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Situational Awareness: Immigrants, LeBron, al Qaeda

by Bruce Haring

THE IMMIGRANT SONG: As thousands of people pile up in US detention centers, President Obama and Congress appear at a stalemate regarding the President’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to deal with the border crisis. Enterprising Republicans point out that the money, a large amount of which is designated for attorneys and judicial processing, would buy a first class airline ticket for each person who entered the country. A potential compromise would allow a tweak to regulations governing a law covering unaccompanied minors who arrive in the US. This would speed up their return to sender, although it’s likely to be done by bus, not airline. All aboard!

YOUNG DEPORTATIONS DROPPING: The Los Angeles Times reports that the number of immigrants under 18 deported or turned away from US ports of entry was just 1,669 last year, down from 8,143 in 2008, George W. Bush’s last full year in office. That’s according to data compiled by ICE. As a reminder, over 50,000 minors have been caught by Border Patrol agents since last fall. Evidently good news travels fast when it comes to crashing the border. The question remains: who is spreading the news and why are they doing it?

A REAL TURN-ON: Worried that al Qaeda has perfected a bomb that can elude security, passengers with direct flights to the US from overseas airports will now be required to turn on their electronic devices before boarding flights. Hopefully this will be done in a concrete bunker with just the device and the person carrying it. Of course, we are now allowing illegal immigrants to board passenger airlines using only a piece of paper given them at border detention centers. The paper is based on information provided by the immigrant and no fact-checking is used. What could possibly go wrong?

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Rockets are flying between Israel and Gaza, and the usual pointing fingers are also flying. All of this comes following the deaths of three Israeli teens and the alleged retaliatory killing of a Palestinian boy. Could this be the final showdown between Israel and the Palestinians? With the rest of the Middle East busy killing each other in various conflicts, it seems like one more bloodbath won’t have the impact it normally would. Given the popularity of nationalist celebrations seen at the World Cup, it’s only a matter of time before this conflict is organized and televised.

WALLET APP SHUNS VIOLENCE: The folks behind digital application Isis Wallet are so concerned that customers will associate them with the beheadings and mass executions of ISIS, the militants currently occupying northwest Iraq, that they’re going to change their name. They haven’t revealed the new name or set a timeline for its debut. They should probably contact the marketers behind the Ayds diet plan.

CHINA HAULS ANCHOR: The popular television anchor Rui Chenggang has been detained by Chinese prosecutors for unknown reasons. His anchor chair was left empty on China Central Television after he was detained shortly before airtime of his Economic News show, which his co-anchor presented alone. Chenggang has been linked to Guo Zhenxi, the head of state-run CCTV’s financial news channel, also detained for allegedly accepting bribes. Maybe we can get them interested in Anderson Cooper.

EBOLA SPREADING: The incurable Ebola virus is spreading throughout West Africa. “There has been a gross misjudgment across the board in gauging the severity and scale of damage the current Ebola outbreak can unleash,” the aid group Plan International warned earlier this month. Given Africa’s track record of superstition, mismanagement, corruption, squalor, and inability to maintain basic sanitation, letting them handle the crisis seems perfectly logical.

BELL SETS SPEED RECORD: Bell Labs has set an Internet speed record of 10 gigabits per second using copper wiring instead of fiber optics. No word on when your local ISP will have such abilities, but you can bet it’ll be bundled with basic cable.

LEBRON RETURNS: The world can breathe easier. LeBron James has decided that he’ll take the maximum amount of money and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, whom he shunned five years ago with his infamous TV show, The Decision. Given his ability to put everyone on the planet on edge based on his mere presence, maybe we should use him as a bargaining chip at the negotiating table the next time we talk with China.

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