Friday, October 26, 2007

From the Lone Star State

Have you seen the moon the past night or two? It is full and radiating pure brilliance of moonlight and making the earth's surfaces glow. Last night, a night of clear sky and chilly air, the moonlight reflected off the water in our swimming pool and streamed into my bedroom as if it was a night light. One of life's amazements.

With the aforementioned chill in the air, there is a fine pot of chili simmering on the stove for supper. Max the dog is loving coming and going in and out of the back yard sniffing all the new smells in the air. He appreciates low humidity, too.

This morning I read of a new initiative to secure the Texas border at Laredo by the U.S. Border Patrol. It is labeled as a 'zero tolerance' operation. The plan is "to prosecute, jail and deport all illegal immigrants caught in the bustling Laredo area, marking a significant tightening of immigration enforcement along a key U.S. border corridor." That, according to James Pinkerton writing for the Houston Chronicle, is an expansion of the Border Patrol's Operation Streamline project in Del Rio and in Yuma, Arizona. Both have been very successful.

The Houston Chronicle article, however, leaves the reader to believe it is a big push by the Bush Administration and the Dept. of Homeland Security, which it clearly is not. Pardon me, but if the Bush administration felt that border security was a priority then this kind of policy would have been enforced in his first term, not as he is on the way out of office. This operation in Laredo is coming forth thanks to the leadership of Rep. John Culberson, R-TX and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-TX. Culberson is my congressman, I am proud to say, and Cuellar represents Laredo. The Houston Chronicle conveniently does not even mention Culberson, thank you.

"The Border Patrol is expecting big results in the Laredo sector." That at the end of the article this morning. Enforce the laws on the books. It works. Crime rates drop and social services get a breather. Who knew? Just the people it affects, I guess.

And on the medical research front, on Nov. 6, Texans will vote on Proposition 15, a decision voters will make whether or not to fund $3 billion for cancer research. We have a world class cancer medical facility here in Houston, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, (recently and consistantly ranked number one by those who study such facilities) and the governor, Rick Perry, and the legislators of the state feel the time is right for an unprecedented push in research for cancer treatments and cures. The proposition enjoys broad bi-partisan support and people like Lance Armstrong are encouraging passage with public service announcements and appearances.

Today's article concerning Proposition 15 focuses on Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum and her recent e-mail to Republicans in the state addressing the fact that the funding may be used for research on human embryos, in embryonic stem cell research. There is absolutely no indication that embryonic stem cell research is a part of the plans for the funding but Adams is sounding the alarm, just in case. The governor, for one, is a strong advocate for Proposition 15 but his spokeswoman, Krista Moody, said he "staunchly opposes" embryonic stem cell research. M.D. Anderson's president, Dr. John Mendelsohn, said it was never the intention to turn the cancer research proposal into funding for embryonic stem cell research.

However, there is no statutory language to prohibit the funding and no statutory language prohibiting the research. So, Adams fears the lines will be blurred and funding will go to grants by scientists focusing on that research.

Adams notes that the ban on embryonic stem cell research has failed to pass in the Texas Legislature two sessions in a row. Adams is known in political circles as a strong and powerful socially conservative voice. She has superior organizing abilities.

I think she's off the mark this time. I'm voting for Proposition 15.


American Interests said...

You have covered a few points here.

If I were in your part of the world I too would support any initiative to secure the border! Well done for highlighting the fact that it is local interests driving the initiative.

I hope the funding for cancer research is not curtailed. I am well aware of M.D.Anderson as one of the foremost cancer clinics the world over.

Good posting!

Randolphus Maximus said...

I found your blog via Conservative Belle and just wanted to comment about the funding for the cancer research.

Of course trying to find a cure for cancer is a noble objective, I've personally known more than my fair share of people who have succumbed to it.

However, is this a problem that government is best suited to handle? Don't forget, we have had a "War on Cancer" since Nixon started it back in the 70's. The National Cancer Institute has an annual budget of 5 Billion dollars, with another 2 billion dollars contributed by other federal agencies.

By comparison, pharmaceutical companies spend about 6 billion a year on cancer research annually. So it's obvious that there is enough of an incentive in the private sector that investors are nearly matching (give or take a billion) the funds that the federal government is able to take from its citizens. But a dollar in the private sector is worth at least 2-3 times a government appropriated dollar. But for arguments sake, lets call it a wash. $7 billion spent by the government and $7 billion in the private sector on cancer research.

Private sector money doesn't have the baggage and bureacracy that government money has. It respects the opinion of people who object to their money being used for purposes that they consider immoral. Which is really the argument IMO. Would that "artist" from a number of years back with the urine dipped crucifix really have caused such a stir if he had used his own money to create his "art"? I would say no, no one would have ever heard of the guy. But the fact that taxpayer money subsidized his work is where the outrage comes (from me at least). If a private enterprise is doing research into something I don't believe should be done, I don't have to put my money into it. Government money isn't like that. They take from everybody.

Debbie said...

I saw the moon last nigh. I commented to hubby at how beautiful and full (almost) it was. We've had rain for over a week all day, all night. But last night for about 15 minutes, the sky cleared, stars were out and that beautiful moon.

The zero tolerance initiative sounds like a great plan. Hope it spreads.