29 January 2006


My love for the Spanish language has been shaped not just by my Cuban heritage, but also by my experience as a missionary for the LDS Church in Southern California. My interaction was with Mexicans primarily, and a significant number of those I taught had arrived in the U.S. illegally.

Prior to my missionary service, I took a very hard line on illegal immigration. My relatives all came from Cuba legally. Granted, it is easier for a Cuban to emigrate than it is for a Mexican, owing to Cuba's unique political situation. I found my hard line soften when I interacted with many of the good people that sacrificed a great deal to be here.

Just the same, the law is the law, and people that have come to the U.S. illegally should not be afforded a fast track to citizenship. I do believe that some kind of guest worker program is appropriate, so that those people can be regulated, numbered and taxed. It is a complicated issue. Check out Right Wing Pundit for more.

27 January 2006

!Que juegen los Cubanos!

Opinion Journal has a piece by the WSJ editorial in support of allowing the Cuban Baseball team to play in the World Baseball Classic. I agree with their logic:

We happen to believe that the embargo hasn't worked and that trade and other contacts with the Cuban people are more productive ways to pry open their society and promote freedom there.

I also agree that removing the embargo is not a panacea for the oppressed Cubans, but it is a start. We have nothing to lose.

25 January 2006

Sticking it to Fidel

Over at Right Wing Pundit, J-Red has posted a story about the work of members of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Havana. Any attempt to get the truth out to the Cuban people is a good one.

Some would say I am full of bull...

I thought this was a pretty cool, very fast test. I also liked the result it gave me:

I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!

You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

I don't know that it is totally descriptive of me, but it is fun.

23 January 2006

The Real Gender Gap?

From the Washington Times:

First lady Laura Bush and a growing number of physicians, educators and psychologists say Americans need to wake up and see that boys lag far behind girls in school, and then demand that something be done.

I think we have a culture that has gone overboard in stressing female achievement. This has led to a real gap between male and female achievement. Read the article for more.

22 January 2006


I love 24. It is one of the most interesting and engaging shows on television. This season started with an awesome 4 hour premiere which succeeded in hooking me for yet another season (I started watching way back in the beginning- even before I'd met Lacy. Seems like a lifetime ago).

The show doesn't get old. I read an interesting interview with one of the writers and he talked about the difficulties and benefits of 24's premises and structure.

A few funny pages

There is a website called McSweeney's that I have visited on a few occasions. I don't know much about the content of the site outside of these few pages, but these are fun and safe.

This one looks at a few situations, some historical and some fictional, and revisits them as if they had been reengineered by famed baseball executive Billy Beane. He is known for using a statistical technique called Moneyball, and respected for his ability to get a lot for a little.

This one is my favorite, and is a veiled jab at Bob Costas. If you have ever watched him and gotten the sense, as I have, that he is little too pleased with himself, YOU WILL LOVE IT.

Sister Story to Black Klansman- Sham Neo-Nazi

I thought this was an interesting little story about a professor that pretended to be a neo-Nazi in order to better understand his subject. I don't think that is necessarily a great idea, particularly if some of those ideas begin to rub off. He seemed to avoid that outcome, but not before losing his job and becoming the subject of threats.

Like I said, just an interesting little story.

20 January 2006

Free Cuba!

I'm pleased with this bit of news about the upcoming World Baseball Classic. In an earlier post, I lamented the exclusion of Cuba from the WBC, on the grounds that it missed an opportunity to engage an unfriendly regime. More than 45 years of embargo have failed to move Castro from his place. Disallowing Cuban competition would not have either.

This revives an old debate about containment and engagement. Looking at our experience with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, engagement seemed to bring about the final end to that communist regime. It is not definitive that engagement was the death blow, following many years of containment as it did, but it did have an impact. I think Cuba could be similarly affected. Allowing Cuba to participate demonstrates that we have nothing to fear.

Some Cuban-Americans will be upset about this. They think it will benefit Castro. If Cuba is successful it might, but I don't think it is worth closing off the Cuban people. That has been the actual result of the embargo. I understand their anger. I just don't think containment is the answer.

12 January 2006

Friendship over Ideology

My strong political sensitivities are sometimes at odds with those of some of my best friends. For the most part we avoid conflict, sticking to the topics that are of mutual interest and agreement. In my career I also encounter people with very different viewpoints. Being a good capitalist, I nod my head and try to find a consensus point so that we can get back to business.

What do you do if conflict is unavoidable? Or if hidden issues flare to the boiling point? This article looks at a few of this issues, and the importance of human relationships over "being right."

This is of particular interest to me. Not only do I like to be right- most of the time I think I am! Just the same, real friendships are worth more than winning debates.

The First Black Klansman?

This is a great story about a man. A man whose devotion to a cause allowed him to reach positions of leadership that none of his race had ever achieved- the first Black chapter head of the Klu Klux Klan.

As you'll learn by reading the story, Ron Stallworth came to that point during an undercover operation while a law enforcement officer in Colorado Springs. It is one interesting part of a very interesting career.

08 January 2006

College Football Postlude

This article provides perspective on Vince Young's performance in the Rose Bowl- perhaps the best ever. With numbers like that, this decision seems quite understandable.

Is Virginia Tech the new FSU? Now-former QB Marcus Vick showed extremely poor judgement when he stomped on the back of Elvis Dumervil's knee in the Gator Bowl. Its a mark on a program that I particularly dislike, so this is the news story, and this will provide the VT-haters with something to read. Vick's decision to head to the NFL may have a Clarett-like ending (3rd round pick, 1st round cut).

The head of NOW (National Organization of Whocares) is asking for Joe Paterno's resignation based on comments he made about alleged sexual assault by FSU linebacker A.J. Nicholson. Puh-lease. Read the comments and decide for yourself.

Stewart Mandel of SI.com has a next-season top 10 list that doesn't include Miami. Pat Forde of ESPN.com does have Miami in his top 10. I think it's early to tell, but I still read them.

06 January 2006

Some wounds heal slowly

I like to visit Apple's movie trailer website. I usually check it every week or so to see what new movies are on the horizon. A few moments ago I watched one for a movie called Flight 93. I had no idea what it was about, but immediately noticed that one of the first lines, said by an unseen speaker as we watch a radar screen, mentioned "United Airlines." Immediately I thought, "Movies never mention real airlines- they always make up fake ones. Then I remember Flight 93, one of the four planes crashed on 9/11.

I felt a chill as I watched and listened to the trailer. I felt like I wasn't ready for it. Like it was too soon and the wounds of 9/11 are still too fresh. I lost no family or friends that day. I was in Utah, far away from this incidents, but I think we were all wounded by it.Movies have been made of tragedies before. Titanic immediately springs to mind. But often those movies are about accidents. Perhaps the follies of man influenced those events, but 9/11 was an act of cold and calculated malice, and that day there was no happy ending. There were heroes, but part of me doesn't want to see that on screen. If I had to make a decision about whether to see it today, I don't think I would. I just don't think I'm ready.

I would be fascinated to know what others think about this.

04 January 2006

Greater love hath no man

I was saddened to learn that a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was shot and killed earlier this week. His companion was also shot, but is recovering in a hospital. It appears to have been unrelated to their work as missionaries or the Church itself. It is a tragedy to be sure.

These incidents are pretty rare. I remember being in some rougher parts of San Diego, and sometimes being unnerved by my surroundings, but never encountering anyone that wished me real harm. It is a reminder that we are rarely able to pinpoint when and how we leave this world.

03 January 2006


The SPOTD has always been about education. In this era of oil turmoil, it is important to remember (or learn) how the economy works. Politicians are poor teachers and the media their willing enablers, so we'll rely on Holman Jenkins, Jr., an editor at the Wall Street Journal, to set us straight.

The same people badmouthing "Big Oil" are the ones that won't allow them to put their profits to work on real development in places like the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. If you feel inclined to complain about the cost of oil, read it.