Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fair Trade Coffee

Funny, I feel the same way as this comic strip.

From Betty
by Delainey and Rasmussen
May 17, 2010


Friday, May 07, 2010

Arizona: "Let Me See Your I.D."

On April 16, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer enacted Senate Bill 1070, which aims to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants by making it a state misdemeanour crime (i.e., punishable by doing time) for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying legal documents. Furthermore, this law requires local law enforcement to arrest a person when there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally. The focus of the Bill is on Latinos, who as a group make up the largest (est. 460,000) percentage of aliens living in the state.

Immigration is still a domain of the U.S. federal government. Significant measures were taken by the last Bush Presidency to stem the flow of illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States, including a permanent wall along the border between Mexico and the U.S., and increased patrols and beds in detention centres.

The primary argument made against illegal immigration is that it draws against tax-paid social services and jobs for legal Americans. As the recession made joblessness more prevalent, state legislators began looking for ways to stem the loss in their base constituencies.

According to a Wikipedia article, the "Impetus for SB 1070 came from shifting demographics leading to a larger Hispanic population, increased drugs- and human smuggling-related violence in Mexico and Arizona, and a struggling state economy. State residents were also frustrated by the lack of federal progress on immigration, which they viewed as even
more disappointing given that [former Governor Janet] Napolitano was in the administration."

Critics of the Bill say that it is inevitable that racial profiling will occur. Mary Bauer, Legal Director for the Southern Poverty Law Centrer, writes, "this law is a civil rights disaster and an insult to American values. No one in our country should be required to produce their “papers” on demand to prove their innocence. What kind of country are we becoming?

The idea that Arizona residents, especially Latinos, should have to carry identification showing that they are legal residents, smacks of a shameful period of not too long ago. Between 1948 and 1994 the policy of apartheid was practised in South Africa. It lawfully segregated races and led the majority black population to being stripped of their citizenship, while maintaining the minority white population in power. Many labourers, mainly black, travelled from other countries to work in South Africa to work in its mines and do work many white South Africans would not do.

Apartheid was a massively oppressive system that sought, amongst other things, to control the economic lives of all black people, and their residential location. Anyone without an approved job could be deported out of the urban areas. Most black workers in the urban areas, and all who worked on the mines, were annual migrants. These 'men of two worlds' were forced to reside with their families in distant rural areas, and to relocate themselves for 11 months of the year to work in the cities or on the mines.  (Hirsch, Alan. Season of Hope : Economic Reform under Mandela and Mbeki. Internet. Accessed May 7, 2010).

Most temporary workers had to carry around a black passbook that identified their status. Failure to produce a passbook at the request of police or military was grounds for immediate arrest and detention, and quite possibly leading to deportation. Next to kaffir, which was a pejorative used to demean black South Africans, the most humiliating and frightening words, I imagine, one could have heard were "let me see your I.D." [Note: If you can find it listen to "Let Me See Your I.D." featuring spoken-word performer Gil Scott-Heron on on the Artists United Against Apartheid album Sun City.]

Do you see the similarities?

President Obama criticized the SB1070 saying it threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.” Retired basketball player and Arizona resident, Charles Barkley recently stated that all people need to stand up and make their concerns about SB1070 known. He criticized Republican Sen. John McCain for supporting the law. The lawsuits against the State of Arizona are starting to accumulate including cities of Tucson and Flagstaff. Tucson Mayor Robert Walkup told the Arizona Daily Star he fears economic repercussion against his city by other parts of the country. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) filed suit "because it usurps federal immigration enforcement authority and because of concerns that the law contributes to racial profiling." A stand also taken up by Sociologists without Borders, they have also sued Arizona.

The SPLC believes that the authors of the bill have ties to racist groups because the lawyer who drafted the brief leading to the legislation was employed by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). It is alleged FAIR has received funding from the Pioneer Fund, a group that openly acknowledges advancing research into the Darwinian-Galtonian evolutionary tradition, and the eugenics movement.

Many readers of this column are Canadian, and may take the stance of "So what?" It is your prerogative to feel this doesn't apply to you. However, I think I have made a case that the similarities between apartheid and SB1070 exist. There are as many as ten others states looking to copycat this legislation. At its base the law is in violation of human rights. It demeans people, especially those whose skin is brown. It creates an "Us and Them" mentality that goes back to the ghettos of Warsaw. If you travel to those jurisdictions your dollars are rubber-stamping that this policy is okay. I urge you to boycott Arizona and the states that are looking to adopt similar immigration policy of their own. Turn the tables on yourself. If this was you that was being targeted, rather than Latinos, how would feel when you were stopped and asked, "let me see your I.D."

JAPB

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Date Squares

Did I mention I like date squares? I just had one a moment ago with my coffee.
They are one of those dessert items that come with memories of cold wintrer days, and my Grandma has been baking.
I'd come in from whatever I had been doing, and there would be a treat of a fresh date square.

Of course, there is the recollection of my sister bringing date squares to the Christmas table one year. The kitchen was packed with family. When  it came time for dessert, my sisters squares were served up. You know how date squares can be a bit of a mess when you are eating them. My cousin, Ray, bit into his only to have the topping kind of fall apart. To which he he said, "Boy, these sure are crummy." There was an immediate  pause in the ongoing conversations as everyone looked at him in mid-bite, followed by a roar of laughter. We all knew what he meant. It wasn't that Ray didn't like them, he loved them! But, my sister sure looked a bit chagrined for a moment.

JAPB

Monday, March 29, 2010

Long Live Books!

I am trained in library sciences. So I know that information is not solely contained in books. As you can see I blog, therefore I have connection to the Internet. Sometimes Im too connected for much of my own good. Before any of these facts came together in my life I was a reader of books. I spent many days in the corner of my childhood drugstore reading books and magazines from the newsstand; spent many hours learning in libraries and at home reading favourites like the Hardy Boys, and Run Silent, Run Deep. So I have no difficulty in saying I love books.

The book has been taking a beating lately. There are many people that are much younger than I who think its concept is outdated (for that matter, theyll extend the argument to libraries too).Why everything you need, as it concerns knowledge, can be found on the Internet, is how their position goes. No matter what Amazon tries to do in automating books or Google tries in digitizing all books of our collective past, a book shall remain the first mobile device that dispenses knowledge, passion, and love; will likely remain after all its competitors batteries have died and cannot be replaced.

On this subject I conclude with an excerpt fromLiving with the Kindle by Dr. Ted Bishop:

The greatest thing about the physical book is that its physical a memento, a pelt bagged in the great culture hunt, a coaster for a coffee mugand you can lend it to as many people as you like. Its not a tracking device. The e-book reminds you why people value books in the first place: a book is not just a carton of information, it’s a psychic space. A place of solitude, private, unconnected, free of digital noise.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It Felt Like an Olympic Moment

This mornings walk to work took place with a cold wind on my face, and morning light noticeably getting brighter on the eastern horizon. At 11 Street and 10th Avenue SW, facing a red light, quietness descended on me and a few other pedestrians standing at the corner. No cars were going by.
 
Out of the west, however, was the distinct sound of a lone cyclist making his way to work, tires desperately gripping the snow-covered road; the rider bearing down on the pedals so he can make it through the green light before him. In that instant, as he went by, it felt like an Olympic moment. I sensed I was a spectator to a contestant in a race, a leader or a lone athlete at the back of the pack, who required our encouragement to keep struggling for the goal. I thought what I need now is a cowbell to ring, and a cheer out a shout. However, as I looked at those around me on that cold corner, clearly there was no joined thought, no coupled enthusiasm for the moment. So, I kept my hands in my pockets, and tucked my chin a little deeper into my scarf. When the walk light came on across the street, I proceeded. But not without looking at myOlympic hero making his way eastward from me down the road into the rising sun.


Have a good day.





Monday, January 25, 2010

There's Always Going to be Some Work

Last week I downloaded an app for my cellphone that helps me track my diet. I start out weighing myself in the morning, checking my attitude, and what I had for breakfast, and enter all this data into my phone. The software calculates how many calories I consumed and the nutritional content , blah, blah. I remember telling a colleague about it on Thursday or Friday. I made it sound like it does all the work for me. However, realizing that sounded kind of foolish I added, "but you know I still have to do the heavy lifting (or something like that)." Well, I like the program; it seems to be working as I have lost nearly two pounds in a week. Yet, my remark struck home today with the latest Betty comic strip landing in my mailbox. Here it is.





LOL. No matter what convenience technology provides us there is always going to be some work. Marvin Phillips, motivational speaker, perhaps said it best when he said, “The difference between try and triumph is just a little “umph”.


Have a good day.


You can check out the app I mentioned at http://www.vidaone.com/mpd_palm.htm

JAPB