Archive for July 9th, 2009

The Media Consortium: Weekly Immigration Wire: The White House vs. Reality

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

by Nezua, TMC Mediawire Blogger

The immigration discussion is sometimes reduced to symbols or a war of “sides,” be it on blogs, comment threads, or conference calls between legislators, media outlets, and activists. But it’s important to remember what this fight is about: People. In last week’s Wire, we covered the White House’s June 25th meeting with lawmakers, during which an intention to address immigration reform was formally announced. The meeting yielded much celebration and discussion by advocacy groups and activists alike, but waiting for reform does not change the situation on the ground. This week, we look at everyday situations–from students who are deported upon graduation to the growing number of hate crimes–that make a clear argument for reform now, not later.

RaceWire’s Julianne Hing reports on the “good immigrant/bad immigrant” fallacy inherent in even the DREAM Act’s terms:

When the DREAM Act is passed, heck, when immigration reform gets passed, people in this country will feel so magnanimous. But families will still get torn apart because we insist on dividing immigrants into two camps: the good and deserving, and the bad and unworthy.

Hing writes this in reference to the case of Walter Lara, a child of immigrants, who wasn’t aware of his undocumented status until attending college. He was nearly deported this July, but managed to stay thanks to a “a frenzied couple months of multi-pronged organizing” and petitioning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Hing calls Lara’s halted deportation a “pyrrhic victory” for the movement.

The phrase “comprehensive reform” is used by media, activists. and politicians alike, but what does it actually mean? Will comprehensive reform include aid to those fleeing military corruption in Mexico? Or will our immigration policies keep them at bay with a wall or more border troops? In Mother Jones, Richard Bowden writes of reporter Emilio Gutiérrez Soto’s flight from the Mexican Army and appeal for asylum in the U.S., even though “no Mexican reporter has ever been given political asylum.” The U.S. supports Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s harsh Drug War policies, and yet our policies have forced this migrant and many others North, where they often end up in detention. With truly “comprehensive” reform, we could resolve this glaring hypocrisy.

In the video below, Gutiérrez Soto speaks about his belief in the U.S. justice system, and his hopes for the future.

Writing for RaceWire, Michelle Chen reports on Utah’s newly introduced law that requires home childcare providers to show proof of immigration status in addition to normally-required background and safety checks. There is no argument that childcare standards are necessary. But laws like this don’t take the realities on the ground into account. “Utah’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants threatens to throw off a critical balance between quality and accessibility,” writes Chen. The move will cause many to lose their jobs, “while pushing families to seek out less-regulated care.”

In the absence of a definitive immigration policy, restrictionists use convoluted rhetoric to muddy facts. Walter Ewing, posting at Alternet, warns of the “Green Xenophobia” employed by hate groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Ewing handily debunks one of FAIR’s “special reports” that ties greenhouse gases to immigrants. Simply put, the greenhouse gases emitted by the U.S. are “a function not of population size, but of the degree to which we as a society rely upon fossil fuels, power plants, industrial processes, and automobiles.” Ewing also reminds us that John Tanton, an “uber nativist” is responsible for creating FAIR, and several other anti-immigrant groups (like NumbersUSA, and CIS.)

Finally, reporting for the Progressive, Yolanda Chávez Leyva writes a stirring appeal to our better natures as individuals, and collectively as a nation in “Recent Attacks on Immigrants Tell Us Who We Are.” She asks, “What kind of nation are we that allows our youth to stalk and kill others for being ‘different’?” and then draws a line. “It’s time that we take the anti-immigrant rhetoric and its fear-mongering leaders for what they are — not protectors of this nation but destroyers.” It’s hard to argue with that.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out and This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

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Lieutenant Governor Battle Heads To Court As GOP Challenges Richard Ravitch’s Appointment

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. David Paterson says his new lieutenant governor won’t immediately preside over a special Senate session because pending legal action has muddied the situation.

A judge in Nassau County issued a temporary restraining order overnight barring former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Richard Ravitch from taking over as lieutenant governor.

Republicans say the order blocks the Democratic governor from having Ravitch provide a tie-breaking vote in the deadlocked chamber.

Paterson says he’s taking the dispute to a state appeals court in Albany on Thursday.

Appointing Ravitch was supposed to help resolve a month-long gridlock in the Senate that started when a mostly Republican faction tried to take power from the shaky Democratic majority in a June 8 coup.

But Republicans and Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have said Paterson’s move is illegal.

Ravitch recently championed an MTA bailout plan and was chosen by then-Gov. Hugh Carey to help dig New York out of its 1974 fiscal crisis. He worked for President Lyndon B. Johnson 1966 as was part of the National Commission on Urban Problems.

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AIDS Activists Shut Down Capitol Rotunda Over Obama Reversal

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

A group of 26 AIDS activists chained themselves to each other in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday morning, startling visitors, shutting down the landmark area and prompting their arrest by Capitol Police.

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Federal Stimulus Spending Favors Rural Areas Over Cities: NYT

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

Two-thirds of the country lives in large metropolitan areas, home to the nation’s worst traffic jams and some of its oldest roads and bridges. But cities and their surrounding regions are getting far less than two-thirds of federal transportation stimulus money.

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George William Geist: Willie Geist Welcomes New Son!

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

“Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist welcomed a new baby Wednesday when his wife Christina gave birth to a son.

George William Geist was born at 1:35 PM Wednesday afternoon, and while Willie was out Thursday morning the “Morning Joe” panel congratulated Willie and Christina on the birth of their new son.

Mike Barnicle commented that Willie named his son “George W.” while TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel asked, “What does it mean that this baby on the second day of his life is already on television?”

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Dan Persons: Mighty Movie Podcast: Lynn Shelton on Humpday

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

I do so love the comedy of discomfort — you know, the kind of thing that pokes us where we’re tender, has the nerve to call attention to it, and then makes us laugh at our sensitivity. Doesn’t really get done often, because there’s a grand risk involved: This is the kind of thing where if you don’t have the chops — the intelligence, the skill with nuance, the ability to willingly embrace the humanity found in the flaws — you can wind up with an unholy mess.

2009-07-09-Humpday_5_310.jpgLynn Shelton gets it right in Humpday. The tale of two friends who back themselves into a corner when they resolve to make an amateur porn video together, the film gets good laughs from its examination of the straight male’s anxiety over his nascent gay side, and how that anxiety can derail any attempt at more vital, emotional outreach.

Plus, it’s got lesbians with dildos. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider my summer complete until I’ve seen a film that has lesbians with dildos.

Here’s my interview with Shelton:

For more fun with fondling, check these MMP episodes:

Deirdre Timmons on A Wink and a Smile

Paul Morrison on Little Ashes

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Comedy Central Orders Will Ferrell Sitcom Starrin Jon Heder

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

Comedy Central has ordered a multi-camera sitcom from distributor Debmar-Mercury and Gary Sanchez Productions, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s production shingle….

Jon Heder, who starred in Napoleon Dynamite and Blades of Glory, will play the lead role as a computer IT specialist who leaves the big city to move home with his parents.

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Paulina Porizkova: Fired at 44

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

I never actually heard the words made famous by a certain man on a certain TV show. Instead I got a lot of harrumphing and vague “I-got-some-bad-news” mumbling. Over the phone. The night before my 44th birthday.

When I was fired from “America’s Next Top Model” this past spring, two things hit me simultaneously: the heavy thud of realization that I am not wanted, not liked, not worth my salt, not loved–yes, I know this sounds a little over-the-top, but I have the tendency to run with the negatives–and the lightening of a burden lifted; I would no longer have to worry about missing my children’s recitals, date nights with my husband, and all that family life has to offer. It was a curious mixture, one I imagine akin to standing in a falling elevator, but knowing you can jump up at the last moment to prevent gravity from crushing you. And you can walk off. Not unscathed maybe, with a permanent distrust of elevators perhaps, but alive.

My announcement about getting fired was a decision I made when I, a day after a rather depressing birthday, realized that all the famous people I’ve ever read about have rarely, if ever, “gotten fired.” It’s not that it hasn’t happened. In our biz, the showbiz, you get hired and fired at the speed of sound. But it seems only comedians have the guts to admit it.

Performers are, by nature, self-employed. Sort of. We are used to being out of work; we are used to the thought that this job may be our last. The threat of unemployment doesn’t so much hang over your head as it surrounds you like water in a pool. But being fired is different. It’s not only that you now have no foreseeable income, but–for a celebrity–you have also been publicly punched in the face. It is the one last kindness that is performed by whomever is actually firing you, usually the producer, to do a lot of harrumphing and vague mumbling about bad news, and allow you to put it out to the public in a way that won’t forever mark you as failed.

Generally, admitting to a weakness in a cutthroat setting is far braver than keeping a stiff upper lip, but unless you are Jimmy Stewart in a Hollywood movie, the consequences are the same as announcing you’ve twisted your ankle to a bunch of muggers.

Hence, all the celebrities that “quit” because they were exhausted, had personal conflicts, and the ol’ scheduling problems.

So why did I do it? I’d like to imagine it was in part because I’m always so appreciative of when someone tells the truth–clean water escaping muck, and all that sort of imagery I like to amuse myself with–and in part because I have come to the conclusion that saving face takes more effort than it’s worth. For me, anyway. (It is also more than possible that I thought it would get me sympathetic attention and another job.) In any case, a day after I outed myself as a fired (failed) celebrity on Craig Ferguson, my phone rang off the hook. I’m still not sure whether it was because people were appreciative of the truth, or merely looking for me to dish further dirt, but the beauty of being 44 is that one spends a lot less time bullshitting oneself. And none of those calls were to offer me another job.

One of the people I spoke to was a lovely female journalist who, after a few minutes, confided she had also just gotten fired and that I was her last interview. How is that for irony? She had worked for the paper for fifteen years and got a fairly unceremonious boot. She had a little money saved up. She had some plans to make the best of it. She wasn’t 20 either.

When you get fired at 20, it may be a kick in the butt, but one that propels you forward to the next adventure. When you get fired at 44, it’s a slap in the face that takes you backward to sink into your well-worn couch and to reexamine your life, to re-evaluate your place in the world.

In all honesty, getting fired from “Top Model” was nowhere near as tragic as I’d like to make out. It’s mostly a slight public humiliation, and one that I decided to perpetuate myself. It in no way compares to the thousands of people who have been laid off and are struggling to survive.

Still, I wouldn’t have minded to walk away with an extended middle finger and a victorious “I quit!”

Oh, and by the way, I’m available for hire.

Related links on

*Watch: Getting To Know Paulina Porizkova
*Slideshow: Paulina Porizkova’s Covers
*Watch: Paulina Porizkova Wishes You A Happy 4th of July
*Watch: History of Models V: Beauty Incorporated

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Paris Hilton, the Forgetful Drag Queen

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

You all loved our last Paris Hilton skewering after that total denunciation of sinful oral exploits she shared with the world on Kathy Griffin’s Life on the D-List. Well, Kath, the generous…

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Janet reportedly tried intervention for Jackson

July 9th, 2009 admin No comments

Michael Jackson’s dermatologist said Wednesday that he was not surprised to learn that investigators found numerous bottles of prescription drugs in the singer’s home — adding that he had warned Jackson about their danger repeatedly.

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