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by Mike Fisher    Mon, Apr 3, 2006, 08:51 AM

There are 127 voters for NBA MVP. I predict one of those guys will vote for Dirk Nowitzki, thus forging a 127-way tie. Read more about it in the 'School of Fish':

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by Scott Bennett    Sun, Apr 2, 2006, 01:46 PM

Dr. Eric Pianka
Have you ever heard of Dr. Eric Pianka?  No?  Well you might want to learn a bit more about him.  Why?  Because he reportedly wants you to die.  Specifically he wants you to die of Ebola virus.  You might also be interested to know that he is the Denton Cooley Centennial Professor of Zoology at the University of Texas at Arlington.   You might be surprised that when he reportedly offered these views at a meeting of the Texas Academy of Science he got a standing ovation.  Or at least this is what is reported in a copyright story in the Citizen Scientist web site authored by Forrest Mims who is also a member of the Texas Academy of Science (he heads its environmental section) and was present at the dinner. 

No please, after you Dr. Pianka.

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by Brian Bodine    Sun, Apr 2, 2006, 01:00 PM

The recently passed House Immigration Reform Bill fell far short of what is necessary to secure the borders and curb illegal immigration into the United States, says one U.S. Congressman

Speaking in Richardson over the weekend to a room full of members of the Young Conservatives of Texas, a conservative student activist group in Texas, Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) called for an end to birthright citizenship, emphasized the importance of assimilation, and even criticized the White House for its “lack of will” in confronting illegal immigration. Rep. King is currently in his 2nd term in the U.S. House and works closely with Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo on immigration issues.

Rep. King said that he thought the President knew “in his head” what was right on immigration reform, but was sympathetic to the plight of people fleeing poor conditions in Mexico. He also attributed much of the White House position on immigration to Karl Rove.

“He’s not meeting his constitutional obligation to defend our borders,” said King of the President. “If we don’t enforce out borders, we can’t call them borders. If we don’t have borders, we can’t be a nation.”

In his speech, King outlined an alternative immigration reform plan. The plan included closing off the “job’s magnet” by sanctioning employers, the Illegal Deduction Immigration Act (IDEA), the building of an additional 1300 miles of fence, and the elimination of birthright citizenship.

According to King, sanctioning employers would discourage illegal immigration since companies wouldn’t be able to hire non-citizen workers. Additionally, IDEA – which

would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that wages paid to unauthorized aliens may not be deducted from gross income, and for other purposes –would also discourage companies from using illegal immigrant labor.

When asked by the DallasBlog how he felt about provisions for building 700 miles of fence in the House Immigration Reform Bill, King said that it wasn’t enough. “Seven hundred is a great start, but we need to keep extending the fence until there’s no where else to run around,” said King.

On the subject of birthright citizenship, King said that ending it was necessary because birthright citizenship encourages “chain migration”.

King also said that it was myth that the U.S. economy could not get along without the labor of illegal immigrants. According to King, there are 51 million Americans not working between the ages of 16 and 69. While many of the 51 million are retired, independently wealthy, or involved in black market economic activity, if even several million of them entered the workforce, the work currently done by illegals could be replaced by American citizens.

“There are not jobs Americans won’t do, not if you pay them enough for it,” said King.

One subject that particularly struck a nerve with the conservative audience was assimilation. King cited Israel as example of a country where immigrants from all over the world have been successfully assimilated.

“Assimilation is the key to the American dream. When you reject assimilation, you are rejecting America itself,” said King.

“You can’t access the American dream if you don’t know the English language.”

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by Scott Bennett    Sat, Apr 1, 2006, 03:21 PM

 Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today clarified his stance on business and income taxes.

Gov. Rick Perry with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
As reported in today's Houston Chronicle, Dewhurst said, "In a perfect world, I think I'd rather see a tax that's based upon income. Earn money, pay something. You don't earn money, don't pay anything."

This afternoon Dewhurst issued the following statement on businesses taxes:

"As the Sharp Tax Commission unveils its new comprehensive business tax plan, I want to thank the members for their hard work. I have always opposed a business or personal income tax, and during last year's Session recommended reforming the state franchise tax by dramatically lowering the rate, closing business loopholes and creating a level playing field. The Senate will consider any tax reform the House sends us, because we all want to solve the lawsuit and lower local school property taxes, plus, I believe, improve our public schools. Again, we will lower local school property taxes and solve the lawsuit, but we must also improve our children's education by putting more money in the classroom, providing incentives and increasing performance, accountability and financial transparency."

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by Special to    Sat, Apr 1, 2006, 02:20 PM

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Dalai Lama said the "West's big problem is that people have become too self-absorbed. "  "In the West,"  he said, "you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences--yet you never seem to have any time.  You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don't bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours...I don't think people have become more selfish, but their lives have become easier and that has spoilt them.  They have less resilience, they expect more, they constantly compare themselves to others and they have too much choice--which brings no real freedom."

Interesting perspective.

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by Tom Pauken    Sat, Apr 1, 2006, 01:43 PM

The United States isn't the only country with a negative savings rate and high level of credit card debt.  In Great Britain, the Daily Telegraph reports this weekend that "over a third of adults with bank accounts are relying on their overdrafts to keep them afloat."  An executive with a non-profit credit organization is quoted as saying that the survey "throws up some really frightening figures and trends."  Keith Tondeur adds:  "Millions of us are permanently living beyond our means...Overdrafts have gone from being a facility to use in an emergency to something we depend on." 

All of these examples of credit excess and people living beyond their means (whether in the US or in England) suggest that there is an unpleasant ending to these high levels of personal, corporate, and government debt waiting somewhere for us down the road.

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by Brian Bodine    Sat, Apr 1, 2006, 01:05 PM

The meaning of equality in the constitution was disputed by two legal professors at the University of Dallas on Friday night.

Before a packed lecture hall, UT professor Lino Graglia debated Dr. Tom West on the constitutionality of affirmative action. The debate centered on the meaning of the text of the Equality Protection Clause and the effect that affirmative action has had on ethnic minorities.

According to Dr. Tom West, conservatives are wrong about the Equal Protection Clause. “The equal protection clause does not limit admissions in colleges or government hiring,” said West. “The constitution permits state or federal government to have racial preferences in hiring and in school admissions.”

UT Professor Lino Graglia, however, disputed West’s claim, saying that if the language of the 14th Amendment was read with the intention of understanding its original meaning, it would be understood that all people should be treated equally in admissions and in hiring.

Graglia is best known for his 1997 speech on the University of Texas campus where he said "blacks and Mexican-Americans can't compete academically with whites” and for his arguing against affirmative action in the Hopwood case before the Texas Supreme Court.

While West and Graglia agreed on the point that affirmative action is bad policy, West argued that affirmative action is still constitutional.

Graglia cited the lower graduation rate of students helped into law school by affirmative action. “It turns out it doesn’t benefit blacks,” said Graglia. “The result of AA in most schools is fewer black lawyers.”

Graglia was also particularly critical of judicial activism, something that he is known for criticizing. He suggested that “constitutional law has nothing to do with the constitution”, since it is heavily influence by the decisions of activist judges. “The function of constitutional law is to move public policy choices to the Left,” said Graglia.

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by Scott Bennett    Sat, Apr 1, 2006, 12:52 PM

A new Time magazine poll by SRBI Pubic Affairs on immigration finds that 68% of all Americans believe that illegal immigration is either an "extremely" or "very" serious problem and an amazing 82% feel the country is not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal immigration.   However, an equally overwhelming 79% favor providing a way for illegal aliens already working in the US to stay and 78% would provide them a path to citizenship.  Those views clearly lend strong support to the bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain recently passed by the US Senate.

Still a solid 62% favor "taking whatever steps are necessary" to end illegal immigration going forward, and 56% favor building a wall along the US Mexico border.  By a margin of 61% to 23% Americans see illegals as costing to much in government provided services.  By a margin of 44% to 29% Americans see illegal immigration as a source of terrorism.

Some 67% of those polled were aware of recent and continuing demonstrations by illegal immigrants and their supporters.  The TIME poll found they were having an adverse affect on the immigrant cause with the public.  While 12% said they would be more likely to favor law liberalizing access to the US by illegal immigrants because of the demonstration, 35% said they were would favor stronger laws.  Still, 49% said the demonstrations had no effect.

For complete poll click here

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by Scott Bennett    Sat, Apr 1, 2006, 12:43 PM

A new poll by Scott Rasmussen finds that by a 65% to 25% margin American say it is more important to cut the number of illegal immigrants entering the US than it is to expand legal opportunities for them to get US jobs. The nation is more evenly divided over whether illegal immigrants with jobs should have a way to stay with 39% saying there should be a way and 44% saying there should not be.  Even a quarter of those who say stopping the flow of illegal immigration should be the nation's top priority believe illegal immigrants already in the US that have jobs should have a way to stay.  Which party is more trusted to handle the immigration issue?  Each party get 38%.

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by Brian Bodine    Fri, Mar 31, 2006, 04:46 PM

With the special session only weeks away, lawmakers could be in the beginning stages of confronting the Governor on the state’s tax structure for businesses. The Houston Chronicle reports that state senators would rather see a tax based on business income than a tax based on a company’s gross receipts, which Gov. Perry prefers.

Business groups across the state have opposed a plan that would require companies that do not make profits to pay taxes.

Click here to read story 

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