Friday, September 30, 2011

An anti-immigration rampage of judicial proportions

From the Washington Post, September 29, 2011

Obama administration widens challenges to state immigration laws

Erik S. Lesser/AP - A man holds a United States flag while marching through downtown Atlanta in protest against Georgia's strict new immigration law July 2, 2011.

The Obama administration is escalating its crackdown on tough immigration laws, with lawyers reviewing four new state statutes to determine whether the federal government will take the extraordinary step of challenging the measures in court.

Justice Department lawyers have sued Arizona and Alabama, where a federal judge on Wednesday allowed key parts of that state’s immigration law to take effect but blocked other provisions. Federal lawyers are talking to Utah officials about a third possible lawsuit and are considering legal challenges in Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina, according to court documents and government officials.
Click Here to View Full Graphic Story
A look at how other states have responded to Arizona’s immigration law.

Alabama's strict new immigration law, which was largely upheld Wednesday by a federal judge, requires police to jail anyone who can't prove he or she is in the country legally. (Sept. 29)
More on this Story

The level of federal intervention is highly unusual, legal experts said, especially because civil rights groups already have sued most of those states. Typically, the government files briefs or seeks to intervene in other lawsuits filed against state statutes.

“I don’t recall any time in history that the Justice Department has so aggressively challenged state laws,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University Law School.

The legal skirmishing comes as immigration emerges as a defining issue in the presidential campaign and Hispanic voters play an increasingly influential role. Most Republican candidates are calling for a hard line on the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants — and criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry for some of his positions on the issue.

President Obama is staking out a position on the other side. He told a roundtable of Latino reporters Wednesday that Arizona’s immigration law created “a great danger that naturalized citizens, individuals with Latino surnames, potentially could be vulnerable to questioning. The laws could be potentially abused in ways that were not fair to Latino citizens.” - more

Immigration issues in the UK

 The threat of legal action by the European Commission over Britain's restrictions on benefits for migrants risks "blowing the Government's immigration policy out of the water", campaigners said today.
The ruling that the UK's "right to reside" test on EU nationals based in the country is a breach of EU law is "an open invitation to benefit tourism", the campaign group Migration Watch UK said...

366 Million Diabetics in the World

From the LA Times, September 11, 2011

Worldwide diabetes cases reach 366 million



Diabetes cases are at 366 million worldwide; some experts say obesity and an aging population are to blame. (Zbigniew Bzdak / MCT)

Diabetes isn't just a problem in the U.S.--about 366 million people worldwide have the disease, says the International Diabetes Federation.

In addition, 4.6 million deaths are attributed to diabetes, and healthcare spending has grown to a staggering $465 billion.

The figures were released Tuesday in Lisbon, Portugal, at a meeting of the Assn. for the Study of Diabetes, in advance of the United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases Monday and Tuesday in New York. The IDF, an umbrella group of more than 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries, will release its Global Diabetes plan this weekend, outlining steps to combat the diabetes epidemic. The entire Diabetes Atlas, which includes breakdowns by region, will be available in November.

"IDF's latest atlas data are proof indeed that diabetes is a massive challenge the world can no longer afford to ignore," said IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya in a news release. Mbanya, professor of medicine and endocrinology at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon, added: "In 2011, one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds. The clock is ticking for the world's leaders -- we expect action from their high-level meeting next week at the United Nations that will halt diabetes' relentlessly upwards trajectory."

There is reason to be concerned. Last month the journal the Lancet released a study that used past obesity trends in the U.S. and the U.K. to predict what could happen if rates continue to climb. By 2030 there could be more than 8 million cases of diabetes in the U.S., along with a 50% obesity rate.

Another 2011 Lancet study reported that the rates of Type 2 diabetes have more than doubled worldwide since 1980, going from about 153 million cases to about 347 million in 2008. Researchers attributed about 70% of the growth to population aging, and the other 30% to the increase in obesity.                                    

Journalism - Hacking - and the News

The telephone hacking scandal associated with Rupert Murdoch has turned Journalism upside down.  Murdoch is usually seen as a demon - Carl Bernstein (who broke the Watergate Scandal) takes a more complex look at Murdoch's Empire.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Diary: Back Again!

For college professors, life is generally governed by what you write and publish.  Blogs and Twitter don't count.  The writing has to be in 1) books published by academic presses or 2) journals published by academic presses.  This is how a college professor keeps her job.

For the past few months I have lived, breathed and slept a book I was writing.  This meant that 7 days per week I went up to a room I have behind my house and wrote and wrote and wrote.  I finished the book on August 16.  I started doing research on the book in December 2006.  It has been a long 5 years.  The last few months were frantic.  When you are writing a book you can't work 8-5 or you'll never finish it.  So I wrote until my fingers hurt.  I stopped cooking and hardly saw my mother...

By now you are probably very curious as to what this book is about.  Its about Jews in Mexico.  I don't mean Jews to arrived during World War II escaping the Holocaust.  I mean those who got there in the 1500s, trying to get away from the Inquisition.  It is a really interesting story, full of intrigue, false identities, and questionable (Catholic) religious beliefs.

Academic books take a long time to publish.  Don't look for this book until at least summer of 2013.

The book is one of the reasons that I have not written as much on the blog in 2011.  The second reason, as I noted in a previous post is that my brother passed away.

It has now been three months since my brother's death, and a month since I finished the manuscript to the book.

Its time to move forward, continue writing for DREAM ACT TEXAS, support DREAMers, and heighten our awareness about the health issues that not only plague the Latino community, but the entire human population (see post  UN calls summit on spread of 'lifestyle' diseases)

Thanks for your support and interest in DREAM ACT Texas.


In Spanish: Regarding "Negotiations" with the Drug Cartels

Information from this article appeared on La Jornada (Mexico City) - it is no longer available at the paper's website.  It can be found at Animal Politico dated September 13, 2011

El presidente estadounidense, Barack Obama, se pronunció hoy contra la propuesta de quienes en México apoyan un arreglo con el crimen organizado, como una salida a la violencia provocada por el narcotráfico.
“Si se compra la paz llegando a un arreglo con gente sin moral y sin respeto a la vida humana, eso no es bueno para una sociedad”, dijo el mandatario en la Casa Blanca, en una mesa redonda con un grupo de periodistas de habla hispana que incluyó a Notimex.

Obama consideró que la lucha contra estos grupos, bajo el gobierno del presidente Felipe Calderón, tiene profundas implicaciones sociales para México.

“El presidente Calderón entiende y está en lo correcto, cuando dice que si los criminales pueden controlar enormes segmentos de la economía y por ello se presentan como parte de la fibra social del país, eso tiene un efecto corrosivo y corruptor en cualquier economía de cualquier sociedad”, dijo Obama.

El mandatario confió en que este razonamiento prevalezca entre la población, dadas sus profundas implicaciones.
“No creo que los mexicanos quieran vivir en una sociedad donde los narcotraficantes sean considerados uno de los sujetos más poderosos en la sociedad”, precisó.

Obama dijo que ha conversado con el presidente Calderón, quien “sufre de ver que este tipo de violencia tiene lugar, y sé que quiere reducirla, pero ha tomado una decisión que comparto y respeto”.

El mandatario dijo que está evaluando una solicitud del Congreso para que la Casa Blanca turne documentos, correos electrónicos y notas de tres altos funcionarios, que tuvieron conocimiento de la operación Rápido y Furioso, que permitió infiltrar armas a México.

“Vamos a ver la petición, mi consejero legal en la Casa Blanca está a cargo de atender estas peticiones de información del Congreso, y no me involucro en los detalles de eso”, dijo al ser cuestionado.

La petición fue hecha por el presidente del Comité de Supervisión de la Cámara de Representantes, el republicano Darrel Issa, y por el senador republicano Charles Grassley, como parte de una ampliación de la pesquisa legislativa sobre la operación.

Los tres funcionarios implicados son el ex director para América del Norte del Consejo Nacional de Seguridad, Kevin O’Reilly; su director para el hemisferio occidental, Dan Restrepo, y el director de terrorismo, Greg Gatjanis.
Obama reiteró su desconocimiento sobre el controversial programa, mediante el cual la Oficina de Alcohol, Tabaco y Armas de Fuego (ATF) permitió el ingreso ilegal de más de dos mil armas a México.

Explicó que los tres funcionarios en cuestión recibieron información en términos generales, sin detalles sobre los alcances que ahora han trascendido.

“Este no es un tema en el que la Casa Blanca tuviera conocimiento de lo que ahora se sabe, fue un problema real de que un comprador pudo llevar esas armas a México”, precisó.

Dijo que su gobierno ha respondido ya en varios frentes, primero con una investigación conducida por el Departamento de Justicia, y con cambios recientes en la dirección de la ATF y su oficina en Phoenix.
El procurador general Eric Holder “ha sido claro de que esa decisión no reflejó la política de la administración, por eso es que se han visto cambios”, explicó.

A preguntas sobre su resistencia a impulsar que se restablezca la prohibición de la venta de armas de asalto, Obama dijo entender que el control de armas “es sensible en México, y lo que queremos es cooperar” con ese gobierno.
Dijo que por ello, su gobierno está tomando pasos para atacar la venta ilegal de armas, cerrando vacíos legales, y adoptando verificaciones más rigurosas de los antecedentes de los compradoras y para prevenir la compra por intermediarios.

“Vamos a hacer todo lo que podamos ahí, y vamos a continuar explorando una amplia gama de pasos para apoyar lo que el gobierno de México hace”, indicó.


From Blog:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The President Acknowledges the DOJ Investigation Against Arpaio! How Many Days Before Arpaio is Indicted!

Message to my readers: Yesterday, our President, Barack Obama, hosted a meeting for Latino Voters. I asked a question re: the Arpaio "Abuse of Power" investigation and his Racial Profiling tactics in Maricopa County. I asked when will we hear the results of this DOJ Investigation. It was reported in Huffington Post as follows: "Senior Editor Gabriel Lerner asks a question from a HuffPost LatinoVoices reader concerning Sheriff Arpaio, Obama says he won’t speak to specific cases, but that he is concerned by Arizona’s laws in regards to racial profiling." Now, USA Today News is reporting further on the President's response to my question:USA Today reports: President Obama and Arizona-based Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- noted for his roundups of illegal immigrants -- are mixing it up. In a roundtable on Hispanic issues Wednesday, Obama said his Justice Department challenged the Arizona immigration law backed by Arpaio because "we thought that there was a great danger that naturalized citizens -- individuals with Latino surnames -- potentially could be vulnerable to questioning." "The laws could be potentially abused in ways that were not fair to Latino citizens in Arizona," Obama said.

Arpaio, interviewed on Arizona television (see link), said he resented the president's suggestion that he engages in racial profiling. "I'm an equal-opportunity guy," Arpaio said. "I enforce all the laws."

During the Hispanic roundtable, Obama was asked to comment on a reported civil rights investigation of Arpaio's office. "Well, I have to be careful about commenting on individual cases," Obama said. "That's handled typically by the Department of Justice or these other agencies. What I will say is this: that the approach that's been taken to immigration in Arizona, I think, has not always been as productive as it's been."

Arpaio said:
"He's a lawyer; he is pretty sharp to avoid direct questions. ... He made some comments talking about people being stopped because of their name. He didn't like the 1070 law, he connects me with 1070. And my answer is: I am just doing my job, and I arrest everyone that violates the law, and I am not going to stop."
My response to Arpayaso and his masked volunteer goons: WE THE PEOPLE are very aware of your Abuse of Power and your Racial Profiling. The Mayors and Officials of Arizona demanded that the DOJ investigate your abuse. The DOJ has been investigating your abuse. It is only a matter of time before You and Your Masked Goons are indicted for your Abuse of Power. WE THE PEOPLE are counting the days before your indictment is announced! God Bless America! God Bless Our President Barack Obama!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

UN calls summit on spread of 'lifestyle' diseases -London Guardian

World leaders will meet to agree a deal on curbing health problems caused by bad diet, alcohol and smoking
A fried English breakfast
Non-communicable diseases were responsible for 36m of the 57m global deaths in 2008, fuelled by bad diet, alcohol and smoking. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

World leaders at a meeting of the United Nations on Monday will agree a deal to try to curb the spread of preventable "lifestyle" diseases, amid concern that progress is already being hampered by powerful lobbyists from the food, alcohol and tobacco industries.

Cancers, heart disease, diabetes and lung conditions already cost rich countries dear in terms of the health bills and productive life span of their citizens. But the scourge of what the World Health Organisation calls the "non-communicable diseases" (NCDs) is rapidly spreading across all parts of the globe, fuelled by obesity as a result of bad diet and sedentary lifestyles, together with alcohol and smoking. These diseases were responsible for around 36m of the 57m global deaths in 2008, including about 9m before the age of 60 – and many are preventable...more

DREAM Act Texas will be spending more time presenting information on health issues, especially diabetes.  


"Criminal" Aliens arrested for deportation

2,901 Arrested in Sweep of Criminal Immigrants

WASHINGTON — The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced on Wednesday that it had arrested 2,901 immigrants who have criminal records, highlighting the Obama administration’s policy of focusing on such people while putting less emphasis on deporting illegal immigrants who pose no demonstrated threat to public safety.
Officials from the agency portrayed the seven-day sweep, called Operation Cross Check, as the largest enforcement and removal operation in its history. It involved arrests in all 50 states of criminal offenders of 115 nationalities, including people convicted of manslaughter, armed robbery, aggravated assault and sex crimes.

“These are not people who are making a positive contribution to their communities,” said the agency’s director, John Morton. “They are not the kind of people we want walking our streets.”

More than 1,600 of those arrested had been convicted of a felony. The remainder had a misdemeanor conviction for matters like theft, forgery and driving while intoxicated, the agency said. Those arrested included illegal immigrants and lawful resident noncitizens who had been convicted of crimes that made them eligible to be deported....more    

If ICE was working so hard on arrested almost 3,000 people because they had criminal records, why did they take the time out to focus on Matias Ramos?


Monday, September 26, 2011

How the world sees America

America's barely tamed brutality - London Guardian

Pepper spray, Swat teams and judicial torture. This barbarity is ever present – but rarely so visible – in American life
NYPD officers carry away a man during a Wall Street protest.
NYPD officers carry away a man during a Wall Street protest. Photograph: Tina Fineberg/AP

One of the hardships of life as a reporter in New York City is that you so rarely get credited with the kind of heroism shown by colleagues in Helmand, say, or Baghdad. The assumption is that you're spending time drinking gin martinis on the roof of Soho House (I prefer vodka) or dining at the Grand Central oyster bar (try the Rhode Island Cuttyhunks, they're sumptuous), rather than dodging bullets in Tripoli.

I'd like to think that over the past few days perception of my job as a soft landing has started to change, and that its true nature as a tough, dangerous and – yes – heroic posting has begun to emerge. Take the events over the weekend in Wall Street. Admittedly, I wasn't there, but that's not the point. I could have been.

The protests were a lament for a nation in which, despite the 2008 meltdown, the financial system remains largely unregulated, where 46 million Americans live below the official poverty line, and where inequality is greater now than at any time since 1929. That's hardly the stuff of revolutions: you can read Paul Krugman make a similar point every week in the New York Times. And in the land of the first amendment you'd think it was OK to shout it out in the street, even if that street is Wall Street....

There was very little of this in today's NY Times....


Saturday, September 24, 2011

END Our Pain

Stop Matias' Deportation: Share With Your Friends

Sign the petition at

Update: Great news! Yesterday evening, Matias received a visit at his home from an ICE agent and was released from the electronic shackle! This could not have been possible without your support. You and many other supporters made calls to ICE, signed the petition and shared it with your friends and family. However, Matias' deportation has not been canceled yet. Although he has been granted a six month stay, he still faces the uncertainty being deported to Argentina. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Please Help Matias Ramos

Matias Ramos is one of the founders of the DREAMer movement.  He is a Newman Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.  Matias already had a work permit and was reporting regularly to an ICE office in Fairfax, Virginia.  Last week he was given orders for deportation.  Web site in support of Matias Ramos:


Good afternoon friends of immigration reform,
I write to you to ask that you join CCO, PICO, United We Dream, and many other organizations in calling for the stop to the deportation of DREAM students - especially Matias Ramos, a co-founder of the United We Dream Network.  He is expected to leave the country in the next 11 days and his deportation would be a great loss to the DREAM movement and show just how effective the recent DHS memos regarding prioritization actually are (or are not in this case).  Please take the time to read the message below from his colleague and friend and then act by signing the petition, e-mailing Lindsay to sign-on to the letter, and joining the call if you are able.  Thank you for your continued support of our DREAM students!
Whitney Gerlach | Community Organizer
CCO is a federation of the PICO National Network
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you have heard, Matias Ramos, co-founder of the United We Dream Network, a loved and respected leader in the fight for a just immigration system, is being ordered to leave the country in 12 days. He is one of my best friends and one of our board members for United We Dream, we are outraged and
saddened to hear that this is happening to him, but we know that he is just an example of the pain that our immigrant community is enduring.

Matias was arrested in an airport and released by immigration in February of 2010 after attending a national gathering of immigrant youth. After being detained in 2010, Matias was issued a deportation order and put on an order of supervision. He was also given a work permit and now works as a Newman Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. For the past year and a half, he has been on an order of supervision that requires him to report regularly in Fairfax, Virginia. 

At a regular report meeting with ICE last week, Matias was placed on the Intense Supervision and Appearance Program (ISAP) which requires him to wear an ankle bracelet at all times, and charge it against the wall for three hours each day.  The bracelet talks to him; it barks out commands at different times of the day.  The ISAP people have already come to his home twice to check on him.

The most shocking part of this ICE action is after the amount of work that we all have done to push the Obama Administration to issue guidelines to stop the deportations of many non-criminals in our community, their guidelines and announcements are not having an effect in creating relief for our community. On the contrary we are seeing the regional local ICE offices take matters into their own hands to continue to deport as many people as they can.

Thank you for all of the support and concern you all have shown for Matias, as we’ve launched a public campaign for deferred action on his case. So far, we have circulated a petition for his case which can be found We need your organization's support for Matias's case in the following ways;

1.     Sign on to the attached letter asking Enrique Lucero, the Fairfax ICE Field Office Director, to grant Matias deferred action. Email Lindsay McCluskey at by 5pm on Friday to sign on.
2.      Send out the petition to your organizational list serves to help build strong public support for Matias (here is the link to our current petition for support please contact our online manager Rosa Alvarez at
3.     Join us for a call on Friday at 3pm EST to discuss more ways that you can stop Matias's deportation and many others that are in similar circumstances, please RSVP by sending me an email -
Matias’s story is a glimpse into what DREAMers and their parents across the country are going through. We hope that Matias's compelling case can help build toward changes that will impact more people and get the relief that is needed.

With urgency,

Carlos Saavedra
National Coordinator
United We Dream Network(UWD)
Cell:    617-459-1935