Archive for the 'ENTERTAINMENT' Category

Act Now to Stop the Obama Administration’s Racist 287G Immigration Policy

July 24, 2009

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Groups across the country are mobilizing to put pressure on Department
of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama to
end the devastation caused by the Obama Administration’s 287G program.

Denounced by l(some) police chiefs, several government officials and
many, many community groups, 287G is the program that allows local and
state law enforcement officials act as enforcers of federal
immigration law and provides the legal means for the racial profiling,
mass and arrests and other violations of the most basic civil and
human rights. The program enables the widespread and illegal practices
of notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Join the increasing numbers of Latinos, civil and immigrant rights
groups and others who are growing impatient about what they consider
the hypocrisy and duplicity of President Obama with regard to racial
profiling. In light of the massive amount of racial profiling taking
place under his recently expanded 287G program-a program Obama and
Napolitano recently expanded- many find lees-than-credible President
Obama’s statements concern about how the recent arrest Professor
Louis Gates reflects “a long history in this country of
African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement
disproportionately.”

The current target of what will be a series of actions to pressure the
Obama Administration is tonight’s appearance by Secretary Napolitano
on the Bill Maher show. Community groups are asking Maher to raise
racial profiling and other 287G issues during his interview

You can take several actions including:

Contact the Bill Maher Show on Facebook and ask them to raise the
issues with Napolitano- http://www.facebook.com/Maher?ref=t

And on twitter here: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23billmaher

Press release for the action (complete with lots of hyperlinks) is
here: http://jornaleronews.ndlon.org/?p=349

And those of you in Los Angeles can join the protest and press
conference at Bill Maher’s studio tonight (more information below_

For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Postings // Please Forward

Contact (Engish y Español): Loyda Alvarado, (323) 434- 8115
What: Press Conference, Rally, and Demonstration
Why: To Urge Bill Maher to Ask Secretary Napolitano about DHS
Racial Profiling Practices, 287(g), Joe Arpaio
Where: 7800 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (Near corner of Beverly
and Fairfax)
When: Friday, July 24, 2009
Time: 5:30 to 7 pm

(Los Angeles) Immigrant, civil, and labor rights advocates will hold
a rally and press conference outside the taping of Real Time with Bill
Maher on Friday at 5:30 pm. Protestors will urge Mr. Maher to ask
tough questions of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano about her
relationship with the notorious Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
Specifically, Secretary Napolitano should be asked why DHS has not
severed its contract with Arpaio (Napolitano’s hometown sheriff), and
why DHS opted last week to expand a failed experimental Bush
immigration enforcement policy that has demonstrably resulted in mass
racial profiling.

During his press conference yesterday, President Obama used very
strong language to denounce racial profiling practices by local
police. However, last week week, Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the expansion of the
widely-criticized 287(g) program, which outsources federal
immigration enforcement authority to local sheriffs. In recent
years, Joe Arpaio has become a symbol of the program’s failure, as his
use of 287g has resulted widespread allegations of racial profiling.
The Department of Justice recently launched a high-profile
investigation of Arpaio’s practices. Indeed, Sheriff Arpaio’s
relationship with neo-nazi’s has been noted by Phoenix Mayor Phil
Gordon; Arpaio himself has said it’s an honor to be called KKK; and he
has even posed for photos with high-profile neo-nazi’s. The New
York Times has published several editorials calling for the
termination of the 287(g) program in general and Arpaio’s contract in
particular. Those editorials are available here, here, here, and
most recently, here.

Salvador Reza, a community leader in Phoenix, issued the following
statement: “Secretary Napolitano has the legal authority and the
moral obligation to end Arpaio’s reign of terror in her hometown of
Phoenix. Instead, she is expanding the 287(g) program and intends to
make the country look like Maricopa County. We hope Bill Maher has
the courage to ask hard questions of Secretary Napolitano.”
###

Waaaaassup! Then & Now: Tragicomic TV Ad Adds Political Riff to Old Budweiser Ad (Funny)

October 24, 2008

For full effect, check out this “classic” Budweiser ad and and then the one that follows:

After taking a moment to wipe the halcyon from your mental screen as you reminisce about them Good Ole days when down-to-earth multinational corporations simply exploited popular culture for profit, check out this video from the age of supra-national corporations exploiting EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE for SUPERPROFITS:

And, if you cannot access via youtube you can go to huffpost here to find it.

The Saints Have Spoken: San Martin de Obama Will Win By a Divine Landslide

October 21, 2008

This just in from the Great Beyond: Barack Obama has been hiding secretly in the heart and soul of Latino, African and Afro-Latino América all along. This most recent Good News bodes badly for the purveyors of the media’s urban legend about Latino’s near-genetic predisposition not to vote for a black person ; Speaking of our spiritual and genetic DNA, the Good News also reminds us that Latinos, millions of whom have more than a few drops of black blood, have black skin, dance to African-infused music, eat African foods, etc. have, after all, only been praying to black saints for centuries. In my childhood house, San Martin and San Judas were, from earliest times, there protecting us in almost every room of the house – and now they’re protecting the house of our planet from destruction.

Look, yee unbelievers, look with your own faithless eyes, for it is so

Though it may provide but another weak weapon to the army of fear and hate that is the McCain-Palin progrom, this breaking news from on high also portends bad things for those who look into the Big Blue Eyes of Jesus before bashing immigrants, black people, gays & lesbianas, Latinas and a host of other infidels. In the minds of the Saints and Gods that guide us, the hateful among us have already been defeated. Unfortunately for that other rotting temple of false and falling idols, el Partido Democrata, the divine winds will also smash the statue of that other False God, San Obama de Corporate America, whose other manifestation sometimes takes the form of ex-Clinton Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin. You need only believe. For it is written in the book of Eleggua; You can hear it in the coming thunder of Shango; It is done. Aché to my good friend Carlos Cordova for giving us the Good News from the Gods.

Lovato to Appear on Bill Moyers Journal

October 16, 2008

We just got confirmation that I will be appearing on the Bill Moyers Journal Show this coming Friday at 9pm (check your local listings). I’ll be looking at a number of issues including the Latino vote, recent debates and other issues that will also be addressed by Fox Political commentator and former Reagan staffer, Linda Chavez.

Tune in and let us know what you think!

This week on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL (check local listings)

  • As the election nears and accusations of voter fraud run rampant from party to party, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL takes a close look at the charges and what you can do to protect your vote. Bill Moyers sits down with Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Media Ecology in the Department of Culture and Communication at NYU, who has been following voter fraud allegations in his blog News from the Underground.
  • It’s been a busy week for US politics. Bill Moyers sits down with chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and FOX NEWS political analyst Linda Chavez and NATION contributor and writer with New American Media Roberto Lovato to review the news of the week and talk about what’s missing from political conversation.
  • How will the middle class fare in this economic turmoil? Bill Moyers speaks with Michael Zweig, director of the Center for Working Class Life at SUNY Stony Brook.

On MOYERS ONLINE

Malkin Fingers True and Ultimate Foes Behind Our Economic Woes: Mexicans

September 26, 2008

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As right wing columnists like the ever-slimy MIchelle Malkin ooze out even more merde & desperation in their efforts to explain the root our economic crisis, my friends at the Sanctuary (specifically Sylvia at http://problemchylde.wordpress.com/) provide an alternative.

And, if their response doesn;t suffice (or even if it does), do check out this other explanation put together by our friends at the Onion News Network:

Of América’s Lovato Bashes Militarism on Meet the Bloggers

August 2, 2008

Please be charitable as you watch this clip from the very exciting show I’ve been asked to be a part of, Meet the Bloggers. Despite lighting that makes me look like a Miami Drug dealer wearing dapper summer duds, the clip does capture some of the alternative thinking you’ll find on this important new show from the folks at Brave New Films.

Race, Politics & the Deadly Rise of (Corporate) Media Sovereignty

July 27, 2008

Democracy Now!https://i0.wp.com/annenberg.usc.edu/images/events/big/unity.jpg

For the more than 10,000 attending the 4-day Unity Journalists of Color conference-the largest single gathering of journalists in the United States- one theme overwhelmingly dominated all others: how the thousands of under and unemployed journalists attending the conference signal a colossal crisis of U.S. journalism-and U.S. democracy. Whether it was the many traumatized and fear-filled workers we encountered , or the obvious humiliation of Truth in Journalism we heard on panels or the unprecedented lack of government transparency we discussed, the hallways of Unity were buzzing with devastatingly bad news.

The primary source of the bad news?: the sinister and extremely anti-democratic concentration of media ownership and power in fewer and fewer hands. Many of us are returning home clear of how one of the great threats to any democratic functioning is the deadly rise of Corporate Media Sovereignty. Nowhere was the threat more palpable than around that most critical of media issues of our time, Net Neutrality, the struggle to keep the internet open and free from the clutches of the exploiters of journalists, the purveyors of candy-coated UnTruth and enablers of government secrecy: Big Media.

I for one return from Chicago more convinced of the need to support the Death Penalty, the Corporate Death Penalty as applied to those companies that devastate the public good. We need to get back to those days when bad corporations lost their legal right to exist for violating the Public Good. This was the case from the foundation of the country until the late 19th century and we need to bring back the power of the people to apply the Death Penalty to corporations by denying them what in legal terms is known as “corporate personhood.”

This interview on Democracy Now explores these issues in the context of the interplay between race, media and politics. We discuss how, for example, Janet Murguia and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) -the same folks who supported the nomination of war criminal Alberto Gonzalez, are silent on Iraq and accept money from and promote the Pentagon- have been silenced and neutralized around Net Neutrality by the money they get from telecommunications companies eager to control the Internet. So check out how DN co-host (and now NAHJ Hall of Famer) Juan Gonzalez and author Amy Alexander and I explore these and other issues. Enjoy!

Issues You Won’t Hear about During the Campaign: The Pentagon’s Lust for Young Latino Bodies

June 12, 2008

Here’s an issue we can safely assume the candidates will conveniently ignore: the massive recruitment efforts of the U.S. Pentagon. This video doc by Jorge Mariscal and my friends at Project Yano details the machinations of the U.S. war machine in its efforts to not just survive to fight another day, but to simply survive.

As I’ve said previously, given the vastness of the U.S. military presence abroad, we can expect the Pentagon’s multi-billion (yes BILLION) dollar effort to recruit young bodies to intensify at home. Because of the rapid decline in the number of young blacks and women opting out of military service, the Pentagon has taken an unprecedented and very expensive interest in young Latinos.

So, if you want to destroy the Empire, you can do so non-violently by supporting anti-military recruitment efforts like those of Project Yano, the AFSC and a growing galaxy of organizations doing their part to bring down Sauron’s tower by bringing down the number of our kids doing Sauron’s bidding.

Check out this video by project Yano. Those of you who are teachers or those who work in community organizations can use it with young people to counteract the effects of the seamless system of war consciousness created by private-public partnerships like those documented in James Derderian’s book about what he calls the “military-industrial-media-entertainment network”.

So, Project Yano’s kind of media work previews what must be the future tactics of any effort to destroy the workings of militarism in the minds of our young. Check it out.

J-Lo Backing Obama?

June 11, 2008

jlopez

Superstar actress and singer Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) was seen “slipping”into Barack Obama’s Senate office for what the Hill called a “mysterious meeting”. Asked by reporters about the purpose of her visit to the presumptive Democratic nominee, Lopez answered “I’m not ready to do any press yet”.

Should she decide to back Obama, Lopez would be the latest -and most famous- from among the throng of Latino celebrities that have already come out in support of the Illinois Senator. Among the other Latino artists already backing Obama are the more than 20 Latin music and film stars who recently released a Spanish-language video in support of the Democratic presidential candidate.

The list of latino artists participating in the “Podemos con Obama,” or “We Can With Obama” video includes actor John Leguizamo and hip hop artist Don Omar. Other pro-Obama Latino celebrities include international pop stars Alejandro Sanz and Paulina Rubio and actors George Lopez and Jessica Alba.

With a recent Gallup poll showing Latinos preferring Obama by a lopsided margin of 62-29%, the backing of high profile celebrities like Lopez can only help the growing chorus of Latino support of the Obama candidacy.

Are You Listening, ABC? New Poll Identifies #1 Issue in ’08 Elections: Bu*#^hit

April 20, 2008

With many of us still reeling and wondering about ABC’s unprecedented and simply devastating display of dumbed down politics during last week’s Democratic debate, this hilarious video from last year says it better than anything , anyone else. Thanks to the Onion for peeling back the layers covering over the Truth about our political system.

Para Ganar Obama! (Or How to La Bamba to Victory!)

February 19, 2008

Though not an endorsement (I’m still working through whether these elections are some sort of grand political theater designed to makes us magically forget Bush broke the still-broken system), this music video from Mo Rocca is muy chistoso. Enjoy (and sorry for those of you who need translation – but get with it, homes!)

Vodpod videos no longer available. video source posted with vodpod

Of América Appears in Wall Street Journal

February 1, 2008

The Wall Street Journal Home Page

Despite (or perhaps because of) the economic meltdown, Of América’s stocks appear to be rising. At least that’s what our 2nd (count 2, segundo) appearance in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) , official voice of big capital, would indicate. This WSJ story about Latino bloggers and Super Tuesday mentions our esteemed site’s recent post about the double-talking bilingual antics of Mitt Romney and the now politically defunct Rotting Rudy Giuliani (Gracias a Nuestra Senora de la Justicia Social).

Given that we’re entering awards season, I’d like to take this opportunity thank the Academy and all of you who visit this barbarian haven for reading, commenting and passing the gas……….uhhh hot air…..I mean .. passing the word that makes such recognition possible.

Actually, mention in the WSJ would not have been possible without the increasingly irrefutable fact of Latino power in the life of América, a fact we try to mirror here. So see yourselves and smile:)

Gracias,

R

Chatterati In Heat Over Lou Dobbs Presidential Bid. And Let Us Hope He Runs

January 8, 2008

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Today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ), CNN and the spinning class at large are abuzz with the possibility of a Lou Dobbs Presidential bid. This piece in the WSJ is pretty typical of what the chatterati are saying.

The depths of despair among “disaffected” (and overwhelmingly white) voters is palpable and a Dobbs candidacy may be just the electoral Viagra they need, according to one William Gheen, one of those “grassroots” racists the mainstream media can’t seem to get enough of.

“At this point, Dobbs is the only man in the country that would have a shot at making a historic independent run, and winning,” says William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, an influential grass-roots group that favors strict enforcement of immigration laws, a favorite subject of Mr. Dobbs’s.

I for one wholeheartedly endorse a Dobbs candidacy if only because it will raise awareness of the issue in a more pointed way than even Tom Nobody-Can-Out-Anti-Immigrant-Me Tancredo. Really. Dobbs will force Obama and McCain to adopt more definite positions. But that’s less important than the effect such a bid might have among certain segments of the populace.

Among the groups most needing to wake up to the Dobbsian zietgeist are Latino and other immigrants themselves.

Reflecting what appears to be a huge and strategic chasm between many immigrant rights leaders and the immigrants communities they allegedly lead, most Latino immigrants in the United States have no idea who Lou Dobbs, their most powerful and telegenic adversary, is.

Most immigrants can pick out Tancredo, their toupee’d arch nemesis, from a line up, but most can’t identify the more dapper Dobbs. Spanish language media doesn’t talk about Dobbs and immigrant rights activists spend lots of time defending against and cursing him – en Ingles. And CNN en Espanol doesn’t dare turn him into a crossover star lest they risk losing advertising en Espanol. So, people like my parents, my cousins and most documented and undocumented immigrants I know haven’t an inkling what Lou Dobbs means.

Let us hope he runs.

Morrissey Denies “Racist Thug” Accusations

December 11, 2007

Morrissey

After being accused of racism by the British music tabloid, NME, singer Morrissey published this response in the UK Guardian last week (sorry for the delayed report).

Beloved by many, including many Latinos, some of whom found themselves in a moral dillemma upon hearing the news, the crooner countered the accusations of being a “racist thug” by saying that he was “the victim of the magazine’s agenda to cook up a sensational story”.

Thanks to bordersound for sharing this late, but important news.

Say it Ain’t So: Morrissey, Singer Beloved by Latinos, Another Immigrant Hater?

December 4, 2007

In what may be a devastating blow to the throngs of Morrissey maniaticos across the hemisphere, the U.K. Guardian and other British news organizations are reporting that the former Smiths singer expressed anti-immigrant sentiments during a recent interview. Today’s Guardian reports on the controversy stirred up by alleged remarks the aging crooner made when asked about immigration in the U.K.. “The gates of England are flooded. The country’s been thrown away”he responded, according NEM, a Brit music magazine.

The row raging on the other side of the pond has many Latinos and Latin Americans on this side wondering whether their idol harbors sentiments antithetical to migrants. For reasons beyond my limited comprehension of Morrisseyiana, the former Smiths singer has a and massive, cultish fan base in the Américas. His alleged recent statements must come as something of a sad song to thousands of pompadoured, tee-shirt-sporting devotees in L.A., Mexico and elsewhere. Morrissey has denied the allegations and is suing NME for libel.

Of course, these aren’t the first such allegations aimed at him. This 2006 article in the Believer describes some Morrissey performances that make it easier to believe the NME’s report. Consider this description about a concert in Yuma, Arizona,

“When the crowd chanted “Mexico! Mexico!” at an off-the-beaten-track Morrissey concert in the desert town of Yuma, Arizona a few years ago, trying to get Morrissey to acknowledge that the majority of the audience was Latino, the singer responded by saying: “I’m going to sing a couple more songs then all of you can go back to Mexicali.”

or this one about a concert in England,

Draped in the Union Jack flag, a symbol of arch nationalism, and singing songs with such perturbing titles as “Bengali in Platforms” and “National Front Disco”, Morrissey’s acerbic references to “England for the English!” at Madstock failed to appeal to the media’s underdeveloped sense of irony. The performance was taken at face value, and Morrissey was branded a racist.

Whatever the outcome, there’s a lot of gut-wrenching and soul-searching in the land where “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.”

Leno,Kimmel,Other Late-Night Jokesters–Anti-Latino Trendsetters in Liberal Hollywood

November 28, 2007

(From the Progressive Magazine – http://www.thefreelibrary.com/No+laughing+matter.-a0171139392)

No laughing matter

Anti-Latino humor has entered the mainstream.

Roberto Lovato

Late night funny man Conan O’Brien recently tickled his studio audience as he touched on immigration, a hot button topic heard with growing frequency on late night talk shows: “A man in Mexico weighing 1,200 pounds has lost almost half that weight and might enter the Guinness Book of World Records for most weight lost. The Mexican man lost the weight when the family inside him moved to America.” Then at the Emmys on September 16, O’Brien, who won an award, provided a clip of his writing team depicted as Latino day-laborers.

During a “New Rules” segment of his show broadcast in late August, liberal late nighter Bill Maher went to the well of immigrant humor: “New Rule: No more produce-scented shampoo: avocado, cucumber, watermelon. Gee, your hair smells like a migrant worker.”

Jay Leno, who has gone out of his way to tell people, “I’m not a conservative,” has also joined in. During a show in mid-September, he joked, “Well, police across the country now say they’re arresting more and more illegals who are prostitutes. But proponents say, ‘No, no. They’re just doing guys American hookers will not do.'”

And during a recent sketch making light of Latino criticisms of Ken Burns for his exclusion of the more than 500,000 Latino veterans in the filmmaker’s epic War documentary, Jimmy Kimmel deployed images of sombrero-wearing Speedy Gonzalez–a cartoon long considered racist by Chicano activists–yelling “Arriba. Arriba.” Kimmel’s shtick includes placing parking lot attendant Guillermo in compromising positions as when the heavily accented Latino immigrant participates in spelling bee contests with young champions. In another humiliating sketch, Kimmel begs him, “Please do not resort to violence.”

While the immigration debate in Congress ended months ago, the immigrant jokes haven’t. This is not so much because the late night hosts are at the tail end of a political trend, but because they are, in fact, at the front end of a major cultural trend: the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant sentiment.

Immigrant rights activists have concentrated much energy on challenging rightwing radio as well as blatantly racist, formerly fringe video games like “Border Patrol” in which players shoot immigrants for points. But little attention is paid to the more mainstream fare: Top-selling video games in which white good guys kill immigrant bad guys and black and Latino zombies; popular television shows like NBC’s The Office, in which immigrant characters are ridiculed for their accents, nationality, and other traits; movies like the supernatural thriller Constantine or last year’s comic hit Nacho Libre, in which immigrant characters embody evil and stupidity.

The proliferation of anti-immigrant messages in pop culture moved UCLA linguist Otto Santa Ana to study what he calls an “explosion” of anti-immigrant representations in pop culture.

“There’ve always been racist, anti-Latino stereotypes in the media, but things are getting quite bad now,” says Santa Ana, who started documenting anti-immigrant language and imagery he found in California newspapers in 1993, the year that launched the political battles around that state’s Proposition 187, which sought to deny education and social services to the undocumented and their children.

Since then, says Santa Ana, anti-immigrant themes have become more intense.

In his efforts to document these trends, Santa Ana, author of Brown Tide Rising: Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public
Discourse
, and several of his students have gathered more than 100 YouTube clips that he says represent only a small portion of a growing number of “extraordinarily racist, anti-immigrant jokes and other content in sitcoms, film, standup comedy, and other mediums.” Santa Ana’s collection includes a wide spectrum of mainstream programming and movies.

“Some of the clips will make you laugh,” he says. “But once you see the stream of those clips, you stop laughing. You see ten, twenty, thirty, forty, and then you recognize that they’re actually laughing at you.”

In an episode on Fox’s popular Family Guy animated comedy, for example, a couple of bandanad, knife-wielding, Chicano-accented gangster cockroaches in a dirty motel threaten intruders by saying, “Hey, you’re on our turf, man,” and, “Hey, man, I gonna cut you up so bad, you gonna wish I no cut you up so bad.” One of the white characters responds, “I blame the schools.”

In a different episode, after Peter Griffin, the family guy, complains about another character, “He’s a bigger mooch than the Mexican Super-friends,” the scene moves to a tall, crowded building called the “Mexican Hall of Justice” that is packed with people. A white landlord walks up to Mexican Superman and says, “Hey, Mexican Superman, when you signed the lease, you said there were only going to be five of you here.”

Or take the Academy Award-winning hit Happy Feet. Santa Ana explains how the protagonist, Mumble, a blue-eyed emperor penguin, leads a group of bungling, Spanish-accented, smaller, weaker penguins known in the film as the Amigos. Mumble is exiled from his land and scapegoated by elders for allegedly causing a fish famine. Mumble then vows to find the “aliens” that, he says, are the true cause of the famine. Along the way, Mumble, says Santa Ana, has to “teach” what is right and wrong to the Amigos. “It’s striking to see these penguins speaking in Mexican accents, walking funny, and being subservient,” he says.

Santa Ana worries about the effects on his students, most of whom said at the beginning of the class that they enjoyed and even bought the Happy Feet DVD. He also worries about the effect of the $384 million blockbuster on children worldwide, many of whom will also play the Happy Feet game that is part of the gigantic and expansive world of video, a more interactive world that may portend the future of funny and not-so-funny depictions of immigrants.

Depictions of Latino immigrants do not all fall into the negative category, however. The Emmy award-winning Ugly Betty sitcom treats immigrant and immigration in a funny yet respectful manner. It’s no accident that the show is produced by immigrant Salma Hayek. A new video game, “ICED! I Can End Deportation,” developed by the New York-based nonprofit Breakthrough, turns players into undocumented immigrants as they flee from cruel border patrol agents. The same Spanish-language radio jocks who played definitive roles in last year’s immigrant mobilizations are continuing citizenship and voter registration campaigns. Comedians such as George Lopez draw attention to racial issues in much the same way African American comedians have done for decades. Columnists such as Gustavo Arellano, who writes the popular “Ask a Mexican,” similarly use judo-like methods to deflect and draw attention to an anti-immigrant streak that grows.

For his part, Santa Ana, who lives in Los Angeles, takes the long view: “In twenty or thirty years we will be absolutely astonished that people could consume these racist depictions.”

Roberto Lovato is a contributing associate editor with New America Media. He is also a frequent contributor to The Nation. His email is robvato@gmail.com.

POLL: RICHARDSON WOULD LOSE DEM PRIMARY TO COLBERT

October 24, 2007

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(Colbert with a bear)

In another clear sign that Latinos need to get with the funny thing, a recent poll found that political satirist Stephen Colbert leads veteran politico Bill Richardson among likely voters in next year’s Presidential race. The poll of 1000 voters by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, has Colbert winning 2.3 percent of the vote while Richardson takes 2.1 percent according to a blog at the Washington Post.

The main conclusion we should draw from this is that humor beats “Hispanic” (as opposed to “Latino”). It also points to the fact that we are, without a doubt, well into the media age, an age in which a lifetime of politics can be trumped by a couple of successful seasons in the TV and multimedia sphere. But his (Richardson’s) panic should not be our (his)panic. Richardson is the best representative of Latino politics only if your definition of politics extends as far as the border of elections and electoral politics.

Speaking of borders, did I tell you the one about how I once asked Governor Richardson how he could speak as an immigrant ‘advocate’ when he was among the first to unleash the National Guard because of a “border emergency” due to immigration? He avoided the question -but with a smile. On top of that, his not-so-funny role in the racist purge leading to the ruin of accused Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee should give some of us all the more reason to greet this candidate’s performance with a Simon-like American Idol thumbs down. Maybe it’s not too late to build a “Sanjaya for President!” movement.

But, until that hallowed moment in hair history arrives, it’s time to yell, “Que viva Stephen Colbert!”

ALIENS IN AMERICA: NEW SITCOM TO EXPLORE WHITE RACISM?

October 1, 2007

Trailers of this new sitcom on the CW, “Aliens in America” look at once different, interesting and potentially problematic. From what I can gather, it’s about Raja, a Pakistani Muslim exchange student taken in by the Tolchuk’s, a white middle class family in Medora Wisconsin.

While it looks like it goes out of its way to paint a somewhat respectful picture of Raja and his faith (we’ll see), some of the basic premises underlying the sitcom look problematic. For one, the “America” in the title looks to mean “white America” as all the characters -major and minor – are white. Of course, part of the point of the show appears to be to interrogate white racism as u will see from this trailer:

Still, the word “Aliens” in the title doesn’t encourage me as that word has a deep and dark history, one they should not be further normalizing, one whose use some of us should discourage. Let’s watch and see what they end up doing. Hope it is a positive contribution to a TV spectrum laced with lots of racist stuff.

HILLARY CLINTON: A “REAL” LAUGHER?

September 27, 2007

This could be your next President laughing it up, up, up to Pennsylvania Avenue:

EVO MORALES ON THE DAILY SHOW!

September 26, 2007

This interview with Bolivian President Evo Morales on Jon Stewart inspires as much as it makes us laugh:

Besides Evo’s inducement to save the planet, my favorite part is when he says, “Please don’t consider me part of the axis of evil.”

Univision’s monopoly on these kinds of interviews by their sometimes right-leaning hosts appears to be crumbling. I tried to do my part too.