Thursday, May 29, 2008

Latino Político Won't Be Credentialed For DNCC

Well, got the email a few minutes ago that this blog won't be among those credentialed for the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I'm a bit disappointed but hopefully I'll hear from some colleagues among the Latino Netroots that they were selected and will be present to provide a needed perspective on the comings-and-goings of the gathering.

That's all I have to say, for now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


As Nezua would say: "And now, a word from our sponsor..."

Ozark Minutemen's First Lady Pleads Guilty

I swear that I wrote about this at the time, because it was so outrageous, but maybe it was like one of the million blog posts I concoct in the grey zone prior to passing out each night - only a few of them ever get published. Oh well, here it is:

SPRINGFIELD | The wife of a founder of the Ozarks Minutemen has pleaded guilty to lying about being raped and shot by three Hispanic men.

Angela D. Wilburn, 44, appeared in Greene County Associate Circuit Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to making a false report, a class B misdemeanor. Wilburn is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3. She could face up to six months in prison and a $500 fine.

Wilburn is the wife of Brian Wilburn, who helped form the Ozarks Minutemen. She was charged with the crime in December, after calling 911 reporting someone had shot her.

Kansas City Star

Here's hoping that the law enforcement agencies that were forced to investigate and untangle her race-based lies charge her for all of the resources they wasted. In addition to that, let the mocking begin for this part of the fairy tale:
Meanwhile, Wilburn's husband, whose organization presents itself as a first line of defense against "criminal alien invaders," told the Springfield News-Leader that his wife's bogus report of being terrorized, sexually assaulted and shot by Mexican home invaders "had nothing to do with the Minutemen. It was just a bad decision on her part."
Does anyone really believe that?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Apology 94 Years In The Making

British Columbia issued a formal apology for human rights abuses they inflicted upon hundreds of migrant workers in 1914.

VICTORIA - As a boy growing up in India, Surinder Sharma soaked up the stories of his great-uncle's adventures aboard the Komagata Maru.

"At the time, it didn't look cruel to us," Sharma said. "It looked like some heroic act. Because we were just little kids, it was like bedtime stories."

Only later did Sharma come to understand the racism his great-uncle, Ferozepur Munshi - along with 375 other passengers - endured upon their arrival in British Columbia in 1914.

Denied entry and forced to remain aboard the steam liner in Vancouver's harbour for two months, they were eventually sent back to India, where 20 were shot by police in a riot, and others were imprisoned.

Will the U.S. do something similar someday for the blind eye turned towards the thousands of dead bodies in the desert or the countless families that are imprisoned in concentration camps?

Not any time soon.

Post-Memorial Day Food For Thought

Food for thought:
As of December 2007, the total US Armed Forces members that are not citizens include: Army, 17,234; Navy 14,653; Marine Corps 6,537; Air Force 1,580; and National Guard 4,251. Beginning this Memorial Day all current and future immigrant servicemen and women will be able to navigate the application process for citizenship, free of charge, through The Charles Harvey, Jr. Foundation website. This free service is a small token of appreciation for those who serve and protect us.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The BBC Jumps the Shark

They have some kookie guy and other latino/latina bloggers offering up prognostications on the U.S. Presidential election.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

For The Bookstack: Sueños Americanos

University of Arizona Prof Julio Cammarota's research on Latino youth in the United States has made its way to book form.

Cammarota, who teaches at the UA’s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology and the Mexican American Studies and Research Center, wrote the book based on his observations and extensive interviews of youth living in “El Pueblo,” which is the name he gives to the barrio area along the California coast where he conducted his research.

The book, titled "Sueños Americanos, Barrio Youth Negotiating Social and Cultural Identities," is published by The University of Arizona Press.

“In my research I found that education is a primary route to rewarding employment and economic security," Cammarota said. "And that education is particularly significant for the future prospects of children who are ethnic minorities, were born into disadvantaged economic circumstances, or are dealing with language barriers."

UA News
I'll be ordering my copy after the next pay day and will share my thoughts. Looking forward to it, as it discusses the way assimilation has affected the culture and ability for latinos and latinas to navigate their way through the current system.
sombrero tip to Tomás at Hispanic Tips

McCain Senate Watch Continues

The dust is starting to grow eyeballs at "Senator" McCain's desk on Capitol Hill. He couldn't be bothered to vote today for veterans' benefits. He has a habit of skipping votes that are inconvenient and may actually shed light on his neocon credentials. It gives him a Maverick Bad Hair Day when that happens, and we can't have that!

The flip side to this is that his "Not Voting" is better than the one cast by Arizona's other Senator.

For the record, this is what the two esteemed [cough] Senators from Arizona chose not to support:

At issue is an expansion of the GI bill that would guarantee full college scholarships for those who serve in the military for three years. The Democratic-led Senate passed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., and supported by Obama, on Thursday by a 75-22 vote as 25 Republican abandoned President Bush, who opposed the provision.

Obama and his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to Washington for the vote. McCain skipped the vote to campaign and raise money in California.

McCain opposes the measure, as does the Pentagon, out of concern that providing such a benefit after only three years of service would encourage people to leave the military after completing only one enlistment even as the U.S. fights two wars and is trying to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps.

Miami Herald (emphasis mine)
...which makes sense for McCain, because he needs all the warm bodies he can get to continue his and George Bush's preemptive war of choice that was based on cooked information. The patriotism is astounding!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Razor Wire Added to Border Wall

Once again, the United States is choosing to escalate the militarization of the U.S./Mexico border region instead of working on the economic imbalances that fuel the migration of people looking for a way to provide sustenance for their families.
SAN DIEGO -- -- The U.S. Border Patrol is installing razor-sharp concertina wire atop border fencing between San Diego and Tijuana, marking a major shift in approach along a frequently violent stretch of the frontier.

The triple-strand wire, meant to keep smugglers from attacking agents, will stretch five miles when completed this summer -- the longest expanse of this type of wire ever used on the Southwest border.

Federal authorities in the past have avoided using fortifications with such negative symbolism. Hundreds of miles of barriers going up in other areas have had to meet "aesthetically pleasing" federal design standards.

Critics say the new approach is inhumane and could leave illegal immigrants bloodied.

Border officials in San Diego say it was necessary and already is proving effective.

Los Angeles Times
Yes, very effective indeed:

As you know, if you've been reading this site for the past few years, the graph comes from a 2007 policy brief and study (.pdf warning), authored by Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, M. Melissa McCormick, Daniel Martinez & Inez Magdalena Duarte, through the University of Arizona's Binational Migration Institute. We know that the numbers of border deaths in the Tucson sector rose to even higher levels following the release of this landmark document - a 29% increase in 2006.

From the Tucson Citizen, September 2007:
While arrests of illegal immigrants have fallen, the number of people dying in the desert and along its roads is rising dramatically.

The official toll will be tallied next week for the federal fiscal year that ends Sunday.

Unofficially, county medical examiners put the count through Aug. 31 at 216, a 29 percent increase over the same period a year before. That may be because manpower on the border increased and more skeletal remains were found that were missed in previous years.

Even Border Patrol numbers, usually lower than the number of deaths counted by medical examiners, show that from Oct. 1, 2006, to Aug. 31 there were 14.2 percent more illegal immigrant deaths in the Tucson sector than in the entire previous fiscal year.

Tucson Citizen
So yes, the concertina wire usually found atop prison walls is going to be very effective when one chooses to forget that it will increase the "funnel effect" as outlined by the UA's study. San Diego may see a decrease in attempted crossings, but that just means more treacherous and dangerous paths through the Sonoran desert will be used.

The temperatures are already rising in Baja Arizona, triple digits over the past few days, and with it over the coming months we will learn of the hundreds of bodies and skeletal remains that will be found.

Effective? Sure - if you forget that these are human beings who have the audacity to look for work out of the utter depths of desperation. The U.S. would rather tell them to drop dead, though.


Migrant Trail 2008

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

Starting on Monday, May 26th, human rights activists will gather for the 5th Annual Migrant Trail under the banner "We Walk for Life". Starting in Sasabe, Sonora, Mexico, participants will travel 75 miles through the desert to Tucson, Arizona, USA, to raise awareness of the unconscionable numbers of deaths of border crossers that seems to rise each year.

Registration can be done via the Coalición de Derechos Humanos website at

Here is the vision, as outlined by organizers of this powerful event:

The precarious reality of our borderlands calls us to walk. We walk together on a journey of peace to remember people, friends and family who have died, others who have crossed, and people who continue to come. We walk to bear witness to the tragedy of death and of the inhumanity in our midst. Lastly, we walk as a community, in defiance of the borders that attempt to divide us, committed to working together for the human dignity of all peoples.

Information such as Participant Agreements, Liability forms, Medical Information forms, and other related topics can be found at this link.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Prayers to the Kennedy Family

Horrible news, following the seizure and subsequent hospitalization of Senator Edward Kennedy over the weekend.

[Doctors] said tests conducted after the seizure showed a tumor in Kennedy's left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma, they said.

His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

Kennedy has been hospitalized in Boston since Saturday, when he was airlifted from Cape Cod after a seizure at his home.

My prayers go out to the family, and especially to Senator Kennedy himself. He has been a treasure to this country and provides leadership and voice for those who often don't get a say in the political system. Despite having had two brothers murdered for their service to the U.S., Senator Kennedy has never backed down from the ideals he holds in his heart, and I salute him for the inspiration he provides us.

Los Hermanos Kennedy
Robert, Edward & John

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Madness of King George

Junior Caligula:
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
John McSame:
Asked if he thought Mr. Obama was an appeaser — the Democratic candidate has said he would be willing to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran — Mr. McCain sidestepped and said, "I think that Barack Obama needs to explain why he wants to sit down and talk with a man who is the head of a government that is a state sponsor of terrorism, that is responsible for the killing of brave young Americans, that wants to wipe Israel off the map, who denies the Holocaust. That’s what I think Senator Obama ought to explain to the American people.'’
Heads are asploding all over the place from the left/sane side of the political spectrum at the audacity of Junior to say such things, but really, why should we expect anything different from The Decider and his sycophants? I grow weary of playing defense against an insane opponent. It reminds me of the saying: Never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

With over 80% of the country agreeing that the United States is on the wrong track, it's become inevitable that he will continue to descend into King Lear-like madness as the end of his term approaches (and it can't come fast enough!) Many of us have known for a long, long time how appalling the actions of this regime have been from day one. Unfortunately, these type of diplomatic temper tantrums will continue until Bush's base snaps out of their patriotic stupor and join the rest of us in bringing the charade to an end.

I know what my preferred method of reprimand is, but if history gets written by untainted quills, that will only be the beginning. George's legacy may end up being more like his actual Nazi-appeasing grandfather's than other various tragic figures.

As the end of Act II approaches, my hope is that the country won't write a sequel in November.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Democratic Primary In Seven Minutes

Good stuff

Sombrero tip to a democrat's lament

Food Network Has Higher Standards Than ADE

I was devastated to learn that the Food Network recently fired Chef Robert Irvine, host of their hit show Dinner: Impossible, where I get to waste my life in half-hour increments as I watch him create large-scale meals under a tight deadline with limited resources. It turns out that Chef Robert cooked up a plate of hyperbole when it came to the qualifications listed on his resumé.

The Food Network wasted no time in making sure there were harsh consequences for his embellishments - his contract was not renewed - which demonstrates the fact that they have higher standards than the ADE.
A top administrator at the Arizona Department of Education is a convicted felon with no four-year degree, and there are new questions about how he got his job.

Donald Houde, ADE’s Chief Technology Officer, was convicted in 1992 for embezzling $1.7 million from his former employer, Mile High Cable Company in Denver, Colorado.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison, but was released after serving only two years.

“I wasn’t in a position of trust with people, but I was in a position of trust with money,” Houde said.

Houde’s criminal history did not stop him from landing the six-figure state job.

He was first hired as a consultant back in August of 2005, and he admitted he did not disclose his criminal history to the Department of Education for several months.

Within a year, Houde married his direct supervisor, Janice McGoldrick.

Just four months later, Houde was hired full-time and is earning more than $140,000 a year.


Good thing the Arizona Department of Education is run by a paragon of virtue. Here's the statement of outrage and condemnation issued by Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne when questioned about Mr. Houde's lack of a degree that is usually required for someone in that pay bracket for the State of Arizona:
“Once I know how good someone’s work is, that’s my sole judge,” Horne said.
Maybe Chef Robert Irvine can relocate to Arizona and revamp school cafeteria menus. Horne doesn't seem to have a problem with a candidate who fabricates their accomplishments.

Congrats to Tedski and R-Cubed

The DNCC has released the list of winners for the State Blogger Corps for this year's Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Congratulations to Tedski of Rum, Romanism and Rebellion for being selected as Arizona's keyboard-wielding Snarker in Chief. He deserves the honor for his outstanding work of covering the Grand Canyon State's legislature that is (unfortunately) still governed by Minutemen-style Republicans.
The DemConvention State Blogger Corps is listed below.


ALASKA - Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis -

ALABAMA- Doc's Political Parlor -

ARKANSAS- Under The -

ARIZONA - Ted Prezelski - Rum, Romanism and Rebellion -

CALIFORNIA - Calitics-


CONNECTICUT -My Left Nutmeg -


DELAWARE - TommyWonk -

DEMOCRATS ABROAD - Democrats Abroad Argentina -

FLORIDA - Florida Progressive Coalition -

GEORGIA- Tondee's Tavern -

GUAM - No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro -

HAWAII - Ian Lind Online -

IOWA - The Iowa Independent -


ILLINOIS- Prairie State Blue -

INDIANA- Blue Indiana -


KENTUCKY - BlueGrassRoots -

LOUISIANA - Daily Kingfish -

MASSACHUSETTS - Blue Mass. Group -

MARYLAND - The Center for Emerging Media -

MAINE - Turn Maine Blue -

MICHIGAN - Blogging For Michigan -

MINNESOTA - Minnesota Monitor -

MISSISSIPPI - The Natchez Blog -

MISSOURI - Fired Up! LLC -

MONTANA - Left in the West -



NEBRASKA - New Nebraska Network -

NEW HAMPSHIRE - Blue Hampshire -


NEW MEXICO - Democracy for New Mexico -

NEVADA - Las Vegas Gleaner -

NEW YORK - Room 8 -

OHIO - Ohio Daily Blog -

OKLAHOMA - DemoOkie -

OREGON - BlueOregon (blog) -

PENNSYLVANIA - Keystone Politics -

PUERTO RICO - Jusiper -

RHODE ISLAND - Rhode Island's Future -


SOUTH DAKOTA - Badlands Blue -

TENNESSEE - KnoxViews/TennViews -

TEXAS - Burnt Orange Report -

UTAH - The Utah Amicus -

VIRGINIA - Raising Kaine -

VIRGIN ISLANDS - Democratic Party of the US Virgin Islands -

VERMONT - Green Mountain Daily -


WISCONSIN - Uppity Wisconsin -

WEST VIRGINIA - West Virginia Blue -

WYOMING - Hummingbirdminds blog -

[UPDATE] Here is Governor Dean's personalized video message to Tedski:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Movie Review: Bordertown

An all-star cast of stars united in 2007 for this powerfully-told tale of the ongoing disappearance and murder of women in El Paso's sister city of Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, Mexico. The film reunited director Gregory Nava with leading-actress Jennifer Lopez ten years after their collaboration on Selena.

Lopez' character, Lauren Adrian, is an accomplished U.S. journalist who has been put on assignment in Juárez to investigate the alarming number of murders of female maquiladora workers. The story line takes the audience into the very real settings of the NAFTA-spawned slave industry, as well as the improvised living conditions of the factory workers that have flocked to the border region from all parts of Mexico. While the film boasts acclaimed Hollywood actors such as Lopez, Martin Sheen, and Antonio Banderas; a powerful performance by one of Mexico's leading ladies, Maya Zapata, draws viewers into the horror that thousands of families have experienced as the numbers of desaparecidas (dissapeared) grow without the clamor of outrage it deserves.

Bordertown uses its dialog and imagery to indict the economic powers of both the United States and Mexico for the suffering of the working class. It exposes the effects of free trade agreements that don't make assurances for the safety and livelihood of global workers, the censorship and convenient spin that has emerged with a corporate-owned media industry in the U.S., and the internal shame that is often experienced by those of Mexican ancestry who are forced in to the assimilation of American™ culture and exceptionalism.

While some of the male characters in the film are overly caricatured, I'm reminded that the point of the film is to raise the awareness and alarm of the exploitation, rape and murder of maquiladoras along la frontera. I commend the cast for using their trade to tell this story, and to do so without sanitizing the barbarism that is involved.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to see a link to 'Take Action' in the main menu of the DVD version of the film that shows how Amnesty International is working with the film's creators to stop the atrocities. Unfortunately, we are still seeing corporate resistance to the exposure of the human rights crisis that exists along the line. By recommending this film to anyone and everyone who will take the time to watch its powerful narrative, I hope and pray that we will finally work together towards a future that sees the humanity of workers no matter where they were born, what language they speak, or what color their skin may be.

Más información: