It's kind of funny that with all the debate about "papers, please" policies in border states like Arizona, it never got mentioned that places like McAllen, Texas, were already checkpoint-laden "constitution-free zones" where the cherished American right of free movement is illusory. My former Daily News colleague Jose Antonio Vargas, now arguably the nation's leading immigration advocate, learned that the hard way yesterday:
THREE YEARS AGO, Jose Antonio Vargas was a 30-year-old with the kind of career that most young journalists only dream of - a share of a Pulitzer Prize with the Washington Post, a coveted byline in the New Yorker - when he decided to risk everything on the truth.
The former Daily News intern confessed in a magazine article that he's been in the United States as an undocumented immigrant - brought here without papers from the Philippines at age 12 - and then announced he was leaving journalism to fight as an activist for the rights of some 12 million people who share his plight.
MSNBC launched a new show yesterday -- hosted by Jose Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American journalist best known for his work on Telemundo -- and for Day One he did something that should be commonplace but was actually remarkable: Instead of some blathering congressperson, he interviewed a young woman, Maria, who fled the violence in Central America. It's important -- check it out, and I'll be back before the end of the day with more news on the undocumented immigration front.
I don't write about Mayor Nutter as often as I should (if only he'd been at Kent State, right?), but when I do, I often make some variation of the same point: That he's been the most honest mayor Philadelphia has seen in a half-century, by far (yes, that includes this guy) -- and yet in spite of fulfilling a dream of many of us who wanted to see good government in Philadelphia, he's been more than vaguely disappointing.
Some of that clearly wasn't his fault -- he didn't cause the long recession that struck not just Philly but the nation and the world, in his very first year in office -- but some of it clearly was indeed his fault, especially a lack of vision.
After years of all of us decrying corruption as the problem, why was Philadelphia's first squeaky-clean mayor since the JFK administration such a let down?
...knows nothing about the economy. Who could have seen that coming? :-)
It was just this time last week that I told you about a Harrisburg scandal -- first reported by the StateImpactPA website -- that was flying under the radar screen. It seems as if Pennsylvania state workers were going out of their way to avoid talking with citizens who had health concerns about the air they were breathing and the water they were drinking.
The reports said that roughly a year after the aggressively pro-fracking Tom Corbett administration took office, workers with the state Health Department were given a list of "buzzwords" about fracking that kicked calls from the public to another office, where they seemed to mostly disappear down a black hole, and that workers were also barred from attending public meetings about fracking.
Now comes a new bombshell, courtesy of the Associated Press:
Germany wins the World Cup in dramatic fashion, 1-0 over Argentina in extra time. To paraphase Robert Redford in "The Candidate"...what do we do for the next four years?
God knows it's taken a while, but the president is finally doing the right thing, for once. Earlier this week, he addressed the nation and announced that he's taking a direct, personal role to address the humanitarian needs of thousands of refugees from Central America that the United States has scooped up near our southern border -- little kids and teenagers, now warehoused in unpleasant conditions.
Here is some of what the president had to say in his address: “Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire...We’re going to fill some tractor-trailers with food, with water. The churches have asked us if we could bring teddy bears and soccer balls, so we’ve loaded up a whole tractor-trailer of nothing but teddy bears and soccer balls. And then I’m going to go serve breakfast and lunch, and I’m going to help unload these trucks, hot meals for 3,000. That’s what we’re doing.”
Of course, I'm sure you realize that when I talk about "the president," I mean the president of Glenn Beck Enterprises, the syndicated radio and internet TV host Glenn Beck. While Beck was announcing his humanitarian efforts for kids fleeing the gang- and drug-related violence of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, the president of the United States, Barack Obama was...OK, I'm not exactly, sure what he was doing.
Definitely the theme of the week (and there's more to come) is adults who are failing the world's children, and it's not just on our southern flank. In Harrisburg, our elected officials were given a choice between making sure that schoolkids in Philadelphia have a nurse or a librarian, or making a tobacco lobbyist happy. Can you possibly guess what they chose? This is a new low for Pennsylvania...I didn't think that was possible.
Maybe Glenn Beck can send us some some cotton swabs and soccer balls to the classrooms of West Philly.