Up to 500 people surrounded the intersection of the Central Expressway and Walnut Hill this afternoon, chanting things such as “USA! USA!” and “Time to go home”. The protest was organized in response to the “pro-illegal immigration/immigrant” demonstrations held by the Latino community in past weeks and in response to the demonstrations that are scheduled for Monday across the nation.
Groups included in the protests were the Citizens for Immigration Reform, the Texas Minutemen, and the Constitution party. While many of the protestors had conservative leanings, the crowd was politically diverse.
The crowd was largely united in their message, which consisted of themes such as enforcing current immigration laws, securing the borders, and not giving amnesty to illegal aliens.
Jean Towell, the President of the Citizens for Immigration Reform and one of the chief organizers of the protest, said that she favored total enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration and also that she was for legal immigration but against illegal immigration.
“This is just a protest in honor of our country and in protest of illegal immigrants,” said Towell.
“Also, this protest is in response to the disrespect of the American flag,” added Towell. Towell was referring to incidences where “pro-illegal immigration” demonstrators raised the Mexican flag above the American flag or even alongside it.
When asked if she was disappointed with the U.S. Congress on immigration issues, Towell said that the Senate should join with the House and pass the immigration reform legislation, which she supports.
Vern Kilburn, President of North Texas Minutemen, had a similar message about confronting illegal immigration. “I’m a minuteman for starters. The biggest thing that we need to do is secure our borders. We’re for legal immigration, not illegal,” said Kilburn.
Kilburn also said that the Minutemen were becoming more organized on a statewide and on a nationwide level. “We’re working on getting all these groups together to unite. We’re trying to get everybody off the couch,” said Kilburn. As DallasBlog spoke with Kilburn, people in a vehicle passing by flipped off the crowd of protestors.
The Minutemen have been among the most vocal opponents of illegal immigration in the country.
A significant number of people at the protest called for the deportation of the illegal immigrants in the country. David Hall, who is the Director of the Associated Conservatives of Texas, was among them. “Illegals should be arrested and sent home,” said Hall. Hall also mentioned that he was not opposed to legal immigration. “Our Hispanic citizens are a wonderful part of our society and we salute them.”
Hall made reference to the “pro-illegal immigration” demonstrators that planned protests in Dallas for Sunday. “The people there tomorrow will be showing their disrespect for the law,” said Hall.
A number of college students also participated in the protest. “The more I read, the more frustrated I get,” said SMU Junior Brad Julsonnet, who is also the Chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas at SMU. “This is a way for us to take part in the political process and express our views since our representatives will not.”
One college student that DallasBlog spoke with recently moved to Dallas from Kansas and has been following the pro-illegal immigration demonstrations closely. Joe Youngblood, 25, told DallasBlog that he counter-protested at some of the demonstrations in Dallas in previous weeks. Youngblood said that he was assaulted on more than one occasion. Last Sunday, Youngblood was holding up a sign that said “Illegals are criminals” near city hall when a black GMC sport utility vehicle pulled up to the street corner that he was standing at. The driver got out and said to him “Do you want to see a criminal?” while a passenger in the car told the driver to “kick his ass”.
Two weeks ago, Youngblood was at the corner of Park and the Central Expressway, counter-protesting the demonstrations when people in a car passing by threw a beer can and a baby bottle full of beer at him. According to Youngblood, later that day, a car stopped by him, blocking the U-turn lane. Youngblood said that three young Hispanic males got out of the car and that one of them was wearing a “Burger Street” uniform. One of the men pushed Youngblood and even swung at him but missed because Youngblood dodged the attempted blow. Another called him a racist. Youngblood said that he is not a racist and described himself as being liberal on many issues.
According to an independent taxpayer group, Congress had $29 billion in pork barrel spending in the 2005 budget year. Citizens Against Government Waste released its “Pig Book” this past week, detailing some of the costliest pork-barrel projects in the nation.
A recent article from the Associated Press mentions some of these projects.
According to the CAGW report, Congress spent:
-$1 million for a water-free urinal conservation initiative obtained by Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich)
-$325 million obtained by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for the Artic Winter Games
-$482 million obtained by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii)
Additionally, there was a plan to build a $223 million bridge that would connect the Alaskan mainland to a community of 50 people on Gravina Island. Due to the public outcry, that project was shelved.
While the nationwide average is about $31 in pork per capita, states with relatively small populations, such as Alaska and Hawaii, ranked high with $490 per capita and $378 per capita respectively. Large states, like Texas and Florida, had low per capita pork numbers compared to smaller states.
According to the AP, the CAGW has a broad definition of what constitutes pork, calling it anything “not specifically requested by President Bush.”
There is some good news on earmarks. The amount of money devoted to earmarks in appropriations bills decreased from $19.8 billion in 2005 to $17 billion in 2006.
That was one of the signs carried at a counter protest Saturday calling for a halt to illegal immigration. A couple of hundred American-flag waving demonstrators stood on corners of North Central Expressway and Walnut Hill Lane in North Dallas between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Other signs included: "Deport Now," "No Amnesty," "No Open Borders," "One Flag, One Language, One Nation," and "Protect Our Borders." Citizens for Immigration Reform was one of the sponsoring organizations. According to one protestors, counter-demonstrators will meet at 11 a.m. Sunday in front of the Myerson Symphony Center to march in protest to those who want more rights for illegal immigrants. One redheaded woman from East Texas who was at the Walnut Hill Lane demonstration Saturday said she's not in favor of immigration reform but she wants current laws enforced.
Our resident economist, Carl Pellegrini, provides a very good explanation as to why gasoline prices are approaching the $3 level here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. As he points out "world crude oil production hit 73.6 barrels a day in October 2004." Eighteen months later, with demand much higher, the supply of crude oil is only .5 million barrels a day more than in 2004. His conclusion: "Rising prices do not immediately increase supply." It takes a while to get oil production flowing again. Meanwhile, the Washington experts tell us that there is next to no inflation? I guess they are not counting energy costs, health care costs, and housing costs.
Thanks to Carl for bringing this information to our readers attention.
Mayor Laura Miller has told DallasBlog time and again that fixing Deep Ellum - both the infrastructure and the crime problem - is a top priority, and she's making sure people know it. Looks like she'll push staff to make capital improvements in the entertainment district a top tier item in the 2006 bond program.
Not only did the President suffer stepped-up criticism in the media over claims by Lewis Libby (the Vice President's former chief of staff) that the President authorized him to leak classified information but also two of the President's key foreign policy advisors got in a very public spat over the conduct of the war in Iraq this week. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice started off the controversy with her comments earlier in the week that the United States had made "thousands" of tactical errors in its handling of the war in Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was quick to respond by criticizing Rice's comments as coming from someone who has a "lack of understanding of what warfare is all about." There has been a flurry of rumors that Rumsfeld may be on his way out at Defense. Does this latest public disagreement between Rumsfeld and Rice hasten his departure?
One of our regular Dallas Bloggers shared with us these words of wisdom from a statesman in a previous age. They are just as relevant today as when they were first uttered: "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." Those reportedly were the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero.
British filmmaker Gurinda Chadha will be directing the film-remake of the 1980s soap opera Dallas, according to the Telegraph. Robert Luketic, who directed Bend It Like Beckham, was given the task of directing Dallas until he changed his mind because of “creative issues”.
What’s stirring up controversy in North Texas is the decision to do the filming in Jacksonville, FL. Texans, former actors on Dallas, and the Dallas film commission are among those unhappy with the decision.
The deal that Jacksonville offered to the producers was apparently too much. The Telegraph reports that “a refund of 15 per cent of all money spent on location up to $2 million” will be given to the filmmakers. Travolta lives near Jacksonville, too.
Now, the Dallas film commission is asking local businesses to offer incentives to the film’s producers, in the hope that they can lure the filmmakers to Dallas-TX for production.