Judge Blocks Key Portions of Arizona Illegal Immigration Law

I’m going to come out and say it, I was in support of the New Arizona laws.

As someone who went through the effort of coming to the US legally, first on a tourist visa, then going through the process of getting a work permit, then a green card, and last week sending off my application for US Citizenship, I know what it means to be an immigrant. Sure, it wasn’t cheap. But getting my visas legally was way cheaper than what most people pay a coyote to bring them through the desert illegally. I think if you can afford to save up $5000 to pay a coyote, you could save up the $1000 for the residency application. Shit, if you can save up $5000 in Mexico, you’d be rich and wouldn’t need to come to America! I’ve seen reports of people spending up to $75k on a coyote. If I had $75k, I’d move to Mexico and retire.

I have several friends who came to the US from Mexico. I know people that are here legally and some that are here illegally. Amazingly enough, most of the ones who came here legally said it really wasn’t a big deal. They went to the US embassy, applied for papers and got them. Sure, there’s a wait, just like any other country. It’s not like I got my papers overnight just because I’m Australian. Someone once told me, if you really want something, you should do it properly. It’s worth waiting for. Most of the people I spoke to believe the same thing. Those Mexicans that went to the effort of applying to come here legally don’t like the ones who came here illegally. The illegals give the legals a bad name. People think just cause you’re a Mexican in Texas you must be a “wetback”. I feel bad for those that went through all that paperwork just to get labeled that way, because so many of their fellow countrymen choose not to do the right thing.

People think the new Arizona law was about racial profiling. It wasn’t. They weren’t going to be pulling over random vehicles because people in them were brown. It was about when someone was pulled over for speeding, and that person couldn’t present an Arizona drivers license, they would then ask them where they were from, and if they were here legally. I really don’t see what’s so bad about that. If you’re breaking laws, people have the right to ask you for ID. If you’re here illegally, and breaking more laws on top of that, they should be able to deport you.

There’s more than just whites and browns in Arizona. If I got pulled over for speeding, I’d expect that they asked me for my papers. Of course, since when I got my greencard it clearly stated that I had to have it on me at ALL times, I always carry it on me. I know plenty of other Aussie’s who don’t carry theirs.  Call me paranoid, but since I live less than 2 blocks from the immigration building, I like to keep it on me at all times. I also like to take my passport if we’re going anywhere near the Mexico border. There are checkpoints at the 100mile marks, and whether you left the US or not, they’re going to pull you over, ask for your ID, do random vehicle checks and I’d rather have my papers and be prepared. It’s not racial profiling when they ask my husband and I to pull over and show our papers. They do it to everyone. Instead of taking it personally, I’m grateful that there are people there making sure that there’s isn’t a mass influx of people and drug trafficking going on.

People also don’t get that it’s not just about Mexicans coming here illegally. Plenty of radical Islamic terrorists are using the Mexico border as a way to come into the US. People who complain that Arizona was only targeting “brown people” meaning Mexicans forget that Middle Easterners are normally pretty brown too. Someone from Iraq could easily blend in with the thousands of Mexicans making the trek across the border illegally. While the cartels are bringing in drugs, the terrorists could be bringing in bombs or biological agents. If they’re driving down the street and get pulled over for turning without indicating, I’d love for the cops to ask them for their ID. You’ve got to have a drivers license to drive a car. If you’re an American and you drive without one, you get into trouble. Why shouldn’t someone who is here illegally?

Right now, the way the laws are set up, it seems like you’re better off being here illegally. You can work, but don’t have to pay taxes. You can drive, but don’t need a license or insurance. If you get sick, you can go to the ER and never have to pay the bill. If you do get pulled over for something, or commit a crime, you can say it was racial profiling and a bunch of agencies will come to your rescue. It’s total bullshit. What incentive is there to be here legally? If you want to live here, you should have to follow the laws here. Simple as that.

And for anyone who thinks the US immigration laws are too tough, you should check out the Mexican immigration laws…


Donating to the Gulf Coast Cleanup

Donating to the Gulf Coast Cleanup

Well, apparently the government still isn’t letting civilians help with the volunteer cleanup of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill. The risk is too great with the toxicity of the oil.

There are however several places that are dedicated full time to keeping the waterways clean. One such place is the Emerald CoastKeepers. They take care of the coast from the Alabama/Florida border all the way across to Panama City beach. I’ve been to the beaches in this area and they are easily some of the most beautiful beaches in the US.

I’ve chosen them as my charity of choice in this conservation crisis.

I’ve put a badge on the Going Down website, since the gulf coast oil spill will obviously have a major impact on scuba divers. I thought I’d put it up here too for the non divers who still care about the impact this is going to have on the ocean and wildlife.

Thankfully, the oil hasn’t hit Texas yet. It’s already devastated Louisiana and Mississippi. It’s about to hit Florida in a big way. I hope they can work something out to get the spill under control before it devastates the Florida coast, and before hurricane season starts and it hits the Texas coast.


Seeing the positive side of things

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Yesterday, the news said that there was a HUGE storm rolling in to San Antonio. It was ridiculously hot and we had just finished cleaning out the motorhome getting ready to sell it. We came home and were cooling off in the pool when the skies got really dark and the wind kicked up.

We headed inside and for once, we headed upstairs to relax and enjoy the cool breeze with the windows open. We had the TV on to watch the weather, but of course, the dish went out, so we turned it off. We had our baby girl, Maya, (not a human baby, she’s a chihuahua) with us and we were watching as the lightning started striking around us. I walked around and pulled everything out of the plugs, making sure our computers wouldn’t get hit by a surge. I also went through the camping gear and got a light in case the power went out.

Walking up the stairs, there was a hit really close. I saw Matt and Maya jump, but we discussed how lucky we were to have a dog that was so calm in storms and never freaks out. She sat there with us, looking out the window at all the lightning. I watched the neighbour drive in to the circle, and then BANG! There was a huge loud noise. So loud, it hurt my ears. We immediately thought of the neighbour, wondering if he got hit. We turned around to go downstairs to check, and we realized our wall was on fire. WE got hit by lightning. There was a Texas flag blanket hanging on the wall, and it was in flames. Matt grabbed the blanket, and threw it out the already open window. He grabbed wet towels and put them on the wall. We didn’t want to throw water at it, since the flames had come from an electrical socket and hit the blanket a foot above it. Thankfully, we also had out iphones next to us, since we don’t have a home phone. Matt called 911. For some reason, it went to San Antonio, not our local Windcrest dispatch. Matt just kept saying Windcrest Fire. After the 3rd time, they put him through.

Street filled with Fire trucks

So far, the fire seems out and I’m running around the house, up and down, checking all the other rooms seeing if anything else is on fire. It looks ok, and I hear the fire trucks coming, and I’m wearing nothing but a silk robe. So I grab some pajama pants and a singlet and am pulling them on as I run around. Matt runs outside in nothing but shorts and flags down the Fire Trucks. Here’s the best part, Wednesday night is the FD meeting night, so everyone was at the fire house. So when we called, the sent everyone! We got 4 trucks, two police cars. They went through the house and let us know there was a heat signature behind that first wall. They were aplogetic, but they wanted to cut the wall down to check. We had no problem with that. I’d much rather they cut it down and find something smoldering than go to sleep and then the house reignites and burns down.

So, they cut a hole in the wall. The walked through the whole house. I had put Maya in the master bedroom out of the way, and she was so scared, she didn’t even bark at them. The Fire Department cut the power to the house and I saw the hoses going in. By this stage, all our neighbours were outside, coming to check if we were ok. Everyone wanted to give us an umbrella, but there was still major lightning going on, and I wasn’t thrilled about holding a metal rod. We got plenty of offers to sleep at people’s houses if we needed it.

Discussing where the lightning hit

The FD didn’t need to hose anything down, but they were so considerate, they wanted to clean up the mess from the wall. I had had a large tub of sewing gear up there, which they dumped out on the couch and used to drag all the debris outside. They were going to move the trucks so they could put up a ladder to see if there was anything smoldering where the lightning struck, but then decided that in the current storm, maybe that wasn’t a great idea. I flinched evertytime lighting lit up the sky, but they laughed and reminded me if I could see it, it wasn’t hitting me! They were so apologetic about the wall. Neither Matt or I cared. It’s just a wall. They said most people were really upset with them when they did that. Really? It’s just a wall!

So even though it sucked that we got hit by lightning, we looked at everything that went right. We had originally planned to go out to dinner with friends. Thankfully, we had cancelled earlier in the week. We were actually in the room that caught fire. If we had been downstairs, we wouldn’t have seen the fire till it was BIG. The windows were already open for Matt to throw the blanket out of. Our phones were right there. The fire department was in the middle of a meeting and were ready to get to out house in less than 90 seconds. They were there in under 2 minutes! The dog was calm and didn’t get in the way. We don’t care about anything in the house, it could have all burnt to the ground, but if we had been at dinner, Maya would have been inside and gone with the house. That I couldn’t have lived with.

So, they determine the fire is out, but there’s no power. The FD offer to find us a place to stay, but by this time, I’ve already called my mother in law and let her know we were headed that way. She had no power after the storm, but that was ok.

All the neighbours go home. We grab a change of clothes and pack up the dog in the jeep. Thankfully I had that camplight to see since there was no power! We get on the highway, and there’s still major flashes of light. Several of them emerald green. The highway is shut down for roadworks, so we get off and as we’re sitting there at the light; WHAM! We get rear ended! Matt gets out, goes to look, and thankfully, since we’re in the jeep, which has a big lift kit and big bumpers and the guy was in a little car, he didn’t do any damage, so Matt just said have a nice night and we went on our way…. By this stage I’m just laughing, wondering what else could possibly happen to us. Would we hit a deer next?

But, we got to Matt’s mom’s house safely. She had no power, but we didn’t care. The dog was whimpering and she snuggled between us. The power was still off this morning, but Matt dropped me off at work on his way back to the house.

Maya taking a nap this morning.

Thankfully, last week I had just gone ahead and paid off the home owners insurance for the entire year instead of paying in installments…. So, while it could have been a really bad day, everything had happened just right so that nobody was hurt. We were home, the windows were open, the fire department was all together, ready to go. All our neighbours were great and we weren’t hurt in the fender bender afterwards.

Wow, I think I’m ready for a nap!


Texas Beaches

Most people don’t really think of the beach when they think of Texas, but this state actually has a huge coastline. It takes about 8 hours to drive all of it.

Texas Coastline. The closest beach to our house in San Antonio is about 2 1/2hrs south at Corpus Christi, and another half hour out to Port Aransas on Mustang Island. If we want to go to a really nice beach, we make the 6 hr drive down to South Padre Island, near Brownsville and the Mexican Border.

I was hoping that this year we’d get to lots of diving in the Gulf. There’s quite a few spots that are world known. The Texas Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary, the oil rigs, the Matagorda Island Liberty Ship Reef and Seven and One Half Fathom Reef are just a few of the places to go diving in the gulf. Whether you want to see coral, fish, hammerhead sharks or do some wreck diving, Texas has it all. It’s just starting to get warm over here. I’m a wimp about cold weather diving, so I was excited about the warm temperatures coming along. Now, however, I’m not sure we’ll get to do any diving in the gulf this year. The oil disaster is just growing by the day. Right now, it’s headed towards Florida, which is devastating for them. However, all we need is one eddy to spin off, or for the Hurricanes to start, and who knows where the oil will end up.

Matt and I went to Corpus Christi with the Jeep club this weekend. We thought about not going, but we thought we’d better enjoy the beach while we could. The water was beautiful and clear and almost body temperature. It was choppy, but it’s so shallow for so far out, it’s not too dangerous. It’s turtle season, so the turtle patrol was going up and down the beach. Matt actually saw one out in the water as it swam right by him.

So, now David Ulloa, my other dive buddy and Going Down partner and I are trying to work out how we can best help with the civilian volunteer clean up effort in the gulf. David moved to Florida last year, so right now, it’s headed towards him. He’s from Texas, so either way, it’s also going to have a personal impact on him. Matt and I are looking at how fast it’s moving, and are preparing to head to Florida if it hits there first. There’s some great civilian volunteer efforts going on. From hairdressers donating all their clippings which get made into booms, to people donating their boats which are taken out to scoop up the crud.

The biggest problem is how toxic the oil is. You can’t just go out there and get dirty. It’s extremely poisonous. You need hazmat suits, special equipment and all that jazz. It’s crazy how something that so many people are so dependent on can do so much damage.

So, right now, David and I are watching and waiting for the best opportunity for us to pitch in and help without getting in the way. I’m hoping that they can get a cap on the thing before it gets too much worse. People are already being affected. Fishermen, diving groups, people who live on the shores in Mississippi. We’re so used to getting our oysters, shrimp and fish from the Gulf, but now they’re not all safe to eat. Divers can’t go to certain areas anymore, incase they come into contact with the oil. Oil rig diving is huge here. I’m guessing that may get canceled for a while….

I guess all we can do for now is hope they get the leak stopped and that we can all pitch in and help with the cleanup. I know I’ll be there, trying to save some manatees!


Stupid Weatherman

I’d like to be a weatherman. Seriously, what other job can you be wrong at least 50% of the time and not get fired?

The morning, Matt asked me to help him take the hard top off his jeep. We had discussed it the night before and I told him to check the weather, because I thought it was going to rain. We looked, no rain in sight on the forecast. Watched the local news. No rain.

So this morning, we pull the roof off, which was much heavier than I expected. While trying not to damage my fingers while laying down on the floor, I pulled them out quickly and instead dropped it on my big toe. The toe which was already blistered from wearing pretty shoes yesterday. So, I now also have a purple bruise under my nail. Anywho, Matt drives off all content with his topless jeep.

zoom zoom

I do a quick workout, get dressed, eat breakfast, yadda, yadda, yadda, and head out the the miata, which has the roof down. I look at the sky, think, it looks like rain. In San Antonio however, it’s common to look like rain, but it burns off. Just in case though, I pull out the trusty iPhone, check the weather again. Still no rain forecast. So I hop in, drive to work. Halfway there, my windscreen gets spotty. Hmmm, could that be rain, or just the guy in front of me cleaning his windshield and I’m getting residual water spots? Then, more spots. Even more spots. Damnit, it’s raining! Which, is fine on the highway, cause I’m going fast enough to not really get wet. Until I pull off the highway and sit at the lights…. Thankfully, it was just a light rain, and I won’t melt.

So I pull into the office, try to get the stupid roof up, which always sticks when it’s raining…Of course, now as I sit at my desk, looking out the window, it’s stopped raining again.

But really, how hard is it to tell me it’s raining on the other side of town? San Antonio is not that big. Next time, I’ll stick to my own judgment, and ignore the weather guy.


Springtime in Texas

Texas in Springtime is beautiful. All the wildflowers come out, in reds, blue, yellows and if you’re lucky, fields of rainbows.

The other great thing is this is when all the quirky festivals start. Growing up, you’d see all those movies about small town life in America, with the corn festival, or the local fair or carnival. Around where we live, there are dozens of them.

This weekend was the Poteet Strawberry Festival. South of San Antonio is the “Strawberry Capital of Texas”. Every year on the weekend of my birthday, they have a huge event. There’s all kind of carnival rides, food galore and of course, everything strawberry that you can imagine. I started off with a Strawberry Margarita, had a turkey leg, then chocolate dipped strawberries and a Strawberry Shortcake. Thoroughly stuffed, we walked around all the vendors. People had home made jams, salsas and BBQ sauces. There was everything from parasols, clothing and then I saw something that caught my eye.

While talking to the police in Sydney, they told me that the mascot for their squadron was the scorpion. Reason? The scorpion is the natural enemy of the rock spider. Well, guess what I was wearing home?