Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Top 25 Online MBA Schools in the United States, 2006

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The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the most discussed degrees awarded, and every year a number of magazines rank the schools according to their qualities. These rankings make interesting reading, and give folks a good sense of what makes a good MBA program, but the rankings are usually only concerned with full-time MBA programs, which does not strike me as a proper review of the options.

Certainly, it should be understood that there is a bias among academics and certain businesses, that the ‘part-time’ MBA earned by a person who must work for a living while they pursue their degree, is somehow not a “real” MBA. And worse, there is a genuine stigma attached to “distance” MBAs among the “elite” businesses, even though some of the very best business schools have a distance MBA program, and offer the same courses to online students that they do to those attending in person, taught by the same professors using the same materials, and grading by the same high standard. I certainly believe that in time, a proper comprehension of the high standards of certain schools will remove the approbation so falsely applied to the online degree, but for now it means that the major publications simply do not bother to rank the online schools.

Just as there are thousands of ‘brick & mortar’ schools which offer MBAs, there are literally thousands of online schools promising an MBA degree. For the purposes of these rankings, I began by pulling the available data from GetEducated.com, then counting only schools which offered an MBA online, which are regionally accredited by the nominal boards, and which are AACSB accredited and members. I then weeded out those schools which, forgive me, are unlikely to be known by name outside of a close geographic region. This establishes a level of degree which will be truly available online, yet meet the demanding standards of the best-respected business school accrediting association. I then noted the total advertised cost of an MBA for a student from out-of-state and in-state, and ranked them according to those standards. I am only ranking the top 25 schools on that general measure, and in my opinion, so I recommend you examine your options closely. Note that in-state residents often enjoy better tuition rates, for example.

The Top 25 Online MBA Schools in the United States, 2006:

1. Cal State Dominguez Hills - $10,500 (may require prerequisite business courses)
2. Mississippi State University - $13,776
3. University of Nebraska - $14,212
4. Dallas Baptist University - $16,524 (3.2 undergrad GPA)
5. Colorado State University - $18,828
6. University of Colorado – Colorado Springs - $19,032
7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater - $19,800
8. University of Houston – Victoria - $20,544 [$10,696 Tx residents]
9. Duquesne University - $21,132
10. Auburn University - $22,932 (MBA) $42,840 (EMBA), 3-day intensive, EMBA requires 5 “short residencies”, plus 1 week international travel.
11. Oklahoma State University - $23,280 [$13,368 Ok residents]
12. University of Tulsa - $24,264
13. University of Massachusetts - $25,000
14. West Virginia University - $27,036 [$9,288 WV residents]
15. University of Texas Telecampus - $27,200 [$12,400 Tx residents]
16. Marist College - $28,662
17. University of Wyoming - $29,160
18. Texas A&M – Commerce - $29,976 [$16,728 Tx residents]
19. University of Tennessee - $30,500
20. University of North Texas - $30,782.33
21. University of Florida - $32,600 (up to 8 campus weekend visits required)
22. Arizona State University - $38,022 (5 days orientation required first year)
23. Indiana University - $40,800
24. East Carolina University - $42,300 [$11,940 N Car residents]
25. University of Texas – Dallas – $42,500 ($45,408 Global MBA)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Free Speech And National Security

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As usual, the New York Times remains the epitome of duplicity. Readers will remember how the NYT thought it only fitting, indeed an absolute requirement, that the government should appoint a Special Prosecutor to find out who “outed” Valerie Plame and to punish them forthwith. Unfortunately for the NYT, that prosecutor could not find an actual violation of Plame’s rights, and chose to expand his search to nail anybody he could, just to show some kind of results. That led to “Scooter” Libby, and the less-than-solid claim that Libby broke the law in what he said to the press. The hitch there begins with the obvious possibility that a person may honestly recall details differently when a long time has passed, and continues with the obvious possibility that a prosecutor who cannot find a target within the scope of his stated authority, might feel pressured to “make” a case for the sake of face. But this also brings the guns back around, this time to track the New York Times itself. Turns out the NYT may well have violated the Espionage Act by disclosing details of the NSA surveillance of Al Qaeda communications, especially phone calls to and from the United States.

For here, I will simply say that from where I stand, Libby is innocent of the charges leveled against him, while if charged the NYT would be guilty as hell. The question of whether the government will proceed with charging the NYT remains to be seen. For this article however, the question raised by this situation bears on the terms of the First Amendment, specifically the station of the Press. For many years the Mainstream Media has claimed an inviolate right to do as it pleases, up to and including violating laws protecting the nation’s secrets. This was the case during World War Two, when the Chicago Tribune published that the United States has broken the Japanese codes, a fact which could have disastrously changed the course of the war had the Japanese read and believed the reports. This was the case when Daniel Ellsworth published the Pentagon Papers in 1971. This was the case when CNN presented the false allegations of ‘Tailwind’. And of course, it has been revealed since the fall of Saddam that while he was in power, CNN toadied up to the dictator and covered up information confirming the evils of his regime, in order to maintain coveted access to key sources. The history of the MSM in terms of its responsibility is shoddy indeed. And now it appears that the New York Times, along with other Old Media enterprises, has put the lives of many intelligence and military personnel in danger. Further, in an age where it is commonly understood that the enemy not only can monitor media transmissions and publications, but is known to do so as a part of its operational reconnaissance, such hostile actions against our military are even more egregious.

Yet for all of that, I must agree that the Press, even the enemies of reason such as the New York Times and LA Times, must be afforded the liberties promised in the First Amendment. I note however, that with the advent of the Blogosphere that individuals have demonstrated equal, indeed superior, responsibility and veracity in handling the issues of common concern for the nation. It is the New Media, not the Old, which has best addressed the needs of the nation as an effective Press. This is not to deny the Old Media its place, but to demonstrate that like all of the Rights specified in the Bill of Rights, the rights of Man belong to individuals and when held in corporation, held by the collective rights of the individuals in that body. So, it is untrue to claim that the Firs Amendment grants a special right to the estate of the Press, separate and superior to any right of the individual, as it would be untrue to claim that only certain people should enjoy the right to practice their religion, or to freely assemble. The advent of blogging only demonstrates that individuals also enjoy the right of the press, as was indeed the common condition when the Constitution was first enacted.

But we should be careful in such matters, to accept responsibility along with rights. Some have said that the press should be able to print anything, that daylight is always the best disinfectant and warning that a government which can hide something in secrecy will certainly choose to hide its crimes. But we know that information is not only the moment, but changes the world, and there is some information which should not, indeed must not, be made known to our enemies. If it is prudent to lock our doors to keep out potential burglars, how much more vital is it to protect information which, if know to our foes, would lead to the deaths of countless innocents. So there is a need for secrecy, and a terrible price for neglecting its security.

I am of a mind therefore, to commit again to the standards of good journalism, which to my mind begin not with allegiance to a party or an employer, nor even to the truth, but to the people whose lives and welfare may be affected, for good or ill, by my actions and words. Like the policeman who must take care to be judicious with his weapon, like the judge who must rule with care for precedent and impact, like the governor who understands his words will be taken as the official intention of a state, I am committed to the enterprise of understanding, with the caveat that I will do nothing which damages the commonwealth of our nation, nor which compromises the safety of its defenders. I challenge all writers, whether Old Media or New, to say the same.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Dog That Didn’t Bark

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We hear it wailing every day like the Liberal version of the muezzin calling the Muslims to prayer: “Bush poll numbers lowest ever! Bush still sinking! Bush is done for!”


Well, you all know what I think about that crap. I have mentioned that Bush is unlikely to work on his poll numbers, because he doesn’t need to get elected to anything again, and the Congress is not doing diddly to respect his work and office, so he sees no reason to pretty up his fa├žade just to get these deserters another term through his efforts, as he did in 2002. I have observed that the polls are not only skewed in their demographics, but also do not even bother to find out if their respondents are regular voters or even if they voted in the last election. The poll numbers, therefore, are completely bunk, especially since so many of the polling groups have a lot more interest in creating a story by hinting Bush is in trouble, than in honestly reporting how America really thinks of him.

But I also noticed something else. The RCP average for Bush pegs his JA at 35.2%, taking data from almost two dozen polls. But if you take the latest results from each of the 21 polling groups cited, his average climbs to 37.3%, meaning that not all polls are weighed the same way in that balance. And it’s interesting, to me at least, to examine the latest poll results by the date ended. CBS, NBC/WSJ, Rasmussen, Cook, and USA Today/Gallup all ran polls which ended the last week of April. CNN, FOX, and Pew ran polls which ended the week before that. The other 13 polls cited in that average are using responses which are more than half a month old. Also, it’s worth noting that Rasmussen, Cook, Pew, and NBC/WSJ are showing numbers which are significantly better than the claims from CNN, CBS, and even FOX (remember that FOX polls were inconsistent during the 2004 campaign).

In total, well, it’s just more of what I warned you about. There are a number of qualities that you find in a worthwhile poll; demographics consistent with the population, internally consistent methodology, transparent internal data, and timely indicators all come to mind. To be blunt, none of the polls being presented right now have all of those qualities, and several have none at all. This won’t stop Liberals from cackling their lies, but it does mean you don’t have to believe them.

Killing The Hydra

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It is a sad truism that the enemies of America rely on our collective impatience. We like fast food, sound bytes, and are willing to support only short wars. At least, that’s the conventional wisdom, which is popular enough to have become policy for many vicious demagogues. I have written before on the fact that the United States has fought long fights before, and more than once has settled matters by obliterating the regime they fought. But it should also be understood that the death of a tyrannic order is often a slow process, and takes more than one stroke.

Fascism, for instance, continued to exist long after the end of World War 2, and still has its devotees even today. So it should surprise no one that Communism is still doing the best it can to overthrow the world. And don’t laugh, it could still happen. Just as the distinctions between the Soviets and Chinese Communists demonstrated, Communism takes a variety of forms, suited to the conditions of its terrain and culture. Accordingly, the Communist movement in Central and South America is still making strides, even where it seems to be dormant or in retreat. Nowhere is this more evident than Mexico. In the rush to consider Mexico a friend of the United States, many people forget that Mexico fought a revolution to free itself from Spain, and not a revolution of ideals nearly so much as a simple rebellion to destroy the existing order; even today the strongest political party is called the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which is a member of the “Socialist International”. Vicente Fox, the present President of Mexico, rose through the ranks of the National Action Party and represents effectively the conservative and reform wing of Mexican politics, but he is fighting against a system dominated with PRI veterans and a thoroughly corrupt culture. In addition to political pressure, Fox is fighting a bloody insurgency in the rural parts of Mexico from the Zapatistas,
further diluting his power to address the threat. It's not say he sees eye to eye with the U.S> Government, but he is actually better than his predecessors, which means he is targeted by the Left.

The ‘Reconquistas’ have let their mask slip a bit during their marches, showing pictures of Communists like Che Guevara and chanting slogans reminiscent of Ho Chi Minh. It’s important to understand what’s going on here. A lot of people have no interest in Communism; it really is a simple case that they want a better life for their family and themselves. Unfortunately, as is the historical model, the Communists latch on to large groups and use them for their own purposes, and while many of the marchers on Monday may not have understood the significance of marching on May 1, the significance of such manipulation needs to be recognized.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The 2006 ‘Prove Your Stupidity’ Rally Results

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Well, it’s over. That big international series of rallies and protests to show America just how much it needs illegals had it’s day in the sun, sponsored by more than a few major Socialist and Communist organizations, just in case the selection of “May Day”, long favored for 5-year-plans and parades with the same missiles on trailers rounding the block a few times while speeches extolling the virtues of the proletariat droned on, seemed a coincidence to you. Of course, the speeches had to be re-tooled to promote the virtues of people who flout laws, equal responsibility, and any sense of obligation to the people who built the hoems and businesses they seek, but at least the speeches have the usual enemy: America. Like the anarchists and domestic insurgents of old, the mobs of ‘La Raza’ pretend they love America, and just want to be accepted as ‘immigrants’, a claim made clearly false by the arrogance which demands they should not be made to obey the rules which built this nation, or respect the generations of immigrants who sacrificed and assimilated into the American culture for their children’s sakes. They have no respect for the Irish, the Jews, the Russians, the Chinese, the Blacks, or even the earlier Hispanics who held their culture but learned English and became part of the community as contributors. Today’s “undocumented immigrant” demands access to every sort of public service and convenience, but refuses to pay his way. I had to laugh when a LULAC representative assured the crowd in Houston that the undocumented alien somehow is cheated, even though he pays no income tax, no property tax, and does not follow common obligations like carrying liability insurance for his car. Permit me to doubt you, Johnny Mata.

But to today. A great day, actually. I had no trouble getting to work or doing my job. I found plenty of stores with staff and stock to sell me what I wanted and needed, none of it made in or produced by anywhere or anyone in South America. In a strange irony, I got my gas at the station I always do, which is run by an Indian immigrant, who saw no reason not to work today, and who is legal in every sense. I bought a colander from an asian store, whose owner is either an immigrant or the son of an immigrant, and again someone who obeyed the law and made his way here by the rules. I talked about politics over lunch with an immigrant from Kenya, and when I rode the bus home, I exchanged pleasantries with the native-born driver, whose family came here legally from Venezuela.

The lessons for the illegals? Three of them:

1. We do not need you nearly as much as you think. A lot of us want to give folks a reasonable opportunity, but if you refuse to work with us, we will get rid of you.

2. You need to pay better attention to your own best interests. Racist groups and chants in a foreign language come across as attacks and hostility. The geniuses who thought that was a good tactic had better remember that we have a lot more guns, and threatening us only makes us more determined to defend ourselves. Demanding a “right” to steal public resources, to excuse the flood of drugs, violent criminals and gangs, or to have a special set of conditions just for your race is not going to fly, and will only set you against the hundreds of millions of real Americans who will judge you by the standards your own conduct sets.

3. A lot of things can be discussed or negotiated. Equal rights come with equal responsibility. Right about now, you guys are not showing any sense of responsibility, and all that does is work against Latinos.


So thanks for Monday, amigo.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The President In Context

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Depending on which fiction you believe, the President has Approval numbers at varying degrees of disappointment. RINOs, overpaid columnists and media hairpieces, as well as fair-weather pansies of all stripes are fleeing all contact with George W. Bush, in the moronic belief that this will advance their careers or show them as some sort of reasonable mind, when in fact it merely confirms their cowardice in the face of the fight, or at least their personal hypocrisy when it comes to remembering debts of honor and responsibility.

It is therefore no surprise to see Liberals already replaying one of their fave lies; that George W. Bush is somehow the ‘worst’ U.S. President ever. The most recent example can be found in the pages of Rolling Stone, where formerly sober-minded Sean Wilentz panders to his own psychosis. Jay Cost has already addressed the faults and blunders in Mr. Wilentz’s article effectively, but he does not address the question of Bush’s deserved ranking. So, having the sort of mind I do, and with reckless disregard for the dangers of discussing the merits of a President while he is still in office, I believe the case can be made not only to defend Dubya against the inane charge that he is some kind of failure, but more, has laid the foundation and indeed additional work of substance towards a legacy to which persons named Clinton or Carter can only envy.

When historians grade a President, they do not, despite the pretense, actually agree on the criteria. This is not only because the context of an Administration is important to understanding its worth, but it also allows such academics as Wilentz to pretend to objectivity, where an apples-to-apples comparison would flatly prove the bias or outright prevarication which commands the mind of Liberal Academia, which is to say the mainstream of professional Historians. Those who do cite a qualification often fall onto subjective opinion, such as 'Was the President Good or Bad for the Nation?'. After all, we already see Liberals trying to somehow spin Bill Clinton as a good President, even though it is impossible to find a major initiative introduced or supported by Clinton which substantively improved the nation. So to my mind, rather than toss out phrases which can and will be spun to mean whatever the writer pleases, I submit we should base grades on comparable work, and on pertinent issues. That is, to properly regard President Washington, we have to be focused on the context of his Administration coming so soon after the Revolution, and the precedents it set. Lincoln, on the other hand, must be seen in the context of the Civil War, its causes, and his effective range of choices. In that light, the proper evaluation of the Presidency of George W. Bush rests in the main on his work in one contest; National Security.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists seized four U.S. airliners and killed thousands of innocent people. As many have observed, that day changed everything for everyone. Therefore, it is unreasonable to judge President George W. Bush on any criteria which does not first and in the main address the War against Global Terrorism. Liberals won’t like this fact, because on that question the only distinction to be considered, is whether Bush has done a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ job. First, in spite of all the attempts to cast it as a failure, we have been and are winning in Iraq, and this victory is not only demoralizing terrorist groups across the board, it is spurring hope for the growth of democratic republics, as evidenced by changes in Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, even Saudi Arabia. It should be noted that hostilities with states have decreased markedly since the Bush Doctrine was stated and put into effect. Iran makes noise about nukes, but has made no direct attack against the United States. North Korea is still unstable and Kim Jong Il still deranged, yet the Kor-coms have been distinctly careful not to provoke U.S. forces. The reason is simple; the United States can and will make examples of nations whcih step beyond certain lines, and knowing this, the Axis of Evil these days limits itself to rhetoric. And most of all, people need to be reminded, again and again, that it is no coincidence, no mercy from Al Qaeda, that the United States has not suffered a terrorist attack on its homeland since 9/11. As much as Liberals, Democrats, and Talk Show Hosts try to play it otherwise, that fact is directly credited to the work and vigilance of President George W. Bush.

But let’s go further. No President since FDR has done more than Bush to secure the nation and consolidate its defense. And for all the complaints about the PATRIOT Act, not one legal action has yet demonstrated that a single innocent American has had his rights infringed in any way, a claim which no other President could trump, especially given the needs of the nation. Put simply, George W. Bush has improved the security of the United States against terrorist attack, but has done so without diluting any constitutional rights. That’s a passing grade and then some, folks.

But don’t stop there. Presidents, rightly or wrongly, are also judged on the economy they affect. Take a look at GDP since he took office, the rate of inflation, or Unemployment. Overall and as a trend, GW Bush is doing a darn fine job, and we all know why - income tax cuts. Yes, Liberals will try to discount it, but the effects are there for anyone honest enough to check them out.

What else? How about getting Social Security reform on the table? Sure the Congress weaseled out, but when’s the last time you heard a President bring up the topic? How about Justices Roberts and Alito, and countless federal court appointments which have corrected the slide into Judicial overthrow of the people’s will and Constitutional limits. How about having the courage to discard obsolete or downright dangerous agreements, like Kyoto or the ABM fiction?

Take a look at the policies and doctrines of Clinton, GHW Bush, Carter, or even Reagan, and you will see that Dubya does quite nicely on the counts which matter. Especially when we stretch the record to see how Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, and Eisenhower did. Especially when we see where Truman and even FDR feared to tread. That, as if you did not already know, is why the Liberals have already begun the campaign to mock Dubya’s legacy. They know Bush was so effective and successful, that they would do anything, anything at all, to prevent someone from continuing his work.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Amnesty - Why Not?

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As the arguments about illegal entrants (for clarity, I only call someone an ‘immigrant’ who intends to join the community, not steal from it) continue, the word ‘amnesty’ is bandied about, usually by people who have no sense of the word’s real meaning, especially in an historical context. Simply put, in times past, various rulers and governments have promised an amnesty to certain individuals and groups, in return for certain conditions. This was because those groups could create a condition of great difficulty and expense, so an amnesty was the most productive means for solving such problems. The United States is no stranger to such agreements, as our amnesty to the pirate Jean Lafitte bears witness, or the recent revision of terms between the United States and Pakistan. We do not negotiate with terrorists, but we do make deals with all sorts of people. The question then, is whether a deal should be made, can be made, and if both questions can be answered affirmative, then what sort of deal should be pursued.

Despite the hot polarity of the debate, there is actually a range of possible actions the U.S. government might take, anywhere from the draconian measure of shooting anyone crossing the border in between checkpoints, to the collapse of any resistance and awarding citizenship to anyone already here, which would turn the flow into an absolute flash-flood. Neither of those extremes has any real chance, but they do represent the theoretical ends of the choice. To my mind, the issue has four fronts, which must all be addressed. There is no reasonable argument against building a barrier to border crossings, call it a wall, fence, or whatever. The only argument against such a barrier amounts to deliberately ignoring the security of the nation, and everyone knows it, which is why the Left always casts such discussions as ‘racist hatred’ against ‘immigrants’, rather than a measure taken to protect against invasion by people deliberately breaking the law to enter here.

The second front is to enforce the laws already on the books. The people arguing against the President all too often ignore that this problem has been growing for more than a generation, and would be far less severe if only the laws already passed were enforced. There are pragmatic reasons, of course, why the law is not properly enforced, but the most common problem seems to be the assumption that the responsibility always lies with someone else.

The third front is to arrange agreements with Mexico and other nations to stop encouraging or anabling illegal entry. Time for some of those “frank discussions” we used to hear about Reagan having with the Soviets.

The fourth front is to decide what to do with the twelve-to-twenty million illegal aliens already here in the United States, and this is where Amnesty comes in.

Here’s the thing. If law enforcement wants to go after the illegals in a significant way, they basically have three choices:

1. Take men away from other duties to seek out and detain illegals.

2. Spend money and resources for a “task force”.

3. Spend money and resources on a long-term Fugitive Capture program.


Any of the three is feasible only with significant cooperation between local, county, state, and federal authorities, with significant investment of resources across the board. All would involve a degree of performance degradation in nominal operations, and significant friction with minorities and special interest groups must be anticipated, including possible deliberate obstruction and interference. All would require party discipline on an order not known in modern times to have any hope of success, and any of the three would require considerable political capital. In short, as things stand now none of the three options is operable.

The question then, is how to break the strength of such numbers down to manageable size, and in so doing demonstrate the sort of success which attracts bandwagons, and with them creates the support for stronger measures. The answer to me seems to be a graduated amnesty program. First, let me be very clear that an amnesty is unacceptable if it includes automatic citizenship, or which treats the illegal in a manner superior to the persons who obey the law. To some degree, this would mean improving the opportunity for legal immigrants, but also by clearly naming the limit for an amnesty.

If citizenship is not on the table then, what good is the amnesty? Plenty, actually. It seems to me that now would be a good time for Congress to consider that a resident does not, and should not, enjoy anything like the status of the citizen. A higher income tax rate for residents, no voting privilege of course, automatically stiffer penalties for any criminal conviction on American soil, and additional fees for the use of educational or medical facilities, would create a significant and reasonable advantage for someone to pursue citizenship, which should be strictly enforced on a code advancing American national interests. The resident would still enjoy advantages over the non-resident, such as a right to work and the government should create a sort of Social Security/Medicare program, where the resident could pay a tax just as citizens do (albeit at a higher rate), and have a system for his own return down the road if he stays permanently, and again there is a strong incentive to become a full citizen. Such a program would also allow for the resident to have a number by which he might be tracked and identified; anonymity becomes less and less acceptable, as an excuse or a legal defense.

When the United States offered amnesty to Jean Lafitte, there were specific conditions. Lafitte had to leave American ships alone, he had to promise to work for American interests, and in exchange he was granted his life and freedom. The average American did not need such promises, so the offer can be called reasonable. Letting foreign people know and making sure they understand, that we will be glad to take in immigrants for citizenship and residency, and that we are open to giving everyone a fair chance, takes away the political edge from the people co-opting border security in a vulgar attempt to rebuild their political fortune. It also separates the sheep from the goats, so to speak. If people here illegally are given a reasonable means by which they can elect to leave the United States without difficulty and submit their application for residency or citizenship through the appropriate options, then the only aliens remaining here illegally will define themselves as deliberate criminals or worse, and as such will lose the pretense to any moral right to evade capture and incarceration. Something on the order of Guantanamo without kid-gloves focus on protecting a militant religion would do nicely, I think.

So in summary, this is my idea of amnesty. Sharpen the definitions of ‘citizen’ and ‘resident’, make clear that we welcome all sorts of legal immigrants but must protect our borders and enforce our laws, and offer the chance to start over for people who leave politely and immediately. And make very, very clear that anyone who remains here against the law after than point may expect a stronger and more determined, coordinated response at all levels. But first we have to agree to pick one plan and pursue it. Maybe that means the first ‘amnesty’ must be extended to fellow Conservatives.