Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I happened to notice lot of the people at this week’s immigration rallies holding up signs that read: “We are not criminals.”

That may be true in the traditional bank robber sense, but isn’t trespassing a crime?

I actually have a good friend from college who was arrested for “Criminal Trespassing,” so I’m pretty sure being somewhere you’re not supposed to be is a crime. That would make 11 million illegal immigrants, technically speaking, criminals…despite all those handmade signs reporting the contrary. Come to think of it, my law-breaking friend is actually half-Mexican, but I don’t think that had anything to do with his arrest. He just had too much to drink and wandered off at an outdoor concert to pee. I can’t say I haven’t done that myself a few times.

So – yeah, if you’re in America and you don’t belong here, you’re a criminal. That established, I do not think it is a good idea to try and round up and expel 11 million people, regardless of their status as “undocumented.” The majority of reasonable people agree that such a task would be harder to pull off than Jon Bon Jovi’s pants. Removing them all would be logistically impractical, and incarcerating them all would cost even more.

Honestly, let’s think about the problem rationally for a nanosecond. If we didn’t have the resources to prevent 11 fucking MILLION people from sneaking in – how the hell are we going to hunt them all down, lock them all up, and/or send them all back? Isn’t it time we quit throwing around this option like it’s a candidate for serious consideration? If there’s a hole in the dike, you don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about the water that’s already leaked through – you figure out a way to plug the damn leak so more water doesn’t come through. All these people calling for deportation and incarceration need to refocus their energy on the source of the problem. The solution, I suspect, may require a very long, very deep moat filled with piranhas and crocodiles. Now where on earth would we round up a workforce capable of pulling off something like that on the government’s dime?

The point I am trying to make is that we need to get over the fact that there are a lot of people in this country who shouldn’t be if we ever expect to move forward in addressing the real problem, which is how the hell so many people managed to get here in the first place. The more time and energy we spend spinning our wheels trying to figure out how to punish illegal aliens, the more time and energy we’ll have to devote to preventing more of them from getting in.

That doesn’t settle the problem of what to do with the people who are here – WORKING, I should note, not raiding town centers like the Mongolian Horde. I say forgive them their trespasses, as we wish to be forgiven for ours. As for citizenship, however, that’s a different story. I think they need to put their names on the list behind all of the people year after year who’ve gone through the process legally. Since they’re already here, let them keep working (and paying taxes) as American Guest Workers. They can earn a living and contribute to the economy, but won’t be guaranteed all the rights of actual American citizens. That’s the penalty for breaking and entering. There’s got to be a price to pay or there won’t be any incentive to do things the right way.

I also think American citizens should be able to understand the official language of the country of which they are a citizen. I’m not suggesting people abandon their heritage or be forced to speak English at home, but why can’t basic communication be a prerequisite for citizenship? Is it really so horrible that a diverse “people” comes together and agrees to communicate as one? I think such a requirement would foster a little unity in a culture celebrated for its differences. We’re all different enough – can’t we at least speak the same fucking language? Perdon mi ingles. I would personally find it comforting to know there are a few things left that unite us as American besides reality television and Osama Bin Laden. If becoming an American citizen is really that important to people, they will take the classes and learn the language.

One final thing I’d like to point out regarding the jobs these illegal immigrants are holding. There is a popular myth circulating that illegal immigrants aren’t technically stealing jobs from American workers because they’re taking jobs that American citizens won’t take. This is not true. They’re taking jobs that American citizens won’t take AT THE LEVEL OF COMPENSATION THAT IS BEING OFFERED. This is a free market system. Cheap labor wouldn’t be so cheap if we had to pay people what they’re worth. The reason Americans don’t want to clean toilets, pick grapes, and mow lawns, is not because the jobs suck. It’s because the jobs don’t pay very well for how much they suck. I know a lot of folks who would consider scrubbing out toilets for a living if it paid $75,000 a year. The flow of illegal immigrants from over the border injects a source of cheap labor into the free market system that drives wages lower. This enables businesses to cut corners and pad their profits while American workers who would normally command a higher wage to perform the same work must compete for jobs elsewhere. I am not sympathetic to those who argue these people are not competing with Americans for jobs because that’s simply untrue. If there’s a job to be done and no one wants to do it, the compensation scale slides up until the supply of willing workers meets the demand for work to be done. It’s basic free market economics.

Anyhow, I feel a shit coming on and wanted to get all this out. You can go back to whatever it was you were doing before I so rudely interrupted your life.


I love the taste of cilantro. LOVE it. Especially in salsa and sushi. But if there’s one thing I love more than cilantro, it’s cheese. Cheese rules. Any kind of cheese really. It’s got to be my favorite food, except for pork of course. Pork is the miracle grub. It comes in so many fantastic varieties. Ham. Chops. Bacon. Links. How can one animal taste so good in so many different ways? Yeah...pigs kick ass. And the best kind of pig is chorizo. Man, do I love pigging out on chorizo. I can eat chorizo on just about anything. The Donkey’s deviled eggs. Nachos. Pizza. Corn Flakes. Chorizo is way up there for me. But if there’s one thing I love more than chorizo, it’s got to be cilantro. I love the taste of cilantro.


Add, subtract, multiply, divide. Whatever you do, don't stop. Keep going. Harder. Faster.

Balancing your checkbook has never been so much fun!

Make sure you’ve got your sound up all the way when you play with this one…especially if you’re at work.


Here’s a must read for all Cubs fans. The Onion strikes again.

[Interesting note: It was around a week after this story that offensive juggernaut, Golden Glove first baseman, and team MVP Derrek Lee fractured his wrist]


Here’s a fun little program that will get your foot stompin’. It’s called the Desktop Blues. The radio acts as a metronome. Jam on it!

Thanks to Chicago neighbors Cindy & Steve for this musical time waster.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Have you seen the Colbert Report on Comedy Central? The guy is fucking brilliant. And this link sent by way of Jay P-A is Stephen Colbert at his best. It's a clip of him roasting President George W. Bush at a Correspondents Dinner. He actually says things so uncomfortably funny people in the audience aren’t sure whether to laugh or not. It’s almost painful to watch in parts, but well worth sitting through! It's almost hard to believe he says some of this stuff with the President sitting right there. Good shit.

Monday, May 01, 2006


As I write this, the choppers buzz noisily above.

Today is the day of the big rally – the May Day multi-city march toward immigration reform. And here in Chicago, a couple hundred thousand Hispanic folks are marching down Randolph Street toward Grant Park, right past the corner outside of the building where I work. I just ran up to the roof to check it out and it is something to see. It actually resembles a parade. A lot flags (mostly American), families, singing, and plenty of applause everytime one of the helicopters zooms close overhead. No beads, though. I even took my shirt off and swung it around in the air for a few minutes. Nothing. How can you have a parade without beads?

My sister asked me last week if I planned to drive to work today and park on the street like I normally do. I told her I didn’t anticipate people would be throwing bottles, turning over cars in the street, and setting things on fire. This wasn't going to be that kind of get-together. That’s the kind of rally you get in a college town after an NCAA upset. When thousands of hard-working, God-fearing folks with strong family values hit the streets, you basically just get a traffic headache. So I drove and I parked and I expect the car will be just fine when I leave work today.

Getting dressed this morning, I elected to wear my new Italian soccer jacket. The Italian flag has the same colors as the Mexican flag, so when I make my one man march to Quiznos in a few minutes, I should blend right in. I just hope Quizno's is open. Most of the restaurants in the area are expected to be closed for the day, since a majority of their workforce will be cooking up support for amnesty instead of lunch for the locals.


Yeah…immigration sure is a hot topic these days. At issue? What to do with all the people in this country illegally – and how to prevent more people from sneaking in.

Some people say we ought to just grant them all amnesty. “Congrats, you made it, you’re already here – you may as well stay.”

Other people say we need to round up every last illegal alien (estimates vary wildly, but many say there are an estimated 11 million of them) and send them all back to their countries of origin. The argument here is that we are a nation of laws and these people are breaking our laws by being here. Granting them amnesty would only encourage more illegal aliens to crash the party. Better to send them all back.

And then there are others who believe in compromise and suggest we institute some kind of guest worker program to encourage all of these illegal folks to register with the government. Such a program would serve to transition undocumented workers to citizenship by offering rights over time as they meet certain conditions.


Looking for something really juicy to sink your teeth into? Here's the scoop.

According to several high-up sources in food services, an industry famous for employing undocumented kitchen staff, the government has been complicit in permitting illegal aliens to work - refusing to enforce immigration laws where it is known there are undocumented workers. And you're never going to guess why.

According to my sources, one of the biggest misconceptions about illegal aliens is that they work for cash and don’t pay any taxes. It turns out this is not so true anymore. When restaurants are audited by the government, like all businesses, they must account for their operating expenses by demonstrating they have paid people to perform work. The government is strict with businesses on this because it wants to make sure it is getting its payroll tax and social security money. If they weren't strict with businesses on this, a lot more people would be getting paid in cash to avoid paying taxes. As a result, paying illegal aliens cash under the table is a good way to get pinched by the IRS.

More often, I was told, this is how it works:

For $15, an illegal alien buys fake identification in the form of a social security number. Apparently this fake documentation is not hard to get once you make it here. Hell, I remember a couple guys back in college who turned out fake drivers licenses at $20 a pop using a hand scanner and a Kinko's copy machine. With ID so easy to come by, today's “undocumented” workers are quickly documented, and able to use this phony personal information to apply for jobs and complete tax forms. This satisfies the employer, who can then say they have fulfilled their obligation to the government.

The government proceeds to withhold taxes and Social Security from all wages paid, just as it skims a good percentage off the top of YOUR paycheck every couple weeks. The only difference is that workers with fake documentation who are paying into Social Security will never have a claim to that money when they retire, nor do they qualify for many other social services, like Unemployment Insurance. Its FREE money!

Money paid by illegal aliens in taxes is essentially free money that can be used to pay out Social Security benefits. Illegal immigrants are actually subsidizing our national budget! Politicians and policymakers are fully aware of Social Security’s insolvency issues, and they also understand the impact this extra money has on the system. It buys them all time.

So let’s think about immigration reform from the Government’s perspective.

Sending 11 million workers back home, in addition to being a logistical nightmare that would cost billions of dollars and cripple countless local economies, would also cut off a very important stream of revenue. Not such a great idea.

Making 11 million illegal aliens instantly legal, on the other hand, would compound Social Security’s insolvency and potentially overwhelm social services. Another bad idea.

It’s actually in the government’s best interest to turn its head wherever undocumented workers are paying taxes. Further, the more people paying into Social Security without ever collecting on it the better, right? It's all about the Benjamins, hermano.

The U.S. has a widely known immigration policy that's as undocumented as the workers it seduces: You can stay and play so long as you pay.