Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best Blog Posts of 2007

Jon Swift has compiled a great listing of posts from 2007. Check them all out here.

My contribution:
Man Eegee
"Thoughts on the Goldwater Institute Analysis"
Man Eegee takes a look at how that Republican outreach to Latinos is going.
What are some memorable posts you've encountered over the year at various sites in WebLandia?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad

Bud got a new bed for the holiday

Be safe, everyone! I'll be having familia-time today
and then will be gearing up for a trip to New York.
Feliz Navidad a todos mis amigos

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Borders Are Moving Again

One of things that amuses me when border policies get "debated" in the United States is the rock-hard belief among Americans™ that the borders of their country are set in stone. They forget the history - the wars, the influence of money, the betrayals, etc - that have carved the "sea to shining sea" myth.

Borders are fluid, just as cultures and traditions are fluid, and separation is never permanent because we are constantly in a state of flux and migration as a species. Every time warped human nature has tried to deny that reality, the long thread of our nature mocks the attempts of those who choose to bottle in humanity.

The flip side of this is, of course, that conquistadors will sometimes get a dose of their own medicine. Nezua fills us in on a huge development today:
The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

Looks like karma and Manifest Destiny are going to get a chance to duel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Guymon Daily Herald Reports Newspaper Racks Vandalized by Racists

As a followup to my recent post, Nativist Hatred in Goodwell, I thought I'd share with my readers an article that recently appeared in the Guymon Daily Herald, by staff writer Miranda Gilbert:
GDH newspaper racks vandalized

Photo caption: Here's an example of the propaganda that can be seen on our own Guymon Daily Herald racks. Photo credit: Heather Avey

A group against illegal immigrants are now protesting – illegally.

Paper signs boasting racial slurs next to God’s name were found glued to newspaper racks this week, including the Guymon Daily Herald’s dispensers at Wal-Mart and Dizzy B’s.

The signs appear to be an advertisement, with the fine print reading “Paid for by the Citizen’s for Public Awareness” but no contract was signed for the $50 a week advertisement block.

“They have not paid us for that spot,” said GDH Circulation Manager Peggy Martinez, who has discovered the signs sporadically through the week. “It is a paid advertising spot, but no one from this group has contacted us.”

Law enforcement was notified of the vandalism and an investigation is under way at the Guymon Police Department.

“They’re worried about immigrants breaking the law, ‘illegals,’ but what they’re doing is illegal,” Martinez said.

The signs say, “Support ‘Operation Wetback’ Thou shall enter a country legally. Thou shall leave a country lawfully — God. Support removal of illegals Call Congress.”

Another sign listed the US code and section which states that harboring, abetting and employing illegal aliens is a crime and listed the phone number for Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE).

Anyone with information may call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-766-0146 or 338-1899. Callers can remain anonymous.
Whoever put these signs up were cowards, and yes, criminals. And since I am somewhat of a night owl, if I happen to see anyone trying to do this in the future, I'll be immediately making a few phone calls.

Cross-posted from The Mahatma X Files

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

50,000 Hits? Cool!

Never thought I'd see the day, and am humbled now that it's here.
50,000 hits. Wow!

Thanks for all you do!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Una Identidad Sin Fronteras: Posadas

Today, December 17th, marks the second day in another example of centuries worth of cultural synergy in action - Las Posadas. It is a cultural tradition that gave birth to many iconic aspects of modern Latin@ culture.

Within a decade of the appearance of La Virgen de Guadalupe in Tenochtitlan, Roman Catholic missionaries were working on supplanting the Aztec celebration of the birth of their sun deity Huitzilopchtli, which occurred during the (European) month of December, with one that was more Christian in nature. St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, received permission from Rome to institute a nine day period of prayer leading up to Christmas in the "New World". Now commonly known as a novena, each day for this particular novena was to signify the nine months of Mary's pregnancy.

Las Posadas, which means the Inns in English, is the reenactment of Mary and Joseph's experience when they arrived in Belén.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. - Luke 2:1-8
Each night of Las Posadas, processions of candle-carrying pilgrims make their way in song to pre-determined destinations where they are symbolically and, sometimes truly, turned away. Usually there are figures of Mary and Joseph carried in honor with the procession, as well as a nacimiento (nativity scene) at the house that the people gather. As the nine days progress, verses of the traditional song are added, telling the story of a very different Jesus than is commonly espoused by the rich and elite. Here is the English version, but I've only ever heard it sung in Spanish.
In the name of Heaven
I beg you for lodging,
for she cannot walk
my beloved wife.

This is not an inn
so keep going
I cannot open
you may be a rogue.

Don't be inhuman;
Have mercy on us.
The God of the heavens
will reward you for it.

You can go on now
and don't bother us,
because if I become annoyed
I'll give you a trashing.

We are worn out
coming from Nazareth.
I am a carpenter,
Joseph by name.

I don't care about your name:
Let me sleep,
because I already told you
we shall not open up.

I'm asking you for lodging
dear man of the house
Just for one night
for the Queen of Heaven.

Well, if it's a queen
who solicits it,
why is it at night
that she travels so alone?

My wife is Mary
She's the Queen of Heaven
and she's going to be the mother
of the Divine Word.

Are you Joseph?
Your wife is Mary?
Enter, pilgrims;
I did not recognize you.

May God pay, gentle folks,
your charity,
and thus heaven heap
happiness upon you.

Blessed is the house
that shelters this day
the pure Virgin,
the beautiful Mary.

Final Celebration
Enter, holy pilgrims,
receive this corner,
for though this dwelling is poor,
I offer it with all my heart.

Oh, graced pilgrim,
oh, most beautiful Mary.
I offer you my soul
so you may have lodging.

Humble pilgrims,
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
I give my soul for them
And my heart as well.

Let us sing with joy,
all bearing in mind
that Jesus, Joseph and Mary
honor us by having come.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the celebrations for Posadas are full of iconic symbols of la cultura mexicana. Piñatas originated during the first fiestas in the form of estrellas to signify the Star of David that alerted the wise men and shepherds to the birth of Christ. Traditional foods such as tamales, buñuelos (cross between doughnuts and sopapillas), and champurrado (chocolate atole) are also part of the usual forms of celebration.

Across the United States, Posadas are being celebrated by communities and neighborhoods, with some gleaning the obvious political realities faced by their families.
NOGALES, Ariz. — With border agents, Customs officers and police looking on, a group of Catholics here turned the international border into Bethlehem and sang Christmas songs into a green metal grille separating the United States and Mexico.

The Saturday afternoon "Posada on the Border" was a dramatization of Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem the night of Jesus' birth. Re-enactments occurred simultaneously on both sides of the international line, with those on the U.S. side incorporating border politics into their performance.

In a shadow cast by the cement-and-steel border wall, 11-year-old Gerardo Perez, playing Joseph, and 11-year-old Luz Mariela Robles, as Mary, walked the sidewalk along the international border seeking shelter, or posada.

Led by Miriam Lewis, also 11, who played the angel, they knocked on doors of three "inns" named Arizona, California, and New Mexico/Texas.

Each time, they were rejected and the group prayed for migrants who have died in that state while trying to cross into the United States from Mexico on foot.

Catholic officials say the dramatization was intended as a message that we need to be more welcoming of migrants seeking jobs and homes in other countries.

This is one of my favorite celebrations of the year because it turns the commercial-infected holiday season into one infused with the spirit of charity and family. Traditionally, gifts were not even opened on Christmas day, but rather on Dia de los Reyes Magos in January, but as with any melding of cultures, I'll be handing out presents to mis hijados and getting some from family on the 25th. There is one aunt that waits, though, and I smile to think of her.

She lives in the house of my great-grandmother who passed when I was a small child. Although I was a little guy at the time, I can still visualize the corner of her living where the nacimiento was layed out with care - the same nacimiento that was given to me when she passed on - the same that I proudly put out every year during these final days of the year.

It is a reminder of where I've been and, more importantly, a re-realization of the charity that is expected of me as a follower of a boy who was born in a stable among animals because his family was turned away.

Mas información:

Posadas - Wikipedia
Navidad en Mexico -
Posadas on Olvera Street
Holiday Traditions - Mexico (with Champurrado and Arroz con Leche recipes!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nativist Hatred in Goodwell

As I was fixing to leave Goodwell this afternoon to run some errands in a neighboring town, I noticed the following two racist signs on adjacent dumpsters at College Corner, a local convenience store. Of course I didn't have my camera handy at the time, so I waited until this evening to get a couple shots of the offending signs. The only identifying information I could find was on one that claimed it was paid for by some entity called "Citizens for Public Awareness." A quick drive around town suggests that College Corner was the only location where these signs were posted. Given that store's location - right across the street from the university campus - I'm guessing the perps were shooting for maximum visibility.

Similar signs have been found in Arizona, as witnessed by my friend Manny, and an ASU student who shot the following video:

I recall that Manny was hoping to research the group behind the signs, so perhaps he'll chime in and offer some insight. From what I've been able to gather, this Citizens for Public Awareness organization doesn't exactly have much presence on the internet. That said, what little info I've been able to dredge up suggests that its founder and president, Nancy Schaefer, has been known to make nativist statements in the past. So, assuming this is the same group, the signs are definitely in character.

I'll likely be making a few phone calls Monday to see who has jurisdiction over dumpsters, and see what it'll take to get the signs removed.

All that aside, there is something fittingly symbolic of racist garbage like the above signs glued to dumpsters.

For those requiring some context, here's a little something on nativism.

Cross-posted from The Mahatma X Files.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"More Fertilizer for the Cacti"

The desert claims another victim.
The body of a Nicaraguan woman who died while trekking into the United States with a group of illegal immigrants was found on the Tohono O'odham Nation on Wednesday, a Border Patrol spokeswoman said.

The 46-year-old woman had become ill and fell behind the rest of the group, Senior Patrol Agent Dove Haber said.

One of the trolls at the Tucson Citizen responds: "More fertilizer for the cacti"

A direct result of politicians and policies that aim to dehumanize the flow of people seekin refuge. Luckily, there are groups and movements that do not forget that we are one global family. Please consider giving a donation to them for the holidays - consider it fertilizer to grow the U.S. a new conscience.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Operation Tamale

This is so offensive and vile that I can't even muster the words to convey an appropriate rant.
Apparently making tamales is a job that many Americans want. Monday in its continuing effort to insure that Americans can have Tamale making jobs ICE raided an American Tamale factory and deported twenty-one workers. To add insult to injury ICE agents named the raid “OPERATION TAMALE”.

More from Nuestra Voice

Border Action Network Posada

This coming Saturday, Border Action Network will be looking back at a year of human rights advocacy as well as forward to continued trainings of Promotores and Know Your Rights campaigns in neighborhoods across southern Arizona.
CELEBRATE WITH US! - Our 3rd Annual Posada
  • Date: Saturday, December 15, 2007
  • Time: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
  • Place: St. John’s Church - 602 W. Ajo Way, Tucson

Border Action Network invites you to celebrate this holiday season at our 3rd Annual Posada where we will reflect on our accomplishments of 2007 in promoting Human and Civil Rights, but equally important, we will celebrate our commitment to working with one another for justice in our communities while we share great food and music.

  • Dinner and Live Music
  • The graduation of Human Rights Promoters in Tucson and Sahuarita
  • The graduation of the first “I Know My Rights” English class
  • Slideshow of our 2007 Highlights
More on posadas later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

El Día de Guadalupe Redux

[reposted from last year]

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Haters in Tucson

Well, so much for the siesta.

This was the view from the window of the cafe where I just ate my lunch:

Any ideas for some additions to their yellow turdblossom?

A Quick Siesta From Politics

It's raining in Tucson, snowing on Mount Lemmon, and I don't wanna do anything today! In this joyous spirit of slacktitude, I'm gonna respond to James' tagging for the seven factoids.
These are the rules:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself.
3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
  1. I'm addicted to live music. I can't get enough of it and make sure that I get my fix at least once or twice a month. I think it's due to the alto saxophone playing years. Seeing a group or artist jam out gives me a rush. Last night was Ozomatli on Ice - my heart will be smiling for awhile now.
  2. I meditate frequently. It's the only way I know how to keep my arteries from popping from the high blood pressure that spikes whenever I read the news. Taking cues from mystics in various traditions, it has helped me control my anger and learn to be more patient. This is obviously a road that will be traveled for a long, long time as I have much work to do...
  3. Cooking relaxes me. The smells, the textures, the tastes, the challenge of tweaking a recipe to make the food shine - I love it all. While I don't cook as much as I would like, because it's just me and I have no qualms about eating leftovers for a few days, the evenings that I do whip up something in the kitchen are among my favorite of the week.
  4. The neurotic Virgo in me never stops counting. An example: I try very, very hard not to look at my alarm clock before I fall asleep because I end up unleashing a torrent of insomnia by calculating the exact time of sleep I'll be getting for the night. If I doze off and wake up, the vicious cycle repeats itself. For long drives, I do the math for distance and speed to figure out when I'll get somewhere. It's mostly for fun, but the blame for this lies squarely with my high school physics teacher who told us to try it one day.
  5. I get what we call in spanish - ansias (or ansiedad if you're a linguistic purist) - prior to big events. My private journal for the week prior to Columbine and 9/11, as two examples, reads out of an episode of the Twilight Zone. It stems from an inner voice that I've learned to be aware of, and occasionally embrace, that I discovered in high school and later in college when there were seismic encounters with spirituality among my family. On one hand it freaks me out, on the other I just shake my head and wonder if I need a good cocktail of meds.
  6. Lightning freaks me out. I'm sure this has to do with the fact that five bolts have come within 30 yards over the years.
  7. I can identify most beers based on taste. This technique can always use more practice, though. Heh. One time I was eating at Chuy's with my cousin and when my second round arrived, I told her that it was [insert name here, I can't recall], she mocked me in jest....until the bill arrived and it revealed that I was correct. She'll never doubt my powers again. :)
Passing this exercise in procrastination and frivolity over to Family Man, Jen, Nancy, janinsanfran, Louis, brownfemipower and Janet. Looking forward to learning more about you all.

Open Thread! Open Thread! Open Thread!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Today is International Human Rights Day

Sixty years later, the Declaration is still a true road map to global peace...if only we would embrace it.
This theme for 2008, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a commitment to universal dignity and justice. It is not a luxury or a wish-list. The UDHR and its core values, inherent human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality, apply to everyone, everywhere and always. The Declaration is universal, enduring and vibrant, and it concerns us all.


Blame the Criminals and Wetbacks!

Every once in a while, the naked truth of hardliners' sentiments shine freely. In this case, Georgia's Carroll County Commissioner Bill Head has a Russell Pearce Moment during a public hearing.

"It's going to get worse as criminals move in from Atlanta and, based on what I see, and wetbacks from down south, uh, we're going to have more and more all the time," Head said.

"Nobody in the room said anything, but I think everyone was taken aback," said Chappell, who sat beside Head.

"I thought it was an unfortunate remark and inappropriate, and it does not accurately reflect Carroll County," Chappell said. "If any of our Hispanic community was offended, I apologize for our Board of Commissioners."


Note the Chair's language: "If...was offended, I apologize". Not: "The remark was patently wrong and bigoted, therefore I apologize". Mr. Head, on the other hand...
...told local TV news stations Thursday that he stood by his comments and did not plan to apologize.

History of the U.S./Mexico Border

Courtesy of ImmigrationProf Blog, a comprehensive history of the movement and policies affecting the border between the United States and Mexico. Introduction:
On a different September 11—the one in 1998—the body of a man was found floating in the All-American Canal in the Imperial Valley of southern California. The next day, Saturday, September 12, another man, who had been in a coma since August, when he was found in the valley’s desert with a core body temperature of 108 degrees, died. On Sunday, the Border Patrol discovered the body of Asuncion Hernandez Uriel in the same desert. Some of her group stayed with her, but she died of heat stress. The same day, the decomposed body of Oscar Cardoso Varon was pulled out of the canal. In all, the bodies of four migrants attempting to cross to the United States from Mexico were found that weekend.

New Mexico Senior Deported After Parking Violation

We must secure the borders so that parking violations across this great land will cease for eternity, ushering in a new era of freedom from Traffic Survival School....or something.
U.S. immigration officials deported a pregnant Roswell High School senior after she was pulled from class Wednesday by a local police officer regarding a traffic ticket issued days before.

According to Roswell Police Chief John Balderston, Karina Acosta, 18, was given several days to provide proper identification after being cited for a parking violation and driving without a license on Nov. 29 but failed to do so.

RHS Student Resource Officer Charlie Corn, a 10-year RPD veteran, removed Acosta from class Dec. 5 regarding the traffic violation and detained her at the school before notifying U.S. immigration officials of her illegal status, according to Balderston.

Searching across the web for more information on this particular incident has yielded nothing besides the linked article. The scenario, however, is being played out across the country. Local law enforcement agencies are now taking it upon themselves to act as INS agents. When it comes to their involvement on school grounds, tension between officials becomes inevitable.
Roswell Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Mike Kakuska said the RISD has officially protested Acosta's arrest with the INS and the Mexican Consulate.

"We are very, very concerned as a public school as to what happened the other day," said Kakuska, addressing a group of about 50 parents who gathered at RHS Friday morning. "The police officer, without our knowledge, had this young lady brought into his office here at school and the detain orders were issued through him, not the Roswell schools."
I've placed a phone call to Gov. Richardson's office to see if he has any comments on the case.

tip of the hat to commenter Larry in New Mexico

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hutto: America's Family Prison

Powerful video, courtesy of the T. Don Hutto Blog

Bill Introduced For Samaritan's Green Card

I love my Congressman - even more so because this will make the hardliners' heads explode.
U.S. Rep. Rául Grijlava submitted a private bill Thursday asking Congress to issue a green card to an illegal entrant who officials credit with saving the life of a 9-year-old boy he encountered in the desert on Thanksgiving night.

Late Thursday evening, Grijalva submitted the private bill, “H.R. 4339, for the relief of Jesus Manuel Córdova Soberanes,” to the clerk of the house, said Natalie Luna, Grijalva’s press secretary. The bill will be referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

James offered a post over the Thanksgiving weekend outlining this instance of a modern day Good Samaritan in action. Córdova was honored earlier this week at a ceremony at the Nogales Port of Entry.
"We don't know what would have happened to Christopher," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada. "He was lost in an area where there was no help. Then Manuel Jesus shows up - his guardian angel."

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Manuel Ruiz described Cordova as "a young man who gave up his dream of helping his family to help a young man." He addressed Cordova's mother, Alma Lydia Soberanes, in Spanish and commended her for raising such a compassionate son.


Government Personnel Cross the Border to Collect Blood

The office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has nailed unlicensed physicians in New Mexico for crossing the border to Juarez to collect blood samples for a study regarding genetics and disease among Latin@s.
During the review, we identified several compliance issues in both protocols. The concerns consisted of the use of an unlicensed physician to conduct certain diagnostic interviews and to draw blood without disclosing this to the IRB; irregularities in the de-identification of the informed consent documents; unavailability of medical records for some subjects to support pre-existing diagnoses qualifying the subjects for the study; failure to obtain approval from either the IRB or the Office of Research and Development (ORD) for conducting research activities internationally; and the use of a tissue bank not approved by the VA.

linkage (.pdf warning)
The blood samples were collected from participants who were interviewed and paid a stipend of $125. They drove a government vehicle across the line and when returning, failed to declare the blood samples with Customs, according to the website VA Also noted from the report is the following:
However, we did find irregularities in the recruitment process, verification of inclusion criteria, informed consent de-identification, and the credentialing and privileging of research personnel involved in the two protocols reviewed. Finally, we note that both protocols involved the banking of tissue specimens from human subjects at an offsite tissue bank not approved by VA for use in these particular protocols. (emphasis mine)
The report goes on to outline the failure of government personnel to secure consent forms from all participants, obtain prior medical records to determine health history, and the unsubstantiated claim that used needles were utilized for the blood draws. The exploitation of Mexican citizens was noted due to the currency disparity, with the rate being nearly 10 pesos for every U.S. dollar.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Toy Drive For Children Imprisoned in Texas

Please bookmark the T. Don Hutto Blog that is making sure the stories of families, especially the children, imprisoned in the Texas concentration camp are told. They have organized media campaigns, marches, vigils and other events to raise the flag of outrage against this blatant violation of human rights.

One of their current campaigns is a toy drive for the children within the prison walls. Please help:

"How the ICE Stole Christmas" Toy Drive Reception

Toy Drive for the kids at Hutto Detention Center
December 6th. 6-9pm.

1401 E 34th Street (on the corner of Lafayette and 34th)

Come as you are and bring an unwrapped toy, book, art supply (everything in its original packaging) or a $5-$10 cash donation. There will be adult beverages and sodas, and some yummy snacks. ALL proceeds from this party will be used to buy toys, books, and art supplies for the children imprisoned in the Hutto facility.
Questions should be directed to Bren at 512.296.0147 or cynthia.bren[at]

**If you are unable to attend the toy drive reception, but want to contribute any dollar amount to the toy/book/art supply fund (one dollar is not too small), please give any donations to ProCo's donation collectors: Laura Martin, Maritza Kelley, Caroline O'Connor, or Bren Gorman when you see them in class or in the halls. Also, you can leave donations in a marked envelope in Box 235. All cash donations will go to purchase additional items, and fill in the holes from what we don't collect at the toy drive. We will use the money to purchase educational toys, books, and art supplies to be given to the kids at Hutto for Christmas.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

North Carolina Cop Steals From Latinos

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A police officer has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for pulling over Hispanic drivers and stealing their money.

Former Washington police officer Steven Ray Hilsinger had served as a patrol officer for about a year before his arrest in September following an investigation by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation.


He was nailed after stealing from an undercover police officer. Perhaps he should go into the witness protection program, relocate to Phoenix and work for Mayor Gordon (who's a Democrat, by the way). He seems to have the racial discrimination thing down to a science and the Valley is salivating at a chance to practice the technique.
Under increasing pressure to take a stronger stand on immigration issues, Mayor Phil Gordon announced Monday that he would seek to end a controversial police immigration-enforcement policy.

Operations Order 1.4 prevents city police in most cases from asking about a person's immigration status. Gordon said Monday that he could no longer support the 20-year-old policy.

I'm so glad I don't live north of the Gila anymore.

U.S. Citizens Mischaracterized by AP

Headline: Hospital group troubled by plan to deny birth certificates to illegal immigrants

Reality: The Associated Press is too lazy to make sure their headlines are accurate. There is no plan to deny birth certificates to "illegal immigrants", there is a plan to deny birth certificates to United States citizens.

And who is the legislative mastermind behind such an effort here in Arizona? No other than the white supremacist group National Alliance-supporter Russell "Operation Wetback" Pearce.

We have reached the point of absurdity.

[UPDATE] The staff at the Tucson Citizen has reworked the headline they wrote to accompany their AP Wire Service article: Hospital group troubled by plan to deny birth certificates to children of illegal immigrants


[UPDATE the 2nd] Yet another revision, this time giving the word "illegal" a makeover as a noun. This is getting ridiculous! Plan to deny certificates for illegals' newborns rattles health group

La Cucaracha Celebrates Cinco Años

The anniversary passed, but I wanted to give a shout out to Lalo Alcaraz for reaching a great milestone. His daily cartoon La Cucaracha has turned five. ¡Felicitaciones, Lalo!
La Cucaracha is a unique strip that provides a view of the world through the sharp, satiric lens of its young Latino characters and the fertile mind of acclaimed creator Lalo Alcaraz. Growing up on the U.S./Mexico border gave Lalo a dual outlook on life. He’s not "Mexican" enough for his relatives in Mexico and not "American" enough for some in the U.S.A. It’s this double-edged Spanglish attitude that fuels this jalapeño-biting satirical observations in his daily comic strip, La Cucaracha.
Click the strip for more.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Associated Press Does It Again

Apparently the Associated Press delivered their staff new dictionaries recently, updating the entry for the word "illegal" to reclassify it as a noun. Either that, or institutional idiocy continues to rule the day.

[UPDATE] Yahoo News, not the AP, appears to be the culprit. More later on that.

Woman Charged with Murder for Stillbirth

Via brownfemipower at Women of Color Blog, we read the following message from the Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women:

As you know, we've been doing our best to fight injustice in Oklahoma, where we've been working since 2004 on behalf of Theresa Hernandez, a woman charged with first-degree murder for suffering a stillbirth. The prosecutor attributed the pregnancy loss to her drug use despite the fact that no medical evidence links methamphetamine use with stillbirths.


In spite of our best efforts, this past September Ms. Hernandez — worn out from nearly four years in jail without contact visits from her children and dreading the possibility of a life sentence — accepted the prosecutor�s reduced plea of second-degree murder. This would ordinarily be the end of the story. Instead, NAPW and our local allies are turning this development into an opportunity to educate the community, demand that such prosecutions never happen again, and ensure that the community knows that — plea or no plea — Ms. Hernandez is not a murderer.

Go read the whole thing
My only comment is that the perfect title was selected by brownfemipower: There is no justice when a woman does time for a non-existent crime

Monday, December 03, 2007

14th Amendment Under Attack...Again

I'm going to give my stock response to this: I'm all for it*
Arizona voters may be asked to decide whether to prohibit the state from issuing birth certificates to children of non-U.S. citizens and require hospitals to check the citizenship of parents of newborns.

Those are key provisions of a proposed initiative filed Friday for possible inclusion on the November 2008 ballot, and a leading legislative critic of illegal immigration says he plans similar but separate legislation to take the issue to voters.

*as long as it's made retroactive to the 1787 ratification date of the U.S. Constitution.

Building a Wall from Propaganda

I've received eight emails now from advocates of the Great Wall of America™ flogging a story about Islamic terrorists making contacts with human smugglers in Mexico to cross the line and attack Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista.

How many times does this need to be repeated?
FORT HUACHUCA — A federal report in May that this Southern Arizona Army post may be the target of Middle Easterners who were smuggled into the United States from Mexico is “not valid or credible,” a FBI spokesman said Monday.

linkage (emphasis mine)
Whomever leaked the information is not a dummy. They're aware that the mere act of introducing such an inflammatory claim into the water cooler conversations of this country is enough to keep the money flowing to the wall-builder wing of the military industrial complex. Profits don't discriminate between fact or fiction.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Bud Blogging

"It's time for a nap, what's the holdup?"

Ozomatli Returns to Arizona

Los Angeles-based latin/funk gurus, Ozomatli, are returning to the Grand Canyon State in December for two shows that are not to be missed. They'll be in Tucson at the Rialto on Monday, Dec 10th, and Flagstaff on Tuesday, Dec 11th at the Orpheum Theatre for the Ozo on Ice Tour

I've seen them perform at both venues and they rock out, as they always do, in live shows that are high energy fiestas of música con ritmo sabroso bearing messages of peace and solidarity. If you've never been to an Ozomatli concert, this is your chance to find out why there are countless "Ozoheads" across the world that follow these guys loyally.

Their latest album released earlier in the year, Don't Mess With The Dragon, takes on topics such as the Iraq War (en español), the immigration marches of 2006 and Hurricane Katrina. In true Ozo-fashion, the disc is a mezcla of funk, rock, latin, and Old School beats. Their CDs are nonstop parties, but are only a taste of what you'll get at one of their live shows. I'll be at the Rialto on the 10th.

Mas información

Extreme Blog Makeover - ePluribus Media Edition

Congratulations to mis amigos over at ePluribus Media for the relaunch of their newly designed hub on the web. You can now find their online gateway at

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Remembering the Sand Creek Massacre

One hundred, forty-three years ago:
At dawn of November 29, 1864, a force of some 700 soldiers, the majority 100 day volunteers who had been chided in Denver as the "Bloodless Third" Regiment, attacked a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians.


Throughout the day, soldiers, many in small unorganized groups, continued to hunt and pursue Indians up Sand Creek and across the adjacent plains. By evening, about 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho lay dead - many of the victims women, children, and elderly.

More available via winter rabbit's post at Native American Netroots

Nursing Mother Released From Jail

Good news - and a follow up from yesterday's post regarding Danielle Ferreira, who was refused the ability to nurse her two month old son while detained. She was released from the North Carolina jail after officials removed their heads from their asses consulted the rules they're supposed to follow.
Spokeswoman Julia Rush said jail officials did not know about the new federal guidelines for nursing women until late Monday night.

"Had we known, she would have been released on Friday," Rush said.

h/t to commenter Skye at the Women of Color Blog

Rainforests In Crisis Blog

How can I pass up an opportunity to post about a tapir?
NORTHEAST VALLEY [Phoenix area, for the non-natives] - Blogging this week from a Central American rainforest, a Northeast Valley television crew, says photographing jaguars in the wild is "amazing."

In Belize, the bloggers describe that country's national mammal, the tapir: "A cross between a cow, an anteater, and a pig, the tapir was most interested in eating the video camera. :)," they say, at

The mission of Paradise Earth:
Each week, over one million acres of the earth's rainforests are destroyed. The mission of Paradise Earth is both Conservation and Education. We will achieve this by creating a Rainforest Habitat that functions as a genetic pool of plants, birds, and wildlife to both preserve the species and repopulate them outside of captivity. The habitat will also be an educational center, focused on sharing a variety of ways that humans can live in a more environmentally-friendly manner.
Check out their blog here, where there are a few posts showing their encounters in Belize.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Detained Mother Unable to Breastfeed

This is outrageous, but also known as par for the course.

A Brazilian woman, held in the Mecklenburg County jail since Friday on an immigration violation, is not being allowed to provide breast milk for her son, who is less than 2 months old.

Ezequiel Oliveira, who is helping care for the woman's two children, said he spent hours at the jail Monday trying to get a breast pump to 29-year-old Danielle Ferreira. He said Ferreira's baby, Samuel, is crying incessantly and keeps spitting up baby formula.


Oliveira, who is Ferreira's pastor and also from Brazil, said he saw her Sunday and she complained of a fever and soreness in her breasts because she hasn't been allowed to express milk. He said Samuel doesn't seem to feel well, has a rash and spits up every time he drinks formula.

Jan Ellen Brown, a Charlotte lactation consultant, said it's not good for a mother or baby when nursing stops abruptly. She said breast milk is best for infants and an infant who has been nursing for two months could have a reaction to formula or trouble drinking from a bottle. Mothers who stop nursing without weaning are in a lot of pain and are susceptible to breast infection.

Makes the vision statement for Mecklenburg's Sheriff seem pretty ironic, eh?

Our vision is to be recognized by the people we serve as a professional organization dedicated to customer service and committed to improving the quality of life in our community. Together, my staff and I work to make this vision a reality.

I hope you will take time to explore our website and see how we serve you, our most important customer.

I'm going to put a phone call in to their press office to see what their justification is for detaining this woman for an "immigration hold" when she can already verify that she's signed a statement of intent to return to Brazil and already purchased plane tickets. This child - this U.S. citizen - could die due to the actions of officials at that prison.

Violence Against Latinos Rises

The Southern Poverty Law Center's HATEWATCH has compiled a horrific listing of hate crimes that have been launched against Latinos over the past couple of years that can be directly traced to the increased nativist rhetoric of the immigration debate.
The FBI released its latest national hate crime statistics last week, and while these numbers are shaky they do indicate hate crimes directed at undocumented immigrants — and Latinos in general — are up 35% over the last four years.

View the listing here
Stuff like this happens when charges of traitor-ism are commonplace and a collective blind eye is turned to the human rights violations that are occurring everyday under the current system.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Final Jalapeno Harvest

It was a good year for my jalapeño plants

Am I A Traitor or Illegal?

Let's ponder the mindset of random commenter #6 at my YouTube post on Pat Buchanan's recent call for Operation Wetback to be reconstituted. Here are a couple of gems:
Thanks for the video. Buchanan is a great patriot.

Which of course people like you (whether a traitor or straight illegal) find offensive. Thanks for the video.
And this:
To the idiot that created this video, you talk about communities "terrorized" but what about the communities that came before, populated by American citizens, that were first terrorized and driven out of the town, city, state by illegal aliens that created these new enclaves? Why no sympathy for them?
There are more, but you get the picture.

How does one rationalize with someone that equates the ethnic change of neighborhoods and cities with ICE agents that wield guns and bust down doors in the dead of night? I'm thinking that you can't, but there's a lot of this type of mindset thriving across America™ and clearly can't be ignored.

Had to laugh, though, it's been a couple of months since I've been called a traitor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, Monday

Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time

I hope you all had a good, long weekend. Mi familia y yo bonded, ate, laughed, vegetated, decorated cooked and baked. It was a well-needed lull in the chaos for me. Hope yours was, too. Blogging shall resume shortly. Thanks to James for holding down the fort over the long weekend.

Now about that coffee...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NAFTA causes mass human displacement, so why repeat it in Peru?

Chalk it up to greed. Some executives will undoubtedly make out like bandits. As David Bacon notes, NAFTA boosted the profit margins of some corporations who could cut down labor costs, and yes, Mexico now has more billionaires than ever. Unfortunately, Mexico (and also the US) has merely become even more stratified since NAFTA went into effect. Funny how none of that wealth ever seems to "trickle down." Just a few clips from the article for your consideration:
By November 2002, the US Department of Labor had certified 507,000 workers for extended unemployment benefits because their employers had moved their jobs south of the border. The Department of Labor stopped counting NAFTA job losses, but the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC, estimated that NAFTA had eliminated 879,000 jobs. That was five years ago.

But US job loss didn't produce job increases in Mexico - it eliminated them there too. In NAFTA's first year, more than a million jobs disappeared in the economic crisis NAFTA caused.

To attract investment in Mexico, the treaty required privatization of factories, railroads and other large enterprises, leading to more layoffs of Mexican workers.

On the border, Ford, General Electric and other corporations built factories and moved production from the United States to take advantage of low wages. But more than 400,000 maquiladora workers lost their jobs in 2000-2001 when US consumers cut back spending in the last recession, and companies found even lower wages in other countries, such as El Salvador or China.

Before NAFTA, US auto plants in Mexico had to buy parts from Mexican factories, which employed thousands of local workers. But NAFTA let the auto giants bring in cheaper parts from their own subsidiaries, so Mexican auto parts workers lost their jobs, too.

The profits of US grain companies, already subsidized under the US farm bill, went higher when NAFTA allowed them to dump cheap corn on the Mexican market, while at the same time it forced Mexico to cut its agricultural subsidies. As a result, small farmers in Oaxaca and Chiapas couldn't sell corn anymore at a price that would pay the cost of growing it.

When corn farmers couldn't farm, or auto parts and maquiladora workers were laid off, where did they go? They became migrants.

The real, dirty secret of trade agreements is displacement. During the years NAFTA has been in effect, more than six million people from Mexico have come to live in the United States. They didn't abandon their homes, families, farms and jobs willingly. They had no other option for survival.
The same pattern is threatening to repeat in Peru. Apparently, one of the issues that quite a number of Democrats ran on in 2006 was to prevent further passage of these sorts of "free trade" agreements. Flush with success after attaining Congressional majorities, the Democrat party brass then changed their tune. Thus far, the House passed the "free trade" agreement with Peru. Given the leadership (or lack thereof) in the Senate, passage there should be a slam dunk. Miners, factory workers, and family farmers will lose out in Peru. I can imagine that the upcoming decade will be filled with the tragic stories of displaced workers and families making an increasingly treacherous journey northward hoping to simply subsist.

Cross-posted from The Mahatma X Files.

Remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

Check this out via my friend The Unapologetic Mexican:
ONCE AGAIN, a Mexican Being was where he was not supposed to be, and just look at the consequences.
PHOENIX - A 9-year-old boy looking for help after his mother crashed their van in the southern Arizona desert was rescued by a man entering the U.S. illegally, who stayed with him until help arrived the next day, an official said.

The 45-year-old woman, who eventually died while awaiting help, had been driving on a U.S. Forest Service road in a remote area just north of the Mexican border when she lost control of her van on a curve on Thanksgiving, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said.

The van vaulted into a canyon and landed 300 feet from the road, he said. The woman, from Rimrock, north of Phoenix, survived the impact but was pinned inside, Estrada said.

Her son, unhurt but disoriented, crawled out to get help and was found about two hours later by Jesus Manuel Cordova, 26, of Magdalena de Kino in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. Unable to pull the mother out, he comforted the boy while they waited for help.

The woman died a short time later. [...]

As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday, when hunters passed by and called authorities, Estrada said. [...]

Cordova was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents, who were the first to respond to the call for help. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy.

The boy and his mother were in the area camping, Estrada said. The woman's husband, the boy's father, had died only two months ago.

Illegal immigrant rescues boy in desert

And for those of y'all needing a refresher course on the parable in question:
Luke 10:30-37 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?" He said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Cross-posted from The Mahatma X Files.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Civil Rights Initiative That Wasn't

I thought I'd follow up on a previous post that has touched a nerve with one our state's "progressive" bloggers who seems to be in support something called the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative. A taste of some of the official propaganda for the initiative can be found here. A quick Google search will turn up more propaganda as well as plenty of right-wing bloggers and pundits who are just giddy about the prospect of ending affirmative action in Oklahoma (three other states are being targeted during the upcoming election cycle: Arizona, Colorado, and Missouri). Of course the same search will also turn up the other side of the story, for those willing to keep a sufficiently open mind to read (for the initiative's die-hard proponents, that won't happen of course).

We learn from one source that since a similar initiative was passed in California, the proportion of women hired at UC Irvine has plummeted - I'm under the impression that similar phenomena can be found throughout California and Washington - the two states with the lengthiest histories of life after the passage of this initiative. The blog Freedom and Reason offers an expose of the folks behind the initiative: Ward Connerly, David Horowitz, the Richard Mellon Scaife Foundation, among others. The McCarville Report Online has Rep. Mike Shelton's statement against the initiative. On a similar note, see this story.

See also Oklahoma Women's Network Blog. On a related note, check Arthur Silber's Racist Nation, to better understand the Zeitgeist that would make such ballot initiatives (along with a host of other policies) acceptable to so many - including those who really should know better. Stay tuned...

Crossposted from The Mahatma X Files

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tohono O'odham Burial Remains Returned

Great news. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition over the summer demanding that the U.S. government return the burial remains of Tohono O'odham ancestors who had their eternal rest violated to make way for the Great Wall of America™.

From the mailbag:
Hello Everyone,

This e-mail is being sent out to you because you signed the "Return the Remains" petition a few months back to have O'odham remains that were dug up during construction of the U.S. Mexico Apartheid wall returned to their ancestors for traditional reburial.

I am very happy to inform you that the remains were returned, and have been given a traditional reburial by the ancestors of those who were dug up.

This just goes to show that sometimes, something as simple as signing a petition really can make a difference.

Thank you all so much!

Please click on the following link to read the statement of appreciation written by the Traditional Leaders of the O'odham Territory thanking you and everyone who signed the petition for helping them get their ancestors remains returned.

Statement of Appreciation
This desecration was unacceptable from the very beginning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the descendants of those buried who endured months of heartache and righteous outrage. You will always find solidarity here at this humble blog.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tom Horne Targets TUSD Minority Studies

Back in June, I responded to the Goldwater Institute's recommendations to the Republican Party on how they should cater to latin@ voters. Towards the end, I mentioned comments by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne as an example of the far-right nativist contigent that currently holds power in the GOP.
These are not the voices of moderation. These are not voices who are even making an attempt to understand where the Latino community is coming from on the various issues of the day. It is a group who has chosen to define us in the most negative way possible. Take the Superintendent for Public Instruction, for example, in a Letter to the Editor to the AZRepublic in February:
In a column dated Jan. 29, 2007 "Let's ditch '50s mentality," Republic editorial writer Linda Valdez criticizes me for one of my lawyer's arguments in the Flores case.

This argument was that Tucson Unified should not be heard claiming that their English-language program suffers from lack of state funds. In fact, they waste huge amounts of the money they do receive on programs like "ethnic studies," including "Raza" studies. ("La Raza" means "the race.")

Well, in what is probably Example #85204 of Why. Elections. Matter. Tom Horne has decided that he is going to do everything he can to dismantle programs that are succeeding at graduating minority students and showing them that they can go to college if they summon the will.
TUSD's ethnic studies program has come under the lens of Arizona's education czar.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has asked the Tucson Unified School District to provide information on funding for its ethnic studies programs.

The request also calls for all training materials used in Mexican-American and African-American studies, syllabuses, videos, films, teachers' guides, reading materials, audio recordings and other instructional materials.

Horne said his inquiry is not based on a question of academics or education, but "values."

Those values - those of Tom Horne and by the growing nativist, WHITE contingency - are made clear by the horse's ass mouth.
Horne was elected in 2002 on a platform that included an anti-bilingual-education stance.

"I have a long history of opposing ethnic studies and gender studies," he said, explaining that he halted a proposed women's studies program in a Paradise Valley high school.
Paging Leonard Clark! Do you think we can add another name to that recall petition?

Thoughts on Last Night's Debate

Let me begin this post by stating that I have not picked a candidate to vote for in next year's primary, though I have a leaner(s). It should also be noted that I thought CNN did a craptacular job regarding presentation. The camera coordination was terrible, the format was run like a Misters and Mrs. America Pageant, and Leslie Blitzer provided plenty of moments of disservice to this country. Now, on to the carne y papas.

Drivers' Licenses

This was the cause of much turmoil for Hillary over the past couple of weeks so it was clear that 1) the topic would come up again, and 2) she would be prepared for it. Luckily for her, the CNN talking heads decided that the amazingly complex issue of immigration reform should be devalued to the status of a "yes or no"-type answer. Ridiculous.

Obama saw the farce for what it was and tried to refocus the conversation to the wider issue of overhauling the country's policies, but Leslie Blitzer wasn't having it, kept interrupting, and thanks to the tag-teaming by the zombie comentators afterwards, are working to spin it as his moment of "tripping up." Not only do I appreciate Obama working to widen the discussion, he's willing to support drivers' licenses for the right reasons and isn't afraid of weathering the attacks that will undoubtedly come from it.

As for the best answer on that issue, I would give it to Gov. Richardson. He understands
this issue perfectly and signed legislation in New Mexico years ago to do it. His citing of the stats in the state regarding reduction of traffic incidents as well as the increase in number of drivers insured showed that he knew the issue was coming that night.

Something like drivers' licenses for undocumented people in this country shouldn't be a dealbreaker - but it is for me because it shows that I can't trust the candidate to have the courage to fight back against the demonization of the people and families in the shadows. If they are going to cave on something so trivial, so fundamental to basic safety on the streets, then I can only imagine what they'll do with respect to further militarizing the southwest, building of additional concentration camps to hold the targets of workplace raids, and reasserting the dumbing down of the U.S. by wearing an English Only pin on their lapel.

So where do they stand?
Support: Kucinich, Obama, Richardson
Oppose: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards
Not surprising that two of my leaners are in the top line.

Racial Profiling

This issue came up during the audience Q&A period at the end. A gentleman by the name of Khalid Khan spoke in thickly-accented English about the discrimination that is faced in airports and everywhere else since 9/11. It seems like a no-brainer that all the candidates would denounce racial profiling - and they did - but I was proud that he was able to raise it to their awareness. It is happening on a widespread level, and while it's illegal, there is nothing being done to stop it. Paying lip service that "racial profiling won't be done in a Candidate X Administration" doesn't cut it. It's time to lead and it can be done now if they're feeling assertive.

Final Thoughts

One side of me wishes that CNN could return two hours of my life, the other side is thankful that Nevada got some well-deserved attention from the candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire voters are not the same type as those in this part of the country. We have different cultural experiences, different relationships towards the East Coast power sources, and deserve to have a much bigger say in how our lives are governed. The caucuses are approaching quickly and the more "mudslinging" that occurs, the more we'll learn how each person deals with criticism, pivots and recovers if they stumble, and hopefully - we'll understand exactly what type of leader they will be in the Oval Office and what policies they'll support.

[UPDATE] Roberto Lovato has more commentary

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Eight Year Old Separated From Her Mother

The ICE agents at the Hutto Concentration Camp are violating human rights. Again.
DALLAS - An 8-year-old girl was separated from her pregnant mother and left behind for four days at a detention center established to keep immigrant families together while their cases are processed.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they had to transfer the Honduran woman Oct. 18 because she was potentially disruptive, having twice resisted attempts to deport her.

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said guards and ICE staff watched over the child after her mother was removed from the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, a former Central Texas prison where immigrant families with no criminal records are held while their cases are processed.


Pat Buchanan Calls For Operation Wetback

My first video edit, but the point needed to be made.

Operation Wetback was ended in the 1950s after it was clear that racial profiling was the basis used for neighborhood roundups. It took the outcry from the Mexican American community to rise to a level that got noticed by the powers-that-be.

Moving from the 1950s to today, MALDEF alerts us to Operation Wetback tactics being used in Georgia:
Over the past month, there have been an alarming number of arrests related to immigration enforcement. These arrests raise serious doubts that they comply with the Agreement, which requires, among other guidelines, that immigration-trained personnel provide “an opportunity for subjects with limited English language proficiency to request an interpreter.” (MOA Section XV, at 7)

“Over the last few months several hundred Latinos have been pulled over and are still sitting in jail,” said Elise Shore, Southeast Regional Counsel of MALDEF. “The Cobb County Sheriff cannot assure us that his deputies are carrying out their responsibilities consistent with basic civil rights protections because he has failed to establish the Steering Committee required by the Agreement.”

2007 is seeing a surge of law enforcement agencies carrying out enforcement policies using race as a criteria, citizens being deported and subsequently lost, and white supremacist groups uniting with the nativist movement to push for hardliners in public office.

When will the hate end?

It begins within and flows in our ability to educate others.

That's the work we have ahead of us. No more silence.

Will you help?

*thanks to Marisa M. for assistance with the video

So, HB 1804 was only the beginning

Looks like the individual who authored HB 1804 is at it again. For a little education on HB 1804, which went into effect on Nov. 1, go here. Jim Branum offered a summary of the legislation's implications (along with a call to action that went largely unnoticed) that is also worth reading just to get up to speed.

Via Okie Funk:

Terrill, who authored House Bill 1804, which gave Oklahoma some of the strictest anti-illegal immigration laws in the nation, has started publicly calling his next initiative “son of 1804 bill” in a political stunt that can only be viewed as calculated and mean-spirited. People’s lives are at stake here. Maybe we should ditch the colorful nomenclature.

The new laws essentially make it illegal for anyone to help an undocumented person and cuts off state aid to anyone here illegally. Under Terrill’s new, proposed initiatives, English would become the state’s official language, law enforcement agencies could seize assets used to help undocumented workers and school districts would have to provide more extensive reporting on students here illegally.

Apparently the only criticism that the Daily Oklahoman can muster up is along the lines of, "Terrill is too excited" and should "slow down." Yeah, that's telling him. I'm willing to bet that he'll have next to no opposition from either the GOP (like that even needed to be said) or the Democrats. Heck, Brad Henry had no issues with signing HB 1804 into law, and the apparent progressive (I use the term very loosely) "savior" in next year's US Senatorial race, Andrew Rice, seemed to have no problem with voting in favor of the legislation last spring. These politicians and their supporters have made it crystal clear in words and in deeds that individuals and families fleeing starvation are merely üntermenschen, and shall be treated as such. Our corporate and political elites have historically had a "love" (as in love the cheap labor)/hate relationship with those immigrating to El Norte. These days, in Oklahoma, it is hate that comes to the forefront. As a Christian, I find that entirely unacceptable.

Note: crossposted from The Mahatma X Files