October 31, 2006
colorado: take the guess out of voting
Colorado voters now have the "Ballot Builder" -- an interactive tool that is free to use on the Rocky Mountain News site. This tool takes the guessing out of voting and could end the stranglehold our two main parties have on our state.
The process is 1) set up a user profile 2) identify where you live (so it can generate the races you'll vote in) 3) take a survey on where you stand on the issues and initiatives 4) view an individualized ballot which gives you the percentage of agreement you have with each candidate. You can click on "full profile" below the candidate's party info to see their views side-by-side with yours. In most cases, the candidate includes a few sentences clarifying their viewpoint -- I found this of particular interest. It also helps you make more subjective decisions concerning the candidates (as opposed to the objective statistical percentage generated by the tool itself).
It was so interesting to see in which races I favored the Republican, Democrat, Reform Party, Libertarian and Unaffiliated candidates.
If you're not from Colorado, then too bad for you. Unless you can find the groovy tool somewhere for your state.
October 27, 2006
tancredo to condi: don't send Dog to the big house
I honestly don't know why I read any article with Tancredo's name in the headline. Yet I just keep coming back for more.
Tancredo -- self proclaimed champion against all things illegal -- or at least all brown-skinned "illegal" activity -- is leading the charge to protect Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Yes, you read it right.
In recent weeks, Tancredo led the charge in petitioning Condoleezza Rice to block the extradition of Dog the Bounty Hunter to Mexico -- where he could face jail time.
Tancredo apparently believes he alone should decide which laws merit being upheld. And, according to Tom, the laws of the sovereign nation of Mexico just don't pass muster.
October 26, 2006
rule of law
This year the GOP mantra has been "the rule of law, the rule of law, the rule of law." People are expected, by the GOP, to abide strictly by the "rule of law" no matter their desperation or need (to which unjust laws have certainly contributed). But anyone watching Colorado's gubernatorial race has seen the contradiction in recent headlines.
GOP candidate Bob Beauprez' campaign is under FBI investigation for material in a campaign ad that could only have been accessed through a national law enforcement database by an authorized law enforcement officer for non-law enforcement purposes. Rather than supporting the rule of law over the informant, Beauprez has touted him as a courageous whistleblower.
You see, Bob wants it both ways. Here is a quote taken directly from his website -- in regard to "illegal immigration".
In fact, the rule of law--the idea that whether you are rich or poor, powerful or famous--you are subject to respect and abide by the law, just like everyone else (emphasis added). And the rule of law--that contract that we all enter into as citizens--is what distinguishes America from the rest of the world. If we send the message that the rule of law no longer matters in America, we risk losing the very essence of who we are as a nation, what has made us a beacon of hope to those that seek freedom throughout the world. Source: Bob Beauprez' official campaign website
Yet a recent Rocky Mountain News article shows us that Bob doesn't mean really mean everyone must "respect and abide by the law":
Bob Beauprez described the federal law enforcement agent suspected of leaking confidential FBI data to his gubernatorial campaign as a courageous "whistleblower," outraged by his Democratic opponent Bill Ritter's plea-bargains for immigrant offenders as Denver district attorney.
At a press conference today, Beauprez said the agent was justified in breaking the law to exposed Ritter's "obscenely lenient" practice of allowing immigrant drug traffickers to plead to felony trespass on farm land, which the congressman claims allowed them to avoid deportation.
"Our source, in my opinion, performed a great act of courage and public service in bringing this story to the public domain," Beauprez said.
The next day Mike Littwin had this absolutely brilliant commentary on the whole ugly scene:
In the shocking news development of the day: Apparently, it's OK with Bob "Black Hat" Beauprez if you break the law.
The man who would be your governor - the state's lawman-in-chief - says law-breaking is more than OK with him. It's fine with him. It's dandy with him. In fact, you can be his personal hero if you do it.
Not always, presumably. Not, say, if you're an "alien " - even a whistle-blowing "alien."
From what I was able to learn at Beauprez's please-stop-the-bleeding news conference Friday, to qualify as a heroic law-breaker, you have to be an American citizen and have a "belly-full." You have to be "fed up." It's the Alka-Seltzer defense.
And you have to come to his people with possibly illegally procured information - don't worry, no one at the Beauprez campaign will even ask - but only when the Beauprez campaign is 15 points down in the polls and especially desperate.
Well, Beauprez didn't say anything about being desperate Friday, although he could have.
He also didn't say he hopes Cory Voorhis, the ICE agent reportedly at the center of the investigation, broke the law in Denver, so at least he could plea down to ag trespass.
And he didn't say anything about moral relativism or how many other laws you can break heroically. And whether it's legal now for federal agents to torture you for it.
What he said instead was that it was all Bill Ritter's fault. Yes, Ritter's fault for exposing the fact that the Beauprez campaign may have come upon information illegally. (Follow the logic: Beauprez bashes Ritter for blowing the whistle on someone Beauprez claims heroically blew the whistle.)
It's strange, this sudden tolerance for lawbreaking, because Beauprez's entire campaign has been built around his contention that ex-DA Bill Ritter lives to put criminals back on the street - like someone, say, who illegally hacked into a federal database.
At the news conference, I asked Beauprez if he really thought that the guy was a hero if he broke the law to provide information for a political attack ad.
Q: "Do you still find him a hero whether he broke the law (or not)?"
A: "I think he did the right thing."
Even if the broke the law?
"I think he did the right thing."
Now, I'm not saying anyone broke the law. No one has been charged with anything. But I am saying Bill Owens put the CBI on the case, and the CBI brought in the FBI. And I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere the NSA is listening in.
And I'm saying there are heroes and there are heroes. And this guy got to be Beauprez's hero having a belly-full about a case that's three years old - which is a long time to nurse an upset stomach - and got that belly feeling better only by helping with a last-minute attack ad.
There are those who will accuse me of hypocrisy for hammering Beauprez. It's the press after all that loves to print leaked material and then insist on the right to protect sources.
I would protect a source. And like reporters I know, I might even go to jail to protect a source, although it's not, I admit, my first choice. I prefer accommodations with 24-hour room service.
I had to laugh, though, to hear Beauprez actually comparing himself to Judy Miller, who spent nearly three months in jail. Beauprez, by the way, has never mentioned the possibility of him actually doing any time.
Beauprez did, however, say the source might have to face the music. He also heroically put responsibility for meeting with the source onto his 28-year-old campaign manager, John Marshall, who may not see the humor two to five years from now.
I'm not sure how exactly you get to be heroic for disingenuously attacking plea bargains. Or for charging a 12-year DA with being soft on crime when everyone knows you become a prosecutor to put bad guys away. It's like accusing a firefighter of not wanting to put out fires.
It's a feeble attack, but it's the best Beauprez has. And, at the news conference, he says this controversy is really about revealing Ritter's "dirty little secret."
Here's the real dirty little secret: It's almost impossible for any Republican to be running 15 points behind against a Democrat with no legislative experience, who is himself running an unexciting, take-no-risks campaign that basically comes to this: I'm not Bob Beauprez and he is.
And, in case you had any doubts, here's the latest boffo ad from the Beauprez campaign: Beauprez is wearing, stunningly, a black hat. Wearing the black hat, he is standing on the wrong end of a horse, saying - and, remember, the ad appears just as this scandal has broken - "There's that smell again."
Hold your noses. Because there's something, finally, we can all agree on.
And now you know just what xenophobia smells like.
September 18, 2006
white, republican, suburban male with no college degree
So this morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and the laptop to check the daily headlines.
Top on the list was an article in the Rocky Mountain News reporting on a poll it had conducted with CBS 4 Denver on the immigration issue. The poll really didn't shed any new light on anything for me... It found that "Nearly two of every three Colorado voters think illegal immigrants should be allowed to become U.S. citizens if they pay taxes, learn English and meet other requirements" and that "Only 15 percent of those polled favor mass deportations."
That "there's a silent majority that is supportive of a more middle-ground approach."
That "illegal immigration remains a top concern among the state's voters and will be a key issue in the governor's race." (one reason Bill Ritter is getting my vote).
That Bob Beauprez will need to "take advantage of the issue", yet as he raises the issue will "have to defend his record in Congress on this issue." (one reason he is not getting my vote)
That "Voters clearly see that there's more to do on this issue."
And that "61 percent said they support an earned citizenship approach, allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country and eventually become citizens if they meet certain requirements."
Yada yada yada. We already know this.
But then buried deep into the otherwise unenlightening article, they threw in this statistic: "The typical voter who listed illegal immigration as the top issue this election is a suburban, white, Republican man without a college degree."
September 15, 2006
clergy denounce good ol' boy tancredo
Tom Tancredo (AP Wide World Photos)
Today's Rocky Mountain News reports that Denver Clergy have denounced Tancredo's appearance at a neo-confederate hate group event. (Full Article)
The Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance and the Latino clergy group Confianza said they were outraged that Tancredo spoke at an event Saturday at the South Carolina State Museum where the Confederate flag reportedly was on the podium and Tancredo joined the crowd in singing the Southern anthem Dixie.
The controversy began when an anti-racism group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, posted an online article calling the gathering a "hate-group event."
Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa has accused the law center of intentionally fabricating facts to discredit the congressman. He acknowledged that there were Confederate flags in the room and said Tancredo joined in singing Dixie.
But, Espinosa said earlier this week, "These aren't racist people who spew out hate. These are just people remembering and cherishing their past."
That comment angered the Rev. Steven Dewberry of New Horizon Christian Community Ministries in Denver.
"To join in singing Dixie, (and) to walk into a room that has a huge Confederate flag in it, that should have been his notice to walk out," Dewberry said Thursday.
"Their past is our anguish, our slavery, our lynchings. It breaks our heart to think we still have some white brothers and sisters in (Tancredo's) district that agree with this wild behavior of his."
I found the Confederate Flags, singing of Dixie and Espinosa's comment that "These are just people remembering and cherishing their past" a little ironic and puzzling.
I could swear that NOTHING so gracious was stated when Tancredo was all worked up about the Mexican flags and Spanish language chants at the April and May immigration rallies.
September 8, 2006
migrant and minutemen photos
The following caught my eye today... If you live in Denver, go check it out.
Regis University is pleased to announce a unique and rare display of photographs showing both sides of the immigration conflict. The Border Film Project features a collection of photos taken by undocumented migrants trying to cross the Mexican border into the United States, and by the American minutemen trying to stop them.
The exhibit was put together by the Border Film Project, three college friends with a passion for the immigration dilemma in common. More than 600 disposable cameras were sent to undocumented migrants crossing the desert and the American minutemen protecting our borders. The hope was to find a way of reaching a more personal, human understanding of the illegal immigration issue.
If you are not local to Denver or cannot get to the gallery, go check out the photos on the Border Film Project web site. There are 45 photos from migrant cameras and 40 from minutemen cameras.
August 26, 2006
protest anti-immigration congressional "hearing"
The US Senate Budget Committee, hosted by Senator Wayne Allard, will hold a hearing on Immigration in Aurora, Colorado on Aug. 30. On that day the voices of immigrants will not be heard.
*Protest the Anti-Immigrant Sham Hearing
Wed. August 30, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Aurora City Council Chambers
15151 E. Alameda Pkwy, Aurora
Bring Signs with messages in support of Immigrant Rights!
For more information call 303.623.3464
Sponsors: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), El Centro Humanitario, Colorado Jobs with Justice, Derechos Para Todos/Rights for All People, Front Range Economic Strategy Center, Padres Unidos, People for the American Way, Service Employees International Union Local 105, and others.
El Comité del Tesoro del Senado Federal con el Senador Wayne Allard convocará una Audiencia sobre la Inmigración en Aurora, Colorado el 30 de Agosto. El día 30 de agosto no se escucharán las voces de los inmigrantes.
*Protesta en contra de la Exhibición Anti-Inmigrante
El Miercoles 30 de Agosto, 2:30 a 4:30
Camara del Concejal de la ciudad de Aurora
15151 E. Alameda Pkwy, Aurora
Traiga Letreros con mensajes a favor de los Derechos de los inmigrantes
Para informes, llame al 303.893.3500
Patrocinado por: El Centro Humanitario, El Comité de Servicio de los Amigos Americanos (AFSC), Colorado Jobs with Justice, Derechos Para Todos, Front Range Economic Strategy Center, Padres Unidos, People for the American Way y Service Employees International Union Local 105 y otros.
Jordan T. Garcia
Immigrants Rights Organizer
American Friends Service Committee
901 W. 14th Ave. #7
Denver, Colorado 80204
August 4, 2006
Gov. Owens defends Lamm's racist remarks...
...and publicly humiliates his children in the process.
This in today's Denver Post:
Republican Gov. Bill Owens today defended former Democratic Gov. Dick Lamm's remarks that Asians and Jews have more ambition than Hispanics and blacks, saying that the outcry over Lamm's remarks has been "knee jerk."
Owens went on to say that he wishes his three children had more of a Jewish and Asian work ethic.
"There are many days ... when I wish they'd have more aspects of Jewish and Asian culture. I wish they'd get up earlier in the morning, I wish they would work harder and in many respects that's what we do see out of many of the Asian and the Jewish culture. My kids are all Anglo, they're Irish, English and they're wonderful kids and I wish they'd work a little harder sometimes. Sometimes, I wish that I had some more of those traits.
To give you a little sample of what is provoking the "knee-jerk" reactions, here is an excerpt from a Rocky Mountain News article about Lamm's book:
"Let me offer you, metaphorically, two magic wands that have sweeping powers to change society. With one wand you could wipe out all racism and discrimination from the hearts and minds of white America. The other wand you could wave across the ghettos and barrios of America and infuse the inhabitants with Japanese or Jewish values, respect for learning and ambition," Lamm wrote.
"I suggest that the best wand for society and for those who live in the ghettos and barrios would be the second wand."
I am horrified.
August 3, 2006
thoughts on a paralyzed community
For the past month, we've noticed depression, anxiety and fear among our local immigrant friends. We've been asking other friends living in Denver's metro area if they've noticed similar attitudes. To some extent they have, but it seemed to us that the fears were more pronounced here in Northern Colorado.
We're not the only ones noticing.
"Immigrants here are living in constant fear - fear to go grocery shopping, fear of driving their children to school, or even to go to church," An article in today's Rocky Mountain News states that advocates in Northern Colorado claim law enforcement is singling out Hispanics.
From January to May (5 months), Larimer County turned 3 people over to ICE for deportation. From May to the beginning of August (3 months), they've turned over 41. Larimer County Sherriff Jim Alderden denies any racial profiling, but I too question it.
How have the families in our circle been affected? Two weeks ago, one family disappeared. Phone numbers have been disconnected. The apartment is empty. We're trying to contact them through friends in New Mexico. Another couple is moving to the East Coast in one week. A husband and father was detained by ICE for one and a half weeks. His paperwork had been in process but he had allowed it to lapse. He should be able to reinstate his status, but at great expense to himself and his family. Employers are afraid. Workers are afraid and in some cases jobless. A food bank ministry in Broomfield has gone from serving 70 families per week on average to serving 150 families per week. The sharp increase happened 5 weeks ago. It was the same time when we noticed the fear grip our community.
The changes that Governor Owens signed into law are not as horrendous as he and the Colorado GOP had hoped, but they are pushing our immigrants into other states. Good for political posturing, a shame for Colorado.
Rather than end this post on a depressing note, here are some ways to take action. The National Immigration Law Center's series, Know Your Rights, is a tremendous resource.
Some of the titles you'll find are: "Know your rights at home and at work"; "What to do if you are arrested or detained by immigration"; "Know your rights when taking action"; and "Immigrant Protests: What every worker should know"
Most of their articles are available in English and Spanish. Some are also in Chinese and Korean. Use these resources proactively to educate yourself, your friends and your neighbors.
Go to www.matt.org and participate in the polls and dialogue there.
You can grab your elected official's attention by sending a work glove as a pro-immigrant statement.
Above all, pray for and be a friend to the immigrant.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Matthew 25:35-36
July 30, 2006
colorado immigration event coming soon
Coloradans For Immigrant Rights Garden Party and Fundraiser—August 14
Come out and support the wonderful work of Coloradans For Immigrant Rights for an evening of great food and great company! VOLLEYBALL, PIZZA AND DRINKS, GIVEAWAYS, T-SHIRTS AND MORE!
For Immigrant Rights to gain support the general public needs to have a better understanding of immigrants’ struggles and contributions. CFIR is a group of volunteers Organizing Citizens to Support Immigrant Rights! Our members have been working tirelessly to change the hearts and minds of Coloradans to see Immigrant Rights as Human Rights for the past two years. They have published dozens of immigrant-positive letters to the editor, organized counter-protests, spoken to community groups about immigrant rights, contacted their legislators, turned out hundreds of allies for immigrant rights actions…the list goes on and on! CFIR always works closely with immigrant led organizations so that we are always in step with our common goals.
Please come and support this exciting project and its important contributions to the Colorado Immigrant Rights Movement! Together, immigrants and their allies will bring about justice for all and create strong, inclusive communities!
901 W. 14th Ave. Ste. #7, Denver, CO
Monday, August 14, 4:00pm to 8:00pm
Jordan Garcia 303 623-3464
Suggested donation $10-$20
July 10, 2006
hatred toward immigrants swells kkk ranks
This in the Rocky Mountain News today:
The International Imperial Wizard of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said Monday that the immigration debate has boosted membership, including a chapter in Olathe, a town of 1,500 on Colorado's western slope.
Railton Loy, the self-identified International Imperial Wizard, said the Klan chapter in Olathe was formed about four years ago and invited him to speak at an anti-immigration rally on the Montrose County Courthouse steps about a year and a half ago. He said the chapter was small and couldn't raise enough money to pay his expenses, so he put off the trip.
"It's just a little klavern," he said.
To form a klavern, or KKK chapter, at least 15 members are required, he said.
Olathe Mayor Wayne Blair said the town heard about the klan chapter last month, but hasn't been able to identify a single member although the group does have a post office box in town.
The KKK website has a map with chapters around the country, including one in Olathe. source
July 9, 2006
political tantrums: the advanced course
I've been holding my breath ever since Colorado's special legislative session began this past Thursday. Thankfully most of the awful measures have been killed by this point. News which is less than pleasing to the Colorado GOP and Governor Owens in particular.
Seems to me that somewhere in my fuzzy educational past I recall a concept called the balance of powers. legislative, executive and judicial (proud mom?). Well, Governor Owens seems to think this concept shouldn't affect him, which is why he called the special session to begin with... he (executive) didn't like the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court (judicial) on a flawed ballot measure that was likely unconstitutional and would certainly have been in the courts for years to come. Now, the Colorado House and Senate (legislative) have decided not to send the measure to the ballot, so Owens is throwing his weight around. Again. Thankfully, most of the Democrats are having none of it. (Although they are playing dirty too).
I like how House Speaker Andrew Romanoff described the original ballot measure, "... this is designed to fix a problem you can't explain by subjecting services you can't define to a ban you can't enforce," Romanoff said, "and then putting that unworkable formula into the constitution and inviting everyone in state to sue us when it doesn't work."
Exactly why I and all thinking people opposed it.
More for amusement than anything, read an article from today's Denver Post describing the tantruming in greater detail:
Republican Gov. Bill Owens launched a surprise attack Saturday on a Democratic plan to curtail spending on illegal immigrants, capping a tense day of stalled negotiations and bitter debate at the Capitol.
The governor blasted the proposal as an "ineffectual" alternative to the citizen-sponsored initiative that was knocked off the November ballot last month by the Colorado Supreme Court.
Owens made his comments to a Senate committee just hours after the Democratic-controlled House passed the bill on straight party lines after occasionally raucous debate.
Owens, who rarely testifies at committee hearings, used his bully pulpit to remind lawmakers he will only sign substantive, not symbolic, legislation that comes out of the special session he called on immigration reform.
House Bill 1023 fails to meet that test, he said, because it does not include a list of banned services, nor does it have a strong way to enforce the ban.
Senate President Joan Fitz- Gerald, D-Jefferson County, who was presenting the bill to the Senate Business Affairs Committee, said she was frustrated by the governor's tactics.
"I thought I had your support on this," Fitz-Gerald said. "It's surprising to me I do not."
Her staff, along with House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, had been negotiating Friday night and Saturday with the governor's office on the bill.
The committee, which had delayed its starting time by an hour so the parties could continue negotiating, approved the bill Saturday on a 4-3 party-line vote. The full Senate, which had expected to debate the bill Saturday, postponed discussion until today.
Saturday's cantankerous exchange hit a sore spot for Grossman and many other lawmakers.
"It's so emblematic of this whole special session," Grossman said, "inserting ourselves into areas where we have no constitutional authority, absolutely no experience and no data."
Owens' attack came several hours after a bitter debate in the House, which voted 35-28 to send the bill to the Senate.
Rep. Ted Harvey, R- Highlands Ranch, was jeered by Democrats during his speech.
"Now are we going to be a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants under the age of 18?" Harvey said. "We have a huge gang problem in the state of Colorado with people from Mexico coming up here and influencing our cities."
Rep. Mike Merrifield, D- Manitou Springs, roared: "Racist! Bigot!" While Rep. Dorothy Butcher, D-Pueblo, jumped to her feet and said: "Take him out!"
June 29, 2006
colorado gop makes a telenovela (soap opera)
Had the Colorado Supreme Court allowed the anti-immigrant ballot initiative to go forward, I'm sure the GOP would have been gushing about the just decision. But since the ruling went the other way, they quickly lashed out condemning the "activist judges".
It makes me sick.
Now, Governor Owens has set out his agenda for the all-so-important special session. As I review the agenda, I'm struck by the tremendous waste this will be -- especially considering that most of the points are already part of existing law. For instance, undocumented immigrants are already barred from receiving state funds (except in emergencies like prenatal care and public education)... that is unless we are going to start checking green cards at our public parks and city functions. You don't have to be documented to get a valid taxpayer identification number why would that be helpful? Federal law already exists to protect those forced into involuntary servitude... in fact, they can apply for a specific visa which will allow them to work here legally!!! How does putting a law on the Colorado books help this?
Oh, and the most sickening part of all... if the legislature doesn't pass what Owens wants them to pass (and was already denied by the Colorado SUPREME COURT), then he wants the legislature to send the issue along to the voters anyway.
Today I'm annoyed. Tomorrow I will start thinking of more productive ways to make my voice heard.
Read on for the Governor's agenda.
Gov. Bill Owens has called lawmakers back to Denver July 6 for what he said he expects will be a three- to five-day special session.
Highlights from his agenda:
Prohibit state funds for illegal immigrants, except for emergency services that include prenatal care and public education.
Impose heavy fines on employers who submit false documentation about employees without taking reasonable measures to verify the information.
Bar tax benefits for employers who hire illegal immigrants.
Impose a 6 percent withholding tax on compensation to workers who fail to provide a valid taxpayer identification number.
Require proof of citizenship to register and vote.
Strengthen human trafficking laws by criminalizing involuntary servitude, forbidding forced labor and making it a felony to threaten to report an illegal immigrant to extort money.
If the legislature fails to pass substantive immigration reform, send a ballot issue to voters that would prohibit state and local governments from providing nonemergency services to illegal immigrants.
Set a deadline for the Colorado Supreme Court to certify measures for the ballot. He accused the justices of denying the public a chance to vote on an illegal-immigration question this fall by deliberately putting off a decision on a legal challenge.
Come up with a plan to bar young girls from common-law marriages after the state Court of Appeals ruled such arrangements could be legal in Colorado. full article
June 13, 2006
as if the colorado gop couldn't tick me off any more
This week the Colorado Supreme Court decided a ballot measure proposal which would cut off non-emergency services to undocumented immigrants is indeed illegal itself. Well, now the Colorado GOP is throwing a collective temper-tantrum -- the Governor included, who is threatening to call a special session if the court does not reverse its decision.
Hmmmm, activist judges or separation of powers...
The thing is the small government conservatives who pride themselves on saving taxpayer dollars are going to spend a ton of money on a special session which will almost certainly fail. Immigration was deeply debated in the legislature this year and thankfully, most of the proposed laws did not make it through. The likelihood of this passing is so slim, yet they seem intent on spending the money anyway just because they can. Ridiculous.
Part of the proposed constitutional ammendment also allows any citizen of Colorado to sue any government agency that provides non-emergency services to an undocumented person. Talk about out-of-control litigation.
I'm tired. I'm frustrated.
I wish these tantruming lawmakers would just pick up their toys, go home and let the adults handle the legislative process.
May 12, 2006
sign scrubbing with rep. schultheis
In celebration of Colorado's legislative session closing without a bunch of bad immigration laws passing, I write a tribute to one of the many lunacy-based proposals we witnessed this year:
Colorado isn’t doing its residents a favor by conducting business in Spanish, says one Colorado Springs lawmaker.
Rep. Dave Schultheis wants schools, libraries and state agencies to forgo bilingual instruction, reading materials and signage and stick to English.
Schultheis, a Republican, maintains the state discourages people from learning English by providing information in Spanish.
“We tend to be shifting our focus away from English,” he said.
Part of the bill Rep. Schultheis (aka Minuteman Schultheis) had delusions of passing included this:
State agencies would be required to print materials and post signs solely in English. Exception would be made for when federal law requires dual language signs and leaflets and in cases where health and safety demand it. source
Well, this just leads to all sorts of irony. Like getting that pesky Spanish word "Colorado" off all signage like say, oh I dunno, the "Colorado State House of Representatives". It translates to: "Red State House of Representatives" -- wouldn't the GOP love that?!
Or how about 18 of Colorado's 64 counties (all 18 formed over 100 years ago) needing to change their names?
Let's see, Conejos County (one of the original 17) would become "Rabbits County";
Costilla County (also one of the original 17) would become "Rib County";
Dolores County (formed in 1881) would become "Pains County";
Huerfano County (of the original 17) would become "Orphan County";
Mesa County (formed in 1883) would become "Table County";
and Montezuma County (formed in 1889) would become... hmmm, looky there Mr. Schultheis, ain't no English word for Montezuma!
Sure does look like all this focus shifting started a lot farther back than we think... from Spanish to English.
Got one more Spanish word for ya... xenofobia and I'll bet we can all figure out how to translate that one.
May 1, 2006
My heart was there (as was my spouse and many friends), but I had to stay behind. I was sad, but enjoyed watching the live streaming video from 9 News. I may be able to go to a prayer vigil later tonight.
9News of Denver -- report, slideshow and videos of the Denver march.
An estimated 75,000 were there!
Update: We had thought perhaps the Socialist Party would try to make the march today "their event". Unfortunately, their presence was too obvious and they did indeed try to hijack it. This is not something I support in any way and it is too bad. So far I have not seen anything in the media to this effect, but this is what I'm hearing from those who attended. Beyond having a smattering of people wearing red instead of white, some of the speakers had a socialist bent. I hope the true message at the core of this doesn't get diluted by this fringe group.
April 15, 2006
Welker one of the best????
Last week when Rep. Jim Welker announced he would not seek re-election to Colorado's District 51 House seat, he tried to "railroad" in a candidate he had handpicked.
He didn't succeed.
Now new candidates are emerging. My favorite excerpt from an article in yesterday's paper:
Welker said he nominated McNaught because he thinks he will be a good candidate. Welker said he believes McNaught’s lack of political experience is a plus. “What experience did I have before I got into office?” Welker said. “Sometimes the best people you have at the Capitol are the people without experience.” (emphasis mine)Um, I infer from this quote that Mr. Welker thinks he was one of the best. Hmmm. So apparently none of the many who asked him to step down (Gov. Owens included) got through to him that the practice of forwarding controversial, racist and hateful emails does not lend itself to being among the best.
I don't know a thing about this McNaught guy he nominated, but just the fact that Welker thinks so highly of him puts me on high alert.
April 11, 2006
did you enjoy your chicken salad, mr. tancredo?
It was at the Denver Athletic Club in Cherry Creek where Mr. Tancredo made a lunchtime speech expressing his pleasure that he is no longer the "prime mover" on the immigration issue.
Now, I'm sure that NO business in the exclusive Cherry Creek area would even THINK of hiring an undocumented worker, but considering the Denver Athletic Club's sous-chef is a personal friend (and *gasp* an immigrant herself), it sure would be interesting to know if any "criminals" helped prepare Mr. Tancredo's lovely luncheon.
Not that we would say a peep...
April 8, 2006
“What is wrong about thinking about justice for the guy whose wages are being depressed because of the millions of people who are coming in here and willing to take the job for even a lower price?” Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., asked in a Fox News interview recently.
You know those "Made in the USA" or "Certified Organic" product labels? Well, I think Rep. Tancredo should create a new "Certified Legal Labor" label.
Hey, maybe he could even open an entire store... Super Tom-Mart. His slogan could be "Everyday high prices" ...iceberg lettuce $5, pork $10 per pound, 24 crayons $7... You get the idea.
Cheap goods and labor are more addictive than meth.
April 3, 2006
"Call forth the Militia"
Excerpt from an email received today from Colorado State Representative Jim Welker:
Illegal immigration continues to be a very big thing for the citizens of our state and nation. The work in Washington D.C ., by Congress to actually do something about this very serious problem is causing tens of thousands of people to protest in cities all over the nation that they do not want to see any changes.
"Section 8 or our U.S . Constitution says "Congress is to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions ." I say that 10,000 people coming across our southern border every night, 42% being from countries other than Mexico, to be an invasion.
All elected officials, the executive branch and judges swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution. I recommend that all of these officials to get their U.S.Constitution out, read it, and then apply it to their public actions. We need to"do whatever it takes" to protect our southern border immediately!!!"
Before we all go running for our nearest copy of the U.S. Constitution, let us first reach for Webster's:
Main Entry: in·va·sionNow, I assume that Mr. Welker would apply the second option "the incoming or spread of something usually hurtful" to the current immigration situation and that is precisely where I differ with him. I don't think immigration is "usually hurtful", but he certainly does and wants to send a militia (would that be the Minute Men, Mr. Welker?) after hardworking men and women which would have the end result of dividing families and terrifying children.
Etymology: Middle English invasioune, from Middle French invasion, from Late Latin invasion-, invasio, from Latin invadere to invade
1 : an act of invading; especially : incursion of an army for conquest or plunder
2 : the incoming or spread of something usually hurtful
As for Welker's assertion that the tens of thousands of people are protesting in cities all over the nation because "they do not want to see any changes." He is wrong again. Mr. Welker, I protested in Denver for two reasons: 1) Pastors, priests, teachers and humanitarian workers should not be classified as felons along with human smugglers, murderers, drug dealers and the like and 2) Surprise, surprise I want to see immigration laws change! But whatever change occurs must be moral and just!
So enough with the sweeping generalizations. If we are to truly have a voice in the immigration debate, we must strive to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved.
Update: On April 8th, Rep. Welker announced that he will not seek re-election in the fall. His business has also come under federal investigation for invasion of privacy.