The Immigration Dilemma

We often hear people say that “we are a nation of immigrants” or that “this nation was built by immigrants” as if that somehow justifies the liberal attitude many people hold regarding immigration. These comments seem to have their origin in the great migration from the late 1800s to early 1900s when many people emigrated from Europe. Some of the immigrants who arrived no doubt had criminal intents but most, like my great grandfather, who immigrated to America legally in 1882 came mostly in search of greater economic opportunity and to fully assimilate into the American culture. This was 66 years before the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 which authorized for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of 200,000 certain European displaced persons for permanent residence.

I, like many others, was born and raised in a city with several large immigrant populations. Among them were the Germans, Polish, Italians and Irish many of whom who came to the city to work in the steel mills or came with skills to start their own businesses as my great grandfather did. While some members of these populations tended to concentrate in their own ethnic neighborhoods they also brought an enjoyable diversity of culture and foods to the city as a whole; a process that has repeated itself in many major urban areas of our country. Perhaps this is why today’s immigration problems are so heart wrenching and difficult to discuss.

The intent of this blog post is to present some history on the complex problem of immigration in light of some issues that have come up in recent years and to finally offer some suggestions for change on both sides of the immigration equation. Continue reading

Thumbs at the Ready

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that children spend more than 7.5 hours daily in front of a screen which is a concern among two-thirds of parents. Even teens are beginning to recognize that they spend too much time in front of screens. Some parents are taking steps to reduce their children’s screen time and technology companies, in order to address this screen addiction, are implementing features to measure and warn people of excessive screen time.

I was recently reminded that the issue of screen time is not new. There was a time that children in particular spent hours sitting zombie-like as if in a trance within a foot of a 20 inch TV. Responsible parents in those days would admonish their children to back away from the screen for fear of damage to their eyesight. Children usually ignored these requests and the parent would just have to turn the boob tube off.  This is much harder to do these days what with the proliferation of the small screen devices such as tablets and smart phones that children as young as 3 have in their personal possession. Continue reading

Say No to Social Media

The revelation regarding Facebook, reported here and elsewhere, and a collection of bad actors consisting of Cambridge Analytica, Strategic Communication Laboratories aka SCL Elections and third party apps that use Facebook’s own API developed to collect and use your personal data has, hopefully, brought to light that you are the product that is being sold for their profit. Ad revenue alone for mostly Facebook and Twitter was estimated at $41 billion worldwide in 2017 and this does not include the lucrative repeated sales of your personal data through the so-called dark web, as reported here. The ad revenue alone amounts to some $6 per year for each of the 7 billion people on this planet. Continue reading

Use *57 To Trace Spoofed Caller IDs

The phone rang and the caller ID showed a local number. Even though I’m aware of “neighbor spoofing”, a popular devious and fraudulent trick used by telemarketers, I uncharacteristically answered it instead of letting it go to the answering machine.

“Hello,” I said, which was followed by silence on the other end. I was about to hang up when a voice, obviously a recorded message reading from a script, said something to the effect that my credit was fine but I was to press 1 to contact a representative to setup a plan to pay off my credit card debt or I could lose my high credit rating. Continue reading

Targeted Divisiveness

Targeted divisiveness primarily refers to the use of social media by an individual or organization, especially through the use of bots, to search through user posts and profiles looking for characteristics that can be used to target that individual with multiple messages to amplify a cause that would pit one group against another. This could correctly be called propaganda. The difference nowadays with social media is the ability to target specific individuals based on self revealed preferences. Ads on social media work in much the same way except they are focused on selling a product or service. Continue reading

Caught in Telemarketing Hell: 7 Tips On How To Deal With Nuisance Phone Calls

Until the early 90s most of the phone calls we received were from friends, family or the occasional wrong number. By 1991 telemarketing became a big business which led to widespread abuse and resulted in the passage of the FTC Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. This act established the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry  but it was not until 2003 that registration on the Do-Not-Call list became available.

Unfortunately, most of us know by now that listing your phone numbers on the federal Do Not Call Registry is, for the most part, a joke but it is something you must do. Among the loopholes are provisions that election campaigners and organizations that you have done business with in the past can ignore your entry on the list.

This last provision is particularly troublesome. How many times have you received a call from a telemarketer whose charitable organization you have never heard of before thanking you for your previous support?  If this has happened to you then your phone number has been shared on a sucker list with other similar unscrupulous organizations. Continue reading

Islam is in need of reform but who is going to do it?

[The following blog post was written to determine what, if anything, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is doing to reform Islam in America. Reformation of Islamic ideology in America is necessary if we are going live in peace free from Islamic terrorists and Muslims must take some, if not all, of the responsibility to make that happen. It is, after all, their ideology and practices that are at the root of the problem. Simply put, Muslims have to recognize and take ownership of the problem.

This post was sent twice to the CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad on the CAIR contact us web page. No response has been received.]

Islam-backgroundDear Mr. Awad,

CAIR seems to be the only Islamic organization in the U.S. that appears to be anything close to a unifying voice for the autonomous Muslim clerics across the country. Further, CAIR seems to be very influential with the White House having succeeded in convincing the administration to replace words like “jihad” and phrases like “Islamist terrorism” or “radical Islam” with terminology they consider more politically correct. I’m therefore appealing to CAIR to answer a few questions which I believe are of extreme concern to non-Muslim Americans regarding CAIR’s position on a few issues and what CAIR is doing to address these issues.

According to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, Islam can be divided into two camps: Mecca Muslims and Medina Muslims, The Mecca Muslims follow Mohammad’s peaceful period while the Medina Muslims follow the Quranic verses from his war-like period. CAIR seems to follow the Mecca Muslim teachings. But if, as you say repeatedly on the CAIR website, the “Quran is Islam’s revealed text,” without getting into issues in comparative religion, what are we to make of verses like 9:5 and 9:29, for example, which seem to be foundational to Islamic terrorists and are in opposition to the verse ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ (2:256)? Continue reading