Friday, February 12, 2016

Abraham Lincoln was born on this day in 1809



We remember Abraham Lincoln.    He was born on this day in 1809.    It's a hard to pick a book about Lincoln.   Let me suggest one about his wit and wisdom.   He had a lot of both:





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A day in the life of Central Americans crossing Mexico



Over the years, I have spoken with Central Americans who’ve made the dangerous journey from, say Guatemala  to Texas.   
Yes, it is extremely dangerous. Young women have told me that they fear rape more than anything else. They run into wild animals, deadly snakes, and mosquitoes. There are no real friends once you start this trip to the U.S.
It starts by walking through jungles or deserts to avoid the Mexican authorities, as Azam Ahmed reported in the New York Times:
The police truck appeared suddenly, a glint of metal and glass. The migrants broke into a sprint, tripping over cracked pavement as an older woman sweeping her stoop urged them to hurry.
The 10 men rounded the corner and hid behind a row of low-slung trees. Four days into their journey from Central America, the new reality on Mexico’s southern border was setting in: Under pressure from the United States, the Mexican authorities were cracking down.
It begs the question: Are thing really that bad in Central America that people would run this risk to get to the U.S.?  
It’s a complicated situation, as we would expect.
It’s true that cartel and gang violence is tearing up small countries in Central America. Cartels have weapons and money whereas many of these countries just can’t keep up.   
I think that they come for two reasons:
First, many families need to send their young men to the U.S. to send back money. El Salvador receives about $ 4 billion in remittances or “remesas”. It’s probably the strongest safety net in the country. My guess is that other countries have similar numbers.
Second, the Obama administration refuses to speak clearly and defend U.S. sovereignty. Also, we indirectly invite people to come north when we offer legalization to anyone who crosses over.   
The attitude in Central America is simple: get to the U.S. and you are likely to stay.
On one hand, we appreciate a young man who wants to cut our grass and support his mom back home. At the same time, we shouldn’t encourage people to come with vague enforcement language.
It breaks your heart, but we are a nation of laws. Finally, I’m proof that you come legally to the U.S.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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Venezuela, Brazil and other US-Latin America stories of the week





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A prison riot in Mexico leaves 52 dead

Another day and more dead in Mexico.    It was a prison riot near Monterrey, the industrial city in the north of Mexico.    

According to news reports, it was a clash between two gangs that set off the fire and the killings.   One of the groups was allegedly associated with Los Zetas.    

This is the latest prison incident.   A recent study found that Mexican prisons are plagued with violence, corruption and inmates running the show.

Can you say El Chapo escaping twice from prison?

By the way, Pope Francis is going down to Mexico soon.   He will visit the border, as Fausta Rodriguez-Wertz pointed out.    It would be more useful for Pope Francis to call for legal rather than immigration reform for Mexicans.

We spoke about this in Thursday's Latin America show:



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Thursday, February 11, 2016

1978: The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" was # 1 this week


As I've read, The Bee Gees did not record "Stayin' Alive" specifically for "Saturday Night Fever".   They sent a few songs to Robert Stigwood who was working on a movie about young people and New York City dance clubs.   

The movie was a smash and so was the soundtrack.   It featured 3 of the biggest hits of 1978:  "How deep is your love", "Night fever" and "Stayin' Alive":




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The other big story of the day

Between Sanders and Trump, we saw a story that will have a “huge” (the word of the day) impact on the Obama presidency.    Once again, The Supreme Court halted President Obama going around Congress.   
This is the story:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama by blocking federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the centerpiece of his administration’s strategy to combat climate change.
On a 5-4 vote, the court granted a request made by 27 states and various companies and business groups to block the administration’s Clean Power Plan. The move means the regulations will not be in effect while litigation continues over whether their legality.
The brief order from the justices said that the regulations would be on hold until the legal challenge is completed. The court’s five conservatives all voted to block the rule. The order noted that the four liberals would have denied the application.
The 27 states opposing President Obama’s regulations are acting in self defense. In other words, these states, including West Virginia, need these plants to create jobs. 
The Obama administration did not consult these states and try to find some common ground, a reasonable point between concern for the environment and paychecks.
What happens now? We will hear more arguments both ways. However, this is another good sign that President Obama is running into five Justices who do not appreciate his expansion of presidential powers.
A good day for the U.S. Constitution!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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New Hampshire & South Carolina with Barry Casselman, The Prairie Editor




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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Laura Ingalls Wilder 1867-1957

We remember Laura Ingalls Wilder who died on this day in 1957.

We know Laura from "The Little House in the Prairie" TV series.  In real life, Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867.   She lived in Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota.   She became a school teacher and married Alonzo Wilder.

Later in 1932, she wrote her family story in "The Little House" series.   It became a TV series in 1974:




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A ranch as big as a town



What a story.   Just read in The Dallas Morning News that a huge ranch in Texas was sold.  

It is incredible:   The W.T. Waggoner Ranch near the Red River is almost 800 square miles!   

That's a lot of room, to say the least!   It has a lake to go fishing, woods to go camping and a couple of roads to get around.

I understand that Stan Kroenke, a real estate developer, bought the ranch.  

Congratulations Mr Kroenke!  Enjoy all of the space.



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1973: "Crocodile rock" by Elton John was # 1 this week


"Crocodile Rock" was Elton John's first # 1 single in the US.  It was a very catchy tune with an oldies flavor.    It sounded a bit like The Diamonds' "Little darlin'" and Neil Sedaka's "Oh Carol".    Nevertheless, it was a great single:




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Giving driver licenses to illegal immigrants is insane


We just learned that over 600,000 driver licenses were issued to illegal immigrants in California:
The law known as AB60 took effect on January 2, 2015. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) expects a total of about 1.4 million people will get their license under the law by late 2017.
Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the law in October 2013 to give a legal document to the 2.5 million undocumented immigrants in California alone — most from Latin America and particularly neighboring Mexico.
California officials believe the program — which does not give license holders any US federal benefits — does make roads in the most populous US state safer, several state sources said.
It does not allow license holders, for example, the right to fly on airplanes inside the United States, nor does it give anyone legal residency status, the right to work or to seek a US passport.
But among the upsides are that California drivers with the document can drive legally across the entire vast United States, without being fined or facing fear of having their vehicle impounded.
This story confuses me for a few reasons:  
1) I worked legally (work visa) in Mexico in the 1980s.  I drove with my U.S. driver license but did buy auto insurance in Mexico.  My agent told me that it was legal to drive in Mexico with a valid U.S. license.
Question: Why don’t these people drive in the U.S. with their country’s driver licenses?  Don’t they have one?   Wouldn’t it make more sense for these people to renew their country’s licenses at their respective consulates?
2) Aren’t we making it easy for terrorists to operate a car normally in the U.S.?  The aforementioned article states that people can drive across the U.S. with this license.   
3) The rationale for the law is that they give California a better way of tracking these individuals.  Really?  There are 2.5 million people in California without papers.  I think that the law is having the opposite effect or encouraging more people to go to California.  Add sanctuary cities like San Francisco, and you have a state that does not take immigration laws seriously at all.
Over the years, I have supported some reasonable legalization programs (not citizenship) that allow many of these people to come out of the closet and work legally in the U.S.  However, allowing a person in the country illegally to get a driver’s license makes a mockery of U.S. immigration laws.  
What’s next?  Getting registered to vote Democrat?
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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New Hampshire 2016 with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda




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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Another Cuban player defects

The Caribbean baseball series is underway and the best Cuban player has defected.   This is from The YES Network: 
Cuban infielder Yulieski Gourriel, who was ranked by Baseball America last year as the best remaining player on the island, defected while in the Dominican Republic this week and has his sights set on joining Major League Baseball…and the Yankees may be his top target.
Yulieski and his younger brother Lourdes were in the Dominican playing with their Serie Nacional team in the Caribbean Series, and Yahoo! Sports reports that Granma, a national news outlet of the Cuban Communist Party, wrote on their website that the brothers "abandoned" their team hotel on Monday in "an open attitude of surrender to the merchants of professional baseball for profit."
Surrender to the merchants of professional baseball for profit?   

No way!   The truth is that Yulieski does not want to play for Castro Inc, the real merchants of profit in Cuba.    The Castro regime wants to send players overseas and keep most of their wages, like they do with hotel workers in the joint ventures with foreign investors.      They collect dollars and pay out worthless pesos to Cubans.

It will be nice to see Yulieski playing in the majors soon!   


P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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1964: The Beatles meet the country on The Ed Sullivan Show


As we follow the political events in New Hampshire or North Korea's latest missile, we are reminded of a huge moment in pop music history. 

Ed Sullivan intoduced Elvis in 1956.   He presented The Beatles on this day in 1964.   According to a story that I read, Mr Sullivan was in London and saw the girls screaming.   He concluded correctly that American girls would scream too.   He told his team to get The Beatles on his show.

Around 8:12 pm ET, Paul McCartney sang "Close your eyes....." and Beatlemania was on.   All together, The Beatles performed twice that night and 73 million people watched them:




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New Hampshire: Get ready for a surprise tonight!

We will have voters again telling us how they feel about the 2016 election.    

So here are some of my predictions:  Expect surprises.......let me repeat expect surprises!

On the Democrat side, Senator Sanders will beat Mrs Clinton by more than 10 points.   It could be as bad as 60-40!    Mrs Clinton is not connecting with young people and that's a problem.

On the GOP side, Mr Trump will not meet the polling expectations.   He will win by less than 10 points.

The second place battle will be between Governor Bush, Governor Kasich, Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz.     I don't see Governor Christie in this bunch.

We will wait to see the results.   However, expect this thing to move to South Carolina and no one is running the table.


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Asking Hispanics for their ‘voto’



My good friend Israel Ortega was recently on Newsmax TV and discussed Hispanics and the economy and how it could play in 2016. He believes that the economy affects more Hispanics than immigration, or simply the reality that immigration reform affects  those who are here illegally. In other words, there are millions of Hispanics in the U.S. who do not speak Spanish or watch Jorge Ramos!
Israel also made a larger point about diversity. All you have to do is look at the TV screen and see it for yourself: Cruz, Rubio, and Carson got more half of the vote in a state that is 90% white!
As Israel Ortega pointed out, the Hispanic vote offers GOP a great opportunity in many states, including South Carolina:
Looking ahead, the Republican Party has a real opportunity to connect with Hispanic voters in a number of critical early primary states, including South Carolina and Nevada. The Palmetto State has seen a dramatic growth in its Hispanic population in recent years. In fact, according to the U.S. Census and the Pew Research Center, South Carolina had the second-fastest growing Hispanic population in the country from 2000–2011. With an estimated 5 percent of the population, and around half of that number eligible to vote, the Hispanic vote could make a difference in a tight race.
After South Carolina, the remaining Republican hopefuls head out west to Nevada, with an estimated 27 percent Hispanic population and a significant number of eligible voters. What’s more, Nevada is among a handful of swing states that could very well decide the election in November.
“At some point, elections are not about politics or policy; they are about math,” writes John Ralston, a journalist who has covered Nevada politics for nearly 25 years. “He or she who gets the most votes wins, and Hispanics arguably are the most potent rising bloc in both Nevada and American politics.”
Therein lies the opportunity for Republicans heading into the fall. The reality is that both Cruz and Rubio remain unknown to many Latino voters. This is changing, of course, as media coverage intensifies. But in a study conducted a few years ago by the well-respected Pew Hispanic Center, a scant percentage of Latinos polled identified Rubio as a national leader, but perhaps more revealing, a whopping 62 percent of those polled could not name a national leader.
Of course, the opportunity is there, but only if the GOP seizes on it. I am not talking about promoting amnesty but rather knocking on the door and asking for the vote! Or going on TV and telling Hispanics that the GOP wants school choice. 
The 2016 political landscape will be different than 2008. Again, I hope that the GOP understands that the “si se puede” enthusiasm of 2008 is really “no se puede” in Hispanic districts today.
Again, knock on the door and ask for the vote! Don’t assume that the Hispanic vote is locked up.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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A chat with Israel Ortega about the GOP, diversity and the economy



Guest: Israel Ortega, Hispanic columnist, joins us for a look at the GOP and the economy...........the Iowa results show that the GOP is the party of diversity, i.e. Rubio, Cruz and Carson.............compare that with the other side..........and some interesting data about Hispanics and the economy.......it appears that the economy is more important than immigration.............plus other stories from the front pages..........



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Monday, February 08, 2016

1970: Mick Jagger as Ned Kelly the outlaw



What can you find flipping channels these days?   How about Mick Jagger playing an outlaw in a 1970 movie?

Yes, Mick as "Ned Kelly" as the legendary Australian outlaw.  

According to a NY Times review from October 1970:  
"As the ill-fated titular hero, Mick Jagger, the rock singer, with a beard that makes him appear more Amish than Australian, is, sadly, simply a dour renegade who rarely becomes the "wild colonial boy" of the legend. "
It's an OK movie and I kept looking for the other Stones.   At one point, I thought that Charlie Watts was in the Kelly clan.   

I'd give it a "C" for curious.   I mean that it was curious to watch Mick doing something different than "Jimpin' Jack Flash".



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Young women are not buying Hillary

Who would have believe this a few months ago?   

Let me introduce you to the Democrat women who would rather vote for a man!    This is from The Washington Post:   
On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton’s quest to become the country’s first female president has encountered an unexpected problem: She is having trouble persuading women, young and old, to rally behind her cause.
Hillary's chief problem is that she's a phony, or a populist who made millions from speaking fees and The Clinton Foundation.     

Do Democrat women want to see a female president?   Yes but not Hillary!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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Happy to see that the governors did well

As I told a friend weeks ago, I’d rather vote for a governor for president.   
Governors run states, in some cases they are bigger than most countries.   
Florida, Ohio, and New Jersey have huge GDP’s and face the kinds of challenges that a strong executive can not overlook. Just ask the governor of Michigan about the water crisis in Flint.
So I was happy to see that the governors did well last night. I agree with Dan Balz:
Christie was the relentless prosecutor. Bush was knowledgeable and, in contrast to some earlier performances, tough and direct. Ohio Gov. John Kasich carved out space as a candidate ready and willing to work across party lines.
Every governor did well and proved that governing is complicated and the best training for the Oval Office.
I love Senator Rubio and voted for Senator Cruz in Texas but they have never run anything of consequence. I’d love to see them serve as governor of Florida or Texas and then run for president in 10 years. They will be better prepared.
Dr. Carson is one of the finest human beings on the planet but he has not run anything.  
And Mr. Trump is too much about himself. I’m fed with all of the stuff about winning without an idea of what he’s talking about. Win what?
So I’m happy that the governors are back in the game. The party and the country needs for this primary campaign to go for a while.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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The world on Sunday night




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