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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Earth Day, Earth Month, Earth Year?

Back in the 1500's, Copernicus was figuring out that the Earth was not the center of the universe. Apparently, nobody bothered to let the Earth know that.

Sure, it sounds like a mean thing to say - accusing the Earth of thinking that it's the center of the universe. Well, take a good hard look at reality and you'll see that we humans still have this mindset that the Earth still IS the center of the universe. We just no longer think of its LOCATION as the center of the universe. We still have the SETI program and other scientists and wingnuts scanning the airwaves for extraterrestrials trying to contact us. Why would E.T. want to talk to us? Surely, being the center of the universe and focal point of everything - any alien communication should certainly be coming OUR way. Aliens in other galaxies MUST be figuring out ways to talk to EARTH!

But I digress. This is about Earth Day and how it has been manipulated into a gigantic guilt-trip overexaggeration of its former self.

Earth Day started not only as a response to a 1969 oil spill, but as a culmination of an earth-friendly ecological movement. Industrialization had been booming, and people decided it was time to think a little bit more about the environment. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, called for an "environmental teach-in" which he called Earth Day to be celebrated on April 22, 1970. That's it. One day to be recognized, not even asking for it to be an annual thing, which happened to be on the birthday of the man who founded Arbor Day almost a hundred years earlier in 1872. I don't know if this is coincidence or planning on Nelson's part.

The Earth Day of 1970 went well, for the most part. 20 million people celebrated that day, and events were led by Senator Nelson himself. And because NO non-political celebration should EVER be without political undertones, the events were modeled after Vietnam War protest events, and part of the festivities including actual protests of the Vietnam War. In fact, war protests were a part of Earth Day for a while after it became a national holiday repeated in 1971 and each year afterwards. Nothing screams "hippie liberalism" like combining environmentalism and war protestation!

Also in the aftermath of the 1970 Earth Day were the creation of the Clean Air Act as well as the foundation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The celebration of Earth Day is celebrated globally, observed in 175 countries by more than half a billion people each year. It is considered to be the largest-celebrated secular holiday in the world.

So why isn't that enough?

This season, I was greeted with posters and advertisements on the trains and buses for Earth Month Chicago. April 17th through May 20th was to be a celebration of Earth Month, completely disregarding the history and importance April 22nd had in the beginning. All of a sudden, it wasn't enough to focus on the Earth and ways to improve it for one entire day - now the Earth deserved more. It deserved an entire month! An entire month to be celebrated by ONE CITY. Why bother having one day that over 500 million people in 175 countries can share, when one city in one country can spread it arbitrarily over a month??

Are you starting to see the flaws in the logic?

The only thing that the Earth Month Chicago was doing that Earth Day simply couldn't was... No, wait - not a single thing during Earth Month Chicago couldn't have been done on Earth Day. The only difference is that the normal gamut of activities and events one would normally find on Earth Day were being spread across this period of a month. And it wasn't even that the events were to take longer - they were just broken up in little bits everywhere around this month. Whether it was the used cellphone recycling drive, the Green Business Conference, eyeglasses collection or even the recycling convention for household chemicals and computers (I can't figure out why those two are together) - all the events could either be crammed into one day, or could have been celebrated simultaneously in DIFFERENT CITIES. Hell, you could have one in the downtown area and one in a north suburb and one in a south suburb for all I care - get it DONE in ONE DAY and that's your EARTH DAY.

There's no excuse for it to take an entire month. Especially since it's not even a calendar month in any sense. At least Black History month is all of February. This is April 17 - May 20; a very-arbitrary 34 days! It's incredibly hard to celebrate a festival period if you have no clue when it ends or begins. It's even harder if you don't even care in the first place. But the madness doesn't end there - no, not by a long shot...

"Make EVERY month Earth Month!"

That's right - they're actually suggesting that what used to be a one-day-a-year celebration and good idea become an every-day-all-year monotony! There's a reason why most holidays are ONE day out of the entire year - because we'd get sick and tired of it every day and it would lose all its meaning and special qualities! If every day were Valentine's Day, not only would we become disgusted and enraged as the colors pink and red, develop diabetes at more-alarming rates, and probably see the divorce rate spike after a few weeks of love-based torture - but we'd lose all honor and respect for the holiday itself. Not that we had much for a "Hallmark Holiday" in the first place, but that's still more respect than most of us hold for Earth Day as it is.

So let's try and save what little sanctity there is left of Earth Day.

Not a month, not all year. Just one day - April 22nd. Like the other half-billion people in 175 countries.

You know, the people of the Earth we created a Day to focus on. Read more!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

After the May Day Rallies

I live in Chicago - a Blue City in a Blue State with more than enough people willing to take time out of their lives of trying to be productive to disrupt the flow of the city at large with a huge protesting rally and a march downtown. They think that by disrupting the city in every way possible (be it the traffic flow, the noise level, or the absence of working in general) they will be able to coerce people to their side of the argument rather than trying to actually make a difference.

You know how differences in the law are made? Um, by making a law or amending a law.
You know how that's done? Um, voting and petitioning to create/amend legislature.
You know who gets to do that? Um, citizens who have the right to vote.
You know how that's NOT done? Um, by hollering and disrupting a productive city.

According to the papers, 150,000 people took to the streets here in Chicago. While I believe everyone's entitled to an opinion, and voicing that opinion in whatever fashion they see fit (that wacky gift of free speech, you know?) - that also means that I am entitled to my differing opinion, and voicing MY differing opinion in whatever fashion I see fit. I usually see fit to voice my opinion in a mocking tone. So if you can't handle someone poking fun at things that might not be as hilarious, or can't handle someone becoming enraged by things you find to be acceptable - let's agree to disagree beforehand, because it only gets worse from here.

Let's start with signage.

Every good rally/protest is bound to have signs, displaying your messages because it's incredibly rare to get more than 20 people to say the same thing AND in unison so it can be understood, let alone 150,000. What's the first legible sign I see on the picture in the paper? "Legalizacion Para Todos" (Legalization For All). Okay, see I have a problem with this message (or rather this 'call to action'). You see, everyone CAN become legal ALREADY. It just takes the proper paperwork, going through the proper channels, and in some cases, paying the proper amount. Everyone has the opportunity to become a legal citizen - you don't just get to demand to be legal, ESPECIALLY after BREAKING the law by NOT going through those channels. That's like going to a Six Flags and instead of waiting 2 hours in line, you decide to CLIMB THE COASTER to get to the platform. We get it, you went through some hard times and all you really want is to ride the coaster just like everyone else, but you didn't wait in the line, and you're not supposed to climb the coaster in the first place. That means you DON'T get to ride. Not until you go back and wait in the line. Oh, and climbing the coaster is grounds for throwing you out of the park. You knew that risk when you climbed it, so no complaining.

How about the sign reading "No Human Being Is Illegal"? Well, I'll completely agree. I don't really see any reason that a human's existance alone would be a crime. However, things that human DOES are certainly capable of being crimes. You can't stand on someone's private property and then complain when being arrested for trespassing that you're a human being and you have the legal right to exist. Yea, you can exist. You can live. You just can't break the law. That's why you get arrested. And ejected from the private property.

You want worse signage? How about this little gem: "If We Go, We're Taking the Tacos with Us" Oh. My. God. Why is it that if counter-protesters were shouting, "Go back to Mexico - and take your tacos with you," that would be considered SO offensive and 'hateful' - but they're allowed to use stereotyping against themselves and claim power from it? And no offense, but isn't the taco one of those foods that we always claim is from a certain culture, even though it's really not - you know, like how we say pizza is an Italian food but it wasn't created in Italy? I mean, a gyro is like a 'lamb taco' - the art of folding something bready and putting meat inside isn't exactly unique to one culture, let alone one country. I'm sure plenty of Americans (like dorky teenagers working fast-food) can make a taco without you, Paco.

One more brief point about something enraging me:

I want to punch in the face every single illegal immigrant marching in these parades who is carrying and waving and wrapping themselves in the AMERICAN FLAG. What the hell are you trying to say with that statement? We know you love America - that's why you broke the law just to be here. But you BROKE THE LAW and you're NOT A CITIZEN. You have pretty much no right to that flag, other than the fact that you're trespassing in this country so you're at least HERE. Waving a symbol of the very crime you've committed is like a drug dealer holding up a giant flashing sign saying "I Sell Drugs!" or something. I'm not in the mood to come up with a better analogy - deal with it.

Let's just move on to some numbers.

The first number is 400,000 - the number of "unauthorized immigrants" (which I guess is the new P.C. term for 'illegal immigrants') in Chicago. This number was provided by the Urban Institute back in March of this year. The rest of these figures are apparently all going to be coming from a University of Illinois-Chicago study released back in 2002. 30% of all "undocumented immigrants" working in the Chicago metro-area labor market were working in restaurant-related jobs, hand-packing and assembly, janitorial and cleaning jobs. In other words, jobs that require no skill and a high-school dropout could do them. And I'm sure there's a LOT of high-school dropouts looking for jobs to support their habits while still living at home. What really shocked me about this study's findings is that the median hourly wage earned by illegals back in 2002 was $7.00/hr! I mean it's 2007 and the federal minimum wage is $5.15/hr, which will be moving up in July to $7.25/hr. I mean Illinois' minimum wage is $6.50/hr, increasing to $7.50/hr in July. That means that back in 2002, they were still making more than the minimum wage. So I don't want any boo-hooing from the "we pay illegals slave wages" crowd - because it's a lie!

The last thing I want to touch upon is my continued outrage that the media will interview illegal immigrants and get so much information about them - and nobody acts on it. I mean HELLO - according to our laws, they are wanted criminals by admitting to being illegally in the country! So why is it that nobody is enforcing the law? We have the necessary data, or at least enough to go and investigate! So from now on, I am just going to add all of these people to a list and hopefully post it online somewhere. Just a way of saying "THESE PEOPLE ARE CRIMINALS (and I hope a government agent finishes the job and deports them)" because this is just insane in my mind. These interviews should look more like this:

"So, you're an illegal immigrant?"
"Yes, I've lived here illegally for fifteen years."

So here's info - just from TODAY's article in a Chicago newspaper...

- Celia Martinez, 49, admitted to being illegal
- Jose Garcia, 22, Ukrainian Village, picture in paper, admittedly undocumented
- John Vaiciulis, 32, studies at Joliet Junior College, picture in paper, expired visa
- Olga Vaiciulis, 22, Joliet, picture in paper, undocumented immigrant
- Gustavo Calixto, 27, Chicago Heights, picture in paper, admitted to being illegal
- Julio Lopez, 18, studies at Morton College in Cicero, picture in paper, undocumented

That's six people - five of which have pictures next to their comments, who are illegally in the United States and have talked to a reporter. And yet, nobody's arrested them. Nobody's deported them. We have these laws, and we need to get them enforced. So please, if you are an ICE agent or happen to know one - take a look at this info and let's get these criminals! Maybe if enough get arrested and deported, they'll remember that they're (oh yea) here illegally and shouldn't be so proud to admit their crimes or else they'll suffer the consequences.

March all you want - ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS ILLEGAL, and it's high time we got our enforcement agencies to keep these criminals aware of it. Read more!