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How to Buy a Light Bulb

Tips on how to buy an energy-efficient lightbulb

How lovely to catch up on Molly Ivins columns. She reveals that the person responsible for stirring up ludicrous accusations against Jim Hightower in the eighties during an election campaign was…Karl Rowe! Here’s her take on immigration:

Should you actually want to stop Mexicans and OTMs (other than Mexicans) from coming to the United States, here is how to do it: Find an illegal worker at a large corporation. This is not difficult — brooms and mops are big tip-offs. Then put the CEO of that corporation in prison for two or more years for violating the law against hiring illegal workers.

Got it? You can also imprison the corporate official who actually hired the illegal and, just to make sure, put some Betty Sue Billups — housewife, preferably one with blonde hair in a flip — in the joint for a two-year stretch for hiring a Mexican gardener. Thus Americans are reminded that the law says it is illegal to hire illegal workers and that anyone who hires one is responsible for verifying whether or not his or her papers are in order. If you get fooled and one slips by you, too bad, you go to jail anyway. When there are no jobs for illegal workers, they do not come. Got it?

Of course, this has been proposed before, because there is nothing new in the immigration debate. As the current issue of Texas Monthly reminds us, the old bracero program dating from World War II was actually amended in 1952 to pass the “Texas proviso,” shielding employers of illegal workers from criminal penalties. They got the exemption because Texas growers flat refused to pay the required bracero wage of 30 cents an hour. Instead of punishing Texas growers for breaking the law, Congress rewarded them.

Here’s her take on a bill proposed by Congress to override state safety regulations. Here’s her quoting of Thomas Powers on FISA and presidential powers:

Thomas Powers, an authority on American intelligence, reviewed the Risen book for The New York Review of Books and notes: “If the Constitution forbids a president anything, it forbids war on his say-so, and if it insists on anything, it insists that presidents are not above the law. In plain terms, this means that presidents cannot enact laws on their own, or ignore laws that have been enacted by Congress. …

“In public life, as in kindergarten, the all-important word is no. We are living with the consequences of the inability to say no to the president’s war of choice with Iraq, and we shall soon see how Congress and the courts will respond to the latest challenge from the White House — the claim by President Bush that he has the right to ignore FISA’s prohibition of government intrusion on the private communications of Americans without a court order and his repeated statements that he intends to go right on doing it.”

With regard to the immigration bill, there is a simple solution (which actually I heard proposed by someone on some talk show). Establish a website that verifies whether people’s social security card numbers are valid. Easy as that. I actually worry about such an idea because it has the potential to work too well. (For the record, I have several friends who are undocumented workers with fake SSNs, and this would make working here impossible).

Gary Schmitt, an American Enterprise Institute scholar criticizes the “peaceful rise” meme to describe China’s political development:

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