Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Arizona's Law

As these words are written, Arizona law 1070 is before the United States Supreme Court. This is the Arizona law that requires all police to check with federal officials if they suspect that someone is in the country illegally. You would think, with all the talk about illegal immigrants that this would be a logical move. It would increase the number of those enforcing the immigration law by a large factor. However, it would seem that this current Administration does not want to know who is here illegally. President Obama has fought this law tooth and nail. Now it is before the court of last resort, the U.S. Supreme Court.
Supreme Court justices took a dim view of the Obama administration’s claim that it can stop the State of Arizona from enforcing immigration laws, telling government lawyers during oral argument Wednesday that the state appears to want to push federal officials to carry out the law, not conflict with them.
The court was hearing arguments on Arizona’s immigration crackdown law, which requires police to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, and would also write new state penalties for illegal immigrants who try to apply for jobs.
The Obama administration has sued, arguing that those provisions conflict with the federal government’s role in setting immigration policy, but justices on both sides of the aisle struggled to understand that argument.
“It seems to me the federal government just doesn’t want to know who’s here illegally,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said at one point in the proceeding.
The Arizona law in question requires all Arizona police to check with federal officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. There can be no stops simply to check status, but if there is a stop due to another violation of the law, immigration status can be checked. The government argues that this is OK when it’s on a limited basis, but said having a state mandate for all of its law enforcement is essentially a method of trying to force the federal government to change its priorities.
Many are protesting the possible passage of this law stating, in effect, that illegal immigrants have as much right to live in the United States as legal citizens. In fact one of Time Magazine's Top 100 most influential people in the world is an undocumented alien (read illegal immigrant). In spite of what amounts to a confession of her status, this administration is doing nothing to address this issue. Makes you wonder about President Obama's promise in 2008 to "support and defend the Constitution and enforce the laws of the land."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Step Back In Time

Apple IPad - a newsroom in a box

El Paso - In certain circumstances a casual stroll through the woods can get you captured or killed. Certain skills that are learned in these environments are not acceptable in polite society. It is a world at war.
It seems like only yesterday, but 35 years ago, I was an Infantry officer who spent more time in the jungle than in garrison. In those days a week or more in the boonies was no big deal; sleeping on the ground was not a hardship, but actually rather confortable. Now, at my advanced age, I am being asked to go to the field once again, though this time, not as a leader but as a follower, an embedded reporter with an Infantry unit.
Three decades ago, reporters with military units filed stories when they returned to garrison. It was the nightmare of every young Infantry officer, to have a reporter dogging your footsteps, revealing to the world the decisions you made, good or bad. Now reporters can actually file stories, almost in real time, from the field using the Internet. Now, rather than being under the microscope, I'll be putting someone else in the spotlight. How times have changed.
Technology has progressed so far and so fast that using an IPad you can take photos, edit them, write the story and file it from wherever you may be. It is really an age of electronic miracles, at least it can be. Of course, there are drawbacks, such as the ever lessening privacy that we all have to endure. Nothing can happen without someone pulling out a camera phone and videoing every nuance of any given situation.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Another Piece of History Gone

The former apartment and office of John Wesley Hardin

EL PASO, Texas -- As these words are written the once white gleaming walls of the building where attorney and fast gun John Wesley Hardin had his apartment and his office are collapsed in on themselves. The second and third floors of one of the most historic buildings in El Paso is a burned out ruin. In minutes, a large chunk of El Paso history is ashes.
The well known building, located at the intersection of San Antonio Ave. and S. El Paso Street and directly across the street of the Camino Real Hotel, went up in flames shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Eventually, more than 100 firefighters were called to the scene where heavy smoke and flames could be seen shooting out of the first floor windows. From the apparent ignition point on the first floor, the fire soon spread to the second and third floors.
The fire raged for hours, eventually destroying the historic old building to the point that the structural integrity is in doubt. The top two floors were knocked down by firefighters to both help control the blaze and keep the building from collapsing.
An official cause for the fire had not yet been determined, but fire investigators are working to try and figure out how and why the fire broke out and spread so rapidly. As of Saturday, both San Antonio Avenue and South El Paso Street are both still blocked by barricades. There is still a police presence as of Saturday evening to ensure that no one goes in or near the building.
Another historic piece of El Paso is a thing of the past. It is sad that a town known as the gateway to the old west is allowed to literally crumble while City leaders argue over who among El Paso's first families gets the next tax abatement to built a new hotel or open a new business. El Paso could rival or even surpass San Antonio in regard to history but not at the rate we are losing it. Too bad, so sad!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Future of Broadcasting

Vincent Brisebois, Steve Wozniak and Robert Legato

What do film maker James Cameron, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Cinematographer Robert Legato and bloggers and broadcasters from around the world have in common? They are all looking toward the future of the world of film making, broadcasting and information dissemination in general.
Every year, broadcasters, film makers, cinematographers, actors and would be actors from around the world gather in Las Vegas, Nevada for the National Association of Broadcasters' annual convention. It is at this meeting that the cutting edge in technology is revealed to the world. For 2012, James Cameron revealed his new 5D process which will make the old 3-D glasses obsolete. Steve Wozniak, formerly of Apple and now chief scientist for Fusion-io revealed the new computer card that has more internal memory than most hard drives. One of these $2,400.00 cards in a computer will take it to the very edge of current hardware technology.
The Las Vegas Convention Center covers an area equivalent to four footballs and every square inch was filled with some of the most sophisticated equipment in the industry. There was such an overflow of displays and meetings that a portion of the conference was set up in the Las Vegas Hotel (formerly the Hilton) next door. Every item the attendee had ever heard of in the world of broadcasting could be found here. Every type of camera, for the amateur to the ultimate professional could be found at one of the hundreds of booths as well as a broad array of the newest in the way of lenses and attachments. This conference had something for everyone.
In addition to equipment, there were dozens of classes covering all aspects of the broadcast world from print to the state of the art satellite programming. Adobe conducted an entire block of classes revolving around production and post production that was considered so valuable that it was actually guarded by a team of security guards. Only those with the correct passes were allowed to enter. This was also the venue for the announcement of the release of Adobe's newest products.
For those who were suffering from information overload in regard to software and hardware, there also numerous personalities to be met, from the Titanic's James Cameron to Betty White to Emmanuel Lewis (Webster), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Corbin Benson (Psych). What takes place at these meetings can truly change the electronic world. This is the time and place broadcasters from around the world get together to discuss the future of when, where and how we all get our news and entertainment.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Heroes Fall

Heroes falter and fall before the
 ladies of the night in Colombia                                                                                                 
By Ken Hudnall
EL PASO -- Prostitution is routinely accepted as part of the culture in the third world countries of the southern hemisphere and success in that field can be a source of pride.
         In the United States, however, prostitution is still shunned and often associated with scandal, which is why a successful high-priced Colombian prostitute has landed on the front pages of major American newspapers.
         In this bizarre situation, the local customs of Colombia, vis-à-vis, sex and prostitution have become intertwined with the customs and practices of the United States Secret Service.
         So now the extra- curricular sexual practices of various senior Secret Service agents are the subject of hearings in the U.S. Congress. The twists and turns of this tale make an interesting story.
         When the President of the United States travels overseas, an advance team comprised of Secret Service agents and members of the U.S. military are sent ahead of the President to make sure that it is safe for him to travel to that part of the world. That is the official function of these teams. The advance-team agents carry with them the glamour and mystique of the Secret Service that has become a part of our society based on history and depicted in movies and books. As a result of this mystique these agents are viewed as larger than life and somehow better than the rest of us, so when they stumble, so to speak, it is a major shock to the American sense of values.
         These agents are men like the rest of us, with the same weaknesses and flaws as the rest of us. However, their judgment is expected to be beyond reproach, since their judgment can affect the safety of the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States. To become involved with a prostitute and then let the situation play out in world headlines shows not only a lack of judgment, but also a complete disregard of their status as representatives of the President of the United States.
         In final analysis, what happened was not a crime in Colombia and is something that most, if not all, of the congressmen who want to sit in judgment have been guilty of at one time or another. However, these agents brought disgrace not only on the service but also the country they serve.
         It is a sad thing for any culture when its heroes turn out to be just ordinary human beings and that is at the crux of the uproar over the trials and tribulations of a Colombian hooker.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Out Of This World Story

After 65 years, events at Roswell, NM, still evoke thoughts of extraterrestrials

An illustration of the incident can be found at the Roswell UFO Museum. (Courtesy of Roswell UFO Museum)
An illustration of the incident can be found at the Roswell UFO Museum. (Courtesy of Roswell UFO Museum)
EL PASO – Rapidly moving and unusually powerful storms do hit the southwest of United States from time to time and one of them struck near Roswell, NM, in the late hours of July 4, 1947.
An aerial craft of unknown design was attempting to cross a rather desolate area some 75 miles northwest of Roswell when it was hit by a powerful bolt of lightning, according to witnesses, and crashed. So began a series of events that have had repercussions to this day.
Interview with Julie Schuster, Director of the Roswell UFO Museum
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It should be noted that neither the craft nor the crash went unnoticed. Rancher Mac Brazel heard a loud noise different from the normal sounds of thunder. Two nuns at St. Mary’s Hospital in Roswell saw what they believed was an airplane crash in the distance. The tower at Roswell Army Airfield tracked the flight of the object and reported a “descending flash.” However, at the time no one knew just what had taken place.
The morning of July 5, 1947 Brazel went for the morning inspection of his range. Riding with him was his neighbor’s seven-year-old son, Dee Proctor. To his shock, they came upon a debris field 300 hundred yards wide and ¾ of a mile long. Brazel and his young helper dismounted and began to collect some of the smaller pieces of wreckage and soon filled a sack with what were described as strange pieces of metal.
The following morning Brazel went to see Sheriff George A. Wilcox in Roswell and made him aware of what had taken place. Wilcox, realizing he was out of his depth placed a call to the commander of Roswell Army Airfield, Colonel Blanchard who in turn alerted the base intelligence officer, Major Jesse Marcel. Marcel took a military sedan and followed Brazel out to his ranch. In 1947 over the primitive roads that crisscrossed the area, this was an all day trip so Marcel spent the night at Brazel’s ranch and on July 7, began the initial investigation of the crash site.
Marcel and Brazel spent the morning investigating the debris field and Marcel loaded his car with the strange material found at the site before leaving for town. Before returning to base, Marcel stopped by his home and his 11-year-old son Jesse Marcel, Jr. had the opportunity to handle the odd metal. Later Marcel showed his boss Colonel William Blanchard what he had found.
The military moved fast because the same day, July 7th Glenn Dennis, a local mortician got a call from Roswell Army Airfield asking about the number of child size caskets he had in stock and how soon he could get more. He was also asked how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the weather. He answered questions as best as he could.
Later than day Dennis took an airman who had been riding a motorcycle and struck a cattle trick to the base hospital and at the emergency entrance saw an ambulance containing some strange items. Curious, Dennis went into the base hospital to see a nurse friend. She reacted strangely and told him to get out of there immediately. On the way out of the hospital he was stopped by military police and told he would die if he told anyone what he had seen.
The next day, July 8, 1947, Blanchard instructed 1st Lieutenant Walter Haut to issue a press release about recovering a flying saucer. At 2 p.m. the press release was issued and the world went nuts. The press release was later labeled a hoax by higher headquarters. That same day Colonel Blanchard sent Marcel and some of the debris to report to General Roger Ramey in Ft. Worth. Ramey had the debris spread out on the floor, sent Marcel out of the room and when he returned the debris he had brought had been replaced with pieces of a weather balloon.
Ramey ordered Marcel not to say a word, called in reporters and told them the weather balloon had been misidentified as a flying saucer.
At the same time, Brazel was held in custody by the military at Roswell and was “convinced” to modify his story to support the crashed weather balloon story. Brazel was not released until the afternoon of July 12th having been held in solitary for three days. Dennis met his nurse friend who drew him pictures of what he had seen on the examining table – a big-eyed alien. She had written down everything she could about what she had seen and heard. Shortly after this meeting, the next day, she was transferred to England and was then reported as having died. Ramey issued a press release to the Associated Press saying that the saucer story was just a weather balloon.
So ended the story of the alien crash at Roswell.
However, in the early 1990’s Stanton Friedman, a well-known UFO researcher and a nuclear physicist became aware of the story and began to investigate. The result was to become one of the best-known UFO events in the world.
Haut and Dennis opened the UFO museum and study center in Roswell. Every July 4 there is a UFO celebration in Roswell and the town is overwhelmed with visitors. This past year the UFO museum reported that more 150,000 persons visited the center, which have been so highly rated that NASA is in the process of lending it numerous artifacts that are integral parts of the history of man’s travels into space.
Did a flying saucer crash just outside of Roswell, New Mexico on July 4, 1947? Has our government conducted a cover up of the real facts for the last 65 years? The jury is still out, but if you have any interest in the question you should go to Roswell and visit the UFO Museum and Study Center.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Day

Well this semester is winding down and it has been interesting. Having been sent back to school to learn how to create videos has resulted in a number of new markets for my writing as well as several offers that I did not anticipate for employment and a number of requests that I speak at various events. I guess it is true that when it rains it pours. Beginning in late May I will be submitting a new story each week to Borderzine Magazine as well as a number of new publications and working on a short movie. Life is definitely getting interesting.
Till next time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We Were Not The First

The first story that I wrote that appeared at was the following.

Did Europeans settle in the Arizona desert thousands of years before Columbus sailed to America?

Engraved on the cross found in the Arizona desert c.1922 is the tale that after landing on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Romans marched northwest until they arrived at a desert area near present day Tucson. (Photo from the Desert Magazine, December 1980.)
Engraved on the cross found in the Arizona desert c.1922 is the tale that after landing on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Romans marched northwest until they arrived at a desert area near present day Tucson. (Photo from the Desert Magazine, December 1980.)
EL PASO – In our modern world we tend to think of stories of pygmies and giants, dragons and the wee people, hidden treasures and mysterious lost cities as fairy tales and bedtime stories, but these yarns have roots deep in the distant history of the American Southwest.
Almost 500 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, Leif Ericson explored the land west of Greenland and established a small settlement. More than 300 years before Columbus landed in Santo Domingo in 1492, a Welsh explorer navigated up Alabama’s Mobile Bay and established European styled fortifications and settlements as far north as the Ohio Valley.
But perhaps even they weren’t the first to come to the new world. Roman Christians may have established a colony on the outskirts of what is now Tucson, Arizona as far back as 775 A.D. Unfortunately, mainstream archeology and academia have dismissed these discoveries as either hoaxes or simply as unworthy of discussion. However, to their chagrin, such unusual discoveries continue to be made.
It might be hard to understand that there have been discoveries that would change the history books and our concept of ancient history, but established academia has gone out of its way to suppress such discoveries. There have been dozens of discoveries that make it very clear that there was once a relatively advanced civilization occupying North America of which only bare remnants remain.
When the European explorers landed on the eastern shores of this great land, they believed that it was untouched by man. Then the explorers met the scattered Indian tribes that inhabited the east. Most of the tribes in North America were small and ill prepared for the arrival of one of the greatest scourges of the old world – the religious zealot. The Conquistadors were bringing the word of God to the heathen of the New World whether they wanted it or not.
The arrival of the Spanish was not an accident; there was a legal basis for their move to the new world. In 1095, at the beginning of the Crusades, Pope Urban II issued an edict, referred to as a Papal Bull.
The first of these Papal edicts affecting the new world was called Terra Nullius (meaning empty land). This Bull gave the kings and princes of Europe the right to “discover” or claim land in non-Christian areas. This policy was further extended in the year 1452 when Pope Nicholas V issued a Papal Bull entitled Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world and authorizing the conquest of their nations and territories.
These religious edicts treated non-Christians as uncivilized sub-humans, and therefore without rights to any land or nation. Christian leaders claimed a God-given right to take control of all lands and used these Papal Edicts to justify war, colonization, and even slavery of the people living in the conquered lands.
As detailed by Rick Osmon in Graves of the Golden Bear: Ancient Fortresses and Monuments of the Ohio Valley, by the time Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, this idea, which was referred to as the Doctrine of Discovery, was a well-established concept.
The Spanish, acting on the assumption that there were no previous civilizations existing on the North American continent, rushed in to claim the “empty lands” granted them by the Papal Bulls. In spite of contemporary tales of others finding the new world, the Catholic Church through its major sponsors at the time, the Spanish court and the Jesuit brotherhood, were able to ensure that history would show that Christopher Columbus was the first to find the new world. Spain was his sponsor, and thus Spain was due a legal and rightful claim to the entire New World, including all riches and human slaves that could be found there.
However, during the initial exploration, to their chagrin, there were signs that there had been a pre-existing civilization. There was even evidence that there had been a pre-existing “Christian” civilization in North America. This fact, alone, if proven, would have thrown the ownership of this great land up for grabs as the Papal Bulls would not have applied to the new world.
Under the instructions of their religious “advisors,” the Spanish moved to eradicate the evidence of earlier settlements, thus making the new world safe for conquest.
Roman legions in Arizona
There is evidence that in 775 A.D. a fleet of ships carrying 700 Christianized Romans left the Roman Empire under the command of Theodorus the Renowned bound for the New World. The information regarding this colonial effort comes from an engraved cross that was unearthed near present day Tucson, Arizona.
According to the story engraved on the cross, after a landing on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Romans marched northwest until, arriving at a desert area near present day Tucson, where they built a city that they called Terra Calalus. According to the records found, the colony flourished until approximately 900 A.D when the local Native American tribes that they had been oppressing for almost 125 years destroyed it.
Welsh visitors
The Romans were not the only Europeans to predate the arrival of Columbus. The Daughters of the American Revolution placed a most interesting plaque at Fort Morgan, Alabama few years ago commemorating the explorations of Prince Madoc, a brave Welsh explorer. A few historians have insisted that Prince Madoc and his followers landed on the shores of Mobile Bay in the year 1170, over 300 years before Columbus came to America.
At the unveiling of the plaque were Mrs. Mary Yale Williams, both a descendant of the Madoc family and a member of the family that founded Yale University, Hatchett Chandler, of Fort Morgan, at whose suggestion the marker was placed at the old fort and Miss Zella Armstrong of Chattanooga, author of Who Discovered America: The Amazing Story of Madoc, a book in which she concluded that Madoc was the first white discoverer of what is now the United States.
Many researchers have investigated the claim of Madoc and the 1170 date and a few have found substance in the claims. Much of the early research along this line centered on stories regarding “Welsh speaking Indians” that were purportedly of fair complexion and that used round boats built much more like Welsh coracles than like canoes. Indeed, several portraits and chronicle entries by early journalists, particularly by Meriwether Lewis and George Caitlin, appear to depict light skinned, blue-eyed people in native attire living among the Mandan tribe of the Missouri River country.
According to the story, hostile Indians killed Prince Madoc during an attack. Supporting this sad ending to the career of this brave individual was a discovery in Wales of an ancient chapel. During a renovation of this structure, a mural was found commemorating the death of Prince Madoc and in the mural the attackers were identified as feather wearing individuals who shot arrows at the Welsh explorers.
Ancient copper mines
According to the research of Philip Coppens in his work Copper: A world trade in 3000 BC? Predating even the arrival of the Welsh and the Romans, the era around 3000 BC saw more than 500,000 tons of copper mined from the so-called Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The largest mine was on Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior, near the Canadian border. Here, there are thousands of prehistoric copper pits, dug thousands of years ago by an unknown ancient people.
The mining operation on Isle Royale was neither small nor primitive even by today’s standards. The Mining Belt on Isle Royale is one and three quarter miles in length and nearly four hundred feet wide. The copper pits range from 10 to 30 feet deep with a maze of connecting tunnels that one archaeologist estimated would have taken the equivalent of 10,000 men working for 1000 years to dig.
After two centuries of speculation, no one has ever satisfactorily explained either the identity of the miners or where all of this copper mined by these unknown miners went. Dating of the relics found at the site revealed that extraction of copper from Isle Royal began in 5300 BC, with some researchers even claiming that it began as early as 6000 BC. Evidence for smelting is known to exist from “only” 4000 BC onwards.
The exact amount of the mined ore is perhaps never going to be exactly determined, but what is known is that about 1200 BC, all mining activity was halted. But around 1000 AD, mining was restarted and lasted until 1320 AD. During this period more than 2000 tons of copper ore were removed.
So clearly, there were a fairly large number of inhabitants of some sophistication living in North America over 5,000 years ago and there were a number of explorers and settlers here long before Christopher Columbus “discovered” America for the Spanish Crown.
In future articles, we will examine not only these stories but other fascinating aspects that are numbered among the many mysteries that make the Southwest United States such a fascinating part of the country.
Editor’s Note – This is the first in a series of articles that examines data showing that North America has been a crossroads for explorers from distant lands for more than a thousand years and that Europeans may have actually established colonies in America long before Columbus sailed the Caribbean Sea.