Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar nod honors the undocumented - CNN

Oscar nod honors the undocumented - CNN

Demián's nomination came for his portrayal of Carlos Galindo, an undocumented worker in our film "A Better Life." But he will not, needless to say, be wearing the work boots and shearling of an immigrant gardener. He will be in the uniform of the Hollywood elite at play and, some would say, in the act of self-congratulation.

Yet, I think there is something to be congratulated in this case. While I believe the Academy gave Demián a tap on the shoulder for all the right reasons -- mainly the strength of his performance -- there is an effect beyond Hollywood of which it may not be aware.

I saw it on the front pages of Spanish language newspapers around the country, which greeted Demián's nomination as a stirring validation of the humanity of the character he played and a source of great pride. And I heard it at the screening we did for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, where 200 hard-working people, some who had traveled at the risk of being apprehended and deported, felt that they had been treated as first-class human beings rather than parasites.

The battle over immigration reform is fought with numbers, but the ground of the battle is an emotional landscape. Over the past few months we've seen the Republican candidates use undocumented immigrants as a rhetorical punching bag, secure in the knowledge that they can't fight back.

Why? Because an undocumented immigrant is afraid to draw attention to himself. Although they are, on the whole, tremendously industrious, family-oriented, God-fearing and deeply invested in this country through familial ties, they are living on a razor's edge. The edge is, if anything, made sharper by draconian and politically self-serving laws like Alabama's HB56 and its cousins in Arizona and Georgia.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mesa debate: The GOP candidates' border-security stances

Mesa debate: The GOP candidates' border-security stances

Here’s some of what the Republican presidential candidates said about securing Arizona’s border with Mexico when they were asked about the issue at their CNN debate in Mesa:

Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul: “The weak economy ... and the welfare state” are encouraging people to come illegally because they can get health care benefits and U.S. educations.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich: “The further we’ve gone with the fence ... the fewer people have broken into California.” He supports a double fence

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: “You see a model here in Arizona,”

Santorum called for more detainment and deporting

Monday, February 20, 2012

Latino Mormons Speaking Out Against Romney Over Immigration Issue | Fox News

Latino Mormons Speaking Out Against Romney Over Immigration Issue | Fox News

When Honduran-born Antonella Cecilia Packard converted to the Mormon Faith 20 years ago, she said it was like "coming home."

The Catholic-educated Packard, who grew up in "the middle of Mayan ruins," appreciated the faith's strong sense of family and conservative values. She also saw her own history in the Book of Mormon with stories of migrations, tragedies and triumphs of a people many Mormons believe are the ancestors of some present-day Latinos.

But two decades after her conversion while a college student at Mississippi State, the 43-year-old Packard finds herself on a new mission: defeating Mitt Romney and any Mormon politician who betrays what she sees as a basic Mormon principle

Gay relationship may derail Babeu's political prospects


Gay relationship may derail Babeu's political prospects

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu built a reputation as a rising, conservative star by taking a hard-line stance against illegal immigration, attacking the Obama administration and appearing alongside Sen. John McCain in a 2010 re-election ad in which McCain urged federal officials to just "complete the danged fence."

But on Saturday, Babeu's conservative image took a beating as he was forced to acknowledge publicly that he is gay and was involved in a relationship with a Mexican immigrant who has said the sheriff threatened to have him deported if he revealed their relationship.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Payroll Tax Deal Would Allow Drug Testing, Reduce Unemployment Benefits To 73 Weeks [UPDATE]

Payroll Tax Deal Would Allow Drug Testing, Reduce Unemployment Benefits To 73 Weeks [UPDATE]

The maximum duration of unemployment insurance would gradually fall from 99 weeks to 73 weeks over the course of the year under the payroll tax deal sought by congressional negotiators, according to an outline of the proposal. And the deal would allow states to drug test those applying for unemployment benefits, according to Democratic and Republican congressional sources.

With no deal at all, the longest time people could claim benefits would abruptly drop to 26 weeks at the end of February when federal unemployment programs are set to expire. One million jobless who have been out of work six months or longer would miss out on benefits in March, according to worker advocacy group the National Employment Law Project.

A GOP aide said the deal would overturn a federal law that prevents states from screening and then drug testing people who apply for unemployment insurance. States would be permitted to screen claimants who lost their jobs because they failed or refused a drug test and people seeking new jobs that generally require drug tests. According to a 2006 survey cited by Republicans, 84 percent of employers required new hires to pass a drug test.

Startup Lets You Buy and Sell Stuff on Twitter

Startup Lets You Buy and Sell Stuff on Twitter

A startup called Chirpify introduced a platform on Wednesday that lets you buy and sell things as well as donate money on Twitter.

The Portland, Ore., company has linked up with PayPal to make Twitter-based transactions, a.k.a. “T-commerce” sort of like writing a check.

For instance, you can buy stuff from your favorite brand just by tweeting “@favoritebrand Buy” (assuming they use Chirpify, of course.) You can also donate by typing “@politician Donate.”

Find My iPhone | 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012 | Techland | TIME.com#find-my-iphone

Find My iPhone | 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012 | Techland | TIME.com#find-my-iphone

Of all the apps in the App Store, this is one that every iPhone owner should download.

If you misplace your phone, Apple’s Find My iPhone app will pinpoint its location on a map. What’s more, if your phone is buried in the couch cushions, the app will instruct your handset to blast a sound for two minutes at full volume — even if it’s set on silent mode. And in the unfortunate event that your phone gets stolen, Find My iPhone can remotely cause the personal data in your phone’s storage to self destruct.

Wis. Senate Passes Wetlands Deregulation in Midnight Session | The Progressive

Wis. Senate Passes Wetlands Deregulation in Midnight Session | The Progressive

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau) adjourned the Senate yesterday afternoon only to reconvene a minute past midnight this morning in order to pass a controversial wetlands deregulation bill at the earliest possible opportunity. During the afternoon session, Senator Chris Larson (D – Milwaukee) objected to a third reading of the bill, which meant that the body couldn’t vote on it until the next scheduled business day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Commit a crime, collect a pension - latimes.com

Commit a crime, collect a pension - latimes.com

Here's another outrage about the child abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School: If the teacher accused of spoon-feeding his semen to blindfolded students is convicted and sent to prison, he'll still receive a public pension.

Mark Berndt, charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct against children, is due nearly $4,000 a month. No matter the jury verdict. It's the law.

Same deal for a fellow Miramonte teacher, Martin Springer, who was charged last week with three counts of lewd conduct alleging that he fondled a girl in his class.

In fact, any state or local government employee in California who commits a felony — theft, embezzlement, extortion, bribery — in the course of performing a public duty is still entitled to a pension.

Whitney Houston - RIP

Whitney Houston - Greatest Love Of All - YouTube

Titans clash in Mexico's fight over monopolies  | ajc.com

Titans clash in Mexico's fight over monopolies  | ajc.com

A technological revolution is pushing Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, into a battle with other powerful interests in Mexico, creating a billionaires' version of a schoolyard spat: name-calling, attack ads, canceled contracts and even a physical shoving match.

To the wonderment of many Mexicans, companies accustomed to crushing competitors are now casting themselves as crusaders against monopoly.

In recent weeks, the corporate titans have run full-page ads accusing each other of lying, cheating and conspiring to overcharge customers, allegations often bolstered by official studies finding that Mexicans pay far more than they should for many services because major businesses lack strong competitors.

The Mexican government has responded to the seemingly dilemma by proposing that all restrictions on foreign investment in the telecommunications sector be lifted, and offering companies help in installing antennas and fiber optics lines, while auctioning off radio spectrum.

But many fear that Slim's economic power would allow him to dominate those auctions, allowing him to dominate television as well as telecommunications.

"Some people say that if you give him (Slim) television, you might as well give him the keys to all the army bases and the national palace, so he can manage the whole country," said Piedras.

Chomsky Occupies Centennial Hall | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

Chomsky Occupies Centennial Hall | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

The American education system is under attack. That’s according to Dr. Noam Chomsky, who told a packed house at Centennial Hall Wednesday evening that American education has been intentionally designed to create a passive, apathetic public riddled with debt.

Chomsky’s lecture provoked some timely questions, particularly in considering who and what education is for. Chomsky argued, quite convincingly, that the educational system is moving us away from valuing the greater common good, and toward support of the corporate state.

The bigger question he posed centers around what this means for our collective national future, as public education becomes more rigid and less affordable.

Chomsky says the days of learning based in joyful discovery and the production of creative, independent and critical thinkers are long gone. He warned that as universities become more privatized, they become mere producers of commodities.

The purpose of such a shift, according to Chomsky, is to guard against democracy by creating an obedient and docile public accustomed to wage (i.e. slave) labor. Chomsky noted that this works out quite well for corporate America. It doesn’t work out so well for those concerned with social justice issues, and the greater common good.

Border-militia bill requests $1.9M for Ariz. patrols

Border-militia bill requests $1.9M for Ariz. patrols

The Republican-led Arizona Legislature is considering a bill to fund an armed, volunteer state militia to respond to emergencies and patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gov. Jan Brewer could deploy the volunteers using $1.9 million included in the bill, making its way through the state Senate. The militia itself was created by a law signed by Brewer last year.

The bill has a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Bill 1083 already has passed one committee along mostly party lines. It would provide $500,000 in one-time funding and $1.4 million a year from a gang task force fund.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Adoption Battle Over 5-Year Old Boy Pits Missouri Couple Vs. Illegal Immigrant - ABC News#.TyntBCPgJT4#.TyntBCPgJT4

Adoption Battle Over 5-Year Old Boy Pits Missouri Couple Vs. Illegal Immigrant - ABC News#.TyntBCPgJT4#.TyntBCPgJT4

The report is the first in a series from five graduate school journalists chosen to work with the Ross investigative unit as Carnegie Fellows, who found that stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws has had the unintended side effect of wrenching thousands of children away from their parents, sometimes forever.

According to a report from the Applied Research Center, "Shattered Families," as of the summer of 2011 an estimated 5,100 children in 22 states were in foster care after their parents were either detained or deported. Immigration attorneys and children's welfare advocates say a small but troubling number, like Jamison, have been put up for adoption to American families after their birth parents were stripped of their parental rights.