May 2006

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I listen to sports talk radio most of the day. Since the President’s immigration speech, they’ve been playing a U.S. Border Patrol recruitment ad roughly eighty times per hour. Its frequent repetition is alarming (as if the barbarians are at the gates) and reminds me of the recruitment ads in “Starship Troopers.” Join the Border Patrol! Great Career! Serve your Country! Save the World! As a sidenote, has anyone noticed that more and more radio/TV ads look and sound like the mock ads in movies like “Robocop”?

Anyway, I hate these illegal immigrants, coming into this country and stealing our best jobs, like dishwasher and day laborer. Many solutions to this scourge have been proposed but my favorite is the Great Wall of America. I want to build that wall! But wait…

Who are these illegal immigrants? Are they terrorists? Well, everyone agrees the southern border poses a serious security problem but something tells me this hatred of illegal immigrants flows from a different tap. In any case, what do we know about these people? We know they traveled hundreds or thousands of miles from all over Central and South America. They crossed at least one desert, at least one big river and who knows what other natural obstacles. They eluded or survived the human coyotes before they eluded our Border Patrol. And then they found jobs and worked very hard so they could wire money home to their families.

Okay, okay, I must concede these illegal immigrants have some good qualities — perseverance, gumption, industry. Each is a veritable Horatio Alger story in progress. Nevertheless, they are lawbreakers and I suppose we ought to deport them. Yet their saga gives me an idea, a solution to this whole immigration mess.

I propose we deport the entire population of the United States — illegal immigrants, legal immigrants and citizens — to South America. Each person will get $100 and the hopes and prayers of the nation. Then everyone will be given two years to find their way back to their homes. Kind of like “The Amazing Race” but on a really, really big scale.

When the two years are up, we build the Great Wall of America. It’s that simple. Sure, it’s not going to be a popular plan for the elderly and disabled. But what a great way to dump our slackers, leaches and ne’er-do-wells on the Latin Americans! I’m kind of disabled (and a slacker) myself so I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I suppose I would just slowly make my way up to Cabo and seek employment as a dishwasher at a beachfront tacorante.

In the last couple weeks, Ted, Sarah and Max have been over at my place helping me do some much-needed yard maintenance and other miscellaneous tasks. Unfortunately, I have been forgetting to take action photos. But this is a good representative shot as Ted consults with McCaffrey about setting up the lawn watering system originally designed by our water czar Dad…

Ted and the watering system.

In early 1980, a group of German businessmen arrived in Tehran. They were there to speak with the Iranians about hosting a soccer tournament. As part of their visit, they took a tour of a soccer stadium just down the street from the American embassy, where 52 Americans were still being held hostage. I imagine an awkward conversation ensuing as to whether the hostage situation — if it were to continue — would disrupt the soccer tourney. After the tour, they told the Iranians the stadium looked like a great place to host the soccer tournament.

But they were not German businessmen. They were an American CIA/Special Forces advance team. They were scouting the soccer stadium for use as a staging area in the rescue attempt that would take place in April 1980. The Delta Force rescuers would walk the hostages from the embassy to the stadium, where helicopters would transport them to an airfield on the outskirts of Tehran.

This is one of the many little stories I had hoped to include in my Iran book, and one of the stories you are likely to read in Mark Bowden’s book “Guests of the Ayatollah.” The PR blitz for Bowden’s book is starting to heat up. He’s been excerpted in The Atlantic and he did a long interview recently on NPR. I imagine the bestseller list is holding a spot for him.

I wish I had my book ready to go to so I could take advantage of the Iran buzz. I have only myself to blame, of course, but it still bums me out.

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