Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ray Rice's Many Mistakes

Today at a news conference, Ravens running back Ray Rice will list his many mistakes, including things like this:
  • Back in the third grade I pushed a second-grader down on the playground.
  • Once, driving home, I was daydreaming and almost pulled into a neighbor’s driveway.
  • I did not know that lots of elevators have working cameras on them.
  • Couple years ago, I fumbled away the football.
  • Last year, I cold-cocked a woman in an elevator, knocking her unconscious.
  • One time in a restaurant I ordered something just to try it and I didn’t like it.
  • Last year or maybe the year before, I dropped a pass from Joe, which would have advanced our position eight or ten yards or so.
  • One time I did not lace up my shoe right and it came undone on second and four and I slipped down without advancing the ball.
  • One time, I dragged a woman off an elevator after knocking her unconscious.
  • On the sideline once, I picked up my helmet and was about to put it on but it was not my helmet.
  • One time I forgot to bring my ticket to the dry cleaners and they had to look through all their tickets to find my stuff.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Along the Rio Grande, Riding Shotgun with Racists

Couple weeks ago, Frederick County, Maryland, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins announced he was going on a “border tour” to get a “first hand look” at the refugees from Central America - many of them unaccompanied children - who have been crossing from Mexico into the US by the thousands in recent weeks.

Now the gullible sheriff is back home in Maryland, offering interviews and soon, we surmise, he will be heading to D.C to share around his new knowledge.

According to the Associated Press, Sheriff Jenkins’  “fact finding mission” was being sponsored by a group known for fact-free screeds against immigrants:  the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Too bad Sheriff Jenkins does not pick his sponsors better than this.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, FAIR was founded by John Tanton, a prominent figure in our contemporary nativist, i.e., Tea Party movement.

John Tanton carries a lot of weight with the Tea Party crowd and for good reason. He has complained long and loud about a supposed “Latin Onslaught” heading into the United States. In his own crude words, Tanton frets about the Hispanic birth rate in the US, which compares unfavorably, Tanton says, to the birth rate of White Americans.

According to John Tanton, here’s the problem:
“those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down!”
Apart from the blatant racism espoused by its founder John Tanton, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that FAIR:

“has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes”
“has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans”
“has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation” (That would be the Pioneer Fund, which according to the New York Times, has promoted theories affirming the genetic superiority of whites.”) (Sourced below.)
The Southern Poverty Law Center adds that FAIR:
“has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups.”

“has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest”
Now that he’s back home, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, MD needs to answer a couple questions:

Sheriff Jenkins, are you in agreement with the FAIR nonsense about immigrants or did you merely want free airfare to the Rio Grande?

Sheriff Jenkins, did you take vacation days for your FAIR junket to Texas or did you bill all this as official, salary-based anti-immigrant “fact finding” to the taxpayers of Frederick County?


Frederick County, MD Sheriff Joins Border Tour

Thursday, July 3, 2014

There is no 911 the Immigrant Kids Can Call. That is Why They Come to the US

Comment in Response to Ross Douthat's NYTimes Oped about thousands of unaccompanied kids from Central America, entering the US from Mexico:

To Ross Douthat:

You are cruelly clueless about what is driving kids and young people to rush north. Believe it or not, the USA is not seen as a paradise that millions of people want to sneak into. The young people of Central America are running for their lives.

Like the 14 year old interviewed on Aljazera, who said he was taken out of school by a gang member (they have the run of the school), who insisted that he join up. He told his grandmother about this and she said, 'if you join, another gang or the police will kill you. At least if you go the the US, no one will kill you.' 

Or the other young adolescent, who said, a gang grabbed her and told her to give them her mother's cell phone number in the states, so they could extort money, pretending she had been kidnapped, but if the child did not give up the number, she really would be kidnapped.

It is incredible to me that you are so absurdly misinformed about Central America and the dynamics of the northern migration. It is as if you have just dropped in from another planet, coming here on a mission of obfuscation and deceit.

Ross, don't you get this: there are no police to be called who will respond and no other authorities who can protect these kids from gangs that the USA actually created in El Salvador. 

Ross, have you never heard this? Have you never read a word about this? Or, more tragically for your readers, you know this but have decided not to let actual facts influence what you write?

Ross, have you never looked into how El Salvador is divided by a truce (not a clean victory) after a bloody civil war, and that the country is divided still?

Ross, have you not discovered that the US added to the civil war problem in El Salvador a generation ago by propping up one side so the truce, and no clear victory, could be engineered in the first place? 

Ross, have you never informed yourself about how the USA, more than a docade ago, began to deport gang members back "home" to El Salvador, a country these kids were born in but had no memory of or prospects for survival in, apart from the gang affiliations they brought with them?

Ross, is it possible, you know nothing about any of this? Is it possible, Ross, it is wilful ignorance, which enables you to say: the unaccompanied minor refugee phenomenon is only  a matter of better US security at the southern security? 

Ross, are you really that badly informed? 

Ross, are you unable to find out how favorably the current Administration stacks up to previous one on the question of robustness of its border security program? Isn't this fact relevant to your insistence that the current surge of unaccompanied kids into the US is merely a question of border security?

A Salvadoran friend of mine, age 19, was murdered in El Salvador in 2012. A bunch of kids with one or two adults in the mix grabbed him, held him down and dropped an enormous stone on his head, then stripped his headless body and left him where his mother would find him. The boy's uncle was a cop, who began to ask around. Well, the cop-uncle is now in the US, having fled to avoid threats directed against him and probably against his own children.

Don't you get it? There is no 911 you can call, Ross. There is nothing.

What the hell would you do, Ross, if you or your children were threatened with death if you did not pay the extortion demanded by a 15 year old, whom you did not even know, but who could tell you the route your daughter took to and from school? 

Ross, would you just stay put, and let yourself be killed? Let your kids be killed?

Ross, permit me to make a suggestion: 

please inform yourself before you settle comfortably into a further round of smug, fact-free pontificating about a region of the world you are deliberately clueless about - free also, I might add, from the slightest practical suggestion about what to do with the kids who make it into the US.