Tentative Guest List: October 1, 8 & 15

Friday the 1st, I’ll be talking with Becky Moeller, president of the Texas Chapter of the AFL-CIO. Among the topics will be the history of the job benefits which most Americans take for granted (40-hour week, overtime pay, sick pay, vacation pay, medical benefits, etc.) which are actually the result of a century of union struggles. We’ll also discuss the future for unions in 21st century America.

Friday the 8th, my guest is Dr. Hui Zheng. Dr. Zheng is Director of the Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center.We’ll discuss the history of Baylor, its current mission, and look at the work going on now and the funding that;s required to keep this great institution going.

October 15th, Friday: My scheduled guest will be Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General Barbara Ann Radnovsky. Less than 3 weeks before election day, this should be an interesting inteview. In the interests of equal time, her Republican opponent has also been invited to appear. I’ll let you all know of any response.

AND REMEMBER: We’re still giving away $25 dinner certificates to callers. Just tune in and learn how you can get yours!

THE ANSWER TO THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION PROBLEM (Commentary, Sept 24, 2010)

On last week’s show, I had on columnist and author DB Grady. He’s always a great guest and a lot of fun to talk to.

 I also had a listener call in, Aja, and the three of us had a very interesting chat about illegal immigration, its root causes, the human aspect of the problem, and what can really be done about it.

During this chat, I think I had an epiphany on this issue.

It’s not about troops on the border. It’s not about more helicopters and ICE agents and Border patrol. All of those things might help.

Well, except for troops on the border. That’s a bad idea for more reasons than I have time to discuss right now.

Anyway, last week, during the discussion, it hit me in a way that perhaps it never had before that we can slow illegal immigration to almost nothing by simply enforcing the laws we have.

But that’s not the epiphany.

The main thing we as Americans have to do is just stop hiring them, and they’ll stop coming.

But that’s not the epiphany, either. Here’s the epiphany:

Illegal immigration is not a real crisis. It’s mostly a manufactured crisis, and has been for years. Even decades. And it’s the Conservatives’ fault.

Well no, that’s not exactly right. The Democrats have been enablers. In most cases their hearts are in the right place,  but they’ve failed to speak out and call it like it is. They’ve failed to push the issue.

I sometimes think that the Democratic Party symbol is more properly a jellyfish than a donkey, until such time as vertebrates show up once more among Democrats, and become standard issue among Democrats when dealing with the Rightwing.

But the enablers aren’t the perpetrators.

It’s the Republican Party, the Conservatives, the Libertarians and the Tea partiers. THEY’RE the reason that we have so much illegal immigration into this country.

About now, your jaw may have dropped. Your head may be shaking. You might be thinking I’m nuts and what have I been smoking.

You may be asking, “Those guys…?” – who for convenience sake I’m going to refer to as the C-T-P-L-GOP for Conservatives, Tea Partiers, Libertarians and GOP – “…the CTPLGOP are where I attach the blame for most of our illegal immigration?”

Yup, but you have to follow my logic on this before you get me the white coat.

The CTPLGOP is always preaching incentives. Incentives for business, incentives for saving, incentives to live a healthier life, incentives to obey the law, incentives for hiring … Aaaaahhh. Incentives for hi-i-i-i-r-i-i-i-ing.

Well, what greater incentive is there for illegal immigrants to immigrate, if not for jobs and money they can’t get in their own countries?

The CTPLGOP is always the Law & Order group. Obey the law! Zero tolerance! Build more prisons if you have to!

So by that logic, anyone who doesn’t obey the law should be prosecuted. No exceptions, right?

The CTPLGOP is always asking for more agents for ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement — so that more illegals can be rounded up and deported.

Well, here’s where it starts to get interesting… Because you see, when the illegals are busted, the bosses should be busted, too. After all, who hired them? Who created the job incentives that brought the illegals to this country?

How often can employers plead ignorance and good faith efforts in avoiding the hiring of illegals, especially when it’s usually a large group and not just 1 or 2? How many times does an employer have to get busted before they can be seriously investigated for a pattern of illegal behavior? Shouldn’t “3 strikes” apply to businesses, too?

And then there are the agribusinesses, the yard care companies and landscape companies, the slaughter houses and food processors… They all stay in business by hiring large numbers of illegal immigrants.

Where does all this bring us? What do most of the perpetrators of illegal hiring practices tend to have in common?

It is my belief that most of these perps are voters for, and supporters of,  Conservatives, Tea Partiers, Libertarians and Republicans. And – most importantly – these perps are major campaign contributors to these groups

So here’s the other part of my epiphany. If we REALLY want to dramatically reduce illegal immigration, all we need to do is get the people who complain about illegal immigration to demand enforcement of existing laws on law-breaking employers. We just need to enforce the laws we have on the books.

We can start to do that by putting the blame where it belongs. The Conservatives, Tea Partiers, Libertarians and Republicans have to be embarrassed enough to come out into the open and demand enforcement on employers. And trust me, that takes a LOT of embarrassment, because many of these folks have no sense of shame.

Enforcement of the existing laws and zero tolerance for illegal hiring. Proportionate and escalating fines for repeat offenders, and ultimately jail and prison time for chronic scofflaws.

Make them responsible. Don’t let these hypocrites hide behind their demands for more border guards and troops and ICE and Border Patrol Agents.

Of course the problem with this approach for the CTPLGOP is that they would be demanding a crackdown on the very people and companies which support them.

Oops!

Illegal immigrants are breaking the law. That’s a fact. But so are illegal employers. The law should be applied equally to all.

Isn’t that always a mantra of the Conservatives, Tea Partiers, Libertarians and GOP? Make them put their policies where their mouths are.

Most of these offenders are their constituents. Let’s continually remind voters of that in November if they REALLY want something done about illegal immigration.

Tentative Guest List: Sept. 24 thru October 15

Tentative Guest List: 

This Friday the 24th, my guest will be Robert Hooks, famous actor, director, producer and activist. The discussion will be Open Forum, so you can call in to discuss anything that’s on your mind!

Friday the 1st October 8th, my guest is Dr. Hui Zheng. Dr. Zheng is Director of the Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center.We’ll discuss the history of Baylor, its current mission, and look at the work going on now and the funding that;s required to keep this great institution going.

Friday, October 15th: My scheduled guest will be Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General Barbara Ann Radnovsky. Less than 3 weeks before election day, this should be an interesting inteview. In the interests of equal time, her Republican opponent has also been invited to appear. I’ll let you all know of any response.

AND REMEMBER: We’re still giving away $25 dinner certificates to callers. Two listeners have won their. Just tune in and learn how you can get yours!

RenewHouston.org: A “Flood As You Go” Strategy

I call this proposal “Flood As You Go” or “Pay As You Flood”.

The whole concept of RenewHouston is fundamentally flawed. There are some things worth borrowing money for.

Given the scale of potential looses from flooding, it makes sense to sell bonds to finance flood control in order to prevent these losses. The savings in property losses (let alone human cost) are certainly worth the interest charges.

If you follow the logic of this proposal, you should never buy a house or a car with a loan. You should save up your money for the $20,000 car or the $100,000 house and buy them when you’re middle-aged.

When the houses of supporters of this proposal flood, they’ll be the first to scream about why the city didn’t do anything to prevent it!

My recommendation: Don’t vote for it!

WHY THE DEMOCRATS LACK GUTS (Commentary, Sept. 17, 2010)

By Michael R. Honig

 There is something I’ve given a lot of thought to in the last few months, and I think I have some new ideas about what’s been going on with the Democrats over these past years. 

In my estimation … 

I think that Alan Grayson, Anthony Weiner and a few other feisty Democrats may be the core around which will eventually coalesce a new kind of Democratic Party. 

If Anthony Weiner is the intellect of this new kind of Democrat, I think that Alan Grayson is the street fighter. I would compare Alan to the precocious 7-year old in the room who is smart enough to see exactly what’s going on among the adults, and just innocent enough to describe it in precise terms without shame or embarrassment, but with a baldness which makes the adults want to slink away and hide. 

Anthony Weiner is perhaps the intellectual, passionate heart of the new Democratic Party. He pulls facts and figures out of his head in an eye blink. He’s not intimidated by lies and hyperbole from the opposition, and seems tireless in his willingness to fight back against small-minded and interest-group-backed opponents. And he doesn’t mince words. 

I actually have also given a lot of thought to where our contemporary spineless Democratic Party developed, and I think it started, as did so many socially and politically transformative events,  with our national experience in Vietnam. 

Before that, I think that Democrats were becoming a highly activist and unabashedly progressive party which brought forth great programs under the dynamic leadership of Lyndon Johnson, who is perhaps one of our most under-rated modern presidents because of his Vietnam legacy. 

The Democrats of the 1960s passed programs like Medicare & Medicaid, and long overdue civil rights legislation. 

After Vietnam, Democrats felt they were viewed as the ‘defeatist’ party. The party that had lost Vietnam, had essentially been outmaneuvered by and surrendered to the Communists, and had allowed the hippies and far leftists to shape the war and military policies that ultimately failed. The success of George McGovern’s presidential campaign supporters in remaking the Democratic Party’s procedures at the grass roots level, and his subsequent electoral demolition at the hands of Richard Nixon, cemented this view in the popular perception. More importantly, however, it was imprinted indelibly in the minds of Democratic politicians.

If I may speak as a total layperson in psychology, I think that Democratic politicians from that time and the future Democratic politicians that learned from them are suffering today from a maladaptive emotional and psychological response to those experiences and perceptions, and that response has been handed down to many of today’s Democrats in the same way that children learn dysfunctional responses from their parents. 

I think the Democrats of the 21st century are still suffering from a political equivalent of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Following that analogy, Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner come from a different generation with different experiences. They’re not fighting a ‘post-Vietnam’ political PTSD.

They’re frustrated by 8 years of iron and retrograde Republican control of the Federal Government, and by 6 years of a conservative Republican Congress before that. They’re angry at the so-called ‘spineless Democrats’, and probably can’t understand (as many of us can’t) why the Party seems so timid, especially after the Democrats won such commanding majorities in 2008. 

If I may stretch an analogy, I might compare this time for the Democrats to the Israelites wandering through the Sinai Desert for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land. I have been told that an interpretation of the reasons for this was that the older Israelites, who had grown up in slavery and still had a slave mentality, had to die off so that the young Israelites, who had known hardship but only in the context of freedom, would control the future course of their people in the Promised Land. 

If I were to offer a grandiose interpretation, then, of the sudden prominence and influence of Democrats like Grayson and Weiner and a few others, it would be that they represent the new generation of Democrats taking control of the Party’s future from the old generation. … The generation that has the post-Vietnam battle scars, political Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the emotional, psychological and political limitations placed upon them by those traumas. 

Looking at the calendar, it’s been just about 40 years since Nixon whupped McGovern’s unelectable butt. Let’s hope the new, revitalized Democrats get their feisty act together and hurry up on their way to the promised land.

Tentative Guest List: Sept 17th, October 1 & 15th

This Friday the 17th, my guest will be D.B. Grady. He’s an Afghanistan vet, ex-special forces, a contributor to The ATLANTIC and a published author (of a book I really enjoyed). The show will be open forum, so the conversation will be wide-ranging. I hope you’ll join us for what could be a rolicking show.

Friday the 30th 1st, my guest is Dr. Hui Zheng. Dr. Zheng is Director of the Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center.We’ll discuss the history of Baylor, its current mission, and look at the work going on now and the funding that;s required to keep this great institution going.

October 15th, Friday: My scheduled guest will be Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General Barbara Ann Radnovsky. Less than 3 weeks before election day, this should be an interesting inteview. In the interests of equal time, her Republican opponent has also been invited to appear. I’ll let you all know of any response.

AND REMEMBER: We’re still giving away $25 dinner certificates to callers. Just tune in and learn how you can get yours!

Decide To Vote (Commentary, 9/10/2010)

The election season officially kicked off this past Labor Day. Looking forward to election day, I have an anecdote.

When I worked in a photo lab many years ago, I was in process control. I would run test strips and chart the results. If a process looked like it was running outside of limits, I had to make a decision.

Here were the choices I was taught:

  1. I can decide to take action.
  2. I can decide NOT to take action.
  3. I can decide to wait and see if things get better or worse.

One option I did NOT have was indecision, because indecision caused me to do nothing, and doing nothing was exactly like deciding not to act.

And that’s the lesson.

Here’s where that lesson applies: In voting.

Remember that Houston light rail – a multibillion dollar project — was approved by a majority of less than 10% of the registered voters. So about 5% of us made a decision that we will all be paying for and living with for decades; probably until at least the 22nd century.

Here are some other interesting statistics.

In 1960, about 65% of eligible adults were registered to vote, and only 63% of eligible adults actually voted in the presidential election, and that was the best turnout in the past 50 years.

IN 2008, 50 years later, the number of eligible adults registered to vote has climbed to nearly 80%, but still, fewer than 57% of them actually voted for president.

So the registration numbers have improved dramatically, but the turnout numbers for presidential elections are stuck in the high 50s and low 60s, percentage-wise, for at least the past half century.

For off-year elections – like this one – turnouts are much worse: Typically in the high 30% range. And that’s the problem.

In the past decade, we’ve seen important elections totaling tens of thousands of votes decided buy a few hundred hotly contested ballots. Sometimes the difference has come down to dozens.

We can no longer be lazy on voting day and tell ourselves that our single vote doesn’t matter. It does. It might decide an election.

Now, remember at the beginning of this commentary I told you about my days in process control, and how there’s no such thing as a non-decision? Well, the same thing is true in voting.

Not bothering to vote is like voting. You’re just giving your vote to someone more motivated. Refusing to vote as a form of protest is exactly the same thing. You’re actually letting someone else decide for you.

Sometimes people tell themselves that they’re not voting FOR someone, they’re actually voting AGAINST someone else. Well, no … You’re actually voting FOR them. At least, that’s how the ballots will be counted.

Don’t tell yourself that it doesn’t matter to you who’s elected.

If you have a job or don’t, pay taxes or are retired, make minimum wage or are a salaried employee, there are all kinds of things your elected representatives do that make your life easier or harder.

And for people who tell themselves that it really doesn’t matter, because all politicians are the same and there’s no real difference between the parties? Those people need to know that there is actually a political and ideological war going on in this country today, and elections are deciding the future direction of this nation, and are literally fighting for its soul.

In business, there’s an old saying: 90% of your complaints come from 10% of your customers. That’s because anger and frustration are strong motivators, but satisfaction or indifference are not.

Remember! This election day, YOUR future is being decided. Don’t let someone else decide it for you!

Vote! Know that you participated in the choice. Before the election, try to get involved. Volunteer your time. Donate whatever money you can to a candidate of your choice or a party of your choice, whether it’s a thousand dollars or just five.

Someone else gets to choose your boss. In a democracy, elections let YOU choose your government.

The magic of getting everyone to vote is that it takes power away from motivated minorities. Usually, motivated minorities are dangerous. And in any case, you don’t want them to be the boss of you.

So vote! Vote early and avoid lines and crowds. Mail in your ballot if you have trouble getting to a polling place. Call your local party headquarters if you need a ride to a polling place. Call the Harris County Clerk for information on absentee voting.

I’ll put some information up on my website within the next few days I’ve created a new page for this information to make it easier to find. Click on the “Political Information and Resources” tab.  I’ve added links to various voting information organizations and political parties there.

Remember that anything you do on voting day equals a decision. Decide to vote.

GUESTS ON UPCOMING SHOWS

On our next show (September 10, Friday) my scheduled guest is Julie Barrett, one of the organizers of FenCon VII at Crowne Plaza North Dallas – Addison, Texas the weekend of September 17th-19th. If you’ve never been to a science fiction convention and have either thought about it or wondered about it, this could be a fun show for you.

October 15th, Friday: My scheduled guest will be Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General Barbara Ann Radnovsky. Less than 3 weeks before election day, this should be an interesting inteview. In the interests of equal time, her Republican opponent has also been invited to appear. I’ll let you all know of any response.

Keep listening and visiting,

Mike

ThinkWing Radio with Mike Honig Moving to New Day & Time

A reminder that ThinkWing Radio with Mike Honig is moving to a new day and time!

Beginning on September 10th, the show will be broadcast on Fridays from 1-2PM (Central Time) on Talk650 Powered by CBS. You can also listen live online on your computer at www.650Houston.com.

For loyal listeners who cannot listen at this time, write to me and upon request I’ll try to send MP3 files of the show to you.

Please tell family and friends who might be interested about the us, and how and when to listen. I’d love to hear from you, so call into the show or write to me.

Thanks for listening!

Mike

How To Get Files of Shows

Hey all,

I’ve had requests for streaming audio of past shows, but unfortunately haven’t worked that out yet.

If any of you wish to hear past programs, I can arrange for you to download files if I have your email address.

Thanks for listening!

Mike