Thursday, April 17, 2014

Who will count as Latino in coming decades?

It will be interesting to see how people perceive things a few decades from now, when all the best guesstimates of our experts today say the Latino segment of our society will be significant across the nation.

Those are the figures that say about 30 percent of the nation will be Latino by 2050. It’s probably true. The population growth is staggering.

THE REAL KEY is to comprehending just how “Latino” will be perceived by that time.

The Slate.com website published an interesting commentary recently about the difference between “Hispanic” and “white.”

Personally, I’m inclined to think there will be enough intermarriage by then that the reality will be so many people with at least a trace of ethnic origins tying them to a Latin American country.

Being Latino will probably become just another part of the ethnic mish-mash that already is our nation. So many people will be able to claim to be “Latino” that I wonder how many will actually claim it as a distinct identity?

PERHAPS THAT IS the reason some people get so worked up these days whenever immigration comes up. They won’t be able to tell whom to hate, if they don’t do something know to prevent this trend from continuing.

And if they’re not careful, they’ll wind up being the crazy uncle who says stupid things all the time because one of my ethnic brethren will have wound up marrying his sister.

Then again, I don’t know of a Latino family that doesn’t have a tio loco somewhere in the family tree. So perhaps it is just an inevitable match!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New York’s free condoms for sale in Dominican Republic?

It seems one of the most popular brands of condoms being sold in the Dominican Republic were actually meant to be given away for free in New York City.

The New York Daily News reported how condoms carrying the “NYC” brand are turning up for sale in stores for 50 cents each. Which is less than the $1 or more that other condom brands sell for.

BUT CONSIDERING THAT the NYC brand is specifically made by Ansell for free distribution by the city’s health department – and specifically is branded as “Not for Resale” – the whole thing becomes tragic.

Someone has figured out a way to make themselves money off of the city-funded effort meant to bolster the public health of the community.

New York officials say the matter is under investigation, although it is suspected that some of the bars, nail shops and barbershops that were given the condoms for free distribution were instead selling them to entities that were turning them over to a Dominican company – that was then providing them for sale to stores across the Caribbean island nation.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A nightmare to ideologues; merely reality to the majority of us

Texas is already a heavily Latino-influenced state. Yet the trend is such that I’m sure the ideological types are having their nightmares.

VILLALBA: Will GOP listen?
It was a story I stumbled across in one of the daily newspapers from the border region – the people to whom Mexico is that place on the other side of the river, and not some alien land that they demonize with their ignorance.

STATE REP. JASON Villalba, R-Dallas, gave the perfect reason why local Republicans need to give it up when it comes to the nonsense rhetoric that views Latinos as a problem to be eradicated.

White people already are no longer the majority of Texas’ population. If current trends are maintained, Latinos will be a majority within six years – just as they already are the majority in California.

And for those who want to point out that Latinos don’t vote at rates comparable to their share of the population, it is estimated that within 15 years, even the Latino share of the electorate will be a majority in Texas.

Hence, they’re going to be outnumbered, if they keep up the type of rhetoric that makes Latinos distrust Republicans to the point that they vote 70-plus percent against Mitt Romney when he ran for president in 2012.

VILLALBA EVEN WENT so far as to suggest the term “unauthorized people” to describe those non-citizens without a valid visa who get termed “illegal aliens” in ICE-speak – a phrase the ideologues love to use because they want to believe they “just don’t belong” in this country.

Will they follow his advice and tone down the “white-hot rhetoric?” Or is Villalba about to enter a segment of the political world where about the nicest thing his alleged allies will say about him is that he’s one of the infamous RINOs?

Or maybe it’s the political future that all the Republicans In Name Only (they really seem like a majority, to listen to the ideologues) will unite and take back their own political party?

We can only wish!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

If limes are three times the cost, how long until we pay the price?

Just looking at them creates tart taste in my mouth
I was aware of the weather and citrus disease conditions that have caused the cost of limes to skyrocket.

Although I was still shocked by a CNN report about the issue that included the observation of a Mexican restaurant chain that said where it used to pay $36 for a case of limes, their most recent delivery was at a cost of $110 per case.

IT’S JUST A matter of time before we all get hit with that cost, and we have to decide just how significant that lime wedge is with our food or drink. And yes, there are some Mexican dishes that I just can’t envision without lime to add a bit of flavor.

And for those of you who try to suggest using lemons instead, all I can do is shake my head and say, “It’s not the same!”

Anyway, you should probably read the CNN report for yourself. Here’s hoping that conditions improve so that the cost increase is a temporary measure.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bothered by the concept of 14-year-old beisbol prospects? How about Over the Hill at 18?

How many 12-yr. olds think they're next?
Baseball America has a new story about the scouting operations by Major League Baseball in Latin American nations – focusing on the fact that the future stars of U.S. baseball are being scouted while still children.

The publication found instances of 14-year-olds or 13-year-olds, or even a few kids as young as 12, being assessed for their athletic skills to determine if they ever have a chance of being the next star New York Yankees shortstop (it’s probably going to get ugly between Derek Jeter’s retirement this season and when that star is finally found).

THE REASON WHY such young kids are being scouted seriously (even though many have yet to undergo the growth spurt to adulthood) is that professional baseball clubs now rely on the training camps they maintain in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela for many of the Latin American athletes they sign.

Those camps often consist of 14- and 15-year-old peloteros, giving it their all so that when they turn 16, they can sign a contract with a U.S.-based ball club – one that includes the valid visa allowing them to live and work in the United States to play ball for a minor league affiliate.

Now some do make it all the way to major league teams. Some of them even establish themselves as stars who get all the perks of athletic stardom.

But there are so many more who get their year or two in the U.S. minor leagues, then get released – many because they can’t make the adjustment to life in a foreign country.

HOW MANY PROFESSIONS do you find where someone can be a has-been (actually, a never-was) at age 18? And in many cases, someone who manages to “miss” his flight back home and stays in this country – even though the visa expired the moment they got their release from their ball club.

By comparison, U.S. residents can’t sign on with a professional baseball team until their high school classes graduate (even if they don’t). Which means most are at least 18 before they even make that adjustment.

You ought to read the Baseball America story. It is intriguing the way professional scouts are trying to find younger and younger talent, in hopes of getting the jump on everyone else.

But a 14-year-old having dreams of playing baseball isn’t as bothersome (in my mind, at least) as an 18-year-old with those dreams crushed and nothing else going for them in life.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Speaking the truth? Or searching for excuses?

I’m still trying to figure what to make of President Barack Obama for making comments this week implying that Democratic Party losses in this year’s election cycle would be because of a lack of votes from the non-white/male people who make up a majority of the party these days.

OBAMA: Wants more political support
Is he placing blame in advance? Or is this a wakeup call to political people that they’re going to have to make moves to encourage people to want to bother to cast ballots in upcoming primary elections, along with the Nov. 4 general election that will determine how sympathetic Congress is towards the last two years of the Obama presidency?

OBAMA WAS AT a fundraising event Wednesday night, meaning he was speaking to a sympathetic crowd, when he told them they would do badly if there weren’t more black and Latino people showing up to vote.

“Our voters are younger, more unmarried women, more African-American and Latino voters,” the president said. “They get excited about general elections. They don’t get as excited about mid-term elections.”

He’s hardly the first person to say that the ideologues of our society often feel more determined to vote – so as to maintain a status-quo against what they feel is a society changing against them.

Take a recent editorial cartoon by David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times that depicted a fat, grouchy white guy as the “GOP base” – prepared to “walk on hot, burning coals” and “swim a piranha-infested river” to cast ballots against Obama’s political interests.

WHILE THE “DEMOCRATIC base” was a skinny white woman who wanted to know if she could cast her vote on Facebook!

Obama this week called it a “congenital disease” that the growing segment of our society isn’t exerting its full potential when it comes to government and elections.

Which is a fact I often have stated in these commentaries – that the Latino segment of society will achieve its full respect when we turn out at the polling places and start defeating the people who speak out against our interests.

How hostile could Congress become?
Should people really be blamed if the public officials wishing to represent them in government do a terrible job of explaining why it is to their benefit to pick them for electoral office?

THAT IS WHAT officials ought to be doing! To the degree that what Obama said serves as a “wake-up” call to Democratic Party officials to quit being so complacent and not take that 70-plus percent of Latinos who voted for Obama in 2012 as some political entitlement for all Dem candidates forevermore, it is a good thing.

Otherwise, you get the conditions found in a recent poll that cites non-WASP people as the “Rising American Electorate” of our society, but also finds that only 64 percent of those people are “almost certain” to vote – compared to 79 percent of non-RAE people.

And that could easily give us the House of Representatives AND Senate that decides it must end the Obama presidency by finding grounds for impeachment. It won’t even matter to the ideologues if they can’t actually remove him from office.

Just so long as they can shout the “I” word in connection with Obama’s name, they get their lame political victory.

WHICH MAY BE the personal motivation for Obama to get people to turn out to vote. There is the perception among some political observers that the Obama voters aren’t automatically inclined to support the rest of the Democratic Party.

If that’s the case, then his final two years in office could turn out to be the most agonizing period of nothingness from federal government that we, the people, who are supposedly the whole point for having government, could ever see.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

An old story in so many ways, and one that doesn’t seem to want to wither away

There always are going to be stories of police officers whose behavior on the job gets out of line, particularly when they’re around Latinos.

There also will be public officials who view the Spanish language as some sort of threat to their existence.

SO ABOUT THE only thing that makes an incident earlier this week in Santa Ana, Calif., is the fact that it merged both aspects.

The OC Weekly newspaper used its website Wednesday to tell the tale of an officer with the local school district’s police department who made an arrest Tuesday of a teenager on a charge of graffiti.

The newspaper initially reported that the boy was 10 years old, and was videotaped being pinned to the ground by the officer, who may have had the boy in a choke hold. Police later told the publication that the boy in the incident was actually 14 – which I’ll admit is quite a difference.

Although it doesn’t change that much, if you think about it rationally. The boy claims he was not resisting, yet was still the subject of force.

WHEN PEOPLE IN the area tried shouting out to the boy to “relax” and “don’t move” (so as to reduce the chance of being injured in the struggle), some of them did so in Spanish.

Which caused the cop in question to shout to them to, “Stop speaking Spanish.”

This particular incident is comical on so many levels. Particularly since it is arousing some reactions on the Internet who claim the cop was justified in not wanting to hear Spanish because he may have feared there were some street gang connections and that people were shouting instructions to the boy on how to get free of the cop.

Then again, the people who are so desperate to believe that probably also are the types who think that Man never really walked on the Moon. Or maybe they’re the types who believe Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone against the president.

THEY PROBABLY THINK it was some crazy Mexican who pulled the trigger that took the life of John F. Kennedy. They just want to believe their version of the world, no matter how outrageous it sounds to rational people.

The part I can’t quite figure out about this story is that the school district in question is on spring break – which explains why the kid wasn’t in school. Do we really believe he was choosing to hang around school on an off-day?

I don’t know when, if ever, we’ll know the full truth – mostly because I suspect the outcome would turn out so embarrassing to the local police. That shame is probably the ultimate punishment they could suffer.

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