Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A realistic proposal

A sensible approach to the Mexican border problem has to deal with two realities. First, Mexicans and other immigrants with few skills and low cognitive awareness levels are coming to this country illegally because they have no or very little economic opportunity at home. Second, illegal immigration poses an unacceptable risk of economic and cultural dislocation, as well as real security threats, to the United States. I have an approach that tackles both problems.

The key is to secure the present border at the Rio Grande and west to the Pacific. This means a highly secure fence or wall, patrolled and electronically monitored 24/7/365. This is well within our capabilities. That doesn't deal, however, with the fact that it is the economic opportunity available in the United States that is attracting undesirable immigrants.

I propose the creation of an economic and security zone in northern Mexico, extending from the present border with the United States to a line joining the Gulf of Mexico shoreline to Monterrey to Chihuahua to Hermosillo and then to the Gulf of California. All of Baja California would be included in the zone. Special security and identification measures would be in effect in the zone, so that all residents would be unequivocally identified and their status clearly established. The idea will be to establish within this zone the economic and legal framework which has been so successful in making the states of the United States prosperous and attractive. This would have to include clear and effective real property and commercial transactions regulations, as well as incorruptible law enforcement and political organizations. The United States will consult with Mexico as to the nature of these changes in the present failed and fragile social framework within this area. The only real difference between this zone and the states of the United States would be that social welfare provision would remain at the level that obtains in the rest of Mexico. It is to be anticipated that economic development in this zone would be rapid and healthy. All the economic migrants who pose security and cultural risks to the United States should be able to find the opportunity they seek for legitimate economic activity in this zone. It may even turn out that this zone will be a magnet for those migrants from around the world who cannot meet the standards that legal US immigration should require. Perhaps many Mexican citizens who have immigrated illegally or legally to the United States will find this zone just as economically attractive and more culturally and linguistically comfortable than the areas in the United States where they find themselves today.

Should it become impossible to establish this zone by agreement with Mexico, it will become necessary to impose, by whatever means may be required, a border control zone, a hundred miles wide, from the present border south into Mexico. Within this zone travel will be prohibited and all existing settlements will be removed. Such a drastic measure should not be necessary, however. If Mexican immigrants only want to come to the United States to work and prosper, they will have that opportunity within their own country. Perhaps when the rest of Mexico, and eventually the rest of Latin America, observe the results that can be achieved by a rational regime of laws and a government with integrity, they too will adopt the measures prevalent in the zone. Then the border zone will no longer be necessary and men of all cultures and ethnicities can be free and prosperous in their own countries.

Update: Just to show I'm not a complete nut, there's a good article by Tom Bethell at the American Spectator about Hernando DeSoto's theories as they apply to the third world, and specifically to Mexico:
Hernando de Soto's organization was invited to Mexico and did some work on the question. He says that only 6 percent of Mexican enterprises are legal, the rest are informal. If you want yours legalized, it will take you four years with no certainty in the outcome.

This is the kind of problem that could be addressed in the economic and security zone.
Cheapest so far?

Another fare to Istanbul in the fall - but I know I can do better. What amazes me is that the fare right from Tallahassee is so little larger than the fare direct from Atlanta or New York. It's almost like they're flying me to Orlando or New York for free. Every time I think of driving to another airport I look at what I'd save and it just isn't worth it.
The only kicker in the QIXO fare is that they haven't disclosed all the taxes and fees yet, so it may not really be the cheapest. Maybe by Labor Day I'll have a fare I can live with - and fly with!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Whale of a tail

A story on Samizdata about the fishy goings on at the World non-Whaling Conference led me to hook up with this burger saga about whaleburgers. This is one of the reasons I want to go to Japan - so I can eat some good cetacean. So let's look at a package tour:
Package details
Price details
Total: $1,746.55

* Items selected, taxes, & fees for flight.

Flight: 1 roundtrip ticket flight
7:00 am Depart Tallahassee (TLH)
Arrive Tokyo (NRT) 3:00 pm tip+1 day Tue 24-Oct
Duration: 19hr 0mn
United United United 3588 operated by US /US AIRWAYS EXPRESS-PSA AIRLINES -- US22383588 / United 2265 operated by US AIRWAYS -- US9262265 / 881
Connect in Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD)
3:20 pm Depart Tokyo (NRT)
Arrive Tallahassee (TLH) 6:49 pm Tue 31-Oct
Duration: 16hr 29mn
United United 884 / 432 / United 3480 operated by US /US AIRWAYS EXPRESS-PSA AIRLINES -- US22693480
Connect in Chicago (ORD), Charlotte (CLT)
Choose a different flight for this package.
Hotel: 1 room for 6 nights hotel
More lodging info
Shinbashi Atagoyama Tokyu Inn
2.0-star Tokyo, Japan
# This 14-story high-rise, located in downtown Tokyo, is less than two km (one mile) from the Imperial Palace.

# Refrigerators come in all ... More lodging info
Check-in: Wed 25-Oct-06 Check-out: Tue 31-Oct-06
Room options Price
Std Single - Annex Main Wing Sale! Included
Std Twin - Annex Main Wing Sale! + $23.55 per night
Choose a different hotel for this package.

Hey, not bad, but I'll probably have to get another flight to Sapporo to get the advertised whaleburger. I'll settle for a Tokyo version.

And of course I couldn't resist the chance for a good comment:
It's just a fluke, that's all. Whale "meets" with my approval! It may seem fishy, but I wouldn't beef about a whaleburger. See whale? Se(a) - food! Now don't blubber, get to the meat of the matter. You have to loin there's a lot at steak here. Stop spouting off and being such a blowhard!
I always hope this sort of thing causes a pun-demonium. Or at least a pun-demic.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

These guys are ... terrible!

Just finished watching the US Open golf tournament. I don't think there was one birdie in the last six holes among the top leaders. It was drives in the rough, in the sand, in a garbage can, in the corporate tent - and that was only Phil Mickelson! And the iron play wasn't any better. The putting made one think these so-called professionals had never seen a fairly complex green before. A good college player could have won today. I kept wishing Tiger was playing, because I knew he would have won by fifteen strokes. Then I remembered he didn't even make the cut, with two successive 76's on Thursday and Friday! Then I also remembered John Daly, not the most successful golfer, if perhaps the most obnoxious, saying that he lost $55 million dollars gambling. When someone pointed out he hadn't won any more than $15 million in twenty years on the Tour he explained all the other ways a golfer could get money. I guess I'm in the wrong business. I wonder if a fat 58-year-old can take a few lessons and go on tour and win an easy million or two and then retire. How hard could it be?

OK, I'm glad Ogilvy the Aussie won, but really - he didn't win, the others lost. I watch to see men win by making great shots, not to see someone back into the trophy because the leader double-bogeys the last hole. Disgusting