Monthly Archives: October 2006

Compassion for a young family

Last night, a group of local bloggers had an opportunity to meet Claudia Nunez. Her story has been reported, and quite well, by P.J. Tobia of the Nashville Scene, and by Amy Vitteri of Channel 2 news. In our fast-paced world, a story like this passes us by and rarely leaves a lasting impression. However, when reasonable people come face to face with the realities of a broken system, when the tragedy is not abstract, but flesh and blood, and seated three feet away, it tends to linger in your mind much longer. Sometimes, it compels people to take action. A couple of the bloggers have initiated an online petition, while others will hand-carry the same petition around to garner support for this young, scared family. Mrs. Nunez’ attorney and myself will launch the paper petition at the TIRRC Annual Convention this Saturday. We will have a booth set-up, so please come by and offer support to Mrs. Nunez if you attend the meeting. I will link to the online petition when it goes live, but here I think is the final draft:

To District Director Stella Jarina,
We the undersigned are petitioning you so that you might take into consideration the case of Claudia Nunez. Mrs. Nunez is a mother of two, and wife to an immigrant here legally. Five years ago Claudia came to the United States on a visitation Visa from El Salvador. Since that time, the situation in El Salvador has become increasingly dangerous for returning Immigrants. According to some accounts The Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), which formed in America, and has since spread to El Salvador, have been accused of beating, raping, and in some case murdering immigrants who have been deported from the United States back into El Salvador. Because of the potential threat to Mrs. Nunez, and also because Mrs. Nunez has no support structure to return to in El Salvador, we request that the case of Claudia Nunez be administratively closed until such time that the either the situation in El Salvador improves, or that she has the ability to petition the US Government for legal immigration status.
Claudia Nunez is not a violent criminal, she is simply a mother who is trying to raise her daughters and live in peace. Claudia was arrested on a minor traffic violation, driving without a license, and because she tried to do the right thing and appear in court, she is now faced with deportation. We the undersigned simply ask that you take into consideration the extraordinary circumstances surrounding her case, and decide to focus on more dangerous illegal immigrants currently going through the system. Please allow Mrs. Nunez’s daughters, who are American Citizens, to grow up with their mother in this their birth country.

UPDATE! PLEASE GO SIGN THE PETITION HERE!

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A Sleeping Giant? Maybe…

According to this article, the immigration issue is galvanizing voters, but probably not the voters the GOP had in mind. Seems the tone of last summer’s debate left a sour taste in many Latino mouths. The article focuses on the races in Colorado, where, apparently, there is a large percentage of Latino voters. I have held the belief that the GOP has, in it’s efforts to cling to power by foisting this issue on the American public before they thought it completely through, lost most if not all the progress they made in appealing to Latino citizens. By allowing a long list of ignorant would-be candidates to regurgitate whatever talking points they heard from Talk Radio, they have made the Latino community distrustful of their Party, and their intentions. Not once have I heard a member of the Republican Party denounce hateful talk jocks when they made untruthful and dangerous claims. Not a peep while they likened hard working immigrant families to terrorists. No outrage when some said the immigrants would bring on the next plague. The GOP’s focus has been strictly punitive in nature, with no compromise that might allow residents here to at least claim some “legal” status while we sort through this very complicated issue. I believe that one day, sooner than later, they will see the inherent cruelty of advancing a political agenda on the backs of those least able to fight back.

H/T to Orah Bilmes

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Never Been Kissed

I am fortunate to know one of the organizers of this event, to be held at the Frist on Saturday night. Bob Degraw is truly one of the nicest people I have ever met, and he has first hand experience with this physical affliction, commonly called cleft lip. Cleft lip and cleft palate comprise the most common birth defect in the United States. One of every 600 newborns is affected by cleft lip and/or cleft palate.

I know it’s steep, but if you are financially able, and available on Saturday, please consider coming out in support of this important cause. Besides helping out, you’ll get to see an Honest-to-God supermodel, some beautiful designer rags, (remember, Edith Head gave great gown) and I think one of my favorite people in Nashville will perform, Ms. Suzanna Spring. How can you go wrong? I’ll be there, manning the ticket area, but be advised I cannot be bribed. I’m pretty sure I can’t be bribed…

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Educate, Advocate, Celebrate


After a day stuck in the bowels of the Mecklenburg County jail, (ok, truth be told, the facility did actually have a sterile office type ambience with nary a whiff of bowel) I was lucky enough to make contact with the Director and Asst. Director of the Latin American Coalition. I have been in my share of non-profit offices, and this one was impressive not only because of it’s recent “decor makeover”, which was lovely, but because of the talent and attitude of the staff. It was already well past close of business when I wandered in, but they were all extremely helpful and quite cheerful for that hour. I sat down with both Angeles Ortega (bottom) and Jess George (top). Both struck me as incredibly bright, engaged and committed. Apparently, that afternoon, they received notification that a grant application they had submitted was approved, so there would now be some funding for a program they had already started. It was cool to see how excited they were, and I shared in their excitement after I looked at the impressive range of services they provide to the Charlotte area immigrant community. I was shocked to learn that their organization serves more than 12,000 families each year, through their education and advocacy programs. A partial list: Job banks, Tutorial programs, Small Business Development, First-time Home Buyer, Spanish AND English classes, Notary, translation, tax filings, consumer rights, and labor rights. Talk to any of the staff for about one minute, and it’s easy to see that each of them truly loves what they do, and seeks to serve the community first and foremost. I guess I just felt that I had to call attention to this group of people, because in my humble opinion, they truly “walk the walk”. It was nice to meet you guys!

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I Go To Jail

Miguel Ortiz* sold ice cream from a push-cart in downtown Charlotte to earn money for his family. A couple of local thugs assaulted him in broad daylight, so he called the police to report it. At some point, the responding officer decided to question Miguel about his citizenship, and, upon learning that he lacked the proper documentation, arrested him. He is now scheduled for deportation.

Elaine Villa* got into a yelling match with a neighbor over a fight between their children. This took place in her front yard, and the neighbor notified police that she had been “threatened” by Mrs. Villa, who was subsequently arrested, and is awaiting deportation.

Both Mr. Ortiz and Mrs. Villa had no prior criminal record. In fact, this was the first encounter with the police of any kind. Unfortunately for them, the city they lived in is the model city for a new program, administered and in part staffed by I.C.E. agents, that screens any foreign born person for immigration violations, once they enter the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, N.C. It works like this: When a person reaches the jail, a form is filled out, and the first two questions they ask “everybody” are “of what country are you a citizen?” and “Where were you born?” If either answer given is something other than the United States, the person is automatically fingerprinted and run through the I.A.F.I.S. (Integrated, Automated, Fingerprint Identification System) which is linked to I.C.E.’s database, housed in Vermont. If the person has an immigration violation, or any prior criminal history, that person is held until deported, usually without opportunity to post bond. However, if no information turns up on the search, the Sheriff’s Dept has a team of 12 officers, trained by I.C.E., which will interview the person and determine whether to hold them for deportation, or, issue them an NTA (Notice To Appear) to the immigration office in ATLANTA, GEORGIA. (More on that later) So far, so good, right? Well, my next question seemed appropriate enough. “What happens if they don’t indicate something other than the U.S.?” The man that answered my question, Sergeant Quinn Stansell, is one of two team leaders in charge of this unit. He replied, “If something seems out of place, like, if the person speaks a language other than English, we have the discretion to run them through this process anyway.” Really. Apparently, speaking any language other than English is probable cause to believe you may have committed an immigration violation, and subjects you to this dehumanizing process. Let me say up front that Sgt. Stansell, and his staff, were very professional and well informed. He seemed to genuinely feel that this program was making Charlotte, well, Mecklenburg County a safer place. The reason I make this distinction is that if Mr. Ortiz or Mrs. Villa had entered any other county jail in the country, they would both be home with their families today. That’s because no other county anywhere has this program, though the Davidson County Sheriff has applied to the Federal Government to bring this program here to Nashville. This is the point where I alert you to the presence of the elephant in the room. If this program’s intent is to “weed out” the worst offenders in our communities, doesn’t it seem logical that those that we really want gone will simply stop operating in Davidson or, in this case, in Mecklenburg County? I asked that question to Sgt Stansell. “Well, the Sheriff was elected to protect the people of Mecklenburg County, and this program will help us do just that.” As I said, I really feel that he believes it. I liked him, he was courteous, accommodating, and completely transparent, and gave me unfettered access to his staff and the facility. But I have to wonder why the obvious flaw has escaped him. The smaller neighboring counties that do not have the manpower or resources to implement this program will simply absorb the worst of the lot, and here in the Davidson County area we may very well rid ourselves of people like Mr. Ortiz or Mrs. Villa, while Sumner, or Robertson County deal with the inevitable migration of drug dealers, murderers, robbers and the like. Of course, there are many other problems associated with this program, the lack of due process is perhaps the most alarming, and I hope to further cover this early next week. Stay tuned.

* To protect their privacy, I have not used their real names.

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Road Trip

I’ll have much more about my trip to Charlotte. N.C. soon, but I haven’t posted because I have been, well, in Charlotte. Anyway, it’s approx 420 miles, up thru Knoxville, over to Asheville, on 40, then down Hwy 26 into and thru the tip of South Carolina, then 85 on into Charlotte. The day I left it was rainy as hell in Nashville, and I was wasn’t looking forward to the messy drive. Luckily, I think I outran the rain, because after I passed Knoxville, I was treated to some beautiful Fall foliage. In earlier days, I would have been quite content to crank up some tunes, enjoy the leaves, and take a leisurely drive through the mountains. However, as I get older, I find that I have lost all patience with semi trucks, tractor-trailers, whatever they are called. There are way too many of them. Long lines of huge trucks, seemingly caravaning up and down both sides of that mountain. Fast. In fact, if is practically impossible to drive the posted speed limit without being literally goosed out of the way, often when there is no “out of the way” to be had. Lately I have been doing alot of driving, all over the country, and I swear I think the entire highway infrastructure is being repaired simultaneously. I sometimes wish I had invested into whatever company manufactures orange barrels. So, I feel my grip on the wheel getting tighter by the minute, and I am quite ill by the time I finally roll into Charlotte. I got there right at rush hour, and had no room reserved, and I was tired, hungry, and numb-assed. I saw a promising part of town, so I exited the freeway and eased into a chain hotel parking lot. As I got out of my car, I spotted this man, a bell hop, or valet possibly, dancing around by the lobby doors. I don’t mean like “break-dancing”, I mean, gliding about as if he had a partner. One arm raised, as if holding a woman’s hand, the other seemingly affixed to his belt buckle, he swayed and dipped to imaginary music, or at least music only he could hear. I leaned back against my car, lit a smoke and just watched him for 10 or so minutes, and soon I was grinning from ear to ear, just like he was. Finally, I wandered over to him, and said, “today must be your Friday”. He asked me why I said that. I explained that people sometimes get a bit giddy when they know their work week is about to end, and I assumed he was looking forward to something special on his day off. He said, “no sir, it happens that I am 70 today, and just damn grateful to be alive.” He opened the door for me, and actually danced me inside and toward the front desk. I was caught a little off-guard, but really it didn’t make me uneasy for a moment. In fact, 420 miles of knuckle whitening road just fell away, and I was completely enjoying this man. He went back outside, and I commented to the clerk at the desk that his birthday was apparently a big deal to him. He told me, “nah, he is like that everyday, and everybody loves him.” Really?!! Every day? Yup, he said, he is constantly in a good mood, and is anxious to be as helpful as possible. I went on to tell the clerk that the old guy had made my day, and I was happy that I decided to stop there. He seemed genuinely appreciative that I told him so. Then I used their restroom, got back in my ride, and drove over to the Econolodge.

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A reader responds…

That sounds a tad pretentious, huh? Like I have a readership. I mean, outside of the hardcore dozen or so I badger to read my blog. Anyway, I recieved a thoughtful email from one person who happened across the Coyote Chronicles, and I decided to post it. I am finding out that some folks are relunctant to leave a comment on a subject, perhaps because by the time they have determined their feelings about a given subject, it may no longer be topical. That is actually one reason I stopped going to certain blogs, the authors would put up 8-10 posts a day, and there wasn’t time to digest what I read, much less respond with anything other than a “Ditto!” All that said, this is what I recieved, and I’d like to thank “Woody” for taking the time to email me.

Never accused of being a fast thinker, I have been mulling over and digesting what you wrote last week, I have finally come to this conclusion. The emotion you should be feeling (as if you have a choice) is sadness, not anger.

In the world today we have an Iraq war that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocent people, over 2,700 deaths of brave American young men and women, we have genocide in the Sudan, we have N. Korea developing nuclear weapons and an administration refusing to negotiate, violation of civil liberties at home, a Congress that has paralyzed itself by it’s inability to get along with each other and by selling out to Religious Fundamentalism and I could go on and on.

So change needs to happen and it need to happen now. Am I angry that change will probably occur because of a sex scandal? No. I am sad.

To millions of Americans the Foley issue is more important than the issues I have raised earlier. Life for Americans has become so complicated and varied that few people have the time or the energy to think of anything else, except taking care of their own. We have a society that pits us against ourselves. One example is, we are living longer thanks to chemistry and advancement in medical technology so we are all worried about our retirement, so we have 401-ks from our jobs, if the stock market goes up,

we have more money for retirement, if the stock market goes down we have nothing because social security will not be there for us. So what makes the stock go up? Profits. What makes corporate profits? Low costs. What is the best way to keep costs down? Low wages, outsourcing and cutting benefits like health care. So by investing in corporations to secure our futures we are betting against ourselves as workers. It is bewildering.

So we need a change. It is sad that it takes something like the Foley affair to motivate people to make that change. Now if not even that convinces people that a change is needed, then I will be furious and livid.

(emphasis mine)

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A Nation of laws?

A writ of Habeus Corpus has been granted by Tyler Gill, 7th Judicial Circuit Judge, ending the indefinite incarceration of 17 people ordered held by Carol Sue Browning, a Todd/Logan County District Court Judge. These 17 people committed various infractions, all misdemeanors, in fact, most had committed traffic violations. The District Court judge then had them jailed, and attempted to initiate deportation proceedings from her bench. The Writ states, in part:

The Court finds that the detentions were illegal and in violation of the Kentucky and U.S. Constitutions, and,
1. It is illegal to hold a prisoner without bond.
2. It is illegal to hold a person not convicted of a crime indefinitely under any circumstances.
3. The detentions were illegal because the District Court denied counsel to the prisoners.
4. The initiation of deportation action against the detainees violated the constitutional doctrine of seperation of powers.

And the money quote: “The fact that the detentions are illegal is not subject to reasonable debate. The initiation and ordering of these detentions by a court of law is especially baffling. In the cases before the court, the Rule Of Law has inexplicable been ignored or abandoned by the very institution entrusted to uphold it.” (emphasis mine)

I have to wonder how many of these “detainees” were sole breadwinners for their families, and jailed for something as minor as missing a stop sign? Thankfully, the 7th Circuit reins in a District Court judge before she can permanently disrupt more lives.

Hat tip: Freddy Peralta at KCCIR

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Illegals, witches invade Loganville

I’m guessing someone needs a job. Church secretary seems like a logical career move for this poor woman, beset as she is by witches and little brown people. The online edition of the Washington Post carried this story . Laura Mallory, a mother of four, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Tuesday that the popular fiction books are an “evil” attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion. I was blessed relatively late in life with children, so the Teletubbies, Barney, VeggieTales, and even SpongeBob have been a part of our household for years, even though all of these have at some time been targeted by some “Christian” kook or another. My daughter read Harry Potter two years ago, mainly because, as a “big” book, it carried mega-points for her Accelerated Reading Program, and she, like her mother, is a tad competitive. (Ok, I’m actually the competitive one.) Anyway, she read it, and then the entire series, and has yet to attempt to fly, or turn me into a newt. (Ok, maybe once…it got better) Oh, sure, we did have an uncomfortable conversation once as to why SpongeBob, an obvious hunk, lived alone in Bikini Bottom and only had male friends, but I think I dodged the issue by explaining to them that no self-respecting homosexual would dress like that. In addition, I have yet to catch my children rummaging through the crisper in search of a celery stalk that would talk to them. To my knowledge, the only thing my kids have ever read that made them uncomfortable was the Starr Report. When I came across this story, I wasn’t completely surprized at this brand of Betty Bowers Christianity. See, I’ve been to Loganville many times, because a good friend of mine owns a restaurant there. Take my word for it, that is the only reason I would go there, unless I happened to be on my way to Athens, Ga. When my friend opened his place, he had a small bar, mainly to help offset volitile food prices. More than a few Loganville “Christians” saw fit to wander by and explain that they would never frequent his place, because he served alcohol. So, instead, on Friday and Saturday they flock to Applebee’s and the Outback Steakhouse. Sigh. It wasn’t that long ago that the county tried to eliminate funding for Spanish language fiction at the lie-berry. It seems that the thought of undocumented workers enjoying a book enraged many area residents. In short, tis a silly place.
(I love it when I can reference Monty Python twice in a single post) More on this later, as I must go tend to a wart on my daughter’s nose…

Hat tip to Raul.

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Foley actually a Democrat?

If this hadn’t been aired during O’lielly’s show, I might have thought some young production assistant screwed up. Now, coupled with Kathrine Harris’s statements that implied it was the Democrats covering this up….well, it doesn’t take the C.S.I. team to solve this puzzle. Fox has stooped so low, shredded ANY credibility they may have had, any Democrat that doesn’t call them out is a fool. Hat tip to Music Row Democrats and TGW.

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