Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts


Arizona’s Immigration Law

Yesterday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a controversial immigration bill, the text of which you can find here (PDF).  Now, before getting into the bill itself, et me just say I’m not an open-borders guy.  The sheer mass of illegal immigration is a problem in the southern border states.  If you’re interested, I went into more detail a few years ago on the subject.

The law itself provides for the following:

  • Makes it a misdemeanor for an illegal alien to solicit work in any way shape or form, so no more hanging out around Home Depot.
  • Makes it a code violation to knowingly employ illegal aliens, and may subject the business to suspension or terminations of any and all licenses, i.e. business license, liquor license, etc.
  • No jurisdiction in the state can refuse to enforce immigration laws.
  • Illegal aliens are considered to be trespassing if found on any public or private property in the state of Arizona.  I.e., physically present anywhere in the state. It’s a class I misdemeanor.  If the illegal alien has drugs or money in his possession, that bumps the charge to a Class 3 felony.
  • A person may be arrested on the spot for this extended offense of trespassing if the officer has probable cause to believe the person is an illegal alien.
  • A peace officer may stop any person operating a motor vehicle if the officer reasonably believes the vehicle is being used to transport or smuggle illegal aliens.
  • A vehicle used to knowingly transport illegal aliens is subject to mandatory immobilization or impoundment.

I saw a statement by an Arizona police spokesman at Tucson PD that said, essentially, that this new law would never, ever be used by peace officers in racial profiling.  And you can believe as much of that as you please.  If you think the cops in AZ will be rounding up blue-eyed, blond-haired fellows who say “aboot” instead of “about”, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.  It connects Manhattan with Brooklyn.  It’s in great shape.  Worth every penny.

Essentially, if you’re a swarthy, dark-haired gentleman, the cops can stop you and ask for your papers.  You should probably obtain a copy of your birth certificate, Social Security card, and Sons of the American Revolution membership certificate, and keep them with you at all times. And lose the attractive Ricardo Montalban accent, because that’s certainly not going to be an asset when speaking to the nice officer.

And if you do pick up a few day workers at Lowe’s, don’t be surprised when the cops stop you, then laugh at your insistence that you just wanted some weeding done or  nice raised garden installed, and insist on calling you “Mr. Coyote” as they impound your vehicle and drag your ass off to jail.

I really don’t see how this law can pass Constitutional muster.  It practically requires racial profiling.  It will almost inevitably lead to civil rights violations of both lawful immigrants and American citizens, as police officers demand proof of citizenship, and subsequently arrest some poor sap who left his wallet at home. It’s just a disastrously bad law.

Now look, I understand that illegal immigration is a tough problem.  I believe that we do need to better secure the borders.  I know the Feds do little more than lip service at enforcing immigration laws. So, I understand why state government are frustrated, and grasping at something else they can do to ease the budgetary, law enforcement, and social service strains that illegal immigration puts on state and municipal budgets.

But this sort of state effort is so intrusive and far-reaching, and so ripe for abuse, that it can’t possibly be the right answer to the problem.  I see no way that it can be enforced in a manner consistent with basic civil rights.  It’s just a bad law.


The Religion of Peace II

The US Army has disinvited a Christian evangelist from attending a National Day of Prayer event, because in a recent interview, he referred to Islam as a violent religion.

Clearly, he was unaware of the official designation “Religion of Peace”.

I guess he got all confused by all the beheadings, honor killings, and flying airliners into buildings and whatnot, to properly understand that these acts have no relevance to Islam at all.

And, clearly, he fails to understand how revealing the actions of Eric Rudolph are, vis a vis the fundamentally violent underpinnings of the Religious Right.

One must, after all, learn the approved lessons, and mouth the accepted pieties. And by “one”, of course, I mean “certain people”. I mean, we can hardly expect the same rules to apply to everyone.


The Religion of Peace

It seems that once again, an insufficiently servile attitude towards Mohammed requires death threats as a response.

This time, it’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, whose “South Park” cartoon aired an episode that revolved around Mohammed. The prophet didn’t directly appear in the episode, as he was disguised in a bear suit, but that was enough for the Islamists to warn that Messrs. Stone and Parker might end up like murdered Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh.

Apparently, that’s what Allah, the Merciful, the Ever-Loving, requires.

Jebus Cripes, I’m so sick of this crap.


A new pleasure (Updated)

So, yesterday Verizon notified me that I was eligible for a new phone upgrade. I popped ’round to the phone store, and after much hemming and hawing, “settled” for a Motorola Droid.

Itbseems to have a nice application market, one of whose products is the app I’m using to write this post.

Yep. I’m phone-blogging.

It’s really amazing where the march of mobile technology is taking us. Yesterday, I came across an old news video from 1981, which talked about how some newspapers were starting to put out electronic versions–text only, of course–onto computers. Subscribers with computers could log on via modem and download the whole paper. It only took two hours to download, at a cost of $10 per download–the equivalent of $23 in 2010 dollars.

And today, I can instantly publish to the whole world via my phone, for free.

We’ve now advanced to the point where we have phones whose least valuable feature is the ability to make telephone calls.

UPDATE: Sorry about the multiple posts. I kept getting a bad gateway error, so I kept republishing…without looking to see if it published. My bad, not the phone’s.

So far the phone just rocks.


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 18 Apr 10

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael and Dale discuss the state of the economy, Tea Parties, and the Democtrats’ approach to politics. The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Observations: The Qando Podcast for 11 Apr 10

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael and Dale discuss the state of the economy, and the Obama  Administration’s childlike foreign policy. The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


The Internet: Still Not Getting It

It’s been an interesting week for me, because I’ve run into three situations that illustrate to me that, even though the Internet has been around since 1995, and has been hugely important to business–and politics, of course–since 2000, it’s clear that many people are still unclear about it.  Ive been a web developer since ’96, and have been the Managing Principal of WebmasterDeveloper.Com since 2003.  There was a time when I just assumed that no one knew anything about the Internet, and that sort of attitude among customers was defensible. In 2010, however, those days should be long gone.

But that attitude is still out there, and I’ve been hit over the head with it repeatedly this week.

Client 1:

This client created an affiliate marketing web site, aimed at a group of customers to which they have direct access through their other lines of business.  They spent months crafting the web site to provide the best affiliate programs they can think of.  After going live with their web site a few weeks ago, they’ve had 1 sale, and about 40 affiliate click-throughs.  They were shocked that their direct marketing of the site to existing customers has had such a dismal response.  In the course of conversation with the client, I asked, “Did you ever do any surveys of your customers to see what kind of offers would have value to them?  The answer:  No.  We didn’t want to spend a bunch of startup capital doing that.

They’ve spent thousands of dollars building a web site without any knowledge about what their customers want.  They’ve never talked to their customers; never gotten any idea of what their customers need, and how to fulfill that need.  They’ve spent every penny on building a web site to fulfill a need they haven’t even defined with their customers.  And now, since the customers aren’t responding, they’re concerned that there may be some sort of technical problem.

Client 2:

“I haven’t been getting any orders from my web site.  Apparently, the web host shut my site down for non-payment, but I don’t remember getting any notifications that there was a problem with my credit card. Anyway, can you see what I owe, so I can pay them, and you guys can download my site and transfer it to another web host?”  As it happens, the web host not only sent out email notifications, but made phone calls to try and collect payment, with no response.  In May of 2009.  Of course, their web site files are loooong gone.

So, the client clearly hasn’t even looked at his own web site for at least 10 months.

Client 3:

This client is completely changing their web site to become the single point of contact with their customer base.  Their customers will have to pay an annual fee just to see the products they sell, then use the web site to submit initial bids for salvage auctions.  I informed the client via email that we needed content from them.  I received an angry phone call from the client, who screamed at me, “I just want to concentrate on my business, which is [widget salvage]!  I don’t want to spend all my time doing web design!  That’s what I pay you for!”

In other words, the client wants to make the web site his sole source of initial interaction with his customers, but he is uninterested in writing any content for it.  His web site will be the primary public access that customers have to his company, but working on the web site is a distraction from his real business.

And the real kicker is, on the day we finished the initial programming, he drops the bombshell that the site’s design–which he approved on January 27–is completely unacceptable, and he wants to completely redesign the site.  This is akin to approving the blueprints for a home construction project, then kiting in on the day the contractor finishes laying the last bits of carpet and exclaiming, “I wanted four bedrooms, not three!”


All of these clients, despite their differing details, have one glaring thing in common:  It’s the assumption that once something goes out onto the Internet, it works because pixies sprinkle magical fairy dust on it.  Tinkerbell waves her wand, sparkly bits fly through the air, and money just comes rolling in to your bank account.

In the real world, the Internet operates on the same principles any brick and mortar business does.  You still have to perform due diligence.  You still need to market to your customers.  You still need to go into the office–even if it’s a virtual one.

Nothing magical happens simply because people can access your business online, rather than jumping in the car and driving to it.

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