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The Congress has received lots of free advice lately from Mexican government officials and illegal aliens waving Mexico's flag in mass demonstrations coast-to-coast. Most of it takes the form of bitter complaints about our actual or prospective treatment of immigrants from that country who have gotten into this one illegally -- or who aspire to do so.    

If you think these critics are mad about U.S. immigration policy now, imagine how upset they would be if we adopted an approach far more radical than the bill they rail against that was adopted last year by the House of Representatives -- namely, the way Mexico treats illegal aliens.    

In fact, as a just-published paper by the Center for Security Policy's J. Michael Waller, Mexico's Glass House, points out, under a constitution first adopted in 1917 and subsequently amended, Mexico deals harshly not only with illegal immigrants. It treats even legal immigrants, naturalized citizens and foreign investors in ways that would, by the standards of those who carp about U.S. immigration policy, have to be called "racist" and "xenophobic."


Chapter Twenty Four: THE JADE STEPS

The Jade Steps

Chapter Twenty Four:  The Jade Steps

When the food arrived, turkeys and maize cakes in great abundance, Malinali ate quickly.  She had no time for conversation with Bernal, eager to talk about the wonders of the palace.  She cast a knowing glance at Cortez and fled from the room.  She returned within the hour, Cortez inviting her to join the group of officers with whom he was conferring.  Everyone looked at her expectantly.

"I heard no talk around this palace or out on the plaza of any trap.  I overheard talk between guards, nobles, priests, and common people.  They all talk of you using the word teotl (tay-ottle), which means wonder, awesome, terrifying power.  They talk of how the strangers are men from another more powerful world, men they have never seen before.  Montezuma, it seems, can talk of nothing else.  There is no anger in what I heard, only teotl."

The men started to express their relief and appreciation to her when there was a commotion.  Several jaguar warriors had entered, followed by a procession of grandly cloaked and feathered nobles, perhaps as many as a hundred.  In their center was Montezuma.



The mood in Washington has been sour lately, so many were grateful when the Democrats in Congress provided a little levity Wednesday, March 29 by issuing their national security strategy.

It would have been more appropriate to delay its release until Saturday, April 1st - April Fools' Day.

On Feb. 3rd, the Defense Department issued its quadrennial report on defense strategy.  It was 92 pages long.  The "Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World" is six pages long.  Half of these pages are in Spanish, saying what was said in English.  And there is a cover page in each language. 

So the actual "plan" is just two pages long, presented in bullet points in large type, with plenty of white space between them.  It contains 833 words. Party elders must have burned the midnight oil for months to produce this magnum opus.



A year ago, in Bye-Bye Bolivia, you learned that if Evo Morales were to take over Bolivia, the country would split in two.  Sure enough, after less than four months in office, Morales is well on his way.

Morales, recall, leads the Quechua and Aymara ethnic majorities up in the Andean highlands, and got elected by focusing their resentment on the Spanish and other European ethnic minorities in the eastern lowlands.  Yet the lowlands have all the oil and gas reserves.

With Morales promising to nationalize - a euphemism for "steal" - the lowland resources, the governor of the lowland province of Tarija, Mario Cossio, has met with government officials of neighboring Paraguay and Argentina, asking their support in declaring Tarija's secession from Bolivia.

He is being joined by the governors of the lowlands' other three provinces, Santa Cruz, Pando, and Beni.  The new country could be called after its nickname of Media Luna, "Half Moon," from the provinces' collective shape.



A friend of mine was recently tasked to provide the entertainment for a conference, and on a tiny budget.  He first thought of karaoke.

Karaoke bars are big business, and people love to ham it up in front of the screen. You don't have to come up with lame or insulting wisecracks to get people into a fun mood, and there are lots of party games you can come up with using the music and lyrics.

That's what my friend wanted for his party:  people singing and dancing, having a grand old time - with him as the star for having come up with it.

The only problem - the budget! Until now, my friend would've had to go out and hire someone with an elaborate and expensive karaoke set-up to come out and run it - putting the idea of a karaoke party out of reach for him, as it is for so many others.

Until now, that is. 



Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is dying of cancer. But he is convinced that his legacy will be glorious. He believes that thousands of his Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers effectively control southern Iraq, and that the rest of the country is at his mercy, since we present no challenge to them - even along the Iraq/Iran border, where they operate with impunity.

They calmly plan their next major assault without having to worry about American retribution. The mullahs have thousands of intelligence officers all over Iraq, as well as a hard core of Hezbollah terrorists - including the infamous Imad Mughniyah, arguably the region's most dangerous killer - and they control the major actors, from Zarqawi to Sadr to the Badr Brigades.

Khamenei and his top cronies believe they have effectively won. They think the U.S. is politically paralyzed, thanks to the relentless attacks of President Bush's Democrat opponents and the five-year long internal debate about Iran policy. 



[One year before his passing, in 1991, famed science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote the following essay on America's national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  Thanks to TTP members Bill and Carole Gregory who brought it to our attention, we can share it with you.  It seems particularly apt, given our country's many current travails. ---JW] 

I have a weakness -- I am crazy, absolutely nuts, about our national anthem.

The words are difficult and the tune is almost impossible, but frequently when I'm taking a shower I sing it with as much power and emotion as I can. It shakes me up every time. I was once asked to speak at a luncheon. Taking my life in my hands, I announced I was going to sing our national anthem -- all four stanzas.

This was greeted with loud groans. One man closed the door to the kitchen, where the noise of dishes and cutlery was loud and distracting. "Thanks, Herb," I said. "That's all right," he said. "It was at the request of the kitchen staff."

I explained the background of the anthem and then sang all four stanzas. 

Let me tell you, those people had never heard it before--or had never really listened. I got a standing ovation. But it was not me; it was the anthem.  So now let me tell you how it came to be written.



Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced he would schedule a vote in the Senate for a proposed Constitutional Amendment with the following wording:

The Congress and the States shall have Power to Prohibit the Physical Desecration of the Flag of the United States.

Such an amendment (it was passed by the House last June) would override Supreme Court decisions in 1989/90 proclaiming burning the American flag was a form of constitutionally protected free speech.

Yet just as yelling fire! in a theatre is not protected free speech, neither should burning an American flag, for it is a purposeful incitement to violence.  Thus such an "anti-flag burning amendment" would be welcome.

Yet in truth, only the tiniest fraction of Americans have any desire to burn their country's flag.  There is, however, another country's flag that millions of Americans feel like burning right now:  the flag of Mexico.



 It is lucky America has more than two centuries of mostly calm experience with self-government. We are going to need to fall back on that invaluable patrimony if the immigration debate continues as it has started this season.

The Senate is attempting to legislate into the teeth of the will of the American public. The Senate Judiciary Committeemen - and probably a majority of the Senate - are convinced that they know that the American people don't know what is best for them. 

The senators should remember that they are American senators, not Roman proconsuls. Nor is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee some latter-day Praetor Maximus. 

But if they would be dictators, it would be nice if they could at least be wise (until such time as the people can electorally kick their regrettable backsides out of town). It was gut-wrenching to watch the senators prattle on in their idle ignorance concerning the manifold economic benefits that will accrue to the body politic if we can just cram a few million more uneducated illegals into the country.  I guess ignorance loves company.



I don't know when the term "March Madness" regarding the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship came into usage, but it was well after my college days in the 1960s.  This year's madness is focused on the sympathetic favorite, George Mason, and the nostalgic favorite, UCLA.  It certainly has caused me to recall a March Madness of my very own.

The nostalgia is for the greatest achievement in the history of college athletics, Coach John Wooden's 10 NCAA championships in 11 years (1964-75), including seven in a row (1966-73), the NCAA winning-streak record of 88 consecutive victories and 38 straight NCAA tournament victories.

But none of that had happened by Thursday, March 19, 1964.  The Bruins, led by center Fred Slaughter and guards Gail Goodrich and Walt Hazzard, were undefeated in the regular season, 30-0, had won the regionals the previous weekend at Corvallis, Oregon, and for the first time in UCLA history, were in the Final Four.  UCLA was to play Kansas State in the semi-finals at Kansas City, Missouri tomorrow, Friday, March 20.

And I was bummed.