The Scolai

“Just a Good Guy…With a Few Bad Habits”

Archive for December 2006

Dennis Miller on Global “Warming?”

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I’ll never forget sitting in my 5th grade classroom (1974) and watching a man cross country skiing through Los Angelus. It was part of a documentary on “The Coming Ice Age.” That bit of fiction was probably produced by the parents of today’s Green Party/Global Warming Alarmist twits. Thanks to Dennis Miller for ambushing NBC with this information. Too bad the only place they showed it was on Jay Leno.

This post is dedicated to “The Princess” and “Rusin the Elder” I know that they are both smarter than the views they now espouse.

Scolai

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December 31, 2006 at 7:29 am

One side of a Conversation

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“True beauty is always known. First thing in the morning, middle of the day, last thing at night, it doesn’t matter, when you see it, you know it.” 

“I can afford to be patient. Sooner or later your curiosity will get the better of you, and when that happens, it’ll be like a dam breaking.” 

 “Perception without Reality is a fool’s game. If you’re going to catch hell for something, at least let it be for something you did, and not something you just thought about doing.” 

  “I’ll admit I’ve had visions of tossing you around like a cat toy; at least you know I’m not gay. But to be completely truthful, if I ever put my hands on you in a non platonic way I’d probably faint.” 

 “Yeah, I know, I need a breathalyzer attached to the keypad lock on my phone.”

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December 30, 2006 at 11:49 pm

Posted in Blogroll, Scolai

Global Warming

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GREAT Article. This must be giving Algore fits! Too bad you won’t see it in the mainstream media. Scolai 

Special Report
Sealing the Fate of
Antarctica

By Patrick J. Michaels
Published 12/20/2006 12:07:02 AM
The scare du jour on global warming is a massive inundation of our coast caused by rapid loss of ice from
Antarctica. It’s a core point in Al Gore’s science fiction movie, and it continues to be thumped by doomsayers around the world, in the echo chamber of the alarmist media. It’s also a bunch of hooey.
If you could take the boredom, you could have read hundreds of news stories on this since An Inconvenient Truth debuted on May 25. But you’ll find very little mention of a paper that appeared a mere six weeks later, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which should have stopped the whole show cold. The work is by Brenda Hall from the University of
Maine and several co-authors.

First, Gore’s science fiction. Due to the warming of the surrounding ocean, big ice-shelves begin to crack off and float away. Because that ice is floating, it doesn’t raise sea level a bit. But then the ice cracks all the way back to where it is grounded on the ocean floor. That stuff isn’t floating and the ocean rises dramatically, some twenty feet in a hundred years. Much of
Manhattan, the movie suggests, is under water, along with just about every other coastal city.

Now, the truth. The notion that this is going to happen soon has just been fatally harpooned by giant Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonine). They generally hang out a long distance form
Antarctica. Most of their breeding rookeries are a good 2,000 miles away on islands in the open ocean, where they feed. Most of the Antarctic coast is hemmed by huge ice shelves that prevent them from finding food.

But that wasn’t always the case. According to Hall’s paper, a large area of the Antarctic coast was ice-free between 1,100 and 2,300 years ago. Elephant seals established multiple rookeries on the continent. Temperatures had to be much warmer than they are today, for at least 1,200 years, and yet there was no disintegration of the large ice shelves. Hall et al. then noted another similar period, almost twice as long, from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago.

The warm millennium ended as the world’s temperature descended from what scientists call the “Medieval Warm Period” into the “Little Ice Age.”
Antarctica has yet to fully recover from this last period, as temperatures averaged across the continent actually showed a net cooling in the last three decades.

Hall studied ancient Antarctic beaches, which could only contain relics of large numbers of elephant seals if there were open water. Others have examined extinct penguin rookeries and found that those happily footed birds tended to be absent when the seals were present. That’s because penguins feed along the edges of sea-ice, so if there isn’t any, there aren’t any birds.

Of course this also means, even as temperatures warm to degrees seen for more than half of the last six millennia, that penguins will be displaced from their current rookeries. The horror of natural climate variability! Cute little penguins driven from their homes by cruel Mother Nature!!

Hall et al. give a quantitative perspective on today’s climate. Current thinking is that the Antarctic ice shelves become susceptible to rapid breakup when the January (Summer) temperature averages about -1.5 degrees Celsius But the seals only thrive, according to the paper, “when the mean January temperature exceeds 0 [degrees] C, usually by considerable margins.”

So Hall and her colleagues conclude that “January temperatures…surpassed the -1.5 [degrees] C threshold during two long periods at ~1,000-2,300 and 4,000-6,000 years b.p. [before present].”

George Denton, one of Hall’s
University of
Maine colleagues and coauthors, summed it up in the school’s U Maine Today Magazine: “Through her discovery of elephant seal remains over a widespread area where they do not exist today, she [Hall] shows evidence not only that a warming occurred, but that the
Ross Ice Shelf survived that event. It’s important because it speaks to the staying capacity of the ice shelf in the face of global warming.”

Stories about an imminent collapse of Antarctic ice shelves can go back to the science fiction shelves, where they belonged all along.

For that matter, so can this whole apocalyptic myth. If Antarctic ice remained stable for thousands of years with temperatures considerably warmer than they are today, how in the world are we going to provoke a catastrophe? Among other things, we will still have to be powering our society on fossil fuels in the year 4,100.

Patrick J. Michaels is Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute and author of Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media

Written by thescolai

December 30, 2006 at 4:57 am

Michigan

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“….But I’m a Michigan boy can you feel that?”
   Tonight I was taking “The Princess” to a local ski lodge. The weather here has been exceptionally warm, but this place has continued to make snow and still has a few runs open. I was listening to a classic rock station that was playing a set of Bob Seger songs in honor of his returning to play for the hometown fans at The Palace. As we drove along, ‘The Princess” grew bored with the music and wanted to change the station. I, of course, issued an immediate veto. What came next very nearly caused me to drive off the road. “I don’t like Bob Seger” she stated, in all of her teenage arrogance. As you can guess, I was sorely tempted to pull over and make her walk the rest of the way. I thought I had raised her better than that! Instead of blistered feet, I chose to give her some history; not only of Bob, but also of some other great singers and actors to come out of “The Enchanted Mitten.” 

There is something about people who are born and raised in this state that sets them apart from the average rock star or actor. You know that those who hit the big time and come home, are going to be the same genuine, common sense, sit at the bar with the locals, kind of people they always were. They remember where they came from and are always at the forefront of local and national charitable efforts. You’ll always find a Michigander or two taking the time to go overseas to entertain and thank the members of our military for doing their part to keep us free. There are a few glaring exceptions to this rule, but I won’t waste your or my time by naming them. They don’t deserve the recognition. But I will say to one woman-rapidly approaching Norma Desmond land- who infamously stated “I just wanted to get the hell out of Michigan”, “Hey, honey, there were plenty of guys in Rochester who were happy to get the hell out of you; you pig!”


Here, for your consideration, is a partial list of Michigan boys who made it big but chose to come home to live their lives and raise their families.

Bob Seger: Family man extraordinaire. Bob stayed off the road for ten years to spend time with his kids while they were growing up.
 

  Ted Nugent: You won’t find him or his kids on a police blotter. If you’re not familiar with Ted’s opinions on any number of subjects, you probably aren’t reading this, as you probably live under a rock. (I know, he’s currently in
Texas, but he spends enough time here to qualify)
 
  

Jeff Daniels: I don’t have the time to list Jeff’s film bio, but he is probably the most under rated actor on film today. His “Purple Rose Theater Company” is a nationally respected theater group.  

 Kid Rock (aka Bob Ritchie): Love him or Hate him, He puts on the best live show of any act now touring, and never hesitates to get behind a good cause. He is a great example of hard work and what my Dad use to call G.D.S. Guts, Desire, and Stick-to-itiveness. 

Mark, Don, and Mel (Farner, Brewer, and Schacher): Grand Funk Railroad, the original “American Band.” Once at the old Olympia Stadium, they rocked so hard that Led Zeppelin had to be threatened into following them. ‘Nuff said. 

Marshall Mathers: Okay, this one could go either way. Sure he’s psychotic, but he loves his daughter. 

These are just a few of the “name” people I could list. I don’t have time to go into famous side men, or to even begin talking about the Motown guys who are still around. Yeah, there’s something a little different about “Michigan Boys”, too bad the rest of the country can’t catch it.

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December 29, 2006 at 9:59 am

Posted in Blogroll

John Kerry

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These brave men may have wound up in Iraq Senator, but they are smart enough not to break bread with a traitor.

Scolai

kerry11.jpg

Written by thescolai

December 28, 2006 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Blogroll, Iraq, John Kerry

Watches for a Man’s Man

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Expensive or not, as long as it looks good, a fine watch will catch my eye. If you are a man, forget Swatch, or any Japanese Movement drug store special. A Man’s Man needs at least two good watches.  Recently, I did an online search of my favorite brands. The following list is not meant to be inclusive, just to serve as a guide in the search for the perfect watch for the individual Man’s Man.


 For nights on the town, or special occasions, check out the following:

 1.)    Rolex. The gold standard of watches for any Man’s Man.  While I would recommend working with a reputable local Jeweler, if that is not possible, make a cursory search on E-bay and check out a seller’s reputation. I was able to find over 100 quality pieces ranging from a 1956 Stainless Steel Air King for $1,150.00, all the way up to a 2007 Platinum Diamond Masterpiece, retail price: $231,350.

  2.)   Breitling. A watch for the Man’s Man on the way up; Heavy-in a good sense-, and very nice looking. Breitling bracelet style Divers watches start around $800.00, and run all the way up to $23,500 for the beautiful Evolution Red Arrows.

  3.)   Omega. In my mind, your father’s fine time piece. Although, I am sure some will disagree with me. You can find a very nice Speed master Automatic for under $1,200.00, and continue up in price to the Deville Co-Axial Rattraparte retailing around $7,700.

  4.)   Tag Heuer. Listed below Omega due only to price, I think that the Tag carries more cache and is probably the better watch these days.Quality Tag Heuer divers watches begin at around $350.00. The CW9110 retails at just under $7,000.00.

 Note: For those who are wondering, I don’t run a Still or any other illegal side business. I don’t expect to ever own any of the above watches. I just admire their craftsmanship, and recommend them to those who can afford them without making their children eat government cheese. 

Now, we come to my area of expertise, everyday watches for blue collar guys.

  1.)    Wenger Swiss Military. My personal favorite. Ranging in price from $75.00 to $500.00, these watches look great, are very rugged, and work well in any situation.  

 2.)   Oniss. I know, you’re thinking “WHAT?” Trust me on this one. Go online and Google “Oniss”. These watches are catching on in a big way. I love a good heavy watch. Recently, I let a friend of mine try my Submarine Chronograph. His first comment was “That’s a boat anchor!” He meant it as a compliment. Priced at around $150.00, for quality and style they simply can’t be beat. 

  3.)   Timex. Old Reliable.  Although not my personal favorite, the slogan “Takes a Licking, and Keeps on Ticking” is true in spades. Ranging in price from $29.95 to just under$200.00, these watches look good and will give you many years of great service.

  Remember, these are just my personal favorites. I’m sure there are many fine watches out there that have been omitted. Find what works for you and go with it.

  Scolai

Written by thescolai

December 28, 2006 at 1:14 am

Posted in Blogroll, Men's Watches

More on the Border Patrol

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I am posting the entire dailybulletin.com account of this incident. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof should be tried for treason. If we are ever to win the war on terrorism, the Border Patrol policy book needs a major overhaul. This article will make you sick. It makes me want to scream. How did we get to the point, as a nation, that we would give full immunity and full medical care to a criminal, and prosecute two agents whose only job is to protect us from slimy bastards like Aldrete-Divila.

Anyone who has read my posts knows that I think marijuanna should be legal for personal use, but at the moment it isn’t. If you are going to make a law, ENFORCE it!  Then stand behind those who are chosen to enforce it! If there was any justice in the world, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila would have gotten two rounds behind his right ear and had his rotten carcas floated face down across the Rio Grande to the Mexican side as a warning to any other Mexican criminals that in Los Estados Unidos, laws aren’t made to be broken.

I repeat my call for President Bush to issue an immediate pardon to Agent Ramos and Agent Compean.

Scolai

Breaking the silence

Convicted border agent tells his story

By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer

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if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + “px”; document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = “0px 0px 10px 10px”; } EL PASO, Texas – Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos could hear his heart racing. He could feel the dry, hot dust burning against his skin as he chased a drug trafficker trying to flee back into Mexico.Ramos’ fellow agent, Jose Alonso Compean, was lying on the ground behind him, banged up and bloody from a scuffle with the much-bigger smuggler moments earlier.

Suddenly the smuggler turned toward the pursuing Ramos, gun in hand. Ramos, his own weapon already drawn, shot at him, though the man was able to flee into the brush and escape the agents.

Now, nearly 18 months after that violent encounter, Ramos and Compean are facing 20 years in federal prison for their actions.

Why?

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Ramos, 37, and Compean, 28, are set to be sentenced Aug. 22 for shooting Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican citizen, on Feb. 17, 2005, in the small Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles south east of El Paso.A Texas jury convicted the pair of assault with serious bodily injury; assault with a deadly weapon; discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence; and a civil rights violation. Compean and Ramos also were convicted of four counts and two counts, respectively, of obstruction of justice for not reporting that their weapons had been fired.

The jury acquitted both men of assault with intent to commit murder.

But the conviction for discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence requires a minimum 10-year prison sentence. The sentences for the other convictions vary.

On July 25, the El Paso U.S. Probation Office recommended to Judge Kathleen Cardone that each man get 20 years.

Ramos, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year, now has but one thing on his mind: What will happen to his wife and three young sons if he spends the next two decades in prison?

“It’s (with) a leap of faith and my devotion to God that me and my family will make it through this,” Ramos said as he looked at his wife, Monica, during an exclusive interview with the Daily Bulletin this past month in El Paso.

Two things were clear throughout the interview: Ramos is convinced he was simply doing his job when Aldrete-Davila was shot, and he is perplexed as to why he and his partner are being punished so severely.

IGNACIO’S STORY
Here’s Ramos’ version of what happened that day:

On Feb. 17, 2005, Compean was monitoring the south side of a levee road near the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border in Fabens when he spotted a suspicious van driving down the north end of the road. He called for backup.

Ramos headed to Fabens, where he thought he could intercept the van at one of only two roads leading in and out of the small town.

Another agent was already following the van — with Aldrete-Davila at the wheel — when Ramos arrived.

Ramos and the other agent followed the van through the center of town until it turned back toward the Rio Grande, which marks the border between Mexico and the United States. Aldrete-Davila, unable to outrun the agents, stopped his van on a levee, got out and started running. Compean was waiting for him on the other side of the levee.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos said.

Aldrete-Davila made his way through a canal, and Ramos could hear Compean yelling for Aldrete-Davila to stop, he said.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

Through the thick dust, Ramos watched as Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what appeared to be a gun.

“I shot,” he said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

Seven other agents were on the scene by that time. Compean had already picked up his shell casings. Ramos did not, though he failed to report the shooting.

“The supervisors knew that shots were fired,” Ramos said. “Since nobody was injured or hurt, we didn’t file the report. That’s the only thing I would’ve done different.”

The van later was found to have about 800 pounds of marijuana inside.

A DIFFERENT TAKE
The version of events presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office during the agents’ trial differed markedly from Ramos’.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is a violation of someone’s Fourth Amendment rights to shoot them in the back while fleeing if you don’t know who they are and/or if you don’t know they have a weapon,” said Kanof, the assistant U.S. attorney.

Ramos testified during the trial that he saw Aldrete-Davila with something “shiny” in his hand, she said, and though Ramos told the Daily Bulletin he thought it was a gun, he couldn’t be sure, she said.

Moreover, the agents “did not know who this individual was or what he had in the van,” Kanof said. “They just decided or guessed.”

She then reiterated her contention that pursuing Aldrete-Davila or anyone else fleeing border agents is not part of the Border Patrol’s job.

“Agents are not allowed to pursue. In order to exceed the speed limit, you have to get supervisor approval, and they did not,” she said.

The prosecutor also said the men destroyed the crime scene when Compean picked up his shell casings and attempted to cover up their actions by not reporting they’d fired their weapons.

PUZZLING ARGUMENT
Ramos said his pursuit of Aldrete-Davila was nothing different from what he’s done in the past 10 years as a Border Patrol agent.

“How are we supposed to follow the Border Patrol strategy of apprehending terrorists or drug smugglers if we are not supposed to pursue fleeing people?” he continued. “Everybody who’s breaking the law flees from us. What are we supposed to do? Do they want us to catch them or not?”

Ramos also said that both supervisors who were at the scene knew shots had been fired but did not file reports.

“You need to tell a supervisor because you can’t assume that a supervisor knows about it,” Kanof countered. “You have to report any discharge of a firearm.”

Mary Stillinger, Ramos’ attorney, and Maria Ramirez, Compean’s attorney, said during the trial that every other Border Patrol agent at the scene also failed to report shots had been fired.

“Every single witness has a reason to lie,” Ramirez said, referring to the immunity granted to Aldrete-Davila and the other agents in exchange for testifying against Ramos and Compean.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Table of Offenses and Penalties, failure to report that a weapon has been fired in the line of duty is punishable by a five-day suspension.

Ramos also is puzzled as to why, more than two weeks after the shooting, a Department of Homeland Security investigator — acting on a tip from a Border Patrol agent in Arizona — tracked down Aldrete-Davila in Mexico, offering him immunity if he testified against the agents who shot at him.

Why the agent tipped Homeland Security to the smuggler’s whereabouts is partly explained in a confidential Homeland Security memo obtained by the Daily Bulletin. Why the department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in El Paso pursued the matter so aggressively is less clear.

“Osbaldo (Aldrete-Davila) had told (Border Patrol agent) Rene Sanchez that his friends had told him they should put together a hunting party and go shoot some BP agents in revenge for them shooting Osbaldo,” reads a memo written by Christopher Sanchez, an investigator with the department’s Office of Inspector General. “Osbaldo advised Rene Sanchez that he told his friends he was not interested in going after the BP agents and getting in more trouble.”

Neither Rene Sanchez nor Christopher Sanchez could be reached for comment. Mike Friels, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection branch of the Department of Homeland Security, said he could not comment on the case, citing pending litigation.

BEHIND THE SCENES
In the same Homeland Security memo, Christopher Sanchez outlines how the investigation into Ramos and Compean was initiated.

On March 10, 2005, Christopher Sanchez received a telephone call from Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez of Wilcox, Ariz., who told the agent about Aldrete-Davila’s encounter with Ramos and Compean.

According to the document, Rene Sanchez stated “that Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila’s mother, Marcadia Aldrete-Davila, contacted Rene Sanchez’s mother-in-law, Gregoria Toquinto, and advised her about the BP agents shooting Aldrete-Davila. Toquinto told her son-in-law, Rene Sanchez, of the incident, and he spoke to Osbaldo via a telephone call.”

During the trial, the connection between Rene Sanchez and Aldrete-Davila confused the Ramos family, and “we questioned how an agent from Arizona would know or want to defend a drug smuggler from Mexico,” said Monica Ramos.

Kanof bristled when asked about the Rene Sanchez/Aldrete-Davila connection.

“It’s an unconscionable accusation that Sanchez is associated with a drug dealer,” she said. “Most BP agents who are Hispanic have family from Mexico. He was born in the U.S. and raised in Mexico and came back to do high school and later became an agent.”

The Ramoses also contend Aldrete-Davila’s story changed several times.

According to the memo, Aldrete-Davila told investigators the agents shot him in the buttocks when he was trying to enter the country illegally from Mexico. But according to Aldrete-Davila’s later testimony and that of the agents, he was shot after trying to evade the agents upon his re-entry into Mexico.

The memo never was disclosed to the jury.

Aldrete-Davila is suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for violating his civil rights.

MISSING HISTORY
As a Border Patrol agent, Ramos has been involved in the capture of nearly 100 drug smugglers and the seizure of untold thousands of pounds of narcotics. He also was nominated for Border Patrol Agent of the Year in March 2005, though the nomination was withdrawn after details of the Aldrete-Davila incident came out.

Ramos also had drug interdiction training from the Drug Enforcement Agency and qualified as a Task Force Officer with the Border Patrol. But Ramos’ training in narcotics — as well as the numerous credentials he had received for taking Border Patrol field training classes — was not admissible during the trial, he said.

“My husband is a good man, a loving father, and his devotion to his country and his job is undeniable,” Monica Ramos said. “Prosecutors treated the drug smuggler like an innocent victim, refusing to allow testimony that would have helped my husband. The smuggler was given immunity. My husband is facing a life in prison.

“It’s so frightening, it doesn’t seem real.”

The El Paso Sheriff’s Department has met with the Ramos family to discuss continued threats against them from people they believe to be associated with Aldrete-Davila. The sheriff’s department also has increased patrols around the family’s home.

The only other organization that has responded to the Ramoses thus far, Monica Ramos said, is the Chino-based nonprofit group Friends of the Border Patrol, chaired by Andy Ramirez.

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen,” Ramirez said. “This drug smuggler has fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you.”

TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing border agents, said the Border Patrol’s official pursuit policy handcuffs agents in the field. He also sees the prosecution of Ramos and Compean as part of a larger effort by the federal government.

“The pursuit policy has negatively affected the Border Patrol’s mission as well as public safety. Part of that mission is to stop terrorists and drug smugglers,” Bonner said. “They could be smuggling Osama bin Laden, drugs, illegal aliens, or it could have been just some drunk teenager out on a joyride. You don’t know until you stop them.”

“The administration is trying to intimidate front-line agents from doing their job,” he added. “If they can’t do it administratively, they’ll do it with trumped-up criminal charges.

“Moreover, the specter of improprieties in the prosecution of this case raises serious concerns that demand an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation.”

COUNTING THE DAYS
About a week ago, feeling little hope, Joe Loya, Monica Ramos’ father, took the family on what will be Ignacio Ramos’ last fishing trip with his sons before he is sentenced.

“What kind of justice is this?” Loya asked. “What kind of nation do we live in when the word of a smuggler means more than the word of a just man?”

Monica Ramos says her hardest day is yet to come — the day the authorities take her husband away.

“We just guard (our children’s) hearts right now,” Monica Ramos said. “I think about the last time he’ll hug them as children, and maybe not get the chance to hug them again until they are grown men.”

The sons are between 6 and 13 years old.

Ignacio Ramos was, if anything, even more emotional.

“Less than a month left with my family,” he said, his voice choking, as though the air had been pulled from his lungs. “My sons,” he whispered. Then silence.

It took several minutes for Ramos to summon more words. “All I think about at night is the day I have to leave my family. I can’t sleep. I’ve always been with them.”

Then he talked about the memories he would never have, “their first dates, high school graduation, sports,” and the tears falling from his eyes were mirrored only by those of his wife, who took his hand into hers.

Written by thescolai

December 27, 2006 at 5:53 am