Monday, December 29, 2008

Jon Swift's Best of 2008

Jon Swift has posted his Best of 2008 roundup (complete with lolcats)
It's no surprise that there are quite a few posts about the election this year and perhaps when the history of this campaign is written, historians will look at these posts to get an idea of what people were thinking as it was taking place. They may conclude that the Chinese were right about living in interesting times. The bloggers represented below run the political gamut, from conservative to anti-America, but in addition to politics, they also write about movies, music, television, books, dance, education, fashion, travel, food, economics, health care, science, technology, religion and history and share personal stories, poetry and fiction. There is surely something here that will interest you and probably something to offend you, as well, but that at least might make you think. I'm afraid if I were to invite everyone in this roundup to sit together at a dinner party, I would have to hide the good china, and even then the evening might end with a visit from the police. And as we have seen when Obama has tried to reach across the aisle, it is a thankless task, so I am sure a few slings and arrows will be directed my way. But just in case you find your blood pressure rising as you read some of these entries, I have created an original series of soothing lolcats, which have been scientifically proven to induce a calming effect, to look at as you scroll down.

View the full round-up here

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

PSA: Arizona's New License Plate Law

Attention Arizona residents

On January 1st, 2009, a new state law goes into effect that will give police officers the ability to stop and ticket you if your license plate holder covers the word "Arizona" at the top of the plate.

This is not a joke, your 2006 state legislature decided that this was of utmost importance.

License-plate frames that celebrate your favorite college or sports team become illegal next month if the frame obscures the state's name.

Starting Jan. 1, police can stop you if "Arizona" isn't clearly visible at the top of the plate. Violators will be fined an average of $135, plus court fees, depending on the city where the violation is discovered.

Since it's already dangerous to be driving while black or brown, especially in Maricopa County, don't give the police another opportunity to inquire about your citizenship status.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holding Sheriff Joe Accountable

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

As you may know, Joe Arpaio was re-elected this past November as sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, the most heavily populated county in the state, encompassing most of the Phoenix metro area. Supporters of Sheriff Joe would have you believe that he was given another term based on competence, but really, his reelection was due to "Get 'Em" politics.

Those of us who follow immigration headlines and live in communities affected by hardlined tactics know Arpaio's name very well. He has morphed the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in to a full-time immigration enforcement posse at the expense of doing his real job as Maricopa County's top law enforcement agent. Racial profiling is par for the course under Arpaio's leadership and he does it unapologetically.

"Get 'Em" politics, as in "Let's Get 'Em" is made possible by media sources who give nativists like Arpaio open platforms to spew xenophobia, racism and hate. This dark wave is not something that members of immigrant or latino communities are imagining, the numbers tell the tale. Hate crimes against latinos have surged recently, prompting grassroot movements to demand action from the government.

These tragic killings are evidence, the [National Hispanic Leadership Agenda] NHLA says, of the growing wave of hate gripping the United States, where in July a group of young people beat 25-year-old Mexican Luis Ramirez to death in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

Because of the crimes, the NHLA, the National Council of La Raza and other groups said that Congress and the incoming Obama administration should "make passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act a priority."

That bill provides federal assistance to the states and local jurisdictions to bring hate crimes to trial.

This national coalition, which encompasses 26 Hispanic organizations, also condemned at the press conference the violent rhetoric that various U.S. media outlets use to refer to undocumented immigrants and certain minority groups.

Latin American Herald Tribune

With news that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is being given his own reality television show on the FOX network, it is clear that pro-migrant and pro-human rights people of all colors, creeds and political ideology need to unite to say, "Enough!" There is blood being shed in the streets, and this latest example of nativist celebrity worship will only guarantee more violence against latinos and migrant workers.

America's Voice has launched a petition calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the tactics and malfeasance that has given Sheriff Joe such notoriety. Instead of being rewarded with more media attention (which he loves), here is an opportunity to demand accountability:

Should "America's Toughest Sheriff" get a TV show for Christmas?

We think he should get investigated for his controversial tactics.

With over 2,700 lawsuits against him, a history of virulently anti-immigrant and anti-Latino tactics, and 40,000 felony warrants outstanding in his jurisdiction, Arpaio has fostered a climate in which real criminals roam free while hard-working immigrants live in fear. America's Voice is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to begin a federal investigation into his tactics, giving Sheriff Arpaio the attention he really deserves.

America's Voice - click to view and sign the petition

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Say Hello to La Frontera Times

Bilingual and bicultural, it's already becoming an important destination in the growing pro-migrant/pro-human rights web community. Click on the pic to head over there and check out all their offerings.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Time For Another Border Wall!

Time to start importing more Chinese steel! Washington State is going to get a shiny border wall just like my backyard. Right?

No. That would mean border policy wasn't full of hypocrisy. And it is.
Immigration officers arrested two Canadian citizens early Friday morning while the men were allegedly trying to load cocaine onto a personal watercraft on a Whatcom County beach.

Seattle Times

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Good Way For Monday to End


Mother Earth giving us a reminder that she can beautiful anyday.
Even a Monday

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tamale Bliss

It's amazing how the scent of steaming tamales
can instantly improve my mood

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Bud Blogging

Sorry for the grainy cell phone pic but I couldn't resist the utterly despondent look he was flashing me at 5AM:

This was the view from the bathroom this morning while I was brushing my teeth. He wasn't pleased that I was fussing with hygiene rather than his food bowl.

Santa Declared An Illegal in Russia

If this fiend invades the U.S. anytime soon, we'll deport his ass. AND after kicking down his door, we better check the status of his wife, too, 'cuz there's a good chance that these two are conspiring to steal all our cookies and milk without giving anything back to society.

Betcha the elves are guilty of social security fraud, too.

And those arctic reindeer beasts? They're taking away the jobs of the hardest-working American-born genetically-modified corn-fed reindeers in the world.

Merry Effing Christmas!

You might imagine that Santa would be welcome the world over... but you would be wrong.

A Kremlin official yesterday claimed that Father Christmas was an 'imposter' and an 'illegal immigrant'.

Speaker of the Russian Parliament Boris Gryzlov insisted that the only authentic figure for bringing presents to Russia's children was Ded Moroz - Grandfather Frost.

Mr Gryzlov was at Velikiy Ustyug, traditional home of Ded Moroz in the far north of the country, when he said: 'No one will ever be able to take away Ded Moroz from Russia - not Santa Claus nor any other imposters.

UK Daily Mail

Flagstaff ICE Agents Served With Deportation Notice

Creative activism from allies in Coconino County. Members of Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement (FIRE) served the following notice of deportation to ICE agents:
Notice served on this, the 4th day of December, 2008 by Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement (FIRE) for the immediate deportation from the Flagstaff area of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and officials.

FIRE charges ICE with the following activities deemed criminal and in violation of human rights. These activities include but are not limited to:
  1. Terrorizing entire communities resulting in the destruction of over 34,000 families within the last year alone, including most recently, 16 persons within the immediate Flagstaff area.
  2. Causing fear that has extended into the hearts of our community's children, who, due to your presence, live in constant trauma of returning to an empty home.
  3. Taking no meaningful measures to ensure the well-being of those impacted by family members' deportation.
  4. Perpetuating institutionalized racism and practicing racial profiling.
  5. Aiding and abetting border militarization on both sides of the US- Mexico border.
  6. Creating and upholding the myth of "illegal human beings".
  7. Enforcing and benefitting from a global economic system that criminalizes labor and creates deathly low wages.
  8. Enforcing immigration policies on borders drawn on indigenous lands.
  9. Misappropriation of taxpayer funds for aforementioned terrorist activity while education, health care, and housing services

via National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Isabel Garcia Receives Cultural Freedom Award

¡Felicidades, Isabel!

The Lannan Cultural Freedom Awards and Fellowships were established in 2003 to honor individuals working on behalf of communities struggling to uphold and defend their right to cultural freedom and diversity. As defined by the Foundation, Cultural Freedom is a basic human right dependent on political, economic, and environmental justice.

According to Foundation President Patrick Lannan, "All of the individuals honored this year have tirelessly committed themselves to improving and protecting the lives of the most politically and economically marginalized segments of society, oftentimes making personal sacrifice and sometimes risking their own safety for the well-being of others. We are honored to recognize these five heroes as shining examples in the fight for Cultural Freedom."

Here are this year's recipient:

Bradley Angel
Environmental Justice
Co-founder, Greenaction, United States

Esther Chávez Cano
Prevention and Treatment of Violence Against Women and Children
Founder, Casa Amiga, Mexico

Isabel Garcia
Border Justice/Immigrants' Rights
Co-founder, Derechos Humanos, United States

Malcolm Margolin
Native American Cultural Rights
Founder, Heyday Books, United States

Clive Stafford Smith
Prisoners' Rights
Founder, Reprieve, United States/United Kingdom

sombrero tip to Censored News

Another Zombie Lie That Won't Die

How does one even begin to rationalize with these people? Answer: You can't.
In the outer cosmos of the blogosphere, the presidential election isn’t over.

Barack Obama, now busily forming his administration, isn’t just the wrong person to lead the nation, claim Web sites such as America Must Know and Right Side News.

He is, they contend, constitutionally ineligible to be president.

The argument is over his place of birth — Hawaii, if you accept statements by Hawaiian officials, his 1961 birth notice in a Honolulu newspaper and a certified document his campaign obtained 18 months ago.

Still, legions of anti-Obama bloggers are so convinced he was born in Kenya that they’ve filed more than a dozen lawsuits nationwide.

Kansas City Star
Normally, such idiocy wouldn't deserve the time it takes to crank out a blog post, but as we've seen over the past several years, the extremists outside of the realms of power have activated the inner-crazy of those inside.
[Supreme Court] Justice Clarence Thomas distributed to his colleagues a request that the high court weigh in before the Electoral College makes Obama’s victory official later this month.
No word on whether Thomas had a contingency plan to investigate Panamanian John McCain's citizenship status had he won on November 4th...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sheriff Joe's New Reality TV Show

¡Dios Mío! No me digas eso
It's official. Self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" Arpaio has finally made good on the American Dream. That is, Joe's landed his own reality television show.

That's right, come December 27th, Paris Hilton may not be the only one parading around in pink underwear on prime time. (Arpaio has made a practice of dressing his inmates in pink underwear and forcing them to sleep in tents in the Arizona desert, among other questionable tactics).

America's Voice

Goldwater Institute Goes After Sheriff Joe

Clint Bolick, Litigation Director of the conservative Goldwater Institute, has issued a 22-page indictment of Joe Arpaio's tenure as sheriff of Maricopa County, which encompasses the majority of the Phoenix metro area in Arizona. Entitled Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County's Sheriff Office (.pdf file warning), Bolick goes after Sheriff Joe's lack of focus on crime reduction and inefficient management of the department.

"The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is tasked with the important job of keeping crime rates low," said Clint Bolick, author of the report and Goldwater Institute litigation director. "Judged by its own statistics, MCSO appears to be falling seriously short of fulfilling its core law enforcement duties."

Among the areas Mission Unaccomplished analyzes is MCSO's record keeping and reporting. The study finds MCSO record keeping inadequate and inaccurate. For example, each year when the Sheriff's Office provides crime clearance statistics to the county, the figures are accompanied by the disclaimer that the data "is not considered accurate."

The paper also examines the 166-percent increase in homicide rates between 2004 and 2007, the same period that MCSO began diverting resources to other priorities, such as trips by high-level employees to Honduras for ambiguous law enforcement activities.

Arizona Capitol Times
What's puzzling about this lengthy report is not so much its content or origin, but rather the timing. In the Executive Summary, Bolick writes: "We find that MCSO’s effectiveness has been compromised for the past several years by misplaced priorities that have diverted it from its mission."

Compromised? Can't argue with that.

Unfortunately, the credibility of the Goldwater Institute is suspect since Arpaio was up for reelection less than a month prior to the public unveiling of this document. If Bolick was really concerned about Sheriff Joe's leadership, he would have placed this indictment on the table prior to November 4th.

What we have now is Arpaio doing his infamous big stick wave to the media, doing nothing to further the recommendations outlined by the report.
"This guy doesn't know what he's talking about," Arpaio said. "All the garbage he puts in there he got from the newspapers or a few critics."
With Republicans expanding their control of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in November alongside Arpaio's re-election with sidekick Andrew Thomas in tow, accountability is not something that should be expected. The Goldwater Institute has offered the public too little, too late.

Crossposted at The Sanctuary

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Me Encanta Tamale Season

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

Monday, December 01, 2008

Border Angels of SoCal Seeking Funds

Border Angels, a human rights organization based out of Southern California, is raising funds for the next Marcha Migrante. This event is held to raise awareness of the needless deaths of border crossers in the desert southwest that have skyrocketed due to border control policy that purposely funnels people into the harshest of terrain.

This year's Marcha Migrante will feature activists traveling from SoCal to Florida, then north to Washington D.C. Organizers are putting out the call for assistance, with word that one is even selling his personal baseball card collection to make sure they have the resources to keep the spotlight on the human costs of a failed immigration and border control policy in the U.S.

Please consider donating, the fundraising page for Border Angels is here with a snail mail address listed as well as several Paypal options. I'm in for $50 on payday this Friday. I can think of at least that much worth of frivolous expenses that I can cut out of my budget this month.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Napolitano Favors National Guard Along Border

This is not change and it's not something I can believe in...
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, President-elect Barack Obama’s reported primary choice for Homeland Security secretary, says she still thinks National Guard troops should be sent back to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Napolitano says “as governor of Arizona” that’s something she has advocated with other border state governors and still believes.

Arizona Daily Star
We are not at war with Mexico. Stop treating la frontera like the Korean DMZ.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Say hello to Governor Jan Brewer

This makes me physically ill.

Gov. Janet Napolitano is President-elect Barack Obama's top choice to lead the department of Homeland Security, CNN is reporting.

Napolitano, according to reports airing this evening, has indicated she would accept the Cabinet post. The Governor's Office is not confirming the CNN report, but is not denying it, either.

Looks like I spoke too soon earlier this week when I breathed a sigh of relief that she wasn't picked for Attorney General. Arizona's current Secretary of State, Republican Jan Brewer, will now become the next governor. She will have the power to appoint a new SoS who will presumably be a member of the GOP, too.

The effect this will have in Arizona cannot be overstated. The Democrats actually lost seats in the state house on November 4th due to McCain's surprisingly strong coattails. With people like Russell Pearce licking his chops at using tuition monies to close budget gaps, this is just one example of when progressives and sane Arizonans will miss Janet Napolitano's veto pen.

PHOENIX — Lawmakers are eyeing an extra $56.7 million collected in tuition by the three public universities, possibly to help balance the state budget.

Members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee refused on Thursday to support a plan by the Board of Regents to spend the funds on university needs.

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said the state's larger-than-expected deficit makes it necessary for legislators to find and use any revenues for the most critical needs in the state.

Arizona Daily Star
This move will also solidify the hostile posture of the U.S. government towards border security. I expect to see more militarization and region-wide declarations of emergencies now that Janet will head DHS, she didn't hesitate to make the same move as Governor. While not a nativist, I expect the raids to continue under her leadership, something that destroys families, since she signed a 2007 state law that enacted harsh penalties to employees and employers. Her opposition to the Real ID Act was based on funding in the past, so it's not clear where she stands if given leeway to develop budget needs on the federal level.

If I had my wish, DHS would be abolished altogether. It's a symbol of everything that Bush did wrong after 9/11.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Border Alliance Formed to Address Concerns

Border policy is just one important aspect of the need for a complete upheaval and restructuring of the overall immigration system. Unfortunately, those of us who call the FronteraLands our home in the southwest portion of the United States know that when D.C. talks about the need to secure our nation's borders, they don't really mean it. That's all just wonky code for "do all we can to keep the horde of brown people heading north from Mexico and Latin America out of our land."

Never will we see the construction of a massive wall between the U.S. and Canada as we are witnessing rise like an evil phoenix across the desert states; nor will Alaskans have to tolerate the erection of virtual sensor towers along their imaginary line with the Yukon Territory. Checkpoints with armed guards a hundred miles inland won't be commonplace in Maine, though if they were to materialize, you can bet a sack of euros that agents would still be scanning vehicles for those suspected of crossing la frontera sur. No need to worry about every guest at a Hawaiian luau being seized by gas mask-covered ICE agents wielding demands that proof of citizenship be provided on the spot.

No, no. Those types of adventures are usually reserved for us. A second helping if our skin happens to be brown. Any yet, over the past several years, the George W. Bush misAdministration has repeatedly told residents of frontera communities that our concerns were null and void in the face of Homeland Security™. Our human rights have been repeatedly ignored and violated as the region becomes more militarized, environmental protections slashed and burned, tribal burial grounds desecrated, ancestral properties seized, minority populations targeted through profiling, etc etc etc.

In the face of such adversity and oftentimes absurdity, a sliver of light shines through the crack in the doorway to true dialog. An alliance has been formed between the National Immigration Forum, the Border Network of Human Rights and the Border Action Network to give a voice to border residents. This week, members of the three groups travel to Washington, D.C. to present their collaborative report: Effective Border Policy: Security, Responsibility and Human Rights. You can view the full report and representative listings here.

This report finally addresses border policy and immigration reform with an adult mindset, instead of with a tantrum and band-aid, as we've seen repeatedly during the past eightish years. Via press release, here is an excerpt of recommendations and the mindset of collaborators:
"Border policy is not a choice between enforcement or no enforcement; it is about smart enforcement that creates national and community security," said El Paso Sheriff-elect and Task Force member, Richard Wiles. "I came to Washington because I believe that border security and community security are not mutually exclusive. Establishing and maintaining trust between local law enforcement and the immigrant community is central to the security of my county. If we trust each other, then as Sheriff I can focus on the real dangers facing our community."

The recommendations in the report are divided into several key areas: accountability and oversight, review of border operations, technology, and infrastructure, ports of entry, border walls and fencing, diluting law enforcement resources, military at the border, detention and deportation, community security and just and comprehensive development.

Specific proposals include:
  • Communities are more secure when border enforcement policies focus on the criminal element and engage immigrants in fighting the real dangers facing our country;
  • Communities are safer when we implement policies that ensure accountability and provide local oversight of enforcement activities;
  • Communities flourish when Ports of Entry are treated as vital gateways to America;
  • Communities are stronger and lives are saved when we replace border blockade operations with more sensible enforcement; and
  • Communities are safer when local law enforcement is not pressed into immigration-enforcement roles and the military is not used to enforce civilian law.
Let's see how much Change™ can be enacted with a new President and Congress next year. A bigger table for discussion with the people who actually live in the areas being affected is a decent start.

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Attorney General Pick Announced

It's not Janet
President-elect Obama has decided to tap Eric Holder as his attorney general, putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department, according to two legal sources close to the presidential transition.

Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal “vetting” review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days, Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted, the source said. The announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments.

As an Arizonan who happens to be sane (most of the time), I'm breathing a sigh of relief that Governor Napolitano wasn't selected. Don't get me wrong, I think she would be a phenomenal AG, but for selfish reasons I hope she sticks out the rest of her term through 2010. Janet's veto pen is the only thing that stands between the loons in control at the state capitol and those of us who would have to endure the wingnut gauntlet they would enact under a Governor Jan Brewer (R).

A sampling of examples from the archives here, here, and here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rest in Peace, Sister Renilde

A tireless servant of others through her faith in God. The work of Los Samaritanos will continue. Thank you for the lives you helped save and the dignity and justice you helped raise by the love you brought this world.

She was a mentor and friend to me and countless others. Rest in peace, Sister Renilde. I'm blessed to have known and worked with you over the past few years at Newman.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Georgia Steals Votes of New Citizens

Outrageous (though not surprising)

A significant number of the almost 5000 Georgia voters whose citizenship was challenged before the election will not have their ballots counted.

Last week, about 4,770 voters were told they would have to vote on paper ballots because their citizenship was in question. It was then up to them to return to their local election boards with proof of citizenship.


They're systematically victimized and officials expect new citizens to trust them? With constant headlines proclaiming the latest raid and mass deportations, it's no wonder that many of these individuals didn't voluntarily go to local election board offices when their citizenship was challenged.

And a reminder that the Republican party is batting near 1000 when it comes to serving as the villain for these types of voter and civic disenfranchisement...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some Numbers From Arizona


President (97.1% of precincts reporting)
McCain - 53.8%
Obama - 45%

In Pima County, Obama 52.07%/McCain 46.37%
In Santa Cruz County, Obama 64.81%/McCain 34.15% - great job Baja Arizona!

AZ Congressional District 01 (96.7% of precincts reporting)
Ann Kirkpatrick (D) - 55.5%
Sydney Hay (R) - 39.8%

AZ Congressional District 02 (96.7% of precincts reporting)
Thrasher (D) - 37.2%
Franks (R) -59.4%

AZ Congressional District 03 (99.2% of precincts reporting)
Lord (D) - 42.4%
Shadegg (R) - 53.8%

AZ Congressional District 04 (98.2% of precincts reporting)
Pastor (D) - 72%
Karg (R) - 21.5%

AZ Congressional District 05 (98.8% of precincts reporting)
Mitchell (D) - 53.2%
Schweikert (R) - 43.6%

AZ Congressional District 06 (100% of precincts reporting)
Schneider (D) - 35.1%
Flake (R) - 61.9%

AZ Congressional District 07 (93.9% of precincts reporting)
Grijalva (D) - 62.5%
Sweeney (R) - 33.5%

AZ Congressional District 08 (96.6% of precincts reporting)
Giffords (D) - 54.7%
Bee (R) - 42.9%

Proposition 100 - "Protect Our Homes" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 76.9%
No - 23.1%

Proposition 101 - "Medical Choice for Arizona" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 49.9%
No - 50.1%

Proposition 102 - "Marriage" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 56.4%
No - 43.6%

In Pima County - Yes 49.1%/No 50.59 - again, great job Baja Arizona!

Proposition 105 - "Majority Rules" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 34.3%
No - 65.7%

Proposition 200 - "Payday Loan Reform Act" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 40.5%
No - 59.5%

Proposition 201 - "Homeowners' Bill of Rights" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 22.1%
No - 77.9%

Proposition 202 - "Stop Illegal Hiring" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 40.9%
No - 59.1%

Proposition 300 - "State Legislator's Salaries" (97.3% reporting)
Yes - 35.5%
No - 64.5%

Maricopa County Sheriff (99.1% reporting)
Dan Saban - 41.9%
Joe Arpaio - 55.5%

Maricopa County Attorney (99.1% reporting)
Tim Nelson - 44.1%
Andrew Thomas - 51.6% (he's an Arpaio stooge)

*that website made me want to rip out my eyeballs - way past due for an upgrade

Yes We Did!

The First Family-Elect of the United States of America

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama's State-Level Effect in AZ

While the polls for the presidential contest have been tightening in recent weeks between Senators Obama and McCain in Arizona, the effect of the Democrats' ability to register, empower and organize voters will be felt more powerfully on the state level.

Tonight, we have an opportunity to flip the state House of Representatives to the Democrats by netting four seats. The sea change that will represent cannot be overstated. Governor Napolitano has been the only firewall for the past few years against a far-right, nativist led GOP caucus in both chambers of the state legislature. These are the jokers that have repeatedly put up anti-migrant and anti-latino initiatives up for vote; the same crazies who want guns in bars, restaurants and school campuses. If the Democrats get their vote out today, the era of Russell Pearce-dominated politics under the capital dome will be at an end.

On the federal level, 2006 brought an even parity of Democrats and Republicans to the congressional delegation with Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords earning seats to represent Arizona. Ann Kirpatrick will almost undoubtedly become the newest face to the scene in CD01. She's run a fantastic campaign and probably worn out several pairs of walking shoes from all the visits she's made around the huge district (it's bigger than the state of Illinois); and if a tsunami strikes the GOP tonight, we can also say hello to Congressmen Bob Lord in CD03 - we'll see what happens.

Ballot initiatives will be a mixed bag. I fully expect the anti-migrant proposition 202 to pass as it gives nativists and haters a chance to take out their agression since the issue has been largely absent from the national dialog. The "Bigotry with a Smile" proposition 102 that will amend the state constitution to define marriage between a man and woman only is hopefully going down to defeat (again!), but have to admit that the Yes people have been very visible with signs and commercials this cycle. As I said before, if there is a progressive wave from all the work the Obama campaign has done in the past few months, we'll see it in ballot lines like these.

Polls are open until 7PM local time (9pm Eastern).
Don't forget your ID.
Acceptable forms of identification with photograph, name, and address of the elector
  • Valid Arizona driver license
  • Valid Arizona nonoperating identification license
  • Tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification
  • Valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification
An identification is "valid" unless it can be determined on its face that it has expired.

Acceptable forms of identification without a photograph that bear the name and address of the elector (two required)
  • Utility bill of the elector that is dated within ninety days of the date of the election. A utility bill may be for electric, gas, water, solid waste, sewer, telephone, cellular phone, or cable television
  • Bank or credit union statement that is dated within ninety days of the date of the election
  • Valid Arizona Vehicle Registration
  • Indian census card
  • Property tax statement of the elector's residence
  • Tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification
  • Recorder's Certificate
  • Valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification, including a voter registration card issued by the county recorder
An identification is "valid" unless it can be determined on its face that it has expired.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Gov. Dean in Tucson Today for GOTV Rally

From the mailbag:
Washington, DC - On Monday, November 3rd DNC Chairman Howard Dean will spend the last full day of the 2008 presidential election helping to get out the vote for Democrats in John McCain's home state of Arizona. Dean will headline a Get Out the Vote Rally with local Democrats in Tucson, Arizona on the heels of Arizona being moved from "Leaning McCain" to "Toss Up" by Real Clear Politics.


Tucson, AZ
Pima County Coordinated Campaign Office, Outdoor Parking Lot
4639 E 1st Street
Tucson, AZ

Event Time: 12:00 PM Local Time

Friday, October 31, 2008

Música para el fín de semana

Can't get this song out of my head, so I figured I'd spread the wealth ;-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barack the "47-year-old mulato"

Ever wonder why the GOP is going the way of their mammoth cousins' extinction out west?

It's because the Minutemen/blatantly racist crazies are the public face of their party. I've been saying this for a long time now.
At all levels of government, the Republican party has allowed their public faces to be the most rabid of nativists in our midst. The Arizona GOP State Chairperson is not only one of the vigilantes, he was also the architect of Proposition 200. Plus, lets not forget that the now-retired JD Hayworth was a huge supporter of the Binocular Brigade. Oh, and how about the State Legislature's darling conservative Russell Pearce?

And their candidates? Last fall, Randy Graf was out spooking everyone for Halloween with pregnant girls warning against invading hordes of Mexicans while Ron Drake was advocating for the Great Wall of America™.

These are not the voices of moderation. These are not voices who are even making an attempt to understand where the Latino community is coming from on the various issues of the day. It is a group who has chosen to define us in the most negative way possible.
Instead of getting a clue that the public is more moderate than the far-right, Republican operatives think that electoral salvation will come to them in the form of returning to "core principles." Yet, they try to have it both ways by giving soft or no support to GOP candidates that appear on ballots as one of them who are truly batshit-insane, failing to organize their herd enough to keep said lunatics off the ballots.

Take Arizona's Congressional District 7 for example. This is the second time Joe Sweeney will appear as the Republican candidate facing off with Democratic incumbent Raúl Grijalva:

The Republican Party does not endorse Sweeney, a rapid opponent of illegal immigration who calls Interstate 19, between Tucson and Nogales a "Whore-i-dor" and who says illegal immigrants outnumber U.S. citizens in the 7th Congressional District.

He also complains on behalf of "Anglo-Saxon women who say they are discriminated against because they are not bilingual," and derides Barack Obama as a "47-year-old mulato."

He also supports legislation that would make being gay a crime.

Sweeney says he's just saying what other people think.

Tucson Citizen (emphasis mine)

All that's missing is the white sheet and hood - and as extreme as Sweeney is, it brings mounds of schadenfreude-laden delight that right next to his name is his party affiliation: Republican

Día De Los Muertos Events in Tucson

Sábado, 1 de Noviembre
  • 8:30AM - Día de los Muertos Pilgrimage - From St. John's Church to San Xavier Mission - sponsored by Coalición de Derechos Humanos
  • This year, Derechos Humanos has documented the recovery of 183 bodies on the Arizona-Sonora border. The lives of these men, women and children should be acknowledged and honored.

    It is our goal to have one person to carry each cross as we make this 8-mile journey. We need your help to do this, and we invite you to join us this Saturday to celebrate the lives lost on our border.
  • 5:00PM - Community Altar Celebration - Tucson Museum of Art
    Enjoy a family-oriented celebration of the ancient Mexican custom known as Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead at the Tucson Museum of Art, Saturday November 1 at 5:00 pm in the courtyards and galleries at 140 North Main Avenue in historic downtown. This event is free and open to the public.

    Enjoy the festive atmosphere of traditional Mexican light displays, music, and food. Join in the parade around the courtyard and over to El Presidio Park with Big Head Puppets. Marvel at the special altar created by students of St. Ambrose School and the Museum School for the Visual Arts. Bring photos or other small items to add to the Community Altar (any items that are not retrieved by the following day, Sunday, November 2 will be burned in a giant urn at the end of the All Souls Procession).

    This special celebration in honor of our loved ones and ancestors who’ve passed is a collaborative effort between the Tucson Museum of Art, Many Mouths One Stomach, St. Ambrose School, and the Museum School for the Visual Arts.
Domingo, 9 de Noviembre
  • 6:00PM - All Souls Procession, 4th Avenue to Downtown (full route here)
    Mark your calendars! The 19th Annual All Souls Procession is on Sunday, November 9, 2008. Many of you have expressed concern and puzzlement with our choice of this years’ date for the Procession. Usually we pick the first Sunday in November, and this year that Sunday is on the same weekend as Halloween. In past years, we have held the Procession close to Halloween and the Procession suffered because of it. We had crowds of drunk, rowdy people who were not at all mindful of the intention of the “ All Souls…” . They were in the spirit of Halloween revelry, which -though similar- was more about shock value, partying and raising a ruckus.

    As organizers of the Procession, our priority is always quality of experience over quantity of participants, and though the Procession has grown exponentially, we will always strive to propagate an “ALL SOULS PROCESSION” that is a grassroots, non-commercial, hyper-inclusive, sacred event dedicated to honoring our ancestors and loved ones who have passed on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

KAET Poll Shows 2-Point Margin in AZ

I've been following this poll for the past few months, as it's locally based and the people that do the final sampling know how to interpret the realities of the state better (my opinion, of course).
TEMPE, Ariz. ––Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “The race in Arizona is very close. Supporters of both candidates are highly committed to their candidates, with 94 percent of Obama’s supporters and 93 percent of McCain’s supporters indicating that they are firmly committed and won’t change their mind before Election Day. In addition, the undecided vote is very low, which means that there are few people remaining to be persuaded during the last week of the campaign. Obama has been closing the gap by attracting independents and women to his campaign. McCain does well among conservative Democrats and evangelicals. Still, a week is a long time in a political campaign and anything can happen. Who wins will be determined by which candidate gets their supporters out to the polls on Election Day.”

A Great Reminder To Obama Supporters

The media team of this campaign is phenomenal.

Cynthia McKinney Responds To Sanctuary Questionnaire

Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney has responded to the Sanctuary's comprehensive questionnaire on policy stances related to human migration and human rights. As you may know, Barack Obama previously responded while John McCain responded with crickets.

Since Ms. McKinney will be appearing on numerous ballots across this country, it is our democratic duty as pro-migrant advocates to make sure everyone has an opportunity to engage the public with their views.

With a week until Election Day, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney today released a comprehensive and thoughtful response to The Sanctuary's questionnaire on immigration and issues of concern to the Latino community.

Showing the vitality and importance of voices from outside the mainstream two-party political paradigm, McKinney puts forth not only a strong understanding of the complexities of these issues, but also a vision of real-world solutions. Her refreshing willingness to confront the broader social and economic realities which undergird international migration further demonstrates that practical solutions will not come from political compromises and "bipartisan" gamesmanship, but rather from rigorously-grounded assessment and analysis.

Simple put, McKinney gets it right.

Read her full answers here

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Temper, Temper

Since Senator McCain refuses to answer the Sanctuary's comprehensive questionnaire on immigration-related policy stances, we're going to have to glean whatever nuggets we can from random press reports.

Like this one:

At one point in the interview, McCain grew frustrated with a Tampa television reporter during her questions on immigration issues. McCain twice said illegal immigrants who have committed crimes would be rounded up. Katie Coronado of WFLA-TV asked if that meant using raids to round up immigrants.

"What did I just say that had any connotation of raids?" McCain said, raising his voice with impatience. "Let me try one more time."

He again explained the idea of forcing illegal immigrants out of the country by issuing ID cards and fining employers who hire illegals. He then softened his tone.

"I apologize," he said to Coronado. "I understand how important an issue it is. I didn't mean to be flip."

AP via teh Google

This issue alone almost caused McCain's candidacy to crash early in the GOP primaries, it's no wonder that he would get testy when asked to actually spell out his have-it-both-ways views on reform of the immigration system.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Final Episode of 'La Pasión'

Great work by Rosario Dawson and the rest of the celeb crew at Voto Latino for their final episode of La Pasión de la Decisión. This novela has had me howling in laughter each time a new portion was released.

I noticed it was mentioned today on CNN's Headline News as an important GetOutTheVote effort for latin@s, felicidades on getting the word spread further as the campaign has moved forward.

You can view the other four episodes here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus* Day

To sum up the great profits of this voyage, I am able to promise, for a trifling assistance from your Majesties, any quantity of gold, drugs, cotton, mastic, aloe, and as many slaves for maritime service as your Majesties may stand in need of.
-Christopher Columbus

*or as I prefer it, Día de La Raza

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Yes We Carve

Here's my first contribution to
Yes We Carve

...much harder than it looks

So McCain Opposes Prop 102, Eh?

Well, knock me down with a feather.

Can we add Senator John McCain to the endorsement list at the homepage of the No on 102 Coalition now?

The Washington Times reports that in 1986, John McCain wrote a note on House stationery to Charles Keating, chairman of a failed savings and loan association who went to prison in the late 1980s. In the letter, McCain apologized for listing Keating as part of his Senate campaign finance committee. Keating wrote in response: “You can call me anything, write anything or do anything. I’m yours till death do us part“:

Think Progress

200th Anniversary of U.S. Spanish Media

Felicidades a toda la gente que trabajaban al Misisipi

The City of New Orleans will commemorate the 200th Anniversary of "El Misisipi," the first Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the New Orleans Museum of Art at City Park. There also will be an evening reception from 5-7 p.m. at NOMA.

New Orleans was the birthplace of this multilingual publication, which served the area from 1808-10, using the printing press of the Louisiana Gazette. The bicentennial celebration began Sept. 7, the launch of a national call to commemorate this historic time period for Latinos and for Latino news media in this country.

The Times-Picayune

More info at LatiNola (great site name!)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Jorge Ramos Interview with Obama/Biden

Somehow I missed this.

Jorge Ramos interviewed the Democratic candidates for President and Vice President the day after the first debate between Senators Obama and McCain. Since there have now been three debates and not one question asked about immigration reform or border policy, I think it's important to note that these are still pressing issues for many of us.

Here's how Obama answered a question on the Great Wall of America:
Jorge Ramos

Barack Obama
Well, here is what I said that I'm skeptical that…you can't build a fence along a border like the one between the United States and Mexico. There maybe areas were having barriers could actually prevent the kinds of flows into the United States, some of which really dangerous for the potential undocumented worker as well. But what I do think we have to do is to get serious about border security in combination with cracking down on employers like the ones in Iowa that were hiring 13 and 14 year olds to engage in some of the most dangerous work there is, meat packaging and we got to have a system to lift undocumented workers out of the shadows and provide a pathway to citizenship. Now, what we are seeing is because the decline in the construction industry in particular but the economy slowing down generally, that the flow of undocumented workers is slowing and that remind us once again that to the extent we are working with Mexico to relieve poverty there and provide jobs and opportunity. That is going to be the best recipe for us to be able to deal with this thing long term.

Blog de Obama
For a more comprehensive look at how an Obama administration would tackle an overhaul of the immigration system, you can always look at how he answered the Sanctuary's questionnaire.

Senator McCain, it seems, will be able to slide through the next few weeks without revealing that he is a minuteman, not a maverick.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pima County Renews Water Station Funds

Thank you for continuing to save lives by showing that there is still compassion in the region.
Pima County has approved a grant of $25,000 to help a humanitarian group maintain emergency water stations in the Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson.

Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to fund Humane Borders' 90-plus water stations dispersed in the desert.

The supervisors first funded the water stations in 2001.

Tucson Citizen
To the readers here, you can support Humane Borders' efforts by visiting their website and donating.

Meanwhile, I'll be writing four of my county supervisors expressing my pride in their actions. The lone dissenting vote, on the other hand, will get a howler.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Today Is The AZ Deadline for Voter Reg

Residents of the Grand Canyon State - email your friends and family, today is the final day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the November 4th General Election. I think the final time is 11pm tonight.

Direct them to, where they can do it online


Friday, October 03, 2008

My Sweet Coconut?

My sweet coconut...

''Talking a little about his personal experience, he was famously born in Panama and has traveled all over the hemisphere for many years.'' Fontaine said. ``In fact, I saw, I guess it was last week, that his old girlfriend in Brazil has been found from his early days when he was in the Navy and was interviewed. She's a somewhat older woman now than she was then, but it sorta speaks to the long experience he has had in the region -- in the most positive terms.''

Fontaine was referring to former model Maria Gracinda Teixeira de Jesus, who recently gave an interview to O Globo saying the former sailor was quite the kisser. According to McCain's memoirs, `Faith of My Fathers,` they met in 1957, when his ship, the USS Hunt docked in Brazil.

''I called him John but also my darling and my sweet coconut,'' she said. ``He was a great kisser. I liked it so much that I bought a book to learn how to kiss myself.''

Miami Herald
What've got to could they possibly think....GAAAAAAAH!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Deep Thought

The federal deficit isn't getting a bailout anytime soon

Yet Another Reason to Fire Sheriff Joe

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is Arizona's version of George W. Bush - struts around with a proverbial big stick while the operation he's supposedly managing turns to a pile of manure.
Maricopa County jails are no longer accredited by a national health commission because the facilities failed to meet federal standards for care and that county officials provided incorrect information to the accrediting agency, officials said.

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care sent Maricopa County administrators a letter late last week notifying them the group was pulling its accreditation of the county's jail system.

Tucson Citizen
Fortunately, residents of Maricopa County have a choice in the November election to get rid of Sheriff Joe's racist and mismanaged tenure as sheriff, replacing him with a competent, proven leader: Dan Saban.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Deep Thought

I guess they're fresh out of bootstraps on Wall Street.

One Week To Go For AZ Voters

Monday, October 6th is the deadline for Arizonans to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot for the general election in November. As I've written before, groups like Mi Familia Vota and Voto Latino are working hard to get latinos engaged and empowered.

I'm sure the vast majority of people who stumble upon this website are already registered, but if not, please do so today. Arizonans, you can register online at:

Casting a ballot on election day, especially in 2008, is more than just picking a President. Voters will be evaluating the jobs of every single member in the House of Representatives, in some states Senators (not AZ this year, unfortunately), and many powerbrokers on the state level.

It's easy to dismiss the political world as something that "doesn't affect me" or politicians as a bunch of "clueless elites who don't listen anyways". Words to that effect can certainly be found in the archives of this blog; but the reality is that we can make a different in the direction of this country if a groundswell of common purpose rises up from the streets among the employers of politicians - We, The People. Raza.

There are just a few days left in the Grand Canyon State to be a part of what will hopefully be the beginning of a new, and saner, era of politics.
  • If you haven't registered to vote: take five minutes and go to right now
  • If you have registered to vote: email, text, call, hire a blimp with a blinking billboard to communicate with everyone you know that they should stop what they're doing and take five minutes to visit

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tina Fey Returns as Sarah Palin

The saddest part of this hilarious bit?

Tina Fey repeated one of Palin's answers word-for-word - an indictment of McCain's judgment to choose someone so unprepared (and unvetted) for second in command of the U.S. government. Enjoy:

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Week To Remember

As a certified (and probably certifiably insane at this point) member of the news addict crowd in the U.S., I've been cycling through moments of horror and disbelief over the past few days. This has certainly been a week for the books in the annals of U.S. presidential politics.

The horror comes as George W. Bush performs one of the signature moves of his non-governance: raise a valid problem affecting the country and suggest such a ridiculous solution that hardly anyone takes the time to remove their jaw from the floor to stop what he and his murdurous, greedy band of criminal cronies intend to inflict on the world.

It's almost predictable. Junior Caligula swoops in with his proverbial big stick, reprises his role as The Decider, and makes horrible situations worse (often acting a few days later than a real leader would begin showing, you know, competent leadership). Exhibit A: Attacking Iraq as a response to 9/11; Exhibit B: the 2004 tsunami that devastated coastal communities of the Indian Ocean; Exhibit C: Hurricane Katrina.

This week we collectively watched in disbelief as a $700 billion bailout to Wall Street muckity-mucks was proposed to the nation in a prime-time address complete with dilated pupils and vacant expressions of a man who had absolutely no clue what he was talkin' about. $700 billion? Really? Which orifice did they pull that number from? Here's a clue:

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
My friends, this is your brain country on drugs. Or is it lunacy?

I've come to the conclusion that John McCain, for example, has completely lost his mind. I almost feel sorry for him but the schadenfreude is too succulent to pass up. A consensus seems to be building that the abrupt "suspension" of his campaign to fly back to Washington was a total disaster.
If McCain believed he could be a constructive force by busting his way into the center of the delicate negotiations between congressional Democrats and Republicans and the White House, he was not able to show it Thursday. The objective evidence is that things got worse, not better, in Washington after McCain arrived. There was a tentative deal, announced by congressional leaders, when McCain landed in Washington. Hours later, there was chaos and recriminations.
The quote marks are used above because in this case "suspension" equals "surge". Instead of truly putting the breaks on their campaign, the Palin-McCain ticket had surrogates all over the place peddling spin, both nominees gabbed with Katie Couric (but not David Letterman, which may prove to be a fatal mistake to their bid for the White House), ads continued to run across numerous media markets, and the donate button was kept live on the website.

Can anyone tell me how that all equals a suspension?

Suspension of belief, perhaps. It makes me nearly speechless to see McCain's campaign engage in blunder after blunder after blunder.

Make the focus of the campaign on experience? Pick Sarah Palin, who has little to none.

Make the focus of the campaign on McCain's Mavericky Jedi Skills to bring about change? Use the Karl Rove Handbook to attack the media, lie repeatedly about your opponent's positions, and shut down any investigations with an army of lawyers that could lead to embarrasment.

Make the focus of the campaign on McCain's steady hand in crises? Allow him to behave batshit loony by suspending his campaign, swooping in to Washington to attend a meeting he allegedly called for, saying very little at aforementioned meeting, threatening to pull out of the first debate, and then claim to have won the thing before it even occurs.

...all while there are legitimate problems that need to be solved with the financial system.

Yup, the behavior pattern definitely rings a dissonant chord that we've all been hearing for the past eightish years.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Secure The Hawaiian Border

Hawaii's borders are broken, therefore the United States must defend its sovereignty by deploying bazooka-wielding dolphins along the shores of the 50th state of the union.

Federal agents arrested 21 illegal immigrant workers early Monday morning at a Honokowai condominium construction site, the second such raid at the same site in a little more than a month, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The arrests were for "administrative immigration violations," particularly for entering the country without authorization, said agency Special Agent in Charge Wayne Wills.

The workers were at the Honua Kai project site where 23 alien workers from three different companies were taken into custody on Aug. 20.

The Maui News

In case the dolphin idea doesn't fly (swim?), perhaps the Washington imperialists can erect a giant wall around the island chain. It would help with tsunami deflection. Kupua forbid Congress actually pass legislation that brings these workers out of the shadows...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain's Flip-Flops on Immigration

Once, John McCain was a champion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

He fought the anti-immigrant forces and pushed for doing what was right for our country; but the Republican Party did not stand by his side.

Now John McCain is running for President in two languages.

In English, he tries to make anti-immigrant Republicans happy.

In Spanish, he tries to make Latinos happy.

But he's not telling the truth
In either language.

Republicans killed immigration reform, and the anti-immigrant forces are getting stronger every day.

Senator McCain: Be a champion, not a politician,

In English and in Spanish.

Obama's Answers to Sanctuary's Immigration Survey

The Editorial Team of The Sanctuary has released Senator Barack Obama's full responses to our survey outlining specific policy proposals with respect to a complete overhaul of the U.S. immigration system and foreign policies that drive migrations of human beings to different parts of this chunk of earth we all call home.

Senator John McCain's campaign didn't bother to respond to our numerous attempts at dialog. As such, here's part of the statement we are releasing with today's post:
While our original intent was to present a meaningful side-by-side comparison of the policies and positions of all presidential candidates in order to better inform voters, Senator McCain's unwillingness to answer our questions, or to go on the record with his positions on the specific details covered in the questionnaire, has made this impossible. Senator McCain's reluctance is all the more troubling in light of the fact that his previously published positions, available on his website, appear to directly contradict those in the official platform coming out of the Republican National Convention earlier this month. This has left many of us who are concerned about immigration reform at a loss to know exactly where the Senator actually stands on vital issues.

Link to full post with Sen. Obama's responses
My personal thoughts on Obama's replies coming soon...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Questions Remain Unanswered for Ana Romero's Family

On August 21st, Ana Romero became the latest undocumented worker to die in custody. The Kentucky jail where she was being held ruled her death a suicide, as she was found with a sheet tied around her neck, but her family is demanding further investigation to the conditions of her imprisonment and the cause of death.

Preliminary media reports show that she was placed in solitary confinement due to not eating. The question is, why?

But Mario says for weeks, Ana complained about the jail food - saying it smelled, upset and her stomach and she often vomited.

“Thursday she died, Monday she called and said she wasn’t feeling well,” he says.

Now Ana’s dead and her sister can’t bear to tell their mother.

“She’s very old and she’s sick with heart problems. I’m not giving her the news yet, I have to go there personally and give her the news,” she says.

After grassroots outrage and family calls for a full investigation, a second autopsy has been granted.

State police are investigating her death as a suspected suicide but are awaiting autopsy results from the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort.

Meanwhile, Dr. George Nichols II, a former chief medical examiner for the state, is examining Romero's body in Louisville as well, according to Shelbyville attorney Matthew Pippin, representing Romero's family.

"Just like everybody else at this point, we're waiting for answers," said Pippin on Thursday. "We're making some steps right now because there is a grieving family that wants to bury their loved one.

"There's a second opinion to be gotten. We would like to go ahead and get it and be prepared to allow this family to pay their last respects to their loved one. We are just waiting and want answers however we can get them. Hopefully someone will step up and provide definitive answers here very soon."

Pippin said the family expected to get state preliminary autopsy results by Aug. 29.

The State Journal

As you can see by the time stamp of this post, August 29th has come and gone. The Romero family has still not received any information from authorities on the death of their loved one. A petition has been initiated, calling for authorities to release the results of the autopsy and answer the many questions involving Ana's death (including the fact that they withheld medication from her).

Justice for Ana Romero Petition

The recent tragic death of Ana Romero while in the Franklin County, Kentucky jail raises many questions of morality, decency, and the humane treatment of persons awaiting deportation. Ana Romero (44 years old) was living and working in Shelbyville cleaning houses in order to support her 92 year-old mother and two grown sons in college in El Salvador.

In January, she was arrested at home and detained by state police for giving federal immigration officials a false identification card, along with a previous immigration-related violation. This type of police action is part of the nation-wide ICE dragnet operation being carried out in places like Shelbyville, Kentucky; Pottsville, Iowa; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Laurel, Mississippi, in which immigrants are being subjected to raids and detentions. These operations have torn families apart, including many U.S. citizens, and has instilled pervasive fear in our communities owing to the terrorizing tactics used by the authorities and the lack of due process afforded the immigrants afterwards.

Whether or not you agree with the criminalization of immigrant workers and families who have entered the U.S. without documents, the consequences of the Ana Romero case should touch a nerve. During her nearly 8 month imprisonment in the county jail while awaiting deportation, Ana was distraught and suffered from medical ailments, refusing to eat the food which she told family members "…stinks and there is something wrong with it."

Shortly before her death, she was placed in solitary confinement. Her jailers have yet to explain why this was done.

Although the state autopsy indicates that Ana Romero died of asphyxiation by hanging, the circumstances of her death continue to be investigated. Her family has requested a second opinion because they do not believe she took her own life, given that she was waiting anxiously to return to her country and her loved ones.

The delayed public disclosure of the autopsy results and the silence from the relevant authorities only highlights the potentially scandalous nature of this case. Is there something they are trying to cover up?

The family of Ana Romero and the general public deserve answers.

What kind of treatment do persons awaiting deportation receive in jail?

Why was Ana Romero placed in solitary confinement?

What was the true cause of her death?

How can deaths such as these be avoided in the future?

And finally the biggest question of all: While we all know that immigration policy needs fundamental reform, how many hard-working immigrants, many U.S. citizens, across the U.S. are going to have to suffer from the deepening climate of repression and fear created by the racist and exclusionary policies implemented by ICE? These policies continue to criminalize immigrants who have come to work from south of our border.

How much longer will low-paid, hard-working communities of immigrants be traumatized by raids and detentions?
More information can be found at - to sign on to the petition, please send an email with your endorsement to

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Isabel Garcia's First Amendment Rights Upheld

Good news regarding Pima County Administrator Chuckle Huckleberry's decision whether or not to remove human rights promoter Isabel Garcia from her position as a county public defender.

You'll recall that the nativist crowd, lead by the perverted and sexist Jon Justice of 104.1 The Truth (not!), were trying to get her fired after participating at a protest for a Sheriff Joe Arpaio book-signing event in Tucson.
Huckelberry's memo, which was released Monday, states that "no disciplinary action is warranted in this matter."

According to the memo, Garcia and Arpaio were both appearing at the event as private citizens.

Tucson Citizen
Here's my favorite part of the article:
The county heard from 775 writers and callers in favor of Garcia's actions, 229 against.
Well done, gente.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Voter Registration Challenge

If you're worried about polls showing the Presidential race tightening, work on registering people to vote and educating them on the issues. It's the only way this country is going to get zapped out of its trance - one that I have been calling Nine Eleven Fever for the past seven years.

Arizonans have absolutely no excuses. If you're eligible to vote, please please please click on this link to Service Arizona and you can be registered within five minutes. My goal is to get 20 people signed up to participate in this country's civics between now and November 4th.

Groups like VotoLatino, Mi Familia Vota, and Chicanos por la Causa have mobilized throughout the state, so there is plenty of opportunities to get involved. If you're sick of the lies, the smears, and the illusions of a dark reality that kept George Bush and his merry band of slaughterers in power in 2004; then join the movement to say ¡Ya Basta! - Enough Already! so John McCain is not allowed to continue the massacre of human lives and constitutional democracy in the U.S.

The thought of McCain and his warmongering advisors winning in November scares the shit out me. I have no reason to complain, though, if I don't work to keep him away from the red button and the pen that will ultimately sign a military draft into existence.