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.