Monday, June 21, 2010

Cody Gifford Reviewing Movies For 'Today' Show

Another example of the Nepotism Networks. I find it a bit upsetting with all the hard-working, highly skilled, yet still unemployed journalists out there, that networks continue to create a chattering class system and employ inexperienced sons and daughters and skip them to the front of the line. We have already created our own caste where politics is ruled by a set group of families, are the airwaves to be the same? You know, conservatives talk about how they don't want the US to look like Latin America because of bottom up immigration, but in reality, if the US is going to go the way of a "banana republic" (to use a term of the right), it will most likely do so in a top-down fashion where a small group of families run everything, and everyone else just works for them.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5 Reasons Why This Boricua From The Bronx Actually Enjoys The World Cup.

There is no reason for me to be enthusiastic about the World Cup. I'm not a sports geek (I was officially the last kid to be picked for grade school kick ball events), and If I can relate to any sport, it would be baseball, for both it's high percentage of Puerto Rican players, and my being raised in the vicinity of (the old) Yankee Stadium. As far as world tournaments go, the WBC is the one I follow and can speak to the best. For most US Citizens, Soccer is so far removed from their identity that we made up a completely different name for it than the rest of the world.

But the World Cup is undeniably fun. You don't really need to know the players, just root for the your favorite country. Unlike some of the stat snobs who won't look at you unless you have memorized the career ERAs and batting averages of every team in the MLB, you don't have to minor in accounting to have a decent conversation about the game.

The People at LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) Asked me to share my views on this tournament. So, for a light hearted change from my usual posts, here are 5 Reasons why I Like the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, AKA La Copa Mundial. Feel free to enjoy and/or comment.

1 - The Colors
My sincerest apologies to the colorblind, because they are missing out at some serious visual stimulation. It's amazing to see how many different ways people can wear the colors of their country's flags, from face and body paint, to wigs, to all types of barely appropriate attire. Only at the annual Puerto Rican day parade in NYC can I see the same type of creativity in mixing national pride and practical (or not so practical) garments.

2 - The Fans
Which brings me to my next point. While I am not big fan of soccer or La Mundial, I love watching those who are. They scream. They laugh, they cry. I mean, literally, they cry. You don't see crying at the end of games like this outside the neighborhood pee wee league. Some get so distraught, you'd think a bookie was waiting for them outside the stadium. The emotional connection to the game is something we as Americans experience very rarely, and only under limited, historic situations, or during Hollywood movies.

3 - The Simplicity
Unlike football's special teams, or baseball's fielding protocols, the soccer novice can pick up on the game as easy as they can say "GOL!" That's great to know because with all the different languages spoken on the field, having to call out plays or use complicated gesturing for game strategy can cause embarrassing or potentially violent misunderstandings.

4 - The Latinos are GOOD!
Unlike the Olympics, where the games are dominated by the global superpowers of China, US, Russia, etc, the Mundial is all about the scrappy, "3rd world" teams with a lot of heart and leg muscle. Sure, the Beckhams and Ronaldos of the world are uber rich superstars, but it's great to see a team from Honduras or Cameroon get into it with the French or the Germans and have a decent chance of winning. On a personal note it's great to see Latin America dominate in representation at a global tournament such as this. I mean, do you remember any athlete from Latin American even placing during the Winter Games?

5 - Shakira
I'm sorry. I meant to write the entertainment. La Mundial is known for making global hits out of their theme song music, because music is as much a part of the game as the balls and cleats. Ricky Martin's The Cup of Life is still heard at every wedding and karaoke bar I've ever been to (mostly because I request it), and Shakira's Waka Waka (Esto es Africa/This Time for
song may also stand the test of time. So much so, Univision has made it their official summer theme music, and are playing her video is movie theaters nationwide. Shakira will be everywhere. Think I'm joking? Sorry, these hips don't lie.

So while the rest of the Mundial-crazed world is not working, we American's have an opportunity to join in the fun by picking a team (perhaps our own?) and catching the games on TV or online (rare plug for Univision here - they have the best stream at or at least set up that DVR to catch the games at home. Mundial fever is catching on, and I am feeling a little hot!

"Waka Waka," baby!

Rand Paul Not Board Certified: Kentucky Senate Hopeful Faces Challenge From Medical Panel

I'm actually glad Rand Paul is up and about, shining a light on the real views of the anti-government Tea Party and their enablers.

It is so clear that what these people want is a government so weak that a person can make money doing gosh knows what to gosh knows who, and have very little repercussions in doing so. Who needs regulation? The free market of supply and demand will fix everything! Right, BP? Right, Bernie Madoff? Right, Dr. Conrad Murray?

Oh but wait, we didn't mean the common man, we only mean the free market for the already rich classes who can best take advantage of the system. Everyone else needs to wait their turn and fight over the crumbs left on the table. Know your place, peasants! You will work to death to make me rich, and enjoy it! Long live the Tea Party/GOP!

Jeebus Save Us.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Deportation Nightmare: Eduardo Caraballo, US Citizen Born In Puerto Rico, Detained As Illegal Immigrant

I remember saying to a friend recently - "This whole anti-immigrant era will blow up as soon as they try to deport a Puerto Rican to some Latin American country."

By trying to deport a Puerto Rican, who are all natural born citizens of the US and have been for almost 100 years, we expose the incredible flaws of the immigration system, and provide concrete evidence that these laws encourage profiling, intimidation and discrimination.

The only thing this gentleman had in common with an illegal immigrant was his brown skin and Spanish sounding name. That he even be suspected for being illegal is to admit profiling, that he be detained after providing legitimate "papers" is an obscene violation of civil liberties.

This flies in the face of those stubbornly naive or purposefully negligent arguments that enforcement-only policies only target the undocumented, and the rest of us should have nothing to fear. He WAS 3 DAYS INCARCERATED. Even 10 minutes is too long for any citizen, especially after producing evidence of citizenship. His "papers" were questioned because of his suspected ethnic makeup. A non-hispanic would not have been subject to the same scrutiny of verification. Luckily he had the foresight to call his congressman, but what of others who don't?

Every American should be appalled. This is a shame. A shame on those who pretend to defend freedom but allow a system to strip away the civil liberties of fellow citizens.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fingering Illegal Immigrants for Black Jobless Crisis

You have a lot of valid points here. We agree that this country's immigration system needs to be reformed. We also agree that in the current system, some employers exploit people's status to pay them below fair wages, and force them to work under conditions that a citizen would not tolerate. What we must do is work together to ensure that all companies, regardless of who they employ, are following labor and wage laws. This should provide a level playing field for all people who want to work to compete in a fair, capitalist system.

I also agree that people, of all colors and ethnicities, should not tolerate discrimination in the workplace. Sometimes discrimination is not intentional, but can be a complete LACK of awareness as to the realities surrounding them. I once directly challenged a boss of mine as to why there were no African Americans working in our department. I doubt that my boss was actively excluding any one from working, but they were not taking an proactive role in looking for representative talent. It's that kind of awareness and courage to challenge decision makers that can help all of us.

We must guard against scapegoating each other for the lack of opportunity in the workplace. The Right would like nothing more than for Blacks and Latinos to be at each other's throats on this issue, and have us fight each other over the crumbs left on the table while they run away with the whole pie.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Somebody Close the Door: Reactions to Arizona Immigration Law Misses the Big Picture

Mr. Jones,

I respect your experience and opinion, your arguments here is flimsy and quite short sighted. Due to word constraint I will address only a few here:

1 - No one is pro-illegal immigration. That label was created xenophobes to demean those asking for comprehensive immigration reform. I am disappointed that you would adopt that terminology.

2 - There is growing evidence that origins of this law come from the white power and eugenics movements. See the following breakdown:

I hope no person, of any color, would support a law that comes from such a place.

3 - Criminalizing and pushing people deeper into the shadows empowers the real criminals, including smugglers, kidnappers and gang members, who can now victimize with little chance of justice. New Yorkers remember the difficulties of fighting crime when the communities did not trust law enforcement. It will also escalate misdemeanors. A traffic violator facing deportation can quickly become a fight or flight risk, putting cops and bystanders in unnecessary danger.

4 -Mexico has a responsibilities to its citizens, but Mexico represents the limited, weak government that American right wingers crave, with few social programs and an inability to collect taxes. How can they then expect Mexico's government to do anything?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unarmed, and Unafraid

With apologies to "The Matrix" this is what came into my head when I started seeing all the hysteria coming out of the right after they lost the battle over health care reform. Their threats of violence and mob mentality are meant to intimidate progressives. Knowing now that the current administration and congress can actually get an agenda passed despite road blocks and delay tactics, the far right are now left to show their true selves.

Being a big Matrix fan, I immediately went to the speech by the character "Morpheus" who spoke to his people ahead of a major battle with the machines who were coming to invade their home: Below is the video of the speech:

I've re-written it to make it more relevant to what's going on now...

"(Progressives) hear me! It is true what many of you have heard. The (right wing) have gathered an army (of Teabaggers) and as I speak that army is drawing nearer to our home.

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us but if we are to be prepared for it we must first shed our fear of it.

I stand here before you now truthfully unafraid!

Because I believe something you do not?

I stand here without fear because I remember.

I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me.. but because of the path that lies behind me!

I remember that for one hundred years we have fought these (right wingers)!

I remember that for one-hundred years they have sent their (mobs) to destroy us and after a century of (struggling for civil and human rights), I remember that which matters most! We are still here!

Tonight let us send a message to those (Teabaggers)! Let us shake this cave! Tonight let us tremble these walls of earth, steel and stone! Let us be heard from red core to black sky!

Tonight let us make them remember this is (America), and we are not afraid!
America is not afraid of the right or the Teabag mob because history tells us progress is continual and inevitable. The end to slavery, the suffrage movements, civil rights, medicare - all the major movements toward political, economic or health equality have been met with strong opposition and threats, if not acts of violence. These movements are now part of what makes this country great.

And while the right brandish their guns, throw bricks, send threatening faxes and try to intimidate us into compliance with the status quo, they show how deep they have swallowed the lies and misinformation of those in power, who are using them to defend their interests.

There will be no similar reaction from progressives. We shall remain unarmed, and unafraid. And we will keep working for change. Health care reform, immigration reform, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell, financial reform, and environmental protection. Because that is what a government of the people, for the people does. And it is why the majority of Americans voted for the current president and gave him majorities in both houses. This is democracy in action.

As for those who would try to stop progress through violence or threats of violence, I leave with the following Chinese proverb:

"He who strikes the first blow admits he's lost the argument."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mainstream Media Turns Blind Eye as Reporter Survives Assasination Attempt and Another Dies

2010-03-05-hondurascabrera.latribuna.jpgTwo nights ago, Mega News Nocturno, Spanish language Mega TV's nightly newscast, (where I fully disclose my wife works), reported a shocking story that stopped me in my tracks. On Monday, March 1st, Honduran reporter Karol Cabrera, host of various TV and radio news and commentary programs, was shot at close range numerous times by assassins who succeeded in murdering her driving companion and fellow journalist Joseph Ochoa. Amazingly, the whole event was recorded because Cabrera had been calling into a live radio show at the time.

The audio is bone chilling as the sounds of over 30 gunshots are heard while Cabrera's gasps and pleas for help are broadcast for all to hear.

According to reports, Ms. Cabrera had been claiming for some time to be the victim of numerous threats because of her comments against the leftist ex-president Manuel Zelaya who was forcefully removed from office in 2009. She is a supporter of Roberto Micheletti, the former national council president who was given control after the coup. On December 15th of 2009, Ms. Cabrera's 16 yr old pregnant daughter was murdered on the very same street the reporter was shot. Luckily, the unborn child survived.

What's even more incredible is that this type of violence against journalists has become all too common in Honduras. Reporters without Borders states that three journalists were murdered in 2009, and two others were kidnapped and tortured just this January after an arson attack on a community radio station.

Hearing this story, I quickly turned to the other networks to see their angle. I was deeply disappointed by the the complete lack of coverage of this tragic story in any of the American mainstream media channels.

Reporter's deaths are usually big news, and as we saw with the deaths of Daniel Pearl and David Bloom who were both killed in war zones, the media takes special care to tell stories of their fellow fallen.

So why didn't the attempted assassination of a reporter, captured in graphic detail, with a back story of murder and harassment not even make the international sections? Searching for "Karol Cabrera" on the web pages of The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, Foxnews, and The Huffington Post returned no articles written by staff or the Associated Press. Regardless of Ms. Cabrera's political stance, the attempted silencing of her voice by violent means is unconscionable, and it is equally reprehensible that the American main stream media seems uninterested.

Filling the information gap has been American Spanish language and Latino media. See below as the anchor Fernando Del Rincon interviews the reporter via phone as she recovers in the hospital just two days after the shooting. Here she states that she will have to flee the country to save her life. You can also hear the recorded audio of the assassination attempt:

MegaNews Nocturno 03.03.2010 Seg 1

Mega TV | MySpace Music Videos

While Journalism advocacy sites like Reporters without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists have written about this incident, it is not enough. Main stream media needs to step up to the plate and expose these injustices. When journalists of any country are murdered or harassed into silence, it is a threat to freedom and democracy everywhere.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hiram Monserrate's Expulsion Upheld By Judge

He's a disgrace to more than just his constituents. When d-bags like Monseratte try pulling the "man of the people" crap and parade poor clueless individuals he shames his district, his city, and perhaps most tragic, he shames positive Latinos who are trying to do well by the comunity. He is of the same school as these machista cowards who think that their public face is all that matters, and forget what attrocities he's committing to his family behind closed doors. In the quest for power, they resort to violence at the first sign of a real challenge, and if that challenge comes from "his" family, even worse the reaction. Latinos should NOT defend this piece of garbage. Kick him out and keep our politicians honest. It's time for a new model for Latino Masculinity. The time of defending this bull in the name of "culture" is over.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, February 1, 2010

Obama Takes GOP to School

I love this video. It shines a bright light on the ridiculousness that has been coming from the GOP over the last year. A room full of republicans try their best to get out their talking points and "act tough" with the President, and Obama, in true law professor form - takes his class to task.

The butt-kicking was clear and complete. Comments on the events included one person who wrote "What do you call 178 Republicans debating 1 Barack Obama? Answer: A Fair fight." SNL's 'Weekend Update' said it best: "That's like saying 'Let's see how tough Aquaman is when we get him in the water'..."

Here's the actual Q&A session - everyone needs to see this:

Here's Seth Meyers on SNL commenting:

If you ever thought Obama may be a bit out of touch now that he is in the ivory tower of The White House, or that he may be a little rusty, this removes all doubt (including mine.) Bravo Mr. President. Bravo. We need to see more of this, sir. Please.

Friday, January 29, 2010

GDP, Economic Growth is just Noise on Fox

I thought I’d point out the stark difference in headlines regarding today’s news about GDP growth.

Most people would agree that economic statistics are not a complete reflection of the economy, especially because most are lagging indicators. However, they are the best window into how we are doing as a country, and in general, data is data, and should be absent of political spin.

So when there is good news, like GDP growth, it would seem logical that most news organization would highlight that information for what it is, a data point that the economy might be coming from it’s lows.

But, knowing that Fox noise is not a real news organization, I wanted to see how their headline on their front page would differ than say, the rest of the reputable news media world. Here is what I found:

MSNBC Economy soars at fastest rate in six years
CNN Economy growing again
ABCNews Coming Back? Economy Grows at 5.7% Pace
NYTimes U.S. Economy Grew at Fastest Pace in 6 Years Last Quarter
NPR Economy Grows At Fastest Pace In 6 Years
WSJ U.S. GDP Expands At 5.7% Rate

Finally, I painfully typed the URL for Fox’s front page…

FoxNews Economy Grows, But...

What’s so stark about the headlines is the fact that Fox refused to let the data speak for itself, and felt the need to editorially put a cloud over the headline. One can only assume the reason was to take away whatever positive effect this seemingly a-political data might have on the administration – after all, if the economy was showing signs of recovery, wouldn’t that mean that the stimulus bill, and the decision to continue the bailouts was actually working? God forbid Fox would give the current administration that type of even factual acknowledgement, even in a headline.

It’s like Fox news is the head cheerleader who hates the new girl, and despite the team winning the state qualifying competition, decides to put a gloom over the whole win by criticizing the new girl’s ponytail. “Nice ‘Bow and Arrow’ sweetie, but your hair was like, totally off center.”

If the analogy seems a bit juvenile, it’s meant to. The regular pettiness and purposeful misinformation that comes out of the Fox noise channel and web site is completely childish on a normal basis, and down right bitchy on others, on par with feuding “mean girls” spreading false rumors and planning diabolical schemes simply to gain popularity over each other. Take Fox’s coverage of the Scott Brown win – Jon Stuart of The Daily Show best described the childish giddiness by which they covered that event:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News Covers Scott Brown's Victory
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

I know this is an exercise in the obvious, but I think it’s important we continuously document and expose Fox Noise for what it is – not a real news network.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reading the Pictures: <i>Stop Anderson, CNN. Just STOP.</i>

Mr. Shaw: While I understand your reasoning, I disagree that CNN & Anderson Cooper are simply exploiting the Haitian people. I've been watching CNN and other networks and how they cover this tragedy and I believe CNN is doing a decent job of documenting the realities of this event. American media typically sanitize pictures and block gory images of death, unlike much of the international press. This gives Americans a false sense of what is going on, and the true pain of the people. I encourage CNN and the other networks to show more of the devastation and suffering, so that the world cannot ignore what's happening. When you can't see the truth, it's easier to think it's not real, or overstated, and therefore easier to do nothing. Only showing the truth through honest imagery will compel people to help. Sometimes that means showing images that makes people uncomfortable. That is a good thing. The world is a dark, painful place. To ignore this is to live in a cocoon of ones own ignorance. My hearts and prayers are with the Haitian people, and more importantly, I will be adding whatever I can to help with aid. In the end, it's not about CNN, Anderson Cooper, or even you, Mr. Shaw. It's about what moves the people to act.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost