Seems like a lot of men like to fish and the woman are all "seeking something special". We hope they both find a good catch.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO HOME, BUT YOU CAN’T STAY HERE
If you want to see the tip of the iceberg of the immigration problem, drive by the courthouse on any Tuesday morning between 7:45 and 8:00 A.M. What you will see is a group of folks that are here illegally waiting for the courthouse to open and huddling massively. Most of the illegals are there to face misdemeanor criminal charges of driving without a license. Most will leave as convicted criminals. Those who were caught and choose not to appear, for fear of deportation, will face a bench warrant for arrest under the name they were cited under. Many were issued citations for the misdemeanor rather than physically arrested and taken to jail for the booking process since they were able to provide a local address as residence. As such they were not booked and fingerprinted. Those that appear for court, may have given the officers their real name or have a clean record on the name they are currently using. Most will plead guilty, pay a fine and leave the courthouse without leaving any fingerprints on any official document. The officer will not be there to verify that the person before the court is person who was cited.
Why don’t these folks just get a driver’s license? Since they are here illegally, they cannot get a valid license and by the way, what is confusing about the word “illegal”? Since driving without a license is a relatively low level crime, chances of deportation are low for a first offense. A second offense will get the Department of Homeland Security’s attention. They are supposed to deport after the second misdemeanor conviction or the first felony. Due to the massive numbers, they seldom do it. Hence, the line of illegals at the courthouse every Tuesday. Chances are they would be elsewhere if DHS was there to greet them at the front door.
Now driving without a license is not that big of a deal, that is why it was previously described as the tip. Add alcohol to the equation and perhaps an accident with injury to another and you can begin to see some of the waters recede. Under a literal interpretation of the word “illegal”, these people should not be here. Somehow the definition of that word has subsided. The question that cannot be answered is “Why?” Tough question.
Things must really suck in Mexico.
Recently a man was stopped with four valid Florida driver’s licenses. At least they appeared to be valid. They all had his picture. The problem was they were in four different names, each with a corresponding valid license number. Does this guy have a friend at the Department of Motor Vehicles? When he presented the license, the officer pulled up the name and number on his computer and saw that the picture didn’t match. Once the guy was arrested they found the other phony licenses with stolen identities. You can only imagine the problems for the holder of the valid license if the officer had not taken the second step to verify the license. The legitimate holder of the license could suddenly find himself arrested and hauled to jail for failing to appear for court based upon an incident he never knew occurred. Who is the guy that was actually arrested? What is his background? Why did he need so much false documentation?
More water is receding.
We are facing a giant problem in this country economically. Adding to this problem is that thousands of immigrants are entering this country illegally to work and thousands of people that are citizens are being laid off from their jobs. The illegals are working and the citizens are not. The illegals want jobs. Many of the laid off citizens want benefits. Those who defend the presence of illegals claim that they will do jobs Americans do not want to do or more likely will not do. Therein lies the problem. What does that say for the American workforce? Could it be that government benefits for not working are more attractive than doing a job you won’t like? How long can we continue to wink at the immigration laws that allow those who do not belong here to do the jobs that we don’t want to do yet continue to pay benefits to Americans who don’t want to work?
A very simple, yet unrealistic solution would be to deport those who are here illegally and open up the jobs for citizens. Citizens who are able bodied and refuse to take these jobs would be denied benefits from the government. Instead we are going deeper and deeper financially in debt as a nation to purportedly stimulate a system that isn’t working. How long can we perpetuate this standard?
Please notice that there are a lot more questions here than answers, but we can’t have it both ways. If the laws are not going to be enforced, why have them? If new laws are needed, they should be enacted and then fully enforced. The system as it is, is not working and one can surmise that it is part of the economic crisis we are currently facing. There are six bills pending in the Florida Legislature that would criminalize those who are “undocumented”. Some of these bills authorize workplace enforcement of immigration laws. If the worker doesn’t have his or her paperwork on site, the worker will get into a bus.
If you get a chance watch the movie “Fast Food Nation”. If not, we’ll be catching you at the courthouse on Tuesday morning. As bad as times are getting here, things must really suck in Mexico.
We rest our case.
Will you be my Valentine?
Only if you bring me a box of fair trade or organic chocolate. Not really. I'll gratefully accept the box of chocolates I'm sure to get from either Russell Stover or Whitman's and be thankful my valentine took the time to look for a dark chocolate assortment.
The internet never ceases to amaze me. My theme this Wednesday before Valentines Day was not to preach or chide anyone about the consequences of their choices but just to raise awareness. In this case, on their choice of chocolate. Looking for a catchy phrase or quote, I googled "awareness" and the fifth result down catches my eye because it states "An interesting fact about white people is that they firmly believe that all of the world’s problems can be solved through awareness."
Hrrrumph. Whoever wrote it has damn good insight and maybe he/she has some pegged but things and people can’t be so easily characterized or stereotyped. Raising awareness may not solve every problem but it certainly does others. And it has to be better than saying nothing at all. With that, I'll share what I know about of the way chocolate is grown and processed. (In my mind's eye, when awareness alone won't solve a problem, there is always the hope that someone with more energy and passion will pick it up their newfound awareness and carry it to a solution.)
Just like coffee, if farmers clear forests to grow cacao beans instead of in the shade of them, they require a lot more pesticides and fertilizer. Sometimes pesticide residue shows up in the finished product. Lead is also a problem. I've read lead in chocolate is partly from equipment used to process it. Also, partly because Africa hasn't outlawed leaded gasoline and the outer shells of the beans absorb it from the fields and it gets transferred at processing. Other than that I couldn't find much information other than the FDA declaring levels in chocolate safe for consumption- which is really little solace to me.
The worst thing about chocolate though is that a lot of the beans are picked by child labor. I have to admit, I'm not totally against child labor. Ideally no child should have to work for their living but many children work to save their family's farm and many wouldn't be fed at all if not for their labor. However, there's estimated to be at least 12,000 child slaves (some claim the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands) picking cacao beans in many places in Africa. Stolen off the streets in places like Mali or swindled from their poor parents with promises of education and a better life only to be beaten and forced to work hard 12 hour days.
Africa is "aware" it's a problem to many people around the world and as one of their major export crops are under pressure to stop it. But only because the end consumer put pressure on the big manufacturers like Hershey's and M&M Mars et al which in turn put pressure on them. Sometimes the loudest protest is one that you make with your purchases.
The only way to be sure the cacao beans your chocolate is made from wasn't grown by child slave labor is to buy fair trade chocolate. Organically grown is also said to be free of slave labor because the organic label comes with labor standards and there are no organic farms in Africa. (Chocolate from beans grown in South America is assumed to be free of slave labor.)
A study reported by the BBC indicated that melting chocolate in your mouth produced an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than during passionate kissing, and lasted four times as long after the activity had ended. That's a good thing for us chocoholics because who knows what we'd be known as if it was the other way around.
If you’re lucky enough to receive a box of chocolates, by all means, enjoy them. But in the future should you want to splurge for quality and for the benefit of others, try a fair trade or organically grown chocolate. One of my favorites is a dark chocolate bar by Green & Black's Organic. (70% cocoa) The large bars are 2 for $5.00 on sale this week at Publix. Wal-Mart also carries them but I don't remember the price.
You can find more brands and information here:
And while we're on the subject of chocolate, did y'all know that there is a fabulous chocolate shop right here in downtown Vero that has fair trade and organic chocolate? It's so nice to have local shops to support, check it out: