Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where 2 or More Are Gathered in Allah's Name....

there is terror?

Earlier this week 6 Muslim imams were removed from a US Airways flight. Apparently they were saying their evening prayers as a group on the plane, and passengers became suspicious. The 6 were removed from the plane, detained by security workers, questioned, and released.

On the surface, this is an unfortunate incident. Muslims should be able to pray in public without raising suspicion. Naturally, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations are angry. Said Ibrahoom Hooper, spokesman for CAIR "This is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it's one that we've been addressing for some time". Gee Ibrahim, I wonder what might have happened 5 years ago to trigger this problem?

There are thousands of Muslims on the other side of the world who want to kill us and destroy our nation. The number of Muslims in the USA who want to kill us is unknown. So is our continued suspicion of Muslims (especially religious clerics) intolerance, or diligence?

To answer these questions, consider this analogy: Let's assume that France has declared war on the United States. French men around the world are actively calling for the destruction of America. The French have destroyed the Sears tower and the Empire State Building, and killed 3,000 Americans in the process. They have bombed our ships at sea, and murdered our citizens abroad. They've bombed marine barracks, and several US embassies around the world. They are calling other French men to murder Americans, they hold American flag burning rallies, and claim they will not end this war until they fly the Tricolore over the White House. Thousands of French citizens demonstrate their commitment to destroying the USA every day.

How would America respond to this declaration of war? Would French Americans be viewed as just Americans, or would their presence in the United States stir up some suspicion? Would we be justified in prohibiting French citizens from entering the United States? If you were ready to board a flight, and 6 Frenchmen sang La Marseillaise in the terminal prior to boarding, would you call security?

In this scenario, obviously we would be justified in profiling French citizens, and closely monitoring every person with a French passport. In fact, the argument could be made that the only flights on which French citizens could board would be one way flights back to Paris.

The reality is that the religion of Islam has declared war on the United States. Sure, the argument could be made that the religion of Islam has no borders, and no government, therefore a declaration of war cannot be made. However, it's safe to say that dozens, if not hundreds, of Islamic leaders have indeed declared war. And they've recruited tens of thousands of soldiers to wage this war. They are well funded, armed, and willing to die in this "holy" war. Islamic leaders have stated that Americans should be killed wherever they are found, and that they will not give up their jihad until Sharia law is brought to the United States. Are we to pretend that this is simply rhetoric coming from a few Imams? Are we to put our heads in the sand and pretend that all Muslims standing on US soil are peaceful? As long as Muslim clerics are preaching jihad, and as long as their followers number in the tens of thousands, any amount of scrutiny of Muslims in the United States is fair game.

If Muslims are unhappy about their treatment, the answer is simple. End this jihad! Shut down the mosques that fund terrorist groups. Arrest those who declare war vs. the USA. Arrest those who preach jihad to Muslim school children. Join us in this fight against radical Islam, or accept the fact that as a Muslim you will be viewed with suspicion.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Free Ice Cream and Longer Recess!!

In what comes as little surprise, Democrats are using their new found majority status in Congress to push for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has remained stagnant at $5.15 for nearly a decade.

To be fair, I agree that an increase is appropriate. However, Democrats have gone overboard in their proposal to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. They suggest that a family cannot live on $5.15 an hour, to which I reply "of course they can't". But the minimum wage isn't designed to be a "minimum family wage". It's a pay rate commensurate with new entrants into the job market, such as high school students and recent graduates, part time college students, etc. The general idea of our free market economy is to provide incentives for people to learn, grow, and obtain marketable skills so that they are able to earn higher wages. Any attempts to convert the minimum wage to a living wage are doomed to cause economic havoc. After all, why not just make everybody rich and make the minimum wage $500/hour?

In addition to the negative impact on inflation, an increase to the minimum wage will also put more people out of work, as marginally profitable employers choose to employ 5 people at $7.25 as opposed to 7 people at $5.15.

Although a pure free-market economist would argue that the minimum wage should actually be $0, and that employees and employers should be free to negotiate any salary, I'm not quite that hard core. So let's look at the simple economics. Inflation over the course of the past 10 years has averaged approximately 2.53% (according to this site). Adjusting for inflation, $5.15 10 years ago is equal to $6.61 today ( =5.15*(1+0.0253)^10 for the Excel challenged). So any increase up to that amount has some basis in economic reality. Anything more than that and we're talking grade school Student Council politics.

Ted Kennedy's call for a $7.25 minimum wage here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Houston Janitorial Workers Protest

For months now, janitorial workers in Houston have taken to the streets, protesting their wages and benefits. I frequently see a group of 20 - 30 workers marching with picket signs in front of various downtown skyscrapers.

Typically there is one man in charge with a bull horn, shouting an incomprehensible mix of English and Spanish. Always eager to speak to people demonstrating in the streets, I engaged one of their front line workers a couple weeks ago. She was the person designated to hand out flyers to the public. As she held out a flyer to me, I asked "What's this all about?". The woman looked at me if I was speaking another language, and I asked again "what are y'all protesting about?". She looked at me for a few seconds, still holding the flyer in my direction, and finally said "more money!".

In a heartless neocon moment, worthy of a Bruce Hornsby song, I said "oh yeah? Well I want more money too". Spanish speaking immigrants can insist on speaking Spanish all they want, but somebody should tell them that they'll have a very hard time influencing public opinion and government policy until they can speak English.

Fast forward to yesterday, when the same group actually brought traffic to a halt at one of Houston's busiest intersections on the west side of town. They littered the intersection with garbage, and chained themselves to garbage cans. This demonstration was accompanied by the usual chants of "Si se puede" (yes we can), and a new one "Aqui estamos, y no nos vamos" which roughly translated means "Here we are, and we're not leaving".

Wow. So let's step back for a moment. We have 12,000,000 or so illegal immigrants in the United States who pay no regard to our immigration laws. Now we see evidence that they're eager to unionize, and they're willing to engage in civil disobedience to get their way when their jobs don't pay well enough. And they're becoming so beligerant that they shout to the world that they won't leave the USA.

Here's a better idea: If you don't like the conditions of your job here in the States, go back home. Until these workers learn English and/or learn a skill which the economy values at more than $6/hour, then they'll be employed at $6/hour. No amount of civil disobedience nor beligerant chanting can change this simple economic fact.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Iranian Vacation

No, it's not the latest Chevy Chase movie. But if the Iranian tourism agency has their way, more Americans will be vacationing in Iran. Apparently, the nation is offering travel agencies monetary incentives to lure westerners to tour Iran. Your everyday Anglo is worth $10 a head, while Americans actually fetch $20 per head (hold the decapitation jokes, please).

So I'm left to wonder: Will Americans be lured by this offer? What would a tour of Iran encompass? Here's USANow's suggested itinerary:

  • The US Embassy: Spend a morning touring the spot where 66 Americans were kidnapped and held hostage by a group calling themselves the "Muslim Students Following the Line of the Imam". 52 of the hostages were held for 444 days, beginning on November 4th, 1979.

  • Tehran Sidewalk Tour: Take an afternoon stroll of the city, and play a nice game of "Find the scorched spot on the pavement where the American flag was burned". 5 points for every scorch spotted, and 10 points for fresh burns where flag remnants remain.

  • Attend a Special Unit of Martyr Seekers in the Revolutionary Guards Parade!!: This special unit consists of 40,000 trained suicide bombers who are "ready for action" to strike British and American targets if Iran's nuclear infrastructure is attacked.

  • Spend a day touring Tehran's Palestine Contemporary Art Museum: See cartoons featuring Ariel Sharon dressed as a Nazi, sketches of a Jewish man drinking 'Palestinan blood', and more than 200 other cartoons which mock the Holocaust and support Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's contention that the Holocaust really didn't happen.

    By this time, I'm sure you and your family will be worn out by all the thrills that Iran has to offer. And you'll be thankful for that $20 incentive which helped you avoid boring destinations like Rome, southern France, and London.

    Have fun, and don't forget your hijab. After all, you wouldn't want to miss out on all the fun Iran has to offer because you (or your wife) gets kidnapped for exposing her hair.