Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's Delirium

For me it isn't about Democrats and Republicans, although I must say that the GOP has really entrenched itself into the Dark Side these past eight years.  Democrats oftentimes aren't any better.  But once in a while the ridiculous nature of either party stands out so much it is impossible to stay quiet...  As has happened with the nomination of Governor Palin for VP.

Obama hasn't made the same inane mistakes as McCain, but he is yet to convince me he can deal with a hard headed and often unintelligent Congress...

"[McCain's]... last-minute choice of a woman he barely knows to be his running mate underscored concerns about his impulsiveness, and her utter lack of experience in world affairs undermined his claimed seriousness about national security." Washington Post

The McCain Paradox
Americans know the man better than they understand where he would lead the country.
Washington Post
Monday, September 1, 2008; A12

LAST WEEK, the Democrats faced the task of presenting a relative newcomer to politics as their nominee for president. This week, the Republicans face a different challenge, one greatly complicated now by the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Gustav on the Gulf Coast. After a long career of public service, and on his second presidential campaign, John McCain is a familiar figure to many Americans. But where he would lead the nation is less clear to many, and his vice presidential selection last week didn't help. Out of respect for potential hurricane victims in Mississippi, Louisiana or Texas, Republicans may nominate Mr. McCain without the usual fanfare of a party convention -- and without nearly as much public attention as Barack Obama attracted last week. That only heightens the difficulty of the task Mr. McCain faces: to offer a vivid picture of why he wants to be president and what he would hope to accomplish.

Mr. McCain's journey to this nomination in many ways encapsulated his legend as a fighter, maverick and man of principle. Last summer, with his campaign broke and his chances written down to zero by the experts, Mr. McCain threw away the standard playbook -- and much of his staff -- and appealed directly to the people of New Hampshire in a grass-roots, no-frills campaign. Though the war in Iraq was deeply unpopular, he refused to trim his conviction that America should stick with it. As opponents reversed long-held positions to appeal in ugly ways to anti-immigrant sentiment, Mr. McCain insisted on his more humane approach.* And against considerable odds, he outlasted the field.

In the half year since clinching, however, Mr. McCain has failed to offer a fully coherent case for his presidential bid. Reformer, fiscal hawk, outsider, insider, values candidate, wartime leader -- he has tried on each of these. He has offered specific proposals -- corporate tax cuts, offshore drilling, League of Democracies -- but has yet to assemble them into a framework of priorities. Having at one time opposed President Bush's tax cuts in part because of their unfairness, Mr. McCain doubled down on them, with scant concern for inequality or fiscal responsibility. His last-minute choice of a woman he barely knows to be his running mate underscored concerns about his impulsiveness, and her utter lack of experience in world affairs undermined his claimed seriousness about national security.

One reason for the incoherence undoubtedly is that Mr. McCain has the misfortune to share party membership with a deeply unpopular incumbent. Asserting independence without offending the dwindling band of Mr. Bush's loyalists hasn't been easy. But at the convention, Mr. McCain has to draw a line. Does he offer "four more years," as the Democrats allege? If not, how will he change course?

Over the course of his career, Mr. McCain has broken with his party and even risked his political future in the service of principle. Campaign finance, climate change, immigration, the Iraq war surge, opposition to torture -- given how few contemporary politicians can cite even one such occasion of risk-taking, Mr. McCain's list has to win admiration. But to win votes in November, being admirable is not enough. Mr. McCain has to convince Americans that he has a vision of where he wants to lead the country, and the judgment and character to do so.

for link to WaPo editorial click here

*Some pro-immigrant academic colleagues of mine say that McCain's immigration position was not so bad earlier in the campaign...who knows what his policy is now.

Praying for bad things? - KARMA will get you eventually, if not sooner

James Dobson and his associates think it is ok to pray for rain on a party - people are saying that the Republicans got their karma with Hurricane Gustav hitting New Orleans at the same time as the GOP convention.

He is playing until the last of his days

If you think about all the evil things that have occurred since Bush's inauguration in January 2001, the stepped up raids are only more of the same.  Bush is certainly leaving his mark... as the New York Times Magazine says "[Bush] arguably the most disliked president in seven decades."  It seems like Bush/Cheney are trying to intensify this negativity by stepping up the raids.  What is wrong with these people?  It is like Bush (happily sending out ICE raiders as his time draws near?

DHS says that they WON'T apply immigration enforcement laws during Gustav Evacuation

It is important to hold DHS to their word. With the evacuations and people leaving their homes for protection, we must hold them to their word that no checkpoints will be present at this time.

Remember what Immigration did during the fires in California not long ago?

AUGUST 31, 2008

***For Immediate Release***

New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice

Contact Saket Soni at 504-881-6610 or 773-550-9339



Immigrant workers demanding a safe evacuation from the path of Hurricane Gustav received key assurances from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that no immigration enforcement actions or checkpoints would occur in the evacuation process or along evacuation routes. The New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice gained the assurances for safe passage of immigrant workers just as mandatory evacuations began across the Gulf Coast. The exact agreement is below.

As Gustav approached, immigrant workers and their families feared evacuation due to anticipation over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints. Of the over 200 surveys of day laborers which the Workers' Center conducted as Hurricane Gustav approached, the fear of detention and deportation by DHS was identified as the single greatest obstacle to accessing humanitarian relief. "We want to take our families to safety. We should not have to face deportation as we escape from the storm" said Dennis Soriano, an organizer with the Congress of Day Laborers.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers arrived in the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist in the reconstruction of New Orleans and other cities. However, even as they were contributing to the rebuilding efforts, they faced extraordinary abuse, including high levels of wage theft, police brutality and massive immigration raids.

"This agreement would be the first clear assurance of safety from the federal government to immigrant workers who came to the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina" said Saket Soni, Director of the Workers' Center. "It's a small victory on the path to a humane and just relief effort."

Despite these assurances, immigrant workers and their advocates expressed concern about the treatment immigrants would receive in the relief effort. "Once we have evacuated safely, will DHS come to the shelters?" asked Soriano; "When we are returning home to rebuild the city, will we face DHS checkpoints on our way back?"

"We hope that these public assurances from DHS will be the first step towards a Memorandum of Understanding that clearly establishes what we all know: there's no place for immigration enforcement in humanitarian relief" said Jennifer Rosenbaum, Counsel to the Workers' Center. Ms. Rosenbaum has represented hundreds of immigrant workers in post-Katrina New Orleans efforts.

Soni said immigrant workers would continue to fight for access to the relief. "Just like everyone else who was forced to leave, immigrant workers and their families want to stay safe in the shelters, and they want to come home to New Orleans and help rebuild their city."

The New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice is a membership based organization that works with African-American and immigrant workers in the post-Katrina landscape.


AUGUST 31, 2008


· All residents of the Gulf Coast region need to evacuate.

· There are no immigration enforcement operations, and there are no

immigration enforcement checkpoints associated with the evacuations.

· The Department of Homeland Security's top priorities in any emergency are life-saving and life-sustaining activities, preventing the loss of property to the extent possible, and assisting with a speedy recovery of the affected region.


· Todos los residentes del la región de la Costa del Golfo deben evacuar.

· No hay operacions de inmigración, y no hay puntos de inmigración asociados con las evacuaciones.

· Las prioridades mas altas del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS por sus siglas en Ingles) en cualquier emergencia son las de salvar y sostener la vida, preevenir la pérdida de propiedad lo tanto posible, y asistir con la recuperación de la región afectada.

ICE Immigrant Surveillance at Head Start Program?

Where else is ICE watching?  If they are hanging around Head Start Centers, they must be other places too.  

"Several kids and babies died in the fields because parents were fearful of sending them to Head Start,"

Group says it's harming kids of illegal migrants, who then avoid the centers altogether

By GEORGIA PABST Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:49PM

MILWAUKEE, WIS. — Immigration enforcement officials are now targeting migrant and seasonal Head Start centers in some states as part of efforts to track down illegal immigrants, the executive director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association says.

Yvette Sanchez, president of the Washington, D.C.-based association, was in Milwaukee recently for a meeting of the national board of directors at United Migrant Opportunity Services Inc.

She said immigration surveillance is emerging as one of the top three issues for the group, comprising migrant and seasonal Head Start directors, staff, parents and friends. Financial appropriations and the need for more bilingual materials are the others, she said.

"Several kids and babies died in the fields because parents were fearful of sending them to Head Start," she said in an interview.

"Since early 2007, many of our programs started to notice that Border Patrol of Immigration and Customs Enforcement vehicles were parked outside their centers, and some were following buses picking up children," she said.

Jason Ciliberti, supervisory Border Patrol agent in Washington, D.C., said it's not the agency's policy to stake out Head Start centers.

"It could have happened if we believe there was an immigration violation afoot, but it's not our policy or practice, I believe."

Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman with ICE in Chicago, said: "Generally, our operations avoid actions at school settings. ... However, we will take into custody during these targeted operations anyone encountered who may be in the country illegally."

In testimony before the congressional subcommittee on work force protections in May, ICE officials were provided with a list of dates and places regarding ICE activities near migrant and seasonal Head Start programs in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and New Mexico, according to a letter sent to ICE officials in Washington by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

"We ask that ICE enforcement and intimidation tactics near migrant and seasonal Head Start centers cease immediately," U.S. Reps. Joe Baca, D-Calif., Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, wrote.

"Parents were fearful of going to the centers or letting their kids get on the bus, and enrollment went down in some parts," Sanchez said.

In Tennessee, one family took their baby with them to the fields and left the baby in the truck where the baby died, she said.

Not a requirement
The criteria for participating in migrant and seasonal Head Start programs is low family income and agricultural employment, she said. "Since the Head Start program was started in 1965, we have never asked families if they are citizens, and it's never been a requirement," she said.

Migrant and seasonal Head Start programs operate in 39 states and serve more than 30,000 migrants and 3,000 children of seasonal farm workers, she said.

Migrant and seasonal Head Start programs serve children from 6 months to school age and also provide a variety of health and transportation services.

United Migrant Opportunity Services operates Head Start programs in Wisconsin that serve 530 children.

Cris Cuevas, director of the United Migrant program, said centers here have not been targeted by immigration officials.

for link to article lick here

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Is using "Legacy" a way to cheat on admissions?

A professor at UCLA is saying that the university if circumventing admissions policies and using race as a factor in admissions.  What a shame that giving kids better opportunities is a violation of state law.

Before people get too upset about this - it would be good to take a look at the policy of Legacy at prestigious universities (which we all know really count as a way of reaching positions of power in the U.S.) -  When Legacy goes away and guys like GW Bush no longer can get into a fancy school on the basis of who their fathers are, then people have the right to start complaining about other types of affirmative action (yes, Legacy is affirmative action too, but for rich people).

from Wikipedia:

"Legacy preferences or legacy admission is a type of preference given by educational institutions to certain applicants on the basis of their familial relationship to alumni of that institution. (Students so admitted are referred to as legacies or legacy students.) There is a long history of this practice at American universities and colleges. The Ivy League institutions are estimated to admit 10% to 15% of each entering class based upon this factor.

Former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has stated, "Legacy admissions are integral to the kind of community that any private educational institution is." In the 1998 book The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, authors William Bowen, former Princeton University president, and Derek Bok, former Harvard University president, found "the overall admission rate for legacies was almost twice that for all other candidates."


UCLA accused of illegal admissions practices
A professor resigns as an admissions committee member, saying the university is factoring race into acceptance decisions, a violation of state law.

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 30, 2008

Arguing that UCLA admissions policies are being manipulated to circumvent the state's ban on consideration of applicants' race, a professor there has resigned from a faculty committee that he says refused to allow him to study the matter.

Political science professor Tim Groseclose resigned Thursday from the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, saying high-ranking university administrators and fellow committee members are engaged in a "coverup" to block illegal activity from being discovered.

"A growing body of evidence strongly suggests that UCLA is cheating on admissions," he wrote in an 89-page report posted on a UCLA website.

University officials called the report unsubstantiated and argued that Groseclose took a rise in the university's enrollment of black students as evidence that admissions officials were tampering with the process, without considering other factors such as increased outreach activities.

"He's taking an outcome and from that deducing a cause," said Tom Lifka, associate vice chancellor for student academic services.

Proposition 209, a 1996 voter initiative, bars California's public universities from considering race and other factors such as religion in the admissions process. In ensuing years, the number of black students at UCLA and many other UC campuses dwindled. By 2006, only 103 entering freshmen and 108 transfer students at UCLA were black, the lowest level in more than three decades.

Prompted by campus and community concerns about the lack of student diversity, UCLA decided in 2006 to move to a "holistic" application process, in which applicants' grades, test scores, extracurricular activities and other factors were no longer reviewed separately. Rather, achievements could be considered in the context of their personal experiences, Lifka said.

UCLA officials have said the new process is fairer to all applicants, and they have emphasized that admissions officials continue to abide by the restrictions imposed by Proposition 209.

Yet, since the admissions change was implemented, starting with the class that entered UCLA in fall 2007, the number of black students on campus has edged up. This fall, for example, 230 of 4,889 freshmen are African American, along with 100 transfer students. University officials attribute this increase to the holistic approach, as well as community outreach.

But Ward Connerly, a former UC regent who helped lead the drive for Proposition 209, said Groseclose's report buttressed his suspicions that university officials may be violating the law in their efforts to boost the number of black students on campus. His organization, American Civil Rights Institute, will probably file suit against the university in coming months, he said.

"They caved under the pressure from the NAACP and others in Los Angeles who want to see an increase in the number of black students," Connerly said. "There are so many ways you can rig the system."

Attempts to reach Groseclose on Friday were unsuccessful, but he wrote in his report that admissions officials often learned of students' race in personal application essays, and factored it into admissions decisions.

"It is obvious that the admissions staff was under intense pressure to admit more African Americans," he wrote.

He noted that black applicants' chances of admission increased with the holistic approach, while acceptance rates of other low-income students declined, particularly among Vietnamese, a point Lifka did not dispute.

Groseclose said in the report that he requested access to student applications to study the matter but was denied because of what he was told were privacy concerns. The university turned to another UCLA professor to conduct the research.

"Because I cannot properly conduct the duties with which I am charged as a member of CUARS, I am therefore resigning, in protest, from the committee," Groseclose wrote. "To do otherwise would condone and make me complicit in what appears to be illegal activity."

Lifka responded that the university uses 165 application readers and that they are told not to consider race. Each application is randomly distributed to two readers, so their ability to collude would be difficult, he said.

Lifka said it was vital for the university to pick a researcher who did not have a stated position on the admissions debate. "This is a highly charged political issue," he said.

The subject of whether Groseclose ought to have access to the data divided the committee. Attempts to reach several committee members were unsuccessful, and one said she had been told to refer media calls to the university.

Duncan Lindsey, a public affairs professor and a committee member, said he disagreed with Groseclose's beliefs that race was factored into admissions decisions, but strongly supported allowing him access to data. "We're a public university," Lindsey said.

In his report, Groseclose wrote that diversity could be increased without violating the law, perhaps by admitting students who finish in the top 1% of their high school class.

Connerly said students ought to be told that any mention of race in applications would be grounds for denial.

University officials called that idea untenable and noted that Proposition 209 also bars admissions based on other factors, such as gender.

"Where do we draw the line?" UCLA spokeswoman Claudia Luther asked.

for link to LAT article click here

Beauty Queens and the Glass Ceiling

Twenty years ago in another life, I used to love to shop at the Houston's Galleria.  That beautiful wool and silk suit at Lord & Taylor was my goal.  After a few years I had lots of them.

As the years went by and I left a well paying career for academia, I began to realize that I didn't have to look like a Barbie doll to be successful.  Part of the pressure came from being a woman in the United States.  We all know that being a gorgeous size 4 gets us almost anywhere these days.

The other is being of Mexican descent, and having spent a few years living in Mexico in the late 90s, I realized that women south of the Rio Grande not only had to be very attractive, they had to wear their sexuality as a mask - complete with the most expensive make-up they could afford (that by the way was purchased at Houston's Galleria).

I guess I am still somewhat vain.  I worry about my weight, - ask my 26 year old daughter what type of clothes won't make me look too matronly.  But the days of the wool-silk suits and expensive high heel shoes are over.  No more scrambling in the morning to fix my hair and put on eye makeup.  

There have been drawbacks - my second cousin in Monterrey, Mexico once asked me, "What happened to you?  You used to be so pretty?  Your eyes used to be so big?"  - She wasn't asking me this because I was so wrinkled or fat.  At that time I was basically as I had been in my early 30s in those respects.  She asked the question because I no longer "dressed up" - and put on eye make-up.

It is true that men no longer stop me to say something nice - mostly I don't miss that.  I was once told I looked like a Barbie doll - the more I thought about that comment the more I realized that being told I look like an inanimate object is no compliment.

Now that I am into the comfortable shoe phase I bask in being respected for the books I write, the conversations I have, and the intellectual community I belong to.  Yes, my husband thinks I'm pretty, but thank goodness his opinion is not based on my spending thousands of dollars a year on clothes  and make-up.

A few days ago I was interviewed by a group of young people from Mexico City - they had traveled to Los Angeles and Houston to interview successful Latinas - after having interviewed some successful women in Mexico.  They were shocked when I told them that in graduate school the women wore minimal if any makeup and didn't wear high heels (in the late 90s).  I told them that there were often comments that women who took on these trappings were seen as less serious intellectually.  Plus, it is so much more comfortable to work 18 hour days at a computer if you aren't wearing pointed toe spikes.

Bringing us to our current news of Sarah Palin being nominated for VP - I am fairly sure that McCain and his buddies had the beauty queen thing on their minds when they picked Sarah. Maybe they think that being like Barbie is the only way to break the glass. What a shame.

Palin as VP? Rove Must Have Been Asleep

If McCain were to be elected and the moment arose that Palin would have to take over, I might consider moving to some isolated area in Montana and hope not to see any other human beings for a while.

If someone believes that being the Mayor of a suburb with a population of 8,000 people is enough to prepare one for the presidency, then they have lost their marbles. Looks like Palin already has by accepting McCain's deranged offer.

Perhaps all of this has come about because of the GOPs desperation - they know they are in trouble, and have resorted to schemes that would make even Karl Rove shudder.

a few thoughts on Palin:

while Hillary is not my favorite person - I must say, Palin is no Hillary Clinton -

as for luck less VP candidates - Palin makes Dan Quayle look good. 

Does anyone see similarities to GHW Bush's pick of Clarence Thomas for Supreme Court?

P.S. turns out Rove wasn't asleep after all.  McCain just ignored him - see Huffington Post article by S.Blumenthal "Why Palin? McCain vs. Rove"

Mr. McCain's Choice
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has some appealing qualities. But could she step in as president?

Saturday, August 30, 2008; A22
Washington Post Editorial

AT FIRST GLANCE, there appears to be much to admire in Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, Sen. John McCain's choice as his vice presidential running mate. Just 44 years old, she is a talented and upbeat person who excelled in basketball and beauty pageants, music and moose hunting. Since entering politics she has shown independence and a clear moral compass. On Alaska's oil and gas commission, she blew the whistle on a fellow Republican's conflict of interest. Her 2006 campaign for the state's highest office began as an insurrection against her party's old guard. In choosing her, Mr. McCain said that Ms. Palin's experience equips her to help "shake up Washington."

There is no surprise in the fact that Ms. Palin is a conservative on the issues that matter most to the Republican Party's base. She is an opponent of abortion and a particularly outspoken advocate of letting oil and gas companies drill on public lands -- including Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a position that not even Mr. McCain, who favors offshore drilling, has embraced. But politically, Mr. McCain's choice was a stunner. He bypassed safer choices, such as Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in favor of a relative unknown.

Now Mr. McCain can say he is giving voters a chance to make history by electing the first woman to be vice president. He is also hoping Ms. Palin's down-to-earth "hockey mom" persona will appeal to those working-class Democrats, especially women, who voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the primary -- though many supporters of abortion rights may be insulted by that proposition.

But the most important question Mr. McCain should have asked himself about Ms. Palin was not whether she could help him win the presidency. It was whether she is qualified and prepared to serve as president should anything prevent him from doing so. This would have been true for any presidential nominee, and it was especially crucial that Mr. McCain -- who turns 72 today -- get this choice right. If he is elected, he will be the oldest man ever to serve a first term in the White House.

In this regard, count us among the puzzled and the skeptical. Not long ago, no less a Republican strategist than Karl Rove belittled Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, noting that picking him would appear "intensely political" because Mr. Kaine's experience consisted of only three years as governor preceded by the mayoralty of Richmond, which Mr. Rove called "not a big town."

Using Mr. Rove's criteria, Ms. Palin would not fare well. Her executive experience consists of less than two years as governor of her sparsely populated state, plus six years as mayor of Wasilla (pop. 8,471). Absorbed in Alaska's unique energy and natural resource issues, she has barely been heard from in the broader national debates over economic policy and health care. Above all, she has no record on foreign policy and national security -- including terrorism, which Mr. McCain posits as the top challenge facing America and the world. Once the buzz over Ms. Palin's nomination dies down, the hard questions about her will begin. The answers will reflect on her qualifications -- and on Mr. McCain's judgment as well.

for link to WaPo editorial click here

Friday, August 29, 2008

Our potential VP in Vogue

Sarah Palin on the cover of Vogue

sorry, I couldn't resist

The Word on Obama from London

My best friend is what some people here call a "naturalized citizen" -- she was born in another country and decided to become an American citizen, even though she didn't have to - She is a traditional Mom... makes sure she makes dinner for her kids everyday, doesn't serve them processed foods (like I did) - seems to do almost everything with her husband.

She's been telling me lately that she doesn't think Obama will come through. He hasn't said he will stop the ICE raids. She is fed up with national politics.

But something happened last night. She watched Obama. I had to depend on her opinion since I didn't turn the tv on except to see about hurricane Gustav. She said Obama convinced her that he could actually do something good for the country. This is a woman who voted for Bush in 2000 (she just recently admitted that to me).

Ok Obama - show us you mean what you say.


Micheal Tomasky's Blog
Politics and Other Stuff
August 29, 2008

Denver is a very nice city, but it doesn't remotely have the transportation infrastructure to handle this week's onslaught. So, as my wife and I left Invesco Field after Barack Obama's speech, the only choice was the usual one – to walk – and the only place to go was across a bridge that thousands and thousands of people were funneling into from many directions and despite the presence of various fences and barricades and jersey walls.

It was a nightmare, and under other circumstances (particularly ones where they served beer, which they did not Thursday night), distemper and impatience and testy rhetoric and maybe even a fight or two would've ensued. But this night all was calm. People were patient and cooperative. An African American woman walking in front of us carrying two small American flags turned to us to remark on this.

I use this as metaphor for the speech because I thought, while it was not one of those rhetorical barnburners for which the candidate is famous, it accomplished something else, more subtle but maybe more profound. Obama made his speech not about him but about his audience. He gave away some of his power this night and gave it to the people (sure enough, "Power to the People," John Lennon's somewhat unfortunate radical-chic anthem from 1971, was among the background music piped into the stadium before Obama spoke).

This to me was the single most important thing about the speech. There were other important aspects to it, and I'll get to those, but the main victory Thursday night was that he successfully made the night not about him in a way that could feed into the Celebrity/Messiah/The One/He Who Makes the Clouds Part narrative that the McCain camp has so successfully deployed.

The concerns that the speech-event would feed that narrative were palpable. You know – this was all about his endless ego and so on. There's no denying the man has an ego, but the worst fears of Obama partisans were not confirmed. He said explicitly at one point, "What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you." The non-verbal presentation worked as well. The stage set as initially described, a Roman temple of some sort, seemed horrifying and an awful choice sure to feed GOP themes. But in reality it turned out to be fine. It more resembled the Rose Garden portico of the White House than any place where Caligula hosted bacchanals. And anyway it didn't appear that any columns showed on television at all.

I haven't watched any TV coverage as I write these words but it's my strong bet that they're not talking any Messiah nonsense. And if the speakers at next week's GOP convention will try to poke fun at the speech on those grounds, they'll get laughs in the hall, but I will bet that the jokes won't resonate outside the pews of the already-believing. The speech was more workmanlike than that. And workmanlike was just what was called for under the circumstances.

He talked a lot about the economy. He did not – the speech's one failing, to my ear – have a short and strong bumper-sticker phrase describing the guiding philosophy of his economic plan. But after this speech, anyone who highly and mightily demands that Obama produce specifics will merely be showing his ignorance and laziness. He also focused on his empathy for working people's concerns.

And speaking directly before him were six or seven regular Americans who'd been hit hard by the Bush economy. Each was fantastic, especially Barney Smith, an Indiana factory worker and lifelong Republican who is disgusted with his party and voting for Obama.

It was Smith, not the silver-tongued one, who (surely by design – another way the night was not about Obama) got off the single most memorable line of the evening: "We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney."

He took on John McCain in a tough and tonally just right way. He accurately painted McCain as a joke of an intellect on economic questions, and (again, subtly, but clearly) on foreign policy, he described a sort of crazy person whose experience has not given him superior judgment at all. Among the three of them, Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden made a sharp case against a McCain presidency.

Obama also addressed questions about his resume and experience, albeit indirectly. But he dealt with the questions about his preparedness and seriousness less with words than with demeanor. He did not look like a guy Thursday night whom Putin could push around and did not sound like a guy who couldn't run the army (about 15 generals also took the stage to endorse him).

It was just the right speech for the occasion. He did not aggrandize himself. He explained the seriousness of the task at hand in a way that did not send his shock troops over the moon in Messiah ecstasy. Rather, he equipped them with battle armor – and with determined serenity about what they had to do until November 4.

And that was why everyone behaved in such an orderly way as they exited through a veritable obstacle course. They're armed. They were given agency Thursday night, not made into abject Barack-o-maniacs. And that, for a campaign that's banking on winning this election on the strength of thousands of volunteers, may have been the most important thing, more important even than how the media received it.

The Word on McCain from London

I just saw the McNeil Lehrer Report discussing Obama at the Democratic convention.... how in the world can anyone compare Gov. Palin, a former beauty queen, to Obama, a Harvard Law School Graduate, who was president of the Harvard Law Review? - the journalist from Pennsylvania who angrily said both Palin and Obama were equally not experienced must have been asleep when he was speaking. 

The woman journalist from Tampa said that Michelle Obama was a liability to her husband because she was seen as aggressive and assertive? Since when are women supposed to be quiet? Especially a woman with an Ivy League legal education?

The woman from Tampa reminded me of those things I read when I was researching the cemetery book - like the 1936 University of Texas dissertation on plantations in Texas that said a certain black state representative from Texas (in the 1890s) was too assertive and haughty.

Truthfully, both parties fudge and play their games, but these kind of maneuvers are disgusting.

If Palin is only a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, you can take it another way, considering McCain's history with women, his wife should be careful.

a word from the London Guardian:

click here to see video on the Guardian's response to McCain's choice of running mate. 

P.S. Take a look at Palin's 2008 hairdo, it looks like the hair of a woman belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses (or similar fundamentalist religious denomination)
second photo - John McCain in 1973

A couple of nice words from Obama

I hope he is for real.  I hope he is for real

Even though he only threw out a couple of sentences on immigration and mothers being separated from babies - maybe there is a chance that he is not making all this up thinking he can get the Latino vote.

Obama, whose father benefited from U.S. immigration policy - who is the quentissential example of the U.S. as an immigrant nation...  can he do it? does he want to?  Or will he have to cave in to the nativists, thinking this is necessary in order to get elected?

Barak Obama at the Democratic National Convention:

"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."

Photo of Obama (at left) 
Photo at right by Steve Rubin

Was it suicide or murder?

Autopsy: Immigrant inmate had blunt trauma
No conclusion on how wounds were inflicted

By HARVEY RICE Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Aug. 28, 2008, 11:34PM

GALVESTON — An autopsy report released Thursday is unlikely to resolve a dispute over whether a 17-year-old illegal immigrant was beaten by League City police before hanging himself in the Galveston County Jail.

The report said Arturo Chavez had a half-inch wound on the right side of his head, black eyes and marks on his back, but reached no conclusion as to how the wounds were inflicted.

"There is blunt trauma," said Stephen Pustilnik, Galveston County chief medical examiner. "Whether you would call that a beating, I don't know. He could have hit his head on something or something could have hit him in the head."

A Galveston County Sheriff's Office report says Chavez was being housed in the medical wing of the jail when he hanged himself Aug. 3 because nurses were unsure whether bruising around his eyes was caused by infection or injury.

His parents, who live in Guatemala, have filed a federal lawsuit accusing League City police of using excessive force and Galveston County jail officials of ignoring his suicidal tendencies.

Chavez, who entered the country illegally, was arrested for driving without a valid license and was being held for immigration officials Aug. 1, when he bolted from his cell, according to League City police reports.

Officers struck Chavez three times with a baton and shocked him with a Taser twice after he tried to scale a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, according to the reports.

The reports says he caused $300 in damage to the fence and was taken to the hospital for a cut hand.

Police accused him of escape, resisting arrest and criminal mischief, then transferred him to the Galveston County Jail.

Chavez, who was taking classes at Clear Creek High School and working as a busboy at a Webster restaurant, gave a false name to League City police and jail officials — Juan Esteban Baten Tzun — and lied about his age, saying he was 19.

Unsure about the cause of his black eyes, jail nurses placed Chavez in a special cell for prisoners with communicable diseases that prevents air from circulating to other parts of the lockup, according to sheriff's reports.

Reports said he complained that his eyes hurt and that he seemed to be tolerating his cell even though he felt claustrophobic.

The cell is next to the padded suicide cells that are supposed to be under constant observation and checked every 15 minutes.

The reports show Chavez was screened, and his answers gave no indication of suicidal tendencies.

A guard reported that Chavez, referred to as Batentzun in the reports, and another inmate were watching Apollo 13 on television from their cells about 6:40 p.m.

Chavez asked the guard several times for permission to make a phone call, but was denied because he already had made a call that day, the report says.

About 10:19 p.m. the inmate across the hall from Chavez's cell reported seeing him hanging in his cell.

Chavez had tied a blanket to a shower head, pulled it across a partition and tied the other end around his neck.

Guards and nurses cut him down, administered CPR and used a defibrillator in a failed attempt to restart the heart with an electrical jolt, all to no avail, the reports say.

A log sheet shows that he was taken to the University of Texas Medical Center at Galveston, where he was pronounced dead about 11:11 p.m.
for link to Houston Chronicle article click here

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bait and Switch --- Enroll in E-Verify and Lose Your Employees

More on the Laurel, Mississippi ICE Raid
Businesses Cite a Catch-22 After Miss. Immigration Raid

By Spencer S. Hsu, Alejandro Lazo and Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 28, 2008; A01

The arrests this week of nearly 600 immigrant workers at a manufacturing plant in Laurel, Miss., are fueling a national debate over a federal system to check new hires' work documents, a program whose expansion the Bush administration has made a cornerstone of its fight against illegal immigration.

In what they called the largest immigration sweep at a single site in U.S. history, federal agents raided a Howard Industries electrical transformer plant Monday despite the fact that the company last year joined the work eligibility system, called E-Verify.

The White House has called the program a key weapon against illegal hiring, proposing to expand it to nearly 200,000 government contractors this fall, covering about 4 million U.S. workers. Thirteen state legislatures have enacted similar legislation, and Congress is debating whether to extend E-Verify this fall.

Major U.S. employers assailed the expanding crackdown, saying it creates a Catch-22. If businesses fail to enroll in E-Verify, they run the risk of a raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said. But if they sign up, they face added costs, labor disruptions and discrimination complaints -- as well as the risk that flaws in the program won't stop all illegal hiring or prevent government raids, they said.

"I think it's a mistake on the part of a company to think that simply because they [enroll] that they are going to be protected from any kind of government audit or raid," said Myles Gladstone, vice president of Miller & Long, of Bethesda, a major construction firm based in the Washington area.

At issue is a program that is supposed to help employers abide by laws that bar the hiring of illegal immigrants. E-Verify allows companies to check federal Social Security and immigration databases to determine whether an employee is authorized to work.

However, a key weakness in E-Verify is that while it can determine whether a Social Security number presented by a worker is valid, it often cannot determine whether the number belongs to the applicant. Many workers try to evade detection by using another person's identification.

That was allegedly the case Monday, when dozens of U.S. agents sealed entrances to Howard Industries' Mississippi plant, stopping production while they executed a criminal search warrant for evidence related to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security documents and other crimes. A civil search warrant for illegal immigrants was also executed, turning up suspect workers from Mexico, Guatemala, Germany, Peru, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama, the government alleged.

About 475 workers were sent to a detention center in Jena, La., for deportation; 106 were released for humanitarian reasons to tend to a child or a medical condition pending court appearances; nine were juveniles transferred to a refugee resettlement agency, and eight face charges of criminal identity theft.

A spokeswoman for ICE noted the investigation began two years ago, before Howard joined E-Verify.

In its only comment on the raid, Howard Industries released a statement saying: "Howard Industries runs every check allowed to ascertain the immigration status of all applicants for jobs. It is company policy that it hires only U.S. citizens and legal immigrants."

The circumstances echoed a December 2006 raid on six plants operated by meat processor Swift & Co., now JBS Swift & Co., after which the company reported $53 million in losses, even though it was a longtime participant in the record-checking system.

Bush officials say such attacks are a smokescreen by industry groups, who oppose the program because it works. They note that many opponents embraced E-Verify last year, when they expected it to have less bite as part of a broad overhaul that would have legalized many immigrant workers.

But one of the lessons of last year's failed immigration legislation is that the American public wants to see tougher enforcement at U.S. workplaces before it will expand immigration or legalize those in the country unlawfully, said Stewart A. Baker, assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

"We have to have strong enforcement if we're ever to have a chance for comprehensive reform," Baker said.

Baker said the government is fixing E-Verify's flaws as it prepares to expand the initiative. Bush officials in early June proposed to triple the number of companies in the program, mandating participation by 169,000 federal contractors and requiring them for the first time to verify the eligibility of existing employees, not just new hires.

Enrollment in E-Verify has grown from 3,000 companies to 82,000 since it was expanded nationwide in 2003, but participation remains voluntary and covers 1 percent of an estimated 6 million U.S. employers and about 11 percent of annual hiring.

The proposed changes would double E-Verify's reach, covering more than 20 percent of U.S. hiring, federal officials said.

Business groups call the proposal an election-year power play that goes far beyond what Congress intended in 1996 when it created the voluntary system.

Although the government estimated the change will cover about 3 percent of the 153 million-member U.S. workforce, companies say the impact would be far greater, as contractors and subcontractors with even a small piece of the $430 billion that the federal government awards each year would need to review their payrolls. The U.S. chamber claims the rule would cost $10 billion to implement, 100 times the government's estimate.

"Without very significant changes, we would look at all options to stop a final rule, including a court challenge," said Randel K. Johnson, vice president and spokesman for the U.S. chamber.

Critics also say that E-Verify is not accurate enough, which could lead to discrimination against legal, foreign-born workers. Sorting out problems also threatens to swamp already overburdened Social Security administration offices that have their hands full tending to other work.

About 4.1 percent of 435 million Social Security records used by E-Verify contain errors -- or 17.8 million records -- the agency's Office of the Inspector General stated in June 2007. The system wrongly rejected foreign-born U.S. citizens 9.8 percent of the time in the first half of 2007, and it erroneously flagged noncitizens who had been authorized to work 1.4 percent of the time, a study last year found.

Federal officials insist that E-Verify is ready for prime time. In early 2007, 94.2 percent of workers were automatically verified. Another half-percent were mistakenly rejected, but workers were eventually able to clear up the problem, usually within two days. The remaining 5.3 percent of workers walked away, which officials said suggested that they were illegal.

The system has fixed errors that arose when workers enter the country legally or become citizens without notifying Social Security. Many remaining mistakes involve people who fail to report name changes after marriage or divorce.

Homeland Security has begun requiring workers who are permanent residents or noncitizens to present photo IDs that can be compared with their images in federal records. However, E-Verify lacks a similar check for people posing as citizens. As a result the system is feeding a black market for selling Social Security numbers, some of them stolen, business owners said.

"I think the general public thinks it's an answer-all to this whole illegal-worker-identity theft problem and it's not," said Bernie Kohl Jr., owner of Angelica Nurseries in Kennedyville, Md.

Kohl said E-Verify also creates a temptation for employers to discriminate against hiring legal immigrants because they don't want to hassle with trying to sort out the system's mistakes.

Congress still must decide whether to extend E-Verify beyond November. While the House voted 407 to 2 to extend it for five years, it required Homeland Security to pay the bills for the increased workload on Social Security and ordered new studies about its effectiveness. The Senate has yet to vote. Meanwhile, 13 states require some use of E-Verify, while Illinois has voted to bar it, creating a patchwork of laws likely to grow next year. Locally, Virginia lawmakers last winter rejected an attempt to mandate participation in E-Verify; no requirement exists in Maryland and the District.

for link to WaPo article click here

Nightmares with ICE Raids

*By: JR
May 1st actions in Houston

I am not sure if it is affecting me as much as i think or if these ICE Raids are having unconscious effects on my mind.

I really don't talk about these ICE Raids to a lot of people, but i think about it a lot... maybe too much that i even have dreams about it- well, more like nightmares really.

Perhaps ever since I read Dr. Camayd-Freixas' article on the Raid in Postville, Iowa i became so much more aware of how real these attacks against our families have become. I have realized in the vulnerable position we are in.

Last Friday i had a nightmare where i was trying to protect and hide my family from being arrested and taken by ICE (interestingly, ICE officials later became part of the military). In this nightmare i could see families being taken by vans as if they were cattle- i could see their faces that projected sadness and fear. My brothers were taken and i was not able to see them again. At the end of the dream all my family had been taken away and i was the only one trying to seek refuge among families that would agree to hide me.

I woke up and i called my parents to see that they were okay-they were, but i didn't want to tell my mom about what i had dreamed... i didn't want to scare her. Monday came and the Mississippi raid came.

I can't begin to imagine what it would be like if my family was taken away, if my dad or brother were to be taken away. I honestly hope that these attacks against our families come to an end soon. It often happens where things get worse before they can get any better, i just wonder how much worse this situation will get.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DREAMer Benefits Unfair to Foreign Students Here on Visas?

A couple of years ago, in one of my Hispanic literature classes, the students had a discussion about in-state tuition for DREAMers.  A few students who were in the country on visas were very angry that they should pay such high tuition while undocumented students were allowed in-state tuition rates.

It is logical that foreign students who get stuck with 250% increases in tuition would be angry.  Yet it is important to remember that DREAMers have been living in the U.S. since they were young children - moving through the educational system as if they were born here -- many no even knowing they are undocumented.

There is assumption that foreign students here on visas are all very wealthy...  There is some truth to this in that oftentimes, it costs a great deal of money to obtain passports - which is especially difficult in Mexico since 70% of the population lives in poverty -  Many DREAMer's families could not have afforded to send their child to the U.S. to college using the route of a passport and visa.

Just about every DREAMer I have ever met has been in the U.S. for at least 10 years, speaks fluent English, and sees themselves as American.  It would be great if this would be enough to make them citizens.  

When foreign students get angry about the high tuition rates they pay, maybe it would be helpful to remember that they don't have to experience a panic attack every time there is word that an ICE raid is about to occur.  That in itself is worth paying the higher tuition.


Utah: In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Unfair to Foreign Students?
KCPW News, Aug 27, 2008
By Elizabeth Ziegler

(KCPW News) The debate about the state's controversial law granting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants will surface again at the Immigration Interim Committee meeting tonight in Park City. An Indonesian student and a University of Utah instructor will testify that the law is unfair to foreign students who are charged more expensive out-of-state tuition. Adjunct professor Rebecca Cowden says she's worked for years with people from developing countries, and we should give those here on student visas tuition breaks, too.

"I just don't think the label that I don't like foreigners applies. I'm just saying: It just feels like we're held hostage and this is nutty," Cowden says. "If they have enough money to do this, then please, could we expand it to the legal students and could we expand it to the other American citizens. And the ugly truth, I suspect, is that we don't have the money and we just don't know what to do."

Advocates, such as Utahan's for the American Dream Co-Chairwoman Karen Crompton, are wary of efforts to outlaw the tuition break. Crompton, who is also the executive director of Voices for Utah Children, says many have grown up as Americans. Under the current law, illegal immigrants who graduate after attending at least three years of high school in Utah qualify for in-state tuition. The law initially passed the Legislature in anticipation of the federal Dream Act, sponsored by Utah's U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch. But the bill failed to pass Congress.

Crompton agrees a college education is too expensive for many students, but she feels the financial challenges unique to illegal immigrants warrant giving them cheaper tuition.

"Getting an education is tougher for everyone these days because of the financial cost and fewer loans being available. And in fact, students of undocumented parents have very few financial options. They're not eligible for federal grants or loans, nor grants from universities," Crompton says. "So they really have a tough job ahead of them. And so I think we should really reward and encourage their effort, which is really to achieve the American dream."

An attempt to reverse the law failed to gain Legislative support earlier this year. However, a sweeping immigration reform bill, S.B. 81, was approved.

thanks to for passing this on

Campaign to stop "HATE TV"

Because people like Dobbs and Glen Beck need to be stopped and removed from the airwaves, it's sad the in this case "money-talks" an that's why they strive amongst the nativists/anti-immigrants...

Ya basta! Tengan respeto y dignidad a sus sumejantes.
Hate TV corrupts they minds of people, gracias NCLR, I suggest Black and Brown Unity!!!



Who do these mean people sleep at night? But unless they actually experience it they will never know what it's like to be an immigrant.
Please forward far and wide.

Major Hispanic Group Launches ' Hate Speech' Campaign.

The country's leading Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization is set to begin a campaign targeting several newscasters and presidential candidates for what it deems "rhetoric that demonizes immigrants and Hispanic Americans."

The National Council of La Raza, which includes nearly 300 affiliated organizations, will launch a new initiative on Thursday titled "We Can Stop The Hate," aimed at curtailing the influence of CNN's Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck as well as MSNBC political commentator Pat Buchanan. In addition, the organization is petitioning for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to renounce the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist, a cofounder of the Minuteman Project, an anti-immigration group.

"There's a bully in the room," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CE, "and each of these candidates has a choice. They can stand up to the bully or they can cater to him. It is a question of courage or cowardice. To date, we have seen far too little courage."

The NCLR campaign, which will likely last through the presidential election, will catalogue the use of code words that paint immigrants as threats. The website accompanying the launch will included fact sheets and video samples documenting examples of inflammatory immigration-policy rhetoric.

The organization has requested a meeting with senior executives at CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, to discuss the philosophical viewpoints of their respective anchors and commentators. The ultimate goal of the campaign, officials say, will be to stem the "surge in hate speech and violence" that has emerged in the immigration debate.

"The immigration issue deserves serious debate and serious solutions," said Murguía. "We cannot have that debate as long as hate has the floor."

View the "We Can Stop The Hate" website by clicking here.

Open Letter to the Democratic National Committee

August 28, 2008

Dear Democratic Party,

Now that you are together with your thousands of supporters, please use this opportunity to make a strong public statement against ICE raids.  Show us you really believe in a democracy and that you are not just pandering to those who hate.

link to photo

Mississippi ICE Raid: "no company executives detained"

People clapped when those arrested were taken away.  WHAT IS THAT?  At the least it shows how much hatred and resentment is around.

And again, as always, the company executives were not arrested.  As far as I know the only time there have been arrests is if the company administrators were foreigners.  

Does this mean that ICE only wants the low wage workers who are "breaking the law."  What about the high paid bosses who are also "breaking the law" by hiring undocumented people?  Are they immune?  It appears this is so.

All this betrays reason... but then, our present administration (Bush & Co.) has never shown the ability to reason as their strong point.

An added note.  Now that the Democrats are all together, the "party of the people" could use this opportunity to make a strong statement against raids.  I am not holding my breath. 


Sun Herald -Biloxi/Gulport
Posted on Wed, Aug. 27, 2008
Fear grips immigrants after Miss. plant raid

...Nearly 600 immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally were detained, creating panic among dozens of families in this small southern Mississippi town.

...The superintendent of the county school district said about half of approximately 160 Hispanic students were absent Tuesday.

Roberto Velez, pastor at Iglesia Cristiana Peniel, where an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the 200 parishioners were caught up in the raid, said parents were afraid immigration officials would take them.

"They didn't send their kids to school today," he said. "How scared is that?"

One worker caught in Monday's sweep at the plant said fellow workers applauded as immigrants were taken into custody. Federal officials said a tip from a union member prompted them to start investigating several years ago.

Fabiola Pena, 21, cradled her 2-year-old daughter as she described a chaotic scene at the plant as the raid began, followed by clapping.

"I was crying the whole time. I didn't know what to do," Pena said. "We didn't know what was happening because everyone started running. Some people thought it was a bomb but then we figured out it was immigration."

...John Foxworth, an attorney representing some of the immigrants, said..."There was no communication, an immediate loss of any kind of news and a lack of understanding of what's happening to their loved ones," ...

..."We have kids without dads and pregnant mothers who got their husbands taken away," said Velez's son, Robert, youth pastor at the church. "It was like a horror story. They got handled like they were criminals."

...[Barbara Gonzalez, an ICE spokeswoman]...said agents had executed search warrants at both the plant and the company headquarters in nearby Ellisville. She said no company executives had been detained, but this was an "ongoing investigation and yesterday's action was just the first part..."

Associated Press Writers Shelia Byrd in Hattiesburg, Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson and Eileen Sullivan in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

for link to complete Sun Herald article click here

link to top photo
link to bottom photo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Typical phrase of the nativists...What part of legal immigration don't you understand?

Los gringos need to check out this chart before saying "get in line"'s not that simple!!


Chart shows how complicated becoming an American is for even the most skilled workers
The immigration debate is often reduced to - why don't immigrants just get in line and come into this country legally?

If only it were that simple. A new chart details how complicated the immigration maze is, demonstrating the countless requirements that must be met, and the red tape that must be navigated, by everyone from English soccer star David Beckham to an Indian engineer. What's the best-case immigration scenario? Five or six years: If you are the spouse or a minor child of a U.S. citizen, you should be able to enter the country and get a green card. Then, after three to five years, you can apply to become a citizen. The worst case scenario? You are an unskilled worker hoping to make a better life for yourself in America. "Unlike previous periods in our history, there is virtually no process for unskilled immigrants without family relations in the U.S. to apply for permanent legal residence," the chart by Reason Foundation and the National Foundation for American Policy states.

The Bad Dream*

It is 4 am.  You are in your own bed, in your own house.  You wake up in a sweat.  You have just had a nightmare.  In Spanish this is called a pesadilla.

Even though you are now awake, you are not totally sure where you are.  You look around and see familiar things from your bedroom.  You get up and walk to the next room.  The kids are there, sleeping --  All is ok. 

You heart is pounding. You sit on your bed and think about the dream.

It starts with a loud heavy knock on your front door.  Someone breaks through, there are men in black uniforms, with rifles in their hands.  They are screaming.    "Get up Mexican - we are sending you back home."  Your kids wake up  -  they are crying.  The dog is barking.  One of the officers threatens to kill the dog if it doesn't shut up.  The kids scream even more.  

The men in black take your family away in a white van.  In a few days you find yourselves deep in the interior of Mexico, hundreds of miles from anyone you know.  You have $40.00 in your pocket.    You can't believe this happened to you in America.  Your kids are American citizens.  You have been here for 20 years, came at the age of 4  when your father lost his job and there wasn't enough money for food. 

A few seconds later you find yourself standing on a dark street corner in a small mountain village of San Luis Potosi.  You are alone, where are your kids?

Suddenly the dream ends.

• photo detail, for link click here