Category Archives: immigration

Your Monday* Random-Ass Roundup: Heard ‘Em Say

Believe it or not, I’ve been known to be a jackass. Ask anyone who had the misfortune of knowing me in college. Or a couple years ago. I really hope President Obama isn’t asked about it anytime soon:

Anyway, lots of things have happened since our last Monday roundup. Here’s a few of them, a week and almost a full day later than usual. Sorry. I blame it on death panels and creeping socialism:

1. As you all probably know, President Obama called Kanye West a “jackass” for his behavior at the VMAs. But that moment was supposed to be off-the-record, and so Terry Moran, the ABC reporter who tweeted the comment, took it down. ABC has apologized. (G.D.)

2. Alyssa agrees: maybe Kanye really does need a break. (Blackink)

3. One picture tells a million – or two million – lies. Politifact gets to the truth about the latest “tea party” in D.C. (Blackink)

4. A new poll says that 73% of doctors want a public option. (G.D.)

5. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich attempts to bring some sanity – and facts – to talk about the public option. (Blackink)

6. But even if there is a public option, Obama has plans to go beyond language in a House bill to make sure no public money goes to pay for abortions under health care reform. Why? (Blackink)

7. Speaking of health care reform, file this under everything is always good for Wal-Mart. (Blackink)

8. The FDA just approved a new vaccine against the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu. (Blackink)

9. Despite evidence to the contrary, many people, especially Southerners, think crime is on the rise. (Quadmoniker)

10. 50 Things being killed by the Internet. (Belleisa)

11. In eight states and D.C., being a victim of domestic violence is a pre-existing condition. No, really. (Blackink)

12. As if South Carolina tourism officials didn’t have a hard enough sell, a number of people have indicated they’ll be staying away from the Palmetto State following GOP Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst at President Barack Obama. (Blackink)

13. From Jonathan Chait’s fantastic review of a new biography about Ayn Rand: “‘She wrote of one of the protagonists of her stories that “he does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people’; and she meant this as praise.” Well, that explains a lot. (Blackink)

14. This is rich: President Bush thought Sarah Palin was underqualified to serve on the national level. Well, he would know best. Also, he thinks Hillary Clinton has a “fat keister.” Classy. (Blackink)

15. Wow. A study in England found that when heroin was given to addicts in supervised clinics, drug use and street crime dropped dramatically. (Blackink)

16. Sort of related: Newly released FBI numbers show that we’re nearing epic fail in the “War on Drugs.” (Blackink)

17. Call it “The Chinese Dream“: a number of Africans are migrating to China in search of economic opportunity. In fact, a 10 square kilometer area in Guangzhou has been dubbed “Chocolate City.” (Blackink)

18. After years of being the envy of the nation, California’s higher education system- if not the state itself – could face a bleak future if it follows through on a plan for a large fee increases. (Blackink)

19. Reports of sexual misconduct of federal inmates by prison staff members have doubled over the past eight years, according to The Washington Post. In many places, as Matt points out, being sentenced to prison is a form of abuse itself.

20. A video of Quentin Tarantino’s best movie picks since 1992. And “Friday” made the list. (Belleisa)

21. Racewire calls Michael Moore’s latest film, “Capitalism, A Love Story,” his best work yet. (Blackink)

22. This post, from Booker Rising, is disgusting. And not even close to funny. There will be more on this later. (Blackink)

23. From Jacket Copy, the LA Times book blog, a site called Slaughter House 90210 which mixes pop culture images with literary captions. (Belleisa)

24. Is anyone really surprised that Jay Leno’s new show was not that funny? (Blackink)

25. The Face of Foreclosure: a Planet Money listener offers up aLink series of photographs outside the foreclosed home of Minneapolis woman Rosemary Williams. (Blackink)

26. South African runner and unfortunate international curiosity Caster Semenya has now been placed on suicide watch. I strongly agree with Pam: “She deserved — and deserves — so much better from the collective us than what she’s received.” (Blackink)

27. Michael Jordan will never let us forget that he was better than everyone else. Not even as he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame. (Blackink)

28. And give it up, New York. LeBron ain’t playing for the Knicks. Unless, of course, he somehow tires of playing on a winning team. (Blackink)

Told you I was a jackass.

* It’s actually Tuesday.

Stay Classy, G.O.P.

This is going to be the story of the day tomorrow.

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: The Low-End Theory

Hey, has anyone else seen that picture of President Obama ogling that 17-year-old girl’s ass at the G8 summit in Italy?:

Of course you didn’t. Because there’s no such picture and he wasn’t doing that. Silly rabbits.

And without any further ado, your reading material from the weekend:

1. On Friday, the Washington Post reportedthat Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, killed a secret intelligence program started in 2001 that had been hidden from Congress and that he himself only learned about in late June. This, understandably, kicked up a major shitstorm, with Senate Democrats saying they want to investigate the program (and indications from Eric Holder that he wants to go after the Bush administration on torturedespite Obama saying that he doesn’t want to “look back”). As of now, no one even knows what exactly the program entails, but yesterday, the New York Times reported that the program was kept secret on Dick Cheney’s orders.

Seriously, after wiretapping Americans without warrants, authorizing the torture of detainees, and sending others to secret prisons in other countries to be tortured, what other nefarious shit could the Bush administration possibly have thought up? The Washington Times quotes an anonymous source who hinted that the program involved assassinations overseas — which it bears mentioning, is against the law — which is sort of what Seymour Hersh reported earlier this year.

2. The White House has been getting Sonia Sotomayor ready for the confirmation hearings, which start today. What to expect: a whole lot of bluster and self-aggrandizement from senators, a whole lot of “I cannot answer that question lest this issue come before me on the bench” from Sotomayor, a lot of feeble attempts by Republicans to make her look crazy on abortion and discrimination cases, and an easy confirmation.

3. Speaking of SCOTUS, Emily Bazelon sits down with Justice Ginsburg, who has been a vocal advocate for more women on the court. “I always thought that there was nothing an antifeminist would want more than to have women only in women’s organizations, in their own little corner empathizing with each other and not touching a man’s world. If you’re going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.” Like Sotomayor, she makes no bones about the fact that she benefited from affirmative action. And like Sotomayor, she’s a sparkling example of how it’s supposed to work: Harvard Law (one of five women in a class of several hundred), while raising kids and caring (and taking notes) for her husband who was stricken with cancer. She made law review before transferring to Columbia and graduating first in her class. Please believe it: she’s a beast.

4. Also, a new poll from C-SPAN shows that 54 percent of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court justice but two-thirds know Obama has picked a Hispanic nominee for the current vacancy on the panel. Behold our idiocracy.

5. a. The NYT takes a look at the events that led up to Sarah Palin’s resignation. After the campaign, Republicans from across the country tried to help her get her affairs in order for her to remain a national figure; as is her wont, she disregarded their advice. She got bogged down in petty fights with Levi Johnston and David Letterman. Her schedule got lighter and lighter, and she took a trip to Indiana for an antiabortion event while the state’s budget was up in the air. Now she’s saying she wants to campaign for conservatives across the country — even conservative Democrats — and fueling speculation that she wants to start her own party.

b. Want to hear more about Sarah? I know you do. Check out this smart post from Anonymous Liberal about the Village’s role in the ascendancy of Palin, likening it to the Hans Christian Andersen classic, “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”

c. Dahlia Lithwick and Frank Rich also offer their own takes on the Quitta from Wasilla.

d. Thanks but no thanks. GOP politicians facing tough elections in 2010 would prefer she stay far away, roughly somewhere in the vicinty of the Bridge to Nowhere.

e. According to a Mudflats reader, Sarah Palin became the member a very exclusive group of state leaders when she announced her resignation the other week. She joined Jim McGreevy and Eliot Spitzer as only three of about 1,200 governors in the U.S. since 1900 to quit in their first term for no apparent reason. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Ok. That’s plenty.

6. As the economy worsens, thousands and thousands of families are joining the ranks of the homeless. Also interesting but disheartening: 20 percent of homeless people live in Los Angeles, New York and Detroit.

7. ABC News lists the 10 states in the worst budget situations. The West is in particularly bad shape. California tops the list, with Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington also facing significant shortfalls.

8. Despite being in the middle of a shitstorm for condoning racist comments on her Facebook page – and defriending the folks who called her out on it – Audra Shay was elected chair of the Young Republicans. Of course she was. Because, as Michael Steele might say, this is all strategic.

9. With California crumbling under the weight of its deteriorating economy, The Economist asks if Texas is ready to lead the U.S. in the 21st Century? The answers are unclear. But in many ways, Texas represents both the best and worst of our country. And quiet as kept, Texas seems well on its way to becoming a blue state.

That said, we should all fear for the schoolchildren being held captive there by an increasingly partisan educational system. The state’s Board of Education has put together a six-member committee to help develop new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. Among the members are a couple of conservatives who believe that Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall receive too much credit under the current curriculum. Also, Gov. Rick Perry is considering a rock-ribbed, right-wing conservative to lead the state’s Board of Education. Which wouldn’t be a problem if not for the fact that she argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test” in her book, One Nation Under God. She also calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion” and home-schooled her own children.

Heckuva job, Ricky.

10. Lou Dobbs does not want you to hear this: “If you want to find a safe city, first determine the size of the immigrant population,” says Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. “If the immigrant community represents a large proportion of the population, you’re likely in one of the country’s safer cities. San Diego, Laredo, El Paso—these cities are teeming with immigrants, and they’re some of the safest places in the country.”

11. SEK at The Edge of the American West pens a beautiful takedownof right-winger Andrew McCarthy, who spent an awful lot of time during the fall complaining that it was impossible to learn anything about Obama’s allegedly radical days at Columbia. Well, the New York Times managed to get the goods. So says SEK: “If you believed that a trip into the city and an afternoon in an archive would spare America four years of tyranny, would you do it? Would you fly into the city, rent a room, borrow a library card, request a day-pass under false pretenses, and spend an afternoon in an archive if you believed that doing so might save the world from nuclear destruction? Or would you whine because no one will silver-platter you a smoking gun?” Please, read it all.

12. No, MLK was not a Republican. And don’t let anyone or anything tell you different.

13. Wendi Muse at Racialicious wonders: can interracial porn not be racist? Short answer: not really.

14. James Kirchick at The Advocate wonders how “half-literate typist” Perez Hilton has “become one of the most prominent gay people in the country?” It’s a fair question.

15. Jamaican sprint star and Olympic champion Usain Bolt is still fast.

16. The rise and fall (and rise) of Stephen A. Quite frankly, I disagree with the author’s contention that Smith might be our next Al Sharpton. No thanks. One is plenty.

17. Eating watermelon and fried chicken and drinking Kool-Aid? It’s the Black Olympics, with your host, Dallas Cowboys tight end and all-around buffoon Martellus Bennett. You see, stereotypes are funny. Remind to tell you all this joke about picking cotton later.

18. Joey at Straight Bangin’ reviews the first half of the year in hip-hop. He liked the new joints from Mos, Puba and, miracle of all miracles, U-God. Can’t say the same about the latest from Hov, Eminem and Maino.

Some of you folks are going to have to hang out somewhere else this summer. I’m worried you’re changing the complexion of this blog.

Also, we have only one rule. Tell’em Kobe:

Getting a Diploma, Underground.

There are tons of students in the Univ. of California system who are undocumented immigrants, which means their educations are fraught with all manner of quotidian indignities. UCLA’s Daily Bruin took a look at the lives of some of the students trying to get an education — when they can’t get jobs on the books or any kind of government aid.

(Hat-Tip, Cindy.)

A while back, the always-very-good This American Life told the heartbreaking story of Martha, an undocumented student at UCLA who gets good grades. She loses her resolve toward the tail end of her senior year when she comes to grips with the fact that there’s no way she’ll be able to realize her dream to be a doctor without any aid. (Martha’s story begins at the 46:35 mark).

The Dream Act would help Martha out a lot, but as reporter Douglas McGray says, the bill keeps getting bogged down in immigration politics.

As It Becomes Less Cool to Be Racist, Will Immigration Cease to Be an Electoral Issue?

Erich Rauchway, a history professor in California and one of our buddies over at the very dope blog egdeofthewest, drops some knowledge in a New York Times article that asks that very question. More…

Yet Another Scary Statistic™


Help us make sense of something: that much-discussed Pew poll that said black people were increasingly less likely to think racial discrimination played a part in the disparity in achievement between blacks and whites (or even between middle-class and poor blacks).

“A 53% majority of African Americans say that blacks who don’t get ahead are mainly responsible for their situation, while just three-in-ten say discrimination is mainly to blame. As recently as the mid-1990s, black opinion on this question tilted in the opposite direction.”

But a new study released yesterday by the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute, showed that black Americans are 10 times more likely to be imprisoned for illegal drug offenses than whites, even though both groups use and sell drugs with roughly equal frequency.

Reuters reports that the disparity can be attributed to a number of factors that hit blacks almost exclusively — federal mandatory minimum jail terms for drug crimes that equate possessing 5 grams of crack, more associated with blacks, with possessing 500 grams of cocaine, more associated with whites. Not to mention, when was the last time you saw or heard of police investigating drug use on college campuses or in suburban communities? It’s obvious that there’s more policing around open-air drug markets in inner-city neighborhoods.

In an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times early last year, Harvard professor Orlando Patterson opined that “The tragedy unfolding in our inner cities is a time-slice of a deep historical process that runs far back through the cataracts and deluge of our racist past.” The reasons that blacks in America’s poorest communities tend not to stray far from the lowest rungs of the social and economic ladder, defy scholarly interpretation and require a new approach “toward understanding what makes young black men behave so self-destructively.”

According to the Pew study, African Americans see a widening gulf between the values of middle class and poor blacks, and nearly four-in-ten say that because of the diversity within their community, blacks can no longer be thought of as a single race.

If we’re to accept the attitudes reflected in these two studies — the Pew study, whose respondents said that blacks who do not get ahead are responsible for their situations — and the newest study, which shows that federal statutes and local policing efforts affect blacks disproportionately — aren’t we just blaming the victim, and then keeping him or her in deprivation?

  • Looks like Mitt’s in trouble. Minutes into last week’s Republican debate, co-sponsored by CNN and YouTube, Romney and Giuliani shared a lengthy, and heated, exchange on immigration — Romney accusing Giuliani of fostering a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants during his tenure as Mayor of New York City, and Giuliani accusing Romney of knowingly employing illegal immigrants at his home in Belmont, an affluent Boston suburb. Well, the Boston Globe reports that as of yesterday, Romney was still employing undocumented workers as landscapers, a year after the Globe broke the initial story.
  • Can Oprah save Wiley College? “The Great Debaters,” a film about a talented group of black college debaters at a HBCU in the Jim Crow South, opens on Christmas Day, and college officials at Wiley College, a struggling HBCU, hope all the attention will help save the school. Oprah is the film’s producer. Wiley is one of dozens of HBCUs that is facing declining enrollment and economic woes. Although the Hollywood version will have students compete against debaters from Harvard University, in real life, Wiley’s 1935 victory was over the University of Southern California.
  • Ellie Grunderson, outlier. Controversy over The Hoya’s coverage of a Jena 6 rally on Georgetown’s campus has thrust Ellie Gunderson, a white sophomore from suburban Detroit who also happens to be the president of the school’s NAACP chapter, into the spotlight.