29 April 2006

Regime change in Iran

How it's all likely to play out in Iran.
The US military attack on Iran will, most certainly, be conducted with air power. The US has neither the available ground forces necessary to invade a large country like Iran, nor the appetite (given the experience of Iraq) to manage its aftermath. In contrast, airpower assets are plentiful and its employment offers a clean, seemingly low cost alternative to a ground invasion.

There are two major problems with deploying airpower. The first is that Iran has both dispersed and hardened its nuclear related facilities. This situation means that in order to guarantee the destruction of some of these facilities, a nuclear weapon must be used. This is not a viable option. The use of nuclear weapons in any form is an anathema to the world and most people within the US government, despite the ability to modify these weapons to reduce their size and fallout. As a result, it is highly probable that some of Iran's facilities will survive conventional air attack.

The second problem is equally as difficult. Most of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program isn't contained in the facilities but in the knowledge of its engineers. This means that any destruction of facilities would only result in a short-term delay in development and a redoubled commitment by Iran to accomplish the task.

These problems indicate that the only way to truly realize a reversal in the Iranian program is regime change. Therefore the objective would be to remove the clerical regime from power -- it's likely that merely a political reshuffle would be insufficient to ensure any meaningful reduction in the threat. Additionally, this is a real test of the Bush doctrine of pre-emption. Iran has clearly supported international terrorism and will soon be in a position to supply these groups with nuclear weapons.

Of course, just as things didn't exactly work out as planned with the Iraq invasion, so optimistic gleanings like these should be judged accordingly.

19 April 2006

Crooks and Liars

No, not referring to the popular website that catalogs such egregious Republican political acts, but to the utterly incredulous recent radio commercials sponsored by the Republican National Committee, aired in Spanish, that claim Democrats voted to treat millions of hardworking immigrants as felons.
Los terroristas entran a través de nuestras trafican drogas en las orillas de los Estados Unidos.

Justo la semana pasada había esperanza, el congreso estaba trabajando para reformar la ley de inmigración....asegurar nuestras fronteras y proteger a las familias estadounidenses.

Pero el demócrata Harry Reid nos falló....Harry Reid jugó a la política y bloqueó a nuestros líderes en el Congreso para no llegar a un acuerdo.

Los aliados demócratas de Reid votaron para tratar a millones de trabajadores inmigrantes...como criminales...

Mientras el presidente Bush y los líderes republicanos trabajan por una legislación que protegerá nuestras fronteras y honrará a nuestros inmigrantes.

But the truth is that it was a Republican, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin who introduced legislation that would turn illegal immigrants into felons. And here in Arizona, it is Republicans that are steaming over a veto by Democratic governor Janet Napolitano of similar legislation that wished to codify the same punitive measures. Republican lawmakers backed off the felony provision for "first time" offenders, but retained it for future violations.

The level of dishonesty is just apalling. How can any American vote Republican, given the culture of corruption prevalent, and now just brazen dishonesty being flaunted.

17 April 2006

Eliminationist rhetoric

As I've written here, regarding illegal immigration, I'm generally opposed to offers of amnesty and any type of guest worker program implementation. Not that I an evil hearted xenophobic radical, I, like many other Americans, feel that people should play by the rules and that temporary worker programs are an invitation to flagrant worker abuse and exploitation. However, when I read invectives on the issue like this one, it makes me shudder to cast my political lot with those who flaunt hate speech, wishing to dehumanize fellow brothers and sisters.
We can learn from Buffalo, New York. Now in Buffalo the rat problem in the city was a huge one. Exterminators could not handle the problem. But then in 2001 the city mandated that everyone would have to begin using special anti-rat garbage totes that the rats could not open. With no way to get to the garbage, the rats left Buffalo. Now, they went to the suburbs and now the suburbs are fighting them. But it is no longer a problem for the people of Buffalo, New York. Here is how to do the same with our problem:

1) No services.

Absolutely no services of any kind for those who cannot prove they are in the country legally. Nothing but emergency medical care. Without all the social services, medical and other services provided for them, the illegals will find life here less attractive.

2) No schools.

Absolutely no schooling for anyone who cannot prove they belong here legally.

3) No easy birthright.

Change the law. Now, if you are born here, you are a citizen. I say, if you cannot prove that you were born here and that your mother was here legally at the time, then your citizenship is that of the mother and not of the USA.

4) No legal status. No drivers licenses. No bank accounts. No ability to sue a citizen. No legal standing for anyone who is in this country illegally.

5) No free lunch for "The Man". Make it a criminal offense (and enforce it if it is already on the books) to hire an illegal alien, or to rent a dwelling place to him, or to sell him a home knowing that he intends to live there. Make employers provide documentation for all of their workers. You put the onus on "The Man" and it suddenly becomes less appealing to take advantage of the illegals.


David Neiwert notes that this same "rat comparison" meme, propagated by popular right wing talk show hosts, was used by the Nazis to drum up hatred of the Jews and is also employed to demonize gays and lesbians.

Furthermore, are illegal immigrants, as Arizona politician Russell Pearce is quick to pounce on this point, totally without constitutional rights? Do folks really wish to treat fellow human beings in such a manner, like vermin to be eliminated?

I have a feeling the immigration debate is going to get uglier, as a pushback against the recent spate of marches and protests starts to surface coincides with an intimidated legislative bunch who keep floating solutions that dissatisfy the majority of Americans. Yet, from my perspective, the answer is quite simple:

  • More punitive employer sanctions for hiring illegal workers and more importantly, enforcement of these laws.
  • Full worker rights for anyone working in the United States — if the labor force is empowered to exercise, to the fullest, laws of economic activity, it is a win win situation for all, American workers and those trying to forge a better life.

13 April 2006

We've had lots of comments from listeners that they really want the local angle

So KTAR 620 AM is dumping syndicated programming in favor of returning to live and local format that they just about totally eschewed just six short months ago.
KTAR-AM 620 has yet again tweaked its programming lineup as the news station tries to find the right mix of shows to hoist ratings.

Last fall, the station booted "Real Life with David Leibowitz" off its 9 a.m. to noon time slot in favor of the "Tony Snow Show."

It appears that shift didn't pique listeners' interest. Snow's Washington, D.C.-based show will be replaced by a new one hosted by Pat McMahon, a long time Phoenix television and radio personality.

In the 7 to 9 p.m. time slot, "The 620 Sportsline" returns to the air with Dave Burns as host. Burns previously held the 6:30 to 9 p.m. time slot but the programming featured a blend of sports and regular news. Eccles said the decision was made to take the time to fully explore just sports news during the new, two-hour period.

The station is trying to find local hosts for the 1 to 4 p.m. and the 9 p.m. to midnight time slots. The afternoon slot now is filled with a show Ted Simons of Ted & Heidi has been doing as double duty for the station and the latter features a syndicated consumer advocate show.

Yes, good riddance to neoconservative sycophant Snow and a tape delayed Clark Howard. Here's hoping they fill those slots with informative and engrossing hosts that provide forums for plentiful listener feedback. I don't believe McMahon has the stamina anymore to offer three quality hours a day, though a more frequent roundtable style program (like the McMahon Group that presently airs in the Friday 1-2 pm slot) would definitely earn my listenership.

Even better, would be if they granted Bill Straus a Straus Place encore.

12 April 2006

They didn't appreciate McCain questioning their work ethic

Just another tidbit on how detached from the concerns of working Americans Senator John McCain is.
But he took more questions, including a pointed one on his immigration plan.

McCain responded by saying immigrants were taking jobs nobody else wanted. He offered anybody in the crowd $50 an hour to pick lettuce in Arizona.

Shouts of protest rose from the crowd, with some accepting McCain's job offer.

"I'll take it!" one man shouted.

McCain insisted none of them would do such menial labor for a complete season. "You can't do it, my friends."

Senator McCain is no friend to the American worker, doing everything in his power to undercut their wages and everything in earnest to displace American jobs with foreign workers.

6 April 2006

A super class guy who knows his hoops

One of my high school classmates has just accepted a postition at Arizona State University and will relocate to the desert.
Herb Sendek, who has taken North Carolina State to five consecutive NCAA appearances, won more than 250 games in the past 13 seasons and has been a part of Final Four coaching staffs at two different schools, has been named the 13th men's basketball coach at Arizona State University, Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love announced Monday.

"I am very excited to have Coach Sendek taking the reigns of the Arizona State basketball program," said Love. "His knowledge of the game and proven record of success made him the ideal candidate for us. His experiences as a head coach on the major conference level and in building winning programs is exceptional, as is his background as an assistant coach. He has been on the staff of two Final Four teams and worked at high-level programs. We look forward to helping Coach Sendek produce those same results at Arizona State."

Good luck to Herb in turning around the moribund Arizona State basketball program. While my sports attention is generally focused on hockey rinks during basketball season, I still cheer for ASU, and hope he is just as successful here as he has been in his career thus far.

Not that I knew Herb at all back in those school days — it was a big high school, with a graduating class over a thousand students. The high school was split into separate schools for 9th-10th grade, and another for 11th-12th grade. Honestly, I can leaf through my high school yearbook and there are many more faces that I cannot recall than those I remember.

Herb Sendek isn't the only classmate of mine to make it big in the realm of the sporting world — here are a few others, along with this guy whom I batted against as a young ballplayer.

5 April 2006

Let the perps tell a jury, "I inserted a foreign object into the rectums of little boys, but I had no sexual intent"

Instead of forging a cushy plea agreement for the son of Arizona Senate president Ken Bennett.
Two young men charged with sodomizing 18 boys at a youth camp last year have been offered a plea agreement that may net them little jail time and no record of sexual assault.

Clifton Bennett, 18, the son of Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett, and his co-defendant, Kyle Wheeler, 19, were charged in January with 18 counts of aggravated assault and 18 counts of kidnapping for the incidents, which happened at a youth camp last June.

The younger Bennett confessed to police that he and Wheeler sodomized the 11- to 14-year-old boys with broomsticks and flashlights in at least 40 incidents, court documents show.

Yavapai County prosecutors now say they'll drop all but one assault charge and likely recommend little or no jail time if Bennett agrees to plead guilty.

Yes, an honor student and active LDS church member who just was horsing around, sodomizing younger boys with broomsticks and flashlights. What a travesty of justice, considering that a young adult not affiliated with such a powerful politician would be treated much more severely or even another young adult that made the mistake of using an illegal drug.

You can read the Yavapai prosecutor (Sheila Polk) response to the generated outrage over this case, in the comment feedback of a superb E.J. Montini column on the matter. I find her categorization of "non-sexual" to be troubling — a broomstick shove up the ass, even if it through clothing, is still a sexual assualt, no matter how it's diced. And the gravity of the crime is immense, considering that adults, serving in a supervisory role, wielded a wrath of terror over young pre-teenager boys.

If you're connected, you're protected!

3 April 2006

Dear Air America ...

Welcome back to Phoenix!

Now if you can just get Charles Goyette back on the air where he belongs, I'll be listening every chance I get! (Oh, and Ed Schultz, too — as a counterweight to Hannity and Medved on my afternoon drive in to work.)

Best regards,
Phrank in Foenix
(an anti-THIS-war evangelical Christian conservative)