Sunday, July 26, 2015

Martinez used Hall induction to show Dominican pride

“I would like you to see me as a sign of hope for a third-world country, for all Latinos. Someone that you can look up to and feel comfortable to say, ‘I am proud of you’.”


One-time star pitcher Pedro Martinez made his point in showing the world he’s proud to be a Dominican – from wearing that jacket with the Dominican Republic coat to arms to joining with star pitcher Juan Marichal in waving around the Dominican flag during induction ceremonies for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Being a ballplayer with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies in addition to the Boston Red Sox where he was on a World Series-winning team, it shows the spread of Latin American peloteros in U.S. baseball.

PERSONALLY, I WAS amazed to see how many Dominican government officials felt compelled to attend the ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. – not exactly the most accessible of places to travel to.

But it certainly made for a more intriguing induction ceremony than we have seen in years. Unless you thought the induction last year of so many Atlanta Braves players and managers was worthwhile?

Although for what it’s worth, I was amazed at how much of Martinez’ induction speech was in English – although he did conclude en Español and gave enough of a plug to the United States for offering him a break that only the most hard-core of xenophobes would object.

Check out this weblog’s sister site The Chicago Argus on Monday for more information about the Martinez performance and whether it is true that it will be another 32 years before a Dominican-born ballplayer makes it into the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Immigration reform critics overstating opposition

Watching the debate taking place these days concerning immigration reform brings to my mind the image of a whining, screaming baby, with Barack Obama reduced to the level of someone making “choo choo” train noises with a spoon to get the stubborn infant to eat their baby food.


I don’t doubt the sincerity of those people who are engaging in the loudest rants. But I can’t take too seriously their complaints that their food is “yucky” and “gross.”

BECAUSE THAT’S ABOUT the level of discourse the opposition to serious reform of the nation’s immigration policy has taken.


Perhaps that is why assorted polls don’t show overwhelming backing for the ideologue types who wish they could seriously impeach Obama, then convict and remove the president from office for daring to refuse to view the roughly 11 million undocumented residents of this nation as a scourge in need of eradication!


There is the poll conducted by Hart Research, which found some 67 percent of those questioned were supportive of Obama using his executive order powers to implement limited reforms without first getting Congressional approval.


Yes, much of that two-thirds support comes from those who identify themselves as Democrats, but 57 percent of those who call themselves independent and 41 percent of Republicans were backing Obama’s actions.


FOR WHAT IT’S worth, 47 percent of GOPers who don’t identify with the Tea Party activist movement think the president got it right. It’s mostly those hard-core ideological critics who are the whiners (64 percent in opposition) on this issue.


That particular poll was done for the Americans United for Change group, which may have its own agenda in wishing to show strong support for Obama’s response to the fact that Republicans in Congress have used all their efforts to thwart any reform efforts on the issue.


But others also show support for the action itself.


Take the poll done by CNN/ORC that showed 50 percent of those questioned thought Obama’s actions were “about right,” compared to 22 percent who thought Obama’s actions weren’t wide-ranging enough (some six million undocumented individuals will not be impacted).


ONLY 25 PERCENT were interested in condemning Obama for his actions; not that far off from the 28 percent who were critical of the president in the Hart Research poll.


Although the CNN/ORC poll also asked for what people thought of Obama’s tactic to get this issue past the Congressional opposition – which will intensify once Republican interests concerned with catering to the ideologue opposition.


Forty-one percent of the public were supportive, compared to 57 percent opposed – although only 16 percent said they were “angered” by the act. Most of the so-called opposition described their level of displeasure as being closer to apathetic than anything else.


In fact, some 60 percent of those questioned said they do not want a legal challenge in the courts by Republican interests to the immigration policy change. And 76 percent wish Congress would get off its collective duff and pass some sort of binding policy change.


IT ALSO IS interesting to see the poll by Latino Decisions that shows 95 percent of Latinos who identify as Democrat and 76 of Latinos who call themselves Republican view Obama’s actions favorably.


Yet Obama seems so fearful of triggering ethnically-motivated opposition that his strategy for touting his plan is to emphasize all the non-Latinos who also will be impacted.


The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week how Obama doesn’t want this to be perceived as a Latino benefit – even though the bulk of those who will be impacted have Latin American ethnic origins in their family trees.


I understand the concept of compromise in government as much as anyone else. But the point of immigration reform is to bring people out of society’s shadows – not to tell some people that they have to stay tucked away in the closet because of where they originate!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Will Koch cash overcome ideologue trash-talk to sway Latinos to regard GOP as amigos?

I stumbled across a wire service dispatch in the Chicago Sun-Times that I'm sure is meant to shock and amaze many people out there -- conservative activists funded by the Koch brothers are offering English-language classes, health examinations and even help toward a high school diploma for Latinos.

The brothers who head Koch Industries (locally involved in the storage of pet coke in such a sloppy way that it spreads by breeze throughout the surrounding Chicago neighborhoods) are known for being willing to offer financial backing to political causes supportive of their conservative ideological leanings.

THE IDEA OF offering help to Latinos, particularly those who haven't fully picked up on the English language. Most ideologues view these folks as prime candidates for deportation.

They don't want a thing done that would encourage these people to think they can have a life in the United States.

So what's up with the Libre Initiative? That's an effort that helps people in need, offers up guidance on how to develop a business of one's own -- and also mixes in the ideological talk of "limited government" that usually means ignoring the concerns of people who aren't just like themselves.

Personally, this doesn't shock me at all. In fact, if Republicans were more sensible in their approach to life and politics, they would realize this is the way to go if they don't want to bolster Democratic Party strength by turning the Latino voter bloc into something similar to African-Americans (who usually back Dem candidates by about 90 percent).

THERE REALLY ARE those Latinos who aren't eager to do business with Democratic Party officials and would be prime pickings, if only GOP people didn't insist that immigration reform has to focus on increased deportations and ignore any sensible change to policy.

I can't help but think of a recent family event that was a reunion of sorts -- I got to see several distant cousins who I hadn't seen or herd from in years.

It turned into a political squabble -- with one of my second-cousins proclaiming himself a Republican because he doesn't want to be associated with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. He also went on a repeated rant about President Barack Obama's "illegal executive orders."

He spent the afternoon being chastised by other distant cousins who told him, "You don't make enough money to be a Republican."

NOW I'M NOT providing identities in part because they didn't know I'd someday write this up. They thought they were ranting in private.

Besides, it doesn't matter. Because I have met other Latinos in many places who will express similar thoughts. There was nothing unique about this conversation.

There are those who are more than willing to listen to a Koch-tainted message; so long as you can get their alleged GOP allies who like to suggest that Latin American kids are going to bring the ebola virus to the United States to shut up for a few minutes!

Because those people are ultimately the ones who will drive the Latino voter bloc into the hands of Democrats -- and make the Republican Party about as meaningful as the Whigs! As in not very!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Trash talk from the Heartland

There are those people who when it comes to issues that touch on immigration policy try to defend their nonsense-talk as somehow being for the good of the society as a whole, rather than just being borderline bigoted trash.

But invariably, much of the rhetoric comes across as too ridiculous to be taken seriously. The trash reeks too harshly for it to ever be a part of legitimate policy.

WE GOT SUCH an example again on Monday when a member of Congress from Indiana gave an interview to an Indianapolis radio station and managed to combine two issues from the national news reports in such a convoluted manner.

We're talking about the influx of children who have worked their way unattended through several Latin American nations to the U.S./Mexico border, and the outbreak of the ebola virus on the African continent.

That has gained attention because some U.S. citizens in Africa have contracted the deadly virus, and they have been brought back home (to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, to be exact) in hopes of getting treatment that isn't available over there.

The fact is that ebola has never been contracted in the Americas -- north or south. It isn't a virus native to our region of the globe.

YET REP. TODD Rokita, R-Ind., told radio listeners in Indianapolis that he believes some of the roughly 57,000 young people who have come to the United States in hopes of getting a better life for themselves are carrying the virus.

As though they're about to bring on a deadly infection that will kill off many of the "real Americans" already here.

Killer kids!!! Viral Latinos. I'm almost surprised he didn't try to claim that the many people of Latin-American ethnic origins already in this country are somehow carrying a disease.

Then again, there are enough other nitwits out there who will make such claims. It all gets to be such nonsense after awhile.

PERSONALLY, I'M NOT overly offended. Such a claim is just too stupid to take seriously. I'd like to think the majority of our society, the people who are of more sound mind and rational thought, will know enough to disregard this talk.

Because it ultimately just comes down to more partisan nonsense meant to try to back up the efforts of conservative ideologues to use this particular issue to step up their version of immigration "reform" -- which amounts to little more than a boost in the nation's deportation levels.

Which if it ever were truly imposed would cause more harm to our economy and society than the ideologues think is being caused by the influx of newcomers from non-European nations.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

1/4 the cash, 1/2 the kids staying

President Barack Obama spent his Friday meeting with the leaders of assorted central American nations, hoping to come up with ways to resolve the influx of young people who are showing up from their at the U.S./Mexico border in hopes of being allowed to stay.

This seems to be the way Obama wants to try to cope with the situation -- get those leaders to do something to improve living conditions so that so many families will not feel compelled to send their children away to the United States.

WHICH WOULD MEAN they wouldn't even be here for us to have to deal with.

That seems to be the Obama ideal on so many issues -- he wants to find a way to be conciliatory with the conservative ideologues who I wonder if he still doesn't fully appreciate how much they oppose him.

The ones who are now suing him, and who are stepping up the cheap political talk about impeachment. Not that anybody expects Obama's removal from office prior to January 2017. New polls show only about one-third of the electorate really wants impeachment to occur.

The focus really has to be on the young people who are now here, rather than trying to prevent the number from continuing to increase. There's only so much that can be done about conditions down there from up here.

AND THE IDEOLOGUES seem determined to fight things from being done; clinging to their fantasies of just booting out everybody.

House Republicans are talking about their own bill that offers the alternative to the $3.7 million Obama wants to bolster the Border Patrol so they can adequately cope with the influx of young people to figure out if they literally can qualify as political refugees.

GOPers are talking about a sum of funds under $1 million -- about a quarter of what the president says will be necessary to do an adequate job of assessing, and coping, with the situation.

They also want changes in immigration policy meant to bolster the idea of more deportations. In short, they're using the crisis situation as an excuse to play partisan politics.

THAT IS WHAT Obama and his colleagues need to keep in mind. That is the opposition. They had better be prepared to take up the cause of these young people, and quit giving in to the nonsense-style rhetoric of which we get too much.

What really has the ideologues offended is the fact that these young people can't just all be kicked out. It is estimated that some 57,000 young people have shown up unattended at the southern border. According to the New York Times, a majority is able to stay.

Some 30,000-plus of them have relatives or friends already in the United States who are capable of taking them in. There are others who are being taken into long-term shelters, and may eventually wind up in foster care across the country.

So much for their fantasy of kicking all these kids out because they "don't belong here."


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Will Texas gov's gesture come back to bite him?

It shouldn't be a surprise that someone would decide that the influx of children arriving these days at the U.S./Mexico border ought to be responded to with something resembling military force.

We'd hope that the more sensible elements of our society would go against the concept. But there are those of us who are always willing to live down to our lowest aspirations.

HENCE, THE FACT that Texas Gov. Rick Perry  said this week he's going to send 1,000 troops to the state's borders with Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Coahuila to address the situation.

Actually, we won't (or so he says) have cases of Texas good ol' boys with arms blocking the paths of the 57,000 (and rising) young people who have arrived unescorted in this country.

The governor says those kids will be dealt with by the Border Patrol, as they should be. But he's claiming a magnanimous gesture by saying those kids have the Border Patrol so swamped with work that their other duties are falling by the wayside.

It seems Perry wants us to believe that those national guardsmen, whom the Washington Post reports will be in place in about a month, will be stopping other people -- the kind whom the ideologues of our society desperately want to believe have no place in a U.S. society.

AND YES, I do think their thought process is quite so blunt -- even though I'm sure they'll try to deny it. A couple of days ago, CNN aired interviews of people at a protest march who view the kids as a threat.

One woman went so far as to say the situation is one where Mexicans need to stay in Mexico, while "European Americans" can be in America.

Of course, most of those kids aren't Mexican. It is countless other central American nations where they come from. Not that I'm sure she'd care about that subtle point. They're all alike to her, and to the many other ideologues who have the Republican caucus of Congress all affright at the thought of serious immigration reform policy.

I also suspect she thinks Europeans are all white. I wonder what she'd think if she saw now many people "of color" have settled into European nations and are now a part of that continent.

IT'S A CHANGING world, and some people are just having trouble accepting that thought.

By going along with their desires by giving them the image of the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border, Perry probably hopes those people will turn into voters who will bolster his chances of getting the GOP nomination for president in the 2016 election cycle.

He may well do so.

But he may well also wind up isolating himself to solely those people as voters.

BECAUSE THERE WILL be a significant share of society who will have the queasy thought of having such an armed presence amongst so many young people coming in regularly.

I'm not necessarily predicting the next "Kent State" incident somewhere along the border. But it just seems to me that Perry is playing to the segment of our society that wouldn't be terribly offended if such a thing were to occur!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

When it comes to central American kids, is everybody at fault?

I found interesting a recent poll for the Washington Post and ABC News, one that found a majority of people think everybody is at fault with trying to figure out how to respond to the influx of children who are showing up unattended at the U.S./Mexico border.

The poll shows 58 percent of people surveyed think President Barack Obama is screwing up the situation.

ON THE OTHER hand (or perhaps it's the same hand, the one that we'd like to give the back of across the face to political people of all persuasions), 66 percent of people think the Republicans who are opposing Obama on this issue are at fault.

Some say Obama isn't doing enough to promptly deal with the issue. But his opponents are the ones who don't want him to deal with it. They're the ones who fantasize about Border Patrol agents snatching up these kids the moment they arrive, piling them onto trucks, and driving them back south -- away from the United States.

These are the people who spent their Independence Day at processing stations on the U.S./Mexico border shouting taunts at busloads of children and trying to pass their harassment off as national pride with their "U.S.A./U.S.A." chants!

They're also the ones who object to Obama's desire for some federal funding so as to bolster the situation so that all these kids can be processed and intelligent decisions can be made about which ones ought to have a legitimate place in U.S. society.

TO THE IDEOLOGUES, of course, they don't want any of them remaining here. Which is why they're drawing the opposition from nearly two-thirds of those who were polled.

And as for opposition to Obama, it seems we think he's being a bit wimpish in not standing up to these people. Nobody likes a bully, but we also don't seem to have much respect for the bully's target!

The problem is that this is an issue that's not going away.

It is estimated that some 57,000 young people, many from central American nations, have shown up at the border without adult supervision. It could reach as high as 90,000 by year's end.

THEY WERE SENT by parents who have relatives or friends in this country who they hope will be able to care for the kids and provide a better life than they can back in their homelands.

Which ought to make sense. Even the Catholic Archdiocese in Chicago is offering up its help to find homes here for these kids. Except that to the ideologues, sense is something they flee from at all costs. They're the ones who like the idea of locking these kids up in detention centers often used for adults in violation of immigration policy.

I'm sure they joke about giving these kids a taste of their future lives -- because since they're inherently criminal, they're headed for prison somewhere. It's about as ignorant an attitude as one can have.

One that Obama ought to be keeping in mind as he pushes on this issue for a sensible solution.