Saturday, April 29, 2006

Anti immigrant rhetoric leads to dangerous times

Police in Spring, Texas, a suburb of Houston say a 16 year old Hispanic boy was beaten and sodomized for trying to kiss a 12 year old white girl at a party.

The attackers forced the boy out of the house party, beat him and sodomized him with a metal pipe, shouting epithets "associated with being Hispanic," said Lt. John Martin with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

The two teenagers were jailed, officials told KPRC-TV in Houston.

David Tuck, 18, and Keith Turner, 17, were outside a house party when they attacked the 16-year-old boy on Saturday at about 11:30 p.m., according to investigators.

"When he was down on the ground, they stomped his head while they were wearing boots and then sodomized him with an object after stripping him naked," said Lt. John Denholm with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies said they poured bleach in an effort to destroy evidence.

"They also poured bleach on him. The victim is in pretty bad shape right now -- extremely critical condition -- and it's unclear at all if he's going to survive," prosecutor Mike Trent said.

"They then went back inside and this kid was left out here all night long, so he laid out there until he was found about 11 o'clock this next morning," said Denholm.

Details of brutal pipe assault emerge

May this young victim recover to see the full force of the law brought down on these two vermin. If the boy dies, which appears may happen, the 17 year old will spend the rest of his life in Huntsville, a Texas prison hell hole. The 18 year old will be strapped to a gurney and removed from society.

All of the anti immigrant rhetoric being peddled by the cable TV shows and the radio talk shows has helped to create an atmosphere where this kind of a crime could take place. They're "invaders", trying to take over our country. They do the dirty work nobody else wants to do, they breed like rats and don't pay taxes. All of these hate filled lies give a wink and a nod to the bigots.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Bush Opposes Singing Anthem in Spanish

'Bush made his comments at a Rose Garden news conference as a Spanish-language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," hit the airwaves."

"I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," Bush said."

Bush telling people they ought to learn English?

Rush him off to counseling

This is what a bloated hypocrite with money gets. You can bet your bottom dollar if it were you or I, or our children, we'd be sitting in jail instead of being a gassbag on the radio for three hours a day. There are a lot of people in Texas prisons for a lot less.

Before his own problems became public, Limbaugh had decried drug use and abuse and mocked President Clinton for saying he had not inhaled when he tried marijuana. He often made the case that drug crimes deserve punishment. "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. ... And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up," Limbaugh said on his short-lived television show on Oct. 5, 1995.

If you're interested, here's the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office booking sheet on Rush Limbo.

Stuck With Bush

Via the New York Times


If George W. Bush could have been removed from office for being a bad president, he would have been sent back to his ranch a long time ago.

If incompetence were a criminal offense, he'd be behind bars.

But that's just daydreaming. The reality is that there are more than two and a half years left in the long dark night of the Bush presidency — nearly as long as the entire time John Kennedy was in office.

The nation seems, very belatedly, to be catching on to the tragic failures and monumental ineptitude of its president. Mr. Bush's poll numbers are abysmal. Republicans up for re-election are running from him as if he were the bogyman.

Callers to conservative talk radio programs who were once ecstatic about the president and his policies are now deeply disillusioned.

The libertarian Cato Institute is about to release a study titled "Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush." It says, "Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power."While I disagree with parts of the study, I certainly agree with that particular comment.

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, Sean Wilentz, a distinguished historian and the director of the American Studies program at Princeton University, takes a serious look at the possibility that Mr. Bush may be the worst president in the nation's history.

What in the world took so long? Some of us have known since the moment he hopped behind the wheel that this reckless president was driving the nation headlong toward a cliff.

The worst thing he did, of course, was to employ a massive campaign of deceit to lead the nation into a catastrophic war in Iraq — a war with no end in sight that has already claimed tens of thousands of lives and inflicted scores of thousands of crippling injuries.

When he was a young man, Mr. Bush used the Air National Guard to hide out from the draft in a time of war. Then, as president, he's suddenly G. I. George, strutting around in a flight suit, threatening to wage war on all and sundry, and taunting the insurgents in Iraq with a cry of "bring them on."

When the nation needed leadership on the critical problem of global warming, Mr. Bush took his cues from the honchos in the oil and gasoline industry, the very people who were setting the planet on fire. Now he talks about overcoming the nation's addiction to oil! This is amazing. Here's the president of the United States scaling the very heights of chutzpah. The Bush people and the oil people are indistinguishable. Condoleezza Rice, a former Chevron director, even had an oil tanker named after her.

Among the complaints in the Cato study is that the Bush administration has taken the position that despite validly enacted laws to the contrary, the president cannot be restrained "from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror."

This view has led to activities that I believe have brought great shame to the nation: the warrantless spying on Americans, the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the creation of the C.I.A.'s network of secret prisons, extraordinary rendition and the barbaric encampment at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in which detainees are held, without regard to guilt or innocence, in a nightmarish no man's land beyond the reach of any reasonable judicial process.

The sins of the Bush administration are so extensive and so egregious, they could never be adequately addressed in a newspaper column. History will be the final judge. But I've no doubt about the ultimate verdict.

Remember the Clinton budget surplus?

It was the largest in American history. President Bush and his cronies went after it like vultures feasting in a field of carcasses. They didn't invest the surplus. They devoured it.

Remember how most of the world responded with an extraordinary outpouring of sympathy and support for America in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11?

Mr. Bush had no idea how to seize that golden opportunity to build new alliances and strengthen existing ones. Much of that solidarity with America has morphed into outright hostility.

Remember Katrina?

The major task of Congress and the voters for the remainder of the Bush presidency is to curtail the destructive impulses of this administration, and to learn the lessons that will prevent similar horrors from ever happening again.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush Says He Tried to Avoid War 'To The Max

The Decider is hearing voices again, to the Max.

"I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true," he said. "One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free.

"I believe liberty is universal. I believe people want to be free. And I know that democracies do not war with each other."

Since gawd is shaping his foreign policy and since he's talking about using a nuclear bomb in Iran, I wonder if gawd is talking to him or if he believes he's jay-sus.
Continue reading the article....

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bin Laden has more tapes than Prince

As usual, whenever the Bush administration gets into trouble, Bin Laden comes out of the wooodwork.

President Bush was told about the tape Sunday morning. The intelligence community has informed the White House that it believes the tape is authentic, said Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan.

"The al-Qaida leadership is on the run and under a lot of pressure," McClellan said at a Marine base in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where Bush was having lunch with military families.

"We are on the advance. They are on the run."

Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry on Sunday called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign following the airing of a new recording attributed to fugitive al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden slipped past US troops from his hideout in the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan in late 2001 because Rumsfeld had not committed enough troops to finding him, Kerry, the Democratic Party candidate in the 2004 presidential election, told ABC television.

The failure to catch the al-Qaeda head on that occasion was one of the biggest catastrophes in the war against terrorism, Kerry added.

Texans Going To Pawn Shops To Get Extra Gas $$

Really, what can you expect when you have two oil men in the White House?

I still see people with W '04 stickers on the back of their SUVs filling up and they're still smiling. I guess they think it's all worth it because it's better to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here. But it cost me $46 to fill up my 4 cylinder Camry. I don't understand what they're smiling about.

There are people who are going to say that the Bush administration can't do much about high gas prices. It's a matter of supply and demand. But when Bush was campaigning in '00 he said that the president can help keep the cost of gas down by calling the OPEC cartel and telling them to open the spigot. Well, Bush is the Decider and I don't see him deciding to call his OPEC friends.

"Texans Going To Pawn Shops To Get Extra Gas $$

View the video

(CBS 11 News) DALLAS High gasoline prices are causing some people to take desperate measures.

Pawn shops say their business is increasing, with some customers saying they're selling things to buy gas.

Gas prices are climbing again, with most stations prices hovering at, or just below $3.00 a gallon. For some people the high fuel prices are overwhelming.

'We just have customers come in and have to tell us that they need money ‘till the end of the week, for gas to get back and forth to work,' said pawn shop owner, Gerald Costner.

Everything from high end jewelry, to name brand purses, and televisions… pawn shop owners say they are seeing it all come in. They say customers are frustrated and have no place to go to get extra cash for gas.

'Some of the construction people tell us they are having to pawn their tools to buy gas, but when they pawn their tools they can't go out and work in the construction business ‘cause their tools are in pawn. So it kind of a catch-22,” Costner said.

Mary Rodriguez has worked at the Casa View Pawn Shop for five years. She says she's seen people of all ages coming in looking for help.

“We've always had a clientele of the young kids, or middle age kids, and now we’re getting an older generation. Which, it just seems wrong that they have to pawn things just to get gas, or ya know, to make ends meet on things like that.'

As prices continue to rise at the pumps, many motorists say they don't see things getting better anytime soon, for the consumer.

“It is frustrating, but the thing is they know they can get away with it, because people need gas,” Rodriguez said.

At Casa View Pawn, the owner says they've seen the increase in numbers over the past couple months.

(CBS 11 News)"

Friday, April 21, 2006

On Torture and Being "Good Americans"

Via Tikkun
"To ask what it means to be a 'good American' is not to compare Bush to Hitler or Republicans to Nazis. The question does not arise only when leaders engage in mass murder on the scale of a Hitler or Stalin, which Bush has not. It requires only that they engage in actions that are clearly evil, which Bush has.

Every generation or so an evil arises which is so monstrous, so degrading to the human spirit, so morally bankrupt that even to debate it is a sign of moral corruption. Native American genocide, slavery, totalitarianism, and Jim Crow laws are evils so unspeakable that we cannot understand today how anyone with a shred of decency could have once supported them. Today, torture, a practice far more degrading to us than to our victims, represents such an evil." Read more....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dixie Chicks are #4 with a bullet

Despite the fact that the album doesn't come out for another month, the Dixie Chicks latest album is already #4 on the Amazon chart. You can listen to the song here. It's important for people to have the right to speak out without being blacklisted or put on "watch lists." If an individual wants to protest an artist's message by not buying that artist's product, that's fine. The danger is when there's an organized effort by federally licensed broadcasters to boycott the artist.

Workers opting for Canada

Via the Miami Herald

El Universal

Some Mexicans are bypassing U.S. for Canada´s guest worker program.

SAN MARCOS DE ABAJO, Guanajuato - He´ll miss Dallas - a place he once worked - but not enough to return anytime soon. Migrant worker Reyes Suaste has discovered Canada.

This year he´ll head way north to pick chili and cucumbers. Dallas is much closer to his home in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, but there are other aspects of the U.S. immigrant experience he is happy to do without: "I won´t miss being treated like a criminal and not knowing when I can return home," he said.

Suaste, 27, his brothers, Alejandro, 30, and Eusebio, 25, and more than a dozen other men from Guanajuato are heading to Quebec - not with the help of ruthless, pricey smugglers known as coyotes, but on airplanes with assigned seating and iced drinks. The men will join more than 13,000 other Mexicans in Canada as part of a guest worker program for agricultural workers.

Proposals for a guest worker program have drawn fierce opposition in the United States, but proponents say the Canada program offers some big advantages: workers are treated better, and they return home at the end of their assigned stay.

Alejandro Suaste tries to grab a sick rooster at his home in Mexico. He and his two brothers will be going to Canada for seasonal agricultural jobs as guest workers. As U.S. President George W. Bush´s proposed guest worker program takes center stage in the congressional debate this week, authorities in Mexico insist their 32-year-old pact with Canada could serve as a model for a similar program with the United States.

"This program is about meeting supply and demand," said Miguel Gutiérrez Tinoco of Mexico´s Foreign Relations Secretariat, which helps oversee the program with Canada. In 32 years, Tinoco said, "I know of no one who has violated the agreement and stayed behind. ... We can do the same thing at a larger scale with the United States."

Others disagree, saying it is unrealistic to view the Canada-Mexico agricultural program as a possible model because of vastly different situations. While the Canadian agricultural worker program takes in a few thousand workers a year, the United States has as many as 6 million Mexican illegal immigrants.

Bruce Goldstein, executive director of the Washington-based Farmworker Justice Fund, a farmworker advocacy group, said that any agreement between the U.S. and Mexico must "include an overall comprehensive component," referring to proposed legislation that would offer workers a path toward legal status.

"We´re a nation of immigrants, not a nation of guest workers," he said.

In Ottawa, Mario Rondeau, Canada´s acting director of the foreign worker program, called it "a considerable success."

"It´s hard in the summertime, it´s difficult to find Canadians to do these jobs," Rondeau said. "The program has been a success."

He declined to speculate on whether such a program would work between the United States and Mexico.

Meanwhile, on a bright spring day in San Marcos, Elías Martínez, 33, was telling the Suaste brothers about Canadian hospitality.

"You´ll find that Canadians will actually make you feel welcomed, like you belong there and you have a purpose," he said. "I once had car problems, and a Canadian couple stopped and offered help and even took me out for a sandwich."

Martínez has worked in Quebec for five years, picking cucumbers and melons for GIFAR Co., an agribusiness. He routinely works the planting and harvesting seasons, allowing him to go home to his family five or six months a year with his pockets stuffed with cash.


Before he started working in Canada, he used to pack a small plastic bag with some clothes, a water jug, his wife´s burritos, a baseball cap and comfortable running shoes and head for the yards and roofs of Dallas. He made good money, he said, but he hated the journey, filled with abusive smugglers and days of walking along the banks of the Rio Grande or in the desert, not knowing where he was or when he´d see his wife and three children again.

"As an illegal immigrant, you´re also always vulnerable," he said. "And in Dallas I was always looking over my shoulder to see if the migra [Border Patrol] was behind me. And then all the personal attacks against us."

The Suaste brothers nodded their heads in agreement. These men, at least, said they have no intention of ever abandoning their homeland. The three live on the same plot of family land with their parents, wives and children. Their three homes - built with money earned in Dallas and beyond - are clustered together.

"We don´t want to be anybody´s burden," said Alejandro. "We just want to work, help feed our families back home, and return again without the dangers of crossing the border."

Bush has said matching foreigners with U.S. jobs that Americans won´t do will help "bring people out of the shadows of American society so they don´t have to fear the life they live."

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program allows Canadian farms to recruit foreign workers if they can´t find Canadians to harvest their crops. It began in 1974 with only a handful of foreign workers. These days, there were so many Mexican workers in Ontario alone - 7,200 - that last year the Mexican government set up a new consulate office to meet their needs.

In Canada, workers are provided with housing and transportation. Employers pay for the plane ticket and then deduct some of those costs from the employee´s paycheck. The workers return home at the end of the harvest season with a letter from their employer either inviting them to return next season or not. Officials say 75 percent to 80 percent of workers do return.

President Vicente Fox is calling on Canada to expand the program.

"We should move out from agriculture to other services and other kinds of jobs, and we are working on this with the Canadian government," Fox told the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper.


In Toronto, David Rosenblatt, managing director of Rosenblatt & Associates, a recruiting agency, said Canada´s birth rate of 1.5 children per female, an aging population and a brain drain of people leaving for the U.S. means that the country faces pressing challenges.

"We need skilled Mexican workers in the mining, steel, oil and gas exploration industries. We need waiters, nurses, cooks, construction workers, landscapers. Canada needs Mexican workers," he said. "The U.S. loss is our gain,"

Rosenblatt said he´s developing video resumés of Mexican workers to show to prospective employers in Canada.

"If you look at the world, Mexico makes the most sense for Canada," he said. "No. 1, if you´re a Mexican you don´t need a visa to come in. Second, Mexico is in North America. Third, many of the Mexicans we talk to speak English, and more importantly, they are extremely hardworking people."

To be sure, Canada isn´t for everybody. Martínez warns workers of the cold weather, even in April, and the winters that can begin in mid-September. Then there´s the double language barrier, with both French and English spoken, and cultural isolation. "I understand a little English from my days in Dallas," said Martínez. "But when they speak French, I´m lost. Sometimes you wish you were in Texas."

Workers on his crews work seven days a week and earn 650 Canadian dollars, which is worth about 6,250 pesos. On Sundays they work a short day, six hours, so they can wash clothes, buy groceries and maybe write a letter home. The Suaste brothers, two of whom have worked in Atlanta; Homestead, Florida.; and Waxahachie and Ennis, Texas; were unfazed by the demands.

"We´re not scared of hard work," Alejandro said. "We just want some respect for the sweat of our work."

© Copyright El Universal-El Universal Online

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

You're doing a heck of a job Scotty. Crooks and Liars has Keith Olbermann's greatest McClellan moments video here.

With no announcement, McClellan appeared in the driveway of the South Lawn at 9:39 a.m. with the President as he prepared to board his Marine One chopper for Andrews Air Force Base and thence to a day trip in Tuskegee, Ala. McClellan smiled, but quickly got a catch in his voice. "Good morning, everybody. I am here to announce that I will be resigning as White House Press Secretary," he said. "The White House is going through a period of transition; change can be helpful, and this is a good time and good position to help bring about change."

The most telling word in Bush’s comments was "integrity," making it clear that he does not blame McClellan — and McClellan should not be blamed — for passing on incomplete or inaccurate information he had been given. "I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity," Bush said. "He really represents the best of his family, our state and our country. It's going to be hard to replace Scott. But, nevertheless, he's made the decision and I accept it." He then added an unusually intimate note: "One of these days he and I are going to be rocking on chairs in Texas, talking about the good old days and his time as the Press Secretary. And I can assure you I will feel the same way then that I feel now, that I can say to Scott, job well done."
Why wait for someday? I'd like to think that they'll be sitting in rocking chairs in Texas soon after a Democratic majority is elected in Congress this year.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fighting all the Hitlers

Via Crooks and Liars:

As Bush followers gear up for another election year campaign to start a war, they are using exactly the same rhetorical tactics and are revealing precisely the same mindset to which we were subjected during the 2002 campaign for the Iraq War. What is starkly apparent from this repetition is that their awareness of history and knowledge of the world is sadly confined to one singular event, which is all they know and which, rather bizarrely, they have a need to live over and over and over again.

To pro-Bush war supporters, the world is forever stuck in the 1930s. Every leader we don't like is Adolph Hitler, a crazed and irrational lunatic who wants to dominate the world and who can't be reasoned with. Every country opposed to our interests is Nazi Germany. From this it follows that every warmonger is the glorious reincarnation of the brave and resolute Winston Churchill.

And one who opposes or even questions any proposed war becomes the lowly and cowardly appeaser, Neville Chamberlain. For any and every conflict that arises, the U.S. is in the identical position of France and England in 1937- faced with an aggressive and militaristic Nazi Germany, will we shrink in appeasement and fear from the grand calling of history duties, or will we stand tall and firm and wage glorious war? Read more here....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Where's the outrage?

Via Crooks and Liars

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not on"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Great Pizza Jernts

If you're interested in finding some of the great pizza places, Slice: Brooklyn Archives is blog is worth checking. Learn about the differences between slices at Lenny's and L&B Spumoni Gardens. See what it's like to get a slice of pizza at 2 am. Discover why John Travolta ate two slices folded together in the opening sequence of Saturday Night Fever. Also rated are pizza places outside of NY. (There is no such thing as decent pizza in Texas)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thank you Harry Taylor

President Bush's advisors have been desperately searching for a bullhorn moment, hoping to rally the quickly diminishing support for his policies. Yesterday, at a Bush town hall meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harry Taylor was among the carefully picked people in the audience. But Harry turned out to be a real person, and instead of the usual "we support you and are praying for you" comments and questions, Harry asked the questions that a lot of people wanted to ask this president. This may be a bullhorn moment, but not of the type the adminstration was looking for. It remains to be seen whether the right wing talk show hosts will try to discredit Harry, as they tried to do with Cindy Sheehan, Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson and others who have disagreed with this administration's policies. Right now the White House is too preoccupied with damage control with the latest leaker in chief scandal. Meanwhile, a Thank You Harry website is now online. It's really unfortunate that a 61 year old real estate agent in Charlotte, North Carolina has to ask the questions that career reporters have failed to ask. I guess Harry doesn't have to worry about staying in favor with this administration.

So what else is new?

Okay, most people now know that the reasons for going to war in Iraq were based on lies: the WMDs, the ties to Al Qaida, the connection to 911 and so on. Now, it's revealed in Scooter Libby's court papers, that President Bush authorized the use of classified information, intended to be leaked to the press, to document the false claims for going to war. One person after another has stated that this administration was intent on going to war with Iraq from day one, long before 911. I have to wonder when the remaining 33% of the population who support this president are going to take a good look at what's happened and realize they've been wrong. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, 61 year old Harry Taylor went off script at a Bush "town hall" meeting and asked questions many of us have wanted to ask him.

Crooks and Liars
has the video here.

I believe Harry is a real estate agent in Charlotte. I wonder how his listings will do now? He could be in line for an IRS audit as well.

Now that the Republicans are imploding, it's important for Democrats to make sure their plan is heard. It's likely that the Democrats one or both chambers of Congress in November. You can be sure that the Republicans will be pounding the theme that the Democrats have no plan other than cut and run and tax and spend. They'll also be claiming that if the Democrats gain a majority in Congress, they'll try to impeach Bush. This is a bad thing?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Send this to everybody you know!

I just got one of those forwarded emails claiming that I should forward it to everybody in my address book. It was a dire warning about a virus that has been discovered but so far a fix hasn't been found. It didn't pass the smell test so I looked it up and it turned out to be a hoax. The bottom line is this. People use fear so sell things and that includes politicians. I've made peace with my computer a long time ago. The home computer is too new and the software hasn't been perfected. Maybe we'll be around long enough to see this happen, I don't know. But until then, I'm not going to let the troublemakers ruin it for me. I still compare all of this to the early days of color TV. People were constantly fidgeting with the controls. Images had green lines around them, people had purple faces, you had to adjust the color and fine tuning every time you changed a channel. People who had the money called the TV man in to degauss the picture (as if that did anything other than make the TV man richer). The vertical control would have to be adjusted or the picture would start rolling. Now the TVs don't even have fine tuning controls or vertical or horizontal controls. You just plug it in and turn it on. It even finds the channels for you. For $250 you can go to Walmart and buy a Sanyo 32" TV that will blow away anything costing thousands of dollars in the old days. And you don't even need the TV man because it'll last for 20 years and then you throw it out. I think computers will get to the point where they won't need constant tweaking, monitoring, and protecting. Maybe if we're lucky we'll get to see the day when we can walk into Walmart and buy a high powered computer for $200 that will be safe from viruses, but until then, you need to make peace with the unit because the people who make money from selling fear are the ones who win by preventing you from getting any enjoyment from the technology.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Daring act that saved so many

By Kevin Cavanagh
The Hamilton Spectator

"Knowledge really is power. It changes the course of history, saves lives, provides the tools that should enable us to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

Rudolph Vrba, who died last week in British Columbia at age 82, knew all of this as well as anyone ever did.

When he was 20 years old, Vrba staged an ingenious escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp. His flight was the ultimate transfer of knowledge, resulting in many potential victims being alerted to the mass slaughter being carried out by the Nazis.

Vrba's revelations caused international outcry in the final months of the Second World War. Because his inside knowledge got to the outside world, thousands of families avoided being rounded up and herded into gas chambers. It's estimated that Vrba's information saved the lives of 100,000 Hungarian Jews who would otherwise have become more genocide victims.

Generations are alive today because of that turn of fate. How many discoveries, contributions and achievements would not have happened in the past 62 years if Vrba's knowledge of the Holocaust had never got past the barbed wire?

Sharing and procreating knowledge would continue to define Vrba's life. Besides going on to teach medical students at the University of British Columbia, he continued to speak about his Holocaust knowledge. He provided decisive testimony against such defendants as Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. And he published the book, I Cannot Forgive, a volume of his recollections of Auschwitz.

Knowledge was the man, but knowledge without living memory loses some of its potency, and Vrba's inevitable passing sadly weakens a connection to our past. In this particular instance we lose first-hand experience about a terrifying dimension of human nature.

Vrba's was a unique voice among the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors who directly link us to a haunting chunk of history that helped shape the values of today's Canada, and the geopolitical path that the entire world has taken into the 21st century.

We are in no danger of forgetting our past. Archives and chronicles, books and other media mean we have no excuse for slipping into a pool of ignorance.

But those who do are much the poorer for it."

The Hammer needs a crowbar

Tom Delay quit because he knows he can't get re-elected. Of course, that won't be the reason he'll give for quitting. Whenever a politician gets caught doing nasty things, shape our opinions of them. Instead of acknowlegeing that he may have done something wrong, he takes a swipe at them there Librul Democrats who are trying to take advantage of his predicament. Maybe the Librul Democrats put those illegal campaign contributions in his hands too? Delay is innocent until proven guilty, but there are a lot of guilty people around him getting ready to talk to save their own skins. Delay will be praised for putting his party ahead of his personal gain, but he was becoming a huge liability to the Republicans and if it wasn't obvious to him, his party probably made him realize that he couldn't win. Tom Delay will do well. He'll end up writing books, giving speeches on the importance of Jay-sus in government. He'll probably be a TV analyst for Fox. He went from being an exterminator in Sugarland Texas to the top of the game. He used the system to his advantage. And about the Texas congressional redistricting that he engineered? John Lennon was right.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How Not To Run a School

It's interesting to see that Lafayette High School in Brooklyn is still a cesspool of troublemakers and misfits. You'd think that after 3 decades they'd find a way to improve the environment. It's not surprising that parents who make meager wages, work three jobs in order to move to the suburbs and keep their kids out of schools like this.

Anupam Chander: Asian Youths Suffer Harassment in Schools:

Associated Press piece, without byline, published in NY Times:

Eighteen-year-old Chen Tsu was waiting on a Brooklyn subway platform after school when four high school classmates approached him and demanded cash. He showed them his empty pockets, but they attacked him anyway, taking turns pummeling his face.

He was scared and injured -- bruised and swollen for several days -- but hardly surprised.

At his school, Lafayette High in Brooklyn, Chinese immigrant students like him are harassed and bullied so routinely that school officials in June agreed to a Department of Justice consent decree to curb alleged ''severe and pervasive harassment directed at Asian-American students by their classmates.'' Since then, the Justice Department credits Lafayette officials with addressing the problem -- but the case is far from isolated.

Nationwide, Asian students say they're often beaten, threatened and called ethnic slurs by other young people, and school safety data suggest that the problem may be worsening. Youth advocates say these Asian teens, stereotyped as high-achieving students who rarely fight back, have for years borne the brunt of ethnic tension as Asian communities expand and neighborhoods become more racially diverse.