Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday 'Last Petition of the Year" tour!

Also known as the "I hate Google AND Blogger tour", but this is the last day of the year, so no negativity! Or not much, anyway.

AND... as it is the last day of the year, and my last time to do a petition before the end of the year (even though people can keep signing the petition and answering it for days afterwards)... here goes!:

Dear Everyone,

Please say Hi. For Auld Lang Syne! (whatever that is).

Not to put anyone on the spot or anything, but... this includes dove, Ductape, poco, kansas, and all Eegeehoodians, new and old!

If you agree, please sign the petition. Thanks!

Now, on to the tour! We almost didn't have one last Sunday cuz of blogger issues, but luckily James (who has a new location for both Original and Jazzy James - remember to update your bookmarks!) stepped in and moved Sunday to Thursday, thus saving Sunday! Thanks, James!

Look who's back! katiebird, who went DAYS without being firmed, cuz she was sick, is now back in the swing of things and, not unnaturally, thinking about healthcare! For everyone! She's working on a project and will be doing a series of educational events, about healthcare and raising awareness and such. If you're anywhere near Kansas (the state) or even if you are not, go read about it and see if there's a way to help! OR, to start something like this in your own area.

Family Man wants everyone to be safe tonight, so he has some suggestions (I think that washing of the hands thing might catch on all year round!). Also, remember when kids could do the most incredibly crazy things and come out of it without a scratch? What happened!? Nowadays, if you breath on them wrong, if they don't need the ER, they certainly will at least need therapy! ;)

Arcturus is also back! Yay! And in fine form ... poetry - Earth's Winter Song, which may not at first seem quite hopeful... and, as always, lights shining in the dark corners.

[UPDATE!] Duke has some interesting news... it seems that beyond the recent high profile roundups and detentions of Latinos, there have been other smaller incidents happening... and people are starting to question the probable cause, and more! It's just possible that we are still a nation of laws... (but I won't hold my breath on that). Also, American Foreign Legion, anyone?

Boran is saying that there is going to be a surprise in our painting! Maybe. BUT... not until next week! The nerve, I say. Also, don't forget the Art Fair, which I believe is coming up soon! Also, who knew Noah used the Grand Canyon as a wading pool!? Or something like that... go read! (Nostrils of Satan... heh). And while a former President is getting one bye bye... boran is giving him another!

At his place and Mo Betta META, supersoling has posted a beautiful, heartfelt New Year's wish for an old friend. I'm not going to cry, that's all there is too it (well, not til the tour is done). Go read it.

ILJ wants a presidential candidate with foresight... he doesn't ask for much, does he? Also, getting rid of Saddam won't get rid of the memories of complicity.

[UPDATE AGAIN!] Cookies! And no, not ones made of flowers... but little man ones, for the tree! Oh... where? At Olivia's! And also other things that are on her Christmas tree. AND... her beautiful and colorful back garden, including all the plans of what flowers get planted where! No wonder nothing I plant ever grows... who knew you were supposed to plan these things!?

Nezua has a New Years post... including predictions! And thoughts, reflections and end of the year sentiments. Oh man, don't miss Alcoholpyto... read it, watch it and laugh. Okay, I skipped a few things to get to this post, but I just love this idea... reminds me of the time I lugged an old, oddly shaped piece of concrete that had rebar sticking out of it, that pretty much shouted out "paint me!", home one day, smiling at everyone I saw so that they wouldn't think I was unstable (or dangerous). Never did paint it, but I kept it for a long time, lol. Anyway, go look at what Nezua has done in The Surface of a Heart... don't miss the landscapes...on a walnut!!

Love over money... and much more besides. catnip's Sunday Food for Thought is full of things to chew on! (ahem). Also, if you see signs sprouting up here and there demanding that someone "Free the gay sheep!", now you'll know why.

Original James doesn't think a lousy process will produce a good outcome and I can't say I blame him... that usually never works and he tells why. And the Iraq week in review... sigh. Featured at Jazzy James is Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso: Village Life, which I love for the name alone.

Oh, I almost forgot! I hope everyone has a wonderful new year... keep safe tonight, if you go out, cuz we've all got work to do in the new year. I think, even if I don't put all that much space in the Democrats, that we do at least have a small breathing space to recharge, replan, rework and focus. I'm glad all y'all are in our little neighborhood :).

All done! I think... some are still boycotting their blogs. If I missed anyone, let me know!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Wrapping was hard work

Swift Raids Still Rattling Markets

Hog prices are down. Good 'ole supply and demand are working their magic. But DON'T WORRY! The human round-up of the Swift plants were designed to have minimal impact on the bottom line profits of the companies involved.

While some have criticized ICE for making the raid just before Christmas, Preisler said producers were fortunate it happened when it did.

"If it had been 90 degrees or 10-below, we would have had losses of pigs in trucks," he said. "There were pigs on trucks for longer periods of time that had to either wait or go other places, and there were pigs that were enroute when farmers found out about this."

McHugh, the spokesman for Greeley, Colo.-based Swift, said that because the raid happened early in the morning, we were able to get in touch with our producers, and a lot of the normal deliveries were either stopped, turned around en route or directed to other processors," he said. "There were no livestock at risk from an animal welfare perspective."


It's official. We treat pigs better than our fellow human beings.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's a beautiful day in tha Eegeehood

The Sunday tour didn't quite happen - Blogger in its infinite "wisdom" changed the locks on the door and forgot to tell Nanette. I think it's the same "wisdom" involved with my blogging woes (that have thankfully come to an end). But enough about the bad times. A Sunday tour conducted mid-week might seem a bit unorthodox, but unorthodox times call for unorthodox measures. Let's see what's been going on in tha 'hood while Manny's been away:

Deano has some artwork up by the Overjoyed Ja'Ski Watkins.

Donna at Changing Places has all sorts of cool shizznit including a gangsta pooch with bling. As George Clinton would say: "Bow-wow-wow yippee-yo yippee-yay, Bow-wow yippee-yo yippee-yay". She also has some good thoughts for the day that are wise indeed.

Arcturus, DuctapeFatwa, Katiebird, Spiderleaf, Janet, Family Man, Supersoling, and Dove are in various stages of their respective blogging boycotts. Janet, Super, & Arcturus of course keep in touch in the comments of other blogs, but where are the rest of y'all.

Fortunately, Nezua has been a busy man, with all sorts of new stuff to read, including putting Mel Gibson's Apocalypto in its proper perspective. Speaking of perspective, Ford's dead but thankfully Mick's still alive (and so is Fidel). There's also a link to an artist's perspective on torture.

Duke at Migra Matters finds a rare example of the mass media getting something right.

XicanoPwr alerts us to a neo-Nazi problem, a Texas concentration camp, and a serious hunger problem. There's also some Xmas season levity, Cheech & Chong style.

Boran2 has some art work for y'all with the Painting Palooza Vol. 72, and over at Tribal Council, Gerald Ford is given his just reward.

At catnip's place, don't forget the usual Sunday food for thought, and some thought's on Junior Caligula's "weariness".

Over at Intrepid Liberal Journal, we have an account of Gerald Ford's mixed legacy.

Olivia once again provides us with a stunning display of photography. Check it out.

Nanette's site Human Beams seemed out of commission as of this writing. I imagine that is only temporary.

Oh yeah, what's been goin' on with me? Well, the new improved Original James is up and running, including a picture of Junior Caligula that I found on them thar internets. So is the new improved Jazzy James - including a new download by the late Ed Blackwell (What It Be Like?). I'm really liking the capability of putting tags on my posts (Blogger calls them "labels").

Hopefully I didn't leave out anyone. If so, y'all know where to find me. Peace out.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Feliz Navidad

From the mailbag re: last week's immigration raids

For a bit of background, see my earlier post on the raid in nearby Cactus, TX. One thing that'll jump out is the discrepancy between the official spin and what average folks actually saw going down. Now let's see what Roberto Lovato, writing for has to say:

Last week’s controversial immigration raids at Swift & Company meatpacking plants in six states, which federal officials have characterized as the largest sweep of its kind in U.S. history, should send waves of fear among citizens and non-citizens alike. The very high profile arrest and detention of almost 1,300 workers marks a major move to further erode all of our rights.

Merely viewing “Operation Wagon Train” as another in the lengthening line of dehumanizing and brutal attacks on immigrant and labor rights—as most analysts do—falls short. That’s because in the so-called War on Terror immigration and immigrants have become the justification of choice in the ongoing erosion of labor, privacy and other rights under the Bush administration.

We see for instance, that those rounded up have been disappeared:

For example, a statement about the status of the Swift workers by John Bowen, the attorney representing the workers on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, was indistinguishable from those of attorneys representing detainees in Guantanamo or in secret CIA facilities. “We don't know where they are and we don't know what's happening," he said. "We don't know if they are being pressured to do something or not. We can't provide them or their families with information until we know where they are."

The official spin is that the raid had to do with "identity theft", and immigrant status was only secondary:

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the recent raid is the effort by Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff and Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement chief Julie Myers to frame it as a crackdown on “identity theft.”

When I called to find out more about the raids, ICE public affairs officer Richard Rocha was anxious to talk about how the need to protect “victims of identity theft” prompted the Swift & Company raid. The investigation “began as an identity theft investigation and we only later learned about the illegal workers at the plants,” he said.

Sounds nice, but, something just ain't adding up, as Lovato goes on to note:

“OK, sure. You discovered that there were undocumented workers after the fact,” I thought. Having covered privacy and electronic surveillance issues a few years ago, I asked Rocha what sorts of traditional identity theft practices ICE found. Rocha only cited the case of a man who was stopped because his driver’s license had violations which he was later found not to have committed.

“Are there any instances of credit card scams?” I asked. “Not that I know of” he responded. “Bank fraud?” I asked. “I have no specifics” he answered. “Terrorism links?” I asked. “We have not been told of any links to terrorism regarding the identity theft cases tied to Swift employees,” he said.

So much for the official spin. The identity theft angle falls apart at the seams. Furthermore, let's get a look at how the language of militarism is used:

At a press conference, Myers used the increasingly militarized language of immigration policy to describe the Swift & Company raid:

This investigation has uncovered a disturbing front in the war against illegal immigration. We believe that the genuine identities of possibly hundreds of U.S. citizens are being stolen or hijacked by criminal organizations and sold to illegal aliens in order to gain unlawful employment in this country. Combating this burgeoning problem is one of ICE’s highest priorities.

So this is "war" apparently in the minds of the Feds. Add to that check out the exaggeration used:

“Hundreds of U.S. citizens” refers to alleged and potential cases. Of the nearly 1,300 grabbed and detained without legal recourse (including U.S citizens) only 65 were charged “identity theft” and ICE representative Rocha could only provide one concrete case after repeated requests for other examples besides the drivers license case he cited. Victims of identity theft are people who generally have some personal identity document—Social Security number, credit card number, bank account—stolen or lost and then used for fraud, deception or economic gain.

But there is an agenda that should concern civil libertarians:

Chertoff also used the discussion of the Swift raid to highlight the guest worker program and a national ID card, a high Bush administration priority. The best way to deal with the issues raised in the raid, Chertoff said, “would be a program that would allow businesses that need foreign workers—because they can't otherwise satisfy their labor needs—to be able to get those workers in a regulated program that gives us visibility into who is coming in, has a secure form of identification and makes sure that the federal government is able to collect and promptly allocate all the necessary taxes.”

This is what Bu$hCo wants: a national ID card. Big Brother wants to watch us all. Not only was the raid designed to strike terror in the Hispanic community (a very sizable community in the "high plains" region which includes the Texas & Oklahoma panhandles and southwestern Kansas), but to strike sufficient terror more broadly in order to get us all to clamor for "protection" we don't need at the expense of our rights.

Cross-posted from The Left End of the Dial v2.0.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Senator Harkin Weighs In on Swift Raids

The power-brokers are finally starting to realize what a colossal clusterf*ck the Swift raids turned out to be...
Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa wrote Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff on Tuesday to say he is appalled by the process used to detain and deport workers in raids earlier this month at six Swift & Co. packing plants, including one in Marshalltown.

So how did Homeland Security respond?

By taking a page out the George W. Bush Handbook for Obnoxious Petulancy, of course.
Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for ICE, said that Chertoff repeatedly has called on Congress to enact a temporary worker program that would allow businesses that need foreign workers to get those workers in a regulated, legal way.

"In the meantime, ICE will continue to aggressively enforce the nation's immigration and customs laws," Raimondi said.
Riiiight, so it's Congress' fault that mothers have been separated from their children, because they didn't pass comprehensive immigration reform (under GOP rule). I thought the government didn't play the blame game?

Heckuva job, Skeletor!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

skippy gets a big 'ole monkeyfist

felicidades, skippy!
yes, the crew at skippy won a coveted first annual golden monkeyfister award! we, along with the great blogs of wtf is it now, scrutiny hooligans, corrente wire, rising hegemon, dependable renegade, blah3, dohiyi mir, suburban guerilla, first draft, one good move, excuse the mess, that was just my head (or "brain," depending on whether you want to get the title right or get the award), the sideshow, main and central, and two blogs we weren't aware of, today in iraq and cryptome, were singled out by monkeyfister for being...well, we're not sure, but we'll take the award, with tears in our eyes, and gratitude in our hearts.
go on over and congratulate them on this prestigious honor. i hear it's worth the equivalent of at least three donkey punches.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Swift Raid Information

Rallies were held in St. Paul, MN (another MN link) and Loveland, CO. Here's a notice of support for Colorado families:

People who wish to support the Swift workers and families who have been separated and left without income can make a donation payable to "Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church" with "fund for families affected by ICE" in the memo-line. Those donations may be mailed to Our Lady of Peace, Attention: Rev. Bernard Schmitz; 1311 3rd St. Greeley, CO 80631. The church's telephone number is (970) 353-1747. Contributions will go towards emergency rent and food.

» People also may contact El Comite de Longmont at (303) 651-6125.

Finally, the Hispanic National Bar Association weighs in on the racial components blatantly obvious in the operation

The raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Tuesday, Dec. 12, were "harsh and unwarranted, especially since they involve hard-working people who show up daily at their jobs," said Jimmie Reyna, national president of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), in a statement.

"But the serious concern is the use of police and immigration officials to sort amongst workers and determine upon unknown criteria who is Latino, and then to assume that all persons perceived to be Latinos are illegal," Reyna added.

"Reportedly, 'non-Latinos' and light-skinned employees were provided blue wristbands, which exempted them from questioning, while 'Latinos' -- persons perceived to be of Hispanic or Latino origin -- underwent immigration processing," he charged.


This is a continuation of an earlier post with resources for immigrant families affected by the Swift raids.

Resources For Immigrant Families

Courtesy of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
**Toll-free number for families members of workers detained in Swift raids: 1-866-341-3858


Resources for Immigrants Detained or Fearing Further Raids:

Know Your Rights brochure, available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Farsi, and Somali, from the ACLU

"Know Your Rights at Home and at Work" in English and Spanish, from the National Immigration Law Center

"What To Do If You Are Arrested or Detained by Immigration" in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, from the National Immigration Law Center

"Know Your Rights if You Have Been Arrested or Detained by the U.S. Government" in English and Spanish, from CASA of Maryland

AILA has also been mobilizing the communities affected by the Swift Raids to stand together in support of the families (read: children). They have been working in concert with local advocacy groups as well as the faith communities. Here are links to news stories regarding the vigils held in Taylor, TX, Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE.

I'll update as I get more information. Paz y Solidaridad

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another Cocaine Scandal Involving Military Personnel

The headline story over the weekend in southern Arizona:
A Midtown strip mall that should have housed the best of the best served as Corruption Central in Tucson.

Two military recruiting stations sit side-by-side there, one run by the Army, the other by the Marines. Between them, a total of seven recruiters were on the take, secretly accepting bribes to transport cocaine, even as most spent their days visiting local high schools.

They had help from several more recruiters at an Army National Guard office, where one recruiter was said to be selling cocaine from the trunk of his recruiting vehicle.

Together, these dozen or so recruiters formed the nucleus of one of the FBI's biggest public corruption cases, the sting known as Operation Lively Green, which unfolded in Southern Arizona from 2002-2004 and was made public last year.

Many of the drug-running recruiters remained on the job, with continued access to local schools, for months — and often, years — after FBI agents secretly filmed them counting cash next to stacks of cocaine bricks, the Arizona Daily Star found in a months-long probe of court records and military employment data.
This struck a memory cord in me so I went digging through some old diaries I wrote early in 2005 and, sure enough, I found the news article where a similar cocaine operation was uncovered in this region - coordinated between the Border Patrol, National Guard and other law-enforcement agencies
Sixteen current and former U.S. soldiers and law enforcement officers have agreed to plead guilty to taking $222,000 in bribes from FBI agents posing as drug traffickers to help deliver cocaine shipments through government checkpoints along the Arizona-Mexico border, authorities said Thursday.

The defendants included a former Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector, a former Army sergeant, a Nogales, Ariz., police officer, a former federal prison guard, several Arizona state prison guards, and current and former Arizona National Guard soldiers. They escorted at least two drug shipments to Phoenix, Las Vegas and other southwestern destinations. When confronted by state and federal authorities, they flashed their government badges to keep the vehicles from being searched, Justice Department officials said in announcing the charges.

I think that old adage about getting your own house in order before condemning your neighbors
applies here. Dont'cha think?

[UPDATE] This is more fallout from the same scandal that was reported last year, not a new one altogether. Either way, it's disgusting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Not Friday...Friday Bud Blogging

Sorry for napping on the job

Sunday Tour - Try a Little Seasoning Edition!

Hello everyone! It's that time again... Sunday afternoon (where I am, anyway), and we'll be toodling around town, just in time for snacks! Or maybe not.

Cuz you know what... Family Man's got guts! Really! I kid you not, he's one gutsy guy. Only thing is, they are not his guts, thank the deities! Okay, so there are some other things there too, but still. Add your own yummy stuff!

Duke thinks there is more to last weeks outrageous Latino roundup and detention than meets the eye. Also, lots of crying. :|

Katiebird is still not feeling so hot. She needs chicken soup! And stuff. Get well soon, katie!

Olivia is not letting this Christmas rose get away without showing its all! What a fashion show director photographers have to be sometimes!

[UPDATE!]catnip has made interesting connections (that are freaky, but make sense when you see them all laid out) in The CIA regime! Also, whatever you do, don't get on the bad side of Canadian federal authorities! And the Sunday Food for Thought.

Original James has been on a roll! First, when all else fails, blame the universities! That's what I always do, especially for burned dinners! Oh wait... he's talking about wingnuts. Whoops! Also, he points to a review of a movie about Sophie Scholl, who I just learned about a couple of months ago at dove's site. Very interesting story. And it's been a year since Bush publicly confessed to breaking the law. Will the Dems call him on it? Hmmm! There's more there... go read! And at Jazzy James the new find is the St. Louis Creative Ensemble! Go get it!

XicanoPwr has an evocative, powerful essay about the recent raids and rounding up and detaining of Latin@s in Forgetting Our Place.

Hmmm! Could Deano and Olivia be on the same wavelength?! Christmas roses everywhere! (if that is one, and not some other flower whose name I don't know!)

[UPDATE AGAIN AND MAYBE THE LAST!] Boran says "so long!" early! No, no... not to us. To them! Also, our painting (don't you love how it's ours, even if he 's the one doing all the work?) is coming along nicely! The hills are getting dramatic! And I bet Senator Brownback looks good in stripes. Who knew?

Nezua takes a meme and works his magic on it. Also, he highlights an Oaxaca solidarity march happening in LA! And state administered death... good conversation in comments too.

Buh-Bayh and good riddance, ILJ says! In so many words. Well, as far as running for pres, that is. Also, Democrats take the gavel... and how little historians may have to work with after Bush leaves office.

Our Manny has been writing lots of wonderful things here this past week! Scroll down, scroll down! Don't miss the tamales, and Nuestra Senora and all the rest too! Scroll down!

All Done! I think... if I've forgotten anyone (some haven't updated) just let me know!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

Merry Christmas, courtesy of the United States Government:
The baby left behind has her own problems.

She has been difficult to feed since her mother was arrested, Feagan said.

“The mother was breastfeeding the baby,” Feagan said. “The baby doesn’t want to eat. Another tried to breastfeed, but she knew it wasn’t her.”

Feagan said she and advocates for local Hispanic families have tried to pinpoint exactly how many children are in family-limbo to try to organize help.

A total of 408 students were absent in the Marshalltown community school district as of Wednesday morning, district officials reported.
I haven't written about this yet, mostly because I've been tracking it with growing horror via excellent sources such as Nezua, XicanoPwr, Latina Lista, Migra Matters, and Orcinus; but the whole Latino Hunt fiasco unfolding across this country is truly evil.

Evil - not a word I throw around lightly, but how else am I to interpret the vile actions of ICE this week? They claim that they've been investigating the meat-packing company for over a year, yet they didn't take into fucking consideration that there are families attached to the workers they herded like animals and disappeared? Not to mention, separating them based on skin color.

Ah, but this is one of those cases where you should be careful for what you wish for, right? There is a reason I rarely post any immigration-related diaries to DailyKos. There are far too many apologists for a police-state society for my nerves to handle. People who are quick to say, "they (they, being the government gestapo) should go after employers who hire illegal workers."
I think it's disgusting (0 / 0)

I'm in favor of enforcement, but leave it to the Republicans to do in the worst possible way - cruel, without consequences to the rich employer, and probably ineffective. As long as the company gets away with it, they will continue to hire illegal immigrants, so in 6 months things will probably be back to the way they were before the raid.

If they had instead arrested or heavily fined the Swift, and left the immigrants alone, I'd be happy.

While my sangre has risen to a rolling boil, I am unsurprised by the incompetency and viciousness displayed by the government gun-wielders. Remember Katrina? How anyone can assume that the BushCo operation would take some type of action without royally fucking it up is a mystery I will never understand.

The raids have begun. Right before Christmas. Without any care being shown for the families affected. And beyond that, open season has been declared on Latinos in general.

But don't worry, we will take care of our families despite this ploy to keep the nativists sleeping soundly in their beds without fear of the brown invasion. From the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, via greenchiledem at DKos:

Local community leaders will be gathering at noon to tell a tale of what yesterday means to this community in terms of our family values. Yesterday, our community faced its greatest fears. It faced an all-out assault on what families values are at their core.

We want to say a few words about what family is all about. Family is about togetherness, about wanting to know each other are safe. It’s about security. Feeling safe in your home and your place of employment, feeling your kids are safe in school or at church, feeling secure that you will be there for your kids when they need you. Yesterday, on the biggest religious holiday for people of Mexican heritage, hundreds of families were torn apart, hundreds of kids lost one or both parents in a cloud of doubt and uncertainty. Who knows where they went, who know what happened?

Yesterday, a crisis struck this community’s families.

Yesterday, a miracle occurred, as an even bigger crisis was averted.

We are happy to report that our families came together in such a way yesterday to take care of the kids left behind in a way that could teach us all a lesson in family values. Last night, no children were left with nowhere to go. In the face of a shocking and devastating experience, we came together as a community. These are the values we want to share with you.


There are also a series of prayer services being held tonight in solidarity with the families and workers affected this week.

Another thing to consider - aside from the blatant racism displayed by those carrying out the bidding of the power-brokers in D.C. - is the issue of due process. You can thank the following Senators, many of whom were re-elected in November, for sending Habeas Corpus through the meat-grinder (pun intended) and allowing something like this to occur without so much as a hiccup of recognition among the greater population.

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Frist (R-TN)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

Those aren't all Republicans, by the way.

Bush Sleeps Like A Log

I'm not surprised

People's interviewer also mentioned that readers had asked if he takes sleep aids. Bush said generally not, but he does occasionally when he travels.

“I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume,” he said.

It was apparent to me years ago that the man insulates himself from having to feel any force of emotion that comes about from his destructive actions. How many military funerals has he attended since the war began?


He probably doesn't want to have to face the families who are forever left with a void, especially if they decide to use their time to clear up any lingering doubts about the justification for preemptive invasion.

The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

(hat tip to BooMan and CabinGirl for the stories)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Navidad en Paz

I picked up (downloaded) the latest CD by Luis Miguel - Navidades - and have been playing it non-stop. Traditional Christmas Carols are presented with Miguel's signature sound of an accompanied orchestra.

The star on top of the tree, though, is the inclusion of Mi Humilde Oración which is, by far, my favorite song of the season.
Ahora soy mayor,
no soy el nino aquel,
pero sigo sonando como el.

Y sueno como (no),
con la palabra amor,
que vuela desde mi alma hasta mi voz.

No mas guerras,
no mas vidas rotas,
que se cure (en) nuestro corazon.
Todo el mundo deberia amar,
y mantener la hogera del amor,
este es mi humilde oracion.

You've probably heard it before in English. Its message is beautiful in any tongue because it is the perfect pitch, calling for unconditional love and hope. It truly is a Grown-Up Christmas List.

What's your favorite canción of the holidays? It's okay if it involves a reindeer ;)

Lessons From A Batch of Tamales

  • Everyone and everything has its purpose - if you leave out an ingredient you will notice, the same goes with the people; if no one shucks the corn you won't get very far.
  • Work doesn't have to be boring - music is a must, and don't be afraid of raising the volume
  • Honor the history that brought you to this place - my deceased nana's picture was displayed proudly and a candle lit to celebrate all the love she shared and the cooking skills she taught
  • There's no need to deny yourself the fruits of your labor - steam up the first dozen and enjoy them as you continue to make the 30+ others
  • Sharing is key - every freezer in my family has the goodness of this year's batch to enjoy for the next year

I love tradition. It's everywhere; yet unless we take the time to identify and celebrate it, it's either lost or warped into a shadow of itself. As a Mexican-American I'm happy to come from a family that has pulled its influence from everywhere it has journeyed.

My great, great grandfather on my dad's side was a blacksmith. That side of the family is very much rooted in the Old West Cowboy history. It's evident that it still lives on strongly whenever we gather for Easter at a remote ranch for several days of camping and celebrating. While we don't own horses any longer, something stirs in our blood when we're out in the monte.

On my mom's side of the family tree, the best-of-the-best of Mexican tradition comes to life (not that it's missing from my dad's side, mind you). I can close my eyes and feel my body waltzing in the living room of my nana's tiny house to the sounds of Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete. My hands embraced in the hands of nana who would sing to us as we danced.

I remember watching my tata sit patiently at the kitchen table with his pocket knife, taking out the candy-like fruit of the granadas (pomegranate) and putting them into a bowl for all of us kids to enjoy. If we weren't in the mood for it, there was usually a griddle on the stove with a quesadilla laying in wait.

Piñatas, cascarones (confetti eggs), Ojitos de Dios, the lamenting sound of a guitar accompanied by the songs of the rancho at the funeral of an elder, the piercing call of the trumpet at a mariachi Mass honoring La Virgen de Guadalupe, the blaze of color in the Jalisco-style dresses of the folklorico performance, the smell of roasting chili being prepared for whatever creation emerges from the stove, the sound of the garlic being crushed within the volcanic stone of a mocahete in preparation for the salsa - all of these things are not something that the average American would consider American™, yet they are.

At least they are for the plethora of humanity that has existed in this area for centuries. The blending of cultures that has produced the modern day Xicano is not something that we can turn off unless a decision is make to deny ourselves a whole portion of our identity. Those of us who are on a journey of discovery that leads to nuestras raíces - our roots - will indeed find solidarity with those in our extended familia that are only separated by powerbrokers' lines of division.

You cannot divide a human heart full of love. I hope that this simple fact will become more central to the future of the immigration debates that will undoubtedly rage for years to come. It will give understanding to people who don't understand why people like me see a system in place that is broken and fundamentally opposed to equality.

Part of the Una Identidad Sin Fronteras series

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Congressional Districts Along La Frontera

The Democrats have added another seat to their list of Congressional Districts that span la frontera with our friends to the south. And yes, they are our friends, contrary to the rabid ravings of the Tom Tancredo-wing of the GOP (and Joe Biden).

Democratic former Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez (news, bio, voting record) upset Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla (news, bio, voting record) in a House runoff election Tuesday in southwestern Texas’ 23rd District, pushing the Democrats’ net gain to 30 House seats and concluding Campaign 2006 with one final stunning come-from-behind victory for the new House majority party.

Rodriguez, who served in the House from 1997 to 2005 in an adjacent district, scored a surprisingly strong 55 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting (results). Bonilla, who was seeking an eighth term, had 45 percent of the vote. Bonilla fell well short of the nearly 49 percent he received in the Nov. 7 “blanket primary” that set the matchup for Tuesday’s runoff.

So let's take a look at the chess board. I'll provide a link to their stances on the issues.
District 53 - Susan Davis (D)
District 51 - Bob Filner (D)

Baja Arizona:
District 7 - Raúl Grijalva (D)
District 8 - Gabrielle Giffords (D)

Nuevo Mexico:
District 2 - Steve Pearce (R)

District 16 - Silvestre Reyes (D)
District 23 - Ciro Rodriguez (D)
District 28 - Henry Cuellar (D)
District 15 - Rubén Hinojosa (D)
District 27 - Solomon Ortiz (D)
Hmmm. Maybe we are taking over. ¡Ja ja ja ja!

On a serious note - this should snap some reality into the foggy brains of legislators who live far, far away from the U.S./Mexico border who insist on passing initiatives that affect our way of life in a negative way.

There is an overwhelmingly strong mandate for comprehensive immigration reform with that list of candidates. So stop sending your gun-wielding troops and focus on the real culprit of the human rights disaster unfolding everyday in our deserts - economic elitism.

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Today is a very important day in Mexico, as well as across the world among the countless descendants of indios who find themselves still influenced by the forces of 15th century synergy - el día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

How could an apparition of a female figure captivate such a large swath of humanity throughout the centuries? The answer ties into the previous article I linked to yesterday.

La Virgen de Guadalupe, appearing to San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, was morena - dark skinned. The language she spoke wasn't English, Spanish, or French - rather Nahuatl - the mother tongue of the Aztecs, whose empire was ending its rule due to the conquests and disease of Europe. She instantly became a symbol of empowerment for the indigenous people of Latin America who were fighting to preserve their identity in their own homeland, which was rapidly changing with each new ship to their shores.

While the Roman Catholic Church obviously played an important role in this event - San Juan Diego was instructed by La Morena to present himself to the bishop - the woman was also seen as a manifestation of the Aztec Goddess Tonantzin - a lunar deity. If you notice, La Virgen de Guadalupe stands atop the crescent moon on the tilma image. Also, the pyramid dedicated to Tonantzin was located in the spot where today's Basilica de Guadalupe now stands.
The Indians, whose religion had many gods and goddesses of all shapes and attributes, revered Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. Following Juan Diego's encounter, they accepted the God of the Spaniards and flocked to the shrine built to house the holy image. The message of the apparitions and the symbolism of the miraculous portrait of Guadalupe had great significance to the Indian population. In the next seven years, eight million Indians were converted, at least nominally, to Catholicism. The Spaniards continued to colonize Mexico and to extend the teachings of the Church in America. Without the fortuitous appearance of Mary, they might have vanished from Mexico.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is important to Mexicans because she is their supernatural mother and because she represents their major political and religious aspirations. The Spanish Conquest represented not only their military defeat and the destruction of their culture, but also the defeat of the old gods and the decline of the old ritual. The apparition of Coatlaxopeuh to a common Indian can be viewed as the return of Tonantzin. The old religion is still alive!

The Guadalupe apparition has had a divided meaning from the very beginning. Its most popular mainstream account was attributed to Father Miguel Sánchez while the native people received the news and message via the Nican Mopohua in Nahuatl - detailing the four apparitions of Nuestra Señora. Here are versions in nahuatl, spanish and english. It begins this way:
Ten years after the seizure of the city of Mexico, war came to an end and there was peace amongst the people; in this manner faith started to bud, the understanding of the true God, for whom we live. At that time, in the year fifteen hundred and thirty one, in the early days of the month of December, it happened that there lived a poor Indian, named Juan Diego, said being a native of Cuautitlan. Of all things spiritually he belonged to Tlatilolco.
The mestizo people have always fought to claim their indigenous identity as well as demand dignity in a society that weaves together racism and classism. It continues today, and on the feast of Tonantzin, we remember the blending of sangre that has produced much richness, yet exists in a world still full of disparity. The color of the skin determined how one was treated back in the 15th century and continues through today.

The promise of Guadalupe is one that echoes the tenets of liberation theology - a reminder to the poor that they do not suffer without an advocate for their plight.

She who is always found among the poor...becomes a model of a spirituality of liberation for the poor and for those who live in real solidarity with the poor. Her Magnificat becomes a song of historical liberation. In the Puebla documents she becomes a model "for those who do not accept passively the adverse circumstances of personal and social life . . . but who proclaim with her that God 'exalts the lowly' and, if it is the case, 'pulls down the princes from their thrones"' - linkage

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a White...Jesus

Newsweek has a fascinating article about the whitewashing of Jesus in the realm of iconography.
Of course, it is a powerful human inclination to be drawn to people who look like ourselves. As Christianity spread out of the Holy Land, across the Mediterranean basin and west into Central and Northern Europe, the image of Jesus morphed to mirror each new culture—he became more white and less dark, more European and less Middle Eastern, more like an Irishman and less like an Israelite. “The whole ideology of Christian art is the remaking of Jesus in the mold of every subsequent generation of converts in order to meet their need for identification,” says Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, a professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University.

Many scholars agree that the adaptability of Christian art was integral to the indoctrination of a largely illiterate, intransient population because it allowed them to relate to the religion on a local level.
Some things never change.

In 2006, this type of uncritical thinking indoctrinates people to delude themselves into believing that there is some Divine Hand guiding the mission of gun-wielding soldiers, armed with bombs and bullets that murder other human beings. It also enables the glossing-over of systematic torture by invoking the eye-for-an-eye doctrine of foreign policy.

I don't get it. This strain of Christianity is not only dangerous (and unfortunately prevalent), it's also inaccurate. While the wingnuts like to claim that Jesus spoke about the grave ills they cite constantly as evidence of the demise of America - abortion, gay marriage, Al Sharpton - the character of Jesus in the Gospels did not.

But there was this:
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? - Matthew 5:43-47
And we wonder why we get called hypocrites by the secular left...

While I'm on the subject, one of the most obscene things I've seen in quite a while came in the guise of one of the infamous magnet ribbons over the weekend:

I think it may be enough to make Baby Jesus cry, regardless of how much melanin his divine skin was infused with.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rainy days and Sundays Tour!

A soggy hello to all! It's that time of the week again, where neither rain, nor sleet, nor closed blinds will keep us from our appointed rounds of peeking in to see what the Eegeehood is up to!

First up... I just have to talk about this one. You see... it's about Olivia, as I bet you well know. Did we complain at petal pr0n? No! We asked for more! Did we balk at bugs? We did not! We drew bees and grasshoppers to our bosoms (or manly chests, of course) and even gazed with friendly eyes on the occasional spider. Except for Manny, but still. Anyway... we are an uncomplaining, affirmative lot in general but then comes along something like... like... well what the heck IS this?! This, I say, goes too far. We cannot love it. Can we? Well, maybe.

Boran says that even in the waning days of Republican congressional control, the EPA is at it again. I guess to squeeze the last little bit of concessions pollution and dirty water out of things before they are forced to follow the law. Also, a wonderful late night muse on inflatable Santas, energy and global responsibility. And don't forget the latest installment on the picture (and the art fair)! It's gaining depth! And toodle loo!

catnip has a Sunday Food for Thought! And it's about dealing with... well, go see. Mind you, she (or someone) is also wondering what you wear to someone's execution. Something I hope I never have to know! Also, 'Change': to Bush it's that stuff that rattles in your pocket. Heh.

[UPDATE!] If you are not familiar with the Great Pepper Plano de la Patria or the Mexican Rummy,you may have missed Nezua, hysterically funny er, I mean heterosexually yours, guest posting at Jesus' General Friday! Also, at home at the Unapologetic Mexican, the 4th installment of The Skin of My Soul, language, stories and much to think about. And how can you resist something with the title of Song of the Seven-Hearted Boy? Quite lovely.

Speaking of language, over where the META is Mo Betta, James has an excellent round up of some of the conversations on racism, sexism, language, big box blogs and so on going on around the blogosphere. Also, a piece I missed last week... Left? What Left? (which is what I ask, too!). Lots of good meta talk going on there, so spread the word!

Also, since we are still talking about language, and this is related to the above roundup, sorta... I actually wrote something! In response to a post about the lack of interest (of some) on the left of condemning derogatory words that affect Native Americans... including one majorly insulting one, R*dsk*n, that is worn by a national football team. Anyway, a conversation going on there too!

[UPDATE AGAIN! MAYBE THE LAST!] Family Man, besides working up the courage to train George (his dog) to perform medical procedures.... (I am not at ALL sure this is a good thing) is reminiscing about Christmas Traditions! And lovely ones they are, too! Maybe share some of your own holiday traditions?

Original James reminds us that today is Human Rights Day! Which should, of course, be every day, but there is nothing wrong at all with a reminder to remember. Also, someone is not getting his vote, no how, no way. Over at Jazzy James' the find is Ted Daniel: Tapestry. I have it on good authority that the Jazzy James site is addictive, so go get hooked!

Gasp, there is Someone Else at Deano's place! And he's got a great, informative post up on Framing Artwork on Paper, which could come in very handy for creative types! And he just put the post up today, I'm sure because he heard about the world-renowned Sunday Tour, don't you think? So go say hi!

ILJ has a Memo To Incoming Congress: Save Our Country, that's very timely! Also, he highlights Jay Lassiter's interview with New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne.!

I didn't forget katiebird this time! Luckily, even tho we didn't visit her last week, she is still being firmed daily! Whew. But she has bronchitis. She needs hugs! Or antibiotics, maybe. Still, she did get in the first installment of an ineteresting series, You on a Diet, the beginning, so we have something to read and talk about it! Besides the being nosy stuff.

All done! I think... if I've forgotten anyone or neglected to add any new people, let me know!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Take me for a walk.

Minutemen Require Photo ID

What a pathetic existence based on fear.
A watchdog group that monitors illegal immigration is holding a town hall-style meeting in Culpeper Thursday evening.


The group said the meeting at Culpeper's VFW Post is open to the public. But Minutemen members will be checking picture IDs at the door.

linkage (emphasis mine)
There really isn't much more to say.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Musings during a busy week...

This past weekend my family had their pre-Christmas Tamale-making fiesta and it occurred to me that this year went extremely fast. It seems like only a couple of months ago that I was marching alongside thousands of humanitarians in downtown Tucson for equality and dignity to be shown the immigrant community - regardless of status.

I've been pensive lately, especially with regards to identity. The midterm elections were a huge shift of power away from the far-right bigots light JD Hayworth, Tom Tancredo and Randy Graf. The Minutemen candidates were, for the most part, shown the door. It is definitely a step in the right direction, but there is much, MUCH work to be done.

The thing I've been pondering is this - what does it mean to be a productive citizen in the United States? If you believe the bobble-heads on T.V. it means to support the government's decrees without question otherwise you're "weak", or worse, a traitor.

I find that to be completely and utterly full of mierda.

I also hear alot of talk about the economy being strong. I also think that's a load of crap. Sure, it might be Sunny Days for the top bracket of income-earners, but what about the rest of us? For me, I know that I haven't had a raise in over a year, yet my expenses have risen exponentially. That is played out constantly throughout this country.

I resent the fact that people like Lou Dobbs blames the "illegal invasion" for these woes. That's not it at all. The blame lies in board rooms and political maneuvering in the halls of power that look the other way when it comes to health care cost, tuition, living wages, worker protections, etc. Why do we choose the easy way out and blame those who have little impact on the real problems?

That's a rhetorical question, but one that perhaps has an answer that will unlock the gridlock that exists politically in this country. The power may have shifted in November, but the problems remain, as well as their disastrous impact.

I find myself at a loss. While I write at this site as a Latino, I'm not foolish enough to think that I'm the only Latino that feels this way, let alone the only human. These are issues that transcend race and nationality.

So what do we do about it?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Crossing the Line to Family Unification

One of the things that immigrant rights groups such as the Border Action Network, Border Network for Human Rights, Derechos Humanos, Humane Borders and other organizations are concerned with is the issue of family unification. It is imperative that comprehensive reform of the immigration system addresses it in a humane way.

When the border lines were drawn, first in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, then again in 1853 with the Gadsden Purchase, families and tribal lands were literally separated overnight. It is important to realize that as the United States rose to unprecedented power on the global stage, their hostility and slave-driver mentality towards Mexico increased.

This elitism - and yes, racism - directly affects today's situation. If you don't believe me, then why would we still be reading stories like this on the doorstep of 2007?
Slipping into the United States, eight-year-old Adrian Ramirez began a three-day trek across the cactus-studded wastes with just a small bag of tortillas and one large hope keeping him going.

"I wanted to spend Christmas with my father in New York, but they caught us," he said, perching on a chair at a center for child migrants in this bustling city on the Arizona border.

Picked up and swiftly repatriated by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Triqui Indian from Mexico's poor Oaxaca state is one of a growing number of children trying to cross the border into the United States without their parents.

Since January, Mexican authorities say some 6,800 youngsters have been repatriated to northern Sonora state after crossing into southern Arizona, a rise of 20 percent over the same period last year.

Rabid hardliners like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, who has launched a modern-day witch hunt in the Phoenix metro area, are leading the screeching noise race that drowns out any chance of a compassionate solution to the human rights catastrophe along la frontera.

Where is the conscience of a nation that turns a blind eye to the desperation that is so potent that it leads young children across the desert in search of their family? Not just any family, but one that has indigenous roots in this piece of rock we arrogantly claim as ours - and only ours - without any recognition of the bloody and unjust history that made it so.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Film Review: Bobby

Over the weekend, I went and saw the recently released movie, Bobby, which dramatizes the moments surrounding the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Featuring a star-studded ensemble cast, the movie is not so much about Bobby Kennedy himself, but more about the ways that his populist message played out among the people. It is easy to get caught up in the Who's Who game with this film, not unlike the movie Crash, where you wonder which Hollywood star is going to pop up next in the narrative. Beyond that, however, are lessons and ideals that still flicker in today's situation with ongoing war and an intense hunger for leadership.

The movie opens up with a contextual blurb that reminds the viewer that earlier in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also assassinated. It frames the era in such a way that forces the viewer to recognize the importance of the void that was left after the death of Dr. King and Kennedy. Scenes and dialog were able to capture disillusionment felt among King's followers, especially within the African American community, and how they held onto a flicker of hope in a movement of equality through the human rights coalition that Kennedy was building, despite the loss of their leader.

Mexican-American life in the 1960's was also worked into the complex, woven storyline. Issues such as identity - "Latino? LATINO?!? You're a Mexican!" - immigration status, the delicate dance with the African American community and facing outright racism were among the themes expounded by the actors.

Looming over the racial themes was Vietnam. The draft and how it was viewed by a young generation was touched upon, as well as a clever way of one young man's escape from the front lines of that unpopular war. Bobby Kennedy's speeches, presented as voice-overs, provided the contrast that the country was in the middle of a political hurricane that would decide the future course of the Vietnam War.

While the pace of this film is high-speed and easily lost at times, I recommend it as a thought-provoking look at American politics and social structure. There are themes there that need to be scratched and prodded from below the surface. It's one of those films where it's up to the viewer how much he/she gets out of its message.

For me, there were several times when goosebumps rose on my skin and, I have to admit, tears welled up in my eyes. Tears of sadness, yes, but also tears of appreciation and inspiration that comes from the few and far between leaders that speak a message that resonates with a person committed to peace and justice.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Always on Sunday! (well, almost)

Yep, it's that time again and your humble tour guide (I have just this week decided that I am humble, and I think it's up to everyone to recognize that. Yay me!)... anyway, your humble tour guide is here to lead us on our nosy way!

First, y'all watch out cuz catnip says Yes, the Women Are Angry! And you know what that means, don't you? You'll just have to read it to find out! Also, she's starting a holiday tradition (at least, I think it should be one) with the re-posting of her The Poor Person's Guide to Gift Giving, which has not only important thoughts, but important and practical suggestions! And, of course it wouldn't be Sunday without... yep, you guessed it! The... the... gasp. It's not there! (Maybe it really insn't Sunday?). Lots else is tho, so go read!

ILJ has been bizzy, bizzy since we last visited! Not only does he want An Atheist Candidate For President (sounds good to me!), but he highlights World AIDS Day with links to a moving, and very real, story. Also, he celebrates the return of lefty blogger Bob Higgins.

supersoling is asking difficult questions before breakfast! Okay, well, at least before dinner. I think this could be a tremendously interesting conversation on early, decimated Native American societies (and, as applicable, others) and Banning Abortion to Save a Society.

[UPDATE!] Oof! Nezua takes a question from a google search (and what a question, ack!) and gives it the attention it deserves in his hilarious (and thought provoking) new series, Ask Nezua! Also shedding light and much detail on a story the White House is trying to suppress. Lots more there too, of course, but for now... smile and Dance!

Over at Migra Matters, Duke deconstructs the term "guest worker", bringing up many things I've wondered about, and answering other questions. Time to stop using terms imposed on us by others, I think!

Boran has stopped keeping secrets! He's letting us know all about the ArtFair, which is apparently going to happen in early January, at BMT. Also, our painting is coming along nicely, even if Boran has moved the plants out of the parking lot, making it a concrete jungle! Also, island farewells!

The Canadian Blog Awards people have no consideration for Sunday tour guides. They are making us wait ALL DAY to find out if Olivia has made the finalists or 3rd round or whatever is coming up. Personally, I feel like frowning and smiling at the same time too! Don't miss the calla lilies - the deep pink one was up the first time I visited Olivia's blog - a definite "WOW!" photo.

[UPDATE AGAIN! ] Family Man needs milk! (and cookies!). And lots of rest, even though his new slacking regimen involves... wait for it... exercise! gasp. Take care of yourself, Family Man, so that you can get back to slacking in earnest.

Deano art! By Deano himself! (He tried to trick us by saying it was by someone named Dean... no o!). A very drawing that is a prelim for a larger project he might do... he' s asking for input! Also, very leggy Tango Dancers!

Original James is getting organized! Getting his posts and categories and stuff in order - after a long time writing things, I bet that's quite a job! Start at the top and read down! It's very convenient having all the themes in one place like that, well done! No new things at Jazzy James at the moment, but that makes it a perfect time to wander through and see all the stuff you missed! Some amazing finds there.

Also, we've successfully moved servers at HB, and things are running faster now, thank goodness! Most of the areas are updated, plus, in our arts and entertainment area we are starting a blog just for that section. A group blog, either discussing or highlighting various arts and artists, music, books, writing, literature, poetry and all that stuff, anything to do with those sorts of topics, from an international and multicultural point of view. It's not there yet (partially because we are still reorganizing, but also cuz I need to find the group! ), but if anyone is interested or has questions, just let me know (nanette at humanbeams dot com) . I think it will be fun!

Also, your humble (did I mention how humble I am?... nothing at all to do with what tarot card I am, I assure you!) has contacts! and those contacts told her that nominations for the Koufaxes, the lefty blogger awards thingy, will be opening in about 2 weeks! So, people should start figuring out who they are going to nominate for what right now.

All done! I think... if I've forgotten anyone (some haven't updated) just let me know! I have a feeling...

GASP! I was right! Always trust your instincts, I always say... unless they are wrong. I almost forgot katiebird! But I'm having trouble loading her site, so will check back later, and then we'll be done! Maybe.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

He smelled like a foot
so he got a bath.

a happy camper, he was not...

...until he realized that it came with an ear massage.

Maybe They're With George's WMD

When I entered the workforce, I had to divorce myself of the idea that a business was run any differently than a junior high student council. Same problems arise from the same type of oversights, only instead of screwing up a homecoming celebration, money and human resources are usually affected.

As I observe the government more, I'm learning that they are not much different than a business. It's unnerving, however, to recognize that perhaps the junior high student council would have a better shot at keeping things in order - especially under the rule of a bully like George Bush.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency may have processed as many as 30,000 citizenship applications in 2005 without reviewing critical background files, thousands of which have been lost, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The 30,000 applications that may have been processed without so-called alien files in fiscal 2005 represented about 4 percent of the 715,000 total applications handled that year. The files, known as A-files, contain information such as arrest warrants and the results of immigration proceedings. CIS, a bureau within the Homeland Security Department, is responsible for about 55 million such documents.

Now, before any National Security cheerleaders think I'm agreeing with them. Think again.
Homeland security is not the only reason the missing files are of great concern, the senators said. Missing files result in unnecessary delays for thousands of other legitimate immigrants trying to become U.S. citizens, they said.

(emphasis mine)
This is just one of many, MANY examples of a broken immigration system. Let me say it again and again and again - it encompasses a legion of problems that requires comprehensive reform. There are families whose future lies in the balance by these mistakes of incompetence.

I reject the premise that immigrants are terrorists, which is what the hardliners would love you to believe. The reality is that for every application misfiled by the government there is a web of humanity attached to it that suddenly finds itself the target of ire by the vigilantes and Great Wall™ supporters.