A new take on the immigration debate

Ok, maybe not that new, but, I’m quite happily gorged on tamales made by some folks who aren’t necessarily entirely documented, so…

I’m going to say that America is better place with taco trucks, run by Mexicans, intending to feed Mexican tastes. Whereas places like Chili’s and Azteca are a cancer on the American sense of taste (and barely qualify as food), it’s rather difficult to find a bad taco truck. And since Mexican food is clearly thousands of times better than any homegrown “American food”, America will be a better place to live with more people from Mexico here to feed us and teach us how to cook properly.

And true, it goes for most Latin American cultures. Papusas, arepas, ceviche, empandas, tamales…We’re better off with more, more, more influence from Latin America on our cuisine. And what is more important and vital to survival, community, and happiness than good food? I hereby call for an exemption for immigrants who can cook and save us from “American food” to better the country.

Ok, I admit, part of it is that I have only experienced “American meatloaf” and Kraft macaroni and cheese since meeting my husband, and I’m frankly nonplussed by what my mother called “white people food” when I was growing up (she’s Sicilian). Part of it is that what I’ve experienced of “American” food is bland and uninteresting and leaves most of any given animal as waste. Part of it is that a particular taco truck in NJ that makes transcendant sopes worth spending the money on the croos-country ticket home. But a lot of it is that, well, once you get some good cabeza or lengua tacos at a local taco truck, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever eat a KFC original recipe breast. Or, for that matter a really good mole pablano enchilada makes a corn dog seem like a sacrilege.

More Mexicans in the US equals better food for America.

P.S. Oh, and I’ve involved myself in a weirdand frustrating debate with some Microsofty who thinks that “Daddy’s Roommate” will undermine all the good in America. I’m feeling disillusioned. I thought Microsoft only hired people with “Intellectual Horsepower” not idiotic homophobia. Really, they hire people that stupid? That completely and unabashedly bigoted? I thought Microsoft had standards! So disheartening. Remind me that there are good people out here who care more about the basis of the constitution than trying to create a fundamentalist christian theocracy. Please. I’ll sleep better. And remind me that people who think that way are a minority, and won’t destroy what this country stands for.

And give me reason to believe that Sarah Palin isn’t trying to be this century’s George Wallace, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Oh and P.P.S–In addition to donating to Obama’s campaign, remember to contribute to the no on Prop 8 in California. And if you’re a California voter, god, if she exists, will likely smile on you for voting no.

Study: P2P effect on legal music sales “not statistically distinguishable from zero”

Little of my day is spent watching TV or even reading online now because of the obscene amounts of time I spend without an internet connection. But when I do manage a few minutes of spare time and a WIFI connection, my Google homepage is customized with all kinds of RSS feeds. When I got to my homepage, this JUMPED out at me from Slashdot. Having watched the RIAA cry for many years now and try and convict everyone from an 80 y/o grandfather to a 9 y/o girl, I wonder what their motivation truly is. What is the possibility that this could finally open the RIAA’s beady little eyes (with green dollar signs) to the fact that the reason their cd’s aren’t selling/shipping is cause they put out crap?

This is America

Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was a victim of the U.S. policy known as “extraordinary rendition.” He was detained by U.S. officials in 2002, accused of terrorist links, and handed over to Syrian authorities, who tortured him. Arar is working with the Center for Constitutional Rights to appeal a case against the U.S. government that was dismissed on national security grounds.

His speech to receive the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award (by video, since he is barred from entry from the US) is truly shocking. This is the America we have become: a torturer of innocents.

For me, this sums it all up: an immigration official saying to him when detained at JFK: “The INS is not the body or the agency that signed the Geneva Convention, convention against torture.” They have no shame.

richmond virginia hates left turns

3 rights turns could equal a left, so what’s the point in turning left directly?  This was the thought running through the head of whoever designed traffic flow in this city.  If you have to come to Richmond on business, and drive the ultra powerful (sarcasm) and thoughtfully laid out (sarcasm again) Saturn Ion, prepare yourself for the delight of your life.  The concrete median that divides every major street in this city provides many opportunities for people that don’t like anything to do with the left, to go straight.  Not even at stoplights are you allowed to turn left.  Do you see a store you want to go in across the street?  It’s easy and convenient to drive 5 miles down the road where you can wait in line for 29 minutes for the opportunity to U-Turn (but you can’t turn left there because there is no street to left turn onto) in front of a speeding Semi.  Or maybe it’s fun and exciting to park across the street and Frogger your way across to your destination (maybe this is why the Vick brothers are so good at not getting tackled).  Richmond Virginia hates left turns (because they don’t go Right… Wing).

Headline from the near future

From New York Times online, November 7, 2006:

New Jersey Secretary of State Detained on Terror Charges

Trenton, New Jersey — Following outrage from news media and local officials, President Bush acknowledged in an Election Day morning news conference that the disappearance of New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells is indeed the result of her extraordinary rendition to an overseas detention center, location undisclosed.

“The revelations about Ms. Wells’ collusion with terrorist agents to falsify the results of the New Jersey elections gave me no choice. I instructed the CIA to detain Ms. Wells and do everything they must to protect the homeland. On this Election Day, American voters need to understand that I will do everything in my power to protect this nation from harm,” said Mr Bush from the steps of his Crawford, TX ranch.

Michael Hertford, lawyer for Ms. Wells, denies she had any involvement with terrorist organizations. “The accusation that my client colluded with Katherine Hanley [the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth detained eight days ago on similar charges] to disrupt the midterm elections is categorically false. I demand again access to my client to defend her against these baseless charges.” The CIA has not responded to his request. As a designated enemy combatant, Ms. Wells has no right to legal representation under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed by President Bush on October 17.

Ms. Wells absence has thrown the results of the NJ election into near-chaos. All eyes are focused on the Senatorial race between Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez and challenger Thomas Kean, on which according to yesterday’s polls the balance of power in the Senate depends. Without a Secretary of State to certify the results of the election, the outcome may not be known for weeks or even months until a new Secretary of State can be elected according to New Jersey law.

According to election analysts and constitutional experts, the Republican party will maintain control of the Senate in the meantime and possibly beyond the beginning of the new term in January while the New Jersey and Virginia election crises are resolved.

Too much paranoia for ya?

(Vote for this post on digg.)

Puritan Takeover Watch

According to this NBC story, an award-winning Texas art teacher has lost her job after one of her fifth-grade students saw a nude sculpture during a trip to a museum. Even if there are other factors related to her dismissal as this Tribune article suggests, the fact that a parent complained about art — and after signing a permission slip allowing her child to go on the field trip — just boggles my mind.

Which reminds me — I’ve also been noticing that when art is displayed on TV, like Da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man, I’ve seen the genitalia blurred out. When the media doesn’t have the balls (pun intended) to even show such art on TV unmolested, you can see where these attitudes come from.

digg story

et tu, mickey mouse?

Hey nonfamosi,

ABC is planning on showing a “documentary” on Sunday night called “Path to 9/11” which is apparently just more Bush administration propaganda, this time blaming Clinton for the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The democrats, bless ’em, have a petition going to send off to Disney to say this is most definitely not cool, and violates the responsibility to the public. Please send off a note too.

Do any of you know how to find out who ABC’s Sunday night sponsors are. It might be worth letting them know that some of us would hold them responsible for airing bullshit like this that panders to the Lying Bastard in Chief and his jihad to take the middle east, one oil-producing nation at a time. I smell a boycott in the air.

King George: One law for me, one law for thee

Once again, Bush quietly slips a signing statement in when signing a law — this time, the renewed
Patriot Act  — basically saying he doesn’t have to follow the law.  Remember, this was a change to the Patriot Act supported by Republicans and Democrats alike to put Congressional oversight of some of the more nefarious provisions into law.  But Bush says the Constitution allows him to ignore it. By that logic, is there any law that the President is obliged to uphold?  Doesn’t that make him less a leader of a consitutional democracy, and more of a monarch … or dictator?

Quote of the Year

I’m sick to death of lawmakers spouting the Bible when discussing the legal issues of the day: abortion rights, gay marriage … and it seems just about anything these days. So too it seems is Jamie Raskin, American University law professor and candidate for Maryland State Senate, who gave the perfect retort when a right-wing senator rose to say, “Mr. Raskin, my Bible says that marriage shall occur only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?”. He replied:

“Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

Perfect. (Via Sullivan.)

Read Gore

If you haven’t read the transcript of Al Gore’s speech on Monday, you really should. At last, someone explains, eloquently and forcefully, everything that’s wrong about the Bush Administration’s shameless disregard for the rule of law. Drawing on examples from the NSA wiretapping scandal, from Guantanamo and Abu Graib, from the practice of extraordinary rendition, and even from Vietnam, it explains why the Adminstration’s preposterous assumption of all powers under the rubric of “war powers” is a threat to our democracy itself.

The problem of course, is that no-one will hear the message. It’s a shame it can’t be condensed to a simple message that people will actually hear and understand, rather than having to read a 10-page transcript of a speech given to a select audience, but the fact remains that this is a complex issue that doesn’t submit easily to the soundbite. The best passage I could find that comes close is in fact a quote from a Yale professor:

“If the president has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution.”

but I fear the only soundbite that will emerge is the following:

This effort to rework America’s carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all-powerful executive branch, with a subservient Congress and subservient judiciary, is ironically accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America’s foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish a form of dominance in the world.

which generated applause during the speech (according to the transcript), but devoid of context I’m certain will be reproduced in the right-wing blogs with the caption “Why does Al Gore hate America?”

To the Democrats: more of this please, but next time, let’s package it for TV, ok?