Open Thread for the Weekend 8/6/2010

Today marks the beginning of one of the three tax free weekends in the State of Virginia. This weekend is for school supplies and clothes. The guidelines can be found here. School supplies have to cost less than $20 and clothing has to be less than $100. (I assume per item)

Secondly, a few reminders about navigating

Upper left hand corner you will see a little house icon. That takes you back to the beginning.

Bottom right hand corner you will see the word top. It works just like an elevator. If you ride the elevator to the top and then click on the house icon, you are right back at the beginning.

Want to use emoticons? There is a pdf with all instructions.  Click on the highlighted word emoticons.

I.C.E. Director John Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven get Union Vote of No-Confidence

I.C.E. Director John Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven got a vote of No-Confidence from the 259 I.C.E union members.  There are approximately 7000 I.C.E agents in the United States. 

Who is John Morton exactly?  According to the Washington Post:

Morton, 43, is a boyish-looking former career federal prosecutor who took over ICE last year in May. Described by colleagues as earnest and apolitical, he said he is seeking a middle ground on the debate, enforcing immigration laws while calling for comprehensive reform in Congress and viewing legal immigration as “a good thing for our country.”

“You develop a thick skin in a job like this,” said Morton, who admits to reading many of the brickbats that come his way but says they don’t consume him. “I’d imagine that for some other senior leaders in government, the day when someone calls for their resignation would be the day they’d remember throughout their career. That’s just part of the territory here.”

Sure enough, Morton and his agency evoke strong opinions from all sides. Crystal Williams, executive director of the pro-immigrant American Immigration Lawyers Association, faults him for overaggressive deportations and moving too slowly on promises to reform the immigrant detention system.

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Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional (and Jon Stewart at the end)

“Moral disapproval is an improper basis for denying rights to gay men and lesbians and that the evidence shows consclusively Prop 8 enacts without reason a private moral view that same sex couples are inferior.”

Vaughn Walker, Chief Judge,

 U.S. District Court

Northern District of CA

As with a stroke of a pen….the opposition to gay marriage in California was kaput. 

Judge Walkerwas appointed to the Court by Ronald Reagan.  His confirmation was difficult because he was seen as being too conservative.  This case has had some very strange twists and turns.   The Prop 8 winning attorneys are 2 old enemies who suited up and joined forces:  David Boies and Ted Olson.  Boies was the Gore lawyer and Olson was the Bush lawyer back in 2000.  Politics does make very strange bedfellows indeed! 

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Churchill Ordered UFO Cover-Up: I want to believe….

Do you trust your government? There are many conspiracy theories out there today. Rather than presidential birth certificates and fake pentagon pictures, perhaps we had better concentrate on this one. Not only is our government involved but also the Brits and other governments around the world. The UFO question has been surfacing and resurfacing for years. Roswell is perhaps our best known incident as well as the reported UFOs circling the Capitol in 1952. Rendlesham Forest UFO incidents are also famous to most people who give any credence to UFOs.

Regardless of what people think about the possibility of alien beings, it should concern us that governments of the world want to protect us by withholding information. Apparently the governments want to protect us from mass panic.

UK National Archives is loaded with good information and a very interesting podcast.

From Huffington Post:

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an alleged UFO incident in the 1950s be kept secret to prevent “mass panic,” according to claims made public in the UK on Thursday.

According to reports, the grandson of one of Churchill’s personal bodyguards, wrote to the British Ministry of Defense in 1999 hoping to learn more about the incident. His account, along with Churchill’s claimed reaction, were among a new batch of files released from Britain’s National Archives, though the man’s
identity was not released.

The letter describes how the man’s grandfather, who served with the RAF in World War II, was present when Churchill went to discuss a UFO sighting with Dwight Eisenhower. The incident involved an RAF reconnaissance plane, returning from France or Germany, that was said to have been intercepted by an unidentified metallic object near the English coastline.

As the Daily Mail reported, the letter read as follows:

“During the discussion with Mr Churchill, a consultant (who worked in the Cumbria area during the war) dismissed any possibility that the object had been a missile, since a missile could not suddenly match its speed with a slower aircraft and then accelerate again.

He declared that the event was totally beyond any imagined capabilities of the time. Another person at the meeting raised the possibility of an unidentified flying object, at which point Mr
Churchill declared that the incident should be immediately classified for at least 50 years and its status reviewed by a future Prime Minister.”

A Defense Ministry official’s response from September, 1999 was also among the files. It reads: “It was generally the case that before 1967 all UFO files were destroyed after five years as there was insufficient public interest in the subject to merit their permanent retention.”

According to another note found among the new files, however, such claims were taken extremely seriously by Churchill and his staff. By 1957, ministers were commissioning weekly reports on UFO sightings from a committee of intelligence experts.

Six out of 16 reported sightings were still under investigation, though one was dismissed for lack of evidence while another was thought to be a weather balloon.

That note states:

“The remaining four incidents still under investigation are all radar sightings. In each, unusual behavior of the radar blips in terms of course, speed and heights were reported

Attempts are being made to trace the cause of these sightings to aircraft known to have been near, inexperienced operators or spurious echoes of unexplained origin.”

The UK National Archives

Secure Our Borders Money is on the Way

Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — The Senate agreed Thursday to add $600 million to the effort to stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the U.S. Mexican border.

The money would be used for such purposes as adding 1,500 new enforcement agents and deploying unmanned aerial drones to improve border surveillance.

The voice vote to pass the emergency spending came in the final hours before the Senate leaves for its monthlong summer break. Its sponsor, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, said it would boost border spending 10 percent above 2010 levels.

President Barack Obama has urged Congress to come up with $600 million to reinforce border security, and, with Arizona’s attempt to crack down on undocumented immigrants bringing national focus to the issue, both Republicans and Democrats have endorsed more robust border security spending.

The main stumbling block has been how to pay for the increased spending. Republicans sought to use unspent funds from the economic stimulus act, an idea rejected by Democrats.

The Democratic plan passed Thursday would boost fees assessed on foreign-based personnel companies that take advantage of U.S. visa programs, such as the H-1B visa program for temporary skilled workers, to bring foreign workers, mainly from India, into the United States.

The House last week passed similar legislation with $701 million in emergency money for border security. It could take up the Senate bill when it interrupts its August recess next Tuesday for a one-day session to approve a Senate-passed jobs bill.

That explains what is going to stop the illegal immigrants. Now…what is going to stop the illegal drugs that are coming across the border? How about the illegal drug cartels who have no intention of becoming immigrants? I hope those ‘illegals’ are somehow part of the plan also.

Just so everyone knows that it will be impossible to completely secure the border. Unless we build a wall where we look like East Germany, there will always be leaks. The human spirit will always find a way….