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Friday, May 28, 2010

AZ law more strict than Feds?

Obama has complained that the AZ immigration law could be "applied in a discriminatory fashion." To respond, Megyn Kelly, an attorney and Fox News Channel anchor, took about an hour and read the law in its entirety; something many of the leading Democrats haven’t done.

She also studied Supreme Court history and case law and came up with the following: "My legal opinion is that this (SB 1070) is a little like the existing federal law, but it’s actually less problematic. The Supreme Court has already ruled that, under federal law, cops can pull you over for no reason and demand your immigration papers. Under Arizona’s law, they need reasonable suspicion."

If this is correct, and I believe Kelly, I’m reminded of the classic Wendy’s commercial in which Clara Peller asked, "Where’s the beef?" My beef is that our law has been blown out of proportion with all the Chicken Little's like Mayor Gordon, Felipe Calderon, and Al Sharpton crying "The sky’s falling" when in reality it isn’t. According to Mark Spencer of the local police union, they have been enforcing laws like ours for the last two years. His prediction? In July, when the law goes into effect, no one will even notice.

As far as the California boycott of AZ, John Phillips, a radio talk show host in L. A., took a moment on Bill O’Reilly’s show of May 20 to blast his own city’s leaders: "Our city council and mayor want to be talking about anything other than the fact they have bankrupted the city and that the only school system on the planet that’s worse than L. A. United is possibly the Taliban bomb making school. They’ve ruined everything we have so of course they want to talk about something they have no control over."

If Janet Hance and some guy named Reyes are typical examples of L. A. council members, I think Phillips makes a good point.

To leave a comment or read 52 other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blogs" in the right column under links. There are no viruses awaiting you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

San Diego slobbering for "zonies"

San Diego: In today’s (5-19) Republic, Dawn Gilbertson writes that San Diego is concerned about the possible loss of the "zonie" business this year and wants to make it clear that they never said THEY were boycotting Arizona. They were only ASKING Governor Brewer to repeal the immigration law.

They were ready to let Arizonans know via an open letter that "Hey, we love you guys. Come on over and spend your dough with us." This was after they received a lot of emails from vacationers in our state saying they weren’t coming over this year. In other words, San Diego backtracked and said yeah, we feel sorry for illegal aliens but screw ‘em if they cost us those AZ dollars.

The open letter thing has been canceled probably for the embarrassment of having to eat crow and the Convention And Visitors Bureau wants to make it clear they think it is fine for Arizonans to come over and help San Diego’s economy regardless of how they feel about illegal immigration. What a bunch of hypocrites. What happened to all the garbage about human rights?

Bills of the past vs. today: I was looking through an old checkbook from 1970 today and thought I would compare my bills from April of that year to April of 2010. The amounts from 1970 are Kansas City based.

In April 1970 my gas bill was $6.22 vs. $36 in 2010. My car payment in 1970 was $88. My last car payment here was $435. My electric bill was $5.53 vs. $76.37. My telephone bill $8.28 vs. $24.50 now.

When Barb and I got married in 1967, we decided we should have health insurance. We called Blue Cross and they sold us a policy over the phone for $15 a month. We didn’t need a physical or to show proof of any health conditions. The few times we used it, everything was covered. Costs to see a doctor then were a lot less. I had a doctor while I was in college in1968 whose regular office call was $5. He only charged me $3 because I was a starving student.

On our first grocery trip in ‘67 we had three grocery carts full as we were setting up house. Total cost? $54. I still have the receipt. You could buy a 6 pack of Budweiser for $1.00. Today we spend $54 at the grocery store when we stop by just "to pick up a few things."

It’s a good thing prices were lower then. We felt rich making $14,000 between us.

To leave a comment or read other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under links. I guarantee you will not get a virus, azcentral is through The Arizona Republic newspaper.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Splitting the dinner check

Probably everyone reading this has experienced the agony of attending a group dinner. Whether it was something personal like a birthday party or something serious like a business meeting, you may have felt the discomfort that these dinners can produce. Most of this comes during the awkward period after the check arrives. Since the process of paying for the evening is seldom discussed in advance, it can become the next closest thing to a sitcom as people fidget about what they owe on the bill.

A business friend in Kansas City once told me that every time the bill came for a dinner, his friend would have a "pocket full of fish hooks." I’ve met my share of that type, they just never want to chip in if they feel they an get away with it. Then there are the ones who want separate checks for everyone. That would be the most accurate way to handle it but that is quite an inconvenience for the restaurant.

When the contributions are handed in to the accountant of the group, you can bet there will not be enough money to cover the bill and give the waiter a decent tip. That’s when the excuses start: "I only ordered an appetizer", "I left a small tip because the waiter didn’t smile enough", "She drank way more than I did", "I don’t believe in tipping." These are usually the people who have the fish hooks in their pockets or have "short arm disease" when it’s time to reach for the wallet.

When I found myself in these situations, I always made sure I had cash broken down where I could throw the exact amount of what I owed into the pot plus cover my portion of the tip which I usually calculated at 20%. After that, it was up to the rest of the group to thrash it out. If there was a case of everyone having about the same meal and someone suggested dividing the bill evenly, I was able to live with that too. I also never complained if someone wanted to pick up the entire check although a few comments of "That’s not necessary" were almost obligatory to show that at least I TRIED to chip in.

Some groups are generous and not concerned with calculating everyone’s share to the penny while others will insist on accuracy. You may have seen them: they are the ones holding the check and shouting across the table, "Hey Mabel, was that a Heineken’s or a Budweiser you had?" Then there is the guy I used to work with who one day joined a group of us for a couple beers after work. It was a Friday so we were tossing down a few more than usual when I noticed he wasn’t buying any rounds. I asked him when he was going to pick up a round and he said "I’ll pay next time." After we told him "next time" was three rounds ago, he said, "I mean next time we go out."

Needless to say there was no "next time" for that guy!

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Pet peeves of the road

Welcome to the 21st century multitasking driver.


Over the years drivers have become more ill mannered. Maybe it’s the fast paced, high pressure, permissive, "it’s not my fault" society we live in or maybe it is relative to Arizona driving. When I lived in Kansas, drivers seemed more courteous but that was a long time ago before multitasking and cell phones were a lifestyle. Good driving manners were a part of life in the Midwest; I hope it is still that way.

Here are a few pet peeves of the road that I have noticed as being common in recent years in Arizona: When road work necessitates that two lanes merge into one, most drivers will quickly line up into the open single lane. But, there are always a couple guys who stay in the lane that is closed ahead then race as far as they can in that lane and try to force themselves in at the front of the line. Those guys need to get slapped with a pie in the face.

How about the guy coming the other way at a red light who cuts in front of you to make a left turn rather than waiting until traffic clears. Then there is the 1978 Cadillac going down the street 20 miles per hour in the left lane with the right turn signal on. Another favorite is the guy who passes you, then slows down to a speed slower than you were going. Maybe two pies in the face would be appropriate for these clowns.

In our current era, texting and talking on cell phones while driving has become typical with some disastrous results. Watch out for cars that are weaving all over the place and if you are on a bike in the bike lane, good luck if one of these fools swerves into you. As far as bike riders, some of them are not necessarily members of mensa. They like to ride two or three abreast in the bike lane which means they intrude into the right traffic lane. Legally, they can do that but legality doesn’t matter much after a car kills you.

Those who speed through school zones and side streets make me wonder "What are they thinking?" It’s the same with the lazy jerks who feel they have a right to park in handicapped parking zones. Then there are the guys who drive around with expired license plates. That is easy to do in Arizona as that little date sticker does not stand out. Many years ago in Ohio, a new plate was issued every year in a color totally different from the year before. You couldn’t get a block without being caught in those days. Three pies in the face for these guys: two chocolate cream and a lemon meringue.

To leave a comment or read other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under links.