Pa’lante! Cristina Saralegui endorses Obama

It may not have rocked the Anglosphere, but on the heels of President Obama’s bold step forward for immigration reform, he also locked up a very substantial endorsement… perhaps the largest of the 2012 campaign.

Media titan Cristina Saralegui now supports President Obama. Known around the Hispanic world simply as “Cristina”, her talk show reached 100 million world-wide viewers before it’s 2010 cancellation. With the immigration announcement in tow, this endorsement certainly provided a double-whammy to the Romney campaign’s hopes to make in-roads within the Hispanic community.

Of course the presumptive Republican nominee isn’t doing himself any favors either. Mr. Romney continues to evade questions in response what he would do in the immigration situation. Though he’s certainly no longer advocating “self-deportation” as he did in the primaries (or is he?? it remains unclear), Romney is apparently stuck on a way forward. If he agrees with Obama, then he’ll alinate the fringe right coalition. If he disagrees, he’ll endanger any hope of support he may gain with moderates and DREAM Act supporters. Given his exemplary business experience, one is left to wonder why he CEO skills haven’t taught him how to handle this situation better?

Hopefully Mr. Romney will figure something out soon.

But for Mr. Obama, it is “Pa’lante” indeed.

(please note: use of the campaign video is for purposes of the article and is not indicative of an endorsement by Texas Leftist)

“Misleading” Fox News Tweet?

No, really. So now Fox News is using it’s subliminal game to suggest that President Obama “engaged in improper behavior” in 2008…

But the story that links to the tweet is about Obama’s choice for Iraq ambassador who has withdrawn from the post amid an alleged scandal. Also important to note that the nominee in question, Mr. Brett McGurk, worked for the Bush administration in 2008, when the scandal would have taken place.

So come on Fox News… why mislead your Twitter followers to suggest the President himself behaved inappropriately in Iraq. Everyone makes mistakes, but can you at least CORRECT them.

Full disclosure… I’ve asked them to correct the issue twice. Let’s hope they do.

Blake Farenthold: 16-yrs old “have a say” in illegal immigration

This morning on CNN, US Congressman Blake Farenthold was pressed by Soledad O’Brien on why Congress has failed to act so often on Immigration reform. He insists that they have “acted”… after all, refusing to do anything is an action I guess.

But listen to the conversation they have around 1:20… he believes that if a child is 16, they “have a say” in whether or not to emigrate with their parents. Granted 16-yr old children are capable of a lot of things like what movies to see over the weekend or what to eat for lunch, but in the big decisions, I’m not sure I agree here.

What’s most “disturbing” about this… Rep. Farenthold’s district is on the US/Mexican Border at Brownsville, TX. Many people that emigrate illegally to the US aren’t just doing it for work permits. For some of them it’s a matter of life and death. Matamoros, Mexico is in the midst of a viscious drug war where residents are dodging bullets, grenade attacks, and being kidnapped in the middle of the night to be found the next day decapitated. No one is supporting illegal immigration here… it’s wrong. But given the realities of what some people face in their home country, I can understand why one would pick the lesser of two evils.

It sounds like Mr. Farenthold should do more than just boast about the immigration cases on his desk. Maybe he should open them up and actually LOOK at them.

Drachmocalypse: The making of a Greek tragedy

Every living person on planet earth, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality, shares a basic right of life. We all have a history. Like our amazing genetic code, each one is different, but connected. The other key this is that each second we live, we also make history. But while making it, history is very tough to see.

In 2012, Greece is in an epic time of it’s history. In three short years, life has been upended for a once proud people. What’s easy to lose sight of here is that this crisis wasn’t caused by all of Greece, but is a result of bad decisions by a privileged few in government and corporate leadership. But all Greeks are having to pay the price. The middle class and the poor are bearing the weight of these greedy people.

So here are the facts…

Greek unemployment has more than doubled in two short years, and now stands at 23%. That’s among the entire country, but young adults are much worse off. More than half of Greeks under 30 are out of work. Just keep in mind that no significant western nation has had such a dramatic rise in unemployment since Germany after WWI. Economic unrest is the main root of the political unrest. You can’t cure one without the other.

As desperation grows among young adults, so does extremism. Once a marginalized fringe group known for violence against minorities and Neo-Nazi-ism, the Golden Dawn Party is rapidly rising to prominence. In the May 6th election, Golden Dawn became a force of national government, garnering 7 percent of the electoral vote and seating 20 representatives in Parliament. All signs point to growing unrest for the country as this group gains power and political influence. Again the parallels with Nazi Germany cannot be ignored.

Though the recent election results seem promising, the possibility looms that Greece could return to the drachma, it’s former currency before joining the Euro. The money situation in Greece is very complex, but one thing is for sure… A return to the drachma is further uncertainty for the Greek people, and would ensure a huge spike in economic inflation. Most Greek families have already drained their savings dry, but if their currency suddenly changes and inflation abounds, it could be next to impossible for people to meet basic life needs. Again, we have to look at Germany, where the very same scenario played out before WWII. Inflation skyrocketed, and pretty soon people became so isolated from the rest of the world that they turned against it. The threat of this is still very real as long as the Greek government continues to wage aggressive austerity measures. Be it Drachma or Euro, the austerity measures are what put the Greek nation in danger… not the currency.

Faced with this downward spiral, have we learned anything? This is not the time to turn our backs on Greece. We shouldn’t be writing them off as a “lesser crises” compared to looming troubles in Spain or Italy. This is a time for other countries to get together and figure out a path forward for Greece. Instead of punishing 11 million people for decisions mostly out of their control, we should be coming together to help people preserve their life, society and dignity.

A small way to start would be investment in the country’s historical sights and museums. Besides bringing needed revenue to the area, it would also be a way to shield these world treasures from the whims of an unstable political environment. Just an idea.

In the US, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own issues. They are important as well. But a storm is brewing in Greece. We need to see it now, before the problem truly do get out of control.

The ABCs of the GOP: F is for…


You know what they say about overly aggressive dogs… “Don’t worry, it’s bark is worse than it’s bite.” Most of the time, the same cliche applies in Washington. Politicians make a lot of huge promises during campaign time. They vilify the party opposite, and proclaim themselves to have all of the right answers. But once sworn in, they go behind closed doors, and try to come up with common-sense solutions.

But unfortunately, the days of common sense are over for the GOP. Their singular modus operandi has been reduced to its most primal, instictive core… FEAR. As for what they are afraid of? Well let’s see if we can figure that out.

The GOP is afraid of changing demographics. Much of this was covered in the letter E, but it is quite fitting that we were reminded today. During President Obama’s bold move to end deportation of young illegal immigrants “Dreamers” The Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas caught a rather interesting conflict between Fox News coverage and it’s affiliate Fox News Latino. On FNL, the reaction to Obama’s new policy seems quite positive, compared to its scathing counterparts on the Fox News and Fox News Nation main sites. The Romney campaign was “hesitant” to respond to the Presdient’s statement, finally criticizing the move for not being a “long-term solution”. It’s sufficient to say that their stance is fearful and weak.

To some extent, the GOP is afraid of Obama. Not of the man himself, nor of the office of the President. But the one thing they do know about him is that he is smart, and fair. No one is saying he does everything right, or that he’s been a perfect President, but they know that he is very good at representing his views. He’s a strong, centrist Democrat. That’s why they stop at nothing to portray him as a far-left, foriegn-born socialist. If they weren’t afraid of him, there wouldn’t be the need to make up and promote such exceptional lies. This fear has caused quite a mess for some GOP lawmakers. In order for Obama to be all of these terrible things, they first have to make him the enemy. That means they must present a united front against him, and can NEVER agree with him for any reason (especially in public). Some legislators like John McCain and Texas’ own Kay Bailey Hutchison have actually had to vote against legislation they originally co-sponsored once they found out the President would support it. And of course in 2010 Senator McCain of Arizona, who co-sponsored the DREAM Act, tucked tail and changed position to filibuster the bill during the Obama administration. Clearly they are afraid of giving any support to Obama, even if it is in concert with their own principles. Why would you do all of the work to sponsor a bill, then vote against it?? Here’s Rachel Maddow’s coverage of this very difficult scenario…

But the GOP’s greatest fear is not the threat of extinction or Democrats, or even President Obama. None of those things. The GOP’s greatest fear is itself. As their numbers have continued to wane and their views on social issues like Gay marriage and contraception become increasingly antequated, Republicans have been forced to latch on to the far-right in order to stay relevant. At first, this grand merger seemed workable, but now the extreme group is threatening every structural aspect of the party. They are driving out moderates, and leaving those that stand with them as hypocrites. Many people have said that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get elected in the contemporary GOP. I strongly suspect that they are correct.

Time to DREAM: Obama’s new move on immigration

In yet another historic and bold action, the Obama administration announced bold reforms on its immigration policy. The administration will now grant work VISAs to certain eligible youth and will cease deportations for those who qualify. Most persons affected by this policy change are younger illegal immigrants without a criminal record… those who have already lived in the US for most of their lives and were brought here by no fault of their own… commonly referred to as “DREAMers” because they are the ones who would benefit most from the DREAM Act.

The President gave a short and “impassioned” speech on the issue today, but was rudely interrupted by Neil Munro of the Daily Caller. Immediately, you could see President Obama become rife with anger at Munro’s lack of professionalism. The President pointed directly at him to make sure everyone present saw the interaction. This is next to unheard of in the press corps for a Rose Garden speech (here’s a link to the full remarks).

As you can see, Obama’s bold move has already ignited backlash from the right. Here’s the part of the official statement from Rep. Peter King

The Administration is overstepping its authority by weakening immigration laws without Congressional approval,” King said in an email. “I am very concerned about efforts to administratively implement amnesty for countless illegal aliens under the age of 30. It is vital that US borders are secure prior to any consideration of amnesty proposals.”

I find it interesting how Mr. King has phrased this, “without Congressional approval”. Here’s what is really important for anyone that supports the DREAM Act to know….

Simply put, Mr. King is lying. Congress did approve the DREAM Act back in 2010. It passed the House of Representatives under Nancy Pelosi 216-198. The bill also garnered a majority of votes in the Senate, 55-41 including Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Dick Lugar and Bob Bennett. Included in those “no” votes?? Senator John McCain, who actually co-sponsored the DREAM Act in 2001. The majority of Congress passed this bill, but because of the GOP filibuster, it died in the Senate. So if they want to accuse the President of “going too far” with this executive order, they should go right ahead. Republicans have been going too far since they decided to filibuster every major initiative of the Obama administration. It’s high time Obama and the Democrats fought fire with fire.

Megabus’ rocky start in Texas

For weeks, there has been a buzz going on in Texas, especially among the urban traveller crowd. Megabus, the low-cost intra-city bus line is starting service in the Texas Triangle on June 19th. With bargain basement fairs and chic new buses featuring wi-fi and chargers, the company has definitely succeeded in garnering some attention. Even for me, the new service was worth a try.

Perhaps the best feature of Megabus is chosen locations for pick-ups and drop-offs. For cities, the bus delivers you right to downtown… the center of transit connections, and everything else for the area.

Or so we thought. Apparently Megabus is having some trouble securing a downtown Dallas location, and have messaged ticket-holders that they will be dropped off in Grand Prairie…

This is no small change in location, especially to travelers whose purpose in using Megabus is due to cost. The Grand Prairie site is 13.3 miles from the original rendevous point. It isn’t connected to the DART metro system at all, so now the only remaining option is to seek cab fare from Grand Prairie.

Questions for the Megabus team now abound. Why wasn’t this settled with the city long ago? If people have already booked fares, shouldn’t there be a mechanism in place to get them at least to the appropriate CITY, if not the exact location? If “permission was granted” to Megabus, isn’t the city contractually obligated to keep that agreement? Was the permission ever actually granted?

For some potential riders, this is a big problem, and an indication that Megabus isn’t as professional as their ads portray them to be.