Through a glass darkly

I’m sharing this article from Independent Journal Review just to make a point.

hypocritesIndependent Journal Review: Those Outraged At Trump Blocking Refugees Didn’t Seem To Care About What Obama Did To Cubans

I learned of it from the Facebook page Conservative Daily. To hell with that page, no link. Thanks to my embrace of people at least as good-hearted as me however differently, people of widely differing viewpoints, I have the good fortune of seeing this kind of crap splatter across my screen on a regular basis, like I’ve just flown under a magpie’s flight path at exactly the wrong time.

For the moment, for the point I’m coming to, I actually don’t care if the claims in this particular case are true or not. The truth of the claims is beside the point. Continue reading

Seamus Kennedy’s folk songs of conflict and immigration

We will need protest songs for Donald’s presidency, but listening to Seamus Kennedy’s folk songs of conflict and immigration on the drive home yesterday was a good start.

My family and I went skiing yesterday. On the way home, we listened to a lot of wonderful music by Seamus Kennedy. As is his style, it was a mix of jokes, traditional folk music, Scottish and Irish ballads, and irreverent musical humor. Two of the songs had me softly crying while driving home, and I had to ask my wife to skip a third (and to be prepared to skip another). The songs were about immigrants and conflict and families torn apart.

I’ve collected those songs and a couple of others I heard yesterday below, in case anyone is interested. Continue reading

At the border, an arbitrary fate

Desert grasslands reveal a more nuanced view of illegal immigration

by Bruce Lindwall

A journal entry from a February day during an Expedition Education Institute semester in the Desert Southwest

I went out this morning and found some pictures down in the wash. This is how it happened and why it was so very important.

We were five altogether. Bill is the director of the grasslands research center here in southern Arizona; it’s his job to look after all 8,000 of the acres in his care. Four of us who had come to study up a bit on the ecology of desert grasslands: Thomas from my home state of New Hampshire, Antony from Montreal, and Khiet who was born in Vietnam but grew up in Pennsylvania. This morning we were all headed off a couple miles from the headquarters to pick up trash that falls by the wayside as immigrants slip across the border covered by darkness and becomes hidden in the folds and creases of the borderlands.

Bouncing along the dirt road we asked Bill about grassland ecology, successional stages, and alien species, thinking that we were pursuing the most important learning of the day. Little did we know how close that was to the truth. It was a short ride that ended at a seemingly random spot at the edge of the road. Our little crew outfitted itself with gloves, trash bags, and bottles of water.

It felt liberating to walk freely through the grassland. We had been limited to the roads these last few days for fear of trampling the many experiments laid out amongst the tawny brown stalks of sacaton and lovegrass. But now we were free to wander, and wander we did. Held together at first by habit and conversation, we gradually spread out to explore the small washes and gullies that so thoroughly wrinkle this land. Slowly our bags began to fill with the odd bits jettisoned by those who had come this way. There were empty food tins, torn trash bags, endless water jugs and lots of toilet paper, both used and unused.
Continue reading

What President Obama didn’t mention in his immigration address

There’s a sequence of 6 letters that appears nowhere in the transcript

President Obama finally addressed the nation today regarding the executive actions he’s taking in regard to our broken immigration system. If you’re looking for a strident pro or con piece, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a call to see him impeached, yeah, good luck with that. If you’re acting like this is the first time a sitting president has ever had the temerity to go it alone on the issue, maybe you might want to bone up on the administrations of Ronnie “Golf? I NAP!” Reagan and creepy ex-chief of the secret police George “I Threw Up on Helmut Kohl and All I Got Was this Lousy T-Shirt” Bush, the Elder. Even so, I’m here to throw our friends on the right a bone. Continue reading

State's Rights: be careful what you wish for

My friend Mike, recently retired editor of a major newspaper, writes:

Luckily Scalia and his pals were in the Supreme Court minority on the Arizona immigration ruling, but his logic is scary:

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. each filed dissents. Scalia went the furthest: “As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to exclude persons from its territory.”

Carried to the next logical step, it seems Alabama could exclude blacks if its legislature took a notion to do so. Continue reading

America's immigration "problem" is "solved" (a story with heavy implications)

You may have noticed this story in the Wall St. Journal several days ago:

Tide Turns on Border Crossing
– Number of Immigrants Arriving From Mexico Now Equaled by Those Going Home

Net migration from Mexico has plummeted to zero thanks to changing demographic and economic conditions on both sides of the border, a new study says, even as political battles over illegal immigration heat up and the issue heads to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading

Alabama learning painful lesson: be careful what you wish for

Ala. GOP leaders have 2nd thoughts on immigration

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Republicans who pushed through the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigrants are having second thoughts amid a backlash from big business, fueled by the embarrassing traffic stops of two foreign employees tied to the state’s prized Honda and Mercedes plants.

The Republican attorney general is calling for some of the strictest parts of it to be repealed.

Some Republican lawmakers say they now want to make changes in the law that was pushed quickly through the legislature.

Sometimes I think the problem is Democrats see the likely results of Republican policies ahead of time and argue against them  rather than just letting these fools go ahead and do dumb stuff and see what happens. Continue reading

Nota Bene #120: Crazy Ivan

“If you can make a woman laugh, you’re seeing the most beautiful thing on God’s earth.” Who said it? Continue reading

The American Parliament: our nation’s 10 political parties

Part two in a series.

Forgive me for abstracting and oversimplifying a bit, but one might argue that American politics breaks along the following 10 lines:

  • Social Conservatives
  • Neocons
  • Business Conservatives
  • Traditional Conservatives (there’s probably a better term, but I’m thinking of old-line Western land and water rights types)
  • Blue Dog Democrats
  • New Democrats
  • Progressives Continue reading

Nota Bene #118: VOTE!

“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Who said it? Continue reading

The only good reason to celebrate Columbus Day; or, US immigration history in a nutshell

by Pollyanna Sunshine

The only good reason to celebrate Columbus Day is to remember and honor the fact that, when the first Italian immigrant arrived in the Western Hemisphere by way of Spain and migrated variously around the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, etc. in search of prosperity for his people back home, nobody here even asked to see his papers.

Not that Christoffa Corombo/Christophorus Columbus/Cristoforo Colombo/Cristobal Colon would have had any that would have passed muster today. Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: facts v. myths

by Pollyanna Sunshine

Dear Conservative Family Member, who just forwarded me mass chain email about how great Joe Arpaio is and how the author of the email has “long wondered when the rest of the country would take a look at the way he runs the jail system, and copy some of his ideas”:  [full text available here]

While I recognize that the author of this email suggested that “If you agree, pass this on. If not, just delete it,” I cannot in good conscience delete this cheery little mess of bald-faced lies, distortions, and grotesque misinformation, without at least giving others a chance to know exactly how bald the lies are that they are passing on.

Whatever one’s position on the immigration issue–which Arpaio paid almost zero attention to until after 2004, when he almost lost the Republican primary to a virtually unknown opponent, and he was seeking a new angle to keep him in the media spotlight because he had alienated so many people in this state with his previously equal-opportunity abuses of civil rights, human decency, fiscal responsibility, and the duties of his office.  Continue reading

What's a nice little gringa like me doing at a protest like this? A white middle-class suburbanite's manifesto

by Pollyanna Sunshine

I have been thinking about this question a lot the past couple of days, due to the reactions I’ve been getting from family members and old friends and colleagues who are not quite sure why I’m suddenly getting worked up enough about SB 1070 to take to the streets–even though they all agree that it’s a bull$#!+ racist law, and a few of them marched in the big rally back in June, which I missed because I was out of town—because neither I nor any of my middle-class English-speaking citizen and permanent resident and legal guest worker friends and family are at any risk of deportation, although some are definitely at risk of getting pulled over by the deputies for Driving While Brown and getting their errands delayed for however long it takes the cops to run their plates and AZ driver’s licenses through the system. Continue reading

Arizona's SB 1070: a primer; or "What part of 'illegal' don't YOU understand?"

by Pollyanna Sunshine

While federal Judge Susan Bolton’s injunction on 7/29/10 has blocked implementation of a few of the most Draconian and egregiously unconstitutional provisions of SB 1070, effectively putting them on hold until the relevant cases can work their way through the legal system, the state has already appealed that decision and will be working overtime* to salvage those provisions and to enforce the many parts of the law the judge did not block. Moreover, many key provisions of SB 1070 were not enjoined and are now in effect, as of this morning.

The parts of the law that are now in full force create new categories of illegality and/or increase punishments not just for actual undocumented immigrants but for all Arizona residents or authorized visitors from elsewhere, for any of a very large number of things that were perfectly legal in Arizona yesterday and remain perfectly legal in most other US states.

So, for any of you folks out there who

  1. are thinking that Judge Bolton has saved the day, or Continue reading

Injunction or no, the s#!+ just hit the fan in the state of Arizona today!

by Pollyanna Sunshine

Many people across the nation and a heck of a lot of folks in Arizona who are celebrating (or lamenting) Judge Susan Bolton’s decision today seem to be under the impression that SB 1070 is now dead or at least on hold until the relevant cases have a fair chance to work their way through the court system.  At the planning meetings I attended yesterday, organizers (including several of the lawyers and individually named plaintiffs in the cases Bolton just reviewed) were really worried that this was going to lull people into submission and make potential protesters and the national news media lose interest, even as state and local law enforcement agencies are gearing up to crack down hard on seeking out and prosecuting any possible violation of state or federal immigration and employment laws. Continue reading

SB 1070 Implementation Day: a view from the front lines in Arizona

by Pollyanna Sunshine

In her Tuesday column in the Arizona Republic website, columnist Laurie Roberts noted that

We are now less than 48 hours until Senate Bill 1070 becomes the law of the state – unless, of course, Judge Susan Bolton nixes the whole thing. . . Already, the barricades are up at the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse . . .  Busloads of folks will be coming in from California to join with Arizona opponents of the new law.

[Ed. Note: Judge Bolton issued an injunction against key portions of the law this afternoon.]

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a notorious immigrant-hater who has for many years been violating the civil and human rights of  citizens and non-citizens alike, has just drawn his own line in the sand.

Thousands of people will reportedly descend upon Maricopa County this week in support of or in protest to SB1070.  Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Gaming the system

In light of Dr. Slammy’s post earlier, and previous posts on the “giver” and “taker” status of individual states within the Union, George Kenney has a post up at Electric Politics that’s worth adding to the discussion.

Since we no longer add new districts/Members to the House (we should, but that’s another story), with each census in the modern era we reshuffle the existing 435 districts among states. If you think about it, then, those states with the greatest population of illegal immigrants gain a disproportionate advantage in representation in Congress. States with large numbers of illegal immigrants have more representatives per American citizen than states with few or no illegal immigrants.


(And read the rest at EP. I’d also highly recommend adding Kenney’s podcasts to your to-do list.)