MS-13

Donald Trump references an international gang as the reason to secure the southern United States border. He claims the porous border allows members of this gang to enter the country at will.

The refugees trying to enter through the southern border are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. MS-13 dominate these countries. The refugees are fleeing the violence of this gang and the inability of their country’s leaders to deal with the gang.

I guess the question then is why is MS-13 so entrenched in these countries? Well, in the 1980s, Salvadoran immigrants to the US during their civil wars ended up in Los Angeles. In protecting their people from the American gangs, they created their own who were deported to El Salvador. Weak governments were unable to control the gangs who consolidated into MS-13. In a nutshell, though, MS-13 was created in the US and exported to Central America where it has become a disaster and is coming back to hit us in the face. The sad part to me is that President Trump is all about deporting every member of MS-13 when deportation is what made them so powerful.

The United States is probably not a good place for refugees to come as MS-13 has a strong presence here. In fearing sons being recruited in CA, coming to the USA means they will be recruited here. MS-13 is also allied with the Sinaloa cartel, whose territory is along much of Mexico near the border with the USA, so staying in the camps outside the USA means facing the risk of MS-13 finding you there too.

Wonder if the United Nations considers the issue bad enough that they might get to go to places which are not in North or Central America?

Resolved

Yesterday was the 100th day of the year, so I figured I would figure out my progress with those pesky resolutions.

  1. Complete unfinished novel series. I finished the Harry Potter series. I am simultaneously working on the Sword of Truth and Ender series. The Shadow Rising was such an awful book I gave up on the whole series. Maybe I will replace it with Foundation? At 4 of 14 done and two in progress, I am at better than 34.2% done. I should be at 27.4%. Ahead of the game is where I like to be.
  2. Complete the first 25 of the BBC The Big Read Top 100 (from 2003). So far I have only finished both Pride & Prejudice and Great Expectations. Jane Eyre slowed me down as a horribly difficult book to care reading. Catch-22 is going pretty well. I figure I am about 18.2% done, so I really need to pick up the pace.
  3. Welcome to Lowndesville
    Welcome to Lowndesville in SC
  4. No more complaining about Blackboard, Inc. Miserable failure so far. Of course, it has been a tough hundred days. Of course there were tough deadlines given with difficult challenges, which I overcame with tremendous local expertise.
  5. Attend more social events when invited. I have. I only skipped one because I did not feel like being social. Probably a new record for me?
  6. Go away more. Last month I took a random driving trip and ended up in South Carolina (where I snagged the Lowndesville photo). I guess because I took no trips like that last year, that makes me already successful. A few more should really make this successful.

Please Do Not Walk on Dunes


PLEASE DO NOT WALK ON DUNES

Originally uploaded by Ezra S F

This is a dune next to the drive to the eastern beach area of Fort Clinch State Park on the north end of Amelia Island. Florida’s obsession with people staying off the dunes amuses me.

The two beaches I usually visit are Jekyll Island in Georgia and Mexico Beach in Florida. Jekyll has lots of rocks where the dunes ought to be as protection for their eroding north end. It does still have some smallish dunes on the south end. Mexico Beach trucks in tons and tons of sand to rebuild their dunes after each hurricane strike. This two plus story one feels like what a beach should be.

My favorite dunes are the gypsum ones at White Sands National Monument. We were encouraged to walk on the dunes. My second favorite was the Cumberland Island dune which was the biggest I’ve ever climbed.

‘Dillo

'Dilla Hunt I was able to get within about seven feet of this armadillo. Apparently my calm approach while its back was to me presented no concern. Mom a couple hundred feet away talking loudly to Nannie about me was enough to get some attention.

We were outside Fort Clinch State Park down in the moat. When I walked away, he ran away as fast as he could. Guess I was scary.

2011 Resolutions

My resolutions for 2010 involved a lot of reading, improving my cooking repertoire, improving my photography repertoire, and having fun in the present. In goal accounting for 2010, 2 were successful and 2 not. Except for the reading goal, the other three were well outside my comfort zone.  I forgot my statement for the resolutions in 2009.

Useful resolutions to me are things I realistically can and will accomplish applying moderate effort. Making too hard of a challenge will result in giving up too quickly. Making too easy of a challenge will result in doing something I would do anyway.

The successful resolutions only required moderate effort. The failures required me to move outside my comfort zone. So for 2011, I ought to come up with some resolutions more encouraging my strengths than discouraging for likely failures.

  1. Complete unfinished novel series. In 2007 I started several novel series, but the 2008 and 2009 resolutions conspired to make these books less than ideal. I made it to book 4 of Harry Potter, book 4 of the Wheel of Time, book 7 of the Sword of Truth. It is time I finished off these series. Especially to move on to start others.
    • Harry Potter books 4-7 (4)
    • Wheel of Time books 4-13 (#14 due early 2012) Number four was unbearable. Giving up this series.
    • Sword of Truth books 9-11 (3)
    • Ender books 4, 6-11 (7)
    • Total: 24 14
  2. Complete the first 25 of the BBC The Big Read Top 100 (from 2003). This the real list, not the Internet Meme one which has been passed around for years and multiply modified in the process. The list is:
    1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    2. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
    3. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
    4. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
    5. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
    6. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
    7. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
    8. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
    9. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
    10. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
    11. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
    12. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
    13. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
    14. Total: 13
  3. No more complaining about Blackboard, Inc. Too many of my blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook updates are about Blackboard. Most of that is negative. Going forward it needs to be positive or constructive. There are lots I dislike about the company and products but to little productive effect.
  4. Attend more social events when invited. All too often I listen to the butterflies in my stomach and stay home. In 2010 I did better than normal at attending parties, potlucks, etc. Seems like I went to about 50% of them when I did not have a conflict.
  5. Go away more. Almost of all of my out-of-town trips in 2010 were all back to visit family. I need to get out more and do something fun. So much stuff to do when I am sitting at home on my recliner.

There are some other intentions like praying and learning the Baha’i Writings, being available for helping Mom, getting healthier, try dating, etc. Instead of making a resolution, I’ll just try to keep them in mind.

Followup

Jekyll and Okefenokee

Facing the Cold Wind
Facing the Cold Wind

The wind plus cold was quite chilly indeed. This probably explains why I only saw one other person on the beach who was much more bundled up than myself.

The next two photos are of birds in flight at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight
Egret in Flight
Egret in Flight