Outed Illegal Alien Scribbler Now a Time Cover Boy

When Jose Antonio Vargas announced his status as an illegal alien journalist last year, several newspapers scrambled to contact their attorneys for fear of prosecution for unlawful hiring of an ineligible worker. The editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Phil Bronstein, whined that he had been “duped” by Vargas and was therefore not responsible. (See Media Honchos Lawyer Up over Illegal Alien Journalist Revelations.)

But now, under Obama’s increasingly permissive enforcement — in which only criminals are supposedly deported and job thieves are allowed to stay — the same flouter of law and sovereignty is now the current face on Time magazine and the author of the cover story.

Apparently Time does not fear legal repercussions for knowingly hiring an illegal alien.

Interestingly, the actual cover story is protected by a pay wall to keep out undocumented readers, but apparently the idea is that kiddies who have spent a few years in the US really feel American, and isn’t that the most important thing?

Say, I feel French when I wear a beret, does that make me binational?

The magazine did include a teaser blurb online:

Inside the World of the ‘Illegal’ Immigrant, by Jose Antonio Vargas, Time, June 14, 2012

A year ago this month, I wrote an essay for the New York Times “coming out” about my status as an undocumented immigrant — what many people call an “illegal.” I told of my journey of being sent from the Philippines to the U.S. at age 12 without knowing I didn’t have the right papers; graduating from college and working as a successful journalist; and relying on a support network of American citizens (my high school principal and superintendent among them) to get me through. But mine is just one story. So with the help of friends and supporters, I founded a campaign called Define American, to document the lives of the undocumented and harness the support of our allies around this very controversial and misunderstood issue.

There are an estimated 11.5 million people like me in this country, human beings with stories as varied as that of the U.S. itself yet who lack a legal claim to exist here. It’s an issue that touches people of all ethnicities and backgrounds: Latinos and Asians, blacks and whites. (And yes, undocumented immigrants come from all sorts of countries, like Israel, Nigeria and Germany.) It’s an issue that goes beyond election-year politics and transcends the limitations of our broken immigration system and the policies being written to address them.

In the year since my public disclosure, at least 2,000 undocumented Americans — and we are, at heart, Americans — have contacted me and outed themselves, either in person or online through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Across the country, every day, more and more undocumented Americans and the people who support us are speaking out, challenging how our politicians, the media and the Supreme Court (in its expected decision on Arizona’s immigration law) frame the issue. This week in TIME magazine and on TIME.com we spotlight the growing immigration-rights movement and the ins and outs of the citizenship process. We encourage you to share your views and your own stories in the comments section below.

Chicago illegals Demand Free-to-Them Organ Transplants

A full plate of medical freebies from the unwilling American taxpayer is still not enough for greedy illegal aliens.

Below, Chicago aliens aggressively whined for free deluxe medical care with the help of their local Catholic church.

Moocher foreigners arrive illegally, work under the table or rip off a Social Security number to steal an American job, and then feel entitled to demand top-notch healthcare at no cost to them.

In Chicago, a gaggle of illegal alien demanders appealed to the silly media by hunger striking to spotlight their “plight” — and did so very effectively since the dinosaur press reported mainly on the sniffle factor, with very little about the taxpayer cost. No media account discussed the scarcity of available organs and the fact that an average of 18 people die every day from the lack of available organs.

Do Mexicans think the American doctors can just open up a fridge full of spare organs any time and pull them out as needed?

On Fox News (the alleged conservative network), the issue of organ transplants for illegals was debated with much hand-wringing and sensitive concern.

In my growing fantasy list of non-PC poll questions, I would like to know how many people would donate organs if they knew an illegal alien might get one.

The Chicago Tribune mentioned the annual costs after a liver transplant ($10k) but not the tab for the operation and hospital stay. Empathetic journalism disavows such tiresome facts that only vex busy readers.

Undocumented immigrants fight for lifesaving liver transplants; Without insurance, brothers are denied care, Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2012

Brothers Elfego and Lorenzo Arroyo each suffers from a deadly liver disease. But despite the urgency of their situation, the Chicago residents have struggled to receive organ transplants.

The Arroyo brothers are undocumented immigrants and lack insurance, friends and relatives say. Like others in their situation, they have been denied care that could increase their chances of survival due to their residency status.

“We know there are thousands of Latinos and (non-)Latinos with no documents who are facing the same situation,” Rev. Jose Landaverde said Monday during a news conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Angelican Catholic Mission in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

Both Elfego, 38, and Lorenzo, 36, attended the news conference and spoke little, but showed photographs of themselves in healthier times. They both have primary amyloidosis, a disease passed from parent to child, said Dr. David Ansell, senior vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, who is familiar with the Arroyos and their health care dilemma. The disease makes the liver produce abnormal proteins that cause other organs to fail, he said.

“The only cure is a transplant,” Ansell said. Continue reading this article

American Teens Face a Jobless Summer

I was sorry to read of the death of Maria “Masha” Sergeyevna Rumyantseva, 18, in Yellowstone Park last Thursday. The Russian woman apparently was on a rock ledge that gave way, and she fell 400 feet down the canyon. She was exploring on her first day in the park, where she had come to work for a concession company. It’s unclear whether she was too far out on a dangerous spot, or was just unlucky with geology. Either way, the accident was a tragic end for a young person just starting out in life.

Sad as the death was, the presence of Ms Rumyantseva as an employee in Yellowstone Park was also a reminder that Washington continues to admit 100,000 foreign college students annually as temporary workers to experience American culture. The J-1 visa program is supposed to promote world peace and diversity kumbaya by using a hands-across-the-sea approach to diplomacy.

Yellowstone’s summer jobs program sounds terrific, with pretty low wages but cheap living costs, in a uniquely beautiful place that would appeal to many American teens who love the outdoors.

The J-1 might be a harmless bit of do-goodery in ordinary times, but during the current brutal recession, the government should not be doling out scarce jobs to foreigners when American youngsters now face what one economist calls a “labor market depression for teens.”

Hey, Washington, how about a time-out on J-1 visas until the economy improves a bit?? Assuming it does.

More than seven in 10 U.S. teens jobless in summer, Associated Press, June 12, 2012

WASHINGTON – Once a rite of passage to adulthood, summer jobs for teens are disappearing.

Fewer than three in 10 American teenagers now hold jobs such as running cash registers, mowing lawns or busing restaurant tables from June to August. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16-to-19-year olds falling to the lowest level since World War II.

And teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels, suggests a projection by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The drop in teen employment, steeper than for other age groups, is partly a cultural shift. More youths are spending summer months in school, at music or learning camps or in other activities geared for college. But the decline is especially troubling for teens for whom college may be out of reach, leaving them increasingly idle and with few options to earn wages and job experience.

Older workers, immigrants and debt-laden college graduates are taking away lower-skill work as they struggle to find their own jobs in the weak economy. Upper-income white teens are three times as likely to have summer jobs as poor black teens, sometimes capitalizing on their parents’ social networks for help.

Overall, more than 44% of teens who want summer jobs don’t get them or work fewer hours than they prefer. Continue reading this article

Paul Krugman Calls Depression; Press Snoozes

Liberal economist Paul Krugman didn’t make much news with his pronouncement on Saturday that our current downturn is really a Depression. Presumably the Opravda media didn’t think the remark met pre-election guidelines.

Paul Krugman: Economy under Obama in a Depression, Washington Examiner Campaign 2012, June 11, 2012

Economist Paul Krugman had bad news for liberals Netroots Nation on Saturday. During his keynote speech the New York Times columnist admitted that the United States economy was suffering a depression.

“We don’t have a formal definition, I’d say that a Depression is when things are down, when things are terrible for an extended period of time,” Krugman said, reminding them that were even “official” periods of recovery during the Great Depression.

“So it is again today,” he said.

“It’s not as bad as the Great Depression – there’s a winning slogan,” he added cynically. [. . .]

(Although the MSM rolled out some nasty statistics on Tuesday: Americans saw wealth plummet 40 percent from 2007 to 2010, Federal Reserve says, Washington Post.)

With so much accumulating misery in the land, one might think the low-hanging fruit could be pruned — namely common-sense remedies to legal and illegal immigration that would reduce the overall number of workers. One hurtful policy has been Washington allowing legal immigration to continue the addition of a million workers annually to compete against citizens.

An estimated 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, and millions more have simply quit looking for work.

When the economy was booming, businesses asked for and got increased numbers of employment visas. But now, in a Krugman-designated depression, there is no Off switch for immigration.

Also, Pew Hispanic counted over eight million illegal aliens illegally occupying American jobs, but we see no legislation from the Republican-run House for universal workplace enforcement to remove illegals already employed. Experience on the state level demonstrates that workplace enforcement liberates jobs for citizens.

It’s unfortunate that the debate about immigration enforcement has focused almost entirely on the border, when so much pain is caused by the government’s refusal to deal with worksite illegality. Millions of jobs could easily be made available for lawful workers with a simple check of workers’ Social Security numbers, but no politician wants to eject millions of foreigners and face the fury of the hostile tribes that benefit from immigration anarchy.

Furthermore, the border is not a complete metric for measuring whether Washington has brought immigration chaos under control. Millions enter legally on tourist or student visas, but never leave and thereby become illegal when they no longer fulfill their visa requirements. Therefore a secure border alone does not guarantee a legal immigration system that serves American needs and supports US sovereignty.

The nation absolutely needs border control for national security and to keep out Mexican organized crime. But the job theft problem can be more effectively handled by workplace enforcement using onsite identification checks.

Both political parties are failing the American worker, as shown by their refusal to rescue millions of stolen jobs for citizens during a time of enormous economic suffering.

Triple Murderer Illegal Alien Ramos Sentenced to Life in Prison

Monday’s sentencing of the convicted MS-13 gangster Edwin Ramos contained no surprises, since the prosecution under anti-death penalty zealot Kamala Harris did not allow for capital punishment.

Ramos shot and killed Tony Bologna and his two sons in a mistaken-identity gang hit on June 22, 2008. Ramos had been arrested for violent offenses previously, but was released rather than deported by San Francisco authorities because of the city’s sanctuary policy which regards dangerous illegal alien gangsters as misunderstood victims of cruel America.

Edwin Ramos gets 3 life terms without parole, San Francisco Chronicle, June 11, 2012

Edwin Ramos was sentenced Monday to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the 2008 slayings of a father and two of his sons in San Francisco.

Superior Court Judge Charles Haines said Ramos “brutally and senselessly murdered” Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, after mistaking one of the sons for a gang rival as the family drove along a street in the Excelsior neighborhood.

Ramos, 25, was stoic during the sentencing, but his voice cracked when he addressed the court. He did not take responsibility for the killings – he has insisted he was not the shooter, but instead the “fall guy” for a leader of an MS-13 gang faction – but said he thought about the Bolognas every day.

“If I could go back in time to change things, I would,” he said.

A jury convicted Ramos last month of the murders June 22, 2008. It also found him guilty of the attempted murder of Tony Bologna’s son Andrew Bologna, 21, who was also in the car and testified that Ramos had been the shooter.

Danielle Bologna, the victims’ widow and mother, whispered, “Yes, yes,” as the judge issued the sentence, grasping at a friend’s hand. She spoke to reporters afterward wearing the white “Finally justice is served!” shirts made for the verdict, and pins of her husband and two sons.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said, smiling. “Today is for Tony, Michael and Matthew. Today, we got victory and today, we finally got justice.”

It’s good that Danielle had a beautiful day, because she doesn’t have many. Not only has she lost her beloved husband and two sons, she now lives in hiding with her two surviving children because she fears retaliation from Ramos’ gangster pals.

If anyone has suffered to an extreme degree from the government’s practice of blowing off public safety concerns regarding illegal aliens, it is certainly the Bologna family.

KCBS Cover Story: Widow Speaks About Life In Hiding After SF Triple Killing, June 5, 2012

[. . .] After the killings, Bologna said she had to pray and work for survival everyday. She deeply feared that gang members would retaliate against her and her surviving son and daughter. So she created a new life.

“I lost everything. I lost my home, I lost great San Francisco. I had to move out,” Bologna said. “The constant moving and hiding has been hard for us.” [. . .]

Coney Island Principal Yanks Patriotic Song from School Ceremony

Today’s example of why America’s tradition of patriotic assimilation is on the rocks, a victim of multiculti ideology: in Brooklyn a grade-school principal decreed that a patriotic song would not be sung at a kindergarten ceremony because she “did’t want to offend other cultures.”

The school has a lot of immigrant kids, and the song, Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American”, has been a popular presentation when it was performed in previous years.

On the other hand, Principal Greta Hawkins thinks that a teen-angst ditty by Justin Bieber is appropriate for five-year-olds.

Hawkins tried to end the school’s daily Pledge of Allegiance to the flag a couple years ago, but was unsuccessful.

Principal Hawkins has riled up people before. In 2010 teachers were upset when she characterized the school as “racist” and further declared: “I’m black. Your previous principal was white and Jewish. More of us are coming.”

Is this the sort of person we want shaping young minds?

School pulls patriotic song at graduation, but Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ is OK, New York Post, June 10, 2012

A controversial Coney Island principal has pulled the plug on patriotism.

Her refusal to let students sing “God Bless the USA” at their graduation has sparked fireworks at a school filled with proud immigrants.

Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, won’t allow kindergartners to belt out the beloved Lee Greenwood ballad, also known as “Proud to be an American,” at their moving-­up ceremony.

Five classes spent months learning the patriotic song, which skyrocketed in popularity after the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags — which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.”

But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said.

She told the teachers to drop the song from the program.

“We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.

The curt edict stunned both staff and parents. Continue reading this article

Mainstream Poll Shows Continuing Support for Arizona Immigration Enforcement

It must be disappointing to the anti-border extremists over at la Raza (aka “the Race”) that two years of an intense campaign of lies and propaganda against Arizona’s sensible immigration enforcement law has had little effect. The majority of American citizens want immigration to be a legal and controlled procedure, where the decision of who gets US citizenship is not decided by foreign lawbreakers.

A recent survey conducted by CBS and the New York Times found a majority thought the law was “about right.” Only 33 percent believed it “went too far.” Apparently all the shrieking that immigration enforcement in Arizona was “racism” didn’t sell very well.

Another interesting item was the belief among the public (62%) that immigration enforcement was a job for both the federal and state governments.

Of course, legal issues are not determined by public opinion, but certainly the people notice that federal and state governments work in partnership every day to enforce the law.

Here’s the CBS report of its own poll:

Poll: Most Americans think Arizona immigration law is “about right”, CBS News, June 7, 2012 6:30 PM

(CBS News) As the Supreme Court weighs a decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration law this summer, a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that more than half of Americans see the law as “about right.”

The legislation, which was signed into law in April 2010, is considered among the most stringent immigration laws in the nation. It requires Arizona law enforcement members to check the citizenship status of anyone they believe appears to be an undocumented immigrant — and has incited much controversy about whether or not it effectively legalizes racial profiling in a state with a heavy Latino population.

According to the survey, conducted from May 31-June 3 among 976 adults nationwide, 52 percent of Americans believe Arizona’s immigration policy is about right, while 33 percent say it goes too far. Eleven percent say the law does not go far enough.

The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the law on the grounds that it conflicts with what it contends is the federal government’s exclusive right to set immigration laws for the country.

Most Americans seem to disagree. Sixty-two percent of respondents – and majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents – say both the federal government and state governments should be able to determine laws regarding undocumented immigrants. Twenty-five percent (30 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans) think such laws should be determined exclusively by the federal government, and 11 percent (4 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans) think they should be determined by state governments only. Continue reading this article

Univision to Launch English-Language Television Network

The decision of a major Spanish-language network in America to broadcast on a new English-language platform is quite the reversal of accepted liberal opinion.

We have been told for decades that sensitive hispanics require the comfy reassurance of their mother tongue to receive any information at all, or they would be deeply insulted. As a result of liberal and Raza-tarian insistence, we have seen the insinuation of the Spanish language throughout American society, but particularly where hispanic infiltration has been thick. Celebrating diversity means promoting Babel, right?

Network honchos now believe that presumably acculturated hispanics have other interests than the concerns common to newbies.

Below, “bilingual” instruction for all kids (teaching Spanish, not French or German) has become the goal for many educators.

But apparently some hispanics who have been here a while (generations?) are more comfortable with English, something that expert broadcasters and advertisers have noticed, as this story illustrates.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the looking glass, Fox News is about to start up its Spanish-language network, MundoFox, slated for a fall rollout.

Fox is going backwards, no?

Univision in English? Finally It Gets in Step With the Hispanic Market; Trends Show that Spanish Is Not the Best Way to Reach Most U.S. Latinos, Ad Age, by Edward T. Rincon, June 8, 2012

It must not have been an easy decision for Univision, the Spanish-language media giant, to join ABC in creating an English-language TV network and digital platform aimed at U.S. Latinos. Why? Because it departs sharply from Univision’s long-standing position that Spanish is the best way to communicate with Hispanics in this country.

As described by Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks, the joint venture is “an extension of our vision to deliver the most relevant news and information, regardless of language, to all Hispanics.” The new network will have anchors and correspondents in major U.S. cities from Univision and ABC. Although Conde appears to minimize the importance of language, programming in English marks a major change in Univision’s strategy.

For some time, the idea that Spanish is the route to the Hispanic market has been firmly etched in the minds of U.S. advertisers, with some Spanish-language advocates making effective emotional appeals about the virtues of the Spanish-language with slogans like “Spanish is the language of the heart” and “We make love in Spanish.”

Media-ratings companies added to the Spanish-language case by omitting country of birth in their ratings, which could have shown marked differences in the television viewing habits of native and foreign-born Hispanics. The economic payoff for Univision and the Spanish-language media industry has been huge: an estimated 90 percent of all advertising dollars directed to U.S. Hispanics are delivered in Spanish.

So why would Univision want to change its formula for success?

First, does it make sense to invest 90 percent of advertising dollars into Spanish-language media when 63 percent of U.S. Hispanics are native-born and primarily use English-language media? This is not a new trend, and is supported by numerous independent studies of U.S. Hispanics. And it will come to be reflected in television ratings, as the ratings companies, in response to litigation and protests by community and industry groups, break down Hispanic viewers by country of birth.

Secondly, the proportion of Hispanic immigrants in the United States is actually shrinking. While 40.2 percent of U.S. Hispanics in 2000 were foreign-born, this percentage decreased to 37.1 percent in 2010. In California — home to 14 million Hispanics — the percentage of the foreign-born dropped from 43.9 percent to 38.2 percent. Even more compelling is a recent study finding by the Pew Hispanic Center (2012) that net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed –- an outcome of factors like a weakened U.S. economy, increased border enforcement and a rise in deportations.

Thirdly, Univision has probably come to acknowledge that not all U.S. Hispanics want a steady diet of novelas, game shows and international news — programming that appeals primarily to Hispanic immigrants. The audience for the new network will likely be composed primarily of native-born, English-speaking Hispanics who will want to see programming that is relevant to their experience in the United States. Continue reading this article

Houston: Drunk-Driving Illegal Alien Cop Killer Is Sentenced to 55 Years in Prison

Twice-deported Mexican Johoan Rodriguez was found guilty of intoxication manslaughter on Friday in a Houston courtroom for killing Officer Kevin Will, 38, last May.

The officer’s widow tried to make a victim’s statement about her loss, including how her new baby Kevin Jr. never got to meet his father, but she couldn’t make it through, and her mother had to finish reading how the preventable death had ripped the family apart.

Below, Officer Kevin Will (left) was run down and killed by a drunk-driving illegal alien gangster, Johoan Rodriguez, shown at the time of his arrest.

Rodriguez is a poster boy for the sort of criminal alien that Houston should want to punish harshly and convince not to return, but instead, the city’s permissive sanctuary policy has made it a relatively safe place for foreign criminals to reside. Rodriguez admitted to being a member of the MS-13 gang. At the time of the incident that killed the officer, Rodriguez was seriously drunk (blood alcohol level at .238, three times the legal limit), and had a packet of cocaine in his pocket. His car was moving at 90 mph when it blew through a police barricade and struck and killed Officer Will, who was standing on the roadside investigating an accident.

Drunk-driving illegal immigrant sentenced to 55 years for killing Houston cop, KHOU-TV Houston, June 8, 2012

HOUSTON—Johoan Rodriguez was sentenced to 55 years in prison Friday for the intoxication manslaughter death of Houston police officer Kevin Will.

The jury began deliberating the sentence Thursday afternoon.

Rodriguez had pleaded guilty in the case before the trial began. Prosecutors were hoping for a life sentence, but they believe, along with the officer’s family, that they did get justice.

Rodriguez had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he raced through a police roadblock on the North Loop near Yale at an estimated 90 miles an hour on May 29, 2011.

Officer Will and other HPD officers were investigating a motorcycle crash and had closed the highway. Police dashcam video played for the jury during the one-week trial, and again during closing arguments, shows Rodriguez’s Volkswagen hitting Kevin Will—severing both legs and killing him instantly.

Officer Will left behind a wife and three children, including a baby born a short time after his death. Continue reading this article

Islam in Minnesota: Somali Women Workers Refuse to Comply with Safety Requirements

When I was young and unfocused, I worked for a while in a bakery, dragging around hundred-pound bags of flour and kneading up mass quantities of bread dough in mega-chomping mixers the size of Volkswagens.

With that experience in mind, I cannot imagine Somali women swathed in multiple yards of flapping sheets to work safely in such an environment. Burqa clothing around machinery is an ugly accident waiting to happen.

Below, Somali bakery employees in Minnesota don’t want to observe normal safety precautions at work.

But in Minnesota, the most basic safety precautions are insults to the sensibility of Allah’s obedient slaves, and they demand that their employer submit to Islamic values.

No assimilation here, just stubbornly hostile diversity. Somalis have arguably been the most troublesome immigrant group, who bring nothing worthwhile to American society — just crime and jihad.

Somali workers walk out of Minnesota bakery in protest of new dress code, Fox News, June 07, 2012

More than 30 Somali employees at a bakery walked out in protest Monday after the owner ordered female workers to wear mid-calf skirts after a woman’s long dress recently got caught in a boot washer, MyFoxTwinCities.com reported.

Mike Knowles, the owner of Dianne’s Fine Desserts, told the Faribault Daily News that the new guidelines were installed for safety concerns. Somali workers, however, call the new rules an attack on their Muslim religion.

The women reportedly showed up to work in their full-length attire and were given the option to adjust their skirts or leave. About a dozen women left and they were joined by 20 men who say the dress code goes against teachings in the Koran.

The boot washer is a sanitation device that cleans footwear before workers enter the plant. The Somali women said they’d be willing to pull up their skirts during the brief process. Knowles says the safety issue was addressed and the company made a reasonable accommodation. Continue reading this article

Washington Pulls Plug on Pakistani Puppet Propaganda

Hearing the phrase “cancelled funding” from Washington is a rare treat, and particularly so when the boondoggle is a foreign project of immense waste based on a hopeless do-gooder fantasy.

Below, the cast of Pakistan’s version of Sesame Street, financed by the US taxpayer.

The idea: spend a pile of American money to produce a Sesame Street knock-off for the Pakistani kid population which Washington would like to sway from traditional Muslim violence to embrace “tolerance” — that’s a code word to indicate no jihadist beheading of muppets would occur on the show.

First, it’s a pipe dream to think that some cutesy muppets will derail the Islamic indoctrination of children, which is among the most effective systems of propaganda on earth with its madrassas and five-times-daily prayers to Allah.

Plus, $20 million in taxpayer funds for producing a couple years of puppet shows in Pakistan??

As spending hawk Sen Tom Coburn remarked,

“The fact that Washington ever thought funding foreign puppets was a legitimate role for the federal government speaks volumes about why our debt is out of control.”

But what sunk the program was not appalling cultural ignorance or cost to the American taxpayer, but plain old-fashioned Pakistani corruption. What a surprise.

Pakistan’s “Sesame Street” hits dead end amid fraud charges, Reuters, June 5, 2012

The United States has cancelled funding for Pakistan’s version of the children’s television series “Sesame Street,” saying on Tuesday it had received credible allegations of fraud and corruption in the production of the popular Muppet program.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which had contracted with Pakistan’s Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop to produce the local version of “Sesame Street,” had been notified of the corruption charges through an anti-fraud hotline.

“We did launch an investigation into the allegations. We also sent the theater workshop a letter that terminates the project agreement,” Toner told a news briefing.

“No one is questioning, obviously, the value and positive impact of this kind of programming for children. But this is about allegations of corruption,” he said.

The U.S. decision to cancel funding for the program comes amid unrelenting tension between Islamabad and Washington, which are locked in a cycle of deepening mistrust over U.S. drone strikes, Pakistan’s closure of NATO supply lines into Afghanistan and other disputes.

Toner said USAID had originally allocated $20 million to produce the show — which premiered in late 2011 and is known as “Sim Sim Hamara” in Pakistan — and that about $6.7 million of this had already been spent. Continue reading this article

California: Feinstein Senate Opponent Selected

In California, we now know the Republican candidate who will run for the US Senate, Elizabeth Emken, whom the LA Times describes as a “Danville autism activist.”

Elizabeth Emken to challenge Dianne Feinstein in November, Sacramento Bee, June 5, 2012

Republican Elizabeth Emken will go head to head with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the November ballot.

The Danville Republican is currently carrying 12 percent of votes cast in today’s statewide primary, nearly double the vote share of the third-place candidate, fellow Republican Dan Hughes.

Emken, who won the California Republican Party endorsement, was one of 23 candidates running against Feinstein on today’s primary ballot. Most of the remaining candidates won 2 percent of the vote or less.

Feinstein easily captured the top spot in today’s primary, which allows all voters to select between candidates of all political leanings. The 78-year-old incumbent is winning 50 percent of the vote in early returns.

Emken’s issues statement on immigration is not reassuring. She says she is against amnesty, but wants a “comprehensive solution” that “starts” with border security.

That sounds like a process that ends with a “path to citizenship” for millions of lawbreakers.

Not that Emken has much of a chance against the Feinstein edifice in blue-blue California where the Republican party has been snuffed into irrelevance largely by immigration-fueled demographic change.

Q: How would you address illegal immigration?

A: Everyone knows this system is broken. Our U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has been in office for twenty years and she has done nothing to fix this problem. We cannot fault those who are drawn by the opportunity and promise of the American way of life. They are acting in their families’ best interest, as we would in the same situation. But we must approach the illegal immigration issue with a comprehensive solution that starts by securing our borders. There’s no reason why the United States of America cannot secure its borders, and until we do, we cannot adequately address the other problems with immigration.

We also need to ensure that we have a vibrant guest worker program that provides for our farms’ labor needs. Those families that are here working legally must pay their taxes and secure required drivers licenses, auto insurance and similar necessary items.

I believe amnesty would only make the problem worse, and I am not in favor of amnesty. Those that are here illegally must go through the proper legal immigration system.

These are tough questions, and we must have an honest discussion on how to solve the problems created by our lack of border security. That includes bringing together affected communities, business and labor leaders, and others to work out reasonable solutions to issues.

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