Mike Kueber's Blog

December 2, 2014

Ferguson and the NFL

Filed under: Culture,Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 12:59 am
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While reading USA Today today, I noticed an article reporting on five St. Louis Ram players doing a pre-game protest against the Ferguson incident. As the players came out of the stadium tunnel, they raised their hands into a “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!” pose.  The protest upset the St. Louis Police Officers Association into demanding that the NFL punish the players. Inexplicably, though, the NFL meekly decided to do nothing other than respond as follows in an email:

  • We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation.”

What a disgrace!

What a pusillanimous wimp the NFL has become! Its handling of the Ray Rice incident – first trying to downplay it with a two-game suspension, but then increasing the suspension to a lifetime ban after a video went viral – was recently rejected by an arbitrator as capricious and arbitrary.

Talk about a lynching! The NFL’s handling of Adrian Peterson’s child-abuse incident was similarly ham-handled. By contrast, the legal system handled both incidents reasonably, with the Rice matter granted deferred adjudication and the Peterson matter resulting in a misdemeanor plea.

So why should the NFL take action against the St. Louis five? While listening to Mike & Mike (and Adam Schefter) this morning and then First Take’s Stephen A. and Skip later in the morning, I learned that they were in complete agreement that these players were merely exercising their constitutional right to free speech and should be commended for showing some social consciousness that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods seemed to lack.

Their monolithic position caused me to start talking to at my TV screens during these shows, wanting any of these talk-show people to ask whether NFL players are free to stake out other political positions on Sunday. The answer to that question is so obviously “no,” that I can’t understand why these talking heads failed to see the inconsistency. Hell, players can’t even use non-approved headphones when they walk into the building. On game day, the NFL owns the players; there is no free political or commercial speech.

When I search the internet to see if anyone else was taking up this argument, and there was deafening silence. ESPN didn’t even have an article mentioning the protest. Finally, however, I was able to find a single media source calling out the NFL. According to Newsday:

  • Rule 5, Section 4, Article 7 of the NFL rulebook states “throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office.
  • The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns.”

Newsday reported that one of the protesting players had arm wraps that read “Mike Brown” and “My kids matter” written on them. I will be shocked if there is not any other verbiage in the rules that allows the NFL to punish the players. What if some white players want to do something to show their support for the SLPOA?

The NFL’s current position regarding this protest seems untenable, and it makes me wonder for the first time if Roger Goodell is not up to the job.

November 30, 2014

Comprehensive immigration reform, according to Kueber

Ruben Navarrette, Jr. is my favorite columnist on the subject of immigration reform. Although he tends to be liberal, he is the closest thing to an “honest broker” that I have encountered. He won my support as fair minded a while back when he declared that illegal immigrants have no right to demand anything from America; rather, America needs to do what is best for itself, including being generous and humane.

Navarrette’s column this week exemplified his maverick streak. Instead of explaining why President Obama’s executive order was a step in the right direction, he pointed out something the mainstream media has studiously avoided.  He suggested that Obama’s order perversely confirmed something that conservatives have charged for many years; namely, that the citizenship granted to babies born to illegal immigrants in America would be used as an anchor to keep all of them in America.

As I reflected on Navarrette’s column and anchor babies while on my bike ride yesterday, I had an epiphany about solving the problem with illegal immigration. The solution to comprehensive immigration reform has been intractable because liberals want to focus on providing some form of amnesty to the 11 million immigrants already here illegally while conservatives want to ignore those people until the danger of additional illegal immigration is eliminated (via an impregnable fence). Navarrette’s column suggested to me a common ground. Instead of building an impregnable fence before granting amnesty, the government can provide the necessary assurances to conservatives by eliminating the magnets that continue to attract illegal immigrants. What are the magnets:

  1. Birthright citizenship. American citizenship is one of the most valuable things that parents can provide their baby, so it is natural that parents will do whatever is necessary to make that happen. That is a huge magnet. Although the constitution does not clearly provide for birthright citizenship, the courts have so held, and therefore to correct this unintended drafting consequence, Congress will need to pass appropriate legislation or amend the constitution.
  2. Public schools. Another huge magnet for illegal immigration is the public schooling that is provided to children who are here illegally. Once again, this magnet is based on a tenuous ruling by the courts (Plyler v. Doe)  and the ruling needs to be reversed, either through statute or constitutional amendment.
  3. Sanctuary cities. The federal government is quick to suppress state and local jurisdictions that want to help the feds enforce laws against illegal immigration. This action is usually based on the argument that federal law pre-empts any other jurisdiction from interfering. If the feds can take action to prevent local government from helping enforce the immigration laws, then it should be easy to take action to prevent local government from obstructing enforcement of immigration laws through various sanctuary-city policies.
  4. Jobs. I’m not sure why so many employers are able to hire so many illegal immigrants with impunity. These laws needs more teeth.

With the elimination of these magnets, I think conservatives could be persuaded to expand President Obama’s executive order to apply to all law-abiding illegal immigrants who have been in the country more than five years. This would not provide special status to parents of anchor babies and would not mandate an impregnable fence, but it would recognize that America feels some responsibility for allowing these people to take root in America.

I think we could all live with this result.

 

 

Saturday Night at the Movies #133 – Begin Again, Obvious Child, and First Knight,

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 4:45 am
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A week ago, my Netflix DVD queue was emptied, and the list of new releases didn’t include anything interesting, so I resorted to a technique I previously used to find worthy movies – i.e., I went to the Rotten Tomatoes website and queried for all 2014 movies that had received at least an 80% rating from the critics. Although many of them were not yet on DVD, a lot of them were, and I received my first two yesterday:

  1. Begin Again. This 2014 music-based movie is set in my favorite town, NYC, and stars one of my favorite actresses, Keira Knightley, from Pride & Prejudice Her co-stars are Mark Ruffalo and singer Adam Levine (Maroon 5) in his first film. The plot revolves around Levine breaking up with his muse Knightley, who then tries to develop her own career after being discovered by down-and-out producer Ruffalo. The Rotten Tomato critics and audience score the movie at 83%, and I agree by giving it three and a half stars out of four. Keira is exceedingly attractive; Levine is convincing as a good guy who loses a bit of his soul; and Ruffalo is someone worth rooting for. And the storyline is both interesting and credible.
  2. Obvious Child. This 2014 romantic comedy involves an aspiring stand-up comic, Jenny Slate, who gets dumped and then while on the rebound gets pregnant from a one-night stand. Her plan for an abortion gets complicated when the one-night guy reappears and seems like a guy worth getting to know better. This is obviously a low-budget movie with actors that lack charisma, but they know how to act and their story is captivating. The Rotten Tomato critics score the movie at 88%, while the audience is not quite as captivated at 74%. I agree with the audience and give it three stars out of four.
  3. First Knight. I have previously seen this 1995 romance about King Arthur and his Knights, but wanted to experience it again. What a wonderful, well-executed story, except for Lancelot’s two implausible rescues of Arthur’s wife, Guinevere. The stars Sean Connery, Richard Gere, and Julia Ormond are wonderful. Although the Washington Post says it “lurches between swashbuckling spectacular and Idyll soap opera,” and Roger Ebert calls it thin and unconvincing, and Rotten Tomatoes scores it at a mediocre 47% (critics) and 55% (audience), I thoroughly enjoyed it except for the wrong guy getting the girl at the end. I give it three and a half stars out of four.

November 29, 2014

A system that insulates the police

Filed under: Culture,Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 1:42 pm
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My least favorite columnist in the SA Express-News is Brian Chasnoff. My distaste for him results from not only from his white-liberal viewpoint, but also a clash of my curmudgeon against his whippersnapper.

His column in today’s paper is titled, “A system that insulates police.”

The apparent thesis of the column is that Ferguson is not an anomaly and that we almost had a similar situation in San Antonio a few years ago. The column reads as follows:

  • An unarmed black man walks down a street. A police officer in a patrol car veers into his path. The confrontation provokes anger, then explodes into violence: The officer, who is not black, shoots the black man in the head. Months later, a grand jury declines to indict the officer. I’m not depicting the August shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, although these facts also describe the incident sparking angry protests this week across the nation. I’m sketching, rather, the 2006 shooting of Jospeh Fennell by police officer Robert Rosales in San Antonio….”
  • The shooting in Ferguson unfolded differently but with echoes of Fennell….”
  • “An inch or two, and it could have been Ferguson.”

I left the following comment for Chasnoff on the newspaper website:

  • Brian, too clever by half. ‘The shooting in Ferguson unfolded differently but with echoes of Fennell.’ Echoes? You could have easily written a substantive column that distinguished the two incidents instead of selectively focusing on superficial similarities that echo of the laughable Kennedy/Lincoln coincidences.”

What are the substantive differences between the two situations:

  1. Ferguson’s Officer Darren Wilson was white; nonwhite Officer Robert Rosales was Hispanic. Blacks are not going to riot against Hispanics, which is why George Zimmerman had to be labeled a “white Hispanic.”
  2. Officer Wilson first interacted with Michael Brown for obstructing traffic in the middle of the street, and then tried to stop him when he noticed that Brown fit a detailed description (shirts, socks, size) of a recent, nearby robber. Officer Rosales stopped Fennell while innocently walking on a sidewalk merely because he met a vague description (short black male) of a non-recent robber.
  3. Michael Brown was the robber who Wilson was looking for; Joseph Fennell was innocently walking to work.
  4. Michael Brown reached into Officer Wilson’s car for his gun; Officer Rosales pulled his gun before talking to Fennell.
  5. Officer Wilson’s first shot was to wing Brown while the guy was leaned in through the car window. Officer Rosales shot Fennell because of Fennell’s sudden movement.

Although Rosales was not indicted, San Antonio paid $80,000 to Fennell for his minor injuries. I agree with Chasnoff’s comment about the difficulty of the SAPD trying to defend a civil action:

  • Already, the actions of the officer seem misguided. Why veer onto the sidewalk? Why point a gun?”

If I had been on the Grand Jury, I would have been tempted, in a very close call, to indict Rosales. Whereas indicting Ferguson’s Officer Wilson would have been a travesty of justice. (Not unlike the NFL’s lifetime suspension of Ray Rice.)

It seems that Chasnoff and the NFL’s Roger Goodell can be counted on to talk/do the political thing, but not the right thing.

November 28, 2014

Only in America

Filed under: Culture,Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 2:27 pm
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According to the Washington Post’s columnist Dana Milbank, St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s prosecution of Officer Darren Wilson was pathetic:

  • “[McCulloch] almost certainly could have secured an indictment on a lesser charge simply by requesting it, yet he acted as if he were a spectator, saying that jurors decided not to return a ‘true bill’ on each possible charge — as if this were a typical outcome. As has been repeated often in recent weeks, a grand jury will indict a proverbial ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks it to.”

Apparently, Milbank is under the mistaken belief that a prosecutor is supposed to pursue prosecutions instead of justice, and he fails to recognize that a prosecutor shouldn’t indict a person simply because he can.

One of Milbank’s grievances against McCulloch was that he emphasized the inconsistent testimony of many witness, “But he was less troubled by inconsistencies that worked against Wilson. McCulloch implied Monday night that Wilson stopped his car to confront Brown because he recognized him as a robbery suspect. But Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson had said publicly that the robbery ‘had nothing to do with the stop.’”

This is not an inconsistency that worked against Officer Wilson, but rather one imagined by Milbank. If Milbank had bothered to read the transcript of Wilson’s testimony (page 209), he would have seen the following:

  • When I start looking at Brown, first thing I notice is I his right hand, his hand is full of Cigarillos. And that’s when it clicked for me because I now saw the Cigarillos, I looked in my mirror, I did a double-check that Johnson was wearing a black shirt, these are the two from the stealing.”

Thus, although Wilson didn’t immediately connect Brown to the robbery, he did make the connection within seconds after first telling Wilson to get out of the middle of the road, which renders Milbank’s argument a distinction without a difference.

This piece of information also serves to reveal the utter ridiculousness of the idea circulating in amongst liberal commentators that Officer Wilson should have waited for reinforcements before pursuing Michael Brown. Since when does America want its cops who are struck by a suspected robber to all the suspect to walk off while the cop waits for reinforcements?

As we say in the legal arena, is it reasonably foreseeable that the suspected robber we suddenly turn and charge you, that you will have to kill him, and that his neighbors will be so upset with your self-defense killing that they will riot and burn down their town?

Only in America.

November 26, 2014

NFL scheduling

Filed under: Sports — Mike Kueber @ 10:25 pm
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Last week on Facebook, one of the ubiquitous Dallas Cowboy haters complained that this year the Cowboys benefited from the easiest schedule in football. I responded that the Cowboy schedule, with top-10 opponents San Fran, Seattle, Arizona, and Indianapolis, was a lot more difficult than the schedule for my friend’s infamous Cleveland Browns, with Indianapolis its only top-10 opponent.

Why was Dallas given such a tough row to hoe, while Cleveland was given an easy slide? I vaguely recalled that NFL scheduling was based primarily on a rotating schedule, with some match-up of cellar-dwellers and pennant winners. A quick check of the NFL website confirmed my understanding. Every team plays 16 games as follows:

  • Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).
  • The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).
  • The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).
  • Two intra-conference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.

Cleveland and the AFC North won the lottery this year because they rotated to play one of the worst divisions ever – the NFC South – which has a division leader at 4-7 and a combined won-lost record 17 games below .500. Its other divisional opponent – the AFC South – is only marginally better at 14 games below .500, entirely on the shoulders of its leader, 7-4 Indianapolis. In fact, every team in those two divisions other than Indianapolis has a losing record.

Because Cleveland finished last in its division last year, it was awarded the right to play the two last-place finishers in the other AFC divisions. The cellar-dweller in the West was Oakland, currently 1-10, and, in Cleveland’s only bit of bad luck, the cellar-dweller in the East was Buffalo, which is a surprising 6-5 this year, compared to the East’s current cellar-dweller Jets, who are 2-9.

In sum, the Browns’ non-divisional opponents are 39 games below .500, and that goes a long way toward explaining the Browns’ illusory record of 7-4. That also explains why the preeminent analytical website, fivethirtyeight.com, gives the Browns less than a 25% chance of making the playoffs.

Unless they move up Johnny Manziel.  Then all bets are off.

 

Assorted thoughts about Ferguson

Filed under: Culture,Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 3:30 am
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Assorted thoughts about Ferguson:

  1. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The Ferguson riots back in August were met with a heavy-handed so-called “militarized” police department, and the general consensus was that this militarization exacerbated the situation. The riot last night was met with an inert collection of law-enforcement and National Guard personnel, and the general consensus is that this conduct was disgraceful. According to former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani on MSNBC, studies reveal that a strong, active police presence is essential to prevent escalation.
  2. Hostile territory. CNN reporters made much of the fact that white officer Darren Wilson didn’t like the black city he was policing, based on the following Grand Jury testimony from Wilson: “There’s a lot of gangs that reside or associate with that area. There’s a lot of violence in that area, there’s a lot of gun activity, drug activity. It is just not a very well-liked community. That community doesn’t like the police.”  Although CNN suggested Wilson’s antipathy was directed at the entire city of Ferguson, the quote suggests to me that Wilson was referring to a particularly unsavory part of Ferguson. And it is completely unreasonable to expect that a policeman will not profile certain neighborhoods based on prior interactions.
  3. Did Michael Brown give up or charge Officer Wilson? Despite the renewed on-air assertions of Brown’s fellow robber, Dorian Johnson, that Brown was stopped with his hands in the air when he was shot, the physical facts are that Brown’s blood was found 175 feet away from Wilson’s car and that he ended up in the street 150 feet from Wilson’s car. These facts suggest strongly that, consistent with Wilson’s testimony, Brown was coming toward him when shot. The fact that the final shot went into the top of Brown’s head also supports Wilson’s testimony that Brown’s head was down and charging toward. (On the related issue of why Wilson took off on foot after Brown, according to the NY Times, “But when no one [at the Grand Jury] asked him why he had chased Mr. Brown, Officer Wilson brought it up himself, saying that after experiencing Mr. Brown’s aggression in the vehicle, he felt ‘he still posed a threat, not only to me, but to anybody else that confronted him.’”)
  4. Burn the bitch down. Shortly before the Grand Jury finding was handed down, the Brown family took the high road by issuing a statement asking that any protests following the announcement be peaceful. But shortly after the announcement, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was on the hood of a car wailing to a crowd. When she became overwrought, her husband Louis Head joined her on the hood of the car and repeatedly told the crowd, “Burn this bitch down.” Reminds me of that adage – judge me by what I do, not by what I say.
  5. Give ‘em a break. Their family lawyer Benjamin Crump later suggested that, although the comments by Brown’s mother and step-father were inappropriate, “Don’t condemn them for being human.” Another apologist said, “What do you expect when you shove a camera in front of grieving parents?” Huh – they were on the hood of a car at a protest; no one shoved a camera in their face!! The prosecutor, when asked whether perjury charges would be brought against all the lying witnesses (they were contradicted by physical facts or by other testimony), said that he gives them the benefit of a doubt – i.e., they actually believed their false testimony. Seems everyone is willing to be generous to a fault, except to Officer Darren Wilson, who is still under the specter of federal or civil prosecution.

November 24, 2014

Racist haters

Filed under: Culture,Facebook,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 8:35 pm
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Yesterday, a Facebook friend, Rosey, posted the following poster:

  • Dear Immigrant Haters, stop telling the rest of us we should be as uncaring, selfish, and hateful as you.

The poster reminded me of another stupid poster posted on Facebook by one of my in-laws suggesting that only people with vaginas have a right to an opinion on abortion. Although my verbal challenge of the abortion poster led to my family member accusing me of being overbearing and intolerant, I decided to engage with Immigration Hater poster, too.

Not surprisingly the result was the same. Despite my best efforts to keep things civil and dispassionate, I ended up getting called all sorts of names in English and Spanish.  I ended the discussion by complaining that the discussion wasn’t very illuminating, but actually I learned two important things:

  1. Notwithstanding my best efforts to persuade and keep things calm, I apparently have an innate tendency to stir some people toward anger and resentment.
  2. Some Mexican-Americans are personally insulted to the point that they think me racist because I am concerned with illegal immigration and the large number of such immigrants coming to America from Mexico and Central America.

 

Appendix: the lengthy dialogue is as follows:

  • Jhon Juan Adams But the only good ones, according the IMMIGRANT HATERS are WHITE IMMIGRANTS. You think there would have been any problem in Murrieta CA if those buses had been loaded with Swedish Refugees? For whatever reason on earth. ????
  • Mike Kueber Jhon, why do you insist on conflating legal immigrants with illegal immigrants? Do you know that this country is overrun with more illegal immigrants than the entire population of Sweden? Why do you insist on calling people names just because they disagree with your apparent policy of open borders?
  • Rosey Abuabara The concept of closed borders is a relatively new one.., you know, in the history of the world. I mean, if you believe in evolution and not creation.
  • Oscar Garcia We did not cross the border, the border crossed us.
  • Rosey Abuabara and, besides, he, Jhon, is correct, for the white guy that he is. I don’t see stories of the Asians that are undocumented. It’s bigoted and you know it, Mike.
  • Mike Kueber Personally, Oscar, I’m getting sick of that canard, “the border crossed us.” Anyone who was here in 1848 when the border changed, would already be citizens. The current illegal immigrants had ancestors who were ensconced in Mexico when this country was settled by brave, adventuresome Americans. America took over the Southwest because Mexicans declined to settle it. And, Rosey Abuabara, I read an article just today in the NY Times about the significant number of illegal immigrants in CA from Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
  • Mike Kueber p.s., of the 11.4 million illegal immigrants in America, 6.7 million are from Mexico, 1.8 million are from Central and South America, and 1.2 million are from Asia. http://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php
  • Rosey Abuabara That would make sense Mike since they are our neighbors. You must consider the proximity to the USA. And… HAHAHA..!!! You still believe that shit about Davy Crockett?? SQUATTERS!! I own land in west Texas.. Just because I chose not to live there does not give another the right to move in and make it theirs. And f-ING yeah!! The BORDER CROSSED US. And, if you don’t know this.. Many Mexicans who owned LOTS OF LAND had it “legally” stolen from them. (Think King Ranch). This is MORE MY LAND. I am NATIVE… At least for thousands of years…
  • Mike Kueber Rosey Abuabara, if you love the Mexican heritage so much, and hate the American heritage so much…. Are you suggesting that some sort of reparations are due? Or maybe open-admission of Mexicans? What about Central Americans – do they have the same claim for preferred status?
  • Rosey Abuabara Mike, don’t presume to know what I’m suggesting. Do I think reparations are due? Hell yeah! Hell, I’d have the King Ranch divided up. And, I AM VERY PROUD OF MY MEXICAN HERITAGE. That’s pretty petty, Mike. And, I never said I “hated” the American “heritage”. It’s so much more complex than that. Perhaps since I have cultural pride is frightening to many. Lol.. You ever spend time in Miami? Little Italy? China town? Really .. Your assessment of my comments are what I have to face everyday. It’s racist, and shows how little you know & understand the situation. Good thing you were an insurance lawyer. And, just a reminder: America is this WHOLE CONTINENT. You’re speaking of ‘Merica. I’d be glad to school you on being a USA citizen, in San Antonio no less, with cultural pride. Kueber? Have you no pride in your culture? lol.. But, you knew Davy Crockett and Bowie were just over sensationalized thieves of Mexican soil. At least I’d hope you know.
  • Rosey Abuabara Don’t make yourself look like the typical Immigrant Hater. I thought you were better than that. The situation is not that easy.. Otherwise this situation would be fixed by now.
  • Mike Kueber Rosey Abuabara, I choose not to go the ad hominem route (racist haters), but I do believe that most of the hateful, intolerant comments come from those on the left. That chip on their shoulders seems to weigh them down. At least I have been able to elicit your actual position – i.e., reclaim Texas for Mexicans.
  • Oscar Garcia We do not have to reclaim Texas, it’s already ours. My ancestors did it by not leaving and becoming US citizens.
  • Mike Kueber Oscar, instead of posting jingoistic slogans, perhaps you could explain what you mean by it. Does America owe Mexico something? Does America owe Mexican-Americans something? Does America owe Mexicans something? If so, what?
  • Oscar Garcia Chingoistic que? See Translation.
  • Oscar Garcia Do I have to go through the whole historical thing about Manifest Destiny?
  • Oscar Garcia The result of the Mexican-American war was a very large seizure of Mexican land by the United States. Later, more sections of Mexico were taken, creating the present-day continental United States. Mexicans previously living in Mexican territory were now living in America after the seizures and purchases. This is where the phrase comes from, hence the phrase: “We did not cross the border, the Border crossed us” Educate wuey, no nomas digas pendejadas como “jingoistic slogans”.
  • Rosey Abuabara Oscar.. Mike has a very dry sense of humor. I’m not offended by his banter. I’m pretty sure he’s just making interesting conversation. Which is good. We need discourse!
  • Rosey Abuabara lol.. Love the use of “wuey”! Haha.. Esé!
  • Oscar Garcia What he does not understand is that we are not Illegal in a land that was our ancestors before the Europeans came and took it as theirs. We’re indigenous to this land.
  • Rosey Abuabara I think he understands. I don’t want to speak for him.. But, yeah.. I see that “the gringos” would rather we just assimilate rather than bring our tamales out. It’s hot dogs and apple pie for everyone. Yes. This is my native land. I’ve been here. We’ve been here. Our ancestors lived in harmony with the land. It’s time for them to start assimilate to harmonious land living. Que no?
  • Oscar Garcia In a way they have Rosey Abuabara. There are many who do want tamales, and want to learn about our culture. I have hosted many Fiestas for 16 de Septiembre and Cinco de Mayo where we have had Azteca dancers and have heard how Mexico got its Independence. How a Mexican American lead a handful of Mexicans and repelled the invading French from Puebla. How Cortez burned Cuathemoc’s feet and how his invading Spanish army killed the Aztecs.
  • Rosey Abuabara Yeah, I agree.. They love our food, our music, our parties! We really know how to party! Puro party! I’m glad for the interest in our culture. I just think too many complain, and they don’t know about the politics of $$$$$ and how to be good neighbors. We send more money elsewhere rather than make sure our neighbors are doing good.
  • Mike Kueber Oscar, you apparently lost track of my earlier comment asking you what the Mexican cession of 1848 had to do with the current illegal immigrants. And Rosey Abuabara, I have no issue with the extent you want to assimilate or not. My Norwegian friends and family in North Dakota like to retain their ancestral culture, too. Just as the German-Americans do in Castroville, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. This would be much simpler if you didn’t insist on conflating illegal immigration with legal immigration, but that is not possible when you argue for open borders and reparations.
  • Rosey Abuabara the freaking issue that you don’t seem to understand is that WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THIS USED TO BE MEXICO.
  • Rosey Abuabara AND WE WERE HERE FIRST. I don’t fucking understand how you don’t get that. It seems that you are too far away from your homeland that you can’t even understand the concept. We call it ‘Merica for a reason. Simple minded people who think they know something, but really don’t. And, are not even aware they don’t get a deeper concept, that they insist on being right. And, you have no idea what people go through in poverty. REAL poverty. I’ve known lots of people who have come here illegally.., with great fear and sadness, and much sadness. They do it so that a family at home can survive. Yes. SURVIVE. And, but for the grace of God, there go I. and that is the gods honest truth.
  • Oscar Garcia you use words million dollar words like that is going to make us be at awe of your domination of the English language. I really do not give a crap about the words you use as intimidation because those tactics do not work. I may be a Mexican American but I can understand what you are trying to do. You are the one that is lost, we have been here for thousands of years.
  • Mike Kueber Oscar, what do you want?
  • Oscar Garcia It is not what I want, it is what you need to understand. We are not Illegal in our own homeland.
  • Mike Kueber Who is we?

Oscar Garcia You are lost if you do not understand.

Mike Kueber Can’t answer, can you! Are you saying that anyone with Indian blood from Central America or South America has a right to come into the United States?

Oscar Garcia People see you, they say he is American. People see me they say he is illegal.

Oscar Garcia That is what you do not understand. This whole continent belonged to the indigenous people of the Americas. That includes the United States and Canada. Educate Wuey.

Mike Kueber Yes, there is a profiling issue because there are so many people from Mexico here illegally. Just like there is a profiling problem with young, male African-Americans because so many of them are involved in crime. [Or Middle East men because so many of the terrorists are from the Middle East.]

Mike Kueber So all the descendants of indigenous people have the right to come to America?

Oscar Garcia See? You are lost.

Oscar Garcia Estas bien perdido carnal.See Translation

Mike Kueber Slogans and Spanish; is that all you’ve got?

Rosey Abuabara Mike you just don’t have have the capacity

Oscar Garcia What I got is contempt for the likes of people like you who think they are the owners of this land and can dictate to everyone.

Rosey Abuabara I’m with Oscar. And to think I was defending you to him.

Rosey Abuabara I get called a “dirty Mexican”

Oscar Garcia He is a profiler who thinks that we do not belong here, and that all African American males are involved in crime. I am glad that he is not my friend.

Rosey Abuabara Ugh.. I know. I’m reconsidering.

Rosey Abuabara At least he was straight up about his feelings about us. Why does this piss the gringos off so much??

Rosey Abuabara Esta mas perdido…

Oscar Garcia Because they think that we should not be here, and that this land belongs to them.

Rosey Abuabara Pendejos.See Translation

Mike Kueber I am stating facts. You act like I am arguing for bigotry and prejudice. All I am doing is arguing for controlled borders. You want open borders. Simple disagreement.

Rosey Abuabara Mike, if you want to “discuss”.. Then discuss. But you got ugly real quick.

Oscar Garcia No, there is no simple disagreement. You showed your true colors, and how you really feel.

Rosey Abuabara We are stating facts too.

Mike Kueber And, yes, Texas and America govern this land, not Mexico. Of course, Rosey and whoever can own whatever land they want to buy.

Rosey Abuabara Chingao.. And, really, why did you have to be ugly to Oscar?

Rosey Abuabara Do really think we don’t understand that concept?

Rosey Abuabara I’m done. I have students in surgery tomorrow early.

Mike Kueber Understand the concept of being ugly? If you check this thread, you will see that I have been respectful to you and Oscar. By contrast, you and Oscar had gone ad hominem.

Oscar Garcia Why do you think he uses words that he thinks we will not understand? He tries to intimidate with million dollar words

Oscar Garcia To him I am just another dumb Mexican who can hardly understand the English language.

Oscar Garcia And by the way Mike ad hominem is a Latin expression; ad hominem usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to invalidate their arguments.

Oscar Garcia I am done with this vato. He is not worthy of discussion.

Mike Kueber I didn’t learn much, either, Oscar.

Oscar Garcia You never did,

 

November 23, 2014

Narcissism and selfies

Filed under: Culture,Facebook — Mike Kueber @ 10:17 pm
Tags: ,

Narcissism is defined as an excessive interest in one’s physical appearance; inordinate fascination with oneself; vanity. A selfie is defined as a photo taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone, and shared on social media like Facebook, although I prefer the Urban Dictionary definition:

  • An act usually carried out by girls aged 12-21, the act involves taking photos of oneself while posing. If the act is carried out by a man, he is usually seen as being gay.

Some might argue that there is a connection between narcissism and selfies, and this possible connection was inadvertently confirmed by one of my Facebook friends this morning while she was on a charter bus to Houston to watch the Texans’ football game. She posted a photo of herself with two friends on the bus, and this prompted the following exchange:

  • My friend’s aunt: Selfie # 4 Rachel X. why sooo many selfies? [Thumbs-down icon.]
  • My friend: Plz Cuz they tell me I look pretty. Why Not Auntie. ..

My friend is not 12-21, but she is pretty.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

November 22, 2014

We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us.

Filed under: Culture,History,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 10:43 pm
Tags: ,

One of my least favorite columnists with the NY Times, Nicholas Kristof, penned a column yesterday titled, “Immigration Enriches You and Me.” You can almost imagine the column without reading it, but, for the record, he described three myths about immigration:

  1. Immigrants threaten our way of life. Many Americans see foreigners moving into their towns, see signs in Spanish, and fret about changes to the traditional fabric of society. Yet just look around. Immigration has hugely enriched our country. For starters, unless you are a full-blooded American Indian, we have you.
  2. Immigrants today are different because they’re illegals. Look, people aren’t legal or illegal, behaviors are.  If an investment banker is convicted of insider trading, he doesn’t become an illegal. So let’s refer not to “illegal immigrants” but to “undocumented immigrants.”
  3. Immigration reform is an unconstitutional power grad by a dictator. It’s difficult for me to judge the legality of Obama’s executive action, because I’m not an expert on legal issues like prosecutorial discretion.

Immediately after reading the column, I vented by sending the following comment to the Times:

Nicholas, you are wrong on all three counts:

  1. Legal immigrants do not threaten our way of life; illegal immigrants do. Please refrain from treating two different groups as a single group.
  2. Investment bankers who are convicted of insider trading are not granted amnesty; rather they become forever known as criminal investment bankers.
  3. If you are ill equipped to discuss President Obama’s imperial power-grab, I suggest that you spend a little time learning the subject instead of claiming ignorance in your column.

As I skimmed the hundreds of comments that the column drew, the following one from Ernest Velasquez caught my eye:

  • My great-great-great-grandfather was born in San Jose California in 1821. My grandfather was born in the Arizona territory in 1872 and my father was also born in the Arizona territory in 1911. My grandfather, grandmother, and some of the adult children, including my father moved to Chihuahua Mexico during the depression of 1917. Thus my brother and two sisters were born in Mexico. Based on the then existing immigration laws, my brother and I [males] were granted natural born citizenship at birth.
  • In the early 50’s we moved to Los Angeles where I went to school and upon graduation from High School, I joined the US Air Force and served four year in Germany which coincided with the building of The Berlin wall and the Cuban Missiles crisis. Just to make it clear, I love my country and served to protect our great democracy. My two favorite president: Jefferson and Lincoln.
  • Now to my point on current immigration. First: We Mexicans are not immigrants, we were conquered and lost the Southwest territory in the Mexican/American War of 1850 that included California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona New Mexico and Texas. Second: Many of us have the blood of Indigenous and European [Spanish] conquistadors running through our veins. Third: we were here first, so stop calling us immigrants. As the great union leader Dolores Huerta has stated, “We did not cross the border, the border crossed us.”

Although I’d heard the Huerta slogan before, I’d never considered whether it was accurate. So….

According to SocialistWorker.org:

  • “WE DIDN’T cross the border, the border crossed us.” This slogan of the immigrant rights movement expresses an historical fact–that much of the Western U.S. was once part of Mexico. The U.S. seized half of Mexico–including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California–in the Mexican-American war of 1846-48. The war cost almost 14,000 U.S. and twice as many Mexican lives.

But what does that have to do with illegal immigration? According to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 following the Mexican-American War, all heretofore Mexicans in the land ceded to America were eligible to be American citizens. This would have applied to Velasquez because his ancestors were already here, but it wouldn’t apply to many others.  According to Wikipedia:

  • The lands contained about 14,000 people in Alta California and fewer than 60,000 in Nuevo México, as well as large Native American nations such as the Navajo, Hopi, and dozens of others. A few relocated further south in Mexico. The great majority chose to remain in the U.S. and later became U.S. citizens.

My impression is that Mexico lost this mostly unpopulated territory to America because Americans were willing to settle it while Mexicans were not.  (Also, we were stronger and believed in Manifest Destiny.)  Only after America turned the territory into a wonderful place to live did vast numbers of Mexicans decide that they wanted to live here (and get out of Mexico). The fact that this part of America was a part of Mexico more than 150 years ago does nothing to support the argument that modern Mexicans have some special right to emigrate to America now.

p.s., I can find no information on the internet attributing the “border moved” slogan to Dolores Huerta, although upon further consideration, I noted that Velasquez simply said that she “stated” this.

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