Thursday, June 28, 2007

Immigration Part IIIV...

So the bill was squashed. The president is bitterly disappointed. I was hoping for something positive to happen like making right what was wrong with this bill, but it wasn’t going to happen because both the president AND the democrats in congress being so far removed from the will of the American people.

The bottom line is that most Americans are simply not willing to give yet another pass to illegal immigrants in the hopes that a security solution will somehow follow. Many were fooled before, even Ronald Reagan, but fool us once. I think most opponents of this bill feel much like me. That is to say, not in anyway at all opposed to immigrants of any nationality coming to this country for a better life, despite how proponents chose to characterize us (I think the tactic of calling opponents xenophobes and worse has had a much worse affect on those who supported this bill). We simply are taking a stand against rewarding illegal activity yet again.

Yes, the current system of processing applications is broken. Well, let’s fix it. We absolutely need to secure our border with Mexico. Let’s do it. We need to crack down severely on companies exploiting sub minimum wage illegal immigrant labor. Let’s do it. Once that has been done, let’s determine how many immigrants are required to keep the American work force stable and establish this figure as a quota. If we’re even marginally successful at these tasks, by then attrition should have sent many here illegally back home on their own. Let assist those who voluntarily want passage back if required.

By killing this bill, Americans chose not to stop immigrants from coming here to make a better life for themselves, they chose not to again reward flagrant violation of our rule of law and sovereignty.

If we need 12 million immigrants to balance the American labor force let’s make it happen. The only stipulation being that those who jumped ahead in line not be given a free ticket. I hope the President, Congress, the House, and law makers at large get the message sent here: next time an immigration reform bill is drafted two things will render it un-passable: giving illegal immigrants quarter of any kind, and no finish/start linkage to sealing the borders. Let’s get it right the next time and not waste anymore effort trying to prove this truth wrong.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Wonder...

I wonder what kind of case I'd of had if Mr. Macek had actually been able to SEE that the poster of Uncle Sam I had on the inside of my eight grade locker actually said, "Strike a blow for freedom: buy U.S. Bongs" . The poster had ole Sam, like the one pictured above, passing one of the bong companies elaborate smoking devices to the reader vs. pointing at a perspective army recruit. My math teacher noticed it while I was getting some crap out of my locker before class. Once he saw it, he began giving me a run down on how he'd always liked that poster (the original non-bong one that is) which had been a staple of armed forces recruiting since WWII. I was relieved that he did not recognize that what he was actually looking at was a spoof (this guy was so old that he had taught my dad math when he was in 6th grade). I would have had a hell of a time explaining that one to my parents much less the US Supreme Court.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Just what we need, another f'n study...

It's never the wrong time of year to gripe about our beloved Army Football program. My dad passed along this bit of news that, well, doesn't surprise me one bit.

Superintendent Announces New Study Group
By Irene Brown
Chief, Command Information

U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin (Buster) L. Hagenbeck recently announced that retired Gen. Tom Schwartz, a member of the USMA Class of 1967, will head a study group to conduct a comprehensive review of the Army football program and its relationship to the total West Point experience.

"The group will conduct an unbiased and strategic analysis of the factors affecting the competitive success of the program," Hagenbeck explained. "Their recommendations will be vetted against the mission, vision and goals of the academy." According to Col. Kelly Kruger, West Point's Director of Policy, Planning, and Assessment, the panel is being convened because football is such an integral part of academy life.

"Football is important to the academy and to the Army. It provides developmental opportunities for the Corps of Cadets and the revenues generated support the entire athletic program," he said. "More importantly, winning in sports teaches the cadets the lifelong value of being a winner, how it takes a total team effort to achieve positive results and presents the Army and West Point in a very positive manner to the public." The panel, consisting of many former Army athletes, as well as notables in collegiate and professional sports, will objectively evaluate all the components that influence the success of the football program and provide recommendations for potential changes, Kruger explained.

Serving on the panel will be retired General Tom Schwartz, retired General David Bramlett, retired Rear Adm. Tom Lynch (USN, Retired), Brig. Gen. Pete Dawkins, Harry Walters, David Harkins, Rob Healy, C. "Rollie" Stichweh and Coaches Jim Young, Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Sutton. The group initially met shortly after graduation and will reconvene before the new academic year begins.

"General Schwartz has brought together an impressive team," Kruger continued. "Most played Army football or lettered in other Army sports and all are dedicated to improving the entire academy, not just the football program.

"Their objective is to review the football program as part of the total academy experience," Kruger added. "Additionally, this study is not simply about football, but part of the superintendent's total transition strategy. The concepts that emerge will benefit the entire institution and the development of every cadet."

This is not the first time a panel has been selected to review the Army football program. Former superintendent retired Lt. Gen. William Lennox, convened one five years ago. That panel contained several highly respected members of the football coaching fraternity, including former Nebraska head coach and U.S. Congressman Tom Osborne and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, who served as an assistant coach at the academy under Tom Cahill from 1967 to 1969. The decision to withdraw the Army football program from Conference USA was based on the recommendations of the 2003 panel.

My response to my father was as follows:


You've got to be scratching your head about this... All this to come to the conclusion we all know is evident. Like I was telling you on the golf course last weekend, a four month Six Sigma project to tell us what we already know. If Bob Sutton and Jim Young don't stand up and say something to this effect, than the whole thing is a total waste of time;

"Gentlemen, let's save the taxpayers a great deal of money here and jump to the action plan part of this thing. West Point needs an offensive scheme that's primarily focused on running the ball and keeping the defense off the field for as long as they can like the other service academies are using to great success, much like the offensive schemes that USMA itself has used to great success when Bob and I were coaching here in the late 80's and early 90's.

All the facility upgrades are great. Money well spent. It gives recruits coming to West Point a reason to be psyched up to play Army football and offers strength and conditioning opportunity on par with other Div. IA programs, but it means nothing if all your going to do is send these kids out there to run some West Coast offense that they are simply too small and too slow to execute to any level of real success. We've had enough of trying to prove this reality wrong over the past 7-8 years and we've had arguably one of the best pass offense coaches in college ball here to try to prove likewise to no avail.

Dropping back to Div. IAA is not an option, its defeat. Bring back "The Bone", work the prep school system to groom better talent, and get them running the same scheme down there. That's what needs to be done.

Now, let's eat..."

Pass this along to those in the know up there and see if it can't end up in Sutton's/Young's hands. They can thank me by buying me a Schades hotdog when we go up this fall.

Beat Navy!

Your Loving Son and Devoted Army Football Fan,


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Box At The Door II: Now That's What I'm Talkin' about!

Current Oregonian and realtor to jam band fans looking to settle down recently received one of those prized packages via the UPS guy discussed here at IDM not but a couple weeks ago. For those who may not have had the pleasure of meeting him, let me introduce to you Mr. Mark Wheeler, good friend and upstanding member of West Point’s notorious Skateboard Gang of the late 70’s/early 80’s. He’s holding his recently acquired Roger’s Bros. custom Speedboard. As you can see, it is utmost da kine! The sheer delight he is wearing on his face only comes when one arrives home and finds one of these beauties waiting for you on the front stoop.

Want to get in on the action? Contact Dave and John via their website and place an order today.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It just doesn't compute II...

12 honor killings a year in Britain. I'll say it again; It's time to call the situation what it is, slavery. It is as bad as South African apartheid was. While in Britain this woman had the right to do whatever she wanted, her family thought otherwise. Geez, left her prearranged husband for another man of her choosing, what an unusual thing to happen in a free society.

Tell me again I need to be more tolerant of Islamic zealots.

A Perfect Father's Day...

My dad and I had about as good a Father's Day as anyone could. Golf, swimming, watching the open, eating burgers and dogs, and getting gifts from our thoughtful loved ones. There were many good ones, but my little girl had apparently been waiting over a month to give me this gift which, at her insistance, I lugged to work with me this morning...

To a guy on the elevator: "Don't worry, he doesn't bite that hard...".

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Not so much...

Maybe Larry's tired of driving the Prius and wants to drive a Hummer...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Jackson Loves This Photo...

As requested Jackson. Heading out in a minute to my little girls recital. She's going to blow them all away.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jackson Loves This Video...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Diamonds are Forever...

The moral to the story: Diamonds are forever, people are not.

A Box at the Door...

There is nothing better than getting home from work and finding a UPS or Fedex package waiting for you. It’s an undeniable truth that getting packages in the mail is an uplifting experience no matter who you are. My little girl is only five and she is already of this mindset. She bums out if she discovers that the package isn’t for her, but can’t wait until I get home to see what’s inside.

For me, it more than likely became an irrational thing back when you had to mailorder skateboards from surf shops out in California (we lived on the East coast). You’d have to fill out the little order form, go to the post office to get a money order, and actually MAIL it. It was an absolutely agonizing two week process. Every moment from the time you dropped the envelope in the mailbox until your new skate arrived was spent obsessing about it. As the two weeks ticked by, me and all my friends began keeping a watchful eye out for the fabled “UPS Guy”. Me and the rest of my crowd knew all the UPS guys. We’d wave down the UPS guy as we skated down the street and ask him if he had a package for you or one of your friends whom you knew had an outstanding skateboard order pending. It was an awesome rush when he’d give you an affirmative response. It was sort of like Eddie Murphy’s “…the ice cream man is coming!!!” routine. You became Paul Revere hauling ass down the road to find your buddy and tell them the UPS guy had a package heading towards their home, and it might actually be sitting on the front door step at that moment!

Nowadays, the most frequently received package at the Alva household is music from This makes for a doubly good package. I love buying music. With the hour each way commute to work I have now, music is what I do (I’ve had Keith Richards “Main Offender” in the player for the entire week and it is sublime). Yesterday, I came home to discover a Fedex package waiting for me. The size of the box indicated it was too big for a CD order. I opened it to discover it contained an LP version of the Arctic Monkey’s “Favourite Worst Nightmare”. My friend Fred Wilson has been raving about these guys for a long time. I’ve heard a few tracks before, but hadn’t purchased anything by them to date. To say Fred is a huge music fan is the understatement of the century. When discussing music with my other friends when Fred’s name comes up, I always tell them that Fred drinks from the fire hose when it comes to music consumption. Fred can also buoy one’s spirit when it comes to rock and rolls vibrancy, especially if like me, you’re convinced of its eminent demise. Fred is convinced that the Arctic Monkey’s are proof that rock is alive and well and had threatened to send a copy of their work to me as prove of it (like me and many other of my friends, Fred does not steal music). True to his word, he sent along not just a CD copy, but a vinyl copy. What a most excellent and thoughtful surprise.

What was so cool about discovering the LP inside the box was actually seeing an album cover of artwork after so much time. This record has a great cover jacket too. I’m a CD guy and have been for a long time, so seeing a good ol' record jacket was even more of an uplifting experience than getting a CD. It was like getting that skateboard delivered by the UPS guy all over again. After gazing at it for a bit, I decided to set it aside so that I can absorb it all in proper fashion tonight with a glass of wine once the kid’s in bed. I hope it’s as good as he says it is. I hope it restores in me a little bit of optimism.

THIS is what the music experience was once about. It was a special activity, especially the first time you tore that cellophane wrapper off and dropped the needle on that virgin scratch free disc. Fred’s younger brother Jackson buys a great deal of vinyl. I am always envious when he blogs about a major score at the local vinyl shop. He brings home ten or twelve LP’s at a time and gets to sit down at his turntable and rip that cellophane off and go through the ancient ritual that once was listening to a new record over and over.

Fred’s a big believer in the future or digital music. Often times I’m at odds with his thoughts on mass consumption of the art form, but one thing is for sure, the guy simply loves music. He loves it as much as his brothers and I do. It’s evident that he’s familiar with the things of which I've written above. Call it nostalgia if you want, but it’s very real nostalgia to me. It’s a shame that our lives are so busy with all that they are, because for just one day, I’d like to do what we used to do thirty years ago when we were know-it-all, not-a-care-in-the-world teenagers, and sit around a turntable in someone’s basement, crack SEVERAL cold ones, and just spin records.

Thanks Fred, you are the man.

Rock is dead, long live rock!