Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ruben Salazar Memorialized on Stamp

Our brother will be receiving an honor for his martyrdom
The U.S. Postal Service next year will issue a commemorative stamp in honor of slain Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist Reuben Salazar, the Times reported. "He was a groundbreaker for Latinos in this country, but his work spoke to all Americans," Postmaster Gen. John E. Potter told the Times in a story by staff writer Louis Sahagun. "By giving voice to those who didn't have one, Ruben Salazar worked to improve life for everybody. His reporting of the Latino experience in this country set a standard that's rarely met even today." Salazar was killed in 1970 at age 42 while covering a riot in East Los Angeles. He was hit in the head by a tear gas projectile fired by a sheriff's deputy.

Ruben's story is one that echoes many Xicanos/Mexicanos in the United States. Our very identity does not recognize borders - nuestra cultura lives within the wind. Although born in
Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, the Salazar family ended up in El Paso, where Ruben grew up and eventually worked his way through the U.S. educational system as well as serving in the military.

Wielding a journalism degree from the University of Texas - El Paso, Ruben Salazar covered stories that very few to none dare expose - the mistreatment of Xicanos in the justice system. From prisons to police brutality in the barrios, his intrepid journalism shined a spotlight on the corruption that faces our people through this present day.

Since his murder at a 1970 Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciúncula, Ruben Salazar has had numerous tributes named in his honor, including scholarships, journalism awards, libraries, the park near where he was murdered, a bilingual center y un corrido por el Padre de Chicano Music, Lalo Guerrero.

29 de agosto

Cuando vino la policía
violencia se desató;
el coraje de mi raza
luego se desenlazó
por los años de injusticia
el odio se derramó;
y como huracán furioso
su barrio lo destrozó.
En un edificio cercano
desgracia vino a caer
un gran hombre y buen humano:
periodista mexicano
de fama interancional;
fino padre de familia
voz de la comunidad.

When the police arrived
violence was unleashed;
the wrath of my people
uncoiled from within;
against years of injustice
hate spilled out;
and like a ferocious hurricane
its barrio it destroyed.
In a nearby building
misfortune came to fall
a great man and human being
él fue Rubén Salazar,
he was Rubén Salazar,
Mexican newspaperman
of international fame;
a fine father and husband
spokesman for the community.

Many thanks to Olga Briseño of the University of Arizona's College of Humanities, as well as Latino/Xicano advocates across the U.S. for uniting to make this honor a reality.

Más información:
Crossposted at ¡Para Justicia y Libertad! where Nezua and I are guestposting while XicanoPwr tends to his familia

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Translation of Bush Bomshell

La gente buena over at European Tribune have compiled a side-by-side translation of the latest incident that confirms many peoples' bedrock belief that George Bush intended to attack Iraq with or without UN approval.

Here's a key section
Sadam Husein no cambiará y seguirá jugando. Ha llegado el momento de deshacerse de él. Es así. Yo, por mi parte, procuraré a partir de ahora utilizar una retórica lo más sutil posible, mientras buscamos la aprobación de la resolución. Si alguien veta [Rusia, China y Francia poseen junto a EE UU y Reino Unido derecho a veto en el Consejo de Seguridad en su calidad de miembros permanentes], nosotros iremos. Sadam Hussein no se está desarmando. Le tenemos que coger ahora mismo. Hemos mostrado un grado increíble de paciencia hasta ahora. Quedan dos semanas. En dos semanas estaremos militarmente listos. Creo que conseguiremos la segunda resolución. En el Consejo de Seguridad tenemos a los tres africanos [Camerún, Angola y Guinea], a los chilenos, a los mexicanos. Hablaré con todos ellos, también con Putin, naturalmente. Estaremos en Bagdad a finales de marzo.

In other words, we have another Downing Street Memo incident to garner a collective yawn from the U.S. media. Just in time for the same script to be used against another country!


Midweek Meta Open Thread

  • I've been working on tweaks to the template again (does that make me a tweaker? heh). Still trying to resolve the problem with the way the site displays in Internet Explorer using 800 x 600 resolution (switch to Firefox, people!) I know there's a way to get the center column to automatically squish, but for the life of me, can't figure out where to put the code. Soooooo, if any coding gurus would like to help with that, please email me at the link to the left.
  • My buddy James, who's a Plática Starter here, has renamed his site to The Mahatma X Files - please update your blogrolls (it was formerly "The Left End of the Dial")
  • You'll notice at the top of the right column on this page, there's a new widget courtesy of the Rock the Vote peeps. Clicking on it will open up a Voter Registration page that makes it easy for a person to get fully engaged on the civic level. If you're a blogger and would like to add the widget to your site, the link is here.
  • Finally. A logo that I love unconditionally. Hope you like it.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake, anyone? It's autumn!

Concentration Camp Slated for Virginia

All due to the conquistador mentality rearing its ugly head after a car accident.
A panel studying illegal immigration in Virginia wants to build a 1,000-bed state jail solely for people arrested for being in the United States illegally. The Illegal Immigration Task Force agreed to 11 recommendations Monday in an effort to tighten enforcement of immigration laws. The new jail was one of them.

Since the current detention program in the U.S. for undocumented migrants has been so successful, it's no wonder that locales are interested in expanding its scope. Perhaps the shiny barbed-wire and polished concrete will make a suitable environment for the children.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Torture Lawyer Withdraws Nomination

I guess he didn't have the ganas to undergo an interrogation himself, after admitting that he was one of the people who gave approval to the United States' torture policies.
At the hearing in June, Rizzo said he did not object to the 2002 memo that said for an interrogation technique to be considered torture, it must inflict pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” He said he later deemed the document an “aggressive, expansive” reading of U.S. law.

Human rights groups had urged the Senate to reject Rizzo’s nomination because of his stated views on torture. In a letter to the intelligence panel, a coalition of advocacy groups cited Rizzo’s June testimony, in which he had not objected to the so-called “torture memo” the Justice Department prepared in 2002.

Now if only the Congress will undo the damage done by Rizzo, Yoo, Gonzalez, Rummy, Cheney, Bush, etc. etc. etc.

Nicaragua's President Takes U.S. to Task

Not surprising, as Daniel Ortega has a long history of opposition to imperialist conquests in Latin America by corporate boardrooms.

"The presidents of the U.S. change. And they may come to office with the greatest of intentions and they may feel that they are doing good for humanity, but they fail to understand that they are no more than instruments of one more empire in a long list of empires that have been imposed on our planet," Ortega said, waving his arms.

Ortega had started off addressing the central theme of this year's General Assembly meeting — climate change — but he quickly launched into a tirade against global capitalism, meandering from his notes and speaking well beyond his allotted 15 minutes.

The world is under "the most impressive, huge dictatorship that has existed — the empire of North America," he said. An "imperialist minority is imposing global capitalism to impoverish us all and impose apartheid against Latin American immigrants and against African immigrants."

Cue the U.S. media's yearly lament about the dangerous leftward tilt of Latin American politics. Last year, they were appalled at the suggestion that George Bush was el diablo (he's at least a minion, c'mon...admit your true feelings on this).

It's all so predictable.

Daily Show Hosts Bolivian President Tonight

Bolivia's President, and first indigenous leader of that country (in its current form, that is), will be on the Daily Show tonight

Political satirist Jon Stewart, host of the popular mock cable TV newscast "The Daily Show," will interview Bolivian President Evo Morales on the program on Tuesday, the show's network announced on Monday.

The guest spot by Morales will mark only the second appearance on the Emmy-winning show by a sitting head of state, following Stewart's interview a year ago of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan and a key U.S. ally. - linkage

(h/t to The Latin Americanist)

At the time of his inauguration, the Native Press wrote
From the late 1990s onwards, the cocaleros have fought an intense war against the U.S.-sponsored "coca zero" program in Chapare. Intended to uproot and destroy all coca plants, the United States militarized the region, setting up four military bases while training and advising special Bolivian battalions. According to Pedro Rocha, a small coca grower interviewed while tending his plants, "nothing was sacred. Our homes were invaded and even burnt, our belonging were stolen or tossed into the fields and many of us were beaten and arrested." Subsistence crops along with coca plants, Rocha said, were trampled and destroyed.

The cocaleros, led by Morales, organized massive resistance to the eradication program, reaching out to other national unions and to international human rights organizations. Roads were blockaded in the Chapare for more than a month at a time as the local unions rotated their members, women and men, day and night, to stop all traffic through the center of the country.
At least the U.S. is consistent...

[UPDATE] Here's the video:

The Eleven Percent Set Speaks

Congress has an appoval rating of 11% - it's no wonder. Speaking for me, I'm disgusted that they are endorsing a de facto resurgence of Operation Wetback. Even though legislators that are supposedly on the side of human rights are in control of the Hill, they've done nothing to enact policies that will allow people and families ensnared in the current/broken immigration system to come out of the shadows.

Instead, the suits and pearls are acting in a bipartisan fashion to urge things like this
Already, half of the 6,000 National Guard troops sent to help secure the border with Mexico are gone with the rest leaving next summer, as planned.

"Americans could rightly question why the administration has dedicated 160,000 National Guardsmen to maintain order and security in Iraq, while eliminating the less than 6,000 Guardsmen performing an important task on our own southern border, which most agree is in a state of crisis," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., wrote in July to President Bush. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Pete Domenici, R-N.M., also signed the letter.

More militarization with no talk of addressing economic/trade policies that have created the magnet of migration is worthless blather. Get moving, Senators!

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Nooses in the News

This time in North Carolina...
Police are investigating an incident in which students and faculty said four nooses were hung from a tree at the school.

The finding occurred Friday morning at Andrews High School.

The Principal's letter to the community says the following
Counseling will be available to students as needed by GCS. Additionally, the City of High Point has worked collaboratively with the school since 2004 through the High Point Human Relations Commission to establish a school-based student commission. These students are trained and ready to assist as needed. Please make sure your children are aware that threatening acts are not acceptable. Should your child observe inappropriate behavior or have any information regarding this incident, please ask him/her to immediately notify a teacher, staff member or our school's resource officer.
I think this is a healthy way of dealing with such a charged act of hate - build coalitions with local human rights' organizations, remind everyone their shared responsibility in talking to others living in their household, and put the onus on everyone to summon the courage to inform an authority figure if they see something illegal occurring.

It's unfortunate and unacceptable that we are seeing nooses spring out of trees like putrid blooms of hate. It can end today, but only if we look inward and work outward for change.

Solidarity with the United Auto Workers

This blog proudly supports the decision by the United Auto Workers to declare a national strike as of this morning.

Healthcare and pensions are at the center of this face-off between the workers and the corporate decision-makers. It is a problem that has been ignored and often made worse by political machinations that do not have the peoples' best interests as their foundation.

Profit margins over the wellbeing of workers will never move a society forward in harmony. It's time for us to say, "Enough!" and support unions and movements like this that can serve as a catalyst for greater non-violent revolution against the unethical elite.


McCain's Musings on Iran

The Pander Bear speaks out on the President of Iran's visit to the U.S. this week:
He added: “You can’t have a Minuteman come and speak at Columbia. They drive him off the stage. I’m not the greatest fan of the Minutemen. But the fact is, he was invited, he was on the stage, and the liberals in that school drove him right off the stage. But now it’s O.K. to have a guy who is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers on the stage and treated with respect? I just don’t get it.”

Where's the non-think tank generated proof that Iran is directly responsible for the deaths of American soldiers? Propaganda pieces, courtesy of the water-carrying media, need not apply.

Friday, September 21, 2007

International Day of Peace

This is a holiday that we should all celebrate everyday.

What: The International Day of Peace provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of Peace on a shared date. Use the International Day of Peace annually to highlight the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001 to 2010.

Established by a United Nations resolution in 1981, the International Day of Peace was first celebrated September 1982.

When: Annually, 21 September - The International Day of Peace

Where: Wherever you are.

Who: You and all who care about building Cultures of Peace for the children of this and future generations.

Why: To mark our individual and collective progress toward building Cultures of Peace, and serve as a reminder of our permanent commitment to Peace, above all interests and differences of any kind.

More information here

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Masterpieces of Conquistador Mentality

One of the hallmarks of conquistador mentality is the treatment of minority/ostracized groups as savages. The belief that there is something inherently deformed in the being of these others, therefore their very existence in the wider scope of things is judged using different rules. If they have something that the conquistador wants, then it is taken; if a crime is committed by one of them, then the conclusion drawn by the majority Voice is that all within the minority group is prone to exhibit the same animalistic behavior. An ugly cycle of thinking, but prevalent.

Take, for example, the recent manhunt that was underway in the Miami, Florida area for a suspect that killed a cop. The caption of his picture reads:
25-year-old black male-Shawn Sherwin Labeet
Or how about the Virginia Tech shooting from last spring? The media was tripping over itself to let it be known that Seung-Hui Cho was an immigrant from South Korea. It was a spectacle to watch copy editors embarrass themselves in public with their cultural ignorance; treating the killer like some exotic village dweller who, in reality, lived the majority of his life in the United States.

Coming closer to home, the Phoenix metro area is being rocked by a cop-killing incident of its own. This time, however, the target of journalistic laziness is too juicy, too convenient to pass up. It even makes the headline
Slain cop-killing suspect identified as illegal entrant

The man who shot and killed a Phoenix police officer before he himself later was fatally shot by authorities was an illegal entrant, a federal official said Wednesday.

Erik Jovani Martinez, 22, was in the country illegally last year when he was arrested and convicted on theft charges, said Vinnie Picard, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He said Martinez was deported on March 3 last year, and at some point re-entered the country illegally.

Mayor Phil Gordon called Martinez a "poster child" for failed federal efforts to tighten border security.

The wide brush of Manifest Destiny hath spoken. Its tip, dipped in a deep pool of arrogance, chooses to paint over inconvenient truths like institutional racism and xenophobia, and declare that, once again, "we" are in danger from some nameless (often brown) horde of criminals.

This is an issue that knows no politics unless it is used to corral the beasts imagined by the system in place. Bipartisanship is achievedat the expense of someone - Mayor Gordon is Democrat - because as long as it does not disrupt the flow of money and influence, there is no stopping the carnage on the canvas. The masterpiece of a shining beacon society will only be completed according to the prescribed rules of the conquistadors. The paint used is among the darkest spectrum of human morality and its blot will find any way to divide.
At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Assemi was opening her second-floor shop when two men burst out of a bathroom across the hall. They grabbed her from behind, put a gun to her head and forced her inside, she said. There, they slammed her head on a counter, shoved a towel in her mouth, smashed her hand with a hammer and sliced her face, neck, back and chest with a knife and a box cutter, she said.

"They were cursing, ' -- -- Muslim, leave Locust Valley, leave The Plaza. Go back to the place you came from,'" she recalled.

They scrawled anti-Muslim messages on her mirrors and tore the place up, she said. They also stole about $2,000, she said.

"They said if I call the cops, they'll kill me and if I don't leave The Plaza, they're gonna kill me," she said.

After they left, Assemi crawled to her desk and called 911. She was treated later at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and released. Police said they are investigating the attack as a bias crime.

Police are looking for two men: one was 5-foot-6, wearing a dark shirt and sunglasses; the other 5-foot-10 with a mustache and goatee, wearing a dark shirt and sunglasses and white shoes.

linkage (emphasis mine)
Their race is left out. One minor convenience for the conquistadors. Again, and Again, and Again.

Happy Opposite Day!

If yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate Day, then today must be Opposite Day, because that's the only logical explanation for this
President Bush challenged Democrats on Thursday to quickly renew a popular children's health insurance program and accused them of "putting poor children at risk so they can score political points in Washington."

The State Children's Health Insurance Program is set to expire Sept. 30. Democrats are pushing for a $35 billion spending increase for SCHIP, and Bush has threatened to veto it. He has proposed a $5 billion increase.

The Decider strikes again. I wonder if he's related to the Peruvian meteorite that struck earlier in the week, because I'm having the same reaction to contact with his lies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things That Will Haunt Dreams

Unspeakable horrors via Juan Cole.
McClatchy reports from Baghdad that Iraqi eyewitnesses maintain that Blackwater security guards fired at civilians without provocation on Sunday, in contrast to the company's own story about the incident. Probably they were firing at a car that neglected to stop when told to, or neglected to stop fast enough. Since such vehicles might be driven by suicide bombers, American military and civilian security forces have often opened fire on innocent Iraqis who just did not hear or did not understand the command to halt their vehicles, or who panicked and sped up. The offending car in this instance had a family of three in it, including a toddler who ended up being melted to his mother's body in the resulting conflagration.

(emphasis mine)
If only we would embrace rather than censor the sentiments of people like Sally Field.
... if the mothers ruled the world there would be no goddamn wars in the first place.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Una Identidad Sin Fronteras: Dos Banderas

Alla al pie de la montana
Donde temprano se oculta el sol
Quedo mi ranchito triste
Y abandonada ya mi labor

Triste? Not this weekend.

The spirit of an indigenous people that refuses to allow its history to be pillaged and conquered will burn brightly as we gather to celebrate nuestras Fiestas Patrias. El Grito del Pueblo will ring out among the crowd, flanked by the two flags of our borderless community. The trumpet and guitarrón will lead our souls in song while the dances and vibrant Jalisciense colors emerge from the stage as rainbows of cultura and love.

Ancestors, alive and beyond, will join us in honoring the past while preparing for a future that is unafraid to rise beyond the systems that holds us down. A system that attempts to wrestle down and tame our tongues with only one language, a system that underfunds our schools and then blames the victims for not living up to some pseudo-level of success, a system that would do all it could to deny college to someone because they were born on a different piece of the boundary-less tierra.

Oh yes, mi gente, this system will be transformed - but it will take all of us, together, working for change. Tengo esperanza pero tenemos mucho trabajo por hacer. ¡Vamos!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Duke's Latest at Migra Matters

Glad to see him back in the saddle and writing again.
This October will mark the second anniversary of the publication of "Respect for the Law & Economic Fairness: Illegal Immigration Prevention", by Republican spinmeister, Frank Luntz.

Intended as a blueprint for winning the 2006 midterm elections, the 25-page memo laid out a strategy to provide cover for Republican candidates hampered by waning poll numbers. Luntz'a plan was to blame "illegal aliens" for all the nations social and economic ills, enabling a shift of attention from an unpopular war, unpopular economic policies, and an unpopular President.

Cleverly framing the issue in reactionary populism, Luntz's strategy pitted hard-working, tax-paying, "real Americans" against shiftless "illegals" looking for a free ride at the nations expense.

Of course with hindsight, we now know this strategy failed politically, polarizing and fracturing the Republican party. But Luntz's handiwork has had a lasting effect on national discourse and led to a level of societal toxicity that could have lasting effects well beyond his political machinations.

Go read the whole thing - you won't be disappointed.
He's absolutely right that we need to do a better job of organizing mass communication campaigns from a pro-immigration standpoint. The question is: how? I think it will take a coalition of people working within the marketing realm of business, local grassroot groups/activists, and sympathetic politicos at all levels.

Bloggers are obviously another part of that effort and perhaps we need to start leading instead of reacting. More thoughts on that later. Meanwhile, go check in over at Migra Matters.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nooses in the News

I'm sure race has nothing to with the recent surge of nooses in the news since we are soooo over bigotry in the U.S.
Police are looking for whoever dangled a 3-foot rope with a small loop at its end from a tree outside a campus cultural center that is home to several black organizations. The incident is being treated as a possible hate crime.

"This is bigger than a noose," Black Student Union President Altmann Pannell told his fellow students, many of whom were wearing "Terps as one" buttons."

"This is bigger than a noose because we as a community know that something else is going on in this country," Pannell said to murmurs of agreement.
That "something else" is not missed by minority communties, especially when the disparities in justice are blatantly tied to the color of one's skin.

For a year, Jena (pronounced JEEN-uh), a poor mining community of 3,000 people, has been embroiled in racial tensions pitting the black community against white school officials and a white prosecutor. It began last August when a black student asked at an assembly if black students could sit under a tree where white students usually sat. The next day, two nooses hung from the tree.

Black parents were outraged by the symbolism, recalling the mob lynchings of black men. They complained to school officials. District superintendent Roy Breithaupt and the school board gave three-day suspensions to the white students who hung the nooses, overruling the recommendation of then-principal Scott Windham that the students be expelled.


The case of the Jena Six has been covered extensively by fellow bloggers, such as Hello, Negro with information on how to donate to the defense fund; also My Right Mind! who offers a slew of tips to assist these young teens.

Nooses are more than just complex slip knots in a rope - they are both symbolic and directly representative of torture, murder and racist mob rule. Are we to allow such dark times in U.S. history to become mainstream again? One path to that reality is treating incidents like this as nothing more than a joke
GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (AP) -- Three stage workers at the city's theatre were fired after city officials said they tied hangman's nooses onto the end of ropes hanging from stage riggings.

City officials on Wednesday defended the firing, and won a vote supporting the decision from the Memphis suburb's Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

"It is the symbol of hatred and bigotry," City Administrator Patrick Lawton said.

Exactly. And there is no excuse for it. Thankfully investigators used some common sense and asked the right questions
  • If the purpose of the knot-tying was to secure the ends of the rope to get them off the floor and out of the way so floor finishers could work, why were chairs left on the floor?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pima County Re-Authorize Water Stations

Thank you to the County Supervisors, and especially Chairman Elías, for taking the humane course of action despite the screeches and howls from anti-immigrant forces.
Pima County Supervisors Tuesday approved another year of funding for water stations in the desert - over the objections of critics who claimed that such a contribution violates federal law.

The supervisors voted 4-1 to provide $25,000 for a sixth consecutive year to Humane Borders, a faith-based group who members fill and maintain about 90 such stations set out in the Sonoran Desert.

Supporting the efforts of human rights groups like Humane Borders is an honorable course of action. Please contact the Supervisors and let them know that they did good today (minus Ann Day, of course, who would rather see more dead bodies in the desert).
Chairman Richard Elías
Pima County Board of Supervisors
Phone: 520-740-8126
Fax: 520-884-1152

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Univision Debate: Latino Blogger Reactions

  • It was refreshing to hear questions about immigration being asked from a Latino standpoint. Issues such as families being separated, workers being subjected to 16-hour shifts, and my personal favorite: After 9/11, why was the focus put on the southern border instead of the northern one? and putting the Senators on the spot who voted for the Great Wall of America™
  • As noted in the podcast, the audio was very confusing at times. You could still hear the English answers by the candidates throughout the spanish translations. Plus, the translators were like robots, so any emotion in the answers was nullified.
  • I will never understand why Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd were not allowed to respond to the questions in spanish. The whole "level playing field" excuse doesn't cut it, in my opinion. Gov. Richardson looked uncomfortable at times having to answer in english, and even chastised when he had the audacity to utter words in spanish (the nerve! jeje). It was a debate on Univision - let the candidates who are able - speak the tongue of the audience that this debate was intended to target.
  • I loved the towering image of Lady Liberty in the backdrop.
  • Dennis Kucinich mentioned NAFTA a couple of times and its effects on the economies of many nations - the audience cheered loudly for his promise to end it. I like the guy. Alot.
  • This was a historic night and very telling that if the GOP's version ends up happening, it'll be St. McCain having a discussion among his various personalities - he's the only one who has committed to this format. It tells me that they are going to continue to speak only to their small-minded, nativist base to hope that enough of them show up on election day to defeat the brown menace in its various guises.
  • It was refreshing not having to listen to the gasbags in the Liars Spin Room afterwards.
Any other thoughts?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Bud Blogging

There's about five minutes left of Friday in my time zone, so I (and Bud) made it! The past couple of weeks have been an amazing time for me.

I was able to spend a weekend in Jerome, Arizona prior to meeting up with my blogger amigo boran2 in picturesque Sedona. My grandmother was born in Jerome in 1930 to a Mexican mother from Jalisco and Italian father who came to this country via Ellis Island. She chuckled to me a few days ago that their love must've been strong since one spoke Spanish and the other Italian. There are love letters back and forth from them whenever my abuelito was away from home at other mines, my nana has promised to show them to me. I can't wait.

Walking the hillside streets of Jerome was a religious experience for me. Imagining one shoot of my roots doing the same decades prior. I made a visit to the Catholic chapel there, saying prayers alongside my departed ancestors. Looking at the baptismal font, I couldn't suppress the smile, imaging my nana being christened there. Did they know that it would bless a long life of love and service to others? She is a saintly women who lives each day for others with a full heart and miraculous cooking.

This past week I, and my parents, traveled to the San Diego area for a getaway. It was hotter than Hades in SoCal, nearly unbelievable - and that's saying alot coming from this desert dweller. Tuesday morning was eventful, as my alarm clock came in the form of a jolt that made my hotel bed slam against the wall. Apparently there was a 4.0 earthquake somewhere north along the fault. That was exciting.

The highlight of my trip, aside from the quality time with the parentals, of course, was the trek south to Ensenada. It's hard to explain, porque siento en casa cuando voy a la tierra mexicana. The people, the food, the smells, everything deepens my appreciation for the journey of rediscovery I am living everyday.

I've been away from the headlines for awhile, yet politics has never left, because when it's boiled down to its bones, governance is about life and livelihood. Couldn't help but be perturbed at the arrogance of some cruise patrons that walked the streets of Ensenada - treating the vendors and cancioneros like peasants. There's a sickness in U.S. culture and it definitely knows no borders, despite the nativism that runs rampant here.

My Exceptionalist Radar was running full steam ahead by the time we traveled down to Baja California because the day prior, we went over to Coronado Island to log in some beach time and grab some grub. As I was standing in line at a coffee/espresso bar in Coronado Hotel, a few people ended up in line behind me as the guy behind the counter was working on a larger order of drinks for the patron before me. When my turn came up, my father and I walked up to the counter and I overheard two people talking behind us.

Male voice: "Are you all in line?"

Women behind us: "Yeah, we're behind these brown guys"

Needless to say, I was appalled. My blood boiled as I gawked at her in disbelief. Everyone around her looked thoroughly embarrassed but she remained oblivious as she not-so-casually looked away from us.

Right on cue, a queue of toothpicks dropped out of my dad's wallet at the counter as he was getting his cash for our bottles of water (don't ask, he requires toothpicks after every meal and keeps his own stash). The diversion shocked me back out of the moment of surreality and I helped him pick them up instead of causing a scene, which is what I had inhaled to begin when the cascade of toothpicks ensued.


As I told my mom when she was trying to calm me down a half hour later (I was pissed, and the #*$^! disappeared from sight), "It's not right. Period. And what's even more vile is that it's the system that sets up people to live in their arrogant little bubbles of aristocracy."

2007 is no different than ages prior, only the slavery has undergone shiny new names like guest worker programs and the levels of disparity remain tied firmly to the different shades of tierra in a person's skin. It's not right, but it is what it is.

Despite the infraction and indignity of that moment, I told my parents that the thing that has changed with me is that I am no longer shamed by moments like that. There is orgullo - pride - in my veins for who I am and where I come from and no one - not even some white, wide-brimmed, scarf wielding woman of priviledge, nor anyone else will be able to crush that spirit of familia.

There is alot of work to be done in this world, and for every asshole, there is a legion of friends to rely on for solidarity and reciprocal dignity. Dime con quien andas, y te diré quien eres

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Stuff Blogging - Underwater Talk Show Diva?

Not everyone has something to blog about on Fridays. Cats are well represented, dogs (like Bud!) have their day, nudibranchs awe us with their beauty and variety each week at Phila's, there are loads of music lists everywhere and I'm sure there are plenty of other Friday blogging things that I just don't know about yet.

But, me? I got nothin'. Well, nothing specific, anyway. What I do have, though, is an internet absolutely chock full of Stuff!

And who doesn't love stuff? So, my best laid plan is to bring you weekly - or bi-weekly or whenever I get around to it - gifts of stuff I've found on the intertubes. Probably in a post updated throughout Friday, as I come across things.

Maybe I should call it Friday Junk Drawer Blogging instead?

Anyway, first've heard of, yes? They post pictures of cute animals doing cute things, all presented to you in really annoying baby talk. People love it and the site has exploded, garnering awards and interviews with the owner (I wonder if she does those in baby talk?) and I wish them much more success in the future. But I'm not here to talk about them. I am here to let people know that there is an antidote to excessive cuteness!

What else? Ugly Overload! "Giving ugly animals their day in the sun", as they put it. I find it far more interesting (if sometimes a bit gross!) than the various cute animal sites - and not just because there is NO baby talk. And even though some of the critters cause an occasional shudder and "eww!" (and this from the person posting the stuff)- they are not all ugly or creepy. Some are just a bit... different. Or outlandish looking. Or just plain fun, like the one below.

Who knew Joan Rivers had an undersea doppelganger? If I was able to come up with pithy and humorous one liners, I'd think of a good one to go here, but since I am not (I do know my limitations. Sometimes.), you'll have to supply your own.

[added] There must be something about Friday and cats. Could it be that Friday is the true Caturday? There is Friday Cat Blogging, of course, and blogs about cats and blogs for cats... so what do I find when I decide to, as I do from time to time, 'cuz it's fun, hit the "next blog" link on a blogspot blog?

A blog by cats. Really! A fairly popular one too, from the looks of things, called "I am Henry, King of Downing Street", run by Henry and his brother Clyde. And, judging from his blogroll, there seems to be an entire catosphere that I was previously unaware of. Just like the days when the question was, "where are all the women bloggers?" and someone whipped out a huge list of them, and the current days when, like clockwork, someone asks "where are all the people of color bloggers?" all while everyone was hiding in plain sight, and more huge lists appeared... so too, now, when someone asks "where are all the cat bloggers?" some smart folks will be able say... "what, are you blind? here they are!"

[whoops!] OK, so no sooner am I done posting the above when I find out that, at least right now, clicking the "next blog" link on blogspot sites may not be A Good Thing (link goes to P6, who has the story and further link).

Careful whose blog you're reading these days: Researchers have discovered the Storm Trojan nestled in hundreds of blog sites in Google's Blogger network.


Oh, also according to the story above, NO legitimate blogs were found to have this trojan, only what seem to be specially created spam blogs, so one doesn't really have to worry that much. It's just with the random clicking, you never know where you're going to wind up.

(crossposted from Stalking Sunlight, where it really WAS Friday)