Education, not amnesty is the way GOP can attract Hispanics

The post-election hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing continues unabated with one of the more gnawed upon topics being whether Republicans, who lost the Hispanic vote by a wide margin, should get onboard with amnesty for illegal immigrants from Mexico and South America.

I always figured that would amount to nothing more than signing up a couple million more Democratic voters.

Columnist Phyllis Schlafly, writing in today’s Investor’s Business Daily, offers several reasons wholesale amnesty would signal a death knell for the Republican Party.

Yes, it was a two-bit newspaper, literally

In addition to the false assumption about Hispanics being socially conservative, she points out, “Policymakers should read the studies by Cuban exile scholar Jose Azel that probe into Hispanic attitudes and history. He concludes that the sociopolitical heritage from Spain and the post-colonial experience of Latin America have led Latinos to view government very differently from the principles of limited government enunciated and adopted by our Founding Fathers.”

Speaking of Cuban exiles, I was surprised to see Obama win Florida, especially the Miami area where Cuban-Americans make up a sizable portion of the population. I was night city editor at the Miami News for several years a quarter of a century ago and worked with a number of Cuban-Americans. They were mostly staunch Republicans, except for the younger ones born in the United States.

That’s why bells rang and lights flashed when I read Dennis Prager’s column today at

Amnesty was never an issue with the Cuban exiles who benefited from the wet-foot, dry-foot policy. A Cuban picked up in the water had wet feet and was sent back to Castro. A Cuban who got to land had dry feet and was sent to the Krome Detention Center and quickly united with his or her “cousins” in Miami.

As Prager so aptly explained, the first generation of Cuban exiles knew communism and thus embraced the

Wet feet

Republican/Reagan brand of conservative anti-communist politics, because “when you escape a Communist regime, you treasure liberty and you understand that as government and state expand, liberty must contract.”

But this year 48 percent of Cuban-Americans voted for the Democratic presidential nominee. That is up from 25 percent in 2000 and 29 percent in 2004 and 35 percent in 2008.

The reason, Prager explains, is American education. I saw it myself. I should have said it myself, but …

“Most American elementary schools and high schools, and nearly all colleges and universities, teach everything that is significant from a liberal/left perspective,” Prager writes. “Multiculturalism has replaced E Pluribus Unum; the American past is villainous; the country is racist; morality is relative; and the left-wing cause of the day — now global warming — is taught as

Dry feet

incontrovertible truth …”

The second generation of Cuban-Americans were more influenced by their schools and by television shows than by their parents, the columnist observes, and that is true of subsequent generations of any immigrant group, whether Soviet Jews, Italians or Irish.

So, the answer is not to change the policies of the Republican Party, but to properly educate the next generations as to the principles of liberty, free markets, self-reliance, competition instead of collectivism, freedom of speech and religion instead of political correctness, and individualism instead of thinking as a member of a demographic group.

And, yes, everybody has a cousin in Miami.

The camera operator may have had a few margaritas too many.

Only an idiot or insane person would cast an ill informed vote, right?

The editorial in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal offers advice that should be written in 144-point type in red ink above every ballot: “Don’t cancel out an informed vote with an uninformed one!” I added the exclamation mark.

With early voting starting today, the editorial advises that a voter’s guide will be published in the Sunday paper with information about every major ballot item in Clark County. I’m told Charles Zobell — the longtime managing editor who was ousted in a brutal and irrational act of exsanguination of knowledge, experience and talent of upper management at the paper — was brought in to edit the section on a free-lance basis. If that is so, I can assure you that the section, under Charlie’s supervision, will be as fair and exhaustive as the cheap bastards will allow.

The editorial suggests voters peruse that news section Sunday and a recap of the paper’s editorial endorsements on the editorial pages, most of which I agree with, as well as the paper’s website at to read about candidates and view video recordings. Then, if after all that you still aren’t sure about a particular race, leave that one blank.

That is advice we don’t hear often enough. Instead, you hear: Be sure and vote. Your vote counts. It is your civic duty to vote.

I don’t recall when the R-J began offering its common sense advice, but I offered it back in 2004 in a newspaper column and again earlier this year in this blog.

The ballot franchise is not universal after all. Until 2004, the Nevada Constitution denied the right to vote to those “convicted of treason or felony” and any “idiot or insane person.” That year the “idiot or insane” language was changed to the more politically correct “a person who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent, unless restored to legal capacity.” I always thought we should have taken that opportunity to add: “or any self-imposed ignoramus, as determined by a poll test.”

Such as: Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? You might not, on the basis of that question alone, eliminate the 53 percent who did not know, but certainly the 4 percent who said it was Harry Reid.

 Remember, the ballot is not like a pop quiz in school. You don’t get any credit for wild guesses. All you are doing is diluting the votes of those of us who take the time to study the resumes and stances of the candidates and the relative merits of the ballot initiatives and become an informed electorate.

Thomas Jefferson said in 1820:

“I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. If we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.”

On the other hand, David T.Z. Mindich, a journalism professor, former editor for CNN and author of “Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow the News,” commented:

“It is not hyperbole to say that if a citizenry unilaterally abandons political knowledge, it relinquishes power as well. It has been said that America is a system ‘designed by geniuses so that it could be run by idiots.’ But this is not entirely true. The Constitution does provide checks against our greatest mistakes of the moment. And elections do provide a quick check against the government’s neglect of the people. But nothing in our Constitution protects us against the long-term ravages of neglect by the people themselves.”

If you know some self-imposed ignoramuses, please offer to drive them to the polls … on Nov. 7.


Reid continues hypocrisy of demanding Romney’s tax returns while keeping his secret … Look, rich people!

Harry Reid continued his sleight-of-hand routine Tuesday night at the Democratic convention, pointing with exaggerated animation to Mitt Romney’s tax returns in an attempt to distract everyone from the glaring facts right in front of their eyes. Look, rich people!

After introducing himself as the humble senator from Searchlight, Harry proclaimed in his customary deadpan:

“Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve. When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one.”

Actually Romney has released his 2010 return and the preliminary figures for his 2011 return, but no need to quibble with mere facts when they get in the way of a tall tale.

“We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.

“Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share. His word? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both. …”

Your word? Your word, Harry? This from a man who has refused to release any of his tax returns nor state what percent of his income he pays in taxes or where he shelters his multimillion dollar assets or how he become a millionaire while serving in public jobs the vast majority of his life. I wonder whether his Christmas tips for the staff at the Ritz Carlton are deductible, since he did try to use campaign money for that purpose? And how did he report the $1 million he collected from the sale of property he had not personally owned for three years? Look, rich people!

“If we don’t know how Mitt Romney would benefit from the policies he proposes, how can we know if he’s looking out for us or just himself?”

How do we know who Harry is looking out for, since he continues to throw tax money at those who contribute to him and the Democratic Party?

Harry also said this about Republicans:

“In addition to the crowd of ‘couldn’ts’ and ‘shouldn’ts,’ the Republican Party has become the party of the ‘wouldn’ts’ and the ‘won’ts.’ They pledged on day one they wouldn’t lift a finger to help. And they haven’t.”

This from the man who controls the calendar in the Senate, which hasn’t passed a budget in more than three years, though the Republican controlled House keeps sending budgets over. This from a man who hasn’t been able to muster a single Democratic vote, including his own, for the budgets Obama has submitted.

Pay no attention to the facts, Harry says. Pay no attention to the fact Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, which Harry failed to mention. Pay no attention to the fact things have gotten worse under Obama’s policies and practices. Pay no attention to Nevada having the highest rate of foreclosures and underwater mortgages in the country, something that can be, at least partly, laid at the feet of Barack Obama and his community organizers with their “vampire socialism.” Look, rich people!

Today’s Investor’s Business Daily offers a handy guide to those facts, in some cases, for the sticklers out there, comparing today’s figures not only with those on the day Obama took office, but also to when the recession officially ended in June 2009. These are a few:

“• Median incomes: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%.

“• Long-term unemployed: More than three years into Obama’s recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession ended. …

“• Gas prices: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, it’s $3.84.

“• Misery Index: When Obama took office, the combination of unemployment and inflation stood at 7.83. Today it’s 9.71. …

“• Debt: Everyone is far worse off if you just look at the national debt. It has climbed more than $5 trillion under Obama, crossing $16 trillion for the first time on Tuesday and driving the U.S. credit rating down.”

Never mind that food stamp recipients, as noted by The Wall Street Journal today, have grown from 33 million in 2009 to 46,670,373 as of Friday — nearly one out of seven Americans at a cost of $72 billion a year and growing. Those are Harry’s and Barry’s constituents. You know, the one’s who, by presidential decree, can keep drawing welfare without having to, well, actually work as the law states.

Harry didn’t mention any of those, but merely gestured and shouted: “Look, rich people!”

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Cooking the jobs books: Leftovers

By Jove, they’ve done it again, Magoo.

While stumbling around blind the Labor Department has found a way to report that new jobless claims fell by 1,000. Today’s press release reports initial claims were 367,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s “revised” figure of 368,000.

People wait in line at a job fair in Oregon. (AP photo)

Last week the agency told us new claims were 365,000. So during the past week they revised that number up 3,000 to 368,000 so this week they could say the new claims fell by 1,000 instead of increased by 2,000.

Remember that Washington Times editorial I mentioned this past week? It explained how the Labor Department is cooking the books:

“The Obama administration is managing perceptions by revising the weekly numbers upward after the fact. Every week for at least the last eight weeks, the initial jobless number has been raised after it was released, sometimes significantly. So while the combined initial figures over that period show a 13,000 new jobless decline, this is only because 49,000 jobless were not included in the initial reports.”

Make that nine weeks.

But don’t tell the folks at the Los Angeles Times. They’ve not figured out the trick.

The paper reports this morning:

“WASHINGTON — The labor market is looking a little better than last week’s disappointing jobs report for April.

“The government said Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits edged lower last week to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 — down 1,000 from the prior week. That’s a second straight week of declining claims, suggesting that the abrupt and worrisome increase in jobless filings in the first three weeks of April was an aberration.”

Good news for Obama right?

By the way, the numbers that all the news media are reporting are the “seasonally adjusted number.” Scroll down to the unadjusted figures and we learn that actual initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 338,418, an increase of 4,942 from the previous week.

Not so good news for Obama. But don’t expect to read that in the news media.

On the green energy issue, the Nevada Senate race is a toss up

Would someone please do a Leroy Jethro Gibbs-style slap to the back of Sen. Dean Heller’s head and alert him to the fact that the citizens of Nevada are not so gullible as to buy this whole green energy snake oil that Harry and Barry are selling?

On his website the junior senator proclaims: “In light of the fact that Nevada is nearly 85% federal land, Dean Heller has worked hard to facilitate access to appropriate federal lands for those interested in responsible development.”

Dean Heller

He can’t see the forest for the trees. The problem is not that the federal government needs to “facilitate access.” The problem is that so much land in Nevada and other Western states is controlled in perpetuity by the multiple layers of federal bureaucracy.

Maybe — but not really very likely — a few of those wind and solar projects that require massive acreage might pencil out without massive subsidies if it did not take years of environmental drafts, assorted studies, wildlife inventories, aquifer surveys, public hearings that are futile gestures and campaign contributions all costing millions of dollars to win approval.

If the state and the counties controlled that land instead of distant and disinterested bureaucrats, decisions could be made in a more timely fashion and with a better voice for the residents who live near such projects who will have to live with them and look at them and pay the higher power bills so some do-gooder can pretend to save the planet.

Instead of Dean and Harry introducing federal legislation to provide royalties and lease income from solar and wind projects to home states and counties, let the home states and counties decide those things themselves through property taxes or sales taxes or whatever without going begging to D.C. for alms.

In 1996 the voters of Nevada amended the state Constitution to strike the Disclaimer Clause in the statehood ordinance. In that clause the residents of the territory of Nevada bound the future citizens of the state of Nevada to “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

Since then Congress, so far as I can find, has done nothing to answer the demand for redress of grievance submitted by the voters of Nevada.

But no, Heller goes merrily along assuming that all that can be done is grease the wheels of the federal bureaucracy instead of derailing the whole damned gravy train.

The junior senator goes on to brag about all the renewable energy bills he has co-sponsored. Including this:

“Supported renewable energy production tax credits (PTC), which provides a tax credit for electricity produced from renewable energy facilities. Since its inception, the PTC has helped the United States create thousands of megawatts of new clean, renewable electricity, resulting in thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars’ worth of economic activity.”

Never mind that PTC is the only thing keeping many of these projects afloat or that the power produced by most of them costs four times as much as power from natural gas-fired turbines and will continue to do so for the entire life of the facilities — decades of guaranteed higher power bills. And the number of permanent jobs created are often only a dozen or so.

Shelley Berkley

Of course, Heller’s senate opponent Shelley Berkley is championing the same nonsense. On her campaign site she blathers:

“Nevada’s vast wind, solar and geothermal potential has given Nevada the opportunity to lead the nation in clean energy jobs. It’s an important goal that will diversify our economy, create thousands of good paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas …”

You can’t even flip a coin on the green energy issues in this race. It’s a two-headed coin.

At least Heller called out Berkley for wanting to jack up taxes on the oil industry while gasoline prices are rising.

Judging the Judges: Newspaper swings for the benches one more time

I’m glad to see the Review-Journal continued the biennial judicial survey, even though the paper apparently is so understaffed (or underexpertised) they had to contract with a reporter/editor they let go this past year in order to pull it off.

But A.D. Hopkins, who has been the ramrod for probably a majority of these survey projects since the paper began them in 1992, did his usual thorough and fair job with the capable assistance of several other reporters and the Cannon Survey Center at UNLV and Downey Research Associates. (A.D. and his entire special projects team was let go by the new management in 2011.)

A.D. Hopkins

The publication of the Judging the Judges results was moved earlier in the year — the paper used to publish close to May 1, Law Day, in each even-numbered election year, but the judges moved up the election filing date to January. It made sense to let voters and potential candidates know prior to filing which judges were deemed the best and worst by the attorneys who appear before them.

It is fairly uncommon for newspapers to be the driving force behind judicial evaluations, I first started doing such evaluations in the 1980s in Shreveport, La., for the afternoon Shreveport Journal, long since shuttered. We did the surveys in 1980 and 1984. The first time the Bar Association wanted nothing to do with us, but they warmed to the idea in 1984 and provided a list of members and encouraged participation.

The history in Las Vegas has been similar. The paper started out with cooperation of the local Bar but that has waxed and waned over the years with the perception of how well or how fairly the various projects were conducted. (A.D. wasn’t saddled with every one of them.)

As A.D. points out, the state initiated a pilot evaluation project to test evaluating judges by lawyers and other parties, including jurors and parties to civil suits. It was part of ballot Question 1, which would have replaced the current wide-open judicial elections with so-called merit selection and retention elections. The voters rejected the change and the evaluation idea has been in limbo since. The Review-Journal editorially opposed Question 1 and I voiced concerns in my column.

One of the big criticisms of the survey is that so few attorneys participate, only 19 percent this year. But a large number of attorneys are engaged in practices that involve contracts, wills and other paperwork that never require them to appear in court. The survey asks that attorneys only evaluate judges before whom they have appeared. Besides, the turnout in the 2010 municipal elections was only 19 percent and that was deemed valid.

The judicial evaluation is an important public service and an expensive one. Glad to see it was considered worth the expense for at least one more year. I will certainly consult its results when I go to vote, and so should you.

Even though some of the results will not appear in print until Monday, the entire project is online now.