news analysis and commentary


Bring the heat!

Legislators and the Justice Department are considering ways to arm Federal agents in Mexico. This blogger agrees. BRING THE HEAT!

Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agents, were traveling in Mexico on their way to Mexico City on February 15, 2011. They were driving a U.S. Embassy issue diplomatic-marked SUV. The SUV was ambushed and the agents shot down. The ICE agents were unarmed. Zapata was fatally shot and Victor Avila was injured. The shootout must have lasted seconds, but must have felt like an eternity for Victor Avila as a survivor.

 The agents’ safety has increasingly been jeopardized over last few years due to Mexico’s war declaration on drugs. In 1990, an agreement was made between US and Mexico to have the US Federal agents unarmed while in Mexico. The state department must get involved to change this agreement. A treaty would change the 1990 agreement. Our agents need protection while they work. The “game” has changed and the rules need to change as well.

Mexico has made no effort to help wipe out the drug cartels. This attack has come against one of our countrymen helping to protect us. Our borders need to be secured. Our agents need protection.


Pajama Protest

Officials announced Friday, February 25 that the Wisconsin state capital would close on Sunday afternoon, February 27, 2010 for cleaning. The protestors’ slumber party will be over, which have been hold up in the building since Governor Walker and the Republican led state congress is presenting a bill that would limit the government service workers from certain collective bargaining privileges. The building, schedule to close Sunday evening, will reopen the next morning at 8 AM.


Protestors have been living and sleeping inside the capitol building, around the rotunda. Signs are glued all over the capital building’s walls and a daycare center has been set up outside lawmakers’ office space. Some threatened to hold out during the cleaning by not picking up their belongings and leaving the building. Officials announced the grounds are available to the demonstrators.

The protestors’ demonstration makes the claim that their unions should retain their right to collective bargaining for employee benefits such as pensions.  The demonstrations have now gone to a lengthy 12 days as of Saturday, February 26.

The sleeping bags’ soft insulation may not create the ring loud in the ears of the world that the protestors intended. The slumber party does not seem to be helping their cause.

In addition to the union-sponsored capital campout, the Democrat Wisconsin Senators of Wisconsin have fled the state, avoiding a vote on the Republican’s attempt to trim their state’s budget. This blogger is disappointed in their lack of leadership.  What a sorry example for the youth of their state. Conflict is never resolved by avoiding conflict. The Democrat Senators cannot run from their obligations.

Do the protestors feel that democracy and the Wisconsin republic have failed them? Why do the workers feel like they are entitled to more when the state is failing financially? What are they doing to sacrifice for their community?

Are the Senators advocating for anarchy rather than respecting the rule of law, which is the foundation of a functioning republic?

Tweet Revolution

A recent uprising (A.K.A. attempted revolution) in Egypt has presented some challenges for the ruling Egyptian government. The government attempted to calm the protestors and riots by shutting down the Internet and cell phone services. The government hoped to limit protest leaders from organizing and communicating with the demonstrators.

After the reports of the technology services not being available, communication found a way.  Google engineers collaborated with Twitter to develop a piece of software that would take plain voicemail and convert the voicemail into text that posts as a Tweet. They named this software Speak2Tweet. The phone numbers for the voicemail were shared across Egypt and the world could hear Egypt again.

How has technology changed the landscape of the typical revolution? After this chapter of Egyptian history is written, will historians be able to quantify the role played by technology?

As of February 4th, protestors logged 2000 tweets. Did these tweets assist in organizing the demonstrators? The mob psychology theory was raised by another blogger who says “An individual’s cost in participating in a revolution is s function of how many other people are involved.”  For example, a 2010 snowball fight at UNC-Chapel Hill was organized via Facebook. UNC students showed up for the snowball fight to have fun and socialize with friends. Facebook was simply a tool used to help orchestrate the event for the people.

Did the tweets simply serve to keep the Egyptian protestors voices “on the world stage”, which gave them leverage to apply further pressure on their governmet leaders?

We may lose tangibles, but courage, faith, love, joy, and honor can never be stripped from us.