Those wacky Mexicans sure make the news interesting

News from the Hispanic world:

· The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum recently took down the Mexican flag it had been flying for several decades. This came after an anonymous caller threatened the museum with a boycott "or worse," whatever that means.

I have wildly mixed feelings on flags in general. Since good, decent people have actually given their lives in defense of our flag, I can't really downplay its significance. At the same time, it shouldn't be accorded status beyond that of a symbol.

I don't really have a problem with a foreign flag being flown next to ours, as long as ours is higher. It's simple, really. We're a bad-ass country and we've earned our bad-ass status. Nobody gets to be our equal on our turf. If Mexicans wants to fly their flag above ours in Mexico, that's fine. It's their country.

As a matter of fact, I probably take more offense at South Carolina flying its racist Confederate flag than I do the Mexican flag at the Desert Museum. Some people in the South still claim that they're just trying to honor their brave fighting men who died in the Civil War. And what exactly was it that they were fighting for? Oh, yeah, states' rights, huh?

· Some guy got popped by the Border Patrol as he hopped the fence in Douglas. Turns out the guy had burned the tips of all of his fingers so that, if he got caught, the authorities wouldn't be able to identify him through fingerprints. See, he was convicted of sexual assault of a minor in 2004 and was deported.

I would like to know which panel of geniuses came up with the idea of deporting felons. Let's see, you robbed a bank in Chicago. You've been found guilty. Your punishment is that you can't be in Chicago for the next few weeks. Or days, depending on how good you are at what you do.

Now, if we had a border that was actually a border, I could understand that. Sending somebody to Mexico with a conviction for sexual assault on a minor might not subject him to the same bootie action that he'd receive in an American prison, but coupled with the crappy economy and health care down there, I'd say justice would be served. But our border isn't a border.

Oh, yeah, the guy's name is Mateo Cruz-Cruz. I understand the whole thing with the hyphenated names, mom's family and dad's. I also realize that Cruz is a fairly common name. But there's no damn way I'd walk around with that tag.

If my name was Tom Danehy-Danehy, people would expect me to be sitting on a porch somewhere, strumming a banjo.

· ESPN does a small segment on its SportsCenter program titled "ESPN Deportes," reporting stuff that appears on the separate ESPN cable channel of the same name. This is a brief summary of sports news in Latin America and Europe, with a lot of soccer and some baseball and tennis thrown in. There are several announcers, both male and female, who appear in these segments. And they all have one thing in common: They have thick accents when they speak English.

I don't understand it. I know hundreds of (English/Spanish-speaking) bilingual people and I would say that not just some, but a majority, of them don't have an accent in either language. And if they have a discernible one at all, it's certainly not as thick as those of the people ESPN trots out. My wife, who is bilingual, can't stand to listen to it.

C'mon ESPN, you bill yourself as the worldwide leader. Go out and find somebody who can speak both languages without sounding like Cheech Marin's Pedro de Pacas character.

· A Phoenix police officer was shot and killed recently by a guy who had been stopped for a minor offense. The shooter was in this country illegally, having already been arrested and deported earlier, only to have snuck back into the country. The police officer, a two-time cancer survivor who had nixed desk duty in order to return to the streets, was shot in the face and died a horrible death.

The Phoenix-area newspapers were flooded with letters, many of which made the argument that the tragedy never should have occurred because the criminal never should have been walking the streets of the United States of America. (Unless you hold to an immutable God/fate/Final Destination way of looking at things, it's pretty hard to argue that point.) Many criticized the federal government, and more than a few took shots at Phoenix for its phony-ass "sanctuary city" label. Some people claimed that a majority of the police officers who have been killed in recent years in the Valley of the Sun have died at the hands of illegal aliens.

That's when the Arizona Republic stepped in and said enough is enough. In an editorial, the Republic stated that of the 10 police officers and sheriffs who have been killed in recent years in that area, only three had been killed by people who were in this country illegally.

So, only 30 percent of the cops gunned down in the line of duty died at the hands of illegals. That makes us all feel much better.