Thursday, December 31, 2009

Keeping Quiet About France

Recently I subscribed to the French newspaper LeMonde. It was partially because I just completed an article about the 2005 Paris riots and also because I am still trying to learn to read French and thought a daily newspaper link would move me a long a little faster.

This morning there was a brief note about cars being burned in Toulouse. When I looked in other newspapers I didn't see anything. The London Guardian didn't say anything. So tonight I googled Toulouse cars burned and found the following article. Apparently on New Years Eve 2009, over 1,100 cars have been burned throughout France, a 30% increase over New Years Eve 2008. Another bit of news; while the potential bomber on the Amsterdam/Detroit flight made big news, the sticks of dynamite placed in a Paris department store just before Christmas didn't stir up the news....


Dynamite Found at Paris Store, WaPo, December 16, 2009

Going Home is No Help

Hospitals are sending undocumented people back to their home countries instead of paying for continued medical care. Indeed, things will get much worse as the Latino immigrant population continues to develop diabetes (it is already an epidemic).

What do you do when one person in the family is undocumented and others are citizens? What if the citizens are small children? Can you imagine moving to Mexico at the age of 7 if you have never been there? Some people would say, those are the breaks, the people broke the law. But its not as simple as that... Life and economics are never simple. Yet our solutions seem to be simple and often disastrous. Immigration enforcement is dangerous. People that need dialysis that return to Mexico have very limited resources. If your kidneys are not working you will die within a few weeks if you do not have dialysis. What a burden to have on your conscience if you are the person who sent someone back to die.

For Ailing Illegal Immigrants, Return Home Brings No Relief by Kevin Sack. New York Times, December 31, 2009

Cautioned Criticism

As I'm reading Eugene Robinson's essay on former Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism of the Obama administration I am wondering how to approach my own comments... First I question, should I even post Robinson's criticism. Second, if I post the article, what can I say without sounding politically biased?

First I have to say that we (supposedly) have freedom of speech in this country and Cheney has every right to criticize the President and the Administration.

Of course the way things are these days, especially on college campuses, if someone says that they should be careful about criticizing Cheney, most people would say that is crazy. Why be careful about your comments on someone who doesn't care about human life?

On the other hand;

Who listens to Cheney anymore? Obviously someone does, a couple of days ago I heard an political advertisement on a popular radio station for Kay Bailey Hutcheson (who is running for Texas Governor) where the announcer said that Cheney was supporting her. The announcer made it sound like a great thing. I guess there are lots of people in Texas that still think all the things Cheney did were ethical and reasonable, because someone is spending lots of money making sure Texans know that Cheney and Hutcheson are friends.

Speaking of ethics, that's what this blog is about. Keeping silent would be unethical.


Dick Cheney's lies about President Obama by Eugene Robinson, WaPO 12-31-09

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gutierrez and the Immigration Bill

Editorial - December 26, 2009

It's time for immigration reform

So far the Obama administration has been focused on enforcement, not the remedies the nation needs.

December 26, 2009

Comprehensive immigration reform emerged from the shadows last week when Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois and a group of Democratic congressmen submitted a 600-page bill to jump-start the process.

Many immigration advocates praised the opening salvo in what promises to be an epic battle on the order of healthcare reform -- if lawmakers can just be persuaded to turn their attention to the subject. Although President Obama promised on the campaign trail to shepherd immigration reform through Congress, the nation has been focused throughout 2009 on healthcare and the struggling economy, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and climate change; immigration reform never stood a chance.

The Gutierrez bill is a testament to the growing exasperation felt by many champions of reform. Proponents of legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants, many leaders in the Latino and other immigrant communities, and some business interests such as the agriculture and hospitality industries had hoped for a speedy and seismic shift in U.S. policy under Obama. But instead of proposing a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, the new administration has, so far, been even more intent on enforcement than the one it replaced. Its strategy is to win public support for reform by cracking down on illegal immigrants who commit crimes, policing the border and undoing the culture of noncompliance among businesses that depend on illegal labor.

Federal immigration prosecutions jumped 16% in 2009. A record number of people were deported in the last 11 months -- 287,000, including 136,000 criminals. More than 1,500 companies had their employee verification forms audited by Homeland Security -- a 1,000% increase over last year. And instead of halting a controversial program in which local law enforcement partners with Homeland Security to catch undocumented criminals, Obama revamped it to minimize abuses, while expanding it to more departments. Many sticks, few carrots.

Gutierrez's bill will not be the last word. The bill to watch will come from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Schumer, who has been working with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), has already set out principles for reform that include rigorous workplace and border enforcement, a realistic assessment of the nation's need for skilled and unskilled labor, a commitment to controlling the future flow of illegal immigration and bringing millions of people away from the edges of society. The Schumer-Graham proposals have promise; we hope 2010 will see the immigration reform the nation so badly needs.

Immigration Checks in Lancaster CA?

Lancaster has implemented a rule that most government entities already have; checking immigration status on new hires.

Its all fine and good, makes governments look like their are more "enforcement focused" -- yet what happens to the people who can't find jobs, who live here, have American citizen families and can no longer support them?

It is true that the U.S. has a very high unemployment rate at this time. But the jobs that undocumented immigrants take are those that almost all U.S. citizens don't want - the nannies, the yard workers, construction workers who do heavy physical labor, dishwashers...

Click here for a link to a NYT essay on a undocumented worker who has disappeared in Houston. She lost her job and could not find another...too bad more of us don't think this is a tragedy.


Lancaster requires businesses to do immigration checks on new hires

by Ann M. Simmons, LA Times
December 29, 2009 | 6:52 am

Businesses operating in the city of Lancaster will be required to ensure that all their new hires are eligible to work in the United States by using an Internet-based federal program to check the immigration and employment eligibility of potential workers.

The free online program, called E-Verify, allows participating employers to use federal databases to compare information provided by job seekers with millions of records kept by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

“We are working to ensure that all available jobs in our city go to hard-working, law-abiding citizens,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement, noting that tough economic times had led to 17% unemployment in the Antelope Valley.

By adopting the E-Verify program, businesses in Lancaster will join a growing number of companies nationwide that use federal data to confirm the eligibility of potential new hires. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 175,000 employers are enrolled in the program, which is compulsory for companies that contract with the federal to complete article

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ICE Making People Disappear

Professor Jacqueline Stevens, UC Santa Barbara:
"If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008."
The Nation, "America's Secret ICE Castles"

Democracy Now:

The Nation: Immigration Agents Holding U.S. Residents in Unlisted, Unmarked Facilities

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is holding an untold number of people in secretively maintained detention facilities all over the United States. That’s according to an explosive report that’s the cover story of the latest issue of The Nation magazine. They also report that ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians and rely on other illegal tricks to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history. We speak with the author of the two-part investigation, Jacqueline Stevens.
Click here for link to Democracy Now video:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The NYTs article below reports Gutierrez's introduction of CIR to the Congress.... the on-again off-again. This back and forth shows the country's ambivalence about immigration. People complain, but at the same time, many benefit from CIR not being passed. Middle class people enjoy being waited on at restaurants by undocumented workers. Working professional women have in house child care and feel "secure" about their children while they make their six figure incomes. But people still die in our detainment centers (i.e. concentration camps?) and guys like Luis Ramirez get beat up.

What is it about our ambivalence?

For one it keeps wages for immigrants low, and keeps the word illegal alive...

December 16, 2009 - New York Times

New Immigration Bill Is Introduced in House

The on-again, off-again drive to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws moved back to Congress on Tuesday with the introduction of legislation that would open a path to legal status for millions of illegal immigrants.

The bill, introduced by Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, was seen as the opening volley in what Democrats and Republicans expect to be a hard-fought battle. President Obama has pledged to take up the issue early next year; efforts to overhaul the laws during George W. Bush’s presidency failed despite the backing of Mr. Bush and some Republicans. link to complete article

Friday, December 18, 2009

Illegal Verbage

What does the word illegal mean?

Roget's Thesaurus provides a number of words to describe it:

lawlessness; illicitness; breach of law, violation of law, infraction of the law; disobedience, unconformity, arbitrariness, antinomy, violence, brute force, despotism, outlawry. hope, mob law, lynch law, club law, Lydford law, martial law, drumhead law; coup
illegality, informality, unlawfulness, illegitimacy, bar sinister, trover and conversion[Law]; smuggling, poaching; simony, [person who violates the law] outlaw, bad man, offend against the law; violate the law, infringe the law, break the law; set the law at defiance, ride roughshod over, drive a coach and six through a statute; ignore the law, make the law a dead letter, take the law into one's own hands.
smuggle, run, poach.

when a newspaper like USA Today or The New York Times uses the word illegal to describe a DREAMer, they are using the word inappropriately; because DREAMers are not lawless, or illicit, or disobedient, or violent. Being undocumented is a misdemeanor offense, it is not a criminal offense.

In the United States there are no illegal students. According to a Supreme Court ruling, all students, regardless of residency status, can legally attend a school or university.



Ask USAToday: What Do You Mean By "Illegal Students?"

Targeting: Heidi Zimmerman (Communications Director (USA Today)) and Alex Nicholson (Media Relations (USA Today))

Started by: Prerna Lal

Would a truly reputable national newspaper use the N-word to describe African-Americans or refer to the LGBT community as 'fags' and excuse it is just "company policy?"

I doubted it. But the USA Today has done something similar.

On December 15, USA Today ran an article titled "Groups try to delay deportations of illegal students," in which they called young immigrant students in the United States "illegal students."

Appalling, isn't it? I get the "illegal immigrant" euphemism because that slur is familiar. But just what exactly is an "illegal student?"

USA Today reporter, Emily Bazar (, says she is just following company policy when she labels young immigrants without papers as "illegal students." See the email where she justifies her actions by implicating that even the National Council of La Raza agrees with the usage of the word.

Erin Rosa from Campus Progress lays a must-read snarky smackdown on USA Today for using the term "illegal student" especially since it is almost impossible to be one in the United States

The proper words are undocumented and unauthorized in reference to immigrants. Even the Supreme Court gets it nowadays due to the influence of Judge Sotomayor and calls us "undocumented immigrants." In fact, calling people ‘illegal' is the real euphemism.

The use of the word illegal to describe young people seeking the right to stay in the United States speaks volumes about the absurdity of labeling out-of-status human beings as "illegal." But no student and no human being can be illegal.

I am asking you to stand up with me. Don't be afraid and do not let anyone label you, your family, friends, students and an entire community of disenfranchised people as "illegal."

1. Sign the petition below to tell USA Today to stop competing with our archaic immigration system and get with the program. No human being can be illegal.

2. After that, start tweeting, digging, sending it to your friends and cross-posting this to your blogs.

3. And calls are important. Fill their voicemail boxes up! Demand to know what USA Today means by the label "illegal student"

Heidi Zimmerman
7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108
(703) 854-5304

Alex Nicholson
7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108

Brent Johns,
Accuracy Editor

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In-state tuition in danger again? NOT AGAIN!

I am not sure why these people are at it again. A few years back, in-state tuition was in danger for Texas DREAMers, we were very fortunate to keep it; however, it seems we are facing another challenge down the road.

Last comment, would it bee too much to ask the writer of this article to stop calling us illegals? Pun intended.

In-state rates for illegal immigrants attacked
By SUSAN CARROLL Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Dec. 15, 2009, 10:34PM

Attorneys for an anti-illegal immigration organization are challenging a Texas state law that allows illegal immigrant students to attend colleges and universities at in-state rates, saying it violates federal law.

David A. Rogers, a lawyer for the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas, an organization that opposes illegal immigration, said the lawsuit filed on Monday in Harris County District Court marks the first direct court challenge of the Texas law.

Texas is one of 10 states in the nation that have laws offering in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, including graduating from a local high school and pledging to legalize their immigration status as soon as possible.

The lawsuit specifically names the University of Houston, Houston Community College and Lone Star College systems. A spokesman for UH declined to comment on Tuesday, citing the pending litigation. HCC officials said a copy of the lawsuit was under review by their attorneys. A Lone Star spokesman said the college was not prepared to comment Tuesday afternoon.
Injunction requested

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that at least 8,000 illegal immigrants attend Texas colleges and universities at discounted tuition rates for in-state residents or receive some form of state financial aid, saying the statute violates federal law. The lawsuit also requests an injunction barring illegal immigrants from receiving the in-state break on tuition or state-funded financial aid.

“We don't think that taxpayers should break federal law in order to subsidize people who are in the United States illegally,” Rogers said.

Michael A. Olivas, a University of Houston law professor who specializes in higher education and immigration issues, said that the lawsuit filed Monday was based on a flawed reading of federal statutes and the Texas residency law.

In 2001, Texas became the first state in the country to pass a law that allowed undocumented students to pay in-state rates and possibly receive state financial aid, provided they meet certain criteria.

Since then, California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin have passed similar laws. Oklahoma also approved a bill granting in-state tuition to undocumented students, but it later was rescinded and now only covers those grandfathered under the now-defunct statute.

Four states, including Arizona, have laws on the books that ban illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition.
Federal law cited

Olivas, who helped then-Rep. Rick Noriega, a Houston Democrat, draft Texas' original statute, said federal law clearly allows states to pass their own legislation regarding in-state residency for undocumented students.

Olivas also cited a 2008 letter from the Department of Homeland Security to the North Carolina Attorney's General office that said federal law does not prohibit the admission of undocumented students to universities and colleges.

“The state can, and did act properly, and the statute is constitutional,” said Olivas, who also served as an expert witness when a similar law was later challenged in Kansas.

Cesar Espinosa, a Houston immigrant advocate, said Texas' law has led to success stories for students who otherwise might not be able to afford higher education, even though they spent years in the K-12 public school system.

“We're hoping that the lawsuit doesn't go far,” Espinosa said. “The reason many students who are undocumented finish high school is because they know there is an opportunity to go on with their studies. If we want to keep students engaged, we have to have a means for them to continue with their education.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indictments on the Death of Luis Ramirez

Now that Lou Dobbs is no longer at CNN, it feels ok to link


3 police officers among 5 people indicted in race-related beating

December 15, 2009 1:05 p.m. EST
Luis Ramirez was in a coma on life support before he died two days after he was beaten.
Luis Ramirez was in a coma on life support before he died two days after he was beaten.
  • Indictments include hate crime, obstruction, conspiracy, misconduct, extortion charges
  • 2 people charged with hate crime for beating man in 2008 while shouting racial epithets
  • Justice Department alleges "scheme to obstruct the investigation of the fatal assault"
  • Police chief charged with conspiring to obstruct justice, extortion, civil rights violations

Washington (CNN) -- Five people, including three police officers, have been indicted in the fatal race-related beating of a Latino man in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Two indictments charge the five with federal hate crime charges, as well as obstruction of justice and conspiracy, authorities said in a written statement. A federal grand jury handed up the indictments last week, and they were unsealed to complete article

Monday, December 14, 2009

Congress & Immigration Reform - on the 17th

Local groups are organizing to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will be presented by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) on Thurs. Dec. 17.


Tomorrow December 15th 2009 Immigration reform is being introduced by Congressman Luis Gutierrez and the Hispanic Caucus. We need to do an action this week to show that we will support and Immigration initiative and will push for comprehensive immigration reform Tor this reason:

On Thursday December 17, 2009 at 11:00a.m. community leaders and leaders of faith are calling for a mobilization at the Mickey Leland Federal Building to make the Houston's voice heard. We will say, "No more" No more raids, No more families being split, No more children without a secure future, No more time, The time for immigration reform is now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009
11:00am - 1:00pm

1919 Smith St. Houston, TX 77002

Cesar Espinosa

America Para Todos
Executive Director
6601 Hillcroft #125
Houston, TX 77081
Phone: (713)271-9703
Fax: (713)271-9704

PO Box 2765
Cypress, TX 77410-2765
Phone: (281)225-4037
Fax: (281)225-4037

Cell and texts: (713)459-8923

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tiger's Race - to be white?

Tiger is more than integrated. He has a platinum blonde (scandinavian) wife, and a white dog. In Mexico they call that "improving the race." Yes, it is all Tiger's fault. He's a grown man and could have made other choices. Yet wasn't he doing what our culture is always pressuring us to do? The ideal is for all of us to be white. If you are a woman and have brown hair, you dye it blonde (take a look at Hillary). Scandinavian women are idealized. The real meaning of "being American" is being "white" - not just in skin, but in culture.... upper middle class, Mom, Dad, Apple Pie, BMW's, and the white suburbs. Tiger was seduced as so many of us are. Only difference is that having so much money made his fall really steep and dangerous.


After Tiger's fall, what hope is there for post-racial America?

The golfer and the president both represented the promise of a fully integrated nation. But will the demise of one affect the other?

As the great Tiger Woods steps down from the global stage, however temporarily, it is an interesting moment to consider the interplay of celebrity, sex, race and the corporatisation of sport. At first, I found all the hoopla difficult to understand. Tiger Woods always seemed so unremittingly phlegmatic that it's hard to imagine him as the "sexposed!" "horndog!" described in all the tabloids.

But my image of Woods comes entirely from advertisements for Accenture, Gillette and Nike. My image is of Tiger the corporate logo, Tiger the symbol of well-executed "swoosh," Tiger the carefully designed avatar of business acumen, family values and gentlemanly athleticism.

At the same time, he is a celebrity, heretofore a fairly subdued member of the velvet-roped elite, but a celebrity none the less. And sooner or later, there is nothing our culture loves more than ripping stars to shreds. If the role of the corporate sponsor is to gild our icons, the role of the paparazzi is to slice and dice those bodies beautiful into a million little quivering pathologised pieces.

Add in the fact that Tiger Woods is the embodiment of America's complicated racial aspirations. He was the face of so-called "biracialism" before Barack Obama. No one is ever allowed to forget that his father was African American and his mother Thai. These things are still monitored closely in the United States. Our too-recent history of strict anti-miscegenation laws has endowed the offspring of such unions with a twitchy kind of unresolved attention.

Only a few months ago, a justice of the peace in Louisiana refused to issue a marriage licence to a white woman and a black man because he thought such pairings were bad for the children. And just last week, Congress and the Justice Department were still debating whether to issue a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion who, in the 1900s, married three white women and was prosecuted for transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes.

Johnson was a complicated character, to be sure. Then, when boxing was still considered something of a white gentleman's pastime, Johnson's victories in the ring incited riots. Novelist Jack London issued the call for a "Great White Hope" who could best him; other voices issued the call to have him lynched. In recent history, it is the golf links that remain the playground of genteel white manfolk. Indeed, golf is the most racially segregated sport in America; access to courses is prohibitively expensive, so it remains the pursuit of the well-to-do executive class.

It should come as no surprise, then, that some measure of Woods's heroic status has been grounded not merely in the excellence of his game, but in the fact that he has been lionised as an "honorary white." He lives in a mansion in Florida, in a gated enclave. He married a Swedish model. His trousers are neatly pleated and nicely braided belts ensure that they do not "ride low." His T-shirts are tailored and, to all appearances, starched. When he transgresses, his wife takes after him with a very expensive nine-iron rather than the proverbial pot of boiling grits.

It is all proof, said one waggish radio broadcaster, that golf can turn almost anyone into "an old, retired white guy".

At the same time, Tiger Woods has also operated as a kind of answer to badly behaved basketball players like Dennis Rodman: he was cast as the well-educated, softly spoken, supremely non-threatening "Great Black Hope".

Woods was the rebuttal to those enduring images of the insatiable black Lothario, the antithesis of Jack Johnson, who famously taunted America with his inter-racial liaisons, boasted about his conquests and mistreated them publicly. (When asked by a reporter how he sustained his sexual prowess, Johnson is alleged to have responded that one must "eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts".)

Hence, Tiger Woods's fall from grace has intimations that reach far beyond his personal life. As we know, there's a great deal of money resting on Tiger the property. When he took leave to recover from reconstructive knee surgery last year, television ratings for golf tournaments fell 50%. Nike alone sells $600m-worth of golfing gear every year based largely on the qualities of play and personality he has brought to the game.

His fall has tossed him into the great media wood-chipper, however; in fewer than 10 minutes of television coverage, I heard comparisons with OJ Simpson no fewer than five times. Yes, OJ – the one whose wife was brutally murdered. But the only comparison I can see is that both Simpson, the face of Hertz, and Woods, the face of Nike, were configured by their corporate sponsors as good, assimilated black people who proved that we were a rainbow society. The reality of their lives was not what was being sold.

But for my money, Simpson and Woods's flaws are so substantively, so qualitatively different that the very mention of them in the same breath strikes me as really derived from some residual anxiety about black men married to white women.

OJ Simpson, although acquitted of murdering his wife, was known to have hit her on occasion. Woods, while admittedly a serial philanderer, is the one who was found semi-conscious and bloody, the windows of his car smashed by his wife in an apparent fit of high "rescue" dudgeon.

I suppose we'll never know what really happened on the night of 30 November 2009. It's not exactly truth be damned, but "truth" has become something of a commodity, whose value must compete against the gleeful media whoring of celebrity. But if the past remains murky and fictive, we can surely foresee what comes next. Now begins the ritual cleansing that is so much the script of America's teeter-totter between puritanism and prurience, sex and race, purity and penance. Whole industries are built upon impossible rectitude and grieving remorse, great falls from grace and elaborate rites of redemption.

But the most dangerous subtext in this otherwise delicious debacle is the great unspoken subtext: until 30 November, it had almost become a cliche that Barack Obama was the Tiger Woods of the political sphere. That perceived conflation of identity is what saddens me most about Tiger Woods's fall from grace.

Yes, he's human and yes, he is entitled to whatever private life he can salvage. But his underwritten role in our national pantheon served as the deus ex machina for the hope of a more integrated America, a more settled diversity that could be taken for granted, that was calming in its "post-racial" promise. The revealed precariousness of that promise is what has been most disheartening about the feeding frenzy of stereotype into which we are now sinking.

To quote William Blake's celebrated poem "The Tyger" – if wildly and completely out of context: "What the hammer? What the chain?/ In what furnace was thy brain?"

Patricia Williams is a professor of law at Columbia University

Finally a word about Tiger

My mother would rave about Tiger. Everybody watched him. His talent was amazing. When I used to see him play I would wonder how many hours everyday he had to work out to be so fantastically good. Now I'm wondering how he was such a good golfer considering he didn't seem to have much time to concentrate on his sport.

It is a sad situation for him, and even more so for his wife and kids. At the same time its a reality check for the rest of us. So often we want to be important, to be noticed, to be famous or really rich (like Tiger) and we forget the huge price people pay for all of this. Tiger lost touch with the real world. I don't know if he'll ever make it back.


The Sin City VIP service that seduced Tiger Woods

The art of adultery has been incorporated in the business models of Vegas clubs

By Guy Adams - London Independent

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Every now and then the expectant crowds will part so that a headset-wearing hostess can march through, accompanied by wealthy men who are known in the industry as "whales". They are ushered to a cordoned-off area overlooking the main arena, where they are brought extortionately priced drinks and assigned a "mood advisor," whose duties include plumping up the cushions and offering, with the words "blondes or brunettes, sir?" to drag willing young women off the dancefloor to join the party.

Tiger Woods was a whale. In fact he was one of the biggest and most coveted (a blue whale, perhaps?) in a multimillion-dollar industry that stretches from London and Ibiza to New York, Miami, Dubai, Vegas and any number of global "party towns". And it is testament to the success with which the VIP nightclub scene quietly facilitates the indiscretions of not just Woods, but scores of other actors and sportsmen, that the scandal which prompted him to quit golf "indefinitely" to concentrate on being "a better husband, father and person" took so long to emerge... link to complete article

more on Tiger from the London Independent

Protest in Copenhagen

December 13, 2009 - London Independent

Tens of thousands stage world's largest climate march in Copenhagen

By Ben Ferguson in Denmark and Jonathan Owen

Britons deported and hundreds held as preventative measure after bottles thrown.

Tens of thousands of climate activists marched in Copenhagen yesterday as part of a worldwide "Day of Action" to urge negotiators at UN talks to agree a strong treaty to fight global warming. The rally was mostly held in a carnival atmosphere, but riot police detained about 700 activists at the rear of the march after bottles were thrown and a window at the Danish foreign ministry was smashed. The activists were forced to sit down on the street, with hands tied behind their backs.

The number of people on the march was estimated at 25,000 by police and up to 100,000 by organisers. Banners read, "There is no planet B", and "Change the politics, not the climate". Some activists dressed as polar bears and penguins with signs reading: "Save the Humans!" Some held a giant inflatable snowman under threat of melting from warming caused by burning fossil fuels.

A Copenhagen police spokeswoman later confirmed that two Britons were deported for vandalism and spitting on a police officer during the protests. Police blamed the trouble on militant activist groups, and claimed the troublemakers included groups responsible for provoking violence during a Nato summit in the French city of Strasbourg last April.

The arrests came after the march from the city to the Bella Centre, where the UN Climate Change Conference is being held.

Taking part in the world's largest ever climate-change march, which was named The Flood, and organised by Friends of the Earth, were the supermodel turned activist Helena Christensen, Bollywood actor Rahul Bose, and British actress Helen Baxendale. Christensen said: "They will be very bad politicians if they do not hear us by now."

Protesters were demanding that negotiators strike a deal to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming. In the Global Day of Action, campaigners also staged events abroad, including a four-minute "flashdance" outside the Houses of Parliament, with volunteers across London collecting messages from citizens to give to MPs.

The Flood coincided with the arrival of environment ministers in Copenhagen yesterday for informal talks before world leaders join the summit later this week.

While government officials try to find some sort of compromise, health experts will warn this week of the potentially dire consequences of failure. The lives of hundreds of millions worldwide are being put at risk by climate change, with impacts escalating into the foreseeable future, warns a new report by the World Health Organisation being presented to delegates at the climate talks on Thursday.

Progress against diseases such as cholera, malaria and dengue fever could be reversed, says the Protecting Health from Climate Change report, which predicts that the population at risk of malaria in Africa could rise by 170 million by 2030, and the global population at risk of dengue by an extra two billion by the 2080s. "Climate change threatens the very fabric of global health," said Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, lead author of the report. He added: "We have a choice between a world that is more dangerous, worse for health and more degraded and unfair, and one that is more sustainable, equitable and beneficial for health."

The warning comes as climate experts stress that countries will need to go beyond the deals already on the table just to have a reasonable chance of containing warming at below C.

Lord Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said: "A deal that puts us on the path to having a good chance of avoiding warming of C, is possible - but ... we need to capture the high end of those proposals and more in Copenhagen, and then ratchet up commitments."

An alternative summit in Copenhagen claims to have the answer. A proposal from Klimaforum09 - representing 70 organisations from 92 countries - calling for a "system change" to a carbon-free economy by 2040 will be presented to government delegations on Tuesday. It rejects "false solutions" such as nuclear energy and argues for the "safe, clean, renewable and sustainable use of natural resources".

One of those backing the declaration, the Indian environmentalist Dr Vandana Shiva, said: "Indigenous people and the indigenous world views will definitely need to be brought into the centre of discussion in search of solutions to climate change."

However, a poll this weekend shows dwindling support for environmental issues. A survey by YouGov for the Labour-leaning Left Foot Forward website will make difficult reading for political leaders trying to take voters with them on climate change.

Just 24 per cent believe global warming is an "urgent issue" needing "immediate and radical steps", compared with 38 per cent in a previous YouGov poll in November 2006. And 18 per cent agree that "there is not yet enough clear evidence of global warming and therefore there is no need currently to consider any major steps to change the way we live" - double the 9 per cent in the 2006 poll.

Immigration Reform in Congress in 2010?

Having waited patiently in the wings, Immigration advocates in Chicago and elsewhere are anxious to take President Barack Obama at his word when he said Immigration reform would soon follow health care on the nation's agenda.

With several initiatives gearing up to put the issue before Congress in the new year, advocates are all too aware they haven't had much cause for celebration in recent years.

Their last big push in
Washington, in 2007, failed to settle the status of the nation's estimated 11.9 million undocumented immigrants.

Deportations have continued, with nearly 370,000 immigrants detained during the fiscal year that ended in October.

That's more than twice the number in 1999, according to a report last week by Transactional Records Clearing House at Syracuse University.

In Chicago, frustration has been heightened by tougher local enforcement measures, such as a new city ordinance that, starting Jan. 1, will allow police to impound the cars of unlicensed drivers. Many of them turn out to be undocumented immigrants.

On the street, the emotions behind the issue can be seen in the growing campaign on behalf of Rigo Padilla, an undocumented college student ordered out of the country by Dec. 16.

Last week, 200 people rallied through downtown, and some demonstrators have threatened civil disobedience if Padilla isn't allowed to stay.

Groups seeking more aggressive
Immigration-law enforcement, meanwhile, see cases like Padilla's as reasons to crack down further.

His illegal status was discovered when he was arrested for drinking and driving, and he has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge.

In hopes of finding a resolution, Congress is again talking about an
Immigration overhaul early next year.

One House bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep.
Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is expected this month, and another Senate bill is expected in January.

Following up on Obama's vow to address the issue when he met with activists at the
White House earlier this year, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said last month the administration envisions a "three-legged stool" that includes better border enforcement, more efficient legal Immigration and "a tough and fair" pathway to legalization that will require the undocumented to learn English and pay fines, among other things. link

Friday, December 11, 2009

More on Rigoberto and Social Activism by DREAMers

Illegal Immigrant Students Publicly Take Up a Cause

by Julia Preston
New York Times
Published: December 10, 2009

...Mr. Padilla’s case had seemed straightforward to immigration agents who detained him for deportation in January after he was arrested by the Chicago police for running a stop sign and charged with driving under the influence.

But since then, students held two street rallies on his behalf and sent thousands of e-mail messages and faxes to Congress. The Chicago City Council passed a resolution calling for a stay of his deportation and five members of Congress from Illinois came out in support of his cause. One of them was Representative Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, who offered a private bill to cancel his

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One DREAMer Saved -

Today's news shows that when people work together things happen! How many other DREAMers are out there waiting for the day of deportation? Can we do this for someone else?

Only thing I have to mention. ICRR's statement says that Rigo "acknowledged his mistake" - which is appropriate if it was for the traffic violation. But if this is meant for immigration without a visa, he was a small child when he came to the U.S. then he does not need to apologize...

Congratulations to the professors at Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Let hope you started a trend.

As for my other academic colleagues. How many of you signed the petition?


UIC Honors Student Rigo Padilla’s Deportation Halted!

Chicago, Illinois – Today, the Department of Homeland Security notified Rigoberto Padilla’s attorney that his deportation has been deferred. Rigoberto Padilla, a junior [and Honor student] at the University of Illinois in Chicago has been fighting to stay in this country since he was placed in deportation proceedings last January, due to a misdemeanor driving to complete article

Email From: Rigo Padilla
Date: Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 5:28 PM
Subject: Great News

Today I received a letter from ICE saying that my deportation has been deferred until December 10th, 2010.

I am very pleased and grateful for this news. I thank the Obama administration for giving me another chance to show my full potential and contribute more to the country I call home. I also thank Congresswoman Schakowsky and the Congressmen that believed in me and all the people and youth that were with me during these tough times.

Together we were able to collect the signatures of over 1100 University Faculty, pass resolutions in both Chicago and Berwyn and send over 18,000 faxes to ICE!

View ICIRR's statement here.

I hope that my case can help other undocumented youth that are facing deportation, and that congress passes comprehensive immigration reform including the DREAM Act this year.

Representative Luis Gutierrez will be introducing an immigration reform bill in the house later this month, with a bill most likely being introduced into the Senate shortly after that.

Our movement is growing, we need to continue to organize and build our power. Everyone knows that our immigration system is broken. Now is the time to fix it.

Thank you again for all your support!

- Rigo Padilla


more on Rigo Padilla:

Rigo Padilla: Support grows to fight UIC student's deportation -- December 6, 2009

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