Posts tagged ‘Arizona’

June 1, 2011

The Magical Mystery Tour of Sarah Palin

by Vince

As I noted earlier today, Palin is making her cross-country trip, effectively rousing the people for a possible 2012 GOP bid. Palin is taking an unconventional route (no pun intended) in that she is purposefully eluding the press (and even her fans) and making them find her. In a sense, this tour will either give Palin the green or red light in terms of running in 2012:

According to a source with knowledge of Palin’s thinking, the tour is a test of whether she can do it “her way,” which the source described as “nontraditional, low-cost, high-tech…. The key is to be totally unpredictable and always keep her rivals off-balance.”

With that under-the-radar approach, Palin may have some gold up her sleeve:

Unscripted moments that go badly can haunt a politician on YouTube during a campaign and into the future, but Palin’s ease with a rope line and her politicking skills are one of her best assets. A Palin campaign may not have a press bus or the more formal interviews that reporters crave, but her team will undoubtedly factor in added time for her to greet supporters and campaign not just in large rallies but one on one as well.

The one major trait of Palin that could doom her chances is her divisiveness. Everything from her comments post-Tuscon to her Tweets, she polarizes the political debate to awful extremes (sometimes even cultural ones). Andrew Sullivan made this ironic point when she moved to Arizona, a state bitterly divided between the white, conservative north and the Hispanic south.

One other irony: Palin made the comment that she loves the smell of emissions. This comment could have many meanings behind it. It coincidentally was said by her the same day this report (eyes widen) was released:

According to the IEA, a record 30.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere last year, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels. In light of these shocking numbers, experts now fear that it will be impossible to prevent a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius — which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change.”

Picture by Flickr user Dave77459

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June 1, 2011

Divided They Stand

by Vince

TIME magazine ran a good piece on the politics of Arizona. It’s worth reading in full. Here are some money quotes and comments.

Arizona is, after all, the Grand Canyon State. Its defining topographical feature is literally a divide. The politics of the state, not just in these past few weeks but in the past few years, has been all about division, as though every argument we are having as a nation plays out there on a breathtaking scale. The budget is a shambles, the schools are among the worst in the country, the governor is accused of running “death panels” for cutting off funding for organ transplants for some Medicaid patients. Representative Giffords’ Tea Party — backed opponent held a “Get on target for victory” shoot-out at a gun range as a campaign event. Rallies against a controversial immigration bill last year featured so many tearful calls to prayer and accusations of Nazism that it seemed like an all-Hispanic version of the Glenn Beck show. “It’s as bad as I’ve seen in 40 years of observing Arizona politics,” says Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University. “We have so many real problems, and all our leadership has done is [pursue] polarizing issues using very strident language.”

Hence the picture. Here is a very brief history of the rather young state (less than 100 years old and less than a dozen senators in it’s history):

A certain level of discord was sewed into the fabric of Arizona from the outset. The center of the state was settled largely by “washed-up 49ers,” as Tucson lawyer and history buff David Hardy puts it, who were returning empty-handed and somewhat wild-eyed from California. Among them was a morphine-addicted prospector named Jack Swilling, who founded Phoenix. The libertarian DNA — the same strain that made Giffords a fan of concealed weapons and caused state senator Lori Klein to carry a handgun to Governor Jan Brewer’s state of the state address at the capitol two days after the Tucson shootings — remains from those early days. Distant from Washington and hardened by the Apache wars, settlers acted first and asked permission from the federal government later. “The pioneer,” wrote Orick Jackson in his 1908 history, “took the matter in hand without any authority, and without a dollar in pay.” That group had little in common with the Mormons who settled the north and not much regard for the Hispanic population that was dominant in the south. It was, says Manuel Hernandez, professor of Mexican-American literature at Arizona State University, an “apartheid state” for Hispanics until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

With all its baggage, Arizona has boomed over the past half century:

Fair weather and cheap housing made the desert boom: a population that was just 700,000 after World War II stands at more than 6.5 million today. The growth in the past 20 years has been nothing short of steroidal: the population mushroomed by 40% in the 1990s and then rose an additional 25% in the first decade of this century. It is now the 16th largest state in the U.S. And that’s just the official population.

However, the state’s current affairs are hard to overlook:

The state of Arizona’s budget is even worse than it looks: a new study estimates that the true deficit is $2.1 billion (more than twice what the legislature says it is). The unemployment rate is exactly that of the U.S. as a whole — 9.4% — but more than half of the homes in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is, are underwater. Most state parks are being shuttered. The public schools are in the bottom 10% of the nation by many metrics.

The current leadership appears singularly unfit to tackle these challenges. Half the legislature seems to treat legislating like an indoor version of the Tombstone 2 p.m. Gunfight Show, giving speeches about pioneer values and then firing a round of blanks. Arizona’s legislature has long been warped by low voter turnout and uncontested districts. “Only ideologues go to the polls,” says Merrill. “In Arizona, that happens to be the right-wingers.” Public financing for campaigns removed most kinds of fundraising and, with them, the moderation that can come with accountability to the business community, so the primaries function as a race to the fringe of acceptable politics.

One Arizonan statesman worth mentioning is Russell Pearce:

Russell Pearce, the Mesa Republican who is now the president of the senate and perhaps the most powerful politician in the state. In 2009 the budgetary meltdown was already in its second year, but Pearce doggedly championed legislation that would force Obama, whom he describes as waging “jihad” against Arizona, to provide proof of his citizenship (it was tabled after being ridiculed around the country). In 2010, Pearce turned to immigration with SB 1070, a bill seemingly purpose-built to provoke not only controversy but also a lengthy court battle, thereby sapping both prestige and resources from a state that needs more of both. This year, the No. 2 priority after the budget, says Pearce, will be legislation calling for the repeal of the 14th Amendment, the one that grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil. This, of course, is not anywhere near the jurisdiction of the Arizona legislature.

To wrap up, much of the national and state-level approach to immigration issues most likely will come back to haunt America. The strident bumper-sticker public policy approach in Arizona and elsewhere in America is attacking the very base that will have a majority in Arizona in a few decades and most likely will continue to grow in presence and stature in America in the years to come:

So when the lawmakers decided to cut dropout-prevention programs — the Hispanic dropout rate is particularly abysmal — they may have fulfilled a campaign promise, but they also dented Arizona’s prospects.

(Pictured: The Grand Canyon in Arizona).

April 28, 2011

For Your Birther Reading Pleasure

by Vince


I give you a slew of reads to satisfy (or challenge) your birther tastes.

Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, says enough is enough:

In an interview with CNN’s John King, Brewer called the issue a “huge distraction” and said that doubters have failed to offer any proof that President Obama was born outside the country.

“It’s just something I believe is leading our country down a path of destruction, and it just is not serving any good purpose,” Brewer said, calling it a distraction from the much more pressing issue of the economy.

“I think we really just need to move on,” Brewer continued. “Everybody’s had two years to prove, if they wanted to, that he was not born in Hawaii. They haven’t come up with any of that kind of proof.”

Kevin Drum sees the power in xenophobic talking points:

This is why last summer’s Fox-fest of xenophobia — Shirley Sherrod, the Ground Zero mosque, the New Black Panthers, anchor babies, liberation theology, etc. etc. — was so effective. It’s also why all the birther nonsense is so powerful. Without the constant drumbeat of racially charged crap from the likes of Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Dinesh D’Souza, it might just be a fringe curiosity. But with it, it gets a patina of intellectual support that turns it into a dangerous and mainstream belief.

Everybody involved in this pretends to be outraged if you point out what they’re doing. But anyone with a pulse can see what’s going on. And guess what? Summer is coming! There’s no midterm election in the offing, so maybe Fox News will decide to cool it on the xenophobia front this year. But then again, maybe not. Nobody on the right really called them out on this last year, and there doesn’t seem to be any real limit to their shamelessness. So maybe they’ll try it again. It seems to be pretty good for ratings, after all.

David Frum goes in for the kill on birtherism and laments the current state of the GOP:

Any last lingering doubts that maybe, perhaps, a pregnant Stanley Ann Dunham in the summer of 1961 boarded a propeller plane from Honolulu to Los Angeles, then from Los Angeles to New York City, then from New York City to Gander, then from Gander to London, then from London to Nairobi – and then repeated the trip backward a few weeks later – all so that her baby could acquire Kenyan nationality – those doubts are definitively squelched, as they should have been three years ago.

Now the more haunting question: How did this poisonous and not very subtly racist allegation get such a grip on our conservative movement and our Republican party?

I know there will be Republican writers and conservative publicists who will now deny that birtherism ever did get a grip. Sorry, that’s just wrong. Not only did Trump surge ahead in Republican polls by flaming racial fires – not only did conservative media outlets from Fox to Drudge to the Breitbart sites indulge the birthers – but so also did every Republican candidate who said, “I take the president at his word.” Birthers did not doubt the president’s “word.” They were doubting the official records of the state of Hawaii. It’s like answering a 9/11 conspiracist by saying, “I take the 9/11 families at their word that they lost their loved ones.”

Finally, on a slightly different note, DiA proposes removing the “born in United States” clause from the Constitution:

My 69-year-old father was born and raised in Saskatchewan. In his twenties, he became an American citizen by serving in the U.S. Army. He became a policeman in Missouri, and subsequently served the public as the chief of police in two Iowa towns for upwards of 30 years. What’s the point of keeping Americans like this out of the Oval Office? When the rubber hits the road, they might sell us all out to Ottawa? To the Indonesians? What? It seems to me that any worry about divided loyalties can be more than adequately debated and decided within the electoral process. I don’t think Arnold Schwarzenegger or Arriana Huffington would make a very good president, but the idea that they’re ineligible simply because they first saw light in foreign lands strikes me as, yes, un-American.

January 12, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

More on Jared Lee Loughner’s choice of weapon (Glock) and the state that has the lowest levels of gun control here.

H/T: Tony Auth

January 10, 2011

The Media Swirling Around Tuscan

by Vince

So much has been posted lately on the insane shooting in Tuscan. Much light has been shed on the shooter (mugshot left) as well on the interesting crosshair map made by Sarah Palin.

MJ and I discussed what we knew about the incident yesterday as we walked to get the Sunday paper. Does anyone know if U.S. Congressmen and Women get much security to protect them? Reports have stated that after Jared Lee Loughner ran out of bullets, Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s staff and a few bystanders tackled him. I just wonder how much security can be given to all 460+ serving us in Congress (the last time a Congressman was killed was in 1978).

I pray for all those injured, killed, and for Loughner.

October 1, 2010

Immigration: Part 1 – A System Not Geared For Reality

by Vince

For a while now, I have wanted to dedicate a post (or series) to the arduous process of immigrating to the United States. Tonight, I ignored my Google Reader, watched an hour of The Godfather, and found this harrowing story:

Yudi, 23, went back to her job at a potato-chip factory, but she couldn’t stop thinking about her meager salary and the opportunities in America. Her brother had crossed the border illegally several years before and was working in Colorado.

In March, she struck out alone for the United States.

The trip took her six months. On the Guatemala-Mexico border, she says, she was robbed and gang-raped by four men. Near Mexico City, she saw a freight train slice off the leg of a fellow traveler after he fell onto the tracks. On the Arizona border, she hiked through the desert for three days with no food.

In Phoenix, she was held captive and raped by six smugglers several times a day for two weeks, until escaping on Sept. 18.

An immigrant-aid group, Respect Respeto, is now caring for Yudi. She spoke to The Arizona Republic on the condition that her last name not be published.

Why would she forge on this trek that ultimately put herself in harms way and on the other side of the law?

I want to go to the United States, she told the person at the reception desk.

Then the receptionist began to list the documents needed for a visitor’s visa: A bank statement showing thousands of dollars in savings. Property deeds. Car titles. Five years of pay stubs from a good-paying job.

Yudi’s heart sank.

“I realized it was impossible,” she said. “I would never have those things.”

I didn’t even know that if you are looking to immigrate from say Guatemala, it could take you 20 years to get a visa. With immigration quotas skewed against Latin American countries and in favor of nations such as Nigeria, China, the Philippines, and Mexico, how are those in impoverished nations suppose to wait 20 years while making $31 a week (just enough to feed and clothe one self)? Yudi was able to survive on $31 a week but had dreams of opening a business and buying a home. Why should she be held back from that?

A typical, empty hearted response is that these “illegals” shouldn’t break the law and should do it the right way, the legal way, and become a citizen “just like our ancestors at Ellis Island” did:

Even for those who meet the requirements, getting approval to immigrate to the United States can take 20 years or more, compared with the three to five hours it took immigrants to pass through Ellis Island during the peak of European immigration from 1900 to 1914. Back then, most people who got on a boat could enter as long as they were healthy and had no criminal record.

Coming up, I will look at the testing measures by our country for “becoming legal” as well as delve into our nations history surrounding this process.

September 28, 2010

Marco Rubio on the Tea Party

by Vince

Rubio had me with the Tea Party blaming both parties – which he elaborates on decently – but lost me when he dropped the word exceptional and America in the same sentence. Look for my piece on Sarah Palin and her dominion theology for more elaboration on this topic. But Rubio’s views on Social Security and Post-Arizona Immigration laws are intriguing to me. I may not totally oppose Rubio as a candidate after all.

September 9, 2010

Debating by Jan Brewer

by Vince

The governor of Arizona made some sweeping statements a while back about various crimes committed in Arizona. These crimes were either directly or indirectly linked to illegal immigration. One of her comments was that illegal immigrants were beheading Arizona citizens and leaving them out for the birds in the desert. As you see in her beheading interview, she doesn’t see illegal immigration as a human issue but as a prejudicial (and straw group) issue. Why then does she see her opening debate mess up as only “human“?

When you are on such a stage as governor of Arizona, it could be difficult to admit on national TV that you are wrong. I can see that her continuing to refuse elaboration on her beheading comment doing her more harm than good.

You may think: why does Jan Brewer mean anything to me if I don’t live in Arizona? I see her now as part of the female triangle with Sarah Palin and Sharon Angle. Partly it is the medias nosiness that has made Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, and now Jan Brewer look like buffoons. Another large part can be contributed to hypocritical statements towards Barack Obama and the Democratic platform, vitriolic comments and unloving attitudes, Christianist viewpoints that are offensive, and now immature and emotionally unhealthy antics. They continue to provide fodder for anyone thinking of Sarah Palin in 2012 or considering one of her ilks books at Barnes and Nobles.

August 16, 2010

Tea Party Antics

by Vince

A recent Tea Party group converged in a remote section of Arizona Sunday to yell about immigration reform:

“We are going to force them to do it, because if they don’t, we will not stop screaming,” said former State Sen. Pam Gorman, one of 10 Republicans vying for an open congressional seat in north Phoenix. She carried a handgun in a holster slung over her shoulder.

This isn’t the first time aura’s of violence have been flaunted. $600 million, which will be ridiculed sooner than later as not enough, has been directed towards the US-Mexico border to fund 1,000 Border Agents, communications equipment, and unmanned aerial vehicles. At this moment, I don’t think a bigger or more fortified wall (see John McCain) is the answer: I see reforming the process for citizenship as a worthwhile endeavor. I will have to look up more on citizenship tests and blog about it.

August 11, 2010

Immigration and Crime, Work

by Vince

The Immigration Policy Center has some useful articles that are heavily cited. Here are two articles related to controversial issues surrounding illegal immigration: what work American immigrants do and their crime rate as a group.

More on the stats compared to native born Americans and other American immigrant groups here.

Immigrants are Five Times Less Likely than the Native-Born to be in Prison

  • In 2000, among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the U.S. prison population), the incarceration rate for the native-born (3.5%) was five times higher than the rate for immigrants (0.7%).
  • In California, the state with the greatest number of both undocumented and legal immigrants, the incarceration rate for native-born men age 18-39 (4.5%) was more than 11 times the rate for immigrants (0.4%).
  • Although the undocumented immigrant population doubled to about 12 million from 1994 to 2005, the violent crime rate in the United States declined by 34.2% and the property crime rate fell by 26.4%. This decline in crime rates was not just national, it also occurred in border cities and other cities with large immigrant populations—such as San Diego, El Paso, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami.

The full story for crime here. Can someone pass these reports on to John McCain, Jan Brewer, Jon Kyl, and the other hard nosed elected officials in Arizona?

July 30, 2010

SB1070 Tweaks

by Vince

Arizona’s controversial SB1070 immigration law has been reviewed by a federal judge and the following changes were made:

Judge Susan Bolton struck down the following provisions of SB 1070:

  • Section 2(B): Required officers to check the immigration status of any person arrested, as well as check the immigration status if there was reasonable suspicion after a lawful stop or detention that the person was undocumented.
  • Section 3: Made it a state misdemeanor for failure to carry an alien registration document, and made it a state crime to be unlawfully present in the United States.
  • Part of Section 5: Made it a state misdemeanor for an unauthorized immigrant to apply for, solicit for, or perform work.
  • Section 6 Amendment: Allowed officers to make warrantless arrests provided the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.

The ruling left SB 1070, which goes into effect today, with the following provisions, among others, still intact:

  • Section 2(G): An Arizona citizen may bring an action against any official or agency of Arizona that does not enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent, and pay a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000 for each day that the policy was in effect.
  • Section 4: Makes it a felony to intentionally smuggle human beings for profit.
  • Section 5: Makes it a misdemeanor to stop on a street and attempt to hire or pick up passengers for work at a different location if the vehicle blocks traffic. Also makes it a misdemeanor to be the person picked up in such a motor vehicle.
  • Section 5: Makes it a misdemeanor for a person already in violation of a criminal offense to transport undocumented immigrants, conceal undocumented immigrants, or encourage undocumented immigrants to reside in the United States.
July 14, 2010

Right Wing Vitriol

by Vince
  • Tom Tancredo sees Barack Obama as the biggest threat to America. Ever. Bigger than even Al Qaeda or the Soviet Union.
  • Right Wing political correctness at a County fair in response to the Arizona immigration law.
July 11, 2010

Arizona v. Fed, Ctd.

by Vince

Gallup has a poll:

As You May Know, the U.S. Federal Government Yesterday Filed a Lawsuit Against the Arizona Immigration Law. Do You Favor or Oppose the Federal Government's Lawsuit to Prevent the Arizona Immigration Law From Taking Effect? Do You Favor/Oppose the Lawsuit Strongly, or Not Strongly?

July 11, 2010

Arizona v. Fed

by Vince

It is thought that the Federal Government will overturn Arizona’s immigration bill, noting that the Federal Government is the one to decide immigration for the nation:

The Constitution authorizes Congress to set a “uniform rule of naturalization” and says the laws of the United States are the “supreme law of the land.” The Justice Department cites this basic provision in arguing why the Arizona law should be declared “invalid, null, and void.”

In one famous case, the Supreme Court in 1941 threw out a Pennsylvania law that required aliens to carry an “alien identification card.” The state has no such authority, the justices said.

In recent years, some states and cities have sought to enforce restrictions on illegal immigrants on the basis that the federal government had failed to enforce the existing laws.

Most of those efforts have failed. A federal judge in Los Angeles blocked California’s Proposition 187 from taking effect in 1994 on the grounds that it regulated immigration. The state dropped its appeal before the case was decided by an appellate court.

Three years ago, a federal judge blocked Hazleton, Pa., from restricting rentals of housing to illegal immigrants.

July 7, 2010

State v. National: Immigration

by Vince

Cohn and Walter Dellinger, the latter whom is on leave from the faculty at Duke Law School and is serving as head of the appellate practice at the firm O’Melveny and Meyers, discuss via email the constitutionality of the federal government (Department of Justice) suing Arizona over its immigration law:

Giving the national government control over immigration into the United States was a major decision made by the framers of the Constitution. That is neither a liberal nor a conservative position.  Allowing states to set their own immigration policy could lead in the future to more rather than less unlawful immigration.  Given the freedom of movement within the United States and the implications of immigration for domestic national issues and foreign policy, it is unthinkable to leave immigration policy to thirteen or fifty different states.  Calibrating the right combination of enforcement tools to utilize is at the core of the  national power over immigration, and state laws are preempted whether they purport to add to or subtract from the system put in place by Congress.  Whether current federal enforcement is adequate or not, whether Arizona’s law is wise or not, whether suing is good politics or not are all beside the point: it is essential that the federal government’s control over immigration into the United States be protected from state interference.   In my view the Justice Department had no choice but to bring this suit.

It is easy to look at this as liberal big government theory, but I want Dillinger to elaborate. Is a sweeping immigration reform package better than solo reforms by some states?

July 2, 2010

Arizona is taking this seriously

by Vince

A warning has been released to Arizona state police as they begin to enforce the state-wide immigration law:

In a new training video released Thursday, the officials said opponents of the law may secretly videotape officers making traffic stops, trying to ensnare them to prove that they are racially profiling Hispanics.

“Without a doubt, we’re going to be accused of racial profiling no matter what we do on this,” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor tells officers on the video from Arizona’s police licensing board.

The video is designed to teach officers how to determine when they can ask a person for proof they are in the country legally.

Officers can consider that someone doesn’t speak English well, is wearing several layers in a hot climate, or is hanging out in an area where illegal immigrants are known to look for work, the video says. But the stakes for making a mistake are high: Officers can be fired if they start asking questions because of a person’s race, then lie about it, the video warns.

June 27, 2010

Sweeping statement of the Day

by Vince

“Most illegal immigrants were not entering the United States for work. Brewer then associated illegal immigrants with drug smuggling, drop houses, extortion, and other criminal activity.” – Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on the current circus in Arizona after the April 23rd, 2010 passing of Americas most sweeping immigration law.