Category Archives: Hispanic

Dog Days of Summer Starting Earlier?

John Roberts - Caricature

John Roberts – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Here it is, June 22, and the days are starting to get shorter again. The heat is up in the east, and it’s settling in nicely in the west for its long summer run. Normally, things slow down come August, but it appears the dog days are starting earlier this year, especially for us bloggers.

Look at politics. Chief Justice John Roberts has signaled, by actually saying nothing, that the SCOTUS will probably go into overtime on finalizing its opinion on the Health Care law. If it’s another 5-4 decision split exactly according to the politics of the appointing president (i.e.: the 5 votes belong to justices appointed by Republican presidents, etc.), then summer could start heating up pretty quickly. It might be that an issue that affects all of us, and which almost half of us oppose (the bill in general) but less than 40% support it, being decided by a single vote could truly put many noses out of joint. It would be to the country’s advantage if the justices were able to decide 6-3 or 7-2. But as of today it’s all quiet on the Potomac.

Mitt Robme is said to be softening his views on immigration. That is, he’s willing to consider granting green cards to immigrants who serve in the military. That’s sweet, but it is like Caligula deciding to spare a Christian in the Coliseum because the emperor felt he’d do well in the Pretorian guard. Robme’s thinking simply excludes any immigrants who won’t serve. So the Republican grand plan to deal with the 11 million Hispanics in the country without documents is to allow those who can join the military to become citizens.


Mittster (Photo credit: DoubleSpeak Media)

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s a step, but even smaller than a baby step. Yes, it’s true that, based on the Social Security Administrations analysis of the age groups of undocumented immigrants, most are below thirty. So the question becomes, just how many of those young people can and will enlist? And that’s where we left the Mittster, trying to score points with Hispanics by softening his originally razor-sharp opposition to those people he assumed would “self-deport” when they couldn’t get jobs here.

The Roman Catholic Church is quiet today, too. No more scandals about child abuse have been reported, no chants of Catholic-bashing, and no Vatican tongue-lashings for nuns are evident. We must thank God for that. I’m sure She’s taking a breather, too.

For a blogger, this is slim pickings. There’s no really juicy story to respond to or to explain. Maybe it’s good that it comes at the end of the work week, when I can recharge my batteries with two days off.

Let’s hope for more scandal and false pieties next week!

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Hispanic, Hypocrisy, Immigration, Immigration reform, Politics, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Supreme Court

On Immigrants and Vaginas

Marco Rubio - Caricature

Marco Rubio – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Last Friday, President Barack Obama apparently stole Mitt Romney’s thunder by announcing a version of the Dream ActLite. Ordering the Department of Homeland Security to not deport children of immigrant parents up to the age of 30 and allowing them to apply for a work permit is a

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Mitt Romney – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

major step forward, even when many would hope for the whole enchilada of immigration reform. According to news reports, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) was supposed to be working on the conservative version of the Dream Act, which Mitt Romney had agreed to support in public to show he could actually take a stand on an issue and reach out to the Hispanic voters he alienated during the silly season this past year. But Sen. Rubio dillied and dallied and failed to produce any product for months, leaving the Mittster  with nothing to stand behind. I don’t know if the White House knew of this plan, but it certainly scuppered it. And when Bob Schieffer asked Mr. Robme five times during a CBS interview whether he would revoke the order if elected, sure enough he (Shieffer) got no direct answer.

Rubio also had the arrogance and/or audacity to complain that Obama derailed his version of the Dream Act. He said that the President never called him to discuss this development or involved him in the planning. Now, call me stupid, but I have never seen it written that a sitting president should consult with a junior senator in his second year on matters of national importance. Obama’s directive to DHS can certainly be considered a political move, a huge outreach to the sensibilities of the Hispanic voters of this country. Rubio does not represent those sensibilities. He is the American-born son of Cuban parents who emigrated to the United States in 1956, when Fulgencio Battista was Cuba’s leader. They travelled back and forth between the two countries until 1959, when Castro came to power, and they decided to move to the US permanently. Rubio was born in Miami, Florida, and the Cuban community there was known for years for being ultra-conservative. The vast majority of Mexican immigrants did not have Sen. Rubio’s experience, nor do they support him today, as he has turned out to be a conservative beacon. Univision, the Spanish-language television station, ran an interview with Rubio that was, to say the least, combative.

The positive result of this kerfluffle is the news that both parties were working on doing something about the immigration mess in this country. It was a hell of a lot easier for my great-great grandfather to emigrate from Germany in 1850 than it is today. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

But the immigration mess is only the latest example of ways that American politicians deal with issues poorly. See what Amanda Marcotte, in  Slate’s Double XX Factor: What Women Really Think  had to say about the appropriateness of language in politics:

I personally want to thank the Republicans in the state House of Michigan for banning two female Democrats last week for their temerity to testify against the mega-bill trying to run abortion providers out of the state. With state Rep. Lisa Brown, it appears that the concern was she used language that Rep. Mike Callton called inappropriate for “mixed company,” aka the word vagina, which is apparently so filthy a term it must not touch the ears, much less the lips of ladies. I usually have to build a careful case that opposition to abortion is based not in any concern for fetal life, but instead in a prudish and sexist hatred of female sexuality and fear of female empowerment. This week, Michigan Republicans did that work for me. So I want to offer my thanks.

How is it possible that Republican legislators can write some of the most obscene legislation that would extend state control over women’s bodies, but can’t bear to hear the word “vagina” in mixed company? The hypocrisy is suffocating me. I thought the response, a public presentation of The Vagina Monologues by Rep. Lisa Brown on the steps of the Michigan capital was spot-on. And I hope this shakes more women out of their torpor and makes them angry at a political party that would seek to extend male hegemony back to the level it was when it could truthfully be said to be a man’s world.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Hispanic, Human rights, Hypocrisy, Immigration, Immigration reform, Philosophy, Politics, Women's rights

Seattle Police Officer Apologizes for Being Bigoted

Late this past week Seattle police searching for suspects in an armed robbery took two Hispanics into their custody. They threatened one Mexican man, already on the ground and in their custody, saying “You got me? I’m going to beat the (expletive) Mexican (expletive) out of you homey. You feel me? The second expletive was “piss” and I can only assume the first was “fucking”. They punched him and, as one radio announcer so gingerly put it, one cop contacted the Mexican’s head with his boot. Read: he kicked the guy in the head while he was in custody on the ground.

According to later articles, the police officer with the bigoted mouth was abjectly sorry for his behavior. It’s hard to even conceive of forgiving him on that ground. When he had the power he unleashed a torrent of abuse on what turned out to be the wrong guy. And he felt no compunction on using physical force on someone already under control and not giving any fight.

As someone who has worked in the area of police oversight for over 14 years, the saddest thing is that such behavior is not surprising. Policing tends to attract more than its fair share of bullies and thugs. The work provides opportunities for unleashing such behavior unacceptable in normal society. Had the suspect been the actual armed robber,  the officer would have gotten away with little to no reactions from the police administration or public.

But this man who took the brunt of this officer’s thug-ness was innocent. The cop obviously held if not a deep seated hatred of Hispanics, at least a huge degree of disdain.  It was discriminatory behavior in its most raw form.

The question now is, is an apology a sufficient get-out-of-jail card for being such a bigot? I say no. It’s simply not good enough. But neither is the normal punishment meted out by the police department. It’s not good enough to punish him by making him lose vacation time (a long-standing method of upbraiding police who go wrong.) It’s not enough to change his detail or station house. What’s needed is to make him work with the people he apparently despises. Put him in an Hispanic neighborhood and make him walk the beat. Or make him responsible for wayward Mexican juveniles. This cop has to learn about the culture he so obviously thinks is worthless. Let  the people he works with determine when he’s ready to rejoin the regular force.

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Filed under Hispanic, Police

Wanting Immigration Reform While Cracking Down

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia

Last week President Obama seemed to suggest that both he and Congress lacked the willpower to overhaul this nation’s immigration laws. He’s now backtracked on that thought, saying he wants Congress to start working on the reform of our immigration system this year.
It’s hard to have the same faith in his latest insistence because he raised hopes so high before his election. Oh, I know, politicians promise the world and come through with plates of crumbs. When I was in high school this guy running for student council president promised that he would get us a portable amphitheater for the playing field. We actually believed him! (I wonder where he is now, or if he’s doing time somewhere.) So I learned early that political promises are like snowflakes, melted and gone before you get home.
But I so wanted to believe him because he made so much sense. It’s crazy to think we’re going to send 11 million people home, and even crazier to think they’re going to stay there. Why do you think they came here in the first place? Because even with the lousy treatment and pittance of a salary, it’s still better here than what they have in their country of origin.

We don’t remember why our original ancestors came to these shores, but I would bet it’s for the same reason. And those original ancestors suffered the same type of discrimination that Hispanic immigrants (and let’s not kid ourselves with that general phrase because the animus is directed toward Mexicans today) are suffering today. There used to be signs saying “No Irish Need Apply.” People used to be up in arms that German families continued to speak their native language at home. Italians were horribly stereotyped as thieves and worse. As for the Jews, well, they’ve been persecuted for thousands of years.
I’d like to believe Obama means what he says. But it’s difficult when his administration is cracking down on immigrants and deporting them in large numbers. How can the president care about immigration reform when his deputies are breaking up families by deporting fathers and mothers every day? You can’t have it both ways. If the president wants to overhaul the Rube Goldberg immigration system, then he should ease off the raids and deportations.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Hispanic, Immigration, Immigration reform