The Great Amnesty Debate – A Common Sense Solution

Living in Texas, the amnesty issue is front and center. The number of illegals crossing the border each day affects jobs, state provided services, crime rates, and a myriad of other areas of our daily lives. Amnesty is a hotly debated issue in Washington right now as well. I don’t trust Speaker Boehner to have this country’s true interests at heart anymore, and I’ll need to count on my representatives to make sure Texans’ voices are heard.

We seem to be at an impasse, with some folks wanting complete amnesty for all illegals and their families, and the other side wanting every illegal immigrant sent back to their home country. Neither group is going to get their wish, but putting some common sense parameters into place might bring everyone closer to the middle. I’ve put together a few thoughts which make sense to me, and I’d be interested to know if they make sense to you.

Dee’s Easy Peazy Amnesty Plan:

  • First and foremost – CLOSE THE BORDER NOW. Hire back the released border patrol officers, tighten up the screening of who can cross into the US, and follow ALL of the state and federal immigration laws already in place.
  • Allow the illegal immigrants with jobs in the US to stay, but set up parameters that must be followed including paying restitution for breaking the law, paying any back taxes that are due, and waiting a determined amount of time to meet eligibility requirements and pass a background check and health screening.
  • The illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the above group may bring only their immediate family from their home country, meaning spouse and children.
  • If any of the above rules are broken, the illegal immigrant and their family are immediately deported back to their home country.
  • If any illegal immigrant commits a felony, they are immediately deported back to their home country if not incarcerated in the US.

This really seems so common sense to me, I don’t see why we couldn’t find a way to implement this plan or something similar. I’m not looking for a plan with 146,000 pages, either, Obama Administration; just a straight forward plan that people on both sides of the aisle can get behind and put into place.

Problem solved in less than 30 minutes. Maybe I should look into running for office. 🙂

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Little Sisters of the Poor handed a win against Obamacare contraceptive mandate

Pleased to see this minor win – for the time being.

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My Top Tweets for 2013

Always interesting to take a look back at the year and check out what people re-tweeted the most from my timeline. Guessing 2014 will include more chat about ObamaCare and taxes, but that’s just a guess. Happy New Year, Tweeps!!

https://twitter.com/DeeInHouston/timelines/417517943954485248

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Shoutout For a Hometown Hero

I was going to post a shout-out to Twitter, but 140 characters just wouldn’t do this justice. I’m absolutely inspired by a fellow blogger and patriot, and I want to give her kudos.

Michelle Lancaster, known to a lot of you as @SkiGarmisch in the Twittersphere, completed The Color Run today, her first 5K. While that may not see remarkable to some of you, Michelle has been working hard towards this goal and faced some obstacles along the way. One big obstacle was an injury that required bed rest, and while I’m sure it frustrated her to no end to follow doctor’s orders, she knew she had to heal. The injury was a setback, and Michelle was not able to run the 5K as she planned. Walking the course still counts, and she finished the entire race!! And the look of pure happiness on her face in her pictures is a joy to behold.

Michelle, you are an inspiration, and you are my hometown hero. Next year, I plan on being right there with you. Thank you for posting your progress along the way and sharing such a great accomplishment!!

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‘Unleash the hounds’: Jose Canseco advises President Obama on Syria

If anyone can bring a laugh to Syria, it’s Jose Canseco.

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Christmas in June? Only in Texas!

Something remarkable happened today.  Governor Perry signed the Merry Christmas bill into law in Texas. The bill will allow students to say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah without worrying they will be sued.  Public schools will be able to display nativity scenes, menorahs, and Christmas trees without fear of litigation as well.

What’s so remarkable about all of this?  We already have the right to do any of those things!  The Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion are absolute.  Unfortunately, anti-religion activists and law makers have influenced weak, activist courts, and those courts have fostered a fear among many of us.

The Merry Christmas bill is largely symbolic, but it’s also a statement that we’re going to fight back against the tyranny of the self-empowered, anti-freedom zealots.  I’m hoping to see a few more symbolic gestures come out of the Texas Legislature, but it will take all of us speaking as one loud voice to make them listen.

It takes some effort and some courage to contact your Texas representatives, but it’s important to let them know what you want to see done in Austin.  It can be as easy as dropping them a line in an email or as bold as calling their office to voice your opinion.  Not sure who your representative is?  Find them here.

Let’s encourage the Texas Legislature to make a few more symbolic gestures. Maybe they’ll even start to pass some impactful legislation. Maybe even… a balanced budget!

God bless Governor Rick Perry, and God bless Texas!

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A Girl, a Contractor, & One Very Big Lesson

I love being outside. Absolutely love it. This last March, I finally decided to pull the trigger on building a patio in my small back yard to create some usable, enjoyable space. I got online, got a couple of bids, and I went with the guy who seemed to get my vision at a reasonable price. 

Things started out at a quick pace. Lots of emails going back and forth with photos, drawings, and measurements. Once we had a prelim idea agreed upon, Mr. Contractor sent an invoice. I felt like I was getting a good deal, and the guy seemed legit.

There’s no bigger lesson in the world than learning you didn’t know how much you didn’t know.

Permits and licenses?  Yeah, I should have probably done more research. I just figured Mr. Contractor would take care of any necessary paperwork. Mr. Contractor, by the way, is Frank Cameron of Artisan of Texas. I’ll be spreading that name far and wide in the next few days.

Got that Google?? Frank Cameron and Trey Cameron of Artisan of Texas and Artisan Decorative Concrete.

Once the design and pricing was decided, construction began with pouring a concrete slab. Did they level the yard like I thought they would?  Nope. But hey, it’s OK. Let’s move on with construction. Next steps were supposed to be scoring the concrete to look like tile, then building the structures which would include a grilling area and a fire pit. Did Frank show up when he said he would?  Well, no, but he was a busy guy! 

I missed lots of little signs, like Frank asking for additional funds ahead of schedule, finding concrete all over the wall of my house, trash being left at the site each day, nothing being done in the order we discussed, and Frank asking me to order materials I thought were included in his quote.

We made some progress on the structures, and we moved on to installing the electrical wiring. Did I even think about permits or licensing? Nope. Thought it was handled if Frank was going to do the work. (Yeah, yeah. I know.)  Frank mentioned he would be waterproofing an extension cord with silicone and duct tape, and yes, that’s when the first red flag started to fly. I did a little research on the internet, realized I was putting my home insurance policy at risk, and I called a licensed electrician to check out Frank’s work.  

I talked with Frank last Thursday morning out on the patio, and he told me 3 of his checking accounts had been hacked, leaving him unable to use his debit card.  Wut?? He asked for his last payment, which I refused. He said no problem, and I went on to work. Huge red flags flying at this point, by the way.  Imagine my surprise to find a new invoice from Frank waiting for me in my email, with most of the charges increased.  I replied with plenty of questions about the increases, and I also included some questions regarding permitting for the electrical and gas work.  All of my emails and calls since that day have gone unanswered.

I met with a licensed electrician today. It is now perfectly clear why I haven’t heard back from Artisan of Texas.  Frank installed interior rated wire in an exterior project, wire that was too small, installed illegal connections in my breaker box, and all sorts of other things I didn’t understand. I now face new expenses to have it all ripped out and rewired, but it’s worth it if it is done right and it is insurable. I wont even go into all of the issues with the gas line, but they will involve tearing out part of the concrete to run new gas lines.

Contracted services left unfinished include concrete caps installed, staining the concrete, painting the damaged wall of my house, and installing permitted electrical lines and gas to the grill and fire pit. As a special goodbye gift, Frank’s group left 3 bags of nasty, maggot-infested trash in my driveway and behind my house, along with abandoned trowels, buckets, mortar mix, broken tools, broken tile, etc. I also have to replace a missing padlock, gate clicker, hose box, and 2 garden gnomes which also ended up covered in concrete.

A lot of you will say I deserve all of the issues and extra expenses I will encounter to get this job completed in the correct manner. You may be right. It’s just money, and I’ll make more. My big, huge lesson here?  Ask lots of questions before starting such a project.  Get referrals, and check with friends and colleagues to see if I’m going about things the right way. And do a much better job of knowing what I don’t know. #LessonsLearned

**If you would like to help me spread the word about Artisan of Texas, please feel free to share my blog far and wide. I’ve filed complaints with the BBB, the FTC, Attorney General Gregg Abbott’s office, the People’s Lawyer at the Houston Chronicle, and www.RipOffReport.com. I’ll add additional complaints over the next few days. I’m also looking at my options in the courts, if only to get Artisan of Texas’s shoddy business practices on the record.

 

 

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One year after the world and an amazing family lost Andrew Breitbart, we’re still feeling the loss. Reposting this as a small tribute to someone I admired greatly. Rest in peace, Andrew.

Texas Slant

I lost a hero today.  I stand with so many others in disbelief, our hearts hurting, mourning the loss of Andrew Breitbart.

I’ve been a fan of Breitbart since he founded the Big.coms; Big Government, Big Hollywood, the works. They became required daily reading, and he always seemed to scoop every other news source. He helped James O’Keefe expose ACORN’s corruption; he “exposed” Anthony Weiner for the lout he is; he led the charge in citizen journalism.  He inspired the Conservative base to rise up and blog.  And he stood up to the Progressive Left with such courage and conviction, we couldn’t help but join the charge!

He also inspired incredible hate from the Left, and there is plenty of evidence to prove that hate if you venture onto Twitter today.  I won’t justify it here.

I had the distinct honor of meeting Andrew Breitbart at CPAC, and I’ll always…

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Newt and Texas – A Great Combination

I had the privilege of attending the TPPF Policy Orientation in January.  The event brought together politicians, ideologues of different persuasions, and everyday citizens like me.  One of my favorite speakers during the event was Newt Gingrich.  Whatever you think of his politics, he has some phenomenal ideas, and Texas and US leaders should be listening.  A few of his ideas are highlighted here.

“We should be energy independent at the end of the decade.”   One of the biggest topics at the Orientation was energy; specifically the impact of current development is having on Texas and its economy.   With discoveries like the Eagle Ford Shale providing tons of jobs and increased tax income for the state, Texas is only one state benefitting from new technologies to find oil and gas.  Across the US, oil field jobs are providing opportunities for new jobs and allowing states to build their “rainy day” funds.  The Obama administration should be touting this boon to the economy and job sector at every opportunity, discouraging our dependence on foreign oil.

“If you have buying power as a state, game developers should develop learning tools for children.” What a brilliant alliance that could be!  Game developers using their popularity among kids to actually create learning tools to help students gain valuable skills and help foster a future career?  Our educational leaders need to embrace what holds the attentions of kids and use it to their advantage.

“How do you incentivize people to break out of what they are? If you get unemployment, you have to take a course offered by a business. Don’t give people money for nothing.”  Getting people off welfare is a common theme of political campaigns, but you don’t hear too many ideas to make it happen.  If welfare recipients are required to take business courses, we could be developing a whole new group of future business owners.

“Look at disabilities. Design a capability-based program, not a disability program.”  We all too often focus on what a disabled person can’t do vs. what they can do. Developing opportunities for them to shine could change the look of our workforce.

“If a student graduates from high school in the 11th grade, give the value of 12th grade as a scholarship. They have the 1st step in going to school. We need a generation of that kind of creativity.” What a simple, yet brilliant use of education dollars. Give bright students a step up, making it easier to send them to college, and we encourage the next generation of leaders.

“Nobody suggested it was cheating for Johnny football to get the trophy.”  Let’s do away with the “everyone gets a ribbon” mentality and start awarding real achievement. Giving strong students the ability to move ahead rather than being held back by their less motivated peers will give the country a stronger edge in competing with the world.

“We hold in our hands the beginning of the future. What are all the ways we can create an America 2.0? We will be the movement and the party of a better future. Change the political map of America, letting them know we care about their future.”  The Republican Party needs a facelift and a serious public relations turnaround campaign.  They continue to let the Left define them as uncaring, all about the rich, and unwelcoming to minorities.  Those of us who identify as conservatives or Republicans know that isn’t true, but we need to find ways to get that message out with social media, repeated messaging, and using any means necessary to spread that message to minorities across the country.  Traditionally, Democrats have always been better at getting their message out, and we need to embrace their strategies to change the narrative.

Love him or hate him, one can’t deny Newt Gingrich has some fantastic ideas to get this country moving in a stronger direction.  Keep the dialogue open with your representatives on local and national levels.  Share your ideas, push them to look at untraditional methods, and let’s return America to its rightful place as a World Leader.

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There Are Heroes Among Us – An indulgent missive for my dad

I attended a military funeral today.  It was as beautiful and moving as you would expect, only more so for me; the memorial service was for my dad. I had the privilege of saying a few words about him, and while it seemed like a simple task, it proved a challenge to find the right words to honor his service and his life.  The following missive captures those words.

It seems that Daddy’s life was defined by the Marines, both at the beginning and the end.  His active military service was extraordinary in many ways.

Extraordinary at the beginning, starting with Grandma and Grandpa signing a letter saying he was 18 when he was only 17 so he could join the Marine Reserves.  Extraordinary in that he almost didn’t make his appointment to report to his outfit.

At his going away party, Dad and his friends plotted some excitement to liven up the evening; they would stage a fake shootout in front of one the local theaters.  Carrying Grandpa’s pistol loaded with blanks, the 2 cars full of teenagers pulled up in front of the Majestic Theater where hundreds of people were lined up to see the gangster expose, “711 Ocean Drive”.  The kids piled out of the cars, one yelling, “There you are, you dirty squealer!” at my dad, who then fell to the street in dramatic fashion after the gun went off. You can imagine the chaos and the screaming from the crowd, unaware of the ruse.  What the pranksters had not counted on was 2 officers working the crowd, and the officers quickly closed in on the scene in the street.  Busted, my dad and his cohorts needed to post $800 bond for the charge of carrying a pistol.  I’m sure Grandpa wasn’t too happy to get that call! I assume Grandpa paid the bond, since Daddy joined his outfit the following Saturday.  That story pretty much captures the essence of my dad – consummate jokester and story teller.

Extraordinary at the end of his active service, when he returned from his tour in Korea after fighting in the Korean war. Daddy was one of only a few remarkable Marines to return from the battle at the Chosin Reservoir – The Frozen Chosin – the Chosin Few.  He received numerous ribbons and awards for his service including the Purple Heart.

My parents met years after Dad had left the Marines, and they had 4 kids.  Dad still continued to do extraordinary things – like winning the Grand Prize at the Cub Scout Father-Son Cake Bake contest with my brother Jimmy in 1969.  (Their winning entry was a cake modeled after the aircraft carrier USS Freedom, and my mom still remembers having to bake endless cakes to put that thing together.) Dad also attended a Girl Scout Father-Daughter ice cream social, where he and I won the 3 legged race. I’m sure Dad wouldn’t consider those feats extraordinary.  He’d rather I tell how he owned and operated several tire stores, served as president of the Woodlands Golf Association, or even how he was on the sidelines for a Super Bowl.

Dad rarely if ever discussed the war while I was growing up, but after he retired and started serving with the Marine Corps League, he opened up and shared some of his stories from Korea.  I probably heard the Tootsie Roll story 10 or more times over the last few years, describing how the Marines found cases of Tootsie Rolls in the frozen landscape of the Chosin Reservoir.  With their rations frozen and no way to heat them, those Tootsie Rolls kept the Marines from starving, and that candy was an integral part of a story the Houston Chronicle wrote about my dad 10 years ago for Veteran’s Day.  The same paper that reported on his prank with his friends 54 years earlier in 1948.

Like I said – extraordinary.

I’ve only just started reading the stacks of letters Daddy sent home while in Korea, (Grandma saved them all) and I’m looking forward to learning even more about him through his writing.  Knowing the Korean war had such an impact on my Dad’s life has stirred a strong interest to learn more about its history.

Daddy fought a lengthy battle with emphysema, and I was blessed to spend some time with him before he passed on November 5th. He had quite the welcoming committee to greet him at the Pearly Gates, not the least of which was my little sister who died in 1989.  She was always Daddy’s little girl.

My dad’s service both in the war and with the Marine Corps League after his retirement makes him a hero. He was part of a generation of men who loved their country, enough to fight for it even on foreign shores.  We still have such heroes, and I hope you will let them know who much you appreciate their service when they cross your path.  Our gratitude should be evident, and our debt to those men is immense.

Love you, Dad. Semper Fi.

** Tootsie Rolls are still an active sponsor of the Marines, and additional stories of how they saved Marines in Korea can be found at the following links:

The Candy That Saved the Marines

“Tootsie Rolls”

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