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Friday, August 27, 2010

Progress can't be stopped

The Kindle, is this the future of books?

I received an email the other day that mentioned some items that we took for granted in the past but are now disappearing before our eyes as “progress” keeps rearing its head. For example, personal checks: I have done my banking online since 2003 which has saved a lot of time and money. I pay all my bills online or through credit card. So far in 2010, I have written only 17 checks. I see a day when banks will drop paper personal checks as a cost saving measure.

Books may also be in trouble with new devices like Kindle available. Although I was happy to stop writing checks and stamping and mailing envelopes, I think I would miss holding books and turning real pages. Kindle sounds good and the pricing is attractive at half the price of a regular book. But, when do we decide that keeping something we love may outweigh the monetary savings of something more innovative? At the moment, I have access to an excellent library at no charge and can buy other books really cheap at the Cave Creek library. Kindle will have to wait for now.

Do you still have a land line telephone? I do, but I don’t know why other than I dislike cell phones (although I own one) and refuse to give up the tradition of having a real phone. Getting a new phone used to be a fun experience. The phone company guy would come by with a nice shiny new phone and install it. He would climb the telephone pole in our backyard in Kansas and call me from there to check if the phone was working properly.

It was REALLY a thrill when call waiting became available. Imagine having two calls on the same line simultaneously! It all sounds pretty ancient now. As far as texting, no way! I have to draw the line somewhere.

These items are just scratching the surface of the changes we can expect. We’ve already discussed the changes in the newspaper business as fewer and fewer young people read print papers anymore. Television is slipping as cable costs escalate and the number of irritating commercials keeps increasing and forcing more people to go to their computers for viewing.

By 1950 TV had made radio a second class citizen. Now, it is getting the same treatment. What about the post office? If people quit mailing bill payments, what will the P. O. do? They’re broke now! Will it disappear? FEDEX and UPS are a lot more efficient.

I will remain a dinosaur for a while I guess. When driving I still listen to news, sports, and financial stations, much of which is on AM radio. I can’t remember the last time I played a CD. Do they still make those?

To leave a comment or to read other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blogs" in the right column under links. You will not receive a virus. Jim McAllister writes for the Arizona Republic.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Too much racial sensitivity

Dr. Laura is out the door

After saying “nigg*er” eleven times on her radio talk show of August 10, 63 year old psychologist Laura Schlessinger has resigned. It may be a resignation to her but I think she was fired. I don’t know if it matters since after 30 years I hear her show was getting stale anyway. I never listened to it as I am not a fan of radio psychologists but I am interested in what readers think of the call that got her in trouble. It’s 6:40 long and I think you will find it interesting.

I think Dr. Laura makes some good points but in these days of overblown racial sensitivity, one is not supposed to say ANYTHING that might be the least bit sensitive. It’s sad that has happened as we used to be a loose, tolerant society that was not so thin skinned. Today, too many lack a sense of humor and take themselves way too serious and that is a shame.

Schlessinger says she is going to try to “regain her first amendment rights.” I don’t think she has lost those rights; she simply said some things that in this uptight liberal society we live in are considered inappropriate. Therefore, she no longer has a radio show.

Here is another example of the garbage we have to put up with today. The black candidate for the Republican Congressional seat in District 3 is former Paradise Valley Arizona Mayor Vernon Parker. He is opposed by Ben Quayle, son of former VP Dan Quayle. Because of Parker’s ethics issues, Quayle referred to him as the “National poster boy for the Democratic Party.” Parker is outraged at the use of the word “boy” and considers it racist. As silly as that sounds it gets even sillier when you consider that Parker brags about being endorsed by Sheriff Arpaio, a guy thought by many to be the biggest racist of them all.

How do you think the Prius driving, CFL bulb using, PC crowd would accept the following interaction from a 1938 Jack Benny radio show? Benny’s valet was a black man named Rochester who was played by the great Eddie Anderson. In one scene, Benny and Rochester are going west on a train. As the train stops in Santa Fe, Rochester thinks he is at the 125th Street station in Harlem. Benny tells him it’s Santa Fe and the people there are Indians.

Rochester says “Just the same, I saw a papoose eating a pork chop.” Benny says “What of it. He can be an Indian and still eat a pork chop.” Rochester says, “I know, but he had it between two slices of watermelon.”

That was funny stuff in 1938. In 2010, I don’t think Mr. Parker or many other blacks would laugh. Parker would be worrying too much about an insignificant non-racial comment calling him a “boy.” Meanwhile Charles Barkley is always making fun of white people and they laugh it off. Maybe we white guys should start being paranoid too.

To leave a comment or to read the 62 other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under links. You will not receive a virus. Jim McAllister writers for the Arizona Republic.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't build the mosque

Common sense is an interesting subject and it applies to about everything. You wouldn’t wear white socks with a tuxedo, you wouldn’t wander into the rain without an umbrella, and you probably wouldn’t back into traffic. To do so would go against common sense.

I would define common sense as the ability to avoid doing things that make no sense. That is why I wonder why New York’s main Muslim, Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf, is intent on building a mosque in New York City located two blocks from where 3,000 innocent Americans died on 9-11.

Rauf has made comments like this referring to 9-11: “I wouldn’t say the United States deserved what happened. But the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.” His wife, Daisy Khan, has referred to the building of the mosque as “no big deal.” That sounds like a dismissal of the fact that 3,000 people died as a result of Muslim terrorists two blocks away.

A last ditch effort through a lawsuit is being made to stop the project but it probably will not be won. The families of 9-11 victims along with some politicians and religious leaders are opposing it and plan a protest on 9-11. It’s a nice gesture but will also probably be ineffective.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York supports the mosque and legally not much can be done about it. Apparently the Constitution says it’s all right as the U. S. believes in freedom of religion. However, here is where that pesky common sense gets involved. After 9-11, a massive dislike over anything Muslim has evolved in the United States. Most people are still incensed over 9-11 and that feeling will never go away. Adding fuel to the fire are recent stories of Muslim fathers murdering their daughters for dating men who were not Muslim. Punishment for women under Sharia law frequently involves stoning them to death. That’s not in line with the values of most Americans.

The insistence of building a mosque so close to Ground Zero reeks as a gesture of “sticking it” to the United States. I’m sure bin Laden is having quite a laugh over it as our politicians meekly let it happen. That mosque could be built in many other places but near Ground Zero was picked. Did they really think this would not create a controversy?

It will be interesting to see if the place gets built. I don’t see American construction workers participating and the controversy will not be going away any time soon.

Jim Croce once sang that “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit in the wind.” It’s only common sense and if you are Muslim, you don’t build a mosque next to Ground Zero regardless of the constitutionality.

To leave a comment or to read the other 67 comments, click "jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under links. You will not receive a virus. Jim McAllister writes for the Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix/Scottsdale.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Chinese "paper sons"

Keye Luke of Charlie Chan fame may have been the second naturalized citizen from China in 1944.
A “paper son” was a young male Chinese immigrant who came to the United States between about 1910 and 1944. He would claim to be the son of a citizen when in actuality he was the son of that person on paper only.

In 1882, during the US presidency of Chester A. Arthur, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. Previously, Chinese immigrants were welcomed as they flowed to the gold fields of California where work was plentiful. When the gold played out and competition for jobs became more acute, an anti-Chinese sentiment evolved as they moved to cities like San Francisco to take jobs as low wage earners doing restaurant and laundry work. Sound familiar?

Initially the Act suspended Chinese immigration for ten years but as time passed, the law was renewed to make Chinese citizenship virtually impossible until 1944. Even then the quotas remained small. It wasn’t until 1965 with the passage of the Immigration Act that meaningful quantities of Chinese immigrants occurred.

That story seems quite tidy except for a natural disaster that changed the face of Chinese immigration into California. That disaster was the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Coincidentally, the earthquake destroyed city hall and along with it, all the birth records of the city’s residents. Many savvy male Chinese immigrants seized this opportunity to claim false citizenship and the US government had no choice but to take them at their word since the records had been destroyed that may have proven otherwise.

With citizenship, these men could travel to China, spend a period of time, then return to claim a false marriage and/or the birth of one or more children still in that country. Since they were now considered citizens, their Chinese children were also considered citizens. The loophole was that many of the children were not actually kids of the “father” but were “paper sons”. The men would sell citizenship papers to young men in China and claim them as their kids to bring them to the States.

The US government knew of this practice so when the kids arrived at the Angel Island entry point in San Francisco, they were given extensive tests and interviews to prove they were who they claimed to be. This required hours of study and memorization in order to convince the immigration authorities they were legitimate.

Some rumors say that Keye Luke, who played Charlie Chan’s number one son in the 1930’s films, was the second naturalized citizen from China in 1944 after the Magnuson Act repealed the Exclusion Act. He would have been first but he was working on a film that day and a Chinese doctor from New York became number one.

It was a different form of illegal immigration compared to the hordes flowing across the southern border of Arizona today who feel they are entitled to be here regardless of citizenship.