Reale Simple

The world is more than what they tell you. Listen up. It's not complex. It's Reale Simple.

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Former USCHO writer, former writer at a Midwestern broadsheet, occassional CHN blogger.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Let's go (CENSORED)!

After several weeks at St. Cloud State University, if you haven't been to a hockey game yet, you aren't getting out enough. Several weeks ago the SCSU Huskies welcomed the Wisconsin Badgers to campus. The following week they took on their arch-enemies, the Minnesota Golden Gophers. They've since played games against the Colorado College Tigers. But if you travel to St. Cloud this weekend for a little bit of hockey, the opponent will be the University of North Dakota.

And that's it.

No nickname. Where "Gophers" read on the scoreboard scant weeks ago, "N. Dakota" will be instead. What kind of school is this, that shuns having a fierce and proud name to be known as? As it turns out, there isn't one. Peering at the ice, you'll see a picture of a proud Indian warrior on the jersey - designed by a Native American - with the name "SIOUX" above in bright bold letters.

Roy Saigo, the president of St. Cloud State, has led the charge in shunning North Dakota because of their chosen team name. Never mind that the school has shown nothing but the ultimate respect to the Sioux Nation. The NCAA has determined that the "Fighting Sioux" moniker is "hostile and abusive."

What is "hostile and abusive" about a nickname? Why exactly was this name chosen in the first place? You don't see teams named the "Fighting Frenchmen" or the "Fighting Italians." Why? It's because those names seem somewhat humorous - they don't evoke any kind of fear in the opponent. The "Fighting Sioux" evokes the warrior spirit of the Sioux people. It represents a favorable aspect of Sioux culture that the University of North Dakota seeks to emulate in their athletic teams. When the US Cavalry came to take their land, the Sioux fought valiantly and bravely, to the last man, even when outnumbered and outgunned. It is that type of brave spirit that North Dakota honors by name its team after the Sioux.

This is "hostile and abusive?" To some degree, it's actually "hostile and abusive" to the Sioux to deny the University the ability to use the nickname. It says that the name itself is inappropriate to be used to represent that fighting spirit. Would they rather be the "Docile Sioux?"

And where does this stop? Let's look around. The Irish might have a problem with Notre Dame's "Fighting Irish." Greeks will surely complain about the USC Trojans. Even in Roy Saigo's backyard can trouble be found - overweight individuals will easily feel slighted by the St. Cloud State Huskies. Next thing you know, animal rights groups will feel that teams like the Tigers and the Badgers are being "hostile and abusive" to animals.

It's already starting elsewhere. Groups are calling for the University of Miami to change their name from the "Hurricanes." There's almost no more appropriate name for Miami - a hurricane is an especially mighty force, as anyone who has ever experienced one can attest to. Given its location, the name fits. But no, the PC police are paying a visit to the Sunshine State just as they continue to harass North Dakota.

School nicknames are chosen for a number of reasons. My alma mater are the "Engineers." Not terribly frightening, but engineering is a prominent major at the school. But is that "hostile and abusive" to non-engineers (like myself)? Of course not!

If we are to ultimately satisfy every possible request from the PC police, we'll have to abolish nicknames completely. Then, to be fair, every team color will have to be the same - say, yellow - and every player should get to play. To improve player self-esteem, every player will be given number 1. And why bother keeping score? Losing is depressing. If no one wins, then no one can lose.

This is the logical route the NCAA is going down by continuing to interfere with non-athletic issues like what a school decides to call its team. Bickering over it is even worse, because it takes away from the athletic competition. In St. Cloud this weekend, while the players are giving their all on the ice, there will undoubtedly be several people outside the arena protesting the NAME. St. Cloud State does not honor the Sioux by deciding to pretend that the nickname does not exist. Indeed, they do a distinct dishonor.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mother, should I build a wall

You'd be hard pressed to encounter someone these days who won't agree that illegal immigration in this country is a real problem. Even those shrill-voiced socialists who'll claim you're anti-immigration if you try to do anything about illegal immigrants have been admitting this recently, so you know things have gotten really bad.

Some 3,000 illegal immigrants cross the US-Mexican border every single day, and they don't intend to leave once they get here. The problem has been largely ignored by both major parties for years - the claim being that Republicans don't want to lose their main source of cheap labor, and the Democrats don't want to lose their main source of cheap votes. However, in the post 9/11 world, there are several politicians in Washington who are acutely aware of the national security issue that such a porous border arises.

Yesterday, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California introduced a bill which would mandate the creation of a "border security fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico." Included in the draft proposal is a 100-meter border zone on the US side.

The proposal, while eerily similar to the design layout of the Berlin Wall - which included a buffer zone patrolled by armed guards who had orders to shoot anyone even approaching the Wall - seems rather sound. A 14-mile wall near San Diego has proven to be efficient and successful in keeping out unwanted immigrants. This is the main departure between the Berlin Wall and the proposed US-Mexican wall; the Soviets built the Berlin Wall in order to keep East Germans in East Germany and out of free West Berlin. Any wall built on the border with Mexico would serve to keep illegal aliens out, not keep legal immigration and legitimate cross-border traffic in. Indeed, the East German authorities had no problem with West Germans visiting their country and spending their money there. They just didn't want their own population to leave, because they knew most would if they got the chance.

With Mexico, it's different. The Mexican government practically encourages people to leave the country illegally, especially in order to support families who remain in Mexico. These illegals come to the United States, earn some money under the table, and immediately send it south of the border. So in addition to a security hazard, a porous border also presents an economic problem. Add a humanitarian reason for erecting the wall - nearly 2,000 illegals died in the attempt to reach the US between 1998 and 2004 - and the pointed comparisons to Berlin which will undoubtedly be made by a hysterical socialist Left fade away into just that, hysterics.

There is some degree of concern on the Right, and when it comes in the person of Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona, one of the best conservative voices in the House, it is certainly worth consideration. Flake, who represents a state with one of the most popular routes taken by illegals to enter the country, laments that a wall would not solve the problem of 400,000 immigrants from the world over that enter the United States legally and then proceed to overstay their visas. This is true, though this is another issue which the Department of Homeland Security needs to consider and tackle with the intent of lowering that number significantly.

One potential move, which is also before the Congress, would be to eliminate the practice of jus soli, which immediately bestows citizenship upon children born in the United States, if the child is born to individuals who are not in the country legally. Each year, thousands of immigrants come to the United States and have children born here. These children become "anchor babies," because the government will not deport an American citizen, and will not leave a child orphaned while their parents are deported. For an illegal, having a child in the United States guarantees that they'll be able to stay. Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, who has made immigration form his main priority, has been considering addressing this issue through necessary channels, either through a congressional statute or a constitutional amendment.

The wall, however, will remain an important tool for keeping out those who intend from the very beginning to enter the country illegally and remain illegally. A wall is not, as detractors already claim, an anti-immigration move. It does nothing about legal immigration, which is a cornerstone of our American heritage that should continue to be encouraged for anyone who wishes to pursue it. "Making it" for legal immigrants who are trying to gain permanent resident status or even to become American citizens is often a long and difficult process to go through. Why should we continue to allow illegals to flow over our borders while honest people are put through the wringer to achieve, in most cases, some of the same things illegals are?

At this point, it's not clear that the bill introduced by Congressman Hunter has the support necessary to pass both houses of Congress. It certainly could pass the House, but passing the Senate is always more difficult when it comes to matters of immigration policy. But a wall simply makes sense for security, economic, humanitarian, and, yes, even in support of legal immigration. We'll see if Congress has the gumption to do what is necessary on the most wide open border in the world.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Reaping what you sow

By most peacenik accounts, the French should not be experiencing what they have been going through for the past week on the outskirts of Paris. After all, the French have steadfastly refused to become involved in taking the fight to terrorists - in fact, they have been involved in trying to stop the United States and her allies from executing the war where it needs to be executed. One would expect that Islamist violence would spare the French.

Wrong.

For the last week, rampaging Muslim youth, using as their excuse the unfortunate death by electrocution of two Muslim teenagers (who while running from police that apparently were not even chasing them, chose to hide in a power station), have been shooting at police, setting fires to privately-owned businesses, lighting cars and public buses ablaze, and throwing rocks at trains. In the radical Muslim world, this is more than an appropriate response.

The rioters are claiming that the French government is ignoring their plight in these poor suburbs. Once again, it's always the government's fault whenever people don't have jobs or are living in poverty. Of course, in France, the government has made it their responsibility to be the people's nanny from cradle to grave, so it's possible that these rioters have a point.

But what more lame excuse could a group have for causing mass chaos than two idiot kids who, after apparently doing something wrong (why else would they think they cops were chasing them, and why else would they want to escape them?), made themselves instant candidates for the Darwin Award by hiding in a power station. The truth is that these young Muslims were mostly looking for any excuse to start causing mayhem. It's all they see on the news - their "brothers in arms" advancing their cause through jihad. Preachers in mosques throughout the Middle East and even in an increasingly secular Europe teaching intolerance and hatred for the West. Is it any wonder that France, which is now bending over backwards to make atheism the state religion, is having a hard time staying out of the Islamist crosshairs despite their Neville Chamberlain-like approach to terrorism?

Jacques Chirac must know this: it is beginning with riots today, but al-Qaeda is no doubt watching what is going on, and rest assured that no end result will satisfy their desires. These riots will, in and of themselves, give al-Qaeda the weak excuse they need to add Paris or Marseille to their hit list. The Metro will become as juicy a target for these bloodthirsty radicals as was the London Underground or as the MTA in New York remains. Chirac has an opportunity to put his foot down and actually deal with Islamist violence in his own country, and in defense of his own country, join the fight internationally against terrorism wherever it is found. Or, he can simply whine and whimper, acquiesce to these insane youth, and hammer another nail in the coffin of the French Republic.

Come on, Jacques. Prove us all wrong about how you're just a "cheese-eating surrender monkey" and join the good fight. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reid's Tantrum

Faced with a Plame affair indictment that didn't satisfy his party's most fervent hopes and a conservative Supreme Court nominee that his party cannot hope to defeat, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid imploded on the floor of the United States Senate today, forcing the body into closed deliberations after a speech full of hysterics.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions," Reid said just before he invoked the Senate rule that allows for a closed session. Let's break this down. First, Reid claims that the Libby indictment is some kind of damning evidence that a leak occurred in the Plame affair, when nothing could be further from the truth. Libby was indicted on charges that he lied to the grand jury, not that he or anyone else leaked the name of Valerie Plame. Second, Reid acts as though the Bush Administration fabricated all of the information they had about Iraq, when President Bill Clinton and his administration were saying many of the same things in 1998 (with the support of a lot of today's Senate Democrats, no less). Finally, Reid bloviates that the Administration has done something wrong in the aftermath, which, yet again, is totally unproven. And this was his justification for kicking the American people out of their government for almost two hours this afternoon.

Reid's right-hand man, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin - a man who once compared American soldiers serving in Guantanamo to Nazis and Pol Pot - immediately backed him up, seconding the motion and spewing further unsubstantiated bilge.

Despite the fact that nearly the entire world was claiming that Iraq had a covert weapons of mass destruction program prior to the war, including the governments of France and Germany, despite their open opposition to war, Senate Democrats and the Left in general seems to have this strange inability to grasp that instead of the Bush Administration manipulating and fabricating their own truths, it may have been possible that the intelligence accrued by such services as the Central Intelligence Agency, MI6, and the Mossad may have just been misinformed, if not dead wrong.

And then there's the assumption that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. This claim can only be true if the lack of proof is equivalent to a proof of lack, which any logician will tell you isn't necessarily accurate. While no weapons of mass destruction have been found, neither has their been any evidence that Iraq's known weapons of mass destruction stores were ever destroyed. Perhaps Reid's temper tantrum antics would be better served exploring what did happen to Iraqi WMD. After all, we know that at one point, he had possession of chemical weapons and biological weapons, and had a functioning nuclear weapons program. It just vanished into thin air? Or are we to believe that Saddam Hussein decided to voluntarily dismantle his program on his own after booting UN inspectors out of the country in 1998? We continue to hear rumblings that Iraqi WMD ended up transported through Syria and Iran. There's a wonderful thought. Maybe instead of all of the whining that there was a "rush to war" back in 2003, the real problem is that we didn't go to war soon enough.

At any rate, Reid's little political play, correctly identified by Majority Leader Bill Frist as a "hijacking of the Senate," is nothing more than a desperate move for attention during a week where Bush rebounded from the Miers strikeout with a sure run-scoring move of nominating Samuel Alito to the high court, then outlined a comprehensive federal program for dealing with a potential flu pandemic. Both of these events hurt the Democrats' political strategy, which consists of Blame Bush, then Blame Bush some more, and after that, Blame Bush. Reid had to find something to get the Democrats back on the front page, and he found it. Unfortunately, shutting the public out of the Senate in a petty political move isn't very likely to draw moderates on these issues to his side, as temper tantrums on either side are rarely approved of by any but the most fervent party members. Harry Reid may have just made the Alito nomination more likely to succeed, and the Plame affair more likely to fade into nothing. Oops.