Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Of Russian Thistle and Headstones

It was a Sunday that began like many others spent at my parents' house while I visit - with my madre yelling up the stairs at me to get up if I wanted to x, y or z. This particular time was y, where y = go to breakfast with my ninos at their restaurant (and you thought algebra was useless). Knowing that breakfast would involve the best bowl of posole on this earth, it didn't take much for me to wipe the lagaña out of my eyes and get ready for the day.

Ironically, I passed on the posole once the spicy scents of the entire menu of food filled my hungry imagination. The red chile was too enticing, not to mention the freshness of corn tortillas made regularly in the room next door - so the chilaquiles were what brought a big sonrisa to my face as they were laid in front of me.

Throughout the meal, my parents, godparents and I talked about the família and all the new additions to it. Many of my cousins are having children and it's fun to see how our characteristic genes recreate themselves in new, vibrant ways. We're all an extension of our roots and I'm learning that the key to my feeling whole is to renew my commitment to the traditions that have defined my very existence.

Following the desayuno rico, we made our way to the town cemetery for a few hours of work. You see, el Día de los Muertos approaches, and it's an act of honor and love to maintain not only the memories, but the gravesite of loved ones lost. It is more than just an act, though, it is an obligation.

While I wish I could brag and say I did tons of work that day, the truth is I was a supporting character to my parents and godmother who labored wielding paint brushes, brooms, rakes, hoes and weed-eaters. Once the plots were free of the weedy overgrowth and the borders were suitably whitewashed for another season of regular visits, flowers were places in the holders to bring new life to the blessed ground.

Breaking the monotony of this round of cemetery duty, I learned that my mother's grandparents and great-grandfather were also buried there. You would think that as much time as we've spent among the graves over the years, that I would have known that, but alas, it was news to me.

As we approached the site in the older portion of the grounds, I noticed a large colony of russian thistle, commonly known as tumbleweed, thriving. Contrary to the cartoonish version of it that depicts an old west town bisected by a dirt road, tumbleweed bouncing happily down the thoroughfare, the stuff is pretty nasty. It's full of thorns and gets easily tangled in whatever happens to be in its way as it does its tumbling act.

Wack! Wack! Wack!

That took care of that.

Revealed in the brambly tierra was a white marble headstone that proclaimed the name of my great grandmother - Francisca Ramirez. The dates and information depicted on the headstone made my heart beat a bit faster than before - it was all etched en español.

Directly to her right was a four foot wrought iron cross, which stands as sentinel over the resting place of nana Francisca's father - known as Fimbres. There are details of names and locations in a book, but my cousin has it in El Centro, so I'll have to find out more about their stories. What I do know is that Francisca was married to my great tata Jose, who was buried yet another few feet up the slightly inclined hill. After cutting away more of the weeds, I noticed that growing inside the concrete border of his grave were several vigilant iris. No flowers, but the bulbs and plants were there in defiance of the tumbleweed.

"Those have been there for as long as I can remember, even when I was a little girl," my nina remarked to me when I pointed them out. "And over there is the mesquite tree that we used to sit under when we ate lunch during our break from cleaning the graves."

Looking back 48 hours or so, I can only smirk at how odd a person I've become. Mundane moments to everyone around me can turn out to be powerfully instructive memories to my very identity and worthy mile-markers on my path to reconnecting to mis raíces. Resting now in the tierra, surrounded by nature in its various forms, are keys to the door that I keep trying to unlock.

I'm sure part of it will be answering the question that my parents and nina threw out to no one in particular that day: "Who's gonna clean our graves when we pass?"

...and I find that a shovel and rake are already in my willing hands.

Fundraising for a BlogDiva

Blog amiga Liza Sabater is in need of some financial help to get her blogging headquarters back up and running. She is the mastermind behind culturekitchen, The Daily Gotham, and LizaSabater.com; any assistance you can provide would be much appreciated. She goes out of her way to make sure that a more diverse set of voices are heard and respected among the greater online community.

I'm pitching in $25.00, will you help?

Liza says:
Life without my computer is just not complete.

Does feeling like this make me a geek?
UPDATE! Help me get Linus to the (Mac) hospital:
Contribution button at this link

Día de los Muertos Pilgrimage

Día de los Muertos Pilgrimage
Please join us this Saturday as we honor the 237 individuals whose bodies were recovered on the Arizona-Sonora border this past year.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

From St. John's Church
(12th Avenue and Ajo Way)
San Xavier Mission
Tucson, Arizona

Sponsored by Coalición de Derechos Humanos

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Senate takes up DREAM Act

According to the Congressional Quarterly, a spokeswomen for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced today that the Dream Act will be taken up following Tuesday's expected final vote on the 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (HR 3043).

Beyond the spending bill, it is unclear what legislation will round out next week’s floor schedule. The chamber could take up an immigration bill related to children (S 774), said Regan Lachapelle, a Reid spokeswoman.

Sponsored by Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., the bill would allow children of illegal immigrants who entered the United States before age 16 and lived here at least five years to gain conditional legal status. Under the bill, they could attain eventual citizenship if they attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years.

Congressional Quarterly

Ried, invoking Senate Rule XIV, has fast tracked the stand-alone bill, now numbered S.2205, which having languished in the Senate in one form or another for more than seven years, could finally be taken up as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

Needless to say this news has received an apoplectic response from the ranks of the nativist wingnut agitators. They will undoubtedly try to rally their minion of flying monkeys to flood the offices of every Senator in Washington over the next few days. Numbers USA and FAIR already have screaming headlines up their sites to exhort their followers to action.

To counter this effort, an even more overwhelming response must be initiated on behalf of the thousand of children whose only hope at achieving the American dream rests on the passage of this bill.
Each year approximately 2.8 million students graduate from US High Schools. Some will go on to college, join the military, or take other paths in life, hopefully all becoming productive members of society. But for approximately 65,000 of them, these opportunities will never be available. Not because they lack motivation, or achievement, but because of the undocumented status passed on to them by their parents.

Lacking legal status and social security numbers, these students, raised and schooled in the US, cannot apply to college, get jobs other than those at the bottom of the economic ladder, or otherwise follow their dreams. They grew up on American soil, worked hard and succeeded in spite of all odds, and want nothing more than to be recognized as individuals and not just the holders of a status they had no part in acquiring.

In Washington, politicians have debated the fate of these kids for more than seven years, holding lives and futures in their hands while vying for political advantage.

For these kids, and the thousand more who have already managed, through sheer force of will, to complete their higher education but now face a life of uncertainty and alienation, the DREAM Act is the only answer. Please call your Senators starting first thing Tuesday morning.

Here's a list of the most needed votes to make DREAM a reality.

This list of 19 fence sitters hold the hopes and dreams of thousands of hardworking, conscientious , kids in their hands. Kids who've done all that was asked of them, and now only want an opportunity to be the Americans they have always regarded themselves as.
-DUKE'S HOT 19 -

Murkowski (R-AK) 202-244-6665
Stevens (R-AK) 202224-3004
Pryor (D-AR) 202-224-2353
Martinez (R-FL) 202-224-3041
Inouye (D-HI) 202-224-3934
Brownback (R-KS) 202-224-6521
Landieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824
Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523
Snowe (R-ME) 202-224-5344
Conrad (D-ND) 202-224-2043
Dorgan (D-ND) 202-224-2551
Dominici (R-NM) 202-224-6621
Voinovich (R-OH) 202-224-3353
Smith (R-OR) 202-224-3753
Graham (R-SC) 202-224-5972
Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842
Cornyn (R-TX) 202-224-2934
Warner(R-VA) 202-224-2023
Rockefeller (D-VA) 202-224-6472

At seven pages long, the DREAM Act has a few simple provisions that would allow thousands of kids who've worked hard and played by the rules to qualify for the exact same rights afforded every student in the nation. ... the right to continue their educations and make a better life for themselves and there families.

Wingers call the legislation "just one more shamnsty" bill, because it allows those who have lived here most of there lives, and know no other home, a conditional reprieve from arrest and deportation. It allows them a chance to temporarily shrug off the yoke of their parents "misdeeds" and provides them an opportunity to prove themselves "worthy" of their adopted home.

The DREAM Act would provide a path to legality for persons brought illegally to the United States by their parents as children, or whose parents attempted to immigrate legally but were then denied legality.
To qualify, the immigrant student would have to meet certain requirements:

  • Proof of having arrived in the United States before reaching 16 years of age;

  • Proof of residence in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since their date of arrival.

  • Having graduated from an American High School, or obtained a GED.

  • "Good moral character," essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any drug charges whatsoever).

  • Had not yet reached the age of 30 years on the date of enactment of this Act

After meeting the above requirements students would be eligible to apply for a temporary six year "conditional" residence permit which would allow them to live legally in the United States, obtain driver's licenses, attend college as in-state residents, work legally (including obtaining a social security number), and apply for special travel documents which would allow for travel outside of the country for limited amounts of time.
During the six years of conditional status, the eligible immigrant would be required to either:

  1. graduate from a two-year community college,

  2. Complete at least two years towards a 4-year degree, or

  3. serve two years in the U.S. military.

After the six year period, an immigrant who meets at least one of these three conditions would be eligible to apply for legal permanent resident (green card) status. During their temporary time, immigrants would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants, though they would be able to apply for student loans and work study.

If the immigrant does not meet the educational or military service requirement within the six year time period, their temporary residence would be revoked and he or she would be subject to deportation.

During the six years, the immigrant must not commit any crimes other than those considered non-drug related misdemeanors, regardless of whether or not they have already been approved for permanent status at the end of their six years.

Being convicted of a major crime or drug-related infraction would automatically remove the six year temporary residence status and he or she would be subject to deportation.

If the immigrant meets all of the conditions at the end of the 6-year conditional period, he or she would be granted a permanent green card with the same rights as a permanent resident alien, including the right to apply for U.S. citizenship.

It's a simple enough bill. No hundreds of pages of legal-speak and loopholes like most immigration related legislation.

The qualifications are simple and cut and dry, The "benefits" and obligations easily understood. You can read a copy here to see for yourself.

Wingers are already gearing up to fight this bill. Their spin machine of obfuscating rhetoric is ready to go. Numbers USA has already sent out hundreds of thousands of action alerts to oppose the legislation. Michele Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Relly and Lou Dobbs are already spreading their foul bile and propaganda.

But there's not much to debate here.

One either sees these children raised and schooled in America as future Americans ...or sees them as nothing more than the products of their parents "misdeeds" who must be punished the rest of their lives as such.

Call your Senators Now (call between 9am and 5 pm)

Or e-mail your Senator

Better yet, Fax you Senator now

Monday, October 22, 2007

The New Iron Curtain

Hidalgo's Legacy?

Sometimes a picture is enough

more on my trip to Nogales later...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Steely Irony Made In China

It's difficult to decide whether I should roll my eyes and shake my head or point and laugh.
WASHINGTON – Members of Congress' steel caucus say they were alarmed to learn that pipes made in China have been used in the construction of the U.S.-Mexico border fence.

Republican Representative Phil English of Pennsylvania says he found out about it when he was given a photo apparently taken in San Luis, Arizona that shows black piping used as a fence post with ''China'' written on it in white letters.

So let's see where this leaves us:
  • Pesky bloggers point out the idiocy of building such a structure by referring to it constantly as the Great Wall of America™ to show its similarity to the Great Wall of China.
  • Congress authorizes funds in a bipartisan manner to build said wall, even though it has been proven that it increases the number of border-crosser deaths.
  • Burial sites of indigenous ancestors are dug up to make way for it despite protests of direct descendants and supporters.
  • Portions of the wall end up being constructed incorrectly on the Mexican side of the land.
  • Environmental protections are given the shaft by the Department of Homeland Security
  • Photographic evidence proves that it's the Great Wall of China, after all.
¡Ay! Dios mio.

Friday Bud Blogging

Contrary to popular belief,
begging works

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mannequins for McCain

Undisclosed sources have reported that late this afternoon, while singing his daily-shower rendition of the 2007 NeoCon Hit Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran, GOP Presidential Contender John McCain of Arizona was suddenly overcome by a nuclear reaction of an idea for the solution to winning the Global War on Terror™.

Speaking to reporters at a hastily-called press conference in South Carolina where the Senator was campaigning for the day, McCain excitedly explained, "Mannequins! I know it sounds crazy, but what better way to ensure our country's freedom and security than to send battalions of armor-reinforced mannequin troops to battle without having to worry about defeatist liberals forcing a military redeployment out of Iraq? There would be no more fatalities or casualties among of our brave service men and women for the Democrat Party to cry their crocodile tears over."

"In my home state of Arizona, we've flawlessly worked to bring our military capabilities forward to the 21st century by mastering the use of unmanned drones. The aircraft currently deployed along the U.S./Mexico border are not equipped with missiles, but with just a slight modification, these beauties would be perfect vehicles for our polyurethane patriots."

Crediting his brainstorm to an incident earlier in the day at the South Carolina Upstate nursing school, Senator McCain apologized to Senator Hillary Clinton for remarks he made while touring their facility.
"I was very glad to meet the dummy, named 'Hillary,'" McCain said to laughter after a tour of the school. "Is that the name?" - linkage
The maverick Senator, never afraid to speak his mind, later joked, "Who knew that it would take a lot of dummies to lead my campaign out of single digits?"

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Imprisoning Children? No Problema!

Wow. Just wow.

A Texas County Commissioner says out loud that the concentration camp in Taylor is a way better deal for migrant families than their homes back in Latin America (still think it's not racial?)

Hat tip to the myspace activists who are working tirelessly on the local level to shut down the prison. They are holding twin marches next weekend:
The Hutto child prison in Taylor and the Raymondville tent internment camps are the most visible yet sinister violation of international human rights on American soil…and they both happen to be here in Texas . Hutto has children and their mothers imprisoned at the tune of about $10,000 per child/per mother/per month. Raymondville is the most flagrant of adult immigrant internment camps in the world, let alone on American soil.

Therefore, Raymondville Walk II and Hutto Walk III have been rescheduled for a Texas Super Weekend the last weekend of October. Here are the dates: (Maps and details will be in a follow up notice).

Raymondville Walk II. October 26-27. Friday and Saturday. From the Harlingen Travel Center to Raymondville, the seat of the corruption ridden Willacy County Commissioners Court .

Hutto Walk III. October 28-30. Sunday through Tuesday. From the Hutto children's' prison camp in Taylor , Texas to the seat of the Williamson County Commissioners Court in Georgetown , Texas .

more info here

Cross-Border March in Nogales

[bumped up - Man Eegee]

Next This weekend in the sister cities.
The Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice presents:

Border Mobilization
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora

Join us in a mass demonstration at the U.S.-México border to demand justice in our communities!

We demand:

· The removal of failed border enforcement policies known as Operations Gatekeeper, Hold the Line, Rio Grande, and Safeguard, which have included the construction of walls, stadium lights, drag roads, and checkpoints

· An end to the deaths of migrants along the U.S.-México border

· An immediate halt to the construction of walls between the U.S. and México

· The immediate removal of the U.S. National Guard from the Arizona border

· An investigation of the effects of border enforcement policies on border communities, particularly from an environmental and health perspective

· The creation of an independent entity, with full investigatory powers, to look into allegations of abuse by law enforcement officials under the Department of Homeland Security

Nogales, Arizona, US: 10am: Meet at Techea City Park (777 N. Grant Ave.) in Nogales. The march to the border will begin there.

Nogales, Sonora, Mx: 10am: Meeting place to be announced.

“We are one family; we have no borders”

For more information, please contact: U.S: Coalición de Derechos Humanos: 520.770.1373 o www.derechoshumanosaz.net

Sponsored by: Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras, Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, Fundación México

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Midweek Meta Open Thread

  • I am not very good at coding. This frustrates me.
  • I've added a form on the left sidebar that allows readers to get Latino Político posts via email. You can sign up over there <--------
  • Blogrolling.com, which powers the Bloggers del Mundo blogroll on the right sidebar, should add the ability to add sites with special characters in their title. There's no reason that accent marks and the ¡ can't be included in their code. ¿Sabes?
  • Comments are always a joy to read. It makes this worth it to know that someone else is interacting with the text. Speaking of comments, you can access the RSS feed for comments anytime on the left sidebar or by using this link. I somehow zapped the icon earlier this week (see the first bullet item of this post for the reason)
  • Thanks for being you

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Arizona's Economy and Human Migration

Duke has a new post up at Migra Matters that highlights a study done by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the UA.
Based on this study, the total state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion, of which about $1.5 billion came from for non-citizens. Balanced against estimated fiscal costs of $1.4 billion (for education, health care, and law enforcement), the net 2004 fiscal impact of immigrants in Arizona was positive by about $940 million.

The 2004 total economic output attributable to immigrant workers was about $44 billion, $29 billion of that coming from non-citizens. This output included $20 billion in labor and other income and resulted in approximately 400,000 full-time-equivalent jobs.

The study also looks at what impact the removal of as little as 10-15% of the immigrant workforce would have on the state's economy. Over $.5 billion in tax revenues would be lost, 125,000 jobs and $13.5 billion of lost economic output.


Paula Crisostomo's Work Continues

My padre is one of those archetypal people who despises politics to his core. He has never voted, has no intentions of voting, and, unless one of my cousins who's politically active ever decides to get off her duff and run for office [hint, hint], won't be voting anytime soon. He's a victim of the "what's the point?" virus, one that I feel surging through my veins every now and then.

It was last summer while I was visiting for a weekend and, to my surprise, my dad stopped the channel on HBO. Edward James Olmos' presentation Walk Out was on.
A film with a powerful message that resonates 38 years after the events it depicts occurred, Walkout is the stirring true story of the Chicano students of East LA, who in 1968 staged several dramatic walkouts in their high schools to protest academic prejudice and dire school conditions. Aided by a popular and progressive young teacher, Sal Castro, Paula Crisostomo and a group of young Chicano activists battle parents, teachers, bureaucrats, the police and public opinion to make their point. Along the way, the students learn profound lessons about embracing their own identity and standing up for what they believe in. Set in 1968, a tumultuous year that shook America to its foundation, Walkout is a vivid reminder that people can change the world.
Man Eegee, Sr.: "Hey, have you seen this yet?"

Man Eegee, Jr.: "Nope, have you?"

Sr.: "We caught it the other day. It's a good movie...I remember those days."

Jr.: "We're living in them again."

Sr.: "Yeah..."

Keep in mind the context of this conversation. We were coming off the spring solidarity marches across the country that denounced HR4437 and called for a comprehensive reform of the immigration system that included a path to citizenship for millions that are living in a shadow economy. Immigration politics is not a latino issue, contrary to the constant drumbeat you'll read here and at other latino/latina blogs, but it is certainly one that is affecting our people in a meaningful way.

An overhaul of the immigration system (that is done humanely), will address educational deficiencies, health care snowjobs, mixed-status families, and trade policies with other nations that are exporting human beings instead of inventories due to the dire straits we've saddled their economies with, all in the name of the Almighty Dollar. These are worthy causes to fight for, and in order to cause a strong enough reaction to create meaningful change, we must learn how to reach people like my dad who have solidarity with our worldview but don't see the political system as a means to uprooting the rot of inequality and injustice.

The title of this post is "Paula Crisostomo's Work Continues", but really, it is our work; and I'm inspired to know that she hasn't given up. This past weekend she was the keynote speaker at the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference, sponsored by Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.
"Education is extremely important for their future. It is up to them to prepare themselves for a brighter future, but they must know there are lots of us who believe in them and are willing to do whatever we can to help them succeed," she said.

Even now, Crisostomo believes the system is still broken, especially when it comes to educating the Latin American community.

"I think it's a shameful state of affairs ... In 1968 we saw some gains, but I've seen it being chipped away both nationally and locally by legislation. Primarily by administrations that have challenged a lot of policies that do outreach and provide education opportunity and finances for students," she said.

Ann Esquibel Redman organized the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference and invited Crisostomo because she was inspired by her story.

"I felt she has the message to persevere to move forward in spite of negative things that happen in our lives," Redman said.

An important message to take to heart as the bad news continues to flow. We mustn't give up. Our very lives are livelihood are worth the fight.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: La Tierra Santa

Today is Blog Action Day for the environment. Gracias to Smartypants for the heads up and her contribution to this blogswarm that centers on an area of Peru that is polluted from a nearby copper smelter.

For my part, I would like to highlight something that I read over the weekend that disturbed the hell out of me. Growing up, the political system was always something that intrigued me. At least, the law-making aspect of it. The way the checks and balances of the U.S. government worked in theory seemed like a good way to pierce the cáscara of any one person's overinflated ego.

The nation's top security official may use his power to unilaterally trump a federal court order halting construction of a fence on a stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is weighing whether to invoke a section of federal law that allows him to exempt border construction projects from any law, his press aide, Russ Knocke, told Capitol Media Services. That includes requirements for studies on environmental impacts of federally funded projects.

The move would not be unprecedented: Chertoff used the power at least twice since it was granted.

The article goes on to describe the other two incidents which have involved scrapping environmental impact studies to make way for construction of the Great Wall of America™. The first was from 2005, involving a section near San Diego that included filling in canyons and putting a bird refuge at risk.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed an environmental waiver Tuesday night that expedites the Border Patrol's long-standing plans to fill in canyons and erect additional fencing along the final 3 1/2 miles of the border before it meets the Pacific Ocean.


The California Coastal Commission was particularly concerned about the Border Patrol's plans to fill a deep, half-mile long canyon known as "Smuggler's Gulch," with 2.1 million cubic yards of dirt, enough to fill 300,000 dump trucks. Commission members feared filling the canyon would erode soil near a federally protected estuary that is a refuge for threatened and endangered birds.

The second incident when Chertoff invoked this power was earlier this year, turning a blind eye to the impact of border wall construction on wildlife and water supplies near the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Range.
Chertoff voided "environmental requirements and other legalities that have impeded the department's ability to construct fencing and deploy detection technology on the range," spokesman Russell Knocke said in Washington.


Robin Silver, board chair of the environmental organization Center for Biological Diversity, called Chertoff's move "a historic travesty."

"Because they refuse to deal head-on with the economics of the immigration challenge, they're now taking a step to destroy the integrity of the central part of Southern Arizona's desert," Silver added. "There's not a wall on earth that's going to stop a human in search of a minimum-wage job to feed his hungry family."

As you can see, the precedent has already been set by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff to nullify the respect that should be given to the earth when it comes to the actions of the U.S. government. These actions are telling of two aspects of the modern conservative movement. The first involves their collective yawn regarding the middle finger treatment the Executive Branch has given to laws. Chertoff's actions are equivalent to the infamous signing statements wielded by his boss in the Oval Office.

The second characteristic is the disdain and demonization the conservative movement has reserved for the judicial branch. Any rulings that go against their wishes initiate a Level III Temper Tantrum and shrieks of accusations of activism and "legislating from the bench." Of course, the fit of rage is not necessary when you can smirk and dismiss one-third of the government, altogether.

Mr. [Duncan] Hunter said Mr. Chertoff possesses broad waiver authority to guarantee that dilatory legal requirements and lawsuits will not interfere with the timely construction of border infrastructure.

"Secretary Chertoff rightfully announced that he would use this authority to complete the 'Smugglers Gulch' location, just as he has at other locations along the border, and this most recent delay should be treated no differently," he said.

Looks like civics textbooks will need to be revised after this era of strong-armed governance comes to an end. Too bad that it will involve many steps in a backward direction.

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

[UPDATE] Check out the No Border Wall site for more information on how the construction is affecting the San Pedro River and other southwest habitats.

[UPDATE #2] So much for this being an action diary - my bad! Please contact the DHS and urge Chertoff not to nullify the judge's ruling. Gracias. Your congresscritter and/or senator would be an added bonus, perhaps they will issue a statement?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"They're Very Ugly"






Nativism in the Congress

Tom Tancredo, who is already well-known around here, continues his dangerous rhetoric. This time the target of his ire are border communities who have the audacity to exert their influence on what happens within their jurisdiction (and he calls himself a conservative. pffft)

“These mayors are jeopardizing national security with their not-in-my-backyard attitude,” Tancredo said. “Congress approved the border fence with the overwhelming support of the American people to protect our nation from terrorists and illegal aliens and it will not be thwarted by a handful of rogue mayors.”

The outspoken Tancredo, who is polling in the low single digits in national polls, also offered his solution to the problem, which is to “build the border fence north of these communities.”


Belly rubs to any corporate media journalists who ask Tom if he supports the death threats that are being aimed at the El Paso mayor since he has no trouble calling Mayor Cook and other border community officials traitors.

And since the congressman and Republican presidential candidate is presumably mentally fit for the highest office in the land, despite the precedent of the dim bulb that currently presides in the White House, it should be pointed out that if the supporters of the Great Wall of America™ have their way, much of the wall will, in fact, be north of many locales in the United States.

The border isn't exactly an east-west line. Residents in every border state, south of the Yumans in Yuma, could presumably travel north to get to Mexico.

Just some food for thought as the ignorance of the nativist wing of the United States continues unchallenged by the mainstream media.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dead Mujeres in Nicaragua

This is what happens when a government gets involved in medical decisions that should be left between a woman and her doctor. For the religious types, add in the woman's God to the conversation.
Last November it became a crime for a woman to have an abortion in Nicaragua, even if her life was in mortal danger. So far it has resulted in the death of at least 82 women. Rory Carroll reports on the fight to have the law changed


In the run-up to last November's election, the cardinal spearheaded a campaign for a blanket abortion ban. Ortega, desperate to regain power, mobilised the Sandinistas behind the cardinal's campaign and helped get the ban enacted just days before the poll. The former revolutionary, now reinvented as a devout Catholic, was rewarded with the presidency.

Ortega, who did not respond to interview requests for this article, has stayed pious in power. Last month he whipped Sandinista assembly deputies into voting with rightwing parties 66-3 to uphold the ban. Many former officials are disgusted with a leader and party they no longer recognise. "It's cynical and it's sad, especially when you consider our high rate of sexual violence and very young mothers," says Moisés Arana, a former mayor of Bluefields. "Here there is a lot of religiosity but only a little Christianity."


Pouring Bleach on Arizona's History

The whitewashing of centuries of bi-national identity continues.
The Mexican flag flies no more over the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum — and the U.S. flag is gone, too.

The museum's board of trustees voted to remove the flags — which had flown side-by-side since 1954 — after receiving complaints and threats about flying the Mexican flag.

Questions from visitors about why the Mexican flag was being flown on U.S. soil escalated in the past couple of years, said board chairwoman Sophia Kaluzniacki.

An anonymous death threat against the museum's animals made earlier this year by a phone caller also factored into the board's decision, but to a lesser degree, she said. The desire to avoid controversy on border-related issues was the main thrust, she said.

The Sonoran Desert is clearly unpatriotic! How dare it exist without respect for the sovereignty of America™ If we let infractions like this stand without opposition, the terrorist prairie dogs will win.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

They say...

They say sexism is dead...
...but tell that to a male nurse.

They say racism is dead...
...but tell that to the white girl who took her black fiancé to meet her parents for the first time.

They say classism is dead...
...but try calling a congressman (or woman) and ask to speak to him/her directly.

They say nativism is dead...
...but try flying a Canadian flag one week and a Mexican flag the next.

They say homophobia is dead...
...awww, who am I kidding, this one is still acceptable to the masses.

We romanticize that which does not deserve it. The earth laughs at the notion that it can be controlled, and rather than respect Her, we devise new ways of poisoning her vitality by demeaning our brothers and sisters in devious ways.

Such an existence is not sustainable.

A new order must arise from the ashes of this violence-charred world. One that is perfumed with the scent of fellowship and compassion, not the current stench that invades every one of the senses.

I believe more people know this than are visible at the present time.

How do we tap into that fire of the human soul and reignite the love?

ICE Seeks to Sedate Albanian Migrant

The escalation of hostilities continues.

DALLAS (AP) — Immigration authorities are asking a court to let them sedate an Albanian restaurateur on a deportation flight to keep him from becoming hysterical again over fears he'll be killed if he returns to that country.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked a federal judge for permission to medicate Rrustem Neza, a 32-year-old asylum seeker who fled his homeland after publicly identifying the men accused of gunning down an Albanian politician.

Agents tried to deport Neza in August but couldn't because he was terrified and would not calm down.

He wouldn't calm down because he and his familly literally ran for their lives when they fled their home country. Asylum has been denied so what does the U.S. government expect to happen when they attempt to drop him back in the middle of a situation where he will most likely be dead within a short amount of time?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Discovering The New World, Parte Dos

...continued from part one
"Do you know there is no word for that in my language, sir? - To own the earth?"

-paraphrased from dialog in the screen adaptation of the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
To the present time, a line dividing Native Americans and Mexicans has existed in the United States from within and without the various groups. Although the roots of all are indigenous in nature, the treatment by the power wielders in D.C. have only varied according to the degree of genocide and usurpation experienced. Centuries of this treatment has created something that is referred to as the mestizaje.
In order to think about ideas about ethnicity, we also have to talk about ideas about race. From the biological point of view, races simply do not exist. From the cultural and political point of view, however, the concept of "race" is extremely important.

Mexican national identity has been constructed in terms of the idea that Mexicans are the product of a creative mixing of Indians and Europeans. In theory this is an argument about a fusing together of cultures but in practice it gets conflated with the idea of mixing of races, mestizaje in Spanish. This is an official doctrine of the state, formulated after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. It is expressed in official rhetoric, mythology and public ceremonial. It is particularly powerfully expressed in Mexico’s famous National Museum of Anthropology.

The Museum celebrates the glories of pre-Hispanic Mexican civilisations like the Aztecs, Mayas and Zapotecs on the ground floor. On the first floor, it exhibits the contemporary indigenous peoples of Mexico, set out like a collection of butterflies with lifesize models of people wearing the appropriate dress for their group. This great museum was set up by a group of anthropologists who saw Mexico’s future in terms of the assimilation of what remained of indigenous culture into a new national culture. Their objective was to memorialise something that they wanted to leave in the past.

The Revolution was supposed to deliver material progress and social justice to the Indians: they would get back the lands that had been stolen from them by the great estates; they would get schools and clinics, roads and electricity; they would get development projects; they would get treated fairly by the courts, enjoy civil rights, and be freed from the tyranny of local bosses who exploited them and robbed them of their dignity as citizens. In return for this, they would give up their old customs, speak Spanish and join the mainstream of national life. In Mexico, that mainstream is defined as mestizo.
As described above, the mestizaje is supposed to be a cultural term, but often is experienced as ethnic and racial. That hard truth lives even within the confines of my own family, where I am among the darkest skinned. Chiding and ridicule, even though done in playful ways, have undoubtedly reacted with my heart in such a way that I have learned to be ultra-proud of the morenito that stares me in the face while gazing in a mirror; pushing me to rediscover the traditions of the ancestors that my features mimic imperfectly.

Culturally speaking, however, the synergy of centuries of mixed customs and environmental influences have created a situation north of the current U.S./Mexico border line where entire groups of people are sharing the same space of land while understanding their relationship to it in completely different, sometimes diametrically opposed, ways.

From an Anglo-centric point of view, the cultural mestizaje is an unwanted intrusion upon their sovereignty. The preferred remedy in the present era to this blight is summed up with one word: assimilation. That term, that very foundation of treatment towards indigenous peoples, has replaced the former form: seizure of lands and creation of boundaries. Of course, there are present day exceptions where the imperial conquests of Washington are still being exercised.

Look at the different reactions we are seeing to the mass migration of humanity from countries around this earth to the United States. The hardliners, who range from overt white supremacists to nativists holding elected positions, all see the influx of workers as a threat to their way of life. While it's difficult for them to openly advocate for the removal of groups based on skin color (if it were politically expedient for them to do so, they would), they have found other ways to attack - including removal of educational benefits, putting landlords on notice that they should deny shelter, raiding workplaces without a plan to deal with family unity, interring workers and families without due process, and among the favorite means of putting undesirables on notice - tightening the noose on the diversity of languages spoken by the populace.

The combination of all of these things, including the ambivalence toward the increased numbers of dead bodies in the desert southwest that has directly resulted from U.S. border policy, highlights the importance of reading voices that are outside the "dominant culture" that is part of the assimilation equation. It involves a rejection of the Conquistador Mentality and a willingness to recognize the dark history that has been experienced by indigenous people.

Today's targeting of migrant peoples is seen as an extension of a society that exalts leaders of genocide, not some new thing that is somehow different from past tyranny. Once that is realized by the "dominant culture", we may get to a place that moves beyond the celebration of mass extinctions of people and their cultures.
Denver police on Saturday arrested dozens of Columbus Day protesters who said they were determined to stop this year's parade in downtown Denver.


He poured fake blood with doll parts into the street to represent the genocide of indigenous people. Many believe the holiday celebrates a slave trader and the wholesale slaughter of Native Americans.

Who's right?

The protesters or the celebrators?

The answer, I believe, is the difference between assimilation and the mestizaje, irregardless of who finds themselves as the target of oppression or which century it is occurring.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The prodigal Sunday Eegeehood Tour returns

One truism that has tons of truth to it is "you never really know what you have until it is gone." I think it goes without saying that Nanette's Sunday Tours along with Manny's Friday Bud Blogging were features that seemed to keep our little corner of the blogging diaspora together. The hood has certainly changed over the last year. Several houses remain vacant. Every once in a while we get a new neighbor. We really need a block party. So in that spirit:

Let's introduce a new neighbor: Smartypants. Actually, you've seen her occupying some other pads as NLinStPaul. She's finally signed a lease on her own blogging space. Check it out.

One of our neighbors has checked in after months of seclusion: Dove, whose blog In Flight features the unfinished but still quite good joint project that she and the (hate to say it) probably late Ductape Fatwa were working on (titled Artichoke Circus) before his sudden disappearance.

A couple of us have lately been blogsitting over at Everybody Comes From Somewhere, where you might just find the occasional Bokononist quotation.

XicanoPwr always drops some interesting palabras over at ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!, including a notice that his blog is hosting a Q & A session with the author of The Latino Challenge to Black America this October 11.

Nezua's always in the hood - check his recent joint, Mind Your Myanmars. Of course as Nanette would say, just start at the top of his blog and scroll down.

Boran2's acrylic painting of the Grand Canyon is coming along nicely.

Just a few days ago, Olivia presented us a gorgeous sunset photo - I can't say I've ever seen the Ottawa River, but it looks like a wonderful place to spend some time. Olivia of course dazzles her visitors on a regular basis with flower photos. Take a peek.

Family Man is still rolling along, in spite of a little electrical mishap that strikes me as something I'd do. My encounter with electrical current had something to do with an electrical outlet, a malfunctioning blowdryer, and the fact that I was sopping wet after having just jumped out of the shower - but that's a story for another time.

After a lengthy hiatus, Migra Matters is back in a big way, most recently covering the Dream Act.

Our usual tour guide has certainly kept herself busy, including sharing some words written by a great-great-great uncle that show just how little things have changed in the intervening century when it comes to race relations.

Intrepid Liberal Journal's latest essay paints an unflatteringly accurate portrait of war profiteer Erik Prince.

Checked Eat4Today lately?

Okay. I'm sure I'm leaving some folks out. As I said, several houses seem to have been vacated - perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. We need a block party. If someone's got the sound equipment, I'll bring the tunes.

Peace and love, y'all.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Headlined Understatement of All Time


Bush leaving some problems to successors

WASHINGTON - Over and over, President Bush confidently promised to "solve problems, not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." As the clock runs out on his eight-year presidency, a tall stack of troubles remain and Bush's words ring hollow.

Iraq, budget deficits, the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare, high health and energy costs, a national immigration mess — the next president will inherit these problems in January 2009.

Some problems? Some? May I add to the lacking list of already craptacular items? That was rhetorical, I'm gonna do it anyway and take the You Forgot Poland! track.

You forgot...
Other examples? There's a plethora

Extreme Makeover: Latino Pundit Version

Check out Louis' new digs over at Latino Pundit. Looks great!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

2007 Best of Tucson

I meant to post this last week when the Tucson Weekly announced this year's winners, but here is the linkage to the 2007 Night of the Living Best of Tucson™

My favorite category, as always:

Best Sonoran Hotdog

El Guero Canelo
5201 S. 12th Ave., 295-9005;
2480 N. Oracle Road, 882-8977;

Forget everything you ever thought you knew about hot dogs. To hell with Chicago, New York, baseball, all that. This is an experience like you've never had. These are hot dogs al estilo sonorense, Sonoran style--wrapped in bacon and covered with beans, tomatoes, onions, mustard and mayo on the best bun you've ever tasted. Overhead on the TV, the tubby lead singer of Banda Tres Rios rocks out to banda music, surrounded by a bevy of notably un-tubby, scantily clad but equally energetic young ladies, all splashing around in water and dancing to their new hit, "Sueña Tremendo." And, oh, what a tremendous dream they are, these hot dogs. People flock to this place like zombies. Go there. Now.

Runners up:

2. BK's, 5118 S. 12th Ave., 295-0105; 2680 N. First Ave., 207-2245

3. Pat's Drive-In, 1202 W. Niagara St., 624-0891

Heart attack in a bun, but so worth it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Midweek Meta Open Thread

For those who have been reading here for awhile, I offer this link to a post created by two people whose writing always strikes the deepest chords in my heart.

Artichoke Circus - by DuctapeFatwa and Dove

This is an open thread.

Immigrant Children Get the SCHIP Shaft

Do you hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth today as the news spreads of The Decider's latest exercise of Compassionate Conservativism?

Well, you'll hear none of that from this bloguero; because while SCHIP is a vitally important program that provides essential health care needs to people all across the land, the fact is - the Democrat-controlled Congress threw immigrant children off the bridge last month as they were crossing it to the city limits of Vetoville.

My Congressman, Raúl Grijalva, explained in an Op/Ed on September 19th

During debate, House Republicans sabotaged the spirit of bipartisanship by including an unconnected issue to public health. In their efforts to restate the bill's prohibition of services for undocumented immigrants in their motion to recommit, Republicans needlessly attacked legal, taxpaying, permanent residents.

More discouraging to the fate of children's health insurance is the looming threat of a veto from the president and the uphill battle that must be waged to gather the needed votes to override that veto.

In addition to his veto threat, the president has instituted administrative regulations that will severely limit the number of children covered by this program, thereby violating the original Children's Health Insurance law. These new regulations also violate the Administrative Procedures Act, the law that provides direction for federal rulemaking, as the regulations were announced without official notice or comment periods, which formal administrative rule-making regulations require.

While Grijalva voted for the reconciliation bill with the Senate, he and other Hispanic (esa palabra me da asco!) lawmakers raised their objections continuously through the process. Going a step further, Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted against it to make a deliberate point that we should not discriminate against any children when it comes to basic human needs such as healthcare.
“I cannot support legislation which extends health coverage to some children while openly denying it to other children,” Kucinich said. “This legislation is woefully inadequate: and I will not support it.

“Legal immigrant children deserve the same quality health care as other children receive. It is Congress’ responsibility to address the main difficulties that prevent legal immigrant children from gaining access to health care. Today, we did exactly the opposite.

There are many dynamics at play today. We have a situation where SCHIP no longer has any funding, period, which is unacceptable and despicable; but we also see that, once again, scapegoats are picked off the outer edges of the herd without so much as a flinch from the shepherds. In another Op/Ed via the editorial team of El Diario/La Prensa, my thoughts on this are further articulated.
We’ll take your money and run. That’s the message that Congress in effect delivered last week when it excluded immigrant families from its reauthorization of a health insurance program.

Immigrant families with legal status—and many undocumented ones as well—pay taxes that cover vital social services. But when health insurance is out of reach for their children, many are still rendered ineligible for healthcare coverage known as SCHIP.

SCHIP—State Children’s Health Insurance Program—was designed to bridge uninsured children to healthcare. National and local organizations have campaigned for an expanded SCHIP that would reach the 9 million uninsured children in the United States.


If the U.S.-born American people can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a war of choice to make sure that bullets and tanks are provided to military personnel, then why are we even having a debate on access to medical care?

It's shameful, and while I despise George Bush's actions today, the fact is many people were/are willing to sell out other children if they can get their own. Enough is Enough.

Más información

ICE Gestapo Strikes Long Island

Another workplace raid, another example in the endless list of examples of ICE agents shoving policies and procedures into the circular file.
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - Federal agents displayed a "cowboy" mentality while running roughshod over local police officers _ at times pointing their weapons at cops _ and ensnared more suspected illegal aliens than targeted gangsters in raids on Long Island last week, officials said Tuesday.

"There were clear dangers of friendly fire," Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said. "We did have members that were actually drawn upon."

Also, true to form, they racially profiled people as they cast their nets.
In one case, Mulvey said, "ICE sought a 28-year-old defendant using a photograph taken when he was a 7-year-old boy."
Any guesses on how they kinda sorta perhaps i think so maybe indentified their target? If skin color didn't have anything to do with it, then call me Pancho Clause and get me ready for La Navidad.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jena 6 Recreated In Blackface

Old enough to know better, ignorant enough to claim that they're not racist.
In the video, three students with mud smeared across their bodies stomp on a fourth student, while two of the participants are heard to say, "Jena 6." One man can also be heard saying, "Niggers put the noose on."

After the video and photos on Smith's page were discovered by fellow students, she removed the material and made her Facebook page private. Smith, who did not respond to a TSG e-mail sent to her school address, apologized for the images in several recent Facebook postings.

"We were just playin n the mud and it got out of hand. I promise i'm not racist. i have just as many black friends as i do white. And i love them to death," she wrote.