Wonder if They Asked the Minutemen About This Idea

Charitable groups are upset about a provision in the House immigration proposal that would make it a crime to provide assistance to illegal immigrants.

The measure would broaden the nation’s immigrant-smuggling law so that people who assist or shield illegal immigrants would be subject to prosecution. Offenders, who might include priests, nurses or social workers, could face up to five years in prison. The proposal would also allow the authorities to seize some assets of those convicted of such a crime.

Bill on Illegal-Immigrant Aid Draws Fire – New York Times

I wonder if the Congressmen consulted the Minutemen who:

are allowed to provide emergency aid to illegal immigrants if necessary, and our team investigated one incident of an illegal immigrant who fell behind his group, and was actually provided emergency food and water by Minutemen while Border Patrol agents were in transit. An illegal immigrant who claimed on Wednesday (6 APR) to have been detained by the Minutemen is likewise reported to have received food, water, and money from sympathetic volunteers

Figures that the private citizens would have more sense than the Congress about the concept of private people providing aid to those in need.

Robber Turned In by His Sons Draws 40-Year Prison Sentence – New York Times

I hadn’t thought there was much worth commenting on with this story until I heard the attorney filling in for Bill O’Reilly on his radio program this evening commenting on it.

Robber Turned In by His Sons Draws 40-Year Prison Sentence – New York Times

A central Illinois bank robber who was turned in by his three sons was sentenced on Thursday to 40 years in prison for his string of small-town holdups.

This attorney was taking the position that it was perfectly natural, normal, honorable and right to put government before family. He even went so far as to hold an “affirmative action” program where only callers taking the other view were allowed to call, based on the idea that there wasn’t any good argument to be had against his view.

Now, certainly there is room for discussion that the attorney is correct ethically as well as legally, but this attorney had a fair amount of gall to take the position that it was an ethical no-brainer to turn dad in. His position implied strongly that the rule is, always turn someone in if you know they committed a crime regardless of your relationship.

But, suppose with me that this attorney had information that the bank robber was his client? Oh, well, that’s a different story, of course, isn’t it. Exception that proves the rule and so on. Okay, so now suppose this attorney had information that the bank robber was his wife? Hmmmm…another legal exception to the rule that you always turn someone in, but certainly doesn’t disprove the idea that we should always put the state first… Suppose this attorney were a priest on the side and one of his parishioners confessed to being the bank robber? What if he were a doctor and saw some distinguishing feature that only a doctor would notice? In our society, in any free society, we hold many relationships to be more important than the relationship of government with governed. We hold many institutions – church, marriage, counselor – in higher regard than government.

Family is, or certainly should be, one of those institutions. Given the option of living with Hillary Clinton’s Village and no Family or Rick Santorum’s Family and no Village, I’d reluctantly take the latter.

While there is no current law providing for filial privilege, perhaps there should be and even aside from the legal question there certainly is room for debate on the moral/ethical aspect of this. It certainly isn’t a no-brainer that sons should side with the state against their fathers.

The Bear Growls

The Soviet Union Russia is preparing to take over the leadership of the G8. Meanwhile, the last advocate of economic and political freedom, the hallmark of the G8, in the Kremlin…is no longer in the Kremlin. He’s quit, saying that not only has Putin been agressively renationalizing corporations through corrupt use of the court system, but now he and his KGB cronies are stifling political dissent as well. The bear is growling; it’s time for the eagle to sharpen her talons.

“It is one thing to work in a partly free country, which Russia was six years ago. It is quite another when the country has ceased to be politically free,” he said Tuesday, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Illarionov, who has also criticized what he says is a return to inefficient state control of the economy, complained that he was no longer able to speak his mind.

Update 3: Putin Economic Adviser Offers Resignation – Forbes.com

NORAD Tracks Santa 2005

NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft.

It all starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system has 47 installations strung across Canada’s North and Alaska. NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America. These satellites are located in a geo-synchronous orbit (that’s a cool phrase meaning that the satellite is always fixed over the same spot on the Earth) at 22,300 miles above the Earth. The satellites have infrared sensors, meaning they can see heat. When a rocket or missile is launched, a tremendous amount of heat is produced – enough for the satellites to see them. Rudolph’s nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch. The satellites can detect Rudolph’s bright red nose with practically no problem. With so many years of experience, NORAD has become good at tracking aircraft entering North America, detecting worldwide missile launches and tracking the progress of Santa, thanks to Rudolph.

More – NORAD Tracks Santa 2005