logic here,” observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “In order to convince people to stop violating our immigration laws, we’re going to promise them visas that will allow them to stay here legally. But the best way to get one of those visas is to be here illegally. Lewis Carroll himself could not have dreamed up something so convoluted.”
... "like the President Bush, Pence and Hutchinson are looking for gimmicks to avoid calling amnesty an amnesty." said Stein "

let's follow the logic here... You come into my house through the window uninvited, however, instead of arresting you for trespassing into my home, we merely ask you to leave and offer you the key to my front door.
I got it

OSPIRG says student debt levels will raise by $2000 over this year

Oregon Daily Emerald--

The office of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group is working to increase awareness of the issue of student debt and created the report titled "Student Debt and Consumer Costs in the Willamette Valley."

According to the report, the average amount of student loan debt increased by 107 percent between 1993 and 2004. The average undergraduate student will leave college carrying a burden of more than $19,000 in student loan debt, which is roughly $2,000 more than this year's graduating class.

The report also highlights the relationship between the rise in student loan debt and the rise of the cost of living in the Willamette Valley. In the same time period that has seen astronomical rise in average loan debt, the overall cost of living in the area has increased by 32 percent, which is roughly equal to the national inflation rate.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

should big box stores be forced to pay higher than minimum wage?

The New York Times--

Chicago city Council passed a groundbreaking ordinance yesterday requiring the big box stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot to pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour by 2010 along with at least three dollars an hour worth the benefits.
" The ordinance, imposing the requirement on stores that occupy more than 90,000 square feet and are part of companies grossing more than $1 billion annually, would be the first in the country to single out large retailers for wage rules. "

the measure passed by a vote of 35-14 after four hours of intense speeches and debates. In Illinois retailers group said it would challenge than the measure in court and Mayor Richard Daley, who said earlier that the ordinance could impede growth and tax revenues and gave no indication whether he would veto the ordinance.

Who shouldand have access to your credit report?

Robin's Commentary--

Isn't it interesting that your credit score has become important in more ways than just applying for loans.
In recent years, insurance companies have started using your credit score to base their insurance rates. The argument is, the better your credit, the better driver you are. Statistically speaking of course.

I remember getting notified from my insurance company that they were using my credit score to base my insurance rates. Funny, I always thought that you had to give prior authorization before a company could look at your credit history.

One issue that I think comes to play, especially in this time of identity theft, is who should be allowed to have access to your credit history and should you have the right to deny companies from viewing your credit history without consequence.

Yesterday, I'm filling out an online job application for a local computer software company. it seem like a standard employment application until it asked me for authorization to access my credit history for a background check. The application gave me the option to "agree" or "disagree" to access to my credit report.

I was thinking, "what the hey!" Why do they need that? This is not a top security company that I'm applying for. They have not even offered me the job yet. what happens if I say no?

I called the company and asked them what would happen if I denied them access to my report? I was not surprised when they responded that "chances are that the company will not extend an offer for employment."

Well since I am not independently wealthy and I do need a job, I went ahead and agreed to let them have access to the report.

So now, this third-party company who I've never heard of before, now has my Social Security number, date of birth, drivers license, my full name and work history BEFORE I am even offered employment.

The only thing that they have not asked me for "yet" is my mother's maiden name so they can totally complete the picture.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

IMAGE program helps employers hire only "legal" employees

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)--

In order to help combat the unlawful employment and reduce vulnerabilities that help illegal aliens gain employment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently introduced the IMAGE program. By voluntarily participating in the program, companies can reduce unauthorized employment by the use of fraudulent identification documents.
All IMAGE participants gain membership to DHS's basic pilot employment verification program and employers may verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work United States. Free to employers, the system provides an automated link to the Social Security administration database and DHS immigration records.
To sign up for the program, visit the registration web page at (
so addressing a recent question about what can we do locally...ICE recommends conducting annual I-9 audit by an external auditing firm or trained employee not otherwise involved in the I-9 and electronic verification process.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Helmets... when is enough enough?

Sun Sentinel--

I remember as a kid growing up running a bicycle, with the wind flowing in my hair and there are times when I would fall off the bike and get a scrape or two. That was just part of growing up.

How things have changed and so have the laws.

Enter the helmet. A new line of headgear that started to became mandatory for many different events. The motorcycle helmet. Statistically speaking, motorcyclists who wear helmets suffer less severe head injuries... so we passed a law.
Seat belts... although not a helmet, however it is a law passed to reduce injury.
Kids riding bicycles, skateboards and in-line skates suffer more head injuries without a helmet. Therefore, we passed a law. [So much for the wind in your hair]

But what about other activities?
"A Consumer Product Safety Commission study found that soccer contributed to an estimated 14,465 head injuries that were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2004. That is up from 9,269 head injuries in a similar study in "

That kind of makes sense... in soccer you are using your head more than other sports.

[Pun intended]
Although health studies have shown that head injuries for pole vaulting and surfing were relatively rare, cycling takes the lead in the rankings of the number of people treated in US emergency rooms.
the article contains a list of different injuries ranging from cycling to fishing. [Head injuries from fishing?]

Golf: 8049 injuries. [Could you picture Tiger Woods wearing a helmet on the golf course?]

what about injuries due to everyday activities?

Statistically how many head injuries are caused each year by tripping while walking or running? Should there be a law requiring pedestrians to wear helmets? I can just imagine how they would enforce this one. [If caught walking without a helmet... you'll be fined $50 and your shoes will be impounded] so forget about high heels girls, too big a risk of head injury.

How about we just wrap everybody in bubble wrap and call it good.

I'll admit I'm kind of making fun of the article a little bit and I acknowledged that head injuries are a serious matter... however, when you really stop and think about it. How much is enough?
hat tip to Lars Larson's web site for the lead to the article.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

U of O president Dave Frohnmayer receives a 36% pay raise over last year

the Oregonian--

Collectively from all sources, U of O president Dave Frohnmayer, the 15th president of the University of Oregon, after a recent pay increase now receives an annual income of $445,433, or 36 percent more than he earned overall last year.
In comparison, OSU President Ed Ray's compensation, from the state and OSU Foundation, rose to $340,008, a 15 percent jump according to the Oregonian.
" In June, the State Board of Higher Education approved increases in state salary for all seven university presidents, maxing out at $221,000 each for Frohnmayer, Ray and Portland State University President Dan Bernstine. "

$158,333 increased to $224,333 from the UO foundation, which includes a $50,000 in deferred compensation and $118,908 increase from $90,000 from the OSU foundation.
The UO and OSU money was raised from donors.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's our country... "love it or leave it " says counselor David Ralston

the Springfield news--

those words from Springfield Ward 4 counselor Dave Ralston in a e-mail regarding his opinion on illegal immigration
"I have volumes of documentation on La Raza, MeChA and The Nation of Atzlan. These people want to take over the Southwest of America. They want to invade and not assimilate…" Ralston’s e-mail reads. "Mark my words, this is a serious problem that we will have to deal with sooner or later and I am tired of being politically correct in order to not offend anyone. This is MY country and I have a right to stand up for it. Illegal immigrants are breaking OUR laws and getting away wit it…This ‘America’ and we speak English, love it or leave it."
Mark Molina, a prominent Springfield Latino businessman and former City Council candidate, said Ralston’s comments show a severe lack of sensitivity for a significant portion of the city’s residents.

"When he mentions La Raza and other groups, I have no idea what he’s talking about," Molina said. "He says he’ll share this information. Well, here’s his opportunity." "

Disappointing, was the statement from Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken. "I would like to emphasize that the remarks of Mr. Ralston are not a fair representation of the community we are trying to build here in Springfield. Personally, I cannot and will not condone the negative tone he used in attempting to articulate his points. I sincerely apologize to a vital segment of our community was left to question their place in Springfield." Said the mayor.

yes, we would not want illegal aliens to feel that they were not welcome in Springfield.

The mayor continues by emphasizing that it has been his goal to build a community where everyone feels welcome and safe and is asking the Latino population to not let them be negatively impacted in building a vibrant Springfield.

I was shocked and very disappointed when I heard this on Lars's show this morning. I agree with David Ralston that we need to keep this issue in the forefront and stop being afraid of talking about this issue.

Like it or not, this is our country and we welcome you [immigrants] if you come through the front door legally, however, we are getting very tired of government turning a blind eye to illegal immigration issues.

below are links to the e-mails and responses
Statement from Mayor Sid Leiken
Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston’s e-mail:

update: the mayor, unlike sleepy Ted,did come on the Lars Larson show to talk about this issue. The mayor made some very good points and made the issue this e-mail should not have been prematurely released to the public before they had a chance to discuss the issues [which I agree], an issue that he said he will be looking into.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"In Mexico, there is no electoral fraud. Never,"

Yahoo! News -- Reuters--

President Fox rejected claims on Tuesday of fraud in Mexico's recent election.
" In Mexico, there is no electoral fraud. Never," Fox told a small group of demonstrators protesting the alleged vote-rigging "

Lopez Obrador, the left-wing candidate says that Fox is living in his own world, which he calls "Foxilandia" sighting of Fox's victory in 2000 ended in seven decades of corrupt one-party rule in which elections were often rigged.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

When it comes to illegal immigration and elections,... it's all about the numbers


California has been primarily a solid blue state ever since the attempted crackdown on illegal immigration, in part, by the backlash from the growing Hispanic voter population.
" "If the political parties use immigration as a wedge issue, there might be a very big backlash," said Marcelo Gaete-Tapia, senior director of programs for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, or NALEO. "

Hispanics, which represent about 14% of the population which makes them the fastest and largest growing minority group in the country, however several factors diminish their political influence.
o Small details like four out of 10 adult Hispanics are ineligible to vote
o The median age to of Hispanics is 27 compared to 40 for white non-Hispanic
reminds me of the U of O job questionnaire,[ ] if Hispanic [ ] not Hispanic … DUH!! It is like George Carlin's joke about the gasoline truck with the words "flammable" on its side... it is either flammable... nonflammable... or noninflammable... why are there three? The thing either flames or it doesn't?
" There is a sense that they are getting more political power within some states," de la Garza said. "In Texas right now, the Latino vote is important in local elections, but not as much in state elections. In California, they can influence state elections." "

One out of four Hispanics polled claim that neither the Republican or Democratic party has the best position in immigration partly due to debate over immigration issues, such as when the House passed a bill last year that would make it a felony for illegal immigrants to be in the United States.
... for many Hispanics, this debate is about their future, said Sergio Bendixen, a Hispanic pollster in Florida., "it's about whether they are welcomed in this country." no kidding! Wonder why?

Most Hispanics believe that discrimination against them has increased due to the immigration debate according to a Pew poll.
" The way that immigrants are treated is sort of the proxy for how the Latino community is viewed," said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, state policy director for the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights group. "When you hear the vitriolic debate on immigration in this country, what do you think of? When you belong to that ethnic group, you feel it." "

what do I think of? I think of the attacks of 9/11 and I think about how porous our borders are and how we do not take securing them very seriously.
I think about all the extra security precautions that we have taken under Homeland Security, which only resulted in meaningless inconveniences without actually addressing the problem.
As Bill O'Reilly said the other day, "it is like spending $1 billions on an alarm system for your house, and not installing a front door."

If back in 1776 people had taken the attitude of today, we would all be speaking with a British accent.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A woman is more likely to be raped in Lane County than in New York?


This information straight from the Lane County District Attorney's Office [you know, the same folks that advertised in the paper what crimes they will not prosecute]
"D.A. Doug Harcleroad says crime is a big problem in Lane County and the local rate of forcible rape is one of the highest in the country per capita. "

According to the FBI, Lane County is number five on the list of the 15 largest metropolitan areas in the country for forcible rape.
"While Lane County could not be considered a large metropolitan area, the D.A. says the numbers are a clear indication of a big crime problem. He believes the proposed county income tax is the only way to get the money needed to fight that problem. "

don't be surprised if we see more articles like this to the try to convince us to give them more money.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm still here

with school coming to a close, I have had very little time during the last couple weeks to keep up on the blogs, however, keep checking back because I should be back on track after a short break.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mexico's new president promises changes and legal assistance to defend immigrant's rights in the United States

Reuters news service--

Felipe Calderon of the conservative ruling party won Mexico's election in a tight race for presidency. President Calderon proposes to maintain the fiscal policy of former President Fox however, he wishes to be more supportive towards business and to help fight poverty.

In addition to his economic and energy policies, President Calderon hopes to tackle poverty by expanding public health services and providing universal health insurance through public and private agencies.

He promises to stem illegal migration across the United States border through job creation in housing and infrastructure.
* Proposes a very active foreign policy, with a firm voice in multilateral organizations and a strong relationship with the United States.
* Pledges not to be a pushover for Washington, however, and opposes U.S. proposals to build a border wall and deploy National Guard troops along the frontier. Says U.S. immigration reform is crucial.
* Vows to defend rights of migrants in the United States by setting up a special office to give them legal assistance. He says NAFTA trade partners United States and Canada should help promote Mexico's economic development to stem migration. I "

President Calderon also promises to combat crime plus cleanup and better train their police forces.
with promises of universal health care, maybe they might start seeing an influx of US citizens, especially, with the mindset of sleepy Ted as I think about him every time I have an allergy attack.
Perhaps with these changes in Mexico, [assuming that they are more than just promises] will encourage Mexicans to stay home and fight for their rights in their own country and their homeland.
As far as President Calderon's view on the US border policy, I am sure that President [we need cheap labor] Bush will work hand-in-hand with President Calderon to put a bridge over the fence between US and Mexico.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Georgia's law requiring voters to present government issued photo ID may be unconstitutional

the Washington Post --

the motion in US District Court in Rome Georgia, argues that the law adopted by legislatures this year is disproportionately affects Georgia's elderly, low income and minority voters.
The state of Georgia tried it has a similar voting measure in 2005, however, a federal judge blocked its saying that it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax.
Supporters of the law say that it is needed to prevent election fraud.
" No amount of tinkering can cure the many flaws in this unconstitutional statute," said Neil Bradley, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project in Atlanta, which is helping to challenge the law.
A separate challenge filed by former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes is scheduled to be heard Thursday in a state court."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Alka-Seltzer Plus, NyQuil, TheraFlu & Tylenol all require prescriptions as the July 1 -- thanks Teddy

Statesman Journal--

Several laws went into effect July 1, 2006, one of them requiring prescriptions for drugs containing pseudoephedrine such as Sudafed.
" The new rules are designed to help law enforcement cut down on meth labs, but they might increase costs for those who need the medication. Most pharmacies have a minimum charge to fill a prescription, normally between $9 and $10, almost twice the over-the-counter cost of a box of Sudafed. And that doesn't include the time and cost of a doctor's visit to get a prescription. "

the articles I have seen, over-the-counter sales of drugs containing pseudoephedrine only amount to less than 30% of the supply for methamphetamine producers. The long-term consequences of requiring a prescription in my opinion, [also being an allergy sufferer] is overall increased absenteeism from work and increased emergency room visits.
While sleepy Ted's small attempt to control the situation may be noble, but it really does not address the bigger picture, such as illegal drugs crossing a porous border, and in a related article, where drug runners are using helicopters to bring drugs into the United -- Northern smugglers take to the air [PBS]

Other medications that are affected by the new law are:
Novafed, Pretz-D, Sudafed, Vick's Vatronol, Alka-Seltzer plus, Allegra-D,Chlor-trimenton 12 hour, Claritin-D, NyQuil, TheraFlu, Tylenol cold and Tylenol sinus just to name a few.

If you live in Mexico, and you name your kid, well... Kevin... you could be in trouble

Fox News--

Authorities are enforcing new rules in the state of Chihuahua on what parents can name their kids. The rules dictate that a parent must name their child with a foreign sounding name, that it must be followed by a Spanish middle name, like Maria.
"It seems the state was displeased with a rash of tots running around with odd, creative and foreign names, so it decided to issue a reminder of what’s considered appropriate and what isn’t.
Among the names deemed “improper” by the state are Lluvia, which means rain, Azul, which means blue and Kevin, which means … well, who knows. "

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Salem -- Smile-- you're on candid [red light] camera

Statesman Journal--

Police Chief Gary Moore announced Wednesday that Salem police have chosen Redflex Traffic Systems, a Scottsdale Arizona company, to place red light cameras at Salem's busiest and most dangerous intersections.
" The Redflex cameras would take still pictures of rear license plates and the faces of oncoming drivers, and 12 seconds of video per incident in which a motorist is alleged to have run a red light. This evidence would allow police to determine whether a violation has taken place and identify the driver. "

Redflex would install and maintain all video equipment at its own costs, process and Mail citations, and could assist in collections. The company in return would receive a portion of each traffic fine.
Under the proposed plan, as many as eight Salem intersections would get red light cameras.
" Although the company has been chosen, a public hearing will be held within the next couple of months to get residents’ comments on the company’s proposal, assistant city manager Linda Norris said. The City Council has the final say on whether to implement the cameras. "

the claim about red light cameras, is that they reduce accidents by photographing the car & driver in the act of running a red light.
In fact, according to a June 2, 2004 report from Virginia Secretary of transportation Wellington W. Clement, suggest that red light cameras actually increase the risk of traffic accidents.[source]
Additional concerns for establishing adequate yellow interval for traffic signals, not using the program to raise revenue [of course they would never do that], and avoiding software or hardware errors in the operation of the system.
Conclusion of the study was the number of crashes attributed to red light running has decreased, although the number of rear end crashes has increased.