Archive for May 18th, 2007

ICE Melts Under Potential Case Load

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icerrrWASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators and President Bush agreed yesterday to a potentially historic deal on an immigration bill that would give 12 million undocumented residents the chance to become legal Americans while beefing up border security and cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers.

The measure would also lift an immigration backlog currently stretching up to 22 years, which has delayed the applications of an estimated 4 million people seeking to become legal permanent immigrants — including thousands of high-skilled workers in the biotech and high-tech industries in Massachusetts.

from the Boston Globe

Of all the news reports we’ve read on this topic (and it led most of the newscasts and papers in the nation) the Globe was the only one that hit the key claim in the lead – that this bill will clear up the ICE backlog of up to 22 YEARS!

But first an aside on acronyms. The US Immigration authorities, faceless bureaucrats who change lives in snap decisions and subjective evaluations, since time immemorial were known as the immigration and naturalization service, or INS. As opposed to the OUTS, who were their supplicants. Seemingly immune to the angst and tragedies unfolding daily in their anterooms and interview cubicals, it is uneasily appropriate that they have been re-branded as ICE, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Trading “Service” for “Enforcement” is the Republican Way.

But back to our exception to the assumption. Those people who have been waiting 22 years for their visas, refugees from the wars in Central America in the 1980’s, are still waiting. INS was abysmally understaffed and overworked, on top of being legendary for it’s inefficiency and bureaucratic obfuscation, BEFORE 9/11, back when they were issuing tourist and student visas as fast as they could fill out the forms and collect the fees. Now that they are actually investigating people before issuing visas, the time lag for applicants has tripled.

Having to spend so much time dealing with visa applications from people wanting to enter the country has left the ICE men and women almost no time to deal with the supplicants already here. Millions of aliens are mired in a legal limbo as their applications languish or wallow in windowless repositories.

To think that this already dysfunctional organization is up to processing 12 MILLION new applicants, fingerprinting, photographing, running background checks, giving English exams, evaluating academic records, taking employer testimony and issuing decisions is so ludicrous it would be high comedy were it not high tragedy. Lift the backlog, my ass. Not without hiring a million new ICE agents. Hmmmm…….

Weep for the Scholars of Palestine

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islamicuGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli planes pounded Hamas targets and rival Palestinian factions exchanged bursts of automatic weapons fire outside Gaza City‘s Islamic University on Friday, as a volatile mix of Israeli strikes and Palestinian infighting plunged Gaza deeper into chaos.

The fighting largely died down later in the day after Fatah and Hamas fighters took up positions around the university. Earlier, the office of the university’s president, Kamelen Shaath, was attacked by rocket- propelled grenades, according to Hamas.

from AP

Will this madness never end? You shoot rockets at people long enough, they’re gonna shoot rockets back at you. What do you expect? And considering the Israeli rockets are high-impact, laser guided missiles fired from supersonic fighter jets, they are going to kill some innocent people. Turning their friends and family into the kind of people who would shoot rockets at you. What do you expect? Someone has to bust the chain before it drags them all down the drain, and us with ’em.

As a college Joe from the get go it particularly pains us to read of the use of a UNIVERSITY CAMPUS as a “stronghold” and a battleground! What sacrilege! Can you imagine Massachusetts Hall, built in 1720 and home office of octogenarian President Derek Bok, being attacked by ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADES! Even at the height of student protests, late 60’s-early 70’s, when Massachusetts hall was surrounded, occupied, the President (Derek Bok, coincidentally) trapped for days in his office, we never DREAMMMMED of rocket-propelled grenades. But time marches on, and Cambridge is not Gaza City. At least, not yet.

For this kind of madness, if not contained, can infect us anywhere. The global information and transportation revolution constitute the central nervous and circulatory systems, respectively, of the emerging global body politic, . Which, unfortunately, opens the doors to a host of new diseases, infections, breakdowns and modes of transmission. Rocket-propelled grenades, IED’s and suicide bombers are only a six-hour flight, or maybe a two-hour drive, from where you are sitting right now. Who can break the chain? How do we protect ourselves?

Zombies Invade Upstate New York

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rochesterzombie(May 18, 2007) — More than two years after their grim work began in Rochester, four human-tissue recovery workers and three local funeral directors have been charged with taking bones, skin and other material from corpses without obtaining consent.

A 179-count indictment unsealed Thursday focused on the cases of 36 people who died in 2005 and whose remains were sent to three Rochester-area funeral homes to be prepared for cremation. Instead, the indictment said, the remains were plundered for valuable tissue while grieving loved ones were kept in the dark.

from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (our first job in media)

What are the authorities keeping from the public? Obviously, there is either a serious zombie attack in upstate New York, or a relative of Dr. Frankenstein has set up shop. Neither would be that surprising for this hotbed of liberal eccentricity……