Sunday, November 30, 2008

For Sophia on Thanksgiving

Dear Sophia

Today I opened up the blog and found a comment full of anger and hurt.  The signature said "Sophia."  Below is an excerpt of the comment.  I have taken out the offensive words and the statistics you provided.  I believe the statistics are wrong.  You quote a high rate of murders by undocumented immigrants.  According to well respected sociologist Ruben Rumbaut (considered one of the most credible experts on immigration in the U.S.); less than 2 out of 100,000 people incarcerated for murder are undocumented.  No this doesn't mean they get away with it.  Think about it... it is not logical for a person with little or no financial resources to have a good criminal lawyer.  People who are undocumented usually get public defenders who at times have been known to fall asleep during trials.

see dreamacttexas post:  The MYTH of Immigrant Criminality, November 17, 2008

Sophia's comment:

You want us to be up in arms about 1 ILLEGAL ALIEN being killed?  To... you, U.S. citizens' blood, means nothing (sic).  Stop you racist hate bating (sic)...Our blood is worth no less than theirs.   Where is the tears for my people (sic)?

My response to Sophia.  Yes, Marcello Lucero was only one person.  Many other people have been murdered in the United States, a few by undocumented immigrants, and many many by U.S. citizens.  What makes Lucero's death much more tragic is how it all happened.  The young men who attacked him live in a place where community leaders provoked U.S. citizens, telling them horrible things about immigrants.  The place is full of people like Lou Dobbs.  You add this to a few mis-guided angry young men and you have disaster on your hands.  

Think about it.  Why would a handful of teens want to go "beat up a Mexican?"  It means a number of things.

1.  They don't think Mexicans deserve to be treated like other people (remember they didn't say undocumented, they just used the term Mexican).
2.  Somewhere they learned that is it OK to physically harm other people.
3.  They must have felt there would be no consequences for their violent behavior.
4.  They must have felt they were doing something good for themselves.
5.  They were very very angry about something they felt had been done to them, either by the "Mexicans" or someone else.  There is a big reality about many people in the U.S. feeling they have been maligned or damaged by someone else.  The cause often falls on immigrants who are seen as taking too much of the shrinking pie.  There is real sadness, despondency, and rage - and that is getting worse by the day.  It is much easier to think that other poor people (i.e. undocumented immigrants) are stealing the pie that perhaps those that already have big pieces.  The gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is strikingly higher than it has ever been.  

The next question I have is, what could Mexicans have done to them to provoke such rage?

1.  Speak Spanish in public?  That seems to make people very angry.  It is so un-American to people who feel that everybody in the U.S. needs to be the same.
2.  Use American resources?  Get food stamps and other assistance?  (undocumented people cannot get food stamps)  Health care (yes, most places they can but why would you deny health care to someone needing it?  that seems like a crime in itself to me).  
3.  Make America look Mexican?  Well, there may be a little truth to that, but you can bet it won't influence the affluent neighborhoods.  The reality is that "the Mexican look" has taken over the working class neighborhoods.  But were those kids from the Long Island working class?

Last question for today. 

What makes a bully?

Lou Dobbs is a bully, so are Bill O'Reilly and Dick Cheney.  So were the boys from Long Island.  

I can look up some academic paper that analyzes bullies, but I'll leave that for the reader to ponder.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Obama to the U.S. population - lose weight

After overeating yesterday, it may be good for all of us to read the following report:
Los Angeles Times

Obama and obesity: Change you can believe in?
1:00 PM, November 27, 2008

In addition to mortgage rescues, banking bailouts and healthcare reform, some people would like to know what President-elect Barack Obama intends to do about the nation's growing girth. Not to worry. A think tank called the Public Health Advocacy Institute, housed at Northeastern University's School of Law, sent a list of nearly 50 legal and policy recommendations designed to combat obesity to Obama's Health and Human Services transition team this week.
"Public health, unlike some other national assets, cannot be 'rescued' or 'bailed out,' " PHAI President Richard Daynard wrote in a cover letter attached to the document. "A sophisticated and aggressive federal approach to obesity is desperately needed." Among the recommendations:

* Issue an executive order demanding that all executive branch agencies consider the impact of major federal legislation on the obesity epidemic, similar to the Environmental Justice Executive Order of 1994. * Impose federal taxes, both sales and excise, on purchases of unhealthy foods and beverages and earmark the revenue for obesity programs. * Prohibit and remove all commercial promotion of food in schools and educational settings receiving federal funds.

* Provide funding through the 2009 reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Bill to establish a garden in every school. * Establish strict federal regulations limiting food and beverage advertising to children, including the Internet. To see a copy of the document, go to the PHAI website. PHAI is a nonprofit law and policy research organization. -- Shari Roan

link to cartoon image

Mumbai part I

A few days ago I had a long conversation with an old friend. She is someone I respect and care deeply about. Yet, in our conversation she told me that she was concerned about the growing Muslim influence in this country, and that she was sure Obama was Muslim - that he had stated so in an interview with Bill Riley.

I asked her what was wrong with the U.S. having more Muslims. She said the U.S. is a Christian country and that it needs to keep mosques out so it can stay Christian.

Now with the attacks in Mumbai, there will be more hatred unleashed against Muslims. A note of warning for media outlets...not all Muslims are terrorists.

---and not all violence is about religion or about South Asia. The attack on the most affluent center of Mumbai, that is mostly frequented by Westerners is a telling reminder that the attack is also on the West... as stated in one newspaper article, the gunmen were looking for American and U.K. passports... The timing is also interesting, being between the U.S. election and inauguration of our new President. Didn't someone say that it was a vulnerable time for the U.S.? on Mumbai November 28, 2008 ...[A] heinous though typical pro-coup, government-mimicking NYT Editorial was written in April, 2002 -- just months after the 9/11 attacks, when the extremism and mindless submission to Government authority that would grip this country for the next several years was still rumbling towards it peak. The terrorist attacks in India this week serve as a critical reminder of how easily those forces are unleashed. Any decent, civilized person watching scenes in Mumbai of extremists shooting indiscriminate machine gun fire and launching grenades into civilians crowds -- deliberately slaughtering innocent people by the dozens -- is going to feel disgust, fury, and a desire for vengeance against the perpetrators, regardless of what precipitated it. The temptation is great even among the most rational to empower authority to do anything and everything -- without limits -- to punish those responsible and prevent repeat occurrences. That's a natural, even understandable, response. And it's the response that the attackers hope to provoke. It's that temptation to which most Americans -- and our leading media institutions -- succumbed in the wake of 9/11, and it's exactly the reaction that's most self-destructive. As documented by this superb Washington Post Op-Ed today from Dileep Padgaonkar, former editor of the Times of India, the Indian Government -- in response to prior terrorist attacks -- has been employing tactics all-too-familiar to Americans: "terrorism suspects have been picked up at random and denied legal rights"; "allegations of torture by police are routine"; "suspects have been held for years as their court cases have dragged on. Convictions have been few and far between"; Muslims and Hindus are subjected to vastly disparate treatment; and much of the most consequential actions take place in secrecy, shielded from public view, debate or accountability. As Padgaonkar details, many of these measures, particularly in the wake of new terrorist attacks, are emotionally satisfying, yet they do little other than exacerbate the problem, spawn further extremism and resentment, and massively increase the likelihood of further and more reckless attacks -- thereby fueling this cycle endlessly -- all while degrading the very institutions and values that are ostensibly being defended. The greater one's physical or emotional proximity to the attacks, the greater is the danger that one will seek excessively to empower and submit to government authority and cheer for destructive counter-measures which allow few, if any, limits. What happened in the U.S. over the last eight years is about much, much more than what "the Bush administration" did. It begins there, but responsibility in the post 9/11-era is much more diffuse and collective than that. Shoveling it all off on the administration that is leaving, while exonerating our culpable media and political institutions that remain, isn't merely historically inaccurate and unfair, though it is that. Allowing that revisionism also ensures that the critical lessons that ought to be learned will instead be easily and quickly forgotten when similar episodes occur here in the future. -- Glenn Greenwald

Mumbai part II

The New York Times says the death toll is now 143, expecting it to go up substantially because many bodies cannot be retrieved because gunmen still occupy the buildings.

Blood in Mumbai

By Dileep Padgaonkar
Washington Post
Friday, November 28, 2008; Page A29

NEW DELHI -- Terrorist attacks have shattered the peace in more than half a dozen Indian cities over the past year. Yet none threatened India's secular and democratic polity as much as the carnage that jolted Mumbai on Wednesday. Mumbai is India's financial and commercial capital and arguably the country's most cosmopolitan metropolis. By targeting, among other establishments, two of the city's most opulent hotels -- the Taj and the Trident -- where the rich, famous and influential congregate to advance their business and political agendas, the terrorists struck at the very symbol of a resurgent nation.

The timing of the assault is equally significant, coming on the eve of elections to five provincial assemblies. Campaign rhetoric has polarized opinion along sharply antagonistic lines, essentially pitting the ruling Congress party, which swears by secularism, against the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

After terrorist attacks in the past, the BJP has denounced the Congress party as being soft on terrorism in an effort to mobilize India's substantial Muslim vote in its favor. The Congress, in turn, attacks the BJP and its affiliates for bashing Muslims in order to consolidate its core Hindu vote. Indians have a peculiar word to describe this state of affairs -- communalism, meaning a determined bid to exploit religious sentiments for electoral gain.

The effect of this competitive demagoguery has been disastrous on many counts. Terrorism suspects have been picked up at random and denied legal rights. Allegations of torture by police are routine. Questions have been raised about the "encounters" between police and terrorism suspects. Suspects have been held for years as their court cases have dragged on. Convictions have been few and far between.

Commissions set up to investigate particularly gory incidents of religious violence have taken their time to produce reports. Few are opened for public debate. The recommendations in these reports have been routinely ignored or else implemented in a highly selective manner. Muslims convicted in some cases have been punished while Hindus have been let off lightly or not punished at all.

As a consequence, India's Muslims have begun to lose faith in the Indian state, its institutions and its instruments. This has led to the radicalization of Muslim youths. Religious extremism has pushed them onto the path of violence. Increasing evidence suggests that some have joined the ranks of the international jihadist movement with close links to terrorist groups in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. Here in India, these groups are widely believed to collude with those countries' intelligence agencies...more

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Smart People

During the presidential campaign, there was much criticism of Obama and his "elitism" - the natural intellectual prowess that he is now showing us. The writer of the article below says that good presidents don't necessarily need to be smart. Well there are many ways of being smart.

You can be like Clinton who always knew all the facts about everything. Or you can be smart like LBJ who was brilliant at dealing with people and governmental structures. You could be like Obama who not only knows it all but knows how to act like a President (so sad that our last President didn't know how to do that and we were so forgiving -big mistake).

For such important leadership positions, you need both type of smarts. LBJ may not have read Nietzsche, but I still think he was a genius. Growing up in the Texas Hill Country in the early 20th century was not conducive to learning about the great philosophers.

Obama's smarts took a different turn when he left Occidental College in California to go to Columbia University in New York. The environment helped him reach his potential. Too bad so many kids don't get that kind of chance. And thank goodness he did...

Good Time for a Brainy President
Washington Post
November 27, 2008
by David Broder

...I am struck by how lucky this country is, at the moment, that the president-elect is a super-smart person like Barack Obama.

With each passing day, it becomes more evident that even the smartest and most experienced managers of the American economy are struggling to understand -- and fix -- what has gone wrong in our markets.

I attempt to follow the discussion in newspapers and on Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour" and other deeply serious television programs about the latest moves by the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury -- and I am stumped.

The sums are so staggering, the vocabulary so unfamiliar, the experience so uninformative that I have not a clue whether Bernanke, Paulson and Co. are on top of the situation or are inadvertently making things worse.

That's an embarrassing admission. I get paid to cover the government, and this is by far the most important challenge facing Washington. But I am utterly dependent on others to decipher the clues that may unravel these mysteries.

Obama is not similarly handicapped. Even in the emotional maelstrom of his election victory, and even with the pressures of assembling his administration, everything points to his managing to focus on the policy choices looming in the economic field.

I have talked to two people on the fringe of the transition team -- both members of Congress with major responsibilities in the economic area. Both have been asked for input by Obama, and both say that the quality of his questions -- and his follow-ups -- were a measure of the depth of his knowledge of the situation.

He has not been tested that rigorously in the news conferences he has held so far, but his ability to respond to the questions he has been asked, to make his points in a coherent, balanced way and to avoid any misstatement has certainly been a treat to watch...

...for a nation in crisis, it is worth giving thanks for the performance the next president has turned in so far -- and for the mind that is working on the nation's behalf.
for complete article click here

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Enforcing a Law of Cruelty

They break the law so many say, they being undocumented immigrants. As Steve Levy said, we are just enforcing the law.

There have been so many times in history where the law looked the other way... why is it so important to follow the letter of the law when dealing with the most vulnerable of populations?

A few pieces of history to provoke some thought:

John F. Kennedy would have never been president if his father would have been jailed for being a liquor distributor during prohibition.

What would have happened to the Pilgrims if they would have gone home when the Native Americans told them, "This is my land, go back to where you came from!" If they returned home to England, they would have just been following "the law" of the Native's land.

How many more people would have died in New Orleans after Katrina if those two guys wouldn't have taken someone's bus and loaded it with evacuees?

One more thing. We all have a role in the immigration drama. When you go to a restaurant that has undocumented cooks and busboys you are also a player in the story. You are benefiting from immigration. If you live a recently constructed house, you are also benefiting...

Lawyers benefit, government jobs are created, farms keep surviving...and most unfortunately Lou Dobbs has become even more famous while Congressmen and Senators use his inflammatory words as their canon when describing the immigration polemic.

from dreamactpost September 15, 2007 "Information if Everything" - Alex Koppleman, "Some members of Congress freely acknowledge that their information on the [Ramos and Compean] case comes from Dobbs"

A Catastrophic Silence
New York Times
Published: November 25, 2008

The killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant, on Long Island this month brought with it a cruel blessing. From a shocking crime — an assault by a gang of boys accused of making a hobby of hunting Latinos — came a chance for a stricken, divided community to bind old wounds and to bury anger.

Instead, the moment is collapsing into the same old shouting. Advocates for immigrants are condemning the Suffolk County executive, Steve Levy, as somehow complicit in the killing for his rigid devotion to immigration enforcement. Mr. Levy is lashing back and trying to distribute blame fairly. He wonders, for example, how a gang out of “A Clockwork Orange” could have run free for so long, firing BB’s and hateful slurs at random victims, jumping and punching them for sport.

Why, he asks, were their friends and acquaintances silent? It’s a fair question, but there is another silence Mr. Levy should focus on.

The silence that echoes most painfully is that of the Latino victims of these and other hidden crimes. Mr. Lucero’s death has set loose a flood of stories of abuse and harassment. A police precinct commander lost his job over his handling of two other attacks against Latino men that fatal day, an acknowledgment that in Suffolk, equal protection may not always apply to everyone.

Suffolk is not the only place with hate crimes or fearful immigrants. The same silence ruled in Postville, Iowa, where children worked brutal hours on a slaughterhouse killing floor. It hung over a factory in New Bedford, Mass., that systematically cheated workers of wages and the Louisiana shipyards where legal guest workers were held in modern-day indentured servitude.

The silence of undocumented immigrants is the catastrophic silence of people taught by legislative harassment and relentless stereotyping to live mute and afraid.

Mr. Levy sees no role for himself in this drama.

“Since when is enforcing the law seen as something negative and inflammatory?” he asked his critics this week. Here is an attempt to explain.

The fixation on uprooting and expelling immigrants is negative because it doesn’t work. It’s inflammatory because it tears communities and families apart.

When you turn the local police into la migra, as Mr. Levy once tried to do, you turn immigrants into the mute prey of criminals. When you relentlessly pick fights with advocates who criticize you, as Mr. Levy has, you are unable to stand with them when disaster strikes.

And when you tolerate the poisonous notion that “illegal” is a stain that can never be erased, with no path to atonement, then you turn the undocumented into a permanent class of presumed criminals who have no rights.

The undocumented do have rights. They have the right to be paid for their labor, to speak freely and to congregate in public places without fear.

Mr. Levy has an agile mind and a commitment to doing what he sees as right. There is a way for him to make Suffolk a better place. He can give the jobs of deportation and border control back to the federal government and concentrate on making things safer and more lawful in his community. He can stand up for the rights of the undocumented, like day laborers, to congregate safely and to be paid for their work, to prevent federal crimes like wage theft and to keep off-the-books businesses from eroding pay and conditions for all workers.

He can pursue common ground with his Latino constituents — even those who are angry at him but would jump at the chance to sit down and talk. He can listen to Marcelo Lucero’s brother, Joselo, who has been a voice for peace. He can lead his county into the calm silence of reconciliation instead of silence based on fear.

McCain on Immigration in 2009

McCain can do more for the nation as a senator than as a president.

McCain will run again - and push immigration

...McCain said that he remains "honored" to have served Arizona and that he plans to run for reelection in 2010. He dismissed ideas that he might run for president again, saying that if he wins in 2010, he will pledge to serve a full six-year term.

He said he will continue pressing for immigration reform in the Senate, despite the issue's political pitfalls.

"Running for reelection has never been a concern of mine as far as issues like that are concerned. I intend to discuss that with the president-elect," he said of immigration.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

REAL America Knows Better

Virgil Goode 

A hate filled politician from Virginia has lost an election (we hope) to a long shot contender. is saying the politician, Virgil Goode said some nasty things. He is the guy who emphasized "real America and real Virginia" - who worried about having a Muslim Congressman in the the House of Representatives - who thinks lawmakers should all have light skin.

Here is a statement Virgil Goode made in 2007:

"My message to them is, not in two weeks, not in two months, not in two years, never! We must be clear that we will not surrender America and we will not turn the United States over to the invaders from south of the border."[3]Rep. Virgil Goode (R- VA), at the March for America,Washington, DC, June 18, 2007.

Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 16:00 EST
Goode goes down -- maybe

The Virginia State Board of Elections certified Democratic challenger Tom Perriello as the winner in the state's 5th Congressional District on Monday. The race -- one of the last outstanding congressional battles -- isn't quite settled yet, though; incumbent Republican Virgil Goode will reportedly ask for a recount.

Perriello began the race as a long shot, since he was running in a district that’s considered deep red. But the combination of a compelling back story and increased black turnout seem to have put him over the top. That Goode was a magnet for controversy didn't hurt, either.

Most infamously, Goode publicly worried about the significance of Minnesota's Keith Ellison becoming the first Muslim congressman, saying, "If American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." Goode also shared a stage with a local official who endorsed him on the grounds of his authentic, "real America and real Virginia" quality, though by that point in the year, such talk was pretty standard fare. Last, but not least, he ran an ad against Perriello that showed the clean-shaven, boyish challenger looking swarthy and bearded.

Perriello's lead stands at 745 votes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I - Obama and Immigration

Things have already changed. You see Obama during a press conference and you know we have entered another era. We will have a real President again. Maybe Noam Chomsky thinks its all a public relations ploy - and perhaps it is. But having Obama know how to act like a President makes us feel better- at the least.

Below is an article from the Washington Post - the writer, Edward Alden saying that the U.S. is remarkably closed-minded when it comes to immigration.  I would say its more like the U.S. decided to enter an archery contest blind-folded.  Can you imagine who you would injure if you shot arrows with your eyes covered?  

Closed-Minded on the Border

By Edward Alden
Washington Post
Sunday, November 23, 2008; B01

The day after the Nov. 4 presidential election, I was chatting with a young immigrant from Sudan as I waited to do a radio interview. He was gushing over the election results. "Can you imagine when he puts his hand on the Bible and says, 'I, Barack Hussein Obama'?" he said, putting the emphasis on the middle name. "It is amazing."

For many in America's immigrant communities, the election of the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother represents not so much a healing of America's racial wounds as a chance to bridge the divide that has opened between the United States and the rest of the world in the past eight years. Of the many mistakes we made in the reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, one of the most damaging was slamming the door on our friends in an ill-considered effort to keep our enemies out.

Instead of continuing to embrace the massive flow of talent, energy and initiative that the rest of the world has long offered the United States, we launched an expensive, futile experiment to see whether we could seal our borders against the ills of the world, from terrorists to drugs to illegal migrants. This effort has betrayed both our ideals and our interests. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a skilled hand at handling border issues who is widely believed to be Obama's choice for secretary of homeland security, has a rare opportunity to get immigration policy back on track -- to improve our security without sacrificing our openness...con't

III - Obama and Immigration


The current system was built in the wake of 9/11, but it will have to be reformed in the shadow of the economic crisis. That will be a political challenge, but we have already driven away too many talented immigrants through short-sighted policies that see them more as a threat than as a windfall for the U.S. economy. Immigrant numbers will fall during the recession as job opportunities dwindle, but when the economy recovers, we will find ourselves competing to get them back.

Napolitano could start her overhaul by considering the case of Imad Daou. Like the president-elect's father, Daou came to the United States on a student visa. A Christian from Lebanon, he arrived here in 2003 to study computer science at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. He fell in love with and became engaged to a Mexican-American woman, and in November 2003, they crossed the Rio Grande to visit her family in Mexico and share the news. But when the couple tried to cross back into Texas, U.S. border officials discovered that Daou had failed to comply with a rule put in place by John Ashcroft's Justice Department after 9/11, requiring all young men from Muslim and Arab countries to re-register with the U.S. government 30 days after arriving in the United States. Daou was unaware of the requirement.

He was slapped in handcuffs and jailed in Laredo for more than two months before being deported to Lebanon. The couple was married in the jail before he left, and a year later, his wife was able to bring him to live with her in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, which has been turned into a free-fire zone by warring drug gangs. Now she crosses the border each day to go to her teaching job in Laredo. He cannot accompany her; his deportation carried an automatic five-year ban on reentering the United States, and he would still need a pardon from the U.S. government before he would be able to return.

Why is this software engineer, now working for a firm in Mexico, being kept out? Because of a regulation that no longer exists. A year after Daou was deported, the Department of Homeland Security abolished the re-registration requirement, saying it had been of no use in identifying terrorists. "They put the rules in place to catch bad people," Daou told me, "and the good people fall into the trap." He just heard from Washington last month: It will be at least another year before his pardon application will even be reviewed.

Daou's story was only one of dozens of similar tales I have heard over the past several years. In all of them, measures aimed at catching or deterring terrorists instead trapped those who had, like so many waves of immigrants before them, followed their dreams and ambitions by coming to America. But they arrived in a different country...con't

II Obama and Immigration


After the shock of 9/11, the United States confronted a deadly serious challenge: how to prevent future terrorists from coming here to carry out further attacks. Many intelligent and overdue initiatives were rolled out, and they have made the country safer. In place of the fragmented and partial terrorist "watch lists" used before the 2001 attacks, for instance, the government has created a single, integrated list available to all front-line border officials and overseas embassies. DHS now gathers advance information on all overseas passengers to help identify potential threats before flights land in the United States. And great strides have been made in improving the security of identification documents and matching them to an individual's fingerprints so that terrorists or criminals cannot use false papers to enter the country. These "smart border" measures have largely been implemented without undue disruption to legitimate visitors or immigrants to the United States.

But alongside such sensible initiatives, the Bush administration decided to use immigration laws in far more aggressive and ruthless ways. Few Americans are aware of the vast powers the government wields here. Border inspectors can comb the laptop computer files of anyone entering the country, citizen or non-citizen, merely on suspicion of wrongdoing; ordinary constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure do not apply. Non-Americans suspected of violating immigration rules can be jailed for months or even years while their cases grind through immigration courts or while they await deportation. The government has exercised these powers to their fullest since 9/11.

Such trampling of American ideals is matched only by the damage to our interests. Openness to immigrants and to foreign students, entrepreneurs and visitors has long been this country's secret weapon. The world's best and brightest come to the United States in large numbers to study or work temporarily, and many end up staying. Early in the campaign, Obama lamented the post-9/11 decline in visas for foreign students, which he said "used to be one of the single best public-diplomacy tools in our possession."

No country has matched our ability to attract and inspire the world's talent, and the U.S. economy has reaped the benefits. While economic downturns inevitably lead to accusations that foreigners are stealing American jobs, the reality is that we have long attracted immigrants who innovate, create jobs and boost our economy. Some 40 percent of all new start-up companies in Silicon Valley, for instance, are headed by immigrants, according to a 2006 study for the National Venture Capital Association. But it doesn't take too many stories of delays, abuses or mistreatment at the hands of U.S. border or immigration officials to discourage people from coming here, particularly those whose talents offer them plenty of other options...con't

IV - Obama and Immigration

Closed-minded on the Border


Not surprisingly, foreign enrollment at U.S. universities fell after 9/11, ending more than four decades of virtually uninterrupted growth. That trend has begun to reverse in the past two years, in part because of hard work by some DHS officials to ease the student visa application process. But in the meantime, Europe, Australia, Canada and even Japan have aggressively and successfully recruited foreign students and seen sharp rises in enrollment.

Overseas visits have yet to return to pre-9/11 levels, despite the weak dollar that until recently had made the United States a bargain for tourists. In a survey conducted earlier this year by the Council on State Governments, investment-promotion officials in three out of four states said they had faced problems getting visas for potential foreign investors. And the difficulties that U.S. companies face in recruiting the best foreign workers have led some, including Microsoft, to move some operations abroad to remain competitive.

Although several of the most disruptive post-9/11 measures have been eased or removed, the world has grown much warier of the United States. We continue to make it inordinately difficult for people to come here by requiring personal interviews of all visa applicants, even those who have been here many times before. Others face overly long delays for security screening, and many become entangled in the morass of a complex immigration system in desperate need of reform. While some progress is being made on those problems, the bulk of the money (as Napolitano has seen up close in Arizona) is pouring into the construction of barriers on the southern border, the hiring of more Border Patrol agents and the creation of an elaborate system to track the entry and exit of every foreigner who comes to the United States.

Tom Ridge, the former secretary of homeland security, told me that after 9/11, "The world was kind of surprised that we pulled in the welcome mat so quickly." The 2008 election was largely about two issues: restoring America's economy at home and repairing its image abroad. Putting out the welcome mat again is vital to both.

Edward Alden is the author of "The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11." He is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times.

Road Trip to DC - in low mileage American cars

November 24, 2008

Fuel-efficient caravan planned for automakers' next trip to D.C.


A plan is taking shape for auto suppliers, dealers and the UAW to participate in a cavalcade of fuel-efficient American-brand vehicles to Washington, D.C., in December, when Congress reconsiders the industry's plea for quick action on low-interest loans.

The aim is to put a populist face on the need for the American auto industry's survival and to build grassroots support for federal aid, in the wake of criticism that the Detroit Three chief executive officers and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger did not make a convincing case during two days of congressional hearings last week.

"There was so much misinformation in the hearings last week. I'd love to see something come to fruition where people show what this industry means to the country," said Carl Galeana, president of Galeana Automotive Group, which has domestic and import dealerships in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida.

"I'll do whatever I can to save this industry," he added.

The proposal took shape Friday after Tim Leuliette, chairman and CEO of Dura Automotive, a Rochester Hills-based supplier, broached the idea to Rick Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Bob Nardelli, the CEOs of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. Other supplier executives and auto dealers were quickly engaged in the discussion.

"We want to help dispel the myths" about the Detroit Three, Sean McGuire, Dura vice president of marketing, said Sunday. "It's important to show that these are truly high-tech companies that produce a variety of alternate-fuel and high fuel-efficiency vehicles."

Ford, GM, Chrysler and UAW representatives expressed support for the idea Sunday.

"The UAW thinks it's great that so many people understand the importance of good American jobs and know the value and quality of American vehicles," spokesman Roger Kerson said.

The goal is to bring together a group of 100 or more auto industry leaders and local officials for a rally in Hart Plaza in support of the loans. A cavalcade of hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles made by GM, Chrysler and Ford then would head to Washington, with stops along the way for rallies and news conferences. If the CEOs and Gettelfinger present Congress with a specific recovery plan as requested by Dec. 2 and appear for more testimony on Dec. 8, the cavalcade probably would begin on Sunday, Dec. 7.

But the date and the specifics are still under discussion.

Metro Detroit component suppliers and dealers are generally supportive of proposals for a bridge loan of $25 billion to the Detroit automakers to help with immediate cash flow needs, plus another $25 billion already approved for retooling to make more fuel-efficient vehicles. But many are concerned that Congress has a distorted view of the industry, which was exacerbated by the contentious exchanges at last week's hearings between the CEOs and some members of Congress, who criticized the CEO salaries and use of private corporate planes to attend the hearings.

Many suppliers and dealers already have sent letters supporting aid. But they think that a more visible public show of support is warranted.

In a letter sent Nov. 13 by Leuliette to President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and members of Congress, he said, "The U.S. auto industry is an integral part of the American economic fabric. It has been aggressively and successfully restructuring but it has been caught in a perfect storm that caused an economic crisis over which the industry has no control. The crisis not only endangers that restructuring but the future of one of America's most important industries.

"As a nation we are in the midst of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression," Leuliette wrote. "It will deepen if the auto industry collapses. Without federal loans that is not a possibility; it is a certainty."

Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or

Harry Reid on Obama's First 100 Days

Reid says Democrats to tackle big issues


WASHINGTON -- Buoyed by more Democrats in the House and Senate and a Democratic president-elect, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he expects lawmakers next year to take on hot-button issues from immigration to health care.

The Nevada Democrat also said Congress will try early on to undo some of President George W. Bush's recent executive orders, including ones on environment policies.

Last week, Reid discussed his priorities for the next Congress.

QUESTION: What are your priorities for the first 100 days of the session?

ANSWER: We're going to have to take care of a lot of nominations. ... We have to finish our appropriations process. We have a number of issues to repeal -- presidential orders (Bush) put in in the last few weeks. ... On the environment, for example, we're looking at clean-air regulations.

Q: Will it be an easier pitch with more Democrats in Congress?

A: Yes, next year it will be much easier to do. ... I'll have a larger majority here; so will ( House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi. We'll have a new president. And I think the Republicans come from the same states we come from. They have a lot of issues they need help with.

Q: What failed efforts disappoint you?

A: I wish we would have passed the speculation bill dealing with oil. I wish we could have gotten more money for infrastructure. We got quite a bit. But ... we should have a major infrastructure development program in our country.

Q: With more Democrats in the Senate and the House and a Democrat in the White House, how do you see congressional efforts playing out on such issues as health care and immigration?

A: On immigration, there's been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. ... We'll do that. We have to get this economy stuff figured out first, so I think we'll have a shot at doing something on health care in the next Congress for sure.

Q: Will there be as much of a fight on immigration as last time?

A: We've got McCain and we've got a few others. I don't expect much of a fight at all. Now health care is going to be difficult. That's a very complicated issue. We debated at great length immigration. People understand the issues very well. We have not debated health care, so that's going to take a lot more time to do

Immigration in the First 100 Days?

November 24, 2008, 
Chronicle of Higher Education

Deal Is Reached on Immigration Bill Affecting Students, Says Senate

Washington - Momentum appears to be building in Congress for passage of immigration legislation that could make some illegal immigrants eligible for certain federal programs, including student aid.  In an interview with the Gannett News Service that was published over the weekend, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, a Democrat of Nevada, said that President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, a Republican of Arizona, had reached agreement on how to proceed with a comprehensive immigration bill. Senator Reid said that he did not expect "much of a fight at all" over the legislation, which would overhaul the nation's immigration laws.

Congress tried to pass an immigration bill last year, but it failed for reasons unrelated to the education provisions. Those pieces of the bill, which were taken from the Dream Act,  would have created a path to permanent residency for immigrant students and would have made it easier for states to charge cheaper in-state tuition rates to some illegal immigrants. -Kelly Field

It's a myth that academics are more open minded. Take a look at these comments.
Comments to Chronicle of Higher Education article:


Maybe we should focus on educating our “own” citizens at this point in time rather than making another hand out available. The “billions” that this will foster in paybacks is tremendous! California is a perfect example of what cost it will “burden” the tax payer in order to return the favor. This seems to be following a familiar theme over the last month don’t you think – one that will come to bite us in the not-so-distant future me thinks. With this type of thinking maybe the Democrats can finger the blame on some non-existent party now that they have sole control of both houses, the presidency, and pretty much wag the judicial?! We’re being played by special interest groups on both sides of the aisle folks and the time is now to stand up and be counted if we really care about educating our children.

— Michael Harper Nov 24, 03:49 PM #

What unbelievable ignorance! They are OUR children and the children of our workers. They are around you everyday and you do not even notice them as being ‘foreign’ because they are as American as any other student. They are in your classroom. They speak English more often without an accent than with. They also very often the top performing students in our inner city schools and the talent we will need to build our economy and our future.

— Paul Garza Nov 24, 03:57 PM #

well, must say that on balance it sounds fine, but my kid can’t get resident tuition next door but a student from abroad can?

something’s very wrong with that.

— megano Nov 24, 04:02 PM #

It is about time that this country take care of the people who were born here first. After all, as a single working parent, my son, who is a college student, cannot obtain aid in any way. There certainly is something very wrong with that.

— Working Mom Nov 24, 04:40 PM #

Journalist Hossein Derakhshan Arrested in Iran

« America's Strange Silence |
Free Hossein Derakhshan

Washington Post
Post Global Blog
November 24, 2008
by David Ignatius

When Fareed Zakaria and I created PostGlobal in June 2006, one of the first people we asked to join our panel of global commentators was an Iranian blogger named Hossein Derakhshan. He was a natural choice--smart, outspoken, unpredictable, fearless. He already had a wide following among young Iranians, inside and outside Iran, and we wanted to share his views with a wider audience.

Derakhshan has been a lively member of the PostGlobal group -- sometimes defending the Iranian regime, sometimes criticizing it. Anyone who wants to see the range of his views can go to his page on PostGlobal for a sample of his posts. He returned to Tehran a few weeks ago, after living mostly in Canada since 2000, and we were looking forward to seeing what this iconoclastic voice would say about his native country.

Last weekend we learned that Derakhshan has been arrested and accused of spying for Israel. He had traveled there in 2007, openly and publicly -- writing about his experiences for his own weblog, "Editor: Myself." We fear that his real crime in the eyes of the Iranian authorities was that he dared to visit the Jewish state and write about its people as human beings -- as opposed to the demons of Iranian official propaganda. He was traveling on a Canadian passport, which unlike that of Iran doesn't forbid contact with Israel.

This arrest will only deepen Iran's isolation from the rest of the world. We live on a planet where people are increasingly free to travel, think, talk, and communicate via the Internet. It's a global community in which millions of young Iranians feel part -- we know that from the tens of thousands of Iranian blogs, and from the Iranian traffic we get at PostGlobal. Does the Iranian government really think that it can dam this tide of free-flowing information? Does it imagine that by arresting one of its most prominent young bloggers, it will create anything other than scorn, at home and abroad?

Hossein Derakhshan is part of the international network of thinkers and commentators that is symbolized by PostGlobal. We know that members of this network -- commentators and readers alike -- join us in protesting Derakhshan's arrest and calling for his freedom.

American Politics - Public Relations Style

Democracy Now
November 24, 2008

Noam Chomsky
What Next? The Elections, The Economy, and The World

mp3 download of Chomsky interview

...the [2008 presidential ] election was just an event that was particular stage in a long continuing struggle, a lot before and a lot after. There was day when people pushed the levers but that’s just an event in ongoing popular struggles, very serious ones. A couple of years ago, there was a major struggle over privatization of water. An effort which it would in effect deprive a good part of the population of water to drink. And it was a bitter struggle. A lot of people were killed, but they won it. Through international solidarity, in fact, which helped. And it continues. Now that’s a real election. Again, the plans, the programs are being developed, acted on constantly by mass popular movements, which then select their own representatives from their own ranks to carry out their programs. And that’s quite different from what happened here.

Actually what happened here is understood by elite elements. The public relations industry which runs elections here-quadrennial extravaganzas essentially- makes sure to keep issues in the margins and focus on personalities and character and so on–and-so forth. They do that for good reasons. They know- they look at public opinion studies and they know perfectly well that on a host of major issues both parties are well to the right of the population. That’s one good reason to keep issues off the table. And they recognize the success.

So, every year, the advertising industry gives a prize to, you know, to the best marketing campaign of the year. This year, Obama won the prize. Beat out Apple company. The best marketing campaign of 2008. Which is correct, it is essentially what happened..

Buy Nothing Day - An Odd Thought in the Time of Consumerism

While the government is telling us we need to "shop" to keep the economy afloat --- people are wondering... how can I shop when I need to save?

Americans have forgotten how to save (well, except the very very rich people) .... we have replaced saving with charging...

What can you do the Friday after Thanksgiving besides go to the mall?

1. if you absolutely have to BUY something, go to a resale store
2. take a walk
3. ride your bicycle
4. go see your mother
5. mow your lawn
6. take a nap
7. read a good book (that you checked out from the library or bought at the Goodwill Store)
8. have a long conversation (in person) with a friend
9. clean out your flower bed
10. bathe your dog

Wikipedia says that Buy Nothing Day is:

Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. Typically celebrated the Friday after Thanksgiving in North America and the next day internationally, in 2008 the dates will be November 28 and 29 respectively

Darling wants 'shopocalypse' now, pay later
Buy Nothing Day is more poignant this year than ever before

London- Guardian
November 24, 2008
by James Randerson

...Buy Nothing Day an annual protest against consumerism and globalisation. Its organisers describe it thus:

"Buy Nothing Day (Saturday November 29), is a simple idea, which challenges consumer culture by asking us to switch off from shopping for a day. It's a global stand off from consumerism - celebrated as a holiday by some and street party for others! Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!"

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the inequity of 20% of people in the rich world consuming 80% of the world's resources - and the environmental destruction that stems from that consumption. And some have taken it much further than just one day out of the shops.

"The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy effects the environment and developing countries. Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because its cheap and there aren't the systems to protect workers like there are in the west."

Doing their bit to avert the "shopocalypse" next Friday with a free dance party in Union Square, New York, will be Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping (the US celebrates BND a day early). The faux televangelist and gospel choir are the brainchild of The Immediate Life - a New York based arts organisation.

In the words of the rev's sermon "beatitudes of buylessness":
"Blessed are the consumers, for you shall be free from living by products. Blessed are you who stumble out of branded main streets, for you shall find lovers not downloaded and oceans not rising."

Amen to that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How people eat in the UK -

We are what we eat
London Independent
November 23, 2008

...Last week the European Union announced that, from September 2009, it would introduce free fruit and vegetables in primary schools to boost nutrition among children and combat obesity among 22 million European children.

It would cost €€90m (£76m), paid through the Common Agricultural Policy. Free fruit and vegetable schemes already exist in schools in England, Scotland and Wales, targeted at youngsters aged four to six, although this is not enjoyed by all schools.

There is also little evidence that the children who need it most, those on low incomes, are eating the fruit and vegetables provided by schools. Ministers are now desperate to limit the scale of obesity in the UK.

Latest predictions suggest more than half the population will be obese by 2050. The prevalence has doubled in the last 25 years, with 24 per cent of people aged 16 or over and 16 per cent of children classed as obese.

Obesity is most common among the lowest social classes, particularly in women, and in Scotland and the North-east of England, according to the document..

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who has the correct information

Today's Houston Chronicle has a couple of interesting items in an article it published on Janet Napolitano's potential nomination of director the Dept. of Homeland Security.  The Houston paper says one thing, and the NYT says something else.

Also, the Chronicle continues to find ways to be much less than objective about immigration issues.  They quote Mark Krikorian from Center for Immigration Studies without saying that group is considered extremely anti-immigrant and very entrenched in Lou Dobb's cabal of those who say all undocumented people are disease ridden.

The City of Houston is under a lot of pressure these days.  Hurricane Ike made our lives very difficult.  Focusing on mis-information or emphasizing the worst doesn't help us to get along.  The Chronicle's recent articles on crime and immigration state that immigrants are underrepresented in criminal statistics (yes its Americans that generally commit the crimes), yet the dramatic headlines of rapists and murders being somewhere lost among our population*, and that Governor Perry wants them all rounded up -  leads readers to believe that every undocumented immigrant they see might want to kill them.

Houston Chronicle, Nov. 21:
She favors border fence
Napolitano remains a strong supporter of guest worker programs and a pathway to citizenship for most of those people illegally residing in the U.S. — positions embraced by both 2008 presidential candidates.

But immigration hard-liners are likely to applaud the governor's past support for expanded fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Napolitano has called new barriers "an interim step" toward comprehensive reform. Along with Arizona Sen. John McCain, she has been a backer of the concept of a "virtual" fence in the Sonoran Desert. But she has ridiculed Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for the technological glitches that have delayed the project, recently calling the project "virtually missing."

New York Times, Nov. 21
While Mr. Chertoff has pushed hard to comply with a Congressional mandate to build nearly 700 miles of new fencing along the United States-Mexico border by the end of the year -- even waiving some environmental laws to get it done -- Ms. Napolitano has shown little enthusiasm for the project.

If you build a 50-foot-high wall, somebody will find a 51-foot ladder, she has often said in speeches and news conferences, while criticizing the Department of Homeland Security for persistent delays in deploying a ''virtual fence'' of cameras, sensors and other technology.

*I am totally for incarcerating or deporting people who commit serious crimes, but the tone of the article implied that all undocumented people are criminals, which is clearly not true.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I - Long Island group charged with hate crimes

What breeds hate?  Why would a group of kids decide to go looking for someone to hurt? Where do they hear that it is OK to beat someone? 

Oftentimes a resentment grows when they hear people around them complain over and over again about a particular group.  Like Lou Dobbs.  The venom he speaks is projected deliberately to make people angry.  The more angry, the more attached they are to Dobbs program...  He is emphatic to their rage.  His insults towards immigrants are well regarded.  Did the guys from Long Island watch Lou Dobbs?

A word of concern for the media.  Think about the long term effects of the things you publish or broadcast.  If you are one of those journalists or editors - do you ever wonder if one of the Long Island 6 watched Lou Dobbs?
November 21, 2008
New York Times
6 Long Island Teens Charged With Hate Crimes

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Every now and then, perhaps once a week, seven young friends got together in their hamlet of Medford, on eastern Long Island, to hunt down, and hurt, Hispanic men. They made a sport of it, calling their victims “beaners,” a reference to the staple Hispanic dish of rice and beans, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Nov. 8 was a particularly long and violent day, the prosecutors said. Two of the teenagers set out in their car at dawn and one of them fired a BB gun at a Hispanic man in his driveway, striking him several times. That evening, the group, now seven strong, drank beer in a park and searched for more victims. They found and beat a Hispanic man in neighboring Patchogue, but he was able to escape.

Then, shortly before midnight, prosecutors said, they caught sight of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant walking with a friend near the train station in Patchogue. The teenagers surrounded, taunted and beat Mr. Lucero, who tried to fight back. One of the youths fatally stabbed Mr. Lucero, 37, a worker at a dry cleaning store and 16-year resident of the United States who regularly sent money to his ailing mother in Ecuador.

Six of the seven teenagers, now defendants charged with multiple counts of gang assault and hate crimes, were arraigned Thursday in Suffolk County Criminal Court.

“To them, it was a sport,” Thomas J. Spota, Suffolk County’s district attorney, said in a news conference after the defendants were arraigned. “We know for sure that there are more victims out there.”

Moments earlier, one by one, the youths were led before a courtroom packed with their parents and high school friends, as well as Mr. Lucero’s relatives, many of whom wept as the prosecution detailed the chilling sequence of events.

A grand jury indictment, also unsealed on Thursday, laid out additional charges that the defendants now face for what prosecutors described as earlier crimes against Hispanics.

A seventh defendant, Jeffrey Conroy, 17, a star high school athlete, was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter as a hate crime in Mr. Lucero’s death. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

The judge set bail for five of the youths at $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond, and bail was denied to a sixth defendant, Christopher Overton, 16, who has a felony conviction for a 2007 burglary in which an East Patchogue man was killed.

All seven defendants have pleaded not guilty in the attack on Mr. Lucero.

In the courtroom, at a news conference and in the indictment itself, the prosecutors detailed the following chronology of events that preceded Mr. Lucero’s death.

Mr. Spota said three defendants, Anthony Hartford, Kevin Shea and Jose Pacheco, all 17, went out driving five days before Mr. Lucero was killed with the intent of, in their words, “beaner hopping.”

They found a Hispanic man that day whom Mr. Pacheco admitted to punching and knocking out cold, Mr. Spota said. That victim has not stepped forward. Mr. Pacheco later told the police, “I don’t go out and do this very often, maybe once a week,” Mr. Spota said.

About 5 a.m. on Nov. 8, Nicholas Hausch and Jordan Dasch, both 17, fired a BB gun at Marlon Garcia, hitting him several times. In the evening, the seven friends got together and, after failing to find potential victims in Medford, set off for Patchogue, where they saw Hector Sierra walking downtown. They caught up to him and punched him before he ran away.

Shortly before midnight, the teens saw Mr. Lucero and his friend, Angel Loja. They got out of their car and taunted the men with racist slurs. Mr. Loja fled, but the group surrounded Mr. Lucero and punched him in the face. Trying to defend himself, Mr. Lucero removed his belt and swung it, striking Mr. Conroy in the head. Enraged, Mr. Conroy rushed at Mr. Lucero and plunged a knife into his chest. The youths fled, but were soon caught by the police.

Mr. Conroy was the only one charged with murder, Mr. Spota said, because the other six defendants were initially unaware that he had stabbed Mr. Lucero..

II - Long Island group charged with hate crimes


November 21, 2008
New York Times
6 Long Island Teens Charged With Hate Crimes

Lawyers for the six defendants arraigned on Thursday argued that their clients were being unfairly charged with crimes committed by others in the group. They also said that the defendants were not racist and pointed to the young men’s friends, black, white and Hispanic, filling the courtroom seats.

Chris Kirby, the lawyer for Mr. Pacheco, said in court that his client was of Hispanic descent and therefore incapable of a racist attack. “The idea that he, of Hispanic heritage, would beat up another Hispanic is patently absurd,” Mr. Kirby said.

Mr. Lucero’s killing has brought to the fore a fierce debate about race relations in Patchogue, a comfortable village of 11,700. Latinos make up a quarter of the population, according to the 2000 census. With the numbers of Latinos in the county growing and the economy weakening , some residents say there is a deepening resentment toward illegal immigrants, particularly day laborers.

County officials have insisted the attack was not connected to any simmering racial tensions in Patchogue or Medford. County Executive Steve Levy, long a proponent of crackdowns on illegal immigrants, called the defendants “white supremacists.” Michael Mostow, the superintendent of Patchogue-Medford School District, said there was no racial strife at the high school the teenagers attended and described the attack as “an aberration.”

The killing of Mr. Lucero yielded an outpouring of outrage and grief that rippled beyond the tightly knit Hispanic community here. His body was flown this week to his hometown, the mountain city of Gualaceo, Ecuador, and mourners by the hundreds met his coffin, Newsday reported

At a news conference after the arraignments, Hispanic leaders and members of Mr. Lucero’s family said they were pleased with the upgraded charges. At first, the defendants were accused of fewer crimes, and Mr. Conroy faced a charge of manslaughter, but not murder.

Cesar Perales, president and general counsel of the advocacy group Latino Justice P.R.L.D.E.F. said the new charges were important in restoring Hispanics’ faith in the county’s justice system.

Fernando Mateo, a spokesman for the Lucero family, said that while he was pleased that “justice would be served,” he did not believe recent reports that hate crimes had plummeted in the county in the last few years. “Hunting season is over for this group now,” Mr. Mateo said, as Mr. Lucero’s brother, Joselo, stood silently by his side. “It was a hobby to them, I know it started out as a game, but it turned into a murder.”

More on Napolitano Heading DHS

Information on Napolitano and Immigration from the Daily Kos:

Signed Western Governor's Association's Climate Change Initiative

Criticized DHS as a badly organized agency early on.

Anti-Iraq WAR "The Iraq is probably most important issue to Arizonans today" [2006]

Napolitano beat the grandson of Barry Goldwater. He was a Minuteman and he ran on anti-immigrant slogans.

Opposed Real ID "It's an unfunded mandate." "Are we going to make every DMV clerk an expert on immigration?"

Said that Passport requirements for the border would cost border businesses. "We don't have the necessary infrastructure at our ports to implement this yet. We can do it, but we need the technology and manpower installed first."

She has championed new methods to fight border crime while preserving civil liberty (always a fine line in border states) and respecting immigrants rights.

Napolitano championed legislation to fight Identification Fraud and put into place the former commissioner of the ATF to oversee training and tactics to enforce stricter ID Verifying.
Try buying beer in Arizona, most local corner stores will look your ID over and compare it in their book. Sorry teens.

Stolen cars heading to Mexico is a common event in a border state and Napolitano took it head on with a 20th century technique. She implemented a program to ID stolen vehicle license plates with traffic cameras. This allowed police to track stolen vehicles in almost real time and block their passage into Mexico where they would assuredly escape conviction. This move saved Arizona from beating New Jersey as the Car Theft capitol.

Napolitano was the first politician to quote the Governor of Sonora, Mexico when describing the border wall,
"Show me a 25-foot tall fence and I will show you a 25-foot ladder."
Gov. Napolitano National Press Club 2006

Here's the video of a great and in depth interview at the National Press Club

She decried the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps as "vigilantes" .

She often bristols when asked about the suspension of in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants. She has often defended the rights of children of the undocumented vigorously saying anti-immigrant politicos "-use bumper-sticker quotes that get little done to solve the problem."

She may not be perfect on the issue of immigration, as rarely a politician in a red state can be. But she is surprisingly close and often illustrates a nuance in understanding few politicians even in Texas have.

Her legislature enforced strict regulations on the hiring of illegal aliens. They sought to penalize those who hired illegal immigrants with stiff fines.
Personally I see nothing wrong with this idea, however it must be met at the same time with a guest worker program and comprehensive reform. But it was specifically the severity of the punishment that got her criticism from immigrant groups- not the law itself. Those to the left of me were far more outraged in Arizona.

Even still Napolitano has the highest Governor approval ratings in the country, and she got them in a red state. Yes even more than that Palin person (who's that?) whose numbers have tanked recently anyway.

National Immigration Forum Reacts to Apparent Selection of Governor Napolitano as Secretary of DHS  November 20, 2008

Maybe it is time to worry now.

President elect Obama has made a decision, i just dont know what positive fruits this will bring to our cause.

Arizonan will head Homeland Security

Arizona Demcratic Gov. Janet Napolitano has been chosen to serve as secretary of the vast and troubled Department of Homeland Security for President-elect Barack Obama, Democratic officials said. Napolitano is a border governor who will now be responsible for immigration policy and border security, which are part of Homeland Security’s myriad functions.

Napolitano brings law and order experience from her stint as the Grand Canyon State’s first female attorney general. One of the nation’s most prominent female elected officials, she made frequent appearances on behalf of Barack Obama during the campaign. She was reelected to a second four-year term in 2006.

Transition insiders have long expected that she would be offered a Cabinet slot, although she had also been mentioned for other posts, including attorney general.

Napolitano, 50, endorsed Obama in early January, just as the primaries were kicking off, and the female up-and-comer's decision to back the Illinois senator got widespread coverage.

In 2005, Time magazine named her one of America’s five best governors, calling her “A Mountaineer on the Political Rise.”

Read More

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I - The Texas Saga of Cheney and Gonzales

It is one of those special arraignments... the accused don't have to show up. The case seems a little shaky. The prosecutor decides to press for the indictments now that he is going out of office. Turns out the guy doesn't show up for court today either. Hope no one knocked him off.

Regardless of what happens. At least someone (no matter what the motive) has the courage to say the Emperor's Assistants had no clothes, even if the rest of the world is too scared to talk.

Arraignment set for Cheney, Gonzales in Texas
By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press Writer

Nov 19th, 2008 | RAYMONDVILLE, Texas -- A Texas judge has set a Friday arraignment for Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others named in indictments accusing them of responsibility for prisoner abuse in a federal detention center.

Cheney, Gonzales and the others will not be arrested, and do not need to appear in person at the arraignment, Presiding Judge Manuel Banales said.

In the latest bizarre development in the case, the lame-duck prosecutor who won the indictments was a no-show in court Wednesday. The judge ordered Texas Rangers to go to Willacy County District Attorney Juan Guerra's house, check on his well-being and order him to court on Friday.

Half of the eight high-profile indictments returned Monday by a Willacy County grand jury are tied to privately run federal detention centers in the sparsely populated South Texas county. The other half target judges and special prosecutors who played a role in an earlier investigation of Guerra.

One indictment charges Cheney and Gonzales with engaging in organized criminal activity. It alleges that the men neglected federal prisoners and are responsible for assaults in the facilities.

The grand jury accused Cheney of a conflict of interest because of his influence over the county's federal immigrant detention center and his substantial holdings in the Vanguard Group, which invests in private prison companies.

The indictment accuses Gonzales of stopping an investigation into abuses at the federal detention center.

An attorney for the private prison operator The GEO Group filed motions accusing Guerra of "prosecutorial vindictiveness."

One motion said Guerra had hijacked "the grand jury process and disregarded the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure designed to protect defendants' due process rights."

Some attorneys argued that Banales may not have the authority to schedule an arraignment because the indictments were invalid. One lawyer said Guerra never should have been allowed to present the cases to the grand jury because at least four of the indictments deal with people who had some role in the investigation of his office last year.

"He is the witness, the victim and the prosecutor," said the attorney for Mervyn Mosbacker Jr., a former U.S. attorney who was appointed special prosecutor to investigate Guerra.

District Clerk Gilbert Lozano, District judges Janet Leal and Migdalia Lopez, and special prosecutors Mosbacker and Gustavo Garza, a longtime political opponent of Guerra, were all indicted on charges of official abuse of official capacity and official oppression.

The grand jury tied all of their charges to an earlier investigation of Guerra's office.

Banales dismissed an indictment against Guerra last month charging him with extorting money from a bail bond company and using his office for personal business. An appeals court had earlier ruled that a special prosecutor was improperly appointed to investigate Guerra.

After Guerra's office was raided as part of the investigation early last year, he camped outside the courthouse in a borrowed camper with a horse, three goats and a rooster. He threatened to dismiss hundreds of cases because he believed local law enforcement had aided the investigation against him.

Guerra has been in office nearly 20 years, but was defeated in the March Democratic primary.