Criteria for being allowed into the U.S. are secret

Transparency?

On the campaign trail candidate Joe Biden promised to create a “fair and humane” immigration system. Instead, the Biden administration has created a system in which the criteria for being allowed into this country at the Southern border a deep, dark secret. Would-be immigrants show up at the border with no idea whether they will be allowed in or sent back to Mexico, nor why.

Is it humane for families to trek for months across dangerous, cartel-controlled expanses with no rationale expectation of being admitted?

According to an Associated Press account today, the Biden administration releases most children traveling alone to relatives in this country and gives them notices to appear in immigration court. “Nearly 9,500 such children arrived in February, up 60 percent from a month earlier,” the story relates.

But six out of 10 families picked up by the Border Patrol in February were sent back across the border. The number of family arrivals in February topped 19,200, more than double the previous month.

The anecdotal lede on the AP story recounts how one family from Honduras with children ages 3 and 5 were given bus tickets to Oklahoma to join an in-law, while a mother from El Salvador and her 8-year-old daughter was “being banished to a violent Mexican border city with no food or money and sleeping on the concrete of a plaza.”

What is our immigration law? Who knows? It is a secret.

Customs and border officers deport immigrants from Hidalgo, Texas. (AP pix)

Does anyone really know what time it is?

It is time to cast off our chains and free ourselves from slavery to the clock.

On Sunday morning we are required to spring our clocks forward an hour, if we wish to remain in sync with the rest of the nation, get to church and work on time and tune in at the proper time to our favorite radio and TV programs.

Mankind once worked from can till cain’t, as my ol’ grandpappy used to say — from the time you can see till the time you can’t — and farmers and ranchers such as grandpappy still do. But to make the trains run on time, we strapped ourselves to the clock, even though the clock is uniform and doesn’t change when the amount of daylight does.

Ol’ Ben Franklin, while serving as ambassador in France, accidentally figured out that this out-of-sync arrangement was somewhat uneconomical when he mistakenly arose one day at 6 a.m. instead of noon and discovered the sun was shining through his window. “I love economy exceedingly,” he jested, and proceeded to explain in a letter to a local newspaper how many candles and how much lamp oil could be saved by adjusting the city’s lifestyle to the proclivities of the sun.

Franklin observed:

“This event has given rise in my mind to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the sun, and in exchange have lived six hours the following night by candle-light; and, the latter being a much more expensive light than the former, my love of economy induced me to muster up what little arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I shall give you, after observing that utility is, in my opinion the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, is good for nothing.”

Then he did the math, and exclaimed, “An immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.”

Thus, in 1918 in a effort to be more economical during the war, Congress borrowed from Europe the concept of daylight saving time — springing clocks forward during the summer and back in the winter. From shortly after Pearl Harbor until the end of the Second World War, the nation was on year-round daylight saving time, or war time, as it was called.

National Geographic photo

Moving the clock forward in summer might well save a few kilowatt-hours in lighting, but in states like Nevada that savings is more than made up for with increased air conditioning costs and the fuel used to drive about more after getting off work.

One study found that springing forward causes enough sleep deprivation to cost the U.S. economy $435 million a year. The New England Journal of Medicine found an association between that one hour loss of sleep from daylight saving time and an increase in car accidents, as well as a 5 percent increase in heart attacks in the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time, while an Australian study found an increase in the suicide rate.

In a probably futile gesture to end the charade, the state Legislature a couple of years ago passed Assembly Joint Resolution No. 4 that proposes to make Pacific Daylight Saving Time year-round.

“WHEREAS, Congress also found and declared that ‘the use of year-round daylight saving time could have other beneficial effects on the public interest, including the reduction of crime, improved traffic safety, more daylight outdoor playtime for children and youth of our Nation, [and] greater utilization of parks and recreation areas …’” AJR4 reads in part, also noting possible “expanded economic opportunity through extension of daylight hours to peak shopping hour. ”

It passed both the Assembly and Senate and was enrolled by the Secretary of State.

Changing to year-round daylight saving time might not save electricity, but it could increase productivity and prevent car wrecks.

Alas, as with everything else, the power to fix this lies in Washington, though I can’t seem to find this enumerated power in my copy of the Constitution. Perhaps it is outdated.

In another glaring example of the efficiency and sincerity of our elected officials, AJR4 passed, the morning newspaper reported that no one in Washington had ever heard of AJR4.

AJR4 concludes by beseeching Congress to amend The Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 and allow each state to opt out, the same as Arizona and Hawaii have opted out, but rather than sticking with standard time, AJR4 would adopt Pacific Daylight Saving Time all year. Why should it get dark at 4:30 p.m. in the winter anyway?

Washington is in another century, much less a different time zone.

But the clowns in Carson City are dutifully at it again this year, working on legislation that might — if enough hoops are leapt through and the left coast Californians also indulge — keep Nevada’s clocks from hiccupping twice a year by staying on either standard or daylight saving time.

According to the Pahrump Valley Times, Senate Bill 153, if approved, has two prerequisites. First, moving Nevada to daylight time will only take effect with federal authorization. Also neighboring California must make the change, too. California voters OK’d the change in 2018 but the Legislature hasn’t acted.

The alternative of moving Nevada to year-round standard time also would happen only if California does the same.

Don’t hold your breath or waste much time contemplating the possibilities.

Versions of this tome have been posted since 2015.

Welcome to 1984, again

A New York Times story (accessible for subscribers only) on the cover of the Sun insert in the morning paper quoted a book writer as saying that “Trump sought to ‘remake reality through language’ during a tumultuous tenure. As she writes in her book, the former president ‘changed some of the deepest expectations about presidential language, not just when it comes to style, but also the relationship between words and reality.’

“Now officials in Biden’s administration are using Trump’s own tactics to adjust reality again, this time by erasing the words his predecessor used and by explicitly returning to ones that had been banished.”

Erasing words? Changing the meaning of words in order to change reality?

Oh come on. Will somebody come out and say it out loud?

OK, the Times writer did get around to it well down in the tale.

“It’s kind of Orwellian — that’s what it is, really,” the NYT quoted Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, as saying. “The war against the word ‘alien’ is a continuation of this effort to destigmatize illegal immigration that started in the mid-1970s. This is in a sense the culmination of that process.”

Orwell, who learned the propaganda trade during World War II while working for the BBC, was a prophet. The current wordsmanship is nothing new.

As I noted in 2009:

George Orwell recognized this phenomenon and invented in “1984” the word newspeak to describe it. Newspeak was Big Brother’s way of trying to prevent “thoughtcrime” — which is why we have laws against certain hate crimes. Never mind that the act itself is a crime but it is doubly so if you have a motive that offends the sensitive ones.

And offending someone, anyone, is now the ultimate offense.

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano doesn’t want to offend people who might want to blow us up by calling them by some offensive term like terrorist. Not she has now decided to call them the creators of man-caused disasters, like flying loaded passenger airliners into high-rise buildings.

Our one-worlder president doesn’t believe in fighting a global war against man-caused disasters. His Defense Department (They don’t call it the War Department anymore.) sent out a memo saying: “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’”

That sounds so much better. I am relieved that the war on terror is over over there and here and everywhere.

If you subscribe to the morning paper you should be able to read the NYT account here.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” Orwell wrote in “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

Welcome to 1984, again.

Democrats should be careful what they ask for … they just might get it, good and hard

Wall Street Journal columnist Joel Zinberg today reminds us that in 2020 the Biden campaign in general and Kamala Harris specifically “maligned President Trump’s claims about the speed of vaccine development and questioned its safety and effectiveness. New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo cast doubt on FDA evaluations of Covid-19 vaccines and said states should conduct their own reviews. An Aug. 27 letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking governors for help setting up vaccine distribution elicited a statement from Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer questioning the safety of the vaccines in development. Media ‘fact checkers’ said rapid vaccine development would take a ‘miracle.’”

Coincidentallu, Between April and December, Zinberg noted, the share of Americans who told pollsters they were likely to consent to vaccination declined from 74 percent to 56 percent.

Reuters quoted Joe Biden back in September as saying, “Let me be clear: I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump. At this moment, the American people can’t either.”

In an editorial today the WSJ reported that on Monday two Democrat congressional representatives “sent letters pressing 12 cable and tech CEOs to drop contracts with right-of-center media outlets including Fox News. Two days later the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing about ‘disinformation and extremism’ in conservative media. The only notable extremism on display was the majority party’s appetite for regulating and policing the free press.”A Texas Democrat representative said at the hearing that he saw a tension between “the freedom of speech versus other peoples’ safety.”

Like what was said by Biden, Harris, Cuomo, Schumer and certain media fact checkers?

From Kimberley Strassel’s WSJ column today: “Right now, the greatest threat to free speech in this country is not any law passed by the government— the First Amendment stands as a bulwark,” says Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr. “The threat comes in the form of legislating by letterhead. Politicians have realized that they can silence the speech of those with different political viewpoints by public bullying.”

This observation came after Twitter, Facebook and others banned prominent conservatives, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post for reporting news about the Democratic presidential nominee’s son, Google and Apple dropped Parler from their app stores and Amazon banned a three-year-old book questioning transgenderism.

There is more than one way to skin a free speech cat.

Bill calls for Nevada to conduct presidential primaries instead of caucuses; No! Bring back smoke-filled backrooms

A bill introduced in Carson City today would change the way the state’s two major political parties nominate presidential candidates — from the current caucus system to a primary in which voters in each party simply cast ballots, rather than have to listen to boring speeches and actually talk to other party members.

Assembly Bill 126 is sponsored by Assemblyman Jason Frierson and Assemblywomen Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Brittney Miller. The bill calls for the primaries to be held on the Tuesday immediately preceding the last Tuesday in January of each presidential election year, which would make Nevada the first nominating state. The bill also would allow same-day voter registration, which could lead to shenanigans such as “Operation Chaos,” suggested by Rush Limbaugh in 2008, calling for Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in Democratic primaries to keep her in the race and divide the Democrat Party.

“This legislation is yet another reason the Silver State deserves to be the first presidential nominating state in 2024,” Nevada State Democrat Party Chair William McCurdy II said in a statement posted by KOLO-TV in Reno. We are a majority-minority state with a strong union population and the power structure of the country is moving West. I want to thank Speaker Frierson, who has devoted his career in the Assembly to make our voting process more expansive and equitable, for his help in securing Nevada’s spot on the national stage.”

Frankly, the state has no business telling state Republican and Democratic parties how to choose their nominees, nor should the taxpayers, many of whom are members of other parties or are independents, pay the millions of dollars it will take for the state and counties to conduct these primaries.

Columbia School of Law professor and election law expert Nathaniel Persily observed in 2008, “The move toward primaries has transferred power away from political parties to the media, who are then in a position to describe someone as having momentum.”

As I have said before, primaries turn serious political contests with serious consequences into beauty pageants and/or reality TV competition with ill-informed dullards from the lowest common denominator sitting on their couches and voting for the best quips and the worst gaffes occurring during their short attention spans.

Bring back the smoke-filled backrooms and let serious people with studied philosophies put forth the best candidates for each party. But if a party wants to conduct a primary, they should pay for it themselves and run it themselves and pay the consequences of getting pretty candidates with pretty slogans and an utter lack of competence and capability — witness the presidential candidates put forth by both major parties in 2020.

When this topic was broached in 2015, I noted, “No one, but no one has stepped back and asked the one vital question: What business is it of the Democrat-dominated state Legislature as to how or when any political party nominates its candidates?”

Not only is the Constitution silent on political parties, our Founders were actually disdainful of political parties.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789, “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

Earlier, in 1780 John Adams wrote, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

In his farewell address in 1796 George Washington said:

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

Sounds downright prescient, doesn’t it?

Yes, a caucuses can be a drudge.

As I noted after the 2012 caucuses, the Republican presidential caucus wasn’t exactly a well-oiled machine. There were long delays, breakdowns in communication, misfires and miscues. In fact, 20 minutes into it I sent out a tweet or twit or whatever saying: “GOP organization — an oxymoron.”

As sure as worms after a rainstorm and just as there was in 2008 a bunch of people are wringing their hands and bemoaning the unseemliness and the rough-hewn nature of it all — people actually talking to each other about politics, poor turnout, delayed vote count results, etc., endless freaking out. They are saying, again, the raucous caucus should be replaced with a nice aseptic primary in which state paid bureaucrats and septuagenarian volunteers man the polls for 12 hours and the voters hide behind curtains to choose their party standard bearer.

In 2008 then-Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus promised to introduce a bill to conduct presidential primaries in Nevada. “This notion of neighbors getting together with neighbors to talk about politics, that’s just not Nevada,” she said. “What I found in my caucus is that the meeting didn’t lead to collaboration, cooperation and a good discussion. It led to hostility. It’s too complicated.” And she was a professor of political science — an oxymoron.

Bring back smoke-filled backrooms and let those willing and able to roll up their sleeves and scuffle with their neighbors to see whose principles and ideas come out victorious.

Here is my comment back in 2012:

We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!

The thumb twiddlers over at the website Wallethub have put their experts with too much time on their hands to the task of answering authoritatively, definitively and mathematically the burning question: Which is the most sinful state in America?

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

Wallethub informs us that the most sinful state is Nevada — the hands down champion at gambling, drinking, carousing, jealousy, greed, lust and laziness.

To be precise, Wallethub informs us, “In order to determine the most sinful states in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states across seven key dimensions: 1) Anger & Hatred, 2) Jealousy, 3) Excesses & Vices, 4) Greed, 5) Lust, 6) Vanity and 7) Laziness.”

Most casinos per capita was given double weight on the 100-point scale. Pay no heed to the fact Nevada’s population is only about 3 million, while in non-COVID years it hosts more than 40 million gambling, drinking, greedy, lustful visitors from the other 49 states and from abroad.

Nevada ranked No. 1 in the greed category — which was measured by the number of casinos per capita, as well as gambling related arrests, charitable donations as a share of income, share of population with gambling disorders and persons arrested for embezzlement.

Nevada ranked 2nd for jealousy — which was measured by thefts per capita, identity thefts and frauds. That seems like an odd way to measure jealousy. Isn’t it more along the line of coveting your neighbor’s … whatever?

Nevada ranked 4th in the lust category — which was measured by the teen birth rate, google searches for vulgar sites, average time spent on those sites and the number of persons arrested for prostitution and vice per capita. Pay no heed to how many of those arrested for prostitution and vice might be from out of state or that it is legal in a number of counties.

At least we ranked only 29th in vanity — which was measured by the number of beauty salons per capita, google searches for plastic surgeons and spending on personal care products.

Wyoming was the least sinful state, but should be a given in a state where you spend all your time trying to keep out of the wind.

Nevada finishes last on so many state-by-state rankings. Now there is something to brag about.

Learned a new word today

R-J photo of Saturday storm damage.

I learned a new word today. As a person who has worked with words nearly all of his life, I like expanding my vocabulary, even if the new word is a conjured amalgam and does not appear in the 14-year-old dictionary on my shelf.

The word is: “gustnado.” It appeared in a news story in the morning paper about the Saturday storm that blew through the valley. A weather service meteorologist explained that a gustnado is a “cyclonic circulation” toward the ground. “A gustnado is just sort of a quick spin up toward the surface and not really connected with the cloud surface itself,” he said.

According to Wikipedia, “A gustnado is a brief, shallow surface-based vortex which forms within the downburst emanating from a thunderstorm.[2] The name is a portmanteau (a blend of words to form a new word) by elision (omission of one or more sounds in a word) of “gust front tornado“, as gustnadoes form due to non-tornadic straight-line wind features in the downdraft (outflow), specifically within the gust front of strong thunderstorms.” By the way, portmanteau and elision are new words for me, too.

Why they don’t simply call it a whirlwind is beyond me, but the language evolves over the years. For the better, for the worse.

Here is an explainer:

Illinois TV station from a year ago.

Some are more equal than others, under the Biden administration

Discrimination is in the eye of the beholder.

In the eye of President Joe Biden’s administration — as in Orwell’s “Animal Farm” — some are more equal than others.

This week the Justice Department withdrew a lawsuit pressed by the Trump administration against Yale University for allegedly violating federal civil-rights law by discriminating against white and Asian-American undergraduate applicants, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to a USA Today article from when the federal suit was filed, the Justice Department found that Asian American and white students have “only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials.”

But under Biden the objective is equity, not equality. Equity apparently means equal outcomes, rather than equal opportunities.

Then there is Biden’s executive order that asserts that “[a]ll persons should receive equal treatment under the law without regard to their gender identity or sexual orientation”, including that “[c]hildren should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, locker room, or school sports.”

Biological males could compete in sports against biological females and share locker rooms and showers and overnight accommodations on out-of-town trips.

This topic came up during the hearings for Biden’s nominee for Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona.

The National Review noted that this past year the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights told the state of Connecticut — where Cardona is currently commissioner of education — that allowing transgender student athletes to participate in female sports violated the Title IX rights of female students.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky asked Cardona, “If you’re confirmed, will you enforce that Office of Civil Rights opinion?”

Cardona replied, “I understand that there are a lot of concerns about that. If confirmed, it’s my responsibility and my privilege to make sure that we’re following civil rights of all students, and that includes activities that they may engage in in high school or athletics.”

He went on to say it is “critically important” teachers and schools “respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender.”

Paul countered, “So you don’t have a problem then, of boys running in the girls’ track meets, swimming meets, you name it, you’re OK then with boys competing with girls?”

The Review noted that this past year three female high-school students and their families filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block transgender athletes from competing in girls sports in Connecticut. The three girls, all accomplished runners, argued that they have been personally harmed by a policy allowing biological males to compete against them in their running events, missing their chances at championship titles, state records, and scholarship opportunities.

Bloomfield High transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, at a 2019 indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut. (AP pix)

Sisolak wants to bring back company towns

Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, according to the morning paper, is contemplating introducing legislation that would allow the creation of Innovation Zones — basically separate branches of government for companies with lots of land and money that could “impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts and provide government services, to name a few duties.”

What’s another word for Innovation Zones? Oh yes, Company Towns.

Those were rather common from the late 1800s through the mid-1930s, but for some reason they’ve largely disappeared. Perhaps, because they were frequently penny-pinching, brutal fiefdoms.

“Traditional settings for company towns were for the most part where extractive industries existed — coal, metal mines, lumber — and had established a monopoly franchise,” according to an article posted at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Dam sites and war-industry camps founded other company towns. Since company stores often had a monopoly in company towns, it was possible to pay in scrip (a term for any substitute for legal tender). Typically, a company town is isolated from neighbors and centered on a large production factory, such as a lumber or steel mill or an automobile plant; and the citizens of the town either work in the factory, work in one of the smaller businesses, or is a family member of someone who does.”

Many workers were paid in script that could be used only at company stores and lived in housing where the rent payments were set by the company.

One of those dam sites is now Boulder City, where gambling and liquor were prohibited. The housing was called dingbat housing because of shoddy construction, according to a PBS article.

Sally Denton, author of “The Profiteers,” a book about the building of Hoover Dam and its contractors, such as Bechtel, told a Santa Fe newspaper, “Bechtel’s long history of questionable labor practices cannot all be written off to the laissez-faire oversight of previous generations or Depression-era conditions. Although it can always be argued that accidents will happen and problems arise on the most disciplined construction projects, the fact remains that Bechtel has been — and continues to be — a leader in scoring gargantuan government projects but has often lagged behind when its come to worker safety.”

VCU said of company towns: “Although economically successful, company towns sometimes failed politically due to a lack of elected officials and municipally owned services. Accordingly, workers often had no say in local affairs and therefore, felt dictated.”

We wonder, would a company town justice court ever convict the CEO of the company?

Boulder City in the 1930s

Biden plan to help the economy will make things worse

The editorial in the morning paper gets right to the point in explaining the utterly illogical nature of President-elect Joe Biden’s economic “stimulus” plan:

In addition to $1,400 payments to individuals, Mr. Biden’s plan includes federal money to supplement regular state unemployment payments and a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. Consider the bizarre logic of those last two proposals: Mr. Biden seeks to kneecap already struggling small businesses by raising mandated wage floors, thus outlawing certain jobs, while simultaneously creating disincentives for returning to the workforce. This is economic stimulus?

In fact the Congressional Budget Office has said raising the minimum wage to $15 would destroy 1.3 million jobs.

The editorial then notes, “The new president’s blueprint also includes billions for state bailouts, which is no doubt music to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s ears as he prepares to outline his budget proposals in his State of the State address this week.”

Yes, the lede story on the front page reports that Sisolak is projecting a 2 percent shrinkage in the general fund budget over the next two years. But a couple of graphs later on the jump, the story reports that overall state revenue — which includes other state revenue sources and federal government funding — will actually increase 5.1 percent. Poor, poor Nevada government.