Tag: Jan Brewer

See You Next Year

It’s the end of the year, and according to blogger tradition, I am supposed to list the top ten greatest Latino moments or the top five worst Hispanic travesties or the top sixteen weirdo stories involving Latinos.

But honestly, who has the time to accumulate all that data?

So instead I’m posting the trailer for Mama, a new movie from Guillermo del Toro, the creator of the amazing Pan’s Labyrinth. The trailer is bilingual (sort of), and as I’ve stated many times, if there is one thing that Hispanics love (other than Jan Brewer, of course), it’s horror movies.

The film opens in January and looks like an appropriately creepy way to start the new year.

 


Into the Madness

First off, I’ve been remiss thanking people for their comments. So let me give a quick shout out to Cousin #7, David, Ankhesen Mie, Tara, and Raul for their feedback. I truly appreciate the feedback.

Second, let me tell you about my recent field trip.

I landed at Phoenix airport with more than a little trepidation. After all, we’re talking about Arizona here — the land of SB 1070, hardcore anti-Latino sentiment, general nuttiness, and a strain of social conservatism so intense that anyone to the left of John Boehner has been known to shield his eyes from the xenophobic glare.

According to several Hispanic organizations, I shouldn’t have even been there. The movement to boycott Arizona and everything related to it has been constant and loud.

But I was scheduled to be in the state for all of six hours. My latest client, a company that hired me to rewrite its web content, asked me to fly in to their Phoenix office to get a quick overview of the organization.

Considering that it was a reasonable request, and a good-paying gig, I was hard-pressed to say no. Plus, they were covering all my expenses and paying my hourly fee even while I was sitting on the plane, playing Angry Birds and running up their tab by ordering those little bottles of overpriced wine from chipper flight attendants.

In addition, while I have been ever so antagonistic toward Arizona lately, I never said I was boycotting the state. For starters, I think most such efforts are noble but doomed to failure. More important, however, I’ve always wondered if such a tactic nails innocent bystanders (e.g., Latino business owners) more than it does the powerful instigators of the conflict.

Perhaps this was just self-serving justification, however, so I resolved not to spend any money while I was in the state. This turned out to be pretty damn easy, considering I went right from the airport to the company’s offices and back again, with no chance to stop anywhere to buy anything. How’s that for preserving principles?

Regardless, I am pleased to report that everyone I interacted with in Arizona was perfectly nice to me. Granted, I spoke to only five or six people at my clients’ office and a few more at the airport. But no one in this tiny sample seemed like a fire-breathing racist to me.

As such, maybe even in a place as certifiable as Arizona, the majority of people are reasonable, friendly individuals who don’t seek to harass others just for being different. Perhaps even in this place — the sun-baked ground zero for American rage and fear — there exists a surplus of decency that gets drowned out by the sheer intensity of a self-righteous faction.

I would like to think so.

In any case, it was a bit eerie to finally see the land I had written so many words about, and upon which I had heaped so much mental energy. Yes, I had driven through Arizona twice as an adult, and I spent a couple of days in Tucson when I was a kid.

But this was my first time since all the craziness went down that I trod upon its streets and breathed in its superheated air. I was there, among the cactus and not far from Jan Brewer herself. Now that’s a creepy feeling.

And despite the fact that everything went smoothly, and even with the fresh memories of all the nice Arizonans I met that day, I have to admit that I was happy to leave and get back home.


At Least You’ll Be Out in the Sunshine

I can’t keep track of the threats to our country sometimes.

At first, I heard every illegal immigrant was coming here to steal American jobs. However, according to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, most illegals aren’t crossing the border to pilfer an American’s livelihood. They are actually drug mules.

I was surprised to find this out. And it’s not like the beloved spokeswoman for SB 1070 to exaggerate or skew the facts, so it must be true.

But then a spokesman with the National Border Patrol Council said Brewer’s assertions were “clearly not the case” and that they “don’t comport with reality — that’s the nicest way to put it.”

Indeed, if most illegal immigrants were holding drugs when they were caught crossing the border, the prosecution rate for that offense would be much higher. And while drug barons do use mules, the overlords prefer to transport massive loads of the stuff all at once – as seen in this bust, where twenty tons of narcotics were jammed into a truck. Even the most obese and dedicated drug mule is unlikely to swallow 38,000 pounds of pot.

So we’re back to the right-wing talking point that illegal immigrants are stealing American jobs. Fortunately, talk-show host Stephen Colbert has found a way to undermine these cunning thieves.

Colbert has teamed up with the United Farm Workers of America to get citizens back to work. The new program, Take Our Jobs, encourages unemployed Americans “to apply for some of the thousands of agricultural jobs being posted with state agencies as harvest season begins.”

Every legal resident who fills out an online application is guaranteed a spot in the fields. Finally, we can put to rest the claim that undocumented workers do jobs that citizens don’t want.

After all, there are thousands of spots available, and I’m sure they will go quickly to any American who is willing to “expect long days” courting heat exhaustion while being “excluded from federal overtime provisions.” Well, it’s also true that “small farms don’t even have to pay the minimum wage” and that “fifteen states don’t require farm labor to be covered by workers compensation laws.” But that’s a small price to pay for a gig that “consistently makes the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ top ten list of the nation’s most dangerous jobs.”

At long last, undocumented workers performing the enviable task of picking lettuce will no longer be taking an American’s job.

Of course, they’ll probably just become drug mules.


The Surreality of Our Surroundings

A great thing about writing a blog is that one can just check the events of the day and respond with a quick post immediately. A bad thing about writing a blog is that those same events rarely behave and adhere to your schedule, and you end up writing from behind, so to speak.

Such is the nature of the evolving debate over the Arizona anti-immigrant law. I have started and abandoned many posts on this topic because its ever-changing nature and unending cascade of loony behavior have made my points obsolete before I could slap punctuation at the end of a given sentence.

The Arizona law, which makes it unlawful to so much as resemble an illegal immigrant, has offered America even more ludicrous moments and bizarre antics than we’ve come to expect from our political theater.

I thought the absurdity had reached its nadir when Senator John McCain insisted, on national television, that illegal immigrants were intentionally ramming unsuspecting citizens on the freeway. But the best was yet to come.

First the GOP, in the true spirit of leadership, announced that it was picking up its loose marbles and going home. Republicans screamed and yelled about how illegal immigration was out of control, but when pressed on how to resolve the problem, they demurred, en masse.

Sounding almost apologetic, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said,  “We’ve got a lot of work left on our plate between now and the end of the summer. And we’re starting on financial regulatory reform…. I’m not sure where you find the time to deal with these other major issues.”

Chambliss sounded like a teenager complaining about how much homework he received over winter break. But at least he was more rational than Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, who said “moving forward on immigration” in a “hurried, panicked manner” had offended him so much that he was walking out of talks on climate change legislation. It was as if conservatives had said, “Don’t even ask us to even think about this whole immigration mess. I mean it. We’re willing to destroy the environment over this… if we believed in global warming, that is. So there.”

This caused the rest of us to ask, “Who dragged climate change into this?” But we had no time to ponder because the all-American sport of baseball became the next collateral damage.

With a certain amount of glee, Keith Olbermann stated that the Arizona Diamondbacks are arguably the only MLB team without a prominent Latino player. In addition, many commentators pointed out that Hispanics and Latin American immigrants make up a large percentage of today’s top players. So we should have been unsurprised when protests erupted at Wrigley Field and fans started threatening to boycott next year’s All-Star game, which is being held in (gulp) Chase Field in Phoenix. But at least that shrinking violet, Ozzie Guillen, spoke his mind, for once in his life.

Of course, as we know, nothing really exists in America unless a celebrity is involved. So we were all relieved when our first pop star entered the fray. The beautiful and talented Shakira announced that she is opposed to the Arizona law. I can only hope that if she is pulled over in Tucson, she gives the cops one of those icy glares she utilizes before launching into an especially violent hip shimmy. It will be out of context but even more intense.

By the way, it’s odd that few American-born Latino celebrities are speaking out on the issue. One would think that Jennifer Lopez, for example, could take a brief break from peddling her latest cinematic disaster to at least appear socially conscious. But that’s ok – keep shaking it, J Lo, we still love you!

However, things have now come around again to the world of politics. No, I’m not talking about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s superficial change to the law, which she announced yesterday. I’m talking about the once-obscure Pat Bertroche, who is trying to gain the GOP nomination in Iowa to run for a House seat. His recent comments top the list of offensive, perplexing, and just plain oddball statements about Arizona’s efforts.

Bertroche said, when referring to illegal immigrants, that “We should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?”

Before anyone could answer this most unanswerable of questions, Bertroche  said of his own proposal, “That’s not a popular thing to say.”

Perhaps he’s a master of understatement, but Bertroche could have added, “And it’s not sane, coherent, respectful, or in any way related to the real world. In fact, it’s just batshit crazy and wildly racist.”

But he didn’t, so we’ll just have to imagine it. Fear not, however, I’m sure before all this is over, somebody or something else will top the insanity we’ve seen so far.

Perhaps we should start praying now.


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