Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Secure Communities?

On Monday June 25th, 2012, in Escondido, California, a meeting was held to discuss State Assembly Bill 1081 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Fransisco.  The bill would forbid local law enforcement agencies from detaining illegal immigrants unless they have a prior felony conviction until federal agents can get to them.  Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is attempting to restrict the federal Secure Communities program, which has helped deport thousands of illegal immigrants which have been held in local jails.  You might ask why.  Or you might even as what the Secure Communities Program is.

In 2008, State Identification Bureaus entered into a Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) with the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  These two associations share data between state and the federal governments in order to better track immigrant criminals.
For a time, it was thought that states could opt out of these agreements, or could quit using them if they wanted to stop participating in the program. However, in August 2011, ICE rescinded all signed MOAs and announced that no signed agreement was necessary for the data sharing to take place and that the data sharing program is in fact mandatory for all jurisdictions.
According to the Immigration Policy Website, “Secure Communities is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program designed to identify immigrants in U.S. jails who are deportable under immigration law.  Before, people’s fingerprints were only sent to the FBI to be checked against a criminal database when they were booked in local jails.  Now because of Secure Communities, they are also sent to the ICE, where they are checked against the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT) and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). 

There is much debate in the news nationally and locally about this program.  Many critics feel the program has caused unfairness to immigrants who are not high level offenders but rather traffic violators or immigration violators as some have been deported.  Yet others are pleased that something is finally being done about all of the illegal immigrants in the United States. 
In the Jamestown Sun, reported by Elliot Spagat of the Associated Press, between state and local police and the fingerprinting program, almost 300,000 deportations from October 2007 through September 2011.  

I believe that a move toward getting illegal immigrants out of our country is a good one.  I also believe that anyone should deserve a chance at a better life.  But if a foreigner wants to live here, they need to become a citizen, pay taxes, learn the language, and not be on government or state assistance.  The majority of that statement could be used for a multitude of Americans who were born here also, so I’m not singling out just immigrants.  All of us need to abide by laws, earn a living and quit trying to get something for nothing while all those around you pay for it. The Secure Communities Program is a good way to show that America demands respect and that it is not here to be giving eternal hand outs.  What do you think?

For more information on the Escondido story visit:  

For more information on the Secure Communities Program visit: 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Movie Rental Stores - Who Needs Them?

How many of you have subscribed to Netflix?  Do you download movies that you haven’t seen in years, TV shows that have long been taken off the air, or the most current movies you can find?  I don’t know about you, but I have become pretty fond of the services Netflix offers.  For the reasonable price of $7.99 a month, you can watch unlimited movies and TV shows.  That seems pretty impressive.  One part that I really enjoy is the option to cancel or suspend your account at any time.  We tend to suspend our account in the summer as we don’t watch much TV.  This is also when a lot of kids movies come out too so we tend to go to those in the local theaters.  However you look at it, Netflix seems to be a win, win situation for those who enjoy their TV or movie time.  Or are you someone who is annoyed with the instant access and the wading through of the thousands of options Netflix offers?  If you are, maybe you’ll enjoy it better once they separate their site into separate movie and TV tabs.  This re-design is being tested and might soon be available to all. 

If you do subscribe to this service, what do you use to view them – your PS3, Wii, Xbox, PC, Mac, iPad, Apple TV, Smart TV, Blu ray player, Smart Phones, or some other device connected to the internet?  It seems the instant access possibilities are quite endless.  Looking at the convenience of it all and the $7.99 per month price tag, there’s good reason that Netflix is doing well.

 Someday I hope to quit saying this, but I am amazed at the capabilities we have in this day and age.  Can you imagine back in the 1980’s if we could’ve downloaded movies and TV shows on our Atari’s?  What a thought!  We thought the VCR was an amazing invention.  Being able to watch a TV show some other time than when it was actually on – how great was that!  So what is next for our instant access culture?  Are you one that dreams of the days when we have virtual movie theaters in our own homes so that we would never have to leave for even that?  Or are you the type that still wants to get out and mingle with the people at the rental stores and movie theaters?

 For more information on Netflix please view:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

If you have followed any college sport in the last couple decades, you have probably heard something about the controversy surrounding the University of NorthDakota’s ‘Fighting Sioux’.  (Update 6-15-12: My previous link is no longer active. I assume do to the vote being past to retire the name UND is updatubg their site.)
Seven years ago, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) placed UND on a list of schools they referred to as “hostile and abusive” and if the nickname was not removed, UND’s athletic teams could risk sanctions.  In the past, other schools in the same position quickly removed these (according to some) controversial nicknames when pressured by the NCAA to do so.  Yet others like the Florida State Seminoles actually got approval from the tribes to use a reference to them as their mascot.  North Dakota tribes cannot seem to agree on doing this and have taken legal measures against UND.

Should we be expecting the same suggestion for the team the Sioux were influenced by – The ‘Fighting Irish’ of Notre Dame?  Will the Irish be the next to voice their offended feelings about a nickname that has been attached to the UND (University of Notre Dame) since the late 1800’s?  Is the moniker ‘fighting’ not considered a prideful description of these teams?  Are those who back these nicknames calling those they are attached to hostile and combatant or are they referring to them being strong and prideful?  This is where the ‘fighting’ moniker can get taken the wrong way.  However, it’s only in the past decades that this has risen as a problem.  The nickname was added sometime in the 1930’s because the school’s main opponent has been the NDSU Bison and Sioux are great at exterminating Bison.   Over all these decades, the nickname has been accepted.  What spurred the issue?  Are people jumping on a bandwagon just to say they did or do they really feel the Sioux tribe is being called murderers?
However you look at it, this issue divides the state of North Dakota, fans, students and the tribes in the area.  Federal lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Native Americans on both sides of the argument with none of them reaching a settlement.  As of June 12th, 2012, the issue had reached the level of being voted on during the North Dakota Primary.  Regardless of the outcome, supporters state they will continue the fight as there seems to be many who believe the name should stay indefinitely. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where have all the “Family Friendly” sitcoms gone?

Most of us watch T.V. and likewise have probably wondered from time to time, where have all the “family friendly” sitcoms gone? In an article from titled "Honey! I’m Home!" Sitcom Evolution Since the 1950’s, the author states “Sitcoms have evolved in response to lifestyle trends." Do our lifestyles trends show that the nuclear family and their social interactions no longer exists and therefore these situational comedies are no longer needed?

Shows like “The Big Bang Theory”, “The Office”, “30- Rock” and “Two and a Half Men” can’t really be compared to the more innocent and lighthearted show that could be watched by the entire family. In the past, we watched shows like “Who’s the Boss”, “The Wonder Years”, “The Cosby Show”, “Family Ties”, "Home Improvement”, “Roseanne”, and “Reba” that didn’t really embarrass you, or cause constant awkward explanations to your children, or to rest your figure on the Previous Channel button waiting for an inappropriate scene or comment. Is this new format the one we are stuck with simply based on lifestyle trends or will there ever be another “I Love Lucy?”