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.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

If Obama is guilty of anything, it is being too weak in fighting off politically-partisan ideologues

President Barack Obama wants Congress to approve some $3.7 billion in federal funds to pay for the cost of properly, and humanely, dealing with the flood of more than 52,000 children who have arrived at the U.S./Mexico border in recent weeks.

Those kids came without any adult supervision, and officials aren't quite sure what to do with them. Except for those ideologues who want to rant and rage and intimidate young children into "going home!!!!"

OF COURSE, CONGRESS (particularly Republicans) are reluctant to come up with the money. Yet some of them are also blasting Obama for not dealing with the situation.

Even though the money is meant to deal with it (particularly by hiring more immigration judges and Border Patrol personnel to deal with the youthful flood). Some people are just determined to say something negative about Obama, even if they're the ones causing the problem.

It will be interesting to see how this situation gets resolved, and who winds up getting hit with the blame. This weblog's sister site, the Chicago Argus, has more to say about the situation.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Are we reliving bussing?

I recall a vacation trip my family took the summer of 1975 – one in which we hit the historical sites of this nation along the East Coast.

Our trip wound up in Boston, and I recall we were there at the time when “bussing” was the key issue irritating the conservative ideologues.

SPECIFICALLY, THEY WERE upset with the attempts by officials to racially integrate public schools despite the fact that many white people had deliberately moved to places to avoid having their kids in schools with black people.

Those plans involved using school buses to transport kids of both races to different school districts – all in hopes of having a racially diverse enrollment at the schools.

The resulting video footage of people pelting school buses, taunting their occupants and using other intimidation tactics to try to get those school buses to “Go Away!!!!” made it on national network news. It was a blot on Boston’s reputation – one I still remember all these decades later.

It also is what comes to mind as I see the footage of ideological twits and nitwits who think they’re showing their patriotism (some of them literally spent their Independence Day holiday in such activities) by picketing the border crossing where buses loaded with children from Latin American nations were to be taken to be processed by the Border Patrol.

THOSE KIDS ARE ones who don’t have a valid visa, or any parent with them. U.S. authorities are merely trying to get a handle on how many kids are now on the verge of entering the United States, while trying to figure out the most practical course of action for dealing with them.

But for those people who are picketing the border, they want to think we can just turn our backs on the situation and ignore them. They think they’re not so incredibly embarrassing to our national image when they gather and taunt school buses – and engage in cheers when the drivers decide the situation is just too risky to try leaving the kids in their care at the border crossing facilities.

Every chant of  “U.S.A., U.S.A.” being used as a weapon against people was a blow to the national unity that was meant when soccer fans in recent weeks were using it to cheer for the national team in World Cup competition.

And it all goes to ensure that the name of “Murietta, Calif.,” is going to trigger bad memories in the minds of many people for future decades all too similar to what some of us remember Boston for today.


Friday, July 4, 2014

¿The Americas Cup?

I’ll have to confess to being a tad bit disappointed earlier this week when the United States’ national soccer team got beat by Belgium in the World Cup.

Not as disgusted and appalled as when Mexico was defeated by the Netherlands, mind you. But still, a bit saddened.

BECAUSE AS IT turns out, the quarter-finals to take place Friday and Saturday turned out to be an even split – four national teams from the Americas, and four more from European nations.

A U.S. victory could have turned this into a 5-3 split in favor of the Americas. Which would have infuriated those soccer fanatics who truly want to believe this is a game of European superiority, and that the presence of the ‘rest of the world’ is somehow a sham.

Similar to those people in this country who rant and rage about ‘political correctness’ forcing us into situations, rather than just letting the truly best people compete.

As things turn out, host nation Brazil takes on Colombia later on Friday, while on Saturday, Argentina takes on Belgium (Will U.S. fans root for an Argentine victory as payback for their loss?) while Costa Rica will play against the Netherlands.

AND I'M SURE many fans of El Tri will spend the entire match contending that Mexico’s team would have given Costa Rica more of a challenge than the Dutch. If only those two goals in the final few minutes of play had never happened …

What happens if the semi-finals literally turn into Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica – along with the non-American Germany (which managed to beat France 1-0 Friday to advance)?

Personally, I’d get a kick out of that scenario. I always found the Latin American leagues more interesting to watch, although I know I have encountered soccer fans who always root in international play for a European interest.

There may well be people hoping for a Belgium, Netherlands and Germany combination – while wishing that there didn’t have to be an American victor in Brazil/Colombia. Probably some of them are people who are reading this and resenting the fact that I’m applying the “America” label to something beyond the United States.

THIS IS WHAT the World Cup becomes once one’s own preferred squad manages to get knocked out of play (and personally, I’m still amazed both Mexico and the United States advanced beyond the early group play stage).

It is a spectacle that truly can capture the World’s attention; certainly more than the Super Bowl – which officials always like to boast is watched on television around the globe.

Although I can’t help but wonder how many people in other nations watch a few seconds of phony football, can’t figure out what the game’s point is, then switch the channel to something more intriguing.

A Miami Vice re-run, perhaps?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mexico 1 - Netherlands 2; fin

El Tri had dreams of making it to el Quinto. Only to see it wither away in the final moments of what should have been a 1-0 Mexico futbol victory against the Netherlands.

A Dutch goal with three minutes remaining in the match to tie it up. Then, a penalty kick turning into a goal in stoppage time to give the Dutch the lead.

ALL THIS COMING after Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa being praised for his excellent play throughout the match – stopping goal after goal after goal after goal.

Only for him to come up short in those final moments of play.

And the talk of playing El Quinto, a fifth match in this year’s World Cup, came just a bit too prematurely.

While Mexico continued its trend of being the team that routinely makes it through group play – only to get knocked out once the matches start to matter.

AND AS FOR that goal by Giovani dos Santos early in the second half? He went from being a Mexican sports hero to being just a moment that he’ll forevermore talk about, but which most fans of El Tri will want to forget.

The streak also remains alive – the only two times a Mexico team has ever advanced beyond this point were the two years that the World Cup itself was hosted by Mexico. Would it literally take an Estadio Azteca crowd to bolster the Mexican team anywhere close to victory?

It also is matches like this one played Sunday that convince me anyone who claims soccer is deadly dull and nothing happens truly miss the point.

Then again, they probably need a fireworks display and some sort of mascot to get them interested in an athletic event/ It’s their loss.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Knocking holes in ideologue idiocy

Latino employment in this country shows that just under half of all people with ethnic origins in a Latin American nation are of immigrant birth.

As in a slight majority of Latinos last year who had a job were actually people born in the United States. A new study by the Pew Research Center also shows that this is a trend that is only going to grow larger in coming years.

FOR THE STUDY shows that 49.7 percent of Latinos with jobs were born in another country. That is down from the 56.1 percent from 2007, which is when a boost in construction shot the figure sky-high, and was also right when the economic struggles of recent years began.

Personally, I see this as evidence of further assimilation. We’re getting jobs, becoming a part of this economy and of society. Which are things that the ideologues would have you believe Latinos never do.

Which is probably also the reason we’d all be a lot better off if we didn’t give those particular people so much credence. Their ethnic-oriented hang-ups are going to wind up holding all of us back!