Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Congressman Gutierrez has submitted an Immigration Reform Bill. Whether you agree with him or not, you must agree our policies are broken.
From my perspective, there are 3 strategies:
1. We can DO NOTHING and stay in Status Quo (broken immigration policies; promote racial profiling)
2. We can enforce current laws and demand Mass Deportation
3. We can fix the broken processes, fix the problems in Immigration Courts and support Comprehensive Immigration Reform
As I've been studying this issue, various groups have different perspectives. For example, Farm Bureaus promote Temporary Worker Programs:
"Federal lawmakers and the new administration also should complete an unfinished immigration bill left over from 2008. They expressed support for immigration reform that provides a more efficient temporary worker program for agriculture. They voted to support improved training for employers to help them understand and better use the current H-2A seasonal agricultural worker program, and better information delivery for new users of the program."
It is clear we cannot sit still and do nothing. What should we do to improve our current broken processes?
Friday, January 29, 2010
TeaParty.org, a Houston-based group founded by Dale Robertson, yesterday sent an email fund-raising solicitation, obtained by TPMmuckraker, headlined "Obama Pimping Obama-Care, One Last Time!" This photograph -- showing the president as a stereotypical African-American pimp, sporting a pencil-thin mustache and a zebra-striped, fur-brimmed fedora, complete with a feather -- illustrated the theme.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The arrogant and ever pompous James O'Keefe has violated a judge's Gag Order. He tweeted to his so-called followers, "Govt official concedes no attempt to wiretap.” O'Keefe and his three cohorts are charged with entering Federal Property under FALSE PRETENSES with the intent of committing a FELONY. These perpetrators are now out on $10,000 Bail. 25 year old O'Keefe is required to reside with his mommy and daddy. Remember, it is a felony to even ATTEMPT to INTERFERE with any Federal telephone line. You don’t need to wiretap. Additionally, it’s a felony to enter a Federal Building under false pretenses with the intention of tampering with any Federal telephone, fax, internet or communication line.
O'Keefe's arrogance is mind-boggling. There is NOTHING in his wiki biography that lends credence to his outrageous behavior. Like Cheney, O'Keefe was never a soldier. He is NOT a veteran. Instead he had a privileged background, perhaps compensating for his less than average looks by focusing on journalism, vs acting. Now, he currently works for Andrew Breitbart, owner of Big Government.com. Breitbart says he pays for O'Keefe's "life rights."
Can you imagine the outrage by the Republicans if a liberal videographer entered into a Republican Senator's office, under false pretenses, attempting to tamper with their phone lines? In this post 911, high alert environment, can you begin to imagine what Republicans would do?
However, the extreme right wing media are falling all over themselves to defend O'Keefe. Well known Conservative Blogger Andrew Breitbart (Glenn Beck's friend/often source) admits paying O'Keefe's salary but is saying this criminal, felonious trespassing by his friend O'Keefe was merely "just a prank." Extreme Right Wing Blogger Michelle Malkin has buried the story on her website, quoting O'Keefe's "the truth will set me free." Fox news devoted only 4 minutes to this breaking news, yet they spent hours-long coverage of O'Keefe's pimp/whore videos of their ACORN scam. The exception is Bill O'Reilly who said O'Keefe and his cohorts actions were totally INSANE.
Breitbart joined David Shuster this afternoon at 3pm ET. Breitbart made a total idiot of himself, spitting and attempting to overtalk Shuster. I think he may have gotten himself in trouble. He made a statement during the interview that O'Keefe told him NOTHING about his planned shenanigans in Louisiana. I am sure the prosecutors were watching the exchange and we will see if this footage is replayed in open court during O'Keefe's trial.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Dirty Tricks Embraced by the Republican Right: Beck and Breitbart's Friends O'Keefe Continue Watergate-esque Dirty Tricks!
According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street about 11 a.m. Monday, dressed as telephone
company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu’s 10th floor office, O’Keefe was
already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive.
When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffer they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffer, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affadavit, observed O’Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O’Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event. After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and
said the main line wasn’t working. Flanagan did the same.
They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and both went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle.
Here are the two statutes cited in the affidavit, incidentally: Sections1036 and 1362 of Title 18. The former, entering federal property under false pretenses, is clear cut, which is probably why the four allegedly already admitted to it. The more serious charge is section 1362:
Whoever willfully or maliciously injures or destroys any of the works, property,
or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or
system, or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United
States, or used or intended to be used for military or civil defense functions
of the United States, whether constructed or in process of construction, or
willfully or maliciously interferes in any way with the working or use of any
such line, or system, or willfully or maliciously obstructs, hinders, or delays
the transmission of any communication over any such line, or system, or attempts
or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than ten years, or both.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Shades of Watergate! Friend of Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart, ACORN Scammer James O'Keefe is ARRESTED for Bugging Democratic Senator's Office!!
THEY SHOULD GO TO PRISON!!!
Shades of Watergate!! Illegally bugging a Senator's office! They were Bugging and Wiretapping the phones of a U.S. Senator in her home office in New Orleans. Update: Apparently early news reports have been ammended. O'Keefe has been charged with entering a Federal Building under False Pretenses with the intent of committing a felony. O'Keefe gained notoriety last year for his secretly filming of ACORN videos, which caused a firestorm of media intrigue surrounding ACORN after O'Keefe posted them on the Andrew-Brietbart-owned blog Big Government. O'Keefe and his gal-pal dressed as a Pimp and a Whore to commit their SCAM against ACORN. Now, for this NEW ILLEGAL SCHEME, WHO ELSE KNEW ABOUT THESE CRIMES? WHO PUT THEM UP TO THESE ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES? Was it Glenn Beck??? Was it Andrew Breitbart??? Both Beck and Breitbart quickly backed O'Keefe's very questionable tactics against ACORN.
According to FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes, O'Keefe and another man, Stan Dai, have admitted to federal agents they planned, coordinated, and prepared for the attempted infiltration and wiretapping of the U.S. Senator's office, and the two men who allegedly posed as telephone company workers have admitted to entering Landrieu's office under false pretenses.
O'Keefe entered Landrieu's office and told a staffer there that he was waiting for someone to arrive, according to the affidavit. Special Agent Rayes states that two men, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, then entered the office wearing blue denim work pants, blue work shirts, flourescent vests, tool belts, and carrying hard hats, and claimed to be workers for a telephone company. O'Keefe then recorded them with his cell phone (which the staffer noticed) as Basel asked to see the office phone, "manipulated" the handset, and tried to call it with his cell phone, Rayes states. Basel and Flanagan said they needed access to the phone system, at which point the staffer directed them to the GSA office in the building, according to the affidavit. They went there, were asked for credentials, and said they had left their credentials in their vehicle; neither of them actually work for a phone company, according to the affidavit.
I commit to following this story until these perpetrators are fully charged and face their day in court. I suspected, from the very beginning of O'Keefe's ACORN scam, that his activities were very questionable and perhaps criminal. This clown O'Keefe did this for his 15 minutes of fame. Now he has it.
I am also interested in finding out who knew about these activities before he committed them. I am sure it was probably Beck and Breitbart, O'Keefe's previous backers. I also will be checking to see how much coverage both of these right wing extremists will be giving this story. Will FOX Cover this? I suspect NOT!
I hope this gives Beck's supporters some insight into how sick this man really is!
FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes
The sheriff has been embroiled in controversy throughout the past year. A federal grand jury is investigating abuse of power allegations against his office, including intimidating county officials and political critics.
Arpaio had Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley, R-Mesa, arrested in a county parking garage last year. Stapley is charged with failure to disclose real estate and business deals. Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas also have indicted County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox saying she failed to disclose business loans received from Phoenix nonprofit Chicanos por La Causa and then voted on matters related to that group. Stapley and Wilcox deny wrongdoing.
Arpaio is embroiled in a battle on a national level as well. He is fighting with the Obama administration over enforcement of immigration laws, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office continues to face scrutiny for immigration raids and crime sweeps, including a U.S. Justice Department civil rights probe of whether the raids unfairly target Hispanics. Arpaio denies wrongdoing, but uncharacteristically has declined to talk about the federal grand jury’s ongoing case in Phoenix. The poll indicated that Arpaio continues to be popular among Republicans as well as older, more affluent voters, but is unpopular with young voters and Hispanics.
Monday, January 25, 2010
What the government's money is intended to do: The Federal Government has nearly $3 Trillion invested in the economy right now, and stimulus funds are just a small portion of that investment. Where is the rest of the money going? And what is it intended to do?
1. Make credit more accessible: Term auction facility; Primary dealer credit facility; Term securities lending facility; Student loan guarantees; Foreign dollar swaps; Money market guarantees; Commercial paper funding facility
2. Bail out companies: Bear Stearns; Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; Troubled banks; AIG; US Central adn WeCorp Credit Unions
3. Help the Auto Industry: Cash for clunkers; Enegy efficiency loans; emegency funding; auto supplier support program.
4. Stimulate the economy: Economic Stimulus Act of 2008; 2009 stimulus package
5. Prevent Foreclosures: FHA housing rescue; 2009 foreclosure fix
6. Extend unemployment aid: Benefit extensions
7. Take over Failed Banks: 2008 FDIC bank takeovers; 2009 FDIC bank takeovers
Total Allocated: $10.2533 trillion
Total Spent: $2.92301 trillion
Economic Ups and Downs
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Part of the court backlog problem is due to NOT separating the visa overstays and workers from those who commit crimes and are in prison.
Oregon has put in place a plan to immediately deport those in prison who agree to an expedited deportation. This type of program make sense and can be implemented right away, without the passage of a national Immigration bill.
I recommend more states adopt Oregon's program. This goes hand in hand with other solutions including:
1. Focus on Felonious Criminals/Drug Dealers vs Workers
2. Stop Racial Profiling and Latino neighborhood sweeps (ala Arpaio)
3. Offer Volunteer Deportation for those interested
ICE has implemented some of these recommendations in the past with positive results.
Oregon starts moving illegal immigrants out of its prisons
After several months of delay, state and federal officials have reached an agreement to deport illegal immigrants with less than six months left on their sentences out of the state's prisons and into an expedited deportation process. The memorandum of understanding between Oregon and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration & Customs Enforcement means that inmates who waive all rights to contest a deportation will have their sentences commuted and be quickly deported. Six sentences were commuted yesterday after the agreement was signed on Monday, officials from Gov. Ted Kulongoski's office said. The vast majority of the 206 inmates eligible for the early release are from Mexico, state records show. To be eligible for the early release, inmates must be offenders who've not been convicted of any violent, sexual or Measure 11 crimes.
The early deportation program was signed into law last summer in Salem as part of a broad cost-saving corrections package. Lawmakers planned to save $2.1 million by transferring 175 prisoners to federal immigration authorities over the biennium.The state had expected to save $700,000 by Dec. 1 through the early deportation program but a legal glitch in reaching the agreement with the feds held it up. With states across the country strapped by the recession and looking to trim prison costs, the immigration service agreed to work with states across the country to deport criminal offenders before their sentences expire. Several states have deported prisons under the program. Inmates who participate in the program not only waive their rights to challenge a deportation, they face significant federal prison time if they are caught in the United States again illegally.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Clowns, Dunderheads and Neanderthals Making Ludicrous/Racist Statements Including: "I Want My Country Back...From our Black President!"
1. The formation of the All-American (All White) Basketball Alliance. It appears the dunderhead sponsors for this new association want to revert to Jim Crow/pre-Civil Rights days excluding all minorities from participating.
2. Scott Baio sending outrageous pictures of Michelle Obama. Not that anyone actually cares about anything this clown, has-been Baio says, but why do these born again republican teabaggers go after Michelle Obama with such disrespect? I do not recall anyone ever doing anything so disrespectful to Laura Bush.
3. Republican Senator Inhofe (OK-R) Believes in Ethnic and Racial Profiling. Inhofe said: "I know it's not politically correct to say it -- I believe in racial and ethnic profiling. I think if you're looking at people getting on an airplane and you have X amount of resources to get into it, you need to get at the targets, not my wife. " Inhofe wants all people of color "profiled" and yes, Inhofe is from Oklahoma, home of the OKC Bombing -- the one perpetrated by blond, blue-eyed Timothy McVeigh.
4. Heard at a Teabag Party or Republican Event Near You: "I want my Country Back!" To me, this is the most racist statement I have ever, ever heard. Every time I hear it, it is like fingernails scratching the blackboard, "Eeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!" Ugh! I cannot stand the sounds of these words spewed from the lips of some foaming Neanderthal! Where were they during the Bush Administration when he was taking us into a wrongful war, stealing our Civil Liberties, incarcerating innocent children in Detention Centers, de-regulating financial institutions, allowing them to wreck havoc on our financial systems and ruining our Economy to the point we were about to fall off a cliff.
These Clowns are crying, "I want my country back....from our Black President!" These Dunderheads want to go back to the inglorious days of Bush????
These folks need two things:
1. a new jacket
2. a gentle xxx to their backside!
and a reminder of the Bush Years!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
In an event that might have been stymied by fear even a year ago, Wences and more than a dozen other undocumented students will risk making their status even more public Monday at a four-hour "coming out" summit in Pilsen coordinated by a new group hoping to push harder for reforms to the nation's Immigration system.
The Immigrant Youth Justice League, made up of about 15 Chicago-area students, is part of a wave of younger immigrant activists around the U.S. using more aggressive, in-your-face tactics to seek legal status as part of a volatile national debate that has stalled in Congress in recent years. They see an expected renewal of the debate this year as a last, best stand.The students whose activism was born during massive immigrant marches in Chicago and elsewhere years ago, have been behind several smaller recent battles, bouncing between Facebook campaigns and old-school organizing with equal ease.
In Chicago, they helped drive rallies staged on behalf of Rigo Padilla, 21, a Mexican-born student at the University of Illinois at Chicago who won a one-year stay of deportation last month. In Miami, another group of students staged rallies that helped win a similar deferral for two Venezuelan brothers."(These youth) are maturing politically, they are becoming more sophisticated in their strategies and are also recognizing that something more drastic needs to be done to achieve their legal status," said Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, a sociology professor at UIC who has been tracking youth activism in the Immigration movement.
A spokeswoman in Chicago for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement indicated Sunday that, despite their public declarations, the students would not necessarily be a high-priority for arrest. The Immigrant Youth Justice League was inspired by ongoing efforts to pass the so-called Dream Act, legislation that would grant conditional legal status to students who arrived as children. But the group, mostly Mexican-born, derives mainly from the Padilla campaign."There was this feeling that, if we can win that, there's so much more we could do as a group," said Tania Unzueta, 26, who, along with Padilla, is a founding member of the group.Uriel Sanchez, 18, had been promised financial aid for tuition, but the money vanished when an administrator asked him to provide a Social Security number."When we fail to speak up, when we fail to criticize ... " he said. "It is a far greater blow to the freedom, the decency and to the justice which truly represents this nation we call home."
Shocking Breaking News: Neanderthal Republican Mass. Senatorial Candidate Brown Calls for Rape of his Opponent Martha Coakley!
Neanderthal Republican Mass. Senatorial Candidate Brown Calls for Rape of his Opponent Martha Coakley! Caught on Video. Hear Brown approve RAPING His Opponent, Martha Coakley, comment made by a member of his cheering mob:
"Shove a curling iron up her butt!"
Brown nods, laughs and responds: "We can do this!"
Reference: Brown: Curling Iron Comment
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Rep Gutierrez at Large Chicago Immigration Rally: "2010 - The Year for Immigration Reform!" Jesse Jackson invokes memory of MLK at Rally!
Saturday's rally, entitled Full Citizenship and Full Employment for Full Equality, featured Chicago area lawmakers as well as union and religious leaders -- all calling for major changes in immigration law. By some estimates, there are 12 million people living illegally in the United States. Gutierrez says his immigration bill "keeps people working, but understands the needs of our economy. It gives a pathway to citizenship, but understands that immigrants must learn English, pay taxes and contribute to their communities."
Too often, Jackson said, would-be Haitian immigrants are unfairly turned away from U.S. shores. "We should play by one set of rules, whether you're from Cuba, Haiti or Mexico," Jackson said.
Gutierrez also took a swipe at his own faith, saying the Roman Catholic Church should stand up for immigration reform the way it fights against abortion. "My church is a church that should watch every action of unfairness and injustice that has occurred in the Congress of the United States, and not just one or two that they decide to choose," he said.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Demonstrators came from from all walks of life.
"We really just wanted to say you can't judge people based on the color of their skin," a protester, painted in blue, said just before a march protesting Arpaio started. "Arpaio needs to be ousted,” another protestor said while she marched.
This time advocates for human rights had a little star power to help.
"When Arpaio applies the law in this way, he alienates an entire section of people who will never trust law enforcement and will grow to hate it," world-famous singer Linda Ronstadt said.
People poured water onto the faces of several protesters whose eyes were irritated by the pepper spray thwon by police. A 2-year-old child was hit by some of the pepper spray. The Phoenix Fire Department was called to treat the child, who was expected to be OK. Though the scene of the disturbance was cleared within minutes, the aftermath of the incident was chaotic. Protesters yelled obscenities at police officers in riot gear. One officer shook his pepper spray canister as he ordered people to keep moving. One protester wore goggles, and several others wrapped bandanas around their mouths.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
ABC snuck Ugly Betty back onto their weekly line-up last week. Betty airs at 10pm ET time (9pm CT) Wednesday nights. This is a complete CHANGE in the schedule and I saw NO ADVERTISEMENT about this change anywhere on ABC. They did it in COVER of Darkness!! No Ads! Nothing!! -- What is up with that!!
I am asking all of my viewers to COME BACK to BETTY each Wednesday night. The shows are GREAT!! Betty is Better than Ever!! Please, oh please Watch!
Besides! I ask everyone to boycott American Idol this year. They dumped Paula this year. They care nothing about their personalities. They are bringng on Ellen Degeneris to replace Paula. ED has NO Music experience. Simon was always a jerk and is quitting at the end of this season anyway! Please oh please BOYCOTT IDOL with me and Please Watch Ugly Betty on Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC!
Monday, January 11, 2010
I have a question about how the Dept of Labor calculates the Official (U3)monthly unemployment rate. (see definition below). My question is, since the Obama administration has extended the number of weeks of eligibility for unemployment, won't the official unemployment rate be skewed because those who would have been dropped (and termed "discouraged workers") at 26 weeks during the Bush administration are now receiving two or more extensions (52 and up to 76 weeks)?
I believe the calculation is:
Total # of Workers Unemployed (minus discouraged workers)
Total # Workers Unemployed (minus discouraged workers) + Employed
(1000 - 100)
-------------------------------- = 9% (vs 10%) and variance would continue to grow
(1000 - 100) + 9000 .. as # on extensions grow
As you can see, by the discouraged workers remaining in the equation vs being removed as they have in the past, the unemployed rate stays higher than without the unemployment extensions and these workers being taken out of the equation.
Once the chronically unemployed are removed from the equation, in May, it will appear there is a big improvement in our unemployment rate.
Shouldn't we talking about this?
Definition from Wiki:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures employment and unemployment (of those over 15 years of age) using two different labor force surveys conducted by the United States Census Bureau (within the United States Department of Commerce) and/or the Bureau of Labor Statistics (within the United States Department of Labor) that gather employment statistics monthly. The Current Population Survey (CPS), or "Household Survey", conducts a survey based on a sample of 60,000 households. This Survey measures the unemployment rate based on the ILO definition. The data are also used to calculate 5 alternate measures of unemployment as a percentage of the labor force based on different definitions noted as U1 through U6:
U1: Percentage of labor force unemployed 15 weeks or longer.
U2: Percentage of labor force who lost jobs or completed temporary work.
U3: Official unemployment rate per ILO definition.
U4: U3 + "discouraged workers", or those who have stopped looking for work because current economic conditions make them believe that no work is available for them.
U5: U4 + other "marginally attached workers", or "loosely attached workers", or those who "would like" and are able to work, but have not looked for work recently.
U6: U5 + Part time workers who want to work full time, but cannot due to economic reasons.
Note: "Marginally attached workers" are added to the total labor force for unemployment rate calculation for U4, U5, and U6. The BLS revised the CPS in 1994 and among the changes the measure representing the official unemployment rate was renamed U3 instead of U5.
The Current Employment Statistics survey (CES), or "Payroll Survey", conducts a survey based on a sample of 160,000 businesses and government agencies that represent 400,000 individual employers. This survey measures only nonagricultural, nonsupervisory employment; thus, it does not calculate an unemployment rate, and it differs from the ILO unemployment rate definition. These two sources have different classification criteria, and usually produce differing results. Additional data are also available from the government, such as the unemployment insurance weekly claims report available from the Office of Workforce Security, within the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration.
..The unemployment figures indicate how many are not working for pay but seeking employment for pay.
On this Ball of Confusion, Racism is still Prevalent. However, Reid's and Lott's Comments were Very Different!
When I heard this comment, it reminded me of what Joe Biden said when he was a Presidential Candidate running against Obama in the campaign. Biden said, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."
Both Reid's and Biden's comments were their lame attempts at complimenting Obama. They were falling into the old stereotype of the light skinned House nixxer being the Best of the group. How many people think like this? How many people think most blacks (minorities) are NOT articulate? Are NOT bright and clean? Are NOT intelligent? How many people in this country think the same way? Even though they attempted to be positive, this just shows you how far we have to go regarding the discussion of race in our country.
While I do not agree with their comments or this line of thinking, their comments are NOT as deplorable as Trent Lott's comments. Republicans are comparing Reid to Trent Lott and say Reid should resign as Lott resigned as Senate majority leader in 2002 after he made a racist comment.
Let's go back and examine the comments Lott made in 2002 about Strom Thurmond. Sen. Thurmond was a proud racist back in his day. He was so proud that in 1948, he ran for President as the Segregationist States Rights Party (Dixiecrat). One of Thurmond's rallying cries was, "We cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches and our places of recreation." At Thurmond's 100th birthday party, Lott said about his state voting for Thurmond for President, “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”
Lott was complimenting a hard-core racist who openly promoted racist exclusionary policies and was adamantly and openly against the Civil Rights movement and integration. Lott said if we would have followed Thurmond's segregationist lead, "we wouldn't have had all of THESE (minority) problems over all these years."
There is no comparison between the two statements.
What is clear, however, is racism is still very prevalent in our country. We have a long way to go before we become a post racial society. We still have miles to go before people of any color are judged by the content of our character versus the color of our skin.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
As my long time viewers know, my husband loves sports and enjoys watching "classic" sports on TV. This morning he was watching Classic Bowling from the 1970s. The clothes and the hair styles were hilarious. The men wore suits, from suit with tie to leisure suits to plaid pants. They had long hair with sideburns. The women wore helmet head hairdos with lots of teasing and hairspray and little dresses with belts and heels. Many people wore glasses, the men the horn rimmed, the women the little granny glasses. I didn't see one minority in the audience. Additionally, no one was on the phone or on a computer.
I compare this picture with a visit to my local bowling center or casino. There is so much diversity. Everyone is wearing casual clothes, from jeans to slacks, to sweat pants. Hair is different, from shaved head, to long-hair, to make-up to no make-up, to piercings, to tattoos. There is every ethnicity. I'd estimate there was about 50% white, 20% Latino, 15% Black, 10% Asian, 5% Other. Almost everyone has a cell phone and a few had their laptops.
Last night at the "sino" on the slots, I sat next to a Vietnamese family, a father played while his two daughters watched. They were speaking Vietnamese to Dad and the two girls were giggling, half in Vietnamese and half English. Both our machines were winning, so we started high-fiving each other with each win and we began a casual conversation. The girls recently immigrated. Their Dad had arrived years ago and brought the rest of the family later. (I did not ask if they were legal or not. I just assumed they were in progress.) I actually spoke with another family of another ethnicity a few weeks ago and the daughter came in legally with a temporary visa, but overstayed, so she was technically here illegally, but was working with Immigration to gain legal status.
The ANTIs are right. Our country is changing and changing rapidly. We are not the plaid pants/leisure suit all white audience we were 30 years ago. It is amazing to think how quickly our country has changed. The Civil Rights Movement was only 40 years ago. We were not a diverse culture then, as we are now. The Jim Crow laws held many people of various ethnicities down.
Since World War II, more refugees have found homes in the U.S. than any other nation and more than two million refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 1980. During much of the 1990s, the United States accepted over 100,000 refugees per year, though this figure has recently decreased to around 50,000 per year in the first decade of the 21st century, due to greater security concerns. Still, of the top ten countries accepting resettled refugees in 2006, the United States accepted more than twice as many as the next nine countries combined. As for asylum seekers, the latest statistics show that 86,400 persons sought sanctuary in the United States in 2001.
The rate of immigration and the number of immigrants from various countries are contributing to the current backlog in the Immigration Courts. As I've previously written, 40% of those termed "illegal" are Visa overstays and are attempting to work their status through the very backlogged immigration courts.
Regardless of why the demographics are changing, what is important is that we understand the changes and accept the fact that our country and the demographics will continue to change. We need immigration reform to resolve our broken immigration policies, fix the backlog in the courts, streamline the process, and end, once and for all, all of the hatred, anger and imprisoning of workers due to legal status.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Breaking News: Brandon Piekarsky (Luis Ramirez - Kick in the Head Murder) May Be Released from Prison Tomorrow!
UPDATE: Brandon Piekarsky was released Tuesday and is now staying with his grandmother in Shenandoah. Under the terms of that restriction, he cannot leave the home except for work; education; religious services; medical, substance abuse or mental health treatment and visits with his lawyer in Stroudsburg.
One of two teenagers waiting to go to trial on federal hate crime charges in connection with the 2008 beating death of a Mexican immigrant in Shenandoah may be let out of jail but under certain conditions. A federal judge ruled that Brandon Piekarsky will be released from jail once the probation department checks out where he will stay: his grandmother's and uncle's apartment in Shenandoah.
His lawyer hopes Piekarsky is out of jail as soon as Tuesday. Piekarsky's mother had nothing to say Monday after a federal judge in Scranton ruled her son could be released from prison. Piekarsky is awaiting a federal trial on hate crime charges in connection with the 2008 beating death of Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah. Piekarsky is accused (by team-mate Walsh) of delivering the deadly kick to Ramirez and helping concoct a cover-up story with police (Mother's boyfriend, Officer Moyer). The government argued that since Piekarsky faces life in prison he now has a greater incentive to try to obstruct justice but the judge said, "Everyone has the right to be released when charged with a crime."
There are some condition's to Piekarsky's release. He has to stay with relatives, not his mother because investigators believe she may have played a role in the cover-up. Also Piekarsky must wear an electronic monitoring device.
The judge said Piekarsky is not a flight risk but added, "One mistake and you're back in that costume." Derrick Donchak remains in prison, also facing federal trial.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
NY Times reports:
Lacing up new pairs of walking shoes with a flourish, four immigrant students set out on foot from downtown Miami on Friday, starting a four-month walk to Washington to protest what they called the Obama administration’s lack of action on legislation granting legal status to illegal immigrants. Three of the four protesters, who are current or former students at Miami Dade College, do not have legal-resident status and risk detention by immigration authorities during the 1,500-mile walk. The students’ trek shows the resolve and also some limitations of groups supporting an immigration overhaul that would include measures to legalize illegal immigrants. These groups said this week they are starting a national campaign in January to pressure President Obama to push for the overhaul before midterm elections in November. The students in Miami said in a statement that they decided to begin their walk because they had a “deep desire and need for complete citizenship” after they reached dead-ends in school or work because of their lack of legal immigration status.
Starting with a small but noisy send-off at noon by about 100 people on the steps of a landmark building in Miami known as the Freedom Tower, the students said they would walk about 16 miles a day, stopping to sleep at churches and immigration centers. They hope to reach Washington in May. They said they had concluded that the exposure to immigration agents on the walk was not much greater than what they faced in their daily lives. “We are aware of the risk,” Mr. Matos said by telephone. “We are risking our future because our present is unbearable.”
Elsewhere, immigrant groups have been trying other tactics to push for reform, after an overhaul bill they supported was defeated in the Senate in 2007 by a huge surge of voter opposition. In November the groups organized a mass conference call on which, they said, more than 60,000 participants on mobile phones spoke with Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, to discuss an overhaul proposal. Mr. Gutierrez introduced the bill in the House last month. In California, where hundreds of thousands of immigrants joined demonstrations in 2006, advocacy groups have shifted their focus, said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Now the groups are working to send immigrants who are voters to pay frequent visits to federal lawmakers who have not supported an overhaul. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a group in Chicago, is preparing rallies for mid-January with labor unions and African-American churches, hoping to persuade American workers that immigrants would be less likely to undercut wages if they had legal status and could participate openly in unions.
Republican lawmakers said they remained confident that they could defeat any overhaul proposal. They said it would be political folly for the Obama administration to propose a huge legalization program for illegal immigrants when so many Americans are out of work. “Allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay and take jobs away from citizens and legal immigrants is like giving a burglar a key to the house,” said Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.